Film in 2010
Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:10 PM
Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:35 PM
Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:47 PM
Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:59 PM
Posted 29 September 2010 - 05:53 PM
Posted 29 September 2010 - 06:02 PM
I'm surprised he has not seen The Tooth Fairy.
So far worst of the year for me: Furry Vengeance (2010: Roger Kumble).
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677
Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33
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Posted 29 September 2010 - 06:37 PM
For The Tooth Fairy, I think the reason why I haven't seen it yet is because it's one of those films that I think would be a better experience when you have someone else watching it with you. I've seen Dwayne Johnson's two previous Disney efforts with my friend, who also happens to worship at the altar of "The Rock," so I might need to see this one with him as well.
Why did you see Furry Vengeance?
clyde, as for Vincere, I dig it. It didn't blow me away or anything, but it's definitely worth checking out. I'll give more fleshed out thoughts on the subject later today.
Posted 29 September 2010 - 06:47 PM
Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:26 PM
9.(11.) Exit Through the Gift Shop
I think my problem with this film is my problem with most documentaries that employ narration and talking heads: it's just not that interesting from a cinematic perspective. I'm still pro this film just because there are moments that are wonderfully cinematic like the opening with footage of street artists doing their art set to music and footage of Theirry's life being edited into small bits after describing how why he feels the need to document everything in his life. Much like the film above, I think the film's first half is much more interesting than its second. Watching street artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and others do what they do provides a sort of jolt that one gets while watching a heist get executed flawlessly. It's compelling to watch people extremely competent in a craft that involves quite a bit of risk do what they do. Watching Banksy pull off that Disneyland stunt, for instance, is incredible for that very reason. Then later on, the film shifts to Thierry's street art and basically turns the film into a rather unexceptional discussion piece about the age old question: what makes good or bad art? And my response to that question, especially in the context of the film, is I don't care. I think the second half makes you more appreciative of the artists highlighted in the first just because Thierry's designs are so mindnumbingly dull. It's obvious that Banksy is not fond of Thierry so it makes you wonder why he decided to spend so much time on his art. I guess the angle of hype and self-promotion is there in regards to Thierry, but that also loses its luster rather quickly, when you realize that the film basically wants you to think the people fawning all over Thierry's art are gullible idiots. More of the ode to street art seen in the beginning, especially exemplified by the wonderful opening to the film, and less dismantling of Thierry's obviously not-very-good, stillborn art would have been ideal.
12.(14.) Soul Kitchen
Fatih Akin's last film was one of those dreaded hyperlink self-important melodramas that I love so much. The only similarity between that film and this one is that both films juggle a handful of characters, but this one is much more focused in its approach and thankfully, much less satisfied with its own brilliance. In fact, if anything, it's actually satisfied with its lack of brilliance. It's a lark and it's definitely more enjoyable to see Akin pile the bad luck on his characters for laughs instead of tears. It's nice to see Akin goof off with wacky use of camera techniques and a plot structure that basically drops his character to desolute just in order to go for the impossible happy ending. It's much more preferable than watching Akin trying to make some grand statement about life in Germany and Turkey. Right now, I'm actually thinking I might have placed this too low on my list.
Posted 02 October 2010 - 02:45 PM
Given David Fincher's past propensity for sheer technical exercise (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button being his most egregious offense), The Social Network comes as a bit of a mild surprise; it's understated, only sprinkled with CGI touches (the deftest feat coming via a dual role played by the infuriatingly charming Armie Hammer), and rarely engages self-indulgence (it's a breathlessly paced 120 minutes). The credit for that pace belongs as much to Aaron Sorkin's literate, but thematically moderate script, integrating deposition hearings as a Rashomon-lite narrative structure, supplementing a Citizen Kane-ultra-lite tale of petty revenge cum capitalist nightmare. These meaningless comparisons are meant to mock the hype machine created by mainstream critics as a validation of their cultural stature - Peter Travers' proclamation (having been specially selected to see the film back in August) that it is "the movie of the year that also brilliantly defines the decade,” hyperbolic as that may seem, proved only a catalyst for other critics to continue the reductive accolade dogpile. Everybody's stuck in Oscar bait speech, making analytically diminishing statements ("if Coppola had been into computers, he would have made The Social Network") in place of actual evaluation and consideration. While Armond White's review of the film is self-interestedly dismissive and verging on self-parody, his opening insight, that it may be five years before anyone can view the film without unconsciously engaging the hyperbole, is spot on. This is all to say that the film, itself, is good, intelligent about the predicated dishonesty of cyberspace subterfuge, and partially insightful regarding the compounded loss of both civility and human decency created through the supplementation of narcissism.
The film's ultimate fault and prevention of greatness, however, is an inability to coherently make radical sense of both its enigmatic protagonist and locus of the hate and anger fueling him. Ambivalent to a fault (yet what filmmaker under 50 isn't, these days?) little in Fincher's direction works to solidify a moral/ethic stance on Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg) and his cronies. Likewise, Sorkin's stance on the material remains even more indecisive, opting for a "the truth can't be known" approach which, though it makes for harrowing sequences of finger-pointing and shouting, ultimately lacks any resonance beyond bitter irony. In the opening scene, Zuckerberg's told by his soon-to-ex Erica (Rooney Mara) that, in the future, he shouldn't falsely believe women don't like him because he's a nerd - it's actually because he's an asshole. Eisenberg's bitter face emotes wounded pride, something his 1600 on the SAT can't answer. In the greatest opening credits sequence of the year, Mark quickly walks across campus to his dorm. Fincher's in pure neo-noir mode here - fatalistic and daunting, using Atticus Ross & Trent Reznor's kinetic, techno score as a chilly foreshadowing of both Mark's bottled up resentment and loneliness. The genesis of Mark's ascendancy and plunge (though he seems to never enjoy much of any of it) lies upon petty revenge - the desire for retribution. Of course, Mark's only means lies in mediation, a way to strike back without the potential of face-to-face humiliation. One of Fincher's strongest directorial sequences (visually and viscerally, at least) comes during Mark's initial expulsion of vitriol, a montage of sex, drinking, typing, hacking - the conglomeration being sensory overload. It's bravura, but problematic, as Fincher and Sorkin amp the sex appeal without much regard for its diminution of decorum. That lack plagues much of the film's bite, since the duo seem only interested in pop-psychoanalysis (Mark's motivation is not actually money or power, but the one that got away). The film's final scene, of Mark sitting at his computer, hitting refresh in hopes that Erica will "friend" him, reinforces the film's knee-high depth - it's but a rather simple irony.
Likewise, much of the film relies on expository sequences that function mainly to further the narrative, rather than complexly construct character motivation or thematic depth. Namely, the material with the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer) does little to register in regard to questions of power hunger or cognizant betrayal. Moreover, an incredible rowing sequence using a modified version of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is just that - a great piece of visceral filmmaking, but tangential to any furthering of a discourse. The moral resonance in the film lies with Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), the company's CFO and, naturally, best friend of Zuckerberg. He's the Jedediah Leland figure, if you will, betrayed and left for financial dead because of both his "outdated" principles and naivete. Garfield is vulnerable and empathetic throughout (sans a curious segment in the film where his demonized Asian girlfriend comes back for revenge), but Fincher doesn't probe his devastation deeply enough - especially once Napster wunderkind Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) becomes part of the equation. He exits the film in a fit of rage, slamming Mark's laptop to oblivion once he learns of his horribly diluted stake in the company. It's one of The Social Network's few cathartic moments - a show of anguish and humiliation at having believed in someone so unfeeling and emotionally unresponsive.
Nevertheless, The Social Network is slyly perceptive about the issue of sex, at least with regard to Facebook's role. Like the emotional stoicism of Mark's hatemail, the sexual interaction takes its form in the "fuck," personified by Eduardo and Mark's bathroom stall session with two newly acquired "friends." It's a further explication of the tool's paradoxical human disconnect, facilitating interaction while precluding it, emphasizing the sensory over the emotional. Fincher's film functions in this way, though because of his non-committal stance, one's never positive whether he's more inclined to condemn or embrace. Not that he has to do either, but the film itself is much like its protagonist, brilliant but unruly, active but enigmatic. That congruence of character/form often works in Fincher and Sorkin's favor, but a more decisive approach, righting Mark's wrongs through responsive rather than objective filmmaking, could lend their discursive and visual prowess a touch of needed maturity - a move from fashionable eclecticism towards the kind of personal statement sorely needed in an era founded upon irresponsibility.
Posted 02 October 2010 - 02:47 PM
1. Piranha 3D (Alexandre Aja)
2. Vincere (Marco Bellocchio)
3. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
4. Life During Wartime (Todd Solondz)
5. The Social Network (David Fincher)
6. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Edgar Wright)
7. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy)
8. The Runaways (Floria Sigismondi)
9. The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)
10. Jonah Hex (Jimmy Hayward)
Posted 04 October 2010 - 02:55 AM
Posted 15 November 2010 - 12:01 AM
clyde, what did you think of "Carlos"? (or Carlos?)
It might be the movie, or at least the miniseries, of the year. There is substance to it, I believe, but Assayas forgoes a lot of the analytical in favor of the atmospheric. No film that I've ever watched has matched Carlos' ability to make the viewer see the appeal of terrorism. As ideological as it can be, there's also a very sexy quality to the whole thing - globetrotting, narrow escapes, women and guns - that is embraced here rather than dryly skimmed over. It's careful, too, to follow up on that with the more humiliating aspects, as we Carlos become fat and no longer really respected.
As good a testament as any to my enjoyment of the picture might be how I came to watch it. The night before I had an 8-hour flight to Munich, I passed by the IFC Center in Manhattan. I took along my Summer Hours Blu-ray because I knew that Assayas was going to be there and I hoped he'd sign it for me. To get into the theater you needed to buy a ticket so I used my membership and bought one. You got a nice program booklet as part of the deal. When I get inside the lobby Assayas is standing around, undisturbed, looking at either the concessions area or the little gift shop that sells t-shirts and DVDs. I approached him. He signed my BD, just his last name, and shyly thanked me (I've noticed that a lot of non-American directors are extremely gentle and reserved). Another audience member, a woman, asked me who that was and I told her it was the director. She replied, "oh, he's here." Before the film started, Assayas made some nice comments to the audience. I then sat for the first part, entirely enthralled but still thinking I'd probably leave after the intermission between parts 2 and 3 because I needed to get home. Part 2 started and I was just as into the picture despite being extremely tired. At the intermission, I went outside and got a slice of pizza around the corner. I couldn't miss part 3 (which is probably the weakest and least exciting) so I went back in and didn't get out until about 1:00 AM. Six hours, including intermission and introduction, but entirely worth the experience.
Posted 17 November 2010 - 05:59 PM
I wrote a lengthier review of I Am Love at my blog. Here.
I'm going to try to write reviews for everything I've seen from 2010 and beyond on there.
Also, John Hawkes's performance in Winter's Bone is something to behold. Might be my favorite performance of the year so far.
Posted 19 November 2010 - 09:02 PM
Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:53 PM
I find it interesting that you find the film sexy and that it made terrorism appealing since I thought it was deliberately doing the opposite. Don't you think the miniseries underlines how idiotic these guys are every step of the way?
I think the film/miniseries has a way of showing terrorism as being sexy, similar to Bonnie and Clyde. That's what I mean by it showing the appeal of terrorism beyond the ideological commitment. I hate to compare it to Baader-Meinhof, but think of how that movie was one struggle and panic after another. Nothing in it seemed fun or enticing. Carlos, to me, presents that lifestyle as one that is ripe for enjoyment. The character of Carlos loves what he's doing. That said, he's a maniac and Assayas does indeed portray him as none too bright at times. There's a separation, though, in belittling the terrorists and glamorizing their lifestyle. I actually appreciated that glamorization, as I perceived it, because, and this will sound stupid out of context, terrorism is never shown in film, television, the news, etc. as anything remotely interesting or, again, sexy in terms of the experience. To show the side of it with that appeal creates a new truth I'd never before seen or really considered.
Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:44 PM
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