Tagged with 2011 films

Review: Contagion, 2011, dir. Steven Soderbergh

Review: Contagion, 2011, dir. Steven Soderbergh


I’ve said before that Steven Soderbergh is a genre chameleon; if this year’s Haywire doesn’t unequivocally prove that, then last year’s Contagion should, and soundly at that. Contagion may not be a straight genre film in the way that the multi-faceted filmmaker’s bone-snapping arthouse action film is, but it nonetheless exists as a synthesis of numerous filmmaking categories– essentially, … Continue reading

Review: Outrage, 2011, dir. Takeshi Kitano

Review: Outrage, 2011, dir. Takeshi Kitano


For the last decade, Japanese maestro Takeshi Kitano has taken a break from the Yakuza films that have come to strongly identify his entire body of work, turning to projects ranging from Zatoichi to his surreal and allegedly autobiographical trilogy of pictures starting with Takeshis and ending with 2008’s Achilles and the Tortoise. But ten … Continue reading

Review: Take Shelter, 2011, dir. Jeff Nichols

Review: Take Shelter, 2011, dir. Jeff Nichols


Part of me wants to classify Jeff Nichols’ sophomore effort at least partially as horror. Not in the exploitative slashing sense, of course, but more in the vein of Polanski or Friedkin. The aptly dubbed Take Shelter blends highbrow artistic filmmaking and storytelling with moments of utterly numbing terror– apocalyptic visions revolving around monstrous storms … Continue reading

Review: The Artist, 2011, dir. Michel Hazanavicius

Review: The Artist, 2011, dir. Michel Hazanavicius


Observing a highly-lauded film often proves to be a challenging experience. Most film writers are well aware of the weight of expectations when it comes to honestly confronting their feelings on a movie that’s been fed to them through the Internet hype-machine and reassembled as something perhaps greater than it is in actuality. There are, … Continue reading

Review: Beginners, 2011, dir. Mike Mills

Review: Beginners, 2011, dir. Mike Mills


To a point, Beginners is somewhat opaque. The film doesn’t boast a complex narrative– even when it’s operating at full non-linear capacity– but the devices used to serve the story are, occasionally, perplexing. Parts of Beginners occur in the thoughts of its protagonist, Oliver (Ewan McGregor), who in his head contrasts the way the world and people … Continue reading

Review: Arthur, 2011, dir. Jason Winer

Review: Arthur, 2011, dir. Jason Winer


The biggest crime committed by Jason Winer’s remake of Arthur, the 1981 Dudley Moore classic, is failing to justify its own existence. Winer clearly either isn’t particularly fond of that staple Moore picture, or he didn’t find inspiration in it; Arthur just goes through the motions, following beat after beat and sequencing from one moment to … Continue reading

Review: Point Blank, 2011, dir. Fred Cavayé

Review: Point Blank, 2011, dir. Fred Cavayé


Like it’s lead, Point Blank has no time to waste. With a mere eighty four minute running time, it’s not hard to understand why. With time being such a precious commodity, hapless everyman Samuel (Gilles Lellouche) hurries at every turn, and Fred Cavayé’s film follows suit. Point Blank distinguishes itself with boundless energy, an economy … Continue reading

Review: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, 2011, dir. Eli Craig

Review: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, 2011, dir. Eli Craig


Lightly populated, quiet, creepy woods in the South– littered with fallen trees just waiting for someone to impale themselves on them– naturally read as lairs for ravening hillbillies just waiting to crush, burn, melt, torture, suffocate, slice, dice, eat, or otherwise violently send unsuspecting young people (and other incidental victims) to an early passing. In … Continue reading

Review: Weekend, 2011, dir. Andrew Haigh

Review: Weekend, 2011, dir. Andrew Haigh


Weekend can easily be described as unabashedly, unashamedly, graphically sexual when it wants to be– or needs to be. For many, this may be a point of contention. Those who are uncomfortable with or disdainful of homosexuality, for example, will quite likely turn away from the film before it even starts; the loss, frankly, is their … Continue reading

GST: Year-End Wrap-Ups

GST: Year-End Wrap-Ups


Still not ready to close the books on 2011? Head on over to GoSeeTalk and check out the year-end pieces produced by the writing staff over there– Marc, Bill, Grady, and of course me! My contribution varies little from what I published here at ACVF, but you might be pleasantly surprised at some of the others’ … Continue reading

Review: Certified Copy, 2011, dir. Abbas Kiarostami

Review: Certified Copy, 2011, dir. Abbas Kiarostami


It’s difficult to say whether Juliette Binoche or Abbas Kiarostami is the star of the latter’s newest film, Certified Copy. Much comes to rest on Binoche’s delicate shoulders– the nameless character she plays is the only principal character in the film apart from co-star William Shimell– but Kiarostami’s direction, assured yet humble, constitutes bravura filmmaking … Continue reading

2011: Retrospective, Honors, & ACVF’s Top 15 (Pt.2)

2011: Retrospective, Honors, & ACVF’s Top 15 (Pt.2)


We’re almost there– it’s down to the final ten. Starting with: 10) 13 Assassins: “While the plot that subsequently comes together falls within the bailiwick typical to most men-on-a-mission films as Shinzaemon collects his chosen warriors– a motley crew of samurai ranging in age and experience, which eventually also comes to include a hunter (Yusuke … Continue reading

Review: Bellflower, 2011, dir. Evan Glodell

Review: Bellflower, 2011, dir. Evan Glodell


Flamethrowers, precarious romance, badass muscle cars, and directionless, angry young men make for a potentially cataclysmic cocktail. So goes the narrative of Evan Glodell’s Bellflower, a tale of love and apocalypse and slackerdom and possibly the most aesthetically unique film of the year. Glodell, who not only directed the film but also wrote the script … Continue reading

Review: We Bought a Zoo, 2011, dir. Cameron Crowe

Review: We Bought a Zoo, 2011, dir. Cameron Crowe


(Cross-posted over at GoSeeTalk.) In an early scene in Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo, Scarlet Johansson’s beleaguered zookeeper whirls around on Matt Damon’s optimistic single father turned zoo owner and demonstrates the film’s greatest hindrance in one ham-handed chunk of dialogue. Neither Crowe nor the film has any faith in its audience to pick up … Continue reading

Review: Bridesmaids, 2011, dir. Paul Feig

Review: Bridesmaids, 2011, dir. Paul Feig


(Alternate title: In which A Constant Visual Feast becomes a social pariah within the film blogosphere.) The primary emotion that characterizes my reaction to Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, the sleeper hit comedy of the year, is disappointment. Crushing, heavy, appalling disappointment. Coupled with that, denial; I don’t want to acknowledge my disappointment. I don’t want to … Continue reading

Review: Ironclad, 2011, dir. Jonathan English

Review: Ironclad, 2011, dir. Jonathan English


About the only thing Jonathan English’s Ironclad has going for it blood; he can rest easy knowing that his film absolutely lives up to its tagline, providing copious amounts of human viscera for audience entertainment at the cost of telling a good story. Ironclad is simply bad. The only comfort I can accord the film is … Continue reading

Review: Hanna, 2011, dir. Joe Wright

Review: Hanna, 2011, dir. Joe Wright


Hanna makes a sound argument that action movies need not be artless, though maybe when the person at the helm is Joe Wright the final outcome can only inevitably attain a level of artfulness worth observing. Wright is responsible for 2007’s Atonement, a strikingly beautiful film that remains mostly empty despite its impressive craftsmanship; where … Continue reading