Review of films seen in 2011: the good, the bad and the totally out-there

Dear USE visitors,

It’s 2012 already! Those of you who followed the films I saw in 2011 are truly to be congratulated on your patience and interest! I estimate that I passed the magic mile of 200 films seen in 2011 some time in November and never even noticed. Let’s look back at what I saw and saw fit to review over the last twelve months – only the films I considered the best are listed.

January: Bong Joonho, “Memories of Murder”; Nicolas Winding Refn, “Pusher”

February: Charles Ferguson, “Inside Job”; Peter Greenaway, “The Draughtsman’s Contract”; Roman Polanski, “Chinatown”

March: Alfred Hitchcock, “Rope”; Hana Makhlmalbaf, “Buddha Collapsed out of Shame”; Cristian Mungiu, “4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days”; Andrei Tarkovsky, “Andrei Rublev”; François Truffaut, “The 400 Blows”

April: Robert Connolly, “Balibo”; Carl Theodor Dreyer, “Vampyr”; Oliver Hirschbiegel, “Downfall”; Alfred Hitchcock, “Vertigo”

May: Henri-Georges Clouzot, “The Wages of Fear”; Georges Franju, “Eyes without a Face”; Alfred Hitchcock, “North by Northwest”

June: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel and Benoît Poelvoorde, “Man Bites Dog”; Benjamin Christensen, “Häxan: Witchcraft through the Ages”; Alfred Hitchcock, “The Lodger: a Story of the London Fog”; Katsuhiro Otomo, “Akira”; Sergei Parajanov, “The Color of Pomegranates (Sayat Nova)”

July: Akira Kurosawa, “Rashomon”; Chris Marker, “La Jetée”; Roman Polanski, “Repulsion”

August: Ari Folman, “Waltz with Bashir”; Carol Reed, “The Third Man”; Andrei Tarkovsky, “Stalker”; Dziga Vertov, “Man with a Movie Camera”

September: Sally Cruikshank, “Quasi at the Quackadero”; Forough Farrokhzad, “The House is Black”; Ozamu Tezuka, “Jumping”; Shinya Tsukamoto, “Tetsuo: Iron Man”

October: Todd Haynes, “Superstar: the Karen Carpenter Story”; Alix Lambert, “The Mark of Cain”; Anthony Lucas, “The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello”

November: Kenneth Anger, “Lucifer Rising”; E Elias Merhige, “Begotten”, Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Medea”; Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom”; Lars von Trier, “Medea”

December: Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, “L’Age d’Or”; David Chesworth, “The Outsider: The Story of Harry Partch”; Patrick Forestier, “Blood Coltan”; Georges Franju, “Blood of the Beasts”; Scott Noble, “Human Resources”

There were films that were hugely disappointing or which I consider tremendously over-rated and I list them below. Some of these films may have tremendous production values and great acting but are dishonest and cynical in their treatment of the subject matter, themes and audience sympathies.

Ruaridh Arrow, “How to Start a Revolution”; Joel Coen, “No Country for Old Men”; Joel and Ethan Coen, “True Grit”; Adam Curtis “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”; Adam Elliot, “Mary and Max”;  Ben Ferris, “Penelopa”; Marcela Gaviria, “WikiSecrets”; Kim Kiduk, “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter … and Spring”; Fritz Lang, “Metropolis”; Hayao Miyazaki, “Howl’s Moving Castle”; Walter Salles, “The Motorcycle Diaries”; Larry and Andy Wachowski “The Matrix”

In 2012 I hope I’ll be able to see the following films either at the cinema, at home on DVD or on (in full):

Luis Buñuel, “The Exterminating Angel”; Ralph Fiennes, “Coriolanus”; Robert Greenwald, “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”; Minoru Kawasaki, “Executive Koala”; Minoru Kawasaki, “The World Sinks Except Japan”; Kimmo Kuusniemi, “Promised Land of Heavy Metal”; Jindrich Polak, “Tomorrow I’ll Wake Up and Scald Myself with a Cup of Tea”; Alain Resnais, “Hiroshima Mon Amour”; Ridley Scott, “Prometheus”; Andrei Tarkovsky, “Solaris”; Michael Tucker and Philippa Epperlein, “The Prisoner; or How I planned to kill Tony Blair”

Anyway … Happy New Year to all and let’s hope 2012 brings better films than what we have had for the past 15 years from Hollywood.

In the meantime, I’m struggling to finish off the epic Japanese novel “The Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shikibu (new English translation by Royall Tyler) and have lined up Charles Baudelaire’s “Paris Spleen” and Raymond Queneau’s “The Flight of Icarus” to read next as I haven’t been doing too well on my fiction reading since Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name is Red”, Baudelaire’s “The Flowers of Evil” and some plays by Euripides which were way back in … mid-2011?

And I want to re-read Adolfo Bioy Casares’s “The Invention of Morel” and maybe some J G Ballard fiction this year; and get hold of Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts’s anthology “The Thackeray T Lambshead Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases” if I see it.

As for music, I just discovered the Finnish band Reverend Bizarre (l’m late as usual – the band broke up in 2007) and have their last album “So Long Suckers” on order together with UK psychedelic doom metal band The Wounded Kings’ third album with Aquarius Records in San Francisco. I also want to do more music reviews for The Sound Projector and Encyclopedia Metallum than I have done so far over the past couple of years. This will mean going lighter on the film-watching this year.

Cheers, Nausika.

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