Friday, January 08, 2010

Which 2009 Films Need A Repeat Viewing?

It often goes that after I watch a film I consider its merits for a couple of days. On some occasions I know minutes after I've seen it how I feel about it, and how "good" I think it is, but usually at least twenty-four hours rumination is called for. At the end of the year, after 81 films (just 19 left to see) I'm beginning to reflect on grades from earlier in the year and wondering whether they add up. Here are the assessments I'm particularly doubting...

Antichrist (Current Grade: B+): Yeah, does anyone really need to see this again? I don't intend to buy the film so it may be a while until a repeat viewing. Having said that, I'm very curious as to whether it plays out as powerfully visceral as it did first time around.

Broken Embraces (Current Grade: B+): I marvelled at how Almodovar completely took the piss out of his fondness for trashy melodrama and implemented it into what was a thrilling story of a disastrous love affair. Most people I speak to about this have the opinion that it's average Almodovar at best. I don't know whether to take that as a) an indictment of how much the man has built a reputation, b) a matter of the film's soap-opera style appealing to my tastes more than others, or c) a sign that I over-estimated Broken Embraces a little?

Inglourious Basterds (Current Grade: B): Are those three amazing, unendingly tense scenes still enough to deter the obvious incoherence and crazy final act?

Mr. Nobody (Current Grade: A-): I walked out of the Venice screening of Jaco Van Dormael's Mr. Nobody feeling as if I'd witnessed something titanic; a film that said more about the ever-changing nature of space and time than anything I learned in my degree, and simultaneously managed to make its lecture so fluid, visually enticing and luscious. I confess that I eve
n missed the last moments of the film, and my memory of it as a whole becomes much more hazy. It doesn't look as if the film will get a cinema release here, and it so it seems that I will have to wait a few months until the inevitable straight-to-DVD move occurs. A real shame, actually.

Precious (Current Grade: C+): I felt like Precious was adapted and made as if it took everything for granted. It tries to hark back to an era of gritty urbania with the clumsiness of early black teen comedy, but has none of the soul, and with its production heavies behind it the casting of Mo'Nique and Mariah Carey as if they were plucked from an inner city stage school feels particularly disingenuous. As if Daniels' manic, thoughtless direction wasn't bad enough the character of Mary is handled with such narrow-mindedness that ends in a scene that reeked of sell-out. Convince me I'm wrong.

Thoughts on any of these would be appreciated. Also: are there any grades on the sidebar you find suspect? I like to be urged into rewatching things.


Fritz said...

I just descovered your blog and I really love it. Your performance reviews are wonderfully written and very thought-out!

Cal said...

Hi Fritz!

Thank you for the kind words. I'm following you too :-)

Alex in Movieland said...

Precious is all about first impressions! In the weak year that 2009 proved to be, it holds as my number one, but that's just because I was left silent and overwhelmed at the end of it.