Episode 52 – Season 1 wrap up.
With not only the summer coming to an end but also our first season, Simon and I decided to sort out our top 10 films of the year “so far“. We sat down and quickly gave our audience a break down of each pick while we reminisced on the long and bumpy road that brought us to 52 shows!
Unfortunately if you did not tune in live Thursday August 7th, you missed our season 1 finale. We regret to inform you that due to technical problems and a break in electricity, the show’s recording was lost. However we did decide to post our list for anyone interested. Feel free to read through it and send us some feedback. Hopefully at least one of our listeners will find this helpful.
Ricky’s top 10
10 – My Winnipeg
Directed by Guy Maddin
Guy Maddin’s weird, beautiful, funny and entertaining look at his hometown.
It’s a re-creation of Maddin’s childhood with actors playing his family, including the legendary Ann Savage (Detour) as his mom! Maddin narrates providing a documentary-like background look on Winnipeg and its history. If you don`t want to take my word than how about that of Roger Ebert who says …
If you love movies in the very sinews of your imagination, you should experience the work of Guy Maddin
One of the best B movies in years. It gets under your skin, makes you laugh, look away, grip your seat and scream. Based on a real event in 2001 in which a woman in Fort Worth, Texas, was believed to be driving drunk when she struck Gregory Biggs, a homeless man, who became lodged in her car’s windshield. She returned home, locked the car in the garage, and left the man to die. Directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) and starring Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea.
8- Tout Est Parfait
Reminissant of the works of Larry Clark and Gus Van Sant. This film builds a convincing portrait of a teenage boy living in a ghetto neighborhood in Quebec as he tries to come to terms with his best friend`s suicides. When all four of the kids kill themselves on the very same day, the family, friends and townspeople try to unravel the reasoning behind the suicides. Everything is Fine is the first time feature by French Canadian director Yves Christian Fournier. A killer soundtrack, some great photography and a vary talented cast across the board make this film worthy of a second or third viewing. And the director still manages to throw in a twist to the tail which makes sense of the preceding actions.
A brilliant horror / thriller which may start slow but eventually speeds up to a fever pitch of complete and utter terror and hysteria.The second act, is heart-stopping and caused many viewers in Spain’s theatres to pass out when the set pieces begin to explode from nowhere at an incredibly fast pace. But it’s the third act that will truly test your courage. The final fifteen minutes had the girl behind us crying and begging for the movie to end. It is now remade and titled Quarantine. The Remake is set for release sometime in the fall.
If anything this is a must see – horror fan or not simply for the experience.
6- Wall- E
How could you not love Walle-E?
The first two acts are the best thing Pixas has ever made. If not for the final third act it would be my favorite Pixar film. However I still stand by my words when I say this will be a film that will not only stand the test of time but will be mentioned along side the words Masterpiece in decades to come. Beautiful, energetic, intelligent and with the touches of Kubrick, Charlie Chaplin and Phillip K. Dick. This is one of the greatest love stories brought to screen in years.
5- Paranoid Park
The photography by cinematographer Christopher Dolye is worth the price of admission alone. Great stedi cam shots, long takes and some wonderful use of slo motion. The wolrd that Van Sant creates is poetic and hypnotic. He takes us into the head of a teenage boy and let’s us run with it giving us a real sense of place and time. In some ways it feels like voyeurism. As if we are actually looking into someone’s life.
4- In Bruges
In Bruges is directed by award winning play write Martin Mcdonagh. It stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as hitmen in hiding, with Ralph Fiennes as their gangster boss. The brilliance of the acting of the three leads would be enough to make the film worthwhile but as the film reveals its surprising depths and its deep sense of irony, you realize that you’re in the presence of something great. Martin Mcdonagh is a director to look out for.
Keep track of what is going on. Nothing is without a point in what makes for the best screenplay of the year. Especially take a note of the principles that govern the main characters. Those very principles combined with their weakness are what dictate how the drama will play out.
3- The Dark Knight
Hollywood hasn’t been this good in decades when delivering a summer blockbuster. What more can be said about The Dark Knight that I didn’t already say in our one hour review of the film back on Episode 48. Simply brilliant. It had me return to the box office three times in three weeks.
2- Let The Right One In
Simply the best vampire film in decades. One of the best horror films of all time. A masterpiece. Mitch Davis (program director of the Fantasia Film Festival) put it best. He called it subversive, shocking, dreamlike touching, hypnotic and horrific. I say it is all this and more.
The film follows the classical rules of vampire mythology, updating each of them in startling new ways, while hitting hard as both an outsider coming-of-age film and a mysterious love story that explores the darker side of adolescent alienation.
1-There Will Be Blood
Although technically released in 2007 to secure an Oscar nomination, There Will Be Blood only made it Canadian premiere on the 4th of January 2008. The very same day I lay my eyes on this incredible motion picture by one of my favorite film makers alive today.
Between the sheer ambition of Paul Thomas Anderson’s historical epic and Robert Elswit’s dazzling cinematography, this is a must-see movie. There Will Be Blood will be dissected and revered 75 years from now. Film teachers will use this in their classrooms and future generations will appreciate it more than those now. “There Will Be Blood” is a true American epic in every sense of the word and it automatically launches Paul Thomas Anderson from his position as one of the best filmmakers working today
Simon’s top 10
10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Jason Segal nails it in his first starring role for a film he also co-wrote – it also turns out to be the year’s funniest film so far, and it’s been a crowded field. Featuring delightful turns from Segal, TV stars Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell, as well as a very funny turn by British comedian Russell Brand. I’ll be shocked if it gets bested in the comedy realm this year – though it must be said, Tropic Thunder came close.
Stuart Gordon’s uproarious, take-no-prisoners exploitation satire might be the purest fun I’ve had at the movies this year – just as funny as it is grisly. Mena Suvari does her career-best work here as a seemingly good-natured nurse who exhibits a sociopathic streak when she runs over a homless man with her car, leaving him lodged in her front windshield – alive. It probably didn’t reach your loca multiplex, so look for it on DVD in the coming months.
08. I Think We’re Alone Now
An incisive doc about the patterns of obsession and social isolation, as viewed in the lives of two subjects whose only commonality (beyond their eccentricity) is their shared profound love for 80’s pop star Tiffany. Touching and often deeply painful, with very few of its rough edges taken off, this is documentary filmmaking at its most focused and emotionally intense.
07. The Edge of Heaven
Turkey’s Fatih Akin finally scores a winner after the overrated Head-On by beating Paul Haggis at his own game – here, Akin brings together seemingly disparate characters together in a complex plot that defies conventional structuring, opting instead for a rigidly “chaptered” approach which could’ve been disastrous but instead somehow heightens our emotional involvement.
Not Pixar’s best film ever – I’d give that honor to Ratatouille, believe it or not – but a wonderful film nonetheless, one whose first act is among the most memorable sequences of the decade. Though it’s unreasonable to expect Disney to try and market a whole film about a robot who lives in isolation on a destroyed Earth, it’s tha tportion of the film which will resonate with viewers for years to come.
05. Let the Right One In
Fantasia Fest favorite and a possible target for a Hollywood remake, this devilish but beguiling Swedish vampire film is both touching and brutal, employing European arthouse techniques to frame its surprisingly graphic, almost Grand Guignol-esque scenes of bloodshed. See it, somehow, before Hollywood gets its grimy hands all over it.
04. Standard Operating Procedure
Errol Morris’ most intense documentary yet explores the abuses committed at the Abu Ghraib detention center in Iraq – but more specifically, it focuses in on the infamous pictures that found their way into the hands of the press and allowed the U.S. military to single out a few “bad apples” as the source of the foul play at hand. Infuriating, tragic, and an abolute must-see – even if you’re suffering from Iraq fatigue.
03. The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan’s incredibly ambitious and indeed very dark film about the Caped Crusader is both the year’s biggest hit and the strongest refutation yet of the classically structured superhero movie – Nolan is in love with moral dilemmas and impossible situations (see Memento, The Prestige) and he (along with his brother, screenwriter Jonathan) and he injects them into a big0name summer blockbuster, thus changing the game for years to come.
02. Paranoid Park
Gus Van Sant’s best film in ages is also the most evocative film with a high-school setting since Rian Johnson’s Brick – casting almost exclusively through MySpace, Van Sant has assembled an incredible band of young actors, led by Gabe Nevins, whose awkward narration sets the tone for the entire film. The apex of Van Sant’s recent obsession with slow, tragically inclined art films.
01. The Band’s Visit*
Technically a 2007 release, it was denied Oscar consideration because of its frequent use of English. As a result, it only made it to many theaters in 2008, and it’s just seen release on DVD. Eran Kolirin’s modest but immensely touching film about a stranded Israeli army band is a priceless gem, worthy of placement in any year’s best-list. Rent it now if you haven’t yet had the pleasure.