Posts Tagged ‘best’

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My 2014 Discoveries

January 4, 2015

Top 35 (2013/14 not included):

35.  Involuntary (2008, Ruben Östlund)
34.  Les maîtres fous (1955, Jean Rouch)
33.  Love at Large (1990, Alan Rudolph)
32.  You Instead (2011, David Mackenzie)
31.  Above the Law (1986, Corey Yuen Kwai)
also Yes, Madam (1985)
30.  NY Export: Opus Jazz (2010, Henry Joost/Jody Lee Lipes)
29.  Sorcerer (1977, William Friedkin)
28.  Unfinished Business (1941, Gregory La Cava)
27.  High School (1968, Frederick Wiseman)
26.  Berlin Express (1948, Jacques Tourneur)
also Appointment in Honduras (1953)
25.  Bachelor Mother (1939, Garson Kanin)
24.  The Apple (1998, Samira Makhmalbaf)
23.  Hud (1963, Martin Ritt)
also The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
22.  Pushover (1954, Richard Quine)
21.  Shanghai Express / Blonde Venus (1932, Josef von Sternberg)
20.  Citizen X (1995, Chris Gerolmo)
19.  Fireworks (1947, Kenneth Anger)
18.  Outrage (1950, Ida Lupino)
also Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)
17.  La Vie des morts (1991, Arnaud Desplechin)
16.  Hercules and the Captive Women (1961, Vittorio Cottafavi)
15.  China 9, Liberty 37 (1978, Monte Hellman)
14.  Vampire’s Kiss (1988, Robert Bierman)
13.  Come Back to the Five and Dime (1982, Robert Altman)
12.  Go Get Some Rosemary (2010, Ben Safdie/Joshua Safdie)
11.  Dragnet (1954, Jack Webb)

10.  We’re Going to Eat You (1980, Tsui Hark)
09.  Les passagers (1999, Jean-Claude Guiguet)
08.  The Chase (1966, Arthur Penn)
07.  Border Incident (1949, Anthony Mann)
06.  Lone Star (1996, John Sayles)
05.  Violent Saturday (1955, Richard Fleischer)
also Armored Car Robbery (1950)
04.  Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925, Ernst Lubitsch)
03.  Out 1, noli me tangere (1971, Jacques Rivette/Suzanne Schiffman)
02.  Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937, Sadao Yamanaka)
01.  Tokyo Twilight (1957, Yasujirō Ozu)

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My 2013 in Film

February 21, 2014

I’ll keep it brief here because I have nothing to actually say. First up are the best new-to-me films that I saw in 2013. These do not include movies from 2012-2013. Why? Because [reasons]. The end of the ranking got really awkward as I tried to cram movies into it, so I opted to have a bunch of categories to give said movies mention despite their exclusion. I’m cool like that, my mum tells me. After all this are my 2013-premiere favourites as they sit for now (having not seen virtually every major film: The Immigrant, Stray Dogs, Under the Skin, and so on), including performances I dug, and notes on the year’s cinematography because apparently that is of particular interest to me (?). The only pieces I wrote all year were this Bastards review and this one on James Gray. What else? Breaking Bad and Bunheads destroyed all other TV, Gone Home was more moving than any film, and the only book I can recall finishing is The Invention of Morel. Music is cool too I guess.

  • Best Animated: Perfect Blue (1997, Kon)
  • Best Horror: The Exorcist III (1990, Blatty)
  • Best Australian: Dead Heart (1996, Parsons)Clay (1965, Mangiamele), Crawl (2011, China), One Night Stand (1984, Duigan)
  • Best Documentary: Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2003, Wang), Public Housing (1997, Wiseman), Nostalgia for the Light (2010, Guzmán), Bovines (2011, Gras)
  • Best TV film: Someone’s Watching Me! (1978, Carpenter), Something to Remind Me (2001, Petzold), Homecoming (2005, Dante)
  • Best Short: Never Weaken (1921, Newmeyer), The Professional Man (1995, Soderbergh, also TV)
  • Best Ad/Music Video: The Work of Director Jonathan Glazer
  • Further Best Musical: At Long Last Love (1975, Bogdanovich), Cabin in the Sky (1943, Minnelli)
  • Further Best Western: The Indian Fighter (1955, De Toth), Decision at Sundown (1957, Boetticher), Tennessee’s Partner (1955, Dwan), The Hanging Tree (1959, Daves), Apache (1954, Aldrich), Ride in the Whirlwind (1966, Hellman)
  • Further Best Action: Hard Target (1993, Woo), Drive (1997, Wang), Police Story (1985, Chan), U.S. Seals II (2001, Florentine), Torque (2004, Kahn)

Top 40:

40.  Sleepwalk (1986, Driver)
39.  Au Revoir Taipei (2010, Chen)
38.  Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974, Cimino)
37.  Art History / The Zone (2011, Swanberg)
36.  The Step (1985, Rekhviashvili)
35.  The Marrying Kind (1952, Cukor)
34.  That Old Dream That Moves (2001, Guiraudie)
also No Rest for the Brave (2003)
33.  The Sterile Cuckoo (1969, Pakula)
32.  Khrustalyov, My Car! (1998, German)
31.  Picnic (1955, Logan)
30.  Landscape Suicide (1987, Benning)
29.  Double Team (1997, Tsui)
28.  The Long Voyage Home (1940, Ford)
also Donovan’s Reef (1963)
and Two Rode Together (1961)
and The Quiet Man (1952)
27.  The Wife (1995, Noonan)
26.  The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943, Manning/Renoir)
25.  Duo Sang (1994, Wu)
24.  The Thief of Bagdad (1924, Walsh)
also The Big Trail (1930)
23.  Love is Colder Than Death (1969, Fassbinder)
also The American Soldier (1970)
22.  Raw Deal (1948, Mann)
also T-Men (1947)
and The Man From Laramie (1955)
21.  Le Grand Amour (1969, Étaix)

20.  Nighthawks (1978, Peck)
19.  Kamome Diner (2006, Ogigami)
18.  The Manxman (1929, Hitchcock)
17.  In the Family (2011, Wang)
16.  The Mortal Storm (1940, Borzage)
15.  Golden Eighties (1986, Akerman)
also Nuit et Jour (1991)
14.  Great Day in the Morning (1956, Tourneur)
13.  A Girl in Every Port (1928, Hawks)
12.  Crippled Avengers (1978, Chang)
11.  Applause (1929, Mamoulian)
10.  Running on Karma (2003, To/Wai)
also A Hero Never Dies (1998, To)
09.  Spetters (1980, Verhoeven)
also Flesh + Blood (1985)
08.  A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929, Asquith)
07.  The Ballad of Narayama (1958, Kinoshita)
06.  The Oyster Princess (1919, Lubitsch)
also The Wildcat (1921)
05.  Koridorius (1994, Bartas)
04.  The White Meadows (2009, Rasoulof)
03.  House By the River (1950, Lang)
also Die Nibelungen (1924)
and The Tiger of Eschnapur / The Indian Tomb (1959)
and Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)
02.  The 8-Diagram Pole Fighter (1984, Liu)
also The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)
01.  The Heiress (1949, Wyler)
also Dead End (1937)
and The Letter (1940)
and Dodsworth (1936)
and The Little Foxes (1941)
and Detective Story (1951)

Best 2013 Premieres:

  1. Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie)
  2. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhang-ke)
  3. Blind Detective (Johnnie To)
  4. The World’s End (Edgar Wright)
  5. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
  6. The Dance of Reality (Alejandro Jodorowsky)
  7. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski)
  8. Bastards (Claire Denis)
  9. Top of the Lake (Jane Campion)
  10. Our Sunhi (Hong Sang-soo)
  11. Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (3D, Tsui Hark)
  12. The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski)
  13. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
  14. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen)
  15. The Last of the Unjust (Claude Lanzmann)

Best scene:  Love dance — Tip Top (Serge Bozon)

Favourite Performances:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
  • Simon Pegg (The World’s End)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (Enough Said)
  • Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight)
  • Michael Cera (Magic Magic/Crystal Fairy)
  • Dolph Lundgren (The Package)
  • Paulina García (Gloria)
  • Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) suck it

Notes on 2013 Cinematography:

The uncategorisably unique achievements this year were Computer Chess (Matthias Grunsky) on vintage tube video (this year’s No)—infinitely fascinating to look at—and Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki, Arri Alexa/one scene 65mm) which wasn’t to my eyes one of the year’s best looking films, and raises some reactionary skepticism as to its faux-camera/lighting cinematographic “authenticity”, but is a technical marvel requiring probably the deepest involvement between cinematographer and post-production artists to date.

Film:

  • The World’s End (Bill Pope, 16mm/35mm): Rationally mixes gauges and spherical & anamorphic lenses, the lattermost causing the invaders’ blue orifice light beams to span the width of the ‘Scope frame for maximum stupefaction (and prettiness).
  • Vic + Flo Saw a Bear (Ian Lagarde, 35mm): Dat grain, dem blacks, dat painterly precision. Chilly.
  • Paradise: Hope (Edward Lachman and Wolfgang Thaler, Super 16): Pretty much the above but for the blacks, and the grain porn is twofold. SYMMETRY.
  • The Spectacular Now (Jess Hall, 35mm): Seriously, Panavision C- and E-Series lenses. Such lovely texture.
  • Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel, 35mm): What a palette. Blurring software transforms grain into a RED-esque “bloom” as Delbonnel himself puts it. The jump from dailies to post-DI image must be staggering.
  • The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd, 35mm): Soft, shallow focus. Dense elemental texture.

Digital:

  • Mother of George (Bradford Young, RED Epic): Long lenses oppress (a la The Yards) Adenike within the already insular Nigerian community of New York, her dilemma fully felt in suffocating isolation. The design touchpoint here is the Wong Kar-Wai of In the Mood for Love and 2046, they too fetishisations of lavishly textured garments and surfaces of bright colours thrown into darkness. Custom subverted as visual oppression.
  • Prisoners (Roger Deakins, Arri Alexa Plus): My goodwill started with its being a Hollywood flick that didn’t default to 2.35:1. Its refreshingly expansive frame finds a myriad of light sources and reflections amongst droplets of rain and bokeh, curiously busy at all depths. The highway emergency charge, and the candlelit vigil and its ensuing footchase are especially lavish setpieces.
  • Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael, Arri Alexa): I’m surprised, too! The trailer & Academy praise for its visuals to me indicated little more than a black-and-white-therefore-reputable fallacy, a shot-in-colour grey bore of adequate medium shots. But here it is, frequent long shots in deep focus, compositionally immaculate graphite drawings. In most cases these setups allow us to engage a character’s gait within the barren, wintry surroundings.
  • White House Down (Anna Foerster, Arri Alexa Plus): Refreshing in the midst of painfully overlit Hollywood movies. As well as being handsome, it smartly uses cameo lighting to direct one’s eye to faces in a shot that matter (as they will spout important bits of exposition) while others are draped in shadow, quite useful for a sprightly film so loaded with plot.
  • A Teacher (Andrew Droz Palermo, RED Epic): The revived Lomo lenses (see Starlet) warp bokeh and the world in line with the teacher’s irrational subjectivity.
  • Bastards (Agnès Godard, RED Epic): Not a noir painted with light to cast shadows, rather a smart use of digital’s sensitivity to near-eradicate its world of light. In all that murkiness, skin tones reign.
  • This is the End (Brandon Trost, RED Epic): Trost, a DTV & shorts DP and FX assistant miraculously landed Crank: High Voltage and Zombie’s great Halloween II in 2009, and has since made studio comedies look much better than they need to. In his best work to date, the RED diminishes all colours, conflating them into gold, ruptured beautifully by Trost with pink lens flares.
  • The Bling Ring (Harris Savides, RED Epic): The filmic loveliness of L.A. in Somewhere now the pearl-like sheen & eerie stillness of the city here, as fitting to its own subject, its increased ambivalence.
  • Legacy (Felix Wiedemann, Arri Alexa): Long-ass lenses and a soft palette recreate the 70s period look sans grain.

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2003 in Film: A Comprehensive

May 11, 2013

Firstly, about this little endeavour. I like making lists, but I’m usually hesitant in ranking all-time favourites and the like since memory eradicates a certainty in one’s opinion of a film seen many years ago, and one’s taste is hopefully always changing and expanding. Also I have the natural urge to want to tout those gems that are fading further into obscurity with each passing year, thus the standard top ten leaves me frustrated. So I thought I’d dedicate myself to yearly comprehensives, catching up with all I’ve missed, and perfunctorily ranking my favourites with no restrictions as per the number. Not only in this first instance did I discover a handful of new-to-me filmmakers, I finally had the incentive I needed to take on intimidating epics such as Wang Bing’s West of the Tracks. Overall it has been very rewarding to delve into 2003’s cinematic output. Why 2003 to start with? A mostly random choice, possibly on my mind for Johnnie To’s masterpieces viewed only recently.

The most miraculous and moving bit of cinema in 2003 was for me the opening of Abbas Kiarostami’s Five Dedicated to Ozu, a long take entitled Wood in which a piece of wood is prodded by waves along a beach as the camera tracks it. After some time, a small end of the wood breaks off and the camera frames both pieces as they meet and part until eventually one piece remains beached as the other drifts off into the ocean background. Kiarostami finally cuts when it escapes from view for a wave. It’s moving to me because, what for the title, I’d read into it a poetic allegory regarding the pensive familial-generational estrangement narratives for which Ozu was renowned: the parent pushed along by life, leaving behind its offspring. It’s miraculous because it occurs so perfectly, so delicately, in an unbroken and lengthy shot, surely unaided and unintentional (but who’s to say?). All it took was a titular nod to Ozu and I transferred all this emotion to it myself, proving the power of non-narrative cinema which traditionally leaves me cold. I was in awe by the time it cut at last. The following four long takes similarly deal in notions of line and movement but their meanings were more vague, or rather, less evocative for me.

If the Kiarostami had the finest opening of the year, Maren Ade’s The Forest for the Trees had the finest ending. It concludes an unbearably awkward comedy-drama of faux pas and desperate loneliness that makes the work of Ricky Gervais seem pleasant and mild in comparison. It’s essentially a return to the womb, and it breaks with the cruel realism of the rest of the film for an oddly blissful but heartbreaking note of poetic empathy. It turns a difficult film sublime. It also anticipates Ade’s later film Everyone Else in its similarly atavistic concluding motion.

In a banner year for South Korean cinema in terms of recognition, my reactions varied wildly, from the two greats listed, to the most gruesome or else unwatchably pointless films of the year (Oldboy and A Tale of Two Sisters).

The only other item of note is that Arrested Development first aired in 2003, and it turned out to be the funniest thing in the history of humour, or at least, since The Simpsons. Utterly brilliant television.

PTU (To)
Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai)
Running on Karma (To/Wai)
Los Angeles Plays Itself (Andersen)
Down with Love (Reed)
Crimson Gold (Panahi)
In the Cut (Campion)
A Talking Picture (Oliveira)
The Brown Bunny (Gallo)
The Story of Marie and Julien (Rivette)
Basic (McTiernan)
Wolfsburg (Petzold)
Dogville (Trier)
Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (Wang)
Looney Tunes: Back in Action (Dante)
Café Lumière (Hou)
Ana and the Others (Murga)
No Rest for the Brave (Guiraudie)
The Living World (Green)
Not on the Lips (Resnais)
Five Dedicated to Ozu (Kiarostami)
A Place Among the Living (Ruiz)
Coffee and Cigarettes (Jarmusch)
In Hell (Lam)
The Flower of Evil (Chabrol)
Ce jour-la (Ruiz)
The Same River Twice (Moss)
Memories of Murder (Bong)
A Good Lawyer’s Wife (Im)
Who Killed Bambi? (Marchand)
Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (Maddin)
The Forest for the Trees (Ade)
Elephant (Van Sant)
The Missing (Lee)
Jesus, You Know (Seidl)
Ramblers (Yamashita)
The Company (Altman)
School of Rock (Linklater)
Vibrator (Hiroki)
Zero Day (Coccio)
Shara (Kawase)

I suppose orange represents all-time favourites, and on down to the minor recommendations in grey. There are plenty of movies I like that aren’t even listed, so don’t think the greys are exactly small fries.

Update (14/05/13): In the Cut jumped five spots, out of crimson and into red, for having read this terrific piece which resurfaced in my mind the film’s excellence.

Some awards, because fuck it.

Best Feature Debut: Ana and the Others (Celina Murga) or The Forest for the Trees (Maren Ade). At least, I think Ade is the more promising director.
Best Cinematography: In the Cut (Dion Beebe), for its tilt-shift ambiguity. PTU (Siu-keung Cheng) for framing, and stage-lighting on city streets!
Best Australian Film: Alexandra’s Project (Rolf de Heer), despite its final act. Also the year’s creepiest film, along with Who Killed Bambi?.
Most Difficult: S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine (Rithy Panh), or West of the Tracks for sheer length.
Worst Film: High Tension or Dreamcatcher, yeesh.
The Lurking Ambivalence Award: Dogville (Trier) or Elephant (Van Sant).

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My March ’13 in Film

April 3, 2013

March was another month of completism rather than discovery, so much so that I’ve had to create categories for the directors I became attached to. Rohmer and Chabrol’s small book Hitchcock: The First Forty-Four Films fueled a fascination (alliteration!) with the master’s silent period in particular, and in viewing the woefully ignored “minor” efforts from throughout his oeuvre. These 9 films only fortified my adoration for the man’s work. Yes, Hitch made suspense pictures, but truly his is a cinema concerned with marriage as vital as Lubitsch’s. Jesus, 94 films in one month, including Wang Bing’s 9-hour epic and not including Scorsese’s shorts…I am wasting my youth.

  1. The White Meadows (2009, Rasoulof)
  2. A Girl in Every Port (1928, Hawks)
    and to a lesser extent #2 & 3 under “Hawks” below
  3. Running on Karma (2003, To/Wai)
    and to a lesser extent Fulltime Killer (2001, To/Wai)
  4. The Manxman (1929, Hitchcock)
    and to a lesser extent #2-4 under “Hitchcock” below
  5. Khrustalyov, My Car! (1998, German)
  6. Raw Deal (1948, Mann) and T-Men (1947, Mann)
    and to a lesser extent He Walked by Night (1948, Mann/Werker)
  7. The Wife (1995, Noonan)
  8. Hard Target (1993, Woo)
  9. Drive (1997, Wang)
  10. Torque (2004, Kahn)
  11. Dead Heart (1996, Parsons)
  12. Sue (1997, Kollek)
  13. Decision at Sundown (1957, Boetticher)
  14. Choose Me (1984, Rudolph)
  15. Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2003, Wang)
  16. Everybody in Our Family (2012, Jude)
  17. Dillinger Is Dead (1969, Ferreri)
  18. Nostalgia for the Light (2010, Guzmán)
  19. Melissa P. (2005, Guadagnino)
  20. The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque (1993, Rohmer)
  21. Freeze, Die, Come to Life! (1989, Kanevsky)
  22. After May (2012, Assayas)
  23. Le Dernier Combat (1983, Besson)
  24. The Crimson Pirate (1952, Siodmak)
  25. Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003, Kiarostami)
  26. The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966, Pasolini)
  27. A Good Lawyer’s Wife (2003, Im)
  28. Rope of Sand (1949, Dieterle)
  29. Dans la Maison (2012, Ozon)
  30. The Flower of Evil (2003, Chabrol)

Compelled to mention:

  • Sudden Death (1995, Hyams)
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011, Ritchie)
  • Rien sur Robert (1999, Bonitzer)
  • In the Bathtub of the World (2001, Zahedi)
  • Abel Ferrara: Not Guilty (2003, Pitts)
  • New York Stories (1989, Scorsese/Coppola/Allen)
    for Scorsese’s Life Lessons only

Worst:

  • New York Stories (1989, Scorsese/Coppola/Allen)
    for Coppola’s Life Without Zoe, surely the worst film ever made.
  • Bullet in the Head (1990, Woo)
  • The Expendables (2010, Stallone)
    *

Hitchcock:

  1. The Manxman (1929)
  2. The Farmer’s Wife (1928)
  3. Downhill (1927)
  4. Topaz (1969)
  5. The Paradine Case (1947)
  6. Jamaica Inn (1939)
  7. Champagne (1928)
  8. Rich and Strange (1931)
  9. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)

Hawks:

  1. A Girl in Every Port (1928)
  2. Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
  3. The Criminal Code (1931)
  4. Tiger Shark (1932)
  5. The Crowd Roars (1932)

Boetticher:

  1. Decision at Sundown (1957)
  2. Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)
  3. The Cimarron Kid (1952)
  4. The Man from the Alamo (1953)

Carpenter:

  1. Someone’s Watching Me! (1978)
  2. Village of the Damned (1995)
  3. Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

I suppose these three Carpenters are considered among his least, but for me they each affirm his qualities. #1 & 2 are strong examples of the insidious terror that so encapsulates Carpenter, with the 1978 Hitchcockian film about a woman’s apartment being stalked/violated astutely fed right into the viewer’s own personal space via the television set that was its original destination. Also noteworthy for its strong, witty, successful, and sexually assertive female protagonist and the surrounding ideas of sexism and defilement ingrained in her urban milieu. Why wasn’t this in the above top 30 again? Village displays the auteur’s brilliant comprehension of line and composition in his trademark scope frame, scarcely more appropriate than for this story of inhuman Hitler Youth-esque offspring and the fascistic forms they collectively exhibit. And lastly there was his Invisible Man, a neo-noir technological (diegetic and formal) update of a “monster” classic made fascinating for Carpenter’s workmanlike dedication to achieving the many visual effects above its fairly clumsy humour (though shoutout to the risible womaniser and his strained Gregory-Peck-doing-James-Mason voice) and clumsier baddie scenes.

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My January ’13 in Film

February 1, 2013

An early attempt to watch nothing but canon masterpieces from trusted sources waned after just a few days, leaving me with the lamest month of film viewings in some time. Which means, given the amount of films I watch, there’s still a bunch of good shit. Oshima’s passing lead me to two of his films, which lead to a small discussion of contemporary Japanese cinema, which sparked a few viewings of new-to-me Japanese directors (Suwa, Ogigami, Iwai). But it was an insanely Japanese month regardless of this event, with my musical list having me watch Princess Raccoon and Miike’s Katakuris, and the inexplicable choices of a different Miike, a Koreeda, a Satô, and a Kon! 12 in total. Elsewhere, I was introduced to Giorgio Mangiamele, perhaps the earliest filmmaker to express the isolation and xenophobia of the migrant experience in Australian cinema. The last clear trend of January was…high school pictures. I have no idea why. Did the first fuel interest in the others? Besides the two mentioned, there was also Dante’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. All among the best of the genre. A good number of rewatches, to boot. Not included: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (first time in many years), and The Saddest Music in the World, which for me still runs out of steam but is often hilarious; Ross McMillan is particularly delicious in it. Middle tier Maddin.

75 total:

  1. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924, Lang)
  2. Kamome Diner (2006, Ogigami)
  3. Executive Suite (1954, Wise)
  4. The Quiet Man (1952, Ford)
  5. Perfect Blue (1997, Kon)
  6. La Luna (1979, Bertolucci)
  7. Coeur Fidèle (1923, Epstein)
  8. Maboroshi no Hikari (1995, Koreeda)
  9. Clay (1965, Mangiamele)
  10. Bitter Victory (1957, Ray)
  11. Pleasures of the Flesh (1965, Ôshima)
  12. Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968, Satô)
  13. Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache (1924, Lang)
  14. Jack Reacher (2012, McQuarrie)
  15. The Canterbury Tales (1972, Pasolini)

Compelled to mention:

  • Bombay Beach (2011, Har’el) that kid broke my heart so fucking hard
  • Pump Up the Volume (1990, Moyle)
  • I Love Melvin (1953, Weis) for the choreography
  • The Face You Deserve (2004, Gomes)
  • Detention (2011, Kahn)

Worst:

  • Les Misérables (2012, Hooper)
  • Far East (1982, Duigan)
  • Hitchcock (2012, Gervasi)

Best rewatches:

  • Before Sunrise (1995, Linklater)
  • Before Sunset (2004, Linklater)
  • The Yards (2000, Gray)
  • Vivre Sa Vie (1962, Godard)
  • Solaris (2002, Soderbergh)
  • Death Proof (2007, Tarantino)
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The Best 21st Century Musicals

January 31, 2013

This is more or less in reaction to the Hollywood-only myopia of Best Musicals lists, which universally include such masterpieces as Dreamgirls and Hairspray. This century’s film musical output is very dire indeed, but appears significantly worse by way of said online lists. The truth is the musical refracted into various other genres or else remnants of the traditional form pop up in otherwise non-musical films (Zatoichi, Damsels in Distress, etc) as whimsical interludes. However, I have not included what IMDb classifies as “music” films, or else we’d have a significantly stronger list (think Linda Linda Linda and Ne Change Rien!), nor dance-only pictures -which would make a swell list on their own. I would love recommendations. Jury’s out on Dancer in the Dark, perhaps I should have revisited it. Tim Burton’s pair are pretty good from memory. The list is ordered more by how much I admire the film as a film rather than strictly as a musical.

12. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (Chazelle)

11. Winnie the Pooh (Anderson/Hall)

10. 8 Women (Ozon)

9. Princess Raccoon (Suzuki)

8. The Wayward Cloud (Tsai)

7. Opera Jawa (Nugroho)

6. Not on the Lips (Resnais)

5. Yellow (Peterson) Review

4. Moulin Rouge! (Luhrmann)

3. La France (Bozon)

2. Happy Feet Two (Miller)

1. For Love’s Sake (Miike) See also: The Happiness of the Katakuris

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My Best First-Time Viewings of 2012

January 4, 2013

With a total of 834 film viewings (longer shorts included, but most not) in 2012, this is surely my most prolific year as a cinephile, and naturally it makes a wrap-up piece a daunting exercise filled with the disappointments that comes with being unable to mention all those little gems and habits, the finer points of my cinematic intake. Thus, I will lazily link to my various monthly recaps, of which there were ten, after the final list.

Things I learned about my taste in 2012: comedy good; dry comedies are often the most moving of films; vulgar auteurism good; shorts can indeed be great; 3D is beautiful; dance is everything.

Not including current-decade premieres, here are the finest I saw this year, with tie cheating:

(hover over for titles, click for IMDb)

40

39

38b

38

37

36c

36b

36

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