Films viewed in 2011

Archive for the ‘Arthouse’ Category

363. Rubber

In Arthouse on November 1, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Dir. Quentin Dupieux

When Robert, a tire, discovers his destructive telepathic powers, he soon sets his sights on a desert town; in particular.

MY TAKE

The awesome cinematic powers of “no reason” are pushed to the limit in Quentin Dupieux’s funny, original and absurd feature film Rubber. I was hooked from the opening post-post-modernist rant, and was more than willing to roll with the telepathic punches as Robert the Tire menaced a desert town on the outskirts of reality. The visual style is refreshingly not trying to ape exploitation films of the 70s, but the never-ending shallow focus (which I assume was shot on a Canon 5D or comparable DSLR) feels like the new indie cliché. The film at least knows to keep a nimble runtime, and is sure to delight many a midnight crowd.

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325. The Tree of Life

In Arthouse on October 12, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Dir. Terrence Malick

The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.

MY TAKE

The Tree of Life could carry the sub-head 2011 – A Suburban Odyssey. Terrence Malick’s grand, sweeping existential epic is part evolution of the earth, part the best looking home movie you’ve ever seen. In a time when the Discovery Channel and countless science programs try to explain how the planet came to be, few films have ever given us such a beautiful opportunity to just reflect upon the sheer wonder and fragility of our existence.  The movie has big stars in Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, but they are essentially lost in the larger cosmos of a plotless – but certainly not pointless – film. If you can accept this fact, and a random dinosaur, you can thoroughly enjoy this film.

95. Schizopolis

In Arthouse on August 11, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Dir. Steven Soderberg

Fletcher Munson is a lethargic, passive worker for a Scientology-like self-help corporation called Eventualism.

MY TAKE

The title alone probably forgives this film from having any cohesion or structure. But I still thought moments (like the nonsense husband-wife conversation) worked better than the film as a whole. I did, however, love the opening disclaimer, which was apparently added after a poorly-received Cannes premiere.

48. Enter the Void

In Arthouse on August 4, 2011 at 8:31 AM

Dir. Gaspar Noé

A drug-dealing teen is killed in Japan, after which he reappears as a ghost to watch over his sister.

MY TAKE

I hated Irreversible, but Gaspar Noé redeems himself incredibly well here. Aside from the fact it’s a bit overlong, the sheer technical achievements and audacity of this film make it outstanding. I probably wouldn’t enjoy re-watching the whole thing, but I’ll be referencing it for a long time (especially the opening credit sequence).

38. Funny Games (U.S.)

In Arthouse on July 31, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Dir. Michael Haneke

Two psychopathic young men take a family hostage in their cabin.

MY TAKE

This isn’t the type of movie you are supposed to feel lukewarm about, but I do. Home invasion thrillers are nothing new, and all that really separates this one is the pure nihilism and self-awareness. That said, the onscreen violence is quite restrained and the suspense is well sustained. The rewinding moment is the most interesting. No need to see the original as this was apparently remade shot-for-shot.

33. Last Days

In Arthouse on July 29, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Dir. Gus van Sant

A Seattle-set rock & roll drama about a musician whose life and career is reminiscent of Kurt Cobain’s.

MY TAKE

Michael Pitt hides behind his hair more than he disappears into his performance, but it’s amplified by the detached filmmaking style. The form, however, matches the substance of the film and I was moderately fascinated  as the rocker retreats from humanity right to his inevitable end.

24. Gerry

In Arthouse on July 25, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Dir. Gus van Sant

A friendship between two twenty-something men is tested to its very limits when they go on a hike in a desert and forget to bring any water or food with them.

MY TAKE

I love Gus van Sant. I did not at all love this film. It’s not even really a film, it’s an installation piece. Without my respect for the man, I would have very quickly hit fast-forward as they kept meandering hopelessly, silently and aimlessly into nothingness.