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Thread: BEST MOVIES OF 2010 -- so far

  1. #31
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    Yes, the best movie is always an old one.

    I'll see this if I get a chance.

    Meanwhile have just seen

    INCEPTION
    SOUTH OF THE BORDER
    THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
    THE LOTTERY

    Doubtful any of these would wind up being Best Movies candidates.

    Have been watching Kurosawa's STRAY DOG. Beautiful abstract sequences better than anything in Chris Doye's cinematography for Wong Kar-wai.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-20-2010 at 09:12 PM.

  2. #32
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    Stray Dog on DVD or in a theatre? Thanks for the comment on Doyle/Wong. Something to think about..

    I just picked up the latest issue of Film Comment (Inception cover) and it's excellent, as it's always been.
    That magazine is the Standard if you ask me. There's an article (first part of two) about the internet critics vs. the old school print critics and it was interesting to read. I saw myself in the criticism aimed at the online writers. But I defend the use of strong language when I have no one to impress and it suits my point. Plus I'm not paid. If I was a paid critic like these "legit" writers, I'd be cranking out the most astute, erudite and passionate reviews this side of Sight & Sound. But since writers are a dime a dozen, I don't really make an effort to censor myself, just for the fact that sometimes salty language is needed and no word can compare to "fuck". It's the perfect curse word.


    Just FYI, in the interview with Christopher Nolan he mentions that a lot of the dream stuff in INCEPTION he just made up, that he doesn't delve too deeply into psychoanalysis at all. His passion for the craft of filmmaking comes through like a freight train in that interview.
    AND!
    he is producing the next Superman film, The Man of Steel! Warners has found their Superhero Messiah!
    Rumours are that the story will be modern, how Superman would fit in with today's world, with the Daily Planet newspaper under threat from the internet. Can you imagine Clark Kent looking for a job at Microsoft because he was downsized?
    I also picked up the latest issue of Empire ~INCEPTION cover also~ and there are some hints about the next and final Batman film. Nolan says "one film at a time!" and that the next Bat-film will complete the trilogy, complete the arc he has for the characters. He has denied the villain will be Mr. Freeze or the Penguin. My guess is it will be Catwoman or the Riddler.
    Last edited by Johann; 07-21-2010 at 11:13 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  3. #33
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    STRAY DOG in a Criterion DVD rented from Netflix. It's particularly the sequence in which the hero is disguised as a deadbeat and walks on the wild side, with montage segments, in which the images are fantastic and gorgeous à la Doyle.

    I'm glad you like Film Comment (which Peter used to do the layouts of) because it's the official journal of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which in turn is responsible for my best film experiences of the year. Film Comment's articles aren't usually online and I don't get it, but the essay you mention, by Paul Brunick, "THE LIVING AND THE DEAD: Online versus Old School: time to debunk the myth (Part I)" is available on the FSLC website here. As print jorunalism opportunities diminish, more online possibilities emerge. The situation in movie writing isn't any different from what's happening in politics and other fields. People get heard who may not have credentials -- or proper editing. But there are many new voices. I like the writing of Walter Chaw for Film Freak Central. He sometimes uses "fuck." His reviews are very smart, but often angrier than anything in a newspaper, apart from the swear words. He gave THE DARK KNIGHT 4 out of 4; but INCEPTION he gave 2 our of 4. He's an example of one of the more interesting online critics. Apart from the liveliness of the online film criticism scene that this nice young college boy, Paul Brunick, talks about, the Web allows us unprecedented quick access to most of the film criticism about new movies, and if you acknowledge that reviewers or critics actually make smart observations about the films they review, that makes us all smarter. As well as in touch with each other. But i don't think we need to sell ourselves on what we ourselves are doing.

    It's no surprise to me that Nolan relies on his own invention rather than pschycholgical studies for his "dreams" in INCEPTION, but as I've said, the trouble with his "dreams" in the film is they're just action movie sequences, unlike the dreams in other films you can think of. However, INCEPTION is undeniably a beautiful and elegant-looking blockbuster. But remember what Chaw says: it's a Rubik's cube, not a profound study.

    I'm afraid I can't get too excited about the upcoming Batman films, though of course I'll have to watch them, especially if Nolan makes them. I'm burdened by the unchangeable fact that my interest in comic books and their stories and characters had waned by the time I reached the age of twelve.

  4. #34
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    Thanks for the links. It's true that I should link to more stuff that I mention. Chalk it up to laziness...ha ha

    Print critics should be able to make the jump to online writing with ease, shouldn't they?
    I mean, if you're such a great critic/writer, then I would think adapting your passion to a new medium wouldn't be that hard.
    Roger Ebert excels at it, as do many others. Jonathan Rosenbaum is VERY active, with film festivals, facebook, etc.. Love that man.
    I've exchanged messages and e-mails with him often. It's great. Facebook has it's downsides, but man, I've chatted with Guy Maddin, E.E. Merhige and Ted Falconi (all friends on there!) and that was not even conceivable ten years ago. I'm amazed at the internet and how it's literally transformed the human race. Bill Gates, you've created the Juggernaut of Juggernauts...

    I should also mention that Christopher Nolan said that Heath Ledger was the definitive Joker and that giving the role to another actor just seems wrong. His filmmaking is so streamlined and exciting to me that even if INCEPTION isn't as good as his other films I know I'll still give it up for it.
    The trailers tell me that I can suspend belief for whatever images fly by my eyes on it. I love how he crosscuts and it builds and builds..
    That's what exciting cinema needs to be: quick, with cuts that mean something, close-ups are rationed (like Kubrick. When Kubrick did a close-up...did it ever mean something) and the music/sound is just AWESOME.
    Sound & Vision is what it's all about with Mr. Nolan. He's a true gift to the medium of motion pictures.
    Last edited by Johann; 07-21-2010 at 06:18 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  5. #35
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    I am fanatical about links. It's possible to live without them but I feel they are helpful, and I want to cross-reference all my writing as much as I can. They are very easy to insert with Filmleaf's new software. You could be lazy and still give us more links, so long as you know how to cut and paste. But do you?

    Some print journalists feel alternately threatened by and contemptuous of online criticism. It's not clear why they need to make any "transition" since regular print reviewers' writing is usually archived on the Web. Rosenbaum is retired and Ebert has no other life than movies. I've had exchanges with several directors and journalists and been invited to contribute to other websites including this one due to my IMDb reviews of some years ago. My reviews now appear on a couple other sites besides this one and mine. Being rated as a reviewer for screenings, I have the option of interviewing people. At first I was more interested in accessing political information right after 9/11, but gradually writing movie reviews took over most of my online time because I wanted to be a film critic when I was in my teens. Don't forget that the majority of print reviewers are still not making a living with it.

    Why credit Bill Gates? It was the US government. more specifically the Pentagon, that masterminded the Internet. At least that's my understanding. Gates became a billionaire stealing and monopolizing stuff. See Wikipedia, Internet History.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-21-2010 at 07:51 PM.

  6. #36
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    *I haven't seen any of the four movies you listed, Chris. There are so many movies being released on a very limited basis. It's impossible to watch everything that seems worth watching. I hope to eventually watch Inception, Despicable Me, Toy Story 3, The Kids are Alright and a few others. It's expensive also. I cannot always afford to go. I have seen some pretty good movies that I don't think you have seen. It's only natural under this distribution system. Jeunet's Micmacs, for instance, is quite charming and richly imagined. Cell 211, which won 8 Spanish Academy awards, is about as good as prison flicks get. Sometimes I miss out on the wide release films because I don't want to miss films like these which stay in theaters very briefly.

    *Stray Dog is very good. You are right to take note of the cinematography.

    *Print critics, especially youngish ones who write for daily newspapers, often don't have passion for cinema or knowledge of the history of the art form.They may have more of an interest in the stars than the actual movies. They are hired based on writing skills rather than expertise (which the ones doing the hiring don't know how to assess) or passion. On-line critics are enthusiastic film buffs who often have mediocre writing skills.Of course I am generalizing.

  7. #37
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    INCEPTION
    SOUTH OF THE BORDER
    THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
    THE LOTTERY


    I haven't seen any of the four movies you listed, Chris. There are so many movies being released on a very limited basis.
    A lot of people will see INCEPTION and pretty many will see THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, since it's so highly praised. THE LOTTERY just opened today and SOUTH OF THE BORDER is in limited rolling out release, but you expressed contempt for it in advance and the intention of avoiding it (I don't see it listed as coming to Florida on their website schedule). Quite possibly THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT would please you (more than me).

    Print critics are perhaps being phased out so no need to generalize about them, but your generalization probably always applied: they were hired as good writers, not passionate cinephiles, and very often might review other things as well as movies.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-24-2010 at 12:50 AM.

  8. #38
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    Some occasional theatrical showings of festival films in San Francisco this summer.

    The San Francisco Film Society, which puts on the SFIFF, has some theatrical screenings at the Sundance Kabuki, the SFIFF main headquarters at festival time in May. They have a screen ongoingly available there. The first title is new to me; the others are familiar from the SFIFF of this year or Lincoln Center events.


    San Francisco, CA -- The Two Escobars (USA 2010), Jeff and Michael Zimbalist's captivating telling of the tragically entwined stories of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar and star soccer defender Andrés Escobar, opens Friday, August 27 on SFFS Screen at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.

    Also coming to SFFS Screen

    July 30: Alamar Pedro González-Rubio's lovingly made story of the growing bond between a father and son, who are spending a summer together on Mexico's Caribbean coast, demonstrates exquisite poetry and sophisticated craft.

    August 6: Making Plans for Lena In Christophe Honoré's latest work a family weekend in the Breton countryside spirals out of control for recent divorcée Lena (Chiara Mastroianni) when her mother invites her ex over without her knowledge in this New Wave-inspired look at a woman on the verge.

    August 13: Vengeance Johnnie To's genre-busting gem populated by a hit man turned chef, family men moonlighting as assassins and earnestly official women detectives stars Johnny Hallyday, the iconic French crooner who exudes cool.

    August 20: Army of Crime Robert Guédiguian's lush historical drama focuses on a largely overlooked cell of French Resistance fighters-refugees of the antifascist fight throughout Europe, mostly Jews and communists-led by French Armenian poet Missak Manouchian (Simon Abkarian) and his wife Mélinée (Virginie Ledoyen).

    September 3: Dogtooth In Yorgos Lanthimos's new drama the matriarch and patriarch of an upper-class Greek family teach their three college-age offspring an alternate language to protect a larger deception.

    September 10: Change of Plans Danièle Thompson's light comedy begins as a group of friends and acquaintances gather for dinner, and the atmosphere couldn't be friendlier. Slowly the masks of civility drop and suspicions, jealousies and fears emerge.
    I have seen all of these but DOGTOOTH and Johnnie To's VENGEANCE. I would like to see them and if I can get over there I'll watch them, but the one-time-only scheduling makes it a bit difficult for me. I think they've already screened ALAMAR post-festival. Unfortunately this is only a trickle compared to the programs continually presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, not to mention the Pacific Film Archive (which however focuses on older films) in Berkeley. This selection seems somewhat random. I like MAKING PLANS FOR LENA and ALAMAR and have heard good things about VENGEANCE and DOGTOOTH, but CHANGE OF PLANS and THE ARMY OF CRIME are not exceptional.

    Local screening the new print of Godard's BREATHLESS.

    Apropos of my earlier comment in this thread, "The best movie is always an old one," a nice newly restored 1930's cinema near me, the Realto Cerrito, is showing the renewed print of Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 BREATHLESS three times a day for a week or two. I saw it there this week and enjoyed it and found it indeed in a sense has dated little, even though it's quite nostalgic for me to watch it because it shows the Paris I first visited in my youth and the film itself I saw when quite young. I was struck by how beautiful and transparent Jean Seberg was, a person clearly made for the movie camera and possessed of a touching sweet innocence; also by Belmondo's ease and style on screen and how wasp-thin he was in those days. But artistically what struck me this time was the music -- the way themes identify characters and usher sequences in and out, and create a constant rhythm that provides momentum despite the fact that in a sense not all that much is happening. Anyway I'd say this is still a film worth watching and one that young people who haven't seen it ought to make an effort to see, especially in this pristine-looking new print. This was shown in NYC in late May and A.O. Scott wrote a piece in the NY Times about its contemporary relevance. Some local movie schedules incorrectly identify the Rialto Cerrito screening, confusing it with a new and by reports horrible and unpleasant Korean film also called BREATHLESS, but the San Francisco Chronicle acknowledges the revival of the Godard film with a recent brief telephone interview with Raoul Coutard, the famous cinematographer of the film, by G. Allen Johnson, a Chronicle writer. The newly re-minted Godard BREATHLESS is also showing at the Embarcadero Cinemas in downtown San Francisco.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-28-2010 at 03:55 PM.

  9. #39
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    THE TWO ESCOBARS is produced by sports cable network ESPN. It is part of an excellent series of sports-related documentaries called "30 for 30". I watched it last month. Two others I liked from the series, which deal with subjects I hold dear to my heart, are Billy Corben's The U (about how the U of Miami integrated the city's culture by recruiting local, inner-city kids into the football team and built a sports dynasty during the 80s and 90s) and Run, Ricky, Run, about one of the most unique personalities in the cookie cutter world of professional football.

    Do you want me to comment on BREATHLESS here or do we take the discussion to the Breathless thread in the Classic Films section?

  10. #40
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    Thanks for the background.

    By all means put further comments on BREATHLESS on the BREATHLESS thread already established. I was only noting having seen it in connection with my "an old movie is always best" line a couple days ago on this thread, and as another note of films seen this year. I actually had not seen it in a long time, though I have a laser disk of it, and I still have a laser disk player. I notice some good films came out in 1960 and were immediately shown in US theaters, or in NYC anyway. De Sica's TWO WOMEN and Antonioni's L'AVVENTURA are two others. This would already be at your fingertips, but not mine.

    The FSLC/Walter Reade series never end and today comes news of "Russellmania" with the director Ken Russell on hand in person every evening.
    * The Boy Friend
    * The Devils
    * Lisztomania
    * Mahler
    * The Music Lovers
    * Savage Messiah
    * Tommy
    * Valentino
    * Women in Love

    Russellmania!
    July 30 to August 5
    Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-28-2010 at 09:07 PM.

  11. #41
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    Ken Russell, uh? The "wizard of excess". I saw a lot of his movies at the time of release when they were inappropriate for someone my age. The only two I've dared to watch recently are TOMMY and WOMEN IN LOVE (Glenda Jackson was among the very best actresses of the 60s and 70s). I like these two. Not fair to Russell to comment on the others. There is a strong element of camp in his work. Many find it repellent, perhaps because he marries camp to highbrow subjects, like the lives of famous classical composers. After Lair of the White Worm (1988), he has made only straight-to-video and TV movies. Not a single movie made for theatrical release in 22 years! But he keeps making them. He is 83 now.

  12. #42
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    Again thanks for more background. I never liked him; I'm not into camp (one of the ways I'm not a proper gay person). Those two you mention are good though, quite good. I never walk out of a movie I've paid to see but THE DEVILS severely tried that resolve. He has made lost of movies in those 22 years. How can we be sure they aren't as good -- or as bad -- as his previous theatrical releases? I wonder if THE RAINBOW would be good since it's also D.H. Lawrence, and WOMEN IN LOVE was one of his good ones?

  13. #43
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    THE DEVILS has its fans. I'm with you though. I understand why one would walk out of this movie. Your instincts are probably right regarding THE RAINBOW. You can buy a copy of the DVD at Amazon UK for about $10 including shipping. I probably will buy a copy because it is unlikely to be released in the US.

  14. #44
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    I didn't walk out, though. I just wanted to, and came closer than ever before. Of course THE DEVILS has its fans. What doesn't? But seriously, there is an auteurish intensity about Ken Russell's movies that inspires fandom. I wouldn't personally go out and buy a copy of THE RAINBOW in UK format just because it isn't available here and maybe won't ever be; but at one time I was involved enough in the novels of D.H. Lawrence, which I still admire, to do that, and I wonder why I didn't see it in 1989 if it was in theaters here, as IMDb indicates it was; it grossed $444,000. Maybe it was the fact that it didn't come out on video. Unlike now, at that time I watched far more movies on video than in theaters. THE RAINBOW does sound like a must-see if one is interested in film adaptations of famous English novelists.

  15. #45
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    I perused box office charts at boxofficemojo and found out I've seen a mere FOUR movies in the top 25. Most of what people pay to see does not appeal to me at all. That seems to be the logical conclusion, good or bad. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to watch other movies that apparently interest few. Rosenbaum has written books about how people let the media lead (dictate) them away from certain movies and towards others. Two of the most interesting and enjoyable movies I have seen recently are AGORA and RAAVAN. Their combined box office is just over $1 million nationwide.

    AGORA is the new film by Alejandro Amenabar (The Others, The Sea Inside) with Rachel Weisz as a 4th century philosopher and astronomer struggling against the righteous power of the emergent Christians. The recreation of ancient Alexandria and a well-cast Weisz are reason enough to check it out. RAAVAN is an artful, re-imagining of "The Ramayana" by director Mani Ratman (Dil Se, Guru). There are some set pieces in this film that have to be seen to be believed.

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