Archive for the ‘2008’ Category

Best of the Decade, No. 96: The Hurt Locker

January 7, 2010

If filmmakers took their time before jumping on Vietnam, Hollywood was determined to report on Operation Enduring Freedom as it was happening. Indeed, rarely has mainstream film jumped on contemporary events so quickly. Audiences stayed away in droves, but history will hopefully one day return to films like Redacted and The Battle of Haditha. Those movies had points to prove. Kathryn Bigelow’s canny thriller prefers to tie her issues up in the sheer visceral routine of a bomb disposal unit. Locker first and foremost deserves to be celebrated for its suspense sequences—Jeremy Renner’s first day in the field could have made Hitchcock’s palms sweat, while the dispatch of a sniper seems set in the same absurdist desert where Bunuel planted St. Simon of the Stylites. Bigelow emphasizes stress over pyrotechnics. While big name stars are hurriedly put into the ground, the real casualty in this movie is American manhood and the audience’s nervous system. The most enduring image of the film, however, might just be when Renner’s cowboy sergeant returns to the United States and stands bewildered in front of a massive wall of cereal boxes.

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Best of the Decade, No. 100: Never Back Down

January 7, 2010

There are films that you see because they’re supposed to be good for you. Then there are films which are the tonic for jaded eyes. Such is this teen-friendly knuckle-duster, in which a country boy is thrown into the world of Florida high school fight clubs. No innovation or transcendence is needed. The plot is a premise for good looking boys to strip off and start throwing ham while the good looking girls simper on the sidelines. As the decade drew to a close, director Jeff Wadlow (Cry Wolf) stripped away extraneous elements to stay true to the exploitative heart getting pummeled beneath.
See also: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

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Trailerama: Under Great White Northern Lights

December 14, 2009

What do Jack and Meg White talk about when they’re alone? If this Canadian tour documentary can answer that, then it will truly rank among the greats. Failing that, there’s always a lot of top performances and Meg’s alluring way with a drumstick.

Trailerama: Мorfiy (Morphia)

February 22, 2009

Country doctors in Russia never come to any good. Just ask Chekhov. So it is with the fresh-faced protagonist of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Notes of a Young Doctor, who is driven to morphine on the eve of the Revolution. Alexei Balabnov’s film looks both sexy and a-swoon with a hallucinogenic intensity.

Trailerama: Yong jiu ju liu (Permanent Residence)

January 1, 2009

The course of gay love never did run smooth … especially if it’s in Hong Kong. Scud’s autobiographical feature has drawn attention for its graphic nudity …some of which is on display in this NSFW trailer. The Chinese version of Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply” also hurts a little.