by Jake Teresi
At the NYFF premiere I attended, director Charles Ferguson said he set out to make Inside Job a “blockbuster” of documentaries, a film suited for mass consumption so as to be a call-to-arms. Certainly the B-roll he meshes between talking heads – sweeping, infinitesimally textured pans of the NYC skyline, sprawling factories, all shot on the RED – is as gorgeously epic as anything shot in the last couple years, and the beautiful score is no afterthought, but I still fear the film may be too dense to reach the same population that has swallowed up 2012 and Clash of the Titans in droves.
That’s not all a bad thing. (more…)
by Adam Hirsch
Now, on this snowy New Year’s Eve, it’s a better time than ever to reflect back on the year and select our choices for the best cinematic efforts in 2009.
Myself, Peter Warren, Brian Barth, Giampaolo Bianconi, Jake Teresi and Matt Paley all wrote down our Top-10 lists (although Matt, in an uncharacteristically cynical move, declined to offer a full 10). There were ten films overlapping our choices, and, ranked by frequency, comprise the final top-10 list.
Up (Dir. Pete Doctor) — 5 Votes
The Hurt Locker (Dir. Kathryn Bigelow) — 5 Votes
A Serious Man (Dirs. Joel and Ethan Coen) — 4 Votes
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Dir. Wes Anderson) — 3 Votes
Up In The Air (Dir. Jason Reitman) — 3 Votes
Inglorious Basterds (Dir. Quentin Tarantino) — 2 Votes
Lorna’s Silence (Dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne) — 2 Votes
Where The Wild Things Are (Dir. Spike Jonze) — 2 Votes
The Road (Dir. John Hillcoat) — 2 Votes
Sugar (Dir. Anna Boden) — 2 Votes (more…)
by Jake Teresi
(a few spoilers here)
Yesterday Curb Your Enthusiasm wrapped its season-long Seinfeld reunion arc. We hadn’t seen any of the characters since May of 1998, when the much despised finale aired, but I’ll be surprised if any Seinfeld fan was let down this time (I’m not, however, surprised Giampaolo was displeased by 2012–I advised not to go!)
I was hesitant about the reunion considering Curb Your Enthusiasm had refrained from ever getting too Seinfeld-meta over its 7 seasons, effectively making the show its own thing instead of feeling like a spin-off (remember Joey?) At its best, it is edgier, rawer, and funnier than Seinfeld ever was, thanks to HBO’s creative freedom. In previous seasons, Seinfeld was a topic of consternation to “Larry David” and we believed it was the same for the real Larry David. The Seinfeld arc felt like a sell-out.
It wasn’t. Here were the 5 biggest surprises:
It’s Sunday night, and Mad Men won’t be around until next August. I know what you’re thinking—-what am I going to do with all this time? In honor of 2012, why not revisit Sigmund Freud’s 1915 text, “Thoughts for the Times on War and Death.” It touches on the difficulties of imagining our own death—-and, somehow, sheds light on why a filmic imagining of our own death will always require our survival.
In an interview with USA Today, Roland Emmerich announced that 2012 would be his last disaster movie. “I said to myself that I’ll do one more disaster movie,” he explained. “But it has to end all disaster movies. So I packed everything in.” The film is meant to serve not only as the end of the world, but as the end of a genre and the end of a chapter in Emmerich’s career.
What’s bizarre about 2012 is that the scope of the disaster is so immense and the characters are so close to death that the necessities of the genre itself become all that matters. There are pretenses here, to be sure—but the only logic is the logic of Hollywood itself. As Woody Harrelson says in the film, “This is a plot that only could have been hatched in Hollywood.”