Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Top Ten Time! (Not Here, But Elsewhere.)

Setting aside for a moment the personal view that people rush too quickly into naming their favorites every year (usually well before the annum is over) I do love reading a good top ten list. When those  lists are from magazines, they have a long lead excuse so let's enjoy them.

The L Magazine, a local NYC offering ("the L"is a subway), has released their Best Films of 2010 and as usual there's a lot to argue with. For instance, Mark Asche lulled me into a state of hipster foreign-film auteurism before clobbering me by honoring Woody Allen at the end. Did not see that coming given the rest of the list and, what's more, I'd call You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Woody's nadir if I hadn't failed at successfully erasing all memories of The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Hollywood Ending. Where is Lacuna, Inc when I need them? Nicolas Rapold, like Asche, leads with Carlos but then has to go and throw in Oki's Movie. Someone please point me to a review of this that explains its worth. I remain perplexed that some cinephiles go apeshit for a movie that is so anti-cinematic; it all but refuses visual interest. "I'm just gonna leave this camera here and not for a brilliantly composed one shot either but just because I can't be bothered to think visually. There! Deal with it." And so it goes throughout the lists with the mix of "yes, good point." and "wtf?" but what would Top Ten Season be without that? Dull, that's what.

The most eccentric list belongs to Benjamin Strong who starts with Godard and ends with... Splice? The most surprising list is the most mainstream (they don't often go hand in hand) coming from Jesse Hassenger who mixes geek-causes, Oscar hopefuls, mainstream comedies... and Greenberg. Noah Baumbach's miserable middle-age protagonist is totes the new mascot for L Magazine appearing on five of the six lists. I liked the movie quite a bit, especially Greta Gerwig's deliciously unactressy actressing if you get me, but I'm not sure I follow all the top ten / awards enthusiasm. Not sure it clears those "best" hurdles, though it's definitely a worthy effort.

I Am Love, a succulent dish.

Finally, you should all head over to Anthony Lane's top ten list at The New Yorker. He's long been one of my favorite writers, no matter what he happens to think of any particular movie. He's just so damn readable; an expert at the turn of a phrase, the offhand quip and the skillful resolution. My favorite part is this awesome "divisive/unifying" double feature since I deeply love both of 'em.
There were films that divided, in 2010, like Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love,” whose peach-like ripeness of sensation made some recoil, but which to others, a mite less embarrassable, showed with fine, Italianate panache how uncontrollable feelings can be held and sustained by an organizing eye. And there were films that united, like David Fincher’s “The Social Network”; who would not revel in the irony of a movie about smart-ass kids that was suitable for intelligent grownups? People felt moved to feast, in the aftermath, on its many implications—scary or succulent, depending on your taste for the new, endlessly mediated world. And how long, incidentally, has it been since you saw a film that was gripped by great animus and hostility but was not resolved by violent means? Quite the opposite, in fact; when someone raised a hand against Justin Timberlake, he backed away like a kitten.
But go read the whole thing for takes on Winter's Bone, A Prophet, Dogtooth and more.

What? You still want more? You're insatiable with list lust. Here's a few more.

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