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Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Walker (Cox)
2. Dodsworth (Wyler)
3. The ‘Burbs (Dante)
4. Stop Making Sense (Demme)
5. Something Wild (Demme)
6. Jezebel (Wyler)
7. The Letter (Wyler)
8. Logan Lucky (Soderbergh)
9. The Big Sick (Showalter)
10. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Anderson)

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Now Playing: LOGAN LUCKY and GOOD TIME

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Opening in Chicago this Friday are two of the best American films of the year: Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky and the Safdie brothers’ Good Time. Although the milieu in which each movie is set could not be more different (urban, multi-ethnic Queens and rural, lily-white West Virginia, respectively), both are heist pictures focused on a pair of criminal siblings that are loaded from beginning to end with visually inventive, comedic and suspenseful set pieces. Along with Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, another original heist film that proved to be a surprise box office hit when it was released earlier this summer, they suggest that American genre cinema may yet rise like a phoenix from the ashes of superhero franchise-dom. Although all of these directors use genre conventions to different ends (in the case of Wright, I think the primary virtue of his virtuoso robbery sequences is the way they serve as unlikely love letters to the simple act of listening to music), they all point to the future of the movies-as-theatrical-experience in ways that feel fresh and exciting.

Much has been made of how Logan Lucky, Steven Soderbergh’s feature-film comeback after a self-imposed four-year hiatus (during which time he worked in television), was financed through the pre-sale of foreign and home-video/on-demand rights. This allowed the ambitious producer/director the freedom of partnering with a true indie distributor (Bleecker Street Films) and having not just creative control over the movie but also unprecedented control over its advertising budget and release schedule and bypassing the use of the proverbial Hollywood studio “middlemen” almost entirely – an unheard-of proposition for a film with a 30 million dollar budget that features movie stars like Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes and Hillary Swank in its cast. This has led to some speculation in the industry press that the potential success of Logan Lucky could make it a “game changer” and that, as a result, many Hollywood studio executives actively want it to fail.

This could also be why, although independent to the core in terms of how it was produced and is being distributed, Logan Lucky feels like a Hollywood film: it’s an entertaining crowd-pleaser that shrewdly attempts to court viewers on both the left and right wings of the political spectrum. Tatum’s character, Jimmy Logan, hatches an elaborate scheme to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway but only after being unfairly fired from his construction job for having a “pre-existing condition,” a sly attack on Trumpism and Republican health-care initiatives by Soderbergh and his screenwriter, the pseudonymous Rebecca Blunt. But the filmmakers also aggressively court the kind of “white working-class voters” who rarely go to the movies – and supposedly swung the last Presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor  – by making sops to “patriotism” (e.g., admiring shots of soldiers in uniform, a zippy NASCAR montage, “America the Beautiful” on the soundtrack, and, most pointedly, the xenophobia of making the film’s one unlikable character, amusingly played by Seth MacFarlane, a foreigner who makes jokes at the expense of a disabled U.S. military vet).

In other words, Logan Lucky is a film that invites everyone to identify with its little-guys-against-the-system heroes in a vaguely anti-authoritarian, us vs. them, Smokey and the Bandit kind of way. As an entertainment, it succeeds admirably: it’s a fun movie about people having fun, full of juicy performances and great visual and verbal wit. It’s everything that a summer popcorn movie should be but all too rarely is, and that’s a very welcome thing in 2017. The Safdie brothers’ Good Time, by contrast, is trickier, more troubling and ultimately more satisfying: a breathlessly paced “thriller” centered on an unlikable protagonist (though brilliantly played by a charismatic actor!) that continually challenges viewers by making disturbing asides about racism in contemporary America – beginning with the fact that the pre-credits heist is pulled off by the main characters, brothers Connie and Nick Nikas (Robert Pattinson and co-director Benny Safdie), in blackface – but also never slowing down quite enough to allow us to process what’s happening until it’s over.

This provocative mishmash of contradictory elements, and the almost-assaultive quality with which they’re put across, has proven too much for some critics, including the New York TimesA.O. Scott who accused the Safdie brothers of including “racial signifiers” that he feels can be dubiously interpreted in a multitude of ways and that he doesn’t think the filmmakers ultimately care anything about. My own take is that the Safdies are subtly but unambiguously critiquing Connie Nikas for the way he plays the race card throughout the film. Just look at the memorable scene set in Adventureland: Connie uses his white privilege to his advantage, breaking and entering an amusement park after hours to find a bottle of abandoned LSD worth thousands of dollars then walking away scott free with his white criminal accomplice while allowing two innocent black people to take the fall and go to jail. The scene is about as damning an indictment of racial profiling as one could ask for. I suspect what really makes Scott uncomfortable is the fact that the Safdies are asking viewers to admire Connie’s cleverness in thinking on his feet and improvising a plan as he goes along while also finding him morally reprehensible.

I also don’t know what Scott is talking about when he faults the film for its “bad lighting” and “avoidance of prettiness,” qualities that would be better ascribed to the Safdies’ previous film, the urban junkie-drama Heaven Knows What (perhaps Scott saw the film he expected to see?). While there is a similar sense of gritty verisimilitude on display (especially in the extensive use of exterior New York City locations, which harkens back to the Film School Generation of the 1970s in the way it turns urban spaces into a giant playground), Good Time is also more daring in how it juxtaposes this “street cred” with a bolder sense of aesthetic stylization – one where helicopter shots, neon lighting, bodies-in-constant-motion and a pulse-pounding electronic score all blend together into a gorgeous and expressionistic swirl. At the end of the film, when Connie’s luck has finally run out, we see him in an extreme overhead shot attempting to run from the police but looking as helpless and trapped as a rat in a maze. It’s a marriage of form and content worthy of comparison to Fritz Lang or Alfred Hitchcock, a moment of pure cinema to renew one’s faith in the medium.


The Possibility of Parallel Realities in TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN

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Almost everyone I know who is closely watching the astonishing third season of Twin Peaks agrees by now that the chronology of the scenes set in the town of Twin Peaks itself is far more scrambled than the chronology of the show’s other narratives set outside of Twin Peaks (see my updated timeline for examples). A lot of commentators, including me, believe that this non-linearity is deliberate on the part of the show’s creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, and that it relates to their desire to further explore the kind of time/space paradoxes that have always been central to both the show and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (Annie Blackburn appearing to Laura Palmer in a dream and conveying information about Dale Cooper before his arrival in town being perhaps the most prominent example). While puzzling over the current season’s tricky chronology – specifically the way two different episodes depict separate scenes of Bobby Briggs that appear to be occurring in the Double R Diner on what seems like the same night (one involving him interacting with Shelly and Becky, the other involving him interacting with Big Ed and Norma) – an idea struck me: what if, instead of a jumbled timeline, the town of Twin Peaks and its residents exist simultaneously in two separate realities? And what if David Lynch is freely cutting back and forth between these parallel realities without giving viewers any clear or comforting indication of when we are seeing what I’ll call “Reality A” vs. when we are seeing what I’ll call “Reality B?”

The most solid evidence in favor of this theory can be found at the end of Part Seven. In one of the show’s most baffling moments to date, a young man identified in the credits as “Bing” bursts into the Double R Diner and excitedly blurts out the question “Has anybody seen Billy?” before turning and running back outside. This action happens over a series of wide shots taken from the back of the diner that are interrupted by medium shots of Norma sitting in a booth and looking up from her paperwork, seemingly in response to the commotion caused by Bing. Interestingly, the dozens of customers populating the diner are completely different from one wide shot to the next – even though no time appears to elapse over the straight cuts that separate them. Some cynical viewers have suggested that the use of shots featuring different extras is a mere “continuity error.” Others think the sense of temporal dislocation imparted by these cuts is intentional on Lynch’s part but cannot agree on the purpose of this bizarre editing scheme. Could it be that this scene is the key to understanding that Lynch is explicitly juxtaposing two different realities – where waitresses Shelly and Heidi are working the same shift but where their customers are totally different in each? Adding to the confusion, the scene ends with Bing, who we already saw exit the diner, walk up to the cash register to pay his tab. So, let’s say that in Reality A, a man named Billy is missing in the town of Twin Peaks and that his friend Bing is frantically looking for him. In Reality B, Billy is not missing and his friend Bing is enjoying a leisurely meal at the Double R Diner. You can watch the scene in its entirety here.

In Parts 12 and 13, the beloved character Audrey Horne made her long awaited reappearance on the show in two exceptionally dreamlike scenes. In both, she bitterly argues with her husband, Charlie, about the fact that her boyfriend, Billy, has been missing for two days. Audrey begs Charlie to escort her to the Roadhouse in order to help her look for Billy but both scenes end on a curious note of irresolution as Audrey seems almost physically incapable of leaving her home. Many viewers have speculated that the “real” Audrey is either still in a coma (caused by the bank explosion at the end of season two) and that these scenes are her dreams as she lies unconscious in a hospital bed, or that Audrey is inside some kind of mental hospital and that her “husband” in these scenes is actually a psychiatrist engaging her in a form of therapeutic role play. Both of these theories make sense: there is no technology in Charlie’s home office more recent than 1989 (when Audrey went into a coma) and, in a line of dialogue reminiscent of something Ben Kingsley says at the end of Shutter Island, Charlie at one point ominously threatens to “end” Audrey’s “story.” The problem with these theories, however, is that Audrey seems to have knowledge of events taking place in town that we have seen independently of her (e.g., the fact that someone named Billy has been missing for “two days,” and, if we are to further assume that Billy is the “farmer” interviewed by Deputy Andy in Part 7, that his truck was both stolen and returned prior to his disappearance).

The possibility of multiple realities reconciles this contradiction somewhat: could it be that Audrey is stuck in a loveless marriage to Charlie and having an affair with Billy in Reality A but that she is in a coma in Calhoun Memorial Hospital in Reality B? Could the empathetic Audrey of Reality A somehow sense that another version of herself is in a coma in a parallel reality? This would explain why, distraught, she tells Charlie that she feels like she’s “someone else” and “somewhere else.” Could this also be why Big Ed seems to react to the fact that his reflection in a window at the end of Part 13 is out of synch with his actions? Could the Big Ed of one reality be glimpsing a version of himself in another reality? Could the weirdness in Sarah Palmer’s home, including the strange looping of a boxing match on her television set near the end of Part 13, indicate that she is somehow trapped “between two worlds?” Finally, might this theory also explain the discrepancies between Mark Frost’s Secret History of Twin Peaks novel and the events of the show’s first two seasons (notably concerning the death of Norma’s mother and the fact that there are two different Miss Twin Peaks pageant winners)? While I’m not 100% sold on this idea, I find it intriguing to think about. Future episodes (and further close viewing) should bring clarity.


My Student Tomato-Meter: 2017 Edition

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The Fall semester is about to began, which means it’s that time of year when I post my updated “student tomato-meter” showing the aggregated results of the ratings — on a scale from one-to-10 — that my students have given to every movie I’ve shown in my film studies classes dating back to the Spring 2009 semester. I’ve now taught 96 classes and shown a total of 447 unique movies. Below is a list of all the films I’ve screened to date, presented in chronological order by release date, along with the average ratings given by my students. Below that I’ve also included a list of the top 10 highest-rated films. My goal as a teacher is to show at least one movie by every great director who ever lived. Please scan the list below and feel free tell me in the comments section who you think I might be missing.

Sherlock Holmes (Berthelet, USA, 1915) – 4.3
Les Vampires (Feuillade, France, 1915-1916) – 7.0
Broken Blossoms (Griffith, USA, 1919) – 5.9
Within Our Gates (Micheaux, USA, 1920) – 7.0
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene, USA, 1920) – 6.9
The Golem (Wegener, Germany, 1920) – 6.0
The Phantom Carriage (Sjostrom, Sweden, 1921) – 7.3
Nosferatu (Murnau, Germany, 1922) – 6.7
Safety Last! (Newmeyer/Taylor, USA, 1923) – 8.4
Our Hospitality (Keaton, USA, 1923) – 8.4
Greed (Von Stroheim, USA, 1923) – 6.9
Coeur Fidele (Epstein, France, 1924) – 5.2
Sherlock Jr. (Keaton, USA, 1924) – 8.0
The Hands of Orlac (Wiene, Germany, 1924) – 6.2
Waxworks (Leni, Germany, 1924) – 5.1
The Freshman (Newmeyer/Taylor, 1925) – 8.3
Seven Chances (Keaton, USA, 1925) – 8.2
The Gold Rush (Chaplin, USA, 1925) – 8.1
The Navigator (Keaton, USA, 1925) – 8.1
The Last Laugh (Murnau, Germany, 1925) – 6.6
Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, USA, 1925) – 5.1
The General (Keaton, USA, 1926) – 8.4
Faust (Murnau, Germany, 1926) – 6.9
Secrets of a Soul (Pabst, Germany, 1926) – 6.6
Sunrise (Murnau, USA, 1927) – 6.9
Metropolis (Lang, Germany, 1927) – 6.6
Hindle Wakes (Elvey, UK, 1927) – 6.6
The End of St. Petersburg (Pudovkin, Soviet Union, 1927) – 5.0
The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (Shub, Soviet Union, 1927) – 4.0
The Docks of New York (Von Sternberg, USA, 1928) – 8.4
Speedy (Wilde, USA, 1928) – 7.5
The Crowd (Vidor, USA, 1928) – 7.4
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, France, 1928) – 6.9
Lonesome (Fejos, USA, 1928) – 6.7
A Cottage on Dartmoor (Asquith, UK, 1929) – 8.3
Lucky Star (Borzage, USA, 1929) – 8.1
Asphalt (May, Germany, 1929) – 6.8
Man with the Movie Camera (Vertov, Soviet Union, 1929) – 6.2
City Girl (Murnau, USA, 1930) – 6.7
City Lights (Chaplin, USA, 1931) – 8.5
M (Lang, Germany, 1931) – 8.1
Madchen in Uniform (Sagan/Froelich, Germany, 1931) – 7.1
Freaks (Browning, USA, 1931) – 7.1
Vampyr (Dreyer, Germany, 1932) – 7.1
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Lang, Germany, 1933) – 7.6
Duck Soup (McCarey, USA, 1933) – 6.8
It Happened One Night (Capra, 1934) – 8.5
The Goddess (Wu, China, 1934) – 7.6
L’atalante (Vigo, France, 1934) – 6.8
Top Hat (Sandrich, USA, 1935) – 8.6
My Man Godfrey (La Cava, USA, 1936) – 8.5
Modern Times (Chaplin, USA, 1936) – 8.0
Redes (Muriel/Zinneman, Mexico, 1936) – 6.9
The Awful Truth (McCarey, USA, 1937) – 8.5
Grand Illusion (Renoir, France, 1937) – 7.0
Bringing Up Baby (Hawks, USA, 1938) – 8.2
Holiday (Cukor, USA, 1938) – 7.9
Alexander Nevsky (Eisenstein, Soviet Union, 1938) – 5.0
Midnight (Liesen, USA, 1939) – 8.7
Only Angels Have Wings (Hawks, USA, 1939) – 8.2
The Roaring Twenties (Walsh, USA, 1939) – 8.2
Stagecoach (Ford, USA, 1939) – 7.7
The Rules of the Game (Renoir, France, 1939) – 7.1
His Girl Friday (Hawks, USA, 1940) – 8.3
The Grapes of Wrath (Ford, USA, 1940) – 7.9
The Shop Around the Corner (Lubitsch, USA, 1940) – 7.4
The Lady Eve (Sturges, USA, 1941) – 8.2
Citizen Kane (Welles, USA, 1941) – 8.2
How Green Was My Valley (Ford, USA, 1941) – 7.8
The Strawberry Blonde (Walsh, USA, 1941) – 7.6
The Maltese Falcon (Hawks, USA, 1941) – 6.9
Casablanca (Curtiz, USA, 1942) – 8.4
The Palm Beach Story (Sturges, USA, 1941) – 7.5
Aniki Bobo (De Oliveira, Portugal, 1942) – 7.2
Cat People (Tourneur, USA, 1942) – 6.0
The More the Merrier (Stevens, USA, 1943) – 8.2
I Walked with a Zombie (Tourneur, USA, 1943) – 6.0
Ossessione (Visconti, Italy, 1943) – 5.2
Double Indemnity (Wilder, USA, 1944) – 8.1
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (Sturges, USA, 1944) – 8.0
To Have and Have Not (Hawks, USA, 1944) – 7.5
Murder My Sweet (Dmytryk, USA, 1944) – 7.0
Brief Encounter (Lean, UK, 1945) – 8.0
Detour (Ulmer, USA, 1945) – 7.4
Rome, Open City (Rossellini, Italy, 1945) – 7.2
Notorious (Hitchcock, USA, 1946) – 8.5
The Best Years of Our Lives (Wyler, USA, 1946) – 8.4
My Darling Clementine (Ford, USA, 1946) – 7.5
The Big Sleep (Hawks, USA, 1946) – 6.0
Dead Reckoning (Cromwell, USA, 1947) – 8.2
Out of the Past (Tourneur, USA, 1947) – 7.7
The Lady from Shanghai (Welles, USA, 1947) – 7.7
Body and Soul (Rossen, USA, 1947) – 8.6
Pursued (Walsh, USA, 1947) – 7.1
Black Narcissus (Powell/Pressburger, UK, 1947) – 7.1
La Perla (Fernandez, Mexico, 1947) – 6.5
Letter from an Unknown Woman (Ophuls, USA, 1948) – 8.8
Rope (Hitchcock, USA, 1948) – 8.7
The Red Shoes (Powell/Pressburger, UK, 1948) – 8.3
Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, Italy, 1948) – 8.0
Call Northside 777 (Hathaway, USA, 1948) – 7.7
Germany Year Zero (Rossellini, Italy/Germany, 1948) – 7.5
Fort Apache (Ford, USA, 1948) – 7.5
Spring in a Small Town (Fei, China, 1948) – 6.7
A Letter to Three Wives (Mankiewicz, USA, 1949) – 8.4
White Heat (Walsh, USA, 1949) – 8.3
The Third Man (Reed, UK, 1949) – 8.0
Jour de Fete (Tati, France, 1949) – 7.8
Sunset Boulevard (Wilder, USA, 1950) – 8.8
Los Olvidados (Bunuel, Mexico, 1950) – 7.5
Devil’s Doorway (Mann, USA, 1950) – 7.3
Union Station (Mate, USA, 1950) – 7.3
The African Queen (Huston, USA, 1951) – 8.3
On Dangerous Ground (Ray, USA, 1951) – 7.5
Singin’ in the Rain (Donen/Kelly, USA, 1952) – 9.0
Umberto D. (De Sica, Italy, 1952) – 6.8
The Big Heat (Lang, USA, 1953) – 8.5
Pickup on South Street (Fuller, USA, 1953) – 8.2
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Hawks, USA, 1953) – 8.2
Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (Tati, France, 1953) – 8.1
The Band Wagon (Minnelli, USA, 1953) – 7.9
Strangers on a Train (Hitchcock, USA, 1953) – 7.8
The Hitch-Hiker (Lupino, USA, 1953) – 7.7
City That Never Sleeps (Auer, USA, 1953) – 7.5
The Naked Spur (Mann, USA, 1953) – 7.0
Tokyo Story (Ozu, Japan, 1953) – 6.7
Ugetsu (Mizoguchi, Japan, 1953) – 6.7
Rear Window (Hitchcock, USA, 1954) – 8.9
Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, Japan, 1954) – 8.3
French Cancan (Renoir, France, 1954) – 8.2
Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi, Japan, 1954) – 7.0
The Night of the Hunter (Laughton, USA, 1955) – 9.1
All That Heaven Allows (Sirk, USA, 1955) – 8.0
Artists and Models (Tashlin, USA, 1955) – 7.8
Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich, USA, 1955) – 7.2
Pather Panchali (Ray, India, 1955) – 6.4
A Man Escaped (Bresson, France, 1956) – 8.1
The Searchers (Ford, USA, 1956) – 7.4
Bigger Than Life (Ray, USA, 1956) – 6.8
Aparajito (Ray, India, 1956) – 6.6
An Affair to Remember (McCarey, USA, 1957) – 8.0
Vertigo (Hitchcock, USA, 1958) – 8.8
Some Came Running (Minnelli, USA, 1958) – 7.9
Touch of Evil (Welles, USA, 1958) – 7.6
Big Deal on Madonna Street (Monicelli, Italy, 1958) – 7.5
Cairo Station (Chahine, Egypt, 1958) – 7.0
Ashes and Diamonds (Wajda, Poland, 1958) – 7.0
Throne of Blood (Kurosawa, Japan, 1958) – 5.9
Some Like It Hot (Wilder, USA, 1959) – 9.1
Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger, USA, 1959) – 8.9
The 400 Blows (Truffaut, USA, 1959) – 8.8
North By Northwest (Hitchcock, USA, 1959) – 8.6
Rio Bravo (Hawks, USA, 1959) – 8.6
Pickpocket (Bresson, France, 1959) – 7.3
Hiroshima, Mon Amour (Resnais, France, 1959) – 6.8
Psycho (Hitchcock, USA, 1960) – 8.7
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Naruse, Japan, 1960) – 8.1
Les Bonnes Femmes (Chabrol, France, 1960) – 8.0
Breathless (Godard, France, 1960) – 7.9
Eyes Without a Face (Franju, France, 1960) – 7.7
Accatone (Pasolini, Italy, 1960) – 7.6
L’aventura (Antonioni, Italy, 1960) – 7.4
The Housemaid (Kim, S. Korea, 1960) – 7.1
Chronicle of a Summer (Rouch/Morin, France, 1960) – 6.9
Last Year at Marienbad (Resnais, France, 1961) – 6.8
Viridiana (Bunuel, Spain, 1961) – 5.8
The Ladies Man (Lewis, USA, 1962) – 8.3
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, USA, 1962) – 8.3
Cleo from 5 to 7 (Varda, France, 1962) – 7.4
Vivre sa Vie (Godard, France, 1962) – 7.2
Le Doulos (Melville, France, 1962) – 7.1
Jules and Jim (Truffaut, France, 1962) – 5.5
Shock Corridor (Fuller, USA, 1963) – 8.4
The Nutty Professor (Lewis, USA, 1963) – 8.4
The Executioner (Berlanga, Spain, 1963) – 8.1
Contempt (Godard, France, 1963) – 8.0
Black Sabbath (Bava, Italy, 1963) – 7.1
8 1/2 (Fellini, Italy, 1963) – 6.5
Onibaba (Shindo, Japan, 1964) – 8.0
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Demy, France, 1964) – 7.8
Band of Outsiders (Godard, France, 1964) – 7.4
Dry Summer (Erksan, Turkey, 1964) – 7.4
Pierrot le Fou (Godard, France, 1965) – 8.3
Repulsion (Polanski, UK, 1965) – 7.4
Mickey One (Penn, USA, 1965) – 7.1
Alphaville (Godard, France, 1965) – 6.0
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Leone, Italy, 1966) – 8.8
Daisies (Chytilova, Czechoslovakia, 1966) – 7.2
Point Blank (Boorman, USA, 1966) – 7.0
The Pornographers (Imamura, Japan, 1966) – 6.9
Persona (Bergman, Sweden, 1966) – 6.4
The Graduate (Nichols, USA, 1967) – 8.8
The Young Girls of Rochefort (Demy, France, 1967) – 8.6
Play Time (Tati, France, 1967) – 8.2
The Firemen’s Ball (Forman, Czechoslovakia, 1967) – 8.0
Le Samourai (Melville, France, 1967) – 8.0
Branded to Kill (Suzuki, Japan, 1967) – 7.8
Don’t Look Back (Pennebaker, USA, 1967) – 7.4
David Holzman’s Diary (McBride, USA, 1967) – 6.7
Dragon Inn (Hu, Taiwan, 1967) – 6.5
Rosemary’s Baby (Polanski, USA, 1968) – 8.3
High School (Wiseman, USA, 1968) – 7.7
2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, USA, 1968) – 7.6
Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (Straub/Huillet, Germany, 1968) – 5.3
The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, USA, 1969) – 8.1
My Night at Maud’s (Rohmer, France, 1969) – 7.8
Medium Cool (Wexler, USA, 1969) – 7.2
Inquiring Nuns (Quinn, USA, 1969) – 7.2
Antonio das Mortes (Rocha, Brazil, 1969) – 5.2
The Red Circle (Melville, France, 1970) – 8.4
Le Boucher (Chabrol, France, 1970) – 7.5
The Emigrants (Troell, Sweden, 1971) – 8.8
A New Leaf (May, USA, 1971) – 8.2
Two-Lane Blacktop (Hellman, USA, 1971) – 7.7
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Altman, USA, 1971) – 6.9
Minnie and Moskowitz (Cassavetes, USA, 1971) – 5.2
The New Land (Troell, Sweden, 1972) – 8.8
Love in the Afternoon (Rohmer, France, 1972) – 8.3
Solaris (Tarkovsky, Russia, 1972) – 6.3
The Exorcist (Friedkin, USA, 1973) – 8.1
The Long Goodbye (Altman, USA, 1973) – 7.9
The Sting (Hill, USA, 1973) – 7.9
Badlands (Malick, USA, 1973) – 7.6
The Mother and the Whore (Eustache, France, 1973) – 7.4
The Spirit of the Beehive (Erice, Spain, 1973) – 7.4
Touki Bouki (Mambety, Senegal, 1973) – 6.8
Blazing Saddles (Brooks, USA, 1974) – 8.4
Chinatown (Polanski, USA, 1974) – 8.2
Black Christmas (Clark, Canada, 1974) – 8.2
Young Frankenstein (Brooks, USA, 1974) – 7.6
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder, Germany, 1974) – 7.2
Celine and Julie Go Boating (Rivette, France, 1974) – 6.8
The Irony of Fate: Or Enjoy Your Bath (Ryazanov, Russia, 1975) – 8.5
Cooley High (Schultz, USA, 1975) – 8.3
Night Moves (Penn, USA, 1975) – 8.1
Grey Gardens (Maysles/Maysles, USA, 1975) – 4.2
Taxi Driver (Scorsese, USA, 1976) – 7.8
In the Realm of the Senses (Oshima, Japan, 1976) – 6.9
Mikey and Nicky (May, USA, 1976) – 6.4
Annie Hall (Allen, USA, 1977) – 6.6
House (Obayashi, Japan, 1977) – 6.4
One Way Boogie Woogie (Benning, USA, 1977) – 5.1
A Wedding (Altman, USA, 1978) – 8.4
Halloween (Carpenter, USA, 1978) – 8.3
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (Lau, Hong Kong, 1978) – 8.3
Dawn of the Dead (Romero, USA, 1978) – 7.8
Days of Heaven (Malick, USA, 1978) – 7.8
Killer of Sheep (Burnett, USA, 1979) – 7.8
The Blues Brothers (Landis, USA, 1980) – 9.4
Raging Bull (Scorsese, USA, 1980) – 8.3
The Shining (Kubrick, USA, 1980) – 8.2
Melvin and Howard (Demme, USA, 1980) – 7.0
Popeye (Altman, USA, 1980) – 5.2
Thief (Mann, USA, 1981) – 8.5
An American Werewolf in London (Landis, USA, 1981) – 8.3
Possession (Zulawski, France/Germany, 1981) – 7.9
The Road Warrior (Miller, Australia, 1981) – 7.4
Trances (El Maanouni, Morocco, 1981) – 6.2
The Thing (Carpenter, USA, 1982) – 8.3
Blade Runner (Scott, USA, 1982) – 7.6
The Slumber Party Massacre (Jones, USA, 1982) – 6.8
Rock in Reykjavik (Fridriksson, Iceland, 1982) – 6.3
A Nos Amours (Pialat, France, 1983) – 8.5
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Oshima, Japan, 1983) – 8.0
Sans Soleil (Marker, France, 1983) – 6.2
Stranger Than Paradise (Jarmusch, USA, 1984) – 8.0
Vagabond (Varda, France, 1985) – 7.4
After Hours (Scorsese, USA, 1985) – 6.7
The Fly (Cronenberg, USA/Canda, 1986) – 8.0
Bad Blood (Carax, France, 1986) – 7.1
The Green Ray (Rohmer, France, 1986) – 6.1
The Dead (Huston, USA/UK, 1987) – 7.8
The Thin Blue Line (Morris, USA, 1988) – 7.9
A Short Film About Love (Kieslowski, Poland, 1988) – 7.9
Time of the Gypsies (Kusturica, Yugoslavia, 1988) – 7.0
A Short Film About Killing (Kieslowski, Poland, 1988) – 6.9
Drugstore Cowboy (Van Sant, USA, 1989) – 8.2
Do the Right Thing (Lee, USA, 1989) – 7.6
Goodfellas (Scorsese, USA, 1990) – 9.0
King of New York (Ferrara, USA, 1990) – 8.9
House Party (Hudlin, USA, 1990) – 6.7
Defending Your Life (Brooks, USA, 1991) – 8.5
To Sleep with Anger (Burnett, USA, 1991) – 8.5
The Lovers on the Bridge (Carax, France, 1991) – 8.0
Close-Up (Kiarostami, Iran, 1991) – 7.6
Slacker (Linklater, USA, 1991) – 7.0
Basic Instinct (Verhoeven, USA, 1992) – 9.0
Unforgiven (Eastwood, USA, 1992) – 8.6
Deep Cover (Duke, USA, 1992) – 8.5
The Player (Altman, USA, 1992) – 8.2
The Long Day Closes (Davies, UK, 1992) – 4.7
The Piano (Campion, New Zealand, 1993) – 8.4
Groundhog Day (Raimis, USA, 1993) – 8.4
Sonatine (Kitano, Japan, 1993) – 8.3
Matinee (Dante, USA, 1993) – 8.2
Dazed and Confused (Linklater, USA, 1993) – 8.2
Menace II Society (Hughes/Hughes, USA, 1993) – 8.0
Naked (Leigh, UK, 1993) – 6.3
The Bride with White Hair (Yu, Hong Kong, 1993) – 5.1
Hoop Dreams (James, USA, 1994) – 8.0
Chungking Express (Wong, Hong Kong, 1994) – 8.0
The Last Seduction (Dahl, USA, 1994) – 7.1
Wild Reeds (Techine, France, 1994) – 7.1
Ed Wood (Burton, USA, 1994) – 6.8
Devil in a Blue Dress (Franklin, USA, 1995 – 8.5
The Bridges of Madison County (Eastwood, USA, 1995) – 8.2
Dead Man (Jarmusch, USA, 1995) – 8.1
Irma Vep (Assayas, France, 1996) – 7.2
A Moment of Innocence (Makhmalbaf, Iran, 1996) – 5.8
Jackie Brown (Tarantino, USA, 1997) – 9.2
L.A. Confidential (Hanson, USA, 1997) – 8.8
Cure (Kurosawa, Japan, 1997) – 8.2
Taste of Cherry (Kiarostami, Iran, 1997) – 7.2
The Mirror (Panahi, Iran, 1997) – 5.1
The Big Lebowski (Coen/Coen, 1998) – 8.8
The Last Days of Disco (Stillman, USA, 1998) – 8.4
The Bird People in China (Miike, Japan/China, 1998) – 6.6
Office Space (Judge, USA, 1999) – 8.5
Peppermint Candy (Lee, S. Korea, 1999) – 8.2
Ravenous (Bird, UK/USA, 1999) – 8.0
Nowhere to Hide (Lee, S. Korea, 1999) – 7.6
Audition (Miike, Japan, 1999) – 7.5
Beau Travail (Denis, France, 1999) – 7.0
JSA: Joint Security Area (Park S. Korea, 2000) – 8.6
High Fidelity (Frears, USA, 2000) – 8.5
Yi Yi (Yang, Taiwan, 2000) – 8.4
Dancer in the Dark (Von Trier, Sweden/Denmark, 2000) – 8.1
La Captive (Akerman, France, 2000) – 8.0
The Day I Became a Woman (Meskini, Iran, 2000) – 7.6
In the Mood for Love (Wong, Hong Kong, 2000) – 7.4
Needing You (To/Wai, Hong Kong, 2000) – 7.1
Sexy Beast (Glazer, UK, 2000) – 6.9
Italian for Beginners (Scherfig, Denmark, 2000) – 6.4
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (Gowariker, 2001) – 9.3
The Devil’s Backbone (Del Toro, Spain/Mexico, 2001) – 8.6
Mulholland Drive (Lynch, USA, 2001) – 8.1
Failan (Song, S. Korea, 2001) – 8.1
Avalon (Oshii, Japan/Poland, 2001) – 7.8
What Time Is It There? (Tsai, Taiwan, 2001) – 6.6
Fat Girl (Breillat, France, 2001) – 6.5
The Tracker (De Heer, Australia, 2002) – 7.9
Infernal Affairs (Lau/Mak, Hong Kong, 2002) – 7.8
Far From Heaven (Haynes, USA, 2002) – 7.6
Bollywood/Hollywood (Mehta, Canada, 2002) – 7.6
Distant (Ceylan, Turkey, 2002) – 5.0
Memories of Murder (Bong, S. Korea, 2003) – 8.8
Oldboy (Park, S. Korea, 2003) – 8.6
A Tale of Two Sisters (Kim, S. Korea, 2003) – 7.8
Save the Green Planet (Jang, S. Korea, 2003) – 6.9
Before Sunset (Linklater, USA, 2004) – 9.0
3-Iron (Kim, S. Korea, 2004) – 8.8
Moolade (Sembene, Senegal, 2004) – 8.2
The Island of Black Mor (Laguionie, France, 2004) – 8.1
The Holy Girl (Martel, Argentina, 2004) – 6.9
Dumplings (Chan, Hong Kong, 2004) – 6.4
A History of Violence (Cronenberg, Canada/USA, 2005) – 8.3
Grizzly Man (Herzog, USA, 2005) – 8.1
The Proposition (Hillcoat, Australia, 2005) – 8.1
Three Times (Hou, Taiwan, 2005) – 7.5
Pan’s Labyrinth (Del Toro, Spain, 2006) – 9.3
The Host (Bong, S. Korea, 2006) – 8.9
Once (Carney, UK, 2006) – 8.8
Shaun of the Dead (Wright, UK, 2006) – 8.5
Black Book (Verhoeven, Holland, 2006) – 8.4
Offside (Panahi, Iran, 2006) – 8.2
A Scanner Darkly (Linklater, USA, 2006) – 8.0
Woman on the Beach (Hong, S. Korea, 2006) – 7.1
12:08 East of Bucharest (Poromboiu, Romania, 2006) – 5.7
The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (Dominik, USA, 2007) – 9.6
Zodiac (Fincher, USA, 2007) – 9.1
Eastern Promises (Cronenberg, Canada/UK, 2007) – 8.7
My Winnipeg (Maddin, Canada, 2007) – 6.3
Let the Right One In (Alfredson, Sweden, 2008) – 8.7
Me and Orson Welles (Linklater, USA, 2008) – 7.9
The Headless Woman (Martel, Argentina, 2008) – 6.1
The Hurt Locker (Bigelow, USA, 2008) – 9.4
The House of the Devil (West, USA, 2009) – 8.1
Change Nothing (Costa, France/Portugal, 2009) – 6.0
Shutter Island (Scorsese, USA, 2010) – 9.5
The Social Network (Fincher, USA, 2010) – 8.5
Certified Copy (Kiarostami, Italy/France, 2010) – 8.5
Another Year (Leigh, UK, 2010) – 8.1
The Ghost Writer (Polanski, Germany/France, 2010) – 8.0
The Hunter (Pitts, Iran, 2010) – 6.8
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Weerasethakul, Thailand, 2010) – 6.6
Audrey the Trainwreck (Ross, USA, 2010) – 6.4
Bernie (Linklater, USA, 2011) – 8.9
The Skin I Live In (Almodovar, Spain, 2011) – 8.6
Drive (Refn, USA, 2011) – 8.1
Life Without Principle (To, Hong Kong, 2011) – 7.9
Midnight in Paris (Allen, USA/France, 2011) – 7.7
Le Havre (Kaurismaki, France/Finland, 2011) – 7.6
Mildred Pierce (Haynes, USA, 2011) – 7.5
This Is Not a Film (Panahi, Iran, 2011) – 7.1
Sleeping Sickness (Kohler, Germany, 2011) – 6.6
Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, USA, 2012) – 8.9
Frances Ha (Baumbach, USA, 2012) – 8.7
Silver Linings Playbook (Russell, USA, 2012) – 8.4
Holy Motors (Carax, France, 2012) – 8.3
Spring Breakers (Korine, USA, 2012) – 8.3
Dormant Beauty (Bellochio, Italy, 2012) – 8.1
Barbara (Petzold, Germany, 2012) – 8.0
Empire Builder (Swanberg, USA, 2012) – 7.7
The Master (Anderson, USA, 2012) – 7.6
Cosmopolis (Cronenberg, Canada/Germany, 2012) – 7.0
The Unspeakable Act (Sallit, USA, 2012) – 6.9
A F**load of Scotch Tape (Grant, USA, 2012) – 6.8
Shoals (Bass, USA, 2012) – 5.7
Snowpiercer (Bong, S. Korea, 2013) – 9.4
Stoker (Park, USA, 2013) – 8.9
Nymphomaniac (Von Trier, Denmark/Germany, 2013) – 8.5
The Grandmaster (Wong, Hong Kong/China, 2013) – 8.2
Top of the Lake (Campion/Davis, New Zealand, 2013) – 8.1
Upstream Color (Carruth, USA, 2013) – 8.1
Before Midnight (Linklater, USA, 2013) – 8.0
A Touch of Sin (Jia, China, 2013) – 7.9
The Wind Rises (Miyazaki, Japan, 2013) – 7.8
Jimmy P. (Desplechin, France/USA, 2013) – 7.7
Contracted (England, USA, 2013) – 7.6
Under the Skin (Glazer, UK, 2013) – 7.3
Black Box (Cone, USA, 2013) – 7.2
Gloria (Lelio, Chile, 2013) – 7.2
Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater (Klinger, USA, 2013) – 6.8
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jarmusch, USA, 2013) – 6.3
The Girls on Liberty Street (Rangel, USA, 2013) – 5.5
Boyhood (Linklater, USA, 2014) – 9.5
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Anderson, USA, 2014) – 8.9
Actress (Greene, USA, 2014) – 8.3
Inherent Vice (Anderson, USA, 2014) – 8.3
The Babadook (Kent, Australia, 2014) – 8.1
Li’l Quinquin (Dumont, France, 2014) – 7.9
Goodbye to Language (Godard, Switzerland/France, 2014) – 7.6
Buzzard (Potrykus, USA, 2014) – 6.7
Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong, S. Korea, 2015) – 8.5
Thao’s Library (Van Meter, USA, 2015) – 8.5
Timbuktu (Sissako, Mauritania/Mali, 2015) – 7.6
Bloomin Mud Shuffle (Ross, USA, 2015) – 7.5
Toni Erdmann (Ade, Germany, 2016) – 9.0
Malaria (Shahbazi, Iran, 2016) – 8.8
Donald Cried (Avedisian, USA, 2016) – 8.5

The 10 Highest-Rated Films:
10. The Night of the Hunter (Laughton, USA, 1955) – 9.1
9. Jackie Brown (Tarantino, USA, 1997) – 9.2
8. Pan’s Labyrinth (Del Toro, Spain/Mexico, 2006) – 9.3
7. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (Gowariker, India, 2000) – 9.3
6. The Blues Brothers (Landis, USA, 1980) – 9.4
5. The Hurt Locker (Bigelow, USA, 2008) – 9.4
4. Snowpiercer (Bong, S. Korea, 2013) – 9.4
3. Shutter Island (Scorsese, USA, 2010) – 9.5
2. Boyhood (Linklater, USA, 2014) – 9.5
1. The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (Dominik, USA, 2007) – 9.6

 

 

 

 

 


The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Detroit (Bigelow)
2. Good Time (Safdie/Safdie)
3. Wuthering Heights (Wyler)
4. Person to Person (Defa)
5. Schizopolis (Soderbergh)
6. XX (Benjamin/Clark/Kusama/Vuckovic)
7. Breathless (Godard)
8. Toni Erdmann (Ade)
9. Ed Wood (Burton)
10. Stalker (Tarkovsky)


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