Good to know we’re still alive after Doomsday (our millennial demise still awaits us!). Overall, it’s been an…interesting year at the movies for me. Oscar season showed me at the cinemas taking a hard left when others went right. Who’s that tool who liked Jack Reacher and This is 40, and not Django Unchained or Zero Dark Thirty? Sigh, find me guilty. (continue reading…)
As per usual, it’s a slow start to the year. Chances are NONE of these will make my top 10 after Oscar season and the Toronto Film Festival makes its mark. I see this as a positive. There is quality to come. Having said that, there have been some diamond in the roughs so far this year. The films below are ones that serve as that light at the end of a dreary season-and-a-half of moviegoing… (continue reading…)
The eclectic offerings in 2011 films have harnessed a debatable soundbite: “this is the best year in movies since 1999!” My, really? Were there films in 2011 that sized up 1999 masterworks like Eyes Wide Shut, American Beauty, Fight Club, and Magnolia? Well, now my postmodern compunction sets in to remind me that everything is subjective so I should stop stirring the empty pot of objectivity. Oh, alright. Let’s dodge the buzzwords and cut to the chase: Yes, I “subjectively” think this has been a great year in movies, but of course – up here in the North – sunny days aren’t cherished without the rainy ones. I’ve seen a lot of crap this year, but the ratio – unlike the last few years – is in favor of the good. Just like your typical Marvel movie (ugh, too many of those this year!), 2011 showed greatness triumphing evil. My superhero is the Iron (Reclusive) Giant Terrence Malick, but I know you disagree. (continue reading…)
Great scenes exist outside of great movies. It is possible, yes, that they can populate terrible movies (“Low Rider” sequence in Gone in 60 Seconds, anyone?). “Great scenes” envelop their own singular world, one that evokes different energies and feelings that its movie may not even know of itself. My favourite “great scenes” are the ones that go over your head, that might appear as “just two guys talking,” but is really a defining moment (There Will Be Blood is full of those). (continue reading…)
I was talking to an acquaintance of mine the other day. I asked him what were the worst films he had seen this year. He drew blank, and then darted back at me that he doesn’t have time for bad movies. If he hears a movie is awful, he will shrewdly avoid it. Apt logic. I don’t know, I’ve often asked myself why I (sometimes) go to movies even when I knew I am in for a cascade of crap. It’s not that I want to hate a film to feel better about myself – as a filmmaker and film critic. It’s that bad cinema is just as educational as good or even masterful cinema. It tells you what not to do, and how to not do it. We need to be grateful for these films. If not, the world would be too perfect. And who likes perfect? So here we are with my list… (continue reading…)
Lots of great, original movies to take a peak at this year at TIFF. Here’s my picks for the ones you should be first in line for:
A Dangerous Method: Canadian director David Cronenberg’s new film about Freud (Viggo Mortensen) in his pupil days as he treats a troubled patient (Keira Knightley). Cronenberg loves films about the conflicted identity and this could another great one, another work to add to his “superego.” Michael Fassbender also stars as Freud’s teacher Carl Jung. (continue reading…)
This is the year of sequels, so I was not expecting much. After a depressing Stanley Cup game I chose to reflect back on some better times this year when I found some great treasures at the theatres. I also re-asserted my depression by recalling the horrible ones too. Enjoy, and drink up Bruins fans.
Best of 2011…So Far.
In spirit of Portman’s first Oscar (I remember her when she was a youngling in Leon: The Professional), I composed my top 10 of best female performances. Ever.
10. Julianne Moore in Boogie Nights: it’s perhaps the only role on this list that wittingly plays a caricature and draws greater sketches around it. Moore embodies wisdom, lust, delusions, and empathy out of a porn star who is a junkie, erratic, and a little incestuous. She epitomizes the mother/guardian figure prominent in PT Anderson films.
9. Corinne Marchand in Cleo from 5 to 7: It’s not my favourite film, but it is manifested through the role of the classic woman in the context to 1960s decolonization. It represents the fear of the savage, foreign, and reflects much of its prejudices through the glance of a woman. Marchand has a passivity to her, but when confronted by death, Marchand’s Cleo becomes a performance of authentic heights in femininity. (continue reading…)