I’ve found it difficult to muster up the enthusiasm to cover my September in film, what with attending this year’s TIFF already prompting me to write about my cinematic endeavors well before this particular post came to fruition. By some miracle, I’ve still managed to whip up brief blurbs about each of the month’s choices in addition to the standard list of other first-time viewings that didn’t quite make the cut. Enjoy, and as always, feel free to comment on whatever you’d like!
A conceptually tasteful if purposefully lurid character study, Ulrich Seidl’s first installment in his Paradise trilogy examines a frumpy single mother’s romantic longing in an unparalleled fashion. Focusing on said individual’s desire to sate this appetite during a less-than-luxurious Kenyan vacation retreat, it appears that Teresa (Margarete Tiesel) is, in fact, searching for love in all the wrong places. Mutual exploitation resulting from a clash between her ideals and the aggravatingly persistent, largely entrepreneurial mindset of the locals is Paradise: Love‘s strongest suit, allowing viewers to cast aside the uncomfortability brought about by its gratuitousness with relative ease. Full review here.
Wholly different from what Anderson’s produced in the past, The Master is what you’d consider an enigma in the realm of contemporary cinema. Focusing primarily on the dynamic that exists between a charismatic cult leader and his newfound degenerate protege, Anderson’s latest is something that beckons a particular mindset prior to a first-time viewing, mostly on account of its muddled intentions. Regardless of what you make of it, The Master is truly unlike anything that’s existed before it and deserves recognition as such, flaunting a characteristically mindblowing visual flair, highly involving subject matter and compelling, wonderfully fleshed out characters that are worth the price of admission alone thanks to a pair of mesmerizing performances. Full review here.
A gleefully self-aware throwback to the French New Wave, Frances Ha is at once comfortably familiar, endearing and very funny. Minimalistic as it is, Baumbach’s illustrated a character worth caring about, and coupled with great chemistry between leads, it all adds up to one thoroughly enjoyable experience. Full review here.
Easy to praise on account of how little innovation we’ve seen within the science-fiction genre as of late, Rian Johnson’s Looper still manages to impress at regular intervals despite an abundant adherence to human emotion over anything else. It does a fine enough job in bringing to life a tangible futuristic dystopia chock full of plausible plot devices, of which worked beautifully for me; just be wary of a lackluster second half setting change that either will or won’t stack up to the former. Full review here.
A morally reprehensible artistic triumph, Spring Breakers far from belies its title thanks to an abundance of booze, breasts and overblown criminal debauchery. Characteristic of Korine through and through, the film’s darkly comedic tendencies mesh seamlessly with its general outlandishness, and no matter how high or low you search, there’s nothing that can fully prepare you for how wild, crazy and visually stunning it all is. Selena Gomez fangirls beware! Full review here.
Other first-time viewings (in alphabetical order):
Byzantium (Jordan, ’12)
Celeste and Jesse Forever (Krieger, ’12)
Everybody Has a Plan (Piterbarg, ’12)
Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, ’12)
The Place Beyond the Pines (Cianfrance, ’12)
The Possession (Bornedal, ’12)
Resident Evil: Retribution (Anderson, ’12)
Rust & Bone (Audiard, ’12)
Sleepwalk with Me (Birbiglia, ’12)
Something in the Air (Assayas, ’12)
Thanks for Sharing (Blumberg, ’12)
To the Wonder (Malick, ’12)
V/H/S (Various, ’12)
Total number of films watched (including re-watches): 19