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movies / December 30, 2011

While critics go through the farce of compiling their Best Films of 2011 lists, I’m working on my suicide note. Here’s the latest draft:

 

Dear Hollywood Movies,

When you find this note, I’ll be dead. And it’ll be your fault. You ruined my life. I wish I’d never seen you.

Sincerely yours,

Eileen J.

When I shoot myself, it’ll be the direct result of having seen Sherlock Holmes 2, Mission Impossible 4, War Horse, and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in quick succession.

(I feel a gun is the best way to go, don’t you? More American, I mean. That loud, cheerful BLAM that ends everything, and leaves a giant mess for someone else to clean up. It’s in the spirit of the season, too—eggnog, relatives, presents, “Auld Lang Syne,” BLAM, they all follow nicely in logical succession.)

The thing that’s driven me to despair, since you ask, is the Christmas-time gusher of Hollywood films that was supposedly going to redeem 2011, the worst film year ever. Only it didn’t. Not even close. Each movie in itself wouldn’t have been so bad. No, it was gulping them down one after another that made it all so vomitous.

I mean, have you seen these things? If you’ve seen them in the USA, you’re part of a shrinking group, the filmgoers of America. You might’ve heard attendance is at the lowest point since 1995. They’re claiming ticket prices are to blame, ignoring the fact that, increasingly, movies reek.

Anyway, getting back to the year-end glut of films. Let’s say we give Sherlock Holmes and Mission Impossible a pass—sequels, trying to keep franchises going, that involves special difficulties. (Though I’d really like sober explanations from the various crack-smokers who wrote glowing reviews of Brad Bird’s supposedly brilliant Mission Impossible 4. They’ve got “brilliant” confused with “not unwatchable.”) But never mind—let’s just focus on War Horse and Dragon Tattoo and see where we stand, Hollywood-film-wise.

War Horse is Stephen Spielberg’s latest debacle. People awaited that movie with a certain amount of trepidation—I know, I read the blogs, I shared the fear—because obviously the poor horse would be in peril through the whole movie, and who wants to see a horse imperiled for a whole movie? Would the horse die, people asked each other? Would Spielberg actually go to the awful extremity of killing the horse?

Well, of course not. The horse is the protagonist, the only consistent character connecting the various vignettes that make up the plot, so you can’t kill him. They only kill the lead animal when he’s the best friend of the human protagonist in a coming-of-age story (The Yearling, Old Yeller, My Friend Skip). That’s an evil tradition, by the way, but never mind, never mind!

The point is, everyone knew it would be a harrowing experience, watching War Horse.

Only it ain’t. Because the whole movie’s such an exercise in fakery and incompetence, you can’t feel a thing. Every single goddamn moment of the movie is false. Not one right moment from the first sight of the phony computer-tweaked idyllic English countryside where farmers fake-toil and the fatuous boy-starlet (Jeremy Irvine) with the big pink lips stares at a colt being fake-born, to the last digitally-painted, acid trip orange sunset meant to turn the pink-lipped soldier’s homecoming into an epic moment. It’s all crap. Watch it and you’ll find it hard to believe Stephen Spielberg is such a big noise in the world.

You go to the movie thinking, it’s called War Horse, so at least it’ll be exciting and terrifying watching the horse protagonist going into battle for the first time. You can imagine the nervous thoroughbred—named Joey in the movie—stepping into World War I all unprepared for shot and shell. But in this film Spielberg has the most uncanny instinct for shooting a bunch of stuff you don’t care about and missing the crucial moment altogether, or shooting it from the wrong angle, or somehow gumming things up. So we spend all sorts of time getting to know a bunch of WWI Brit toffs swanking around in a manner that was perfectly conveyed in the great BBC comedy Black Adder, but should be avoided by everybody else.

When Joey gallops into the fray at last, he’s got an effete saber-wielding officer on his back, and the Brits are doing a fatheaded cavalry charge at a sleeping German encampment that looks like easy pickings, only it turns out not to be. As the German machine guns, unseen in the woods beyond, start firing at them, Spielberg focuses on the face of the British officer, wide-eyed, registering “Oh I say, bad show…!”

CUT TO—

Joey tearing along riderless through the woods. And that’s it, end of sequence. From this you surmise the Brit officer died and Joey didn’t like war very much his first time out. Which, y’know, figures. But  since you paid your ten bucks to see it, you expected to have it dramatized a bit more.

We see a bunch of sprawled horse carcasses after the battle. But Spielberg, he doesn’t give a damn. Not interested. Horses schmorses. So the drama never really gets underway, because Spielberg never commits to the horse as our point of identification. He makes the horse serve as a mere narrative link, shoving us toward various humans on both sides of the conflict who take possession of Joey in turn—the pink-lipped farmboy-turned-soldier, the Brit officer, the German farmer and his niece, and so on. If you ever read Black Beauty as a kid, you know the drill: the horse starts off happy but gets handed off to different owners and has to go through no end of hell before he winds up happy again at the end, because most people are such godawful pricks. But in Black Beauty, you’re in the horse’s head the whole time. In War Horse, you get a few minutes of horse consciousness here and there in the film, and it’s not enough to matter.

And don’t bother telling me that’s how it worked in the theater version of War Horse, because the theater version had large, elaborate puppet-horses worked by stagehands, and there’s a world of difference between clever stagecraft and actual horses you can see trotting around, drawing breath and flicking their ears and so on.

A real horse makes certain demands on the attention. It’s no good using the horse as just another trite way to demonstrate that War Is Hell.

And where does Stephen Spielberg get off telling us War Is Hell, anyway? Every few years he does a film-lecture like this and tries to collect Academy Awards for it. He’s made a way bigger deal out of how War Is Hell than General Sherman ever did, and Sherman knew what he was talking about. Let’s have a new rule, shall we? From now on, unless you’ve seen as much action as Sherman did, you don’t get to indicate in any way that War Is Hell.

Regarding The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, first you’ll want to know, how was the rape scene? It was fine, thanks. Not nearly as horrifying as the marketers foretold. Unless, of course, I’ve lost all capacity to feel anything while watching Hollywood films, which may be the case. That’d be weird, if these four movies were actually a sensory wow, and I couldn’t tell.

The numbness was especially noticeable while watching Dragon Tattoo. The movie seems to play at an abstract remove, behind many layers of protective glass. It’s punishingly slow, for one thing. The cinematography is so crystalline in its clarity you can admire each separate hair in Rooney Mara’s dyed-white eyebrows, and you have time to do it, too.

She plays Lisbeth Salander, the punked-out computer-hacking genius who gets violently raped by a paunchy social worker and, like all movie-women who get violently raped (in this case to the point of bleeding copiously from the anus in the inevitable shower-shame scene that follows), she’s up and ready for sex scenes with Our Hero immediately thereafter. So you’ll see lots of Rooney Mara’s pale hide, never fear.

This is one of those “well-made” movies, “well-shot” and “well-acted.” All the characters strike glum poses that indicate depth and seriousness, and smoke angst-ridden cigarettes, and stare at computer screens with tense self-importance, and gaze out at the snow. Daniel Craig plays the lead guy, and it takes the movie about 45 minutes to show, in oppressive detail, that he moves into a remote cabin in the middle of Swedish winter, and it’s cold there. Daniel Craig takes a cab to the cabin! Daniel Craig totes in his luggage! Daniel Craig shivers and goes “Brrr!” Daniel Craig wraps up in a blanket! Daniel Craig huddles in bed under mounds of quilts! Meanwhile you mentally cancel anything you planned to do after the movie that day, because clearly this is going to take a while.

There’s a murder mystery the Daniel Craig character is supposed to be solving, which is fitfully interesting, mainly when Christopher Plummer, playing the nicest member of a despicable clan full of rich former Nazis, describes how loathsome his family is. But that promise of entertaining awfulness is never really fulfilled; the rogues gallery of family villains doesn’t get much play. We spend time with Plummer’s character and his son played by Stellan Skarsgard. That means one of them has to be the killer. You guess which. Yeah, it’s a fifty-fifty shot, and not tough to place your bet.

The only really likable character is a cat, and from the second you see him, you know he’s D.O.A.

Anyway, I’m depressed. Years I’ve spent watching fucking Hollywood films, years and years and years. Had a whole line about how great they were, what a point of pride for Americans, that we owned the best of film culture for decades, made the sharpest and the liveliest films, and that we could still draw on our heritage and do admirable things with it.  And now look where we are. I tried to make a Best Films list for 2011 and came up with one: Rango, a feature-length cartoon.

If I didn’t go international so I could include 13 Assassins, a Japanese samurai film, I couldn’t make it to two. And technically, that opened in 2010, in Japan, anyway…

BLAM!

No, not yet. I still have to see a lot of Thai martial arts films, I’m way behind on those. I just saw one called Chocolate about an autistic fourteen-year-old girl who can learn martial arts just by watching them practiced, and soon she’s kicking ass like a size-junior-petite Terminator. So that was pretty good.

I’m netflixing enough of them to get me safely to 2012.

 

48 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Flatulissimo  |  December 30th, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Jones, I’m afraid that a bunch of people are just going to play blame the victim here in the comments, because – duh, you saw Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The original was shit, it is based on a shit book, how could the Amurkin remake not be shit? You also knew that Spielberg movie was going to be shit, and you watched it anyway, so I’m having a hard time finding any sympathy for you.

    And you’re just getting around to seeing Chocolate?! Jesus. Well, if you want some kung fu movies, there are lots of classic Jackie Chan flicks streaming on Netflix right now, too. You could have stayed home and watched Project A I and II instead of this Spielberg and Fincher shit.

    But, as for American movies that came out this year…Um, that Harold and Kumar 3-d movie was pretty funny. It had lots of stuff flying at your face in 3d, at least. Better use of 3d than Hugo.

  • 2. Elim  |  December 31st, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Well, nothing to add. Spot on.

  • 3. adam  |  December 31st, 2011 at 1:02 am

    In the enterprising spirit of James Cameron, Fincher spared no expense in bringing us the latest and greatest in rape scene technology. Despite that I still walked out on Dragon Tattoo after about an hour. I did it almost not believing what I was doing – the last movie I walked out on was that fucking dungeons and dragons travesty with Jeremy Irons (young and dumb, I was). Christopher Plummer, though good, wasn’t enough to keep me in.

    Also, I was getting tired of piecing together Craig’s barely intelligible utterances. Are they giving out oscars for “mumbler of the year” now? Watch out Downy J!

  • 4. Tony Ichiban  |  December 31st, 2011 at 1:13 am

    There’s lots of good shit coming out of South Korea. Check out The Chaser, Mother, The Yellow Sea, Bedevilled, and I Saw the Devil. Although only those last two had a 2011 US release date…

  • 5. Aaron  |  December 31st, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Whenever I look at stills from ‘Dragon Tattoo’ I am forcibly reminded of the Swiss collaboration with the Nazi regime — if there could be Nazi punks, that creature with the face full of metal would certainly be among them.

  • 6. Urda  |  December 31st, 2011 at 2:06 am

    That is why I wrote my clean alternative explanation instead of these shitty and retarded metaphors that pass for mass entertainment.

    One post on one blog.

  • 7. megumegu  |  December 31st, 2011 at 2:15 am

    I honestly don’t understand how “Dragon Tattoo” struck such a chord with American culture. There’s something about the American cultural psyche in 2011 and rape revenge I guess. I never read it, but I read the sequel, and it was terrible. Terrible pacing, dialogue, every character is 1-dimensional, there is no character arc or story arc. I watched the original movie to check out Noomi Rapace because she has a weird name and stars in Prometheus – Noomi was OK but the movie itself was terrible for all the same reasons the book sucked, in addition to having the production values of a made-for-tv drama. I have learned my lesson and will pass on the American remake.
    Still haven’t seen Rango, but I was impressed with 13 Assasins until it went full retard with the CGI in the end. Still pretty good overall.

  • 8. Mason C  |  December 31st, 2011 at 2:16 am

    To get away from the preview of War Horse, I was ready to go over the top into Spandau fire. Watching the entire thing? Of course you’re suicidal. (incidentally, War Nerd fans, check out The Social History of the Machine Gun by John Ellis.)

    Eileen, please put down the gun. We need you here, flaying culture in this turd-volcano of a nation. I’d also avoid Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, apparently an upper class platitude orgy. Just walk away, or maybe consider Carnage, which may have something clever to say.

  • 9. radii  |  December 31st, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Eileen, your reviews and rants are such a fun read … you are the clever wordsmith … Sunset 5 closed recently and I realised I used to go about once every week or two because they always had something interesting (usually foreign) playing and that I’d only been a couple of times in the past 2 years … the movies have truly become shit (even most of the “art” films too) … way too many film school graduates without any real passion for film but who want to work in a “cool” industry … two entire generations who don’t understand storytelling (X and Y) … endless remakes from the studios that don’t even understand what made the originals good in the first place … it’s hard to manifest passionate young people with something to say when they are completely in love with themselves and their hand-held toys they seem convinced make them interesting

  • 10. Mike Hunt  |  December 31st, 2011 at 4:41 am

    Lot’s of good films, sadly most are not of US make.
    I’ll agree with South Korea. They seem to be where HK cinema was ten years ago.
    European films are excellent. Try The Guard, A Lonely Place to Die,Rundskop, Head Hunter and Head Hunters,Sint and Rare exports were fun takes on Christmas tales.Deadheads and Texas Killing Fields are both worth the watch.
    I disagree with the original Girl with the Dragon tattoo being bad. It was an excellent film. The second was fairly decent, third sucked.
    Also try the Tropa de Elite films, The Elite Squad.

  • 11. korman643  |  December 31st, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Spot on and nothing to add. “War Horse” is beyond vileness.

    I’ve seen “13 Assassins” several times again and again in the last few weeks, and I couldn’t praise it enough. The final scene is the simplest and at the same time most nuanced explanation of the “left/right” or “progressive/conservative” dilemma I’ve ever seen. (and the movie kicks major ass!)

  • 12. Mr Pastry  |  December 31st, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Rango. Yup. Rango and Bellflower.

    Otherwise…

    I dunno. Is Drive any good? I haven’t seen it.

  • 13. A Silver Mt. Paektu  |  December 31st, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Yeah, my “best of” for 2011 would be similarly dismal and actually wouldn’t include any complete films other than “13 Assassins.”

    Instead, it would be full of the redeeming bits of otherwise bad to middling movies. The love letter to modernism that was the credits sequence of “Captain America,” the parts of “Planet of the Apes” that paid homage to authoritarian mass movements (naming an ape Koba, the shot with a raised ape fist gripping a truncheon, the scene where Caesar explains the principle of the fasces, etc), and so on.

    And the cinematic crimes of 2011? Let’s not even start. All we have to say is that this is the year Hollywood decided to remake “Straw Dogs” and end the discussion there.

    Fuck 2011. I’d say that 2012 has to be better, but even with 2011 having more sequels, remakes, and reboots than any year previous, I have a sneaking suspicion that Hollywood hasn’t hit the bottom of the cesspool quite yet.

  • 14. techno  |  December 31st, 2011 at 8:37 am

    The Swedish version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was remarkably deep and complex. The hero was a lefty intellectual who was set up for disgrace. It had a detailed description for what the Swedish right wing was doing during those longs decades when the Social Democrats ran everything. Lisbeth as a grown-up Peppi Longstocking was believable.

    Then we have the USA remake. All that’s left of the original is a cheap thriller with a real James Bond in the lead. Fincher sets his movie in Sweden but there is no recognition of the history and sociology of the country because I don’t think he could even imagine such a thing exists. The whole movie exists to serve an audience too lazy to read subtitles so I suppose Fincher just thought he should also eliminate the intellectual content of the books and the Swedish movies. Of course, that assumes he could even see the intellectual content of the original.

  • 15. Esn  |  December 31st, 2011 at 9:46 am

    “Leafie” from South Korea was very, very good. Another cartoon, though. And I don’t think you can see it anywhere outside of South Korea yet except maybe at some film festivals.

    Anyway… American cinema’s usually flashy on the outside and a bit hollow on the inside. Been that way forever. There’s the odd exception, usually NOT made in Hollywood. Some film cultures, it’s the other way around.

  • 16. Mr. Bad  |  December 31st, 2011 at 10:12 am

    @ 12. Mr Pastry

    “Bellflower”? You must be the hick cineaste par excellence of rural route 0078, that mumblecore meets mad max faggotry was custom cool for poseurs like you.

    2011 sucked balls but why no review of “Tinker, Tailor…”, not enough to bitch about? Tomas Alfredson is a certified genius who basically went on the record in an NPR interview that Hollywood can kiss his ass, he doesn’t do schlock. There aren’t enough colors in “Tinker” fore Eileen to drone on about.

    Also, did nobody see “The Way Back”?, What about Hanna, Melancholia, Take Shelter? Does Nick Denton own Exiled comment section now, because it seems driven to emulate his stupid, snarky “take” on pop culture.

  • 17. DeeboCools  |  December 31st, 2011 at 10:44 am

    How come you never reviewed The rum diary? I can only imagine it’s because of theeXiled’s appreciation for Hunter S. It sucked, anyway

  • 18. P David  |  December 31st, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Dear Eileen:

    Sidestepping those you mention here for fear of joining you in a film lover’s suicide pact, instead I followed the critics choices of Best of the Year and watched THE DECSENDANTS, TREE OF LIFE and HUGO. This will be the last thing you read from me as I am now dead.

    BLAM!

  • 19. Zadig  |  December 31st, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    First, I agree with everything in the article. Asian movies are our only salvation.

    This year in movies is a sad parody of American life: the dumb get dumber, the snooty get snootier. For every sequel which collapsed its already one-dimensional characters into a point, we have the even more disgusting case studies in Western decadence: “Melancholia,” “Bellflower,” “Another Earth,” and “Meek’s Crossing.”

    I watched the latter in theaters with a friend, and it is the most childish, immature movie I have ever seen. It makes that ridiculously provincial assumption that everyone outside of our neighborhood (America, early 21st century), had no conception of humor, nicknames, sex, contractions, or even motions. These hooded 19th-century wax models mope around the American wilderness, calling each other by their full, quadrisyllabic biblical names, in that preposterous, fake, Ye Olde American English, while giving each other knowing looks. Look forward to long, silent shots of people weaving by campfire light, and some kind of encounter with a Native American, which is meaningful in a way too deep for me to comprehend.

    The whole thing is absurd, and it just ends all of a sudden, the final slap in the face, like it’s so fucking clever. It’s disgusting on a secondary level, that is, it shows that this kind of thing (lack of plot, lack of action, lack of ending, lack of meaning) is so common, that they don’t need any sort of justification whatsoever. These otherwise unforgivable trespasses to the movie gods have become empty symbols of “Independent filminess,” and are expected. I agree with Eileen: If this is our future, you’d have to be crazy not to kill yourself!

  • 20. Zadig  |  December 31st, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    “Meek’s Cutoff,” not “Crossing.” Even the name of the movie sucks.

  • 21. Vendetta  |  December 31st, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Oh the whining of Hollywood-paid trolls who try to comment here. It must be exhausting.

  • 22. Yuddham  |  December 31st, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Eileen, No need to commit suicide, I would suggest you watch Hindi movies from the late 1950s and 1960s. The story line may not be the best, but the acting is just great. Some names:
    Guide (1965) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059246/
    Aar-Paar (1954) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046673/
    Pyaasa (1957) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050870/
    CID (1956) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049041/
    12O’Clock (1958) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051335/
    Chhoti Si Baat (1975)- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072777/
    Chashme Buddoor (1981) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082162/

    Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar (1959) and Charulata (1964)

    Some new Hindi films like “Khosla ka Ghosla” (2006), “Mumbai Meri Jaan” (2008), “Shor in the City” (2011), and “Stanley Ka Dabba” (2011) are also really good.

  • 23. Flatulissimo  |  December 31st, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Breaking Bad was better than any American movie this year, in every possible way. What kind of world are we living in when television is better at everything than film?

  • 24. TV is better  |  December 31st, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    ^^ Yeah, what with the overall goodness available on TV these days, the decline of the cinema doesn’t sting so bad. Even relatively mainstream shows like Community or Game of Thrones were really fun to watch in 2011. And I think they’re playing that “Prohibition” documentary again on New Year’s on P.B.S. if you need a hangover show.

    As for films, Fright Night and Planet of the Apes were both respectable enough… but yeah, slow year man. Spielberg should make more movies like Munich or War of the Worlds, those were pretty solid.

  • 25. Mr Pastry  |  December 31st, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    @ 16 Mr Bad, re: Bellflower –

    “Mumblecore meets Mad Max faggotry” is a pretty good description. And yeah, apparently it was also popular with the gay yogurt-eating cowboys at Sundance. But it was still a bloody good film.

    As was Melancholia.

    I haven’t seen the others on your list. I meant to check out The Way Back, but then I forget all about it. Thanks for reminding me!

  • 26. A Silver Mt. Paektu  |  December 31st, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    @24

    Speaking of TV being better, if it’s going to be a historical drama about terrorism, you couldn’t pay me to watch “Munich” when my blurays of “Carlos” are sitting there on the shelf.

  • 27. iCONOCLAST  |  January 1st, 2012 at 3:06 am

    Eileen, please don’t choose a method of death that will mar your beautiful corpse.

    Even if you need to leave our mortal coils, you must presentable for our sake!

  • 28. Punjabi From Karachi  |  January 1st, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Eileen, go watch Black Adder again. Then you can proceed with your suicide.

  • 29. Punjabi From Karachi  |  January 1st, 2012 at 4:55 am

    Eileen, please don’t kill yourself; just watch Black Adder on a loop. Here’s an anniversary special from winter 2008, just after Obama was elected.

    Go find a foreign film you like, to watch :-D

    Meanwhile……

    BLACKADDER RIDES AGAIN

  • 30. Lev  |  January 1st, 2012 at 8:32 am

    There was lot of ‘new shit coming to light’ – to quote the Dude – over a decade ago. I won’t mention any names of any particular films in order to avoid the onslaught of some snotty film-connoisseur-wanker, but what I’m trying to say is: there was a lot of promise in the air. Then something happened. It’s just been an egregious decline for the last decade. Sometimes watching a contemporary main stream flick feels like watching a Monty Python skit without a punchline. (The Help, Adjustment Bureau, Love Letters to Juliet.) This stuff is beyond bad, it’s perplexingly inhumane. It’s like something produced by an alien race. Speaking of other races, though, the over-hyped Asian films that I’ve seen have mostly been just plain retarded. It would be hard to imagine an Asian version of the Coen brothers. Asian filmmakers are too much into eye-candy, sentimentality, fancy coreography and masturbation fantasies.

  • 31. Karl Farts 3148  |  January 1st, 2012 at 9:00 am

    thank you eileen. the only movie reviewer who matters.

  • 32. radii  |  January 1st, 2012 at 11:08 am

    @ Zadig @ Lev

    there is a reason why storytelling is so awful in American films, and it’s not just due to the marketing dept. demanding it all be dumbed-down for mass-appeal

    Gen-X and Gen-Y – they have nothing to say … you have to have a point-of-view (and passion for politics to have a point-of-view) to say anything meaningful … these rank poseurs who make films today are content to just draw caricatures or outlines of characters and call it a day because, hey, they “get it” and don’t need all that backstory and “depth” as they check their smart-phone for the latest inane text they got … and Gen-X and Gen-Y are calling the shots now at many studios (nepotism reigns) and these smug industry children grew up in a bubble of fake so why would they have any passion about anything nor understanding of anything … most of what is interesting in American film these days is pulled from other sources: comic books, graphic novels, graphic arts … don’t expect it to get any better anytime soon with all the idiot hipsters graduating from film school factories making our movies

  • 33. This Is The End  |  January 1st, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks Eileen. What a lot of shit this year was. Friends have been telling me it was over for about the last 5 years but there was always just barely enough cohens or minor surprises by random older auteurs to keep me coming back, but this year was just fucking barren. Especially depressing how shitty stuff was by generally interesting people like Bruce Robinson, Gus vs, Alexander Payne, malik, scorsese, cronenberg, etc. If those guys can’t get it done then it probably is over. And then there’s the inexplicable popularity of 6s on a good day like Hathaway mulligen, Jennifer lawrence and the olsen girl. Is that really the best we have for young acting talent? Maybe the Worst offender is that disgusting sundance circle jerk that churns out self congratulatory pap like Martha Marcy, winters bone, meeks, take shelter whatever. I’d rather watch war horse than that crap. only 3 decent films I saw all year: margaret, the guard, and weekend. But I also stayed away mostly so I’m sure I missed things. Anybody have any recs? Here’s hoping 2012 doesn’t suck quite so much.

  • 34. Haterade  |  January 1st, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I was really hoping you’d give MI4 a good trashing. But why waste the electricity…

  • 35. fajensen  |  January 2nd, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Tony Ichiban

    There’s lots of good shit coming out of South Korea. Check out The Chaser,

    Totally. Korea is on a roll right now. I liked “Old Boy” also. Especially the epic hammer fight scene.

    BTW: While the The Chaser is excellent, it is not safe to watch it when depressed.

    Koreans have “a thing” with hammers.

  • 36. Petkov  |  January 2nd, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Stop reviewing USA movies and concentrate on exclusively reviewing movies from other countries. Problem solved.
    Everyone knows USA movies are crap. They have always been crap anyway except for a few moments in the late 1960s-early 1970s. So why even bother?

  • 37. Dennis Redmond  |  January 2nd, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Personally, I haven’t been able to stomach a mainstream Hollywood product for about three years now. The symptoms include irritation, flinching, revulsion, disgust, and finally the overpowering urge to throw my TV out the window.

    Forget Hollywood.

    Stick with Bollywood, anything from the BRICs or their geopolitical neighborhoods, and videogames.

  • 38. guesto  |  January 2nd, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Spielberg picks “new talent” about as well as the Letterman show picks “new bands.”

    Who’s responsible for the lousy bands, Dave? Shaffer?

  • 39. Mantrid  |  January 2nd, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    But Dieter Laser says that America is the peak in film art.

  • 40. Wyse Guy  |  January 3rd, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I wonder what Eileen made of “Let The Right One In” or “Let Me In” or the other Chloe Moretz vehicle “Kick Ass”. With her last movie reference Eileen showed she isn’t beyond preteens being involved in violence or foreign films, so it would be nice to see if these could fend off her impending suicide.

    I know for a fact that the Exile still seems to approve of Sweden, so this quote [Source: http://www.acidemic.com/id152.html ] on “Let the Right One In” might seem relevant if anybody ever wishes to perform a Scandinavian pagan resurrection ritual on Hollywood:

    “What made the Swedish version an art house hit was its willingness to go in a dozen directions most vamp films fear to tread, with kids no less–America’s most idolized demographic!– even as it tore vampire mythologies down to logical anachronisms as if embarrassed by them.

    Let’s hope producers of the future realize new, brave directions are what gets noticed”

  • 41. Trevor  |  January 3rd, 2012 at 9:24 am

    All the bad parts in Girl With The Dragon Tattoo are the fault of the source material. It is not deep or complex, just heavily padded. Steig Larsson wrote a 600 page spank fantasy about some idolized punk chick then had to go and die, ensuring literary success equivalent to Stephanie Meyer. Which is a good comparison since both worked in over-written erotica.

  • 42. Nosferatu  |  January 3rd, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    In the entire history of global cinema, there have been only two films of note. The first is at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035372/ I can’t remember the second . . . but it was really good.

  • 43. Matt  |  January 3rd, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    More than one good movie came out this year, although Rango was one of my favorites as well. Take Shelter was great, I liked Martha Marcy May Marlene a lot… The Artist is pretty good too.

    Also Radii’s post was the best joke I’ve read in days, thanks for that

  • 44. franc black  |  January 4th, 2012 at 9:03 am

    It’s too bad you wasted so much space War Horse, a movie that I never intended to ever see.

    Mission Impossible was OK, except for the old man antagonist who actually kicks Tom Cruise’s ass, and that dumb robotic cart and chain mail suit magnetic repulsion thingie.

    Sherlock was fun to watch, especially the first half. The homo innuendo with Watson was annoying. The plot was good and quite credible.

    Just saw the Swedish version of Tattoo and thought it was brilliant. I’ll read the book before I watch the Hollywood version. There’s a trend in ‘fighting heroine’ movies, and this character seems credible, meaning, she loses the hand-to-hand combat against males unless she has a tech trick up her sleeve, which she usually does – and knows how to use it.

    Brighten up, Eileen, it’s 2012 and the Age of Aquarius is just around the corner !

  • 45. jimmythehyena  |  January 7th, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I think it’s important to warn you that suicide by gunshot is not always fatal. Think about the strange gurgling sounds that the Björk stalker made after he shot himself in the mouth. Doesn’t sound like he was having a good time. And how about that heavy metal kid who tried to kill himself with a shotgun but just ended up blowing his face off and living to make grotesque anti-metal videos and I think bring some kind of lawsuit against someone.

  • 46. Flatulissimo  |  January 8th, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    #4 and #35 -

    I watched The Chaser because it was streaming on Netflix, was Korean, and was mentioned here.

    What a steaming pile. I never needed to see another serial killer movie again, and yet here’s another one.

    Yeah, the same movie made in America would’ve been way worse, and probably unwatchable (jeebus help us if there is an Amurkin remake), but The Chaser still wasn’t anything special. Korean films usually look great and are well-acted, and are a cut above Hollywood shlock, but a serial killer movie is still a serial killer movie. At least it was better than Gothika, but lets agree to leave the serial killer as an easy antagonist and plot device back in the 90′s where he fucking belongs, along with se7en, Silence of the Lambs, and old issues of little Jimmy Goad’s Answer Me.

  • 47. gary  |  January 10th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    yea,so we all need to watch hindi movies,bollywood,korean,russians,whatever…you guys are just as bad as those silly movie reviewers who insist we see a movie about portugal that is four hours long….almost everyones top ten has a few foreign films tha no one has seen or should see…and yes winters bone was a good movie an jennifer lawrence was great

  • 48. whydoucare  |  April 30th, 2013 at 9:39 am

    wait, so you’re not killing yourself? what a shame


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