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Old March 5 2011, 10:22 PM   #214
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

33. My Sister, My Love (D)
34. The Arrival (B)
35. Shutter Island (B-)
36. Knocked Up (B)
37. Madonna: Truth or Dare (B+)

My Sister, My Love: This is a rarely screen Swedish film made in 1966 by Vilgot Sjöman, who I can't claim familiarity with, but apparently went on to some controversy with his I Am Curious films two years later. Unfortunately, it was a dubbed 16mm print, which reduced my enjoyment a great deal. Dealing with an incestuous affair between brother and sister in the late 1700s, the film features a number of Bergman regulars, but none of the vitality of a Bergman film.

The Arrival: Re-watching this Charlie Sheen conspiracy film (now on Blu-Ray, where the transfer is much better than the awful DVD), a little bit in honor of his recent breakdown, I see more of the cracks than I did when I saw it last year. It's obviously the work of a first time film director, but I still like it. I'm especially pleased by the film's attempt at scientific accuracy when it comes to radio astronomy.

Shutter Island: Scorsese's asylum film is technically polished (with the exception of some awful digital background effects), but I'm still not crazy about it. The first twist in the ending isn't so much of a surprise as the inevitable turn you can't help but expect after so many clues to it appear (and, watching it for a second time, I notice even more than I did before). The performances are good, but most of the cast is underused (Ted Levine, Patricia Clarkson, Elias Koteas, and Jackie Earle Haley each get one seen to shine and then more or less vanish). And I still absolutely hate that tracking shot in the holocaust flashback where the Nazis fall over in line with the movement of the camera and not the bullets being unleashed towards them.

Knocked Up: It's hard to believe that this Judd Apatow film only came out in 2007; in less than four years, he and his Freaks and Geeks alumni have more or less consumed all comedies of any worth being produced by mainstream Hollywood. Surprisingly, it's the first time I'm seeing the film. It's funny, but I'm not blown away by it. Perhaps that's due to so many films being made by this group after (and, made with less restriction than the more conservative Knocked Up).

Madonna: Truth or Dare: I've never cared for Madonna as a recording artist, so I was very surprised by how fascinating this film turned out to be (alas, it's unavailable on DVD due to some legal battle). Far from being a hatchet job, nor a promotional piece, the finished film comes off with surprising balance (unless you're Warren Beatty, who manages the film's best comment about Madonna--that she doesn't find anything worth doing unless it's on-camera--but still comes off as rather aloof and self-centered). It's only flaw is that it's about 20 to 30 minutes too long. The first hour is incredibly engaging, but the second hour (the film is 2 hours long) didn't grab my attention as strongly.

It's finals week, so outside of re-watching Videodrome for a class project, I doubt I'll have time for much else. I suppose I won't make my 365 movie goal this year, either. Alas...
"This begs explanation." - de Forest Research on Star Trek

My blog: Star Trek Fact Check.
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