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Old 01-31-2014, 10:43 AM   #31
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LM, wait for the 4 hour cut.

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Great list, LMP.

Thanks!

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Die in a fire.



You need to see To the Wonder.



You don't need to see The Great Beauty (haven't seen it).

Oh.

I don't have a good reason why I haven't caught the new Malick yet.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:50 AM   #32
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But seriously I like almost all your other picks. Great list on the whole. Happy to see someone here saw Computer Chess. Adore that movie.

Upstream Color is probably my least favorite film of the year though. Holy shit, Shane Carruth is a fucking talentless wankfest. Shitty writer, shitty director, super-shitty actor, and his bland hyper-shallow focus DSLR indie-cliche aesthetic is the fucking worst thing about the whole damn thing. Grrrrrr, deep breaths.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:19 PM   #33
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For a second I thought LMP had listed Carruth's acting. That role definitely could have been improved by a different actor.

The cinematography isn't so much a standout as the overall design and compositions. I understand where the film's detractors are coming from but it is some kind of uncompromising achievement.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:21 PM   #34
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LM, wait for the 4 hour cut.
That's not happening.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:33 PM   #35
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Computer Chess is a delight.

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For a second I thought LMP had listed Carruth's acting. That role definitely could have been improved by a different actor.

The cinematography isn't so much a standout as the overall design and compositions. I understand where the film's detractors are coming from but it is some kind of uncompromising achievement.

I felt it justified shooting a whole film on DSLR with how it got around the shallow depth-of-field inherent to that process while also highlighting the fluidity of movement. His cutting fits in tandem with that. So maybe Cinematography is a broad brush, but it felt ill-suited to factor in other tech categories.
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:36 PM   #36
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I just find the film ugly. Or half ugly, but the rest contributed by boredom with how 90% of DSLR video looks from people who seemingly know what they're still doing. I feel like a worldwide memo needs to be send out though that DSLRs are perfectly capable of deep focus. I don't understand this phenomenon. It started because shallow focus looked more filmic than video, but I don't get it. You're shooting video, let it look like video and focus on your compositions, focal lengths, color, etc. Just light your god-damn set and you can do deep focus. Plus there are numerous ways to get your video from looking like video these days, aside from the fact that the cameras themselves have come so far.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:18 PM   #37
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I have the same problems with DSLR filmmaking. It's a greater cultural problem that arises from the "democratic" mode of cheaper filmmaking. You can't stop people from making uninteresting shit of their friends talking to each other in a room; then again, we couldn't have a flick like Leviathan without Go Pro cameras.

Ironically watching a lot more shot-on-video or low budget semi-trash has made me a hell of a lot more critical of the current mode of filmmaking. Give me Chester Turner's Black Devil Doll from Hell over the latest crop of assembly line film school shorts any day, please.

We should do a 2013 Film Discoveries thread.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:43 PM   #38
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Not a bad idea.

I love the technology for the record, wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, though I'm a little sad I likely won't get to work much if at all with actual celluloid in my lifetime. But yeah, everybody's tapped into the same aesthetic modes lazily, and the same creative trope and it's tiring. Then again that's just what happens in any movement, if it's not just hugely emphasized here because of the nature of the beast. I guess we just have to wade through 10,000 mediocre artists now to find an Alex Ross Perry, an Andrew Bujalski or a Joe Swanberg for that matter, though he's coming into his own really recently as a prolific artist.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:50 PM   #39
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Anybody here into Slant Magazine? I find that site to be the most in line with my tastes and what I expect from good cinema (tv too!) and LMP's choices in particular seem to correspond with their recent year-end list (along with the ones they wanted to see but didn't get a chance to). I can occasionally enjoy some of the oh-so-Hollywood fare like Argo or American Hustle (while they seem to hate that stuff), but otherwise, I consider their year-end lists essential.

I'm currently working on seeing the entirety of great film from this century...

I start with:

1) Slant Magazine Year-End Lists and 00's Decade List - This goes all the way back to when they had just a couple writers posting their Top 10 lists back in 2002.

2) Oscar Nominated Foreign Films/Documentaries - I've also recently gone back through this century's Animated Short winners and downloaded the ones I haven't seen (and I'm sure the rest can be streamed). My girlfriend and I attend the Live Action/Animated screenings each year and were hoping to attend the Short Documentary one as well. Anyway, this list I have obviously doesn't include stuff already on the Slant one since that would be redundant and I like to keep a hierarchy.

The feature length documentary category tends to be pretty strong and they don't have as many glaring omissions as they did in the 90s (Hoop Dreams, anyone), but the Foreign Film category has been a clusterfuck for the last few decades, usually favoring mediocre overly dramatic ones that run about 2 1/2 hours and offer little new to the art form.

3) Films Nominated For Best Picture At The Oscars - This category is a step below the one above because I won't watch the outright turds (The Blind Side, Extremely Loud, etc.)

4) Any film that earns a Metacritic score of 80 or higher - I've been using this regularly since about 2005 in college. Rarely does a film with such high esteem from so many critics turn out to even be average, or rarely, downright shitty.

5) Any film left that won the juried award at Sundance or Cannes - Self-explanatory.

6) My own selections from the website criticstop10.com - Down for anything other than blockbusters such as Pacific Rim/Fast & Furious 6 that may be good at what they do, but don't offer anything creatively daring enough for me to sit through...and also not down for junk like The Help that probably ends up on lists from writers in the midwest or whatever. But that website is an incredible resource and I suggest you all check it out.


I approach this (am saving step #6 for later) by finding all the films that are on Netflix and Amazon Prime and deleting them from the list as I watch them. Once I run out of titles, I'll move on to Step #6 and by that point will have seen practically everything of merit from this absolutely astonishing era of film.

No real plans to actually download films from those lists, so I'll either check some out from the library or just let it be if I fully run out of titles (as I'm sure some of them will pop up from time-to-time on streaming services, etc.). Don't feel I need to actually complete this as it's just a fun way to find great films.

I've also put together a similar thing for the 1990s the other night (Slant did a list for that decade that ran to 200 titles), but it's not so intensive since hardly any of that stuff is available via streaming. Unsurprising since most people prefer to watch newer stuff, but I get really pissed off thinking about how studios like Warner Bros. try and horde their thousands of near worthless titles and will try and gouge companies like Netflix for money upfront and/or higher streaming rates...it's just ridiculous. Most of that material should be readily available for anyone curious and it's just fucking sad when a rights holder pulls like 1,000 titles from Netflix to try their luck somewhere else. Like a whiny kid that doesn't realize they aren't going to reap billions from films the mass public have no interest in.

I look at it film studios not putting up their films as being the same as the major labels being reluctant at first with joining Spotify. It's a gun to your head. You can either accept the paltry payments of the modern distribution methods or get nothing at all and have people pirate your material. I know which one I sure as hell would choose.

Oh, and for 2013, my main list that I started with (and then added a bit too) is a rundown of the important films from the first and second halves of 2013 over at The Dissolve (the Pitchfork owned movie site). A great starting point for last year.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:23 PM   #40
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I should probably get this in before the Oscars this weekend. Haven't seen a few that I'd like to yet (The Wind Rises, Blue is the Warmest Colour) but I'm much happier with my list than a month ago:

1. Before Midnight
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Her
4. The World's End
5. The Wolf of Wall Street
6. Gravity
7. Blue Jasmine
8. Inside Llewyn Davies
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. This is the End

Honorary shout out:
Fast and Furious 6
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:48 PM   #41
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Upstream Color is probably my least favorite film of the year though. Holy shit, Shane Carruth is a fucking talentless wankfest. Shitty writer, shitty director, super-shitty actor, and his bland hyper-shallow focus DSLR indie-cliche aesthetic is the fucking worst thing about the whole damn thing. Grrrrrr, deep breaths.
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or are actually serious. It's hard for me to believe that, personal tastes not withstanding, anybody could fail to acknowledge the masterful achievement in cinematic aesthetics that was Upstream Color.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:12 PM   #42
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I liked Primer. I'm not sure if that is in any way indicative of what I'll get from Upstream Color, but I may check it out before I post my list.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:36 PM   #43
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I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or are actually serious. It's hard for me to believe that, personal tastes not withstanding, anybody could fail to acknowledge the masterful achievement in cinematic aesthetics that was Upstream Color.

He's always serious.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:39 PM   #44
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Always serious but never to be taken seriously.

Upstream Color still blows.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:47 PM   #45
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