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Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:06 am

http://translateyourcreativedna.blogspot.com/2010/01/just-because-its-monday-doesnt-mean.html

Monday, January 4, 2010
FIFTY-FIVE.
Just because it's Monday doesn't mean that you have to be that one person who willing watches FX's showing of that masterpiece, Snakes on a Plane. Now, if you are - there's no judging here. Although one can claim that there's a definite predisposition to judging once they here that you've been watching Snakes on a Plane.

But no worries. We're friends here. And because we're friends, here are five movies that you should be watching on your Monday.

1. (500) Days of Summer stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. A really wonderful, dry and witty story about falling in and out of love and how we are ultimately defined by circumstance. Added bonus? The soundtrack to this film is an incredible addition to the story - featuring the likes of the Smiths, the Doves, Feist, and others.

2. Inglourious Basterds stars a plethora of incredible actors: Christopher Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Mélanie Laurent, B.J. Novak, Mike Myers to name a few. Then there's Brad Pitt. Let's start this off by saying that Quentin Tarantino isn't for everybody. There's blood, there's gore - well, there's a lot of blood and gore. A lot of people die in some form of a Mexican standoff. But Inglorurious Basterds is such a smart film, set during WWII. It brings to the table an entire cast of characters that have such an intensity with their motives and histories with the war as a backdrop. It's really worth the watch.


3. New York, I Love You is from the producers of Paris, je t'aime and follows the same kind of concept - a group of short films that come together based on a theme of love and how these characters live their lives in New York. You'll a lot of recognizable faces - Rachel Bilson, Julie Christie, Andy Garicia, and Maggie Q. And while it can be argued that the film doesn't measure up to the same caliber of Paris, je t'aime the film still paints a colorful and wonderful picture of the city.

4. Fish Tank stars Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender and is probably one of the hardest films to watch out of the five. The subject matter is intense and it's the sort of film that one needs to watch when they're ready to be pushed. It's gorgeously shot and really brings to life the story of a girl who's struggling to grow up and finds herself with the cards that have been dealt to her.

5. Where the Wild Things Are is the Spike Jonze's adaptation of the Maurice Sendak classic and is probably one of the best, if not the best film of 2009. It resonates with everyone, adults and children, and catches the spirit of the book. You remember what was like to grow up as a kid, how big and scary the world was, how you were always caught for seeing something differently. You remember how hard it was to fit in and find yourself not just amongst your friends but your parents, the adults in your life. You remember how much you wanted people to just understand you. This film is that part of your life and such a touching and warm interpretation of not just the book but what it's like to be a kid.

So. Stop watching Snakes on a Plane.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:15 am

http://twitchfilm.net/reviews/2010/01/james-top-10-of-2009.php

James' Top 10 of 2009

by James Marsh, January 3, 2010 7:49 AM
Africa, Asia, Continental Europe & Russia, UK, Ireland, Australia & New Zealand, USA & Canada
Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to all of you - trust you're turkeys were stuffed, crackers pulled and your Auld and Lang well and truly Syned. For your pleasure, scrutiny, ridicule or whatever, please find my 10 favourite films of the past 12 months listed below and if a couple of them might look suspiciously like 2008 films, trust me, I know. The benefits of living in Hong Kong do include seeing the latest Donnie Yen or Johnnie To flick earlier than most, but having occasionally long waits for anything else. I continue to berate Hong Kong's film promoters and distributors to get films out here sooner, let's hope for quicker returns in 2010.

2. Hunger

And yes, it is yet another prison film! That's three in my top 10, but all completely different in style, story and intent. Acclaimed British artist Steve McQueen's first foray into feature filmmaking is a beautiful, breathtaking piece of work. Set in Northern Ireland in 1981, the film details the famous Maze Prison dirty protests and hunger strikes by IRA prisoners seeking political status. The film begins with the prison guards and a new inmate before eventually seeking out Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) amidst a tangled mass of hair, blood and teeth - the man who leads the strike. The film uses next to no dialogue, save for a stunning 22-minute central conversation between Bobby and a visiting priest (played by Liam Cunningham) that includes a 17-minute single take of rapid-fire banter that perfectly encapsulates everything these men are fighting for. McQueen uses images and actions to tell his story, without the need for superfluous dialogue - an achievement made all the more incredible by the fact this was his first film. Poetic, dreamlike, intoxicating and deeply moving, Hunger is totally unique and utterly compelling.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:19 am

http://www.criticsnotebook.com/2010/01/matt-barones-top-movies-of-2009.html

Fear the Best

ML
Francois Duhamel/The Weinstein Company

By MATT BARONE

This list must be prefaced with the following: Each of these films should be happy (if cinema could actually emote, that is) that Martin Scorcese's "Shutter Island" got pushed back to February 2010. Something tells me that I'm going to adore that one like none other, and that something hopefully isn't the fact that the same-titled, original Dennis Lehane novel is a personal favorite. The point being here that "Shutter Island" could have easily knocked one of the following flicks off this rundown had it made its once-scheduled October release date.

Missed opportunities aside, cinema in 2009 was all over the place, in a good way. Combing through the year's list of eligible films, I found it difficult to select a dime's worth of standouts. Really, these kinds of lists are hopeless endeavors; the second you submit or post your own, a good five or six films tap your shoulder and whisper, "You forgot about me, sir. I thought you loved me?" Like a neglected lady friend, only less affectionate. The forgotten films go on to torment your thoughts, remind you of your now-sealed 2009-filled time capsule. Sadly, there's no Wite-Out available here.

Without further long-winded rambling, let's start the show. A nice mix of the obvious and the eyebrow-raising, a few of the same titles seen on every other Best-Of ticker, as well as a few curve balls. All, however, are worthy in my eyes. As a bonus, I've also compiled my favorite straight-to-DVD (and others that were dumped into a single-digit amount of theaters) horror films of the year. My Kim Newman side demanded it.

Matt Barone's Top Movies of 2009

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS This year's first quarter found me reading Quentin Tarantino's leaked "Basterds" script five times; plowing through its breathless dialogue, audacious remixing of history and whopper of a climax was a joy each time. To live up to its screenplay, the rushed-to-make-the-Cannes-Film-Festival "Inglourious Basterds" needed to be a mind-blower. Thankfully, it was, and still is. Mr. Tarantino's WWII free-for-all is supreme entertainment on all levels, and holds up as this year's strongest balance of intelligence, wit and buttery popcorn.

EDEN LAKE One of the year's bleakest films, no matter what genre, this U.K. chiller pits an unassuming, loving couple (Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender, both marvelous here) against a terrorizing band of hoodie-wearing delinquents. Writer-director James Watkins isn't afraid to cross all lines, and a few of the scenes (including one where a little boy is set ablaze) would come off as despicable if the film as a whole wasn't so well-executed.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:37 am

http://www.tribune.ie/article/2009/dec/27/the-greatest-films-of-the-decade/

The greatest films of the decade
The films on this list have gone that little bit further than merely dazzle – they have raised the bar for filmmakers to come, and have spoken of our times yet will be watched and savoured by future generations. Sunday Tribune Film Critic Paul Lynch rounds up his top 50.

The lifting of Russell Crowe's iron mask in Gladiator with the words: "My name is Maximus Desmus Meridius, Commander of the Army of the North…"; the exhilaration of the passengers charging the hijackers in United 93; Sacha Baron Cohen's naked hotel wrestle in Borat; the rabid sneer on the lips of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight; Daniel Day Lewis' Daniel Plainview sucking on his metaphorical milkshake in There Will Be Blood; Maggie Cheung's sensual, slow-motion sashay during In The Mood For Love; Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen's conversation about pinot on the back porch in Sideways; Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham's verbal volleying amid a halo of smoke in Hunger; Naomi Watts' audition for a movie part that turns into a smouldering sex scene in Mulholland Drive; that grab-you-by-the throat moment in the swimming pool in Let The Right One In; that ending in Hidden; that beginning that was the ending in Memento; and that moment of sorrow on Tommy Lee Jones' face in the last scene of No Country for Old Men.

The past decade is a trove of cinematic treasure. But how to choose its 50 best films from the thousands that graced the screens? For every list of 50 films, there is another list with an alternative 50 titles. There will be groaning and grumping. (Yes, Amelie is not on the list. Neither are any Bourne films, enjoyable as they are.) Everybody has their favourites. But to round up the best from a decade's worth of movies requires something extra. These, then, are the films that raise the bar for filmmakers to come. These are the films that are the most beautiful and the most original, films that bristle with that exciting element of strangeness yet have the ability to connect deeply with audiences. These films speak volumes about who we are and the times we live in, yet will hold up and be watched by future generations, films you can watch again and again. So here are the top 10 films of the decade, in order only of year of production, followed by the next best 40...

Top 10 Greatest Films of the Decade

Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008)

Michael Fassbender is unforgettable as Bobby Sands. A work of stunning originality and dazzling cinematic expression. A visceral thump to the senses.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:00 am

http://herrmachine.blogspot.com/2010/01/dark-windowless-rooms-in-review-2009.html

Sunday, January 3, 2010
Dark, Windowless Rooms in Review: 2009
I had an emotional crisis over whether or not to share a top ten list this year. Without access to screeners, theaters showing independent (or semi-independent, or faux-independent) films or money enough for essentials I hadn't seen a lot of the supposedly great films that have been released this year, and my Oscar-predicting capacity is diminished by how little Oscarbait I've seen. Not to mention, my friends don't tend to want to see movies that don't have robots f#%@#&! and since I'm 19 there's a dreadful social stigma about seeing movies by yourself, made worse since I see almost all the local theater employees socially.

A lot of the films on this list were seen before I became a semi-published sad person and don't have reviews on this blog, or have reviews from before I started taking this s$#! seriously. I hope that I'll be able to publish reviews for the really excellent films that come up here.

That said, I convinced myself that I had seen enough really great films to make some sort of list out of them, so, lest I keep stalling, allow me to present my list of the best films of 2009, which isn't an authoritative list by any sort of human or animal logic. Also, I'm going to count them down so that you'll have a chance to not read all of this s$#!.

1. Inglourious Basterds
The Film of 2009.

A film I can't get over. It's incredibly strange and obviously perfect. It replaces action scenes without intense dialogue, perfectly mounted and played immaculately and exquisitely by a cast that never misses a beat and never fails to completely understand their dialogue, character and scene. It's Tarantino's most perfect cast. If making a film so strange and so given to implication, while at the same time keeping your cast perfectly in tune with each other, the dialogue and the character and playing every beat and cue to undercoat the actors isn't the sign of a great director, then I give up. Tarantino will never top this script and he will always try to figure out the exact mixture of ecstasy and Chinese food he consumed that allowed his actors free reign over his film. The more I watch this, the more I realize that it's about the cast. Christoph Waltz is clearly paramount to the film's success, but without the work of Michael Fassbender, Melanie Laurent, Brad Pitt, August Diehl, and Daniel Brühl, their respective scenes would have been unconvincing and boring. The cinematography is even especially functional, lighting characters faces in subtle ways to reveal all facial expressions. So many of his films have been about the words the actors speak, but Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino's achingly genuine love letter to the actors that speak his beloved dialogue and is the last thing to cross off before we welcome him into the big kid's club. He could easily be insane, but his insanity would almost be a natural phenomenon, that his mind is so perfectly in tune with the filmmaking medium and his films make every other film and every other filmmaker seem pedantic and safe by comparison. We're watching a flaming genius stop to prove he's still a genius for a moment before going back to the flaming genius that he engages himself with. Inglourious Basterds is like making eye contact with that genius.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:56 am

http://cynicalfilm.blogspot.com/2010/01/2009-has-come-and-gone.html

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The Best Of 2009
2009 has come and gone. For many hit hard by recession, they will be glad to see it go. As for us film buffs, it was a decidedly mixed bag. The summer blockbuster line-up (Star Trek aside) was one of the worst in years (Transformers 2, anyone? Nope, thought not!), but the year was redeemed by some excellent output from old battlehorses and critical darlings later on.

9. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)

My WWII history is a little shaky, but I'm fairly certain Brad Pitt (right) and Eli Roth didn't try to kill Hitler in a cinema. But hey, this is Tarantino Land! Don't let such piffles as history and accuracy get in the way of an entertaining story. Inglourious Basterds has such an audaciousness and bare-faced cheek to it that it's impossible not to be swayed by its boyish charm and extremely confident swagger. As Pitt's band of bloodthirsty soldiers roam Vichy France looking for Nazis, Mélanie Laurent's cinema owner seeks revenge on the charismatic commandant (Christoph Waltz, in an outstanding performance) who killed her family, while Michael Fassbender's English soldier attempts to infiltrate a Nazi troop. There's a lot going on, but Tarantino is an expert at juggling multiple storylines. He also has a great ear for dialogue, and seems to have rediscovered the knack for juicy dialogue that seemed to abandon him in Kill Bill, Vol. 2. A great comeback for Tarantino, and a brilliant piece of entertainment, Inglourious Basterds is simply great fun! Just don't ask it for the answer's to tomorrow's test on German Foreign Policy, 1933-45.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:59 am

http://blog.allmovie.com/2010/01/05/josh-ralskes-best-of-2009/

Josh Ralske’s Best of 2009

January 5th, 2010 | 4:10 pm est | Josh Ralske

Creating these lists every year just reminds me how arbitrary it all is, particularly this year, when I had to go back over my previous nine lists to come up with my best of the decade (for another website).

My assessment of these titles is not static. The truth is, any of these movies might grow or shrink in my estimation, even from day to day. You might leave a comment here that will cause me to reconsider a film I omitted. Not to mention all the reputedly great films from 2009 that I haven’t had a chance to see yet (most notably, Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum} and the Dardennes brothers’ Lorna’s Silence). Still, I saw a lot, and I do want to be an advocate for the exceptionally good films I saw, particularly those I feel might have been under-seen or under-appreciated. With that in mind, here’s my top ten.

4) Hunger (Steve McQueen)
Most of artist McQueen’s debut narrative feature is nearly abstract in its vivid visual depiction of the ordeal of IRA inmates and their captors in the early 1980s, but the film’s core is all talk. The films of 2009 featured some amazing verbal confrontations (see the aforementioned In the Loop, Inglourious Basterds or Police, Adjective), but Hunger’s fascinating and vital 22-minute debate over tactics and morality between hunger striker Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) and the sympathetic Father Moran (Liam Cunningham) was possibly the most powerful cinematic moment of the year.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:41 am

http://stansfilm.blogspot.com/2010/01/golden-stans-2009.html

Sunday, 3 January 2010
The Golden Stans 2009
2009 is over, so it’s time to award The Golden Stans. In ’09 I saw 68 movies, 61 of which qualify to compete for these, er, ‘prestigious’ awards. Some categories were easily judged and awarded, others were considerably tougher.

Original Score is the first award. In fact it’s a double award as it recognises not only the score, but also the sound effects as well: using both to tremendously scary effect, summoning forth hell itself, was Christopher Young and the sound team on Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell.

Next up is the Cinematography Award – and it’s fought out by: Claudio Moranda for his work on Benjamin Button; Hoyte van Hoytema for Let The Right One In; Barry Ackroyd for The Hurt Locker; and Giora Bejach for Lebanon. Each has fair claim to the award, but in the end I’m handing it to Ackroyd for The Hurt Locker.

The Adapted Screenplay is a simple win for John Ajvide Lindqvist and his adaptation of his own novel, brilliantly condensing the story while retaining the strong sense of time and place, and the characterisation that made Let The Right One In such a great experience.

The Original Screenplay Award is also an easy victory for Up, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter collecting the gong.

Now, on to the big six awards, starting with Best Supporting Actress. The nominees easily secured their places on the shortlist, partly thanks to their excellence and partly reflecting the lack of strong supporting roles for women. The list looks like this:
Cate Blanchett/The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Vera Farmiga/Up In The Air
Anna Kendrick/Up In The Air
Juno Temple/Cracks
Debra Winger/Rachel Getting Married
Rosemarie de Witt/Rachel Getting Married
This is a tough one, each actress with a rightful claim to the award: la Blanchett suffers stoically in Button; Farmiga and Kendrick play opposite sides of the same coin in Up In The Air to startlingly realistic effect; while the naked spite, bitterness and love evident in the performances of Temple, Winger and de Witt are hard to ignore. However, there has to be a winner and that, by a nose from her co-star, is… Vera Farmiga in Up In The Air.

The Best Supporting Actor shortlist pretty much wrote itself too:
Jackie Earl Haley/Watchmen
Michael Fassbender/Fish Tank
Alfred Molina/An Education
Peter Sarsgaard/An Education
JK Simmons/Up In The Air
Liev Schreiber/Taking Woodstock
It may say something about the movies of 2009 that this shortlist leans heavily towards the tragi-comic and the plain comic performances – the only truly ‘dramatic’ role is Fassbender’s turn in Fish Tank. Haley nails Watchmen’s anti-hero Rorschach, Molina enjoys one of his best roles in An Education, while Sarsgaard makes for a first class cad, Simmons damn near steals Up In The Air while on screen for just five minutes, and Schreiber is a funny but human cross-dresser at Woodstock.
For all his perfect comic timing and humanity, Molina is nevertheless deprived victory by the tour de force from… Michael Fassbender in Fish Tank.

Ten women made the longlist for Best Actress, but only six can make the shortlist, and they are:
Bae Doo-Na/Air Doll
Anne Hathaway/Rachel Getting Married
Katie Jarvis/Fish Tank
Carey Mulligan/An Education
Ksenia Rappaport/The Double Hour
Kate Winslet/The Reader
Winslet’s Oscar-winning turn seems so long ago (I saw The Reader on 4 January – a year ago as I write), but it retains its power. Jarvis and Mulligan both carry their movies with seeming ease, holding their own against seasoned professionals with aplomb, and completely convince the audience. Rappaport delivers one of the great surprise femme fatale performances yet committed to celluloid, and Hathaway casts aside any doubts about her skills. And Doo-Na is just plain innocent and other-wordly at the same time.
There must be some doubts about the ‘revelatory’ perfs of Jarvis, Mulligan and Rappaport, while I’m not so easily swayed as the Academy when a beautiful woman (Winslet) makes herself plain. Thus, it’s a fight between Hathaway and Doo-Na, and for succeeding when cast so viciously against type, the winner is… Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married.

11 men made the longlist for Best Actor, but the 6 that made the shortlist are:
George Clooney/The Men Who Stare At Goats, and Up In The Air
Clint Eastwood/Gran Torino
Sean Penn/Milk
Brad Pitt/The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sam Rockwell/Moon
Filippo Timi/The Double Hour, and Vincere
So, let’s pick them off, one by one: Rockwell delivers a career-best performance ad continues to reinforce his position as the greatest character actor of his generation; Eastwood, ever serving his preferred role of director, both mimics and satirises his most famous screen persona; Pitt has never been better than in Button, but upon reflection there’s still a little of the cypher about his character that scores him down; Penn was excellent as Harvey Milk, but the film’s deeply episodic nature plays against him; Clooney deployed his effortless screen charm to devastating effect in Up In The Air, and reinforced his position as one of cinema’s great facial muggers in Goats; and finally Timi is brilliant as two very different characters - the resourceful patsy in Double Hour and the mania of Mussolini in Vincere.
Ultimately, the fight is between Clooney and Timi, and the winner is… Filippo Timi in The Double Hour and Vincere.

The Best Director shortlist is longer than any other category simply there is so much great work to acknowledge:
Tomas Alfredson/Let The Right One In
Kathryn Bigelow/The Hurt Locker
J Blakeson/The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Giuseppe Capotondi/The Double Hour
Pete Docter and Bob Peterson/Up
David Fincher/The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sam Raimi/Drag Me To Hell
Jason Reitman/Up In the Air
All eight nominees show complete mastery of their art, especially the more genre-focused directors – Alfredson, Blakeson, Capotondi and Raimi. Fincher produced his most mature work to date, Bigelow was as muscular as we have come to expect but with real passion and meaning this time, and Reitman handled the many moods of Up In The Air so very well.
But there is only one winner, well two actually, and they are… Pete Docter and Bob Peterson for the thrilling combination of sorrow, hope and joy that is Up.

Finally, we reach the big one: Best Film. There follows an alphabetical list of 15 films I truly enjoyed in 2009:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Damned United
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
The Double Hour
Drag Me To Hell
An Education
Gran Torino
The Hurt Locker
Lebanon
Let The Right One In
Looking For Eric
Micmacs
Moon
Star Trek
Up In The Air
It’s pleasing to note five ‘small’ British films on the list (Damned, Alice Creed, An Education, Eric and Moon) and future genre classics like Let The Right One In, Drag Me To Hell, The Double Hour and the almost sickeningly intense Lebanon. Star Trek was probably the second-biggest crowd pleaser of the year, just a hair ahead of Micmacs. Gran Torino really should have made the Oscar list a year ago, while Oscar’s big loser (Button) will stand the test of time far better than its then-competitor Slumdog. 2010’s Oscar contenders, Hurt Locker and Up In The Air, are great cinema.
But, in the end, nothing got close to the pure emotional punch of Up. That opening 10 minutes is stunning, and simply to recall it brings a lump to the throat – but that is not the sum of the film: the sustained character development, the brilliant comic timing and editing, and perfect voice-casting all add up to a modern screen classic. And thus Up is the winner of the Golden Stan for Best Film 2009.
Roll on 2010!
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:50 pm

http://getafilm.blogspot.com/2010/01/good-times-in-2009.html

Good Times in 2009
January 6, 2010

Sometimes the experience at the theater can be even more memorable than the movie you see. Here are some of my notable movie-going memories from 2009, continued in the same boring format as the last two years ('o8, '07):

Hunger (Walker Art Center): Skipping the opening night of the film festival on an absolutely glorious April evening, we trekked over the to Walker to witness unabated pain and suffering for about two hours. I'll never forget seeing Michael Fassbender's skeletal remains in my face on a massive screen, and the legendary long take conversation (17 minutes?) was incredibly mesmerizing.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:57 pm

http://micropsia.blogspot.com/2010/01/films-of-2009-complete-list-sight-sound.html

6.1.10
The films of 2009: the complete list (Sight & Sound)
Our critics choose their favourite releases of the year.

Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
Tarantino grows up and imps it up at the same time; the fugue of genre fun, movie-head ardour and meta-energy is as invigorating to think about as it is to see. You gotta wonder what Godard thinks.

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, UK)
Having missed the film everyone was admiring in Cannes, I scraped into a sold-out screening in the local Odeon and I was gripped by Arnold’s compelling account of lives on the edge. There’s so much to admire in the unerring soundtrack, camera placement and never-predictable editing, but above all the film creates a world of terror, mystery and occasional delight that’s far from mere sociology or miserabilism.

Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
For the generosity of Tarantino the great storyteller, as well as his generosity towards actors. Contrary to what a vast majority of critics have focused on, Tarantino is not only inspired by 1970s B movies, but also by the games and linguistic pretence which govern the relationship between action and words in Ernst Lubitsch’s work.

Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
An absolute coup for pulling off a playfully agile, revivifying take on a sacred cow, decimating stale paradigms yet never compromising respect.

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
I didn’t see Arnold’s previous film, Red Road, but this was a revelation. Nothing I had read about the director or the film prepared me for something so beautiful and poetic.

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
Arnold’s marvellous images of Glasgow in Red Road were marred by an overly melodramatic plot. This time her camera is trained on Dagenham and she has found the simplest of stories to bring together a beautiful young girl (Katie Jarvis) and an older hunk (Michael Fassbender). The acting is magnificent and the end genuinely moving.

Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
The resoundingly superficial way in which Tarantino engaged with World War II didn’t detract from its entertainment value.

Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
Christoph Waltz devouring all available scenery in Tarantino's first complete entertainment is a treat. Brad Pitt who?

Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
A stylish toast to the love – and death – of cinema.

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
Katie Jarvis won acclaim, but the real star of Fish Tank was Andrea Arnold, who proved herself to be one of Britain’s finest contemporary directors with her trademark: an utterly all-consuming protagonist POV.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:01 pm

http://idontwannaseethat.blogspot.com/2010/01/2009.html

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
2009
Ugh, so each time I try to re-visit 2009, I keep getting reminded of everything I didn't see! As much as I'd like to catch up with everything, I think the better thing to do now is to look forward! I am going to try and see everything in 2010, and beyond. With that being said, I will be taking these with me, long after 2009...


-- Melanie Laurent in Inglorious Basterds

-- Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds

-- Michael Fassbender in Inglorious Basterds

-- Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds (for being funny, regardless of anything else)
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:11 pm

http://www.thelostmovies.com/blog/a-review-of-2009/

The Top Fifteen Films of 2009

Yes I have a top fifteen okay? There were so many great films that needed recognition this year so why not have a top fifteen. That way it allows some of the other great titles their chance in the spotlight. So without further ado here are the best fifteen pieces of visual entertainment I witnessed in 2009.

1. Inglourious Basterds

My number one film of the year also happens to be my favorite film that Quentin Tarantino has ever made. When we were promised a Tarantino film set during World War Two all those years ago and that it would be a men on a mission movie, I don’t think any of us really expected what this film turned out to be. Me I was expecting something like Saving Private Ryan except with brilliant dialogue. Inglourious Basterds turned out to be quieter than that movie but also somehow more exciting. The trick is that Tarantino somewhere down the line learned to make his long dialogue driven scenes really suspenseful and tense. Every single scene in this movie is long but never indulgent, its all building towards some kind of reveal or act of bloody violence that drives the narrative forward. When you have this mastery of tension building on display and then combine it with some excellently written characters who are developed brilliantly then you are talking modern classic. Brad Pitt hasn’t been this good since the nineties for my money, he has seemed to sleep walk through almost every role apart from his small part in Burn After Reading. Eli Roth turned out to be a pretty good actor in his iconic role with baseball bat in hand. Michael Fassbender is awesome as the British agent in the films best scene with the best final speech ever. Diane Kruger is an actress who needs to get more work and Melanie Laurent is a real find. The major breakthrough of course is Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, a role that is a hissable bad guy role but becomes something more in his hands, he makes the most evil character in the movie somehow human. If you ever read Empire magazine then you will know the last page is always devoted to a classic scene. Any scene in Inglourious Basterds could grace that page.

Classic Scene: Hard to pick from so many but the scene in the bar which leads to the short, sudden burst of violence has to be it. You could cut the tension with a knife.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:25 pm

http://blog.myoclonia.net/?p=252

Best films 2009 December 31, 2009
Posted by joost

I’ve seen 166 feature films and 104 short films in 2009. As much as I appreciate an overview of “The Best Films of 2009″, I feel it never truly fits the moniker. International release dates vary, and films shown on festivals sometimes have been touring the circuit for well over a year. And other times I am blown away by a film that I somehow missed in the year it was initially released. For these reasons, my end of the year list usually consists of the best films that I have seen and that for the most part have been released in the past year.

Hunger (2008)
I think I saw this one as part of a double bill with The wind that shakes the barley – not an easy Saturday afternoon by any means! A very carnal film, first hitting you on the head with a sledge hammer and then shitting on you. Featuring my favorite actor of the moment, Michael Fassbender (seen this year in: Hunger, Fish Tank, Inglourious Basterds, Eden Lake).

Fish Tank (2009)
This film manages to avoid many of the usual social realist cliches and focuses on a coming of age story against the backdrop of lower social class society in Britain.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:27 pm

http://nuitssansnuit.blogspot.com/2009/12/kino-uber-alles.html

niedziela, 27 grudnia 2009
Kino uber Alles
Films remembered without renewed research, not in the order of importance and not only from 2009:

Inglorious Basterds (2009) dir. Quentin Tarantino

Just two observations over this film, on which you can read practically everywhere else. First, the use of language: Tarantino always has been playing with language, from strange poetry of the trivial, from the gangsta slang in Reservoir Dogs to the woman’s chat in Deathproof. His films are “talked” films par excellence. In Basterds, by various uses of speech, i.e. actually four languages (among which English is one of the least used!), numerous discourses, and the virtuosity of speaking, that sometimes become monstrous (in which obviously the terrifying SS colonel Landa excels), demonstrates that in certain circumstances language can be a lethal weapon, or a measure that is capable of saving life (e.g. the fantastic scene of playing cards in the tavern); nevertheless, chatting may occur a matter of life and death.

Secondly, Tarantino was always a master of depicting the cathartic powers of violence. Here, in this at first glance unacceptable mash-up of a Holocaust movie with a spaghetti western and adventure movie, Tarantino surpasses the efforts of Spielberg in Indiana Jones and more sophisticated fantasies of contemporary art dealing with the Holocaust.

Hunger ( 2008) dir. Steve McQueen

I dreamed about seeing this movie long before I was able to actually see it last summer on the festival I worked at. I’m just going to mention few things, since the film remains a truly mind-blowing experience, at some moments approximating to a masterpiece.

First, many months before, I watched all the scenes I could find on the Youtube numerous times. For the one scene only, that is, the 10-minute completely static dialogue scene of Bobby Sands and the priest in the Maze prison, this film would be a masterpiece. But it remains so much more: it combines what is the best in contemporary visual arts with the naturalist tradition of the movies of Irish terrorism, such as In the Name of the Father.

Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands reaches the edges of what is possible in acting, in a good and in a bad sense, but the effect is stirring. The cinematography, monochromatic and static, is brilliant. The way of depicting violence is breathtaking.

As far as the political inclinations go, Hunger remains a positive example of the long discredited engaged cinema. I asked my English friends, did the film cause any new discussion over the Thatcher “legacy” in England; I was told, to my great surprise, that what's been discussed, are mostly only artistic values of the film. Pity.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:51 pm

http://iphonefans.over-blog.com/article-best-movies-of-2009-that-you-should-not-miss-42402871.html

Wednesday 6 january 2010 3 06 /01 /2010 01:51
Best Movies of 2009 that you should not miss

At the special family time of this year, it’s time to summarize some sight-worthy DVD movies of 2009 to enrich the colors of your holiday. It’s a great thing to sit around the living room and watch a wonderful movie with your family members, and it is also a good idea to enjoy a DVD movie during your holiday trip.

Several movies released in 2009 that you should not miss:

Inglourious Basterds

Genre: Action, Drama, War

Starring: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Release Date: Aug. 21st, 2009

A group of hardened Nazi killers stalk their prey in Nazi-occupied France as a Jewish cinema owner plots to take down top-ranking SS officers during the official premiere of a high-profile German propaganda film. As far as Lt. Aldo Raine (aka Aldo the Apache, Brad Pitt) — is concerned, the only good Nazi is a dead Nazi. Raine’s mission is to strike fear into the heart of Adolf Hitler by brutally murdering as many goose-steppers as possible, or die trying. In order to accomplish that goal, Lt. Raine recruits a ruthless team of cold-blooded killers known as “The Basterds” which includes baseball-bat-wielding Bostonian Sgt. Donnie Donowitz (aka “The Bear Jew”, Eli Roth) and steely psychopath Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger), among others.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:33 am

http://www.pajiba.com/guides/the-ten-best-films-of-2009.php

What is there to say? The movies of 2009 were all over the map, but perhaps the best way to make sense of them as a whole is to appreciate the resurgence of simple pleasures and returns to form found in the year’s best films. Star Trek is a shaky-cam explosion of lens flares that’s nevertheless a rock-solid blockbuster built on character and humor. District 9 uses the newest tech to tell the oldest kind of story, about identity and war. And Up, the most accomplished and nuanced film to date from Pixar, is a simple story about an old man coming to grips with death. These were the best films of the year for the way they moved us, and for the way they seemingly did the impossible by telling very specific stories with universal resonance. It’s a varied but worthy group, and one that made 2009 as enjoyable as it was. Without any more yammering, let’s get down to it:

10. Inglourious Basterds: We watch movies to be lied to. More than any other medium that comes to mind, they thrive on deceit and myth-making, and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds seems to revel in this fact. Mélanie Laurent plays a fugitive in the guise of a cinema owner, Brad Pitt’s Tennessee-born soldier tries to pass for an Italian filmmaker, Michael Fassbender’s British film critic must pretend to be a German soldier, Diane Kruger’s actress makes for an ideal spy, Christoph Waltz’s sociopath hides behind a mask of civility, Daniel Brühl’s reluctant war hero becomes a celebrity and so on, until a movie theater itself becomes a tomb for the Nazi elite. Action sequences are outdone by dialogue exchanges, while history changes for the better simply because it can. In Quentin’s world, everyone is a bastard during wartime, and anything goes at the movies. — William Goss
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:51 am

http://kingmyno.blogspot.com/2010/01/top-ten-movies-of-2009.html

January 6, 2010
The top ten movies of 2009.
Because the 1,500+ words written below make an introductory paragraph an absolute waste of time, I simply present my top ten movies of 2009 (in alphabetical order):

Inglourious Basterds - Saw it in theaters, loved Christoph Waltz, loved Michael Fassbender, but I will admit that I was a little caught offguard by the direction it ended up taking. It was long, it too prominently featured the "suddenly empowered girl rises against her oppressors" scenes that Tarantino seems to love and no one else really cares about, and it bounces around too often from jokes, drama and action. Or so I thought. But then I saw it on DVD about a week ago, and I realized that it was just too much to take in at the time. The opening scene and the scene in the underground bar are as tense as anything in The Hurt Locker, and although it does bounce around often, Tarantino mishmashes styles as well as any director out there. But the girl scenes still do kinda suck. Enough with the Girl Power boner, dude.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:54 am

http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/screenwriter/2010/01/06/irish-american-notes/

Irish-American Notes
January 6, 2010 @ 11:19 pm | by Donald Clarke

Unkind commentators have, from time to time, suggested that certain sections of the Irish-American community tend towards sentimentality in their attitude to the old country and paranoid chippiness in their approach to the United Kingdom. What else do these rogues claim? Well, they say that, when not providing us with the means to blow each other to bits, the less sensible class of Irish-American spends his time plastering shamrocks on anything that moves and identifying every worthy in the United States as a fellow countryman. Johnny Cash’s folk are from Leitrim, you know. Sure, isn’t Jimi Hendrix a Waterford man. Jaysus, didn’t Charles Manson’s family spring from Roscrea. And so on.

Klaus O’Kinski in the best Irish film of 1972.

I don’t hold with this sort of gross generalisation myself, but it is true that, from time to time, Irish-America can allow its patriotism to get the better of its common sense. Consider my new favourite place Irish Central. Predictably shamrock-bedecked, the website, online home to Irish Voice and Irish America magazines, adds a number of surprising obsessions to the usual focus on the awfulness of the English and the brilliance of the Irish. No opportunity, for example. is wasted to eulogise Scottish MOR warbler Susan Boyle or to castigate skeletal heartthrob Robert Pattinson. Mind you, Rob is English and Subo’s parents are Irish, so I suppose this fits in with the site’s big-hearted ethos.

A typical recent entry raged about the London Film Critics Circle’s decision to include Irish talent — Michael Fassbender, Saoirse Ronan and (ahem) Anne-Marie Duff — in the shortlist for the body’s best British actors awards of 2009. Let’s begin by pointing out that, though of Irish parents, Anne-Marie Duff was born and raised in London and, thus, that only the fascist British National Party would object to her being called British. That noted, we should acknowledge there is very definitely a problem here. The amiable Jason Solomons, the LFCC’s awards chair, is nobody’s idea of a cultural imperialist, but the body should — for accuracy’s sake at least — consider retitling the awards.

I put this before you as a taster for the fabulous main course: Irish Central’s list of the best Irish films of the decade. Ready? You’re going to love this. Here goes:

1. The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006)

2. Hunger (2008)

3. Once (2007)

4. The Departed (2006)

5. Brothers (2009)

6. Gone Baby Gone (2007)

7. The Magdalene Sisters (2003)

8. Hotel Rwanda (2008)

9. Atonement (2007)

10. Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

Atonement? Gone Baby Gone? Capitalism: A Love Story? I beg your pardon? If you’re still rubbing your eyes in disbelief, let me explain that, to qualify, a film must feature “an Irish director, theme or star”. Now, when you consider that Irish-Americans are, for the purposes of this list, regarded as Irish — that’s how Michael Moore’s Capitalism gets in — you quickly realise that Irish Central’s definition covers the majority of all films ever made in Britain or America. An exaggeration? Well, Saoirse Ronan has a medium-sized part in just the first half of Atonement, so obviously supporting performers count. Flick through a few cast lists on IMDb and see how many films you can find without Irish names attached. (Funnily enough, if they had included cinematographers in their criteria, they might have been on surer ground with Atonement. The film was, of course, shot by Armagh’s Seamus McGarvey.)

The hypocrisy here is really quite staggering. Irish Central gets its shamrock-covered knickers in a twist when (as I say, unwisely) the LFCC appears to label Saoirse Ronan British, but it still feels able to describe Atonement — directed by an Englishman in England, starring a largely British cast and based on an English novel — as an Irish film.

This, however, is not the real outrage. Michael Moore would probably chuckle ironically upon hearing his film redesignated as Irish. Ben Affleck, director of Gone Baby Gone, would take it on his big, square chin. The people who should be really upset are the directors (and writers and stars) of proper Irish films who have been left off the list to accommodate American and British product. Where are Lenny Abrahamson’s Adam & Paul and Garage? Where is John Crowley’s Intermission? Where is Lance Daly’s Kisses? We could go on for some time. Irish cinema is no longer a version of early 1990s football and we no longer need to point to a film’s granny — hey everybody, Inland Empire’s nan was from Letterkeny! — to locate top quality domestic product. Indeed, in this writer’s view, both of Abrahamson’s films are somewhat better than Atonement. Ditch the inferiority complex, chaps.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:01 am

http://arnoltsmead.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-of-2009.html

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Best of 2009

Interests and aspirations have shifted in 2009. Some have become work, others work inspiring. End of the year calls for lists...

3. Fish Tank
In the vein of E4's Skins, against the backdrop of Britain's council estates, an affair unfolds between a troubled teen and her mother's boyfriend. Michael Fassbender delivers another great performance after his stint in Inglourious Basterds, Katie Jarvis is a break-out revelation!

6. Inglourious Basterds
Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Mélanie Laurent and the wildy entertaining Christoph Waltz deliver Tarantino's trademark dialogue and bloody action in this WWII tale of revenge that takes a daring spin with history.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:21 pm

http://fantasticvoyages.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/the-100-films-of-the-decade-70-61/

68 Hunger (2008)

Dir. Steve McQueen

Making an impressively assured switch from Turner Prize-winning art to award-winning cinema, first time director Steve McQueen brings the harrowing events of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strikes to the screen in this frighteningly honest depiction. At the centre of Hunger is a 17-minute one-camera take (and the longest single shot in mainstream cinema) of a priest trying to convince strike leader Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) to call off the protest, giving the film a rich political discourse amidst the graphic prison sequences. This is an unflinchingly brutal drama, certainly not an easy or pleasant watch, but powerful and important filmmaking.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:50 pm

http://barnabythefilmviewer.blogspot.com/2010/01/best-of-2009-shortlists.html

Thursday, 7 January 2010
My Best of 2009 Shortlists

Best Film of the Year 2009 (Alphabetically)

An Education

Fish Tank

Frost/Nixon

Julie & Julia

Let the Right One In

Milk

Slumdog Millionaire

The Hurt Locker

The Reader

The Wrestler

Best Supporting Actor in a 2009 Film

David Kross – The Reader

Michael Fassbender – Fish Tank

Peter Capaldi – In the Loop

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt

Stanley Tucci – Julie & Julia
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:53 pm

http://braincellkilla.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-top-10-movies-of-2009-part-1.html

Thursday, January 7, 2010
MY Top 10 Movies Of 2009: PART 1
ACHTUNG! This might be a long read, so make sure you've gone to the toilet before you continue reading this post.

Being a big fan of JoBlo.com makes me appreciate movies even more. There, I learn what to look for in a movie. A movie can either be critically or commercially acclaimed, or even both. Now, I can learn to appreciate other movies besides the blockbuster movies (read: Avatar) shown in our local cinemas.

But then again, people will always have different opinions on just about everything. Even little things like how you squeeze the toothpaste out from the tube - should you squeeze from the bottom or can you just squeeze it from the middle? Simple yet a shining potential of a long and hard-fought argument. That being said, the movies listed here are MY own personal favourite movies to come out in the year 2009. I was so unfortunate not to catch a few more gems while I was in the UK for 3 months (Sam Rockwell's solo performance in Moon, for example). That means I might exclude some potentially awesome movies (Where The Wild Things Are, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Up In The Air, The Hurt Locker... I can go all day!) So if you agree with me, kudos to you. But if you do not, then... save your breath for cooling your porridge (Brad Pitt in Snatch... God, I love that movie!)

Inglorious Basterds
A return to form for the ever-original Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds lines up as one of his best along with the likes of True Lies, the Kill Bill series and Pulp Fiction. With a man of his stature, it's not difficult for him to attract quality stars to grace his movies and Basterds is no exception. Brad "I-have-children-from-every-continent-of-the-world" Pitt, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Melanie Laurent, an unrecognizable cameo from a certain shagger that is Mike Myers.. just to name a few. But no one touches Christolph Waltz as the Jew-hunting Col. Hans Landa. Effortless is the best word to describe how Landa was portrayed as a violent man with a pinch of sick humour. Thanks to Basterds, directors now want him in their movies and I say job well done Mr. Waltz! You deserved it. With Hollywood now screaming with remakes and reboots, it was certainly refreshing to have an original movie to grace 2009 and what a movie it was.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:54 am

http://thecrosshair.co.uk/?p=274


Best of Film 2009 Part Two

Posted by Patrick on 1/09/10 • Categorized as Features, Film

9. Inglorious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)

Like a couple of other films on this list,Tarantino’s ‘war movie’ had to be included simply on the basis that it is raucously entertaining. That is not to say that the film is lacking artistic merit. The opening sequence along with the bar scene are moments which rival the director’s best work while you have to marvel at his ambition (or arrogance), re-writing the details of the second world war with an explosive conclusion. The film contains memorable performances from Melanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender and the brilliant Cristoph Waltz, shame about the ridiculous casting of Eli Roth.

4. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)

After seeing the rundown London housing estate introduced at the beginning of Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, you would be forgiven for thinking that the film would be a typically British, grimy affair, akin to the director’s debut feature Red Road. Instead, Arnold’s sophomore effort is full of colour and humour, despite the depressing metaphor of the film’s title and conclusion. Mia (Katie Jarvis) has a secret dream of being a famous dancer but is held back by a lack of confidence and articulation, her frustration manifesting itself in adolescent indiscipline. She swears, drinks cider and skips school, only ever happy when able to dance in the seclusion of an abandoned flat. Mia’s relationship with her mother’s mischievous boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender) appears to offer a misguided hint of escape and excitement, making the film something of a council-estate companion piece to the aforementioned An Education.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:39 pm

http://computersareamazing.blogspot.com/2010/01/best-films-of-2009.html

12/30/10
Best Films Of 2009
Posted by Matthew Schlichter

Top Ten (12) List.

Inglourious Basterds
A Tarantino masterpiece and an ode to film and filmmaking. Hilarious, tragic, and beautifully violent. Great acting, brilliant score, superbly written. Tarantino alters history. Great King Kong conversation. This film should easily win all awards in my opinion. Hands down.

Hunger (Technically 2008, but US release 2009)
True story of IRA hunger strike in the 1981. Michael Fassbinder starves himself to death for this role. The real Bobby Sands refused to eat for 66 days and died at age 27. Brutal. Powerful. I also had the privilege to see Steve McQueen's video art installation at the Venice Biannale which was amazing too.
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Re: Michael's movies make top movie lists of the year and decade

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:43 pm

http://www.leftfieldcinema.com/special-top-ten-films-of-2009

Special: Top Ten Films of 2009

(10) Fish Tank

Realism with twinges of lyricism. This is possibly the most accurate way I can summarise the work of Andrea Arnold, she’s not Ken Loach, she’s not Mike Leigh, she is her own woman with her own style and is arguably the best British female writer director working today. Following on from her Academy Award Winning short film and her critically acclaimed feature debut Red Road, Arnold’s sophomore effort is a kinetic and energetic story of a teenage girl, Mia, from the wrong side of the tracks who aspires to be a dancer and wants to escape from her uncaring promiscuous mother and socially dire circumstances but along the way falls for an older man (her mother’s new boyfriend Connor) whose intentions we’re not entirely sure about. The cliché’s are out in force but Arnold manages the rather nifty trick of concealing the failings of her story with an uncompromisingly brutal reality, a sharp sense of humour, stunning performances, perfectly built tension, excellent choice of music and beautiful photography. But whenever the magic of cinema threatens to overwhelm our better judgement (be it through moments of delicately balanced slow motion, or the use of Wong Kar Wai favourite track “California Dreaminin’” which coupled with the Christopher Doyle-esque photography neatly reminds us of Chungking Express and other Wong Kar Wai films) Arnold suddenly plunges us back into reality and reminds us that roses have thorns. The central performance of newcomer Katie Jarvis is extraordinary (although as a non-professional actor whom Arnold discovered when she witnessed her having a heated argument with her boyfriend in a train station, one wonders if the character of Mia is the be all and end all of her dramatic range – only time will tell.) With Michael Fassbinder in supporting duties (playing Connor) it’s hard to fault this film from a performance perspective, indeed the quiet moments between the two aforementioned performers make up some of the best scenes of the year, an uncomfortably erotic seduction sequence is the culmination of palpable sexual tension, an earlier scene see Conner carrying a sleepy Mia to her bed, he gently undresses her and we watch from Mia’s perspective as she pretends to be asleep, the father figure and the lover are mixed with complex results. Later as Connor begins asking if his manhood is bigger than that of another teenage lad Mia is involved with, the reality of the situation is pulled into sharp focus and we’re reminded of the complexities of the situation, for where there was previously romance and potentially love, now there is nothing but an older man lusting after a barely legal teenager. It’s the swiftness of this manoeuvre this is so impressive, Arnold gives the audience a sweet and naive love affair and then remorselessly contorts it into something sinister. Fish Tank isn’t perfect, a rather laboured horse metaphor becomes a tad tiresome in the last act, the point is continually rammed home to the point where its symbolic concealment becomes null and void. Sentimentality begins to override the proceedings in the last movement of the film with a painfully obvious final shot (how this was not excised during the films editing is beyond me). However these momentary lapses in creative judgement do not spoil the overall film, a film which stands proudly as the best British drama of the year.

Conclusion: There were many excellent and exciting films released in 2009, amongst the films that didn’t quite make my top ten are the likes of Park Chan Wook’s macabre erotic vampire film Thirst which was easily his best film since Oldboy, JJ Abrams’ Star Trek which re-invented the franchise once again (you can hear more about that film in my Comparative Analysis of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek which is available on the Left Field Cinema feed.) Darren Aronofsky finally learnt the difference between style and substance this year with his heart-felt character piece The Wrestler, Paolo Sorrentino explored the dark side of Italian politics in Il Divo, one of the most visually extraordinary films of the year. Werner Herzog mesmerised me with his Antarctic-set documentary Encounters at the End of the World. Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s morality tale Three Monkeys was as haunting as it was beautifully shot, Steven Soderbergs relentless Che Part 2 was infinitely better than it’s messy predecessor. Michael Winterbottom’s delicate and personal ghost story Genova is moving and harrowing and Michael Mann’s Public Enemies was easily his best work since The Insider (although I completely understand why many did not warm to the film). As for my top ten it is nice to see a return to form for American cinema after a complete absence in 2008, with both Charlie Kaufman and The Coen Brothers contributing two of the best films.

Of course this list is designed to start debates rather than end them, so if you want to add your top ten of the year and compare it with mine you can do so on the Left Field Cinema forum, I look forward to reading them.

M.Dawson
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