Sunday, December 26, 2010

Grading The Movies, 2010 Edition

Let's get down to grading these papers - everything I actually got to see on a big screen (some via a Blu-Ray projector, which will have to count from now on) in order of my preference, with scholastic grading applied. There's still a few days between Boxing Day and New Year's Day to see True Grit and a couple other movies that are playing so this stands a chance of getting revised over the course of the week. So this list will go up at DVDTalk and OKCupid when that happens, and I welcome any twitter followers as well!

RUNNER UP(S): The Millenium Trilogy (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played With Fire, Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest)

Shutter Island (2009)
Harry Brown
Black Swan
Never Let Me Go
Ou Est La Main
Sherlock Holmes
Inside Job
Life During Wartime
The American
The Tempest
City Of Your Final Destination
The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Phil Spector
The Ghost Writer
The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus
L'empreinte De L'ange
Date Night
Iron Man 2
Tron: Legacy
George A. Romero's Survival Of The Dead
Countdown To Zero
Avatar (2009)
City Island
The Expendables
The Lovely Bones
Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland
The Room (an eternal Turkey)

Steve Shelley's Archives (Pink Floyd specifically)
The Third Man
Kid With The Golden Arm
Dirty Money
The Godfather
Dario Argento's Deep Red
The Brood
The Crazies (George Romero 1973 original)

What do you think?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The 2010 Short Oscars: Animated!

I got to see the Animated nominees a little earlier than I thought I would. As usual, fantastic storytelling and a wide palette ranging from nasty humor to dark melodrama is here. The 3D thing has almost completely overtaken the program, and good old fashioned cell animation or even Flash is seeming almost a thing of nostalgia these days. The blazing exception, and hands down my favorite, is "Logorama", a dizzying nightmare in rotoscope told entirely in corporate logos and mascots. Yes, you read that right. An urban nightmare and apocalyptic specter is rendered using a homicidal Ronald McDonald, lecherous Pringles characters, and the fall of planet Pepsi. Of course this is France's entry, as an American animator would be hung up by his packaging for making a movie like this, and it's our loss. I haven't seen animation this nasty and subversive since the coke damaged 80s era of "Ren And Stimpy" or "Jack Mac and Rad Boy", which is saying something.
On a completely different tip is the latest from Wallace And Gromit representing Britain in "A Matter Of Loaf And Death", involving true love for Wallace and Gromit too amidst a murder spree affecting bakers like our heroes. Even funnier is Spain's "The Lady And The Reaper", which turns a little old lady's acceptance of death into a Tex Avery-esque battle between the Grim Reaper and a vain surgeon. There are many other entries in the current program scoring Noteworthy status - whatever that means - including Canada's "Runaway", about a runaway train and the nebbish assistant driver who tries desperately to save the day. It's the other 2D entry and it's a beaut, simply drawn and full of great sight gags.

So that's both programs. Watch them online right now!
BTW Anyone want to explain why shorts are not shown before movies anymore but commercials are?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Short Subject Oscars 2010

This week is the Live Action subjects, and for those who saw last year's nominees, I can wholeheartedly say this year offers a vastly improved quintet of pieces. Hard to pick a winner out of this bunch, but for me it would be "The New Tenants". The one recognizable face is Vincent D'Onofrio, as a cuckolded husband and one of the many characters that pass through a gay couple's door in one fateful sequence of events. Sure it could be a one act play, but I'll take it on film too. I very much loved "Instead Of Abracadabra" as well, a hilarious story of a struggling magician trying to impress a girl, his conservative parents and local audiences at the same time. Very reminiscent of Wes Anderson in it's celebration of nerdy achievement and it's unremittingly cheerful outlook.
I'll be back soon with the Animated Program! ETA Watch all the shorts right now!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ranking the Movies of 2009

It's that time of year again. Well, last year the time never occurred for personal reasons, so this year I'm back with a vengeance. A big shout out to any visitors from, and also to my tweet and Facebook followers, and friends from sites like Absolute Write. Welcome to my hole in the virtual wall.
As always, this is only theatrical films, ranked as I feel they should be. 2008 movies get a * marking. Drum roll and raise your pints, folks...

HONORABLE MENTION: Gran Torino (from 2008, but certainly at the top of either year's list)
SILVER: The Men Who Stare At Goats
BRONZE: A Serious Man
The Brothers Bloom
The Road
Inglorious Basterds
Broken Embraces
Soul Power
* The Dark Knight IMAX Experience
Let The Right One In
The Hurt Locker
The Fantastic Mr Fox
Cold Souls
In The Loop
Food, Inc.
Angels And Demons
Nine (Tim Burton produced animation, will see the musical in 2010)
* The Wrestler
Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans
A Perfect Getaway
Star Trek
TURKEY OF THE YEAR: The Informant! / The Girlfriend Experience (Special mention tie. Steven Soderbergh, get with the program!)
DISHONORABLE MENTION: Frank Miller's The Spirit (another 2008 entry, but deserving of special warning to the curious)

And here are special events and revivals deserving of special praise or infamy. Support your local movie theater!

Mishima (with Paul Schrader)
El Topo (remastered and original Spanish with subtitles)
Near Dark
Monty Python's Life Of Brian
The Oscar Shorts Live Action and Animated
All That Jazz
Todd Haynes' Safe
The Big Lebowski (with costume contest)
From Beyond (with screenwriter Dennis Paoli)

And don't forget the Brooklyn Film Festival and Focus on French Cinema in Westchester, just a couple of great festivals that are coming back this year. And the greatest website of them all, (Best Video of Hamden is pretty good, too ;) )

Hope next year is just as good!