4 films of february

January 28, 2008

write-ups on shadow of a doubt, the man who knew too much, and vertigo are coming shortly.  school has just started up again, and i’ve had some other things pressing my time but they are on their way.

week of february 4:

the cabinet of dr. caligari by robert wiene

this may be cheating, but we’re actually screening this for a film history class i’m taking.

week of february 11:

au revoir, les enfants by louis malle

j’adore des films français. n’ont pas vu de louis malle, donc j’ai pensé que c’était un bon endroit pour commencer.

week of february 18:

apocalypse now by francis ford coppola

apocalypse  now

i actually own this on dvd but have never watched it. hopefully i’ll like it so i won’t have the buyer’s remorse.

week of february 25:

taxi driver by martin scorsese

i was looking at my “out yourself — the 5 films you should have seen, but haven’t” top 5 at the filmspotting message boards and saw this at #5.  so i gotta be able to cross it off.


also later this month look for a sort of 2007 round up.  a lot of good films in 07 that i wanna talk a little about.


i’ve waited until the absolute last moment until i turn the ballot in so that i could make time to see there will be blood. i didn’t get a chance to see really any non-english language films, in particular the diving bell and the butterfly, which seems to be getting all the love. most of the other non-english language films that are being mentioned are out on dvd, so i’ll have a chance to catch up with them before the final votes are due. also, the amount of documentaries i have seen this year is shockingly low.



1. once – my final “best of 07” list won’t be complete for awhile and i’m not sure if i’d put once first on my list, but i love it so much and it’s sort of a strategical ploy to give it more points then the other two, which i think more people will nominate.

2. there will be blood

3. juno


1. paul thomas anderson – there will be blood

2. joel & ethan coen – no country for old men

3. sean penn – into the wild

original screenplay

1. diablo cody – juno

2. susanne bier/anders thomas jensen – after the wedding

3. shane meadows – this is england

adapted screenplay

1. sean penn – into the wild

2. joel & ethan coen – no country for old men

3. james vanderbilt – zodiac


1. rolf lassgard – after the wedding – might not be better than daniel day, but less people are gonna nominate him so i’m trying to get him on the ballot, and he probably deserves the best actor nod.

2. daniel day lewis – there will be blood

3. emile hirsch – into the wild

actress – i haven’t seen away from her, a mighty heart, or a lot of other films that are getting heavy praise for the leading ladies.

1. ellen page – juno

2. keri russell – waitress

3. marketa irglova – once

supporting actor

1. ben foster – 3:10 to yuma

2. stephen graham – this is england

3. ifran khan – the namesake

supporting actress

1. sidse babett knudsen – after the wedding

2. tabu – the namesake

3. cate blanchett – i’m not there

ensemble cast

1. after the wedding

2. 3:10 to yuma
3. no country for old men

editing – no vote

non-english language film

1. after the wedding

2. the lives of others


1. once – by far the best

2. juno

3. darjeeling limited


1. there will be blood

animated film

1. ratatouille

2. the simpson’s movie


1. god grew tired of us

2. sicko

3. helvetica

art direction – no vote

sound editing – no vote

visual effects – no vote

cinematography –

1. there will be blood

2. no country for old men

3. 3:10 to yuma

make-up – no vote

costumes – no vote

fun categories:

kick-ass scene

1. bathhouse fight – eastern promises

2. waiting on the bed in the hotel – no country for old men

3. waterloo station – the bourne ultimatum

trailer – i personally decided only to include films from 07

1. there will be blood

2. no country for old men

3. the darjeeling limited


1. charlie prince – 3:10 to yuma

2. daniel plainview – there will be blood

3. anton chigurh – no country for old men

surprising performance – no vote. I don’t like either category of surprising performance or film because i think it places too much emphasis on expectations, something i try to avoid when going to a film.

surprising film – no vote

debut feature

1. once

2. the lives of others

3. the lookout

best line

1.”i’m finished” – there will be blood

2. “there are five different types of chairs in this room” – knocked up

3. “how can a train be lost? it’s on rails” – the darjeeling limited

worst film

1. 300

2. the pirates of the carribean III

3. across the universe

breakthrough (can be an actor or filmmaker of any sort) –

1. ellen page – juno

2. ben foster – 3:10 to yuma

3. emile hirsch – into the wild

so that’s my ballot and, as always, would probably change most of the votes if i did it next week.


January 13, 2008

this discussion will contain plot spoilers for the film

i love filmmakers that use long unbroken takes. nothing is better than a great 8-15 minute shot. so obviously i loved this film, with only one or two intentionally noticeable cuts. hitchcock shows off his mastery for filmmaking at a very high level.

now onto the story. full of suspense, like any hitchcock film, but with an added tale of morality. and i’m not against films that have a morale. i rather like them actually. but the ending of this film is just a little too on the nose. jimmy stewart’s little speech at the end about inferior and superior beings doesn’t quite work because we as the audience have already reasoned that. he is really just stating the obvious, telling the viewer what they’ve already seen played out during the party. but that’s a script error, and not really hitchcock’s fault.

the three central performances from jimmy stewart, john dall, and farley granger are all great, espically dall and granger. i’ve never wanted to punch a character in the face more than i did with dall’s. he plays an pompous jerk to perfection.

overall a really great thriller and example of great technical skills, even if it does fall short a little in the end.

dial m for murder

January 6, 2008

so i get the two alfred hitchcock box sets for christmas and it’s all perfectly set up for this month’s schedule. open it up, put in shadow of a doubt, get about halfway through it and find out that it’s got some sort of defect on it. i’ve got to send back the set to amazon so that i can get my full hitchcock fix. so instead of shadow of a doubt we will be talking about dial m for murder.

i’m going to get a littler spoilery about it so if you don’t want to know, stop reading…………..now.

so earlier in the day i watched zodiac in preparation for the filmspots (refrenced in an earlier post). and unless you are completely unaware of the real life zodiac killings you know that they never actually caught the killer. and i thought the entire way through this film that it was going to be the same case. i wasn’t sure if i could take another criminal getting away with murder (or almost murder).

i don’t know if the ending is great, or if it is a little too coincidental. it’s not so far fetched that i wouldn’t believe swan would put the key back, but it is one of those instances where you are trying to piece together the facts and the film sort of withholds the one big clue that would blow the whole case wide open. i can’t decide quite how i feel about it. they do sort of give you the idea of it in halliday’s final little plea to wendice to concoct a story to get margot out of jail, but that is right before they reveal the ending.

that being said, i really loved it. hitchcock really is the master of suspense. i was on edge the entire time waiting for wendice to slip up and the police find out. i also think that hitchcock benefits from great scripts. almost all of the information in this film, at least in the first half, is given through exposition and the majority of the entire film takes place in that one small apartment.

i think a really interesting read could be done on the scene when wendice meets swan and slowly, bit by bit, reveals why he brought him to his home. especially this one long unbroken take where wendice and swan are sitting down separated by the desk lamp.

all in all it’s a really great film. one that i am very interested in viewing again.