Categories
Uncategorized

My Favourites of 2012

The films I enjoyed most this year:

#12

The Kid with a Bike (2011, dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne)

the_kid_with_a_bike_1

#11

Wild Bill (2011, dir. Dexter Fletcher)

1140885_Wild-Bill

#10

Moonrise Kingdom (2012, dir. Wes Anderson)

moonrise

#9

Rust and Bone (2012, dir. Jacques Audiard)

Rust-Bone1

#8

Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011, dir. Takashi Miike)

Hara-kiri

#7

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011, dir. Sean Durkin)

Martha-Marcy-May-Marlene

#6

Michael (2011, dir. Markus Schleinzer)

MICHAEL

#5

Sightseers (2012, dir. Ben Wheatley)

sightseers

#4

The Hunt (2012, dir. Thomas Vinterberg)

The Hunt (Jagten) film still

#3

Excision (2012, dir. Richard Bates Jr)

excision_

#2

Shame (2011, dir. Steve McQueen)

shame

#1

Amour (2012, dir. Michael Haneke)

amour

Some other special mentions…not necessarily released in 2012.

  • Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
  • Ossessione (1943, dir. Luchino Vischonti)
  • Killer Joe (2012, dir. William Friedkin)
  • Berberian Sound Studio (2012, dir. Peter Strickland)
  • A Swedish Love Story (1970, dir. Roy Andersson)
  • Argo (2012, dir. Ben Affleck)
  • Murk (2005, dir. Jannik Johansen)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012, dir. Christopher Nolan)
  • Untouchable (2011, dir. Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano)
  • King of Devil’s Island (2012, dir. Marius Holst)
  • Django (1966, dir. Sergio Corbucci)
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012, dir. Benh Zeitlin)
  • Tony Manero (2008, dir. Pablo Larraín)
  • The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005, dir. Jacques Audiard)
  • Ex-Drummer (2007, dir. Koen Mortier)
  • The House of the Devil (2005, dir. Ti West)
  • Pontypool (2008, dir. Bruce McDonald)
  • Lust, Caution, (2007, dir. Ang Lee)
  • Cabin in the Woods (2012, dir. Drew Goddard)
  • Turkish Delight (1973, dir. Paul Verhoeven)
Categories
Review

Review: Excision (Dir. Richard Bates Jr., 2012)

Being a teenage girl can, for want of a better word, suck. Fighting against changes you cannot control, whether they be bodily, emotional, and/or familial; attempting to force yourself to fit into whichever societal mould proves popular can be exhausting, often heartbreaking and wholly unnecessary (survival and hindsight can be a wonderful thing). Within the horror genre, females are often victimised, punished for sexual transgression, through the finality of death, as per the ‘slasher’ movie or can be depicted as teenagers and aligned with the abject. This abjection can be in the form of literal law-breaking, often by committing murder, seeking pleasure through the perverse and/or the secretion of bodily fluids, most often menstrual blood. While some female critics/theorists have read these texts as a further attack of their gender by patriarchy, these “monstrous femmes” have rendered some of the most memorable female protagonists recorded on celluloid. These include cult favourites Sissy Spacek as Carrie (1976, dir. Brian De Palma), Katharine Isabelle in Ginger Snaps (2000, dir. John Fawcett) and now AnnaLynne McCord’s astonishing portrayal in Richard Bates Jr’s Excision (2012).

McCord, best known as a spoiled, rich blonde in the re-vamped 90210 delivers an, in any other generic movie, award-winning performance as socially awkward Pauline. Physically, she is unrecognisable with lank, greasy brunette hair, acne strewn blemishes and hunched stance. She embodies a complete smorgasbord of emotions and characteristics and goes against the ‘norms’ of the female in horror, specifically in her lack of sexual reluctance, aspirations to be a surgeon and the oblivious way in which she approaches life. Most significantly, she is no passive victim. Pauline lives in picket-fenced suburbia in a repressive family unit headed by her castrating mother Phyllis (Traci Lords), emasculated father Bob (Roger Bart) and ailing little sister Grace (Ariel Winter). Phyllis exerts her maternal authority over the whole household and is determined to raise her daughters through the Church and the formality and etiquette of cotillion. At the crux of the difficult, terse and often cruel mother-daughter relationship is the ferocious need for the other’s love and acceptance.

 Pauline is a sociopath but manages to convey levels of real empathy.   She is gauche, fiercely intelligent, obsessive and delusional and suffers vivid dreams, of which only the audience is party; these are often sexually indulgent and display necrophiliac fetishes.  For all of the blood, gore and toe-curling masturbatory fantasies, at Excision’s heart is pitch black, offbeat, comedy. These comedic moments are most evidently displayed in the ingenuity of the casting: John Waters as Pauline’s Preacher-cum-psychiatrist, Malcolm McDowell as her maths teacher and former adult film star Lords as her mother, plus losing her virginity to Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter) rounds things off nicely. Bates’ directorial debut is truly impressive, made with deliciously demented precision, a fierce sense of humour and, as its title suggests, is incredibly cathartic.