Ten Best Films of 2004

Sabin
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Postby Sabin » Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:24 pm

Wow. Had no idea he went to the Institute. Guess I would've learned that had I gone to the screenings. One of the screenings was at the Siskel Center. So far, I've only seen one film there: Sunrise. This year has brought many new welcome introductions to my life and I've had much to be grateful for but near the top of any cinephile's list has to be a place where you can see silent movies on the big screen. In a period of three days, I saw The Last Laugh in class and then Sunrise.

Just to be clear, Eric...I saw Sideways at the festival, not Finding Neverland. I don't know which one is sadder: Forster's film or not being able to wait a couple of weeks for Payne's. Then again, you can't really convince certain members of the opposite sex to see...whatever the hell Tropical Malady is (I've read a couple reviews and I still don't know what it's about, which is for the best, I suppose).

When did Apichatpong first come onto the scene? Is Blissfully Yours available for rent? It sounds like his films need to be seen on the big screen though. G'aargh! Just had to go to my History of Cinema class! Couldn't have gotten the notes instead of seeing a film by a guy who went to school down the street from me!
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Postby rain Bard » Sun Nov 28, 2004 3:21 pm

Eric, somewhat coincidentally I count Decasia as 2002, as that's the year I saw it at the SFIFF. I can't remember off the top of my head if it ended up as my #1 film of that year but I think it did. (Blissfully Yours was definitely my #1 for 2003). I saw Light is Calling at this year's fest and it would probably make my shorts list if I'd extended it to more than three. It didn't blow me away like Decasia did though, largely due to the score, I think.

Sabin, glad to hear you're in Chicago. Was Tropical Malady screened at the Art Institute? I know that's where Apichatpong went to school.

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Postby Eric » Sun Nov 28, 2004 3:11 pm

I wasn't going to scold you, but... well, you chose to see Finding Neverland. You know better. Then again, I missed my opportunities to see, among others, Code 46, Gozu, The Brown Bunny and Peter Watkins' Privilege, though I have my reasons for missing the Gallo one. I'm still upset that I had to miss the two screenings of Dragon Inn in the Cities (which, to add insult to injury, was one of the few "big" titles that played the MSPIFF that never hung around for an encore week at the local art house theaters). I had to work both times and could not get someone else to take my shifts. (I was lucky I got to see Crimson Gold.)

I still count The Company as 2003, though I grant that it didn't open in Minneapolis until January of this year. It would be very comfortably in my #2 slot if I were to include it.

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Postby Sabin » Sat Nov 27, 2004 10:23 pm

Well, now don't I feel unworthy? I had maybe three opportunities to see Tropical Malady in Chicago and I missed them all. And The Company has been out on DVD for months now without my patronship. Geez, at least I have an excuse for the latest Tsai.
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Postby rain Bard » Sat Nov 27, 2004 4:29 am

My top 10 as of now (having seen almost zero "Oscar season" movies). Eligibility: first S.F. release in January of 2004 or later

1. the Company (Altman)
2. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai)
3. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong)
4. Before Sunset (Linklater)
5. Los Angeles Plays Itself (Anderson)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry)
7. The Incredibles (Bird)
8. Dogville (Von Trier)
9. Last Life in the Universe (Pen-Ek)
10. Shaolin Soccer (Chiau)

and the short films:

1. Papillon d'amour (Provost)
2. Life and Death of a Boring Moment (Bossard)
3. the Orgin of the World (Kerakas)

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Postby Okri » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:16 am

Personally, I used to like Trier very much, especially his TV-mini-series Kingdom/Riget.


Interesting comparison - I loved Dogville, but loathed The Kingdom. It was like bad David Lynch meets bad Michael Crichton for me.

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Postby criddic3 » Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:27 am

Wow! I have something in common with many of you for the first time in, well, maybe ever. I hated Dogville.
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Postby Heksagon » Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:36 pm

I think the characters in Riget are pretty interesting, although there isn't necessarily any character "development", what ever you mean by that. Let's say, previously he was much better able to cover up poor writing with good casting and directing.

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Postby Sabin » Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:30 am

His detractors would say he never had a knack for writing interesting characters, that they're either throwbacks to silent film martyrs like Lillian Gish or his own masochistic projections. I certainly don't think his best talents lie in character development. Then again, he puzzles me as a director so I really couldn't tell you what I think he's best at.
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Postby Heksagon » Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:55 am

Sabin, that's actually a pretty good defence of the film; at least you find something good in it. Technically, it's a succesful film, but you don't need the film to run for three hours just to show off your mastery of digital video. The film is ridicously overlong, with poorly scripted characters and very little content. It has its merits, but not enough to cover its flaws.

Personally, I used to like Trier very much, especially his TV-mini-series Kingdom/Riget. Nowadays, I'm losing interest. I found Dogville to be maybe mediocre, and Dancer in the Dark really bad. What ever happened to Trier's ability to write really interesting characters, cast parts with actors who knew how to play them and enhance the haunting technical imagery with equally haunting dialogue and imaginative screenwriting that I enjoyed so much in Riget?

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Postby Mann » Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:29 am

Dogville is the most POINTLESS movie.

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Postby Sabin » Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:20 am

I really wish I could do a better job defending the film because I haven't seen it in so long, but I can say this without fear of retraction: the film is a technical triumph. I've worked with digital video quite a few times and the look of it is very different from film (Hey, look! It's Captain Duh!) and very rarely mastered. It essentially tears down the glorious artifice that separates the audience from the filmed subject, removes the visual idealization of the director's world and, even in an impressively concocted virtual world like Attack of the Clones, it can come across as painful to look at.

Dogville's cinematography, even on the big screen, did not bother my eyes at all. I felt as though I was watching a play unfold before me. I've never been more impressed with von Trier's mise-en-scene (both what he puts on the screen and how the lack of a "proper" set didn't bother me in the slightest) than I've been here. But...yeah, I do kinda need to see it again.
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Postby Bog » Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:34 am

All I need back is my $2.50 to rent the Dog(poop)ville because it put me into a sound sleep- makes me a tad luckier than Magilla as I only lost the money and not the time, sleep is quite valuable.

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:34 pm

--Sabin wrote:Downer is one way to describe it. The best way I can describe it is it's a Lars von Trier film, which means it's a three-plus hour anti-American polemic. I want to see it again, but when I sa it ten months ago I really liked it.

All I can say is I wish I could get back the 3 hours of my life I wasted on this drivel.

While it's always a pleasure to encounter under-utlilzed actors like Harriet Andersson (who I thought was dead), Blair Brown, Zeljko Ivanek, Jeremy Davies and Philip Baker Hall, the less I see of Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall and Stelan Skarsgard's wrinkly ass, the happier I will be.

Paul Bettany is one of my favorite current actors, but I would rather watch him as the defrocked priest in this year's under-rated The Reckoning or as the tennis player in the under-performing Wimbledon than in this tripe.

Lars Von Trier has a distorted sense of American life and a warpt sense of humanity in general. The actions of the small town, a sick rebuke to Thornton Wilder's Our Town, are absurd and the "heroine"'s epiphany at the end is totally ludicrous.

Dogville belongs in a dog poop bag.




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Postby Larry79 » Sun Nov 21, 2004 10:57 pm

Here's my list so far:

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry)
2. Before Sunset (Linklater)
3. Dogville (von Trier)
4. Vera Drake (Leigh)
5. Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (Tarantino)
6. Sideways (Payne)
7. Kinsey (Condon)
8. Tarnation (Caouette)
9. The Incredibles (Bird)
10. Coffee and Cigarettes (Jarmusch)

Many more to see, of course. Wish I'd gotten myself out to see Bad Education this weekend.
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