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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the list. the best.

these are the best new films i saw in 2012
(so far)

1.  SAVAGES (Oliver Stone)
insightful critique of Kardassian californIA culture.  It allows us to enjoy the vapidity as it sends it up.  A culture that loves LA cant help but love drugs.

2.  SIMON KILLER (Antonio Campos)
 this film helps me get started on my 2013 resolves:  no more folksy brooklyn songwriting, no more bullshit twee and precious things posing as art, only listen to and watch things that get under my skin and show me something.  The film inhabits both his interior fantasy and the external lie. and the balance btwn the two is something wholly new.

3. HAYWIRE (Steven Soderbergh)
as much a super lean international action genre piece as it is a picture of a woman in trouble; extracting herself from internat'l intrigue achieved by following the rules to get out of an unhealthy romantic relationship.

tremendous and small.  mired in the dirt of the earth of daily life while attaining super-real heights.

4.5  WHORE'S GLORY (Michael Glawogger)
The ROYAL FAMILY of Glawogger films, it's Vollmann/Glawogger- esqueness at it's grittiest and most graceful.

5. THIS MUST BE THE PLACE (Paolo Sorrentino)
q:  what is more fun than a david byrne co-starring and scored holocaust revenge film 'hyphen' Sean Penn starring as Robert Smith at age 45 comic send up?
a:  not much more than four other films...

6.  SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN (Malik Bendjelloul)
men in this doc speak of Rodriguez'  poetic ability to spin the sadness and anonymity of daily working poverty into something far reaching and sublime. His song about Sugarman and the "silver majik ships, you carry"  that add "colors to my dreams" connect the role of dealer to the role of  artist.

7. MAGIC MIKE (Steven Soderbergh)
more serious than fun for me, though many people thought  the opposite.  A working class GFE.

8. SCATTERED JUNK (Timothy Morton)
i highly highly highly recommend checking out Audley's No Budge website, and this haunting film is the best example why.  It's like someone succeeded in bringing in the next iteration of larry clark/gus van sant but in the form of a younger, next generation filmmaker.

9. BACHLORETTE (Leslye Headland )
are heros/heroines this slutty/fucked up in the head/allowed to casually do this much cocaine w/o being more punished by movie narratives? Here they get away with it and it works.  Lovable.

10. PROJECT X (Nima Nourizadeh)
a rare example of a film about partying mainstream teenagers that is so original and exhilarating that i felt my seratonins explode through my body as i watched it.


you ask ...where are the cool films my friends directed? and where is THIS IS NOT A FILM?  all were first seen in 2011!


  1. Of the ones, I've seen, I cannot argue with many of your choices, save for SAVAGES. As for THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, I couldn't say it any better, although I was not as fond of it as you are.

    And, BARBARA was, for me, a nearly note perfect film.

  2. sorry i didn't share your love of BARBARA, though i did admire it some. I know you could argue w/ SAVAGES!!

  3. As I mentioned to another blogger yesterday, I find that the most enjoyable film lists are the ones consisting of titles I’m unfamiliar with; and you've got several. The only one I've seen on there is Savages. I saw parts of Project X, and it definitely looked like something I'd enjoy.

    I nearly always go to the theater when Oliver Stone comes out with something new, and I honestly have to say that I enjoyed Savages. Despite the popular resentment towards Stone's ending (and, yeah, I initially felt gypped at the moment), I cared for the characters enough to have felt happy for them. I only saw the film once, and I haven't seen the new director's cut. Which cut do you prefer?

  4. Thank you
    I feel the same way about lists. I Also like lists that give me pause about a film I had initially passed off as something unimportant .
    A great list gives me the opportunity to revisit and discover something new if I allow it.
    I too have only seen it once -- opening weekend. The one issue I have w the film is the double ending.
    I still consider it my number one . I felt the same about the characters. I felt an empathy w the la trio but I simultaneously felt in agreement w the films send up of them.
    The galleria sequence towards the beginning was just so inspired and energized. I was hooked from then on . Eager to get the blu ray and check out stones cut

  5. I love W. too
    Another misunderstood stone masterpiece
    Just thought id mention it.

  6. 1021lopan,

    David Lo Pan, I imagine?

    HAYWIRE is highly recommended for its beautifully choreographed, highly kinetic action sequences, which were inspired, in part, by the great, underrated DARKER THAN AMBER.

    SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN is immensely moving and best if you go in not knowing too much about it.

    I, again, must praise Christian Petzold's BARBARA starring the great Nina Hoss...their fifth collaboration.


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