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Ron Reed

2006 Top Ten Lists

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A&F Faves Of 2006

compiled Jan 20 from 22 lists)

1 United 93

2 New World

3 Departed, The

4 Queen, The

5 L'Enfant

6 Babel

7 Sophie Scholl

8 Little Miss Sunshine

9 Children Of Men

10 Death of Mr Lazarescu

11 Casino Royale

12 Little Children

13 Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

14 Pan's Labyrinth

15 Science of Sleep

16 Fountain

17 Inside Man

18 A Scanner Darkly

19 When The Levees Broke

20 Pirates: Dead Man's Chest

21 Climates

22 Prestige

23 49 Up

23 Thank You For Smoking

25 Tsotsi

26 A Prairie Home Companion

27 Requiem

27 Borat

29 Proposition

30 Brick

31 Akeelah and the Bee

32 Army Of Shadows

33 Ushpizin

34 An Inconvenient Truth

35 Still Life

36 Half Nelson

37 Woman On The Beach

38 Syndromes & A Century

39 Black Dahlia

40 Colossal Youth

41 Shut Up And Sing

42 Superman Returns

42 Hamaca Paraguaya

44 World Trade Center

45 Volver

45 Lady In The Water

47 Water

48 Hawaii, Oslo

49 Joyeux Noel

50 Forgiving Dr Mengele

Includes lists (whether posted or pm'ed) from Ron, Jeff, Christian, Jeffrey, Spoon, Doug, Darrel, Peter, Crow, Andrew, J.R., J Robert Parks, BethR, DarrenH, Denny, Josh H, Ken, acquarello, ClintM, Anders, JoshH and John.

I will note that neither Doug nor Christian listed L'ENFANT this year, having included it on their 2005 lists: it was Doug's #1 film, I'm not sure what position it occupied on Christian's list. A #1 ranking and #10 ranking on this year's list, for purposes of illustration, would have placed L'ENFANT at #3 overall, just behind THE NEW WORLD. Just so you know. Not that it matters.

*

So, what are your top films of the year so far?

It's your list, so you can use your own criteria for determining what's a 2006 film for you: Chattaway goes by the year in which a film has its actual debut run in his city, Cummings goes by the year it debuts at a festival (I think, more or less), Overstreet goes by whatever year THE NEW WORLD will have the best chance of garnering votes, and many go by the date of a film's official non-festival release (limited or wide) in their home country or in the culturally dominant MacCountry next door (not the IMDb date by the title, but the one you can find by clicking the "Release dates" link under "Other Info" on the left hand side of a film's IMDb page: for example, SOPHIE SCHOLL had a 2005 release in many European countries and at one North American film festival, but it's USA release wasn't until 17th February, with no Canadian release cited.) I pretty much go by the year it was released in Canada, or the year it got around to opening in Vancouver (say, for late-2005 limited release films that don't make their way here until 2006), or films I see at the VIFF in 2006 (even though they don't open commercially until later, or never), or reasonably recent films (usually foreign or indie) that I didn't have a chance to view until the DVD became available here (like, say, HAWAII OSLO). Hey, it's my list, okay?

FAQ

How many can you list?

As many as you want, but please, only movies you liked a lot / have significant affection / respect / enthusiasm for to dub them "favourite" or "top" or "best" or "recommended" or whatever.

Ranked or unranked?

You can rank your list, you can leave it unranked, you can have ties, you can mix ranked and unranked (say, your first three are ranked, there's a four-way tie for fourth, then eight through thirteen are ranked, then you've got twelve more "runners up"). Knock yourself out.

So is this a list of your personal favourites? Or your perception of the "best" films of the year? Or are those the same thing, for you? Doesn't matter. No formal criteria for your list, since we're not voting for anything here. I favour the posting of your own personal enthusiasms - lets other people find movies they might otherwise overlook, and ends up creating a more varied and interesting list. But like I say, it's entirely up to you. It's your list.

Should I post my list now? There are so many movies that aren't out yet, or that I haven't seen yet.

No need to wait until December 31 to post your in-progress list - indeed, I encourage you to start soon and update often, as it makes for much list-making and movie-recommending fun - and no need to finish the list by any particular date: I'll keep tallying your revisions right up to Oscar time. (Once there are a batch of lists posted here I'll start a thread for the compiled meta-list, along with the Movie City News tabulation once it's out, and I'll supply a link here.) One request: when you do come back to update your list, could you not repost it at the bottom, but rather go in to your original post and update your existing list? Thanks!

Do I need to be some kind of film critic or something?

Nope. If you are an A&F poster (or lurker, or former participant), we want your list.

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Overstreet goes by whatever year THE NEW WORLD will have the best chance of garnering votes

:lol: We kid because we love.

Hey, are you going to ask us for a Top Ten WORST films list? I already know which film will top mine. It releases tomorrow.

Let me think about that other Top Ten list you asked for. I'll post soon. Is there any catch-all list of titles I can look over of 2006 releases?

EDIT: A list like the one I asked about is here, although I'm not sure how exhaustive it is. Click the box in the upper right to see releases from other months.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Hey, are you going to ask us for a Top Ten WORST films list?

Add that to your post, by all means! Don't know if I'll tally them, but... Have at 'er!

Is there any catch-all list of titles I can look over of 2006 releases?

The Movie City News list ends up being a pretty thorough listing of movies with any merit, but even that will have omissions. And takes time to develop.

Of course, you could just work from my list, above.

EDIT: A list like the one I asked about is here, although I'm not sure how exhaustive it is. Click the box in the upper right to see releases from other months.

Good resource. Thanks!


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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I spent some of my lunch hour going through the titles, and here's what I've come up with.

I cheated, but every critics' list cheats in a similar way these days. Why must I be penalized? I must not.

Titles of particularly controversial/unexpected choices are in ALL CAPS:

Top 10 2006

1. Babel

2. THE BLACK DAHLIA

3. Little Children

4. United 93/World Trade Center (I expect others will make this cheat)

5. Wordplay/Akeelah and the Bee (but not this one!)

6. Little Miss Sunshine/Borat (or this one!)

7. Inside Man

8. FREEDOMLAND

9. ALL THE KING

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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So first out of the gate is LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE! The only film so far to appear on more than one list.

(You watch the wrong movies, Christian.)

(Well, actually, most of the titles on your list are on my To See list. So I guess maybe I... Nah.)


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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This is the list of films I've seen so far in 2006 that I would consider for a Top Ten list.

But I still have many, many films to see before I can publish any kind of definitive, ranked list. So they're alphabetical for now...

49 Up

A Prairie Home Companion

A Scanner Darkly

Akeelah and the Bee

Army of Shadows

Babel

Brick

Cars

Casino Royale

Children of Men

Don't Come Knocking

Flags of Our Fathers

Half Nelson

Lassie

L'Enfant

Little Children

Pan's Labyrinth

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

Stranger Than Fiction

The Departed

The Fountain

The Illusionist

The New World

The Prestige

The Proposition

The Queen

The Science of Sleep

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrads

Three Times

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

Tsotsi

United 93

Overstreet goes by whatever year THE NEW WORLD will have the best chance of garnering votes.

Nice, cute, and funny, but for the record, Overstreet puts The New World under the year that its wide-release theatrical cut actually came into existence and was released. It makes a whole lot more sense to consider THAT the official cut of the movie than it does to count a version that played in only two cities for a few days in order to qualify it for Oscars.

I'm under no illusions... it doesn't stand a chance of winning any awards this year or any other year. It might be the greatest film of the last twenty years, but New Line effectively spoiled things by confusing the matter. First, they rushed it for Oscar qualification, hurrying a cut into two cities that wasn't ready for wide-release. Thus, not enough people saw it for it to stand a chance of honors in 2005. And then, by successfully doing to bare minimum in order to qualify it for Oscars in 2005, New Line ensured that it wouldn't be considered for awards in 2006, when it was actually seen by the rest of the world.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: Nice, cute, and funny, but for the record, Overstreet puts The New World under the year that its

: theatrical cut actually came into existence and was released.

You mean its SECOND theatrical cut. Like it or not, the first cut that was released to a few cities on Christmas Day 2005 WAS released theatrically. (It's an interesting debate, though, whether the "redux" version of Apocalypse Now should have been eligible for the 2001 lists, or the "special edition" of Star Wars should have been eligible for the 1997 lists, etc., etc.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Overstreet goes by whatever year THE NEW WORLD will have the best chance of garnering votes.

I'm under no illusions... it doesn't stand a chance of winning any awards this year or any other year.

Ah! So you have seen the light. What was it that caused you to come round to my opinion of the film?

::devil::


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Jeff, my reply to your post is here.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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in order:

1. The Fountain

2. The Science of Sleep

3. Half Nelson

4. Lady in the Water

5. The Devil and Daniel Johnston

6. The New World

7. The Break-Up

8. United 93

9. Superman Returns

10. Blood Diamond

Honorable Mention: V for Vendetta, Joyeux Noel

Edited by Spoon

"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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I list new releases I have seen during that year, period (theater, festival, DVD, what have you).

Here are my top ten for voting purposes, but I wish to list all the films below in order to be completist.

1. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

2. Still Life

3. Oxhide

4. Colossal Youth

5. Hamaca Paraguaya

6. Climates

7. Pan's Labyrinth

8. Woman on the Beach

9. Play

10. A Scanner Darkly

Favorite new releases (alphabetically):

A Prairie Home Companion (Robert Altman, 2006)

A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater, 2006)

Cavite (Neill Dela Llana and Ian Gamazon, 2005)

Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa, 2006)

Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2006)

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005)

Dong (Jia Zhang-ke, 2006)

The Future of Food (Deborah Koons Garcia, 2005)

Hamaca Paraguaya (Paz Encina, 2006)

The House of Nina (Richard Dembo, 2005)

Iraq in Fragments (James Longley, 2006)

Iron Island (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2005)

Khadak (The Colour of Water) (Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth, 2006)

The Moon and the Son (John Canemaker, 2005)

Offside (Jafar Panahi, 2006)

Old Joy (Kelly Reichhardt, 2006)

Oxhide (Liu Jiayin, 2005)

Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

Play (Alicia Scherson, 2006)

Reds (theatrical rerelease) (Warren Beatty, 1981)

Requiem (Hans Christian Schmidt, 2006)

The Road to Guantanamo (Michael Winterbottom, 2006)

Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke, 2006)

Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)

Times and Winds (Reha Erdem, 2006)

When the Levees Broke (Spike Lee, 2006)

Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo, 2006)

Favorite older discoveries:

21-87 (Arthur Lipsett, 1964)

Abhijan (Satyajit Ray, 1962)

Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969)

Barefoot Gen (Keiji Nakazawa and Mori Masaki, 1983)

Buffalo Boy (Ming Nguyen-Vo, 2004)

Casa de Lava (Pedro Costa, 1995)

Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965)

Chronicle of a Disappearance (Elia Suleiman, 1996)

The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (Daniele Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, 1968)

Documentaries by the Dardenne brothers

Documentaries by Kieslowski

Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev, 1964)

Histoire(s) du cin

Edited by Doug C

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Unordered at this point.

Decent shot at final list:

Tsotsi could well be my #1

Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Lion in the House

Little Miss Sunshine

The War Tapes

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

Babel

Sweet Land I'm sure I'll find room for this on my list

Volver

Outside shot:

Joyeux Noel

Inside Man

Thank You for Smoking

A Prairie Home Companion

An Inconvenient Truth

Brothers of the Head

Jesus Camp

Christian, you need to see Flannel Pajamas -- it could well make your #1 slot on worst list -- beating out

Apocalypto

. I'd probably have those at 1 & 2 on a worst list.

Edited by Darrel Manson

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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It's a much less controversial decision than the ongoing New World spat, but I note that The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which was the top film on my 2005 Top 10, has now appeared on two of the first four Top10 lists for 2006 posted in this thread! There were no alternate cuts of this movie, but it wasn't widely released until 2006. Still, I put it on last year's list.

I'm glad to see it here, though. More exposure for this excellent film.

UPDATE: Just checked my 2005 list, and Three Burials comes in at number 2, not number 1.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Just for the record, both The New World and The Three Burials... qualify for 2006 on my own list, because that is when they were released in Vancouver. Any discussion beyond that applies only if people feel compelled to go back and revise the top ten lists for earlier years, etc. I never do.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, a link to the most recent iteration of my 2005 Top 10 (plus 10 more!), which Ron asked us to submit not too long ago.

Note that in addition to Three Burials at number 2 (it was number 1 at some point, but I went back and forth between it and A History of Violence, and had seen History a second time not too long before assembling the revised list; with it fresh on my mind, I moved it back to the top slot), my Top 20 list includes Hawaii, Oslo and Three Times, which have cropped up on Ron

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: I don't expect the Academy to do anything that makes that much sense, but it would be nice to see

: the film showing up in year's best lists at the end of 2006, since most critics published their lists

: last year long before they had an opportunity to see even that preliminary cut.

Oh, this I doubt. The kind of critic who would be open to this film is the kind of critic who would have caught the early awards-season screenings, like the one that I attended here in Vancouver in the first week of December. And quite a few critics were including the film on their top-ten lists in early December.

Are you saying critics who DID have the opportunity to put it on their 2005 lists should give the film ANOTHER opportunity this year?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Cavite (Neill Dela Llana and Ian Gamazon, 2005)

The House of Nina (Richard Dembo, 2005)

The Moon and the Son (John Canemaker, 2005)

Oxhide (Liu Jiayin, 2005)

Play (Alicia Scherson, 2006)

Doug, I haven't heard of these. Would any of them would be up my alley, and, if so, is there any chance I can get my hands on 'em? Also, I didn't realize you were so fond of Renaissance. I was put off by the style of the film, so I didn't catch it when it played in Knoxville.

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: I was under the impression that most major mainstream critics, unless they happened to be lucky

: enough to travel to New York or L.A. during that fleeting awards-qualification run, didn't see the film

: in time last year. And I believe that's why it showed up on so few lists in the U.S.

Well, remember that discussion we had at CT Movies? It turns out the film DID show to critics in Chicago, as evidenced by the fact that it picked up a couple of prizes from the Chicago Film Critics Circle (or whatever the group's exact name is), but few or none of the CT Movies critics who live in the Chicago area were all that motivated to go catch the screening in the first place, hence the movie never really had a chance for CT Movies' 2005 top ten list.

: Like I keep saying, there was no Seattle press screening until mid-January . . .

FWIW, I find it hard to believe that Vancouver critics saw it as early as December 5 and Seattle critics didn't. I wonder, is there some sort of "Seattle Film Critics Circle" that might have had a screening which you weren't invited to? (I know it's happened a couple times already that I hear about local screenings after the fact, because members of the "Vancouver Film Critics Circle" were invited and I wasn't.)

: It makes no sense to me to judge THAT film against the movies of 2005.

Hey, like I say, my own top ten list is limited to films that open in Vancouver in 2006, so I've got no beef with you applying a similar principle to your own top ten list.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Cavite (Neill Dela Llana and Ian Gamazon, 2005)

The House of Nina (Richard Dembo, 2005)

The Moon and the Son (John Canemaker, 2005)

Oxhide (Liu Jiayin, 2005)

Play (Alicia Scherson, 2006)

Doug, I haven't heard of these. Would any of them would be up my alley, and, if so, is there any chance I can get my hands on 'em? Also, I didn't realize you were so fond of Renaissance. I was put off by the style of the film, so I didn't catch it when it played in Knoxville.

That's funny Darren, Renaissance isn't on my list! (I feared it would be a case of style over substance and never read anything that suggested otherwise.)

Thanks for asking about these:

The Moon and the Son was just released on the DVD A Collection of 2005 Academy Award Nominated Short Films. Canemaker is a giant in the field of animation, both as an artist and as a scholar, and this is a very touching portrait imagining a difficult but healing conversation he might have had with his father, with whom he otherwise had a troubled relationship. For someone like me with father issues, it was very moving, but I also found the hand-drawn animation stunningly creative.

Of all the films in that list, Darren, I can say with confidence that you'd love Oxhide, another intimate family portrait made by a Chinese film student and her parents in a series of late nights after all of them came home from work/school. It's apparently a fictional work, with each person playing an imagined role, but it evokes a great deal of emotional honesty through its oblique and meditative compositions capturing minute, quotidien details in their family home. MK2 in France was supposed to release a DVD...I'll have to check on it. Cinema Scope called it "the most important Chinese film of the past several years."

Cavite has been released on DVD here, and it's a surprisngly tense and effective thriller made by two Filipino Americans who devised a plot (a terrorist directs someone around a city via cell phone) that would allow them to film the movie by themslves by walking through the rarely-seen poor areas and slums of the city of Cavite in the Philippines. It's a true lesson in economy of means that sheds light on an ongoing political conflict in the region, and it offers an unusually compelling ethical dilemma as well.

Play is a wonderful, magical realist film set in Santiago, Chile that has a great feel for urban loneliness and the touches of romance and absurdity that arise from living among millions of people in a crowded, modern environment. It's an compassionate, funny, formally creative film with a strong sense of place and a notably atmospheric score. When I think of this movie, I smile. It won Best New Narrative Filmmaker at the Tribeca film fest. It's also the best-looking film shot in DV I saw all year.

The House of Nina is a more straightforward but very solid dramatic narrative film (sorely ripe for a US audience) starring the dependable Agnes Jaoui as the head of a true-to-life French orphange during WWII that cared for French Jewish children; later it begins to house Eastern European Jews returning from recently liberated concentration camps, and as you might expect there is a lot of psychological scarring on their part, which creates a lot of interpersonal tensions in a time when cultural rebirth is crucial. It was a very personal project for the director (Richard Dembo), who died during post-production, and it's the kind of intelligent, emotionally honest, historically interesting film Miramax/Wienstein should be distributing but hasn't in a long time. Alas, no US distrib or DVD yet (and I don't think the French DVD has English subs).

Edited by Doug C

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That's funny Darren, Renaissance isn't on my list !

Oops. I misread Requiem on your list. Sorry about that. Oxhide sounds fantastic. From the Cinema Scope review:

So far, so minimal. Liu’s formal choices are absolutely clear and unvaried. The film is in 23 scenes, each scene shot in one continuous take from a stationary camera. The shortest shot is just under two minutes; the longest is a Jeanne Dielman-like dinner preparation.

Yeah, that has me written all over it. I've joked about this before, but I'm beginning to think that my ideal film would consist of a single, static shot. I need to track this one down.

Your description of Play reminds me of another South American film from a year or two ago -- I think it was called Whisky. It earned a lot of comparisons to Kaurismaki, which seemed about right to me. I'm also intrigued by your mention of Play's score. I think I prefer films to use only diegetic sound, but when a score is used, I like it to be, as you say, "atmospheric" rather than thematic or melodic. I can't imagine Dead Man without Neil Young's feedback or L'Intrus without that guitar loop.

Thanks for the tips. I'll probably start tweaking my year-end lists in a week or so.

Edited by Darren H

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I've joked about this before, but I'm beginning to think that my ideal film would consist of a single, static shot. I need to track this one down.

I've heard that this one fits that criterion.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Since I don't see nearly as many as most of you, I'm going to throw out what I think are my top two:

Brick

Everything is Illuminated

The Baxter

Totsi and

Thumbsucker weren't bad either

I suppose some of these came out in 05, but that's what I remember from what I watched this year.

Adding: And, yeah, I know that's more than two ;)

Edited by Chashab

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