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Month in Review: September 2011

by on 2011/09/30

Our theme this month has been “Back to School”, though it might have been “Coming of Age”. I noticed a lot of overlap, but something else as well: writing these reviews feels a lot like writing essays.

There’s the research, note-taking, building an outline, organizing thoughts, developing the central theme, approach, and arguments. Emerging from university, I doubt I ever considered I’d be doing such tasks again, let alone of my own free will . . . and yet here I go again.

Be it resolved, then, these are my five for September 2011: favourites, surprises, disappointments, least-liked, and hoping to see.

And with that, school is officially out, at least — thank goodness — for me.


Favourite (tie)
Donnie Darko (2001) on 2011/09/05

* * * * *

“As soon as I saw it, I was hooked. Donnie Darko boasts a convincing reality, thematic depth, rich dialogue, an incredible cast, and probably the best use of music I’ve heard.”



Favourite (tie)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) on 2011/09/28

* * * *

“What struck me most in this viewing was how the film rewards the rewatcher. Decidedly, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is not the Dead Sea Scrolls, but I found a new depth and potential I hadn’t remembered. It succeeds on multiple levels, yet is never less than exuberant.”


Surprise
Juno (2007) on 2011/09/04

* * * *

“Juno’s relentless self-conscious quirk drove the both of us totally mad . . . but it grew on me eventually, when I found the right places to search: the supporting cast, some choice dialogue, and the occasional non-Dawson song. I’m glad I was wrong.”

Honourable Mention:
The Last Picture Show (1971) on 2011/09/30


Most Disappointing
Weird Science (1985) on 2011/09/03

* *

“Weird Science doesn’t have a clear identity, either goofy or sensitive. It’s a sad-making entry from a filmmaker whom I usually enjoy. I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. It goes far beyond disappointing, it’s among the worst I’ve seen this year.”



Least-Liked
Heathers (1988) on 2011/09/25

* *

“Heathers is overwrought, pretentious, plodding, and overlong. At so many levels, in so many ways, it’s relentlessly unpleasant. If it has a point, it has been delivered in such a misguided scattershot manner that nothing makes a significant impact, and will just as likely irritate in trying too hard.”


Show Me
Jennifer’s Body (2009) on 2011/09/10

* * * *

“Jennifer’s Body is so much more than an excuse to put the lovely Megan Fox into a cheerleader’s uniform. A twisted black comedy in the gory, sneering tradition of Ginger Snaps.”



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