Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Five little films that could...

5 of the best films this year were serious ventures with big ambitions but slight budgets. Don't let these indie gems fall under your radar.


Dogtooth takes a simple and elegant premise and makes it believable and disturbing-- Can mom and dad keep the influence of the great big scary world out of their children's reach? Maybe all it takes is a really tall fence and lots and lots of absurd and bewildering lies. What about when the children begin to come into adulthood? Oh, What tangled webs we weave.

Blue Valentine

Much like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Blue Valentine takes a relationship's sweet beginnings and juxtaposes them with it's painful and awkward disillusion. More like A Woman Under the Influence, it removes all barriers to its realism and plays the notes as earnestly as possible. What it amounts to is a powerful warts and all emotional experience that nearly won it an NC-17 rating for an "emotionally intense sex scene."


Greenberg is smart, but not as smart as he thinks. Life continues to clue him into this and he keeps refusing to listen. He casts nervous aggression haphazardly in all directions scoring a few hits but mostly missing his aim. He's the defensive little egoist many of us know and many of us are. Director Noah Baumbach(Squid and the Whale) and Ben Stiller bring this little monster to life with uncanny precision.

Winter's Bone

In our little corner of the woods...perhaps a little further into the woods, a desperate young woman and her derelict uncle are forced to confront a cadre of grizzled drug runners in order to save the family homestead her meth cook father put up as bond before disappearing. Her heroic story is set against a stark Ozark winter that hits every dismal detail on it's rotten toothless head.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Fiercely Anonymous street artist Banksy plays puppeteer with a terrible little protege and perhaps the audience as well to ask a well crafted question about art and authenticity.

Of course there's also that insufferable big budget success from the Memento guy that despite it's being completely uninteresting and unimportant, never the less, has sparked more controversy and debate than we've seen sense the original Matrix. But, alas, my tastes are too refined. A great film cannot be properly enjoyed unless only a few people can enjoy it.

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