Here is my first weekly screening post! Every week, I will post the films I’ve seen for the first time and give brief thoughts on each without giving anything near a full length review. It is impossible to review everything I watch, but I do want have thoughts jotted down for everything.
120. The Thin Red Line (1998, Malick)
War as an abstraction; this is deeply moving essential viewing. The way Malick creates allows everything to be instinctively put together in post through editing. The plot and character development are mere footnotes, existing on the fringe, looking in on Malick’s extensive use of visuals and audio which force the viewer to simply feel. The film is entirely about feeling and it examines very broad themes by hypnotizing the audience into said emotions. The characters all seem like parts of one person. The Thin Red Line is a masterpiece that cannot be recommended enough. It represents the ultimate power of cinema to really illuminate us on what life is really all about. One of the most overwhelming and outright spiritual viewing experiences of my life; this is a modern classic.
121. Source Code (2011, Jones)
Full-length review can be found here: https://cinenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/review-source-code-2011-jones/
122. The Green Hornet (2011, Gondry)
A highly anticipated and unfairly maligned early 2011 release, The Green Hornet might not be great, but it is certainly entertaining and I would go so far as to say underrated. Gondry keeps things surprisingly straightforward but still inserts his visual flair. A screen play co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (among others) is bound to feature Rogen (and many other comedic actors) trademark man-child persona. But damn it, Rogen does it so well and I am far from being sick of him. Consistently funny from start to finish, this one took me by surprise. In particular, Jay Chou as Kato is charming and delightful. I did not even mind Cameron Diaz! Yes, it suffers from a confused villain, muddled action at the end and some pacing issues. Not being a superhero kind of gal, something like this is a hell of a lot more interesting to me than the overwhelming amount of superhero films that are taking themselves way too seriously.
123. Tell No One (2007, Canet)
A central mystery with many lingering questions is the driving force of Tell No One, which is equal parts chase thriller, mystery and romantic tragedy. The thrills are plentiful, but because the story is based around a strong central character, all of it means a lot more. François Cluzet is in large part responsible for the film’s success. Marie-Josée Croze, France’s Naomi Watts (and an actress I have been a fan of since her role in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) is perfection as the elusive and largely absent catalyst. Tell No One is an example of how good plot-heavy narratives can be, and if the American remake ends up happening, they might want to take some notes on why this thriller is so successful.
124. Rubber (2011, Dupieux)
At five minutes, Rubber would have been unforgettable. Instead, we get the most self-satisfied nonsense to come around in quite some time, from a filmmaker dead set on calling out his own audience for even taking the time to watch his creation. For the record; meta does not automatically equal good. Rubber is more deconstructive than anything else, with each element cancelling out the next until nothing is left. It is supposed to be asking questions about the nature of the viewer and how we, as an audience both individually and collectively, engage in films. All of it is painfully, and I mean painfully full of itself as well as obnoxiously obvious. The opening monologue breaks the fourth wall and features references that make Rubber look like a misguided student project. News flash; you do not get points for name dropping Polanski. There are chairs in the middle of the road as a police car slowly attempts to drive around, knocking them all over; this visual and everything else that follows is overworked. Rubber admittedly, and unsurprisingly considering the musical accomplishments of the filmmaker, has a great soundtrack and the tire does come off as a convincing animate object. A lot of people are going for this film; what it is trying to examine is more than worth exploring, but Rubber does such a poor job at everything it attempts, I cannot even give it basic credit for trying.
125. Hobo with a Shotgun (2011, Eisner)
This grindhouse homage, the second full-length film to be based off a Grindhouse related product, may not entirely be my cup of tea, but I can more than appreciate it. Miles better than last year’s atrocity that was Machete, Hobo with a Shotgun gets it right. Appropriately aggressive, transgressive and absurd, this is the grindhouse homage many have been waiting for. I may not be a huge personal fan of the film, but I would go so far as to say it feels more authentic than any other recent effort of its kind. Grounded by one of the best performances of the year, Rutger Hauer is unfortunately surrounded by several subpar performances, especially that of Molly Dunsworth. Hauer actually makes us care about the story and his ever expressive eyes are at times, dare I say it, heartbreaking. Those looking for massive amounts of violence will not be disappointed. Hyper-stylized to the limit and featuring a killer fun score, anybodynaturally drawn towards Hobo with a Shotgun, will likely walk away more than satisfied.
126. Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Aldrich)
Widely considered a noir masterpiece, Kiss Me Deadly is a nihilistic and unsettling representative of B-noir. Aldrich is really thinking outside the box here (no pun intended) and delivers some wonders. The finale is particularly unsettling, as the inability of one character to keep away from known danger leaves a lasting impression. Mike Hammer gets caught on a purposely vague and twisty road filled with oddball characters, including possibly the most wonderfully unique femme fatale in the history of the genre. Kiss Me Deadly’s dips into the fantastic provide some memorably surreal moments and with a perversely cynical protagonist whose mindset seeps through into the rest of the picture, this has more than earned its critical reputation.