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Entries in Tues Top Ten (82)

Tuesday
Jul082014

Halfway Pt. 4: Top Ten Movies of 2014 (Thus Far)

For today's Tuesday Top Ten it's your last peek at Nathaniel's top ten list for 2014 until the official one at year's end. Only films that have already played theaters in regular release are eligible hence endearing indies like Happy Christmas (currently On Demand) or instant classics like Love is Strange or next weekend's highly raved openers (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Boyhood) cannot yet apply. Herewith my ten favorite pictures of 2014 thus far since we've already looked at favorite sights and favorite sounds. 

You should see all of these movies. How many will stick around for the official top ten of 2014? I haven't a clue. That's half the excitement of drawing these invisible lines in the sand and waiting with hot anticipation for the rest of the year's wonders

TOP TEN FILMS OF 2014'S FIRST HALF
(ALPHA ORDER)

BEGIN AGAIN (John Carney) 104 minutes
Weinstein Co | June 27th| Box Office Rank of 2014 (At This Moment) #85 with $1.7 million

Like a new favorite song you can't stop playing, it's hard to even suss out why it's so damn loveable. My hunch is that its ephemeral endearments are powered by the combo of writer/director John Carney's sincere musicality (he captured lightning in a bottle with Once) and Keira Knightley's wonderfully relaxed but emotionally astute work as an abandoned musician who genuinely doesn't care about fame and fortune but has lots of love for music and people... whether or not they deserve it.

CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 (Anthony & Joe Russo) 136 minutes
Marvel/Disney | April 4th | Box Office Rank of 2014 (At This Moment) #1 $257 million

The best superhero film since the genre's peak in 2004 with that Spider-Man 2 and The Incredibles double-whammy and the best yet from Marvel Studios. I've probably raved enough this year but practically everything works from performance to action to theme and especially the firm sense of identity and character work at its core (here's a fine piece on that). That sense of self saves this superhero film from the generic problems that plague its genre. [Review]

CHILD'S POSE (Calin Peter Netzer) 112 minutes 
Zeitgeist | February 19th |  Box Office Rank of 2014 (At This Moment) #170 with $97 thousand 

Romania's 2013 Oscar submission continues the super annoying but enormously familiar trend of gambling its entire US release strategy around an Oscar nomination that doesn't materialize. Which is a pity since gold statues aren't everything (Ida proves that memorable foreign films don't need any awards buzz at all to find their natural fanbases but more on that in a minute) and this arguably overripe melodrama about a rich bitch trying to cover-up her son's crime is gripping. [Review]

alien invasions, travelling nuns, and mouthy toys after the jump...

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Tuesday
Jul012014

Tuesday Top Ten: Unconventional Fourth of July Movie Selections

Glenn here with this week's Tuesday Top Ten. Wikipedia tells this Australian that the Fourth of July, Independence Day, is a day usually celebrated with “fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions and political speeches and ceremonies.” Curious that they don’t include movies since, at least since 1991 when James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day premiered to one of the then biggest opening weekends of all time, the big July 4th blockbuster is an annual trend with the likes of Independence Day, the Transformers franchise, Superman Returns and seemingly anything starring Will Smith.

With the holiday this Friday, most lists of movies to watch over the long holiday weekend will feature masculine, almost brutish titles that celebrate America’s achievements in war and rah-rah bravura (The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan, Top Gun) or the coming of age of a nation and its people in almost gooey fashion (Field of Dreams, Forrest Gump, The Grapes of Wrath). So let's have fun and mix it up. Some of these titles are a bit off of the beaten path and others are outright bonkers, but I think they perform a somewhat patriotic service in one way or another.

TEN UNCONVENTIONAL 4TH OF JULY RECOMMENDATIONS

10. Mulholland Drive
David Lynch loves America. If we all lived in his world then people in small towns would never have to dream of moving to New York or Los Angeles because they’d all be just as interesting as each other. In Lynch’s world – predominantly the (overlapping?) universes of Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway and this, arguably his magnum opus – America is full of weird people doing weird things and he wouldn’t change a thing. Mulholland Drive is the film of a director who loves his home and wants everyone to be as entranced by it as he. In Lynch’s world, the magic of the American dream is alive and well, and even if it doesn’t work out (as, let’s face it, it rarely does) then he’s going to portray it with as much dreamy, sensual beauty as possible.

9 more after the jump...

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Tuesday
Jun102014

Vintage 1964

'Year of the Month' will never have a ring to it. I know this but I love themes. Don't hate me because I'm thematical. This month we're having a 50th anniversary party for 1964... (next month it's 1989's 25th) which is a fancy way of counting down to Monday, June 30th's Supporting Actress Smackdown wherein we'll be looking at performances from Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Chalk Garden, My Fair Lady, The Night of the Iquana and Zorba the Greek. 

So get to watching those movies so you can vote in the reader ballot!

But before we get to all that: 1964's vintage in list form (we did this once before for 1983 if you remember) since you always want lists, yes? Let's savor 1964's aged cinematic crop....

Best Movies According To...
Oscar: Becket, Dr Strangelove, Mary Poppins, My Fair Ladyand Zorba the Greek were the best picture nominees. They sucked up such a gigantic portion of the nominations (it must have been a record at the time) that it'd be virtually impossible to guess what the almost-rans were that year had we had the 5-10 rule in place.
Golden Globe: (drama) Becket*, The Chalk Garden, Dear Heart, Night of the Iguana, and Zorba the Greek (comedy/musical) Father Goose, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady*, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and The World of Henry Orient
Cannes: Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Box Office: reports vary wildly on this but it's something like... 1) Mary Poppins 2) Goldfinger 3) My Fair Lady 4) The Carpetbaggers 5) Unsinkable Molly Brown with What a Way To Go!The Pink Panther, Father Goose, Good Neighbor Sam and Viva Las Vegas all posting strong numbers (I mixed the sketchy numbers from both IMDb and "Box Office Champs" a book published in 1990 before the internet *gasp*.)

Half-Century Hotties & Top Ten Actresses Born in '64 after the jump...

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Wednesday
May282014

Top Ten: The Aughts

Last year I was throwin' up quickie top ten lists for each decade for archival and discussion purposes and tonight wI realized that I'd never finished the run skipping the Aughts and the 1920s and the 1910s (the latter two because I'd hoped to see more silent films before top ten'ing it). So herewith a revisit / rework of a "best of the aughts" list originally published in 2010 but many of you have joined us since!.

Care to share yours?


01 Moulin Rouge! dir. Baz Luhrmann (2001)

The party of the decade. The inspired mashup conductor (Baz) and his darling stars (Nicole, Ewan, Jim) put on the messiest craziest livelest funniest tearjerking "Spectacular! Spectacular!" show on earth. I'd never claim it's a perfect movie but flaws are endearing when you love madly and deeply. and Love Is All You Need.

02 Brokeback Mountain dir. Ang Lee (2005)
A love story for the ages. And one that quietly enrages.

03 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind dir. Michel Gondry (2004)
The Eyes: a singularly imaginative visualist in Gondry. The Brain: the twisty intellect of Charlie Kauffman. The Body: a great acting ensemble operating as one powerful machine. The Heart: a comic (Jim Carrey) positively aching with true drama. The Soul: one of the most elemental faces and emotional forces in cinematic history (Kate Winslet); It's the collaborative miracle movie of the decade, all its parts made greater by their interconnectedness.

04 Dancer in the Dark dir. Lars von Trier (2000)
The story of the Aughts for this particular moviegoer was the rebirth of the musical. To yank the dead genre from its unfortunate grave, fearless visionary filmmakers and prodigiously gifted musicians were required. The impish deconstructionist (von Trier) provoked such genius from a totally modern composer (Björk) that a decade later you can still be transported with just a bar of "New World" or "I've Seen It All".

 

05 Far From Heaven dir. Todd Haynes (2002)
Of all the things we have to thank Todd Haynes for: new ways of looking at Barbie dolls, Bob Dylan splintered, restless experimentation as cinematic life-blood, a mini Douglas Sirk revival, Ewan MacGregor naked and covered in glitter... this is the gift I cherish most: Julianne Moore in a purple scarf, waving love goodbye.

06 In the Mood for Love dir. Wong Kar Wai (2000, released in 2001)
In a perfect world, I would always be fetching noodles or trying on cheomsangs with Maggie Cheung. Either that or writing wuxia and smoking with Tony Leung Chiu Wai. I'd gladly pay the price of heartbreak in the end.

07 Talk To Her  dir. Pedro Almodovar (2002)
So imaginatively structured, exquisitely controlled, and enigmatically moving that it's nearly impossible to wrap your head around in one go. It's a good thing then that Pedro's movies miraculous improve with repeated viewings... even when they were brilliant to begin with. "Cucurrucucú paloma, cucurrucucú no llores."

08 Rachel Getting Married dir. Jonathan Demme (2008)
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change... like the fact that so many people don't love this movie. Their loss. I'm ready to dive back into this immersive, noisy, eclectic, spontaneous, superbly acted, wonderfully sustained, bleeding heart of a movie right this very second. Pass me the DVD.

09 Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon dir. Ang Lee (2000)
Ang Lee is the only filmmaker with two movies in the top ten.  How glorious was/is this utterly transporting adventure?

10 A History of Violence dir. David Cronenberg (2005)
In the past I've likened this movie to a machine, it's so finely calibrated and efficient. But that doesn't get at its emotional fire, its guttural poetry, and its savage eroticism. It's more like a cyborg.

 

ten other beloveds
Requiem for a Dream, Mulholland Dr, There Will Be Blood, The Lord of the Rings, Vera Drake, Y Tu Mama Tambíen, WALL•E, Volver, The Class, The Hurt Locker, and Before Sunset.

Previous Top Ten Quickies
1930s | 1940s1950s | 1960s1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s (thus far)  
and don't forget to like the film experience on facebook

Tuesday
May202014

Tuesday Top 10: Best Godzilla fights

Tim here. The new Godzilla is [insert joke based on large animals destroying cities] the box office, while receiving generally mixed reviews that all agree on one point: the climactic monster battle in the film is aces. One of the best in the while 60-year, 30-film franchise, in fact, standing proudly alongside such classic moments as Godzilla and fellow icon King Kong pummeling each other, Godzilla being lacerated by the deadly vines of a giant mutant plant, or Godzilla using his atomic breath to fly after a levitating tadpole made of toxic waste.

The Godzilla films, they are silly.

Still, there’s enough B-movie popcorn fun in enough of them that, in honor of the new film and it’s triumphant climax, we are happy to present this highly subjective list of the best monster mashes in the giant lizard’s history.

TOP TEN MONSTER FIGHTS IN GODZILLA HISTORY

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Saturday
May102014

Team Top Ten: The Best Cannes Winners of All Time

Amir here, to bring you this month’s edition of Team Top Ten, a monthly poll by all of our contributing team at The Film Experience. Cinephiles all around the world turn their attention to the south of France in May as the most prestigious film festival in the world gets underway in Cannes.

The festival’s history is a rich one, full of interesting cinematic and political narratives. It’s an event that has celebrated the best in cinema and operated as a launching pad for emerging artists as much as it has played games of politics and festival world favouritism. Still, when all is said and done, the list of Palme d’Or winners can rival any list of the best films ever made.

With this year’s edition of the festival just about to begin, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the past and choose our Top Ten Favourite Cannes Winners of All Time. For this poll, we’ve excluded the first two editions of the festival (1939, retroactively awarded to Union Pacific, and 1946, when the top prize was shared between 11 films.)

There is really no easy way to select the cream of the crop here, because these films are already... well, the cream of the crop. Consider the eight films that finished behind our top dozen: Pulp Fiction; Dancer in the Dark; Viridiana; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Farewell My Concubine; Secrets & Lies; The Tree of Life; The Pianist. Not to mention masterpieces like Black Orpheus, Wages of Fear and Rosetta that placed outside the top 20. The point is that this is the highest echelon of films awards so the standards are high and margins are slim. Some of you will surely disagree with our ranking, but we welcome that. Let us know what you think in the comments.

THE BEST CANNES WINNERS OF ALL TIME
a non-definitive poll which begins with a three-way tie for tenth

10= La Dolce Vita (Fellini, 1960)

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