Friday, January 30, 2009

Much more than being a film nerd, I am a...

board game nerd.

It is really cool to see this:

And listen to the newest GeekSpeak:
GeekSpeak 2.0 - Rich Sommer of Mad Men

I haven't gotten a chance to check out Mad Men yet, but it just got a bump up on my priority list. It's awesome thinking about the cast playing Hive on set or a couple of the guys getting together for a session of Twilight Struggle! Over the past year, I always think about checking it out whenever there's a new post about the show at The House Next Door. Now the geek connection will get me to watch when proper criticism couldn't.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

White Hats

Kit Kitteredge reminds me of the heyday of The Wonderful World of Disney. Back in the 80s, my Sunday nights were devoted to live-action Disney movies, week after week.

In these movies, kids were usually the heroes. A simplistic good vs. evil framework reigned supreme. The good guys (children and nice adults) needed to accomplish some task. The bad guys (bullies and mean adults) opposed them, either actively and maliciously or passively just by being there. The children, through resourcefulness, prevail over those who oppose them. Every time. Everyone lives happily ever after.

These stories do serve a purpose, reassuring their audience of children that all is indeed right with the world, and equipping children with the mindset required to fight oppression and tyranny. Children may be small, the lesson goes, but they can also be capable of great and mighty things.

Kit Kittredge is of the same mold as these classic Disney movies (themselves based on simple fairy tale premises). Kit is a young girl who dreams of being a successful reporter and is bold enough to ask the newspaper editor for a job despite her age. At the beginning of the movie, she's rejected.

Kit is our hero, along with her band of young friends. The "Great" Depression is hitting hard and times are tough for everyone. Kit's father, after getting laid off, leaves town to find work in Chicago. Kit's mother transforms their home into a boarding house as a way to make money. The guests that show up range from a magician to a dance instructor to a "mobile" librarian. A couple of friendly hobo kids are usually hanging around the house working on odd jobs in exchange for food.

The main problem of the depression is established and all of the characters are introduced. Added to the mix is a mystery. Several robberies have taken place in the area and the hobos are being blamed. Kit's own house is eventually robbed and the two friendly hobo boys are framed for the crime. Kit must prove their innocence.

Of course she does.

She saves the hobo community.
She gets a well-paying job as a kid reporter for the local newspaper.
The true villains are punished (one even reforms for the sake of the children).
The dance instructor finds a man.
Finally, Dad Kittredge returns home.

I was groaning at so much of the plot and character development early on. I thought that I would be suffering through to the end. It was all so tired and predictable. The laughs were usually cheap and corny.

But, somewhere in the middle (I think when the guest start arriving), I let down my defenses and allowed myself to be charmed. I opened myself up and allowed the film to work its persistent joy on me. By the end, I was smiling at least as much as Mildred was. And I felt good. And I felt that the world was good.

At the very least, Kit Kittredge proved to be a perfect palate cleanser after Funny Games.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chews her food nice.

Watching films on DVD on a small TV monitor is always less of an experience than watching projected film. I don't think about it too often, but, tonight, rewatching Appaloosa for the first time on DVD, I was struck by how small it all seemed. I might have been a bit disappointed with the movie, too, if this was the first and probably only way I encountered it. Oh well. I still think it's quite good and a lot of fun.

I like Helen Geib's brief review:

The new issue of Film Comment has a neat short piece on Westerns, "the eternally returning genre." Unfortunately, that particular essay is not available online.

*Unrelated, I got an email back from Mickey Dobbin, who programs the Harpur series. He wrote that the schedule should be ready and posted by the end of this week.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bundy Seasonal Film Festival

There's still time to check out the Tribute to Alfred Hitchcock at Bundy Museum.

To be warned, it is digital projection of not-so-great public domain prints from a cheap DVD source. I could have the same experience at home.

Even so, this is your only chance, in Binghamton, to see and enjoy any Hitchcock films with a room full of strangers. Sadly, only about half a dozen people, including us, showed up last night.

The 39 Steps was everything I had hoped it would be, part screwball comedy, large part chase thriller, in which everything wraps up nicely and tidily. It's a bit sad that there's nothing like it being made today.

This "seasonal festival" is not perfect, but it's at least an attempt at cultural community in Binghamton, for which I think it needs to be supported.

Related, I'm calling BU today to find out what's up with the Harpur Spring schedule. Nothing's been posted yet, but the season has to be starting soon (if it hasn't started already).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Defiance in Winnipeg

This past Wednesday night, I got paid to go to the movies again. I'm happy to say that seeing a movie under these conditions does not always mean that I'll like what I'm seeing. For example:Defiance

It does everything right in terms of big budget Hollywood storytelling, but I never felt engaged with the story. The movie trudges along over events with good intentions, but I felt like I was sitting through a movie that had been made for and approved to be shown in a high school history class, decked out with Hollywood war movie tropes to make it palatable for dumb kids.

Still, a decent enough way to kill two hours.

I also just finished watching My Winnipeg, Guy Maddin's personal chronicle of his relationship to his hometown. It is beautiful and unique, but not for me. I'm not sure I can articulate why. Maybe it was too personal and so too narcissistic. Winnipeg is important because Maddin is important. I don't know. I'll think about it more.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"You shouldn't forget the importance of entertainment."

Nearly everyone hated Funny Games. I still remember listening with delight to David Edelstein's review on Fresh Air and reading Jim Emerson's "Funny Games Experiment." I skipped seeing it at the time based on prejudices gained through these reviews. But, I finally caught it on DVD.

All I can say now is that I loved Funny Games and that, Haneke, it seems, is my kind of moralist. I'll leave the implications to be drawn from that to others.

Friday, January 23, 2009

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes

I watched Japón a few days ago. I've been thinking about it since.

Japón received near universal praise upon its release and Reygadas, the director, immediately began being compared to Tarkovsky, Antonioni, and others. Japón won the "Caméra d’Or - Mention Spéciale" in 2002, causing quite a stir and a lot of buzz about this young director.

Japón begins as a story about a man traveling away from a Mexican city in search of a remote village in which he can finish contemplating suicide and perhaps get the act done. Soon enough, our unnamed protagonist finds his village and talks to the town magistrates about finding a place to stay for a while. After some discussion, and with her permission, it is decided that he will stay with an old woman who lives by herself up at the top of the hill.

As he lives there for a few days, he's surrounded by the undeniably beautiful countryside and he experiences kindness from this woman. This woman is shown to have faith of a kind and devotion to prayer as well as a generous spirit toward others.

Fair enough. But, here's where the writer-director cuts to the chase and presents his argument. In addition to being kind, we discover that this old woman can be quite salty, in a strange detached old woman sort of way.

In what I believe is the most important scene in the whole film, the protagonist is sitting outside, smoking a joint and flipping through his personal artbook. He offers the old woman a joint and she "reluctantly" accepts, then they look at his book and she shows him her favorite, which are some scribbles. They talk about comics and Jesus images.

She then asks the unnamed man,

"And whom do you like more: the Virgin Mary or God?"

"I didn't know it was a matter of liking. I told you yesterday they're all the same to me."

"Here women prefer God, and men love the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. I had a nephew in jail and I used to bring presents for him. I gave him the Virgin Mary's holy image, but they took it from him and thrashed him, 'cause he kept masturbating upon her."

The camera pans back to the man who has a smile on his face, then pans back to the woman staring silently.

Next, a cut to the man alone in a room unbuttoning his shirt and probing his chest with his revolver, then cut to a long shot of him laying on his back completely naked masturbating.

And suddenly, new life.

The unnamed man now has the will to live. He attempts to fight off relatives trying to deconstruct the woman's barn. He engages with the locals and gets drunk. He tells this old woman that he would like to have sexual intercourse with her and she accepts, smiling at a crucifix during mass the morning before the act. Presented through images, both her decision and his decision, mixed in their sexual union, become sacrificial.

At the heart of this film is the idea of man being redeemed by carnality. He finds new strength within himself because his nether region starts to stir.

Japón is the most offensive film that I've seen in recent memory. It is also one of the most well-crafted and confident films that I've seen recently. Reygadas believes in his story and it shows in every frame.

Comparisons to Tarkovsky are valid enough. Reygadas utilizes a majority of long takes, uses animals (horses) as symbols, and is searching for truth in every image.

The major difference, in my mind, between Tarkovsky and Reygadas is that Tarkovsky, in everything he does, at his most gloriously materialistic, is always sculpting time in service of that which is transcendent. Tarkovsky brings us to the Mount of Transfiguration, then brings us back down where the extraordinary becomes visible amidst the ordinary and the whole world becomes transfigured, seen for how glorious it all truly is, if only we had eyes open to see it.

For Reygadas, carnality alone is enough. Sex is his religion. There is nothing transcendent. There is desire and embrace. There is the possibility of living another day with pain. Maybe living that day together instead of apart. There is some truth to this, but it is a desperate truth. It's a dangerous idea in isolation.

Reygadas clearly hates the Church and that's what kills what truth he is able to comprehend and present. He confuses his desperate gropings with salvation instead of recognizing them as barely coherent stumblings. He mocks the Church and its Lord at several points throughout the film. The film, taken in its entirety, is certainly blasphemous and deserves to be condemned.

I condemn it.

And, yet. There is hope. Reygadas is so obviously talented. He's also obviously haunted by the Church in a way similar to someone like Bunuel, which seems to me to be the most obvious parallel in terms of cinematic anscestor. Those haunted by the Church often can't escape it. Their work is suffused with spirituality no matter how much they want to leave it behind. Those who hate the Church are much different than those who never give the Church a second thought, because hate at least recognizes the power and validity of its object. Reygadas lives and breathes and works in an environment in which the Church is very real. And he must come to terms with its presence. That alone, in this age of widespread agnosticism and casual atheism, is enough to make him someone to keep watching.

Anyhow, read some reviews:
J Hoberman
Manohla Dargis
A. O. Scott

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I might have liked The Visitor...

...if it hadn't been so obvious that Richard Jenkins would at some point pound on a drum in his underwear.

There is still a lot to enjoy, not the least of which is seeing Richard Jenkins playing the drum in his underwear. There's nothing really wrong with the story as long as you're willing to enjoy its surface level symbolism, its obvious foreshadowing, parallels and general preachiness. The story works. It's just unimaginative. And I say this as someone who basically agrees with the immigration ethics agenda as laid out and reinforced over and over again in the film. Too bad.

As long as I'm embedding video...

My friend The Dune just pointed me in this direction...

You've Been Gumped.

[HT: Overstreet]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Art Competition

To be totally clear, my short film is intended to be seen as a direct assault on My Bloody Valentine 3D. It is my first entry into the genre of comedic horror, remaining true to the conventions of the genre while simultaneously subtly subverting them.

By watching my film, you can get the same amount of scares and laughs in a hundredth of the time that it would take you to suffer through Valentine AND you get to keep your $8.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My First Independent Film.

In high school, I participated in a lot of amateur (read: bad, so bad they're brilliantly good) film production with my friends, from school projects (a bawdy adaptation of the Decameron) to favors for friends (a driver's ed. morality play) to messing around with stop motion and little plastic ninjas under Nick's direction. I was nowhere near the star that Parthe was and is, but I made my contributions.

This here below is my first attempt to do anything by myself. Those glorious collaborative days are over, but I now have a house full of little girls that love camera attention. Maybe I'll keep messing around.

Tonight, Abigail asked me to take pictures of her feeding Piper. After performing my documentary function, I threw the camera switch on video and started recording the girls jumping around. I had fun. Here's the result:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Maybe Man

This past Wednesday night, I got paid to go to the movies again. Probably, this is a bad thing, because it turns off what few critical faculties I possess and allows me to enjoy just about anything. So, since I checked my brain at the door and laughed more than I ought to have, check out A. O. Scott's review of Yes Man, Nowhere Man, Listen Up: You Have to Stop Saying No, which ends with these wise words,

"Should you see this movie? Maybe. Whatever. I don’t care."

I also got a chance to revisit Iron Man on DVD, which I now insist was the best superhero movie of 2008. And the haters can go stick their head under a metal boot. Jeff Bridges is more awesome than anyone has given him credit for. Gwyneth Paltrow is charming. And Robert Downey, Jr. absolutely owns Tony Stark.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Apocalyptic Optimism

"Somehow I know the hearts of men." -Werner Herzog

Despite all its talk of doom and gloom, saddled up with evolutionary nihilism, Encounters at the End of the World earns a label like "humanistic" effortlessly. I recently listened to an interview with Herzog (found here), which I've now revisited after watching Encounters.

What struck me most was that Herzog here has assembled a sort of Secular Hagiography. Encounters celebrates these Saints of Science and Adventure, presenting them to us for veneration. And it's a powerfully convincing work. I don't see how anyone's initial reaction can be anything but awe at the spectacle of the South Pole and these Holy Fools who have set up camp there.

Herzog, in the interview (and indeed throughout the film), makes clear that what he is doing is conflating religion and science/adventure. The spiritual yearnings of our collective past, according to Herzog, are finding high fulfillment in the searching of the scientists on display.

"When I went down to Antarctica, I had no idea what I was going to find, no idea what I was going to do. I took consolation in Virgil. I said to myself, "This is what I'm going to do: I'll name the glory of Antarctica in my film, one after the other." I named the glory of these wonderful men and women that I met down there. This is why, at the end of the film, I used some music from Russian Orthodox church choirs. There is a basso profundo, a bass voice that is one octave lower in pitch than a regular octave. The voice—which is incredible, like a big column of voice—establishes the glory of one saint after the other. It just names saint after saint after saint after saint, and that's what I tried to do in my movie."

I could be angry at this conflation, as I think it is a bit manipulative, but yet I bow in submission to this master of cinema and his vision, even if I disagree fundamentally with his worldview at times. The reason that, in the end, I can't find fault is that Herzog believes in every moment. And the glories that he names truly are convincing spiritual glories even when they're skewed.

Ever since I first saw Aguirre ten years ago, I knew I would follow Herzog into any unknown, because, somehow, he does know the hearts of men. He hasn't disappointed me yet. I only wish I could be half the man that Werner Herzog is. I often look to him as that rare modern man, a hero, who has found a way to live honestly in a world at odds with honesty.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cornell, Cows, and Celluloid

The Spring Cornell schedule is online:

Early Spring 2009 Screenings at Cornell Cinema

Hopefully, I have a date Monday night, the 26th.

I've asked a girl to go with me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tabloid Exploitation

There were enough positive reviews and the story premise was outrageous enough that I decided to check it out.

I regret doing so.

What could have been a genuinely interesting film about selfish people making extraordinarily bad decisions, instead gets played out as a dark comedy, presented for cheap laughs. Then, after we've had our yuks, we get to participate in a triumphant revenge fantasy. I admit that I'm embarrassed that the luridness kept me watching. There is little in the film to be redeemed. [Except perhaps a moment near the beginning- a shot of a man crapping his diaper on purpose in a nursing home, then being changed and showered - I'm not sure if it's supposed to be funny or shocking, but it was one of the few things in the movie that rang true to me.]

Stay far away.

Why wasn't that movie poster enough to warn me away? I'm a sucker.

For those who can't stay away, here's a link to a Fox News story detailing the timeline of real events which Stuck is (loosely) based on:
Timeline of Events in the Chante Mallard Windshield Death Case

Also, Wikipedia lists the news story as being adapted as an episode of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ("Anatomy of a Lye", aired May 2, 2002) and also as an episode of Law & Order ("Darwinian", aired January 7 2004[4]). The case is referenced briefly in the Drawn Together episode "Captain Hero's Marriage Pact" and in a parody song on the Russ Martin Show. In 2007, a film inspired by the events titled Stuck also appeared starring Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea.

And if you really want to get sensational, go ahead, you're already too far gone, go ahead and watch The 700 Club...
Son Forgives Father's Murderer in Windshield Case

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shooting down fair use.

Copy Rites: YouTube vs. Kevin B. Lee -by Matt Zoller Seitz

I really loved what Lee was doing. Wedding criticism with the object being critiqued seemed like the obvious future of online film criticism. An intelligent man talking while a film plays has been a staple of film classrooms around the globe for decades. In fact, I think that it's the only way that film criticism can be taught. Extended title specific discussions have also appeared in the recent past via DVD commentary tracks, but these are always "authorized" discussions. What Youtube (and related technologies) offered, then, wasn't something new, but the democratization of a process that has already proven successful. As Seitz makes clear in his post, this recent decision by Youtube to ignore fair use is really about money, enforcing the dictates of mad media tyrants and axing the peasants.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mongolian Date Movie

Other countries dub Hollywood films into native languages, on a regular basis, for popular consumption. I think it's about time that the U.S. learns to do the same. The Dark Knight notwithstanding, Mongol could have been the biggest hit, in U.S. theatres, of 2008.

Most folks in the U.S. have some surface knowledge of Gengis Khan and know that HE IS IMPORTANT. So, there is an audience for a marketing division to tap into. I can visualize Mongol commercials appearing on prime time television every commercial break for two months prior to its release. What's more important, though, is that Mongol has everything that a Hollywood historical epic needs to be successful, appealing to a crossover audience of male and female alike.

Young child being brought to select a bride, but selection process being subverted by proto-feminist bride-to-be, all the more palatable for a modern love story? Oh yeah.

Young child watching his father die?

Same young child vowing revenge?

Blood brothers?

Who ultimately become mortal enemies?
You better believe it.

Our hero separated from true love? It's tragic.

Being sold into slavery? Yup.

Rescued? Of course.

Reunited with true love? It's fated to be so.

Only to be separated again?
Yes, it's unfortunate.

But then reunited? Always.

Epic battles that change the course of history?
Hell yeah!

With all of the blood splatters we've come to expect?
And more.

But there's still a tender love story? It's tender.

I'm mocking it a bit, but I did enjoy Mongol and I do really think that it could have been one of the greatest U.S. pop movie hits of the past summer, something to rival Braveheart or Gladiator at the box office.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

WALL-E was my favorite movie of 2008.

Here's why...

The Cure of Misanthropy: On Wall-E, Kubrick, and Mike White’s The Year of the Dog

Possibly With a Pabst in Hand

For anyone that hasn't seen Gran Torino:


Consider yourself warned. Please go see it already (and come back and read this later).

This post is a response to Brandon's post: bless us clint for we have sinned

I think that what I loved most about the ending is that I wasn't expecting it. In retrospect, maybe it was obvious. But, at the time, I expected Clint/Walt to go in with guns blazing, "fucking badass" style, AND I REALLY WANTED THE SATISFACTION OF THAT VIOLENT CONQUEST. What we get instead is a form of classic Christian non-violence, so confrontational in its pacifism that the world's only conceivable response is exaggerated violence.

The irony is that the one destroyed by this violence, in a peculiar way, becomes the destroyer of the violent and the world is reconciled so that men may live in peace.

And that, I agree, properly understood, constitutes the true meaning of "fucking badass," if, indeed, that term can be redeemed at all.

Eastwood's melodrama may not be the strongest film narrative of the year, but it is the year's strongest (and yes, most obvious) filmic gospel parable.

I can only agree that it's Eastwood's touch that raises the obvious and brazen religious symbolism from rehashed tripe into something profoundly moving.

For another opinion about the movie as a whole, especially the racist implications, go read Utterly Offensive.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


We stayed up late last night watching Shotgun Stories on DVD. Then, I stayed up even later watching it a second time with the commentary track on (though I didn't quite make it through the second time before I turned it off and slipped into sleep). Listening to the commentary, Jeff Nichols sounds like a really nice guy. I'm genuinely glad for him that he's made such a good film.

I don't feel inspired to write much about it, except that tonight a random connection popped into my mind, between Shotgun Stories, a restrained Indie drama, and The Dark Knight, this past summer's blockbuster entertainment machine.

All of the talk (almost always on the periphery) in Shotgun Stories about how Son received the shotgun pellet scars on his back remind me of the Joker's repeated attempts at telling his back story, always a different story, but always "so serious." In both cases, there's an obfuscation of the truth. Certainly, the Joker is a far more active participant in the process of propagating misconceptions, but Son's omission to clarify matters serves the same purpose. It's just a silly connection, but it made me think about how Shotgun Stories is, I think, at its heart, about (failed) communication.

On another note... in the director's commentary, Nichols talks about the character of Shampoo serving as a sort of "Greek chorus," mediating between the two sets of brothers. Nichols continues to say that while reflecting on the character, he gradually realized that not only was Shampoo a vehicle for information transmission, but that Shampoo was, in fact, a devil.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kicking 2009.

In this new year, I'm intending to write more. And floss daily.

My goal, as far as this blog is concerned, is to write at least a sentence or two about every single film that I see this year.

Let's begin.

Wendy and Lucy is a traditional romance with a twist, advocating interspecies love as a valid lifestyle choice. As such, it's one of the most radical films to tackle American sexual hangups in recent memory.

Nah, it's about a girl losing her dog. And trying to find her dog. And losing her dog. And the image above has been taken entirely out of context.

It's a quiet film that takes its time in telling what is, comparatively, a boring story. But, of course, this is all beautifully told, and the understatement allows room for us to contemplate the little things long after the reels have stopped spinning. I only wished I could care about the character of Wendy more. She made stupid decisions, was mostly ungrateful, and seemed to be sleepwalking toward Alaska. Oh well.


I probably watched too much Godard last year.

While we're here, check out: Meetin' WA


I'm not familiar with Woody Allen's work. I've now seen five (of 44) films he's directed, only one of which (Sleeper) belongs to the period which most people love. I've never even seen Annie Hall. Maybe that's why I really enjoyed watching Cassandra's Dream. I didn't know much about it going in and really only picked it up because I was interested in seeing Sally Hawkins in something else after Happy-Go-Lucky.

After scanning some reviews this morning, I think that the worst that critics have damned this movie with is the idea that it's too conventional. Further, that the characters are underdeveloped stereotypes, there for the plot and not much as characters themselves. I disagree with this a bit. The two brothers are introduced to us in a marvelous way, both acting schlubbish together, a nice reversal for these two Hollywood idols. The moral dilemmas that each dig themselves into are clearly portrayed and developed. If Uncle Howard's arrival and request seems to come at a convenient time, at service of the plot alone, I can't argue. I can only maintain that I enjoyed this plot development. And that, within the confines of this story, it is believable that these brothers would consider granting their uncle any extreme favor once they have both reached terrible lows. What follows is convincing.

It's interesting that many compared this movie unfavorably to Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, a movie that I stopped watching halfway through because I was tired of being hammered over the head, from the opening shot in which Lumet gives us fair warning that he'll be screwing us dispassionately for the next two hours to the brothers' tortured whining to one another throughout. Maybe I didn't give it a fair chance. But, between the two, I'd pick Cassandra every time.

[note: it's rare for me to stop watching a film mid-way. The other winners in this category last year were Blade II, Wild at Heart (which I had seen before and never care to see again), and a Roy Rogers film that I repeatedly fell asleep to and figured it wasn't worth returning to. Admittedly, it's easier to turn off a DVD in disgust than walk out of a theatre, which I can't remember ever doing. Maybe someday I'll have that pleasure.]

Perhaps I'm predisposed to enjoy Allen's heavy-handed morality plays. I'm not sure yet. I do know that I enjoyed Cassandra's Dream in the same way that I enjoyed a movie like last year's Tell No One or several Hitchcock films that I saw for the first time recently.

Maybe Akin to a Silly Jingle.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Top Ten 2008 (so far)

In 2008, I saw 34 films that qualify as 2008 releases. I spent more time catching up on Godard, Hitchcock, various samurai pictures, bargain bin finds, Heroes and Sarah Connor Chronicles, TCM DVD-Rs from my mother, and classic silents than I did seeing what was new and shiny. Also, movie club with Brandon for nearly half of the year contributed more than a dozen films I otherwise wouldn't have watched. In total, I watched 185 films (counting a few repeated viewings of features, but not counting television episodes or shorts) last year. That's a lot of moving pictures to chase.

For 2008, 34/185=18%

So, it feels a bit silly making a list of 10 out of 34 when many professional critics are making lists based on seeing 100+ films from the year in question. I'm not a professional critic. I'm hardly an amateur. But, I think I've seen some good movies and I feel confident saying that a certain 10 films were better than the other 24.

Obviously, I may revise this list heavily as I catch up on the numerous critically acclaimed titles that I've missed, but here's where things stand as of the very end of 2008, ranked very loosely in the following order.

2. A Christmas Tale
3. La France
4. Gran Torino
5. The Flight of the Red Balloon
6. Happy-Go-Lucky
7. The Fall
8. Appaloosa
9. Tell No One
10. Redbelt

And the best non-2008 releases that I caught for the first time on DVD this year...

1. Samurai Rebellion (Kobayashi, 1967)
2. Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966)
3. Les Carabiniers (Godard, 1963)
4. Cleo from 5 to 7 (Varda, 1962)
5. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Gordon, 2007)
6. The Narrow Margin (Fleischer, 1952)
7. The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock, 1938)
8. Damnation (Tarr, 1988)
9. Pierrot le Fou (Godard, 1965)
10. Faces (Cassavetes, 1968)

Finally, Mildred's award for greatest movie of all time goes to.....

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Eastwood Critical Roundtable

Film Comment hosted a group of NY film critics for a discussion of Eastwood and his recent films, the result of which can be listened to online here: Do You Feel Lucky, Punks? Warning: there are major spoilers discussed.

It's an interesting discussion and it made me realize how few of Eastwood's films I've seen. I think the number 29 is mentioned as the total number he's directed. IMDB lists 33. I haven't seen quite half of them yet.

[HT: The Daily]