Sunday, January 01, 2012

Wrapping up the 2011 capsule movie reviews

E.T.: Visibly from Spielberg's postmodernist period, as he inverts the tropes of 1950s alien-invasion B-movies in both plot and visual terms, with the alien as childlike and vulnerable, and the Earth authorities portrayed as invading, faceless spacesuits. Detracted from by the annoying squeaky voice of the hero child, the product placement, the shameless underuse of Peter Coyote, and the climax of the film, which went on way too long, was far too maudlin, and was, frankly, hackneyed.

Sarah Palin: You Betcha!: On-the-fringes documentary as the filmmaker, failing to get an interview with Palin herself, constructs the process of trying to do so into a sinister portrait of the failed Governor of Alaska as a bullying, selfish creature not above backstabbing those who helped her get into power. At the time of writing Gingrich has just declared that he would like her as a running-mate.

Dancer in the Dark: A film which breaks every single rule of filmmaking, and makes it work. Tragic, yet somehow also beautiful and uplifting.

Dorian Gray: Takes rather a lot of subtext and, unfortunately, makes it text. With a tragically uncharismatic Dorian and a curiously unhomoerotic Henry.

Movie count for 2011: 128