Archive for January, 2008

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Rotterdammerung

January 26, 2008

Apologies to my regular readers (all five or six of you) for the lack of posts in January. I promise to do better when I return from my annual week at the Rotterdam Film Festival, re-energized, I hope, by some halfway decent movies. If ever there was a festival devoted to the principle of the wind in the trees, it’s Rotterdam.

If anyone’s looking for me, this is where I’ll be…

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Movie poster of the week: Always That Fire

January 15, 2008

The Longest Yard

This poster has been hanging on my wall for years so I thought I’d share it with the world. The story behind this, I once heard, is that Paramount initially released Robert Aldrich’s The Longest Yard with a poster of Burt Reynolds’ head inside a football helmet. The film struggled in its opening weekend so they brought out this version instead: Burt and his famous shag-carpet chest in a safari suit that leaves little to the imagination. And the film was a smash. What I love most about this poster is the tough-talking (and unusually long-winded) explanation of why you should see this film, and especially the weirdly phrased sentence “Burt Reynolds stars—tough, sassy—and always that fire.”

Postscript: My wife wants everyone to know that she has no love for this poster (so much for “for men, for women, for everyone”), and I have to make it clear that this is not hanging in pride of place in our living room, but in the hallway for amusement value. Also, I took a good look at it yesterday and discovered that Burt’s head is very obviously photoshopped (or the 1974 cut-and-paste equivalent) onto what I can only assume is his own body. If anyone has a burning desire to own this poster themselves I see that Amazon has a couple of signed ones for sale.

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Movie poster of the week

January 5, 2008

The Great Debaters

Though I’m not crazy about the typeface, this is an unusually bold and minimalist poster for a star-driven Hollywood feel-good movie. Consider the alternative…

The Great Debaters-alt

And then consider this… the poster for Denzel’s 1981 film debut, a film I’d never even heard about until searching for Denzel posters on-line. If you’ve seen this prototype for Secrets and Lies, a film in which one of the great stars of the 90s and 00s on his way up was catching one of the great stars of the 70s on his way down, please tell me it’s not as offensive as it looks.

Carbon Copy

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The Best of 2007

January 1, 2008

MY FAVORITE FILMS OF THE YEAR

Best of 2007_1

1. THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD
(Andrew Dominik, USA)
2. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA)
3. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (The Coen Brothers, USA)
4. I’M NOT THERE (Todd Haynes, USA)
5. ZODIAC (David Fincher, USA)

Best of 2007_2

6. RED ROAD (Andrea Arnold, UK)
7. KNOCKED UP (Judd Apatow, USA)
8. WE OWN THE NIGHT (James Gray, USA)
9. QUIET CITY (Aaron Katz, USA)
10. DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT (Julia Loktev, USA)

Call it “THERE WILL BE NO COUNTRY FOR JESSE JAMES”, a frontier triumvirate that is hard to choose between and which makes 2007 the best year for the Western since… um… 1959? And how about the best year for American movies? Maybe if I’d seen 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS already, or had made it to COLOSSAL YOUTH over the summer, this list wouldn’t be so entirely devoid of foreign-language films (the first time that’s happened in 21 years of making these lists). Mind you, I’m sticking to US 2007 theatrical releases and, if I wasn’t, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s sublime FLIGHT OF RED BALLOON and Carlos Reygadas’ stunning SILENT LIGHT (both to be released in 2008) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY (which I saw in 2006) or the criminally unreleased LONGING by Valeska Grisebach (winner of the year’s best wind in the trees sequence) would certainly be contenders for the Top Ten.

More categories to come.

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Vandalized movie poster of the year

January 1, 2008

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Apologies to Daniel Plainview and Judd Apatow. Happy New Year!

KNOCKED UP