by Brian Barth
I went to see The Road (2009) today. I went to see it alone–a new experience for me that I’m now sure to repeat. I found it liberating because I didn’t have to come up with an opinion to defend afterward; instead, I let it simmer while I watched another film at the Landmark theater (something only possible when alone). I kept coming back to the scenes in the underground bunker with all of the food and the cellar stocked with starving people–food for cannibals. It reminded me of Fallout 3, a video game that I had beaten a month ago. And then pirates. (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…)
One of the most harrowing moments in The Road comes early, when the boy’s father (Viggo Mortensen) reminds him how to kill himself: put the gun in your mouth, aim upwards, and pull the trigger. When the time comes you’re gonna have to do it just like everybody else. The moment perfectly encapsulates the film’s unpretentious bleakess. I must seem to you like I’m from another world, the father tells his son. Mortensen’s pale, emaciated body carries encyclopedic knowledge of a world that has passed to ruins—when he dies, it will die also, making room for the innocence of the child (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and his overwhelming humanity. It’s something, we’re reminded at the end of the film, the father may have been close to forgetting. (more…)