The Cinephile: Can't miss films at the Hop
Courtesy Of The Associated Press
Between the Dartmouth Film Society’s amazing “End of Times” series and the Loew Auditorium’s indie offerings, your dreary Winter term just got a little brighter. I’ve compiled a list of the gems of this term’s film offerings below based on general themes. So get out of bed, log off of Netflix and go watch films in brilliant 35 mm anamorphic.
The Oscar Hopefuls (by date): Oscar ballots have just closed, and the guessing game is now on. Based on my embarrassing amounts of research, silent black-and-white film "The Artist" (2011) is predicted to be the frontrunner for Best Picture, among others. After winning the Golden Globe, Martin Scorcese will be a strong contender for Best Director for his ode to film restoration, "Hugo" (2011), and film students will love all the wink-winks to concepts they’ve studied in class. He will compete with Alexander Payne, director of "The Descendents" (2011), which also features strong performances from George Clooney and Shailene Woodley. Finally, the Hopkins Center offers a fabulous chance to actually see the Oscar-nominated shorts on two consecutive days in February, which you absolutely cannot miss.
The Subversive: Some of these art cinema flicks will push the limits of what you may consider commercially acceptable fare (i.e. you have to look away sometimes, but you can’t stop thinking about them later). Novelist Julia Leigh’s directorial debut "Sleeping Beauty" (2011) caused controversy at Cannes with its stark depiction of one college student’s disturbing foray into the business of desire. Legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog’s "Into the Abyss" (2011) documents the last days of a death row inmate, as well as the federal execution system that terminates his life and the perspective of his victim’s family. Finally, the hyper-violent Spanish film "The Last Circus" (2010) plays on the common fear of clowns, allegorizing fascist Spain with circus madness.
The Modern Classics: As mentioned in an earlier post, Kenneth Lonergen’s "Margaret" (2011) has divided critics. Half say it is the greatest American film of the year and others claim it’s a brilliant mess — decide for yourself. The wonderful, apocalyptic "Children of Men" (2006) envisions a universe in which women are unable to have children, while the German black-and-white horror drama "The White Ribbon" (2009) studies evil and violence in a strictly religious community.
Go Watch It in 35 mm Just Because You Can: Watch the Odessa steps sequence in Sergei Eisenstein’s uber-classic "Battleship Potemkin" (1925) and the violent Prohibition gangster drama of Howard Hawks’ "Scarface" (1983) in glorious widescreen. If you’re interested in more recent fare, check out Steven Spielberg’s latest, the sentimental "War Horse" (2011), which contains a battle scene many critics say trumps the Normandy beach sequence in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998). And Tomas Alfredson’s "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011) assembles perhaps the best cast of British male actors in recent history to weave a classic spy tale.