by Adam Hirsch
Another year passed, another crop of films come and gone.
We publish our list now, at the cusp of 2011, because we needed an extra ten days or so to collect our thoughts — and to steal the time and search under the sofa cushions for the extra money to see every possible movie.
The first list you see is the official Company list. Farther down you’ll see all of our individual lists, a special list from Paul, and an explanation of how the Company list was computed.
1. The Social Network
2. Toy Story 3
3. Exit Through The Gift Shop
4. Black Swan
6. The Fighter
7. A Prophet
8. True Grit
9. Winter’s Bone
10. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Jan 07, 2011 | Categories: Adam, round-up, writing | Tags: 127 Hours, A Prophet, Animal Kingdom, Babies, Banksy, Black Swan, Carlos, Dogtooth, Easy A, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Fish Tank, Greenberg, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Henri George Cluzot, HIV/AIDS, Hot Tub Time Machine, I Am Love, I Love You Philip Morris, I'm Still Here, Inception, Inferno, Kick Ass, Runaway, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Somewhere, The Company, The Fighter, The Girl on the Train, The Kids are All Right, The King's Speech, The Social Network, The Strange Case of Angelica, The Tillman Story, Top Ten, Toy Story 3, Tron: Legacy, True Grit, Uncle Boonmee, White Material, Winter's Bone, Youth in Revolt |
True Grit, dir. Joel & Ethan Coen (2010)
My previous opinions on this blog can attest to my cagey relationship with the Coen Brothers. Some films—like The Big Lebowski—stand out as undeniably great, while others—anything from Miller’s Crossing to No Country for Old Men—seem a little too content with their supposed perfection for me to find them genuinely good. True Grit, though, appears to demonstrate a new direction for the Coen Brothers. (more…)
by Jake Teresi
I fear this may seem late, but, really, what have I missed so far? You should be thankful I didn’t get your hopes up about The American, which seemed to have a lot going for it, but which opened last week to mediocre reviews.
Never Let Me Go (limited September 15)
Music video director Mark Romanek adapts the first Kazuo Ishiguro novel since 1993′s The Remains of the Days. Going from Jay-Z’s 99 Problems to a high literature is an odd transition no doubt, but, judging from the trailer, he might bring to the film the visual flair that the Merchant Ivory literary adaptations of the 80′s and 90′s lacked. The film is populated by a renowned but not haughty cast of Carey Mulligan (abandon Shia LeBeouf, for godsakes), Keira Knightley, and Happy Go Lucky‘s brilliant Sally Hawkins.
The Town (September 17)
Wide-releases in September don’t get much better than this. Ben Affleck’s follow-up to the surprisingly powerful Gone, Baby, Gone returns again to Eastern Massachusetts (which was portrayed gloomily but perfectly by Affleck before). With excellent casting – Jon Hamm finally stepping out of the 60′s and on to the screen, Jeremy Renner post-Hurt Locker, and the always reliably crooked Chris Cooper – a compelling thriller structure and the potential of the plot not tripping over itself in the third act like Baby, this could be the film of the year.Wall Street 2: Money Never Dies (September 24)
I want to not promote this movie because of Shia LeBeouf, but, despite my belief that he is overused and untalented and undeserving of Carey Mulligan’s affections, I have to admit it’s a fairly inspired use of him here, although who overlooked Joseph L-G? Much has already been said about the perfect timing of this movie and of Oliver Stone’s much awaited return to form, and I won’t repeat it here (having just done exactly that). And watch out for Josh Brolin, genius.
Waiting for “Superman” (limited September 24)
I hate the presumably legal “quotation.” We’re not going to mistake this for the sequel to Superman Returns, which, if it ever comes out, should be avoided like the plague. Getting past this negativity, let me give this little, important documentary some buzz for our couple dozen readers: My friend saw this at Sundance and said it was the best documentary she had seen in years. Unfortunately, it merely adds to the laundry list of needed national reforms – but education, of course, is a fucking crucial one. Can you picture an even dumber generation? Fortunately, Shia LeBeouf is not approached by the documentarians for his opinion on the subject.
The Social Network (October 1)
When it was announced a Facebook movie was in the making and would be directed by David Fincher, I was puzzled. It seemed as implausible and far-fetched as a Monopoly movie produced by Spielberg. I wasn’t aware of the scandals that erupted out of its creation, which, if you go by the trailer, seem pretty intriguing. I thought it was frivolous at the time, but, really, thinking about it, Facebook is one of the most interesting and important inventions of the last decade. By putting the entire social experience of college [and high school] online, it dominates our culture and shapes our collective unconscious. This is Fincher’s chance to retreat from the Academy’s good graces and make up to his fans for the ill-conceived Benjamin Button.
Inside Job (limited October 15)
Here’s a real thriller. Turns out the economic meltdown was easily avoidable, if only Matt Damon narrated in our heads and not just in scandal-docs. Director Charles Ferguson (the excellent No End in Sight) interviews everyone from George Soros to prostitute-enthusiast Eliot Spitzer to uncover the truth and get us angrier than ever. It’s the last in a year of economic documentaries (Casino Jack, Freakonomics, We Want Your Money) but may be one worth waiting for, as it was voted best film of Cannes.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1 (November 19)
The movies have been progressively getting better, Emma Watson’s been developing nicely, and the last book is easily the best. It’s also in 3D, and one can hardly wait to see Ron Weasley’s raging erection popping out of the screen.
Black Swan (limited December 3)
After seeing that trailer, how can you resist? Without being sure whether it’s a gripping work of art or the hokiest guilty pleasure of the season, I was thoroughly mesmerized. More Requiem for a Dream/The Fountain in style than The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky still considers it a companion piece to his last, seeing as both are centered in worlds that require demanding performances, though he seems to have thrown out the Dardennesque gritty realism for psychological nightmarish fantasy. Almost all reviews coming out of Venice have suggested the film displays Arofonsky’s distinct talent, though the Hollywood Reporter claims it is indeed a “guilty pleasure, a gorgeously shot, visually complex film whose badness is what’s so good about it.” This is not to be missed – it is a film that will be loved and hated, but will, most importantly, incite discussion.
True Grit (December 25)
I’ll say that I’m both turned off by the fact this is a remake of a famous Western and such fodder for next year’s awards ceremonies – I mean, come on, it’s the Coen Bros., it’s a remake of a famous film that won John Wayne best Actor, it stars academy favorites Josh Brolin, Matt Damon, and last year’s winner Jeff Bridges, and it opens on fucking Christmas. Of course, that’s no reason to believe it won’t be fabulous.
Another Year (limited December 29)
English director Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, Topsy Turvy, Vera Drake, Happy Go Lucky) is nothing if not consistent. He reunites here with Turvy’s Jim Broadbent and Drake’s Imelda Staunton for an ensemble comedy that looks at the loneliness and narrowing options that come with growing old. Reviews have been stellar, but that’s no surprise.
NOTE: I’m upset that these films that are all either American or English, but that’s how it goes this season, I suppose. Julian Schnabel’s Miral is a letdown, as is ZImou’s remake of Blood Simple, and Biutiful, after Babel, I can’t muster enthusiasm for.