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Thread: BEST MOVIES OF 2010 -- so far

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    BEST MOVIES OF 2010 -- so far

    RECOMMENDED US THEATRICAL RELEASES THUS FAR (regularly updated)

    As of Dec. 24, 2010.

    -Ajami (Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani 2009) DVD
    -Alamar (Pedro Gonzalez Rubio 2010) DVD
    -American, The (Anton Corbijn 2010) DVD
    -Animal Kingdom (David Michôd 2010) DVD
    -Anton Chekhov's The Duel (Dover Kosashvili 2009) No DVD yet
    -Daddy Longlegs (Josh and Benny Safdie 2009) DVD 2011?
    -Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy 2010) DVD
    -Eyes Wide Open (Haim Tabakman 2009) DVD
    -Father of My Children, The (Le père de mes enfants, Mia Hansen-Løve 2009) DVD
    -Fighter, The (David O. Russell 2010) Dec. 2010 release
    -Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould (Michèle Hozner, Peter Raymont 2010) DVD in 2011
    -Ghost Writer, The (Roman Polanski 2010) DVD
    -Greenberg (Noah Baumbach 2010) DVD
    -Mademoiselle Chambon (Stéphane Brizé 2009) DVD
    -Making Plans for Léna (Non, ma fille, tu n'iras pas danser, Christophe Honoré 2009) no DVD yet
    -Prophet, A (Un prophète, Jacques Audiard 2009) DVD
    -Social Network, The (David Fincher 2020) DVD
    -Solitary Man (Brian Koppelman, David Levien 2010) DVD release
    -Somewhere (Sofia Coppola 2010) Dec. 2010 release
    -Terribly Happy (Henrik Ruben Genz 2010) DVD release July 13, 2010
    -Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich 2010) DVD
    -Welcome (Philippe Lioret 2009) DVD release August 1, 2010
    -Winter's Bone (Debra Granik 2010) DVD


    This is from a page on my website where I list all the films I've seen in theaters so far this year with links to my reviews of them. The year is now half over. Have there been any great new American movies? Even though TOY STORY 3 was overrated in my view I list it here in recognition that it is well made and moves many people. But for me, THE SOCIAL NETWORK is the real grownups' great American movie of 2010. Brilliantly done, relevant, with wide appeal.

    Many of these will be on DVD within a month or two if they aren't already.

    *Alamar July 14-20 at Film Forum in NYC. SFFS at Sundance Kabuki in San Francisco from July 20. Making Plans for Lena at Kabuki August 6.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-24-2010 at 10:32 AM.

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    I am glad you posted this list. You inspired me to start my own. Something I had not done this year.Many of the films I have really liked this year are unlikely to get distribution. They include Grandmother (Philippines), Moloch Tropical (Haiti), Crab Trap (Colombia), Eccentricities of a Blond Girl (Portugal) and Medal of Honor (Romania). It is nice to reminisce about these screenings. Who knows if I will get a chance to rewatch any of them. However, City of Life and Death directed by Chuan Lu (the excellent Mountain Patrol) and Nothing Personal (starring Stephen Rea) are likely to be released before the end of the year.

    At the moment, my 3 favorite movies distributed in 2010 are:
    NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS
    FISH TANK
    THE MILK OF SORROW ('09 Silver Bear winner finally opens next month)

    Just below these in no particular order:
    The Wind Journeys (Colombia) Film Movement
    Lourdes (Jessica Hausner)
    Alamar
    Cyrus
    The Secret in Their Eyes
    Vincere
    Chloe
    Here & There (Serbia/USA)

    I am sure I forgot a title or two.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 07-16-2010 at 11:27 PM.

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    My list is only US-released films (though many you could not see in the middle of the country or rural areas). If I listed unreleased ones there would be others. Some of the Rendez-Vous and ND/NF ones, and You Think You're the Prettiest, But You're the Sluttiest (Che Sandoval 2008). If Hadewijch (Bruno Dumont 2010) is a US release I will list that. The Rivette and Resnais ones are coming and you may want to list them; I may take another look at the Resnais, which is coming to the Bay Area soon. NY film buffs love Zhao Dayang's GHOST TOWN and he does show talent but I did not like it. I think it counts as a US release though. There is also LEBANON, the Israeli film, a prizewinner, coming to theaters. I reviewed that as part of the 2009 NYFF.

    THE SECRET IN HER EYES didn't especially grab me so I left it off.

    FISH TANK is great and I forgot to list it so I've added it to my ongoing list above.

    LOURDES makes sense but it leaves me cold so I won't list it.

    MILK OF SORROW or PERSIAN CATS I have not seen -- or any of your unreleased favorites. So we compliment each other by seeing and commenting on different things.

    NOTHING PERSONAL I've read about but not seen.

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    I had forgotten Cyrus which has now been added to my previous post. I know you wouldn't want to list it.
    But, based on my readings of your reviews, I think you would want to list I am Love, right? I would have to find the time to see it tonight (last day of theatrical run) otherwise I will watch it on disc.

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    Right, I would not list CYRUS. I am debating about I AM LOVE. But I would advise seeing it, and if possible, in a theater.

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    I notice that you included the Banksy doc. Have you seen The Oath and/or Stonewall Upraising? The former is dominated by a fascinatingly ambiguous character. The latter is amazing to me because there is scant photographic record of the historical events depicted and yet the filmmakers manage to create intense drama out of interviews, a few old photos, and very brief recreations.

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    Wrote a review of THE OATH as part of New Directors/New Films in March. Good material and thought of listing it, but it didn't stand out for me quite as much as Banksy's doc. Ever see Michael Winterbottom's ROAD TO GUANTANAMO?

    Have not seen STONEWAL. It opened in Berkeley Friday but I've been under the weather.

    Edmund White wrote a pungent piece in 2007 for the weekly The Stranger. I also liked a witty rant White wrote for that Seattle mag's 'Queer Issue' in 2003, "Appropriate Stupidity,"
    Specifically the Gym-Haunting, Dick-Worshipping, Book-Avoiding Sort. . .Once upon a time straights cornered the market on dumbness.

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    INCEPTION will be the Best Film of the Year.
    (just FYI) lol
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    The early reviews are very positive. The Variety review gives me confidence to predict Inception may well be the best American film of the year (so far) because reviewer Justin Chang is usually reliable. The possibility that a challenging, cerebral movie may be massively popular is very exciting to me.

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    *I liked THE DARK KNIGHT a lot and loved AVATAR. It was great to feel this way about movies that casual film-goers were discussing. I liked the first hour of THE MATRIX. Then it collapses, as far as I am concerned. I had high hopes for Scorsese's SHUTTER ISLAND but, for me, it was mostly disappointing. Perhaps I will feel the same way about INCEPTION.

    *I went to see I AM LOVE today. I will comment on its own thread; probably will react directly to your review as you seem to prefer.

    *My 17 year-old son loved TOY STORY 3 and he made me promise to wait until we can see it together.

    *Missed the new Jeunet film, MICMACS (whatever that means). Did you see it?

    *I remember having mixed feelings about ROAD TO GUANTANAMO. I watched THE OATH twice. I found the enigmatic central character fascinating ( and I still don't know what director Laura Poitras thinks about him (just an observation not a criticism). Heck, I still have not made up my own mind about him. Her previous film, MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY, is more straightforward.

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    Sorry, I deleted this post, which was originally before Oscar's last post, to add something: namely that Chang's review is enticing.

    Okay, fine, pass the hype. Don't mind if I do. But this thread was my idea of listing the best films you're seen so far this year. . .. I get the point though. No good movies to see? Let's imagine one. Makes sense.

    The possibility that a challenging, cerebral movie may be massively popular is very exciting to me.
    It's exciting to any of us. Also the idea of simply a good movie that may be massively popular.

    It's true, Justin Chang is a good reviewer and he likes INCEPTION. But is he liking the kind of movie I like, in this case? Is MEMENTO meets MATRIX meets DEMONLOVER meets THE DARK KNIGHT my kind of movie?

    You never know, but maybe not. To begin with I tend to prefer a film that cost $1.5 million -- or $15 million -- to make rather than $150; all things being equal in behemoth-land, I now tend to prefer one that's 1 1/2 hours long, not 2 1/2. More is not more in blockbusters; it's just longer -- usually too long.

    I hope Christopher Nolan's INCEPTION will be coherent enough to be a movie I can discuss. The was true of MATRIX but not of THE DARK KNIGHT, which it was a struggle for me to sit through to the end of and which seemed largely incoherent. After a while I didn't care. It's encouraging that Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is involved. He's an intelligent young actor who's chosen interesting movies to be in. I guess he's the promising new male face this time. Let's hope he survives to make other movies, unlike his Joker predecessor.

    Itt's certainly true that Justin Chang's description sounds very appetizing.

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    (Response to Oscar's post above.)

    I didn't like THE DARK KNIGHT, as I said; almost everybody did though. Ditto AVATAR. But I think some major film buffs I know would not go near either film.

    I haven't seen MICMACS. Not a huge Jeunet fan. Wouldn't you say that AVATAR falls down in the second half, like MATRIX? But the MATRIX ideas are fun to talk about; I used MATRIX RELOADED as a starting point for a piece about Baudrillard and September 11, 2001.

    Well I guess if your son liked TOY STORY 3 then it must be a masterpiece. However unlike your daughter, he has not tried out his reviewing skills in these pages.

    There was another small documentary that showed Arabs shifting positions, like the guy in THE OATH. It was in the SFIFF 2008 and it was called RECYCLED. Why should you feel an obligation to "make up your mind" about such a person? Is there some obligation to do up some kind of moral evaluation? Try living through similar circumstances. You survive, that's all. The changes of allegiance of figures like the English Restoration's leading poet (and poet laureate), John Dryden show how people have had to shift with the times to stay alive, and hear their voices heard. I think it's a question of survival. However some are more chameleon-like than others. We like to read stories about them and such heroes are called "picaros."
    Of course "mixed feelings" are in order re: THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO -- and for most any Michael Winterbottom film. His stuff is nearly always flawed, but stimulating. I just saw his 24 HOUR PARTY people for the first time. It's by far his highest rated film. Review of Metacritic ratings:

    WELCOME TO SARAJEVO (1997) 72
    24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE (2001) 85
    9 SONGS (2004) 43
    ROAD TO GUANTANAMO (2006) 64
    TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY (2006) 80
    A MIGHTY HEART (2007) 74
    THE SHOCK DOCTRINE (2009) XX
    THE KILLER INSIDE ME (2010) 53

    Actually the quality is pretty even, but people tend to react differently to the material. The sex in 9 SONGS and the sex and the violence in THE KILLER INSIDE ME turned people off big-time. GUANTANAMO is provocative in its denunciation of American War on Terror policies. MIGHTY HEART is a feel-good issue picture. SHANDY is classy, about a literary classic, and probably many film reviewers are of the generation that grew up with the Manchester music celebrated so charmingly in 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE. I am going to watch 9 SONGS now. Had not seen it. When stuff is trashed sometimes one's put off. Funny 24 HOURS PARTY PEOPLE and TRISTRAM SHANDY, which are both openly a shambles, self-reflective, moving in and out of "realism," and incidentally featuring Steve Coogan, did well with critics. You couldn't do a funny, post-modern version of THE KILLER INSIDE ME, or 9 SONGS, so they tanked. Moral: get Steve Coogan back. My conclusion about Michael Winterbottom as a filmmaker: the whole is more than the sum of its parts. I'd like more directors like him, who move around so freely among genres and always stimulate.

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    P.s. The odds are (going just by that VARIETY review) that you'll like INCEPTION better than SHUTTER ISLAND. Incidentally, I have yet to see that--its Metacritic rating, incidentally is one point below THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO'S. But I had lots of political reasons to see the latter, whereas no great need to see a mash-up of Fifties melodramas. DiCaprio's presence in INCEPTION might be bad luck for you--or for me. He has not scored so well lately.

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    [QUOTE=Chris Knipp;24683]Well I guess if your son liked TOY STORY 3 then it must be a masterpiece.
    This reads as a sarcastic comment to me. Tell me I'm wrong because sarcasm would be an inappropriate response to my sharing Dylan's love for Toy Story 3 with the readers of this forum.The fact that he wants to watch it again and with me only means I'm going to have to wait until our schedules coincide to check it out.


    My conclusion about Michael Winterbottom as a filmmaker: the whole is more than the sum of its parts. I'd like more directors like him, who move around so freely among genres and always stimulate.
    He's so versatile I cannot figure out who he is. I have seen all his movies except the two most recent. The ones I liked are: BUTTERFLY KISS,WONDERLAND, A MIGHTY HEART and TRISTRAM SHANDY. Probably in that order of preference.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 07-14-2010 at 01:08 AM.

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    Sharing a film that he loves with your son is sacred. I'd never make fun of that. I'd like to discuss the film with him. Can you bring him on board? What I meant was that nobody will convince me TOY STORY 3 is a masterpiece, not even your son. But mine was purely a teasing remark, not sarcastic in the least. I'm impressed that the film appeals to a 17-year-old since Andy is that age. When I was 17 my tastes were very different. They haven't changed much, just new movies have come along. Back when I was your son's age, movies I liked were REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, PICNIC, MARTY, TO CATCH A THIEF, MR. HULOT'S HOLIDAY (an all-time favorite,) RIFIFI (ditto) and THE LADYKILLERS. I did not want to see GUYS AND DOLLS or LADY AND THE TRAMP.

    As for Winterbottom, that he can't be typecast is a virtue. Risk-taking is a common thread. Following his passions wherever they lead him. Obviously he is prolific and doesn't hesitate to dive into a new project. It's been noted that most people wouldn't have dared to take on the whole Manchester music scene 1976-1992 at one go. And obviously I think Anton Corbjin's CONTROL about Joy Division and Ian Curtis is a better film; but it does something different, more limited. Winterbottom doesn't fear failure. Tristram Shandy is an impossible book to film. THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO is a provocative and dangerous topic -- to Americans; less so to Brits since the Tipton Three did get out. It's flawed in that it smooths over gaps in the guy's stories.. 9 SONGS contains scene of actual sex so it's sure to be rejected from the mainstream.

    I'm sure there is a common thread; several, two of which I've mentioned. but I haven't seen all his films. I see two of your favorites are ones's I've missed, WONDERLAND and BUTTERFLY KISS. A MIGHTY HEART uses documentary again, fictionally, yet seems to me more conventional, but again it's just a subject he came across and couldn't resist, that was important and some thing was Jolie's best performance. Or did that lead to GUANTAMO or vice versa? I forget.

    The styles of TRISTRAM SHANDY and 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE are very similar; so is GUANTANAMO, really: self-referential, post-modern pseudo-documentary. BUTTERFLY KISS sounds risk-taking, lurid in the extreme, and unpleasant. Genre-bending. WONDERLAND sounds like it treads on Andrea Arnold territory. Metacritic WONDERLAND 71, BUTTERFLY KISS 61. So WONDERLAND is up there in the critical ratings, the other, not. The subjects may interest you especially. The other ones interest me more, TRISTRAM SHANDY (even though it disappoints me), GUANTANAMO (important to me), 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE (obviously not urgent, since I waited a decade to see it, but I like music scene and band movies). He's out there trying things. A MIGHTY HEART is utterly conventional. Anybody could have done it. Not sure anybody else could have done SHANDY or PARTY PEOPLE. Not sure of course about the ones I haven't seen. Have you seen the ones I've mentioned and just not liked them? Or not seen some of them? I find it hard to catch up. The collective movie blog The Playlist has a recent rundown -- they call it an "appreciation" -- of Winterbottom's films that indicates several more I'd have to see to do a complete assessment. But I don't thik an assessment of somebody like this is possible. They say he's like Soderbergh, though with a bit less successful batting average. That's a possible analogy. Better batting average or no, Soderbergh has his share of misfires. But one of his great virtues is his willingness to try different things. One could twist around Salvador Dali's famous remark, "The only difference between a madman and myself is that I am not mad," and say the only difference between Winterbottom and Soderbergh and a hack is that they are not hacks.

    Now it's become too late to watch 9 SONGS tonight. But I've enjoyed our exchanges today on this and I AM LOVE. I am stuck at home sick so it gave me pleasantly distracting to do.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-14-2010 at 03:38 AM.

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