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…)
Up in the Air, dir. Jason Reitman (2009)
There was a time when the kinesis depicted in Up in the Air was synonymous with rebellion. The life lead by Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) in the film is not so dissimilar from, say, the life of the unnamed protagonist in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up. Despite the necessary divergences, both signify the triumph of mobility. In Antonioni’s film, David Hemmings takes pleasure is his perpetual motion, rootlessness, and cruelty; his lack of relationships or even identity. Bingham is peripatetic in a more obvious sense: he movies through the gleaming, super-sanitary corridor of international travel and identical airport Hiltons; the film makes it painfully crystalline that this “lifestyle” has distanced him from everyone he knows. He takes an almost melancholy pride in the difficulty of his heatless job—travelling around the country to fire people. Despite the “miles” he’s so proud to have racked up—ten million by the end of the film—it would be fair to say that he hasn’t moved at all. The homogeneity of airports and hotels and the ubiquitous “lounge” ensures that all of Bingham’s movement is merely illusory. What Up in the Air signifies is the transformation of movement from an element of vibrant, youthful counterculture to a way of life for millions of corporate cogs. (more…)
by Jake Teresi
This is the time of the year when the big passion-projects come out–films that either soar (Lord of the Rings, Million Dollar Baby) or sorely disappoint (All the Pretty Horses, Ali, Alexander). It’s Oscar season, but you wouldn’t know it from the year-end mainstream releases, many of which hope to be THE hit Christmas movie. Don’t believe the hype: Sherlock Holmes will be mostly air, It’s Complicated won’t work out (just stop, Nancy Meyers) and were you actually going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel? There won’t be much to see for a while besides Avatar, unless you live in a town with an independent cinema, until some of the indies start to expand.
Here are a half dozen movies I GUARANTEE are worth seeking out: (more…)