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    Best Movies of 2017

    Metacritc's current year's best list, by critical ratings, but some are 2018, not 2017; and they managed to forget one better than these, Christopher Nolan's DUNKIRK - Metacritic raging 94. Call Me by Your Name, which everybody loves, is a great success, and so are some of the others, in what still seems a somewhat thin year somehow.

    1 96 CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino)
    11/24/2017
    2 95 FACES, PLACES (AgnŤs Varda)
    10/6/2017
    3 94 A FANTASTIC WOMAN (SebastiŠn Lelio)
    11/17/2017
    4 94 LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig)
    11/3/2017
    5 92 THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker)
    10/6/2017
    6 91 EX LIBRIS: The New York Public Library (Fred Wiseman)
    9/13/2017
    7 9 PADDINGTON 2 (Paul King)
    1/12/2018
    8 88 LOVELESS (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
    12/1/2017
    9 88 YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (Lynne Ramsay
    Feb. 23, 2018
    10 88 RAT FILM(Theo Anthony)
    Sept. 15, 2017
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-25-2017 at 08:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    Metacritc's current year's best list, by critical ratings, but some are 2018, not 2017; and they managed to forget one better than these, Christopher Nolan's DUNKIRK - Metacritic raging 94. Call Me by Your Name, which everybody loves, is a great success, and so are some of the others, in what still seems a somewhat thin year somehow.
    The ones I've seen are Varda's impossible-to-dislike, crowd-pleasing yet undeniable FACES PLACES and The Florida Project. I read your review. I have not seen Tangerine but it doesn't seem to me apt to call the director a "humanist" based on his latest film, a tough piece that is brutally honest and uncompromisingly caustic toward underclass, single mothers. This film confronts the parenting crisis head on. It's quite an achievement to make it so hard for the spectator to decide whether the child is better off under State custody. My friends, a cinema manager and a print film critic, didn't like it BECAUSE of the director's lack of compassion towards the mom figure. I thought that the scene where she punches her best friend in the face repeatedly for calling her a cock sucker tipped the balance of the characterization too much into unfavorable territory.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 11-24-2017 at 10:21 PM.

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    You cannot be realistic as Sean Baker is and sugar-coat the characters. But I would still call him a humanist, for even bothering to depict this world, and his treatment of the kids, arguably his real subject. Tangerine is another example you need to see, which I found visually beautiful - the colors. Maybe my conception of humanism is different from yours. It's not "liberalism" and portraits that are realistic shouldn't be seen as "tilted" into "favorable" or "unfavorable" "territory". Territory is a good word, but it's neutral territory. I also repeat that this film reminded me of Andrea Arnold's American Honey, an exciting, disturbing film whose characters from the American white underclass ("poor white trash") are full of incredible life, but some of them are definitely not nice or right in any way, they make you feel uneasy and sort of soiled. Andrea Arnold is a humanist too, and watch her amazing Fish Tank, Perhaps Michael Fassbender's best role, where he is a really awful character, but it's a realistic look at these people's lives, and she gives you an intimate look at what he does.

    I agree with you on Faces, Places. It seems a bit thin, but it is beautifully put together, and she is an icon now, and very remarkable given her age (89! - how does she do it?). Have you really not seen Dunkirk? If so that is really too bad, because it was essential to see it in IMax and/or (I saw it in both) 70mm. About half the people didn't get it. Varda is the darling of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This is not realistic at all, nor does it show any of the dark or problematic side of the rural France she and JR go through. It's just a show they put on. But it's so slickly done, you have to admire it, and her repartee with JR is so slick and pleasing. I didn't really feel anything though.

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    I edited the post so it's "lack" of compassion", not "like". I love the skewering of the Brazilian bourgeois newlywed bride in The Florida Project. My friend says Baker is a "miserablist". I think it's an exaggeration. But there's maybe two moments in the film when I feel the same way. Still, a memorable film for me. As far as contemporary films, I am going to watch Wonderstruck next. Currently, rewatching Dekalog and Ozu's I was born but..". I spend A LOT more time re-watching movies than watching new ones. I'm more interested in getting to know a few films deeply than dabbling in many ones.

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    I'm not dabbling. It's more scouring. Dabbling is pejorative but I know you may not realize that.
    Don't expect too much from Wonderstruck.
    No, Baker's not a "miserablist". See Tangerine.
    I'm a huge fan of Dekalog and it can't be watched too often. Admire Ozu but don't watch him enough. However, I think one has to both watch great older films and the new ones, all the time.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-25-2017 at 08:44 PM.

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    Metacritic now has a new version of the page I started with. Dunkirk has been put it its rightful place. It changes all the time and it's a bit hard to see the logic of the readjustments, and they may not be too reliable, but you have to realize they have 6 pages going up to over 550 films. I have not seen the much admired Columbus, and I see it's now easy to watch it online so I may have to. Yesterday I saw Margaret Betts' debut filmNovitiate (which she wrote and directed) about a young nun in training and a troubled Mother Superior in the key year of Vatican II, 1964, which includes an Oscar-nomination performance by Melissa Leo as the Mother Superior. Metacritic 73%, not a top contender, but very interesting if you're interested in Catholicism and debut films and Oscar supporting performances.

    1 96% CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino)
    11/24/2017
    2 95% FACES, PLACES (AgnŤs Varda)
    10/6/2017
    3 94% A FANTASTIC WOMAN (SebastiŠn Lelio)
    11/17/2017
    4 94% DUNKIRK (Christopher Nolan)
    7/21/2017
    5 94% LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig)
    11/3/2017
    6 92% THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker)
    10/6/2017
    7 91% EX LIBRIS: The New York Public Library (Fred Wiseman)
    9/13/2017
    8 90% I CALLED HIM MORGAN 2 (Kasper Collin)
    1/12/2018
    9 89% COLUMBUS (Kogonada)
    8/4/2017
    10 89% UNCERTAIN( Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol)
    Sept. 15, 2017
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2018 at 09:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    I'm not dabbling. It's more scouring. Dabbling is pejorative but I know you may not realize that.
    Don't expect too much from Wonderstruck.
    No, Baker's not a "miserablist". See Tangerine.
    I'm a huge fan of Dekalog and it can't be watched too often. Admire Ozu but don't watch him enough. However, I think one has to both watch great older films and the new ones, all the time.
    I am having the distinct pleasure of watching DEKALOG on a theater screen , on Criterion BluRay. I will definitely watch Tangerine.

    Susan Sontag, among others, has talked about the "excess" or "plenitude" of cinema, meaning that it's impossible to attend to everything available for perception in any second of cinema; so many systems of signification working conjointly and consistently that I often feel I am dabbling when I am experiencing a movie for the first time. I cannot honestly claim to have more than a superficial understanding of the movie. What I ask from a movie is to compel me to watch it a second time so i can explore how it does what it does.

    It has often been said that camera movement and editing are (the) elements of film style that are uniquely cinematic, but film reviews typically ignore them (understandably perhaps, to concentrate on genre, plot and character development)because it seems natural to use available time and energy on story construction and take for granted the stylistic or aesthetic aspects. I notice that my students often forget that everything they see and hear results from decisions about how to manipulate the viewer's perception, attention, thoughts and feelings. Often part of the enjoyment is to disregard the cogs and wheels and stratagems and become immersed into the diegesis. Then you watch it again to understand the experience. So, the term dabble was descriptive of my experience and the fact that the writing about film I prefer is the kind derived from repeated acquaintance with the film under consideration.

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