This has been bothering me for weeks.
So when I FINALLY did my Best of 2008 film
s, it was a hard set of choices to make. Which was going to be in the "top 10", which was going to be in the "honorable mention" section? Tough decisions and I felt that, at the time, I covered everything....but I fucked up. See, there were two films that made a major impact on me last year and I plum forgot 'em. Not that there needs to be a cry of "Stop the Presses" or a retraction/apology in the Times, but I did want to single these two pieces of work in particular and finally bring to light some fantastic cinema. Bear with me as Bri is rushing around trying to pack Remy up for our trip back to NY and I need something to focus on right now. LOOK
-It's pretty clear that Im a Rifkin-ite. Ever since THE DARK BACKWARD and all through his eclectic filmography, I've been a fan of writer/director(sometime actor) Adam Rifkin
, and I've been even more blessed to now call him a friend. But he's always been an inspiration to me, and his films are all wildly (and proudly) different; from the manic comedy of THE CHASE to the stark/deamlike reality of NIGHT AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE to his latest effort, the goofy and fun, Rifkin's work can never be tied down to any particular genre, and he's happy with that, thanks. Plus, he can work in both the studio system AND the indie world Back in March, while devising a cool, "secret" project amongst film buddies, Rif gave me a copy of his new film, an experimental flick he called LOOK
. Now, I was nervous. What if I hated it? Now I have his ear, and what if it sucks? In a year where the "found footage/Verite" style was king (Cloverfield, REC, Quarantine, Paranormal Activity, etc. etc.) I'd say that the one film that truly and deeply affected me-yes, even more than P.A.- was LOOK. Shot over the course of a few days and following a varied set of characters, the main concept is that in our society, we are followed by cameras at all times, anywhere and everywhere. Rifkin uses security cameras, both acknowledged and hidden, to follow these people and their own trials and tribulations, from the mundane to the deadly serious. I promise you, you wont find another film that switches tonal gears more than this, from comedy to drama to horror and back again, and with such skill. Rifkin balances the storylines with masterful style, and the "verite" feel only makes it more immediate, more powerful, more fucking disturbing. I dare you to look away from LOOK...and now with a Showtime TV series in the works, I'm so glad the film will get it's proper due, and Rifkin will be able to further explore this fascinating concept. Check out the trailer HERE
-Holy shit, was this a kick in the face. I had heard good things about this semi-autobiographical action yarn about a washed up Belgian action star getting embroiled with bank robbers and a public who thinks HE's the culprit, but little did we know we were in for an emotional roller coaster too. I've said it before and I'll repeat it loudly: While Rourke was the poster-boy performance of 08 (Sorry Sean, you won by technicality), Jean Claude Van Damme should have gotten at LEAST an Independent Spirit for his heartbreaking turn as...himself. If you ever see it, check out the 7 minute monologue where he pours his heart out...TO YOU, the audience, in a 4th wall-breaking moment that will leave you in tears. It did to us.
If you want to be spoiled, check out the monologue HERE
; otherwise, check out the whole movie when it comes out on DVD soon.
So there you go; I wish I could put these on the list, but it feels too late, but I feel that any film that can affect me the way these two fims did should be mentioned.
Ok, off my back...away we go.