Sunday, December 2, 2012

RECENTLY BEHELD: NOVEMBER 2012, PART 1

 "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
- Charles Caleb Colton

When I see a good idea I sometimes attempt to emulate it in my own way, nothing specific as that would be plagiary or one of its disgusting sisters, no, I speak of general practices that I can legally adopt and put to effective use. Throwing up a side bar of the movies I've seen this year with my trite score attached was something I saw on Scott Mendelson's blog. I've referred to the Page 2 of /Film as both an inspiration and a source for my shrinking work on The Film Tome Report (more on that come Monday for Issue 91). Well, now I have found it necessary to borrow a segment as found on Trentflix, authored by my co-host for the new Film Tome Podcast, Trent Allgood. You see, Trent has a very fine thing going on over there called Recently Watched. In a single post or two he briefly covers what he has been watching for the month. He writes capsule reviews for the film/TV he has consumed. 

The attraction here is that I watch a lot of films but do not always make the time to write a review or even my sanctioned short review. By doing this I will in a sense be writing short, short reviews for everything I watch instead of reviews for some of what I watch. Rest assured I will still make time to write full reviews for films that I choose to, but at least now I can cover it all in some capacity or another. I may go back and do the previous months of this year, we'll see, but the important thing is to start now and go forward. I will be replacing my previous Recently Beheld page with the posts of this process.

Let's kick (ass) this thing off!
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(2010)


What a bloody riot this film is! I have now seen all four of Matthew Vaughn's films and appreciate something different each time. Based on the comic book of the same name this has a nerdy high school kid who besides to become a super hero dubbed Kick-Ass, the only problem is he has no super powers. That said, the film is far from realistic with a meta-narration and distinct visual style. The true namesake of the film belongs to Chloe Grace Moretz who further loses her innocence by playing Hit Girl. The scenes with her and her Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) are dark, violent, and hilarious. The rest of the movie is the same way, but less so.

★★★★
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(2012)


This documentary follows three indie game developers, each at different stages of the strenuous process. They all happen to be games I have played and admired ("Braid," "Super Meat Boy," and "Fez), so this film was pretty much tailor-made for my approval. The heartbreak and headache of these dedicated computer geniuses is gripping, their creativity is inspiring, and their personal experiences are gorgeously photographed and edited together. Easily one of the best documentaries and films of the year.

★★★★★
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(2012)


One of my most anticipated films of the year was worth the wait! Full of fun references and creative world-building, this takes us into the games we play where we discover characters, even the "bad guys," have lives of their own. It's part "Toy Story," part "Shrek" and deserves to be uttered in the same breath as those modern animated classics. I feel it manages to appeal to adults and children alike. This would've been the best video game movie of the year (for whatever that's worth) if it weren't for me seeing "Indie Game: The Movie."

★★★★
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(2006)


This is the second time I have watched "Time," this time it was a special occasion because writer/director Kim Ki-Duk (my wife's favorite filmmaker, so it was no coincidence that we were there) was in attendance for a Q&A after the screening. It's a frequently head-scratching film about a woman who leaves her boyfriend only to get facial surgery and return to him as if a different woman. Plastic surgery is off the chain in South Korea and the film seems to be a commentary on that cultural issue as well as wondering if love's infatuation comes with an expiration date. Ironically, even though it's only 97 minutes it feels like a long time...

★★★½
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(2008)



Ever go to Chuck E. Cheese's as a kid? Before that fugly rat and his nasty posse started stinkin' up the joint it was called Showbiz Pizza Place and was a showcase for an early animatronic band, the Rock-afire Explosion. In this mildly amusing documentary we learn the history of such matters, the man who created it all, and even an obsessed fan who has acquired to whole band to play contemporary pop in his shed. Interesting docs are a dime a dozen these days (we really are so fortunate as viewers), this is one of them.

★★★
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(2009)


Yet another documentary, this one about pinball machines and their history, but mostly about the obsessive men (why is it always the men with these things?) who make it their live's work to collect dozens upon dozens of pinball tables. I watched this at Matt Singer's recommendation who said it would be a good double-feature with "Indie Game: The Movie" (above). He was right about that one. It's mighty educational, but the people documented herein are truly the special ones.

★★★½
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(2012)


With Sam Mendes in the director's chair and one stunning trailer after another I was expecting a great film, but what I got was a new classic of the series and genre. Bond has been matured to an unparalleled level. The straightforward story is rich with symbolism that settles into a somber realism. Daniel Craig has never been better and Javier Bardem bowls us over again (previously in "No Country For Old Men") with a villain role. Also, this is possibly the most gorgeous film since "The Tree of Life." I have a full review that I will post soon-ish.

★★★★★
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(2008)


Three directors (Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-ho) tag-team this film of three stories that take place in that Japanese metropolis. Each has one foot in reality, the other in a dimension of the bizarre. Like most anthology films not all parts are created equal. Carax's "Merde" astonished and bewildered me from beginning to end making it my favorite of the three. Though I did find Gondry's to be remarkable relatable. All are poignant tales that you'll not soon forget. See this, see this and see this!

★★★★½
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This is only Part 1 of what I watched last month, look for Part 2 soon!

Updated 12/29/12

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