Friday, May 11, 2012

Films Viewed (April 2012)

For the Love of Movies was a movie about movies, so it had that to overcome. Still, it was an interesting look at the history of the film critic, a now endangered species, and a plea for their importance and continuing relevance. I am a writer of criticism, so I could take heart, but the writing is on the wall as we enter the New Dark Ages.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home was sweet and simple, coaxing good performances from talented players. A man who cannot seem to make it out of his mother's basement leaves the house. Pat ending, but otherwise interesting work, a new way to get into the old plot mechanics.

Every so often, I re-watch The Big Lebowski. I continue to enjoy it.

Bad Boys II is an arch, insane film made at the height of America's W-era shrillness. So many bizarre choices are made, so many performances phoned in... the film is a series of sensations and set pieces that almost feel like scenes from different films. An Action Comedy from Michael Bay. Many thanks to the Gunky's Basement boys for searing this one onto my retinas.

We Need to Talk about Kevin was an exploration of the terror of the late 1990s, the realization that the success America had achieved was soon to fade and that the kids weren't all right. A mother lives in the aftermath of a senseless slaughter perpetrated by her psychopathic son. Could have been the worst sort of melodrama, instead comes alive coldly and precisely under the direction of Lynne Ramsay.

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is a continuation of my exploration of the films of Frank Tashlin. Another cartoon come to life. Simple post-modern self-reflexive fun. In guessing this is what Godard went to see when he needed to laugh.

The Raid: Redemption blew off the suburban multiplex screen, kicking and punching. A police squad raid a high-rise full of criminals. You have seen this before, but not as well done or as enjoyably executed.

The Muppets was okay.

The Myth of the American Sleepover was a knock-out debut, especially if you came of age in the time before smartphones. Young people navigate the last weekend of the summer and the ending (or beginning) of their adolescence. All first-time actors. I found Claire Sloma's performance especially luminous.

It was such a nice time to get together with some friends and watch The Usual Suspects. The film holds up, unlike others from the era.

Gerhard Richter Painting was a chance taken that paid off handsomely. I was unfamiliar with the artist before the film, but found it a serene mediation on the artistic process. Thanks to the Charles for showing it.

The Charles
The Rotunda
The Senator
The Landmark Harbor East
MICA Brown Center/ Johns Hopkins Shriver Auditorium/  Suburban Multiplex/ Video Americain
Netflix Instant/ Netflix DVD
(Please note: Whenever possible, all titles are linked to their pages on the Netflix website)
Total: 11 features (6 in theaters)