Annis Faris' Awkward Third in I Give it A Year
Because she has to pay the bills like anybody else, Anna Faris has been in more than a few movies which trade on her looks while squandering her considerable comedic talents — The House Bunny, Movie 43, the first four Scary Movie installments, and other things nearly as dire. But the acerbic British comedy I Give It a Year serves her well, downplaying her sexuality to near-mousy levels while emphasizing her comic timing, and she walks away with a film which is very funny in its own right. Faris' high point is her character's low: finding herself in an unexpected threesome, one which has no room for her. "Chloe's coming aboard!"
The Aging Metalheads of Museum Hours
Jem Cohen's Museum Hours is a quiet, near-mumblecore film about, among many other things, the friendship between a Viennese museum guard (Bobby Sommer) and a visiting Canadian (Mary Margaret O'Hara), neither of whom are young but who aren't quite old-old yet, either. In one of many improvised conversations, Sommer mentions his enduring fondness for heavy metal, to which O'Hara immediately replies, "You mean like Cradle of Filth? No, that's death metal, I think." Also considered is whether Judas Priest still plays Austria, and the fact that nobody in his or her right mind doesn't like AC/DC, even those who spend their days in quiet contemplation among the Brueghel paintings.
The Clock's Ability to Tell Time in a New Way
All this seasonal recap hysteria can be fun and festive, but nowhere was the movie love more teeming this year than in early April, when SFMOMA at last acquired Christian Marclay's The Clock, a 24-hour montage of shots of timepieces from across filmdom which happened by design to tell the actual time. How dreamlike and easy it was to flow between eras, styles, languages, narratives — the narrative-ness itself being what always draws us into movies after all. That, and the sense of time slipping away, of course.
Sweating Through Sun Don't Shine
It came and went rather quickly from those few American movie screens lucky enough to have it, but Sun Don't Shine sure did leave a lasting impression. From writer-producer-editor-director Amy Seimetz, this impressively assured feature debut, a spare neo-noir thriller, involves a desperate young couple on a clammy Florida road trip. The film has its turns of plot, but it's powered by characters — played by Kentucker Audley and Kate Lyn Sheil — who make every moment seem so human. A performer herself, Seimetz has been busy lately, moving so nimbly between the heavy-duty seriousness of The Killing on AMC, the dry delicacy of HBO's Christopher Guest comedy Family Tree, the self-deconstructing horror flick You're Next, and the head trip Upstream Color. It's no wonder she's also proven herself to be that increasingly rare moviemaking creature, an actor's director.