Viewing Journal 2011
* after title indicates film was seen on dvd/video
^ after title indicates film was unfinished.
Title in italic indicates that I had previously seen the film
Title in Blue is TV.
001. (Jan 01) MAN OF THE WEST (1958, Anthony Mann)* 81
Second viewing, first in widescreen.
002. (Jan 06) EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (2010, Banksy)* 72
Second viewing, up from 66.
003. (Jan 08) I'M STILL HERE (2010, Casey Affleck)* 50
004. (Jan 10) THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010, David Fincher)* 81
005. (Jan 16) THE GREEN HORNET (2011, Michel Gondry) 46
006. (Jan 16) THE TOWN (2010, Ben Affleck)* 59
007. (Jan 17) THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010, David Fincher)* 81
008. (Jan 24) THE DRIVER (1978, Walter Hill) 80
Third viewing, first theatrical. Up from 77.
009. (Jan 24) DUEL (1971, Steven Spielberg) 65
Second viewing, first theatrical. Down from B+
010. (Jan 26) SHUTTER ISLAND (2010, Martin Scorsese)* 80
011. (Jan 28) ANIMAL KINGDOM (2010, David Michôd)* 62
012. (Jan 30) BURIED (2010, Rodrigo Cortés)* 39
013. (Jan 30) CARLOS (2010, Olivier Assayas)* 66
014. (Feb 07) HELVETICA (2007, Gary Hustwit)* 60
001. (Feb 09) JUSTIFIED 2.1: THE MOONSHINE WAR (2011, Adam Arkin)* 64
014. (Fed 13) PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2010, Tod Williams)* 51
002. (Feb 17) JUSTIFIED 2.2: THE LIFE INSIDE (2011, Jon Avnet)* 57
015. (Feb 17) COLD WEATHER (2010, Aaron Katz) 73
003. (Feb 23) JUSTIFIED 2.3: THE I OF THE STORM (2011, )* 62
016. (Feb 24) THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE (1973, Jean Eustache) 90
017. (Feb 25) UNKNOWN (2011, Jaume Collet-Serra) 62
004. (Mar 02) JUSTIFIED 2.4: FOR BLOOD OR MONEY (2011, John Dahl)* 51
018. (Mar 06) OF GODS AND MEN (2010, Xavier Beauvois) 42
005. (Mar 09) JUSTIFIED 2.5: COTTONMOUTH (2011, Michael W. Watkins)* 60
019. (Mar 11) STONE (2010, John Curran)* 63
Very strange rhythms and odd character shading make this a quietly compelling variation on neo-noir themes.
020. (Mar 11) THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED (2009, J Blakeson)* 57
Like the attention to procedural detail but characters & believability are sketchy.
021. (Mar 14) HALL PASS (2011, Bobby and Peter Farrelly) 43
Too soft & loving of the characters; needs a sharp social critic like Mike Judge to bring edge.
022. (Mar 15) WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (2010, Oliver Stone)* 58
An enjoyable mess with a lot of topical finger-wagging & wacky stylistic flourishes.
006. (Mar 16) JUSTIFIED 2.6: BLAZE OF GLORY (2011, Jon Avnet)* 65
023. (Mar 17) LOOSE CHANGE 9/11: AN AMERICAN COUP (2009, Dylan Avery)* 8
A quilt of conjecture & outright lies; the final appeal to logic is laughable.
024. (Mar 18) NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986, Fred Dekker)* 49
Needs a snappier pace, so it doesn't linger over the goofy jokes. Tom Atkins is does great work
025. (Mar 20) THE LINCOLN LAWYER (2011, Brad Furman) 56
Furman takes a few stylistic missteps to sexy up this otherwise entertaining 90s throwback.
007. (Mar 23) JUSTIFIED 2.7: SAVE MY LOVE (2011, Jon Avnet)* 71
008. (Mar 30) JUSTIFIED 2.8: THE SPOIL (2011, Michael W. Watkins)* 68
026. (Mar 31) THE TOURIST (2010, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)* 38
Very slack for storytelling with each plot point labored over and then repeated.
027. (Mar 31) UNSTOPPABLE (2010, Tony Scott)* 64
Too much plot explained by news coverage but Scott keeps narrative lean and the pacing tight.
028. (Apr 01) PAUL (2011, Greg Mottola) 28
Not sure how something this obviously unfunny and banal escaped from this director & these writers. Shocking.
029. (Apr 01) LIMITLESS (2011, Neil Burger) 61
Structure is flawed but Burger brings a lot of stylish ingenuity to enhance an intriguing premise.
030. (Apr 04) KILL BILL: THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR (2004, Quentin Tarantino) 87
030a. (Apr 04) KILL BILL: VOL. 1 (2003, Quentin Tarantino) 91
030b. (Apr 04) KILL BILL: VOL. 2 (2004, Quentin Tarantino) 83
Down on both from previous viewings. V1 still a collection of great individual scenes & set pieces, V2 less so. BASTERDS has a similar structure but improves upon it.
031. (Apr 06) INSIDIOUS (2011, James Wan) 57
Actually pretty effective considering how silly it is most of the time.
032. (Apr 06) SOURCE CODE (2011, Duncan Jones) 60
Actually pretty effective considering how silly it is most of the time.
033. (Apr 15) SCREAM 4 (2011, Wes Craven) 49
No memorable set pieces or characters to bring to the party & all the meta winking grows old fast.
034. (Apr 26) MEEK'S CUTOFF (2010, Kelly Reichardt) 62
Dramatically inert & curiously lacking in suspense but striking in tone, editing & compositions.
035. (Apr 26) HAYWIRE (2011, Steven Soderbergh)^ 65
Carano brings impressive physicality to fluid action, while Soderbergh channels Assayas' thrillers.
036. (May 03) 50/50 (2011, Jonathan Levine) 50
Kendrick does another terrific comedic supporting turn. Levine & script never fail to take easy way out.
037. (May 21) BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999, Spike Jonze)* 85
Full of invention and a little too full of plot; most of the highlights are in first half.
038. (May 22) THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (1991, Wes Craven)* 58
Not much of a horror film but plenty entertaining as Reagan satire & adventure yarn.
039. (May 27) THE TREE OF LIFE (2011, Terrence Malick) 83
Several long movements of sublime, spectacular beauty that are intensely moving. Less successful when it hits themes bluntly instead of poetically. I'm curiously unmoved by the ending passage.
040. (May 31) MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011, Woody Allen) 56
THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO on autopilot without any substantial emotional involvement. Pretty lazy.
041. (Jun 13) HANNA (2011, Joe Wright) 32
Plenty of eccentric notes to mask shallow characters & lack of basic humanity. An empty exercise in style.
042. (Jun 15) THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE (1974, Joseph Sargent)* 71
Second viewing, first was more than ten years ago. Good balance of gritty to humor with Sargent bringing efficient TV workmanship
043. (Jun 16) JUST CAUSE (1991, Arne Glimcher)* 35
So completely idiotic that it often works as trashy camp especially with some of the odd performances.
044. (Jun 17) DRIVE (2011, Nicolas Winding Refn) 85
A near-perfect hybrid of THIEF & THE DRIVER with great control of tone, color palette & sound design.
045. (Jun 17) HAUNTERS (2010, Kim Min-suk) 34
Very lazy, often confusing storytelling with most of the best ideas borrowed from Shyamalan's UNBREAKABLE.
046. (Jun 20) ROAD TO NOWHERE (2010, Monte Hellman) 39
Answers the question: Is it possible to be playful and completely joyless? Yes, apparently.
047. (Jun 23) VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (2010, Brad Anderson) 42
Promising premise with one of the least promising casts ever assembled.
048. (Jun 25) THE SEDUCTION OF INGMAR BERGMAN (2011, Guy Maddin) No Grade
Very amusing performance of a rough draft of a musical film maybe in the works. Not really a film but I figured I'd still include it here.
049. (Jun 28) RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND (1965, Monte Hellman)* 81
Noir wrong man narrative on a western full of realistic details and small grace notes.
050. (Jul 05) THE SHOOTING (1967, Monte Hellman)* 83
051. (Jul 24) MELANCHOLIA (2011, Lars von Trier) 76
High melodrama that's sometimes tangible but mostly pushed to the far edges of allegory. Ultimately, I prefer the more intensely graphic representation of state LVT used in ANTICHRIST to the debilitating cowering in MELANCHOLIA.
052. (Jul 28) BEGINNERS (2010, Mike Mills) 74
Centered around the least interesting character but still packs a huge emotional punch.
053. (Aug 03) TABLOID (2010, Errol Morris) 69
A return to form & (not coincidentally) a return to the obsessive character type that Morris obsesses over.
054. (Aug 06) THE FUTURE (2010, Miranda July) 58
Unexpectedly turns dazzling for a stretch near the end which tempted me to re-evaluate opening hour.
055. (Aug 11) RANGO (2011, Gore Verbinski)* 60
Admirably loopy tone & humor. Verbinski translates kinetic filmmaking to animation better than Pixar folks.
056. (Aug 12) THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (2011, George Nolfi)* 47
Paranoid thriller is just the wrong register for this movie. Damon & Blunt keep it watchable.
057. (Aug 13) ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011, Joe Cornish) 40
All the set-ups are labored over to the point that I expected the pay-off to be tweaked. Nope.
058. (Aug 14) COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011, Jon Favreau) 33
Not convincing as a western, even worse as a sci-fi actioner. Leaden, overlong & sometimes inept.
059. (Aug 14) RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011, Rupert Wyatt) 63
Modest b-movie foundation elevated but superb, but not especially showy, craft.
060. (Aug 14) HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011, Jason Eisener)* 21
Exploitation pastiche as made by someone who doesn't enjoy or understand exploitation films.
061. (Aug 17) BELLFLOWER (2011, Evan Glodell) 66
An inventive, evocative debut that flies off the rails in boldly, spectacular fashion.
062. (Aug 19) MARS ATTACKS! (1996, Tim Burton)* 57
Irreverent fun until it runs out of surprises. Should have had two less performances by Jack Nicholson.
063. (Aug 20) THE RITE (2011, Mikael Håfström)* 35
Nevermind THE EXORCIST, this film falls way short of even THE LAST EXORCISM. Dull & pointless.
064. (Aug 21) SUPER 8 (2011, J.J. Abrams) 59
Much of the plotting is completely idiotic but I liked the vibe and really liked Fanning's performance.
065. (Aug 22) VIGILANTE (1983, William Lustig)* 48
Choppy editing makes the simple story labored & emotionally unconvincing. Forster keeps it watchable.
066. (Aug 29) THE WARD (2010, John Carpenter)* 37
I've never seen a Carpenter film that felt so carelessly crafted & anonymous. Editing rhythms esp wack.
067. (Aug 29) LIMITLESS (2011, Neil Burger)* 64
Liked it even more this time. Burger emerges here as a gifted stylist & smartly measures a busy script.
068. (Aug 31) THE NAKED SPUR (1953, Anothony Mann)* 81
A chess match western with nicely complicated noir shading to the characters.
069. (Sep 08) DEVIL TIMES FIVE (1974, Sean MacGregor)* 41
Some weird flashes of creepiness among the muddled, TV movie incompetence.
070. (Sep 11) CONTAGION (2011, Steven Soderbergh) 53
071. (Sep 12) HELL IS FOR HEROES (1962, Don Siegel)* 70
072. (Sep 12) FIXED BAYONETS! (1951, Samuel Fuller)* 68
073. (Sep 18) DRIVE (2011, Nicholas Winding Refn) 85
074. (Sep 24) MONEYBALL (2011, Bennett Miller) 69
075. (Sep 24) INCEPTION (2010, Christopher Nolan) 71
076. (Oct 04) THE PUBLIC EYE (1992, Howard Franklin) 64
077. (Oct 03) DRIVE (2011, Nicholas Winding Refn) 85
078. (Oct 05) TAKE SHELTER (2011, Jeff Nichols) 68
Like SHOTGUN STORIES this has a great premise & performances but not great follow-through.
079. (Oct 05) MARGARET (2011, Kenneth Lonergan) 81
Emotionally exhausting and obsessively detailed. Sprawling like MAGNOLIA but not connected or fluid.
080. (Oct 09) MARGARET (2011, Kenneth Lonergan) 81
081. (Oct 15) VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960, Wolf Rilla) 69
The opening sleeping village sequence is so stunning that I wish the film developed it further. Rilla finds a very good balance between minimal stylistic & docu naturalism to make sci-fi elements pop; seems like a talented workman. VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED seems like such an ideal film to be remade, I wonder how Carpenter (reportedly) managed to screw it up...
082. (Oct 15) CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED (1964, Anton Leader) 47
Develops some of the interesting ideas from the original in a mostly uninteresting manner.
083. (Oct 16) DRIVE (2011, Nicholas Winding Refn) 85
Fourth viewing pretty much unnecessary (as was third), mostly watching lighting and angle choices. The elevator scene is particularly well lit, with Gosling pushing Mulligan into the light, darkening Gosling and the heavy in process. Push in on door of Italian restaurant with masked Gosling looking in is also very cool, cuts right when you finally get to see his eyes.
084. (Oct 21) YOUR HIGHNESS (2011, David Gordon Green)* 54
This feels like it was made during off hours to amuse close friends of the cast and crew.
085. (Oct 22) UNKNOWN PASSAGE (2006, Kate Fix & Jason Summers)* 57
Very poorly organized doc that's probably too close to subject. However, I'm a big enough Dead Moon fan and Fred Cole is an interesting enough subject to make this seem vital even with these limitations.
086. (Oct 22) RED STATE (2011, Kevin Smith)* 30
Bizarrely inept storytelling that plays like a string of half-formed concepts and preachy dead-ends.
087. (Oct 22) WINNEBAGO MAN (2009, Ben Steinbauer)* 61
The film evolves along with the filmmakers relationship to the subject, which seems honest & fresh.
088. (Oct 26) TROLLHUNTER (2010, André Øvredal)* 51
The found footage angle feels old hat here despite the novelty of the trolls & the shifting cameraman.
089. (Oct 27) BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST (2011, Michael Rapaport)* 63
Credit to Rapaport for getting remarkable access & not turning in a sycophantic shine job.
090. (Nov 01) MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (2011, Sean Durkin) 67
Screenplay is so precisely constructed that they should have pushed editorial abstraction.
091. (Nov 04) EXTRATERRESTRIAL (2011, Nacho Vigalondo) 53
The sci-fi element covering up the sex comedy plot is pretty clever but payoff is disappointing
092. (Nov 04) THIS IS NOT A FILM (2011, Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb) 71
Good documentary that ends on a devastating, perfect note.
093. (Nov 04) FAUST (2011, Alexander Sokurov) 45
Sokurov unexpectedly channeling Ken Russell's love of the grotesque with really ugly lenses distortions.
094. (Nov 05) THE DISH & THE SPOON (2011, Alison Bagnall) 59
Very effective Gerwig performance but film's tone too often veers towards whimsical twee.
095. (Nov 05) MICHAEL (2011, Markus Schleinzer) 40
Flat, empty arthouse posturing that neither builds character insight or escalates structure.
096. (Nov 05) RAMPART (2011, Oren Moverman) 57
Some really good stuff here (Harrelson) but Moverman needs to calm the fuck down & stay out of the way.
097. (Nov 06) A SEPARATION (2011, Asghar Farhadi) 84
Very impressive house of cards narrative with incident leading to devastating dramatic implications.
098. (Nov 06) SILVER BULLETS (2011, Joe Swanberg) 55
Some very provocative ideas & execution but Swanberg goes to the overt symbolism well too often.
099. (Nov 07) THE DAY HE ARRIVES (2011, Hong Sang-soo) 61
Funny and slightly more thematically varied than some other recent Hong, but still minor Hong.
100. (Nov 07) OSLO, AUGUST 31ST (2011, Joachim Trier) 64
Very impressive handling of fairly routine material; Trier seems like a promising talent.
101. (Nov 07) ART HISTORY (2011, Joe Swanberg) 70
Swanberg's SEX IS COMEDY touches upon his previous themes with much humor and self-parody.
102. (Nov 08) THE KID WITH A BIKE (2011, Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne) 72
Very effective, moving filmmaking with some unfortunately schematic storytelling.
103. (Nov 08) THE ZONE (2011, Joe Swanberg) 54
I agree with almost everything Joe Swanberg's wife says about this film in the penultimate scene.
104. (Nov 09) THE TURIN HORSE (2011, Bela Tarr) 61
Great use of space & atmosphere but Tarr use of duration works against mounting repetition for effect
105. (Nov 09) ATTENBERG (2010, Athina Rachel Tsangari) 48
DOGTOOTH re-imagined as quirky coming-of-age film and I have no idea why.
106. (Nov 09) WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011, Lynne Ramsay) 68
A deeply unsettling visceral evocation of a troubled mind until evil becomes literal.
W/O (Nov 09) BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW (2010, Panos Cosmatos)
I like this emerging 80s synth revival but nothing much happening here beyond style.
107. (Nov 10) ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (2011, Nuri Bilge Ceylan) 62
108. (Nov 10) PLAY (2011, Ruben Östlund) 42
109. (Nov 10) THE LONELIEST PLANET (2011, Julia Loktev) 83
110. (Nov 17) THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2011, Pedro Almodóvar) 60
111. (Nov 26) THE GUARD (2011, John Michael McDonagh)* 48
"When I signed up for a job in drug trafficking it didn't say anything about manual labor." ... and countless other lines that made me feel a little sentimental for the stuff people were calling sub-Tarantino in the 1990s.
112. (Nov 26) PAGE ONE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES (2011, Andrew Rossi)* 62
113. (Nov 26) ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976, Alan J. Pakula)* 81
114. (Nov 27) ZODIAC (2007, David Fincher)* 86
115. (Nov 29) A DANGEROUS METHOD (2011, David Cronenberg) 69
116. (Dec 04) SHAME (2011, Steve McQueen) 65
Several dazzling stretches but final downward spiral bit belongs to a generic addiction film of the week.
117. (Dec 06) HUGO (2011, Martin Scorsese) 59
Feels like a great film peaks out in the second hour but the clumsy first hour has way too much Hugo.
118. (Dec 11) HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 (2011, David Yates)* 46
A joyless slog through labored plot points with characters I barely recall.
119. (Dec 12) YOU CAN COUNT ON ME (2000, Kenneth Lonergan)* 91
120. (Dec 14) THE DESCENDANTS (2011, Alexander Payne)* 52
121. (Dec 16) DISORDER (2009, Weikai Huang)* 79
122. (Dec 18) KINATAY (2009, Brillante Mendoza)* 58
Pretty impressive stretches of pure cinema but not much beyond that; attempts to do more fall flat.
123. (Dec 18) IT FELT LIKE A KISS (2009, Adam Curtis)* 69
Feels like Oliver Stone's historical films recut as NATURAL BORN KILLERS-style fever dream.
124. (Dec 18) ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES (2009, Jonathan Caouette)* 35
Caouette's sensibility just makes me violently angry, even when covering bands I like.
125. (Dec 19) PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 (2011, Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman) 68
Plenty of slow creeping up to closed doors, which is the scariest shot a movie can offer.
126. (Dec 19) RAMPAGE (1987, William Friedkin)* 60
Oddly compelling film with Friedkin's sensibility at war with the screenplay & message.
127. (Dec 20) HOUSE OF TOLERANCE (2011, Bertrand Bonello) 73
Haunting, dreamy mood piece with several bravura stretches of pure cinema.
128. (Dec 21) THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011, David Fincher) 49
Stupid overwhelms stylish, although Fincher & co. put up a good fight.
129. (Dec 23) THE INTERRUPTERS (2011, Steve James)* 66
Some very powerful individual scenes & characters, but I wish focus was tighter.
130. (Dec 24) DIE HARD (1988, John McTiernan)* 71
131. (Dec 25) MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996, Brian De Palma) 65
132. (Dec 25) THE ARBOR (2010, Clio Barnard)* 70
Pretty spectacular until Dunbar dies but then the style doesn't carry the same thematic resonance.
133. (Dec 25) WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER? (2011, Mark Mylod)* 44
A few nice throwaway lines & bits of Faris business can't come close to redeeming this film.
134. (Dec 29) THE RUM DIARY (2011, Bruce Robinson)* 50
135. (Dec 31) THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996, Renny Harlin)* 75
136. (Dec 31) IT FELT LIKE A KISS (2009, Adam Curtis)* 70
137. (Dec 31) THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996, Renny Harlin)* 75