Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
1. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
1. 2046 (Wong Kar-wai)
8. Sideways (Alexander Payne)
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
1. Dogville (Lars von Trier)
3. Goodbye Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang)
9. Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Anderson)
Read my review of Everybody's Fine at The Vigilant Monkey.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
My predictions (announced a day prior - and right below here if you were to scroll down just the teensiest little bit) were not that far off, and the ones I missed were pretty much my alternate choice(s) anyway. Only Julia Roberts' Best Actress (Comedy or Musical) was a surprise (!?). Glad to see all the love for Inglourious Basterds and The Hurt Locker. Hope it holdsover for the Oscars. The complete list of nominations can be viewed here. Otherwise, just another day in predictability mode, but a pretty strong set of predictables. The first woman director to win an Oscar is coming up boys, so look the fuck out. And it would be an extra bit of fun to watch her beat out her ex-husband for that particular Oscar. Who's king of the world now Jimmy!? Now my only question is, when Christoph Lantz accepts his Golden Globe and Oscar later on, we he shout "That's-A-Bingo!!"?
Monday, December 14, 2009
Best Picture (Drama)
- An Education
- The Hurt Locker
- Up in the Air
- Inglourious Basterds
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
- Julie & Julia
- It's Complicated
- Sherlock Holmes
- A Serious Man
- Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
- Clint Eastwood (Invictus)
- Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
- Jason Reitman (Up in the Air)
- James Cameron (Avatar)
Best Actor (Drama)
- George Clooney (Up in the Air)
- Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
- Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
- Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
- Colin Firth (A Single Man)
Best Actress (Drama)
- Carey Mulligan (An Education)
- Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
- Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
- Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
- Michelle Pfieffer (Cheri)
Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
- Daniel Day-Lewis (Nine)
- Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
- Matt Damon (The Informant!)
- Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer)
Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)
- Marion Cotillard (Nine)
- Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
- Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer)
- Sandra Bullcok (The Proposal)
- Meryl Streep (It's Complicated)
Best Supporting Actor
- Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
- Alfred Molina (An Education)
- Stanley Tucci (Julie & Julia or The Lovely Bones)
- Matt Damon (Invictus)
- Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Best Supporting Actress
- Mo'Nique (Precious)
- Penelope Cruz (Nine)
- Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)
- Julianne Moore (A Single Man)
- Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)
- Up in the Air
- The Hurt Locker
- Inglourious Basterds
- An Education
Best Foreign Film
- Broken Embraces
- The White Ribbon
- Coco Before Chanel
- A Prophet
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Friday, December 11, 2009
1. Russian Ark (Aleksandr Sokurov)
4. Talk to Her (Pedro Almodovar)
5. 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle)
Friday, December 4, 2009
My Quest to watch the 1000 Greatest Films
Screened 11/25/09 at Midtown Cinema, on DVD from Netflix
Ranked #269 on TSPDT
Shot in black & white - Bogdanovich, afraid the studio would not let him film it this way, claims it was Orson Welles who made him talk the studio into filming as such - the film relays the era (1951-52) with a naturalness that makes you almost forget it wasn't actually made at that time. This sharp black & white also adds to both the deep focus Bogdanovich wanted to work with as well as the starkness of this dead end Texas town that is the setting for Larry McMurtry's book and screenplay.
Filmed in the actual town McMurtry grew up in and wrote about, The Last Picture Show was made in the midst of the most raucous cinematic revolution ever, and at first glance, with its classic style and visual imagery, may seem quite out of place, yet it couldn't have been more revolutionary. Styled as a sort of classicism that makes it seem out of time, more attuned to fifties Hollywood cinema, yet at the same time a frank (especially for 1970) look at sexual mores that give the film a shocking streak throughout.
This sexual frankness of course brings us to the heart of the film - or perhaps the g-spot - Cybill Shepherd as Jacy Farrow. Making her film debut (after being found on the cover of a magazine by Bogdanovich's wife) Shepherd is a sizzling sexual beast, able to lure in and then destroy any young man she so wishes. The most prominent being the director himself - an irony made even more ironic considering who discovered the young model-cum-starlet in the first place.
Perhaps Bogdanovich is one of those filmmaker's who spent their creative abilities early (I still must see Targets, What's Up, Doc? and Daisy Miller) and are left flailing in mediocrity later in their careers. This idea seems to be magnified by the fact that the only theatrically released movie made by Bogdanovich in the past decade was the mildly well received Cat's Meow. And speaking of later Bogdanovich, I have yet to see Texasville, the nineteen years in the making sequel to The Last Picture Show, but not much good has been heard about it.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Welcome to Part II of the Best of the Decade Project. Each few days I will name my choices for the best films of each particular year in the aforementioned decade. This will culminate just after the new year with my list of the 50 greatest films of the decade. So without further ado I give you my top ten for the year 2001.
3. The Royal Tanenbaums (Wes Anderson)
10. Gosford Park (Robert Altman)
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
This is the first of a series of posts that will commemorate the decade that was (or will soon be was!?). Each few days I will name my choices for the best films of each particular year in the aforementioned decade that will soon be a was. This will culminate just after the new year with my list of the 50 greatest films of the decade. So without further ado I give you the year 2000.
Monday, November 23, 2009
My Quest to watch The 1000 Greatest Films
Screened 11/09/09 on DVD from GreenCine
Ranked #519 on TSPDT
That particular extracurricular cartoonish anomaly aside, Julian Duvivier's pre-noir noirish film about a French thief and all about roue, running around the Casbah, evading the police and the informants but not the ladies, though perhaps seen as a bit racist in hindsight when it comes to the portrayal of the Casbah and its residents, is a classic of poetic realism (which was after all a stylistic precursor to film noir) that was in itself a precursor to a whole slice of film history. This may seem a bit on the overdramatic side but nonetheless, in this critic's eyes, it is a true statement. And a fellow critic may very well agree with me. In his essay for the Criterion release of Pepe le Moke, Michael Atkinson wrote thus: "Without its iconic precedent there would have been no Humphrey Bogart, no John Garfield, no Robert Mitchum, no Randolph Scott, no Jean-Paul Belmondo (or Breathless or Pierrot le fou), no Jean-Pierre Melville or Alain Delon, no Steve McQueen, no Chinatown, no Bruce Willis, no movie-star heritage of weathered cool, vulnerable nihilism, bruised masculinity-as-cultural syndrome."
I couldn't have said it better myself. I was actually trying to verbalize this very point when I came across the Atkinson essay and he did it for me. Pepe le Moko is, at the very least, one of the catalysts for all the aforementioned film history that was to follow. Along with films such as early Hollywood Fritz Lang and von Sternberg, Duvivier's exotic thriller is what made noir possible, and in turn everything which has spawned from noir's own dark underbelly. In fact, the novel on which Pepe is based was in turn inspired by Howard Hawks' Scarface. Perhaps film history is all one viscous circle - much like the winding alleyways of the Casbah itself. How's that for a segue?
This spectacular spiraling camera of Duvivier is like a whirling dervish breaking free of the poetic realism it finds itself mired - for good or for bad - inside of, yet it is Pepe himself, the wonderful and quite prolific actor Jean Gabin, that makes this visually attractive film blossom into the full fledged sexy beast that it is. To quote Michael Atkinson again (from the same Criterion written essay as above) in describing Gabin, he says he is "almost Garbo-like in his ability to anchor our attention without moving a muscle." It is Gabin's stoic realism, twinged with an almost anti-sentimental sentimentalism (that makes sense, right?) that is the heart, the core, of Duvivier's film. Incidentally, Gabin would go on to roles in Grand Illusion, Port of Shadows, Daybreak and Moontide but his career would slow down with the advent of WWII, where he would work with the Resistance. The rest, I suppose, is history.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
After building the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man (in my capacity as manager and projectionist of our local arthouse Midtown Cinema) I sat down and watched the brothers' fourteenth film all by my lonesome. At first glance I wasn't sure what to make of this strangely curious little film. Yes, the Coens' are usually purveyors of strangely curious little films, but this one was strangely curious in a completely different way. Don't ask how, just go with me here. Anyway, after contemplating it for a while, by the time I went to bed that night (about 2 hours after finishing the film) I was won over by this strangely curious little film. Perhaps not their best (Fargo and No Country For Old Men hold those spots) but pretty darn close. In that Coenesque second tier realm of Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, Blood Simple, Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski. A strangely curious little film indeed.
Read my review of A Serious Man at The Cinematheque.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Read my review of Paris at Gone Cinema Poaching.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
And one more thing before I go: GO YANKEES!!!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Read my Review of Bright Star at MovieZeal.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Read my review of The Informant! at The Cinematheque.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Filmed primarily at either dawn or dusk, Salam's film takes on an almost ethereal quality. The photography, with its stunning heightened colouring and muted palette, along with the subtle editing and meandering, yet quickened pace gives the film a visual mythology all its own. Blending the past with the present (at least the present of the film's 1890's setting), Al Mummia is like an ancient artifact unearthed from its own long buried tomb and given its day in the light only to have its public mystified by its almost unearthly strangeness.
I am looking forward to discussing such films as Bava's Bay of Blood and Black Sunday and the super stylized films of Argento. There are also many films of this ilk I have not yet seen - an oversight I shall remedy this month. All links to those participating in the Blog-a-thon, along with my own contributions, will be posted here at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World, beginning October 19.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
First up is the German film Cloud 9 (my review can be read here). You know, the one about old people having sex. This sexagenarian love triangle movie may set off a sort of ick factor in many viewers, especially in today's youth-driven market, but truth be told, it is a rather intensely tragic love story - no matter the age. It is able to hold its own - and then some - against any of the so-called romances coming out of Hollywood lo these many years.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Michael Moore is one of those filmmakers - one of those people in general - who are either loved or hated by the masses. He is a blunderbuss, bombastic badger of sorts, but then that is exactly what he needs to be to get the attention pointed toward his important films. Many rightwingers blow him off as a fat lying pinko commie and many Dems don't like him because they believe his antics make liberals look bad. I suppose I have thought that too, but after watching his latest, Capitalism: A Love Story (and I love that title dammit!), I have come to the conclusion that he is doing exactly what he should be doing.
I have also noticed that his latest film is also his most Godardian. You may not think Jean-Luc Godard when you think of Michael Moore, but believe me - it is there. I go into relative detail in my review of the movie over at MovieZeal. So go ahead over and read my review of Capitalism: A Love Story at MovieZeal and then watch the movie and see if you don't notice the Godardian influences in his filmmaking style.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
After these two introductory reviews (as I said, basically two reviews I just never got around to writing) my next critique will be Michael Moore's derisive Capitalism: A Love Story. It should be up on MovieZeal by the week-end. After that I will be a regular contributor to the site. Though I of course will still be posting the majority of my reviews over at The Cinematheque, I will be posting at least one review (if not two) each and every week over at MovieZeal. I am glad to be aboard.