Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New list!

I'm still a bit behind on things. In the meantime, enjoy The Moving Arts Film Journal's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time: (bold, I've seen)

#1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Kubrick)
#2. Citizen Kane (1941, Welles)
#3. The Godfather (1972, Coppola)
#4. Andrei Rublev (1966, Tarkovsky)
#5. The Rules of the Game (1939, Renoir)
#6. Casablanca (1942, Curtiz)
#7. Vertigo (1958, Hitchcock)
#8. La Dolce Vita (1960, Fellini)
#9. Seven Samurai (1954, Kurosawa)
#10. The Godfather Pt. II (1974, Coppola)
#11. The Third Man (1949, Reed)
#12. The Wizard of Oz (1939, Fleming)
#13. Dr. Strangelove (1964, Kubrick)
#14. Goodfellas (1990, Scorsese)
#15. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Herzog)
#16. 8½ (1963, Fellini)
#17. Singin’ In The Rain (1952, Donen, Kelly)
#18. Raging Bull (1980, Scorsese)
#19. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, Lean)
#20. Solaris (1972, Tarkovsky)
#21. The Night of the Hunter (1955, Laughton)
#22. On the Waterfront (1954, Kazan)
#23. Intolerance (1916, Griffith)
#24. L’Atalante (1934, Vigo)
#25. Apocalypse Now (1979, Coppola)
#26. Birth of a Nation (1915, Griffith)
#27. Battleship Potemkin (1925, Eisenstein)
#28. Taxi Driver (1976, Scorsese)
#29. Chinatown (1974, Polanski)
#30. Rashomon (1950, Kurosawa)
#31. The Searchers (1956, Ford)
#32. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966, Leone)
#33. Yojimbo (1961, Kurosawa)
#34. Nights of Cabiria (1957, Fellini)
#35. The Curse of the Cat People (1944, Fritsch, Wise)
#36. Annie Hall (1977, Allen)
#37. Tokyo Story (1953, Ozu)
#38. M (1931, Lang)
#39. Brief Encounter (1945, Lean)
#40. Rear Window (1954, Hitchcock)
#41. Barry Lyndon (1975, Kubrick)
#42. Ikiru (1952, Kirosawa)
#43. A Clockwork Orange (1971, Kubrick)
#44. Metropolis (1927, Lang)
#45. City Lights (1931, Chaplin)
#46. Bashu, The Little Stranger (1986, Beizai)
#47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951, Kazan)
#48. Badlands (1973, Malick)
#49. The Asphalt Jungle (1950, Huston)
#50. Pather Panchali (Ray, 1955)
#51. Touch of Evil (1958, Welles, Keller)
#52. The 400 Blows (1959, Truffaut)
#53. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Dreyer)
#54. King Kong (1933, Shoedsack, Cooper)
#55. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927, Murnau)
#56. L’Avventura (1960, Antonioni)
#57. The Empire Strikes Back (1980, Kirshner)
#58. The Apartment (1960, Wilder)
#59. The General (1927, Keaton, Bruckman)
#60. Pierrot le Fou (1965, Godard)
#61. The Seventh Seal (1957, Bergman)
#62. Talk to Her (2002, Almodóvar)
#63. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971, Altman)
#64. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962, Ford)
#65. Do the Right Thing (1989, Lee)
#66. Pulp Fiction (1994, Tarantino)
#67. Ugetsu (1953, Mizoguchi)
#68. Manhattan (1979, Allen)
#69. Star Wars (1977, Lucas)
#70. F for Fake (1973, Welles)
#71. Blue Velvet (1986, Lynch)
#72. The Leopard (1963, Visconti)
#73. Modern Times (1936, Chaplin)
#74. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Mackendrick)
#75. Yi Yi (2000, Yang)
#76. Grand Illusion (1937, Renoir)
#77. Out of the Past (1947, Tourneur)
#78. Mulholland Dr. (2001, Lynch)
#79. Wild Strawberries (1957, Bergman)
#80. Synecdoche, New York (2008, Kaufman)
#81. Psycho (1960, Hitchcock)
#82. Nayakan (1987, Ratnam)
#83. Wings of Desire (1987, Wenders)
#84. The Big Sleep (1946, Hawks)
#85. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Gondry)
#86. Ulysses’ Gaze (1995, Angelopoulos)
#87. Notorious (1946, Hitchcock)
#88. Nashville (1975, Altman)
#89. Days of Heaven (1978, Mallick)
#90. The Maltese Falcon (1941, Huston)
#91. The Bicycle Thief (1948, de Sica)
#92. A Touch of Zen (1971, Hu)
#93. Fargo (1996, Coen, Coen)
#94. Breathless (1960, Godard)
#95. Children of Paradise (1945, Carné)
#96. The Wind Will Carry Us (1999, Kiarostami)
#97. Rio Bravo (1959, Hawks)
#98. Jaws (1975, Spielberg)
#99. There Will Be Blood (2007, P.T. Anderson)
#100. Japón (2002, Carlos Reygadas)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sight and Sound's Films of 2010

The Mubi blog has a list up from Sight & Sound magazine of the round up of critical votes for best films of the year. List below, bolded I have seen, italicized I want to see:

1.The Social Network
2.Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
3.Another Year
5.The Arbor (Wow - don't think I've heard of this one)
6= I Am Love
Winter’s Bone
8=The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
Film Socialisme
Nostalgia for the Light
A Prophet
13= Certified Copy
Meek’s Cutoff
15= Dogtooth
Enter the Void
Mysteries of Lisbon (maybe - I can't tell if I'd love it or be bored to tears)
Of Gods and Men
19=Aurora (Don't know this one either)
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Four Times
The Ghost Writer
Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow

Lists like these always spring to mind when people say there are "no good movies anymore". (My parents say that a lot). There are so many good movies out there. You just have to seek them out. They are rarely the big hollywood productions that get 99% of the marketing (Inception aside). The only reason that I know most of the films on this list is from reading news, reviews and buzz coming out of the festival circuit (particularly the foreign circuit for several of these).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Long time no blog.

Life has been a bit crazy in preparing for my jump back to the west coast. But I do have one review I want to write up and then I'm off to HP7a this evening. Hopefully in between all my moving around I'll be able to catch up one some films over the next couple of weeks. I'm awfully behind.

Also - remember this post? Cinematical has an article on Critters over at their site. Goddamn those things scarred me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It goes on and on

I passed a man in Harvard Station today.

He was wearing a Giants cap.

I grinned at him and he beamed back.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Never Let Me Go (and more Giants)

More Giants fun:
1 - One of my favorite tweets of the night; "@K: Prediction: San Francisco baby boom in July 2011"
2 - This NYTimes article on Lincecum.
3 - PGA Caddies rock
4 - There's that Obama phone call I was mentioning
5 - Lincecum on Market
6 - Journey on Polk Street
7 - The Hall of Fame artifacts
8 - Yes, our 'riots' had tightrope walkers
9 - Clips
10- San Fugcisco Giants/Wilsonly Played, Brian Wilson

And Wilson on the Tonight show. I love these two photos.

And yes the parade was insane. BART broke all rider records, over 1 million people showed up, and it was the largest parade in city history.

Oh, and did the official shirt need to be all Ed Hardy-esque? What is that?

And in the interest of remembering that this blog is supposed to be devoted to movies, not baseball (quick! Cast the inevitable underdog movie! Reeve Carney as Lincecum! Kyle Gallner as Bumgarner! Chris Meloni as Brian Wilson!), I went to go see Never Let Me Go about a week ago. I mostly enjoyed it. Hmmm... enjoyed? Okay - I was mostly devastated by it. But in a good way.

The film is based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is about three childhood friends at an isolated English boarding school for special children. While they navigate growing up and their relationships, it becomes rapidly apparent that being special children may not be a good thing, and the lives that they are destined to lead will not be easy.

The film is directed by Mark Romanek, who is a fabulous music video director (not quite Samuel Bayer, but really good). (Probably his most famous is Closer by NIN, which is now part of the permanent collection at the MOMA, but he also did Criminal by Fiona Apple, The Perfect Drug by NIN (Edward Gorey!), Hella Good by No Doubt, Got Till It's Gone - Janet Jackson, Devil's Haircut by Beck and my favorite RHCP video ever: Can't Stop).

Anyways, his background shines through in Never Let Me Go, which is visually beautiful and stunningly shot. The plot itself is a bit dystopian sci-fi by way of English country romance. The leads are fantastic. Carey Mulligan continues her streak of honest, searing portrayals, Kiera Knightley is bracing and unglamorous, and Andrew Garfield continues his ascent as the best new actor out there. (Please don't derail on Spiderman. Please.)

However well done most of the film was, though, I had two problems with it. The first stems from a very abrupt second to third act shift. The first two sections of the film had been developing the love triangle between the friends. Then, with hardly any warning, all the characters fall away from each other. It is incredibly quick and definitely pulled me out of the story. I couldn't quite figure out what had just happened to them or why they had all left each other.

The other issue actually grew out of Andrew Garfield's performance. He is so committed to the character, Tommy, who has grown up in this completely socially isolated situation. It's an incredible physical performance. He walks awkwardly, but without any concern for how he is being perceived by the world at large. He's both gawky and at ease in his own skin. It totally works, given the strange upbringing Tommy had.

The problem comes from the two actresses. They both give great performances, too. Kiera makes her character, who could come off as one-note and wildly selfish, very empathetic and understandable. Carey Mulligan breaks your heart with her arc and the ways her character grows and matures. But aside from one scene in the middle of the film, when the three of them all order lunch awkwardly, being unused to the world at large, by the time the three reconnect, both women come off as self-assured and integrated into normal society. It's jarring next to Tommy, who still comes off as being part of the fringes.

However, the third section of the film is such a wrenching, gut punch of an emotional arc that film comes close to overcoming those flaws and becoming truly great. It's an amazing human drama.

4/5 stars

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Giants. FACT.

I spent most of the last month glued to the t.v., cheering on the Giants. The coverage from over here was ridiculous. Either people were confused that San Francisco had a team (could announcers at least learn to pronounce names before going on air?) or they actively picked the other teams to win. Predictions? Oh, it'll be the Braves; they'll pull it out for Bobby Cox. Oh, it'll be Philly - they've got Halladay. It'll be the Rangers - they're having a year like they've never had before.

Well, so were we.

And while it would have been nice if we weren't coming back from the third-longest championship drought in baseball, if the last two trips to the series hadn't been utter disasters, if we had won it even once before as the San Francisco Giants, and, on a personal note, if I had been home for all of this, I couldn't be happier that it worked out this way. We've had amazing players before. We've had good teams. But I adore this team. I'm so glad that they - these crazy castoffs, misfits, freaks and characters - were the ones to finally win it all. What possible better representation of San Francisco could there be? They are weird and they are the absolute best.

Go ahead: watch this about a dozen more times.

Other things I loved about the win?
-Bruce Bochy showing the most emotion possibly ever (at about 7:08).
-Cody Ross' skip/pirouette during Renteria's home run (at about 1:45).
-Lincecum jumping out of the dugout (which Fox replayed like 8 times, and made me and my friend laugh EVERY TIME). Video here (at about 4:27).
-THIS. This is one of my favorite photos ever. It's up in my office. I also love this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one. Oh, and this one.
-I love that Obama called to congratulate them, mentioned Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, and invited them all to the White House.
-And yes, I love that after Fox blatantly continued to pander to the Bushies, they lost. The blue state beat the red. The queers beat the steers. And the faithful beat a team from a state that didn't even know it had a baseball team until two weeks ago. (Even during the series the Cowboys continued to receive more coverage in Texas newspapers). I don't care that the Rangers had never been to a series before. It's our time.

A quick note on the 'riots' that weren't. Basically they were riots as only San Francisco could have done. As one person pointed out, it was 100 people causing problems, and 10,000 tweeting it. Not only that, but you could CHECK IN at the riots on foursquare. Oh, SF. I love you so. And does it count as a riot if a mariachi band shows up?

That said, how much would I have given to be here? Bless. Look how happy we are. (Now with video!)

! (I'm also quite partial to this mix here, which samples both Ashkon (twice) and this gem)

Steve Perry leads the crowd in a Don't Stop Believin' Sing-a-long

Giants' timing couldn't be better for these times

Lights Sing-a-long at AT&T park. I love Lights. It is one of my all time favorite songs about San Francisco.

The next SI cover.

Honoring the teams of the past
. Aw..... Willie Mays.

The party. I LOVE the video at Yancy's Saloon.

Brian Wilson rocks. Also? Aubrey Huff had his thong around his neck during the parade today. SO SAN FRANCISCO.

A basic recap.

The first title in 56 years; "the first time any living human could ever say this: The San Francisco Giants won the World Series."

The best starting pitcher in baseball.

They Really Are Giants.

The Giants are Worthy Champions. "Meanwhile, as a baseball fan (as opposed to a Giants fan), it's really easy to enjoy this team's success. The Giants wear classic uniforms in a beautiful ballpark. Their roster is studded with fascinating players like Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval and Brian Wilson. Their manager was forced to make any number of tough decisions down the stretch and into the postseason, and nearly all of them worked brilliantly."

The party is worth the wait.

Our new Where's Waldo.

SF Giants add 'champions' to their storied legacy. Snow said, "They erased a lot of ghosts, didn't they? I've always said, beware of teams with a chip on their shoulders. Nobody expected this team to do anything. There was a lot of East Coast bias, and Fox (television) people talking about the Phillies and Texas. Everyone was curious to see how the Giants would perform on the biggest stage, and they beat 'em all."
"It's been a long time," someone said nearby.
"A long time?" Snow, said, incredulously. "It's been never!"
Yeah, about those predictions. Have you not heard? FEAR THE FUCKING BEARD!

The coverage the next day.

What the World Series Means to Me.

Hey dad... they did it.

The Beard is here for life.

Jesus. How excited are we?

Other great reactions? "It feels like I'm mainlining opium and Christmas presents when I type that. The San Francisco Giants have won the World Series. Ohhhhahhhaoooohh. That feels so danged good." (Reports of Tim Lincecum's demise...)

"I’ve had three or four different Journey songs stuck in my head for about three weeks now. I was pretty sure I didn’t like Journey before the postseason. Now it’s the soundtrack to my overactive brain." (Pre-game nervous chatter)

"the head of Buster Posey on the body of an eagle, and the head of Matt Cain on the body of a lion, and they’re flanking Tim Lincecum, who is riding a manticore and wielding a longsword made out of change-ups." (Open what tattoo are you getting thread)

I hope the party lasts through spring training. Let's do it all over again next year.