Editor | Nick Dawson
Alphabetical Movie Favorites
Posted November 07, 2008
The latest fun film blogging meme doing the rounds is the Alphabetical Favorites list, picking 26 films going from A to Z. It’s something of a challenge, and one involving creativity and the need to accept compromise, but here goes anyway…
Firstly, I should lay out my own personal parameters for this list. It should be noted that I do not have a list of every film I have ever watched, nor do I have a hard and fast list of favorite films. As a result, the films selected below are pretty much off the cuff, and not an empirical group in any sense. Ultimately, the criterion I used to choose the titles below was not so much their “greatness” or place in the canon, but rather the desire I felt to watch them again. Immediately. And, in many cases, I surprised myself by what I chose.
Andrei Rublev – Andrei Takovsky, 1966
Breathless (A Bout de Souffle) – Jean-Luc Godard, 1960
Chinatown – Roman Polanski, 1974
Days of Heaven – Terrence Malick, 1978
Eureka - Shinji Aoyama, 2000
Finally, Lillian and Dan - Mike Gibisser, 1999
George Washington – David Gordon Green, 2000
Hana-bi (Fireworks) – Takeshi Kitano, 1997
ivansxtc – Bernard Rose, 2000
julien donkey-boy – Harmony Korine, 1999
Klute – Alan J. Pakula, 1971
L.A. Confidential – Curtis Hanson, 1997
M - Fritz Lang, 1931
The Night of the Hunter – Charles Laughton, 1955
Oldboy - Park Chan-wook, 2003
Primer - Shane Carruth, 2004
Quills – Phil Kaufman, 2000
Reconstruction – Christoffer Boe, 2003
Simple Men – Hal Hartley, 1992
The Town is Quiet (La Ville Est Tranquille) – Robert Guédiguian, 2000
Under the Sand (Sous Le Sable) – François Ozon, 2000
The Vanishing (Spoorloos) – George Sluizer, 1988
The Warrior – Asif Kapadia, 2001
X-Men – Bryan Singer, 2000
You Can’t Take It With You – Frank Capra, 1938
Zamani Barayé Masti Asbha (A Time for Drunken Horses) - Bahman Ghobadi, 2000
Here are some more examples:
Karina Longworth @ SpoutBlog
Vinyl Is Heavy
The Film Doctor
Only the Cinema
Also I’d be interested in reading your comments or your own lists below.
[UPDATE] A full list of the over 100 Alphabet meme lists is available at Blog Cabins.
Updated November 05, 2008
The Film Community Speaks Out on President Obama
Posted November 05, 2008
With the exception of bloggers like Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeffrey Wells and David Poland of The Hot Blog, the online film community tends to stay on topic and not write particularly much about politics. Now, though, in the wake of President-Elect Barack Obama’s historic election victory, people are speaking out.
In a piece entitled “Euphoria,” critic and scholar Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote the following:
“We’ve finally elected a grownup. ...The major triumph, at least potentially, isn’t left over right but unity over disunity. Which means that President Obama is bound to do some things that will distress his more progressive supporters as well as other things that will upset his detractors. His Lincolnesque brief—to end another Civil War, or at least to call a cease-fire—virtually guarantees this. But assuming that it’s still possible to think and act and feel together, it’s a hopeful start.”
For another giant of film writing, David Bordwell, his post named “A New Hope” was simply a recent picture he took of Obama out campaigning. (Tom Hall at the Back Row Manifesto, Edward Copeland and Matt Dentler also felt that images spoke more than words, with Dentler showing himself celebrating in NYC with Fred Armisen, who plays Obama on Saturday Night Live.)
The feeling of overwhelming hope was palpable as the country (including Like Anna Karina’s Sweater’s Filmbrain) absorbed the enormity of Tuesday night’s result:
“Something happened in America last night I honestly didn't think possible. After eight miserable, frustrating, wretched years of tyranny, lies, hypocrisy, ignorance, greed, corruption, and blatant contempt for those of us in the reality-based community, the American people overwhelmingly said, enough. The dark years are truly over. Last night my cynicism melted away, and for the first time in an extremely long time I felt proud to be an American. We're looking forwards for a change, not back.”
For film critic Joe Leydon, writing at MovingPictureBlog, his response to Obama’s win was placed in a historical context:
“Segregated schools. “Whites Only” water fountains. Blacks compelled to sit on the back of the bus. TV news bulletins about civil rights workers found buried in shallow graves. Newspaper ads for In the Heat of the Night that used silhouettes, so you couldn't tell a black man was a protagonist.
I am 56 years old and I grew up in the South, in New Orleans, so you know I have living memories of all these things. But do you have any idea how amazed and exuberant – and, yes, how very proud – I am tonight? Can you imagine how much more I love my country than I already did before?”
Another very personal response came from Andrew Bemis, writing at Cinevistaramascope:
“The true measure of an election is what it says about us, and tonight is, for me, resounding proof that in America, change is not only possible, it's happening. Thanks, America, and don't let this be a fluke - let it be a beginning… I can sleep more soundly knowing that the world Luna and Tommy are growing up in makes a little bit more sense tonight.”
Last but not least, at GreenCine Daily, the tireless David Hudson collects together more Obama-related links – including The Guardian’s recommendations for Obama’s moviewatching – while elsewhere on the site there's a post on the current Politics & Movies Blog-a-Thon.
[Hat-tip: Michael Tully at Boredom at Its Boredest]
Joaquin Hangs It Up
Posted November 04, 2008
Last week, Joaquin Phoenix – the star of Walk the Line, Gladiator and Focus Features’ Reservation Road – announced that he was quitting acting. Typically for the reclusive and often somewhat eccentric actor, his statement left people more confused than anything else. Speaking to a TV entertainment reporter at a benefit event for the late Paul Newman’s charity Association of Hole in the Wall Camps while sporting a heavy beard and dark glasses, Phoenix said the following:
"I want to take this opportunity... also to give you the exclusive and just talk a little bit about the fact that this will be my last performance as an actor... I'm not doing films anymore."
When asked "Are you serious?," Phoenix said, "Yeah. I'm working on my music. I'm done. I've been through that." Fellow actor Casey Affleck, who was accompanying Phoenix to the event, confirmed that he was genuine in his sentiments.
A few days later, at the premiere of Two Lovers – a film which is ostensiby Phoenix’s last – the actor cryptically underlined his decision to quit. In what appeared to be a partial reference to Night of the Hunter, Phoenix showed TV camera crews and ranks of paparazzi his knuckles, on which were written the words “GOOD” and “BYE!”
Though he initially made his acting debut almost a quarter of a century ago in the 1984 ABC After School Special Backwards: The Riddle Of Dyslexia, Phoenix has seldom seemed comfortable as a high profile star and has frequently abstained from doing much press, indicating that he did not enjoy talking about the processes behind his work. In light of the positive reaction his singing in Walk the Line received, it is understandable that Phoenix would see this as a logical direction for his career to go in.
Additionally, I think it is important to note that last week there were two important milestones that may have affected Phoenix’s decision. Firstly, he turned 34, and – as we noted on the site – last Friday was the 15th anniversary of the death of his brother, River Phoenix, a brilliant young actor who failed to handle life in the Hollywood spotlight.