170. Almost Famous: The Bootleg Cut (A+)
171. About Schmidt (A-)
I've now seen all the majors in Alexander Payne's filmography, apart from The Descendants
, which hasn't come to a theatre near me yet. Haven't seen Citizen Ruth
, his first film, though. I remember all the acclaim for Nicholson's performance the year this came out, but I didn't see the movie (I didn't discover our town's arthouse cinema until the following year). And it is indeed an amazing performance, one of Nicholson's best (and chronologically the first performance I've seen of his in a long time that isn't dominated by his normal crowd-pleasing acting tics). Payne's movies acquire an increasingly elegaic and less satiric tone the more they go on; he can combine realistic sadness and humour, without falling into pointless bleakness, and always finds humanity.
172. Drive (B)
Nicolas Winding Refn's minimalist, but exceptionally stylish, thriller finally arrived in Charlottetown. Visually arresting, and featuring performances that are quite good within the constraints of the picture. Most of the attention has focused on Albert Brooks, who is indeed genuinely menacing as the film's main villain. The action sequences are short and amazingly bloody; Winding Refn's really not out to thrill the audience with his protagonist's actions here; you cringe every time. Ryan Gosling made three very different films this year, and displayed considerable range in all of them; here he's The Driver With No Name, and is a very credible action hero. Carey Mulligan is sweet as his love interest of sorts (after appearing in a couple of meh films post-An Education
, she's also been having a very good 2011).