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Thread: Chris knipp's 2009 movie best lists

  1. #1
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    Chris Knipp's 2009 movie best lists

    MY 2009 BEST MOVIE LISTS

    (Not ranked.)

    FILMS IN ENGLISH
    Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog 2009) R
    Bright Star (Jane Campion 2009)
    Disgrace (Steve Jacobs 2009) C-S
    Goodbye, Solo (Ramin Bahrani 2009) C-S
    Hurt Locker, The (Kathryn Bigelow 2009) R
    Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino 2009) R
    Limits of Control, The (Jim Jarmusch 2009) R
    Road, The (John Hillcoat 2009) R
    Serious Man, A (Ethan, Joel Coen 2009) C-S
    Somers Town (Shane Meadows 2008) R
    Two Lovers (James Gray 2009) C-S

    BEST FOREIGN
    35 Shots of Rum (35 rhums, Claire Denis 2008) R-V
    Anichrist (Lars von Trier 2009) NYFF
    Divo, Il (Paolo Sorrentino 2008) R
    I'm Gonna Explode (Gerardo Naranjo)
    Lake Tahoe (Fernando Eimbcke 2008) FCS
    Lorna's Silence (Jean-Pierre, Luc Dardenne 2009) R
    Sun, The (Alexandr Sokurov 2005) R
    Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy 2008) NYFF 2008
    Revanche (Götz Spielmann 2008) FCS
    White Ribbon, The (Michael Haneke 2009) NYFF

    SHORTLISTED
    Adoration (Atopm Egoyan 2009) R
    Adventureland (Greg Mottola 2009) C-S
    Education, An (Lone Scherfig 2009)
    Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson 2009)
    Humpday (Lynn Shelton 2009) R
    Moon, (Duncan Jones 2009) R
    Precious (Lee Daniels 2009)
    Séraphine (Martin Provost 2008) R-V
    Single Man, A (Tom Ford 2009) R
    Tetro (Francis Ford Coppola 2009) R
    Tokyo! (Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, Bong Joon-ho 2008) C-S
    Up in the Air (Jason Reitman 2009) R
    Vanished Empire, The (Karen Shakhnazarov 2008) R

    BEST DOCUMENTARIES:
    Beaches of Agnes, The (Les plages d’Agnès 2008) R-V
    Capitalism: A Love Story (Michael Moore 2009)
    Collapse (Chris Smith 2009)
    Cove, The (Louie Psihoyos 2009) R
    English Surgeon, The (Geoffrey Smith 2009) R
    Food, Inc. (Robert Kenner 2008) R
    Garbage Dreams (Mai Iskander) R
    Herb and Dorothy (Megumi Sasaki 2008) R
    Tyson (James Toback 2009) C-S
    Valentino: The Last Emperor (Matt Tyrnauer 2009) R

    BEST UNRELEASED IN US
    Belle Personne, La (Christophe Honoré 2008) BAM-Cinematek
    Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold 2009) London Coming January 16, 2010
    Frontier of Dawn, The (La Frontière de l’aube, Philippe Garrel 2008) FCS
    Hadewijch (Bruno Dumont 2009) NYFF
    Life During Wartime (Todd Solondz 2009) NYFF
    Mesrine, Part 1: L’Instinct de Mort (Jean-Francois Richet 2008) R-V
    Mesrine, Part 2: L’ennemi public No 1 (Jean-Francois Richet 2008) R-V
    Ne Change Rien (Pedro Costa 2009) NYFF
    Prophet, A/Un prophète (Jacques Audiard 2009) Paris (coming Feb. 2010)
    Stella (Sylvie Verheyde 2008) R-V
    Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine 2009)
    ___________________________________
    Instead of linking to my comments or reviews I put a code to show where I saw it,
    NY Film Festival, R-V=Rendez-Vous with French Cinema (Lincoln Center), FCS=Film
    Comment Selects (Lincoln Center); R just means I wrote a review of it and C-S just
    means I have a review of it on www.cinescene.com.

    Everything I've seen on the big screen and a few others are listed with links to my
    comments or reviews on my website here.
    http://www.chrisknipp.com/writing/vi...php?f=1&t=1407

    I may revise these lists but I'm putting them out there for people to think about and comment on if they like.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-27-2010 at 11:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    *Perhaps you want to make (some of) the following changes:
    Move WALTZ WITH BASHIR to your 2008 list.
    Move TRASH HUMPERS to your unreleased list
    Move LAKE TAHOE to your Foreign list

    *The surprises in the context of general critical reception would be: ANTICHRIST, THE LIMITS OF CONTROL, BAD LIEUTENANT, and THE ROAD. Perhaps you would argue these films were under-rated...and perhaps it can be argued that you respond particularly to the sensibilities of these films or their directors, actors, writers, etc.

    *THE SUN not in your Best Foreign?
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 01-01-2010 at 05:29 PM.

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    I thank you for your corrections on dates and categories. I've revised my lists accordingly.

    No, I probably paid less attention to general critical reception this time than some other years. Of course the rating for THE HURT LOCKER is sky-high and I included that. I would rate it very high too along with LIMITS OF CONTROL and TWO LOVERS and GOODBYE, SOLO. I'd guess THE HURT LOCKER and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS are the two in English that exemplify brilliant, complex filmmaking (elaborate productions, difficult conditions). And the two foreign language films that stand out far above the others in every aspect are THE WHITE RIBBON and THE PROPHET. Cannes got it right.

    To be honest, I'd never seen a Todd Solondz film till LIFE DURING WARTIME at the NYFF, which impressed me for everything, acting, directing of course, integrity of concept, design, cinematography, writing, and I've now watched all his films and he's become one of my favorites.

    In answer to your question let's see now:

    Metacritic:
    BAD LIEUTENANT 69
    LIMITS OF CONTROL 41. (But note: they rate Hoberman's review an "80".)
    ANTICHRIST 49
    THE ROAD 64

    Yes, those are very far off indeed, though BAD LIEUTENANT less so. LIMITS OF CONTROL just got screwed. Nobody saw it; it's a miracle that I caught it in a theater. I think people may come around in time on both that and ANTICHRIST, whereas on BAD LIEUTENANT, people will probably be too shocked at the falling off from the high seriousness of FITZCARALDO etc. but will consider this a rolicking good B picture (like Nimród Antal's ARMORED, only more idiosyncratic) rather than anything to be taken seriously, and that may have to do. THE ROAD was a pleasant surprise. That is a very hard novel to film. Some think the film was too faithful, but with Cormac McCarthy the texts are worth being faithful to. I feared the worst when reviews weren't so good, but I was moved.

    Actually 69 and 64 are "generally favorable" in Metacritic's system, and rottentomatoes' higher grading system got Herzog's BAD LIEUTENANT an 85 and THE ROAD a 72. I do look up these ratings sometimes, usually just on Metacritic, but I haven't been reading a cross section of reviews regularly lately as I used to, just the reviews in a few publications I get -- NYT, NYObserver, The NYer. I looked up Hoerman's reviews of Solondz; I was disappointed. But he was on the jury that chose LIFE DURING WARTIME of course. I looked up foreign and VARIETY reviews when I was writing mine of the NYFF films.

    I will be going back over and revising. I forgot THE SUN; I've been listing it so long. I need just one more foreign film now if I add that and LAKE TAHOE. I have left off everything by the elderly "greats" included in the NYFF, Olivieira, Resnais, Wajda, Rivette, because they didn't do it for me (Breillat and Denis neither); of course to diehard fans they'd have to be listed but I'd rather find new people. Unfortunately the Romanian everybody's listing also didn't do it for me; I think POLICE, ADJECTIVE is overrated.

    However I haven't included a "most overrated" list -- yet -- because it tends to look negative and offend people. I'll tell you that two of them begin with "U" and one begins with "A."
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2010 at 07:13 PM.

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    I appreciate your added explanations of films included and omitted. I read everything you write with attention and interest, as you know by now. Rosenbaum also liked The Limits of Control, by the way. I have to stay true to my experience of watching the film and my own thoughts afterward.My 2009 list is, as you would expect, more than a month away. However, you'd be able to predict what's in it and what is not based on multiple posts. My Best of Decade (foreign) is ready to be posted as soon as discussion on that thread needs to be revived.

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    I did not know that Rosenbaum wrote an excellent review of THE LIMITS OF CONTROL ("immensely pleasurable and mesmerizing"), because I don't look him up as often as you do and it was in his blog,not Chicago Reader from which he's retired: hooray! I'm glad to see that.

    I think it is true as arsaib said here years ago that what's interesting is not which films somebody likes but the reasons one gives for liking them and thoughts one has about them in relation to other films. So I hope to expand on my thoughts about this list in this thread./

  6. #6
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    Your list

    Without extensive comments on each film, I will say that your list on Cinescene may look similar to mine.

    There are only two I basically disagree with: Bright Star and A Serious Man

    I agree strongly with the following:

    Goodbye Solo, Hurt Locker, Two Lovers, Limits of Control, 35 Shots of Rum, Lorna's Silence, White Ribbon.

    Somers Town and Tulpan are 2008 films

    I haven't seen the following: Bad Lieutenant, Disgrace, Inglorious Basterds, The Road, Anti-Christ, Divo, Lake Tahoe, The Sun, Revanche and many others.

    Where's Sin Nombré? Not a favorite or not seen?
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

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    Howard,

    Thanks for your comments. I'll respond to them one by one.

    Bright Star and A Serious Man are films many are less positive about, seeing the first as a superficial romance, and unable to "get" A Serous Man -- it's widely taken as pointlessly cruel black humor. I see it as an honest portrait of aspects of American Jewish experience and, beyond that, of all human experience. Bright Star is just lovely, and full of pleasures as well as a celebration of English poetry. But I'm not surprised you differ on those two.

    Yes Somers Town and Tulpan are 2008 releases, but they had their limited US theatrical releases in 2009.

    I've seen Sin Nombre and reviewed it, but it isn't one of my personal favorites. Of the ones you have not seen (some by definite choice I believe) I think The Sun would be a must, though I don't know if you'll like it or not. Lake Tahoe I think you definitely would like.

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    I thought Lake Tahoe was in California

    I would like to see Lake Tahoe very much. This is the first that I've heard of it but fortunately it is available for rent here in the best video rental store in North America, Videomatica so I will see it. I cannot see how this could be considered a 2009 film. It played at 18 film festivals in 2008 and did not have a general release in 2009.

    Before I see it, however, I first want to finish my Shakespeare project. I am presently watching the Scofield/Johnson 1974 version of Antony and Cleopatra and have three more left after that to complete the cycle of seeing all 37 plays on film and stage. These films are quite long and will take up most of the rest of the week and probably part of next since I can only view films on DVD one half hour at a time because of my ear condition.

    You have seen my review of Bright Star which was on Cinescene but you probably haven't seen my review of A Serious Man, so read it and weep (or not).

    http://english.ohmynews.com/articlev...85806&rel_no=1
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

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    To respond to your concern about Lake Tahoe: I saw it in the FCS series at Lincoln Center early in the year but it had a limited US release in the summer of 2009; the festival showings are often a year before the US theatrical releases. I saw it on other 2009 best lists and that's how I realized it was a legitimate US release. But not "general" (wide) release; lots of films don't get those: see the two Metacritic columns. See the US reviews on IMDb. It's available o n Netflix too. The Voice reviewer's description is good: "Eimbcke's droll rhythms are reminiscent of early Jim Jarmusch and Aki Kaurismäki." Unfortunately Sokurov's The Sun is not yet on Netflix, though it's listed as coming. Good luck with the Shakespeare watching.

    Your Serious Man review: I read and wept. Your opinion on Bright Star is not unusual, as I said. I guess you read and recall my Cinescene review -- of A Serious Man? Rather than evaluating the film as a dismissal of life's questions and answers, I take it to be both an embracing of life's mysteries, and a wry account of the Coens' experience with rabbis growing up, which gibes with the experience of some of my Jewish friends who saw the film, they told me.

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    A Jewish friend with a difference

    Your Serious Man review: I read and wept. Your opinion on Bright Star is not unusual, as I said. I guess you read and recall my Cinescene review -- of A Serious Man? Rather than evaluating the film as a dismissal of life's questions and answers, I take it to be both an embracing of life's mysteries, and a wry account of the Coens' experience with rabbis growing up, which gibes with the experience of some of my Jewish friends who saw the film, they told me.
    Well, this Jewish friend considers it demeaning to the tribe.

    By the way, I am dying to be able to see the newest film by Argentine director Juan Jose Campanella called "The Secret of Their Eyes" (El Secreto de sus Ojos) but it has no DVD release as yet. I loved his earlier film from 2001 I believe "Son of the Bride". Have you seen either of those films?

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    It's hard to read.

    Don't know about that one, though I may have heard the name. Let us know how it is. Oscar may know... No have not seen either one.

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    Sony Pictures Classics bought the rights to El Secreto de sus Ojos. It looks as if they intend to release it in theaters. Campanella is just a few years older that the directors of the Nuevo Cine Argentino but he operates well within the mainstream. He is an industry director who directs a lot of television in Hollywood in between films. Campanella's films are solid, mainstream fare with impeccable acting and production values.This is what I wrote when I watched the film he made between El Hijo de la Novia (which had a wide release in the US for a foreign-language film) and the new one:

    Moon of Avellaneda (Argentina, 2004) at Cosford Cinema
    The title refers to a sports and social club, a meaningful and important place for a whole community which is, like Argentina, experiencing economic woes. The club is a metaphor for the country in director Juan Jose Campanella's follow up to the well-received Son of the Bride. Moon of Avellaneda is the third collaboration by Campanella, screenwriter Fernando Castets and actors Ricardo Darin and Daniel Fanego. This team has managed again to make a film that strikes a perfect balance between comedy and drama, between personal and social problems, between nostalgia for the past and contemporary reality. Darin and Fanego play modern quijotes with inner demons and relationship problems who fight to reject a generous proposal to turn the decaying club into a casino. Here's hoping a distributor will recognize the quality and obvious commercial potential of Moon of Avellaneda.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 01-13-2010 at 10:34 AM.

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    Campanella

    That's very good news. Campanella may film in a conventional manner but I am not always looking for originality, just a good story with a message that comes from the heart.

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    Hard to read?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    It's hard to read.

    Don't know about that one, though I may have heard the name. Let us know how it is. Oscar may know... No have not seen either one.
    What's hard to read? You should see Son of the Bride, a very deeply engaging film.
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

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    I've added one to make ten on the best foreign list, Gerardo Naranjo's I'm Gonna Explode, after noticing that J. Hoberman lists it, meaning it's an official US theatrical release, which I had forgotten; I saw it in the 2008 NYFF. This Mexican reworking of a theme of walk children on the run inspired by Jean-Luc Godard is fresh and original and involving , and is more polished and complex than Naranjo's 2006 Drama/Mex, which I saw as part of the London Film Festival of 2006 and briefly summarized back then. Hoberman reviewed I'm Gonna Explode last summer.

    BEST FOREIGN

    35 Shots of Rum (35 rhums, Claire Denis 2008) R-V
    Anichrist (Lars von Trier 2009) NYFF
    Divo, Il (Paolo Sorrentino 2008) R
    I'm Gonna Explode (Gerardo Naranjo)
    Lake Tahoe (Fernando Eimbcke 2008) FCS
    Lorna's Silence (Jean-Pierre, Luc Dardenne 2009) R
    Sun, The (Alexandr Sokurov 2005) R
    Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy 2008) NYFF 2008
    Revanche (Götz Spielmann 2008) FCS
    White Ribbon, The (Michael Haneke 2009) NYFF

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