Thursday, June 14, 2012

Films Viewed (May 2012)

Wanda was an excellent way to kick off my 2012 Maryland Film Festival weekend. A woman drifts, disempowered, through her life. As John Waters, screening host and film selector, put it, "a feminist film about a dumb woman." Great rare opportunity to see it on the big screen.

I must recuse myself from reviewing the collection of Genre Shorts that played the festival as I hosted the screening.

I must recuse myself from reviewing Francine as I helped host the screening.

I have yet to be disappointed by a performance and screening by the Alloy Orchestra. This one, for the silent film From Morning 'till Midnight, was especially good. The films servea as an odd artifiact, German Expressionism taken to such extremes it played like Kubuki theater. A man who works in a bank steals money from it to unleash his wild repressed passions and manages to destroy his entire life in one day.

In The Turin Horse, a man and his daughter endure against nature. They begin to lose the fight, as we all do. A wonderful introduction to the films of Bela Tarr via his final film. Long takes, nothing happens, hypnotically paced... why aren't these "viewing preferences" on Netflix?

Attenberg was just great. A woman navigates the confusions of sex and romance with the help of a more worldly friend and nature documentaries as her father battles a terminal illness. More proof that something is going on in Greece besides a dept crisis.

I still can't decide about Damsels in Distress. Sure, it was another Whit Stillman film, and I enjoyed the other three very much. But something was wrong here, something that films like Kicking and Screaming manage to capture about college life that this one misses. It is never a problem to watch Greta Gerwig do anything for a feature's runtime, so I guess I am for this film. I can see why others might not be.

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie was the apex of a sudden interest in this comedy team that I have onlty grazed the work of historically. Tim and Eric try to turn a post-apocalyptic wasteland of a mall around to raise money they owe that the blew on making a terrible billion dollar movie. Meta meta meta. Cameo cameo cameo.

It is thanks to the industriousness and dedication of a MICA student that I got to see The Long Absence, subtitled by said student as a culminating project of his studies. A woman, missing her husband, suspects that an amnesiac drifter may in fact be him. Prime 1960s French cinema, lost to us English-speakers due to no subtitles. Until now.

The Avengers was great fun, made more excellent by being in the hands of a knowedgeable director. Superheros assemble to fight a planetary menace.. Enjoyable to those like myself who have seen all the films leading up to this one, but also accessable to people who are not as familiar. This is what a summer popcorm movie should be like.

Girl 6 had been sitting on the list for a very long time. An aspiring actress becomes a phone sex operator and begins to lost herself to her "new role." A notorious Spike Lee bomb championed by a friend in college. An interesting oddity, but we are a long way away from 1996.

Rhyme and Reason is a documentary about hip hop culture made when the culture was in serious transition (mid-1990s). Wu-tang is rising, Puff Daddy is about to become a Platinum selling artist. Glad to see it floating around on Netflix Instant on a headcold-plagued weekend.

The Dictator was not a funny as Borat, not a terrible as Bruno. I wasn't offended, but I rarely am.

I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with my father, and I was easily the youngest person on the theater. A group of British boomers, portrayed by A-list British actors retire to India and act up a storm. Fine for what it was.

2012 Maryland Film Festival
The Charles
The Rotunda
The Senator
The Landmark Harbor East
MICA Brown 320/  Suburban Multiplex
Netflix Instant/ Netflix DVD
(Please note: Whenever possible, all titles are linked to their pages on the Netflix website)
Total: 13 features, 8 short films (18 in theaters/ screening rooms)


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