Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 25 Films of 2010

[Wild Grass]

Note: Due to being in several different countries this year, the release dates are all funky. In fact "Sarah's Key" will be released in the U.S.A. in 2011. Have hope and wait a little bit and hopefully you'll get to see all these films!
  1. Wild Grass (Alain Resnais) Saw twice. I have never been an Alain Resnais film, so it is with great surprise that his last two films have become instantaneous favorites of mine. The crazier this film got, the more I fell in love with it. A great success!
  2. White Material (Claire Denis) Again, I don't always get the hype surrounding Claire Denis despite the fact that 35 Rhums was great. But I think more people should make films about how possessions and money destroy people. This was just too good.
  3. Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl (Manoel de Oliveira) Now our beloved director is 102 years old. And he is making the best films of his career. This film was a little short, and frankly, I could have done with the characters being more eccentric. However, the ending was amazing and exactly what should have been delivered.
  4. The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski) There are too many good things I could say about this movie. Amazing performances, especially from Olivia Williams and Eli Wallach. A very non-traditional ending. Amazing direction. Unfortunately, there was a chase scene that reminded me too much of the one in The Ninth Gate. However, overlooking this small detail, it was another masterpiece from Polanski.
  5. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese) It's kind of funny how much some people hate this movie. It was also a shame that the release date was pushed back to early 2010. It could have been a serious contender at the Oscars. It was not silly and had some great dramatic moments.
  6. Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno (Serge Bromberg) As a Clouzot fan, it's a dream that his lost film would turn up. The documentary-like style pulled the story along. Some restorations that show stills to account for the missing scenes really suck. I'm glad this was different and well-directed.
  7. Sarah's Key (Gilles Paquet-Brenner) Basically I cried and cried and cried. And the stupid critic who gave it two stars in Premiere should be fired and they should find a new career.
  8. Les invités de mon père/My Father's Guests (Anne Le Ny) The plot actually sounded dumb, but was extremely well-done and several unexpected things happened. It seemed really relevant. Whenever a story is focused on human emotion, it cannot go wrong.
  9. Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton) Saw twice. Had extremely low expectations due to really bad feedback from friends. Interesting circumstance: Saw on Easter Sunday in L.A. and an earthquake actually took place during the screening.
  10. The Tree (Julie Bertucelli) Another movie where I just cried and cried. Bertucelli is a burgeoning talent and this film just foretold that there are several more beautiful films to come from this director. Definitely unconventional and smart, another emotional film that will impact you, especially if you have lost someone and have reason to hang on to them.
  11. Gainsbourg, la vie heroique (Joann Sfar)
  12. Gainsbourg, l’homme qui aimait les femmes (2010)
  13. Of Gods and Men (Xavier Beauvois)
  14. Crime d'amour/Love Crime (Alain Corneau)
  15. Copacabana (Marc Fitoussi)
  16. Bluebeard (Catherine Breillat)
  17. Greenberg (Noah Baumbach)
  18. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
  19. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (Woody Allen)
  20. Heartbreaker (Pascal Chaumeil)
  21. Micmacs (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
  22. Restrepo (Sebastian Junger)
  23. Special Treatment (Jeanne Labrune)
  24. Another Year (Mike Leigh)
  25. The Clink of Ice (Bertrand Blier)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top Five Films of November, 2010

"Did I say something that hurt you?"
Daddy Nostalgie (1990, Bertrand Tavernier) - This film's delicate poignancy made this film very special and tender.

Ana y los lobos (1973, Carlos Saura) - Being a "nanny" and experiencing weird stuff, it was kind of an odd wake-up call watching this movie. That's all I can say!

"He would still be alive if he hadn't given into his fear."
Viy (1967, Georgi Kropachyov, Konstantin Yershov) - Really, I felt that this film was really close to Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (which would come out three years later). However, the end was kind of a surprise, because of its message.

La proie du vent (1927, René Clair) - The Cinémathèque française put on a "cine-concert" and showed this film with live jazz music led by Ibrahim Maalouf. This was a very strange movie almost seemed jumbled at times. However, it was very entertaining and had several impressive cuts and tints. The acting could be melodramatic at times, but overall this was an impressive early film from Clair.

Une chambre en ville/A Room in Town (1982, Jacques Demy) - I wondered if the pregnant girl in this story was based on Agnes Varda and her child from a relationship previous to Jacques Demy. However, the plot of the film would hopefully be an intense exaggeration, because the ending sort of left me reeling. The ending was quite similar to François Truffaut's La femme d'à côté/The Woman Next Door, which came out the previous year in 1981. However, of course, Jacques Demy took it up a couple notches, which is saying something, because the ending to the Truffaut film has haunted me ever since I saw it (about 6 1/2 years ago).