Tuesday, January 8, 2013

THE BEST OF 2012: #16-20

#20 Sleepwalk with Me (dir. Mike Birbiglia & Seth Barrish):

Mike Birbiglia tells the film-going public the same long, rambling anecdote that he shared with the This American Life cult back in 2008 and, surprisingly, it doesn't feel like an old story.  With the help of This American Life guru Ira Glass and co-director Seth Barrish, Birbiglia's given birth to 2012's best substitution for a decent Woody Allen film.  Oh, and nobody seems to be mentioning Lauren Ambrose when writing about this movie, so let me correct that by ending this sentence with the following statement: she's very good in it.

Sleepwalk with Me is available on DVD & Blu-ray and can be streamed via Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.

#19 Compliance (dir. Craig Zobel):

Did I already say that Snowtown was the most disturbing film I saw in 2012 in that last chunk of my best of 2012 list?  Okay, it was, but, if that's the case, Craig Zobel's (The Great World of Sound) Compliance makes it in as a close second place holder.  Zobel's characters display actions that are so questionable that there were multiple times during the film that I completely lost track of the idea that the film is based on true events.  No, I did not feel good about myself or humanity after watching this film, but I couldn't shake it from memory, either.

Read my review of Compliance here

Compliance is scheduled for release on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, January 8th.

#18 The Miners' Hymns (dir. Bill Morrison):

Bill Morrison's work can be located at the intersection of the experimental and the just plain cool.  General audiences probably aren't ready for anything he's produced, but, keep in mind, such viewers are to blame for the sequels to National Treasure and Night at the Museum (yeah, you buy into that crap, and someone's always going to line up to shovel more down your throat).  Having said that, this is probably his most accessible film to date; it's the one you could watch with your dad.  With The Miners' Hymns, Morrison weaves imagery drawn from history into a mesmerizing gaze back at a time and place that's nearly unrecognizable from the present.

Read my review of The Miners' Hymns here

The Miners' Hymns is available on DVD and can be streamed via Amazon Instant Video.

#17 Beauty is Embarrassing (dir. Neil Berkeley):

Wayne White calls 'em like he sees 'em and, in Neil Berkeley's documentary Beauty is Embarrassing, the puppeteer turned multidisciplinary artist doesn't hold back at all, especially when it comes to talking about his experiences in Hollywood.  White is funny, unpredictable, and, best of all, completely committed to the act of creation and telling others that they can to do the same.  I probably saw 10 times as many documentaries as I did features in 2012; Beauty is Embarrassing was the one that made me feel the most inspired.

Read my review of Beauty is Embarrassing here.

Beauty is Embarrassing will be released on DVD on January 22nd and currently can be streamed via Amazon Instant Video.

#16 Buoy (dir. Steve Doughton):

Buoy takes an action that would, at the most, fill a couple of minutes in any other movie and stretches it out to feature length.  Outside of its first 10 minutes, the entire film is centered around a woman (Tina Holmes) talking to her brother (Matthew Del Negro, who never appears on camera) on the phone.  In the hands of writer/director Steve Doughton, it's compelling, emotional, and, above all, compulsively watchable.  Who knew that eavesdropping on the conversations of others could be so cathartic?  Buoy proves that, in the right hands, less can definitely be more.  Seeing is believing and I'd highly recommend seeking this one out when it becomes more widely available.

Buoy is currently unavailable on home video, though plans are being made for an eventual release.  For now, you can check out the film's website.

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