Monday, July 5, 2010

Best of far.

Although one is to assume that the best is yet to come, especially in fly-over land, here's eight that have resonated with me (alphabetically):

Alamar directed by Pedro González-Rubio (MSPIFF)

Cold Weather directed by Aaron Katz (Sound Unseen International Duluth)

Exit Through the Gift Shop directed by Banksy (Uptown Theater)

I Am Love directed by Luca Guadagnino (MSPIFF)

October Country directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher (Sound Unseen International Duluth)

Petition—The Court of the Compaintant directed by Zhao Liang (Walker Art Center)

Putty Hill directed by Matthew Porterfield (Sound Unseen International Duluth)

Shutter Island directed by Martin Scorsese (St Anthony Main)

And to give credit where credit is due, films from last year that me no saw 'til this year:

Home directed by Ursula Meier (MSPIFF)

Inferno directed by Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea (MSPIFF)

Police, Adjective directed by Corneliu Porumboiu (Lagoon Theater)

And finally some repertory Discoveries:

Detective Brenner Series: Come, Sweet Death (2000), Silentium (2004), The Bone Man (2009) directed by Wolfgang Murnberger (St Anthony Main)

Marguerite Duras Films: Destroy, She Said (1969), Nathalie Granger (1972), India Song (1975) (Walker Art Center)

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) directed by F.W. Murnau (The Heights Theater)

Seven Intellectual in a Bamboo Forest (2003-2007) directed by Yang Fudong (Walker Art Center)


Sandy Nawrot said...

I had no expectations of recognizing ANY of these on your list, but am pleased that Shutter Island got some love. That was a fine couple hours of entertainment!

YTSL said...

Hi Kathie --

Have seen just two films on your list. Didn't care that much for "Home" but definitely share your high estimation of "Police, Adjective".

And, okay, I have to ask: have you been watching fewer Asian films than other continents' or is it that few have impressed this year?

Kathie Smith said...

YTSL, after posting this list, I have to admit that I had to ask myself the same question about the lack of Asian films... To be fair I haven't seen many new Asian films and there is the inevitable lag time. The other problem is that I give what I can see in the theater priority (rather than the stacks of DVDs I am way behind on) and the sad reality is that few Asian films make it into theaters here. I need to catch up! Recommendations please!

Daniel Getahun said...

Ah, the year that got away. I've seen exactly one of these (Shutter Island, which, well, I didn't really care for), and am still mad that I missed Alamar at MSPIFF.

Here's to a better second half.

And in local news, I'd like to give three cheers to St. Anthony Main for delivering on the limited release scene. I'd been tracking this movie Teza for like a year and it's coming there next week on what is only I think its third U.S. stop.

Also, nice new digs! I especially love the mesmerizing globe.

Erik McClanahan said...

Fantastic list Kathie, except for Shutter Island, which I may give another watch, but I wasn't really buying what Marty was selling with that one. The first time a Scorsese film truly disappointed me. Oh well. I dig the new site design. Much warmer :)

So by my account, as weak a year as this has been thus far for movies, at least for mainstream stuff, you can always trust the arthouse. I've seen some great films already at this point. My top 5 at the moment (subject to change of course):

1.) Dogtooth
2.) Exit Through the Gift Shop
3.) Valhalla Rising
4.) Alamar
5.) I'm Here

Honorable mentions (I love all these too, so they could move up at year's end): The Good, the Bad, the Weird; Terribly, Happy; A Town Called Panic; Red Riding Trilogy; Down Terrace; Cold Weather; How to Train Your Dragon (in 3D); The Bone Man

Kathie Smith said...

Daniel, I would totally second St Anthony/MFA's efforts. They are filling a very important gap in town. Maybe they will bring Alamar back.

I would be hesitant to put Shutter Island on this list if I hadn't seen in twice in the span of a couple of day just to confirm how much I liked it. Ironically, it's the first Scorsese that hasn't disappointed me since like Goodfellas. Seriously.

Erik, I'm pining for Dogtooth. I'll see it by hook or crook, but hopefully MFA will pull through on that one. Red Riding was one I missed while it was here. And what's the word on I'm Here? Is that think going to get released?

Discussion like this always gets me exited of whats to come! I'll have to say that Winter's Bone and Trash Humpers, which I saw over the weekend have also left an impression for very very different reasons!

YTSL said...

Hi again Kathie --

As per your request (all 2010 releases):-

From Hong Kong:-

GALLANTS - nostalgic tribute to old school kung fu heroes

ONCE A GANGSTER - comic take on the "goo wat jai" (triad) films, with Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan pairing up once more after all these years...

FIRE OF CONSCIENCE - crime drama that has to be seen for the first 2/3rds of the movie... too bad the last 1/3rd prevents it from being a genuine masterpiece

From elsewhere:-

KYOTO STORY (I have a short review of this Japanese homage to Kyoto as part of my HK International Film Festival coverage)

APART TOGETHER (Mainland Chinese tearjerker starring Lisa Lu and a couple of other veteran thespians -- also have a short review on my blog as part of my HKIFF coverage)

MONGA (Taiwan - reviewed on my blog)

ABOUT HER BROTHER (Japan) - another Yoji Yamada gem, this one inspired by -- and, to my mind, an improvement on - Kon Ichikawa's "Her Brother" (1960)

Kathie Smith said...

YTSL! Gold! Thank you! I did actually read about these on your blog, but, uh, promptly forgot... I need to take more notes! I will say that I am planning on going to the Vancouver International Film Festival in the fall and am hoping that will be an opportunity to catch up on some under-the-radar Asian releases. Thanks again.

Sam C. Mac said...

Man, people really don't like "Shutter Island."

I'm with Kathie -- wondered if it would hold up on a second viewing, went to see it again and boy did it.

The reason for that, to me mind, is that it doesn't hinge on the twist, and I think the impact the movie has on you only intensifies the sooner you figure out that twist. It's the emotional blowback, and Leo's ability to sell it, which the film rests on. And damn if Leo didn't convince me too, both times.

So yeah, Scorsese pulled himself out of a decade long rut (at least) and Leo actually convinced me he has gravitas as an actor for basically the first time. I'd say "Shutter Island" is not only one of the best films of the year, but maybe the most surprising.

Kathie Smith said...

Obviously, I'm totally with you on Shutter Island Sam. The mixed reviews also made me doubt my first impressions, and I went back to it two days later for a second viewing. That second viewing sealed it for me. And, you're right, the twist is not paramount to the gravity of the film. And I will also say that the big reveal - and its very literal exposition - represents to me some very brave (and self assured) filmmaking.

With it's recent release on Blu-ray, I was actually going to watch it again and get some of my thoughts down before they fade.