Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sarah Jesse's tops in 2011

Originally from the mean suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, Sarah Jesse is Director of Community and School Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Sarah is especially fond of documentaries, dramas and good romantic comedies. Regular readers will recognize her name [often shortened to SJ] on CineRobot, as she watched 106 movies with me in 2011. Go here to read her picks from last year. Below is the movie related questionnaire that people have been answering.

If you could transport yourself into any movie in history and live the rest of your life in the story, what film would it be? Annie Hall

Name the last film you can remember that made you cry? Buck

First film you remember seeing in a theatre when you were a kid? The Land Before Time in 1988. I was 8.

First movie star you had a crush on? Christian Bale in Newsies in 1992. My twin sister Amanda and I both had it bad for Christian after seeing Newsies.

What % of the films you see in a theatre with Joshua does he make you worry he will get into a confrontation over noise, talking, texting or other bad behavior by fellow theatre goers? 90%

Here's Sarah's favorites for 2011 in alphabetical order.

Another Earth: Don’t be fooled by the sci-fi-heavy trailer. The story focuses much more on human aspects—the desperate need to maintain hope, loss of innocence, wasted potential and forgiveness. It is fascinating and thought provoking.

The Artist: This was nothing like the boring, silent films I endured in college. I was completely blown away by handsome Jean Dujardin, adorable Berenice Bejo and, of course, Uggie the dog. The film takes the best aspects of an films from the era—tap dancing, old-Hollywood glamour—and freshens them up in a delightful story.

Beginners: Such a sweet film. Ewan McGregor and Melanie Laurent have wonderful chemistry and one of the best “meet-cutes” I’ve seen in a long time.  [I have to give CineRobot credit for that line in a past post.]

Bill Cunningham New York: Illuminating and slightly melancholic portrait of the eccentric recluse behind the street style and society sections of the New York Times.

Buck: A touching portrait of a real-life horse whisperer, Buck Brannaman. First time director Cindy Meehl sensitively captures the empathy Buck has for “horses with people problems” and makes an authentic, riveting film.

Corman’s World: I’ve never seen a Roger Corman film and don’t know that I ever will—yet I loved this documentary.  I was cracking up over the hilarious stories about Corman recounted by now-famous actors and directors who worked on movies he produced. It’s not all jokes though, as Director Alex Stapleton [rightfully] pays homage to the prolific filmmaker too.

Drive: Sexy, cool, slick and stylish. Pure escapism.

Pariah: A brave story about a girl’s identity struggle in the glare of a conservative upbringing. There are no outright villains in this complex story though, and that’s what makes it good. I found myself feeling compassion for both the young girl and the mother who can’t accept her.

We Need To Talk About Kevin: Tilda Swinton is extraordinary in this film that will make anyone question the desire to have kids! It’s a slow burner that will affect you long after the closing credits.    

50/50: Tricky subject matter adeptly handled with surprising levity and gravity.


Eva said...

I share some of my, favourites with you for sure. And Another Earth I saw only just now, a couple of days ago, loved it, had to wait for me to come by Netflix. The Bill Cunningham documentary I saw some time this summer - very interesting! I loved how he knocked even some of the great old Hollywoods dames, saying he could not care less because they don't have style, are only well put together, but aren't interesting or singular.
50/50 and Drive I missed somehow at the cinema, probably when I was sick again, but they are already are on the top of My Netflix list anyway, can't wait.

Michelle said...

I have a lot of movies to catch up with you and with Eva (comment below)... I did see Another Earth and I agree - good movie. Amazing scene with a guy playing a saw - how many movies have that?! This scene is on the composer's website if you want to see/hear it again.

SJ said...

Good call, Michelle! Thanks for the tip.
Eva: agreed! Just b/c you got money does not mean you got taste. Anyone can hire a great stylist and buy expensive clothes--it's what you do with with the pieces that counts.

Eva said...

hey you know what - my mom arrived here today from Germany, haven't see her in almost a year! I did manage to catch The Artist a few weeks ago in Arizona, but I am thinking I'll take my mom to see it here, too - her English is only so-so and the real impediment is she is hard of hearing - but hey, The Artist is perfect for that! Don't really need English, don't need hearing :)This will be the first time she'll willingly come along to a cinema with me here in the States.

Rumblefish said...

I think it's really interesting that Another Earth is ending up on some critics' "Best of" lists and also some "Worst of" lists. I don't think it deserves the "Worst of" ones, but it's strange how people have such strong reactions to it, one way or the other. I loved that scene with the saw. I was happy to see William Mapother get to play a good guy for once.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

I too love a good saw solo, ha.

And take your mom to see the ARTIST Eva!