USER’S GUIDE: Films were cut from the list that did not play Baltimore, even if they were worth noting. Revivals were excluded. Charm City Cineaste is a blog where I keep track of all the movies I see. Quotes are from said blog.
1. The Act of Killing
I am fortunate when I get to see a film that shakes me to my very core. This doc about the proud enactors of genocide, re-enacting their grisly work in order to make a “Hollywood” action drama out of their stories, is such a film. Hard to describe, hard to watch, definitely worth seeing.
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
A three hour thrill-ride through the story of America’s fail/fall, the rapacious greed and contempt for the law in our cultural DNA going full blast as we go over the cliff time and time again, each one thinking they got it over on the other one. The story of a life I would never want to lead, knowing full well so many wish to live it.
3. I Used to Be Darker
“I Used to Be Darker filled the Charles’ Theater One to the gills, chairs being brought in to accommodate the overflow. A direct hit on someone like myself who spends so much time among musicians and someone who has a similar ‘lost summer’ in his past. The scene filmed in the Copy Cat building was note perfect, abstracted just enough to come alive. Another accomplished and stunning film from Baltimore’s own Matthew Porterfield.”– Films Viewed, May 2013
4. Post Tenebras Lux
“Post Tenebras Lux was another head-scratcher from Carlos Reygadas. A family of means navigates familial tensions and class divisions in the Mexican countryside, but to figure that out you have to navigate the prism that is the film. The kind of envelope-pushing cinema I would like to see more of on screens in Baltimore.”– Films Viewed, May 2013
5. Computer Chess
“Computer Chess was pegged as a comedy winner, and it certainly delivered. A group of nerds of various stripes gather in the 1980s to see who will be the next computer chess champion. A quantum leap for director Andrew Bujalski made possible by an amazing ensemble cast. The gamble of shooting with vintage video equipment pays off handsomely.” - Films Viewed, May 2013
6. Frances Ha
I am excited whenever Noach Baumbach directs a film, and I am excited whenever Greta Gerwig is featured in a film. This team up is note-perfect comedy, capturing a time in life most know or know about, to be adrift, in search of yourself. As a person in my thirties, I can still relate to this story of someone in their twenties.
7. Paradise: Faith
“Paradise: Faith was the one from the recent Ulrich Seidl trilogy at the MFF 2013 that fit my schedule. An uber-Catholic woman tries to ‘make Austria Catholic again’ by going door to door with her statue of the Virgin Mary. Violent and disturbing complications arise when her paraplegic Muslim husband returns home from abroad. With John Waters as host, another perfect 'date movie from hell' was achieved.” – Films Viewed, May 2013
8. Blue is the Warmest Color
A love story, boldly and explicitly told. The talk of the cinematic town at one point this year. Two young French women fall into a relationship and fall out of it, the story given time to build and grow. I forgave the film’s flaws due to its strengths and enjoyed participating in the conversations over its many controversies.
9. Museum Hours
My original headline-style write-up, “LONELY MAN MEETS A LONELY WOMAN IN ART MUSEUM; LANGUOROUS WONDERFUL CINEMA ENSUES,” pretty much nails it (Films Viewed, October 2013). Director Jem Cohen does a bang-up job of capturing two lives intersecting in an art museum, the dramas you imagine playing out as you drift around on a museum visit given life.
“Lore has a tactical advantage in that it is a story rarely told, that of the children of the Third Reich following the end of World War II. A young woman attempts to get her siblings to safety in a hostile, collapsing environment. Lots of decay and death lots of psycho-sexual situations. How this stiff drink of a film lasted as long as it did at the Charles is beyond me.”- Films Viewed, March 2013