Premise: This list includes only films that had a 2013 release date according to IMDb. If you’re stunned that some films aren’t on this list it’s probably because they are on the 2012 list. My top ten will probably change and be updated, as more (foreign) films get released. As of right now I still haven’t seen Sono Sion’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, Catherine Breillat’s Abus de faiblesse and Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto. Yes, that last one was included purely because of the family name. Continue reading
I’m sure every year cinephiles all over the world are heartbroken or at the very least bummed that their favorite films of the year weren’t even considered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I still naively hope that it will get better the next year and that they might get it “right”, but it’s useless. I stopped believing that the 9-10 Best Pictures nominees represent the years best films. I don’t even watch all of the nominees anymore, just the ones that look interesting. Continue reading
Finally in. The much awaited Oscar Nominations! Take a look at the list below and let me know what you think. Do you agree with the Academy? Did they leave out anything you absolutely wanted to see on this list? Is it better or worse than other years or about on par? Just let me know what your thoughts are, I am very curious. The official Oscar Ceremony will take place March 2nd, 2014 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting the show, so it should be good. Continue reading
A lot of good movies this week, so good, there’s not one but two picks of the week!
Nashville (1975) – 7 (IMDb 7.6) – Drama, Music (USA)
Robert Altman’s own Roma. Nashville is about the city of music. It’s a fascinating odyssey, where you meet a variety of characters, different stories and they’re all connected and intertwined, but not in a cheesy/forced way. It’s very organic and you get a good sense of who everyone is by the end of the film, although the film seems almost “detached”, for lack of a better word. There is also some political message, which is a bit annoying, but since it serves the story at least it’s not thrown in there just ’cause. All in all a good film, great performances, good music (and I’m not even into country music) and a lot of dialogue. By the way this has to be one of the most “American” films I’ve ever seen.
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex *But Were Afraid To Ask (1972) – 7 (IMDb 6.8) – Comedy (USA)
Hilarious sex-comedy by writer and director Woody Allen. This film is divided in a handful of sketches all trying to answer (one way or another) sex-related questions. Of course none of them are to be taken seriously, but Woody Allen just has fun with it. He stars in every other segment and it’s consistently funny (except for maybe one segment) and at times genius (the black & white TV bit). Certainly something lighthearted and slap-sticky, but it works for me. There’s even a creature-feature segment with a giant tit terrorizing a small town. I love how this film manages to be charming and fun without being vulgar. There’s no nudity and yet the film can remain poignant and topical, because Woody’s humor is not gross. Take notes contemporary comedians: This is how you do it!
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Before Midnight (2013) – 8 (IMDb 8.5) – Drama, Romance (USA)
The Shining (1980) – 8.5 (IMDb 8.5) – Horror (USA)
Raise Your Voice (2004) – 7 (IMDb 5.5) – Music, Romance (USA)
This was a favorite of mine when I was younger. I still like it today, but for totally different reasons. I think the drama in this film is exaggerated, but Sean McNamara’s crazy video-clip style is so committed that his vision is contagious. Sure, it’s over-the-top cheesy and campy, the romance clearly only exists in the context of this film, but there is a sense of honest joy and passion for filmmaking and loving hollywood films. I can’t deny that this would be a guilty pleasure of mine, but I don’t believe in the term. When I like something I don’t feel guilty, I feel good. This film is about a young girl (Hilary Duff) believing in her dreams. Of course we know it’s not as easy as in movies, but films are also here to make us dream a little. By the way, the Italian title for this film is (literally translated) Born to Win (Nata per vincere). Those who have seen the film will know it’s not that fitting.
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Il Giardino Dei Finzi-Contini (1970) – 8 (IMDb 7.4) – Drama, Romance (Italy)
Yesterday they screened this film for free in Locarno (Switzerland) as part of the pre-festival. Arthur Cohn (producer) and Lino Capolicchio (actor) were present and shared a interesting stories on the film and working with Vittorio De Sica (before being brutally interrupted by rude hosts). The film is great. It’s about a Jewish family in Italy during WW2, so it’s very sad, but also very romantic, because it’s about these two young adults who are in love with each other ever since they were kids. However it doesn’t ever really seem to be working out for them. Great use of color cinematography (and I’m not a fan of the 70s aesthetic), fantastic performances, inspired great directors such as Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List) and Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums). It won awards (Oscar & Golden Bear), it’s historically relevant (as an Italian I feel like we tend to forget we helped the nazis) and it’s beautifully sad. It doesn’t use voice-over and knows when no words need to be spoken. The music is maybe a bit too sentimental, but other than that it’s just a great film, but clearly a depressing one, because what it’s showing is based on an autobiography by Giorgio Bassani.
Other than these films, I also managed to watch a great brand new short by Tim Buel called Summer Home. Without giving anything away: He shot and edited this film during his vacations, with his iPhone. It looks great, he keeps getting better and better visually. The title sequence reminds me of the new Evil Dead. The score, as he says, was inspired by Ennio Morricone’s work on The Thing (1982) and I actually thought it had giallo-esque tones, even before he confirmed my intuition on The Golden Briefcase podcast (excellent show). It’s a home invasion film (he loves the sub-genre and films like You’re Next). the only scene I want to mention is the beginning, because it feels very real, natural and true, and to me that is one of the highest thing you can achieve in cinema. Like Vittorio De Sica always said: You don’t famous or even professional actors to make a good film.
Without over-hyping it for you, check it out and also look for his 15 seconds Instagram shorts under #15secondsofhorror (genius idea) and join in on the fun making your own horror shorts!
That’s it for this week’s round-up on everything I’ve seen. Let me know if you enjoy these films. What you think of Tim’s short(s) or just what good movies you watched last week!
See you next time,
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and his son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) are saying goodbye to each other at the airport. Hank is returning to his mother in Chicago after spending the summer holidays in Greece with his father. Jesse feels that he is being a bad parent, living in Paris, while his kid is growing up with his alcoholic ex-wife. Jesse is a writer, Céline (Julie Delpy), his girlfriend is considering a job offer. After meeting in Europe nineteen years ago and then losing sight of each other, only to find themselves again they are finally couple now and they have twin girls. Their holiday in Greece seems to be going well, but then Jesse brings up the fact that he wants to spend more time with his son. Céline deduces that he wants to move to Chicago and feels that she would have to give up her job opportunity. The whole thing escalates into a huge emotional fight where everything that has been bubbling beneath the surface finally comes out, questioning their love and relationship. Continue reading