The Films of 2012

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
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dustybooks
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Re: The Films of 2012

#101 Post by dustybooks » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:03 pm

wigwam wrote:saw Solondz's newest Dark Horse last night (it's on imdb as 2011 but I hope it's cool to talk abt in this thread since its theatrical is 2012?)

I think it's not only his best (which I've thought w/ every new movie he makes) but also a big departure for him in how genuine a place it comes from, with characters whose sympahetic properties are the primary focus and the satire aspects are only partially present, while still having alot of social commentary.
Just want to say I finally got to see this last night. I can't describe exactly how the film affected me, but it's something I haven't felt in a long time. Contrary to a lot of what was said about its accessibility, I found it even more despairingly sad than Life During Wartime. The characters are beautifully drawn, and the actors are terrific -- including Christopher Walken, who really stretches himself. (It's really nice to see Mia Farrow again too.) I'm still unpacking everything that it presented about the man-child phenomenon and the invisibility of a certain kind of loneliness. But I would advise anyone interested to seek the film out; I'm surprised it didn't get more attention.

I'm struck by how different Solondz's last two films are from his much more outrageous and uncomfortable run from Happiness to Palindromes -- though one consistency is a rawness of feeling that I don't often see in American movies.

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HJackson
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Re: The Films of 2012

#102 Post by HJackson » Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:29 am

Laurence Anyways is probably Xavier Dolan's finest film yet (and I'm a big fan of his first two). Peter Bradshaw's one-star review is utterly bizarre, not just because of the baseless accusation of smugness or the empty criticism of a rather fine pair of central performances, but also because it worries that the chracters don't sufficiently 'care about the issues' (a criticism echoed in a more fair review by Tim Robey) - isn't it obvious that this film isn't 'about' transsexuality to begin with? It seems pretty clear that Dolan isn't interested in making ghettoised, minority interest films about 'LGBT issues'. He's making films about love, and Laurence Anyways serves its subject very well.

The Hunt is probably the finest film I've seen all year (either this or Haneke's Amour). Not only is it a beautifully executed and horrifying piece of cinema, anchored by an exceptional performance from Mads Mikkelsen, it's also the most timely film in British cinemas right now. Characters flatly claiming 'they never lie' might be quite risible to some, but it's terrifying after seeing a senior politician like Harriet Harman saying the exact same thing on Question Time a few weeks back, in a country where people are keen to presume the guilt of people on the basis of internet rumour.

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Films of 2012

#103 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:32 am

Hey, once I get the point of The Comedy, am I allowed to stop watching it? Because it's easily the most execrable film of the year, not because of its (mostly failed, worthless) attempts to shock but just how incredibly dull it is. I get it, guys. I get it. But it's still an inexcusable bore that makes the navel gazing frivolity of Lena Dunham's Girls seem like Come and See in comparison. So so so bad. Stay away.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#104 Post by Grand Illusion » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:13 am

Gus Van Sant's The Promised Land. Simple, simplistic, didactic, good performances, well-told. It's like Milk for fracking.

A late twist doesn't work. Hal Holbrook is a screenwriter's tool for "old wise man". Frances McDormand is great, as usual. Bonus points for making a watchable film with the pitch of "Matt Damon in a farm town talks about hydraulic fracturing."

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: The Films of 2012

#105 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:53 am

Pitch Perfect certainly doesn't deserve its own thread. I suppose I'm asking for trouble with a Bridesmaids meets Glee movie, but there are so many things about this movie that annoyed me that I don't know where to begin.

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: The Films of 2012

#106 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:42 am

Image

Nice poster for the Italian film Corpo Celeste, released by AE.

The film is basically a look at a small parish struggling to keep religion relevant in the modern world. The Sunday school teacher has all the confirmation candidates walk around the church blindfolded, imitating a blind man Jesus aided. But it plays out in long shot as a metaphor for the Church, with people stumbling around their icons without vision. Or a more a Plato's cave aspect of being unable to perceive things...

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Re: The Films of 2012

#107 Post by LQ » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:58 pm

Anyone expecting Hyde Park on Hudson to be more complex and interesting than the trailer would suggest can save their money - it is not. It’s an insipid, pandering and shallow cut-rate Julian Fellows knock-off comedy of manners that just happens to involve 2-dimensional simulacrums of some of the greatest minds of the 20th century. The poorly constructed plot charts an affair between FDR and his distant cousin Daisy, while also stuffing a visit from the King and Queen of England in the middle of this “romance”. The film is (over)narrated by Laura Linney's bland, self-righteously entitled Daisy, and as the film detours into Royal Visit territory, it seems bizarre to be hearing narration from a woman who has all but been excluded from the subplot. The romance plotline is awkwardly tied up at the end with a facile, icky bow as Daisy finds her niche in FDR's extra-marital life with a glowing, indulgent smile while narrating warmly, "I learned to share".

What's really weird though, is the unironic, hagiographic glow that surrounds Bill Murray's FDR at every turn, although you wouldn't ever once guess that he's supposed to be playing one of the greatest presidents in American history. He drinks, lounges, wrangles his various mistresses, looks at stamps, throws some benign encouragements at King George, squabbles with his mother and Eleanor (a woefully underused Olivia Williams), and that's about it. I would've loved to see a movie that explored the private insecurities, loneliness and needs of a very important historical figure with nuance and intelligence. This ain't it.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2012

#108 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:53 pm

Arbitrage (Nicholas Jarecki) Though it got lost in the awards game shuffle, Richard Gere gives the performance of his career as the desperate businessman at the center of more than one shell game. It all plays out a bit like the previous year's Margin Call meets any infidelity thriller from the Basic Cable Staples thread, but the lightness of the film's narrative thrust and game performances by a bevy of familiar faces-- led by in more ways than one Brit Marling (was there any doubt I'd seek out a Brit Marling film?), who owns her few scenes in a way that confirms her future deification-- make this somewhat simple but satisfying "adult" entertainment.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#109 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:42 pm

Finch wrote:Back from Dredd: better than I expected after the reports of the troubled post-production. Solid and coherently shot action though some slow-motion gore felt downright pornographic. No plot holes as such though some things will require suspension of disbelief
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(skating grounds on the outer walls of a 200 storey building? why don't the Judges called for reinforcement call a helicopter to get to the blasted wall after they can't get in downstairs?)
. 3D as usual adds nothing. Still, pleasantly surprised overall. Noticed that Garland wasn't the only Brit on the production, Anthony Dod Mantle is the DOP. 6.5/10
Yes I'd agree with this assessment. Much more stripped down than the Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd adaptation, with its brief focus on Mega-City 1 (which feels as if care has been taken to portray an over-developed, just slightly in the future, city rather than the flying bike futurism of the 90s film) before confining itself to that city/apartment block for the rest of the film, which I thought was a good move especially in reintroducing the character back into a film adaptation.

After all of the real issues with the Stallone film, this one seemed to pull off the difficult tightrope walk of keeping Dredd brutal yet in some ways understandable given what he has to confront (or the way that expecting the worst of people seems only natural!), which seemed very lost from the 90s Judge Dredd, I think because of the combination of Stallone's presence needing the character to be more straight ahead heroic and the broader playing of the background characters. In this film Urban's playing makes the character feel a little more nuanced (although that perhaps could lead to criticism that the character isn't quite the brutally fascistic Dredd of the comics and instead more of a Dirty Harry-type) and the stripping down to a rather straightforward plot allows for more focus on little character details instead of over-complicated and superficial plotting of the earlier adaptation. I have to put in a word for Lena Headey's evil villainess here, who manages to be terrifying without ever really raising her voice!

I sort of agree with the slow-motion 'pornography of violence' feel to some sections, which I think the film beautifully plays with to show the effect of the drug use and the way that even something horrifically violent becomes strangely abstract and beautiful at that extremely low speed (It is unsurprising that Anthony Dod Mantle is the cinematographer here as those sequences feel a little reminiscent of the slo-mo moments of Antichrist). It made an interesting change from the 'shock cut' way of portraying violence that usually takes place as well, and I think it fits in with the most successful aspect of this film which is the way that the action has a tendency to focus down onto tiny yet telling details rather than doing grand brush strokes of set pieces. The nearest to the 'grand set piece' is probably that machine gunning of an entire level of the block, but even that features tons of little details of civilians running from, and mostly getting caught in the crossfire.
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In a way Ma-Ma's final end, thrown from the balcony under the influence of the 'slo-mo' drug, just as she had ordered the rival drug smugglers to be disposed off at the beginning of the film, works both as the character getting their comeuppance but also as Dredd throwing the audience out of the film at the finale (with the initial throw being shown from Ma-Ma's point of view) as well as Ma-Ma's own goodbye to the block that she controlled with an iron fist for so long.
Perhaps the best way to describe this film would be as a mix of The Enforcer (the Dirty Harry entry that featured Eastwood having to contend with a female partner in Tyne Daly) and the first two Robocop films (mainly because of the drug gang background, drug factory locations and shootouts inside them that feel very similar). It is controlled rather than overly ambitious with the material, but this film feels a lot like a prequel to much of what is explored in the comics and, given that, neatly lays the groundwork for future films to go off into the wider world, develop Mega-City One into something more futuristic, explore the politics (and develop Dredd) and the Cursed Earth, and so on.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2012

#110 Post by domino harvey » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:43 pm

Three great films from 2012 that will find their way into my rewatch rotation for years to come:

Bachelorette (Leslye Headland) The laugh out loud funniest movie I've seen in years (<-- pull-quote ready), this is a deliriously foul black comedy with a trio of protagonists who push the boundaries of behavior audiences are willing to withstand-- and thank god for that! It's amazing how many of the negative reviews for this felt it necessary to focus on the "unlikeable" nature of the three bridesmaids played by Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan, behaviors that are especially telling when they're called out by men who seem to dance around not calling one or more of the characters "bitches." The film takes the kind of no holds barred commitment to its comedic voice as it circles down the rabbit hole and this actually makes the characters seem more human when compared to the pleasant ciphers of the mild in comparison Bridesmaids (a film which I liked but is obliterated here), with the emotional payoffs here shockingly hitting their targets with a heightened feel of investment for all the callousness on display.

Celeste and Jesse Forever (Lee Toland Krieger) Unlike Aubrey Plaza in the agonizingly unwatchable Safety Not Guaranteed, Rashida Jones proves herself capable of anchoring a star vehicle (it no doubt helps that she co-wrote the thing). This is an innately likable film that uses some great comic actors and scenarios to coat the bitter pill of its rather dour portrayal of the decay of a relationship and the end result far exceeds how good it needed to be to still work.

the Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) Not only is this one of the best films ever made about being a teenager, it's one of the best literary adaptations I've ever seen-- fittingly on the last point since the author of the seminal YA book wrote and directed his own adaptation. Displaying a sure confidence and surprising virtuosity, Chbosky does an excellent job of marrying the many disparate elements of his epistolary novel into a product that pleases both fanatics of the book and those with no prior exposure. The film cuts a couple narrative corners, some of which are fleshed out on the disc's extras (the scene with the sister's boyfriend hitting her makes no narrative sense without the rest of her storyline also included), but Chbosky doesn't shy away from the more salacious material and I wasn't surprised that the film had to be resubmitted to achieve its PG-13 rating. Ezra Miller's performance, despite being far far from how I pictured the character, is one of the best of the year and a textbook definition of scene-stealing. Pretty much everyone but Emma Watson does a great job, but the film wouldn't exist without Watson's participation so her not-quite-right perf gets a pass regardless.

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Murdoch
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Re: The Films of 2012

#111 Post by Murdoch » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:15 pm

domino harvey wrote:Unlike Aubrey Plaza in the agonizingly unwatchable Safety Not Guaranteed
Ha, glad I'm not the only one who thought this. Hopefully this will be the sole entry in the category of films based off of internet memes.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2012

#112 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 26, 2013 7:00 pm

Smashed (James Ponsoldt) A small-scale but effective slice of life character showcase for Mary Elizabeth Winstead that failed to gain enough attention for Oscar consideration even though she pitches herself right into the wheelhouse for the award in her depiction of a recovering alcoholic. I admired the film for attempting to paint Winstead's actions as destructive without wallowing into melodramatic script touches (she doesn't get raped or seriously injured, for instance) and even acknowledging the self-ascribed cuteness of such antics as peeing on the floor of a liquor store or smoking crack with a homeless woman. Nick Offerman is pretty much incapable of playing anything other than differing shades of Ron Swanson but I thought his character's actions were handled well and came across as refreshingly honest. It's all a bit hard to watch at times and there's no conventional narrative release, but even that feels true to the situation depicted.

Liberal Arts (Josh Radnor) Oppressively bland "intellectual" Garden State in more ways than one, this is NPR-baiting ego-stroking on the part of Radnor, who wrote himself an aggressively prominent posse of hangers-on and fawners to be sprinkled throughout the mix-- funny, by the end of this I half expected Radnor to stop and check himself out in front of a mirror. The only mild amusement to be had comes from an unbilled Zac Efron and a decent Twilight joke-- and that should tell you everything you need to know about the relative quality of this movie!

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Foam
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Re: The Films of 2012

#113 Post by Foam » Fri May 31, 2013 4:41 pm

dustybooks wrote:
wigwam wrote:saw Solondz's newest Dark Horse last night (it's on imdb as 2011 but I hope it's cool to talk abt in this thread since its theatrical is 2012?)

I think it's not only his best (which I've thought w/ every new movie he makes) but also a big departure for him in how genuine a place it comes from, with characters whose sympahetic properties are the primary focus and the satire aspects are only partially present, while still having alot of social commentary.
Just want to say I finally got to see this last night. I can't describe exactly how the film affected me, but it's something I haven't felt in a long time. Contrary to a lot of what was said about its accessibility, I found it even more despairingly sad than Life During Wartime. The characters are beautifully drawn, and the actors are terrific -- including Christopher Walken, who really stretches himself. (It's really nice to see Mia Farrow again too.) I'm still unpacking everything that it presented about the man-child phenomenon and the invisibility of a certain kind of loneliness. But I would advise anyone interested to seek the film out; I'm surprised it didn't get more attention.

I'm struck by how different Solondz's last two films are from his much more outrageous and uncomfortable run from Happiness to Palindromes -- though one consistency is a rawness of feeling that I don't often see in American movies.
Late to this, but finally saw it and man is it just fantastic and devastating. Probably his best film, at the very least his best effort since Welcome to the Dollhouse. I wish he would make more films pivoting on one character as his films seem to float away from easy glibness and into deeper resonances when he abandons the ensemble format for more focused character study. Also, I love how the whole of the film proper transforms otherwise two-star pop song "Everything You Need" into something wafting unexpectedly deep ironic pathos in the second half of the closing credits.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#114 Post by warren oates » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:14 pm

For your consideration, Shadow Dancer (U.K. 2012, U.S. 2013), James Marsh's (Project Nim, Man On Wire, Wisconsin Death Trip) second fiction feature and one of the better new films you've never heard of.

The terrible title, which the filmmakers inexplicably decided to keep from the source novel, may be partly responsible for this one not being on anyone's radar. It's a godawful choice, sounding like a paperback romance novel or an ancient video game about ninjas. Creative types out there take note: please don't name your book or film after a throwaway code name, especially one as tonally ill-matched to your source material as this.

Every year there's a film that gets dumped this way and that's surprisingly better than 90% of the other stuff I hear about way beforehand and actively plan to see. Caught this on a whim this weekend and found that it's one of the better films about Northern Ireland I've ever seen, one of the better spy films, and one of the better transitions into fiction by a documentarian.

Shadow Dancer, while based on a book, is thoroughly cinematic in just the way that gets my juices going -- slow, restrained, meticulous, abstract and nonverbal. Melville's bleak, minimal Army of Shadows seems an obvious touchstone. Alan Clarke's Elephant is another, influencing some of the camerawork and a lot of the existential attitude. The whole point of Clarke's film was to boil the troubles down to their essence -- a nihilistic cycle of seemingly endless, ultimately meaningless tit-for-tat killing. Imagine for a second the dramatic before-and-after arcs of any one of those anonymous Elephant characters projected weeks forward and back and you've got the essence of Shadow Dancer.

It's one of the better espionage films I've ever seen (and I've pretty much seen them all), because it delves so deeply and accurately into the emotional realities of spying -- betraying one's country/cause/friends/family -- and of handling such a spy in a bureaucracy that sees her only as an asset to be exploited rather than a real person risking her life for a handful of promises. It's a realistic procedural that's more thrilling than most less accurate espionage thrillers, riding right on the edge between a psychological drama and a thriller, a slow burn with a couple of shocking unforeseeable twists for those with the patience to see it through. Ignatiy V. called this "a film without heroes," which seems about right to me.

As might be expected on any James Marsh film, all of the technical aspects are first-rate. And there are strong performance by everyone, especially Andrea Riseborough, Aiden Gillen, Clive Owen and an almost unrecognizable Gillian Anderson.

Where can you see it? In some tiny art theaters now (actively hiding from you) and on iTunes and other VOD services via Magnolia in the U.S.. Out on Blu-ray in the U.S. in August and already available in a well reviewed region-free release from Paramount U.K.

Edit: Right you are Brian C.
Last edited by warren oates on Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Brian C
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Re: The Films of 2012

#115 Post by Brian C » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:58 pm

warren oates wrote:For your consideration, Shadow Dancer (U.K. 2012, U.S. 2013), James Marsh's (Project Nim, Man On Wire, Wisconsin Death Trip) fiction feature debut*

*Haven't seen Marsh's Red Riding segment yet, so don't call me out on that technicality.
Not really a technicality: he made The King, starring several well-known actors, way back in 2005. It was released in US cinemas by ThinkFilm the next year, in 2006.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#116 Post by warren oates » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:13 pm

The Wall ( Julian Pölsler, 2012) from a Marlen Haushofer novel (1963), is the second European art film this year that I'd never heard of that proved better than most of the other films I've been anticipating.

It's the sort of film that couldn't have been made 10-15 years ago because the VFX (which comprise about 10 minutes of screen time total) needed to sell the premise weren't available to little films like this. And I appreciate the thoughtful minimalism with which this film takes what was but one element of the idea in a film like The Cabin In The Woods -- an invisible, impenetrable wall around an isolated vacation property -- and makes it the centerpiece of the entire narrative.

Imagine if the sort of lonely apocalypse that usually gets to happen to outgoing men of action instead fell upon an introspective, intellectual woman. I Am Legend staring Marguerite Duras instead of Will Smith. Set in the Alps instead of NYC, where it's not the absence of others that haunts so much as the timeless indifference of nature.

The film's real agenda is twofold, a kind of immersion in the practical mundane everyday mechanics of survival -- wood gathering, subsistence farming, animal husbandry -- and the charting of the nameless protagonist's interior journey toward the gradual acceptance of her condition and place in a world that's been forever altered for reasons beyond her control or comprehension.

It's a compendium of classic existentialist obsessions, with the meaninglessness and ultimate (in this case literal) loneliness/aloneness, the contemplation of suicide, with one's thrown-ness into being (and into her mysterious present situation), with the active choice of living in spite of this, of ennobling oneself through work. It's very much a matter of: "She can't go on, she'll go on." You could do a lot worse than screening this film for your students on the first day of "Intro to Existentialism."

An aura of technological breakdown and nuclear dread* hangs over The Wall. The novel/film seems influenced by Kafka, Beckett, Bergman, Robinson Crusoe and possibly even Earth Abides and The Twilight Zone. And it anticipates later work like The Sacrifice, The Turin Horse, Cube, The Concrete Island, Doomsday Preppers and especially Under the Dome. You might even say this is the minimalist forerunner of Stephen King's maximalist novel/miniseries.

In the end, the film relies a bit too much on voiceover, which is so deadpan Germanic that my companion remarked that it reminded her of Werner Herzog (sans the humor). It's also overlong and might have been cut down by 20-30 minutes and benefited from the ruthless economy of a director like Bresson or Haneke (who already made his apocalypse movie). But all things considered, The Wall is still very good, certainly better than the below the radar arthouse dumping it's getting in the U.S. Definitely worth a look.

*
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Just what exactly happened to those other people just outside the wall? The protagonist strongly asserts that she knows they are dead. And later that the human race has failed. Yet they seem frozen, stuck in a moment as if the DVR of existence had been paused. Of course, in 1963, this would be a pretty potent metaphor for the last living moment before the bombs went off.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#117 Post by zedz » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:56 pm

It's been more than a year since I saw the film, but as I recall, there's no way for us or for her to know exactly what's happened outside "the wall".
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For all we know, time has just stopped for them - and will resume in due course - or time has accelerated within the wall. I read her assertions that everybody else is dead as more of a coping mechanism. She has no way of breaching the wall, so it's better for her to write off the outside world entirely and focus on survival within.
The nuclear war aspect of the metaphor is certainly apt, but I thought the Eastern / Western Europe analogy might have been just as likely in 1963, two years after the actual wall went up.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#118 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:31 pm

Teddy Bear (2012) is a very effective Danish small-budget film. About a shy, awkward 38 year old bodybuilder who still lives with his controlling mother. Out of desperation, he ends up looking for love in Thailand. I'm kind of a sucker for films about ethnic cultural mismatches, and cold reserved Denmark and hot lively Thailand make for a curious pairing. Though that's just one aspect of the film, which is really a pretty unique character study. The Thai-Dane mismatch just reinforces the odd pairing of mother and son, along with Dennis' extroverted physique and zany tattoos with his introverted personality.

The observational style made it feel like a documentary and deepened the focus on the characters. A lot gets said without words in this film, while it's also a film that allows for some ambiguities and lets the viewer figure things out. The camerawork was simple but effective, with a fair amount of tight framings which emphasized both the bulk and awkwardness of 6'5" 300 pound Dennis. Very effective performances by mostly non-actors, especially super-heavyweight bodybuilder Kris Kold in the lead. Quite a pairing with his frail birdlike mother, who has him totally cowed. Deftly handled. A real nice surprise.

This was released by Film Movement on Dvd, paired with the 18 minute short Dennis which was the precursor to Teddy Bear. It's available streaming on Netflix. The film doesn't make a wrong move and the director even knew just when to end it. Highly recommended.
Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#119 Post by The Narrator Returns » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:36 pm

Lola Versus: Frances Ha for dummies, basically. Greta Gerwig is charming as always, but might almost be a detriment to the film, not a strength. Lola doesn't deserve to be played by someone of her talent, because she's a nothing character, and her blanks aren't worthy of being filled in (phrasing?). Gerwig does provide the film its two laughs, which bookend the film like reminders that you once felt something when you watched movies. Otherwise, the "funny" lines are all given to Lola's friend, played by co-writer Zoe Lister Jones, whose appearances might as well be punctuated by a laugh track. And she's only one of the movie's many problems, which include obvious product placement for Yelp, Match.com, and the iPad (the last is spoken about in loving terms by Lola's dad, a shamefully wasted Bill Pullman), an out-of-nowhere and creepy sequence where Lola gets ploughed by a rollerblading creep with an abnormal penis, and an ending which is basically the same as Frances Ha's, except this movie is almost entirely about Lola's search for a man, so the "she chooses her life!" option feels tacked on. I can almost imagine that Gerwig wrote Frances Ha because she was getting tired of making this cliche-riddled movie.

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Re: Netflix

#120 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon May 05, 2014 12:08 pm

Beware Of Mr. Baker is streaming now on Netflix. Wonderful documentary about Ginger Baker's life, influence, madness and punching it's director.

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Re: Netflix

#121 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon May 05, 2014 2:42 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Beware Of Mr. Baker is streaming now. Wonderful documentary about Ginger Baker's life, influence, madness and punching it's director.
This IS wonderful. I, also definitely recommend it.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#122 Post by LQ » Wed May 07, 2014 12:41 pm

LQ wrote:I got around to seeing Bernie, and had I not already known of the real story behind it, would've probably taken the film at face value as a Christopher Guest-style mocumentary (until the end, I suppose). Although it did feel odd at times laughing at what really is a macabre and tragic story, it does inherently contain some blackly farcical elements! Linklater's penchant for populating his films with a blend of actors and non-actors meshed especially well with the thematic material here; including some of the citizens from the small Texas town in which this all went down in the talking head segments that dotted the film furthered some really thoughtful ideas about performance and perception, and Jack Black's (excellent) portrayal of Bernie serves to cement the 'fictional' version of the man that the actual townsfolk still hold as real. Overall, a pretty impressive film, and a truly strange story.
I couldn't find a thread for Bernie but this continuation of the story is too strange and interesting to not post somewhere.

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Re: The Films of 2012

#123 Post by AtlantaFella » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:49 am

Lemmy Caution wrote:Teddy Bear (2012) is a very effective Danish small-budget film. About a shy, awkward 38 year old bodybuilder who still lives with his controlling mother. Out of desperation, he ends up looking for love in Thailand. I'm kind of a sucker for films about ethnic cultural mismatches, and cold reserved Denmark and hot lively Thailand makes for a curious pairing. Though that's just one aspect of the film, which is really a pretty unique character study. The Thai-Dane mismatch just reinforces the odd pairing of mother and son, along with Dennis' extroverted physique and zany tattoos with his introverted personality.

The observational style made it feel like a documentary and deepened the focus on the characters. A lot gets said without words in this film, while it's also a film that allows fpor some ambiguities and lets the viewer figure things out. The camerawork was simple but effective, with a fair amount of tight framings which emphasized both the bulk and awkwardness of 6'5" 300 pound Dennis. Very effective performances by mostly non-actors, especially super-heavyweight bodybuilder Kris Kold in the lead. Quite a pairing with his frail birdlike mother, who has him totally cowed. Deftly handled. A real nice surprise.

This was released by Film Movement on Dvd, paired with the 18 minute short Dennis which was the precursor to Teddy Bear. It's available streaming on Netflix. The film doesn't make a wrong move and the director even knew just when to end it. Highly recommended.
Just discovered this overlooked gem on Netflix... Lemmy's observations are spot-on. If you are ever in need of a low-key, humanistic tale (with a pleasing side of beefcake to boot), look no further than Matthiessen's Teddy Bear.

Edited to add: I also just found that the 18-minute precursor to this film, Dennis, is available on YouTube. Not sure if it's acceptable to provide the link here, but you can do a search for Mads Matthiessen and it will be near the top of the list.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The Films of 2012

#124 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:49 am

domino harvey wrote:the Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) Not only is this one of the best films ever made about being a teenager, it's one of the best literary adaptations I've ever seen-- fittingly on the last point since the author of the seminal YA book wrote and directed his own adaptation. Displaying a sure confidence and surprising virtuosity, Chbosky does an excellent job of marrying the many disparate elements of his epistolary novel into a product that pleases both fanatics of the book and those with no prior exposure. The film cuts a couple narrative corners, some of which are fleshed out on the disc's extras (the scene with the sister's boyfriend hitting her makes no narrative sense without the rest of her storyline also included), but Chbosky doesn't shy away from the more salacious material and I wasn't surprised that the film had to be resubmitted to achieve its PG-13 rating. Ezra Miller's performance, despite being far far from how I pictured the character, is one of the best of the year and a textbook definition of scene-stealing. Pretty much everyone but Emma Watson does a great job, but the film wouldn't exist without Watson's participation so her not-quite-right perf gets a pass regardless.
Spoilers:

I caught this on Film4 last night and am kind of mixed-to-negative on it, so I hope domino doesn't mind me writing this to vent a little! I loved the performances from the main trio (and really all of the kids and even the parents of our lead) and they are all acting the crap out of pretty contrived and kind of terrible narrative material, milking it for all the dramatic 'life changing' moments that it is worth. I think it is based on the performances alone that I ended up feeling any emotion at all, as they inspire some flashes of a sense of friendship and belonging that feels truthful (if extreme) that regularly gets submerged underneath huge numbers of nutty contrivances. Perhaps I just had an uneventful life as a teenager (though I could relate to Dazed and Confused despite it also being heightened and in a different cultural setting) but if this is meant to suggest any kind of relation to modern teenage life, I think I missed out on a lot! I didn't have that close a relationship with my aunt, for one thing!

It is a film in which someone is celebrated not for what they've done or who they are, but because someone feels sorry for them on hearing that their best friend shot themselves. It is a film in which the 'wrong girlfriend' is problematically presented as a deluded control freak (who of course is pretentious with a love of "old music" and foreign films), who after she is quite brutally dumped finds the perfect person to push around, with this being perhaps the least problematic subplot of the film. It is a film in which the lead character after ostracising himself from the gang because of the wrong girlfriend issue gets back in by having a violent fight with a gang (so violence, even if it is suggested as justified by the context of the homophobic bullying, is in some ways suggested as a relationship resolver. Where this leaves the early scene in which our main character walks in on his sister being nasty to her boyfriend and then being slapped in response, I don't know). A film where characters are meant to be around the 16-18 age range, act like they are jaded 35 year olds (and I say this as a jaded 35 year old), but have the emotional maturity of a 10 year old.

It is also a film in which past semi-repressed (or rather withheld for story reasons until specific moments) childhood sexual abuse seems to be being put on the same level as any other teenage rite of passage (on the level of your first kiss, or first pot brownie, or somesuch), and perhaps even elevated into being an aspirational thing that creates a, broken, yet caring individual.

And even worse than all of the above, and the aspect that most threw me out of the film, was the use of David Bowie's Heroes (not exactly an unknown song) for the driving in the tunnel moment of transcendence, with the characters: 1. Having never heard it before, and 2. Not being able to track it down until the end of the film because they don't know the name of the song. The title is right there in the lyrics! And it's a huge song! They might be teens hearing it for the first time, but this is also a film in which our main characters are creating mix tapes of obscure 'old music' for each other and namedropping The Smiths left, right and centre. To therefore suggest that Bowie is beyond their ken is a bit weird! Or do the characters exist in a world isolated from David Bowie until that point? (An unimaginable universe!)

I have real problems with the film because of this. I sometimes got the impression that the film was going for a kind of John Irving-style extreme upper-middle class ennui satire in the vein of The Hotel New Hampshire or The World According To Garp (you know, with the setting, the sex, abuse and the casual drug use and such), but the film is painfully earnest throughout. If it is a joke, it is a disturbingly straight-faced one. The actors are fantastic and all grab their parts with gusto - I just wish they were working with better, less pat, material.

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bottled spider
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: The Films of 2012

#125 Post by bottled spider » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:09 pm

Celeste and Jesse Forever (Lee Toland Krieger) I feel moved to make an important public service announcement regarding a point of grammar in this film. When Celeste corrects the young pop singer for saying regime instead of regimen, I thought to myself, oh god, I've been making that same mistake my entire life. Months later I check the dictionary. And guess what? This turns out to have been nothing but a cruel prank on the gullible: regime can be indeed be used in the sense of regimen.

I can barely contain my outrage.

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