Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Best of 2011

January 21, 2012

Better late than never. This annual task seemed especially hard this year, happily thanks to an embarrassment of riches (a situation exacerbated by my going to Cannes for the first time). As usual my list doesn’t hew to any international release patterns, it’s just the best of the new films I saw in 2011, even though some of them, including #1, aren’t coming out until this year (and some may not get a release at all). And it doesn’t include some 2011 releases (like The Arbor, Uncle Boonmee and Bill Cunningham New York) that I saw in 2010. The order of these (except for #1) has changed many times during the compiling, so don’t read too much into the difference between a place or two, and plenty of the runners-up (Drive, Shame, Play, Kill List) could have edged into the top ten in a lesser year.


1. THE TURIN HORSE (Bela Tarr, Hungary)
2. HUGO (Martin Scorsese, USA)
3. LE QUATTRO VOLTE (Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy)
4. ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey)
5. THIS IS NOT A FILM (Jafar Panahi, Iran)

6. TUESDAY, AFTER CHRISTMAS (Radu Muntean, Romania)
7. THE TREE OF LIFE (Terrence Malick, USA)
8. MYSTERIES OF LISBON (Raoul Ruiz, Portugal)
9. PINA (Wim Wenders, Germany)
10. HOUSE OF PLEASURES (Bertrand Bonello, France)

20 runners-up (fiction), in alphabetical order:
BRIDESMAIDS (Paul Feig, USA); DRIVE (Nicolas Winding Refn, USA); ELENA (Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia); KILL LIST (Ben Wheatley, UK); MARGARET (Kenneth Lonnergan, USA); MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (Sean Durkin, USA); MEEK’S CUTOFF (Kelly Reichardt, USA); the first ten minutes of MELANCHOLIA (Lars von Trier, Denmark); MICHAEL (Markus Schleinzer, Austria); THE MILL AND THE CROSS (Lech Majewski, Poland); MISS BALA (Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico); OF GODS AND MEN (Xavier Beauvois, France); PATER (Alain Cavalier, France); PLAY (Ruben Osterland, Sweden); A SEPARATION (Asghar Farhadi, Iran); SHAME (Steve McQueen, USA); SLEEPING SICKNESS (Ulrich Köhler, Germany); TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (Tomas Alfredson, UK); THE TRIP (Michael Winterbottom, UK); WEEKEND (Andrew Haigh, UK)

10 runners-up (documentary), in alphabetical order:
ARMADILLO (Janus Metz Pedersen, Denmark); BEING ELMO (Constance Marks, USA); CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (Werner Herzog, Germany/France); THE INTERRUPTERS (Steve James, USA); MARINA ABRAMOVIC: THE ARTIST IS PRESENT (Matthew Akers, USA); MOUTH OF THE WOLF (Pietro Marcello, Italy); PROJECT NIM (James Marsh, UK); SENNA (Asif Kapadia, UK); EL SICARIO, ROOM 164 (Gianfranco Rosi, Mexico); THE SWELL SEASON (Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins & Carlo Mirabella-Davis, USA)

Guilty Pleasures:
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (George Nolfi, USA); LIMITLESS (Neil Burger, USA); WAR HORSE (Steven Spielberg, USA)

Guilty Displeasures (films I wish I’d liked more):
MELANCHOLIA (Lars von Trier, Denmark); A DANGEROUS METHOD (David Cronenberg, Canada)

2010 releases I’m glad I caught up with in 2011:
MONSTERS (Gareth Edwards, UK); NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ (Henry Joost & Jody Lee Lipes); WINNEBAGO MAN (Ben Steinbauer, USA)

Best old films seen for the first time in 2011:

1. POSSESSION (Andrzej Zulawski, Poland/Germany, 1981)
2. THE CLOCK  (Vincente Minnelli, USA, 1945)
3. BABY FACE (Alfred E. Green, USA, 1933)
4. CLUNY BROWN (Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 1946)
5. LA SFIDA/THE CHALLENGE (Francsco Rosi, Italy, 1958)


2011 New Releases

December 4, 2011

Every 2011 theatrical release that I’ve seen so far this year (or last year at festivals), in alphabetical order (by US title)… [revised 1/2/12]



My favorite films of the ’00s

December 30, 2009

1. DOGVILLE (Lars von Trier, Denmark, 2003)
3. WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES (Bela Tarr, Hungary, 2000)
4. THE NEW WORLD (Terrence Malick, USA, 2005)
5. GERRY (Gus Van Sant, USA, 2002)

6. DISTANT (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey, 2002)
7. PLATFORM (Jia Zhangke, China, 2000)
8. FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan/France, 2007)
9. TURNING GATE (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea, 2002)
10. FAR FROM HEAVEN (Todd Haynes, USA, 2002)

20 runners-up:

BEFORE SUNSET (Richard Linklater, USA); BIRTH (Jonathan Glazer, USA); BLOODY SUNDAY (Paul Greengrass, UK); CACHÉ (Michael Haneke, France); CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS (Andrew Jarecki, USA); A CHRISTMAS TALE (Arnaud Desplechin, France); CLIMATES (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey); CODE INCONNU (Michael Haneke, France); DANCER IN THE DARK (Lars Von Trier, Denmark); THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU (Cristi Puiu, Romania); KILL BILL VOL. 1 (Quentin Tarantino, USA); MEMENTO (Christopher Nolan, USA); THE RETURN (Andrei Zvyagintsev, Russia); SOLARIS (Steven Soderbergh, USA); SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand); SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (Charlie Kaufman, USA); 25TH HOUR (Spike Lee, USA); YI YI (Edward Yang, Taiwan); WHAT TIME IS IT THERE? (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan); THE WHITE DIAMOND (Werner Herzog, UK/Germany)


Movie Poster of the Week: Now at The Auteurs

March 27, 2009

After a kind invitation from my good friend D-Kaz, Movie Poster of the Week will now be appearing weekly (I hope!) on the Auteurs Notebook. Check out my debut post. I will continue to post other ramblings and beautiful things here.


Movie poster of the week: L’Enfant Sauvage

November 14, 2008

It had been years since I last saw this and seeing it again in a new print at Film Forum only confirmed my sneaking suspicion that Truffaut’s L’Enfant Sauvage is almost a perfect film. I’m not even sure exactly what I mean by that but I will try to address it later today. I just wanted to get something posted since it’s been two weeks since my last confession…


Sarah Plainview

September 18, 2008

Steve Coll in The New Yorker on the video of Sarah Palin at the Wasilla Assembly of God Pentecostal church:

“The YouTube version of the Governor’s idiosyncratic narrative of faith, ambition, motherhood, and frontier life has a slightly different ring from the received version, which débuted at the Republican Convention last month; the video does not evoke “Northern Exposure” so much as it does “There Will Be Blood.” There are about fifty days left until a national election of unusual consequence; perhaps there is still time for journalists to fully vet what McCain did not.”


New stuff

August 27, 2008

After letting this site lie dormant for much of the summer I’ve finally added some new films and pithy remarks to the screening log, if anyone cares. Scroll down to the bottom of that page for the old stuff. I still need to drop some science about Desplechin’s Christmas Tale, Terence Davies’ Of Time and the City and Bergman’s The Touch. Watch this space.