Post by Johnny_Hellzapoppin on Apr 19, 2020 15:15:20 GMT
Glad we got Moneyball (the most boring film I've ever seen) out of the way early. Disappointed that the Other Side of the Wind isn't higher. Sicario is a fine choice for the list and Marriage story is more or less worth it too.
Snowpiercer 2013 ~ Bong Joon-ho 60 points from 5 ballots Highest Placement: #3 on 1 ballot
A post-apocalyptic adventure which starts as a dark, atmospheric thriller, almost claustrophobic, and after about an hour in, it becomes an action movie with lots of twists and turns. First Bong film in the English language (I think) and a very powerful one, about the social distinction between the wealthy and the poor, even in a post-apocalyptic, chaotic environment. A social distinction he later also presented in a little film called Parasite...
Solid performances by Song, Hurt and most of all Swinton.
The Florida Project 2017 ~ Sean Baker 61 points from 4 ballots Highest Placement: #8 on 1 ballot
By imbuing The Florida Project with such a vivid, colourful aesthetic and a pace that’s alternately languid and kinetic, Sean Baker masterfully reflects the way children view the world around them. That the children depicted here are desperate for an escape, be it literal or merely imaginary, from their lives of poverty and neglect, makes the film’s vibrant visuals as devastating as they are appealing. Brooklynn Prince is fierce and fundamentally real as the film’s young protagonist, while Willem Dafoe gives the film its warm, protective soul. Serving as both a celebration of childish liberty and a condemnation of how their abandonment will never allow them true freedom, The Florida Project is a searing highlight of the decade.
Roma 2018 ~ Alfonso Cuarón 62 points from 4 ballots Highest Placement: #4 on 1 ballot
ROMA is a film teeming with visual contradictions. A young woman is abandoned by the father of her unborn child in the middle of a movie theater, so often a haven for the lonely purveying dreams of idealized romance and tidy happy endings. A personal birthing crisis unfolds amidst the bloody turmoil of a nation in political upheaval. What begins with the banal sloshing of water on tiles as a maid cleans up after her employers ends with waves crashing upon the sands as a woman risks life and limb to mend the bonds of her fractured family. The defining moments of our lives do not arrive via the clarity of a plot-driven narrative arc. Oftentimes we do not know who we are and what made us that way until we are adults looking back on our childhoods with newfound understanding of the triumphs and tragedies of the women who sacrificed all to ensure our survival. In crafting one of the most sweepingly beautiful films I’ve ever seen, Alfonso Cuaron proves that in cinema as in life the political is always personal and the intimate is truly epic. This is ROMA.
Bridge of Spies 2015 ~ Steven Spielberg 62 points from 4 ballots Highest Placement: #2 on 1 ballot
Communication has always been one of the most essential themes of Steven Spielberg’s varied filmography: from Close Encounters to Amistad to Munich the director has continuously made it a point to tell stories about building bridges even between the least likely of parties. His 2015 masterwork is the ultimate tale of the vitality of dialogue and a genuine plea for seeing the people through the propaganda of the times. Although done within a history genre realm, Bridge of Spies is undoubtedly a reflection upon the hostile international environment of today which unfortunately has gotten even worse since the film’s release. Of course there is more than a message to appreciate about it: the movie serves as a captivating, sophisticated and frequently hilarious upside-down take on the espionage thriller headlined by brilliant performances from Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance. But apart from engrossing the audience in its narrative, the film hopes to encourage conversation even if it takes a standing man to put the phony prejudices aside and extend a hand of understanding from across the aisle. I believe Spielberg is one such man. Стойкий мужик.
O.J.: Made in America 2016 ~ Ezra Edelman 62 points from 5 ballots Highest Placement: #7 on 1 ballot
O.J. Made in America is one of the most comprehensible, spell-binding, entertaining documentaries I’ve ever seen. The first time I ever saw the movie was in one whole near sitting, and even then I never felt bored. O.J. Simpson’s story is placed into a magnet, and his rise and fall is brilliantly put side by side and compared within the context of post 1960s race relations in America. My favorite parts of the entire saga centered on the murder and then subsequent trial, which was engaging and horrifying at same time, but the entire thing was extremely aces. The movie never begs us to sympathize with O.J. 's plight, it just gets down to the business of how rotten he really was, and that’s one of its many strengths. In the documentary, you could see the journey on display, as many former colleagues and friends of O.J. went from utter delight and good memories, to utter disgust, as somebody that they once knew and respected turned out to be an absolute monster. It’s a monumental piece of filmmaking all-around.
Good Time 2017 ~ Josh and Benny Safdie 62 points from 5 ballots Highest Placement: #4 on 1 ballot
Directing duo Josh and Benny Safdie followed up their 2014 sophomore film Heaven Knows What with this heart-pounding white-knuckle crime thriller. Led by Robert Pattinson who continued his eclectic post-Twilight career, here he plays a criminal who will seemingly go to any length to try and get out of the cyclical hell of his own making. Starting with a bank robbery gone wrong, what continues for the 101-minute running time is an intense, primal and depraved ride with characters who are equal parts flawed and fascinating. Daniel Lopatin’s adrenaline-fueled synth score adds to the rush, while Iggy Pop’s original song “The Pure and the Damned” offers a much-needed respite by the end. This is a visual feast of a production with everyone involved firing on all cylinders to create one of the finest films of the decade. If you’ve yet to experience it or feel like another viewing, in the timeless words of John Flansburgh, “world’s going to hell anyway, have a good time.”
Room 2015 ~ Lenny Abrahamson 63 points from 3 ballots Highest Placement: #4 on 2 ballots
When I first read Emma Donoghue's novel, I was absolutely enraptured. I was elated to find about the film adaptation but worried that it could never live up to its source material, as so many adaptations fail to do so. And yet, sitting in the theatre, I felt the same sense of wonder listening to Jack's uniquely innocent perspective. Emma Donogue followed in Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)'s recent footsteps by adapting her own bestselling novel for the screen as fluidly as possible. The unimaginable spirit of an optimistic five-year-old with absolutely no experience with or sense of the world at large was captured beautifully by Jacob Tremblay, who immediately emerged as one of Hollywood's youngest talents. Brie Larson earned her Oscar in a competitive year by balancing Ma's undeniable power as a mother with her devastating pain as a young woman whose own innocence has been ripped away from her. Room is a gem with as deep and complex of themes as the best arthouse films while being able to reach all audiences in its breathtaking thrills and universal characters. You, your best friend, and your mother are all bound to fall in love with this film, all for different reasons.
You Were Never Really Here 2017 ~ Lynne Ramsay 63 points from 6 ballots Highest Placement: #7 on 1 ballot
It’s easy to craft a tale of revenge and wallow in the bloodletting, but it’s damned difficult—and bold—to confront the aftermath. Lynne Ramsay’s jagged, stiletto-sharp vision of misery and atonement is a fever dream not of cold brutality, but of haunting emotion. Anchored by an unchained Joaquin Phoenix operating at his vulnerable best, You Were Never Really Here is not interested in glorifying violence and those who commit it, but instead in embracing the victims and understanding their trauma.
Two Days, One Night 2014 ~ Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne 66 points from 5 ballots Highest Placement: #2 on 1 ballot
Sensitive and attuned, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's Two Days, One Night follows a factory worker Sandra who discovers that her coworkers have opted for a significant pay bonus in exchange for her dismissal; over the course of a weekend, she asks each of them to reconsider. Skirting emotional caricature and political didacticism, each encounter newly dramatizes the frustrating economic realities of the situation while acknowledging the average person's capacity for humility and understanding. The film raises questions of self-worth and the limitations of sacrifice while Sandra herself is naturally confronted with the burden of asking others to deny their financial security for her own, amplified by her struggles with depression and anxiety. The resolution of her coworkers' votes plus a complication introduced by Sandra's supervisor weighs the morality of choosing between your own well-being relative to someone else's, while still valuing yourself and the people around you. As the proud final moments punctuate Marion Cotillard's humanizing portrait of Sandra, I am reminded of an advice prompt response I once found scrawled by my grandfather: "Love your neighbors as you do yourself, but love yourself first."
Midnight in Paris 2011 ~ Woody Allen 66 points from 7 ballots Highest Placement: #8 on 2 ballots
Midnight in Paris is an imaginative, funny, unique and charming look at nostalgia. It is aided by its eccentric and memorable cast of characters, sharp and witty screenplay, fantastic cast, deft direction, Darius Khondji's cinematography lovingly capturing Paris and excellent production design. Woody Allen brings 1920's Paris to life in a masterful way. As a nostalgic much like Gil Pender, the core theme - that one should learn from the merits and drawbacks of past eras to make our present more meaningful, instead of looking at them through rose-tinted glasses - really resonated with me. The message is delivered in a subtle and skillful way - there are no big speeches, no over-the-top dramatic sequence, just a quiet realization.