Hohum, the Academy Awards are over for the mostly lackluster year of 2014. Here are a few gems, very few of which were celebrated or probably even noticed by those deciding on nominees. In no particular order ...
Six short short stories of vegeance that evince a Coen brothers level of comedic tension (recall the classic bag drop off scene from The Big Lebowski
, for example). Pure cinematic bliss.
Aside from getting to see apes double-fisting arms on horseback, I loved the atypically depressing political message of this film. No matter how much a few individual apes and humans might strive to get over interpersonal problems, that doesn't mean shit in the overall scheme of things. For once, a Hollywood film portrays the problem of structural difference (the unbridgeable otherness of ape culture to what's left of humanity) instead of pasting some subjectivized problem over the gap that allows for a pat narrative resolution (more often than not in the form of a loving relation or the superhero's coup de grâce to the face).
This film has the most agonized scream I've encountered since the beginning of Cries & Whispers
. A parable for contemporary times that asks how much plastic surgery can a person have before she becomes someone else. Twin sons spend the duration of the film brutally experimenting on their mother to answer that question. Obviously, this one cuts too deep for the aging Academy. Skip the overhyped Babadook
, Goodnight Mommy
is the only dyadic familial horror film that matters.