Saturday, January 26, 2013

RECENTLY BEHELD: DECEMBER 2012, PART 2

Oslo, August 31st (Oslo, 31. august)
(2011-12)



Anders, in a flawlessly naturalistic performance by Anders Lie, gets a 24-hour leave from his treatment center. (You can probably guess on what day too.) He's a recovering addict working on getting his life in order. Among catching up with friends and family he has a job interview today. We get brief snippets of the lives of others, but ultimately it is one day in one young man's life and the result is one of the year's most poignant films. This was an unexpected gem from Norway in 2012.

★★★★★
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The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc)

(1928)


Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent tour de force depicts the trail of the French martyr in a way that only cinema can. Charged as a heretic for visions she will not deny, Joan of Arc (Maria Falconetti in the only lead role of her career) looks insufferably to her accusers as we're forced to look into her despairing countenance. When watched with Richard Einhorn's "Voices of Light," the soundtrack on the Criterion Collection, it is an astounding amalgamation of art. This film left me in a solem awe that I hope to never shake off.

★★★★★
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Girl Walk // All Day
(2011-12)



"Girl Walk // All Day" is a dance-centric music video that further serves as a social experiment. You've never seen anything quite like this in its length, commitment and representation.

My review.

★★★★
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(2010-12)


Originality goes a terribly long way in "Sound of Noise." A group of musicians are deemed criminals when they perform their music on unorthodox instrument (from bulldozers to the human body of a poor chap awaiting surgery). It's proof that music can be drawn out from the most unlikely of places and that satisfying storytelling is the same way.

★★★★
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(2008)


Not nearly as "bad" as I had heard before finally sitting down to this one, the second step in my Bond marathon. Sure, it's the weakest of the Daniel Craig films, but it has some of the strongest action scenes of the three. Olga Kurylenko is not your typical Bond girl and I'm positive her and 007 never "get it on," which is remarkable really. Howbeit, the stock dialogue and characters are probably what many wanted to forget about this one.

★★★½
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(2012)


Tom Hooper's adaptation of the stage musical works despite its difficulties in daring filmmaking. Fantastic performances all around, but Anne Hathaway steals the show (and your emotions) for her brief appearances. The tried morals of the original novel are as strong as ever here.


★★★★★
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(2012)


Peter Jackson takes us back to Middle-Earth and the result is a feast for fans of Tolkien's beloved novel (of which I am one of the biggest). Something always felt off, maybe you cannot strike gold in the same spot twice? It's no "Fellowship of the Ring," but Gollum's return is one of my favorite moments of the year and the best part of the film. The main problem is that this already feels like an "extended edition."

★★★★
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(2001)


A dismaying observation of the explosive mixture of Korean villagers and the foreign U.S. soldiers stationed at the neighboring base. The title refers to the returned letters of a Korean woman who had high hopes for son, but cannot reach his long-since-returned-home American father. It's too bad that Kim Ki-Duk (much like Park Chan-wook in "JSA") had to settle using English-speakers who clearly couldn't find work in their own country.

★★★½

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