Thursday, October 11, 2012

Love Will Never Do (Without These):
Fall and Winter 2012

Like everything else on this blog, this annual feature is a bit delayed, but at least I got here. Trust me; by this time next year, it'll be worth it!  In any case, it tickles me that 2.4 of you actually look forward to it, and I like having the list to update and consult later.  Plus, a perfect yearly capper to The Fifties, which are all about looking at the best of what's behind me.  So, here's this year's version of what I'm looking forward to (and not) for the last three months of the year.  And you know some middle-aged diva from when I was young always shows up to croon the categories at you, so...

THROB
Holy Motors - Pola X is one of my tip-top favorite movies; this seems even madder
A– - This shit is bananas, like Matthew Barney's lusty stab at Céline and Julie Go Boating. Melancholy undertow a surprise.
Amour - I'm in for any movie that truly looks at what most movies avoid. Viva Riva!
A - Perfectly shot Book of the Dead, showcasing partners more bonded to each other than to their child. Impeccably acted and cut.
Zero Dark Thirty - Bigelow had me at Strange Days. Scope, context fascinating.
B - Ace last act thrives on Bigelow's strengths. Previously halting, uneven in story, structure, style. Chastain iffy.
Wuthering Heights - I'd follow Arnold anywhere, especially into austere erotic folly
B– - Dour, statically self-regarding naturalism misses Brontë's pagan turmoil and eerie necrophilia until strong end.

ANY TIME, ANY PLACE
Argo - Salivating over this is like hoping to date the Prom King. Obvious, but c'mon!
C+ - Proficient, minus The Town's tautness or Gone Baby's eerie peaks. Strong on period. Dodges complex engagement with its story.
The Loneliest Planet - Day Night Day Night wowed me. Still don't know the twist.
B - Bold, dilated minimalism as two-hour frame for two-second, bond-breaking outrage. Gutsy, well-shot, bit vague.
Sister - I'm a sucker for any euphorically reviewed film by a rising female auteur
B+ - Moving, unsettling parable of economic and emotional abandonment, without didacticism. Style closer to Denis than Dardenne.
The House I Live In - I trust this filmmaking team to elucidate a complex quagmire
B+ - Vivid, broad, pedagogically lucid. More coherent than prior Jarecki docs, despite repetitions and iffy spots.
Silver Linings Playbook - R.I.P. "The"? I'd been told this was bad. But no, I guess?
C+ - Acting from the gut. Writing from Jupiter. Direction highly erratic. Camera no help. Cooper easily MVP.
The Wise Kids - Queer-childhood microcinema that's been building buzz for a year
B - Perks of Being a Southern Believer? Can't claim much filmmaking finesse, but generosity of conception is remarkable
Las Acacias - Sounds pretty minimalist, but the Cannes '11 reporting was inspiring
Anna Karenina - Of all the season's go-for-broke visions, this one seems gutsiest
C - Ionlyhave140charactersforthissprawlingstorysosorryIhavetorushnotemycollap singwallsandunbeatablegownsshameaboutVronsky
The Central Park Five - I know enough to know I care, but details will all be new
B - A potent record of railroading, but again, the Five carry the narrative burden. Contexts, complicities vague.
Promised Land - I always want the last-minute schedule additions to be diamonds

THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE
This Is 40 - Trailer scores a lot of laughs in two minutes. Eager for Mann's big move.
D+ - Finally, a vaguely Albee-inspired marathon of Growing Pains! So cute that Apatow's actual daughters shot and edited it.
The Sessions - Computers didn't crash at Y2K, but Hunt did. Why? Welcome back.
C+ - Sympathetic, appealingly played across the board, but feels oddly truncated in almost every direction. Abrupt finish.
Skyfall - Apt use of Mendes' style-over-substance gifts? I even liked Quantum, so...
C+ - Breathtakingly handsome shots alternate with flat set-ups. First-half scenes all feel slumpy. In-jokey for fans. Missable.
Rust and Bone - To quote Helen Mirren, this movie sounds purple, and I like purple
B– - Audiard's gifts at rhythm and texture, stylistically and psychologically, pay richer dividends than script or theme.
Cloud Atlas - Despite bad Wachowskiing in my past, I'm sympathetic to ambition
C - Wachowskis persist in joining rhetoric of revolution with dictatorial, pacifying image-making. Hit and miss. Ambitious.
Lincoln - Hearing it's wonky has made me more eager, and War Horse surprised.
B+ - Old-Hollywood clarity and roundness, laminated by modern, Eastwoody, chilly introspection. Steady rhythm. Quiet authority.
The Bay - I'd have liked Rain Man or Bugsy more with open sores, rotting scapulas.
C - Compulsive viewing but full of bad writing, cheap tricks. Dumb frame story. Shots needlessly repeat. Et tu, Barry Levinson?
The Guilt Trip - Forget the Tiffany-lamp thing and the white mics. Babs is hilarious.
C - Rogen/Streisand chemistry disarms, though they sometimes switch on cruise control. Needed the guts of Hope Springs.
Les Misérables - I'll give Hooper stink-eye if I ever meet him, but I can be turned
D– - Cheap pomposity. Unspeakable direction. Not one story beat or actor really well-served. Utterly abstracted emoting.
This Must Be the Place - I hear My Sean embarrasses himself but I'll B there 4 him
B– - Euro Americana in Don't Come Knocking vein, but more winningly idiosyncratic. Uneven, but out on fun limb.
Middle of Nowhere - I'm so hooked on DuVernay's story, I'll see it no matter what
B+ - Unfolds with the impeccable ease of a beach read, but writing, acting, versatile lensing give it uncommon depth
Hitchcock - I'm more eager for Toby Jones, but casting is inspired. I loved Anvil!
D - Pop-colored warren of blind alleys and broad in-jokes. Utter hogwash, but tiny embers in Mirren, Johansson, D'Arcy perfs.
A Royal Affair - I wouldn't care if reviews weren't so strong, but since they are...
B - Pacing, camera could be defter, but rivals Lincoln in blending character portraits with complex historical critique.

ALRIGHT
In Another Country - I've never seen a Hong. Curious, though this one sounds iffy.
Sinister - Consensus is forming that this is really scary. Even Emily Rose got me.
F - Thankfully so laughable that the edge is dulled from its luridness. 100% miscalculated hackwork, from leads to locations.
The Impossible - No arc? All white people? Soulless tech exercise? Probably, but...
C+ - Verisimilitude impresses; moving moments. But one family's stamina and luck feel insufficient as window on tsunami.
Arbitrage - Gere playing a smug bastard, Sarandon a tetchy pill sounds very smart
B– - The opposite of innovative, but acted and mounted with conviction. A shrewd portrait of marrow-deep cynicism. Peak Gere.
Smashed - Sounds like late-90s ensemble pic with Faye Dunaway. In a good way?
C - Some keen observations in script and performances, but wobbly on the whole. Tone feels elusive. Overquick leap to last act.
On the Road - I had dreaded this, but so did friends who have filed happy reports
C+ - Prismatically shot and cut, but never feels multifaceted. Charismatically cast, but never fires the imagination. Fine.
Killing Them Softly - The trailer is insufferable, but Telegraph boys sprang for it
B– - Political, stylistic rhetoric dialed way up. Turgid valleys, hypnotic peaks. Prosaic baseline. Solid ensemble.
Seven Psychopaths - Still want to enjoy a McDonagh film like a McDonagh play
Butter - Probably bleak, but if we don't support Jen, we'll never see her Blanche
Django Unchained - Let's skip to the one where an '80s PWA kills Jesse Helms
C+ - Out of two frying pans (brazen voice, gutsy premise), into two fires (puerile bloodlust, QT's ever-duller images).
Flight - Oscar sites, NYFF programmers all excited. Why? Must be some reason.
C+ - Strong Denzel perf and cliché-testing idea about alcohol highs as mixed blessings. Still, full of crutches and cul-de-sacs.
Life of Pi - Ads worse than Killing Me Softly's. Ang and I don't always get along.
B+ - Quite beguiling, especially after a shaky first act. Defter and lovelier than Avatar, with a thornier idea at its core.
A Late Quartet - Sounds like small fry, but I hear Walken's good. Casually curious.
C– - Walken subtle, meticulous, and moving in a film that sadly inclines in all the opposite directions. Keener adrift.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - I'm sure I'll end up here, but do I want to?
C– - 2D, 24fps, 41.9°N, 87.6°W: Splitting this tweet into three separate tweets but still no room to

LET'S WAIT AWHILE
Ginger and Rosa - Potter is quite erratic, but every word about Fanning is a rave.
The Intouchables - I keep postponing this. Literally no one has blamed me for it.
Paranormal Activity 4 - I missed 3, but I liked its predecessors. Time to revisit?
C+ - Series narrative getting sillier but scares still work. Handles logical transition to portable-screen setup.
Alex Cross - I've got time for Tyler Perry, but he's been plucking my nerves lately.
Hyde Park on Hudson - I could wait and watch Olivia Colman's bits on YouTube
F - Raise the Red Lantern remade as FDR dramedy? Camera, script, score, edits all wholly disordered. Humanoid cast.
Jack Reacher - I adored Ghost Protocol but I don't see lightning striking twice
Quartet - As a plot, "Maggie Smith in a beaded dress" often ends with me grumpy

IF
The Details - If Linney's role is as fun as she's been saying. Still: Tobey problem.
C - Best scenes lift suburban weirdness to edge of delirium, and set old hands like Linney, Haysbert to fun new tasks. But.
The Man with the Iron Fists - If RZA's wit comes through. Still: grisly comedy?
Any Day Now - If The Gays get behind it. Still: dully earnest? Not an Alan fan.
Playing for Keeps - If it pulls off a fraction of a Jerry Maguire vibe. Still. Still!
The Other Dream Team - If I can read "spirit-lifter" reviews and not doubt them
Not Fade Away - If anyone thinks of one. thing. to sell me on besides Sopranos
Jack and Diane - If reviews pan out, and Juno agrees to a short break afterward
Wreck-It Ralph - If this gets How to Train Your Dragon notices. Still: cartoon.
C– - Clever conceits and creative potential of first half-hour explode into eyesores, excess, and sticky sentimentality.
West of Memphis - If (I'm sorry) I feel less played out of this media obsession

COME BACK TO ME
(i.e., early-year releases I'm still hunting)
Elena - Played Chicago at worst possible time for me. Back for one night in Oct.
A - Warmth and cold. Suspense and certainty. Western arthouse style merged with Ozu-esque themes and framing elements. Exquisite.
Post Mortem - No raves help, but Guy Lodge has been stumping for two years
B - Steady, muted accretion of Chilean political horror, intriguingly if unevenly joined to Lanthimos-style deadpan macabre
Trishna - I know. I heard you. You think it's pretty bad. But I love Winterbottom.
Polisse - Wesley Morris was gaga for it. Other reviews all over. I'm intrigued.
Goodbye, First Love -Also repeatedly eluded me. That Mia's a good egg.
The Forgiveness of Blood - Joe Reid and Criterion Coll. can't both be wrong
The Kid with a Bike - I'm not positive this is where I wanted Dardennes to go.
B+ - Taut, economical as ever. Strong kid's eye view. Thinner around adults, but Rongione great foil for de France.
The Color Wheel - One of those indie-indies with a vehement following.
B - Not to all tastes, arguably not even to mine, but I laughed a lot and jived to its raffishness. Risky ending works.
Whores' Glory - I mean, with that title... Plus, festival journos went to the mat.
Bernie - Hosannas for Black, rare MacLaine, McConaughey's big year. Oh, my!
C– - Many folks have really connected to this, but I didn't buy a moment of it, no matter how many "real people" it threw at me.
Your Sister's Sister - Shelton still can't stick landings, I hear. But, those actors!
C+ - Three spry, splendid actors animate a compelling-enough premise. Still, third act astoundingly non-existent.
Crazy Horse - Wiseman's this living legend, yet his films just vanish. Where is it?
Breathing - "From the man who starved in The Counterfeiters" actually sells me
Elles - Good actresses, but getting a Whistleblower vibe of intentions > results.
B - Lurid edits and over-agitated handhelds but Binoche's bourgeoise and two well-acted teenage hookers echo in intriguing ways.
Norwegian Wood - More old Venice news that I'm still chasing. Split opinions.
Footnote - Good reasons to heed the skeptics, but Ashkenazi's a selling-point
B– - Cedar's shallow, flamboyant direction tends to dull what's nervy and rich in his script. Strong actors. Strangling score.
Dark Horse - Since I loved Palindromes I can't trust tepid reviews of Solondz
Detropia - Ewing and Grady apparently knock another tough doc out of the park
B - Structure isn't the strong suit of this urban-downsizing documentary, but candor, sobriety, and imagery are all memorable.
Ruby Sparks - Honestly, I'm only in to see Bening having a laugh. Just say daNo.
D+ - Semicomic stab at critiquing male narcissism and creative labor suffers from rudimentary notions of both. Lumpy dough.
People Like Us - Honestly, I'm only in to see Pfeiffer startle Pine with real acting
C - Total dick takes baby-steps toward basic decency. Everyone claps. I'm amazed a joint like this clicks even a little.
Sound of My Voice - Slow-to-debut sci-fi noodle from the Another Earth team
B– - Richer, denser than Another Earth, but equally prone to implying space-time might be, like, WHOA. Uneven script.
Natural Selection - SxSW/Indie Spirit hit seemed to die on vine. Too "quirky"?
2 Days in New York - Loved 2 Days in Paris. Do I need to meet its plainer sib?
We Have a Pope - Sounds negligible, but I'm a Palme Competition completist
Mosquita y Mari - Lesbian features are so rare I try to catch them all. Returning?
Lola Versus - Gerwig made me such a believer recently that I'll join her anywhere
Rock of Ages - Word of mouth very discouraging, but still sort of fascinating
F - Tuneless, garish, not remotely fun. Nonstop travesties of mostly great pop songs the film neither spoofs nor respects.
Brave - I'm exhausted of Pixar. There, I said it. Also don't love Kelly Macdonald.
C - Not a farrago, but a dull cluster of missed chances. Story wonky, character designs off, limp songs. Who wants to be Merida?
Chicken with Plums - Not as sold on Amalric or Satrapi as most. Try two bites?
Savages - Joe Reid had a ball. Tim Robey had a near-death experience. Tiebreak!
C– - Stone's lurid, overripe style tends toward the graceless. Film's ideas and metaphors are blunt...but at least it has some?
The Amazing Spider-Man - Colin Low's vote for the performances might do it.

MISS YOU MUCH
(i.e., postponed to next year)
Gravity - Six Seven years too long to wait for new Cuarón. Love that risk-taker.
Frances Ha - Everyone says this is rich and adorable, so of course we must wait
The Great Gatsby - It'll be pretty, but casting mystifies. Not eager for this at. all.

NASTY
Parental Guidance - Quinnipac exit poll: "Which star emanated more self-love?"
Red Dawn - This year's Fame or The Thing: if I feel tempted, I'll see the original
Chasing Mavericks - Gerard Butler is surfing, I guess, and ... oh, who knows.
Fun Size - Is this aiming for Superbad or Hannah Montana? Either way: Nope.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part II - Whole cast seems miserable.
Rise of the Guardians - I thought this was a sequel to Ga'hoole! A vacuole.

BLACK CAT
Atlas Shrugged, Part II - GOP moneybags won't pay taxes but will fund this?
Here Comes the Boom - Like Warrior but with more kicks to the groin, I'd bet.

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26 Comments:

Blogger Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I'm more put-out that you don't care for Kelly Macdonald than the Pixar comment because I'm exhausted of Pixar too, inasmuch as I was ever particularly salivating about them to begin with. And, still, I REALLY liked Brave, way way more than true Pixar fans and way more than (allegedly) "good" Pixar....so I'm curious to what you'd think.

Also, Emma Thompson.

Also, more curious to know what you think of Wuthering Heights. I didn't know (or forgot) that you're such a fan of Arnold and the film, though finely mounted left me disinterested and thinking I wish she'd let someone else write her scripts. But, maybe, my overzealous love of the novel made me that much more difficult to please?

"Babs is hilarious." Accurate. And why I'm very excited for this.

10:15 AM, October 11, 2012  
Anonymous Liz said...

I'd quote my favorite line, but then I'd have to quote the whole thing, so I'll have to narrow it down to a tie between "Just say daNo" and "Joe Reid had a ball. Tim Robey had a near-death experience." I'm totally with Robey on that one, though. Yuck.

I can't believe so many people are excited about Rise of the Guardians. I've seen the trailer about three times in the theater, and each time has left me slack-jawed and bewildered. Looks hideous, both plot-wise and animation-wise.

10:16 AM, October 11, 2012  
Blogger James T said...

How do you manage to say what you want (which is witty, insightful and makes us understand why you feel the way you feel) and find just the right amount of letters and spaces to fit the length? That's not good writing, that's plain spooky!

Is Great Expectations off the list because of the reason tou haven't seen the old one? (You want to read the book first and now is just not the best time to do that?)

And what about At Any Price? OK, no raves but the director and Guy etc..

12:50 PM, October 11, 2012  
Blogger tim r said...

It's a rare thing for me to have seen three out of four of your 'throb' candidates. And I loved two of them.

You win for the SESSIONS line, clearly, but you are only beating yourself/

2:52 PM, October 11, 2012  
Anonymous 4rtful said...

Do you like my style? My sexy-sexy...oh wait we're were talking about movies right?

Update your best actress project please.

3:19 PM, October 11, 2012  
Anonymous Matthew said...

That "Argo as prom king" analogy is so spot-on. Hoping it'll let me make out with it under the bleachers, when it's drunk or something...

Anyway, I was wondering what particular performances you're looking forward to. I'm really excited about Rust and Bone because I've been waiting for post-Piaf Marion to act in something that doesn't just require her to be a beautiful, indecipherable symbol. Also the Jennifer Lawrence/Silver Linings performance is being hyped so much that I'm dying to see it, even if the trailer hasn't shown anything too revelatory.

3:29 PM, October 11, 2012  
Anonymous Laika said...

I'm surprised you've heard mainly negative things about Penn's performance in 'This Must Be the Place' - it's my favourite performance of the year so far, and by some distance. I was dreading the film, had to more or less be dragged along, and within five minutes of Penn appearing I was wondering how the hell he was going to keep it up - the falsetto, the giggles, the affectlessness - it seemed a narrow, showy and cosmetic set of tics to build sustainable performance on. But it somehow never gets old, and even deepens as it goes without Penn ever exactly 'layering' or pushing for complexity. And it's hilarious.

A love-it-or-hate-it performance, I'm sure, though I'm hoping as a Penn partisan you might fall into the former category.

4:22 PM, October 11, 2012  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Andrew: That's a good endorsement of Brave in that it speaks to my reservations. I won't be surprised if I like Wuthering Heights less than Fish Tank, which is sort of a personal obsession; for the cinematography alone, I'm tantalized.

@Liz: Thanks so much! I had no idea people were excited about Rise of the Guardians. I'd never even heard of it till I was combing the release schedule for this feature. I really did think it was part of that warrior-owl franchise.

@James: It's all done with mirrors! I'm still uncertain about GE's Stateside release plans, but I know the Bahrani won't open till 2013. I decided to keep the "Miss You Much" section confined to the two I really can't wait for and the one everyone else seems ecstatic about.

@Tim: And even WH scratched out a thumbs-up, right? On balance? I know you weren't crazy about it. I promise I am not beating myself.

@4rtful: I would, but time has been at an extreme premium of late... and also, if I update it too much, the potential book contract gets iffier. Can't be giving it all away for free. But there will be more there, in time.

6:07 PM, October 11, 2012  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Matthew: That is a great question. I'm intrigued about Cotillard in Rust and Bone, but not as much as I am for her James Gray film. I feel like Jennifer Lawrence all of a sudden became the Best Actress front-runner, and I really don't understand how... so I'm intrigued to get to the bottom of that but not salivating to see the performance, exactly, especially since I thought she was so cagey and uninspiring in The Hunger Games. Off the top of my head, I'd say Riva and Trintignant in Amour, Penn in This Must Be..., Mann and Rudd in This Is 40, Domhnall Gleeson in Anna Karenina (plus almost everyone in that), and Markina in Elena. There are of course plenty of character performances coming that I'm intrigued about, but a lot of what I'm curious about for these next three months has to do with directorial visions more than performances.

@Laika: Wow! This is the first rave I've heard for Penn, including all the Cannes coverage I read last year. Everyone seemed so eager to sweep him and the film under a rug. This makes me much more excited, especially coming from you. TMBTP lands in Chicago in November, so we'll find out then.

6:13 PM, October 11, 2012  
Anonymous evanderholy said...

I look forward to this every year not only because of how much I enjoy your witty comments for each coming film, but also because it ends up being the first time I hear about a number of these movies. By providing an imdb link for each one you do most of the work for me in researching the coming releases which is greatly appreciated.

And as always, your "Fifties" write-ups have made me realize how many great films I've already missed this year. So great to have you back Nick!

7:25 PM, October 11, 2012  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Evan: You are one of the nicest commenters anyone ever had. Thanks so much for this.

In fact, can I just say to everyone, after so many forced months away, it's so great to see all the regulars returning? I feel like I'm back in my friendly neighborhood bar after a long absence, and everyone still knows my name, and we're always glad we all came (doo-doo-doo....) This round's on me!

7:42 PM, October 11, 2012  
Blogger Colin Low said...

This was so great, I just had to do my own far humbler list in response. Love your pithiness, as always.

Anyway, you know I was down on Pixar as early as Wall-E and Up, but at least those movies aspired to flashes of ambition (even if lazily or cheaply so). By contrast, Brave is very non-committal and meek in its plot turns, and makes things far too easy for its young protagonist. So I'd say your exhaustion is justified.

12:44 AM, October 12, 2012  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Colin: I'm clicking on the link, but I'm not getting anything...

These are the worries I had about Brave to begin with. So now I'm back at Square One.

12:48 AM, October 12, 2012  
Blogger Colin Low said...

@Nick: It should be up now! (It was timed to go up a few minutes after I first commented.)

12:51 AM, October 12, 2012  
Blogger Glenn said...

Okay, here we go...

Holy Motors: Will go down as one of *the* essential films of the year, whether you love it or hate it. I loved it.

Amour: Didn't love it, but my reserved reaction makes it seem like I do. The actors convinced me; Haneke did not.

Wuthering Heights: Blustery, but so worth it. Immaculate visuals and soundscapes. Perhaps my favourite working director?

Anna Karenina: I haven't seen it, but my flatmate got an early look and... well, she's not the type of person to usually like these type of movies, but she loved it. Take that as you will, I can vouch for her.

The Sessions: Polite, yes, but handles issues of sexuality, disabilities, and religion without descending into a parade of freaky, Oscar-baiting awards clips. Hunt is best in show.

A Royal Affair: Everyone loved it except me. Didn't hate it, just had no reaction to it.

Arbitrage: I suspect you won't like it. Gere and Marling are nice.

Killing Them Softly: My top film of the year (so far - and you can tell what I haven't seen by what films I'm skipping over). Absolutely crushed it.

Elena: Adored this one. SEE IT!

Post Mortem: I walked out. NO is fabulous though.

Forgiveness of Blood: Wading through this film is like wading through quick sand or tar. I mean, the title alone should tell you whether it's worth it or not for you.

Whore's Glory: Suffered from its triptych set up. As usual, I preferred one story to another, wish there was more of it.

Bernie: Father fab.

Your Sister's Sister: Emily Blunt!

Norwergian Wood: The best 20 minutes were the ones where I fell asleep.

Ruby Sparks: Better than you may expect.

Natural Selection: Really quite funny and the lead performance is quite stunning.

Mosquita y Mari: SEE IT! A new favourite amongst the gay cinema cinema of dwindling returns.

Rock of Ages: See it for your costume and art direction categories, I guess.

Brave: I enjoyed it. Others didn't. I suspect you know your reaction to it already.

Savages: Will there be a DVD feature of just Salma Heyak's scenes edited together?

Amazing Spider-Man: The performances are tops.

3:06 AM, October 12, 2012  
Anonymous JStor said...

I’m so happy this is back. It’s your most-viewed feature for a very good reason: it’s just that good! Anyhoo, here’s a run-down of the films that I’ve seen from that list in order to whet (or ‘dhry’?) your appetite:

Holy Motors: Favourite film so far this year, and I can’t think of anything on the horizon that will top it, if I’m being honest. I admired Pola X without liking a lot of it, but this was just batshit-level bonkers-ness at its most brilliant. It’s mesmerising, fluid, weird, heartbreaking, off-putting, tender and even funny in some bits. Can’t wait for your reaction
Amour: Saw this yesterday; really enjoyed it, but it’s the first Haneke film where I wanted him to be more brutal, rather than less. Still, while Emannuelle Riva is great, the star has to be JLT. He blew me away. Him, Denis Lavant and Logan Lerman from Wallflower are fighting it out for performance of the year so far.
Wuthering Heights: I’m with Robey on this one, unfortunately. The cinematography’s amazing, and so are some of the performances, and it’s certainly hella visceral… I just don’t know how it all comes together in the finished product. But this one has caused lots of diverse opinions!
The Loneliest Planet: Best sound in a film I’ve heard this year or last (when I saw it). And Hani Furstenberg is amazing. And if you haven’t found out the twist yet, make sure you keep it that way.
Anna Karenina: Its wild theatricality is a blessing and a curse. Having said that, the best moments in the film are pretty much because of the stagey gimmick. Performances are uniformly good, but some – Law, Macfadyen, Vander – amaze.

And then alllllll the way down to:

Bernie: I hated Black, hated MacLaine, and parts of the ‘humour’ left me cold, but McConaughey gives his best performance since… maybe Dazed and Confused? It’s honestly worth seeing the film for that.
Brave: Here’s the thing. It’s one of the least Pixar-y films that the studio has put out. When I was watching it, half of it felt like the best of Studio Ghibli and the other half felt like the worst of Dreamworks Animation. I’d recommend you in particular seeing it because of the really potent mother-daughter relationship that grounds the film. And the best parts are nothing like the trailer. Still, it is wildly inconsistent, which I attribute to Chapman being dismissed half-way through.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Garfield + Stone >>>>>>> Maguire + Dunst. That’s about it, though. Same story beats and everything.

12:14 PM, October 12, 2012  
Blogger Colin Low said...

@JStor:

Brave: Agreed on the Dreamworks comparison; the Ghibli vibes were only present in one scene. Honestly, I thought they chickened out on the mother-daughter relationship, too. The lesson of the film turns out to be that... casting a spell on someone you hate when you're in a rebelliously angry mood will work out in your favor? Jesus.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Superficially the "same" story beats, but the ways that Peter Parker bounds so inconsistently from one concern to another doesn't feel at all inherited from the first Raimi movie. I haven't heard enough about how much more questionable a hero Garfield's Peter is made out to be.

12:26 PM, October 12, 2012  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

Do not. I repeat DO NOT subject yourself to The Amazing Spider-Man. I weep that Andrew and Emma are both wasting their precious movie-star 20s on this useless franchise!

6:11 PM, October 12, 2012  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

P.S. this is one of my very favorite features.

6:21 PM, October 12, 2012  
Anonymous Ian C. said...

Forgot that both Olivia Colman AND Olivia Williams are in Hyde Park. Enough for me *shrug*

5:21 PM, October 14, 2012  
Blogger Jorge Rodrigues said...


I feel like I keep banging this drum way too hard on you American bloggers but Guy Lodge's empathic support keeps me repeating:

I hope you all can catch Miguel Gomes' Berlinale entry TABU. It's marvelous.

And for people astonished with the Portuguese commitee decision of not submitting TABU to the Foreign Film category: BLOOD OF MY BLOOD is just as good, albeit a very different film from Tabu.

Catch'em both if you can.

6:57 PM, October 15, 2012  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Glenn and @JStor: Thank you both so much for these responses in kind! So much food for thought, and exciting reactions to have in the back of my mind, either before I catch up with these movies myself or after I see them, when I'm eager to check back on what everyone else thought. Really appreciate the detailed comments!

@Nathaniel: This was what my gut was telling me, but all the surprising back-and-forth over this movie in the Comments is actually making it seem more interesting. What do do?

@Ian C: I'm so nervous about how the script will handle Eleanor (based in part on reactions from people who've seen the movie) that I'm having a harder-than-usual time of classifying Olivia Williams as a virtue in this case. Just not looking forward to this movie at all.

@Jorge: I need no convincing, I promise! Tabu has been a fixture at the top of my Most Anticipated List for 2012 calendar releases since Berlin. I just don't think it's opening in the U.S. before January, which is why it's not part of this feature. And I always laugh when U.S. internet types are like, "What do you mean two great movies were made in the same country in an entire year??" I'll be eager to see both films, if Blood of My Blood ever surfaces.

7:06 PM, October 15, 2012  
Anonymous Paolo said...

I'm listening to Kendrick Lamar's Poetic Justice so "Any Time, Any Place" threw me off a bit.

Argo's not that bad. I love Ben Affleck's sense of gray morality and it shows more here than it did in The effing Town.

Speaking of which, and as much as I liked The Hurt Locker, I wish K Bigs irons out her race issues in Zero Dark Thirty.

1:13 PM, October 26, 2012  
Anonymous goran said...

Ah, so you hadn't seen Your Sister's Sister! I was wondering why Rosemary DeWitt was missing from your Actress roster.

Of course all three of the leads were fabulous, and it's not like DeWitt hasn't been amazing before - and frequently, at that. And I can't precisely explain why I was so particularly and completely blown away by her work here. But something about the way her every movement, throwaway gesture, her carriage, and really every inch of her body was so authentic and authentically invested in this character most actresses would be content to tackle at merely face- and dialogue-level... Really I can't explain it - I was just so so impressed, I want her to be in every movie made in the next year just so I can watch her and learn about people.

3:06 AM, November 08, 2012  
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10:58 AM, March 25, 2013  
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10:23 AM, July 26, 2013  

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