Film in Review: February 2012

That time of the month.

You know, that time to go over what I watched the month before and give out awards that mean nothing, but give me an excuse to write more. It’s March 1 and it feels good to say that. I think we can all agree February is at least arguably the worst month of the year. I didn’t watch all that much this month, but I’ve made it to 30 total films in 2012, which isn’t so bad. Huge gap between Feb. 5 and Feb. 17 for whatever reason. Excuse me. But I returned with a vengeance in the second half of the month and for two months have kept my promise of reviewing everything I watch. As one Trey Anastasio of Phish always says, “Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, let’s get this show on the road.” I had to sneak a reference in here somewhere, 2012 summer tour dates were just announced.

What I Watched:

18. 2/4 – In the Loop-
19. 2/5 – Martha Marcy May Marlene* –
20. 2/17 – Contagion –
21. 2/18 – The Weather Man* –
22. 2/19 – The Big Lebowski –
23. 2/20 – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas –
24. 2/21 – Fargo –
25. 2/23 – God Forgives…I Don’t* –
26. 2/24 – This Must Be the Place* –
27. 2/24 – Buffalo’66* –
28. 2/27 – The Exterminating Angel* –
29. 2/29 – OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies* –
30. 2/29 – OSS 117: Lost in Rio* –

* denotes new viewing.

Reviews for all films listed above can be found on my Film in 2012 page.


Best Film (new viewing)The Exterminating Angel. I watched this one at the very tail end of the month and it reigned supreme over all other first time watches. Luis Buñuel’s surrealistic and magical film left my wind racing at the very end and had me pondering it for another day or two. I still really can’t get it out of my head. It’s so “out there” and above and beyond most other works that I was able to instantly fall in love. It isn’t for everyone, but it’ll challenge you if you let it try.
Runners-up: Buffalo ’66, Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Best Film (repeated viewing): Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. You had to figure it was going to be this. In months where I have a good disparity between both new and repeated viewings, I like to separate these awards. It’s going to be hard for a film I watched for the very first time to top some of my favorite films of all time and I love to give them both the respect they deserve. That said, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas gets me every time. Hunter S. Thompson is one of my idols – both in his writing and his philosophy – and I do believe both Terry Gilliam and Johnny Depp lived up to the hefty levels of brilliance the source material expects.
Runners-up: In the Loop, The Big Lebowski. 

Best Performance: Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene. I’m still complaining about her Oscar snub. The unknown Olsen sister created quite a buzz with her performance as the mentally unstable and confused Martha in Sean Durkin’s debut film. She was terrifying in so many ways and showed signs of becoming a new star of the screen with her ability to command and steal scenes. John Hawkes played alongside her in another brilliant performance, help ratcheting up one of the year’s most overlooked films.
Runners-up: Sean Penn, This Must Be the Place;  Peter Capaldi, In the Loop; Johnny Depp, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Most Underrated FilmThis Must Be the Place. I’ve heard less than zero buzz about this film and I’m still wondering why. It was made by a director who had a previous film of his nominated for an Oscar, stars Sean Penn in one of his most unusual roles and plays up one of the world’s greatest bands (Talking Heads) greatest songs (This Must Be the Place). Of course, that’s all my opinion and meaningless. I guess I can understand the alienation this film can cause. It’s weird, strange and not perfect. It’s uneven, sometimes meandering and often overly in your face with a message. But despite the areas it falters in, the entire journey really inspired me and drove me to a new level of wonderment. Penn’s performance is terrifically weird.
Runners-up: Contagion, both OSS 117 films, The Weather Man.

The One You Should Watch: OSS 117 Cairo, Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Lost in Rio. Yeah, a double feature right here. That’s exactly the way I used these two wonderfully funny spy spoof films last night. I already wrote a crap load on them and Jean Dujardin’s role in the two Bond-like films, so why don’t you just read that.
Runners-up:  In the Loop.

Most disappointingGod Forgives…I Don’t. I didn’t really have a good answer for this “award” this month, but I needed to pick something, didn’t I? I enjoyed mostly every minute of this film, but it wasn’t certainly what I expected. I was hoping a Terence Hill spaghetti western would leave me with more amazement than this one did. I guess I just didn’t realize what I was getting myself into was really a b-level B-movie. It’s still a really cool movie, but it slightly disappointed me.
Runners-up: None.

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