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Moneyball (2011) – 96/100
Perhaps the best film of the year, either tied for 1st place with Drive, or an overall winner in my book. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are incredible. The dialogue is genuine and funny. This film entangles elements of spiritual type camaraderie with cerebral economics, and with some perfect use of post-rock, it totally absorbs the viewer. Special interest in baseball is not required.
Shame (2011) – 92/100
Fantastic stylized view of a sex addict. It’s surprising, in a way, how such a potentially detestable character becomes so involving and so moving. For me, this film is a very close number 3 for the year.
The Future (2011) – 89/100
It starts off with slightly witty but completely ridiculous humor, and follows with a the dilemma of what to do when there’s nothing to do. If you can’t tell already, this film is totally representative of the current generation (in my eyes). In story and presentation, it is experimental, new, and original. It may seem dissatisfying in that it presents the problem of, but not the solution to contemporary despair, however this does not mean the film is not a unified picture. A very, very close 4th best film for the year.
Melancholia (2011) – 84/100
More disturbing than you might imagine. It is essentially a character study of a severe depressive whose terrible view of the world starts to come true in the events of Melancholia. While everyone breaks down around her at their intense new realizations of illimitable chaos and nonexistent personal agency, the protagonist is unchanged, since this is how she felt about the world in the first place. As everyone’s spirit is pressed down and leveled to a pulp, the protagonist rises above and helps the people around her, comparatively uplifted by the accuracy of her dark perception of the world.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) – 81/100
Subject matter is the draw here. It was a mystery to me when I started watching, and as the story continues, telling the haunting past through intermittent flashbacks from the present, it gets intriguing and horrifying.
50/50 (2011) – 71/100
I had to see this because of my crush on Judd Apatow, and overall, although predictably too unnecessarily crass at times, the film is a funny and appropriate telling of a young man with cancer.
Ides of March (2011) – 68/100
Bad things about this film: annoying recurring inside jokes referring to some massive hidden world of politics (comes across as unconvincing), the only personalization of Gosling’s character is a 5 minute insert about morality (i.e. the protagonist remains totally vacuous of personality), the music, and that the actual specific events in this film are minute and pathetic (only within the shroud of mystery can they function as plot points). Good things: George Clooney appears on screen for very little time appropriately making him seem hidden and powerful, personal manipulation and lack of integrity are shown as the only consistencies of the lonely people in politics, the president to be is portrayed as a figurehead of interest groups rather than an individual decision maker.
Take Shelter (2011) – 68/100
Anything about insane people, I generally like.
Contagion (2011) – 60/100
Just not very exciting. My favorite part was the font, nice spacing.
Adjustment Bureau (2011) – 52/100
The trailer hit hard, made it seem like an emotionally charged story of desperation. However, though I could easily get over the initial plot assumptions, the film doesn’t stay desperate. Although the characters keep running, it feels like it slows down. Ridiculous and not exciting is not a good combo.
The Debt (2011) – 41/100
Terrible. Just terrible. The final climax is laughable while it is taking place. If you want a nationalist film about revenge, specifically for Israel, watch Munich, not this. There are some well directed parts, and some nice fight choreography, but the majority of the story that takes place in present day with the old half of the cast is a boring, slow, and tired version of the 30% of the film with the young half of the cast.