Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Updated 1/23:

1. Pan's Labyrinth

2. Sophie Scholl

3. United 93

4. L' Enfant

5. The Three Burials of Melquiedes Estrada

6. The Fountain

7. The Science of Sleep

8. Brick

9. Cars

10. Inside Man

Honorable Mention:

The Prestige

Children of Men

Casino Royale

The New World

Cache

Thank You For Smoking

Don't Come Knocking

Citizen Dog

The Aura

Babel

Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

The Lost City

Wordplay

The World's Fastest Indian

Older films I've discovered this year:

The Great Escape

Ran

Goodfellas

Taxi Driver

City Lights

Leon (The Professional)

Pickpocket

Safe

Code Unknown

Paris, Texas

Voyage to Italy

Stromboli

The Flowers of St. Francis

Lamerica

Rosetta

La Promesse

Nine Queens

Labyrinth

Cat People

I Walked With a Zombie

Edited by Crow
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 90
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

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.

The camera's static gaze in this film is particularly effective, both in what it frames and what it doesn't. There's a fun scene where the father (a struggling businessman) pesters his daughter to redesign his sales flyer by looking over her shoulder at a computer screen and attempting to talk/order her through software he's clearly unfamiliar with. Yet the camera stays fixed on the printer the entire time; we only glean the scene through their dialogue as they argue about the interface, text, placement, font sizes, etc. Eventually, the scene ends with the flyer emerging from the printer so that we finally see the subject/culmination of their conversation.

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.
With its constant visual invention and tone poetics, I'd compare Play more to a warm and slightly surrealist Godard, if you can imagine it, although there is a genuine sense of grief and loss that runs beneath the entire film. The Evening Class interviewed the director here and I think Scherson is someone to watch in the coming years.

I agree with you about music, too. One of the reasons I love Bernard Herrmann's scores is that they are all about mood and psychology rather than melody; you don't hum Herrmann scores for weeks on end like so many pop-y contemporary scores. The other film in my list with a standout score is Times and Winds, which uses Arvo P

Edited by Doug C
Link to post
Share on other sites

Crow, thanks for the heads up on The Aura here and in your SLIFF coverage. (Boy, do I wish that was around when I lived near St. Louis.) It's playing in Los Angeles at the moment and your praise definitely makes me want to check it out.

And what a fine list of older films, many of which are personal favorites for me. Although I suspect I'd love Kings of the Road if I could ever track it down, my favorite Wenders movie at present is Paris, Texas. Such a beautiful, empathic, character-driven film.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A disappointing year for new releases, but a fantastic year for expanding my film horizons overall.

New releases:

1) When the Levees Broke

2) Hawaii, Oslo

3) Thank You for Smoking

4) Water

5) Borat

6) Little Miss Sunshine

7) Prarie Home Companion

8) Lady in the Water

Discoveries:

- the films of Akira Kurosawa (21 films this year)

- the films of Francois Truffaut (8 films)

- Buffalo Boy

- Tokyo Olympiad

- My Life to Live

- Masculin/Feminin

- Hiroshima Mon Amour

- Passion of Joan of Arc

- Kings and Queen

- Safe

- Birth

- Grizzly Man

- White Diamond

- Reel Paradise

- Sunset Boulevard

- Shakespeare Behind Bars

- Tampopo

- Double Suicide

(update: geesh, how could I have forgotten Spike Lee's documentary?!? Your post, Ken, was an apt reminder for me.)

Edited by Andrew

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Link to post
Share on other sites

...I'm beginning to think that my ideal film would consist of a single, static shot.

Perhaps you need to check out live theatre.

;)

This is my first attempt at a Top 10 List

1. Sophie Scholl

3. L' Enfant

4. The Three Burials of Melquiedes Estrada

Crow, my man.

Older films I've discovered this year:

Taxi Driver

Voyage to Italy

Stromboli

The Flowers of St. Francis

Rosetta

La Promesse

Cat People

I Walked With a Zombie

Crazy! I just re-watched TAXI DRIVER last week, and it went from "I don't see what's the big deal" to "Wow!" The three Rossellinis are sitting on my living room table right now. ROSETTA and LA PROMESSE became huge favourites within the past year or so, and the two Tourneurs this summer. Kind of creepy. (Am I you?)

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Andrew, I didn't know you'd also discovered Masculin/Feminin this year. I watched it for the first time a couple weeks ago and loved every minute of it. By coincidence, a few hours after watching it, I had dinner with Caveh Zahedi (of "The Holy Moment" in Waking Life fame), who consistently cites Godard as his biggest influence. I was surprised to learn that he'd never seen all of Masculin/Feminin, because the scene where Jean-Pierre Leaud interviews Miss Nineteen is the most Zahedi-like moment I've ever seen in a Godard film. I love the way that "documentary" interview is doubled by similar "fictional" interviews throughout the film.

The other film in my list with a standout score is Times and Winds, which uses Arvo P
Link to post
Share on other sites

That's so great that you met with Zahedi, Darren. I'm so behind in my blog reading, but I hope you posted something about it?

I haven't seen Japon, but I will if you recommend it. I was worried about what was reported as rampant animal cruelty, which I can be really sensitive about--but maybe it was overplayed? After our conversation, I checked out IMDb and noticed P

Edited by Doug C
Link to post
Share on other sites

::Andrew, I didn't know you'd also discovered Masculin/Feminin this year. I watched it for the first time a couple weeks ago and loved every minute of it.

How cool - I just watched it a few weeks ago myself, and was captivated by it. Yes, this was my year to major in Kurosawa and minor in the French New Wave. I hope you'll post more about your adventures with Godard; he's an artist I can envision myself studying in the future also.

As for 'Masculin/Feminin,' I really need to see it again. On first viewing, I simply found myself enjoying the ride, with its shocks, humor, and beauty (regarding the latter, if there's ever been a more charming onscreen laugh than when Madeleine is first flirting with Paul, I have yet to see it). Maybe on the second viewing, I'll actually understand a bit of what I'm watching.

Watching the extras, it was fascinating to learn a bit about Godard's methods in this film. After studying Kurosawa and learning of his obsessive attention to every detail of scenery and acting, Godard's improvisatory technique was a striking contrast.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Link to post
Share on other sites

re: Japon, as I recall there's a hunting scene fairly early in the film that I may have fast-forwarded through. It didn't leave much of an impression on me, though, so I feel pretty safe in recommending the film. I don't know if you'll like Reygadas or not. If nothing else, rent the DVD just to watch the interview with him. He talks at length about Bresson and Tarkovsky. Even if you don't care for his films, I'm sure you'll enjoy him. (Rob Davis sent me a transcript of an interview that he did with Reygadas when he was promoting Battle in Heaven. I can't remember if it was ever posted/published or not.)

I haven't written about my evening with Caveh, and I kind of doubt I will. We spent most of our time talking about our marriages, actually. There's something about his personality that makes one want to speak intimately. I now understand how he's able to get his friends and acquaintances to reveal so much about themselves on camera.

He did have some fun Godard-related gossip from a friend of his who used to produce Chris Marker's films, but I'll keep that stuff off of the public forum. ;)

Edited by Darren H
Link to post
Share on other sites

Preliminary List (in no order):

Brick

V For Vendetta

The Prestige

The Departed

The Proposition

Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest

A Scanner Darkly

The Black Dahlia

Science of Sleep

The Fountain

Other possible contenders: The Puffy Chair, United 93, Inside Man

Edited by J.R.
Link to post
Share on other sites

::Andrew, it's amazing that you've seen 20 Kurosawa pictures this year. Do you have five favorites?

Wow, that's hard to answer. This is very prone to change, with repeat viewings:

1) 'Seven Samurai' - I now know why this is in so many All Time Top Ten lists. Incredible in every way, with a grand vision for social change as well.

2) 'Ran' - Amazing how Kurosawa adapted 'King Lear.' The central battle scene is breathtaking and horrifying, as it should be.

3) and 4) 'Ikiru' and 'Rhapsody in August' (I'm not sure which I rank higher) - the former is well-recognized here for its greatness, while the latter film's depiction of history and its trauma across three Japanese generations is terrific (with much to say about spirituality and reconciliation, to boot)

5) either 'Red Beard' or 'Hidden Fortress'

I'm struck, though, by the consistent greatness of art and philosophical commentary across the 20 films I've seen. There hasn't been a dud in the bunch, and each one has scenes and characters that made a significant impact on me. Examples are too many to name - the detectives' evening chat in 'Stray Dog,' the wash of grays and black in the painting-like landscape of 'Throne of Blood,' the evolving use of cloud symbolism in his final films, etc. - so I'd better stop now. Thanks for asking, though - this personal retrospective has been an inspiring journey for me.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Link to post
Share on other sites

John Podhoretz:

The inside money has the Oscar going to Dreamgirls, a musical that opens Friday. But a movie like United 93 scrambles the whole award business going in, because it is unquestionably not only the most worthy film from a high-minded Hollywood point of view but it's actually the best. The problem is that people have real difficulty getting themselves to see it. That's not a problem once the movie begins, however, because it is so gripping and so un-exploitative.

--A few years ago, Jeffrey picked “Stevie” as best film of the year, and when I posted that “In America” was my choice (I think these were released the same year), Jeffrey wrote that he could

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

RON'S TOP FILMS OF 2006 (SO FAR)

Jan 20

1 Son Of Man

2 Pan's Labyrinth

3 L'Enfant

4 Sophie Scholl

5 Little Children

6 History Boys

7 The Queen

8 The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

9 Requiem

10 Ushpizin

11 Hawaii, Oslo

12 United 93

13 The Painted Veil

14 Little Miss Sunshine

15 49 Up

16 Perfume

17 Superman Returns

21 Children Of Men

21 The Departed

21 The Proposition

21 Tsotsi

21 The Edukators

21 Happy Feet

21 Apocalypto

21 The King

*

Dec 30

1 Son Of Man

2 L'Enfant

3 Sophie Scholl

4 The History Boys

5 The Queen

6 The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

7 Requiem

8 Hawaii Oslo

9 Ushpizin

10 49 Up

11 Little Miss Sunshine

12 Superman Returns

13 The Departed

Dec 17

1 Son Of Man

2 Sophie Scholl

3 L

Edited by Ron

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

The first compilation of people's Faves Lists-In-Progress is up. You'll find it at the top of this thread. Sure to be some significant shifts once the unranked lists get ranked, and as more people get opportunity to see all the strong late-release films. I'll keep updating until the Oscars.

If you haven't started a list, I encourage you to join the fun: let us know what you've loved this year, and update it as often as you like.

If you've posted a list, feel free to go back to your original post at any time and make changes.

Making a list, and checking it often,

Ronta Claus

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I'll be doing an update to our cumulative list on Jan 1 or 2, so if anybody's got a list-in-progress to post, or an update to what they've already posted, bring it on!

Ron

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Top ten films I saw this year, either in theaters or on DVD, in alphabetical order.

Au Hasard Balthazar

Capote

Joyeux Noel

My Brilliant Career (finally released on DVD--it's still great!)

The New World

The Notorious Bettie Page

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

Stranger Than Fiction

Tsotsi

The "Up" Series (7 UP-49 UP)

Also rans--mostly children's movies:

Hoodwinked

Lady in the Water

Night at the Museum

Over the Hedge

Shall We Dance? (Masayuki Suo, 1996)

The Story of the Weeping Camel

Summer Magic (Disney, 1963--pure childhood nostalgia, plus--Burl Ives!)

Edited by BethR

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

Link to post
Share on other sites

The final list.

Darrel's Dozen:

1. Tsotsi

2. Lion in the House

3. Letters From Iwo Jima

4. Little Miss Sunshine

5. Volver

6. Double feature: The War Tapes & My Country, My Country

7. Death of Mr. Lazarescu

8. Double feature: Sweet Land & The Secret Life of Words

9. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

10. Three Burials of Mequiades Estrada

11. Pan's Labyrinth

12. Babel

Worth mention even if they don't make the list - which they still might (alphabetical):

Children of Men

The Departed

An Inconveneint Truth

Joyeux Noel

The Proposition

Thank You for Smoking

Grade for the year: B+

Favorite discoveries or revisits from past years:

A Time for Burning

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Walkabout

Boys of Baraka

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

Edited by Darrel Manson
A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll be doing an update to our cumulative list on Jan 1 or 2, so if anybody's got a list-in-progress to post, or an update to what they've already posted, bring it on!

Ron

I've made a few adjustments to the bottom half of my list. The Proposition, formerly #10, is now off the list, due chiefly to my not having seen it two times. A Prairie Home Companion, which I liked quite a bit the second time I saw it earlier this month, takes that last spot, and the bottom half of my list has been reordered somewhat. The chief beneficiary: Spike Lee's Inside Man, which deserves more end-of-the-year attention, IMHO.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

That End of the Year Post

1. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)

2. Still Life / Dong (Jia Zhang-ke, 2006)

3. Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa, 2006)

4. Hamaca Paraguaya (Paz Encina, 2006)

5. Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2006)

6. Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2006)

7. Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, 2006)

8. A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater, 2006)

9. In Between Days (So Yong Kim, 2006)

10. Schuss! (Nicolas Rey, 2005)

11. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang, 2006)

12. Stranger Than Fiction (Marc Forster, 2006)

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

14. Flandres (Bruno Dumont, 2006)

15. The Queen (Stephen Frears, 2006)

Link to post
Share on other sites

We'll come out with our list before the Academy Awards - but these are the films we gave 4 stars to (some are released earlier and we just now reviewed them)

Akeelah and the Bee (4 Stars - 2006)

An Inconvenient Truth (4 Stars - 2006)

End of the Spear (4 Stars - 2006)

Joyeux Noel "Merry Christmas" (4 Stars - 2006)

Nativity Story, The (4 Stars - 2006)

One Night with the King (4 Stars - 2006)

Pursuit of Happyness, The (4 Stars - 2006)

The Ten Commandments - 50th Anniversary Collection (4 Stars - 2006)

United 93 (4 Stars - 2006)

Ushpizin (4 Stars - 2005)

Denny

Since 1995 we have authored a commentary on film, cinema in focus. Though we enjoy cinema as an art form, our interests lie not so much in reviewing a film as in beginning a conversation about the social and spiritual values presented. We, therefore, often rate a film higher or lower due to its message rather than its quality of acting or film-making.

Cinema In Focus Website

Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara Website

Link to post
Share on other sites
6. Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2006)

Darren, I followed the link to your Sept. 10 summary of Climates, curious to know more about this film. I'd read some less than enthusiastic comments about it on festival blogs this past year, but I'm a huge fan of Distant and suspect I'd like, if not love, Climates.

You concluded your post on Climates with this:

After I get home, I hope to give more thought and time to Climates, which, like Atom Egoyan's Calendar, also uses photography and ancient religious architecture to raise questions about memory and national identity. (That last phrase is such an art film cliche [or maybe an art film criticism cliche], but I'm confident it's true in this case, and it will make this film fun to write about and discuss.)

Nearly four months after writing that, do you have anything to add? I'll keep your comments in mind when/if I ever get a chance to see Climates.

"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

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really eager to see Climates again, Christian. After TIFF I watched Ceylan's earlier films, which helped contextualize it a bit. Doug and I have been debating this since September, but I see his first three features as being so heavily influenced by Tarkovsky that I wasn't really sure what Ceylan had to say as a filmmaker (I love all three of the films, regardless). Climates, I think, is a step out from under the shadow of his influences. In many ways it's a more traditional film, both in narrative and form. There are fewer of the magical Tarkovsky-like flourishes, and, photography scenes aside, it's not so self-referential. In other words, it's not about making art or the struggles of the artist like his earlier films (and Tarkovsky's) are. I wasn't blown away by Climates the way I was by Distant, but I think that's because it isn't the film I was expecting. (Also, the lead character, played by Ceylan, is a real bastard, which makes entering the film emotionally more difficult.) The more I've thought about Climates, though, and the more I've discussed it with others, the higher my opinion of it has become.

re: Egoyan's Calendar . . . I still think that's a good angle to pursue here. It makes me really want to see Egoyan's latest, which Rosenbaum has raved about but which Egoyan apparently has no plans to distribute. It's another meta-home movie, and is being compared to Calendar.

Link to post
Share on other sites
re: Egoyan's Calendar . . . I still think that's a good angle to pursue here. It makes me really want to see Egoyan's latest, which Rosenbaum has raved about but which Egoyan apparently has no plans to distribute. It's another meta-home movie, and is being compared to Calendar.

Interestingly, Filmbrain mentions in his Climates post about how the Ceylans had just had a child shortly before filming, so I seemed to make sense within the comparison to the Egoyans' Calendar being so close to the birth of their own son. I do think they're tapping into something of the same vein in terms of transforming a relationship from something more romantic and ephemeral to something more enduring and concrete...architecture as a metaphor for "legacy" if you will.

Oops! To keep in line with the top ten, I guess I should post mine. :)

Paprika (Satoshi Kon, 2006)

D

Edited by acquarello
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, acquarello--I'm so excited to see the Kon, Ruiz, and Serra films (I'll get to see the latter next week). Inland Empire is showing here in L.A., but my track record with Lynch has been so spotty at best that I haven't made room in my schedule for it. Knowing me, would you recommend it? :)

I'm also undecided on Our Daily Bread, which I appreciated for its formal austerity, but it almost seemed too schematic for me. Certainly, the slaughter scenes were excruciating to behold, but I'm not sure how else its form improves on its content. Did you see Fast Food Nation?

Camden 28 (Anthony Giacchino, 2006)

Kinetta (Giorgos Lanthimos, 2005)

Saratan (Ernest Abdyjaparov, 2005)

I'm unfamiliar with these--any further comments?

Darren, I'm kicking myself for having missed In Between Days--did you see it at TIFF?

Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, the thread on Fast Food Nation, which includes some comments on Our Daily Bread, 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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...