Films Viewed (January 2013)

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Citizen Ruth, the first film by noted director Alexander Payne, somehow manages to make a comedy about abortion feasible. This is primarily achieved by the satiric trick of inserting Laura Dern’s clueless and amoral character into the middle of the debate. You have to get past the film poster, but an auspicious directorial debut for a now-known talent. Not a bad night at home, and another film off of our queue. One item down, two hundred and twenty-five to go. (Netflix Instant)

It is hard to beat the minimal terseness of A Man Escaped, the jailbreak saga to end all jailbreak sagas. The story is based on the memoirs of an actual prisoner of war The film sticks to the narrative with a rigidness that only Bresson can pull off without me being bored or turned off. (The Charles)

Silver Linings Playbook was recommended to me by pretty much everyone I knew as a good film, but it took a lot to get me into the theater. Essentially a rom-com but much more realistic in various ways. Two damaged people get together despite obstacles. I have found that I enjoy Jennifer Lawrence in films, and that I also can stand Bradley Cooper sometimes. Robert De Niro actually acts for the first time in a while. Is this a film for the ages of the next Jerry Maguire? TIme will tell. (The Charles)

Walking and Talking was a messy debut for Nicole Holofcener, but that messiness allows an edge and raggedness that kept the proceedings transgressive. Two women who are best friends deal with thier changing relationship, one geting serious with her boyfriend, the other constantly searching for one. What’s with me watching all these 1990s directorial debuts this month? (Netflix Instant)

Paranorman was a children’s film by the same stop-motion team that made Coraline. A young man works to save a town from a vengeful ghost. My inner twelve year old was having a pretty good time, although I rarely delve into this kind of fare (Netflix).

I still am always a bit outside of Polyester, but seeing more Fassbinder and Sirk definitely helps me “get it.” A suburban homemaker’s seemingly idyllic life collapses. Can Todd Tomorrow save the day? Maybe the problem is that I have never seen it in Smell-O-Vision. The bits all work, sure. John Waters approaching the mainstream, with Hairspray up next in his filmography. A kick to see it at The Charles, which is named as the porn theater in the film. (The Charles)

Looper would probably have made my top ten if I had seen it sooner. A solid bit of Sci-Fi time travel mashing up. A man is payed to kill people from the future. First things go wrong. Then they go seriously haywire. I was surprised at my tolerance for Joseph Gordon-Levitt made up like Bruce Willis. (Netflix)

Total: 7 films (3 in theaters)

(Please note: Whenever possible, all titles are linked to their pages on the Netflix website)

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