1. The Loneliest Planet - This movie hit me hard. Really hard, in a very personal way. The movie was on my Netflix queue simply because of Gael Garcia Bernal, but then I saw the trailer and I was blown away. I watched it right after that. It's very slow moving and practically nothing happens and because of this the emphasis is on all of the "little moments". I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if I didn't find that personal connection, but because I did, I can't seem to get it out of my head. It's an odd coincidence that Bernal reminds me of an ex (mostly when he smiles, and he smiles a lot in this movie), and then the catalyst moment that changes the relationship of these two people in love reminds me of my ex even more. It's a completely different moment, but it is a reminder that your entire perception of someone can change in an instant. Taking a step back from the personal aspect, I still find it a fascinating subject matter. The idea of masculinity is explored within this relationship, as is the idea that one could fall out of love with someone just as easily as they fell in love with them. Then, it goes even deeper than that and explores attraction, because really she no longer finds him attractive after his "masculinity" is questioned, which is an interesting theory (are women more attracted to men when they feel protected by them?). Although, I personally think she was in the "wrong", as well. You should want to protect the one you love - gender does not matter. If I were in a life or death situation with a man that I love, I would protect him and I would expect him to protect me. So, for me, it's problematic that he's ok with the fact that she cowardly hides behind him. None of this makes any sense if you haven't seen the movie. Anyway, it's a beautifully haunting movie, fascinating story of a broken relationship and the scenery is just stunning. I highly recommend it.
2. Amour - I've seen this movie before...it's called "my grandparents". My grandfather died a slow, agonizing death from bone cancer, while my grandmother took care of him for years. After my grandfather passed, my grandmother had a stroke that left her right side paralyzed and she was a thousand times more stubborn than the woman in this movie. I think most people can relate to this movie, but I'm not sure why anyone would really want to watch it, let alone enjoy it. I can enjoy a depressing story as much as the next pessimist (or as I call them "realists"), but this was just too much. Watching an old woman slowly lose her mind and therefore her body, is just....ugh. Yes, it's a beautiful story of love and the responsibility that comes along with loving someone, and the acting is stunning, but it's just not a story that I want to watch for 2 hours. I think I prefer when depressing stories make me appreciate life and love, instead of one that makes me want to kill myself before I get old.
3. Trance - I was really skeptical in the beginning. Everything about it seemed really obvious, but then it twists and turns in very unexpected and brilliant ways. I had no idea how the story would come together and I was surprised by the way it ended, which it seems was Danny Boyle's intent, so I call it a success. It's mind-bending, in a very literal sense of the word. I actually want to watch it again, just to see if it actually holds up (sadly, I have a feeling that it doesn't). The movie has an automatic advantage for me, with James McAvoy. I know he's only been missing from the movie world for a few years, but it felt like forever. I don't think I've ever disliked a movie that he was in (ok, ok....maybe Penelope.) Plus, the first season of Shameless is one of my favorite seasons of television ever. I have actually refused to watch the rest of the series, because I know that him and Anne-Marie leave the show and I honestly don't think I can handle it. McAvoy is excellent here, and as the movie progresses into a hypnotic state, he exemplifies the feeling of being on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I've never really been a huge fan of Rosario Dawson, but she is strong here. I probably would have been even more engrossed if I believed in hypnosis, but I just can't. The extreme lengths this movie takes is all based on hypnosis actually working, so it's not a very realistic movie (for me), but it's still really fascinating and certainly, never boring. Also, the pubic hair thing made me laugh at loud. "How did you know?". Absolutely brilliant. It's supposed to be funny....right?
4. The Company You Keep - Really strong cast. That's probably the best thing about this movie. Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf are the "stars" of the movie (which is already a good sign, for me. I think I'm one of the few who think Shia is a really good actor. See: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints). But then the supporting cast is absolutely ridiculous: Brit Marling, Anna Kendrick, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper...should I continue? Yes. Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Terrance Howard, Brendan Gleeson. Ok. I'll stop now. I can't say that I am a huge fan of Robert Redford as a director, aside from Ordinary People, which is brilliant. The rest of his films are just sooooo slow moving. Actually, Ordinary People is a very slow movie, but it's one that is worth it. The Company You Keep is really dragged out and quite predictable. It's disguised as a political thriller, but it's really about the responsibilities one has as a parent, and once you figure that out, everything falls into place really quickly. If the film had some smarter dialogue and a faster pace, it would have been a solid movie.
5. V/H/S - This is the worst of the worst when it comes to the shaky, handheld camera gimmick. I got a headache after 15 minutes because it was so hard to focus on anything happening. From what I gather, it's about a bunch of stupid people, watching more stupid people, do stupid things. It's far from scary and even farther from being interesting. I'm not sure who I was supposed to be scared of, but for the most part the answer seems to be women (and stupid people). I like the anthology idea, and some of the stories are slightly entertaining (still not scary), but as a whole, it's a disaster. I have heard that V/H/S 2 is supposed to be better, but that's a given because it really can't get much worse.