Monday, January 20, 2014

RECENTLY BEHELD: JANUARY 10-12, 2014

(2013)




Joshua Oppenhiemer’s documentary about the death squad leaders of yesterday is just as much a look at the troubling state of Indonesia today. What’s worse than genocide? How then could someone make a sensitizing yet impossibly entertaining film about it? It demands to be seen in order to be believed and I do mean it when I say I’ve never seen a more important film.


Curator’s Note: Currently streaming on Netflix


★★★★★


* * *


(2013)



Perhaps it’s a grave shame that my first partaking at the table of David Gordon Green is this, his latest. (Better than his previous two outings though I suppose.) You ever wondered who paints those yellow lines all along the highways, especially through those stretches of untamed parklands? This is the story of a man and a young man working a summer job doing just that. It’s the best of Paul Rudd I’ve ever seen; he and Emile Hirsch (it’s mostly their two-man show) are funny and heartfelt together in unexpected places. This is a time-out for the characters’ lives and servers as one for us from typical American films. You’ll come out of Prince Avalanche feeling you’ve gulped the fresh mountain air.


Curator’s Note: Currently streaming on Netflix


★★★★


* * *


(2013)



If the lens of Terrence Malick were more interested in exploring sex saunas and depicting demonic goat-men you might better conjure up Post Tenebras Lux. Striking exterior beauty, in 4:3 aspect ratio no less, deceivingly lulls the viewer into the journey of a Spanish couple’s descent into ugly mortality. Some will find it unbearable disturbing while others may simply feel it’s unceasingly dull. Either way, it’s challenging. Those in it for the long haul to see someone rip their own head off may do it to themselves first. Enough warnings. It has sunk its fangs in my thigh and proven a worthy bite, the dreary tale and its unforeseen sights too. In 2011 Malick won the top honors at Festival de Cannes for The Tree of Life, the following year writer/director of this film, Carlos Reygadas, won best achievement in directing for what is essential his tree of death.


Curator’s Note: Currently streaming on Netflix


★★★★½


* * *


(1988)



Imagine if David Lynch's Dune were legitimately entertaining and one will get close to fathoming the maddening spirit and achievement behind Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. This is an astounding feat for production design that feels entirely impossible to return to today. John Neville as the Baron himself is a star worth all the limelight. This commercial flop yet critically tolerated circus is replete with lunacy and an air of never ending story. Sometimes it truly felt like it would never end and sometimes I wanted nothing more.


★★★★


Seen any of these films? What did you see last week? Please feel free to share your thoughts or your own recently beheld in the comments below!




Also, see what else I've seen this year in my Letterboxd diary.

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