Saw Gus Van Sant's Elephant, which I conclude was a brilliant mistake. Not to say I wasn't warned by the reviews, but this is really half a movie.
The subject is essentially the Columbine high school shooting here in Colorado, though no place is specifically mentioned in the movie.
This movie is all about the vibe. It's 80 minutes long, and for most of it, we follow the students around, experiencing the tedium and banality of their day. By the time the shooting starts, it does have the (probably) intended effect of conveying the complexity of dismay and terror felt.
But then it spliffs it by essentially ending in mid-note. Had this had some semblance of an ending - and it could have been as non-conclusive as the actual current "ending" is - this would have been a minor event of a film.
If you want to see a movie that achieves the atmosphere it's going for, and you're an aficionado of experimental (but ultimately a failed experiment), I recommend it halfheartedly. If you wanna see a good movie, see something else.
Read Ubik by the acclaimed sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, who wrote the stories that gave us the movies Bladerunner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, and the upcoming A Scanner Darkly.
He's never been known as a great stylist, and this book supports that assertion. Man, his stuff is hard to plow through. I only acquiesced because it was on Time's list of 100 best novels, like, ever. I admit, he's a hell of an idea man, but he writes like crep.
I didn't enjoy the novel primarily because the jacket copy completely gives away what's going on (and secondarily due to the bad writing). When the big plot twist occurred, I thought, oh, they all must have [blah de blah], because it says so on the cover.
It would have been an interesting twist had it not been spoiled.
Still, wait for the movie if they ever make one.
The best thing I've seen lately was Madagascar. Very amusing. The plot telegraphs coming complications from a mile away, but the execution saves it.
And it gets the award for the best ever use of the line, "Well this sucks."
Check it out.