Lita On Film

Posts Tagged ‘Weekend’

Trivial Top Ten

In Film News, Film Reviews, Netflix Recommendations on December 27, 2011 at 12:05 am

As the year draws to a close, I feel the annual urge to post my own Trivial Top Ten–a list not exhaustive by any means, but more a private crib sheet of my personal favorites from the past 12 months.

My perpetual caveat: there are SO MANY films I haven’t yet seen, many of which would probably end up on a more professional, exhaustive list, so don’t hold that against me.  These are just the ten films I enjoyed the most/found the most interesting over the past year.  Notes as to how you can see each of them are included, as are links to my own reviews of each title, as applicable.  Enjoy!  🙂

  1. MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE – Read my review here!  See the official site for screening locations.
  2. WEEKEND – Read my review here!  Now available on NETFLIX streaming!
  3. SHE MONKEYS – Read my review here!  See the official site here…so far, no distribution in the USA, but keep your fingers crossed.  Whet your appetite with the trailer (here)!
  4. SHAME – Read my review here!  Visit the official site here to find where it’s playing near you!  Beware, its NC-17 rating has made it difficult to find outside of major cities and art houses.  You may have to make a pilgrimage for this one, but it’s worth it, I promise.
  5. INSIDIOUS – Read my review here!  Ok, I know it technically came out last year, but it made such an impression on me–and I was so late in finally seeing it–that I felt it was worth adding to this list.  Plus, genuinely good horror films are so few and far between these days that one practically has to reach back a year or two to be able to recommend anything good.  Available on NETFLIX streaming!
  6. LAST NIGHT – Another Tribeca premiere that still made it to this list about 9 months later.  A truly excellent romantic drama starring Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington as a couple who married too young and are struggling with the consequences.  Great acting, tight direction and a fast pace keep the tension crackling in this sexy ensemble drama.  Available on NETFLIX streaming!
  7. DRIVE – Ok, I got to this one late as well, but it was so worth it.  Check out Kevin Bowen’s review over on Screen Comment for a full rundown, and the official site for screening locations near you.
  8. BUCK – Read my review here!  Now available on NETFLIX streaming!
  9. ANGELS CREST – Read my review here!  See the official site for release dates and screening venues.
  10. TROLLHUNTER – Read my review here!  Now available on NETFLIX streaming!

What were your favorite (or least favorite) films of 2011?  What were some that should have been on my list?  Let me know!

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Weekend – P-Town 2011

In Film Reviews on July 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

Andrew Haigh’s film “Weekend” is many things: shocking (to straight audiences), bold, honest, tender, brave. I never thought a film that starts in a thumping gay club on a Friday night would turn out to be as amazing and affecting as something by Almodovar or Bertolucci.

“Weekend” follows Russell (Tom Cullen), a young gay man a little uncomfortable with himself, as he picks up and spends a weekend with Glen (Chris New), who rails against the second-class status of gays in Britain and, we soon find out, is moving to the US in two days. Even though they know nothing can come of their brief encounter, Russell and Glen end up, against their best intentions, falling for each other.

Russell and Glen (and “Weekend” itself) are extremely self-aware, constantly questioning their own motivations and how they’re perceived by others (including the audience). There is no sentimentality here, no trying to fit a gay story into a straight paradigm (when Russell follows Glen to the train station to see him off, Glen greets him with “Is this your “Notting Hill” moment?”). But, at the same time, “Weekend” isn’t so cynical that it’s incapable of showing its characters’ feelings for each other. It’s simply unflinchingly honest about their lives—everything from their childhoods to their sexual habits are discussed in detail, with an openness that you’d never see in a typical (straight) rom-com.

This viewing experience was unlike anything I’d ever been to before: there may have been one or two other women in the audience, but I didn’t see any of them. Of course, seeing this film in Provincetown (a gay Mecca) was the definition of preaching to the choir—a moment early on when Glen wears a “Provincetown” T-shirt brought a burst of joyous giggles. But it seemed like the men in the audience were both analyzing “Weekend” critically as well as seeing their own experiences in it. At the end, there was appreciative applause, but it was muted—it was clear that everybody left the theater with lots of food for thought.

 

“Weekend” goes boldly where “Brokeback Mountain” feared to tread. I really hope this film gets distributed in the US—this is a truly wonderful, important work that all cinephiles owe it to themselves to see.

P-Town Festival Roundup

In Film News, Film Reviews on June 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Commercial Street, P-Town's main drag

Well, the 13th annual Provincetown International Film Festival was wonderful.  Though there were a few organizational hiccups (people got turned away from screenings because they ran out of seats, etc.), this festival is just as fun as a big-city event like Tribeca but with none of the corporate stuffiness or commercialized hype from sponsors.  Sure, we got HBO swag bags, but that was about it.  The general air was fun, happy, excited–everything you’d hope for.  And since this fest took place in glorious P-Town, as the locals call it, there was plenty of sun and sand (and restaurants, shops and drag shows) to enjoy between screenings.

At the Friday screening of "Weekend"

The five films I ended up seeing (I had planned to see eight, but time constraints and one overbooked screening conspired against me) turned out to be a great mixture and representative of the festival’s overall quality: “Higher Ground,” “Weekend,” “Happy, Happy,” “Buck,” and “On The Ice.”  (Reviews to follow!)  “Buck” ended up winning the HBO Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature, and Vera Farmiga, director and star of “Higher Ground,” was honored with this year’s Excellence in Acting Award.  Other award recipients for 2011 were Darren Aronofsky (Filmmaker on the Edge Award) and Albert Maysles (Career Achievement Award).  Like the fest and P-Town itself, the honorees represent a diverse range of expertise and experience, all bringing their own unique brand of brilliance to their work.

The press lounge at Gabriel's Inn - great snacks!

As a whole, the festival was excellent.  The staff and volunteers were welcoming and accessible, and I really got the feeling that they were genuinely excited about and dedicated to making the fest as good as it possibly could be.  Other audience members I chatted with (not press, just regular civilians) all seemed in line with this tide of enthusiasm; they were all thrilled to have such a great cultural event taking place in their town, and relished the opportunity to see such great films right in their own backyards.

Postcard-perfect P-town

All in all, I declare P-Town 2011 a complete success.  Looking forward to coming back next year!