Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best Film of 2010

It's about the creation of Facebook.  It's about a guy who gets his arm stuck between two rocks.  It's about overcoming a stutter.  It's a psychological thriller set in the cut-throat world of professional ballet.  It's about a girl searching for her father.  It's about a girl searching for her father's killer.

Almost all of the films vying for year-end accolades can easily be summed up in a terse sentence (or possibly two in say, Exit Through the Gift Shop's case).  Try as I might though, I just cannot adequately explain Teddy Newton's short Day & Night, no matter how long I prattle on.  Despite a running time 1/15th as long as even the briefest feature, this animated short from Pixar crammed so much imagination, wit, technique and whimsy into six minutes that it left me exhausted and overwhelmed.

Sure, I could try to sum it up by saying it's about celebrating diversity, or overcoming fear, or creating friendships; but time and again those straightforward descriptions do less justice than the admittedly pithy sentences above.   Don't even get me started on the film's technical achievements.  That's just asking for trouble.  What really boggles my mind is the melding of the two disparate qualities.  How Mr. Newton manages to tell the simplest of stories in such a technically complex way.  The first time I saw the film it took me utterly by surprise.  Initially I had to orient myself, finding footing in the short's unique world.  But under Pixar's sure hand and pure vision, before I knew it my perception was sufficiently altered and I was rapt by the characters, their relationship and the message.  Thanks to Newton's imagination, the Pixar wizards' visual ingenuity, and Michael Giacchino's fanciful score, Day & Night was the most exhilarating piece of filmmaking I saw this year.

I have bemoaned Pixar's decision to start churning out non-Toy Story sequels (Cars 2 comes out next summer and a follow-up to Monsters, Inc is currently in production), but as long as the studio continues to push the boundaries of animation and storytelling like they do in Day & Night, I will remain a steadfastly loyal acolyte.

And if you're dying to know what I thought of the lengthier films released this year, here is an unimpeachable top 5 list that will weather the impending storms of popular opinion and be the only thing left standing when film scholars of 2060 look back on this antiquated time:

1. The Social Network
2. Exit Through the Gift Shop
3. Toy Story 3
4. 127 Hours
5. True Grit

Best of 2010

It's the end of another year, which means it's time for another list.  There's various ways one can go about compiling a Best of the Year list, as far as determining what's eligible and what is not.  Arguments about which are usually mind-numbingly boring.  Since this is a Seattle-based website for a Seattle-based film series, this list is only going to include my Top 30 films that played, or were otherwise first available, in Seattle in 2010.

1. Wild Grass (Alain Resnais)

2. Carlos (Olivier Assayas)

3. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy)

4. Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)

5. True Grit (The Coen Brothers)

6. The Social Network (David Fincher)

7. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)

8. 127 Hours (Danny Boyle)

9. Like You Know it All (Hong Sangsoo)

10. Greenberg (Noah Baumbach)

11. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
12. Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl (Manoel de Oliveira)
13. Vengeance (Johnnie To)
14. Bluebeard (Catherine Breillat)
15. The Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey)

16. Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt & the Magnetic Fields (Kerthy Fix & Gail O'Hara)
17. I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino)
18. The Good, the Bad, the Weird (Kim Ji-woon)
19. Around a Small Mountain (Jacques Rivette)
20. Looking for Eric (Ken Loach)

21. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright)
22. The Beaches of Agnes (Agnes Varda)
23. Centurion (Neil Marshall)
24. Winter's Bone (Debra Granik)
25. Made in Dagenham (Nigel Cole)

26. The Exploding Girl (Bradley Rust Gray)
27. The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)
28. Mother (Bong Joon-ho)
29. Air Doll (Kore-eda Hirokazu)
30. Valhalla Rising (Nicolas Winding Refn)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas from Judy and Margaret

From one of this year's Metro Classics, Meet Me in St. Louis.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Christmas From Margaret and Jimmy

This week's Critic's Pick from A. O. Scott in the New York Times is The Shop Around the Corner, which we played this past September.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Another year of Metro Classics has come to an end, and we want to thank you all for coming out and seeing the shows, as well as all the talented, good-looking Metro employees who put up with our nonsense every week, even though neither of us actually work there anymore.

We hope to be back in February with more tenuously connected great movies.  When we have any news, we'll share it here first.  Until then, we'll be busy watching as many of the great end of the year movies we can at our local Landmark Theatres, and we'll have some end of the year stuff here as well like we did last year.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010