Archive for October, 2012

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Cloud Atlas

October 30, 2012

directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy and Lana Wachowski, 2012

Beyond its unparalleled ambition, Cloud Atlas is a film that carries too little emotional heft to truly resonate. In what will easily go down as the most divisive film-going experience of the year, and potentially live on as a major cult classic, the latest project from the creators (Andy and Lana Wachowski) of The Matrix trilogy and director Tom Tykwer is a mildly exciting and willfully frustrating undertaking that quite literally shifts back and forth between the wondrous and the disconcerting. Running just shy of three hours, Cloud Atlas possess an admirable and taxing earnestness, but it’s all for not in this complicated adaptation that tells of six interlocking stories over different eras while assuming the tropes of multiple genres.

Full review at Sound on Sight

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Trouble Every Day

October 26, 2012

directed by Claire Denis, 2001

Rarely enabling itself to be clearly defined or labeled, Trouble Every Day is an oppressively quiet and poetic subversion of the horror genre from French auteur Claire Denis. There’s a muted hunger on display here that isn’t always conventionally defined or embodied. The small cast floats in and out of this Parisian world in an isolated malady that expands when agitated. Denis has never been interested in traditional storytelling, and this is perhaps the closest she’ll come to delivering a traditional genre work. Always concise and primarily elusive, this 2001 film may seem like a glaring outlier in Denis’ oeuvre, but it’s solely comprised and rightfully at home within the director’s filmography. The usual horror tropes aren’t contained within Denis’ somber depiction of addiction, but rather, a tragic telling of the ability and inability to love shown through the director’s identifiable elliptical and stylistic traits.

Full review at Sound on Sight

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Speed Racer

October 23, 2012

directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski, 2008

A dazzling showcase of movement and color, Speed Racer might seem like an odd project for the Wachowski’s to take on; it’s rather quite the contrary. Andy and Lana are almost too perfect a duo to take on a film where worldbuilding is the most crucial of necessities. Their work on The Matrix trilogy, while often frustrating, had the same assured audacity and detail within; a trait which makes Speed Racer the eye-popping visual wonder that it is. Above all else, the Wachowski’s constant themes are held intact within this film’s kinetic framework: Destiny and family stand above all else. While the film runs probably 20 minutes too long, there’s no rejecting the intensity of the Wachowski’s vision and execution. Each and every set piece has its own individual makeup and uniqueness, but this is all amounts to little without the busy color scheme and cohesiveness of the action. The Wachowski’s ambition has now brought them to Cloud Atlas, again, all too fitting given their prior films, it’ll be interesting to see if they can evolve with such a work.

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Rosemary’s Baby

October 19, 2012

directed by Roman Polanski, 1968

Without actress Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski’s 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby perhaps isn’t the classic that we know today. Inhabiting the crucial and now infamous lead role with such sheer force and authenticity, the slender actress would become a trailblazer for disturbed female characters for a long time after this film would be released. Natalie Portman, who won the Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan and Nicole Kidman in Birth immediately come to mind, the latter of whom Farrow’s performance seems inevitably linked to; these are oppressed heroines grappling with forces usually unbeknownst to them. Polanski’s film is crafted in such a way that it offers Farrow’s Rosemary little room to breathe or even function. There’s no shortage of dread within, as the music that bookends the film suggests an undercurrent of the unpleasant; a trait that rarely lets up throughout the rather extended running time. What’s most surprising is how a film made nearly 45 years ago can put most modern horror films to shame.

Full review at Sound on Sight

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Sinister

October 12, 2012

directed by Scott Derrickson, 2012

A box of Super 8 home videos are the object of obsession in Sinister, a slightly different, but often familiar found footage horror film by director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose). While Derrickson’s film is generally agreeable for most of its run-time, it becomes bogged down by the routine genre tropes one might expect when dealing with a story concerning ghosts and haunted houses. While the depiction of man’s voyeuristic tendencies is appealing for a while, most of what we encounter is a charade of smoke and mirrors that can only cover up this narrative’s flaws for so long.

Full review at Sound on Sight

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My Months in Films: September ’12

October 1, 2012

Total films seen: 23

Best first time viewings
1. Spring Breakers (Korine, ’12)
2. The Master (Anderson, ’12)
3. Holy Motors (Carax, ’12)
4. Frances Ha (Baumbach, ’12)
5. Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, ’12)
6. Paradise: Love (Seidl, ’12)
7. Cosmopolis (Cronenberg, ’12)
8. Tabu (Gomes, ’12)
9. Sans soleil (Marker, ’83)
10. Amour (Haneke, ’12)
11. Dredd 3D (Travis, ’12)
12. The Act of Killing (Oppenheimer, ’12)
13. Resident Evil (Anderson, ’02)

Worst
Something in the Air (Assayas, ’12)
Compliance (Zobel, ’12)
Dark Shadows (Burton, ’12)
The Tall Man (Laugier, ’12)
Wrong (Dupieux, ’12)