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this month in movies: [Jun. 28th, 2004|12:00 am]
Just me.
In the last few weeks, I saw the #2 and #3 movies of 2003, according to the village voice critics poll:


Now, I -did- like the #1 Winner, Lost in Translation. # 2 is "Elephant", which seemed like an "important" film but wasn't very engaging to watch (maybe that was the point of it), as it had lots of footage of high school students walking through corridors for what seemed like 3 minute segments. "Elephant" is about Columbine and the point of it seems to be there's no tidy wrap up or reason why when something like Columbine happens. Which makes a good Existentialism 1001 term paper, but not an incredibly compelling story. Incredibly, "elephant" includes the standard "any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental" disclaimer in the credits, which I find hard to not laugh at, as there are MANY elements of the "real" Columbine story here and it's obviously a retelling, even if not meaning to be a faithful one.

So the 3rd best film of the year is "Demonlover", which I remember seeing a trailer for at some point last year, but don't even remember it coming out. It is a French film (with a few non-French actors, such as Chloe Svegny) about businessmen and women attempting to corner the market on anime Internet porn. Later, the "snuff film" aspect of online porn enters the picture and drives the action, but not like Videodrome (which was a much better film). The first hour is all corporate intrigue and backstabbing executives. After about the first hour, it turns into a seemingly different movie. People get killed for no reason. Executives involved in the deals set up in the first half change loyalty and do things that don't make sense form a love, greed, or logic point of view.

I guess I -did- like elephant better than demonlover, but that's hardly the point. Why this movie is #3 of the year (according to enough critics to make it #3) mystifies me. I wonder if I saw a different film also called Demonlover? I guess I should be wary of any critics poll where there are films in the top 10 that NO ONE I know is seeing, discussing, or liking. I mean, plenty of my friends liked American Splendor, Fog of War, and Capturing the Friedmans, but I don't remember anyone I know seeing Demonlover. So, did anybody? And did you like it?

Even the voice essay says:
Take Five's big surprise was the popularity of the mainly French-language demonlover, which finished a solid third. Olivier Assayas's hilariously self-reflexive exercise in cybergame aesthetics and image circulation was widely derided at Cannes in 2002 and passed over by the New York Film Festival. The movie always had a few strong, initially beleaguered champions; clearly, its five-minutes-into-the-future ambience and just-below-the-radar American release (complete with judicious trimming) lasered in on at least an alt-critical audience.

In conclusion, village voice critics poll is obviously on crack. Roge Ebert, voice of reason, gave demonlover 2 stars.

[User Picture]From: shadesofautumn
2004-06-28 07:58 am (UTC)
Saw Demonlover; didn't love it. Pretty much felt the same way you did.

Soundtrack provided by Sonic Youth.
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[User Picture]From: repoman
2004-06-28 08:01 am (UTC)
Demonlover...not a horrible film, but I wouldn't recommend it. I can't even see it making it into a top ten list, except for disappointment. I kinda agree with the essay, in that the first hour is engaging but then slips into that "obscura" where filmmakers hide when they lose sight of what they want to convey...or are just lost.

Elephant wasn't bad either, and I guess I can see a little more easily how it could make it onto the top 10 lists, but I wouldn't place it up there. van Sant's other 2003 film, Gerry belongs up there before Elephant.

I would have to say I'd give up the best of last year to American Spendor with Dirty Pretty Things a very close second. If you get a chance, check out i>Dirty Pretty Things</i>. They tried to sell it as a thriller but its so much more. This is one of the best films where it questions your morals, and there are no right answers...
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[User Picture]From: lara7
2004-06-28 11:45 pm (UTC)

the check is in the mail....

aka: "It's in my netflix queue". I will move it into the top 10, as I love that short gay Spanish man* and have no idea why I haven't seen this yet. Law of desire is one of my favorite movies EVAR.

*I'm so tempted here to make a good-natured jab at your brother, but I'll refrain.


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