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Ross Douthat blogs at the NYT:

The Best Movies of the 21st Century
JUNE 13, 2017 12:22 PM

Over in the serious part of this newspaper, my colleagues A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis have a list of the twenty-five best motion pictures of the new millennium.

Here is the Dargis/Scott official NYT choices:

1. There Will Be Blood — Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007

2. Spirited Away — Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, 2002

3. Million Dollar Baby — Directed by Clint Eastwood, 2004

4. A Touch of Sin — Directed by Jia Zhangke, 2013

5. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu — Directed by Cristi Puiu, 2006

6. Yi Yi — Directed by Edward Yang, 2000

7. Inside Out — Directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, 2015

8. Boyhood — Directed by Richard Linklater, 2014

9. Summer Hours — Directed by Olivier Assayas, 2009

10. The Hurt Locker – Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, 2009

11. Inside Llewyn Davis — Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013

12. Timbuktu — Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, 2015

13. In Jackson Heights — Directed by Frederick Wiseman, 2015

14. L’Enfant — Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2006

15. White Material — Directed by Claire Denis, 2010

16. Munich — Directed by Steven Spielberg, 2005

17, Three Times — Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2006

18. The Gleaners and I — Directed by Agnès Varda, 2000

19. Mad Max: Fury Road — Directed by George Miller, 2015

20. Moonlight — Directed by Barry Jenkins, 2016

21. Wendy and Lucy — Directed by Kelly Reichardt, 2008

22. I’m Not There — Directed by Todd Haynes, 2007

23. Silent Light — Directed by Carlos Reygadas, 2008

24. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — Directed by Michel Gondry, 2004

25. The 40-Year-Old Virgin — Directed by Judd Apatow, 2005

Here are Ross’s choices:

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind/”The Forty-Year-Old Virgin”/”Mad Max: Fury Road

Ross explains:

These are the three choices on my colleagues’ list that I’ll happily endorse: The most complete and accessible and moving Charlie Kaufman movie, the peak of the Apatowian marriage of gross-out sex-comedy and social conservatism, and the only aesthetically de novo action blockbuster of our superhero-ridden age.

Eternal Sunshine is excellent, although Kaufman’s Adaptation is much funnier. Mad Max had the greatest trailer of the century, but the rest of the movie is just like the trailer … only longer. I’ve seen most of the other Apatow comedies, but not the first one. From the NYT list, I’d endorse The Hurt Locker.

Here are the rest of Ross’s choices, with my comments.

“Mulholland Drive” – David Lynch, “Eagle Scout from Missoula, Montana” (as he likes to identify himself), is a highly original American artist. Prone to self-indulgence and incomprehensibility, this is his movie where he got enough resistance from the suits that, partway through, he had to force himself to come up with a semi-intelligible plot to make sense out of about 80% of the weirdness he’d shot already.

“The New World” – Terrance Malick, another original conservative American artist, made this John Smith / Pocahontas period piece. Too slow for my tastes (I preferred Malick’s Tree of Life) but maybe it’s worth a second watch.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” – Guillermo Del Toro’s Spanish Civil War fantasy movie. Haven’t seen it.

“Moulin Rouge!” – Baz Luhrmann’s musical version of the tragedies of La Boheme / Camille. It took me two viewings to figure out how great this is. Baz’s goal is to make a Bollywood-style movie in which the plot is predictable and the songs are familiar because it’s aimed at the peasant masses. Ultimately, there’s no ironic self-awareness, just simple, powerful emotion. Watch how the speed of the editing cuts slows down from the MTV-fast opening to the glacial climax.

“The Squid and the Whale” – Noah Baumbach wrote and directed this divorce dramedy with a great performance by Jeff Daniels. His recent While We’re Young with Ben Stiller and Darth Vader Jr. is good too. These are basically Woody Allen-type movies but Baumbach only gets to make one when he has a good enough script to get funding, whereas Woody gets funding to make movies as fast as he can so his mean quality isn’t that high.

The Social Network” – David Fincher and Aaron Zorkin’s Mark Zuckerberg biopic. One of the earlier versions of a favorite new genre: the realistic business biopic.

“The 25th Hour” – Spike Lee directs Edward Norton with a screenplay by the Game of Thrones guy. Not at all bad, but not really top 25.

“Ida” / “Of Gods and Men” / (“Calvary”) – Ross’s Catholic movies, none of which I’ve seen. “Calvary” is by John Michael McDonagh. I just watched on Netflix last night his pretty good 2016 buddy cop movie War on Everyone with Alexander Skarsgaard and Michael Pena as the most cynical policemen in Albuquerque.

“The Passion of the Christ”/”Apocalypto” – Mel’s movies.

The Lives of Others” – The terrific East German Stasi drama.

No Country For Old Men” – Ross goes with the most obvious choice for a Coen Bros. movie: the Best Picture Oscar winner. Critics like to come up with complex arguments in favor of less-entertaining Coen films like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, or Inside Llewyn Davis, but No Country is pretty clearly peak Coen Brothers.

By the way, in replaying the 2007 Best Picture race between No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, I had lunch last week with somebody who had a minor role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. He had a story about the great Daniel Day-Lewis staying in character as his John Huston-like Daniel Plainview on the ride to and from the remote set.

The reason, it turns out, that Daniel Day-Lewis gets away with his crazy Method Actor demands like carrying a flintlock weapon everywhere he went while not on the set of Last of the Mohicans or insisting the crew carry him everywhere so he could stay in character as a quadriplegic in My Left Foot is, because other than the demands he makes for his Art (and he’s just about the best movie actor in the world), he’s also just about the greatest guy in the world, the perfect English gentleman (his father was Poet Laureate), but without the snobbishness.

Anyway, my friend started to rave about how great the 2007 West Texas movie he wasn’t in, No Country for Old Men, was. I diplomatically said that No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood were clearly the two best movies of the year. “Yeah,” he replied, “But much as I wanted to root for it as a loyal member of Team There Will Be Blood, about halfway through No Country I had to admit the Coens’ movie was better.”

“The Royal Tenenbaums” – Early Wes Anderson. I’m not a big fan of this particular directing Anderson (compared to Paul Thomas Anderson and Paul W.S. Anderson), except for The Grand Hotel Budapest, which wholly won me over.

“The Queen of Versailles” – A documentary I haven’t seen about a rich couple who spend an outlandish amount and then go broke. Sounds good.

Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve’s girly sci-fi movie with Amy Adams. It seems to be beloved by people who read the sci-fi story before seeing the movie, such as Christopher Orr at The Atlantic. I haven’t, so I merely thought it was fine. But I’d be open to the idea that it’s even better than that.

“I nglorious Basterds” – definitely the best Tarantino film since J ackie Brown. Goebbels’ infatuation with making movies was a subject that Tarantino could identify with.

Lord of the Rings” – The second installment, The Two Towers, seemed at the time like the peak movie achievement of the era. Since then, Peter Jackson has made us more familiar with his flaws, but whether that should undermine one’s view of LOTR is another question.

Grizzly Man” – Memorable Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who gets himself eaten by a bear. Pretty hilarious, although peak Herzog came in his next documentary, about the South Pole, when he asks a penguin expert, “Is there such thing as insanity in penguins?”

Eastern Promises” — I liked this one more than David Cronenberg’s previous “A History of Violence.” Great performance by Viggo Mortensen, one of my favorite leading men.

The Incredibles” – Brad Bird’s rightwing Pixar superhero comedy.

“Gladiator” – Hellacious Sir Ridley period piece that launched Russell Crowe on his five year stretch as the top leading man.

From Ross:

Some (random) honorable mentions:

Bridesmaids” for comedy, “28 Days Later” for zombie apocalypse, “There Will Be Blood” for near-masterpieces horribly damaged by their endings, “The Devil Wears Prada” for great feminist popcorn movies horribly damaged by their endings, “Edge of Tomorrow” for Tom Cruise movies, “Catch Me If You Can” for both Spielberg and DiCaprio movies, “The Dark Knight Rises” for Batman movies, “Memento” for non-Batman Christopher Nolan movies, “Brick” for noir and high school melodrama both, “Planet of the Apes” for franchise reboots, “Brooklyn” and “Sing Street” for movies about the Irish before and after the cultural revolution, “Brokeback Mountain” for good movies robbed of their Best Picture by terrible ones, “Miami Vice” for Michael Mann movies, and the original “Pirates of the Caribbean” for blockbusters absolutely ruined by their sequels.

Most of these choices of Ross’s are pretty good, too.

Bridesmaids seems kind of weak to represent raunchy comedies compared to Wedding Crashers or The Hangover and not really girly enough compared to movies that women really like such as Pitch Perfect.

There Will Be Blood could have been, by acclamation, the greatest movie of this century so far (as is, it’s still pretty close) if Paul Thomas Anderson had stuck closer to the real life of Edward Doheny (sci-fi writer Larry Niven’s grandfather), such as the Teapot Dome scandal and the Greystone mansion murder-suicide that inspired the writing career of a fellow Los Angeles oil executive named Raymond Chandler. Bizarrely, Anderson’s screenplay is less lurid than Upton Sinclair’s muckraking novel about Edward Doheny, which is less lurid than the Doheny’s real life.

Tom Cruise stars in an extraordinary number of above average quality movies, and Edge of TomorrowStarship Troopers meets Groundhog Day — is a worthy representative of Cruise’s contributions to audiences getting their money’s worth in the second half of his 35-year career.

The Devil Wears Prada is representative of how entertaining Meryl Streep has been in the later 40% of her 40-year-career.

The Spielberg / DiCaprio movie Catch Me If You Can is pretty close to perfect. It inspired Scorsese to stop trying to make the Great American Movie like Gangs of New York (in which DiCaprio was badly intimidated by Day-Lewis’s great Butcher Bill) and instead to lighten up to get better acting out of Leo in movies like The Aviator and The Departed. The Aviator was personally just about my favorite movie of this century because Howard Hughes, airplanes, and movies are my backyard. When I was a senior in high school, most of the fake Howard Hughes wills (cinematized by Jonathan Demme in Melvin and Howard), tossed a few hundred notional million dollars to Rice U. where I was headed in the fall, so I was an advocate of Melvin Dummar’ s dubious will. In The Aviator, when the president of Lockheed comes in 1943 to sell Hughes on TWA buying the Constellation airliner, which my dad worked on, my father said 62 years later, “No, the president of Lockheed had a much rounder face.”

The 2011 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Ape s is pretty awesome in an iSteveish way.

And … here’s the top 10 of a 2016 Guardian poll of film critics:

10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)

9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)

7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)

4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)

1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

Aggregated critics’ lists like this last one tend to favor movies that critics like to argue in favor of, even if they have flaws. E.g., Scoresese’s The Departed doesn’t do as well as Scorsese The Wolf of Wall Street, even though The Departed is clearly better all around. But it’s kind of boring to make up an argument in favor of a highly competent, Oscar-showered hit movie like The Departed, while it’s more fun for a critic to construct a theory for why an obviously flawed movie like the overly long, repetitious Wolf of Wall Street is actually great.

Critics’ lists tend to favor strong visual directors, while Oscars tend to go to social message movies constructed more by producers than by directors. So, critics’ favorites tend to be implicitly rightwing because the auteur theory favors strong men as directors.

 
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  1. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    I’m wary of these lists by MSM and entertainment sources. Increasingly, they bestow praise on a film or tv show because it spoke to their liberal preconceptions. They tend to be only ‘edgy’ in that they push a liberal agenda du jour- The Danish Girl pushing transvestitism, The Wire pushing a gay hero, etc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Moshe
    They like The Wire because it's a TV Show about Blacks Behaving Badly that was made by a bona fide liberal who made sure to do all the necessary payoffs in advance. In case I wasn't clear, what they like is the ability to emerse themselves in the raw truth they are otherwise never allowed to speak of or even notice themselves thinking of.

    The Wire does not speak to liberal preconceptions.
    , @guest
    Regarding Omar in the Wire, he wasn't supposed to be heroic. Despite the fact that they deliberately gave him Robin Hood qualities and made him more sympathetic than the other criminal characters, he genuinely got away from the creators. They didn't expect him to be so popular.

    Which is why they were judicious and limited in their use of him in later seasons, and also why they have him an ignominious ending. After milking his pseudo-heroism for all it was worth in his larger-than-life final storyline.
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  2. Moonrise Kingdom
    Ex Machina
    Interstellar
    Dredd
    The Prestige
    Shin Godzilla

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I saw Shin Godzilla last weekend.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/874315355170246656
    , @Andrei Martyanov
    First three certainly qualify.
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  3. I often find these lists more interesting for what they do not, rather than what they do include. So in that spirit…

    Interesting there’s no Lincoln (2014) — types like Ross usually find some way to mention the 16th president even when it doesn’t make sense to do so.

    No Selma (2014)! Lose 10 politically correct points.

    No 12 Years a Slave (2013)! Lose 50 politically correct points.

    Also surprised to see Brokeback Mountain enter through the back door…

    …All right, I’ll stop.

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  4. Gringo says:

    I don’t believe I’ve seen any of them. IIRC, I haven’t been to a movie theatre in 15 years. I have checked some movie DVDs out of the library, but they tended to be older or foreign. Some years back I was visiting cousins in Manhattan. One suggested going to a movie. My reply was that conversation was preferable, which is what we did.

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    • Replies: @The True and Original David
    Love your comment. Relatives dragged me to a Star Wars in 2005, but I'm getting to 15 years.
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  5. Memento
    The Hurt Locker
    The Lives of Others

    You could not pay me to watch the Social Network. Zuckerberg is everything that is wrong with this country.

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    • Replies: @Ian M.

    You could not pay me to watch the Social Network. Zuckerberg is everything that is wrong with this country.
     
    It's actually much more of a hatchet job on Zuckerberg than it is a hagiography.
    , @Bosch
    Zuck doesn't come off terribly well in The Social Network.

    No Country is definitely more entertaining but I'm a sucker for suburban Jewish insularity as presented in Serious Man. Also, There Will Be Blood is the rare prestige flick that is endlessly quotable.
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  6. Anon87 says:

    What a sorry state of cinema if this is all there is to show. I’m not even talking about serious cinema (I imagine a random year from the 70s would stack up much better than this entire list) , but also summer fare. It’s odd to think both Gostbusters and Gremlins opened on the same day. Great fun and memorable movies. Check out the summer of 82 sometime. Today it’s all forgettable CGI junk or dull liberalism.

    Having said that, it would be a good exercise to compile my own Best Of list for this time period.

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    • Replies: @Njguy73
    I vouch that I do not have an IMDB tab open as I type this.

    1982: E.T., Gandhi, The Verdict, An Officer and a Gentleman, Sophie's Choice, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Tootsie

    1984: Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Stranger Than Paradise, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Footloose
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  7. Bill P says:

    I don’t know how Daniel Day Lewis pulls it off, but this brilliant half-Jew has become the best actor representing my people of the last two generations.

    Last of the Mohicans, In the Name of the Father, There Will Be Blood — all movies that I can relate to from my own intimate family history, and all so well done.

    There ought to be some award for guys like Day-Lewis for their contribution not only to art, but to our civilization.

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    • Replies: @Ian M.
    Last of the Mohicans is a great example of movie being perceived as being infinitely better than it actually is because of its incomparable soundtrack.
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  8. somedude says:

    “The Queen of Versailles” (2012) on Ross’s list should be paired with “Born Rich” (2003), both of them entertaining and appalling views of the American wealthy.

    The latter features a young (early 20′s) Ivanka Trump, who stands out as the only normal person — for that matter, the only sane person — among the rich kids who are profiled in the movie.

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  9. Lagertha says:

    My son and I met DDL at a sporting event about 6 years ago. DDL was relieved that he could spend the day (as a parent) with everyone giving him “space” and not going all star-struck. Of course, the sport of fencing is in a realm of its own bc fencers wear masks, and, often, in competition, you do not know who you will face.

    His kids are younger than mine, but he was exactly what you said, genuine. I was very impressed that he was just another sport dad I met. I am glad that DDL stays an actor..he believes that to be the best parent, just work…. (don’t make waves in the public sphere) and keep a low profile. Once you have children, or teenagers, there is no choice but to check your ego…otherwise, your children will hate you. So many parents don’t realize how easy it is to alienate your children from you…especially, if you are famous. Kids hate attention from the public…strangers.

    As far as American movies of the 21st century, I also thought The Perks of Being a Wallflower was good…and, The Edge of 17 was wonderful. And, of course, Napolean Dynamite; Loved Revenant.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Was Perks the one where the kids are listening to David Bowie's Heroes in the early '80s and they act like it's some obscure song?
    , @Steve Sailer
    My son and I met DDL at a sporting event about 6 years ago.

    I met Robert Downey Jr. at our sons' ballgame about 14 years ago when he was trying life in the slow lane. He was incredibly charismatic just saying hello.

    I'd say your Daniel Day-Lewis at least equals my Robert Downey Jr. in coolness.

    I was talking to my next door neighbor while she was cleaning out her garage and she found a picture of herself and the young Brad Pitt on a set somewhere before his breakthrough on Thelma and Louise. She said Brad was very sweet, but he didn't shower very often.
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  10. Sunbeam says:

    Wow the only one of those movies I actually watched was The Incredibles.

    I’d better get to deploring my basket or something.

    As an idle thing:

    ““Grizzly Man” – Memorable Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who gets himself eaten by a bear.”

    I guess my thought processes are something like “Stop, do not pass go. There is no message here. F$@%ing idiot gets himself eaten by a bear. No story, no deeper meaning. Stupidity. Cannot be massaged or spun into some kind of allegory or anything of the sort.”

    Bears are what they are. They are not some kind of accessory to Man’s search for meaning. Leave them alone, unless they are eating your sheep or goats, or happen to be close enough to be a random threat to you.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That's pretty much the message of the movie.
    , @Njguy73

    ““Grizzly Man” – Memorable Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who gets himself eaten by a bear.”
     
    Watch it. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh your ass off.
    , @El Dato
    The Incredibles was the best superhero movie ever. Also, I like bears.

    Now, I want to add that "The Wind Also Rises" beats "Spirited Away" easily even though the former (which is about the youthul engineer of the Zero Fighter deployed to some success by the Empire of Nihon) is about as historically accurate as any "historical" movie out of Hollywood (don't even mention the retch-inducing insane movie about Turing ... beuuurgrgh!)
    , @Bugg
    Was struck in "Grizzly" how his supposed friends tried to grab the brass ring in pathetic attempts to be stars themselves,if barely.

    "The Departed" is a movie that if it's on at 1130 on a Saturday night, I'll watch it to the end. Critics may hate it because it's a gangster movie with a big budget and a star-studded cast with a legendary director. But it's well-done, and even the minor performances are excellent.

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  11. Polynikes says:

    Ex Machina should be on there. So should Blackhawk down for war movies.

    Most notably though is the omission of guys comedies like Old School, Meet the Parents or Wedding Crashers. I mean, if you’re putting in comedies like Bridesmaids, why not?

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Wedding Crashers is peak Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
    , @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Most notably though is the omission of guys comedies like Old School, Meet the Parents or Wedding Crashers. I mean, if you’re putting in comedies like Bridesmaids, why not?
     
    BRIDESMAIDS got in for affirmative action reasons; those other films you mentioned also do not belong on this list, but lacked sufficient Diversity Pokemon Points to get put on it anyway. THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, however, does deserve it's place on the list, IMHO, and I'm kinda surprised Steve's never seen it. I usually don't like comedies, but that one was very funny.

    Also, you're correct about EX MACHINA.
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  12. Hugh says:

    Mad Max: Fury Road was complete garbage from beginning to end. It brought nothing new to the genre and lasted far too long. I deeply regret having wasted a Saturday afternoon and 30 bucks (wife came too) in this manner and have vowed to behave better going forward.

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    • Replies: @Percy Gryce
    Right, Fury Road was simply a high-tech remake of The Road Warrior, another great 1982 movie and one of my favorites.
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  13. Much of the NYT list looks OK, and pretty much all of Steve’s, but for the life of me I can’t understand the high regard in which There Will Be Blood is held.

    I like most P T Anderson work, and most stuff that includes Day-Lewis, but I found There Will Be Blood to be over-acted lefty propaganda with a story that was simply impossible to believe.

    I’m also surprised that Max Max: Fury Road is so well regarded. I think Steve summed it up superbly: it “had the greatest trailer of the century, but the rest of the movie is just like the trailer … only longer”.

    Steve, The Queen of Versailles is well worth a look, as you suspect.

    My pick for best film of the century (so far): The Lives of Others. Honourable mentions (other than a few of those already mentioned in the posting): The Departed, Master and Commander, Her.

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    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
    • Replies: @Lot

    I found There Will Be Blood to be over-acted lefty propaganda with a story that was simply impossible to believe.
     
    The acting wasn't naturalistic, but obviously a lot of people like the grandiose style sometimes. What was the "lefty propaganda?" Behind every great fortune there's a great crime?
    , @Thursday
    Master and Commander was great. Thanks for the reminder.
    , @Captain Tripps
    Agree re - Mad Max: Fury Road. It was an entertaining action movie; sort of a first-person shooter video game on the big screen. Some may have looked for deeper meaning, but I sure didn't. Pure action escapism for me.
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  14. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Generally speaking I don’t like Pixar movies, but I really liked the Incredibles. I remember being surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did, but I’m glad to see you liked it, too.

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  15. snorlax says:

    My thoughts on the ones you haven’t seen but I have:

    Pan’s Labyrinth — I liked it a lot less on second viewing because the years have worn down my sympathy for (literal) communist propaganda, but the production values and acting are excellent.

    Ida — Subdued and very powerful drama, well deserving of its Academy Award. Far from your typical Holocaust weepie. I don’t want to give away too much but it isn’t shy about addressing historical topics that’d be radioactive to discuss in an American film.

    The Queen of Versailles — Not sure if I’d put this in my top 25, but this nouveau-riche Grey Gardens with absurdly-tacky protagonists is worth a watch as a compelling allegory (it’d be borderline on-the-nose if it were fiction) of the housing boom, financial crisis and recovery.

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    • Replies: @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Pan’s Labyrinth — I liked it a lot less on second viewing because the years have worn down my sympathy for (literal) communist propaganda, but the production values and acting are excellent.
     
    Let's not be too hard on PAN'S LABYRINTH (for ideological reasons, that is). We Americans have been a bit spoiled, when it comes to political tyranny. What I mean is, yes of course, I'd've supported Franco over the Bolshevists, but that doesn't mean there weren't some pretty brutal, sadistic SOBs among the Spanish officers corps in 1944 (the year the film is set). Franco's Spain had a lot to recommend it, as compared to being a client state of USSR, but it was far from ideal.
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  16. Dargis and Scott’s list was really pretentious. I thought I was reading Richard Brody from The New Yorker’s list.
    I’ve never heard of 90% of those movies.

    Douthat’s list is good; he secretly yearns to be one of us, Brokedick Mountain notwithstanding.

    A few thoughts:

    The Social Network will go down as a modern classic ala The Shawshank Redemption.

    Drive is better than Mad Max:Fury Road. Hell, for Tom Hardy movies Bronson is better than Mad Max.

    Inglorious Basterds is one of Tarantino’s best movies, way better than his last two.

    I’m really, really glad he mentioned The Dark Knight Rises instead of The Dark Knight. Both Dark Knight Rises and Batman Begins are both much better than the more popular Dark Knight. Slightly OT: We need to have a national conversation about Jared Leto’s wigger Joker in Suicide Squad.

    Grizzly Bear: Funny movie you’re not supposed to laugh at.

    Squid and the Whale is good. So is Eastern Promises. No Moneyball? And what about Skyfall?

    As a society we need to stop talking about Judd Apatow.

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  17. @Sunbeam
    Wow the only one of those movies I actually watched was The Incredibles.

    I'd better get to deploring my basket or something.

    As an idle thing:

    "“Grizzly Man” – Memorable Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who gets himself eaten by a bear."

    I guess my thought processes are something like "Stop, do not pass go. There is no message here. F$@%ing idiot gets himself eaten by a bear. No story, no deeper meaning. Stupidity. Cannot be massaged or spun into some kind of allegory or anything of the sort."

    Bears are what they are. They are not some kind of accessory to Man's search for meaning. Leave them alone, unless they are eating your sheep or goats, or happen to be close enough to be a random threat to you.

    That’s pretty much the message of the movie.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    It was a strange and fascinating movie.

    Critics like to come up with complex arguments in favor of less-entertaining Coen films like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, or Inside Llewyn Davis

    Yes, and of all of those Inside Llewyn Davis was my least favorite Coen brothers' movie of all time, so of course the critics must love it. I found A Serious Man eminently habitable . . . err, entertaining. Burn After Reading is also hilarious.

    I know there's no accounting for taste, but The 40-Year-Old Virgin?! Within five minutes of its start I knew that it was not going to be funny at all. Everything was so heavy-handed and obvious. The one funny scene--the one where Steve Carell describes feeling a woman's breast to his buddies so bizarrely that it's obvious to them that he's never done so--is apparently the idea with which Carell sold the concept. Funnier movies in this genre would be Stepbrothers or Walk Hard. IMHO, of course.

    , @MarcB.
    I saw it as commentary on the inability of 21st Century Western man to accept the world as it really is, even well into adulthood, and secondarily a subtle jab utopian ideologies.
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  18. syonredux says:

    and the only aesthetically de novo action blockbuster of our superhero-ridden age.

    Even so, I hesitate to call Fury Road “de novo”……You know, seeing as how there was a thing called The Road Warrior….

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  19. Mark Caplan says: • Website

    By far the best dramas I’ve seen this century were all by Asghar Farhadi.

    About Elly
    A Separation
    The Past
    The Salesman.

    For comedy, only Ted and Ted 2 triggered serious laughter.

    Read More
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  20. LOTR was good but they started filming it more than half a generation ago. They should start over again, in Canada or Sweden or the Crimea, and this time hire nothing but Shakespearean capable actors, not a mix of really really good actors and not so good actors. Almost all the Tolkien characters are beyond the reach of most of the actors Jackson hired.
    They should redo the Harry Potter movies too, this time don’t make everybody look as if they had just spent the afternoon spending their parents’ dough in a very upscale shopping mall.
    And every sitcom I liked as a kid should get at least a 90 minute movie version with a decently modest budget. Even F Troop and Hogans Heroes. Russell Crowe as Sergeant O’Rourke and that annoying guy in the Kaley Cuoco show as Klink would be a good start. Gilligan’s Island, too, and I want it to be directed by the best they can find. Someone as good as, or better, than the Interstellar guy. And don’t even think of letting anybody play the Professor or MaryAnne unless they really really want to win an Oscar.

    Read More
    • Replies: @TWS
    I'd like to play with Mary Ann.
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  21. syonredux says:

    Ross goes with the most obvious choice for a Coen Bros. movie: the Best Picture Oscar winner. Critics like to come up with complex arguments in favor of less-entertaining Coen films like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, or Inside Llewyn Davis, but No Country is pretty clearly peak Coen Brothers.

    In defense of Burn After Reading, the scenes with David Rasche and JK Simmons are hilarious….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    A fine example of "Up to a point, Lord Copper."
    , @snorlax
    I'm probably weird, but speaking as a Coen Bros fan, Burn After Reading (more topical than ever with its skewering of our so-called Intelligence Community) is my favorite film of theirs. This scene gets me gasping for air every time I watch it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yl95hx6mcA

    Speaking of me being weird, like Mugatu I must be taking crazy pills, because I found There Will be Blood to be one of the most godawful movies I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. I guess I just have a limited tolerance for overlong self-indulgence; I find most of Kubrick's work decent-but-overrated.
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  22. “Brokeback Mountain” Really???? A good movie???

    OK it was a less preachy than that year’s “best picture” “Crash” which is simply unwatchable.

    But “Brokeback Mountain” was awfully “POZed” and in many ways barely more subtle or less fanciful in its messaging than a Will and Grace episode.

    How many of the above movies are really worth watching again???

    I liked “Zero Dark Thirty” a little more than the “Hurt Locker”.

    Liked “Gran Torino” a lot more than “Million Dollar Baby”

    I liked the Johnny Cash bio flick “Walk the Line” a lot.

    Where are today’s Merian C. Cooper/John Ford/John Wayne???

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  23. @Gringo
    I don't believe I've seen any of them. IIRC, I haven't been to a movie theatre in 15 years. I have checked some movie DVDs out of the library, but they tended to be older or foreign. Some years back I was visiting cousins in Manhattan. One suggested going to a movie. My reply was that conversation was preferable, which is what we did.

    Love your comment. Relatives dragged me to a Star Wars in 2005, but I’m getting to 15 years.

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    • Replies: @Lot
    For me the last two times were 2007 and 2003.
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  24. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    These are all pretty middlebrow picks. Not saying that’s a bad thing, just didn’t expect it. Catholic converts tend to be annoying and to pose as stuffy intellectuals.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    Middle-brow fare is on short supply.l, which tends to raise the quality. It gets drowned out by blockbusters on the one hand and high-toned prestige pictures or hipster indie stuff on the other. Prestigious stuff tends to be outwardly leftist, and hipster stuff is full of sex, drugs, graphic violence, and naughty words. What's a good Catholic to do?
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  25. Daniel H says:

    >>“No Country For Old Men” –

    An inferior re-write of Sam Peckinpah’s “Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”.

    Do rent/stream “Bring me the head of Alfred Garcia.” After viewing, you will have little wonder of all the craziness going on in Mexico today.

    Read More
    • Disagree: James Richard
    • Replies: @James Richard
    No Country was a serious book and so was the movie. It's about how the Grim Reaper comes for us all, some sooner and some later, and there is no rhyme or reason to where or when.
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  26. My List:

    1. Mudholland Drive- One of best psychodramas and movies about Hollywood of all time. In my top five movies of all time.

    2. No Country For Old Men- Speaks for itself.

    3. Drive- The ultimate Alt-Right movie. From the synthwave soundtrack, autistic protagonist, racial undertones, blue collar whites and overall expression of the post financial crisis zeitgeist, this was the movie that predicted the radical shift in American politics and culture. In my book, Refn is the director of the Century so far (the Coen Brothers are in a league of their own). He has gone decadent recently, but he had a great run this century.

    4. In The Mood For Love

    5. The Watchmen- An intriguing meditation on fascism and power in the superhero genre.

    6. A Serious Man

    7. Memento- the ultimate 9/11 movie that came out before 9/11.

    Other 21st Century Films:

    Hunger
    Bronson
    Waking Life
    Boyhood
    Let The Right One In
    28 Days Later
    It Follows
    Valhalla
    Eastern Promises
    Far and Away
    Wind Shakes The Barley
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    There Will Be Blood
    Bloody Sunday
    Michael Clayton
    Fellowship of The Ring
    Melancholia
    Inglorious Basterds
    Kill Bill Vol. 1
    Royal Tenenbaums
    The Incredibles
    Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
    Enter The Void
    Mad Max Fury Road
    Man of Steel (really liked this one)
    Kingsman
    Guardians of The Galaxy
    Dark Knight Trilogy
    Captain America: Civil War
    The Avengers
    X Men: First Class

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  27. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    YUCK……. huge chunk of the best of the 21st century were made in the 2000-2008 window—–pre Obama, pre fraudulent phony social justice amerikkka/globo rot.

    Pre smart phone society was still capable of some good films.

    Pre social network society still capable of some art.

    Pre SSRI society still capable of some truth.

    The artistic output of the last ten years in the USA is noticeably lacking in merit. Just think of all the man hours that have been sunk into computer screen time in modern society. It’s killing art across the board. Add all the wasted TV time and the extreme leftwing PC culture and it’s no wonder.

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  28. Over in the serious part of this newspaper, my colleagues A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis have a list of the twenty-five best motion pictures of the new millennium.

    Twenty-five of the best motion pictures of the new millennium would be more honest.

    But, I suppose, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis feel they have a reputation to preserve as the country’s top movie critics, and so, slip into pretentiously asserting that their picks are the twenty-five very best.

    I liked Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams and Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges.

    I’d say both those films are better than at least some of the others in the list.

    And in their eagerness to maintain the hipness/obscurity quotient in their selection of foreign movies, the NYT critics unforgivably left out Asgar Farhadi’s A Separation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jean Ralphio
    In Bruges was really funny.
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  29. Hunsdon says:
    @syonredux

    Ross goes with the most obvious choice for a Coen Bros. movie: the Best Picture Oscar winner. Critics like to come up with complex arguments in favor of less-entertaining Coen films like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, or Inside Llewyn Davis, but No Country is pretty clearly peak Coen Brothers.
     
    In defense of Burn After Reading, the scenes with David Rasche and JK Simmons are hilarious....


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlA9hmrC8DU

    A fine example of “Up to a point, Lord Copper.”

    Read More
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  30. @PiltdownMan

    Over in the serious part of this newspaper, my colleagues A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis have a list of the twenty-five best motion pictures of the new millennium.
     
    Twenty-five of the best motion pictures of the new millennium would be more honest.

    But, I suppose, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis feel they have a reputation to preserve as the country's top movie critics, and so, slip into pretentiously asserting that their picks are the twenty-five very best.

    I liked Alejandro González Iñárritu's 21 Grams and Martin McDonagh's In Bruges.

    I'd say both those films are better than at least some of the others in the list.

    And in their eagerness to maintain the hipness/obscurity quotient in their selection of foreign movies, the NYT critics unforgivably left out Asgar Farhadi's A Separation.

    In Bruges was really funny.

    Read More
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  31. Lot says:

    I diplomatically said that No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood were clearly the two best movies of the year.

    Probably the best two movies of the decade. I agree with the order.

    My favorite show on TV now are the Coens’ Fargo. The seasons are self-contained, and the second one, set in the 1970′s, has the campy blackploitation of Quentin T’s best movies, but even better, and minus the strange dialog. I’d even say the big gun fight in the second season may be the most entertaining I’ve ever seen on TV.

    I could barely get to the end of Inside L. Davis. Great sets, but a total snore otherwise.

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  32. Thursday says:

    The 21st Century hasn’t got off to a great start when it comes to movies. These lists are full of okayish movies, often by directors who did their best work elsewhere, sometimes long ago. No Country for Old Men is fine, but it’s not Fargo or Miller’s Crossing. Inside Out is fine, but it’s no Up! Spirited Away looks great, but is a mess compared to Princess Mononoke.

    Anyway, here is my list:

    Up!
    Passion of the Christ
    Apocalypto
    Adaptation
    Her
    The Lives of Others
    Memento
    Inception
    Interstellar
    The Tree of Life
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Gravity
    Gosford Park
    A Prairie Home Companion
    Amelie
    A Very Long Engagement
    Nowhere in Africa
    2046
    Snatch
    Mystic River
    Million Dollar Baby
    Kung Fu Panda
    Arthur Christmas
    Drive
    The Fighter
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Contagion

    I’m judging here by movies I think will be regarded as great art in the future, including a couple blockbusters that transcend genre. There’s been tons of entertaining crap out there, including LOTR, Mad Max, various comic book movies, those Kathryn Bigelow movies, but they aren’t any more than that. Some dumb but amusing comedies from Will Ferrell. And there’s lots of merely interesting movies too, like Ex Machina. I’ve seen a lot but not everything. Probably forgetting a couple too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Up!
     
    That film had a lot of heart.
    , @Thursday
    Would add:

    The Science of Sleep
    The Good German
    , @Clifford Brown
    Up! is a sweet picture. I forgot about Tree of Life which I also really enjoyed.
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  33. syonredux says:

    25 seems excessive. Here are 11 that I liked. No particular order:

    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: I’ve seen this one 4 or 5 times now, and it keeps getting more interesting with each viewing.

    Zodiac: To my mind, Fincher’s best film

    Adaptation: Smart and funny

    Mulholland Drive: Dunno if it’s better than Blue Velvet, but I do enjoy watching it more

    The Lives of Others: Genuinely moving

    The Hurt Locker: A good film about men made by a woman fascinated by masculinity

    The Witch: Top-notch period horror

    Apocalypto: Gutsy film

    The Dark Knight: The finest superhero film

    Iron Man: The most enjoyable superhero film. There’s something quite compelling about watching Tony Stark/Robert Downey Jr work out his problems by building a suit of armor….If Hollywood ever gets around to making a film of Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit-Will Travel, they should get Favreau…

    Grand Budapest Hotel: Cinema as icing….but I can’t get enough. I’ve seen it at least a dozen times.

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    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    Zodiac is not the best movie, but it is impeccably executed. An incredible tone and period piece, but one wonders whether it could have been much more. Part of its problem is the Zodiac Murders still have not been solved so closure is lacking. Far superior to The Social Network in my opinion. I get where the Zodiac Killer is coming from, I still can't figure out Zuckerberg.

    If we are talking Fincher, Gone Girl is another impeccably executed genre flick.
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  34. guest says:

    I don’t really like the arbitrariness of the 21st century cutoff. We could go by actual milestones, like CGI taking over everything somewhere between Jurassic Park and the Matrix. Or we could go with Saving Private Ryan taking away color and steady cameras. Or whenever it was that everything became a sequel, prequel, adaptation, re-imagining, or whatever. But I guess it’ll be arbitrary no matter how we do it. We won’t find a Jazz Singer line.

    Some of my favorites I saw after 11:59 pm, December 31st 2000 which I didn’t see listed:

    American Sniper
    A Separation
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Auto Focus
    The Aviator
    Blue Ruin
    The Dark Knight
    Drive
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Guard
    The Hoax (because I need two Howard Hughes movies)
    Iron Man
    In Bruges
    Margaret
    Master and Commander
    Match Point
    Michael Clayton
    Midnight in Paris (It’s astounding to me that I could pick two Woody Allen movies)
    Moneyball
    Shattered Glass
    Shotgun Stories
    Silver Linings Playbook
    The Trip
    The Wind That Shakes the Barley
    Zodiac

    My brain has run out of steam. I know I liked more comedies, but only late-90s ones are coming to mind.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    Wait, I forgot Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
    , @guest
    Oh, also: Primer. I've never seen a straightforward movie* less concerned with whether the audience can keep up.

    *That is to say, one with regular narrative momentum and without timeline leaps, intertwining storylines, fantasy sequences, etc.
    , @guest
    A couple more came to me. I don't know if these have been mentioned:

    David Mamet's Spartan
    Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
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  35. syonredux says:
    @Thursday
    The 21st Century hasn't got off to a great start when it comes to movies. These lists are full of okayish movies, often by directors who did their best work elsewhere, sometimes long ago. No Country for Old Men is fine, but it's not Fargo or Miller's Crossing. Inside Out is fine, but it's no Up! Spirited Away looks great, but is a mess compared to Princess Mononoke.

    Anyway, here is my list:

    Up!
    Passion of the Christ
    Apocalypto
    Adaptation
    Her
    The Lives of Others
    Memento
    Inception
    Interstellar
    The Tree of Life
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Gravity
    Gosford Park
    A Prairie Home Companion
    Amelie
    A Very Long Engagement
    Nowhere in Africa
    2046
    Snatch
    Mystic River
    Million Dollar Baby
    Kung Fu Panda
    Arthur Christmas
    Drive
    The Fighter
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Contagion

    I'm judging here by movies I think will be regarded as great art in the future, including a couple blockbusters that transcend genre. There's been tons of entertaining crap out there, including LOTR, Mad Max, various comic book movies, those Kathryn Bigelow movies, but they aren't any more than that. Some dumb but amusing comedies from Will Ferrell. And there's lots of merely interesting movies too, like Ex Machina. I've seen a lot but not everything. Probably forgetting a couple too.

    Up!

    That film had a lot of heart.

    Read More
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  36. Twinkie says:

    I don’t get the love for “The Hurt Locker.” Although there was a few effective scenes, many were preposterous. I found it unrealistic and overdone.

    “Calvary” is by John Michael McDonagh.

    I recommend it highly – “Calvary” is the greatest Catholic movie I have seen in the past decade. Brendan Gleeson is magnificent. The film captures the essence of Catholicism like no other I have seen in the recent years. The whole movie is engrossing, but is nihilistic until the very last frame when it powerfully changes everything. Whereas “The Tree of Life” makes grandiose (albeit effectively awe-inspiring) statements about God and creation, “Calvary” pithily sums up the meaning of life in one second.

    Burn After Reading

    If you knew anything about Washington, D.C., you’d find this film too painful (and painfully funny) to watch. Almost every character is spot on and accurate, with the possible exception of Brad Pitt.

    Read More
    • Agree: PiltdownMan
    • Replies: @guest
    The Hurt Locker said at the beginning that "War is a drug," and that's pretty much all it was about. I suppose it's refreshing to see a straightforward action movie be recognized, instead of the usual pretentiousness. But I didn't really get it, either. Just a few good suspense sequences.

    Brad Pitt, by the way, was the best part of Burn After Reading. After he died I lost interest. Like with most Coen Brothers movie, I couldn't tell whether we were supposed to take it seriously. But this one had extra seriousness-ambiguity. It seemed pointless.l, except I guess Francis got her surgery.
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  37. Thursday says:
    @Thursday
    The 21st Century hasn't got off to a great start when it comes to movies. These lists are full of okayish movies, often by directors who did their best work elsewhere, sometimes long ago. No Country for Old Men is fine, but it's not Fargo or Miller's Crossing. Inside Out is fine, but it's no Up! Spirited Away looks great, but is a mess compared to Princess Mononoke.

    Anyway, here is my list:

    Up!
    Passion of the Christ
    Apocalypto
    Adaptation
    Her
    The Lives of Others
    Memento
    Inception
    Interstellar
    The Tree of Life
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Gravity
    Gosford Park
    A Prairie Home Companion
    Amelie
    A Very Long Engagement
    Nowhere in Africa
    2046
    Snatch
    Mystic River
    Million Dollar Baby
    Kung Fu Panda
    Arthur Christmas
    Drive
    The Fighter
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Contagion

    I'm judging here by movies I think will be regarded as great art in the future, including a couple blockbusters that transcend genre. There's been tons of entertaining crap out there, including LOTR, Mad Max, various comic book movies, those Kathryn Bigelow movies, but they aren't any more than that. Some dumb but amusing comedies from Will Ferrell. And there's lots of merely interesting movies too, like Ex Machina. I've seen a lot but not everything. Probably forgetting a couple too.

    Would add:

    The Science of Sleep
    The Good German

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I loved "The Science of Sleep," a Michel Gondry movie about dreaming, with all sorts of wonderful dream machines made out of stuff from around the house.

    The screenplay's not Charlie Kaufman-level, but it's good.
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  38. @Steve Sailer
    That's pretty much the message of the movie.

    It was a strange and fascinating movie.

    Critics like to come up with complex arguments in favor of less-entertaining Coen films like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, or Inside Llewyn Davis

    Yes, and of all of those Inside Llewyn Davis was my least favorite Coen brothers’ movie of all time, so of course the critics must love it. I found A Serious Man eminently habitable . . . err, entertaining. Burn After Reading is also hilarious.

    I know there’s no accounting for taste, but The 40-Year-Old Virgin?! Within five minutes of its start I knew that it was not going to be funny at all. Everything was so heavy-handed and obvious. The one funny scene–the one where Steve Carell describes feeling a woman’s breast to his buddies so bizarrely that it’s obvious to them that he’s never done so–is apparently the idea with which Carell sold the concept. Funnier movies in this genre would be Stepbrothers or Walk Hard. IMHO, of course.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Moshe
    The Jolly Roger ;)

    As an aside, I love comedies and there were quite a few good ones, from Ted to Step Brothers to Meet The Parents and probably a hundred more but TROPIC THUNDER holds a special place in my heart. Holy HELL (!) did I enjoy watching it
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  39. Lot says:
    @Richard of Melbourne
    Much of the NYT list looks OK, and pretty much all of Steve's, but for the life of me I can't understand the high regard in which There Will Be Blood is held.

    I like most P T Anderson work, and most stuff that includes Day-Lewis, but I found There Will Be Blood to be over-acted lefty propaganda with a story that was simply impossible to believe.

    I'm also surprised that Max Max: Fury Road is so well regarded. I think Steve summed it up superbly: it "had the greatest trailer of the century, but the rest of the movie is just like the trailer … only longer".

    Steve, The Queen of Versailles is well worth a look, as you suspect.

    My pick for best film of the century (so far): The Lives of Others. Honourable mentions (other than a few of those already mentioned in the posting): The Departed, Master and Commander, Her.

    I found There Will Be Blood to be over-acted lefty propaganda with a story that was simply impossible to believe.

    The acting wasn’t naturalistic, but obviously a lot of people like the grandiose style sometimes. What was the “lefty propaganda?” Behind every great fortune there’s a great crime?

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  40. Njguy73 says:
    @Anon87
    What a sorry state of cinema if this is all there is to show. I'm not even talking about serious cinema (I imagine a random year from the 70s would stack up much better than this entire list) , but also summer fare. It's odd to think both Gostbusters and Gremlins opened on the same day. Great fun and memorable movies. Check out the summer of 82 sometime. Today it's all forgettable CGI junk or dull liberalism.

    Having said that, it would be a good exercise to compile my own Best Of list for this time period.

    I vouch that I do not have an IMDB tab open as I type this.

    1982: E.T., Gandhi, The Verdict, An Officer and a Gentleman, Sophie’s Choice, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Tootsie

    1984: Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Stranger Than Paradise, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Footloose

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    I was between high school and college that summer of '84. I remember it seemed like I was at the movie theater all the time -- there really did seem to be a remarkable number of very enjoyable movies that year.

    I cheated and looked it up; you can find a rundown/ranking of the movies of summer 1984 HERE

    I saw all the ones you named (except Stranger than Paradise), plus Top Secret, Bachelor Party (early Tom Hanks), Red Dawn, Purple Rain, The Natural, Revenge of the Nerds, and Sixteen Candles. Fun times.

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  41. PhDPepper says:

    Michael Pena’s the spitting image of that feckless jihadi supporter from the San Bernardino shooting.

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  42. snorlax says:
    @syonredux

    Ross goes with the most obvious choice for a Coen Bros. movie: the Best Picture Oscar winner. Critics like to come up with complex arguments in favor of less-entertaining Coen films like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, or Inside Llewyn Davis, but No Country is pretty clearly peak Coen Brothers.
     
    In defense of Burn After Reading, the scenes with David Rasche and JK Simmons are hilarious....


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlA9hmrC8DU

    I’m probably weird, but speaking as a Coen Bros fan, Burn After Reading (more topical than ever with its skewering of our so-called Intelligence Community) is my favorite film of theirs. This scene gets me gasping for air every time I watch it:

    Speaking of me being weird, like Mugatu I must be taking crazy pills, because I found There Will be Blood to be one of the most godawful movies I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. I guess I just have a limited tolerance for overlong self-indulgence; I find most of Kubrick’s work decent-but-overrated.

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    • Replies: @Jean Ralphio
    Never liked there will be blood myself. Boogie Nights is still the best pta movie. The master was better twbb.
    , @fitzGetty
    ... Stan Kubrick - for all the time lavished on those London-made films --
    Had
    No.
    Sense.
    Of.
    Humour ...
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  43. Njguy73 says:
    @Sunbeam
    Wow the only one of those movies I actually watched was The Incredibles.

    I'd better get to deploring my basket or something.

    As an idle thing:

    "“Grizzly Man” – Memorable Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who gets himself eaten by a bear."

    I guess my thought processes are something like "Stop, do not pass go. There is no message here. F$@%ing idiot gets himself eaten by a bear. No story, no deeper meaning. Stupidity. Cannot be massaged or spun into some kind of allegory or anything of the sort."

    Bears are what they are. They are not some kind of accessory to Man's search for meaning. Leave them alone, unless they are eating your sheep or goats, or happen to be close enough to be a random threat to you.

    ““Grizzly Man” – Memorable Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who gets himself eaten by a bear.”

    Watch it. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh your ass off.

    Read More
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  44. guest says:
    @Twinkie
    I don't get the love for "The Hurt Locker." Although there was a few effective scenes, many were preposterous. I found it unrealistic and overdone.

    “Calvary” is by John Michael McDonagh.
     
    I recommend it highly - "Calvary" is the greatest Catholic movie I have seen in the past decade. Brendan Gleeson is magnificent. The film captures the essence of Catholicism like no other I have seen in the recent years. The whole movie is engrossing, but is nihilistic until the very last frame when it powerfully changes everything. Whereas "The Tree of Life" makes grandiose (albeit effectively awe-inspiring) statements about God and creation, "Calvary" pithily sums up the meaning of life in one second.

    Burn After Reading
     
    If you knew anything about Washington, D.C., you'd find this film too painful (and painfully funny) to watch. Almost every character is spot on and accurate, with the possible exception of Brad Pitt.

    The Hurt Locker said at the beginning that “War is a drug,” and that’s pretty much all it was about. I suppose it’s refreshing to see a straightforward action movie be recognized, instead of the usual pretentiousness. But I didn’t really get it, either. Just a few good suspense sequences.

    Brad Pitt, by the way, was the best part of Burn After Reading. After he died I lost interest. Like with most Coen Brothers movie, I couldn’t tell whether we were supposed to take it seriously. But this one had extra seriousness-ambiguity. It seemed pointless.l, except I guess Francis got her surgery.

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  45. guest says:

    I need a separate post to praise Zodiac, my favorite movie of the century. I could even lose the serial killing and detective parts. The meat is in the Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal parts. I’ve never seen intellectual obsession captured so compellingly. I had flashbacks to studying the Kennedy assassination in high school.

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  46. guest says:

    Speaking of that Villeneuve guy, he did a perfectly frightening–up until the stupid ending–doppelganger movie called Enemy. Which like Zodiac stars Jake Gyllenhaal. I also liked Night Crawler. I can’t think of any contemporary actor whom I care about less despite him being in so many movies I enjoy.

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  47. @Thursday
    The 21st Century hasn't got off to a great start when it comes to movies. These lists are full of okayish movies, often by directors who did their best work elsewhere, sometimes long ago. No Country for Old Men is fine, but it's not Fargo or Miller's Crossing. Inside Out is fine, but it's no Up! Spirited Away looks great, but is a mess compared to Princess Mononoke.

    Anyway, here is my list:

    Up!
    Passion of the Christ
    Apocalypto
    Adaptation
    Her
    The Lives of Others
    Memento
    Inception
    Interstellar
    The Tree of Life
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Gravity
    Gosford Park
    A Prairie Home Companion
    Amelie
    A Very Long Engagement
    Nowhere in Africa
    2046
    Snatch
    Mystic River
    Million Dollar Baby
    Kung Fu Panda
    Arthur Christmas
    Drive
    The Fighter
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Contagion

    I'm judging here by movies I think will be regarded as great art in the future, including a couple blockbusters that transcend genre. There's been tons of entertaining crap out there, including LOTR, Mad Max, various comic book movies, those Kathryn Bigelow movies, but they aren't any more than that. Some dumb but amusing comedies from Will Ferrell. And there's lots of merely interesting movies too, like Ex Machina. I've seen a lot but not everything. Probably forgetting a couple too.

    Up! is a sweet picture. I forgot about Tree of Life which I also really enjoyed.

    Read More
    • Agree: Desiderius
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  48. guest says:
    @Anonymous
    These are all pretty middlebrow picks. Not saying that's a bad thing, just didn't expect it. Catholic converts tend to be annoying and to pose as stuffy intellectuals.

    Middle-brow fare is on short supply.l, which tends to raise the quality. It gets drowned out by blockbusters on the one hand and high-toned prestige pictures or hipster indie stuff on the other. Prestigious stuff tends to be outwardly leftist, and hipster stuff is full of sex, drugs, graphic violence, and naughty words. What’s a good Catholic to do?

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  49. I was initially surprised that A.O. Scott left off Mulholland Drive and agree with Douthat it should be on the list.

    But I would chalk it up to A.O. Scott being smart enough to recognize that David Lynch is definitely not playing for his team–the basic theme of that movie is that female vanity and ambition can quickly become grotesque. And that following your dreams to Hollywood is one of the dumbest things you can do. Sorta the opposite of the Muppet Movie.

    Of course, it took me about four viewings and a bunch of internet reading to figure out what the heck the movie was even about.

    As for the political leanings of There Will Be Blood: if it came out 50 years ago it would certainly be considered left wing, given its message that capitalism–even ‘good’ capitalism, the kind with the bootstrapping entrepreneur with innovative ideas–will eventually eat everything else important to society. It devours family, religion, the environment, tradition, workers, everything. It drinks their milkshake. But nowadays the fault lines aren’t capitalist/anticapitalist, they are nationalist/antinationalist, and if anything There Will Be Blood probably falls closer to the nationalists than the antinationalists.

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  50. @syonredux
    25 seems excessive. Here are 11 that I liked. No particular order:


    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: I've seen this one 4 or 5 times now, and it keeps getting more interesting with each viewing.

    Zodiac: To my mind, Fincher's best film

    Adaptation: Smart and funny

    Mulholland Drive: Dunno if it's better than Blue Velvet, but I do enjoy watching it more

    The Lives of Others: Genuinely moving

    The Hurt Locker: A good film about men made by a woman fascinated by masculinity

    The Witch: Top-notch period horror

    Apocalypto: Gutsy film

    The Dark Knight: The finest superhero film

    Iron Man: The most enjoyable superhero film. There's something quite compelling about watching Tony Stark/Robert Downey Jr work out his problems by building a suit of armor....If Hollywood ever gets around to making a film of Heinlein's Have Spacesuit-Will Travel, they should get Favreau...

    Grand Budapest Hotel: Cinema as icing....but I can't get enough. I've seen it at least a dozen times.

    Zodiac is not the best movie, but it is impeccably executed. An incredible tone and period piece, but one wonders whether it could have been much more. Part of its problem is the Zodiac Murders still have not been solved so closure is lacking. Far superior to The Social Network in my opinion. I get where the Zodiac Killer is coming from, I still can’t figure out Zuckerberg.

    If we are talking Fincher, Gone Girl is another impeccably executed genre flick.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    I remember being dissuaded from seeing Zodiac because of its lack of closure, but I knew I wouldn't mind. Indeed I didn't. Which isn't to say it's not a flaw, because the movie could've been better constructed to avoid the lack of closure mattering. And it does matter. The way the movie ends it's like it keeps trying to convince us we know what we don't know.

    It should've ended with Jake Gyllenhaal looking into the guy's eyes in the hardware store at least thinking he knows the truth. That was closure for that character, if not for us.
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  51. Lot says:
    @The True and Original David
    Love your comment. Relatives dragged me to a Star Wars in 2005, but I'm getting to 15 years.

    For me the last two times were 2007 and 2003.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    A lot of the movies on the list you haven't seen you should probably see. "Of Gods and Men" and "Calvary" are quite good. Speaking of "Catholic movies", "Silence" is quite good, too.

    "Hurt Locker" is an incredible movie. "Jarhead" isn't quite as good; but still worth seeing.

    "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" made quite an impression on me when I saw it. I'd be curious to read what you think.

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  52. Anonym says:

    “Inglorious Basterds” – definitely the best Tarantino film since Jackie Brown.

    Damning with faint praise? What is so great about Jackie Brown?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    If you were a kid in the 70s and had a happyish childhood, Jackie Brown captured that vibe about as well as any movie.
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  53. I’ve always thought P.T. Anderson makes pretty interesting films because he seems to pick some universal subject and then spin up a plot that’s an excuse to ruminate on that topic for a few hours.

    Sex! Boogie Nights
    Money! There Will Be Blood
    Religion! The Master

    He even made them in the order that people obsess over them as they move through life.

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  54. Pepe says:

    Ladykillers (2004); Wonderland (2003); Into the Wild (2007); The New World (2005); Apocalypto (2006); Changeling (2008); Calvary (2014); The Master (2012).

    Very sad the deterioration of foreign films.

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  55. donut says:

    You all must know that the donut with all his perceived faults has the best taste in movies as well as music , taste in art being subjective and personal I would not presume to list the best of anything . Enjoy what you enjoy in film and music , as I do .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kylie
    Don't be shy! Give us your subjective and personal 'best of' movie list.

    I, for one, yearn to be enlightened.
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  56. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    I think Douthat liked the pro-life aspect of Arrival (2016), which IMO, wasn’t as good as the similarly-named, but more coherent 1996 movie The Arrival.

    28 Days Later had one of the best openings of a movie in recent memory. A man wakes up in a completely empty hospital in the middle of London. Making the zombies fast was another innovation. Beyond that, it was a zombie movie, and there’s not a ton you can do within the confines of that genre.

    Miami Vice was good, though it was weakened by some bad casting decisions, starting with Jamie Foxx as Rico Tubbs. Maybe the studio made Mann cast him, or maybe Mann thought he did a good job in Collateral, but the movie lost something when they turned a suave, Caribbean, bilingual black character into an Ebonics-accented African American. It also lost some sex appeal but added some realism by casting a WNBA fan-looking blonde as one of the cops.

    It also gave Colin Farrell a chance to show his acting chops, in ignoring Gong Li’s ludicrous accent and looking like he was smitten with her.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    28 Days Later had one of the best openings of a movie in recent memory. A man wakes up in a completely empty hospital in the middle of London. Making the zombies fast was another innovation.
     
    I always thought that the opening was inspired by Day of the Triffids.....
    , @guest
    Michael Mann, after making three of my favoritest movies in previous decades--Thief (for the warped libertarianism), Last of the Mohicans (for the music, "You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you," and that rifle club), and Heat (for the heat)--really fell off my map this century. I guess Collateral was the best, but I've already forgotten it. Public Enemies made me sad.
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  57. Not Raul says:
    @Lot
    For me the last two times were 2007 and 2003.

    A lot of the movies on the list you haven’t seen you should probably see. “Of Gods and Men” and “Calvary” are quite good. Speaking of “Catholic movies”, “Silence” is quite good, too.

    “Hurt Locker” is an incredible movie. “Jarhead” isn’t quite as good; but still worth seeing.

    “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” made quite an impression on me when I saw it. I’d be curious to read what you think.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "The Wind that Shakes the Barley”

    That's an Irish 1920s civil war movie, right? It's a good one.

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  58. guest says:
    @guest
    I don't really like the arbitrariness of the 21st century cutoff. We could go by actual milestones, like CGI taking over everything somewhere between Jurassic Park and the Matrix. Or we could go with Saving Private Ryan taking away color and steady cameras. Or whenever it was that everything became a sequel, prequel, adaptation, re-imagining, or whatever. But I guess it'll be arbitrary no matter how we do it. We won't find a Jazz Singer line.

    Some of my favorites I saw after 11:59 pm, December 31st 2000 which I didn't see listed:

    American Sniper
    A Separation
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Auto Focus
    The Aviator
    Blue Ruin
    The Dark Knight
    Drive
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Guard
    The Hoax (because I need two Howard Hughes movies)
    Iron Man
    In Bruges
    Margaret
    Master and Commander
    Match Point
    Michael Clayton
    Midnight in Paris (It's astounding to me that I could pick two Woody Allen movies)
    Moneyball
    Shattered Glass
    Shotgun Stories
    Silver Linings Playbook
    The Trip
    The Wind That Shakes the Barley
    Zodiac

    My brain has run out of steam. I know I liked more comedies, but only late-90s ones are coming to mind.

    Wait, I forgot Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a good one.
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  59. syonredux says:

    Pleasureman/Udolpho has some nice comments on the NYT’s critics’ list:

    19. Mad Max: Fury Road

    Do you need to ask why? O.K. fine. Because George Miller is an old-school choreographer of chaos, favoring practical effects over their digital counterparts. Also because the movie drags the snarling, anti-authoritarian, punk-rock wit of the first “Mad Max” movies into a new era, updating and conserving in a single gesture. And finally because in Imperator Furiosa, Charlize Theron’s one-handed, buzz-cut, kohl-eyed avenger, the movies that famously didn’t need another hero found the one we all needed.

    Theron is of course totally upstaged by Nicholas Hoult’s chrome-faced Nux. In fact the movie is somewhat headless, with neither Theron nor co-lead (in his own movie) Tom Hardy making much of an impression, compared to the colorful Immortan Joe and his anarchic road crew. Both Theron and Hardy are mere branding, which is what keeps Fury Road from being an enduring action movie. It’s fun but mindless, and falls far short of the much stronger action movies that the 21st century has produced. Naturally a couple of f***ing bloggers can’t figure this basic filmmaking stuff out.

    21. Moonlight

    I have loved and championed a number of films over the past 17 years, but this one is somehow special. From the first time I saw it, I felt an unusually intense and intimate affection for it, an almost protective investment in its flourishing. And I think part of the reason is that “Moonlight” solicits that kind of affection for its main character, Chiron, as a boy, an adolescent and a man. People talk about identifying with or relating to a character, but what happens here is different. You feel close to him. Responsible for him. I have studied this film closely, and I’m still not sure exactly how Barry Jenkins made that happen.

    Translation: “A[*****]e Only” Scott would like to have a gay black boy of his own.

    https://mpcdot.com/forums/topic/9618-mpcs-best-movies-of-the-21st-century/

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    I remember hearing someone defending Mad Max the character being a non-entity in Fury Road by arguing Mad Max was always a blank. That's not true, though it may be true that the character was carried by Gibson's star-making performance.

    Nevermind the original which I barely remember, and Thunderdome, which no one takes seriously. The Road Warrior was seen as the classic, at least in this country. That movie is carried by Max without him having to do much of anything. I see the movie through his eyes, like Dr. Zhivago.

    Contrarywise, in Fury Road it's mostly as if Max doesn't exist. There's the gang of feminine escapees, about whom I mostly don't care. I don't remember anything about Charlize Theron, except her make-up and the fact that she couldn't walk.

    The Nicholas Hoult character, meanwhile, leaps off the screen. Why wasn't the movie about him?

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  60. markflag says:

    Happy to see Yi Yi on the list. An exquisite, meditative, and affectionate Taiwanese movie that received scant attention in the U.S.

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  61. syonredux says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    I think Douthat liked the pro-life aspect of Arrival (2016), which IMO, wasn't as good as the similarly-named, but more coherent 1996 movie The Arrival.

    28 Days Later had one of the best openings of a movie in recent memory. A man wakes up in a completely empty hospital in the middle of London. Making the zombies fast was another innovation. Beyond that, it was a zombie movie, and there's not a ton you can do within the confines of that genre.

    Miami Vice was good, though it was weakened by some bad casting decisions, starting with Jamie Foxx as Rico Tubbs. Maybe the studio made Mann cast him, or maybe Mann thought he did a good job in Collateral, but the movie lost something when they turned a suave, Caribbean, bilingual black character into an Ebonics-accented African American. It also lost some sex appeal but added some realism by casting a WNBA fan-looking blonde as one of the cops.

    It also gave Colin Farrell a chance to show his acting chops, in ignoring Gong Li's ludicrous accent and looking like he was smitten with her.

    https://youtu.be/hP29Lvhmnwk

    28 Days Later had one of the best openings of a movie in recent memory. A man wakes up in a completely empty hospital in the middle of London. Making the zombies fast was another innovation.

    I always thought that the opening was inspired by Day of the Triffids…..

    Read More
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  62. guest says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    I think Douthat liked the pro-life aspect of Arrival (2016), which IMO, wasn't as good as the similarly-named, but more coherent 1996 movie The Arrival.

    28 Days Later had one of the best openings of a movie in recent memory. A man wakes up in a completely empty hospital in the middle of London. Making the zombies fast was another innovation. Beyond that, it was a zombie movie, and there's not a ton you can do within the confines of that genre.

    Miami Vice was good, though it was weakened by some bad casting decisions, starting with Jamie Foxx as Rico Tubbs. Maybe the studio made Mann cast him, or maybe Mann thought he did a good job in Collateral, but the movie lost something when they turned a suave, Caribbean, bilingual black character into an Ebonics-accented African American. It also lost some sex appeal but added some realism by casting a WNBA fan-looking blonde as one of the cops.

    It also gave Colin Farrell a chance to show his acting chops, in ignoring Gong Li's ludicrous accent and looking like he was smitten with her.

    https://youtu.be/hP29Lvhmnwk

    Michael Mann, after making three of my favoritest movies in previous decades–Thief (for the warped libertarianism), Last of the Mohicans (for the music, “You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you,” and that rifle club), and Heat (for the heat)–really fell off my map this century. I guess Collateral was the best, but I’ve already forgotten it. Public Enemies made me sad.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    He hasn't made anything at the level of Heat since, but Collateral, Miami Vice, and his hacker movie were all pretty good. I'm holding out hope he has another great one in him.
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  63. The Hurt Locker:
    There has to be a term for a movie that is good if you do not know anything about the subject. I can understand why someone would like the hurt locker. It has good acting, good story,good photography, and more. I, a son of a WW II combat engineer was constantly shout at the screen “DON’T DO That!” “No!” “YOU IDIOT.” Luckily I was home not at the theater.
    My favorite scene was where the soldier who was accidentally shot by the idiot Sargent, tells him everything he did wrong. Every statement was right.
    Dad thought the BBC series “Danger UXB” was accurate.

    Read More
    • Agree: James Richard, donut
    • Replies: @James Richard
    As a former combat engineer with many a mine sweep under my belt I agree wholeheartedly with your dad about Danger UXB. NOBODY who does any kind of EOD acts like that character in Hurt Locker, plus the whole theme was already explored in The War Lover.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Danger UXB was great. Watched it as a kid.
    , @donut
    "Luckily I was home not at the theater." I have had more than one date tell me to shut up in the theater .
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  64. guest says:
    @syonredux
    Pleasureman/Udolpho has some nice comments on the NYT's critics' list:

    19. Mad Max: Fury Road

    Do you need to ask why? O.K. fine. Because George Miller is an old-school choreographer of chaos, favoring practical effects over their digital counterparts. Also because the movie drags the snarling, anti-authoritarian, punk-rock wit of the first “Mad Max” movies into a new era, updating and conserving in a single gesture. And finally because in Imperator Furiosa, Charlize Theron’s one-handed, buzz-cut, kohl-eyed avenger, the movies that famously didn’t need another hero found the one we all needed.

    Theron is of course totally upstaged by Nicholas Hoult's chrome-faced Nux. In fact the movie is somewhat headless, with neither Theron nor co-lead (in his own movie) Tom Hardy making much of an impression, compared to the colorful Immortan Joe and his anarchic road crew. Both Theron and Hardy are mere branding, which is what keeps Fury Road from being an enduring action movie. It's fun but mindless, and falls far short of the much stronger action movies that the 21st century has produced. Naturally a couple of f***ing bloggers can't figure this basic filmmaking stuff out.
     


    21. Moonlight

    I have loved and championed a number of films over the past 17 years, but this one is somehow special. From the first time I saw it, I felt an unusually intense and intimate affection for it, an almost protective investment in its flourishing. And I think part of the reason is that “Moonlight” solicits that kind of affection for its main character, Chiron, as a boy, an adolescent and a man. People talk about identifying with or relating to a character, but what happens here is different. You feel close to him. Responsible for him. I have studied this film closely, and I’m still not sure exactly how Barry Jenkins made that happen.

    Translation: "A[*****]e Only" Scott would like to have a gay black boy of his own.
     

    https://mpcdot.com/forums/topic/9618-mpcs-best-movies-of-the-21st-century/

    I remember hearing someone defending Mad Max the character being a non-entity in Fury Road by arguing Mad Max was always a blank. That’s not true, though it may be true that the character was carried by Gibson’s star-making performance.

    Nevermind the original which I barely remember, and Thunderdome, which no one takes seriously. The Road Warrior was seen as the classic, at least in this country. That movie is carried by Max without him having to do much of anything. I see the movie through his eyes, like Dr. Zhivago.

    Contrarywise, in Fury Road it’s mostly as if Max doesn’t exist. There’s the gang of feminine escapees, about whom I mostly don’t care. I don’t remember anything about Charlize Theron, except her make-up and the fact that she couldn’t walk.

    The Nicholas Hoult character, meanwhile, leaps off the screen. Why wasn’t the movie about him?

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Nevermind the original which I barely remember, and Thunderdome, which no one takes seriously. The Road Warrior was seen as the classic, at least in this country. That movie is carried by Max without him having to do much of anything. I see the movie through his eyes, like Dr. Zhivago.
     
    I think that Mel Gibson said that the idea in Road Warrior was that Max was a Steve McQueen-type character: few words, relates best to machines, very internalized....

    Fortunately, Gibson had the charisma and the acting chops to pull it off.....

    RE :Thunderdome,

    Gotta confess, I think that the movie works right up until the moment when Max meets the kids....

    RE: Fury Road,

    I'm still amazed that Miller managed to convince critics that saying that sexual slavery is wrong counts as a bold feminist statement.....

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  65. @snorlax
    I'm probably weird, but speaking as a Coen Bros fan, Burn After Reading (more topical than ever with its skewering of our so-called Intelligence Community) is my favorite film of theirs. This scene gets me gasping for air every time I watch it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yl95hx6mcA

    Speaking of me being weird, like Mugatu I must be taking crazy pills, because I found There Will be Blood to be one of the most godawful movies I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. I guess I just have a limited tolerance for overlong self-indulgence; I find most of Kubrick's work decent-but-overrated.

    Never liked there will be blood myself. Boogie Nights is still the best pta movie. The master was better twbb.

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  66. guest says:
    @guest
    I don't really like the arbitrariness of the 21st century cutoff. We could go by actual milestones, like CGI taking over everything somewhere between Jurassic Park and the Matrix. Or we could go with Saving Private Ryan taking away color and steady cameras. Or whenever it was that everything became a sequel, prequel, adaptation, re-imagining, or whatever. But I guess it'll be arbitrary no matter how we do it. We won't find a Jazz Singer line.

    Some of my favorites I saw after 11:59 pm, December 31st 2000 which I didn't see listed:

    American Sniper
    A Separation
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Auto Focus
    The Aviator
    Blue Ruin
    The Dark Knight
    Drive
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Guard
    The Hoax (because I need two Howard Hughes movies)
    Iron Man
    In Bruges
    Margaret
    Master and Commander
    Match Point
    Michael Clayton
    Midnight in Paris (It's astounding to me that I could pick two Woody Allen movies)
    Moneyball
    Shattered Glass
    Shotgun Stories
    Silver Linings Playbook
    The Trip
    The Wind That Shakes the Barley
    Zodiac

    My brain has run out of steam. I know I liked more comedies, but only late-90s ones are coming to mind.

    Oh, also: Primer. I’ve never seen a straightforward movie* less concerned with whether the audience can keep up.

    *That is to say, one with regular narrative momentum and without timeline leaps, intertwining storylines, fantasy sequences, etc.

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  67. guest says:

    I too like There Will Be Blood, though I don’t know how it has attained its current future-classic status. I remember being all hyped up to see it, then leaving the theater deflated when no truly great scene or moment happened. Though of course Day-Lewis was great. The movie just never took off.

    The movie elite like it because it’s gorgeous, is contemptuous of its audience, and because they like the socio-politico-economic message, I suppose. But it’s severely flawed, in that the climax doesn’t really come off. The “I drink your milkshake” thing felt like an afterthought. The stuff with Standard Oil and the son ended anticlimactically, too. The only major part of the plot well-plotted was how killing the “brother from another mother” led to humiliating himself in front of the preacher.

    That, and the twin thing came off weird. Though I have nothing against the actor, Paul Dano is miscast. The preacher should be sexy, or at least charismatic. Not a creeper.

    That being said, why did I enjoy it? I liked how they went all-in with the misanthrope angle. Day-Lewis really doesn’t like people. He builds his fortune and is alienated from his fake son. Now he has to live alone in his mansion with his millions. But that’s not enough. He had a rival at one point, over whom he has attained utter mastery. The rival doesn’t know that, so Daniel informs him.

    He humiliates the preacher like the preacher once humiliated him, then he informs the preacher he’s already robbed him of a potential fortune. Which is rubbing it in his face. But that’s not enough. It’s not enough until he caves the preacher’s head in for no good reason. Then Daniel can say, “I’m finished.” The whole sequence is pure overkill.

    That’s a strange ending, and has the feel of strange and unsettling for the sake of unsettledness. But it’s in character. He’s a completist. Plus, we were promised blood.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Paul Dano is miscast. The preacher should be sexy, or at least charismatic. Not a creeper.
     
    Yep.

    Reminded me of O'Donnell in Scent of a Woman. Too small for that part.
    , @PiltdownMan
    There Will Be Blood was a great flick, but it came across as deliberately anti-American in its message to me, implying that America's prosperity and greatness were necessarily built upon a foundation of psychotic misanthrophy and self-centeredness.

    I'm not kidding, that was my gut reaction, not some intellectual musing. As I think about it now, it echoes what D.H. Lawrence said about Americans, which also fits the Daniel Day Lewis character perfectly—“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

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  68. @Daniel H
    >>“No Country For Old Men” –

    An inferior re-write of Sam Peckinpah's "Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia".

    Do rent/stream "Bring me the head of Alfred Garcia." After viewing, you will have little wonder of all the craziness going on in Mexico today.

    No Country was a serious book and so was the movie. It’s about how the Grim Reaper comes for us all, some sooner and some later, and there is no rhyme or reason to where or when.

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    • Replies: @Pericles
    Actually, No Country mostly made me think of The Hitcher (1986) with the inimitable Rutger Hauer.
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  69. donut says:

    Yeah , you all know that the donut has the best taste in movies and music , right ? But I will have to agree that one of the best movies of 2015 with a female lead was “The Martian” with Mary Damon in the lead role . And while she came to fame in a movie that I found to be unwatchable after about 15-20 minutes “Good Will Hunting” . She has done some excellent work since then . Especially in “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “The Informant!” Where she played a man . But like Johnny Depp “captain faggot” her talents have been for the most part been wasted . At this point I would like to recommend an obscure movie that some of you may have seen but any way : “Session 9″ , and “Ripley’s Game” .

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    • Replies: @donut
    The only reason I can think of to send women into space is for pussy , cooking and sheer unqualified balls or ovaries what ever the case may be .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerri_Nielsen

    Maybe even to save the day .
    , @Kylie
    "At this point I would like to recommend an obscure movie that some of you may have seen but any way : "Session 9" , and "Ripley’s Game'"."

    I liked both. Have you seen "Dogtooth"? For some reason, I think you would enjoy it.
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  70. robot says: • Website

    ‘Boyhood’ is just an embarrassment. My counterproposal would be to edit together all the footage of the two youngest Kardashians (from KUWTK) as they evolved from innocence to virtual prostitution, and call it “Girlhood”.

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  71. Moshe says:
    @Anonymous
    I'm wary of these lists by MSM and entertainment sources. Increasingly, they bestow praise on a film or tv show because it spoke to their liberal preconceptions. They tend to be only 'edgy' in that they push a liberal agenda du jour- The Danish Girl pushing transvestitism, The Wire pushing a gay hero, etc.

    They like The Wire because it’s a TV Show about Blacks Behaving Badly that was made by a bona fide liberal who made sure to do all the necessary payoffs in advance. In case I wasn’t clear, what they like is the ability to emerse themselves in the raw truth they are otherwise never allowed to speak of or even notice themselves thinking of.

    The Wire does not speak to liberal preconceptions.

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    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Having only recently gotten around to watching The Wire, I was pleasantly surprised at how honest (race realist) it is. I liked it better than Breaking Bad or The Sopranos for a number of reasons, one being that it had some characters you didn't have to dislike, unlike those others.
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  72. guest says:
    @Anonymous
    I'm wary of these lists by MSM and entertainment sources. Increasingly, they bestow praise on a film or tv show because it spoke to their liberal preconceptions. They tend to be only 'edgy' in that they push a liberal agenda du jour- The Danish Girl pushing transvestitism, The Wire pushing a gay hero, etc.

    Regarding Omar in the Wire, he wasn’t supposed to be heroic. Despite the fact that they deliberately gave him Robin Hood qualities and made him more sympathetic than the other criminal characters, he genuinely got away from the creators. They didn’t expect him to be so popular.

    Which is why they were judicious and limited in their use of him in later seasons, and also why they have him an ignominious ending. After milking his pseudo-heroism for all it was worth in his larger-than-life final storyline.

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  73. donut says:
    @donut
    Yeah , you all know that the donut has the best taste in movies and music , right ? But I will have to agree that one of the best movies of 2015 with a female lead was "The Martian" with Mary Damon in the lead role . And while she came to fame in a movie that I found to be unwatchable after about 15-20 minutes "Good Will Hunting" . She has done some excellent work since then . Especially in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "The Informant!" Where she played a man . But like Johnny Depp "captain faggot" her talents have been for the most part been wasted . At this point I would like to recommend an obscure movie that some of you may have seen but any way : "Session 9" , and "Ripley's Game" .

    The only reason I can think of to send women into space is for pussy , cooking and sheer unqualified balls or ovaries what ever the case may be .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerri_Nielsen

    Maybe even to save the day .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Michelle
    Of course, "The women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature."
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  74. guest says:

    About There Will Be Blood and No Country: they are similar in that both underhandedly mess with the audience with anticlimactic endings. I like the overkill of Blood, as I said. No Country is worse.

    I could live with killing the main character off-screen, as well as the ambiguous fate of the villain. But then it drags on, and by the time Tommy Lee blah-blahs at the breakfast table, my mind is wandering. You don’t want your audience daydreaming when suddenly the credits pop up. I remember someone in the theater audibly asking, “That’s it?”

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    • Replies: @James Richard
    It's about the complete incomprehensibility, irrationality, and randomness of death you moron.
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  75. Moshe says:

    Douthat seems to be checking off boxes to complile his eclectic list l. Which is probably what the other writers were doing to but which is down n out dirty.

    Anyhow, I don’t know much about movies so I’ll just note that Adaptation was incredible. The Hurt Locker was oversold which might be why I didn’t find it as Stupendous as others appeared to have done.

    And the same probably applies to No Country and There Will Be Blood (I love watching Jamie complain in The Thick of It that there was “harrrddly any bludd”). I didn’t find either to be as out of this world as everyone was saying they were but, then again, I get the impression that these two films are especially important to be seen in theatre the first time. Which I did not.

    The Coens are my favorite living movie makers but I am one of those whobwould choose Fargo, Serious Man, Millers Crossing or The Hudsuckers Proxy (and probably others if I thought about it) over No Country.

    As for DDL, he’s a world class actor, sure, but wasn’t Gangs of New York more magnificent?

    As an aside, I went to Lincoln because of the legal requirements (don’t worry about the economics, I stopped paying for movies ages ago) but it was only the second movie seen in theatre that I ever fell asleep in on account of boredom. The first was the Passion of the Christ.

    On that subject I thought South Park’s send up was perfect.

    The Jews got their panties in a bunch. The Christians saw it as somehow inspirational. The antisems got off on it. Normal people thought it was inxresibly dull and Mel Gibson made it because he’s a torture freak with serious mental defects. (His recent hacksaw ridge had it too with grotesque horror film moments that were nothing like private ryan war realism but clearly sadist bonerism. Not as bad as Tarantino, that sick f*ck, but of the same coat.)

    And how could you not have come across 40 year old virgin yet?

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  76. Thursday says:

    I enjoyed the new Mad Max, but boy was it stupid.

    As far as action movies go, I prefer Guardians of the Galaxy or Iron Man. The Dark Knight movies are better too. And the first Pirates of the Caribbean is just a flat out classic.

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  77. City of God (Cidade De Deus)
    Elite Squad
    Pan’s Labyrinth

    The Hurt Locker
    LOTR trilogy
    Mad Max : Fury Road
    The Hobbit trilogy
    Batman Begins

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    • Replies: @Captain nascimento
    This! Both Elite Squad movies deserve to be on list.

    First Elite Squad was better story, though cinematography sucked. Second elite Squad seemed like the director Jose Padilha tried to regain his leftist street cred by casting BOPE in a weakened state towards the end of the film.

    And what about Downfall (Der Untergang)? Best War movie of all time , most historically accurate, jaw dropping drama (even though we know characters eventual fates), impeccable acting performances , especially Bruno Ganz.

    Russian The ninth company deserves to be on the list. Similar to Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, but well worth a look.
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  78. Thursday says:
    @Richard of Melbourne
    Much of the NYT list looks OK, and pretty much all of Steve's, but for the life of me I can't understand the high regard in which There Will Be Blood is held.

    I like most P T Anderson work, and most stuff that includes Day-Lewis, but I found There Will Be Blood to be over-acted lefty propaganda with a story that was simply impossible to believe.

    I'm also surprised that Max Max: Fury Road is so well regarded. I think Steve summed it up superbly: it "had the greatest trailer of the century, but the rest of the movie is just like the trailer … only longer".

    Steve, The Queen of Versailles is well worth a look, as you suspect.

    My pick for best film of the century (so far): The Lives of Others. Honourable mentions (other than a few of those already mentioned in the posting): The Departed, Master and Commander, Her.

    Master and Commander was great. Thanks for the reminder.

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  79. Rod1963 says:

    Don’t care for the list at all with the exception of Miyazakis movies.

    No country for old men – rampaging hit man and a hick out of his league. Meh.

    Fury Road – Mel made defined that series and it’s a child of the 1980′s best left there.

    My favs

    Twin Peaks – at least first season. Who can forget the log lady and the dancing dwarf, the moose head and donuts.
    Breaking Bad – everything just fits.
    Fargo
    LOTR
    Over the Garden Wall
    Ghost in the shell(the anime version)
    Millenium episode “Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defense” very funny send up of Scientology
    X Files episode Improbable. Has cool Karl Zero sound track and Burt Reynolds. Very off beat and funny.
    Forbidden Planet.
    Kolchak The Night Stalker. Good actors, humor, story and direction. X-Files tried and couldn’t replicate it. It would have helped if they had real actors and actresses and not 3rd stringers.
    Emperor of the North – with Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine.
    Hard Times with Charles Bronson
    The Killer Elite
    The Wild Bunch
    They Live
    My Name is Nobody – funny spaghetti western by Sergio Leone.
    The Good, The bad and the ugly.
    Pale Rider
    The man who would be king

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  80. Moshe says:
    @Harry Baldwin
    It was a strange and fascinating movie.

    Critics like to come up with complex arguments in favor of less-entertaining Coen films like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, or Inside Llewyn Davis

    Yes, and of all of those Inside Llewyn Davis was my least favorite Coen brothers' movie of all time, so of course the critics must love it. I found A Serious Man eminently habitable . . . err, entertaining. Burn After Reading is also hilarious.

    I know there's no accounting for taste, but The 40-Year-Old Virgin?! Within five minutes of its start I knew that it was not going to be funny at all. Everything was so heavy-handed and obvious. The one funny scene--the one where Steve Carell describes feeling a woman's breast to his buddies so bizarrely that it's obvious to them that he's never done so--is apparently the idea with which Carell sold the concept. Funnier movies in this genre would be Stepbrothers or Walk Hard. IMHO, of course.

    The Jolly Roger ;)

    As an aside, I love comedies and there were quite a few good ones, from Ted to Step Brothers to Meet The Parents and probably a hundred more but TROPIC THUNDER holds a special place in my heart. Holy HELL (!) did I enjoy watching it

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  81. @guest
    Wait, I forgot Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a good one.

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    • Agree: Dave Pinsen, syonredux
    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... so it was ... I have never seen it referred to, though, by anyone until now ...
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  82. @Not Raul
    A lot of the movies on the list you haven't seen you should probably see. "Of Gods and Men" and "Calvary" are quite good. Speaking of "Catholic movies", "Silence" is quite good, too.

    "Hurt Locker" is an incredible movie. "Jarhead" isn't quite as good; but still worth seeing.

    "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" made quite an impression on me when I saw it. I'd be curious to read what you think.

    “The Wind that Shakes the Barley”

    That’s an Irish 1920s civil war movie, right? It’s a good one.

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    • Replies: @guest
    Wind That Shakes the Barley I like despite it setting off various peeves of mine. It overleaps them with a strong story. For one thing, it's plain ugly visually. For another, it's in the brutalist school of realism. Very nasty stuff, a lot of it. Also, it lacks narrative momentum, or at least feels that way to me. Things play out at their own pace in the indie style and don't have the cause and effect thrust I prefer.

    But then they do. I remember, for instance, just when I'm convinced the main character is a psycho they remind me of a scene way back, and I'm suddenly sympathetic again.

    Another thing, most anti-war movies fail, because to be a good movie it has to be entertaining, and if you make the movie entertaining you'll end up making war seem entertaining by extension. The Wind That Shakes the Barley avoids that with brutal realism, as talked about above, but also by being scary. I don't remember war being as frighteningly depicted as in this movie, even in bloodier and more thrilling fare like Saving Private Ryan. It's almost a horror movie.
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  83. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Platinum List:

    A.I.
    Mulholland Dr.
    Werckmeister Harmonies
    Still Walking
    Wicker Park
    Mothman Prophecies
    High Fidelity
    Insomnia (Remake)
    Memories of Murder
    Ghost World
    Damsels in Distress
    Amelie
    C.R.A.Z.Y
    Assassination of Jesse James

    Gold List:

    Inception
    Tron Legacy
    Tomorrowland
    The Hunt(Danish)
    The World’s End
    Zodiac
    Ant-man
    Indiana Jones and Kingdom of Crystal Skull
    Slow West
    Kings of Summer
    Life of Pi
    August: Osage County
    O Brother Where Art Thou
    Gravity
    Friend
    Downfall
    Take Care of My Cat
    Into the Wild
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Amores Perros
    House of Mirth
    Tropical Malady
    Poetry
    Snow White and the Huntsman
    New Moon
    The Counselor
    The Others
    American Splendor
    Lost in Translation

    Silver List:

    Robocop
    Split
    Shaun of the Dead
    Hot Fuzz
    Moana
    Me and Orson Welles
    Scanner Darkly
    Everybody Wants Some
    Panic Room
    Footnote
    The Village
    Blue Jasmine
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Heist
    Spartan
    Beijing Bicycle
    Michael Clayton
    Bridge of Spies
    Adventures of Tintin
    Catch Me If You Can
    Minority Report
    American Sniper
    Flags of Our Fathers
    Letters from Iwo Jima
    Rescue Dawn
    W.
    Despicable Me
    The German Doctor
    Last Orders
    No Man’s Land
    Son’s Room
    Waking Life
    Yellow Asphalt
    State and Main
    City of God / City of Men
    Guru
    The Pianist
    Spider
    Twilight Samurai
    American Splendor
    Elephant
    Goodbye Lenin
    Tristan and Isolde
    Art School Confidential
    Sunshine
    Bourne Identity
    No Country for Old Men
    The Wrestler
    Moon
    An Education
    Shutter Island
    Like Father Like Son
    Nobody Knows
    Our Little Sister
    Silent Souls
    Elena
    Senna
    Diving Bell and Butterfly
    4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days
    In the City of Sylvia
    The Sun (Russo-Japan)
    Distant
    Time Out
    Crimson Gold
    Act of Killing
    Lady and the Duke
    The Great Beauty
    This Must Be the Place
    Only Lovers Left Alive
    Twilight
    Breaking Dawn
    Joe
    C.O.G
    The Day

    Bronze List:

    Phil Specter
    All About Lily-Chou-Chou
    Internal Affairs
    The Master
    Drive
    Byzantium
    Café Society
    Ondine
    In a World
    Looper
    American Pastoral
    Bad Lieutenant
    Little Miss Sunshine
    Last Samurai
    Matchstick Men
    Donnie Darko
    Piano Teacher
    Cloverfield
    Diary of the Dead
    Boiler Room
    My Dog Skip
    The Happening
    Devil
    American Hustle
    In the Bedroom
    Blackhawk Down
    Beautiful Mind
    Matrix Revolutions
    Attack of Clones
    End of the Tour
    Mistress America
    Kicking and Screaming
    Moonrise Kingdom

    Fool’s Gold List:

    Resident Evil
    Resident Evil: Extinction
    Resident Evil: Afterlife
    Resident Evil: Retribution
    Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
    Jeepers Creepers
    Session 9
    127 Hrs
    Casino Jack
    Hunger Games
    Thor
    The American
    Noah

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Platinum - Katyn

    Gold - Hurt Locker
    , @Anon
    Gold:

    K-19 Widowmaker
    Beyond the Sea
    Count of Monte Cristo
    Everlasting Moments
    Triad Election
    Sunset Song
    Sunflower
    Rush
    11 Flowers
    The Conspirator
    The Way Back
    Safe Conduct

    Silver:

    Anomalisa
    Kabei
    The Mist
    Ender’s Game
    Ray
    Blind Mountain
    Not on My Lips
    Congorama
    All Is Lost
    Alexandra(Russia)
    Together
    Che
    Dharm
    Evil(Sweden)
    Atarat
    Hidden Blade
    Love and Honor

    Bronze:

    Coming Home
    Cold in July
    Elite Squad
    The Box
    Once
    Defiance
    Gran Torino
    United 93
    World of Kanako
    Prestige

    Wood:

    http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/my-twenty-five-best-films-of-the-century-so-far
    , @Ian M.
    Thank you for listing Moon. One of my top ten movies for the 21st century, that no one else I know has so much as heard of.

    Another 21st century movie that would probably be in my top 10 and that I haven't seen mentioned yet is The King's Speech.

    Two other unmentioned movies I liked from the period but that are a bit treacly are Slumdog Millionaire and Juno.

    (Yes, I have pretty middle-brow tastes. Although I do agree with the critics' pick of Eternal Sunshine).
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  84. guest says:
    @Clifford Brown
    Zodiac is not the best movie, but it is impeccably executed. An incredible tone and period piece, but one wonders whether it could have been much more. Part of its problem is the Zodiac Murders still have not been solved so closure is lacking. Far superior to The Social Network in my opinion. I get where the Zodiac Killer is coming from, I still can't figure out Zuckerberg.

    If we are talking Fincher, Gone Girl is another impeccably executed genre flick.

    I remember being dissuaded from seeing Zodiac because of its lack of closure, but I knew I wouldn’t mind. Indeed I didn’t. Which isn’t to say it’s not a flaw, because the movie could’ve been better constructed to avoid the lack of closure mattering. And it does matter. The way the movie ends it’s like it keeps trying to convince us we know what we don’t know.

    It should’ve ended with Jake Gyllenhaal looking into the guy’s eyes in the hardware store at least thinking he knows the truth. That was closure for that character, if not for us.

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  85. A couple of points: I’ve included the year 2000 in the 21st Century, Oh Brother came out on December 22nd. So sue me. Erin Brockovich, Chocolat, Miss Congeniality, and a bunch of other good films came out that year too in addition to the ones I picked. We haven’t had as good a year for quality movies since.

    If this list seems tilted towards earlier in the century that’s because the screenplays were by and large better then. Good cinematic writing has moved ever more towards the TV serial drama with Amazon and Netflix joining HBO and the other “premium” cable channels in producing this long-form drama format. This is not a bad thing. Some of the best novelists of the 19th Century such as Dickens and Trollope published many of their novels by the chapter as magazine installments.

    High Fidelity
    Traffic
    Oh Brother, Where Art Thou
    Winter’s Bone
    The Pianist
    Children of Men
    Ex Machina
    Ghost World
    Open Range
    The Station Agent
    No Country For Old Men – both the book and the movie are absolutely brilliant
    The Lives of Others
    Eastern Promises
    The LOTR trilogy
    Under the Skin
    Lords of Dogtown
    Narc
    Barbara
    Lucy
    Hanna
    Sin City
    Manchester By The Sea

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  86. @guest
    About There Will Be Blood and No Country: they are similar in that both underhandedly mess with the audience with anticlimactic endings. I like the overkill of Blood, as I said. No Country is worse.

    I could live with killing the main character off-screen, as well as the ambiguous fate of the villain. But then it drags on, and by the time Tommy Lee blah-blahs at the breakfast table, my mind is wandering. You don't want your audience daydreaming when suddenly the credits pop up. I remember someone in the theater audibly asking, "That's it?"

    It’s about the complete incomprehensibility, irrationality, and randomness of death you moron.

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    • Replies: @guest
    Whatever it's about, it's not effective if the audience stops paying attention.

    Anyway, you can film a story about the incomprehensibility, irrationality, and randomness of death within conventional narrative. In this case, without being anticlimactic and losing much of the audience's interest before the movie's over. Old-style storytelling can bear pretty much any meaning you can dream up.

    The Coen Bros. don't think something has to be irrational, incomprehensible, and random to convey randomness, incomprehensibility, and irrationality. But they do often come off as pranksters, and I have to think they knew what they were doing, here, in subverting my attention to the point of disinterest. Because the previous 4/5 of the movie was utterly spellbinding, and that was on purpose. Then it was the opposite of spellbinding, and that too must have been on purpose.

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  87. guest says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "The Wind that Shakes the Barley”

    That's an Irish 1920s civil war movie, right? It's a good one.

    Wind That Shakes the Barley I like despite it setting off various peeves of mine. It overleaps them with a strong story. For one thing, it’s plain ugly visually. For another, it’s in the brutalist school of realism. Very nasty stuff, a lot of it. Also, it lacks narrative momentum, or at least feels that way to me. Things play out at their own pace in the indie style and don’t have the cause and effect thrust I prefer.

    But then they do. I remember, for instance, just when I’m convinced the main character is a psycho they remind me of a scene way back, and I’m suddenly sympathetic again.

    Another thing, most anti-war movies fail, because to be a good movie it has to be entertaining, and if you make the movie entertaining you’ll end up making war seem entertaining by extension. The Wind That Shakes the Barley avoids that with brutal realism, as talked about above, but also by being scary. I don’t remember war being as frighteningly depicted as in this movie, even in bloodier and more thrilling fare like Saving Private Ryan. It’s almost a horror movie.

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  88. @flyingtiger
    The Hurt Locker:
    There has to be a term for a movie that is good if you do not know anything about the subject. I can understand why someone would like the hurt locker. It has good acting, good story,good photography, and more. I, a son of a WW II combat engineer was constantly shout at the screen "DON'T DO That!" "No!" "YOU IDIOT." Luckily I was home not at the theater.
    My favorite scene was where the soldier who was accidentally shot by the idiot Sargent, tells him everything he did wrong. Every statement was right.
    Dad thought the BBC series "Danger UXB" was accurate.

    As a former combat engineer with many a mine sweep under my belt I agree wholeheartedly with your dad about Danger UXB. NOBODY who does any kind of EOD acts like that character in Hurt Locker, plus the whole theme was already explored in The War Lover.

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  89. The Dargis/Scott list is so silly and pretentious. Perfect for the NYT. I like cinema but I haven’t even heard of some of these movies, let alone thought about watching them. “The Gleaners and I”, WTF is that? “White Material”? “Timbuktu”? Really? “In Jackson Heights” – a 3 hour documentary no one has heard of? Come on.

    Douhat’s list is all right, at least he is talking about movies we have watched.

    Back in the real world, the top directors – Fincher, the Coens, Scorcese, Nolan, Ridley Scott, and even James Cameron, have all had a great 21st century. They’ve made some stinkers (Scott’s “Robin Hood” comes to mind), but they’ve churned out a lot of great material, including some instant classics.

    But in general cinema has been suffering from stifling political correctness, an unhealthy obsession with superheroes, and a general fear of innovation which has resulted in the production of countless sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots.

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  90. @Njguy73
    I vouch that I do not have an IMDB tab open as I type this.

    1982: E.T., Gandhi, The Verdict, An Officer and a Gentleman, Sophie's Choice, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Tootsie

    1984: Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Stranger Than Paradise, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Footloose

    I was between high school and college that summer of ’84. I remember it seemed like I was at the movie theater all the time — there really did seem to be a remarkable number of very enjoyable movies that year.

    I cheated and looked it up; you can find a rundown/ranking of the movies of summer 1984 HERE

    I saw all the ones you named (except Stranger than Paradise), plus Top Secret, Bachelor Party (early Tom Hanks), Red Dawn, Purple Rain, The Natural, Revenge of the Nerds, and Sixteen Candles. Fun times.

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    • Replies: @Njguy73
    Thanks. Can't believe I forgot those.
    , @Anonymous
    Videodrome.
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  91. guest says:
    @James Richard
    It's about the complete incomprehensibility, irrationality, and randomness of death you moron.

    Whatever it’s about, it’s not effective if the audience stops paying attention.

    Anyway, you can film a story about the incomprehensibility, irrationality, and randomness of death within conventional narrative. In this case, without being anticlimactic and losing much of the audience’s interest before the movie’s over. Old-style storytelling can bear pretty much any meaning you can dream up.

    The Coen Bros. don’t think something has to be irrational, incomprehensible, and random to convey randomness, incomprehensibility, and irrationality. But they do often come off as pranksters, and I have to think they knew what they were doing, here, in subverting my attention to the point of disinterest. Because the previous 4/5 of the movie was utterly spellbinding, and that was on purpose. Then it was the opposite of spellbinding, and that too must have been on purpose.

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    • Replies: @James Richard
    I find your ignorance and naiveté absolutely appalling and that extends to most everything you write. You sound like someone who is under 25 years old and who has never worked with their hands in their entire life.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    Whatever it’s about, it’s not effective if the audience stops paying attention.

    You're the only person I've heard of whose attention wandered during No Country for Old Men, but there are probably others. You can't please everyone.
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  92. El Dato says:
    @Sunbeam
    Wow the only one of those movies I actually watched was The Incredibles.

    I'd better get to deploring my basket or something.

    As an idle thing:

    "“Grizzly Man” – Memorable Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who gets himself eaten by a bear."

    I guess my thought processes are something like "Stop, do not pass go. There is no message here. F$@%ing idiot gets himself eaten by a bear. No story, no deeper meaning. Stupidity. Cannot be massaged or spun into some kind of allegory or anything of the sort."

    Bears are what they are. They are not some kind of accessory to Man's search for meaning. Leave them alone, unless they are eating your sheep or goats, or happen to be close enough to be a random threat to you.

    The Incredibles was the best superhero movie ever. Also, I like bears.

    Now, I want to add that “The Wind Also Rises” beats “Spirited Away” easily even though the former (which is about the youthul engineer of the Zero Fighter deployed to some success by the Empire of Nihon) is about as historically accurate as any “historical” movie out of Hollywood (don’t even mention the retch-inducing insane movie about Turing … beuuurgrgh!)

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I only saw about 5 minutes of Miyazaki's WWII movie "The Wind Also Rises," but it looked very good. "Spirited Away" seemed kind of self-indulgent, like everybody told Miyazaki how brilliant he was so he just made up whatever the hell he felt like but didn't work that hard on having it be entertaining, kind of like non-Mulholland Drive David Lynch.
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  93. @guest
    Whatever it's about, it's not effective if the audience stops paying attention.

    Anyway, you can film a story about the incomprehensibility, irrationality, and randomness of death within conventional narrative. In this case, without being anticlimactic and losing much of the audience's interest before the movie's over. Old-style storytelling can bear pretty much any meaning you can dream up.

    The Coen Bros. don't think something has to be irrational, incomprehensible, and random to convey randomness, incomprehensibility, and irrationality. But they do often come off as pranksters, and I have to think they knew what they were doing, here, in subverting my attention to the point of disinterest. Because the previous 4/5 of the movie was utterly spellbinding, and that was on purpose. Then it was the opposite of spellbinding, and that too must have been on purpose.

    I find your ignorance and naiveté absolutely appalling and that extends to most everything you write. You sound like someone who is under 25 years old and who has never worked with their hands in their entire life.

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  94. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Dr. Krieger
    Moonrise Kingdom
    Ex Machina
    Interstellar
    Dredd
    The Prestige
    Shin Godzilla

    I saw Shin Godzilla last weekend.

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  95. @El Dato
    The Incredibles was the best superhero movie ever. Also, I like bears.

    Now, I want to add that "The Wind Also Rises" beats "Spirited Away" easily even though the former (which is about the youthul engineer of the Zero Fighter deployed to some success by the Empire of Nihon) is about as historically accurate as any "historical" movie out of Hollywood (don't even mention the retch-inducing insane movie about Turing ... beuuurgrgh!)

    I only saw about 5 minutes of Miyazaki’s WWII movie “The Wind Also Rises,” but it looked very good. “Spirited Away” seemed kind of self-indulgent, like everybody told Miyazaki how brilliant he was so he just made up whatever the hell he felt like but didn’t work that hard on having it be entertaining, kind of like non-Mulholland Drive David Lynch.

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  96. Yngvar says:

    V for Vendetta; “People should not be afraid of journalists. The journalists should be afraid of the people“. An inspirational and evergreen movie.
    Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Revolutionary. Nothing was real.

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  97. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Lagertha
    My son and I met DDL at a sporting event about 6 years ago. DDL was relieved that he could spend the day (as a parent) with everyone giving him "space" and not going all star-struck. Of course, the sport of fencing is in a realm of its own bc fencers wear masks, and, often, in competition, you do not know who you will face.

    His kids are younger than mine, but he was exactly what you said, genuine. I was very impressed that he was just another sport dad I met. I am glad that DDL stays an actor..he believes that to be the best parent, just work.... (don't make waves in the public sphere) and keep a low profile. Once you have children, or teenagers, there is no choice but to check your ego...otherwise, your children will hate you. So many parents don't realize how easy it is to alienate your children from you...especially, if you are famous. Kids hate attention from the public...strangers.

    As far as American movies of the 21st century, I also thought The Perks of Being a Wallflower was good...and, The Edge of 17 was wonderful. And, of course, Napolean Dynamite; Loved Revenant.

    Was Perks the one where the kids are listening to David Bowie’s Heroes in the early ’80s and they act like it’s some obscure song?

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  98. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @guest
    Michael Mann, after making three of my favoritest movies in previous decades--Thief (for the warped libertarianism), Last of the Mohicans (for the music, "You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you," and that rifle club), and Heat (for the heat)--really fell off my map this century. I guess Collateral was the best, but I've already forgotten it. Public Enemies made me sad.

    He hasn’t made anything at the level of Heat since, but Collateral, Miami Vice, and his hacker movie were all pretty good. I’m holding out hope he has another great one in him.

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    • Replies: @anon
    HBO's Luck was a pleasure. Although Dustin Hoffman was annoying. I'm not sorry it was canceled after Season 1.
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  99. Pericles says:
    @James Richard
    No Country was a serious book and so was the movie. It's about how the Grim Reaper comes for us all, some sooner and some later, and there is no rhyme or reason to where or when.

    Actually, No Country mostly made me think of The Hitcher (1986) with the inimitable Rutger Hauer.

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    • Replies: @James Richard
    I agree. Rutger Hauer was absolutely implacable in his continued attacks, just as he was when chasing Harrison Ford around the old building in Blade Runner. Very similar to Bardem in No Country. Both were as frightening as is a force of nature like an approaching hurricane.
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  100. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @flyingtiger
    The Hurt Locker:
    There has to be a term for a movie that is good if you do not know anything about the subject. I can understand why someone would like the hurt locker. It has good acting, good story,good photography, and more. I, a son of a WW II combat engineer was constantly shout at the screen "DON'T DO That!" "No!" "YOU IDIOT." Luckily I was home not at the theater.
    My favorite scene was where the soldier who was accidentally shot by the idiot Sargent, tells him everything he did wrong. Every statement was right.
    Dad thought the BBC series "Danger UXB" was accurate.

    Danger UXB was great. Watched it as a kid.

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  101. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Speaking of David Lynch (who really should be in front of the camera more – he’s hilarious):

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  102. @Thursday
    Would add:

    The Science of Sleep
    The Good German

    I loved “The Science of Sleep,” a Michel Gondry movie about dreaming, with all sorts of wonderful dream machines made out of stuff from around the house.

    The screenplay’s not Charlie Kaufman-level, but it’s good.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Gondry's "Science of Sleep" with Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourgh is one of my favorites:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axLawgmFgRY
    , @utu
    The screenplay’s not Charlie Kaufman-level

    Kaufman irritates me. His Adaptation and Malkovich (the only two I saw) feel like he tries to impress somebody out there how clever but he does not go any deeper. A pointless exercise of creating self-referencing antinomies.
    , @guest
    Gondry did something similar with Be Kind Rewind, wherein a video store clerk (Mos Def) and his buddy (Jack Black) must recreate old movies like Ghostbusters with whatever's at hand, after they erase the store's inventory through accidental magnetization.
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  103. duperdap says:

    The Hurt Locker is a lousy movie. It has two or three strong scenes, but much of the rest of the film is almost laughably bad. There are parts where the dialogue and the visuals veer into mediocre TV movie quality, with the picture getting worse and worse as it goes on. People seem to only remember the movie’s couple standout moments, which is understandable given that so much of the rest of Locker was forgettable, but it’s really distorted the film’s place in history. That and ‘muh female director.’

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    • Replies: @kofi anon

    That and ‘muh female director.’
     
    I always assumed that was it right there. Hurt Locker was terrible. I remember wanting my money back when it was over.

    Wasn't there a scene where the EOD guy has to take an SAS sniper's rifle to show him how it's done?
    , @guest
    I'd appreciate "muh female director" more if they hyped, say, Point Break instead . Which was also a ridiculous movie, but it was entertaining from start to finish. And it had better characters.

    But it wasn't just the chick director thing. It was that Hurt Locker was the only Iraq War movie anybody liked. The others made like $2 combined at the box office.
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  104. Romanian says: • Website

    I don’t watch many movies, and prefer action and eye candy to uncomfortable or depressing topics. For instance, I loved Mad Max: Fury Road, but it was an extremely competent and well paced movie. The new Ghost in the Shell was merely adequate.

    I see no one has mentioned Love in a Fallen City with Chow Yun Fat and In the mood for love. Both great movies. The second has an immensely pleasing soundtrack.

    In the category of “so bad, it’s good”, I place the Anne Rice adaptation Queen of the Damned with another killer soundtrack.

    I think TV shows are the area where things have gotten much better. I would recommend to our host that he watch the two seasons of Sr. Avila from HBO Mexico, which is about a hitman running a funeral home and is full of iSteve fare. And, an opinion that will surely be unpopular here, I think videogames have improved to the point where they can compete with a medium like film for things like aesthetics, storytelling, emotional impact.

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  105. Allow me to throw in my own unsolicited $0.02:

    I’m not sure you’re right about Mulholland Drive. It was originally shot as a pilot for ABC, who turned it down; it was only after that that he made it semi-intelligible, since it now had to be a self-contained film rather than an open-ended serial. Unless you’re positing that the French suits who financed the additional filming were more concerned about it being comprehensible than the American suits who financed the original idea. Either way, it’s still easily all-time top 100 movie material. Would make a great double-feature with Memento.

    Moulin Rouge! is atrocious, as is everything Baz Lurhman makes.

    Calvary is amazing, despite suffering from the writer’s usual tics. (Characters who talk like writers; clever-clever references to other texts; meta-jokes.) Very funny, and very affecting too. As good as In Bruges.

    There Will Be Blood is hugely overrated. It gets brownie points from critics for (a) being difficult, and (b) aiming for greatness, but the fact is it falls short. Roughly at the point that the fake brother turns up; if memory serves, it all goes downhill after that.

    Inglourious Basterds: perhaps the best Tarantino film since Jackie Brown (I’d argue for The Hateful Eight), but that isn’t saying much. They’ve all been sub-par, unless you count Kill Bill vol. 1 as its own film. He needs someone to rein in his worst impulses, but he’s long past the point where he needs to listen.

    Lord of the Rings: the first one was great, but it doesn’t hold up that well. The rest were disappointing even at the time.

    Douthat picks the wrong Batman and Pirates of the Caribbean movies. In both series the second entry is clearly the superior film.

    A lot of boring and overrated shit on both lists, but then, that’s the point, isn’t it? Critics put out their lists so that movie fans can sputter, “Oh, fuck off! Where’s The Avengers?”

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Avengers was really good.

    Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is the prime movie character of the last decade, so an Iron Man movie like The Avengers ought to be on the list.

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  106. Some of the great movies of the 21st Century hardly – if at all – mentioned here on this blog

    Love & Mercy (Brian Wilson biopic – named most interesting movie of the year or something alike once by Steve Sailer – but went down the memory-hole even though)

    True Grit (what’s wrong with this one?)

    Moonrise Kingdom (lovely but not too sweet)

    Cinema Paradiso (best group-masturbation-in-public-scene ever – very Sicilian (hands down, ehe!))

    Happy-Go-Lucky (not that grown-up, too – but an incredibly lovely and spontaneous and – humane even – performance by Sally Hawkins playing a young London school-teacher)

    Another Year (pretty grown up – very grow-up really, but not boring nonetheless – – moving)

    A Dangerous Method – all leading men’s roles great: Michael Fassbender (Carl Gustav Jung), Viggo Mortensen (Sigmund Freud (five from five stars)), Vincent Cassel (hilarious as wild psychoanalyst Otto Gross), Keira Neightly – not perfectly up to the task of reviving Sabina Spielrein, but quite good for sure).

    Wellcome at the Ch’tis (very french – set in the heart of Le Pen country (funny throughout; french box-office record-holder))

    Tony Erdmann (Mckinsey-experts in Romania starring as: The Kings Without a Land on Lonely Planet – funny even though – or: Just because!). With an impressive masturbation-scene, too.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    A lot of movies can't keep up the pace over the full running time. It's pretty arbitrary whether I hold that against them: is the glass half full or half empty?

    Paul Newman said the first 15 pages of the script are what sell it to the studio, but the last 15 pages are what sell it to the audience. (It's generally a good idea to listen to Paul Newman.)

    , @James Richard
    Some nice esoterica, I shall try them (if they can be found.) I think John Cusack was terribly miscast as Brian Wilson although I do like the movie (I never realized that Elizabeth Banks was so incredibly hot because I have hardly seen any of the stuff she has been in.) And tangentially speaking of which the totally hilarious movie Sideways would have been on my list had I remembered it at the time I was dashing it off.
    , @PapayaSF
    Cinema Paradiso is great, but it came out in 1988.

    Another vote for The Grand Budapest Hotel. The director's other films can veer into being a bit too precious, but everything worked with that one. Hilarious, touching, beautiful.

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  107. @Hugh
    Mad Max: Fury Road was complete garbage from beginning to end. It brought nothing new to the genre and lasted far too long. I deeply regret having wasted a Saturday afternoon and 30 bucks (wife came too) in this manner and have vowed to behave better going forward.

    Right, Fury Road was simply a high-tech remake of The Road Warrior, another great 1982 movie and one of my favorites.

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    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Fury Road was simply a high-tech remake of The Road Warrior

    Except without an interesting plot, characters, or humor.

    What's great about Road Warrior? Among other things: Max, the Humongus, Wes, Gyrocopter Pilot, and the Feral Kid. All wonderful characters.
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  108. Gladiator: hellacious good or hellacious bad?

    I’m with Stephen Hunter who said it was one of the great first halves of a movie, that then falls apart.

    Which reminds me of what the late John Huston said about Alan Parker’s Angel Heart, namely, that it was the best first four-fifths of a movie he had ever seen.

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  109. “The reason, it turns out, that Daniel Day-Lewis gets away with his crazy Method Actor demands like carrying a flintlock weapon everywhere he went while not on the set of Last of the Mohicans”

    I spent a substantial amount of time in the military, and on one two week exercise (where I was in essence an inspector, walking around inspecting subordinate units’ defensive positions, etc), I decided to always carry my M-16 (rather than ever sling it over my shoulder)-just to always appear ‘ready.’ A slung M-16 in the field looks sloppy and unprofessional.

    At one point (remember, I was walking/travelling a great deal-in order to evaluate defensive positions of a unit of about 3,000 soldiers-so I was constantly in new places, constantly talking to new individuals-every 15 minutes in a new environment), I misplaced my weapon. Absolute, instant panic. Misplacing a weapon is a genuinely serious event (entire bases are shut down, and entire units frog march across fields at arms width to look for them). Misplacing a weapon by an officer (as I was) would have been just about the most humiliating and career-ending action it would be possible to perform.

    After a few moments (more than you will imagine after I explain it-more than a second or two-perhaps 5-10 seconds), I realized where the weapon was: gripped in the same hand I had had it for the last 10 days. The grip of my hand, the weight of the rifle on my arm (8-10 lbs) were utterly subconscious. And as I mentioned: this wasn’t a half-second act of forgetfulness (like when we misplace keys, or a phone or a wallet-the realize its in a different pocket than usual-what everybody does). It was an extended 10 second period where I mentally reviewed my last steps, wondering if I had leaned it against a tree where I spoke last, when I last got a drink or went to the bathroom, etc.

    It was a very strange experience (I distinctly remember it 20 years later). An 8 lb weight was attached to my right hand, and I had completely forgotten about it the way one forgets about a watch or wedding ring.

    joe

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    • Replies: @JMcG
    Great story. An example of why this is one of the best comment sections anywhere.
    Thanks
    , @Lagertha
    amputees talk about "phantom limb" sensation in a way similar to your experience.
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  110. @Matthew McConnagay
    Allow me to throw in my own unsolicited $0.02:

    I'm not sure you're right about Mulholland Drive. It was originally shot as a pilot for ABC, who turned it down; it was only after that that he made it semi-intelligible, since it now had to be a self-contained film rather than an open-ended serial. Unless you're positing that the French suits who financed the additional filming were more concerned about it being comprehensible than the American suits who financed the original idea. Either way, it's still easily all-time top 100 movie material. Would make a great double-feature with Memento.

    Moulin Rouge! is atrocious, as is everything Baz Lurhman makes.

    Calvary is amazing, despite suffering from the writer's usual tics. (Characters who talk like writers; clever-clever references to other texts; meta-jokes.) Very funny, and very affecting too. As good as In Bruges.

    There Will Be Blood is hugely overrated. It gets brownie points from critics for (a) being difficult, and (b) aiming for greatness, but the fact is it falls short. Roughly at the point that the fake brother turns up; if memory serves, it all goes downhill after that.

    Inglourious Basterds: perhaps the best Tarantino film since Jackie Brown (I'd argue for The Hateful Eight), but that isn't saying much. They've all been sub-par, unless you count Kill Bill vol. 1 as its own film. He needs someone to rein in his worst impulses, but he's long past the point where he needs to listen.

    Lord of the Rings: the first one was great, but it doesn't hold up that well. The rest were disappointing even at the time.

    Douthat picks the wrong Batman and Pirates of the Caribbean movies. In both series the second entry is clearly the superior film.

    A lot of boring and overrated shit on both lists, but then, that's the point, isn't it? Critics put out their lists so that movie fans can sputter, "Oh, fuck off! Where's The Avengers?"

    The Avengers was really good.

    Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is the prime movie character of the last decade, so an Iron Man movie like The Avengers ought to be on the list.

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    • Replies: @Captain Tripps

    Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is the prime movie character of the last decade, so an Iron Man movie like The Avengers ought to be on the list.
     
    So are you Team Iron Man or Team Captain America?

    Agree that RDJ is a fabulous and charismatic actor, but I am a Captain America guy to the core. Charismatic, brilliant, arrogant billionaire industrialist/individualist vs. competent natural leader, team player, All American good guy (in the old sense of the word).

    Steve Rogers is from Brooklyn in the Marvel Universe, but he definitely has the Kansas Values of Clark Kent in the DC universe.

    I'll stop now with my comic book nerdness.
    , @Matthew McConnagay
    I found The Avengers overrated (as I do Joss Whedon more generally), but considering how difficult a feat it was, story-wise, it was pretty entertaining, and far far better than I would have expected.

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn't mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic's list.

    (And The Avengers, for that matter, even though I was only making a joke with it.)
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  111. anon says: • Disclaimer

    I am always happy to see that the overrated “Frozen” is not remembered in these lists of best films of the 21st century.

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  112. @Lagertha
    My son and I met DDL at a sporting event about 6 years ago. DDL was relieved that he could spend the day (as a parent) with everyone giving him "space" and not going all star-struck. Of course, the sport of fencing is in a realm of its own bc fencers wear masks, and, often, in competition, you do not know who you will face.

    His kids are younger than mine, but he was exactly what you said, genuine. I was very impressed that he was just another sport dad I met. I am glad that DDL stays an actor..he believes that to be the best parent, just work.... (don't make waves in the public sphere) and keep a low profile. Once you have children, or teenagers, there is no choice but to check your ego...otherwise, your children will hate you. So many parents don't realize how easy it is to alienate your children from you...especially, if you are famous. Kids hate attention from the public...strangers.

    As far as American movies of the 21st century, I also thought The Perks of Being a Wallflower was good...and, The Edge of 17 was wonderful. And, of course, Napolean Dynamite; Loved Revenant.

    My son and I met DDL at a sporting event about 6 years ago.

    I met Robert Downey Jr. at our sons’ ballgame about 14 years ago when he was trying life in the slow lane. He was incredibly charismatic just saying hello.

    I’d say your Daniel Day-Lewis at least equals my Robert Downey Jr. in coolness.

    I was talking to my next door neighbor while she was cleaning out her garage and she found a picture of herself and the young Brad Pitt on a set somewhere before his breakthrough on Thelma and Louise. She said Brad was very sweet, but he didn’t shower very often.

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    • Replies: @Lagertha
    Haha! - maybe Brad (lack of bathing) was preparing for his "role" as the drifter/grifter in Thelma & Louise! Agree about Downey...I just like the actors who like to act and not project their political points of view onto people - they exhibit more class and realize staying relevant (and employed) is important.
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  113. @Dieter Kief
    Some of the great movies of the 21st Century hardly - if at all - mentioned here on this blog

    Love & Mercy (Brian Wilson biopic - named most interesting movie of the year or something alike once by Steve Sailer - but went down the memory-hole even though)

    True Grit (what's wrong with this one?)

    Moonrise Kingdom (lovely but not too sweet)

    Cinema Paradiso (best group-masturbation-in-public-scene ever - very Sicilian (hands down, ehe!))

    Happy-Go-Lucky (not that grown-up, too - but an incredibly lovely and spontaneous and - humane even - performance by Sally Hawkins playing a young London school-teacher)

    Another Year (pretty grown up - very grow-up really, but not boring nonetheless - - moving)


    A Dangerous Method - all leading men's roles great: Michael Fassbender (Carl Gustav Jung), Viggo Mortensen (Sigmund Freud (five from five stars)), Vincent Cassel (hilarious as wild psychoanalyst Otto Gross), Keira Neightly - not perfectly up to the task of reviving Sabina Spielrein, but quite good for sure).

    Wellcome at the Ch'tis (very french - set in the heart of Le Pen country (funny throughout; french box-office record-holder))

    Tony Erdmann (Mckinsey-experts in Romania starring as: The Kings Without a Land on Lonely Planet - funny even though - or: Just because!). With an impressive masturbation-scene, too.

    A lot of movies can’t keep up the pace over the full running time. It’s pretty arbitrary whether I hold that against them: is the glass half full or half empty?

    Paul Newman said the first 15 pages of the script are what sell it to the studio, but the last 15 pages are what sell it to the audience. (It’s generally a good idea to listen to Paul Newman.)

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    "(It’s generally a good idea to listen to Paul Newman.)"

    I have a knack for motor-racing (deeply rooted - I grew up besides a racetrack). This causes an automatic alert, if somebody like Paul Newman says something - even more so, if he talks about the arts (now I think of Jean Tinguely, sigh , and...).

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  114. Wellcome at the Ch’tis (very french – set in the heart of Le Pen country (funny throughout; french box-office record-holder)

    This huge hit in France never showed in America because it’s all about French regional stereotypes, which Americans are clueless about. A post office worker in the lovely South of France gets on the bad side of his boss and gets reassigned to a coal mining district up near the Belgian border. It’s by a comedian of 19th century Algerian Muslim descent whose ancestors migrated to what’s now the Rust Belt of northern France.

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  115. @Steve Sailer
    I loved "The Science of Sleep," a Michel Gondry movie about dreaming, with all sorts of wonderful dream machines made out of stuff from around the house.

    The screenplay's not Charlie Kaufman-level, but it's good.

    Gondry’s “Science of Sleep” with Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourgh is one of my favorites:

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  116. “No Country for Old Men” and the underrated “The Lovely Bones” (2009) both put a knot in my stomach; for a moment I could imagine what it must be like to be face-to-face with stone-cold evil, in the jaws of the lion with only my inevitable death looming. Both Javier Bardem and Stanley Tucci were superb playing cold sociopathic killers. The Lovely Bones came out just as my daughter was entering the age of the protagonist, so I could strongly empathize with Mark Wahlberg’s father character.

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  117. @Richard of Melbourne
    Much of the NYT list looks OK, and pretty much all of Steve's, but for the life of me I can't understand the high regard in which There Will Be Blood is held.

    I like most P T Anderson work, and most stuff that includes Day-Lewis, but I found There Will Be Blood to be over-acted lefty propaganda with a story that was simply impossible to believe.

    I'm also surprised that Max Max: Fury Road is so well regarded. I think Steve summed it up superbly: it "had the greatest trailer of the century, but the rest of the movie is just like the trailer … only longer".

    Steve, The Queen of Versailles is well worth a look, as you suspect.

    My pick for best film of the century (so far): The Lives of Others. Honourable mentions (other than a few of those already mentioned in the posting): The Departed, Master and Commander, Her.

    Agree re – Mad Max: Fury Road. It was an entertaining action movie; sort of a first-person shooter video game on the big screen. Some may have looked for deeper meaning, but I sure didn’t. Pure action escapism for me.

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  118. @Steve Sailer
    The Avengers was really good.

    Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is the prime movie character of the last decade, so an Iron Man movie like The Avengers ought to be on the list.

    Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is the prime movie character of the last decade, so an Iron Man movie like The Avengers ought to be on the list.

    So are you Team Iron Man or Team Captain America?

    Agree that RDJ is a fabulous and charismatic actor, but I am a Captain America guy to the core. Charismatic, brilliant, arrogant billionaire industrialist/individualist vs. competent natural leader, team player, All American good guy (in the old sense of the word).

    Steve Rogers is from Brooklyn in the Marvel Universe, but he definitely has the Kansas Values of Clark Kent in the DC universe.

    I’ll stop now with my comic book nerdness.

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    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    Additional thoughts:

    Interesting that in CA: CW, Tony Stark morphs from a maverick, self-aggrandizing billionaire into the superhero guy spokesman of the globalist elite (the UN via William Hurt's SecState character), while Captain A's position is to go with good old American common sense and understanding of right and wrong. Captain's position is that an international political body, even with good intentions can become corrupted through political self-interests, so who polices the world government? Its almost a direct reflection of the cold civil war amongst our American political elite.

    The original Tony Stark from Marvel comics was a maverick American nationalist (in the old sense) industrial tycoon, more of a Howard Hughes-type. With CA: CW, you can see where the Hollywood influence shapers want to turn him into the enforcer of the globalist elite consensus versus Captain America's old-fashioned nationalism. They tend to surround Tony Stark with the sexy good-looking types, signalling that its cool and right to be with Tony Stark, and Tony Stark gets all the cool snarky, cynical lines (doesn't hurt that Downey Jr. is a natural at that) while Captain America, though he has sexy allies like Natasha Romanov (oooh, scary Russian) and Sharon Carter, ends up talking like your Grandpa who was in World War Two.
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  119. @guest
    I too like There Will Be Blood, though I don't know how it has attained its current future-classic status. I remember being all hyped up to see it, then leaving the theater deflated when no truly great scene or moment happened. Though of course Day-Lewis was great. The movie just never took off.

    The movie elite like it because it's gorgeous, is contemptuous of its audience, and because they like the socio-politico-economic message, I suppose. But it's severely flawed, in that the climax doesn't really come off. The "I drink your milkshake" thing felt like an afterthought. The stuff with Standard Oil and the son ended anticlimactically, too. The only major part of the plot well-plotted was how killing the "brother from another mother" led to humiliating himself in front of the preacher.

    That, and the twin thing came off weird. Though I have nothing against the actor, Paul Dano is miscast. The preacher should be sexy, or at least charismatic. Not a creeper.

    That being said, why did I enjoy it? I liked how they went all-in with the misanthrope angle. Day-Lewis really doesn't like people. He builds his fortune and is alienated from his fake son. Now he has to live alone in his mansion with his millions. But that's not enough. He had a rival at one point, over whom he has attained utter mastery. The rival doesn't know that, so Daniel informs him.

    He humiliates the preacher like the preacher once humiliated him, then he informs the preacher he's already robbed him of a potential fortune. Which is rubbing it in his face. But that's not enough. It's not enough until he caves the preacher's head in for no good reason. Then Daniel can say, "I'm finished." The whole sequence is pure overkill.

    That's a strange ending, and has the feel of strange and unsettling for the sake of unsettledness. But it's in character. He's a completist. Plus, we were promised blood.

    Paul Dano is miscast. The preacher should be sexy, or at least charismatic. Not a creeper.

    Yep.

    Reminded me of O’Donnell in Scent of a Woman. Too small for that part.

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  120. @Anonym
    “Inglorious Basterds” – definitely the best Tarantino film since Jackie Brown.

    Damning with faint praise? What is so great about Jackie Brown?

    If you were a kid in the 70s and had a happyish childhood, Jackie Brown captured that vibe about as well as any movie.

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  121. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    With the exception of Gladiator, not a single good movie was made in the 21st century.

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  122. @greysquirrell
    City of God (Cidade De Deus)
    Elite Squad
    Pan's Labyrinth

    The Hurt Locker
    LOTR trilogy
    Mad Max : Fury Road
    The Hobbit trilogy
    Batman Begins

    This! Both Elite Squad movies deserve to be on list.

    First Elite Squad was better story, though cinematography sucked. Second elite Squad seemed like the director Jose Padilha tried to regain his leftist street cred by casting BOPE in a weakened state towards the end of the film.

    And what about Downfall (Der Untergang)? Best War movie of all time , most historically accurate, jaw dropping drama (even though we know characters eventual fates), impeccable acting performances , especially Bruno Ganz.

    Russian The ninth company deserves to be on the list. Similar to Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, but well worth a look.

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    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Downfall is not the greatest war movie of all time (it is not really about war at all) - it is the greatest movie of all time, tout court.
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  123. Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress was good, short, and it had a healthy message.
    Steve, you might like it. It’s about a semi-Aspergers-y girl who notices that the young college kids are mostly striving to be unique, rather than conventional as they were meant to be, and concludes that she must be conventional for the sake of the common good, rather than unique as she was meant to be.
    It also features some pretty girls and some good shots of the lovely Sailors Snug Harbor.

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    • Replies: @Thursday
    Stillman's Jane Austen movie was better, but it left a bit of a sour taste with the ending. I should have included it on my list.
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  124. Dave B says:

    Further proof that critics are worthless and movies are getting progressively worse. Between Hollywood’s obsession with PC and the dumbing down of the population there really aren’t that many decent movies of the 21st century. Most of these I would pay money not to have to see. “Moonlight”? Really?

    The best movie of the century, and IMHO, one of the top 5 of all time, is “La La Land”.

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  125. @Steve Sailer
    The Avengers was really good.

    Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is the prime movie character of the last decade, so an Iron Man movie like The Avengers ought to be on the list.

    I found The Avengers overrated (as I do Joss Whedon more generally), but considering how difficult a feat it was, story-wise, it was pretty entertaining, and far far better than I would have expected.

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn’t mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic’s list.

    (And The Avengers, for that matter, even though I was only making a joke with it.)

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    • Replies: @guest
    The difficult feat was building all the different characters up in separate movies, then climaxing with a movie that was as good or better than the others. (Iron Man was better, in my opinion, but Avengers was second-best.) The Avengers movie itself wasn't a that big a challenge once all the other ones were in the can and in the black. Hollywood used to do those all-star Magnificent Seven-type movies all the time.

    They actually fumbled the ball a bit, though they recovered and still won the game, by having a mediocre villain. Which is better than most Marvel movies, which have embarrassing or forgettable villains. That's why the Dark Knight was the best of the superhero movies: because it had a great villain. That's also why Darth Vader keeps getting shoehorned into every Star Wars movie, in one form or another.

    They tried with Loki, banking on the preexisting ambiguous relationship with his brother Thor. But no, he was mostly an excuse to introduce a ho-hum doomsday device, giant energy beam, interdimensional portal, personalityless orc-creature storyline. Not that it was bad, but there was nothing special about it.

    The special part was how the characters interacted with one-another, plus the fact that for once people weren't let down by the Hulk, who outside of movies is the most popular of all the characters, I think.
    , @syonredux

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn’t mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic’s list.
     
    Sure, but, as you note, Iron Man is the biggest character and Iron Man* was really good. Amongst its many virtues, , it really captures the joy inherent in making something

    *I like Iron Man III, just not as much as I like II.

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  126. JMcG says:
    @joeyjoejoe
    "The reason, it turns out, that Daniel Day-Lewis gets away with his crazy Method Actor demands like carrying a flintlock weapon everywhere he went while not on the set of Last of the Mohicans"

    I spent a substantial amount of time in the military, and on one two week exercise (where I was in essence an inspector, walking around inspecting subordinate units' defensive positions, etc), I decided to always carry my M-16 (rather than ever sling it over my shoulder)-just to always appear 'ready.' A slung M-16 in the field looks sloppy and unprofessional.

    At one point (remember, I was walking/travelling a great deal-in order to evaluate defensive positions of a unit of about 3,000 soldiers-so I was constantly in new places, constantly talking to new individuals-every 15 minutes in a new environment), I misplaced my weapon. Absolute, instant panic. Misplacing a weapon is a genuinely serious event (entire bases are shut down, and entire units frog march across fields at arms width to look for them). Misplacing a weapon by an officer (as I was) would have been just about the most humiliating and career-ending action it would be possible to perform.

    After a few moments (more than you will imagine after I explain it-more than a second or two-perhaps 5-10 seconds), I realized where the weapon was: gripped in the same hand I had had it for the last 10 days. The grip of my hand, the weight of the rifle on my arm (8-10 lbs) were utterly subconscious. And as I mentioned: this wasn't a half-second act of forgetfulness (like when we misplace keys, or a phone or a wallet-the realize its in a different pocket than usual-what everybody does). It was an extended 10 second period where I mentally reviewed my last steps, wondering if I had leaned it against a tree where I spoke last, when I last got a drink or went to the bathroom, etc.

    It was a very strange experience (I distinctly remember it 20 years later). An 8 lb weight was attached to my right hand, and I had completely forgotten about it the way one forgets about a watch or wedding ring.

    joe

    Great story. An example of why this is one of the best comment sections anywhere.
    Thanks

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  127. LondonBob says:
    @Polynikes
    Ex Machina should be on there. So should Blackhawk down for war movies.

    Most notably though is the omission of guys comedies like Old School, Meet the Parents or Wedding Crashers. I mean, if you're putting in comedies like Bridesmaids, why not?

    Wedding Crashers is peak Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

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    • Replies: @Captain Tripps

    Wedding Crashers is peak Vince Vaughn
     
    LOL!

    Nah, Dodgeball was peak Vince Vaughn. The facial expressions, deadpan delivery, not-taking-this-stuff-seriously attitude, it was ALL there... :-)
    , @DCThrowback
    The first 45 minutes of Wedding Crashers was in the running for the Caddyshack award for best comedic movie of the decade, but it kind of goes off the rails a bit the last hour.

    Still, it's a very good (not great) movie.
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  128. LondonBob says:

    Katyn is possibly the only movie that has moved me emotionally.

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  129. If you were a kid in the 70s and had a happyish childhood, Jackie Brown captured that vibe about as well as any movie.

    Perhaps I’m being a bit slow, but aside from the fact that Pam Grier is a well known actress from sundry ’70s blaxploitation films, and that the Delfonics were part of the 70s Philly sound, what was the ’70s vibe in the movie? Perhaps Samuel L. Jackson’s character had slow and deliberate 70s soul brother mannerisms?

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    The Robert Forster character was the heart of the film. A type of masculinity that is still with us but has been largely suppressed in our culture.
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  130. @guest
    I too like There Will Be Blood, though I don't know how it has attained its current future-classic status. I remember being all hyped up to see it, then leaving the theater deflated when no truly great scene or moment happened. Though of course Day-Lewis was great. The movie just never took off.

    The movie elite like it because it's gorgeous, is contemptuous of its audience, and because they like the socio-politico-economic message, I suppose. But it's severely flawed, in that the climax doesn't really come off. The "I drink your milkshake" thing felt like an afterthought. The stuff with Standard Oil and the son ended anticlimactically, too. The only major part of the plot well-plotted was how killing the "brother from another mother" led to humiliating himself in front of the preacher.

    That, and the twin thing came off weird. Though I have nothing against the actor, Paul Dano is miscast. The preacher should be sexy, or at least charismatic. Not a creeper.

    That being said, why did I enjoy it? I liked how they went all-in with the misanthrope angle. Day-Lewis really doesn't like people. He builds his fortune and is alienated from his fake son. Now he has to live alone in his mansion with his millions. But that's not enough. He had a rival at one point, over whom he has attained utter mastery. The rival doesn't know that, so Daniel informs him.

    He humiliates the preacher like the preacher once humiliated him, then he informs the preacher he's already robbed him of a potential fortune. Which is rubbing it in his face. But that's not enough. It's not enough until he caves the preacher's head in for no good reason. Then Daniel can say, "I'm finished." The whole sequence is pure overkill.

    That's a strange ending, and has the feel of strange and unsettling for the sake of unsettledness. But it's in character. He's a completist. Plus, we were promised blood.

    There Will Be Blood was a great flick, but it came across as deliberately anti-American in its message to me, implying that America’s prosperity and greatness were necessarily built upon a foundation of psychotic misanthrophy and self-centeredness.

    I’m not kidding, that was my gut reaction, not some intellectual musing. As I think about it now, it echoes what D.H. Lawrence said about Americans, which also fits the Daniel Day Lewis character perfectly—“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

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  131. Douthat is, quite simply, not a conservative.

    He is a shill for Hollywood.

    Hollywood has never produced a great movie, and they never will. They are incapable of it. A festering stew lust, resentment, self pity and self congratulation can only produce cruel, cowardly trash. Fury Road and 40 YOV are the absolute worst of the trash.

    That Iranian movie about the boy who runs a race to win a pair of running shoes is a great movie with a lot of heart.

    Americans invented movies, but unfortunately great movies aren’t made in America. The Civil War trilogy (Gods and Generals, Gettysburg, Copperhead) was OK, but the producer was pulling his punches, especially in Copperhead.

    The best American entertainment ever produced includes classic hymns, 19th century poets, self-deprecating humor stories (Franklin, Twain), history (Parkman, TR), and the heroic/tragic stories of Jack London. Modern Americans are likely to only encounter this entertainment in a classroom where it is being deconstructed by cultural Marxists.

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    • Replies: @Manfred Arcane
    I beg to differ; there are almost certainly no great movies being made in America now, but there were many of them back in the day, far too many to name: Gunga Din, Adventures of Robin Hood, It's a Wonderful Life, The Long Voyage Home, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Strangers on a Train, etc. etc. etc. etc. To ignore or dismiss the best product of the studio-system era is to ignore or dismiss a huge and important part of America's contributions to the Western cultural heritage; you'd have to be either a leftist foreign-film snob (America's capitalist, soul-crushing system could never produce Art; let's all drool over the French or the Japanese instead!), or an alt-right anti-Semite (the Jews controlled Hollywood, therefore everything they ever turned out was a cancer on Western Civilization designed to destroy it!) to really believe such a statement.
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  132. QQQ says:

    Terence Malick’s To the Wonder is a good movie that bears rewatching.

    Ben Affleck turns in a pretty good performance, mostly because Malick doesn’t have him speak too much.

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  133. Off the top of my head, the only two 21c. movies I’d be happy to rewatch at a moment’s notice are Idiocracy and the Secret of the Kells, but film is far from my favorite medium and if I’m to stare at the glowing screen for much longer than an hour I prefer the meditative, crawling, or black and white (all-time favored flicks being Andrei Rublev and Dreyer’s Ordet.)

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  134. @Moshe
    They like The Wire because it's a TV Show about Blacks Behaving Badly that was made by a bona fide liberal who made sure to do all the necessary payoffs in advance. In case I wasn't clear, what they like is the ability to emerse themselves in the raw truth they are otherwise never allowed to speak of or even notice themselves thinking of.

    The Wire does not speak to liberal preconceptions.

    Having only recently gotten around to watching The Wire, I was pleasantly surprised at how honest (race realist) it is. I liked it better than Breaking Bad or The Sopranos for a number of reasons, one being that it had some characters you didn’t have to dislike, unlike those others.

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  135. @guest
    Whatever it's about, it's not effective if the audience stops paying attention.

    Anyway, you can film a story about the incomprehensibility, irrationality, and randomness of death within conventional narrative. In this case, without being anticlimactic and losing much of the audience's interest before the movie's over. Old-style storytelling can bear pretty much any meaning you can dream up.

    The Coen Bros. don't think something has to be irrational, incomprehensible, and random to convey randomness, incomprehensibility, and irrationality. But they do often come off as pranksters, and I have to think they knew what they were doing, here, in subverting my attention to the point of disinterest. Because the previous 4/5 of the movie was utterly spellbinding, and that was on purpose. Then it was the opposite of spellbinding, and that too must have been on purpose.

    Whatever it’s about, it’s not effective if the audience stops paying attention.

    You’re the only person I’ve heard of whose attention wandered during No Country for Old Men, but there are probably others. You can’t please everyone.

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    I saw No Country for old Men (on TV though) and turned it off halfway through. I felt like watching a slow dumb snake trying to swallow a hedgedhog. I might quite not have gotten what they were after - unless it was something of the existential American cold-heartedness talked about by D. H. Lawrence in Piltdownman's quote above.
    I tend to think about such things as rather uninteresting subjects, since they are without any secrets or unsolved problems: All there might be is in a bright spotlight, right from the start.

    True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis were fun to watch, and I talked to a lot of people about those movies, which was fun too.

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  136. @Percy Gryce
    Right, Fury Road was simply a high-tech remake of The Road Warrior, another great 1982 movie and one of my favorites.

    Fury Road was simply a high-tech remake of The Road Warrior

    Except without an interesting plot, characters, or humor.

    What’s great about Road Warrior? Among other things: Max, the Humongus, Wes, Gyrocopter Pilot, and the Feral Kid. All wonderful characters.

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    • Agree: Percy Gryce
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  137. “Taken” was great. Great set of villians, great action sets, pretty much revitalized old Liam Neesons career.

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    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
    • Replies: @Matthew McConnagay
    Taken was a weird one: objectively it's a terrible movie, by any measure you care to use. But if it comes on the TV you can bet I'll be watching to the end and loving every minute of it.

    And I don't mean that it's "so bad it's good". I'm not laughing at it. There's just something about it that makes it fantastic watching despite its myriad flaws. I suspect it's because, more than any other action movie I can think of, it gives us a situation where we really want the villains to suffer. The nameless sex traffickers of Taken are in that sense better villains even than Alan Rickman in Die Hard.
    , @Ian M.
    Two things I appreciated about Taken is that the baddies were Muslim (if I recall) and there were no 'kick-ass' women. The women in the movie were portrayed as vulnerable and in need of saving.

    Another set of movies that is pretty good regarding the second point (again, if I recall correctly) is the Bourne series.
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  138. Thursday says:
    @Mikey Darmody
    Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress was good, short, and it had a healthy message.
    Steve, you might like it. It's about a semi-Aspergers-y girl who notices that the young college kids are mostly striving to be unique, rather than conventional as they were meant to be, and concludes that she must be conventional for the sake of the common good, rather than unique as she was meant to be.
    It also features some pretty girls and some good shots of the lovely Sailors Snug Harbor.

    Stillman’s Jane Austen movie was better, but it left a bit of a sour taste with the ending. I should have included it on my list.

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    • Replies: @guest
    Lady Susan I forgot about. It was one of my favorite movies last year, though admittedly I didn't see a great many.
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  139. Ian M. says:
    @Jim Don Bob
    Memento
    The Hurt Locker
    The Lives of Others

    You could not pay me to watch the Social Network. Zuckerberg is everything that is wrong with this country.

    You could not pay me to watch the Social Network. Zuckerberg is everything that is wrong with this country.

    It’s actually much more of a hatchet job on Zuckerberg than it is a hagiography.

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  140. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    The Tiger’s Tail
    Queen and Country

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  141. Ian M. says:
    @Bill P
    I don't know how Daniel Day Lewis pulls it off, but this brilliant half-Jew has become the best actor representing my people of the last two generations.

    Last of the Mohicans, In the Name of the Father, There Will Be Blood -- all movies that I can relate to from my own intimate family history, and all so well done.

    There ought to be some award for guys like Day-Lewis for their contribution not only to art, but to our civilization.

    Last of the Mohicans is a great example of movie being perceived as being infinitely better than it actually is because of its incomparable soundtrack.

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    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @guest
    I'm not sure there's a difference between perception and reality after I've seen it a million times. The score is part of the movie. It's not some separate thing I have to judge on the side. It counts towards the final score.

    Ideally, such things as plot, character, dialogue, etc. should count more. But I don't care, when Hawkeye is hawkeying the maiden for sexy time, or they're on the promontory, and that music is playing.

    , @Dave Pinsen
    The last ~20 minutes are just great cinema, with virtually no dialogue. Mann's director's cut is actually worse, as it expands the old Indian's brief lament into anachronistic soliloquy about the closing of the frontier.

    That said, my aunt, who used really run the film archive at Berkeley, wasn't a fan. She preferred one of the earlier movie adaptations of it.
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  142. Fury Road was really fun, but all I could think of the whole time was “who is Immortan Joe? How did he get to be king? How did they engineer and build all that water equipment?” The movie should have been about him.

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    • Replies: @John Gruskos
    Typical Hollywood. The "bad guys" are the only ones worth cheering for.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have an admirable "good guy" for once, instead of having cruel cowardly PC enforcers as the "good guys"?

    Boycott Hollywood. Starve the beast. After the counter-revolution, we will have culture again.
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  143. @Pericles
    Actually, No Country mostly made me think of The Hitcher (1986) with the inimitable Rutger Hauer.

    I agree. Rutger Hauer was absolutely implacable in his continued attacks, just as he was when chasing Harrison Ford around the old building in Blade Runner. Very similar to Bardem in No Country. Both were as frightening as is a force of nature like an approaching hurricane.

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    • Replies: @Lagertha
    I had a ridiculous crush on Rutger....after seeing Men of Orange. He was also great in a small, forgettable (great movie for children) jewel (with Michele Pfeiffer) called, LadyHawke...Matthew Broderick was a rising star (after War Games & Ferris Bueller) and very funny in that movie.

    I liked Silver Linings Playbook, The Hangover, and Whiplash...and The Big Lebowski. Also, Hell or High Water was good.
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  144. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    The Return

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  145. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Mesrine

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  146. @PiltdownMan

    If you were a kid in the 70s and had a happyish childhood, Jackie Brown captured that vibe about as well as any movie.
     
    Perhaps I'm being a bit slow, but aside from the fact that Pam Grier is a well known actress from sundry '70s blaxploitation films, and that the Delfonics were part of the 70s Philly sound, what was the '70s vibe in the movie? Perhaps Samuel L. Jackson's character had slow and deliberate 70s soul brother mannerisms?

    The Robert Forster character was the heart of the film. A type of masculinity that is still with us but has been largely suppressed in our culture.

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    • Agree: Forbes
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  147. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    Platinum List:

    A.I.
    Mulholland Dr.
    Werckmeister Harmonies
    Still Walking
    Wicker Park
    Mothman Prophecies
    High Fidelity
    Insomnia (Remake)
    Memories of Murder
    Ghost World
    Damsels in Distress
    Amelie
    C.R.A.Z.Y
    Assassination of Jesse James

    Gold List:

    Inception
    Tron Legacy
    Tomorrowland
    The Hunt(Danish)
    The World's End
    Zodiac
    Ant-man
    Indiana Jones and Kingdom of Crystal Skull
    Slow West
    Kings of Summer
    Life of Pi
    August: Osage County
    O Brother Where Art Thou
    Gravity
    Friend
    Downfall
    Take Care of My Cat
    Into the Wild
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Amores Perros
    House of Mirth
    Tropical Malady
    Poetry
    Snow White and the Huntsman
    New Moon
    The Counselor
    The Others
    American Splendor
    Lost in Translation

    Silver List:

    Robocop
    Split
    Shaun of the Dead
    Hot Fuzz
    Moana
    Me and Orson Welles
    Scanner Darkly
    Everybody Wants Some
    Panic Room
    Footnote
    The Village
    Blue Jasmine
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Heist
    Spartan
    Beijing Bicycle
    Michael Clayton
    Bridge of Spies
    Adventures of Tintin
    Catch Me If You Can
    Minority Report
    American Sniper
    Flags of Our Fathers
    Letters from Iwo Jima
    Rescue Dawn
    W.
    Despicable Me
    The German Doctor
    Last Orders
    No Man's Land
    Son's Room
    Waking Life
    Yellow Asphalt
    State and Main
    City of God / City of Men
    Guru
    The Pianist
    Spider
    Twilight Samurai
    American Splendor
    Elephant
    Goodbye Lenin
    Tristan and Isolde
    Art School Confidential
    Sunshine
    Bourne Identity
    No Country for Old Men
    The Wrestler
    Moon
    An Education
    Shutter Island
    Like Father Like Son
    Nobody Knows
    Our Little Sister
    Silent Souls
    Elena
    Senna
    Diving Bell and Butterfly
    4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days
    In the City of Sylvia
    The Sun (Russo-Japan)
    Distant
    Time Out
    Crimson Gold
    Act of Killing
    Lady and the Duke
    The Great Beauty
    This Must Be the Place
    Only Lovers Left Alive
    Twilight
    Breaking Dawn
    Joe
    C.O.G
    The Day

    Bronze List:

    Phil Specter
    All About Lily-Chou-Chou
    Internal Affairs
    The Master
    Drive
    Byzantium
    Café Society
    Ondine
    In a World
    Looper
    American Pastoral
    Bad Lieutenant
    Little Miss Sunshine
    Last Samurai
    Matchstick Men
    Donnie Darko
    Piano Teacher
    Cloverfield
    Diary of the Dead
    Boiler Room
    My Dog Skip
    The Happening
    Devil
    American Hustle
    In the Bedroom
    Blackhawk Down
    Beautiful Mind
    Matrix Revolutions
    Attack of Clones
    End of the Tour
    Mistress America
    Kicking and Screaming
    Moonrise Kingdom

    Fool’s Gold List:

    Resident Evil
    Resident Evil: Extinction
    Resident Evil: Afterlife
    Resident Evil: Retribution
    Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
    Jeepers Creepers
    Session 9
    127 Hrs
    Casino Jack
    Hunger Games
    Thor
    The American
    Noah

    Platinum – Katyn

    Gold – Hurt Locker

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  148. donut says:
    @flyingtiger
    The Hurt Locker:
    There has to be a term for a movie that is good if you do not know anything about the subject. I can understand why someone would like the hurt locker. It has good acting, good story,good photography, and more. I, a son of a WW II combat engineer was constantly shout at the screen "DON'T DO That!" "No!" "YOU IDIOT." Luckily I was home not at the theater.
    My favorite scene was where the soldier who was accidentally shot by the idiot Sargent, tells him everything he did wrong. Every statement was right.
    Dad thought the BBC series "Danger UXB" was accurate.

    “Luckily I was home not at the theater.” I have had more than one date tell me to shut up in the theater .

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  149. @John Gruskos
    Douthat is, quite simply, not a conservative.

    He is a shill for Hollywood.

    Hollywood has never produced a great movie, and they never will. They are incapable of it. A festering stew lust, resentment, self pity and self congratulation can only produce cruel, cowardly trash. Fury Road and 40 YOV are the absolute worst of the trash.

    That Iranian movie about the boy who runs a race to win a pair of running shoes is a great movie with a lot of heart.

    Americans invented movies, but unfortunately great movies aren't made in America. The Civil War trilogy (Gods and Generals, Gettysburg, Copperhead) was OK, but the producer was pulling his punches, especially in Copperhead.

    The best American entertainment ever produced includes classic hymns, 19th century poets, self-deprecating humor stories (Franklin, Twain), history (Parkman, TR), and the heroic/tragic stories of Jack London. Modern Americans are likely to only encounter this entertainment in a classroom where it is being deconstructed by cultural Marxists.

    I beg to differ; there are almost certainly no great movies being made in America now, but there were many of them back in the day, far too many to name: Gunga Din, Adventures of Robin Hood, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Long Voyage Home, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Strangers on a Train, etc. etc. etc. etc. To ignore or dismiss the best product of the studio-system era is to ignore or dismiss a huge and important part of America’s contributions to the Western cultural heritage; you’d have to be either a leftist foreign-film snob (America’s capitalist, soul-crushing system could never produce Art; let’s all drool over the French or the Japanese instead!), or an alt-right anti-Semite (the Jews controlled Hollywood, therefore everything they ever turned out was a cancer on Western Civilization designed to destroy it!) to really believe such a statement.

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  150. @Dieter Kief
    Some of the great movies of the 21st Century hardly - if at all - mentioned here on this blog

    Love & Mercy (Brian Wilson biopic - named most interesting movie of the year or something alike once by Steve Sailer - but went down the memory-hole even though)

    True Grit (what's wrong with this one?)

    Moonrise Kingdom (lovely but not too sweet)

    Cinema Paradiso (best group-masturbation-in-public-scene ever - very Sicilian (hands down, ehe!))

    Happy-Go-Lucky (not that grown-up, too - but an incredibly lovely and spontaneous and - humane even - performance by Sally Hawkins playing a young London school-teacher)

    Another Year (pretty grown up - very grow-up really, but not boring nonetheless - - moving)


    A Dangerous Method - all leading men's roles great: Michael Fassbender (Carl Gustav Jung), Viggo Mortensen (Sigmund Freud (five from five stars)), Vincent Cassel (hilarious as wild psychoanalyst Otto Gross), Keira Neightly - not perfectly up to the task of reviving Sabina Spielrein, but quite good for sure).

    Wellcome at the Ch'tis (very french - set in the heart of Le Pen country (funny throughout; french box-office record-holder))

    Tony Erdmann (Mckinsey-experts in Romania starring as: The Kings Without a Land on Lonely Planet - funny even though - or: Just because!). With an impressive masturbation-scene, too.

    Some nice esoterica, I shall try them (if they can be found.) I think John Cusack was terribly miscast as Brian Wilson although I do like the movie (I never realized that Elizabeth Banks was so incredibly hot because I have hardly seen any of the stuff she has been in.) And tangentially speaking of which the totally hilarious movie Sideways would have been on my list had I remembered it at the time I was dashing it off.

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    When Elisabeth Bank's character meets "Brian Wilson" for the first time in that elegant Chevrolet dealership, realizing that he is strange, but making contact with him nonetheless: I love this scene. It's an artistic and - humane - triumph. Feeling 100% correct, pretentiousness non-existent. It's like (a good!) life itself - but under a loupe in bright, vibrant, colour-beaming Californian light. And Banks hardly acts at all. Cusack made a decent job I'd say - without knowing too much about the Beach Boys.

    Oh - I'll check out Sideways!

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  151. @Captain Tripps

    Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is the prime movie character of the last decade, so an Iron Man movie like The Avengers ought to be on the list.
     
    So are you Team Iron Man or Team Captain America?

    Agree that RDJ is a fabulous and charismatic actor, but I am a Captain America guy to the core. Charismatic, brilliant, arrogant billionaire industrialist/individualist vs. competent natural leader, team player, All American good guy (in the old sense of the word).

    Steve Rogers is from Brooklyn in the Marvel Universe, but he definitely has the Kansas Values of Clark Kent in the DC universe.

    I'll stop now with my comic book nerdness.

    Additional thoughts:

    Interesting that in CA: CW, Tony Stark morphs from a maverick, self-aggrandizing billionaire into the superhero guy spokesman of the globalist elite (the UN via William Hurt’s SecState character), while Captain A’s position is to go with good old American common sense and understanding of right and wrong. Captain’s position is that an international political body, even with good intentions can become corrupted through political self-interests, so who polices the world government? Its almost a direct reflection of the cold civil war amongst our American political elite.

    The original Tony Stark from Marvel comics was a maverick American nationalist (in the old sense) industrial tycoon, more of a Howard Hughes-type. With CA: CW, you can see where the Hollywood influence shapers want to turn him into the enforcer of the globalist elite consensus versus Captain America’s old-fashioned nationalism. They tend to surround Tony Stark with the sexy good-looking types, signalling that its cool and right to be with Tony Stark, and Tony Stark gets all the cool snarky, cynical lines (doesn’t hurt that Downey Jr. is a natural at that) while Captain America, though he has sexy allies like Natasha Romanov (oooh, scary Russian) and Sharon Carter, ends up talking like your Grandpa who was in World War Two.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius

    like your Grandpa who was in World War Two
     
    Who could and would kick the ass of today's snot-nosed globalists.

    CW blurred some lines nicely.
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  152. donut says:

    Looking over other commenters lists I find some I agree with some I don’t and some I’m appalled at . Whichever movies we like or don’t is obviously a matter of personal taste determined by how we relate to the story being told . How about a list of performances that were compelling irregardless of the quality of the movie or the stature of the actor ?

    This maybe an obvious pick but the movie depended on her performance :

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  153. @27 year old
    Fury Road was really fun, but all I could think of the whole time was "who is Immortan Joe? How did he get to be king? How did they engineer and build all that water equipment?" The movie should have been about him.

    Typical Hollywood. The “bad guys” are the only ones worth cheering for.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have an admirable “good guy” for once, instead of having cruel cowardly PC enforcers as the “good guys”?

    Boycott Hollywood. Starve the beast. After the counter-revolution, we will have culture again.

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  154. @Dr. Krieger
    Moonrise Kingdom
    Ex Machina
    Interstellar
    Dredd
    The Prestige
    Shin Godzilla

    First three certainly qualify.

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  155. @LondonBob
    Wedding Crashers is peak Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

    Wedding Crashers is peak Vince Vaughn

    LOL!

    Nah, Dodgeball was peak Vince Vaughn. The facial expressions, deadpan delivery, not-taking-this-stuff-seriously attitude, it was ALL there… :-)

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  156. Njguy73 says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist
    I was between high school and college that summer of '84. I remember it seemed like I was at the movie theater all the time -- there really did seem to be a remarkable number of very enjoyable movies that year.

    I cheated and looked it up; you can find a rundown/ranking of the movies of summer 1984 HERE

    I saw all the ones you named (except Stranger than Paradise), plus Top Secret, Bachelor Party (early Tom Hanks), Red Dawn, Purple Rain, The Natural, Revenge of the Nerds, and Sixteen Candles. Fun times.

    Thanks. Can’t believe I forgot those.

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  157. MJMD says:

    Damn, knew I’d be getting late to a list like this. Just wanted to say Douthat’s three choices are alright, and I like Steve and friend’s lists a lot, but there’s a few others on the main list I’ll vouch for:

    “Spirited Away” – truly incredible. Haven’t yet seen “There Will Be Blood”, but happy to see Miyazaki’s masterpiece placed at no. 2.

    “A Touch of Sin” – meh. Was alright. A bit like if somebody tried to make “Taxi Driver” under the Hays Code, only in this case they were required to show that somebody was prevented from contacting Communist Party officials before resorting to a shooting rampage (the end result was still banned in China).

    “Inside Out” – another excellent choice, although I personally thought “Wall-E” was better.

    “The Gleaners and I” – this is a fine documentary, but better than “Mad Max: Fury Road”? Give me a break.

    “Moonlight” – I am never going to be able to be fair to this movie again after the fiasco at the Oscars, but then I never intended to see it again after sitting through it once beforehand. It was fine for what it was… which wasn’t much.

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  158. fitzGetty says:

    … after all these years, LAUREL CANYON is still a fresh and real creation of a world …

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "Laurel Canyon," "Magnolia," "Mulholland Drive,""Sunset Boulevard:" That's a pretty good quartet of movies named after streets near my house.
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  159. @Polynikes
    Ex Machina should be on there. So should Blackhawk down for war movies.

    Most notably though is the omission of guys comedies like Old School, Meet the Parents or Wedding Crashers. I mean, if you're putting in comedies like Bridesmaids, why not?

    Most notably though is the omission of guys comedies like Old School, Meet the Parents or Wedding Crashers. I mean, if you’re putting in comedies like Bridesmaids, why not?

    BRIDESMAIDS got in for affirmative action reasons; those other films you mentioned also do not belong on this list, but lacked sufficient Diversity Pokemon Points to get put on it anyway. THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, however, does deserve it’s place on the list, IMHO, and I’m kinda surprised Steve’s never seen it. I usually don’t like comedies, but that one was very funny.

    Also, you’re correct about EX MACHINA.

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  160. Bosch says:
    @Jim Don Bob
    Memento
    The Hurt Locker
    The Lives of Others

    You could not pay me to watch the Social Network. Zuckerberg is everything that is wrong with this country.

    Zuck doesn’t come off terribly well in The Social Network.

    No Country is definitely more entertaining but I’m a sucker for suburban Jewish insularity as presented in Serious Man. Also, There Will Be Blood is the rare prestige flick that is endlessly quotable.

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  161. @snorlax
    My thoughts on the ones you haven't seen but I have:

    Pan's Labyrinth — I liked it a lot less on second viewing because the years have worn down my sympathy for (literal) communist propaganda, but the production values and acting are excellent.

    Ida — Subdued and very powerful drama, well deserving of its Academy Award. Far from your typical Holocaust weepie. I don't want to give away too much but it isn't shy about addressing historical topics that'd be radioactive to discuss in an American film.

    The Queen of Versailles — Not sure if I'd put this in my top 25, but this nouveau-riche Grey Gardens with absurdly-tacky protagonists is worth a watch as a compelling allegory (it'd be borderline on-the-nose if it were fiction) of the housing boom, financial crisis and recovery.

    Pan’s Labyrinth — I liked it a lot less on second viewing because the years have worn down my sympathy for (literal) communist propaganda, but the production values and acting are excellent.

    Let’s not be too hard on PAN’S LABYRINTH (for ideological reasons, that is). We Americans have been a bit spoiled, when it comes to political tyranny. What I mean is, yes of course, I’d’ve supported Franco over the Bolshevists, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some pretty brutal, sadistic SOBs among the Spanish officers corps in 1944 (the year the film is set). Franco’s Spain had a lot to recommend it, as compared to being a client state of USSR, but it was far from ideal.

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    • Replies: @Thursday
    Del Toro is good at coming up with interesting monsters, but Pan's Labyrinth was a mess. Better to put Del Toro weirdness in service of a commercial vehicle, like Pacific Rim or Hellboy.
    , @JohnnyD
    @Kevin O'Keeffe,
    Agreed. It's definitely hard for most Americans to understand that Spain was either going to be ruled by a totalitarian-leftist government or a right-wing military dictatorship.
    , @Pericles
    The leftists always get MAF when they get purged for once. Then there are endless histrionic books and retarded movies about how they were right all along and the other side were evil madmen.
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  162. Overall a pretty noxious summary of the pathetic cinema this century. I will go with No Country for Old Men as the best American film of this century so far. I will also note that the 14 years of 1967-1980 produced probably 15-20 films greater than any of these, and dozens upon dozens better than almost all most of these.

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    • Agree: PiltdownMan
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  163. CCR says:

    There are so many stinkers on these lists it makes me despair. Top two movies of the oughts were “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (2003) and “Downfall” 2004.

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    • Agree: Dave Pinsen
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  164. PapayaSF says:
    @Dieter Kief
    Some of the great movies of the 21st Century hardly - if at all - mentioned here on this blog

    Love & Mercy (Brian Wilson biopic - named most interesting movie of the year or something alike once by Steve Sailer - but went down the memory-hole even though)

    True Grit (what's wrong with this one?)

    Moonrise Kingdom (lovely but not too sweet)

    Cinema Paradiso (best group-masturbation-in-public-scene ever - very Sicilian (hands down, ehe!))

    Happy-Go-Lucky (not that grown-up, too - but an incredibly lovely and spontaneous and - humane even - performance by Sally Hawkins playing a young London school-teacher)

    Another Year (pretty grown up - very grow-up really, but not boring nonetheless - - moving)


    A Dangerous Method - all leading men's roles great: Michael Fassbender (Carl Gustav Jung), Viggo Mortensen (Sigmund Freud (five from five stars)), Vincent Cassel (hilarious as wild psychoanalyst Otto Gross), Keira Neightly - not perfectly up to the task of reviving Sabina Spielrein, but quite good for sure).

    Wellcome at the Ch'tis (very french - set in the heart of Le Pen country (funny throughout; french box-office record-holder))

    Tony Erdmann (Mckinsey-experts in Romania starring as: The Kings Without a Land on Lonely Planet - funny even though - or: Just because!). With an impressive masturbation-scene, too.

    Cinema Paradiso is great, but it came out in 1988.

    Another vote for The Grand Budapest Hotel. The director’s other films can veer into being a bit too precious, but everything worked with that one. Hilarious, touching, beautiful.

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    Oh - hoppla, I admit!!: - But pulease, you must forgive me - "Cinema Paradiso" is such a great movie I saw under the deep blue summer-sky en plein air in southern Italy and the vibes were so "charmink" and everybody was feeling so fine: That cost me two years of my memory, as it seems now. But I might tell you: The experience was worth ittt!! Je ne regrette rien!
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  165. @Gross Terry
    "Taken" was great. Great set of villians, great action sets, pretty much revitalized old Liam Neesons career.

    Taken was a weird one: objectively it’s a terrible movie, by any measure you care to use. But if it comes on the TV you can bet I’ll be watching to the end and loving every minute of it.

    And I don’t mean that it’s “so bad it’s good”. I’m not laughing at it. There’s just something about it that makes it fantastic watching despite its myriad flaws. I suspect it’s because, more than any other action movie I can think of, it gives us a situation where we really want the villains to suffer. The nameless sex traffickers of Taken are in that sense better villains even than Alan Rickman in Die Hard.

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  166. Do the dudes commenting stuff like “all movies are terrible,” “Hollywood is a propaganda machine,” etc., know that they’re making themselves appear laughable? There must be some degree of self-awareness there, right?

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  167. That Ross Douthat has good words for Pan’s Labyrinth puts him off my “people to take mildy seriously” list for at least the length of the Trump presidency.
    It is a fantastical, yes, but in no way anything other than pretentious horror film cum anti-Franco screed of the crudest sort.
    Be “anti-Fascist” these days and you are automatically a “genius”.

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  168. @Captain nascimento
    This! Both Elite Squad movies deserve to be on list.

    First Elite Squad was better story, though cinematography sucked. Second elite Squad seemed like the director Jose Padilha tried to regain his leftist street cred by casting BOPE in a weakened state towards the end of the film.

    And what about Downfall (Der Untergang)? Best War movie of all time , most historically accurate, jaw dropping drama (even though we know characters eventual fates), impeccable acting performances , especially Bruno Ganz.

    Russian The ninth company deserves to be on the list. Similar to Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, but well worth a look.

    Downfall is not the greatest war movie of all time (it is not really about war at all) – it is the greatest movie of all time, tout court.

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    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome


    Downfall is not the greatest war movie of all time

     

    My favorite scene:
    hitler finds out there is no Santa
    , @Captain nascimento
    I kneel to your genius at the altar of the motherland......
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  169. utu says:
    @Steve Sailer
    I loved "The Science of Sleep," a Michel Gondry movie about dreaming, with all sorts of wonderful dream machines made out of stuff from around the house.

    The screenplay's not Charlie Kaufman-level, but it's good.

    The screenplay’s not Charlie Kaufman-level

    Kaufman irritates me. His Adaptation and Malkovich (the only two I saw) feel like he tries to impress somebody out there how clever but he does not go any deeper. A pointless exercise of creating self-referencing antinomies.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Not only was Being John Malkovich wildly original, it was hilarious on multiple levels. "Think fast, Malkovich!" - I'm laughing now just remembering that scene. The idea that some kids driving on the NJ Turnpike at night would recognize John Malkovich by the side of the highway and throw an empty beer can at his head.
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  170. kofi anon says:
    @duperdap
    The Hurt Locker is a lousy movie. It has two or three strong scenes, but much of the rest of the film is almost laughably bad. There are parts where the dialogue and the visuals veer into mediocre TV movie quality, with the picture getting worse and worse as it goes on. People seem to only remember the movie's couple standout moments, which is understandable given that so much of the rest of Locker was forgettable, but it's really distorted the film's place in history. That and 'muh female director.'

    That and ‘muh female director.’

    I always assumed that was it right there. Hurt Locker was terrible. I remember wanting my money back when it was over.

    Wasn’t there a scene where the EOD guy has to take an SAS sniper’s rifle to show him how it’s done?

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  171. Michelle says:
    @donut
    The only reason I can think of to send women into space is for pussy , cooking and sheer unqualified balls or ovaries what ever the case may be .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerri_Nielsen

    Maybe even to save the day .

    Of course, “The women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.”

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    • Replies: @donut
    That was a good movie .
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  172. @fitzGetty
    ... after all these years, LAUREL CANYON is still a fresh and real creation of a world ...

    “Laurel Canyon,” “Magnolia,” “Mulholland Drive,””Sunset Boulevard:” That’s a pretty good quartet of movies named after streets near my house.

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    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... especially the glorious Laurel Canyon ... Frances, that song, the sense of a world in a cul de sac ...
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  173. guest says:
    @duperdap
    The Hurt Locker is a lousy movie. It has two or three strong scenes, but much of the rest of the film is almost laughably bad. There are parts where the dialogue and the visuals veer into mediocre TV movie quality, with the picture getting worse and worse as it goes on. People seem to only remember the movie's couple standout moments, which is understandable given that so much of the rest of Locker was forgettable, but it's really distorted the film's place in history. That and 'muh female director.'

    I’d appreciate “muh female director” more if they hyped, say, Point Break instead . Which was also a ridiculous movie, but it was entertaining from start to finish. And it had better characters.

    But it wasn’t just the chick director thing. It was that Hurt Locker was the only Iraq War movie anybody liked. The others made like $2 combined at the box office.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Point Break was better than Hurt Locker.
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  174. donut says:
    @Michelle
    Of course, "The women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature."

    That was a good movie .

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  175. guest says:
    @Matthew McConnagay
    I found The Avengers overrated (as I do Joss Whedon more generally), but considering how difficult a feat it was, story-wise, it was pretty entertaining, and far far better than I would have expected.

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn't mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic's list.

    (And The Avengers, for that matter, even though I was only making a joke with it.)

    The difficult feat was building all the different characters up in separate movies, then climaxing with a movie that was as good or better than the others. (Iron Man was better, in my opinion, but Avengers was second-best.) The Avengers movie itself wasn’t a that big a challenge once all the other ones were in the can and in the black. Hollywood used to do those all-star Magnificent Seven-type movies all the time.

    They actually fumbled the ball a bit, though they recovered and still won the game, by having a mediocre villain. Which is better than most Marvel movies, which have embarrassing or forgettable villains. That’s why the Dark Knight was the best of the superhero movies: because it had a great villain. That’s also why Darth Vader keeps getting shoehorned into every Star Wars movie, in one form or another.

    They tried with Loki, banking on the preexisting ambiguous relationship with his brother Thor. But no, he was mostly an excuse to introduce a ho-hum doomsday device, giant energy beam, interdimensional portal, personalityless orc-creature storyline. Not that it was bad, but there was nothing special about it.

    The special part was how the characters interacted with one-another, plus the fact that for once people weren’t let down by the Hulk, who outside of movies is the most popular of all the characters, I think.

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    • Replies: @syonredux
    The Avengers has maybe the worst opening 10-15 minutes of any good movie in recent memory. I remember actually squirming in my seat during the sequence when Loki came through the wormhole. It looked like a particularly elaborate episode of Stargate: SG1.....Fortunately, things rapidly improved after the opening.... the meeting between Bruce Banner and the Black Widow was really good...




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4OlWYAXc6Y
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  176. Lagertha says:
    @Steve Sailer
    My son and I met DDL at a sporting event about 6 years ago.

    I met Robert Downey Jr. at our sons' ballgame about 14 years ago when he was trying life in the slow lane. He was incredibly charismatic just saying hello.

    I'd say your Daniel Day-Lewis at least equals my Robert Downey Jr. in coolness.

    I was talking to my next door neighbor while she was cleaning out her garage and she found a picture of herself and the young Brad Pitt on a set somewhere before his breakthrough on Thelma and Louise. She said Brad was very sweet, but he didn't shower very often.

    Haha! – maybe Brad (lack of bathing) was preparing for his “role” as the drifter/grifter in Thelma & Louise! Agree about Downey…I just like the actors who like to act and not project their political points of view onto people – they exhibit more class and realize staying relevant (and employed) is important.

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  177. guest says:
    @Thursday
    Stillman's Jane Austen movie was better, but it left a bit of a sour taste with the ending. I should have included it on my list.

    Lady Susan I forgot about. It was one of my favorite movies last year, though admittedly I didn’t see a great many.

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  178. @Harry Baldwin
    Whatever it’s about, it’s not effective if the audience stops paying attention.

    You're the only person I've heard of whose attention wandered during No Country for Old Men, but there are probably others. You can't please everyone.

    I saw No Country for old Men (on TV though) and turned it off halfway through. I felt like watching a slow dumb snake trying to swallow a hedgedhog. I might quite not have gotten what they were after – unless it was something of the existential American cold-heartedness talked about by D. H. Lawrence in Piltdownman’s quote above.
    I tend to think about such things as rather uninteresting subjects, since they are without any secrets or unsolved problems: All there might be is in a bright spotlight, right from the start.

    True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis were fun to watch, and I talked to a lot of people about those movies, which was fun too.

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    • Replies: @guest
    "they are without any secrets or unsolved problems"

    That's basically true, although I think we're supposed to doubt Daniel Plainview at various points. Does he really love his son before the son becomes a liability? Is that genuine affection he bears toward the abused daughter? Etc.

    Mostly, it's just a story about a guy who started digging in the ground, who eventually lives in a mansion where he was free to bash people's skulls in. Which I assume is what he wanted to do all along. He's the same person from point A to point B, and the only thing in doubt is whether he'll be able to pull it off. And actually he pulls it off between the second and third acts. What he does in the mansion is gratuitous and unnecessary.

    I like the consistency of the character, and just how far the movie goes to show he's just plain unpleasant, without getting gross about it. But, really, is this the best subject for epic filmmaking? Here is not Charles Foster Kane, with squandered potential, who gained the world but lost his soul. He pretty much begins with no soul.

    Not that I don't like stories about monsters. But then I look for a grander theme. What's the theme here? God loses to Mammon? Empires are built on blood? Progress comes at the cost of inequity? Oil is dirty?

    I don't know. It's unclear. The movie is a dual character-study of two thoroughly unlikable and frankly two-dimensional. But two-dimensional in the *extreme*, which is supposed to make them compelling. Plainview is compelling, the preacher not so much.

    It is beautiful, though, and I love Brahms. I also like movies about Things, and the industry is fascinating. But you want more, and like I said the movie never takes off.

    The scene where he cries about abandoning his son comes closest, probably.

    , @guest
    Whoops, in my last response I confused which movie you were talking about. But it applies to both, somewhat, and those movies are forever intertwined by fate.

    As far as existential American cold-heartedness, is Anton Chigurh, the villain, supposed to be American? I have no idea. He barely comes off as human. He's more like the Terminator.
    , @Desiderius
    Just saw True Grit again on the tube.

    The attempt to render 19th Century patterns of dialogue is really striking.
    , @Desiderius

    I tend to think about such things as rather uninteresting subjects, since they are without any secrets or unsolved problems: All there might be is in a bright spotlight, right from the start.
     
    Not unlike Game of Thrones in that respect. Just a gussied up Jerry Springer show.
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  179. guest says:
    @Ian M.
    Last of the Mohicans is a great example of movie being perceived as being infinitely better than it actually is because of its incomparable soundtrack.

    I’m not sure there’s a difference between perception and reality after I’ve seen it a million times. The score is part of the movie. It’s not some separate thing I have to judge on the side. It counts towards the final score.

    Ideally, such things as plot, character, dialogue, etc. should count more. But I don’t care, when Hawkeye is hawkeying the maiden for sexy time, or they’re on the promontory, and that music is playing.

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    • Replies: @Ian M.
    That's a good point, I don't disagree.
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  180. Thursday says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Pan’s Labyrinth — I liked it a lot less on second viewing because the years have worn down my sympathy for (literal) communist propaganda, but the production values and acting are excellent.
     
    Let's not be too hard on PAN'S LABYRINTH (for ideological reasons, that is). We Americans have been a bit spoiled, when it comes to political tyranny. What I mean is, yes of course, I'd've supported Franco over the Bolshevists, but that doesn't mean there weren't some pretty brutal, sadistic SOBs among the Spanish officers corps in 1944 (the year the film is set). Franco's Spain had a lot to recommend it, as compared to being a client state of USSR, but it was far from ideal.

    Del Toro is good at coming up with interesting monsters, but Pan’s Labyrinth was a mess. Better to put Del Toro weirdness in service of a commercial vehicle, like Pacific Rim or Hellboy.

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  181. Kylie says:
    @donut
    You all must know that the donut with all his perceived faults has the best taste in movies as well as music , taste in art being subjective and personal I would not presume to list the best of anything . Enjoy what you enjoy in film and music , as I do .

    Don’t be shy! Give us your subjective and personal ‘best of’ movie list.

    I, for one, yearn to be enlightened.

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    • Replies: @donut
    I just looked up the synopsis for "Dogtooth" . I'm not sure that's for me but if it's on Amazon I'll give it a try . I chose to take your request for my "personal ‘best of’ movie list." seriously and I will try to assemble one for you .

    Something to keep in mind : recently someone here commented that the books Bob Dylan mentioned in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech suggested that he hadn't read many books since HS . I don't that was fair . When you are a young person and haven't read many or any books and you are assigned one or just pick one up that for some reason fires your imagination then you are going to measure all subsequent books against that first experience and like your first love they can never measure up . Subsequently you may read books that will have a profound impact on your life but that first book that gave you a love for reading deserves it's special place . No matter how great or mediocre it may have been .
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  182. @PapayaSF
    Cinema Paradiso is great, but it came out in 1988.

    Another vote for The Grand Budapest Hotel. The director's other films can veer into being a bit too precious, but everything worked with that one. Hilarious, touching, beautiful.

    Oh – hoppla, I admit!!: – But pulease, you must forgive me – “Cinema Paradiso” is such a great movie I saw under the deep blue summer-sky en plein air in southern Italy and the vibes were so “charmink” and everybody was feeling so fine: That cost me two years of my memory, as it seems now. But I might tell you: The experience was worth ittt!! Je ne regrette rien!

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  183. guest says:
    @Dieter Kief
    I saw No Country for old Men (on TV though) and turned it off halfway through. I felt like watching a slow dumb snake trying to swallow a hedgedhog. I might quite not have gotten what they were after - unless it was something of the existential American cold-heartedness talked about by D. H. Lawrence in Piltdownman's quote above.
    I tend to think about such things as rather uninteresting subjects, since they are without any secrets or unsolved problems: All there might be is in a bright spotlight, right from the start.

    True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis were fun to watch, and I talked to a lot of people about those movies, which was fun too.

    “they are without any secrets or unsolved problems”

    That’s basically true, although I think we’re supposed to doubt Daniel Plainview at various points. Does he really love his son before the son becomes a liability? Is that genuine affection he bears toward the abused daughter? Etc.

    Mostly, it’s just a story about a guy who started digging in the ground, who eventually lives in a mansion where he was free to bash people’s skulls in. Which I assume is what he wanted to do all along. He’s the same person from point A to point B, and the only thing in doubt is whether he’ll be able to pull it off. And actually he pulls it off between the second and third acts. What he does in the mansion is gratuitous and unnecessary.

    I like the consistency of the character, and just how far the movie goes to show he’s just plain unpleasant, without getting gross about it. But, really, is this the best subject for epic filmmaking? Here is not Charles Foster Kane, with squandered potential, who gained the world but lost his soul. He pretty much begins with no soul.

    Not that I don’t like stories about monsters. But then I look for a grander theme. What’s the theme here? God loses to Mammon? Empires are built on blood? Progress comes at the cost of inequity? Oil is dirty?

    I don’t know. It’s unclear. The movie is a dual character-study of two thoroughly unlikable and frankly two-dimensional. But two-dimensional in the *extreme*, which is supposed to make them compelling. Plainview is compelling, the preacher not so much.

    It is beautiful, though, and I love Brahms. I also like movies about Things, and the industry is fascinating. But you want more, and like I said the movie never takes off.

    The scene where he cries about abandoning his son comes closest, probably.

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  184. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    Platinum List:

    A.I.
    Mulholland Dr.
    Werckmeister Harmonies
    Still Walking
    Wicker Park
    Mothman Prophecies
    High Fidelity
    Insomnia (Remake)
    Memories of Murder
    Ghost World
    Damsels in Distress
    Amelie
    C.R.A.Z.Y
    Assassination of Jesse James

    Gold List:

    Inception
    Tron Legacy
    Tomorrowland
    The Hunt(Danish)
    The World's End
    Zodiac
    Ant-man
    Indiana Jones and Kingdom of Crystal Skull
    Slow West
    Kings of Summer
    Life of Pi
    August: Osage County
    O Brother Where Art Thou
    Gravity
    Friend
    Downfall
    Take Care of My Cat
    Into the Wild
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Amores Perros
    House of Mirth
    Tropical Malady
    Poetry
    Snow White and the Huntsman
    New Moon
    The Counselor
    The Others
    American Splendor
    Lost in Translation

    Silver List:

    Robocop
    Split
    Shaun of the Dead
    Hot Fuzz
    Moana
    Me and Orson Welles
    Scanner Darkly
    Everybody Wants Some
    Panic Room
    Footnote
    The Village
    Blue Jasmine
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Heist
    Spartan
    Beijing Bicycle
    Michael Clayton
    Bridge of Spies
    Adventures of Tintin
    Catch Me If You Can
    Minority Report
    American Sniper
    Flags of Our Fathers
    Letters from Iwo Jima
    Rescue Dawn
    W.
    Despicable Me
    The German Doctor
    Last Orders
    No Man's Land
    Son's Room
    Waking Life
    Yellow Asphalt
    State and Main
    City of God / City of Men
    Guru
    The Pianist
    Spider
    Twilight Samurai
    American Splendor
    Elephant
    Goodbye Lenin
    Tristan and Isolde
    Art School Confidential
    Sunshine
    Bourne Identity
    No Country for Old Men
    The Wrestler
    Moon
    An Education
    Shutter Island
    Like Father Like Son
    Nobody Knows
    Our Little Sister
    Silent Souls
    Elena
    Senna
    Diving Bell and Butterfly
    4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days
    In the City of Sylvia
    The Sun (Russo-Japan)
    Distant
    Time Out
    Crimson Gold
    Act of Killing
    Lady and the Duke
    The Great Beauty
    This Must Be the Place
    Only Lovers Left Alive
    Twilight
    Breaking Dawn
    Joe
    C.O.G
    The Day

    Bronze List:

    Phil Specter
    All About Lily-Chou-Chou
    Internal Affairs
    The Master
    Drive
    Byzantium
    Café Society
    Ondine
    In a World
    Looper
    American Pastoral
    Bad Lieutenant
    Little Miss Sunshine
    Last Samurai
    Matchstick Men
    Donnie Darko
    Piano Teacher
    Cloverfield
    Diary of the Dead
    Boiler Room
    My Dog Skip
    The Happening
    Devil
    American Hustle
    In the Bedroom
    Blackhawk Down
    Beautiful Mind
    Matrix Revolutions
    Attack of Clones
    End of the Tour
    Mistress America
    Kicking and Screaming
    Moonrise Kingdom

    Fool’s Gold List:

    Resident Evil
    Resident Evil: Extinction
    Resident Evil: Afterlife
    Resident Evil: Retribution
    Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
    Jeepers Creepers
    Session 9
    127 Hrs
    Casino Jack
    Hunger Games
    Thor
    The American
    Noah

    Gold:

    K-19 Widowmaker
    Beyond the Sea
    Count of Monte Cristo
    Everlasting Moments
    Triad Election
    Sunset Song
    Sunflower
    Rush
    11 Flowers
    The Conspirator
    The Way Back
    Safe Conduct

    Silver:

    Anomalisa
    Kabei
    The Mist
    Ender’s Game
    Ray
    Blind Mountain
    Not on My Lips
    Congorama
    All Is Lost
    Alexandra(Russia)
    Together
    Che
    Dharm
    Evil(Sweden)
    Atarat
    Hidden Blade
    Love and Honor

    Bronze:

    Coming Home
    Cold in July
    Elite Squad
    The Box
    Once
    Defiance
    Gran Torino
    United 93
    World of Kanako
    Prestige

    Wood:

    http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/my-twenty-five-best-films-of-the-century-so-far

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Gold:

    Before I Disappear
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  185. @James Richard
    Some nice esoterica, I shall try them (if they can be found.) I think John Cusack was terribly miscast as Brian Wilson although I do like the movie (I never realized that Elizabeth Banks was so incredibly hot because I have hardly seen any of the stuff she has been in.) And tangentially speaking of which the totally hilarious movie Sideways would have been on my list had I remembered it at the time I was dashing it off.

    When Elisabeth Bank’s character meets “Brian Wilson” for the first time in that elegant Chevrolet dealership, realizing that he is strange, but making contact with him nonetheless: I love this scene. It’s an artistic and – humane – triumph. Feeling 100% correct, pretentiousness non-existent. It’s like (a good!) life itself – but under a loupe in bright, vibrant, colour-beaming Californian light. And Banks hardly acts at all. Cusack made a decent job I’d say – without knowing too much about the Beach Boys.

    Oh – I’ll check out Sideways!

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  186. guest says:
    @Dieter Kief
    I saw No Country for old Men (on TV though) and turned it off halfway through. I felt like watching a slow dumb snake trying to swallow a hedgedhog. I might quite not have gotten what they were after - unless it was something of the existential American cold-heartedness talked about by D. H. Lawrence in Piltdownman's quote above.
    I tend to think about such things as rather uninteresting subjects, since they are without any secrets or unsolved problems: All there might be is in a bright spotlight, right from the start.

    True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis were fun to watch, and I talked to a lot of people about those movies, which was fun too.

    Whoops, in my last response I confused which movie you were talking about. But it applies to both, somewhat, and those movies are forever intertwined by fate.

    As far as existential American cold-heartedness, is Anton Chigurh, the villain, supposed to be American? I have no idea. He barely comes off as human. He’s more like the Terminator.

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  187. Dumbo says:

    Spirited Away, Mullholland Drive and Eternal Sunshine are the only ones that I liked from this list. But I don’t watch so many movies these days, so, I guess I missed quite a few.

    Film-makers wanted cinema to be a “serious art” in the 60-70s, but I think that’s all over now.

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  188. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Ian M.
    Last of the Mohicans is a great example of movie being perceived as being infinitely better than it actually is because of its incomparable soundtrack.

    The last ~20 minutes are just great cinema, with virtually no dialogue. Mann’s director’s cut is actually worse, as it expands the old Indian’s brief lament into anachronistic soliloquy about the closing of the frontier.

    That said, my aunt, who used really run the film archive at Berkeley, wasn’t a fan. She preferred one of the earlier movie adaptations of it.

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    • Replies: @Ian M.
    I find the last 20 minutes to be a tad melodramatic. But man, that music is great (possibly my favorite soundtrack of all time, with the possible exception of any movie that uses Beethoven).

    My favorite scene occurs right at the advent of that last stretch: when that insufferable twit Heyward completely redeems himself by performing that tremendous act of bravery in which he sacrifices his life for Cora, a woman who does not even requite his love.
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  189. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @utu
    The screenplay’s not Charlie Kaufman-level

    Kaufman irritates me. His Adaptation and Malkovich (the only two I saw) feel like he tries to impress somebody out there how clever but he does not go any deeper. A pointless exercise of creating self-referencing antinomies.

    Not only was Being John Malkovich wildly original, it was hilarious on multiple levels. “Think fast, Malkovich!” – I’m laughing now just remembering that scene. The idea that some kids driving on the NJ Turnpike at night would recognize John Malkovich by the side of the highway and throw an empty beer can at his head.

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  190. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @guest
    I'd appreciate "muh female director" more if they hyped, say, Point Break instead . Which was also a ridiculous movie, but it was entertaining from start to finish. And it had better characters.

    But it wasn't just the chick director thing. It was that Hurt Locker was the only Iraq War movie anybody liked. The others made like $2 combined at the box office.

    Point Break was better than Hurt Locker.

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  191. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Dave Pinsen
    He hasn't made anything at the level of Heat since, but Collateral, Miami Vice, and his hacker movie were all pretty good. I'm holding out hope he has another great one in him.

    HBO’s Luck was a pleasure. Although Dustin Hoffman was annoying. I’m not sorry it was canceled after Season 1.

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  192. JohnnyD says:

    “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a very good movie about the Spanish Civil War , but it is very biased towards the Republican/Leftist side.The main villain, of course, is a sadistic, torture-loving right-wing general who supports Franco; and of course, the movie ignores how the Republicans would often murder priests and nuns. But most of the movie is about Spanish fairy tales and mythological creatures, so you can still enjoy it.

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  193. “The Lives of Others” – The terrific East German Stasi drama.

    I liked the film when I purchased and viewed it, but now a Secret Police cabal running everything hits a little too close to home given the events since January of 2017.

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  194. JohnnyD says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Pan’s Labyrinth — I liked it a lot less on second viewing because the years have worn down my sympathy for (literal) communist propaganda, but the production values and acting are excellent.
     
    Let's not be too hard on PAN'S LABYRINTH (for ideological reasons, that is). We Americans have been a bit spoiled, when it comes to political tyranny. What I mean is, yes of course, I'd've supported Franco over the Bolshevists, but that doesn't mean there weren't some pretty brutal, sadistic SOBs among the Spanish officers corps in 1944 (the year the film is set). Franco's Spain had a lot to recommend it, as compared to being a client state of USSR, but it was far from ideal.

    @Kevin O’Keeffe,
    Agreed. It’s definitely hard for most Americans to understand that Spain was either going to be ruled by a totalitarian-leftist government or a right-wing military dictatorship.

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  195. Victor says:

    If these are the best lists the critics could come up with, then the 21st century has been pretty bad for movies.

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  196. Before Night Falls

    The Brave One

    both films about, you know, real life sh*t

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  197. Lagertha says:
    @James Richard
    I agree. Rutger Hauer was absolutely implacable in his continued attacks, just as he was when chasing Harrison Ford around the old building in Blade Runner. Very similar to Bardem in No Country. Both were as frightening as is a force of nature like an approaching hurricane.

    I had a ridiculous crush on Rutger….after seeing Men of Orange. He was also great in a small, forgettable (great movie for children) jewel (with Michele Pfeiffer) called, LadyHawke…Matthew Broderick was a rising star (after War Games & Ferris Bueller) and very funny in that movie.

    I liked Silver Linings Playbook, The Hangover, and Whiplash…and The Big Lebowski. Also, Hell or High Water was good.

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    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... on the roof ... in the night rain ... Bladerunner's high point ...
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  198. Off the top of my head:

    No Country for Old Men
    Summer Hours
    Neighboring Sounds
    Wendy & Lucy
    Boyhood
    The Lives of Others
    A Most Wanted Man
    Zero Dark Thirty
    Gett: The Trial of Vivianne Ansalem

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  199. Lagertha says:
    @joeyjoejoe
    "The reason, it turns out, that Daniel Day-Lewis gets away with his crazy Method Actor demands like carrying a flintlock weapon everywhere he went while not on the set of Last of the Mohicans"

    I spent a substantial amount of time in the military, and on one two week exercise (where I was in essence an inspector, walking around inspecting subordinate units' defensive positions, etc), I decided to always carry my M-16 (rather than ever sling it over my shoulder)-just to always appear 'ready.' A slung M-16 in the field looks sloppy and unprofessional.

    At one point (remember, I was walking/travelling a great deal-in order to evaluate defensive positions of a unit of about 3,000 soldiers-so I was constantly in new places, constantly talking to new individuals-every 15 minutes in a new environment), I misplaced my weapon. Absolute, instant panic. Misplacing a weapon is a genuinely serious event (entire bases are shut down, and entire units frog march across fields at arms width to look for them). Misplacing a weapon by an officer (as I was) would have been just about the most humiliating and career-ending action it would be possible to perform.

    After a few moments (more than you will imagine after I explain it-more than a second or two-perhaps 5-10 seconds), I realized where the weapon was: gripped in the same hand I had had it for the last 10 days. The grip of my hand, the weight of the rifle on my arm (8-10 lbs) were utterly subconscious. And as I mentioned: this wasn't a half-second act of forgetfulness (like when we misplace keys, or a phone or a wallet-the realize its in a different pocket than usual-what everybody does). It was an extended 10 second period where I mentally reviewed my last steps, wondering if I had leaned it against a tree where I spoke last, when I last got a drink or went to the bathroom, etc.

    It was a very strange experience (I distinctly remember it 20 years later). An 8 lb weight was attached to my right hand, and I had completely forgotten about it the way one forgets about a watch or wedding ring.

    joe

    amputees talk about “phantom limb” sensation in a way similar to your experience.

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  200. TWS says:
    @middle aged vet
    LOTR was good but they started filming it more than half a generation ago. They should start over again, in Canada or Sweden or the Crimea, and this time hire nothing but Shakespearean capable actors, not a mix of really really good actors and not so good actors. Almost all the Tolkien characters are beyond the reach of most of the actors Jackson hired.
    They should redo the Harry Potter movies too, this time don't make everybody look as if they had just spent the afternoon spending their parents' dough in a very upscale shopping mall.
    And every sitcom I liked as a kid should get at least a 90 minute movie version with a decently modest budget. Even F Troop and Hogans Heroes. Russell Crowe as Sergeant O'Rourke and that annoying guy in the Kaley Cuoco show as Klink would be a good start. Gilligan's Island, too, and I want it to be directed by the best they can find. Someone as good as, or better, than the Interstellar guy. And don't even think of letting anybody play the Professor or MaryAnne unless they really really want to win an Oscar.

    I’d like to play with Mary Ann.

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  201. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    “Catholic converts tend to be annoying and to pose as stuffy intellectuals.”

    “They are all sodomites with atrocious accents.” — Brideshead Revisited

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  202. Alex J says:

    The Barbarian Invasions

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  203. syonredux says:
    @Matthew McConnagay
    I found The Avengers overrated (as I do Joss Whedon more generally), but considering how difficult a feat it was, story-wise, it was pretty entertaining, and far far better than I would have expected.

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn't mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic's list.

    (And The Avengers, for that matter, even though I was only making a joke with it.)

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn’t mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic’s list.

    Sure, but, as you note, Iron Man is the biggest character and Iron Man* was really good. Amongst its many virtues, , it really captures the joy inherent in making something

    *I like Iron Man III, just not as much as I like II.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    The movies aren't as good as Downey in the role.
    , @syonredux

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn’t mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic’s list.
     
    Sure, but, as you note, Iron Man is the biggest character and Iron Man* was really good. Amongst its many virtues, , it really captures the joy inherent in making something

    *I like Iron Man III, just not as much as I like I*

    *Corrected a typo
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  204. syonredux says:
    @guest
    The difficult feat was building all the different characters up in separate movies, then climaxing with a movie that was as good or better than the others. (Iron Man was better, in my opinion, but Avengers was second-best.) The Avengers movie itself wasn't a that big a challenge once all the other ones were in the can and in the black. Hollywood used to do those all-star Magnificent Seven-type movies all the time.

    They actually fumbled the ball a bit, though they recovered and still won the game, by having a mediocre villain. Which is better than most Marvel movies, which have embarrassing or forgettable villains. That's why the Dark Knight was the best of the superhero movies: because it had a great villain. That's also why Darth Vader keeps getting shoehorned into every Star Wars movie, in one form or another.

    They tried with Loki, banking on the preexisting ambiguous relationship with his brother Thor. But no, he was mostly an excuse to introduce a ho-hum doomsday device, giant energy beam, interdimensional portal, personalityless orc-creature storyline. Not that it was bad, but there was nothing special about it.

    The special part was how the characters interacted with one-another, plus the fact that for once people weren't let down by the Hulk, who outside of movies is the most popular of all the characters, I think.

    The Avengers has maybe the worst opening 10-15 minutes of any good movie in recent memory. I remember actually squirming in my seat during the sequence when Loki came through the wormhole. It looked like a particularly elaborate episode of Stargate: SG1…..Fortunately, things rapidly improved after the opening…. the meeting between Bruce Banner and the Black Widow was really good…

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  205. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    Gold:

    K-19 Widowmaker
    Beyond the Sea
    Count of Monte Cristo
    Everlasting Moments
    Triad Election
    Sunset Song
    Sunflower
    Rush
    11 Flowers
    The Conspirator
    The Way Back
    Safe Conduct

    Silver:

    Anomalisa
    Kabei
    The Mist
    Ender’s Game
    Ray
    Blind Mountain
    Not on My Lips
    Congorama
    All Is Lost
    Alexandra(Russia)
    Together
    Che
    Dharm
    Evil(Sweden)
    Atarat
    Hidden Blade
    Love and Honor

    Bronze:

    Coming Home
    Cold in July
    Elite Squad
    The Box
    Once
    Defiance
    Gran Torino
    United 93
    World of Kanako
    Prestige

    Wood:

    http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/my-twenty-five-best-films-of-the-century-so-far

    Gold:

    Before I Disappear

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    Platinum:

    Unbreakable
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  206. syonredux says:
    @guest
    I remember hearing someone defending Mad Max the character being a non-entity in Fury Road by arguing Mad Max was always a blank. That's not true, though it may be true that the character was carried by Gibson's star-making performance.

    Nevermind the original which I barely remember, and Thunderdome, which no one takes seriously. The Road Warrior was seen as the classic, at least in this country. That movie is carried by Max without him having to do much of anything. I see the movie through his eyes, like Dr. Zhivago.

    Contrarywise, in Fury Road it's mostly as if Max doesn't exist. There's the gang of feminine escapees, about whom I mostly don't care. I don't remember anything about Charlize Theron, except her make-up and the fact that she couldn't walk.

    The Nicholas Hoult character, meanwhile, leaps off the screen. Why wasn't the movie about him?

    Nevermind the original which I barely remember, and Thunderdome, which no one takes seriously. The Road Warrior was seen as the classic, at least in this country. That movie is carried by Max without him having to do much of anything. I see the movie through his eyes, like Dr. Zhivago.

    I think that Mel Gibson said that the idea in Road Warrior was that Max was a Steve McQueen-type character: few words, relates best to machines, very internalized….

    Fortunately, Gibson had the charisma and the acting chops to pull it off…..

    RE :Thunderdome,

    Gotta confess, I think that the movie works right up until the moment when Max meets the kids….

    RE: Fury Road,

    I’m still amazed that Miller managed to convince critics that saying that sexual slavery is wrong counts as a bold feminist statement…..

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  207. Bugg says:
    @Sunbeam
    Wow the only one of those movies I actually watched was The Incredibles.

    I'd better get to deploring my basket or something.

    As an idle thing:

    "“Grizzly Man” – Memorable Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who gets himself eaten by a bear."

    I guess my thought processes are something like "Stop, do not pass go. There is no message here. F$@%ing idiot gets himself eaten by a bear. No story, no deeper meaning. Stupidity. Cannot be massaged or spun into some kind of allegory or anything of the sort."

    Bears are what they are. They are not some kind of accessory to Man's search for meaning. Leave them alone, unless they are eating your sheep or goats, or happen to be close enough to be a random threat to you.

    Was struck in “Grizzly” how his supposed friends tried to grab the brass ring in pathetic attempts to be stars themselves,if barely.

    “The Departed” is a movie that if it’s on at 1130 on a Saturday night, I’ll watch it to the end. Critics may hate it because it’s a gangster movie with a big budget and a star-studded cast with a legendary director. But it’s well-done, and even the minor performances are excellent.

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  208. sflicht says:

    I actually do like Eternal Sunshine best, but I think I’m unusual in that I regard Synecdoche, NY, as Kaufman’s second best, much better than Malkovich or Adaptation. I found Anomalisa almost unwatchable.

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  209. Kylie says:
    @donut
    Yeah , you all know that the donut has the best taste in movies and music , right ? But I will have to agree that one of the best movies of 2015 with a female lead was "The Martian" with Mary Damon in the lead role . And while she came to fame in a movie that I found to be unwatchable after about 15-20 minutes "Good Will Hunting" . She has done some excellent work since then . Especially in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "The Informant!" Where she played a man . But like Johnny Depp "captain faggot" her talents have been for the most part been wasted . At this point I would like to recommend an obscure movie that some of you may have seen but any way : "Session 9" , and "Ripley's Game" .

    “At this point I would like to recommend an obscure movie that some of you may have seen but any way : “Session 9″ , and “Ripley’s Game’”.”

    I liked both. Have you seen “Dogtooth”? For some reason, I think you would enjoy it.

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  210. sflicht says:

    I just can’t get behind this idea that Spirited Away is top-25 material, or even top 225. It was fine. I liked it a lot! Maybe it is in the top 10 Japanese animated films of the 21st century. But more broadly, I don’t think it was better than — to take an Asian cinema example — the Handmaiden (2016). It was also barely in the upper 50th percentile of the unusually good crop of movies released in 2000-2001. And I don’t think it was as good as Princess Mononoke or Akira, as far as the anime genre goes. (I’m not one to go for the infantilist fare that sometimes ranks high on such lists, like Howl’s Moving Castle or My Neighbor Totoro.)

    Assuming that there’s some amount of tokenism involved, my personal ranking for top Asian films of the 21st century is:

    1. Handmaiden
    2. Oldboy
    3. Crouching Tiger
    4. Everything else.

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  211. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    Gold:

    Before I Disappear

    Platinum:

    Unbreakable

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    Platinum:

    Farewell (French)

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  212. @Captain Tripps
    Additional thoughts:

    Interesting that in CA: CW, Tony Stark morphs from a maverick, self-aggrandizing billionaire into the superhero guy spokesman of the globalist elite (the UN via William Hurt's SecState character), while Captain A's position is to go with good old American common sense and understanding of right and wrong. Captain's position is that an international political body, even with good intentions can become corrupted through political self-interests, so who polices the world government? Its almost a direct reflection of the cold civil war amongst our American political elite.

    The original Tony Stark from Marvel comics was a maverick American nationalist (in the old sense) industrial tycoon, more of a Howard Hughes-type. With CA: CW, you can see where the Hollywood influence shapers want to turn him into the enforcer of the globalist elite consensus versus Captain America's old-fashioned nationalism. They tend to surround Tony Stark with the sexy good-looking types, signalling that its cool and right to be with Tony Stark, and Tony Stark gets all the cool snarky, cynical lines (doesn't hurt that Downey Jr. is a natural at that) while Captain America, though he has sexy allies like Natasha Romanov (oooh, scary Russian) and Sharon Carter, ends up talking like your Grandpa who was in World War Two.

    like your Grandpa who was in World War Two

    Who could and would kick the ass of today’s snot-nosed globalists.

    CW blurred some lines nicely.

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    See also:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSnHM3rn1jc
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  213. @Desiderius

    like your Grandpa who was in World War Two
     
    Who could and would kick the ass of today's snot-nosed globalists.

    CW blurred some lines nicely.

    See also:

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  214. @syonredux

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn’t mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic’s list.
     
    Sure, but, as you note, Iron Man is the biggest character and Iron Man* was really good. Amongst its many virtues, , it really captures the joy inherent in making something

    *I like Iron Man III, just not as much as I like II.

    The movies aren’t as good as Downey in the role.

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    Sure. RDJ is absolutely critical to the Iron Man series.
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  215. @Dieter Kief
    I saw No Country for old Men (on TV though) and turned it off halfway through. I felt like watching a slow dumb snake trying to swallow a hedgedhog. I might quite not have gotten what they were after - unless it was something of the existential American cold-heartedness talked about by D. H. Lawrence in Piltdownman's quote above.
    I tend to think about such things as rather uninteresting subjects, since they are without any secrets or unsolved problems: All there might be is in a bright spotlight, right from the start.

    True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis were fun to watch, and I talked to a lot of people about those movies, which was fun too.

    Just saw True Grit again on the tube.

    The attempt to render 19th Century patterns of dialogue is really striking.

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    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    Just saw True Grit again on the tube.

    The attempt to render 19th Century patterns of dialogue is really striking.
     

    I think The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford also deserves praise for attempting to do just that.

    Conversely, the TV series Deadwood tried the opposite tactic—use modern patterns of speech in order to create impact with a modern audience, figuring that 19th Century patterns of speech would fall flat. Predictably, Deadwood's dialogue came across as tin-eared and laughably inauthentic.

    , @Dieter Kief
    My first thought today, being half awake, if at all, was very clear and consisted of your remark about the ninetheenth-century dialogue in True Grit and my halfconscious "explanation" what the movie was about: Self esteem. - Now, being fully awake, I'd like to add: Self esteem - and it's discontens.
    To explain this dicontens part right away: Farm girl Mattie Ross is "a pill" (Ethan Coen on wikipedia) - and - that's already 19th century: a) gets birched with a stick, and - b) falls into a rattlesnake hole, where she gets bitten. She then almost dies - and: Loses her left forearm, and does die unmarried (and, of course, without a child: Mattie Ross is a firm bliever in 19th century Presbyterian Protestantism).

    The movie did make a deep impression on me for reasons, that resonate deeply with it's core: Adolescent revolt; straightforwardness and clear-mindedness and stubbornness of the adolescent Mattie Ross of Presbyterian faith.
    The movie achieves this, because the Coen brothers did understand, that their main character's main character-trait is 19th century Presbyterian Protestantism (it's not, as is claimed here and there (here on this blog, too) American Puritanism, - wich is related to Pietism. If this was true, Mattie Ross would simply n o t have become the character Mattie Ross, since those two things - Pietism and Presbyterianism - differ in a way, that's definitely crucial here: Pietism a) abhorres being "a pill", b) could've made no use of the Presbyterian's burning a n d florishing bush, c) does not argue in a tough an public way, but d) strengthens the inner and intimate world of small groups; and introspection and dialogue rather than public discourse and worldly fights. Be they with guns, or words - or even grownup men.

    All these - as it looks, fully understood - aspects make for this great movie.

    Can't help it, I want to add: The young Tom Wolfe admired Charles Portis - especially for his true grit to quit his job to write this novel. Plus, I guess: He admired him deeply, because he not ony wrote a great book, but succeeded also in selling it big scale.

    Then a personal remark as the photographer I am: Roger Deakins cinematograhy is great (I still have single scenes in my mind, radiating of unforced beauty, especially the ride into the valley under an overcast southern winter-sky with a little Snow, even, here and there.

    Another remark: The Coen's achieve a very good christian movie: Such are the wonders of true art.
    And they make a powerful comment about: Adolescence, rebellion (and the price thereof), women's emancipation - and an anti-statement: They - indirectly - oppose the snowflakey and whiney part of public discourse known as PC and favor: True Grit!

    They can achieve all this, because they don't idolize their main character, too: As I said: Mattie does pay a price for her rebellion against the world and reason of the grown up men who tell her again and again, that she should not ride out in the big wild open and should not try to help the marshall and the sheriff there, but rather stay safe and at home.

    If somebody will write the cultural history of the 21st century, ok - she - why not, ehe - she could discuss Michel Houellebecq's "Submission" and "True Grit" in the same chapter and treat them as subjects, which have quite a few things in common.
    If she would be taken in maybe even a tad too much, she could mention the fact, that Richard Deakins cinematography in the movie does remind her of some of the efforts in landscape-photography, Michel Houellebecq made (she then could hint at the German magazine Der Spiegel, who once ran a glorious stretch of Houellebcq's photos - to hardly any effect). I'm sure, that this then would be looked upon as a truely original aspect of her work, which at the same time is clearly over the top, and has never been mentioned before. Not even once.

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  216. guest says:
    @guest
    I don't really like the arbitrariness of the 21st century cutoff. We could go by actual milestones, like CGI taking over everything somewhere between Jurassic Park and the Matrix. Or we could go with Saving Private Ryan taking away color and steady cameras. Or whenever it was that everything became a sequel, prequel, adaptation, re-imagining, or whatever. But I guess it'll be arbitrary no matter how we do it. We won't find a Jazz Singer line.

    Some of my favorites I saw after 11:59 pm, December 31st 2000 which I didn't see listed:

    American Sniper
    A Separation
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Auto Focus
    The Aviator
    Blue Ruin
    The Dark Knight
    Drive
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Guard
    The Hoax (because I need two Howard Hughes movies)
    Iron Man
    In Bruges
    Margaret
    Master and Commander
    Match Point
    Michael Clayton
    Midnight in Paris (It's astounding to me that I could pick two Woody Allen movies)
    Moneyball
    Shattered Glass
    Shotgun Stories
    Silver Linings Playbook
    The Trip
    The Wind That Shakes the Barley
    Zodiac

    My brain has run out of steam. I know I liked more comedies, but only late-90s ones are coming to mind.

    A couple more came to me. I don’t know if these have been mentioned:

    David Mamet’s Spartan
    Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

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    • Replies: @DCThrowback
    If only for the gorgeous Marisa Tomei's memorable scenes au naturel
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  217. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    Platinum:

    Unbreakable

    Platinum:

    Farewell (French)

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    Silver:

    Three

    Paterson
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  218. @Desiderius
    Just saw True Grit again on the tube.

    The attempt to render 19th Century patterns of dialogue is really striking.

    Just saw True Grit again on the tube.

    The attempt to render 19th Century patterns of dialogue is really striking.

    I think The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford also deserves praise for attempting to do just that.

    Conversely, the TV series Deadwood tried the opposite tactic—use modern patterns of speech in order to create impact with a modern audience, figuring that 19th Century patterns of speech would fall flat. Predictably, Deadwood’s dialogue came across as tin-eared and laughably inauthentic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    Deadwood went with modern cuss words, but the speech patterns were neither authentic nor modern. They were literary or stagey, if you will, and idiomatic. I wouldn't say they fell flat, but they required getting used to.

    Unlike other shows with unique styles of dialogue, the characters didn't all sound the same, which was good. But they were all ridiculously circumlocutious. (Or mostly all, as the sheriff, for instance, was terse.) Which was both annoying and endearing by turns.

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  219. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Lots of praise for Lives of Others, but I didn’t like it. I prefer Goodbye Lenin. Not because I like communism, a terrible ideology. It’s because the latter film is about real attachment and love whereas Lives of Others is about a toady who switches allegiances.

    The mother in Goodbye Lenin is foolish. A dye-in-the-wool communist. One of those simpleminded true believers. She clings to the illusion. Her son is somewhat analogous to the guy in Lives of Others. He goes about elaborately serving the interests of someone else and something other. He lives for his mother. It’s all foolish(and gimmicky as a movie), but it’s touching as to why he does this. As ridiculous as his mother is, she is rooted to something: a Communist Utopian vision of East Germany redeemed and rebuilt after WWII. So, even though the son lives for someone else, there is real love and attachment there. A real sense of obligation of family and nation.

    In contrast, the guy in Lives of Other is a nothing, just a cog in the system. Instead of developing his own conscience and freedom — like Winston Smith in 1984 — , he merely shifts his loyalty from one authority to another, and in either case, it’s hollow and impersonal.
    It’s either the East German secret police or some smug Liberal ‘artist’. He’s always the inferior who feels this need to play toady to someone else. His servant mentality is a constant whether under autocratic or democratic system.

    In a superficial way, it’s easy to sympathize with the persecuted playwright in the film. Who wants to live under censorship and tyranny?
    But why does the ‘hero’ shift his loyalties to the playwright? Because he suddenly appreciates art and culture or some such? No, it’s just classic toady behavior. It’s not an awakening of the individual soul, like with Montag in Fahrenheit 451.
    The guy in Lives of Others never finds himself. He just comes to see the Westernized ‘artist’ as the superior boss to serve. He takes risks but not for freedom but to serve someone else. He’s like a prostitute who goes from one pimp to another. He doesn’t learn to be his own boss. Being a toady incapable of true individuality, he outsources freedom to others. He risks life and limb in the service of someone he deems to be superior in status. He’s a good ‘deplorable’ who risks everything for the interests of a proto-globalist ‘intellectual’, one of those ‘celebrated’ figures that New Yorker writes about. He would never have done that for a humble common victim of the state.

    Now, would the guy have risked his life to help a lowly victim? Suppose the victim was some working class person accused by the state. Would the guy(or the people who made the film) have given a damn about such a ‘lowly’ person? Of course not.
    The glib satisfaction of the film derives from the fact that the guy stuck his neck out to aid someone like Aaron Sorkin.
    Now, if the guy really appreciated art and admired the playwright, one could see it as defense of culture(like in Taking Sides, the movie about Furtwangler). But the guy is a cultural zero, so his reason for helping the playwright is really about status. The guy was impressed with the demeanor of the ‘sophisticated cosmopolitan liberal artist’. This film reeks of globalist-cosmopolitan-elitism. Following the Trump election, we’ve seen the true face of these ‘sophisticated’ globalist elites. How dare the Deplorables finally care more about their own dire needs than about the preening egos and agendas of people like Cass Sunstein who know so much, indeed so much so that he calls for criminalizing those global-warming skeptics.

    Now, who is the ‘artist’ in Lives of Others? A Solzhenitsyn who risked everything to tell the truth? No, some smug self-aggrandizing egotist, a proto-yuppie enjoying privileges even under communism. What does he stand for? Real freedom? Patriotism? No, it’s all about ego and privilege. He is exactly the kind of people who now run the EU. He is the sort of person would endorse Merkel, Macron, Cameron, Blair, Tusk, and all these globalists who have no use for nationalism or true individual freedom. He is the type would be pushing for EU ‘hate speech’ laws.

    The mother in Goodbye Lenin is deluded, but she stands for something concrete: communism in her beloved Germany. And her son stands for something real: love for his mother; it’s about a son’s devotion.

    But what is the guy in Lives of Others about? It’s about a lifelong toady who goes from serving one system to another. Under Nazis, he would served Gestapo. Under communism, he serves the Stasi. And under globalism, he would serve whatever directives that comes out of Brussels to spy on and lock up ‘thought criminals’ on Facebook and Tweeter. (And the only reason he went against orders in that one instant is because his doggish nature was so enamored of the playwright as the superior ‘master’. After all, he continued to work under the system and ruined many other lives, but that was okay since those victims didn’t impress his doggish nature. He’s not like the guy in Prince of the City who really struggles to free himself of the addiction to the system.)

    Now, Lives of Others could have been a thoughtful movie with a bit of of irony(and satirical perversity), i.e. the hero is really a dog impressed with another master. A human dog. It’s not a noble kind of selflessness, a willingness to sacrifice oneself for a principle. It is the selflessness of a dog that has to live for some master, any master. And at some point, he came to so crave the approval of the ‘artist’. In a way, he’s like David in A.I. who yearns to hear ‘I love you’ from ‘mommy’.
    Now, there are people like that, and the problem isn’t that the film depicts such a person. It could have made for a fascinating psychological study.
    The problem is he is depicted as a kind of awakened hero when he’s really just a servant from beginning to end. Suppose there’s someone working in the kitchen in a world where so many are starving while the bosses eat big. Suppose the kitchen staff are never supposed to give food to anyone but the bosses. But suppose one of the staff becomes besotted with a handsome somebody and passes him some food. Is that a noble act?
    Of course not. If he really cared about injustice, he would have tried to pass food to the hungry, regardless of who they are. If he gave food to someone because of superior looks, he was just craving approval from a ‘cool’ person. And the guy in Lives of Others doesn’t rise above that.

    What is the real message of the movie? It means all the toadies in the security services should give their loyalty to truly ‘superior’ globalists like Merkel and Macron than to ‘petty’ national interests. Why do globalists and ‘progressives’ like the movie? After all, it’s supposed to be ‘conservative’ since the bad guys are East German commies.
    Actually, the film isn’t really about the evil of communism. It is about how we should all give our loyalties to superior, suave, fancy, and sophisticated globalists than to vulgar and crude nationalists. Some may see the film as anti-deep-state. Actually, it is pro-deep-state in the sense that deep state power is fine as long as it’s globalist than nationalist or communist.
    After all, it is through manipulations of deep state trickery by the ‘hero’ that the playwright-yuppie is able to get away. What can be used against him could be used for him. And there’s nothing in the film to indicate that such deep state techniques are wrong. The only message is it was serving the wrong interests. (Globalists love Lives of Others; they hate Edward Snowden. Why? The latter film says NO SYSTEM should be above the law and principles of liberty. The ‘hero’ in Lives of Others isn’t like Julian Assange. As a forever toady, he’s just looking for another boss.)

    A nuanced political film about East-West tensions with multiple layers of meanings is the French film Farewell. That is about how even the most courageous and well-meaning individuals could unwittingly be caught up in a game with much bigger stakes and implications. Lives of Others is really feely-good comfort food for globalists and conservatives alike. Farewell gets stuck in the throat. Truth is hard to swallow.

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    • Replies: @guest
    "What is the real message of the movie? It means all the toadies in the security services should give their loyalty to truly 'superior' globalists like Merkel and Macron than to 'petty' national interests."

    This is a ridiculous interpretation, in my opinion, with no basis but your shoehorning presumed globalism into the picture. Because it's at best a side issue, a couple of levels of abstraction outside the story as told in the movie. Maybe German communism was better for the German nation than that particular artist's preferred political system. Though, bear in mind communism was a globalist ideology. Which isn't to say actual flesh and blood commies weren't nationalists.

    This artist, was he a globalist in the contemporary sense? Maybe. We're not really told, except that he reaches outside his country to criticize it. But presumably that's not just so banksters can invade and take it over. It is possible to desire a communist regime fall for the sake of the nation. All we know about why he turns on the commies is that he's mourning his friend's suicide, resents the position of artists in the regime, and thinks the bosses are corrupt. That's it. We're not led to believe he's possessed by Western demons and intent on flooding the country with Africans.

    In any case, the main character doesn't switch allegiances from nationalist communism to globalist whatever-ism. As much as he's become disillusioned with the Stasi, he's moved by art, yes. By the music he hears and the literature he reads. And that art is supposed to be universal, I suppose, and not enjoyable for its Germanness.

    But it's not just that. He admires the artist's love for his wife. Love is utterly lacking in his lonely life. He fails to save the wife, who kills herself. But nevertheless, that was his motivation.

    He doesn't become a toady to art. It's not as if the rest of his life is spent in servitude sweeping out the theater and contributing to German NPR. There are a couple of gestures: not reporting conversations, removing the typewriter from its hiding place. That's it.

    Then his career is ruined, and he spends the rest of his time as a lowlier state servant. He didn't have any great awakening or personal epiphany, yes, but that's not what the movie was about. It also wasn't about a toady switching allegiance from one master to another.

    Sure, it could have been about stealing bread for a hungry family, too. But there is value in art. Even in Western art. Last time I checked, Germany was part of the West, more or less, for a long, long time before communist imperialists conquered the East.

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  220. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Lots and lots of comments and praise for what’s been billed as George Miller’s magnum opus.

    But do we want trashy action movie as ‘art film’?

    Road Warrior was glorious as action-trash. It was wild and crude.

    This latest offering is like Nolan’s Batman movies and Rogue One. It tries to turn junk fantasy into ‘art’. Kitschy pompous Circuls Soleil is bad enough. Who wants Mad Max in ‘art circus’?

    This is much more honest and much more fun. A real blast.
    Sure, it’s trash but never pretends it isn’t.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    Was that the aim of any of those films, to be high art? Or simply to take what's inherently if not trashy at least low-to-middling and raise it up to be marginally more serious, realistic, or visually complex?

    I don't think Dark Kinght got too big for its britches. The political stuff was a side issue, and the rest was merely playing a superheroes movie as if it were a tech-noir-cop-heist-action thriller. Rogue One tried to make Star Wars a spy version of Saving Private Ryan, which just didn't work. But there's nothing inherently over-ambitious about doing a more hopeless version of space opera.

    Fury Road was...I don't even know. Let's make a movie that's one long chase sequence with pretty much no characterization (besides Nux), entirely driven by action, visuals, and editing. I was shocked that I actually sat through the whole thing, because as I expected it was like a bad meth trip. But I don't see anything like ambition for High Art status. It's just an action movie.

    Maybe people talked about these movies like that. I don't know.

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  221. Matra says:

    Lots of praise for Lives of Others, but I didn’t like it

    I liked The Lives of Others but praise for it within conservative circles is so over the top – William F. Buckley said it was the best film he ever saw! – that I have to assume many just like it for political reasons.

    A nuanced political film about East-West tensions with multiple layers of meanings is the French film Farewell

    Another good, not great, French film, somewhat related in topic, is actually called East/West. It came out in 1999.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    "I have to assume many just like it for political reasons"

    Yes, however many "many"means. But I wouldn't say "just." There are plenty of anti-communist historical movies, but not so very many of the quality, prestige, and popularity of the Lives of Others. Dr. Zhivago, though I love it, gets a little overpraised for the sane reason.
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  222. guest says:
    @PiltdownMan

    Just saw True Grit again on the tube.

    The attempt to render 19th Century patterns of dialogue is really striking.
     

    I think The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford also deserves praise for attempting to do just that.

    Conversely, the TV series Deadwood tried the opposite tactic—use modern patterns of speech in order to create impact with a modern audience, figuring that 19th Century patterns of speech would fall flat. Predictably, Deadwood's dialogue came across as tin-eared and laughably inauthentic.

    Deadwood went with modern cuss words, but the speech patterns were neither authentic nor modern. They were literary or stagey, if you will, and idiomatic. I wouldn’t say they fell flat, but they required getting used to.

    Unlike other shows with unique styles of dialogue, the characters didn’t all sound the same, which was good. But they were all ridiculously circumlocutious. (Or mostly all, as the sheriff, for instance, was terse.) Which was both annoying and endearing by turns.

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  223. guest says:
    @Anon
    Lots of praise for Lives of Others, but I didn't like it. I prefer Goodbye Lenin. Not because I like communism, a terrible ideology. It's because the latter film is about real attachment and love whereas Lives of Others is about a toady who switches allegiances.

    The mother in Goodbye Lenin is foolish. A dye-in-the-wool communist. One of those simpleminded true believers. She clings to the illusion. Her son is somewhat analogous to the guy in Lives of Others. He goes about elaborately serving the interests of someone else and something other. He lives for his mother. It's all foolish(and gimmicky as a movie), but it's touching as to why he does this. As ridiculous as his mother is, she is rooted to something: a Communist Utopian vision of East Germany redeemed and rebuilt after WWII. So, even though the son lives for someone else, there is real love and attachment there. A real sense of obligation of family and nation.

    In contrast, the guy in Lives of Other is a nothing, just a cog in the system. Instead of developing his own conscience and freedom --- like Winston Smith in 1984 --- , he merely shifts his loyalty from one authority to another, and in either case, it's hollow and impersonal.
    It's either the East German secret police or some smug Liberal 'artist'. He's always the inferior who feels this need to play toady to someone else. His servant mentality is a constant whether under autocratic or democratic system.

    In a superficial way, it's easy to sympathize with the persecuted playwright in the film. Who wants to live under censorship and tyranny?
    But why does the 'hero' shift his loyalties to the playwright? Because he suddenly appreciates art and culture or some such? No, it's just classic toady behavior. It's not an awakening of the individual soul, like with Montag in Fahrenheit 451.
    The guy in Lives of Others never finds himself. He just comes to see the Westernized 'artist' as the superior boss to serve. He takes risks but not for freedom but to serve someone else. He's like a prostitute who goes from one pimp to another. He doesn't learn to be his own boss. Being a toady incapable of true individuality, he outsources freedom to others. He risks life and limb in the service of someone he deems to be superior in status. He's a good 'deplorable' who risks everything for the interests of a proto-globalist 'intellectual', one of those 'celebrated' figures that New Yorker writes about. He would never have done that for a humble common victim of the state.

    Now, would the guy have risked his life to help a lowly victim? Suppose the victim was some working class person accused by the state. Would the guy(or the people who made the film) have given a damn about such a 'lowly' person? Of course not.
    The glib satisfaction of the film derives from the fact that the guy stuck his neck out to aid someone like Aaron Sorkin.
    Now, if the guy really appreciated art and admired the playwright, one could see it as defense of culture(like in Taking Sides, the movie about Furtwangler). But the guy is a cultural zero, so his reason for helping the playwright is really about status. The guy was impressed with the demeanor of the 'sophisticated cosmopolitan liberal artist'. This film reeks of globalist-cosmopolitan-elitism. Following the Trump election, we've seen the true face of these 'sophisticated' globalist elites. How dare the Deplorables finally care more about their own dire needs than about the preening egos and agendas of people like Cass Sunstein who know so much, indeed so much so that he calls for criminalizing those global-warming skeptics.

    Now, who is the 'artist' in Lives of Others? A Solzhenitsyn who risked everything to tell the truth? No, some smug self-aggrandizing egotist, a proto-yuppie enjoying privileges even under communism. What does he stand for? Real freedom? Patriotism? No, it's all about ego and privilege. He is exactly the kind of people who now run the EU. He is the sort of person would endorse Merkel, Macron, Cameron, Blair, Tusk, and all these globalists who have no use for nationalism or true individual freedom. He is the type would be pushing for EU 'hate speech' laws.

    The mother in Goodbye Lenin is deluded, but she stands for something concrete: communism in her beloved Germany. And her son stands for something real: love for his mother; it's about a son's devotion.

    But what is the guy in Lives of Others about? It's about a lifelong toady who goes from serving one system to another. Under Nazis, he would served Gestapo. Under communism, he serves the Stasi. And under globalism, he would serve whatever directives that comes out of Brussels to spy on and lock up 'thought criminals' on Facebook and Tweeter. (And the only reason he went against orders in that one instant is because his doggish nature was so enamored of the playwright as the superior 'master'. After all, he continued to work under the system and ruined many other lives, but that was okay since those victims didn't impress his doggish nature. He's not like the guy in Prince of the City who really struggles to free himself of the addiction to the system.)

    Now, Lives of Others could have been a thoughtful movie with a bit of of irony(and satirical perversity), i.e. the hero is really a dog impressed with another master. A human dog. It's not a noble kind of selflessness, a willingness to sacrifice oneself for a principle. It is the selflessness of a dog that has to live for some master, any master. And at some point, he came to so crave the approval of the 'artist'. In a way, he's like David in A.I. who yearns to hear 'I love you' from 'mommy'.
    Now, there are people like that, and the problem isn't that the film depicts such a person. It could have made for a fascinating psychological study.
    The problem is he is depicted as a kind of awakened hero when he's really just a servant from beginning to end. Suppose there's someone working in the kitchen in a world where so many are starving while the bosses eat big. Suppose the kitchen staff are never supposed to give food to anyone but the bosses. But suppose one of the staff becomes besotted with a handsome somebody and passes him some food. Is that a noble act?
    Of course not. If he really cared about injustice, he would have tried to pass food to the hungry, regardless of who they are. If he gave food to someone because of superior looks, he was just craving approval from a 'cool' person. And the guy in Lives of Others doesn't rise above that.

    What is the real message of the movie? It means all the toadies in the security services should give their loyalty to truly 'superior' globalists like Merkel and Macron than to 'petty' national interests. Why do globalists and 'progressives' like the movie? After all, it's supposed to be 'conservative' since the bad guys are East German commies.
    Actually, the film isn't really about the evil of communism. It is about how we should all give our loyalties to superior, suave, fancy, and sophisticated globalists than to vulgar and crude nationalists. Some may see the film as anti-deep-state. Actually, it is pro-deep-state in the sense that deep state power is fine as long as it's globalist than nationalist or communist.
    After all, it is through manipulations of deep state trickery by the 'hero' that the playwright-yuppie is able to get away. What can be used against him could be used for him. And there's nothing in the film to indicate that such deep state techniques are wrong. The only message is it was serving the wrong interests. (Globalists love Lives of Others; they hate Edward Snowden. Why? The latter film says NO SYSTEM should be above the law and principles of liberty. The 'hero' in Lives of Others isn't like Julian Assange. As a forever toady, he's just looking for another boss.)

    A nuanced political film about East-West tensions with multiple layers of meanings is the French film Farewell. That is about how even the most courageous and well-meaning individuals could unwittingly be caught up in a game with much bigger stakes and implications. Lives of Others is really feely-good comfort food for globalists and conservatives alike. Farewell gets stuck in the throat. Truth is hard to swallow.

    “What is the real message of the movie? It means all the toadies in the security services should give their loyalty to truly ‘superior’ globalists like Merkel and Macron than to ‘petty’ national interests.”

    This is a ridiculous interpretation, in my opinion, with no basis but your shoehorning presumed globalism into the picture. Because it’s at best a side issue, a couple of levels of abstraction outside the story as told in the movie. Maybe German communism was better for the German nation than that particular artist’s preferred political system. Though, bear in mind communism was a globalist ideology. Which isn’t to say actual flesh and blood commies weren’t nationalists.

    This artist, was he a globalist in the contemporary sense? Maybe. We’re not really told, except that he reaches outside his country to criticize it. But presumably that’s not just so banksters can invade and take it over. It is possible to desire a communist regime fall for the sake of the nation. All we know about why he turns on the commies is that he’s mourning his friend’s suicide, resents the position of artists in the regime, and thinks the bosses are corrupt. That’s it. We’re not led to believe he’s possessed by Western demons and intent on flooding the country with Africans.

    In any case, the main character doesn’t switch allegiances from nationalist communism to globalist whatever-ism. As much as he’s become disillusioned with the Stasi, he’s moved by art, yes. By the music he hears and the literature he reads. And that art is supposed to be universal, I suppose, and not enjoyable for its Germanness.

    But it’s not just that. He admires the artist’s love for his wife. Love is utterly lacking in his lonely life. He fails to save the wife, who kills herself. But nevertheless, that was his motivation.

    He doesn’t become a toady to art. It’s not as if the rest of his life is spent in servitude sweeping out the theater and contributing to German NPR. There are a couple of gestures: not reporting conversations, removing the typewriter from its hiding place. That’s it.

    Then his career is ruined, and he spends the rest of his time as a lowlier state servant. He didn’t have any great awakening or personal epiphany, yes, but that’s not what the movie was about. It also wasn’t about a toady switching allegiance from one master to another.

    Sure, it could have been about stealing bread for a hungry family, too. But there is value in art. Even in Western art. Last time I checked, Germany was part of the West, more or less, for a long, long time before communist imperialists conquered the East.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Yeah, you make good points IF we were to consider the characters as real individuals with autonomy of mind and spirit.

    But I didn't see it that way. I saw the story, situation, characters, and meaning as just a vehicle for a message. I feel the same way about Social Network. Everyone and everything are part of a rigged game to send a message: Jewish animus is necessary against snobby Wasps.

    Everything in Lives of Others stands for something else. They are archetypes, emblems, puppets.
    They lack true individuality and uniqueness.

    The artist is the Cosmopolitan, the Yuppie, the Urbanite, the Liberal.

    The main character is a dullard who needs to serve somebody. It's not about finding his own individuality but serving the superior authority of the cosmopolitan.

    Now, had the film been a real work of art, I would have responded differently to each of the individual. Consider a film like When Father Was Away on Business where personalities are bigger than politics, where life is richer and fuller than the 'message'.

    Lives of Other just has Types and it runs on a message.

    I didn't see the characters as unique people with souls or stories.. I saw them as Types used to manipulate us and push buttons. What Lives of Others does isn't much different that what Butler or Hidden Figures do. It's push-button affair, a pseudo-art-film that has the look and feel but no real depth.

    If anything, it is the work of the stasi of globalism. This movie that's supposed to be about freedom against tyranny has a message of subservience: we should serve the 'truly meritocratic elites' of the West: the Jurgen Habermases of the world who've done more damage than communism ever did.

    Also, the great irony is that when it came to appreciation of traditional arts, there was more of that in the East than in the West. If anything, the main complaint among Western intellectuals was that Communists were culturally too conservative.
    Soviets had Bolshoi Ballet and many Soviet films had classic themes.

    As for western elites... what is their idea of art? Jeff Koons.

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  224. guest says:
    @Matra
    Lots of praise for Lives of Others, but I didn’t like it

    I liked The Lives of Others but praise for it within conservative circles is so over the top - William F. Buckley said it was the best film he ever saw! - that I have to assume many just like it for political reasons.

    A nuanced political film about East-West tensions with multiple layers of meanings is the French film Farewell

    Another good, not great, French film, somewhat related in topic, is actually called East/West. It came out in 1999.

    “I have to assume many just like it for political reasons”

    Yes, however many “many”means. But I wouldn’t say “just.” There are plenty of anti-communist historical movies, but not so very many of the quality, prestige, and popularity of the Lives of Others. Dr. Zhivago, though I love it, gets a little overpraised for the sane reason.

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  225. guest says:
    @Anon
    Lots and lots of comments and praise for what's been billed as George Miller's magnum opus.

    But do we want trashy action movie as 'art film'?

    Road Warrior was glorious as action-trash. It was wild and crude.

    This latest offering is like Nolan's Batman movies and Rogue One. It tries to turn junk fantasy into 'art'. Kitschy pompous Circuls Soleil is bad enough. Who wants Mad Max in 'art circus'?

    This is much more honest and much more fun. A real blast.
    Sure, it's trash but never pretends it isn't.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxo0aoetVAo

    Was that the aim of any of those films, to be high art? Or simply to take what’s inherently if not trashy at least low-to-middling and raise it up to be marginally more serious, realistic, or visually complex?

    I don’t think Dark Kinght got too big for its britches. The political stuff was a side issue, and the rest was merely playing a superheroes movie as if it were a tech-noir-cop-heist-action thriller. Rogue One tried to make Star Wars a spy version of Saving Private Ryan, which just didn’t work. But there’s nothing inherently over-ambitious about doing a more hopeless version of space opera.

    Fury Road was…I don’t even know. Let’s make a movie that’s one long chase sequence with pretty much no characterization (besides Nux), entirely driven by action, visuals, and editing. I was shocked that I actually sat through the whole thing, because as I expected it was like a bad meth trip. But I don’t see anything like ambition for High Art status. It’s just an action movie.

    Maybe people talked about these movies like that. I don’t know.

    Read More
    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... that French film about Cleo 5-7 ...
    , @Anon
    Fury Road was... But I don’t see anything like ambition for High Art status. It’s just an action movie.

    The art direction. Way overdone. Critical response is a giveaway. They treated it like some 'masterpiece', an Important movie by a master.

    Why such high praise for a crazy movie with mindless chases? Because Miller is an 'auteur'? But he was never taken this seriously.

    The film's artisness, as with Gilliam's Brazil, impressed the critics or critorises.
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  226. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Toshio Matsumoto (March 25, 1932 – April 12, 2017)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshio_Matsumoto

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  227. Kylie says:

    Three of the best movies of the 21st century so far are all studies in obsession:
    The Pledge
    The Prestige
    Zodiac

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    • Replies: @guest
    The Pledge has one of my favorite downer endings. An ingenious ending, in fact, which I'm surprised isn't more famous. It's also ugly, which is a problem with all Sean Penn movies, I think.

    I don't remember thinking much of the Prestige when I saw it, but it did lead to an unusually heated argument between me and my sister. She took up for Batman's side, and I for Huge Ackman. There must have been something to the themes of the movie to generate that much conversational heat out of nowhere.

    The Prestige reminds me of the competing Magician Period Piece of I think the same year: the Illusionist, which I preferred. It was a slighter work in many ways, but gorgeous. Lacking in Nolan-ness, it nevertheless had a compelling twist. A twist that made the leads much less sympathetic in retrospect, but which made a far, far better character out of the supposed villain, Rufus Sewell.
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  228. guest says:
    @Kylie
    Three of the best movies of the 21st century so far are all studies in obsession:
    The Pledge
    The Prestige
    Zodiac

    The Pledge has one of my favorite downer endings. An ingenious ending, in fact, which I’m surprised isn’t more famous. It’s also ugly, which is a problem with all Sean Penn movies, I think.

    I don’t remember thinking much of the Prestige when I saw it, but it did lead to an unusually heated argument between me and my sister. She took up for Batman’s side, and I for Huge Ackman. There must have been something to the themes of the movie to generate that much conversational heat out of nowhere.

    The Prestige reminds me of the competing Magician Period Piece of I think the same year: the Illusionist, which I preferred. It was a slighter work in many ways, but gorgeous. Lacking in Nolan-ness, it nevertheless had a compelling twist. A twist that made the leads much less sympathetic in retrospect, but which made a far, far better character out of the supposed villain, Rufus Sewell.

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  229. Pericles says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Pan’s Labyrinth — I liked it a lot less on second viewing because the years have worn down my sympathy for (literal) communist propaganda, but the production values and acting are excellent.
     
    Let's not be too hard on PAN'S LABYRINTH (for ideological reasons, that is). We Americans have been a bit spoiled, when it comes to political tyranny. What I mean is, yes of course, I'd've supported Franco over the Bolshevists, but that doesn't mean there weren't some pretty brutal, sadistic SOBs among the Spanish officers corps in 1944 (the year the film is set). Franco's Spain had a lot to recommend it, as compared to being a client state of USSR, but it was far from ideal.

    The leftists always get MAF when they get purged for once. Then there are endless histrionic books and retarded movies about how they were right all along and the other side were evil madmen.

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  230. fitzGetty says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a good one.

    … so it was … I have never seen it referred to, though, by anyone until now …

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  231. fitzGetty says:
    @guest
    Was that the aim of any of those films, to be high art? Or simply to take what's inherently if not trashy at least low-to-middling and raise it up to be marginally more serious, realistic, or visually complex?

    I don't think Dark Kinght got too big for its britches. The political stuff was a side issue, and the rest was merely playing a superheroes movie as if it were a tech-noir-cop-heist-action thriller. Rogue One tried to make Star Wars a spy version of Saving Private Ryan, which just didn't work. But there's nothing inherently over-ambitious about doing a more hopeless version of space opera.

    Fury Road was...I don't even know. Let's make a movie that's one long chase sequence with pretty much no characterization (besides Nux), entirely driven by action, visuals, and editing. I was shocked that I actually sat through the whole thing, because as I expected it was like a bad meth trip. But I don't see anything like ambition for High Art status. It's just an action movie.

    Maybe people talked about these movies like that. I don't know.

    … that French film about Cleo 5-7 …

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  232. fitzGetty says:
    @Lagertha
    I had a ridiculous crush on Rutger....after seeing Men of Orange. He was also great in a small, forgettable (great movie for children) jewel (with Michele Pfeiffer) called, LadyHawke...Matthew Broderick was a rising star (after War Games & Ferris Bueller) and very funny in that movie.

    I liked Silver Linings Playbook, The Hangover, and Whiplash...and The Big Lebowski. Also, Hell or High Water was good.

    … on the roof … in the night rain … Bladerunner’s high point …

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  233. fitzGetty says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "Laurel Canyon," "Magnolia," "Mulholland Drive,""Sunset Boulevard:" That's a pretty good quartet of movies named after streets near my house.

    … especially the glorious Laurel Canyon … Frances, that song, the sense of a world in a cul de sac …

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  234. fitzGetty says:
    @snorlax
    I'm probably weird, but speaking as a Coen Bros fan, Burn After Reading (more topical than ever with its skewering of our so-called Intelligence Community) is my favorite film of theirs. This scene gets me gasping for air every time I watch it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yl95hx6mcA

    Speaking of me being weird, like Mugatu I must be taking crazy pills, because I found There Will be Blood to be one of the most godawful movies I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. I guess I just have a limited tolerance for overlong self-indulgence; I find most of Kubrick's work decent-but-overrated.

    … Stan Kubrick – for all the time lavished on those London-made films —
    Had
    No.
    Sense.
    Of.
    Humour …

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    • Disagree: James Richard
    • Replies: @James Richard
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yfXgu37iyI
    , @PapayaSF
    The zero-gravity toilet scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey was a joke.
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  235. fitzGetty says:

    … and, supreme, above all, is the incomparable l’Avventura …

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  236. @Steve Sailer
    A lot of movies can't keep up the pace over the full running time. It's pretty arbitrary whether I hold that against them: is the glass half full or half empty?

    Paul Newman said the first 15 pages of the script are what sell it to the studio, but the last 15 pages are what sell it to the audience. (It's generally a good idea to listen to Paul Newman.)

    “(It’s generally a good idea to listen to Paul Newman.)”

    I have a knack for motor-racing (deeply rooted – I grew up besides a racetrack). This causes an automatic alert, if somebody like Paul Newman says something – even more so, if he talks about the arts (now I think of Jean Tinguely, sigh , and…).

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  237. @fitzGetty
    ... Stan Kubrick - for all the time lavished on those London-made films --
    Had
    No.
    Sense.
    Of.
    Humour ...

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  238. PapayaSF says:
    @fitzGetty
    ... Stan Kubrick - for all the time lavished on those London-made films --
    Had
    No.
    Sense.
    Of.
    Humour ...

    The zero-gravity toilet scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey was a joke.

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    • Agree: PiltdownMan
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  239. @Old Palo Altan
    Downfall is not the greatest war movie of all time (it is not really about war at all) - it is the greatest movie of all time, tout court.

    Downfall is not the greatest war movie of all time

    My favorite scene:
    hitler finds out there is no Santa

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  240. MarcB. says:
    @Steve Sailer
    That's pretty much the message of the movie.

    I saw it as commentary on the inability of 21st Century Western man to accept the world as it really is, even well into adulthood, and secondarily a subtle jab utopian ideologies.

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  241. syonredux says:
    @Desiderius
    The movies aren't as good as Downey in the role.

    Sure. RDJ is absolutely critical to the Iron Man series.

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  242. Ian M. says:
    @guest
    I'm not sure there's a difference between perception and reality after I've seen it a million times. The score is part of the movie. It's not some separate thing I have to judge on the side. It counts towards the final score.

    Ideally, such things as plot, character, dialogue, etc. should count more. But I don't care, when Hawkeye is hawkeying the maiden for sexy time, or they're on the promontory, and that music is playing.

    That’s a good point, I don’t disagree.

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  243. Ian M. says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    The last ~20 minutes are just great cinema, with virtually no dialogue. Mann's director's cut is actually worse, as it expands the old Indian's brief lament into anachronistic soliloquy about the closing of the frontier.

    That said, my aunt, who used really run the film archive at Berkeley, wasn't a fan. She preferred one of the earlier movie adaptations of it.

    I find the last 20 minutes to be a tad melodramatic. But man, that music is great (possibly my favorite soundtrack of all time, with the possible exception of any movie that uses Beethoven).

    My favorite scene occurs right at the advent of that last stretch: when that insufferable twit Heyward completely redeems himself by performing that tremendous act of bravery in which he sacrifices his life for Cora, a woman who does not even requite his love.

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  244. Ian M. says:
    @Anon
    Platinum List:

    A.I.
    Mulholland Dr.
    Werckmeister Harmonies
    Still Walking
    Wicker Park
    Mothman Prophecies
    High Fidelity
    Insomnia (Remake)
    Memories of Murder
    Ghost World
    Damsels in Distress
    Amelie
    C.R.A.Z.Y
    Assassination of Jesse James

    Gold List:

    Inception
    Tron Legacy
    Tomorrowland
    The Hunt(Danish)
    The World's End
    Zodiac
    Ant-man
    Indiana Jones and Kingdom of Crystal Skull
    Slow West
    Kings of Summer
    Life of Pi
    August: Osage County
    O Brother Where Art Thou
    Gravity
    Friend
    Downfall
    Take Care of My Cat
    Into the Wild
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Amores Perros
    House of Mirth
    Tropical Malady
    Poetry
    Snow White and the Huntsman
    New Moon
    The Counselor
    The Others
    American Splendor
    Lost in Translation

    Silver List:

    Robocop
    Split
    Shaun of the Dead
    Hot Fuzz
    Moana
    Me and Orson Welles
    Scanner Darkly
    Everybody Wants Some
    Panic Room
    Footnote
    The Village
    Blue Jasmine
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Heist
    Spartan
    Beijing Bicycle
    Michael Clayton
    Bridge of Spies
    Adventures of Tintin
    Catch Me If You Can
    Minority Report
    American Sniper
    Flags of Our Fathers
    Letters from Iwo Jima
    Rescue Dawn
    W.
    Despicable Me
    The German Doctor
    Last Orders
    No Man's Land
    Son's Room
    Waking Life
    Yellow Asphalt
    State and Main
    City of God / City of Men
    Guru
    The Pianist
    Spider
    Twilight Samurai
    American Splendor
    Elephant
    Goodbye Lenin
    Tristan and Isolde
    Art School Confidential
    Sunshine
    Bourne Identity
    No Country for Old Men
    The Wrestler
    Moon
    An Education
    Shutter Island
    Like Father Like Son
    Nobody Knows
    Our Little Sister
    Silent Souls
    Elena
    Senna
    Diving Bell and Butterfly
    4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days
    In the City of Sylvia
    The Sun (Russo-Japan)
    Distant
    Time Out
    Crimson Gold
    Act of Killing
    Lady and the Duke
    The Great Beauty
    This Must Be the Place
    Only Lovers Left Alive
    Twilight
    Breaking Dawn
    Joe
    C.O.G
    The Day

    Bronze List:

    Phil Specter
    All About Lily-Chou-Chou
    Internal Affairs
    The Master
    Drive
    Byzantium
    Café Society
    Ondine
    In a World
    Looper
    American Pastoral
    Bad Lieutenant
    Little Miss Sunshine
    Last Samurai
    Matchstick Men
    Donnie Darko
    Piano Teacher
    Cloverfield
    Diary of the Dead
    Boiler Room
    My Dog Skip
    The Happening
    Devil
    American Hustle
    In the Bedroom
    Blackhawk Down
    Beautiful Mind
    Matrix Revolutions
    Attack of Clones
    End of the Tour
    Mistress America
    Kicking and Screaming
    Moonrise Kingdom

    Fool’s Gold List:

    Resident Evil
    Resident Evil: Extinction
    Resident Evil: Afterlife
    Resident Evil: Retribution
    Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
    Jeepers Creepers
    Session 9
    127 Hrs
    Casino Jack
    Hunger Games
    Thor
    The American
    Noah

    Thank you for listing Moon. One of my top ten movies for the 21st century, that no one else I know has so much as heard of.

    Another 21st century movie that would probably be in my top 10 and that I haven’t seen mentioned yet is The King’s Speech.

    Two other unmentioned movies I liked from the period but that are a bit treacly are Slumdog Millionaire and Juno.

    (Yes, I have pretty middle-brow tastes. Although I do agree with the critics’ pick of Eternal Sunshine).

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    Agree on Moon and King's Speech.
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  245. Ian M. says:
    @Gross Terry
    "Taken" was great. Great set of villians, great action sets, pretty much revitalized old Liam Neesons career.

    Two things I appreciated about Taken is that the baddies were Muslim (if I recall) and there were no ‘kick-ass’ women. The women in the movie were portrayed as vulnerable and in need of saving.

    Another set of movies that is pretty good regarding the second point (again, if I recall correctly) is the Bourne series.

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  246. @Old Palo Altan
    Downfall is not the greatest war movie of all time (it is not really about war at all) - it is the greatest movie of all time, tout court.

    I kneel to your genius at the altar of the motherland……

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  247. Vaterland, my boy, Vaterland.

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  248. syonredux says:
    @syonredux

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn’t mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic’s list.
     
    Sure, but, as you note, Iron Man is the biggest character and Iron Man* was really good. Amongst its many virtues, , it really captures the joy inherent in making something

    *I like Iron Man III, just not as much as I like II.

    But I must disagree with your other point: just because Iron Man might be the biggest character in recent years doesn’t mean that any individual Iron Man movie is any good. Although I would rate Iron Man 1 & 3 over half the films on the NYT critic’s list.

    Sure, but, as you note, Iron Man is the biggest character and Iron Man* was really good. Amongst its many virtues, , it really captures the joy inherent in making something

    *I like Iron Man III, just not as much as I like I*

    *Corrected a typo

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  249. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @guest
    Was that the aim of any of those films, to be high art? Or simply to take what's inherently if not trashy at least low-to-middling and raise it up to be marginally more serious, realistic, or visually complex?

    I don't think Dark Kinght got too big for its britches. The political stuff was a side issue, and the rest was merely playing a superheroes movie as if it were a tech-noir-cop-heist-action thriller. Rogue One tried to make Star Wars a spy version of Saving Private Ryan, which just didn't work. But there's nothing inherently over-ambitious about doing a more hopeless version of space opera.

    Fury Road was...I don't even know. Let's make a movie that's one long chase sequence with pretty much no characterization (besides Nux), entirely driven by action, visuals, and editing. I was shocked that I actually sat through the whole thing, because as I expected it was like a bad meth trip. But I don't see anything like ambition for High Art status. It's just an action movie.

    Maybe people talked about these movies like that. I don't know.

    Fury Road was… But I don’t see anything like ambition for High Art status. It’s just an action movie.

    The art direction. Way overdone. Critical response is a giveaway. They treated it like some ‘masterpiece’, an Important movie by a master.

    Why such high praise for a crazy movie with mindless chases? Because Miller is an ‘auteur’? But he was never taken this seriously.

    The film’s artisness, as with Gilliam’s Brazil, impressed the critics or critorises.

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    • Replies: @guest
    The critical response was way out of proportion, but I don't know if that was to do with the ambitions of the filmmakers. Though obviously they spent a lot of time and effort on the art direction, editing, etc.

    My guess it was because the critics need to have pet blockbuster CGI-fests periodically. Otherwise, they look like Ivory Tower occupants, fuddy-duddies, and/or degenerates.

    Plus, they mad for feminism lately.
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  250. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @guest
    "What is the real message of the movie? It means all the toadies in the security services should give their loyalty to truly 'superior' globalists like Merkel and Macron than to 'petty' national interests."

    This is a ridiculous interpretation, in my opinion, with no basis but your shoehorning presumed globalism into the picture. Because it's at best a side issue, a couple of levels of abstraction outside the story as told in the movie. Maybe German communism was better for the German nation than that particular artist's preferred political system. Though, bear in mind communism was a globalist ideology. Which isn't to say actual flesh and blood commies weren't nationalists.

    This artist, was he a globalist in the contemporary sense? Maybe. We're not really told, except that he reaches outside his country to criticize it. But presumably that's not just so banksters can invade and take it over. It is possible to desire a communist regime fall for the sake of the nation. All we know about why he turns on the commies is that he's mourning his friend's suicide, resents the position of artists in the regime, and thinks the bosses are corrupt. That's it. We're not led to believe he's possessed by Western demons and intent on flooding the country with Africans.

    In any case, the main character doesn't switch allegiances from nationalist communism to globalist whatever-ism. As much as he's become disillusioned with the Stasi, he's moved by art, yes. By the music he hears and the literature he reads. And that art is supposed to be universal, I suppose, and not enjoyable for its Germanness.

    But it's not just that. He admires the artist's love for his wife. Love is utterly lacking in his lonely life. He fails to save the wife, who kills herself. But nevertheless, that was his motivation.

    He doesn't become a toady to art. It's not as if the rest of his life is spent in servitude sweeping out the theater and contributing to German NPR. There are a couple of gestures: not reporting conversations, removing the typewriter from its hiding place. That's it.

    Then his career is ruined, and he spends the rest of his time as a lowlier state servant. He didn't have any great awakening or personal epiphany, yes, but that's not what the movie was about. It also wasn't about a toady switching allegiance from one master to another.

    Sure, it could have been about stealing bread for a hungry family, too. But there is value in art. Even in Western art. Last time I checked, Germany was part of the West, more or less, for a long, long time before communist imperialists conquered the East.

    Yeah, you make good points IF we were to consider the characters as real individuals with autonomy of mind and spirit.

    But I didn’t see it that way. I saw the story, situation, characters, and meaning as just a vehicle for a message. I feel the same way about Social Network. Everyone and everything are part of a rigged game to send a message: Jewish animus is necessary against snobby Wasps.

    Everything in Lives of Others stands for something else. They are archetypes, emblems, puppets.
    They lack true individuality and uniqueness.

    The artist is the Cosmopolitan, the Yuppie, the Urbanite, the Liberal.

    The main character is a dullard who needs to serve somebody. It’s not about finding his own individuality but serving the superior authority of the cosmopolitan.

    Now, had the film been a real work of art, I would have responded differently to each of the individual. Consider a film like When Father Was Away on Business where personalities are bigger than politics, where life is richer and fuller than the ‘message’.

    Lives of Other just has Types and it runs on a message.

    I didn’t see the characters as unique people with souls or stories.. I saw them as Types used to manipulate us and push buttons. What Lives of Others does isn’t much different that what Butler or Hidden Figures do. It’s push-button affair, a pseudo-art-film that has the look and feel but no real depth.

    If anything, it is the work of the stasi of globalism. This movie that’s supposed to be about freedom against tyranny has a message of subservience: we should serve the ‘truly meritocratic elites’ of the West: the Jurgen Habermases of the world who’ve done more damage than communism ever did.

    Also, the great irony is that when it came to appreciation of traditional arts, there was more of that in the East than in the West. If anything, the main complaint among Western intellectuals was that Communists were culturally too conservative.
    Soviets had Bolshoi Ballet and many Soviet films had classic themes.

    As for western elites… what is their idea of art? Jeff Koons.

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  251. guest says:
    @Anon
    Fury Road was... But I don’t see anything like ambition for High Art status. It’s just an action movie.

    The art direction. Way overdone. Critical response is a giveaway. They treated it like some 'masterpiece', an Important movie by a master.

    Why such high praise for a crazy movie with mindless chases? Because Miller is an 'auteur'? But he was never taken this seriously.

    The film's artisness, as with Gilliam's Brazil, impressed the critics or critorises.

    The critical response was way out of proportion, but I don’t know if that was to do with the ambitions of the filmmakers. Though obviously they spent a lot of time and effort on the art direction, editing, etc.

    My guess it was because the critics need to have pet blockbuster CGI-fests periodically. Otherwise, they look like Ivory Tower occupants, fuddy-duddies, and/or degenerates.

    Plus, they mad for feminism lately.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Plus, they mad for feminism lately.

    Then, why such negative reaction to Resident Evil movies? It is 'feminist' in having 'strong' females. LOL.

    My guess it was because the critics need to have pet blockbuster CGI-fests periodically.

    I think it had more to do with the style-ization. It looks fanciful and ultra-polished, like alar-glossed apples. Even the dust is photogenic, sweat glistens, and blood flows like paint. It's like Art Rock Concert. And so much of the violence looks choreographed, more performance than warfare. (Road Warrior just looks rough and messy, a punk post-apocalyptic landscape. More honest.) It's like Miller doing Michael Powell. I thought it was excessive and misplaced artiness, like Singh's The Fall.
    Miller's still amazing with action, and I can understand its interest to F/X fans but what else is there really?

    Also, Hardy is good backup actor but lacks star quality of Gibson.
    In an outsized role like Bronson, he can certainly work up a storm but then loses his way. I recall the violence and mayhem but remember almost nothing about the blur of character or why we should care about him. Same in Batman. It was Bronson with rubber duck mask. Hardy is most effective in role like in Inception, a big man with a soft touch.

    Sometimes, critics are just batty, and it goes beyond politics. Some say Batman movies are 'conservative', but plenty of 'liberal' critics praised them highly too. Why? They featured a grown-up in bat costume running around and battling some guy with cake cream on his face and another guy with a rubber ducky mask. And all without humor. But so many critics ate it up.
    Batman is to superhero stuff what West Side Story and Sound of Music are to musicals. Big and Heavy. Ant-man is like Singing in the Rain. It toys with fun material. The only thing it takes seriously is the ingenuity of playing it as a game. And it has some surprisingly poetic touches too, like when ants shot out of the air are mourned with images of fluttering wings. It works as a touch, whereas Batman is heavyhanded throughout.

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  252. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @The Last Real Calvinist
    I was between high school and college that summer of '84. I remember it seemed like I was at the movie theater all the time -- there really did seem to be a remarkable number of very enjoyable movies that year.

    I cheated and looked it up; you can find a rundown/ranking of the movies of summer 1984 HERE

    I saw all the ones you named (except Stranger than Paradise), plus Top Secret, Bachelor Party (early Tom Hanks), Red Dawn, Purple Rain, The Natural, Revenge of the Nerds, and Sixteen Candles. Fun times.

    Videodrome.

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    • Replies: @Anon87
    There is a lot of great horror/sci-fi from that era as well. The Thing in 82 comes to mind.
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  253. @Desiderius
    Just saw True Grit again on the tube.

    The attempt to render 19th Century patterns of dialogue is really striking.

    My first thought today, being half awake, if at all, was very clear and consisted of your remark about the ninetheenth-century dialogue in True Grit and my halfconscious “explanation” what the movie was about: Self esteem. – Now, being fully awake, I’d like to add: Self esteem – and it’s discontens.
    To explain this dicontens part right away: Farm girl Mattie Ross is “a pill” (Ethan Coen on wikipedia) – and – that’s already 19th century: a) gets birched with a stick, and – b) falls into a rattlesnake hole, where she gets bitten. She then almost dies – and: Loses her left forearm, and does die unmarried (and, of course, without a child: Mattie Ross is a firm bliever in 19th century Presbyterian Protestantism).

    The movie did make a deep impression on me for reasons, that resonate deeply with it’s core: Adolescent revolt; straightforwardness and clear-mindedness and stubbornness of the adolescent Mattie Ross of Presbyterian faith.
    The movie achieves this, because the Coen brothers did understand, that their main character’s main character-trait is 19th century Presbyterian Protestantism (it’s not, as is claimed here and there (here on this blog, too) American Puritanism, – wich is related to Pietism. If this was true, Mattie Ross would simply n o t have become the character Mattie Ross, since those two things – Pietism and Presbyterianism – differ in a way, that’s definitely crucial here: Pietism a) abhorres being “a pill”, b) could’ve made no use of the Presbyterian’s burning a n d florishing bush, c) does not argue in a tough an public way, but d) strengthens the inner and intimate world of small groups; and introspection and dialogue rather than public discourse and worldly fights. Be they with guns, or words – or even grownup men.

    All these – as it looks, fully understood – aspects make for this great movie.

    Can’t help it, I want to add: The young Tom Wolfe admired Charles Portis – especially for his true grit to quit his job to write this novel. Plus, I guess: He admired him deeply, because he not ony wrote a great book, but succeeded also in selling it big scale.

    Then a personal remark as the photographer I am: Roger Deakins cinematograhy is great (I still have single scenes in my mind, radiating of unforced beauty, especially the ride into the valley under an overcast southern winter-sky with a little Snow, even, here and there.

    Another remark: The Coen’s achieve a very good christian movie: Such are the wonders of true art.
    And they make a powerful comment about: Adolescence, rebellion (and the price thereof), women’s emancipation – and an anti-statement: They – indirectly – oppose the snowflakey and whiney part of public discourse known as PC and favor: True Grit!

    They can achieve all this, because they don’t idolize their main character, too: As I said: Mattie does pay a price for her rebellion against the world and reason of the grown up men who tell her again and again, that she should not ride out in the big wild open and should not try to help the marshall and the sheriff there, but rather stay safe and at home.

    If somebody will write the cultural history of the 21st century, ok – she – why not, ehe – she could discuss Michel Houellebecq’s “Submission” and “True Grit” in the same chapter and treat them as subjects, which have quite a few things in common.
    If she would be taken in maybe even a tad too much, she could mention the fact, that Richard Deakins cinematography in the movie does remind her of some of the efforts in landscape-photography, Michel Houellebecq made (she then could hint at the German magazine Der Spiegel, who once ran a glorious stretch of Houellebcq’s photos – to hardly any effect). I’m sure, that this then would be looked upon as a truely original aspect of her work, which at the same time is clearly over the top, and has never been mentioned before. Not even once.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius

    The Coen’s achieve a very good christian movie: Such are the wonders of true art.
     
    Indeed so. Flannery O'Connor would approve.

    Appreciate your thoughts.
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  254. Anon87 says:
    @Anonymous
    Videodrome.

    There is a lot of great horror/sci-fi from that era as well. The Thing in 82 comes to mind.

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  255. donut says:
    @Kylie
    Don't be shy! Give us your subjective and personal 'best of' movie list.

    I, for one, yearn to be enlightened.

    I just looked up the synopsis for “Dogtooth” . I’m not sure that’s for me but if it’s on Amazon I’ll give it a try . I chose to take your request for my “personal ‘best of’ movie list.” seriously and I will try to assemble one for you .

    Something to keep in mind : recently someone here commented that the books Bob Dylan mentioned in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech suggested that he hadn’t read many books since HS . I don’t that was fair . When you are a young person and haven’t read many or any books and you are assigned one or just pick one up that for some reason fires your imagination then you are going to measure all subsequent books against that first experience and like your first love they can never measure up . Subsequently you may read books that will have a profound impact on your life but that first book that gave you a love for reading deserves it’s special place . No matter how great or mediocre it may have been .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kylie
    My tone was jocular but my request was sincere.

    "Dogtooth" is a black comedy and somehow I think you would like it. Stick with it. It takes a little getting used to. I'd like to know what you make of it.

    "Tatie Danielle" (French) and "Terribly Happy" (Danish) are two more black comedies I really enjoyed.
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  256. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    Platinum:

    Farewell (French)

    Silver:

    Three

    Paterson

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  257. @LondonBob
    Wedding Crashers is peak Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

    The first 45 minutes of Wedding Crashers was in the running for the Caddyshack award for best comedic movie of the decade, but it kind of goes off the rails a bit the last hour.

    Still, it’s a very good (not great) movie.

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  258. !!!SUMMER HOURS!!!! Yes it’s in French but yes it’s still Great even if you have to concentrate reading subtitles and processing AV information.

    Zodiac

    Shattered Glass – “I FIRED HIM!! Not suspended…fired” yes yes yes.

    Why hasn’t anyone mentioned Atonement for crissakes. Those are some of the most beautiful images captured on film ever with a creative typewriter score to boot.

    Do DOCS count?
    Fog of WAR not mentioned by anyone?
    Last Days of Vietnam Come on

    Ride with the Devil
    OMG a civil war movie that focuses on non-negro subject matter. Holy shit everything all the time has to be about them right?

    Riding Giants – Tow-surfing Jaws with Laird Hamilton–’nuff said.

    Hot Fuzz —funniest comedy

    The Hoax
    The Informant
    Ripley’s Game

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Ride with the Devil
    OMG a civil war movie that focuses on non-negro subject matter. Holy shit everything all the time has to be about them right?


    1999. It is ultimately about a Negro. He's in the background in the beginning but gradually emerges and takes shape as a full-bloodied character. It's one of Lee's best.
    , @guest
    I was going to mention Ride with the Devil, but it's from '99, so doesn't count.

    It did focus on a negro, for a good portion of the movie. He started out as a minor character and only gradually came to the fore. Funny story, they wanted to sell the movie to black folks, so they ran commercials on BET. But they forgot to make the ads about the black guy and instead made them about the love story with a Civil War backdrop, like Gone with the Wind or something. Oops.

    My favorite scene was with the older, gloomy but not defeatist character, Jewel's dad or in-law I think, who saw the seeds of the Confederacy's destruction sewn in the Yankee predilection for mass schooling:

    "My point is merely that they rounded every pup up into that schoolhouse because they fancied that everyone should think and talk the same free-thinking way they do, with no regard to station, custom, propriety. And that is why they will win. Because they believe everyone should live and think just like them. And we shall lose because we don't care one way or another how they live. We just worry about ourselves."

    , @Anon
    !!!SUMMER HOURS!!!!

    Maybe this is a good movie(actually it is very good), and I'm probably being biased, but I couldn't stand its self-absorbed stuckup May 68 generation characters. I wanted bitchslap all of them or beat their heads with pots and pans.
    The film grapples with the lingering beauty of French tradition of family and customs amidst and despite the socio-political turmoil of the 60s, after which the 'radical' generation gradually took over politics and economics.
    Their post-radical maturation has, in a way, reconnected them with aspects of French culture, but France is like a broken vase that cannot be piece together with glue. The semblance of restored order that has been reassembled and maintained is fragile.
    There are intimations of regret at the changes wrought by May 68, but the genie cannot be put back in the bottle since so much of the pride and justification of the radical generation was centered on nobility of minority-migrant rights: Minorite, Fruite, Holocauste.
    Feeling sanctimonious and righteous came to be defined in terms of hugging racial, sexual, and religious minorities as holy relics to protect from the 'far right' and les deplorables.
    So much of May 68 vanity and pride was invested in this worldview that no one dares to admit how crazy and destructive this conceit has been. Also, demographic changes make it impossible to address the issue honestly. If France had remained all French, the ideas could be condemned, and all would be wiser. But those ideas let in tons of Africans and Muslims, and the invalidation of those ideas would mean all those immigrants and foreigners don't belong in France. No one has the guts to say that, especially since 'racism' is the worst sin imaginable, and 'racism' now means whites not wishing to be replaced by foreign invaders and their broods.

    The ending of Summer Hours is a real bummer/shocker. All throughout the movie, we see the tension between lingering May 68 affectations and the rediscovery of glory of French cultural life. But it's too little too late.
    The final scene shows French kids addicted to junk trash US culture and romping around with shirtless Negroes. Even as May 68 generation rejected traditional France, it was still around for them to reconnect with once they grew up and took on adult responsibilities. Their kids won't even have that. Their parents and grandparents will be the generation of Marx and Coca-Cola, they will be into mondo-trash culture, and their kids and grandkids will be mulattoes in a France that looks like Morocco crossed with Brazil.

    In the end, the demographic policy has been most disastrous. A nation can go crazy with bad ideas and do horrible things, but as long as demography holds, the sanity and culture can be restored. Like Germany after WWII, Russian culture after Bolshevik radicalism of the 20s and 30s, and China after the madness of Cultural Revolution. Even after all that trauma, they remained German, Russian, and Chinese.
    But when bad ideas are accompanied with massive foreign invasion(especially of nasty vicious barbaric races), there is no chance of recovering what was lost. The future of France is Africance.

    The May 68 generation rebelled against Old France, but they still remember how it used to be. They remember a white France of real Frenchmen and their attitudes and manners. Also, their parents and grandparents are all white and part of true French tradition. Once the 68ers matured, they had a home to return to(if they so wished). But their kids have been raised in globalized diverse France and taught that 'true Frenchness' is about immigration, diversity, and sharing French culture, land, wealth, and institutions with third world rabble. They were raised to support replacism.
    And since this third world rabble prefer American junk culture and have no interest(or aptitude)for French intellectual culture, even the white French youth grew up disconnected from Frenchness. They have no home to return to. They will grow with hip-hop and identify with diversity and have kids with Africans. (If the French themselves don't care to preserve their own culture, what chances are there that the 'new French' will give a damn? These 'new French' abandoned their own nations and peoples for better material life in Europe. They have no sense of loyalty even to their own kind. They are like nomadic creatures just looking to leech off other people's wealth. What an arrangement. French now say 'There is no French culture except diversity, and they expect diversity to preserve French culture that even the French don't bother to preserve. And this diversity is made up of rabble that don't even preserve their own culture, but for some reason, they will be good 'new Europeans' and preserve European culture. Sort of like allowing a thief to protect your house that you yourself abandoned.)

    Summer Hours appreciates the fragile remnants of French culture, but at the end, it accepts the future of France as Africanization and Americanization. May 68 was, in the end, worse than Vichy.
    Fragility turns into futility in the face of massive invasion and vulgarization. Worse, if May 68 was driven by an idea, the new trends are driven by biology. Ideas, however awful, can be undone and reversed. Massive biological changes cannot. Demographic transformation is permanent. And as France fills up with people who are less intelligent and more savage, the future mongrels of France will have no use for the refinement of all that was French.
    A world of bad ideas can be fixed with good ideas.
    A world of bad people is forever a world of bad people regardless of ideas. No idea, however good, can save a place like Detroit which is filled with bad people.

    If May 68 didn't call for diversity, it would have been just a bad idea, like Jacobin lunacy during the French Revolution. Once the craziness faded, there was France restored once again after the Revolution.
    But May 68 didn't just push bad ideas but called for massive invasion of France, a biological-racial transformation of France. And this damage will be permanent. May 68 is the worst era ever in France because it destroyed France permanently.

    Ripley’s Game

    Saw that recently. Lacks the impressive production values of Talented Mr. Ripley and the hypnotic style of Purple Noon, but a fine cast of characters led by Malkovich. Goes on silver list.

    Toni Erdmann is an interesting character study of father and daughter caught up in globalized Europe. Somewhere between silver and gold.
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  259. @guest
    A couple more came to me. I don't know if these have been mentioned:

    David Mamet's Spartan
    Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

    If only for the gorgeous Marisa Tomei’s memorable scenes au naturel

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  260. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Franz Liszt von Raiding
    !!!SUMMER HOURS!!!! Yes it's in French but yes it's still Great even if you have to concentrate reading subtitles and processing AV information.

    Zodiac

    Shattered Glass - "I FIRED HIM!! Not suspended...fired" yes yes yes.

    Why hasn't anyone mentioned Atonement for crissakes. Those are some of the most beautiful images captured on film ever with a creative typewriter score to boot.

    Do DOCS count?
    Fog of WAR not mentioned by anyone?
    Last Days of Vietnam Come on

    Ride with the Devil
    OMG a civil war movie that focuses on non-negro subject matter. Holy shit everything all the time has to be about them right?

    Riding Giants - Tow-surfing Jaws with Laird Hamilton--'nuff said.

    Hot Fuzz ---funniest comedy

    The Hoax
    The Informant
    Ripley's Game

    Ride with the Devil
    OMG a civil war movie that focuses on non-negro subject matter. Holy shit everything all the time has to be about them right?

    1999. It is ultimately about a Negro. He’s in the background in the beginning but gradually emerges and takes shape as a full-bloodied character. It’s one of Lee’s best.

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  261. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @guest
    The critical response was way out of proportion, but I don't know if that was to do with the ambitions of the filmmakers. Though obviously they spent a lot of time and effort on the art direction, editing, etc.

    My guess it was because the critics need to have pet blockbuster CGI-fests periodically. Otherwise, they look like Ivory Tower occupants, fuddy-duddies, and/or degenerates.

    Plus, they mad for feminism lately.

    Plus, they mad for feminism lately.

    Then, why such negative reaction to Resident Evil movies? It is ‘feminist’ in having ‘strong’ females. LOL.

    My guess it was because the critics need to have pet blockbuster CGI-fests periodically.

    I think it had more to do with the style-ization. It looks fanciful and ultra-polished, like alar-glossed apples. Even the dust is photogenic, sweat glistens, and blood flows like paint. It’s like Art Rock Concert. And so much of the violence looks choreographed, more performance than warfare. (Road Warrior just looks rough and messy, a punk post-apocalyptic landscape. More honest.) It’s like Miller doing Michael Powell. I thought it was excessive and misplaced artiness, like Singh’s The Fall.
    Miller’s still amazing with action, and I can understand its interest to F/X fans but what else is there really?

    Also, Hardy is good backup actor but lacks star quality of Gibson.
    In an outsized role like Bronson, he can certainly work up a storm but then loses his way. I recall the violence and mayhem but remember almost nothing about the blur of character or why we should care about him. Same in Batman. It was Bronson with rubber duck mask. Hardy is most effective in role like in Inception, a big man with a soft touch.

    Sometimes, critics are just batty, and it goes beyond politics. Some say Batman movies are ‘conservative’, but plenty of ‘liberal’ critics praised them highly too. Why? They featured a grown-up in bat costume running around and battling some guy with cake cream on his face and another guy with a rubber ducky mask. And all without humor. But so many critics ate it up.
    Batman is to superhero stuff what West Side Story and Sound of Music are to musicals. Big and Heavy. Ant-man is like Singing in the Rain. It toys with fun material. The only thing it takes seriously is the ingenuity of playing it as a game. And it has some surprisingly poetic touches too, like when ants shot out of the air are mourned with images of fluttering wings. It works as a touch, whereas Batman is heavyhanded throughout.

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  262. guest says:
    @Franz Liszt von Raiding
    !!!SUMMER HOURS!!!! Yes it's in French but yes it's still Great even if you have to concentrate reading subtitles and processing AV information.

    Zodiac

    Shattered Glass - "I FIRED HIM!! Not suspended...fired" yes yes yes.

    Why hasn't anyone mentioned Atonement for crissakes. Those are some of the most beautiful images captured on film ever with a creative typewriter score to boot.

    Do DOCS count?
    Fog of WAR not mentioned by anyone?
    Last Days of Vietnam Come on

    Ride with the Devil
    OMG a civil war movie that focuses on non-negro subject matter. Holy shit everything all the time has to be about them right?

    Riding Giants - Tow-surfing Jaws with Laird Hamilton--'nuff said.

    Hot Fuzz ---funniest comedy

    The Hoax
    The Informant
    Ripley's Game

    I was going to mention Ride with the Devil, but it’s from ’99, so doesn’t count.

    It did focus on a negro, for a good portion of the movie. He started out as a minor character and only gradually came to the fore. Funny story, they wanted to sell the movie to black folks, so they ran commercials on BET. But they forgot to make the ads about the black guy and instead made them about the love story with a Civil War backdrop, like Gone with the Wind or something. Oops.

    My favorite scene was with the older, gloomy but not defeatist character, Jewel’s dad or in-law I think, who saw the seeds of the Confederacy’s destruction sewn in the Yankee predilection for mass schooling:

    “My point is merely that they rounded every pup up into that schoolhouse because they fancied that everyone should think and talk the same free-thinking way they do, with no regard to station, custom, propriety. And that is why they will win. Because they believe everyone should live and think just like them. And we shall lose because we don’t care one way or another how they live. We just worry about ourselves.”

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  263. guest says:
    @Steve Sailer
    I loved "The Science of Sleep," a Michel Gondry movie about dreaming, with all sorts of wonderful dream machines made out of stuff from around the house.

    The screenplay's not Charlie Kaufman-level, but it's good.

    Gondry did something similar with Be Kind Rewind, wherein a video store clerk (Mos Def) and his buddy (Jack Black) must recreate old movies like Ghostbusters with whatever’s at hand, after they erase the store’s inventory through accidental magnetization.

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  264. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Franz Liszt von Raiding
    !!!SUMMER HOURS!!!! Yes it's in French but yes it's still Great even if you have to concentrate reading subtitles and processing AV information.

    Zodiac

    Shattered Glass - "I FIRED HIM!! Not suspended...fired" yes yes yes.

    Why hasn't anyone mentioned Atonement for crissakes. Those are some of the most beautiful images captured on film ever with a creative typewriter score to boot.

    Do DOCS count?
    Fog of WAR not mentioned by anyone?
    Last Days of Vietnam Come on

    Ride with the Devil
    OMG a civil war movie that focuses on non-negro subject matter. Holy shit everything all the time has to be about them right?

    Riding Giants - Tow-surfing Jaws with Laird Hamilton--'nuff said.

    Hot Fuzz ---funniest comedy

    The Hoax
    The Informant
    Ripley's Game

    !!!SUMMER HOURS!!!!

    Maybe this is a good movie(actually it is very good), and I’m probably being biased, but I couldn’t stand its self-absorbed stuckup May 68 generation characters. I wanted bitchslap all of them or beat their heads with pots and pans.
    The film grapples with the lingering beauty of French tradition of family and customs amidst and despite the socio-political turmoil of the 60s, after which the ‘radical’ generation gradually took over politics and economics.
    Their post-radical maturation has, in a way, reconnected them with aspects of French culture, but France is like a broken vase that cannot be piece together with glue. The semblance of restored order that has been reassembled and maintained is fragile.
    There are intimations of regret at the changes wrought by May 68, but the genie cannot be put back in the bottle since so much of the pride and justification of the radical generation was centered on nobility of minority-migrant rights: Minorite, Fruite, Holocauste.
    Feeling sanctimonious and righteous came to be defined in terms of hugging racial, sexual, and religious minorities as holy relics to protect from the ‘far right’ and les deplorables.
    So much of May 68 vanity and pride was invested in this worldview that no one dares to admit how crazy and destructive this conceit has been. Also, demographic changes make it impossible to address the issue honestly. If France had remained all French, the ideas could be condemned, and all would be wiser. But those ideas let in tons of Africans and Muslims, and the invalidation of those ideas would mean all those immigrants and foreigners don’t belong in France. No one has the guts to say that, especially since ‘racism’ is the worst sin imaginable, and ‘racism’ now means whites not wishing to be replaced by foreign invaders and their broods.

    The ending of Summer Hours is a real bummer/shocker. All throughout the movie, we see the tension between lingering May 68 affectations and the rediscovery of glory of French cultural life. But it’s too little too late.
    The final scene shows French kids addicted to junk trash US culture and romping around with shirtless Negroes. Even as May 68 generation rejected traditional France, it was still around for them to reconnect with once they grew up and took on adult responsibilities. Their kids won’t even have that. Their parents and grandparents will be the generation of Marx and Coca-Cola, they will be into mondo-trash culture, and their kids and grandkids will be mulattoes in a France that looks like Morocco crossed with Brazil.

    In the end, the demographic policy has been most disastrous. A nation can go crazy with bad ideas and do horrible things, but as long as demography holds, the sanity and culture can be restored. Like Germany after WWII, Russian culture after Bolshevik radicalism of the 20s and 30s, and China after the madness of Cultural Revolution. Even after all that trauma, they remained German, Russian, and Chinese.
    But when bad ideas are accompanied with massive foreign invasion(especially of nasty vicious barbaric races), there is no chance of recovering what was lost. The future of France is Africance.

    The May 68 generation rebelled against Old France, but they still remember how it used to be. They remember a white France of real Frenchmen and their attitudes and manners. Also, their parents and grandparents are all white and part of true French tradition. Once the 68ers matured, they had a home to return to(if they so wished). But their kids have been raised in globalized diverse France and taught that ‘true Frenchness’ is about immigration, diversity, and sharing French culture, land, wealth, and institutions with third world rabble. They were raised to support replacism.
    And since this third world rabble prefer American junk culture and have no interest(or aptitude)for French intellectual culture, even the white French youth grew up disconnected from Frenchness. They have no home to return to. They will grow with hip-hop and identify with diversity and have kids with Africans. (If the French themselves don’t care to preserve their own culture, what chances are there that the ‘new French’ will give a damn? These ‘new French’ abandoned their own nations and peoples for better material life in Europe. They have no sense of loyalty even to their own kind. They are like nomadic creatures just looking to leech off other people’s wealth. What an arrangement. French now say ‘There is no French culture except diversity, and they expect diversity to preserve French culture that even the French don’t bother to preserve. And this diversity is made up of rabble that don’t even preserve their own culture, but for some reason, they will be good ‘new Europeans’ and preserve European culture. Sort of like allowing a thief to protect your house that you yourself abandoned.)

    Summer Hours appreciates the fragile remnants of French culture, but at the end, it accepts the future of France as Africanization and Americanization. May 68 was, in the end, worse than Vichy.
    Fragility turns into futility in the face of massive invasion and vulgarization. Worse, if May 68 was driven by an idea, the new trends are driven by biology. Ideas, however awful, can be undone and reversed. Massive biological changes cannot. Demographic transformation is permanent. And as France fills up with people who are less intelligent and more savage, the future mongrels of France will have no use for the refinement of all that was French.
    A world of bad ideas can be fixed with good ideas.
    A world of bad people is forever a world of bad people regardless of ideas. No idea, however good, can save a place like Detroit which is filled with bad people.

    If May 68 didn’t call for diversity, it would have been just a bad idea, like Jacobin lunacy during the French Revolution. Once the craziness faded, there was France restored once again after the Revolution.
    But May 68 didn’t just push bad ideas but called for massive invasion of France, a biological-racial transformation of France. And this damage will be permanent. May 68 is the worst era ever in France because it destroyed France permanently.

    Ripley’s Game

    Saw that recently. Lacks the impressive production values of Talented Mr. Ripley and the hypnotic style of Purple Noon, but a fine cast of characters led by Malkovich. Goes on silver list.

    Toni Erdmann is an interesting character study of father and daughter caught up in globalized Europe. Somewhere between silver and gold.

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  265. Kylie says:
    @donut
    I just looked up the synopsis for "Dogtooth" . I'm not sure that's for me but if it's on Amazon I'll give it a try . I chose to take your request for my "personal ‘best of’ movie list." seriously and I will try to assemble one for you .

    Something to keep in mind : recently someone here commented that the books Bob Dylan mentioned in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech suggested that he hadn't read many books since HS . I don't that was fair . When you are a young person and haven't read many or any books and you are assigned one or just pick one up that for some reason fires your imagination then you are going to measure all subsequent books against that first experience and like your first love they can never measure up . Subsequently you may read books that will have a profound impact on your life but that first book that gave you a love for reading deserves it's special place . No matter how great or mediocre it may have been .

    My tone was jocular but my request was sincere.

    “Dogtooth” is a black comedy and somehow I think you would like it. Stick with it. It takes a little getting used to. I’d like to know what you make of it.

    “Tatie Danielle” (French) and “Terribly Happy” (Danish) are two more black comedies I really enjoyed.

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    • Replies: @donut
    “Terribly Happy” is on Amazon and I'll check it out . the other two are not .
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  266. @Ian M.
    Thank you for listing Moon. One of my top ten movies for the 21st century, that no one else I know has so much as heard of.

    Another 21st century movie that would probably be in my top 10 and that I haven't seen mentioned yet is The King's Speech.

    Two other unmentioned movies I liked from the period but that are a bit treacly are Slumdog Millionaire and Juno.

    (Yes, I have pretty middle-brow tastes. Although I do agree with the critics' pick of Eternal Sunshine).

    Agree on Moon and King’s Speech.

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  267. @Dieter Kief
    My first thought today, being half awake, if at all, was very clear and consisted of your remark about the ninetheenth-century dialogue in True Grit and my halfconscious "explanation" what the movie was about: Self esteem. - Now, being fully awake, I'd like to add: Self esteem - and it's discontens.
    To explain this dicontens part right away: Farm girl Mattie Ross is "a pill" (Ethan Coen on wikipedia) - and - that's already 19th century: a) gets birched with a stick, and - b) falls into a rattlesnake hole, where she gets bitten. She then almost dies - and: Loses her left forearm, and does die unmarried (and, of course, without a child: Mattie Ross is a firm bliever in 19th century Presbyterian Protestantism).

    The movie did make a deep impression on me for reasons, that resonate deeply with it's core: Adolescent revolt; straightforwardness and clear-mindedness and stubbornness of the adolescent Mattie Ross of Presbyterian faith.
    The movie achieves this, because the Coen brothers did understand, that their main character's main character-trait is 19th century Presbyterian Protestantism (it's not, as is claimed here and there (here on this blog, too) American Puritanism, - wich is related to Pietism. If this was true, Mattie Ross would simply n o t have become the character Mattie Ross, since those two things - Pietism and Presbyterianism - differ in a way, that's definitely crucial here: Pietism a) abhorres being "a pill", b) could've made no use of the Presbyterian's burning a n d florishing bush, c) does not argue in a tough an public way, but d) strengthens the inner and intimate world of small groups; and introspection and dialogue rather than public discourse and worldly fights. Be they with guns, or words - or even grownup men.

    All these - as it looks, fully understood - aspects make for this great movie.

    Can't help it, I want to add: The young Tom Wolfe admired Charles Portis - especially for his true grit to quit his job to write this novel. Plus, I guess: He admired him deeply, because he not ony wrote a great book, but succeeded also in selling it big scale.

    Then a personal remark as the photographer I am: Roger Deakins cinematograhy is great (I still have single scenes in my mind, radiating of unforced beauty, especially the ride into the valley under an overcast southern winter-sky with a little Snow, even, here and there.

    Another remark: The Coen's achieve a very good christian movie: Such are the wonders of true art.
    And they make a powerful comment about: Adolescence, rebellion (and the price thereof), women's emancipation - and an anti-statement: They - indirectly - oppose the snowflakey and whiney part of public discourse known as PC and favor: True Grit!

    They can achieve all this, because they don't idolize their main character, too: As I said: Mattie does pay a price for her rebellion against the world and reason of the grown up men who tell her again and again, that she should not ride out in the big wild open and should not try to help the marshall and the sheriff there, but rather stay safe and at home.

    If somebody will write the cultural history of the 21st century, ok - she - why not, ehe - she could discuss Michel Houellebecq's "Submission" and "True Grit" in the same chapter and treat them as subjects, which have quite a few things in common.
    If she would be taken in maybe even a tad too much, she could mention the fact, that Richard Deakins cinematography in the movie does remind her of some of the efforts in landscape-photography, Michel Houellebecq made (she then could hint at the German magazine Der Spiegel, who once ran a glorious stretch of Houellebcq's photos - to hardly any effect). I'm sure, that this then would be looked upon as a truely original aspect of her work, which at the same time is clearly over the top, and has never been mentioned before. Not even once.

    The Coen’s achieve a very good christian movie: Such are the wonders of true art.

    Indeed so. Flannery O’Connor would approve.

    Appreciate your thoughts.

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    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    I'm glad you do.
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  268. @Dieter Kief
    I saw No Country for old Men (on TV though) and turned it off halfway through. I felt like watching a slow dumb snake trying to swallow a hedgedhog. I might quite not have gotten what they were after - unless it was something of the existential American cold-heartedness talked about by D. H. Lawrence in Piltdownman's quote above.
    I tend to think about such things as rather uninteresting subjects, since they are without any secrets or unsolved problems: All there might be is in a bright spotlight, right from the start.

    True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis were fun to watch, and I talked to a lot of people about those movies, which was fun too.

    I tend to think about such things as rather uninteresting subjects, since they are without any secrets or unsolved problems: All there might be is in a bright spotlight, right from the start.

    Not unlike Game of Thrones in that respect. Just a gussied up Jerry Springer show.

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  269. @Desiderius

    The Coen’s achieve a very good christian movie: Such are the wonders of true art.
     
    Indeed so. Flannery O'Connor would approve.

    Appreciate your thoughts.

    I’m glad you do.

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  270. donut says:
    @Kylie
    My tone was jocular but my request was sincere.

    "Dogtooth" is a black comedy and somehow I think you would like it. Stick with it. It takes a little getting used to. I'd like to know what you make of it.

    "Tatie Danielle" (French) and "Terribly Happy" (Danish) are two more black comedies I really enjoyed.

    “Terribly Happy” is on Amazon and I’ll check it out . the other two are not .

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  271. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Gold:

    Silence

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  272. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Silver:

    Rules of Attraction.

    Vile characters but tour-de-force film-making.

    A demento version of Rules of the Game.

    Stillman vs Ellis/Avary

    Moralist vs Nihilist

    They intersect on romanticism, however fleeting it may be.

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  273. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Gold:

    The Informant

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