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  • The Queen of Versailles 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 20 Feb, 2013

    Change is hard. I was ready to settle in for some good, smug hate-watching, but this family won me over, all of them. Yeah, they’re ridiculous, but still. They couldn’t have cast it better with auditions.

  • Holy Motors 2012

    ★★★★★ Watched 24 Jan, 2013

    Incredible. Amazing, amazing performance from Denis Lavant. There’s no traditional plot, but the structure involves Lavant’s character being driven around Paris in a limousine to a series of appointments, each one requiring a different costume, makeup, identity, and performance. The logic is bent and ambiguous. A couple hours of mad and weird invention, wholly invigorating.

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild 2012

    ★★★★★ Watched 07 Jul, 2012

    I loved this movie and recommend it to all living creatures. It’s about endings, and how we react to and prepare ourselves and others for the inevitable. What we leave behind. Best soundtrack of the year so far? I might have cried twice. YMMV.

    Also, I read about aurochs after watching this and was intrigued to find the connection to the old rune Ur, which also means water or rain. Cool!

  • Magic Mike 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 24 Mar, 2013

    Soderbergh! Best movie ever about the economy and strippers. I’d rank this one behind only Haywire and Out of Sight. You’ve got Tatum’s stripper-slash-roofer-slash-artisan muddling through, but it’s hard to change course when he’s great at something he doesn’t love that’s still addicting in its own way. You’ve got Pettyfer’s teenage socially-tone-deaf bro drifter who’s having a great time being showered with money and attention—at long last! You’ve got McConaughey’s (too?) serious entrepreneur-impresario-emperor. There’s the promise of Miami as the…

  • Prometheus 2012

    ★★ Watched 12 Jun, 2012

    It’s not all that bad, but, still… it’s kind of a mess. No good when you find yourself laughing at a heavy movie. I was sold for the first 70-80 minutes, though. Mostly. A better script and serious editing would be a good start. Also handicapped by a cookie-cutter score. Cue the French horn! My first draft for this post was longer, but it was turning into a pile-on. Shame to see talent like Fassbender, Rapace, Theron, and Elba not put to full use. You’re better off staying home and watching Alien again.

  • Mud 2012

    ★★★★★ Watched 11 Nov, 2013

    Best summarized in this review I stumbled upon where I lifted the still above: “Mud reminds us that the most special effect is compelling characters caught in a vexing situation.” ( Check and check. I loved this movie. Jeff Nichols is on a roll right now, after directing Shotgun Stories, and then Take Shelter, and then this. I’m excited for whatever is next.

  • Entrance 2012

    ★★ Watched 31 Jan, 2013

    I was with it until the last half hour. Good slice of Los Angeles, though, and a good creepy final moment.

  • Moonrise Kingdom 2012

    ★★½ Watched 14 Jun, 2012

    Wes Anderson is simply not my director. When I wrote about Bottle Rocket, I had the thought, "I wonder if I’d like his movies more if I’d seen them as serials?" I wonder about this because the structural repetition really wears on me over the course of a movie. Repetitive framing, symmetry, truck here, pan there, dolly now and then. It’s like a slideshow sometimes. I respect the precision and fastidiousness, but for most of it I just couldn’t sustain…

  • Dark Shadows 2012

    ½ Watched 27 Oct, 2012

    DNF. It’s terrible.

  • The Avengers 2012

    ★★½ Watched 05 Apr, 2014

    The basic plot mechanics are a bit tired, but I am not ashamed to admit how satisfying it is to see the whole gang together after seeing others in the Marvel series. A couple neat camera moments (Cap in the rearview and a POV shot that flips along with the car it’s inside of). Nothing quite like the joy/terror of Hulk being Hulk. I really wish Renner had more to work with.

  • The Cabin in the Woods 2012

    ★★★ Watched 07 Jun, 2013

    A delight through and through. The framing plot that keeps things a little sluggish early also pushes it towards some glorious, satisfying excess before the ending. Great script. I’m no connoisseur of the genre, but Tucker & Dale vs Evil is another really great horror-satire I’d recommend.

  • The Hunger Games 2012

    ★★ Watched 01 Apr, 2012

    Well, it’s got plenty of flaws (script, directing, plot, length), but it’s entertainment. Good enough to kill my interest in the books. More than anything, it makes me want to watch Winter’s Bone again. Jennifer Lawrence is the real deal.