Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Critics Agree Part V: The Umpire Strikes Out

The following are raw, uncut, uncensored reviews from the denizens of Netflix. You have been warned.

Open City-

"Boring, pompous, and pathetic garbage -- very old italian fantasy about how heroic their nation is. OK, trains still don't go on time... Operetta germans, heroic priests, magazine-cover kids, forced conversation, bad (frequently missing!) subtitles, video quality low (all the scratches, blotches, and dark areas are here, just like you're watching the old film -- I mean, actually acetate film). But the video quality is not what's important here; what's important is that this is an old, shallow, and stupid film with a lot of phoney pathos." --2 stars


"I don't know why this movie is considered a "classic". It seems to be made with very little effort. Though the movie takes place in Miami and Brazil I don't think anyone making the movie ever left the soundstage. The plot is very simple with a dissapointing ending. The characters arent fully developed. And Hitchcock basically phoned-in the direction." --2 stars

"This disc is veray old and has places where it wavers and acts strangly. You might think about updating it." --3 stars

Blue Velvet-

"This movie was odd and strange. The description of the movie leads you to believe it would be really good. However, this movie is terrible. I would not recommend." --1 star

"If Dennis Hopper didn't have the "f" word he would be devoid of speech. Sorry to see the daughter of Ingrid Bergman reduced to such drivel. She must be turning over in her grave." --1 star

A Fish Called Wanda-

"I kept expecting this movie to get funny and it never did. Honestly i thought they had accidentally labeled it wrong. Very old and simple people might get a few giggles but there is nothing resembling a joke in this entire film." --1 star

The Manchurian Candidate-

"This was just an awful movie. The premise of the movie is okay believable. But, the side plots are ridiculous. For example, Janet Leigh is sitting on the train next to a total stranger (Frank Sinatra). He's flipping out from post war trauma. So, she gives him her phone number yeah, right. Then she looks up her fiance and explains that she has met someone else. That's just one example of how badly written this screenplay was." --1 star

Some Like It Hot-

"Not funny according to today's standards.Very skimpy dress on Marlyn. Also much too fat FIGURE." --2 stars

The Band Wagon-

"This Band Wagon is one that everyone should jump off of and find a more realistic use of their time with either another movie with some character or go to the park and feed ducks. Astaire is an overaged matchup for Cyd Charisse and appears to be asking himself continually, "what the hell am I doing here?" It looks more like a father/daughter relationship than an actual romantic encouter and musical story. This film is tragic and anyone who gave it more than a one should have a reality check. I know the 50's were a very rough time for the movie industry and with this picture anyone can see why....even the late Ray Charles." --1 star

The Wizard of Oz-

"Just godawful So cloying. The portrayal of the 'little people' with their helium voices is unbearable. All the characters are treated with nauseating condescension and frightening levels of sentimentality. At the center, poor busty Judy Garland bursting out of her dress, pretending to be a child, and off-camera being fed uppers by her mother. Yes, there's her powerful, beautiful voice to the rescue, but did any performer ever look so uncomfortable with herself and so miserable to be there? Her palpable itch to be anywhere else undermines the soggy cuteness of the movie, which - in its way - is good." --1 star

"I rented this to see what the story is with Pink Floyd's Darkside of the Moon. There were a few moments where the music coinsided with the film, which made it cool. To watch it, start the cd at the third lion roar at the beginning. The producer, Mervyn Leroys credit is at the transition from "Speak to Me" to "Breathe". When the cd ends, pause the movie and restart the music from the beginning." --2 stars

"I was SO glad to see that not everyone thinks this is the greatest movie. This is the goofiest movie I have ever seen. The acting is HORRIBLE, with the exception of a few songs, the songs are HORRIBLE, the plot is lame. The ONLY thing that is good about this movie is the color effects and the switch from B/W to color is clever." --2 stars


"Oh, I see, like "triumph of the will." You're supposed to end up rooting for the Nazis, right? No? Are you sure? Then who the hell am I rooting for? The completely vacuous Englishman? The least likeable female lead I've ever seen? (What is she, someone's daughter?) Oh right, Joel Grey, who is actually kind of awesome, even though he plays his character like some confusing level boss in an poorly translated Japanese video game. This movie had me thinking: "was the original play good? The book? How could they be?" This movie captures pre World War II Germany the way my farts capture what I just ate". --1 star

Goodnight and good luck.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Big Fan: The Inexplicable Buffalo '66 Remake Nobody Asked For

Two years ago former Onion editor Robert Siegel made quite a splash with his script for the Wrestler, the story of an aging sports star coming to terms with the failures in his life. The film rode a tidal wave of goodwill thanks in huge part to Mickey Rourke's honest and heartfelt lead performance. I felt that had the film not had such an incredible portayal at its center (and to its a credit a subtle, unadorned style of direction by Darren Aronofsky) it would have easily been produced as made-for-TV fodder. Basically, the story was one we had seen a billion times, hitting the same tired notes of redemption and regret over and over again, like clockwork. Unfortunately there was nothing new at its story's center.

Shortly after the Wrestler's release I heard of Seigel's upcoming debut as a director, another story of sports obsession entitled Big Fan. The film, also scripted by Seigel, would star Patton Oswalt as a die-hard New York Giants fan whose intense love of the team is thrown out of control when he gets violently attacked by his favorite player. Now here was something that sounded pretty unique and original. I don't remember hearing a tale like that one before. Plus it's got the lovable Patton, how could you go wrong? Unfortunately, Big Fan's theatrical run was so short-lived I didn't get a chance to see it until its recent DVD release.

Well, I liked it more than the Wrestler. It definitely went in directions I wasn't quite expecting but unfortunately, for most of the film's duration, I was distracted by the uncanny similarity between its plot and actor/artist/musician Vincent Gallo's directorial debut, 1998's fantastic Buffalo '66.

Dig the particulars:

-Both films focus on sports-obsessed losers living in the state of New York.

-In both films the main character's dramatic trajectory is instigated by a wrong committed by one of their favorite team's players. (In Buffalo '66, Vincent Gallo's Billy Brown serves prison time as payment for his bookie after Scott Wood, the Bill's kicker, misses a game-winning field goal. In Big Fan, Oswalt's Paul is hospitalized after his favorite player Quantrell Bishop beats him up for following him around.)

-Both films spend large periods of time showcasing the protagonist's bitter, bickering families.

-Both films have scenes set in stripclubs.

-Both films co-star Kevin Corrigan as the protagonist's best friend.

-Both films culminate in fantastical bursts of violence.

-After two hours of depression and despair, both films end on a surprising note of hope.

To its credit, Buffalo '66 deals with much more than the bulletpoints above. It is about a lack of communication and the quest for love. It is punctuated by inventive and beautiful fantasy sequences and resonates on a deep emotional level. Big Fan on the other hand does little more than hit the notes recounted above. As the credits rolled I was struck by how thin most of it felt, the whole project seemed like more of a sketch than a finished piece. Admittedly there were some nice moments, Patton was great (Paul is the Bizarro Remy) and I honestly did not see the clever twist at the end. But all in all it felt fairly hollow to me. Which is fine.

I just hope a remake of the Brown Bunny isn't in the works.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pre-Game Warm-Up: Top Hat

Our Spring series kicks off in a couple of weeks with the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers classic Swing Time. This will be our second film by that pair (after Shall We Dance two Springs ago). If we ever do a third, it will likely be Top Hat, which for your warming-up pleasure we present this Crazy Cinematic Dance Craze:

And this appreciation of the film and Fred Astaire by Shawn Levy of The Oregonian:

"There's something essentially cinematic, I think, in the sight of him actually moving about -- not only dancing but simply walking across a room. Astaire was an immensely angular fellow: all elbows, knees, hips and shoulders, with that teardrop-shaped head on top of a honed chin. And he knew in his bones how to deploy that angularity within the rectangle of the movie frame. The very image of him is the stuff of movies."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spring Series Flyers Available Now!

Flyers are now available at your local Landmark Theatre.

Click the image and it becomes readable.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Look at All the Pretty Pictures

Over the holidays I acquired my first Blu-ray player, a gift from my younger brother who I suspect purchased it on the black market. Regardless of its possibly nefarious origin, I was absolutely giddy with delight. He asked if I wanted to borrow any of his Blu-rays to christen the box with and my mind immediately leapt to Pixar. My very first drooling moment on the way to a complete high-definition conversion was in a Fred Meyer a couple years back when I happened to pass through the electronics section and a flat screen TV showcasing WALL*E caught my eye. My girlfriend had to literally drag me away.

So when it came time to experience the digital sensation in the comforts and cozy confines of my abode, a Pixar film was to me the only option. But which one? Obviously Ratatouille was in contention, being my unabashed favorite of the ten features the studio has so far released. My brother kindly pressed the disk into my hands. After a moment of thought I also asked if he'd loan me his brand new copy of Cars as well. Cars is far from my favorite film the studio has produced (on the other hand it's also not my relative least) but its merits are many. Most of them falling under the visual column.

In fact, Cars my be the most consistently gorgeous film in the studio's canon. Every Pixar movie has what I like to call "the money shot", that perfect visual composition that unhinges the jaw and absolutely boggles the mind. Ratatouille has the ridiculously romantic rooftop Paris reveal, WALL*E has his brush with the star field, Up quietly places Ellie in her favorite chair as the afternoon sunlight filters in, and Marlin and Dory traverse a deadly world of poisonous pinks in the jellyfish sequence of Finding Nemo, but none of these shots serve the story as well as the neon lights buzzing to life and reflecting off the pristine bodies of the anthropomorphized automobiles of Radiator Springs. Unlike these other money shots, this moment in Cars occurs at the culmination of the film, deepening the emotional resonance of the story in a way that words never could.

Speaking of Cars, I recently watched the severely underrated Disney feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad which among other things further solidified my passion for Disneyland's greatest ride. (Quick aside: one day Walt was dining in Disneyland and a waitress addressed him as Mr. Disney. He looked up and said, "Call me Walt. There's only one Mister in Disneyland and that's Mr. Toad.") One of the bonus features on the disk was a Disney short subject from 1952 called Susie the Little Blue Coupe. The design of the vehicles in this short are an acknowledged influence on the visual world of Cars. The wise decision to place the eyes in the windshield instead of where the headlights would be is one of the most obvious examples. But what struck me more as an influence on Pixar was the care and investment its creators took with the story. In the course of eight minutes, the audience falls head-over-heels for this charming little vehicle and we become completely wrecked when she falls apart as the years wear on. The attachment the animators are able to wring out of this simple story are akin to the emotional core of Up or Finding Nemo. I had seen the short many times as a kid when the Disney Channel used to be a wonderful outpost in the wilds of the cable jungle but I had not seen it in twenty years. Watching the film now I was surprised by how much of the story I had retained. I attribute this to that care with which the studio spent on the story.

Another Disney short I stumbled upon recently that bears more than a passing relation to Pixar is the studio's first animated two-reeler, the fanciful Ben and Me, released a year after Susie in 1953. The short echoes the basic outline of Ratatouille as it follows a precocious rodent, this time a mouse named Amos, who befriends founding father Benjamin Franklin and helps him accomplish some of his most vaunted achievements. In fact, Amos like Remy, does most of the work; be it heading out into the streets to compile fodder for Franklin's newspaper or accidentally inventing the bifocal. The short does not delve any deeper, there are for instance no thoughtful treatises on art and criticism, but it is an enjoyable work nonetheless. Watching Amos travel through colonial America atop Franklin's head is to see the predecessors to Remy and Linguini. Coincidentally both shorts are narrated by Sterling Holloway, the famous voice of Winnie the Pooh.

A lot of people rag on Disney and throw their unequivocal support behind the far funnier Warner Bros shorts being produced at the time. It's like the eternal Chaplin/Keaton debate. Both studios were working in the same medium but from different perspectives and to different ends. Warner Bros shorts were blasts of anarchy, intelligence and gut-busting hilarity. Disney on the other hand were working tirelessly to refine their storytelling abilities and draftsmanship, laying the groundwork for future generations.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Eric Rohmer

News came yesterday morning that Eric Rohmer had died at the age of 89. This is, of course, sad news indeed for his friends, family and colleagues, but it is also sad for us, the people who only know him through his work, his audience. Rohmer was one of the most important members of the Cahiers du cinéma, the film magazine where he, along with François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Jacques Rivette revolutionized the way we all look at film. In the 60s, he joined them in making films which again changed cinema forever. Of that group, Chabrol, Godard and Rivette are still making films, along with their Left Bank fellow travelers Alain Resnais, Chris Marker and Agnès Varda.

Shamefully, I've yet to see any of his movies, but I have read some of his criticism, and he seemed to have been the most level-headed and mature of the Cahiers group (he was also the oldest and most experienced). Never as angrily polemical or romantically swoony as Truffaut nor as hyperbolically ALLCAPS as Godard nor as radical as Rivette, he seemed to be the voice of reason among the group, and served as the magazine's editor through its most fruitful years. Along with Chabrol, he wrote the first serious study of Alfred Hitchcock's career. It was one of the first auteurist studies of a director's work, the politique des auteurs being developed at the Cahiers as a way of organizing and recognizing the artistic hand at work behind even the most genric of popular entertainment (ie, American studio films). It is still fundamental to the way we think about film: as a work by an author (usually the director). When you go to Scarecrow Video and see films grouped by director, that is Rohmer's influence in practice.

The legacy of the French New Wave, as these directors were later labelled, is felt everyday here at Metro Classics. They all learned about film at the theatre, in front of the screens (and sometimes on the hallway walls) at Henri Langlois's Cinémathèque Française. The Cinémathèque is the fundamental model for what we try to do here. Langois would program his shows around themes (genre, director, various other more esoteric connections) and the mix of movies came from all areas of film: silents, contemporary films, French films and films from around the world (especially American films). They weren't picky about status or popularity: just because a film was successful was no reason to think it wasn't good for the Cahiers crowd. It is because of their influence that Hitchcock, Ford and Hawks were raised from the level of crowd-pleasers to great artists. Likewise, just because something was obscure or cheap was no obstacle to its being great: they similarly elevated directors like Samuel Fuller, Budd Boetticher and Nicholas Ray.

The point is that for the New Wave, all films were always relevant as sources of ideas, inspiration and entertainment. That is what repertory cinema is all about. We're fortunate, at this time in Seattle, to be blessed with a plethora of outlets for classic and contemporary film. The Northwest Film Forum, the Grand Illusion, the SIFF Cinema, the Seattle Art Museum, Midnights at the Egyptian Theatre and, 30 Wednesday nights a year, the Metro Cinemas and others provide an extraordinary array of options guaranteeing that the Seattlite filmgoer is never a slave to the latest in mass-market multiplex fashion. For us, history is not a nightmare from which we are trying to awake, rather the past isn't dead - it isn't even past.

So, a tip of the Metro Classics cap to Eric Rohmer. His influence lives on in the films he made, the criticism he wrote and the ways of thinking about cinema he helped create and popularize. My boxset of his Six Moral Tales (My Night at Maud's, Claire's Knee, Love in the Afternoon, etc) should be arriving in the mail any time now. And then I will watch a film by Eric Rohmer.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Classics Calendar Update

Friends, if you would be so kind as to direct your attention to the sidebar you will notice that ten of the twelve dates for our imminent spring series have been announced! Recent developments include three musicals with a style in the title; Swing Time, All That Jazz, and Sita Sings the Blues, the latter being our first cartoon and our most contemporary film in Classics history. (Astute readers may also recall Sita's placement at #33 on our recent best-of-the-decade list.) Oh and it's on 35mm. Drool. We also have secured the rights to three sci-fi sequels; James "Moneybags" Cameron's Aliens, the previously-unveiled Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan, and for all you Dollhouse fans who will need a Whedon fix when that show too dies a premature death, we humbly present Serenity.

We ran into a snag in regards to the final two dates and have just requested a most excellent back-up pair. If all goes according to plan, we should have the calendar finalized by this time next week. Expect a flyer for the first half then as well.

Onward and upward!
-Mike and Sean

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Critics Agree Part IV: Critics on Patrol

The following are real, unedited reviews from Netflix subscribers. Caveat emptor.

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

--"The little screens with the words on them -- no idea what they're called, if they have a name -- were really hard to read; They were bright green and the letters looked like they were cut from construction paper by a 3rd grader on cocaine." --2 stars

--"Be sure to check out Rob Zombie's video for "Living Dead Girl." Rob is obviously a huge fan of the movie and his homage to its legacy is done thoroughly and respectfully." --4 stars

La Strada

--"I watched this film in my history of film class. I believe that this film is way overrated, along with most other art films of the era" --1 star


--"One either loves Kurosawa’s movies or hates them. I hate them. Though I admit, I hate this one less than the other Kurosawa movies I saw. On this movie, Kurosawa has hard time to talk in context, as usual. However, on this movie he presents characters and not shallow stereotypes." --1 star

--"The DVD was broken. We had to skip two very important chapters to see it through to the end. Please fix it!" --4 stars

Black Narcissus

--"I didn't like this film. I thought the characters were stereotypical. All of the pastels in the sets just didn't work for me. I got very bored with the film and stopped watching after about 20 minutes" --1 star

--"The reviews which describe this movie as "a painting" are right, but it is kind of like looking at a painting for 100 minutes. As beutiful as it is, it is not even a medium paced interesting film. It reminds me of The Sound of Music, but without the Music or interesting plot points. I made a mistake in renting this. I usually don't like "for everyone in the family" movies (and there is NOTHING offensive about this one). Safe for all ages, but not my cup of tea" --2 stars


--"Its pretentious, stupid, and moves along like a donkey ruminating betwixt a carrot or an apple, yet it somehow holds your interest long enough to not be thoroughly disgusted by the imbeciles who make up its cast. So I guess its somewhat interesting-but slow baby, slooow. I found myself praying that the main character would get the guillotine for being SUCH a poseur-but alas, the witless little turd doesn't meet a horrific fate-what this film needs is for somebody to light a goddamn fire underneath the languid wannabes who sleepwalk their way thru it-a film for phonies who think doing nothing is tantamount to deep thinking- its spare, minimalist style harkens not to a profound existential treatise on the soulless nature of the petite bourgeoisie-it speaks of the deluded boredom of the overeducated and underwhelmed.A real self concious bore and pass the benzedrine margaret, I think I see another scene coming up" --1 star

--"Rule 1. A film must not be so taken with itself that if bores everybody else. This film violates Rule 1." --2 stars

I Am Cuba

--"Parts were entertaining. It showed many aspects of pre-Castro Cuba.Of course itis a documentary and perhaps not made to be entertaining. Fair" --2 stars

--"The DVD I had did not have an option for any kind of subtitles. And I dont speak spanish" --1 star

The Dirty Dozen

--"Pointless, macho b*llshit made for the purpose of expatiating the sins of the Americans in Vietnam. Worthless.." --1 star

Hell in the Pacific

--"This movie Sucked, I am a big Lee M. fan and I who sooo disapointed!!!!!!!!!!!!!" --1 star

The Big Red One

--"Aside from the nudity, this movie was NOT great! It was, in my eyes, very boring, not very erotic, and it threw in a few "shock" scenes which added to it's bad quality. They tried to give some light "Caligula-type" shock but only creeped me out instead. It was definately a waste of my time!" --2 stars

--"Salon Kitty is a good watch. There is plenty of full nudity, both male and female. Director Tinto Brass is excellent at filming the female form. The films eroticism is broken up at times though with disturbing images. The acting and sets are very good. This print is very good with scenes I had not seen in another U.S. released tape." --3 stars

--"For some reason, two of the top reviews for The Big Red One are, in fact, about Tinto Brass's Salon Kitty, and while I"m sure there's some cross-over appeal between the two films, one should not be confused for the other." --5 stars

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Final Best of the Year and Best of the Decade List Post, Really I Mean It

As our final year and decade in review post, we asked some friends of Metro Classics to chime in with their own lists. Here they are:

Kevin, formerly of the Metro, currently at Scarecrow Video:


Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
Avatar (James Cameron)
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Hayao Miyazaki)
Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
In the Loop (Armando Iannucci)


1. The Incredibles (Brad Bird)
2. Kill Bill (Tarantino)
3. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón)
4. Spirited Away (Miyazaki)
5. Wet Hot American Summer (David Wain)
6. Adaptation (Jonze)
7. The Royal tenenbaums (Wes Anderson)
8. Chop Shop (Ramin Bahrani)
9. Mindgame (Masaaki Yuasa)
10. Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku)
11. All the Real Girls (David Gordon Green)
12. Wall-E (Andrew Stanton)
13. Best of Youth (Marco Tullio Giordana)
14. United 93 (Paul Greengrass)
15. Waking Life (Richard Linklater)

Greta, formerly of the Metro:

In no particular order:


Inglourious Basterds
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie) (tied with Star Trek (JJ Abrams))
A Serious Man (The Coen Brothers) (tied with The Hangover(Todd Phillips))
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog)


State and Main (David Mamet)
Wonder Boys (Curtis Hansen)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson)
Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
Kill Bill

Lisa, formerly of the Metro:

I started off the decade as a 10-year-old so you get the top 5 kids' movies of the decade. Non-Pixar and non-Disney, lest the other studios be forgotten.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
Monster House (Gil Kenan)
Chicken Run (Nick Park & Peter Lord)
Duma (Carroll Ballard)
Elf (Jon Favreau)

Jen from Scarecrow Video:

Best of 2009:

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
3. Inglourious Basterds
4. An Education (Lone Scherfig)
5. Away We Go (Sam Mendes)

Best of the 00s:

1. The Royal Tenenbaums
2. Amélie
3. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola)
4. Children of Men
5. Kill Bill

Mike M., formerly of the Metro:


District 9 (Neill Blomkamp)
Inglorious Bastards
Up (Pete Docter)
Fantastic Mr. Fox

Runners-up: Star Trek, The Hurt Locker, The Brother's Bloom (Rian johnson)

2009 Films I'm Most Excited to See:

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Sacha Gervasi)
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee (Shane Meadows)
An Education
Moon (Duncan Jones)

Top 20 of the Decade:

The New World (Terrance Malick)
Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson)
Old Boy (Park Chan-wook)
All the Real Girls
In America (Jim Sheridan)
There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
No Country For Old Men (The Coen Brothers)
Inglorious Bastards
The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman)
Primer (Shane Carruth)
The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
This Is England (Shane Meadows)
The Proposition (John Hillcoat)
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright)
Miami Vice (Michael Mann)
Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe)
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (Shane Black)
AI: Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg)
28 Days Later (Danny Boyle)

Runners-up: Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy) (believe it), Adaptation, Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro), Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrman), King of Kong (Seth Gordon), A History of Violence (David Cronenberg)

I haven't seen In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai) or this Yi yi (Edward yang) film I've read about. No way in hell is Once (John Carney) on the list. Children of Men just isn't good enough (AI is better sci-fi); neither is Zodiac (David Fincher). I love them both, but no.

X2 (Bryan Singer) was my favorite comic book film of the decade
Wall-E was my favorite animated feature

And just for fun:

Favorite Album of 2009:

The Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

Runner-up: Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Best Album of the Decade:

Arcade Fire - Funeral

Runner-up: Radiohead - Kid A

Macy, formerly of Rain City Video:

Best of the Decade:

Pan's Labyrinth
In the Mood for Love
Memento (Christopher Nolan)
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch)
Old School (Todd Phillips)
Shaun of the Dead
The Lives of Others
United 93
In Bruges (Martin McDonagh)

Okay I know that's more than five. I don't enjoy following directions. Also here are more of my honourable mentions:

Sexy Beast & Birth (Jonathan Glazer)
Moulin Rouge
Volver (Pedro Almodóvar)
Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino)
Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel)
King of Kong

Favourite dumb comedies:
(they don't get no respect)

Corky Romano (Rob Pritts)
Zoolander (Ben Stiller)
Undercover Brother (Malcolm D. Lee)

Travis, formerly of the Metro, currently at Scarecrow Video:


1: Master and Commander (Peter Weir)
2: Wall-E
3: Lord of the Rings
4: The New World
5: The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan)
6: Wet Hot American Summer
7: There Will be Blood
8: The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass)
9: The Aviator (Martin Scorsese)
10: The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach)
11: United 93
12: Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
13: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
14: Iron Man (Jon Favreau)
15: Good Night and Good Luck (George Clooney)

Colin from the Varsity:


1. Hunger (Steve McQueen)
2. Moon
3. Sin Nombre (Cary Fukunaga)
4. Revanche (Götz Spielmann)
5. Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone)
6. Still Walking (Kore-eda Hirokazu)
7. 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis)
8. Inglourious Basterds
9. Precious (Lee Daniels)
10. An Education

Ryland, formerly of the Metro, currently writing at a website near you:

Five Favorite Comedies of the Decade:

Everybody talks about impressive dramas. What gives? Why aren't laughs given their due? Is it just because nobody makes serious comedies anymore? Where's the importance of the non-serious in all this serious ranking? As that all-too-serious bat blockbuster kept asking, scene after scene, Why so serious? Let's get serious about not getting serious, or let's take the non-serious serious for once. All of these films below are serious. All of'm make me laugh a lot.

1. A Christmas Tale (Arnaud Desplechin)

Maybe you don't think "comedy" when you think of this movie, but I do. Like any great Renoir picture, it's full of laughs and life, and nearly a joke a minute. Jokes just pump, like a heart, from every source imaginable--including the catch-all collage form.

2. Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Terrifying, sure, but also a laugh out loud misfit movie that daggers the soul. Here the laughs are release from all that miasma of anxiety; a real throw-up-your-hands kind of movie.

3. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

A special movie. Ranking it this "low" just doesn't feel right. Even if this isn't "low" and the movie's every which way but lowbrow -- although there are a few low blows. In any case, everything's on point, especially the one-liners, and I keep wanting to watch it, which says a lot.

4. Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow)

The history of cinema is all in here, from silents to Tashlin to Fred Astaire to wuxia to, yup, kung fu exploitation. How many movies make dancing so funny on top of fun? Some of the best comedic uses of CGI, like, ever.

5. The Informant! (Steven Soderbergh)

Talked with a friend about this as maybe the most realistic movie ever. Goes against what you'd expect, I know, since it's tongue in cheek and vaguely pastiche-y but, seriously, that's what an office is like, and that's what mania is like. It's all in that hilarious line near the end: "You tell me." We Americans want our stories, and we want them told as big as possible.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sean's Top Ten Movies of 2009

I haven't seen most of the acclaimed movies from this year yet, but here's my Top 10 of the year so far:

1. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
3. Oxhide II (Liu Jiayin)
4. The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
5. Like You Know It All (Hong Sang-soo)

6. Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi)
7. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog)
8. Bluebeard (Catherine Breillat)
9. Written By (Wai Ka-fai)
10. Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl (Manoel de Oliveira)

More interesting, I think, is this list of the Top 20 movies I saw for the first time in 2009:

1. Voyage to Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)

2. All That Jazz (Bob Fosse, 1979)

3. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975)

4. Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)

5. Histoire(s) du cinema (Jean-Luc Godard, 1998)

6. Ruggles of Red Gap (Leo McCarey, 1935)

7. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

8. Going My Way (Leo McCarey, 1944)

9. Wagon Master (John Ford, 1950)

10. City Girl (FW Murnau, 1930)

11. The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1947)

12. Now, Voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942)

13. Magnificent Obsession (Douglas Sirk, 1954)

14. Waterloo Bridge (Mervyn LeRoy, 1940)

15. Age of Consent (Michael Powell, 1969)

16. The Bells of St. Mary's (Leo McCarey, 1945)

17. Simon of the Desert (Luis Buñuel, 1965)

18. The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin, 1956)

19. Muriel (Alain Resnais, 1963)

20. Kings and Queen (Arnaud Desplechin, 2004)