Friday, December 25, 2015

Top 25 Films of 2015

Here are my top 25 films of the year, including two ties. Scroll down to see the top short films. There were a lot of good documentaries this year. They deserve to be included in the main list.

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1.     Where to Invade Next (Michael Moore)
2.     Best of Enemies (Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville)
3.     Brooklyn (John Crowley)
4.     Listen to Me Marlon (Stevan Riley)
5.     3 coeurs/Three Hearts (Benoît Jacquot)
6.     Marie Heurtin/Marie's Story (Jean-Pierre Améris)
7.     L'Homme qu'on aimait trop/In the Name of My Daughter (André Téchiné)
8.     He Named Me Malala (Davis Guggenheim)
9.     Une Nouvelle amie/The New Girlfriend (François Ozon)
10.     Phoenix (Christian Petzold)
11.      Le Tout nouveau testament /The Brand New Testament (Jaco Van Dormael)
12.     Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief  (Alex Gibney)
13.     Iris (Albert Maysles)
14.     Irrational Man (Woody Allen)
15.     The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (Stanley Nelson)
16.     Miekkailija/The Fencer (Klaus Härö)
17.     What Happened, Miss Simone? (Liz Garbus) & Janis: Little Girl Blue (Amy J. Berg) [tie]
18.     Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg)
19.     Sisters (Jason Moore) & Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams) [tie]
20.     Freeheld (Peter Sollett)
21.     Meru (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)
22.     The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle)
23.     Amy (Asif Kapadia)
24.     The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt)
25. The Walk (Robert Zemeckis)

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Top Short Films of the Year:
Picturing Barbara Kruger (Pippa Bianco) Vimeo link
The List (Michael Brueggemeyer)
World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt)
I Remember Nothing (Zia Anger)
Timeless (Arnold Aldridge, Ricky Rhodes)
Ghost Stories (Sean Keller)
My Lunch (Rommel Andaya)
Bro Night (Lane Smith Jr.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Top Films (October & November 2015)



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Brooklyn (2015, John Crowley) pictured above Great performances, especially from Saoirse Ronan.
Listen to Me Marlon (2015, Stevan Riley) Amazing documentary on Marlon Brando.
Inequality for All (2013, Jacob Kornbluth) Top marks for the documentary that explains the economic collapse well.
Cast a Dark Shadow (1955, Lewis Gilbert) Under the radar noir that more than met my expectations.
Where to Invade Next (2015, Michael Moore) Definitely don't miss this film when it comes out. It is really one of Moore's strongest works. He goes all over the world to find out what countries are doing things better than the United States, so we can learn from them.

Lots of Honorable Mentions:

Anomalisa (2015, Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman)
Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015, Amy J. Berg)
Le Tout nouveau testament/The Brand New Testament (2015, Jaco Van Dormael)
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015, Stanley Nelson)    
Klopka/The Trap (2007, Srdan Golubovic)
The Walk (2015, Robert Zemeckis)
Juliette ou La clef des songes (1951, Marcel Carné)
All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records (2015, Colin Hanks)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015, Liz Garbus)
The Men Who Made the Movies: Howard Hawks (1973, Richard Schickel)
Love & Mercy (2014, Bill Pohlad)       

Short Films:
La Vague (1891, Étienne-Jules Marey)       
Majorité opprimée/Oppressed Majority (2010, Eleonore Pourriat)               
Blok/Blocks (1982, Hieronim Neumann)   

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Top Films (September 2015)

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Phoenix (2014, Christian Petzold)
There is another movie this year about a women with bandages covering her face trying to establish her identity. However, I found Phoenix to be the far stronger movie with a far more satisfying ending.

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Hikinige/Hit & Run (1966, Mikio Naruse)
Like Akira Kurosawa's High and Low, Naruse directed a tight thriller that thoroughly entertains. Although a departure, it is one of his strongest films.

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Une Nouvelle amie/The New Girlfriend (2014, François Ozon)
Like some of his more recent films like In the House and Young & Beautiful, The New Girlfriend has the same vibe. Entertaining, yet suspenseful. Also 

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Freeheld (2015, Peter Sollett)
I read a recent article on Indiewire that claimed this film was safe and dull. Writer Jessica Kiang also criticized such classics as Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Philadelphia, and Gentleman's Agreement, because, "These films are frequently cited as agents of attitudinal, if not actual change." These films seem to be a reflection of social change in America. Freeheld features great performances and shows 

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Sauvage innocence (2001, Philippe Garrel)
Garrel thrives when he's creating ultra-personal films.

Honorable mention:
99 Homes (2014, Ramin Bahrani)
She's Funny That Way (2014, Peter Bogdanovich)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Love at First Flight (short film, 2015)

This year, I was a team leader for the 48 Hour Film Project. You are assigned a genre, prop, line of dialogue, and a character. In Los Angeles, we started at 7:30 PM on August 7th and finished by 7:30 PM on August 9th. Here is our project: