Monday, January 10, 2011

2010's other best movies

I'm shamelessly stealing this idea from Nick Davis (and bulking my list out to thirty titles). These are the best films I saw for the first time in repertory, on DVD, Blu-ray or TV last year. Whatever the merits of 2010's new vintage, I'm not sure I've ever seen as many masterpieces in a single year before, for which huge thanks are due to the British Film Institute, Eureka's Master of Cinema series, the programmers at Berlin, and whoever schedules the stuff on Freeview. The top ten movies here will be jostling to get into my forthcoming revised Top 100, as and when I dare confront that.

1. Sanshō the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) A+
2. The Fall of the House of Usher (Jean Epstein, 1928) A+
3. The Bill Douglas Trilogy (Bill Douglas, 1972, 1973, 1978) A
4. The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa, 1956) A
5. Cleo from 5 to 7 (Agnès Varda, 1962) A
6. The Last Command (Josef von Sternberg, 1928) A
7. Pandora's Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) A
8. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Elia Kazan, 1945) A
9. The Private Life of Henry VIII (Alexander Korda, 1933) A
10. A Day in the Life: Four Portraits of Post-War Britain (John Krish, 1953-1964) A
11. La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961) A–
12. Ugetsu monogatari (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) A–
13. Wild River (Elia Kazan, 1960) A–
14. A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, 1991) A–
15. The Misfits (John Huston, 1961) A–
16. The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957) A–
17. The Lodger (Alfred Hitchcock, 1927) A–
18. The Docks of New York (Josef von Sternberg, 1928) A–
19. The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953) A–
20. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920) A–
21. The Devil and Daniel Webster (William Dieterle, 1941) A–
22. Sons and Lovers (Jack Cardiff, 1960) A–
23. Red Dust (Victor Fleming, 1932) B+
24. Dillinger (Max Nosseck, 1945) B+
25. From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953) B+
26. Battleground (William Wellmann, 1949) B+
27. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (Frank Tashlin, 1957) B+
28. Ivan the Terrible, Part I (Sergei Eisenstein, 1944) B+
29. On the Town (Stanley Donen, 1949) B+
30. Forbidden (Frank Capra, 1932) B+

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2010: list time

I still haven't come to terms with how good this was, overall, as a movie year. A few things seem clear: it was a stellar 12 months for animation, with two wildly different specialised releases inside my final ten, two mainstream ones (Toy Story 3 and the delightful How to Train Your Dragon) hovering just below, and one belatedly released claymation gem (Mary & Max) justifying everyone's enthusiasm too. It was a pretty weak year for documentaries, with due apologies to Frederick Wiseman's luminous La Danse and a pair of exciting, slippery indie wind-ups in Catfish and Exit Through the Gift Shop. And it really wasn't much of a year for things big and loud from Hollywood, was it? There was a serious lack of basic fun in that department, whatever we extracted from the overambitious Inception; I remember an early summer of Titans, 2012s and Alice in Wonderlands that seemed to go on forever, and the par for even Apatowian comedy and, heaven help us, Katherine Heigl vehicles dipped alarmingly. I still think Tony Scott's Unstoppable might be the most proficient straight action ride I saw this year, but there weren't enough Unstoppables. There weren't even enough Salts.

Anyway, my gratitude for such succulent pickings in the Euro and Asian art-house zones will be pretty clear from the below ten, and it's worth mentioning how many solid-to-good British debuts (Down Terrace, Monsters, Shed Your Tears and Walk Away) buttressed the Leigh and Mullan entries, even speaking as someone much less enamoured of Clio Barnard's The Arbor than most. Having already voted under stricter criteria for the London Critics' Circle Awards and Evening Standard Film Awards, I've cut loose a little here, including several yet-to-be-released movies I saw at festivals, so it's not exactly a level-playing-field list for either UK or US readers, but having put White Material at #4 on my 2009 run-down, this seemed like the most sensible way to go.

PS. I am bound to have forgotten things/people, particularly on the runners-up lists for acting, so will continue to tweak after posting and put any additions in bold.


1. Dogtooth
2. I Am Love
3. Poetry
4. Raging Sun, Raging Sky
5. The Illusionist
6. The Fighter
7. The Headless Woman
8. How I Ended This Summer
9. City of Life and Death
10. A Town Called Panic

runners-up: Another Year, Au Revoir TaipeiNeds, La danse, Carlos, Toy Story 3, Father of My Children, Mary & Max, How to Train Your Dragon, The Maid, Winter's Bone, Beeswax, The Social Network, Whip It, Fish Story, The Temptation of St Tony


Lee Chang-dong (Poetry)
Julián Hernández (Raging Sun, Raging Sky)
Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth)
Lucrecia Martel (The Headless Woman)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)

runners-up: Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love), Jessica Hausner (Lourdes), Lu Chuan (City of Life and Death), Sylvain Chomet (The Illusionist), Peter Mullan (Neds), Frederick Wiseman (La danse), Mike Leigh (Another Year), Arvin Chen (Au Revoir Taipei), Sergei Loznitsa (My Joy)


Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine)
Louis-do de Lencquesaing (Father of My Children)
Edgar Ramirez (Carlos)
Andy Serkis (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll)

runners-up: Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom), Robert Hill (Down Terrace), Dragos Bucur (Police, Adjective), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), Eugene Byrne (The Be All And End All), Riz Ahmed (Four Lions), Jim Broadbent (Another Year), Colin Firth (The King's Speech), James Franco (127 Hours), Jay Baruchel (She's Out of My League), Mathieu Amalric (On Tour), Eric Elmosnino (Gainsbourg), Grigoriy Dobrygin (How I Ended This Summer)


Juliette Binoche (Certified Copy)
Yoon Jung-hee (Poetry)
Catalina Saavedra (The Maid)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Partir)
Tilda Swinton (I Am Love)

Extra-close runner-up, but I just couldn't do it to Tilda... Emma Stone (Easy A)

runners-up: Ruth Sheen (Another Year), Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right), Sally Hawkins (Made in Dagenham), Greta Gerwig (Greenberg), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Anne Dorval (I Killed My Mother), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Kristen Stewart (The Runaways), Kim Hye-ja (Mother), Hilary Swank (Conviction), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine/Mammoth), Brenda Blethyn (London River), Tilly Hatcher (Beeswax), Maggie Hatcher (Beeswax), Sylvie Testud (Lourdes)


Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Jemaine Clement (Gentlemen Broncos)
Sergei Puskepalis (How I Ended This Summer)
Steven Robertson (Neds)
Peter Wight (Another Year)

runners-up: Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole), Jackie Chan (The Karate Kid), Lawrence Ko (Au Revoir Taipei), Rhys Ifans (Greenberg), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Michael Shannon (The Runaways), Colin Farrell (The Way Back), Dan Byrd (Easy A), Eddie Marsan (Heartless), Yvan Attal (Partir), Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech), Mickey O'Keefe (The Fighter), Cillian Murphy (Inception), Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs the World), Armie Hammer (The Social Network), Sam Rockwell (Conviction), Pete Postlethwaite (The Town), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Tom Noonan (The House of the Devil), Dakin Matthews (True Grit), David Thewlis (London Boulevard), Daryl Sabara (World's Greatest Dad)


Dale Dickey (Winter's Bone)
Monica Dolan (The Arbor)
Julianna Margulies (City Island)
Anita Reeves (The Maid)
Dianne Wiest (Rabbit Hole)

runners-up: Mia Wasikowska (The Kids Are All Right), Imelda Staunton (Another Year), Lydia Leonard (Archipelago), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom), Amy Adams (The Fighter), Juliette Lewis (Conviction), Karina Fernandez (Another Year), Greta Gerwig (The House of the Devil), Charlotte Rampling (Life During Wartime), Kate Fahy (Archipelago), Claudia Celedón (The Maid), Mila Kunis (Black Swan), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Kimberley Elise (For Colored Girls), Anika Noni Rose (For Colored Girls, mainly the monologue), Emily Watson (Cemetery Junction), Rosamund Pike (Made in Dagenham), Rebecca Hall (Please Give), Amanda Peet (Please Give), Cher (Burlesque), Elina Löwensohn (Lourdes)


Andrew Bujalski (Beeswax)
Mia Hansen-Løve (Father of My Children)
Aaron Katz (Cold Weather)
Efthimos Filippou/Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth)
Corneliu Porumboiu (Police, Adjective)

runners-up: Adam Elliot (Mary & Max), Jessica Hausner (Lourdes), Götz Spielman (Revanche), Derek Cianfrance/Joey Curtis/Cami Delavigne (Blue Valentine), Alexei Popogrebsky (How I Ended This Summer), Sergei Loznitsa (My Joy), David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), Luca Guadagnino etc (I Am Love)


Shauna Cross (Whip It)
Sylvain Chomet/Jacques Tati (The Illusionist)
Tamio Hayashi (Fish Story)
Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)
William Davies/Dean DeBlois/Chris Sanders
(How to Train Your Dragon)

runner-up: Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (click titles for excerpt)

Jeff Grace (The House of the Devil)
Dickon Hinchliffe (Winter's Bone)
Daft Punk (TRON: Legacy)
Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross (The Social Network)
Simon Whitfield (Skeletons)

runners-up: Michael Brook (The Fighter), Alexandre Desplat (The Ghost — and only The Ghost), Hans Zimmer (Inception), Jon Hopkins (Monsters)


Kirk Baxter/Angus Wall (The Social Network)
Ivan Lebedev (How I Ended This Summer)
Christopher Rouse (Green Zone)
Moon Sae-kyoung (Mother)
Dylan Tichenor (The Town/Whip It)

runners-up: Teng Yun (City of Life and Death), Jonathan Amos/Paul Machliss (Scott Pilgrim vs the World), Ti West (The House of the Devil), Walter Fasano (I Am Love)


How to Train Your Dragon
Valhalla Rising
Winter's Bone

runners-up: The Social Network, Inception, The Temptation of St Tony


Thimios Bakatakis (Dogtooth)
Philipp Blaubach (The Disappearance of Alice Creed)
Martin Gschlacht (Lourdes/Revanche)
Oleg Mutu (My Joy)
Y. Mingmongkor/S. Mukdeeprom
(Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)

runners-up: Pawel Edelman (The Ghost),  Bárbara Álvarez (The Headless Woman), Barry Ackroyd (Green Zone), Harris Savides (Greenberg), Kim Hyun-seok (Poetry), Andrew Reed (Cold Weather), Michael Fimognari (Au Revoir Taipei), Matthew Libatique (Black Swan), Yorick Le Saux (I Am Love), Alejandro Cantú (Raging Sun, Raging Sky), Benoît Debie (Enter the Void), Matt Gray (Heartless)


Antonella Cannarozzi (I Am Love)
Robin Fitzgerald (The House of the Devil)
Beatrix Aruna Pasztor (The Brothers Bloom)
Catherine Marie Thomas (Whip It)
Amy Westcott (Black Swan)

runners-up: Jeffrey Kurland (Inception), Carol Beadle (The Runaways), Mark Bridges (The Fighter), Ruth E. Carter (Black Dynamite)


Donald Graham Burt (The Social Network)
Adam Elliot (Mary & Max)
Bjarne Hansen (The Illusionist)
Stavros Hrysogiannis (Dogtooth)
Hao Yi (City of Life and Death)

runners-up: Francesca Balestra Di Mottola (I Am Love), Bob Pauley (Toy Story 3), Ryu Seong-hie (Mother)


Monsters (for resourcefulness, not perfection)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The Social Network (for the Winklevi, not the digital breath)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives


Another Year
The Fighter
Whip It
On Tour