I thought Away From Her had a lot of great moments. If i ever get to finish that review, I might be able to flesh out my argument.
It may become a personal favorite after further viewings. You are right that there's a lack of social networks around the characters, but that's often a thing I like about characters, although i also like the opposite very much (e.g. Altman). I guess I just like extremes. I thought the way that Polley focused on the two persons, only hinting at everything else, very intriguing. Don't remember much about the editing. What didn't you like about it?
"Ad Lib Night" . We have a thread, and I have another unfinished review. Another film that deals with personal loss, but in a different way. Compared to Polleys economic storytelling, I like the pauses, the rhythm and flow of the film very much. It often felt like it was stumbling, but it never fell. Maybe I'm being too "poetic", but it felt a bit like Free Jazz in certain moments. Very improvised, especially the beautiful beginning. What I loved was the lighting. In the theater i felt like I could almost touch the screen. Looked a lot like natural light sources, and the cinematographer caught them in a particular way. Especially the first drive to the country was very impressive.
"Betelnut" is the one with very long takes. Sometimes they felt too long, though in retrospect the film seems to grow. Nothing much happens, as I don't recall anything you could possibly call a storyline. Just some bunch of kids and teenagers, hanging around, doing nothing all day, trying to stay alive in a world that doesn't care for them and offers no perspectives. Very poor neighborhood, but the director doesn't focus as much on direct social commentary or a bleak vision of the world. The film felt more like a poetic reflection on life in the moment, and its subtlety let the viewer draw his own conclusions. Recommended despite its many shortcomings (if I'm not wrong, this is a debut, and mostly what one would call an improvised amateur film). This is no-budget filmmaking at its most obvious. I think you would like it, though I doubt you'll be particularly overwhelmed by the experience. But maybe a bit more fond of it than me.
Reprise. It has its moments, though the film as a whole isn't memorable in any way. I included it mostly out of sentimental reasons for the way it depicted adolescent relationships, and the way the camera caught the girls' faces. I could identify strongly with some of the multifaceted emotions in these certain scenes (loss, grief, wonder, melancholy, and a little hope, because of the mysteries of human emotions and the transformative powers of experiencing another person, all mixed into one) but besides that I didn't care much for any of the characters. The whole film also often feels like a reprise of Trainspotting, and the kind of films that have become popular since. Not always a good idea... Let me know what you think of it!
What do you think of Suwa's other films? This was my first encounter with his style, and it was very interesting. Usually the kind of film I like, I would say, but it could have used a little more hysteria ans misery. As it was the characters were rather bland, but I guess that's the point of the film. Usually people who behave like that feel very shallow to me in real life. Anyways, I'm sure you'll like the moments in the museum (you'll know when you see the film ). And I adore Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. One of the best actresses working today, and I need to see her films as a director. Have you caught any of them?
Shoot 'Em Up . If you enjoy Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci playing it campy, and have no problem with films that are completely over the top. Despite what most people say, I think director Michael Davis really loves action films, and this is as much a hommage as a parody of the genre. Not always original, though it often seems to try very hard, I nevertheless enjoyed every moment of it, once I accepted the premise and didn't bother with any logic or story. One of the films I enjoyed the most last year. This is still Hollywood, so don't expect any miracles, but I think you might enjoy it, if you are nostalgic for the old times of movies, but kind of know that those times are over. The film is full of references and a quite narcisstic, but it doesn't take itself too serious. I admire the guts the director shows in doing this project with such a mess of a script. The bad and corny dialog seems like it was written like that on purpose, and also the film has a sketchy and improvised feeling a lot of studio film totally lack today. I have a difficult time describing the film, and what exactly it is i like about it. Probably it's the mere joy at making this film which shimmers through most of the time. If you like the words camp and absurd, and don't bother that it's made in Hollywood, then go for it. But I warn you! I'm the guy who also enjoyed Armageddon very much.