AMER: Bracingly sensual, pleasingly claustrophobic, but often shots clunk. Fluid cuts of extreme close-ups = somehow sui generis breathtaking. AMER's "In Town" segment = a gorgeously realized coming-of-age film in itself. "Writing on wall," gray temples, "go play," flutters, panting.
THE AMERICAN: "The American" is Italian for "I want to punch this conceitedly lugubrious movie in the salt 'n' pepper bearded face."
BELLFLOWER: Certainly sketchy as a whole, but made with admirable bravado and undeniably tasty visuals. Mood of memory is its strength. In fleeting moments, BELLFLOWER made me recall OLD JOY, GERRY and WILD AT HEART. It's *certainly* not in their league, but had its victories.
CERTIFIED COPY: My third viewing of CERTIFIED COPY left me just as enamored. This one will definitely be on my all-time top 10. My CERTIFIED COPY theory: The film splits into a "mirror image" of itself with coffee scene. Same individuals, but different relationships.
DRIVE: Does an admirable job of turning L.A. inside out, making it look so exotic it's almost alien. Took a Danish dude to do the city proud. So grateful for a script that knows when to shut up.
THE FUTURE: Miranda July gives loneliness the time it deserves.
HOW I ENDED THIS SUMMER: Conjures dread and heartache with humble materials. Leads are remarkable. Theme of youth vs. tradition so compelling
THE IDES OF MARCH: Clooney really blew the lid off nookie. Pedestrian in every way. Gosling in peak I Am Aware of My Handsomeness mode. Ugh. Serves as a cautionary tale that Ryan Gosling can look really boring driving. A move I did admire in IDES OF MARCH was camera pullback for seamless transition between glass-walled offices, but suspect Clooney stole it.
I SAW THE DEVIL: Holy shit. An adrenaline ride that just keeps upping the ante in jaw-dropping ways. Outlandishly violent, funny and awesome.
JANE EYRE: Color me awestruck. A delicately orchestrated triumph that romances the English language. Mia W. astounds. Fassbender smolders.
LE HAVRE: Sweet, spartan, simplistic. Like watching a puppet show. Too treacly for this Heartless Douchebag, but god bless a kind heart.
MARGARET: Bracing exploration of youthful arrogance vs. lost innocence. Ended beautifully, but then tramped on 30 mins. Smith-Cameron, FTW. [A few days later] MARGARET is staying with me beyond flashing back to certain scenes. It almost feels like the memory of a familiar human presence. My 2nd viewing of MARGARET operated on a different frequency--less frenetic, more sublime. I felt that same difference in Lisa. This film! Yeah, pretty sure MARGARET will be in my top three films for 2011 with MELANCHOLIA and CERTIFIED COPY.
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE: Olsen's perf is beautifully oblique. Jody Lee Lipes' cinematography is painterly lush. Otherwise over-calculated. In a Post-MARGARET world, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE = reusable Whole Foods shopping tote. Well-intended. Nice design. Soon forgotten in trunk.
MEEK'S CUTOFF: Wow. Director Kelly Reichardt and cinematographer Chris Blauvelt conjure austere magic. Its politics pierce. Chaos reigns.
SENNA: Hail Senna, full of grace—the man, the driver and the documentary. Eerily intimate footage. Editing/direction are pure gold.
TAKE SHELTER: Pensively embroiders line between existential dread and American dream. Michael Shannon, a gravitational force. What an ending.
UNCLE BOONMEE: More like UNCLE BLOWME. Joe's flat-footed lyricism bores me to tears. That said, the princess segment was utterly glorious.
WHITE IRISH DRINKERS: Imagine if E starred in QUEENS BOULEVARD. There, I just saved you two hours and $12.