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Month in Review: November 2011

by on 2011/11/30

Twelve months ago, I nearly exhausted my trove of World War II videos. This year, for November, we celebrated a different remembrance. Memory movies checked the (often heavily-weighted) “pun” criterion, and allowed me to gather some favourites to review.

As usual, time and the realities of life precluded doing them all, so I was careful to limit myself: no dreamscapes, virtual worlds, or delusions, if I could help it at all.

(Some of the ones I missed will get a chance in the months to come.)

The Catch-22 of memory stories is, more often than not, they seem to contain a “twist”. In the case of those videos I hadn’t seen before, I didn’t want to spoil the fun, so you may find some overlap with the above exclusions.

Another characteristic which I noticed in most of these efforts was the extent to which the medium reflected its message. Certainly action films tend to be edited more energetically than dramas, and many horror films place the watcher in a first person point of view. In these “memory” movies, however, the narrative structure itself (as well as audio-visual techniques) were just as often altered to suit the theme.

To put it in cynical terms, they can seem kind of gimmicky.

Here then is my list of gimmicks for November 2011: favourites, surprises, disappointments, least-liked, and a yet-unseen pick from one of Grushenka’s memorable reviews…

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) on 2011/11/27

* * * * *

“Who is the audience for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Yes, it’s end-to-end brilliant, but its very effectiveness must make it a trial for the solitary, and a test for the connected.”

Honourable Mention
Mulholland Drive (2001) on 2011/11/30

Solaris (2002) on 2011/11/25

* * * *

“Cameron and Soderbergh’s work will have little appeal to the ‘blockbuster’ masses. Some will call it careful, perhaps even slow. Solaris is less romantic than it hopes to be; nonetheless, I was enormously satisfied to contemplate its questions, not just ‘What is real?’ but ‘What is reality?'”

Shutter Island (2010) on 2011/11/11

* *

Shutter Island is an affair too smitten with its single climactic twist. Unfortunately, that moment will be a revelation to few, given the early, obvious, and constant scattering of foreshadowing and clues. It takes well over two hours to reach what is obvious from the start. No amount of style could distract from such a waste of precious time.”

50 First Dates (2004) on 2011/11/16

* *

“I assumed 50 First Dates was a romantic comedy. It’s barely romantic, and even less comedic. It makes me wish for a case of amnesia.

“You need only know, this trifle is a low-grade Groundhog Day gone terribly, terribly wrong.”

Show Me
The Number 23 (2007) on 2011/11/13

* * *

“There’s an interesting film underneath all that Jim Carrey. I learned that mixing Jim Carrey with a sexy psychological thriller is like combining peanut butter and lighter fluid.

“Two great tastes that taste . . . garg.”

From → Hacker Renders, list

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