Weekly Update: This week I caught up on some 2016 releases that just became available to me.
Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
53. Beware the Slenderman (2016)
This HBO documentary follows the tragic and horrifying true story of a pair of suburban Wisconsin 12 year old girls who attempted to stab their friend to death. The girls claimed to be doing the bidding of “Slenderman” a mythical creature invented by fiction writers on the internet on scary story forums. Slenderman’s popularity among the internet generation is explored as the first boogeyman of their era, but the real meat of the story is that of two deeply-disturbed girls, and how their path fell so far.
54. Doggie Woggiez, Poochie Woochiez (2012)
This feature-length film collage uses video clips of dogs from movies, TV, and VHS tapes in an effort to parody Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain... And it kind of works. Both films are a sort of spiritual experience, though one searches for God whereas another searches for dog. Bizarrely funny and brain-melting at the same time.
55. When the Levees Broke (2006)
A 4-act documentary film by director Spike Lee that serves as the definitive document of Hurricane Katrina as it affected the area of New Orleans. While over a decade has passed since Katrina, this film is as relevant as ever. Lee takes a hands-off approach, mostly staying behind the camera and allowing the citizens of NOLA to tell their stories raw.
56. Toni Erdmann (2016)
When Winfried Conradi’s dog passes away, he needs a chance of scenery, and is anxious to try and re-connect with his daughter Ines, who lives and works in Bucharest, Romania. Without any announcement he shows up and begins hanging around Ines, who definitely does not want him around. Winfried is undeterred, though, and begins a campaign of harassment to get her to notice him, including putting on a horrific wig and showing up at parties and business events of hers as “Toni Erdmann”. “Awkward” is the word to describe the humor in this film, and the weirder it gets the better. The film’s climax is not to be missed, and I cannot imagine how they could even approach it in the American version that was announced recently.
57. Elle (2016)
Elle is brutally held down and raped by a masked intruder, and suspects that it could be any number of people she knows. However, a poor past experience with police and media leads her to brush herself off and return to work, making only private inquiries into the assault, in between handling personal drama with her family, friends and work. Not that Elle isn’t interested in catching her attacker, but she wants everything to happen on her terms. The latest film by Paul Verhoeven, Elle is everything his fans have come to expect; the movie is daring and darkly comic, particularly when dealing with material that is disturbing.
58. Land of Mine (2016)
After WWII was over, Denmark forced thousands of German soldiers, to stay behind and clear mines from their shores. Land of Mine tells the story of a group of these soldiers and their relationship with the Danish Sergeant assigned to guarding/training them for mine-clearing duty. The film doesn’t mince words or actions; the mine-clearing duty inflicted massive casualties and the tension is built into every scene.
59. Things (1989)
I have experienced Things… You should experience Things too. But be warned, once you experience Things, you’ll never be the same again.
60. A Monster with a Thousand Heads (2016)
Desperate to get her insurance company to sign off on paying for her husband’s cancer treatments, a woman pulls a gun and takes hostages to force her way through. But even with the threat of violence at hand, she must still navigate the labyrinthine approval process, and gradually becomes more and more unglued. This is a depressing and tense thriller with excellent cinematography.