Stake Land (Jim Mickle, 2010). Somebody’s been watching Terrence Malick movies, and it’s rubbing off the right way. The film is more than a little like The Road with a vampire plague blighting the land, and it gets a lot of things very right – especially issues of tone and mood.
Outrage (Takeshi Kitano, 2010). Right about the time you get to the dentist office scene you realize this movie’s going all the way; when Kitano’s character says, “Give me a knife and some string,” it probably won’t turn out well. Because it’s a complicated yakuza number, it’s almost impossible to follow, but all the back-and-forth appears to be in place. (full review 12/16)
I Melt with You (Mark Pellington, 2011). American males, disappointed with their lives, wallowing in bad habits – not the only bad habits on display here. (full review 12/16)
Trollhunter (Andre Øvredal, 2010). There’s top-notch troll lore included, and just enough of a supporting web to make you feel like you’re in the midst of something big going on. There’s still some life left in the “found camcorder footage” tactic, too.
Dragnet 1968: The Big Neighbor (Jack Webb, 1967) and Dragnet 1970: A.I.D.: The Weekend (Jack Webb, 1970). One of those channels at the end of the dial showed these back-to-back on Saturday. Tribute to Harry Morgan or just regular programming? Both episodes had Friday going over to Gannon’s house (for dinner and a football game in one episode, for a bachelor weekend in the other), with the emphasis on domestic comedy and jibes at Friday’s single status. Lots of free-floating weirdness when the series loses its procedural backbone: two men awkwardly stalking around a late-60s California house set, relaxing in white dress shirts and ties, speaking in the syncopated Dragnet give-and-take… all the while the hippies and the beatniks are present by their absence, just outside in the formless SoCal streets, plotting be-ins and Manson killings.
At What a Feeling!, a vintage review of Lasse Hallstrom’s My Life as a Dog, a huge foreign-film hit in the Eighties.