Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 2011

What kind of year was 2011 at the cinema for me? A slightly more active one than the previous five. Some Picks:

Disappointed that:

We Need to Talk About Kevin ventured no further than its virtuoso character and issue construction.

Sion Sonno moved back into conventional three-act territory after offering such bold and thrilling rides in pieces like Suicide Circle and Strange Circus. Cold Fish and Guilty of Romance played far more conventionally than they needed to and rest on lower rungs in the Sonno's ladder o' greatness as a result.

I Love You Phillip Morris could not survive the best attempts by its star to provide as true a portrayal of a rotter/cad/etc as he could muster. Love did not mitigate interpersonal atrocity for this bum on a seat.

Jane Eyre wasn't very interesting even though it succeeded in importing some freshness into the much filmed story.

Burning Man, having introduced a finely crafted time-shattering method of examining a serious situation too soon lost control of it.

Gratified that:

The Woman not only excelled at everything it attempted, provided real horror and provoked thought but broke its director out from a string of self-defeating "good ideas".

Black Swan declared its hand early but kept to its purpose so stubbornly that it transcended the tributary slide show it was initially and soared into high nutso greatness. Thank you Darren Arranofsky for not doing a Gus Van Sant on us and going all mainstream. Black Swan is a mainstream film by distribution and mood but retains the individuality of an auteur. Good job.

End of Animal kept to its odd brief, demonstrating again the need for a steady hand at the helm when daunting weather is ahead. Also, very good to see the continuation of South Korean cinema gem production.

A big thank you to:

Pedro Almodovar for surprising me with a film that chose against expected directions. The Skin I Live In is a treat. Don't be fooled by the spolier-avoiding trailer.

Nicholas Winding-Refn for giving us an action movie that was both old fashioned and new. The constantly effective Drive thrilled me despite a saggy final act.

Justin Kerzel for a crime thriller that examined the roots of atrocity, unflinchingly staring at the family values at the heart of this monstrosity. Snowtown was a triumph. Animal Kingdom team, this is how it's done.

Richard Lowenstein and Lynn-Maree Milburn for Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard which showed that a tribute to an artist can be sincere without being sucky. Martin Scorsese, you tried with the film about George but you couldn't get close (to either your subject or the Howard film).

Apichatpong Weerasethakul for showing us in Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives that a theme like death can be celebratory and that a whimsical touch can also carry great weight.

Film o' the year?

The Woman

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Peter for a good year too. Nice tribute to 2011 ;)