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Coincidentally, Our Daily Bread played a few days before Lino Brocka's Insiang, which opens at a slaughterhouse. Geyrhalter's film is pretty anesthetized and tame in comparison. I actually see his approach as being more along the line of Harun Farocki's "production" films, where technology represents the erasure of the human imprint rather than a kind of despiritualization of mass production.

I'm not a big Lynch fan either, I actually prefer his non-Lynchian films like The Elephant Man, but I think Inland Empire really lays out Lynch's thematic "manifesto" quite well and I'd say really helps to understand what's at work in his other films too. Of course, it still doesn't completely make sense, but it's one of those experiences where pieces of one reality interpenetrate other realities, so the elements are all there, but not usually in the same plane, and you end up with instinctual resolutions rather than factual/logical ones. I'd say it's worth seeing, even if you don't immediately come away from it impressed. My experience was something similar to L'Intrus (although I like Denis' film more), where I didn't immediately like it, but as I got some distance from it and the specificity of plot points begin to recede in favor of more impression-based memories, the more it made "sense".

Camden 28 is a documentary on the landmark case that basically used jury nullification to indirectly condemn the Vietnam War. In a nutshell, the FBI sought to discredit the Catholic left from their antiwar efforts by infiltrating the group and essentially helped enable them to break into a draft board office so they could be arrested. The documentary is composed of interviews, newsreels, and re-enactments from the break in and trial, along with their reunion in the same courthouse some 30 years later. Here's the film's website. It was kind of sad to hear Father Doyle talk about how he wished people had the same crisis of conscience now as they did then, but it was refreshing to hear people with a similar point of view articulate their convictions about spirituality and humanity so passionately.

Kinetta is a tough sell because it's a flawed film. The closest aesthetic I can think of is Philippe Grandrieux - twitchy, wandering camera focus, destabilized images. It basically just follows a group of people (a hotel maid, a photographer, and a police detective) who film re-enactments of crime scenes. What really struck me about the film is the desperateness of the characters. They don't know how to connect, so they go through the play acting ritual. Another comparison would be Tsai Ming Liang without the humor. You see a lot of odd actions going on, and it's only in the last 15 minutes or so that the nature of the ritual crystallizes.

Saratan is a deadpan comedy, and reminds me of something between Darezhan Omirbaev and Otar Iosseliani. It's basically an ensemble film about this rural province in Kyrgyzstan where they have a do-nothing mayor and only have one police officer (who uses his patrols to romance wives of shepherds who are away for the evening to graze the sheep). The film loosely centers on a rash of sheep thefts, but it's more about the absurdities of life in the small town. There's even a running joke about the mayor interviewing a Jehovah's witness as a possible "religious guide" replacement for the town after the local imam oversleeps and misses morning prayers.

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"Pretty anesthetized and tame in comparison"! That's frightening to even think about. I've just started going through the Farocki DVDs this week, so I'm intrigued by your comparison.

I'll try to give Inland Empire a whirl this week if I can.

I'm very intrigued by your description of Camden 28, partly because I've been wanting to see Investigation of a Flame (2001), an acclaimed documentary that was just released on DVD; it focuses on an earlier draft board raid by the Catonsville 9, a similar group of Catholic leftists who were convicted of destroying government property by judges who insisted that opposition to the war could not be used as a defense. The Camden 28 trials apparently reversed that trend.

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"Pretty anesthetized and tame in comparison"! That's frightening to even think about. I've just started going through the Farocki DVDs this week, so I'm intrigued by your comparison.

Indeed, Brocka's approach was more like the slaughterhouse installment of Michael Glawogger's Workingman's Death (in the Nigerian open air market) where the "slow death" method they were using (so the animal would flail and exsanguinate faster) seemed particularly inhumane. After some twenty minutes of that, a lot of us just kinda staggered out of the theater in a daze.

Interesting context about the Catonsville documentary. I don't remember that particular one being mentioned, but the documentary does make a point about how the Camden episode had followed a string of other draft board "actions" (usually, burning draft cards in public) along the midwest and northeast (there were similar protests in Michigan and Philadelphia too, I think). Their framework was along the lines that the FBI was looking to discredit the Catholic left because of these series of actions that seemed to be spreading throughout the country. Since these arrests were more like slaps on the wrist-type civil disobedience offenses, they were looking to make an example by getting the protestors to commit crimes with very stiff penalties, and they did this by feeding them information and even furnishing them with tools for the break-in (through a mole) so that the break-in would succeed and they could be charged with more serious offenses. There definitely seemed to be a good deal of behind-the-scene shenanigans on the part of the government as to how this break-in was actually pulled off.

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Keep in mind that the Rotten Tomatoes list is just taken from the average rating of the reviews they've gathered. There are only twenty reviews of When the Levees Broke so far.

The actual Online Film Critics Society awards, on which members are still voting, will be announced on Monday.

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:

: The actual Online Film Critics Society awards, on which members are still voting, will be announced on Monday.

Hmmm, I'm a member, am I not? Why have I not heard about this?

"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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Peter, I don't think the new additions from the CT gang will be full-fledged members until sometime in 2007, but I'm not sure. You should probably ask Mark about the state of CTMovies' membership at Rotten Tomatoes. Regular OFCS members have been receiving piles of email about the year-end voting, and the second round of voting is almost over.

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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Alan Thomas wrote:

: Someday, Peter, perhaps a PM would be appropriate? Or did you mean to publicly

: undermine the FFCC?

Someday, Alan, you'll learn the difference between an "O" and an "F" (and between an "S" and a "C").

Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: Peter, I don't think the new additions from the CT gang will be full-fledged members

: until sometime in 2007, but I'm not sure. You should probably ask Mark about the

: state of CTMovies' membership at Rotten Tomatoes.

Yeah, I've been meaning to do some digging on that, but life's been too busy. I note that my RottenTomatoes.com page lists CT as one of my "Publication(s)", which implies that I should be able to get my non-CT reviews included there too, but Mark didn't seem to know if RT would allow for that. At some point I really should talk to someone at RT directly, but is that even POSSIBLE? (I never, ever heard back about my earlier application, despite jumping through all the hoops, getting my editor to send them a letter on proper letterhead, 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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Here are the Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes top ten for 2006: ...

Thanks Alan, interesting lists. But they do belong over in the thread for other people's year end lists. This thread is for our own personal lists.

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

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Ok, by popular demand here is my Top Films of 2006 list (with the regular caveat that this is a work in progress).

1. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron)

2. The Departed (Martin Scorsese)

3. The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky)

4. The Queen (Stephen Frears)

5. Casino Royale (Martin Cambell)

6. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles)

7. United 93 (Paul Greengrass)

8. A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater)

9. The Prestige (Christopher Nolan)

10. The Descent (Neil Marshall)

11. Blood Diamond (Edward Zwick)

12. Thank You For Smoking (Jason Reitman)

Mission: Impossible 3 (J. J. Abrams)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Gore Verbinski)

Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola)

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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10. The Descent (Neil Marshall)

Another fan of The Descent? I had high hopes for this one, and the first half of the movie had some very interesting stuff going on in it. But the second half struck me as the same ol' same ol'. A few good scares, but no development of the earlier ideas about relationships, loss, and the overwhelming aspect of natural wonder and mystery.

Relationships and loss are, of course, part of the second half of the film, but in a very obvious and direct horror-movie sense.

I had promised to find the thread on this film here and contribute, but I keep forgetting to do so. Hope this isn't too much of a digressions. Anders, if you want to reply to this, maybe that other thread (assuming there is one on this movie) would be the best place.

I'd like to be persuaded that I'm wrong about this movie, some of which I really did admire.

"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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10. The Descent (Neil Marshall)

Another fan of The Descent? I had high hopes for this one, and the first half of the movie had some very interesting stuff going on in it. But the second half struck me as the same ol' same ol'. A few good scares, but no development of the earlier ideas about relationships, loss, and the overwhelming aspect of natural wonder and mystery.

Relationships and loss are, of course, part of the second half of the film, but in a very obvious and direct horror-movie sense.

I had promised to find the thread on this film here and contribute, but I keep forgetting to do so. Hope this isn't too much of a digressions. Anders, if you want to reply to this, maybe that other thread (assuming there is one on this movie) would be the best place.

I'd like to be persuaded that I'm wrong about this movie, some of which I really did admire.

Link to my response and The Descent thread.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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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.

Christian, I've seen Climates twice now, and wish I could get a DVD copy posthaste. If it plays near you, I think you should really try to get to the theater. The film has one of the most unique sound designs I've ever experienced, and I'm not sure if all of that will come through if, like me, you're still using TV speakers to watch movies.

It's been over a year since I saw Distant, and I'm planning to rerent it soon to see how my appreciation of it stands in comparison to Climates, which I really, really like. I intend to write a few more organized paragraphs about the film soon, but because so many of the reviews I've read throw out references to Antonioni, whose work I've only sampled, I'm hoping to watch more of Antonioni's films first to try to understand that touchstone.

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I've posted my top ten at Reveal-- with a disclaimer that there are still MANY acclaimed 2006 films that I have still yet to see (among them Pan's Labyrinth, Little Children, Letters from Iwo Jima, etc.)

The top ten:

1. The New World

2. Babel

3. The Three Burals of Melquiades Estrada

4. Children of Men

5. The Queen

6. Little Miss Sunshine

7. Casino Royale

8. The Departed

9. Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest

10. Brick

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2006 Films

1. L'Enfant

2. The Queen

3. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

4. When the Levees Broke

5. Three Times

6. Army of Shadows

7. A Scanner Darkly

8. Forgiving Dr. Mengele

9. A Prairie Home Companion

10. Buffalo Boy

Honorable Mention: 49 Up, Inside Man

Older Films

1. Brief Encounter (Lean, 1945)

2. The Man Who Planted Trees (Back, 1987)

3. Trial of Joan of Arc (Bresson, 1962)

4. Nights of Cabiria (Felinni, 1957)

5. Camera Buff (Kieslowski, 1979)

6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, 1962)

7. My Life to Live (Godard, 1962)

8. Au Revoir Les Enfants (Malle, 1987)

9. Best of Youth (Giordana, 2005)

10. Badlands (Malick, 1973)

Honorable Mention: All About My Mother, Babe: Pig in the City, The Bad Sleep Well, Cache, Chungking Express, Elevator to the Gallows, The Fallen Idol, Grizzly Man, The Lady From Shanghai, Los Olvidados, Mr. Arkadian, Nashville, La Notte, Pickpocket, Raise the Red Lantern, Sherlock Jr., Shoot the Piano Player, A Short Film About Love, The Squid and the Whale, To Live, The Wages of Fear, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The World

All great art is pared down to the essential.
--Henri Langlois

 

Movies are not barium enemas, you're not supposed to get them over with as quickly as possible.

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List newly updated.

I am heartbroken to report that adding lists from J Robert Parks, ClintM, Anders, JoshH and John (and updating a couple others) causes SOPHIE SCHOLL to plummet from #3 to #9.

NEW WORLD is now the uncontested #2 movie on our combined lists, though (as previously noted) if Christian and Doug had included L'ENFANT on their 2006 lists rather than their 2005 lists, it would place as the #2 movie.

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

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This ain't a final Top 10 list by any stretch, but Ron, I can pass on the list of 15 that someone asked me for ... in no particular order (it's more or less the order that I saw them in, though I think I nudged a couple higher up the list just on a whim) ...

United 93

Thank You for Smoking

Ushpizin

Tsotsi

Water

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

L'Enfant

The New World

Shut Up & Sing: Dixie Chicks

Confetti

Babel

The Queen

Flags of Our Fathers

Little Children

49 Up

"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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My twenty-five favorite films of 2006 are listed here.

And this time, I invited a whole bunch of folks to discuss the various films with me. More conversations are pending, including chats with Sara Zarr, jrobert, Peter Chattaway, and SDG.

You'll notice that some of the movies are lacking conversations. If you'd like to be a late-arriving guest to that party, let me know. I'd love to add dialogues, so that there are conversations about each title.

Thanks to those who participated so far.

I must say, seeing a few of these films a second time really changed things for me... especially in the cases of A Prairie Home Companion and Little Miss Sunshine, both of which inspired much greater appreciation the second time through.

Oh, okay, if you don't feel like reading all of that stuff...

1. The New World

2. United 93

3. The Queen

4. Little Children

5, 6. Children of Men & Pan's Labyrinth (tie)

7. L'Enfant

8. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

9. Sophie Scholl

10. Three Times

11. Little Miss Sunshine

12. Babel

13. Army of Shadows

14. The Departed

15, 16. The Science of Sleep & Marie Antoinette (tie)

17. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

18, 19. The Science of Sleep & Marie Antoinette (tie)

20, 21. The Prestige and The Illusionist (tie)

22. Don't Come Knocking

23. The Fountain

24, 25. The Proposition and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

- and then I've listed a bunch of runners-up...

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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It's interesting, Alan, that IMDB.com lists The New World as a 2005 film, while L'Enfant had its first screening in May of 2005, and had no less than twenty-three screenings in 2005, and yet it listed as a 2006 film?

This logic hurts my head.

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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I'd say right now my list goes like this...

1-United 93

2-The Departed

3-The New World

4-Apocalypto

5-Pirates 2

6-Superman Returns

7-World Trade Center

8-Casino Royale

9-The Prestige

10-Pan's Labyrinth*

(Haven't seen Letters from Iwo Jima, Sophie Scholl, Blood Diamond, or The Queen; I want to see them all before I finalize this).

*-I'm torn on this one. I really liked The Illusionist and Inside Man too.

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

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Christian, I've seen Climates twice now, and wish I could get a DVD copy posthaste. If it plays near you, I think you should really try to get to the theater. The film has one of the most unique sound designs I've ever experienced, and I'm not sure if all of that will come through if, like me, you're still using TV speakers to watch movies.

Climates opened at a Landmark theater in D.C. last weekend. I was in California.

I've been trying to figure out a way to get to a matinee this Saturday, but I don't have to worry about that anymore: I just received Landmark's weekly e-mail, and they're getting rid of Climates after tomorrow.

I had suspected this title would be "on the bubble" after checking its weekend gross earlier today: Just over $9,000 on 3 screens, for an average of a little over $3,000 per screen. When Landmark played Distant here a couple of years ago, it averaged over $5,000 per screen in its first weekend (at all theaters; I'm not sure what numbers the D.C. theater did specifically) and was "held over" two further weeks.

EDIT: This isn't the right place for this discussion, so I'm going to launch a separate thread. Here's the link.

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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Wikipedia lists L'Enfant as a 2005 film; OOPS! so does IMDb...

Strike L'Enfant from the list, then; I'll update it shortly.

I suggest you don't strike L'ENFANT from the list. According to IMDb, yes it played film festivals all over the world in 2005, but according to IMDb its USA limited release date is March 24 2006. The bright blue date beside the title at IMDb seems to refer to the copyright year of a film, or perhaps to its first appearance at a festival anywhere, and has no relation to the date of limited or general release. If you're going to go by THAT IMDb date, strike SOPHIE SCHOLL, strike THE DEATH OF MR LAZARESCU, strike THE NEW WORLD. With foreign films, we always need to dig a little deeper than the Bright Blue Date By The Title at IMDb: wouldn't the date of a film's non-festival opening in the USA seem a reasonable date to use?

Oh well, it doesn't matter.

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

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Ron, I'm with you completely. I was merely pointing out that if The New World is axed, then there are plenty of others that have to go as well.

(We're already heading into this situation with Inland Empire. Are we going to count it as 2006 or 2007? It had its first Seattle sneak preview last night.)

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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Ron wrote:

: The bright blue date beside the title at IMDb seems to refer to the copyright

: year of a film, or perhaps to its first appearance at a festival anywhere,

: and has no relation to the date of limited or general release.

The IMDB is not bound by USA release dates, yes; instead, I believe it refers to the film's first screenings for the public, however limited or foreign they might have been. Hence, Superman II is a 1980 film even though it did not open in North America until June 1981, Memento is a 2000 film even though it did not open in North America until March 2001, or, on the flip side, Krzysztof Kieslowski's Blind Chance is a 1987 film, even though it was finished in 1981 (the Polish censors held back the film's premiere for six years).

"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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