Crumb (1994) - Robert Crumb's art revealed his subconscious to the world, without sanitizing the heinous, primal, insecure and brilliant regions of his brain. His cartoons and drawings could objectify and empower women at the same time and critique his own lust while indulging it simultaneously. Terry Zwygoff's intimate documentary paints a similarly complicated portrait of a man still obsessed with childhood and early sexual urges, his own twisted yet admirable morality and staunch rejection of American consumerism. The cameras also document the heartbreaking existence of his two similarly talented brothers, both racked by mental and physical conditions, who never escaped their demons. Crumb is, by comparison, the well-adjusted one of the three products of childhood abusive. What's revealed about their past leaves the impression that we didn't learn everything nasty about their developmental years. Crumb is an unlikely likable figure - a nonconforming misanthrope and possible sociopath who will always be focused on his own desires. He may never relate to other people, but people will always respond to his art and what it revealed about the American character. A
BenX (2007) - This film from the Netherlands centers around Ben, an autistic teen bullied in some pretty extreme ways by classmates, finding his direction and revenge (with the help of a MPDG, of course). Ben views the world like his favorite massively-multiplayer online role-playing game, and the film distractingly switches back and forth between what's really going on and his imagined visualization of his world as a video game. Ben struggles to find a way to get even with his classmates, as the direction cuts back and forth between faux-documentary interviews with his family and acquaintances. BenX manages to be repetitive and boring, despite it's inventive format. C-
M (1931) - M is Metropolis director Fritz Lang's first "talkie," and features cinema's first serial killer. Dark and quietly disturbing, Lang uses images of candy wrappers and discarded balloons to say more about loss and violence that all the fake blood ever could. M was also Germany's first sound film. it's interesting to watch a director try to figure out how to best use a young medium — the structure uses literary-like monologues and voice overs to transition and comment on what what's happening on screen. The technical skill evidenced during scenes with parallel editing structure and seamless cuts is artistic in a way unique to a medium in its earliest years, when creativity is often a result of thrift.
There are few "main" characters, M is largely an ensemble. Lang loves to show the underground worlds and subcultures. As in Metropolis, he contrasts and compares what's happening both above and below ground. The film ends in grand fashion, with a spirited and at times absurd philosophical debate about crime, punishment and responsibility. Oh, and the killer is sick twisted pedophile. A
Waltz With Bashir (2008)
Using a combination of flash and traditional animation, Waltz With Bashir follows director/writer Ari Folmen's journey to unlock his memories of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Fulman uses a series of fictionalized documentary-style interviews with fellow soldiers, fleshed out by flashbacks to the conflicts, to help clarify his blurred images that slowly come into focus, and eliminate the false memories created when the brain fills in the blanks.
As Fulman puts the pieces together, he slowly builds chronologically to the massacres of Sabra and Shatila, and it's moral implications - Israeli troops surrounded the camps and allowed Lebanese Christian Philangy militants to enter and murder thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians - A hard truth to swallow by generations of Israelis still partially defined by the holocaust. A