Slate has an amusing piece arguing against the Consider Uggie campaign for that wondrous terrier in The Artist.
Academy Awards 265 have qualified for Best Picture. Here is the complete Official list. I can't hear anything from all the LOL'ing since it's alphabetical and starts with... wait for it... ABDUCTION. Teehee
Oscarmetrics Mark Harris makes a case for Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life, which we agree is one of the year's best performances. Oscar is often about "it's time" and given that both of Pitt's performance were A grade this year, isn't it? And I swear I was linking up to this one before I even realized I was name-checked.
tomatoes - reviews worth reading...
Devine Wrath a lovely review of romantic drama Weekend which is now available on Netflix Instant Watch. What are you waiting for?
Capital New York Sheila O'Malley, one of my favorite critics, is wowed by Rooney Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Can I change all my BFCA and Indie Wire poll votes to this one?
top ten o' the day
Ali Arikan, a friend who is always worth a read, throws his top ten at the Chicago Sun Times from far flung Turkey. The Turkish film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, which sits stubbornly beside my TV waiting to be watched (Oh the guilt-a-thon that is December!), tops his list. But for me I was most curious to read what he thought of two films I had remarkable trouble connecting to: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and We Need To Talk About Kevin (both of which I recently said a very few words on). I definitely appreciate what he has to say about Kevin though I don't like the film any better:
A harrowing tragedy is at the centre of Lynne Ramsay's film, one we never quite see, although its repercussions we most certainly feel. The particulars of the event are at first ambiguous, and, paradoxically, it tends to become more so, thematically at least, once we find out the nature of it. Is it a mass killing at a high school? Or is there something deeper? Is the tragedy Kevin, a precocious psycho of a boy whose mother, Eva (Tilda Swinton), never really wanted? Is it, in fact, Eva's selfishness? Or is it, in fact, the apotheosis of motherhood that is the real tragedy? The anachronistic and misogynistic view that the female of the species was launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same?
The film doesn't provide the answers, instead offering a glimpse into Eva's psyche, both before and after the events that sent Kevin to prison. Eva's emotional self-immolation doesn't betray just an "oy vey iz mir" pity-party of one, but also a sort of solipsism: a misappropriation and transmogrification, perhaps, of Henley's "Invictus," with Eva not just as the master of her fate, but also the executioner of her soul.
IndieWire has year end critics consensus polling. I participated this year though as usual I'm still screening before I publish my own lists (I have about three more things I'm trying to see and two that need rewatching). The results are interesting but ...odd. Especially the supporting categories. Here's the 25 most well regarded films... the big surprises for me being A Dangerous Method (I guess those who love it, really love it) and Midnight in Paris which I expected critics to have turned against by now in the grand tradition of "if it's too popular, it's no longer cool to like it." Critics have a much higher tolerance for slow contemplative cinema as you can see. It'd be interesting to do a study of the average running time of this batch of films... or perhaps more revealing would be a study of the ratio of cuts per minute of film. After all it's hardly unusual these days for the top grossing mainstream blockbusters to have bloated running times as well. Only one of the top ten grossers of the year is shorter than an hour and 45 (that'd be The Hangover Part II) but do all of them really have 2+ hours worth of story to tell? I'd guess not.
Are you with consensus or far from it this year???
I tend to vary greatly by year though this year I'm definitely toward the middle of consensus rather than full in or way afield. I've found 2011 to be ridiculously enjoyable on the big screen.