The Top 10 Films of 2012

Amour

One of the most depressing films I’ve ever seen, Michael Haneke’s uncompromising, unglamorous look at the end of a long and fulfilling relationship is also one of the most haunting movies I’ve seen in a really long time. Despite its title, Amour is at least as much about the indignity of death as it is the perseverance of love and the delicate Amourpersistence of life in the face of one’s own mortality. It’s a wrenching, deeply moving portrait of the end of a life-long love affair that is remarkable not only for its depth but also that the couple, Georges and Anne, have had a rather charmed life together. So it seems especially cruel that fate takes Anne not in a tragedy or in any kind of bittersweet passing but in the slow devastation of stroke. Starring titans of French cinema Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, and co-starring Isabelle Huppert as their daughter, Amour is a painfully raw and honest examination of life and death, framed by Haneke’s spare and unsparing lens.Continue reading “The Top 10 Films of 2012”

Sleepwalk with Me is a comedy about comedy about life

Do you know Mike Birbiglia? Fans of stand-up comedy should know him from his shows such as What I Should Have Said Was Nothing and Two Drink Mike. NPR listeners might recognize him from This American Life, where he contributes bits culled from his “Secret Public Journal” blog. And cinemaphiles ought to learn his name because Birbiglia is emerging as not only a top-notch writer and performer but he’s not half bad behind the camera, too. His first feature film, co-directed with Seth Barrish, also a first-timer, Sleepwalk with Me, has been a hit with audiences and critics at film festivals ever since Sundance back in January, and it’s now in theaters, cleaning up even amid otherwise dismal box office returns (we’re in for an indie renaissance not unlike what happened in the 1970’s, but that’s for later).Continue reading “Sleepwalk with Me is a comedy about comedy about life”