Poetry

The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks

As you may have noticed, this final week of 2011 has been almost completely taken over by our third annual Year in Review. It was born in 2009 out of our love for lists and your thirst for reading, discussing and ultimately hating them. And each year the entire project gets a little bigger, a little bolder and slightly more absurd. With that in mind, I’m once again proud to present you with The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks. Each of our 14 regular staff writers, contributors and columnists, almost all of whom have been with us the entire year, were asked to present their top 5 films, in no particular order (although many of them placed their top film at the top, as logical people tend to do), each with an explanation. Some even included curse words as a bonus to you, the reader. Read: The Best Films of 2010: The Staff Picks | The Best Films of 2009: The Staff Picks Once again, the Staff Picks are a testament to the diversity we have here at Film School Rejects, with picks ranging from the likely suspects (Take Shelter, Hugo, Shame) to the slightly more nerdy (Attack the Block, Super 8, The Muppets) to several movies that may not yet be on your radar (see Landon Palmer’s list for those). And once again, it’s with a deep sense of pride that I publish such a list, the best of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the movie […]

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Why Watch? Music meets visuals meets poetry meets heartache. This short film works as a deconstruction of the moving parts of a movie. It is a blend of visuals, voice over and music that are far enough apart to show the sum of their parts, but tied closely enough to show how powerful their combination can be. Featuring the W.H. Auden poem “As I Walked Out One Evening,” and a couple navigating the bustling night-time streets of London with a symbolic fox in tow, it’s stirring non-narrative work that deserves applause. What does it cost? Just 6 minutes of your time. Check out the trailer for Your Crooked Heart for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because the things of this universe will steal the breath right out of your lungs. This experimental piece instantly became a favorite because it combines still and moving imagery from the NASA Cassini Mission with the music of Nine Inch Nails, and it’s edited together with keen understanding. The music and the vast nothingness make for a heavy, somber feeling, but the grandiose nature of what’s filling the void is something triumphant and brimming with cosmic importance. It, at once, reminds us that we’re small and of what something small can do. We can travel out into the blackness of the universe and bring back its beauty. What does it cost? Just 2 minute of your time. Check out Cassini Mission for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because sometimes a waste of time can be beautiful and hilarious. This beat poem from Tim Minchin tells the story of a dinner party where a young stranger gets the author’s goat by claiming the goat has supernatural spiritual powers. It’s the tale of one man, drunk on wine, rhyming his way through arguments about psychics and science, deep belief and debunking. It’s animated in a minimalist style that works really well and gives the story another dimension. Plus, it’s an exercise in fun futility. What Will It Cost? Just 10 minutes of your time. Does it get better any better than that? Check out Storm for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because sometimes an image gets its meaning from another image. This fantastic short takes different images and makes them live side by side in an experience of pure context. Some are rivals (like two soda companies), some are brothers (like two brothers), and some inform each other from afar (a man chewing through his brisket while a cow chews its cud). It is love and hate, half full and half empty. It is our beginning and our end with everything shoved into the middle. And tell me that last set of images with the raw sound doesn’t knock you right in the teeth. What Will It Cost? Just 3 minutes of your time. Does it get better any better than that? Check out Symmetry for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because sometimes the most poetic thing is to place mortality right up against the camera lens. This short is composed of beautiful photography, featuring human faces from all age ranges mixed with the participants’ thoughts on life and death. It’s calm, quiet but utterly meaningful. Hearing an old man talk about what it will be like to go while staring into the eyes of a child somehow creates drama and humor at the same time. What Will It Cost? Just 10 minutes of your time. Does it get better any better than that? Check out A Short Film on Death for yourself:

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Note: As Rob Hunter has been busy covering SXSW and watching Love Exposure on repeat, Landon Palmer is trying his best to fill his globe-trotting cinematic shoes. Rob will be back next week with another object from a foreign land. To make the observation that some really great films have been coming from South Korea in the last few years is to say nothing new. To say that there have been a lot of violent revenge movies from that country is also to say nothing new. But between Lee Chang-dong’s wonderful Poetry and Bong Joon-ho’s equally great Mother from last year, another revisited theme has emerged in South Korean exports: maternal figures that must care for and live with children who may or may not have committed a heinous crime to a young woman.

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The Reject Report

Not really. However, this week does see the release of concert footage from the Bieb (along with his life-long struggle to become famous and have Ellen Degeneres’ haircut). Plus, Adam Sandler adds to his tally of generic romantic comedies and Ed Helms finally makes it out of the house. The big question – which one of these masterpieces will take the top spot?

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