Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Top Ten ~ 2008 Check-In

Season 3 of "Tuesday Top Ten" begins now...

A few months ago I published a "best of the year thus far" post that looks ridiculous in retrospect. It's dangerous to do those in the early summer. I mean... people can still look it up later and use it against you. An update...


That's my top 10 --okay, top 12. I don't like to decide exact rankings or final grades until late December/ early January. Films deserve more consideration than a "did'ja like that?" the second the credits roll. That's why I'm so anti-December when it comes to release dates. It's not fair to the films that top ten lists & awardage are chosen mere seconds after watching that last round of "please love me!" prestige flicks

Top Twelve 2008. Thus far ~ alpha order
Burn After Reading -Like many Coen concoctions it's hard to wrap your head around initially. Funnier to think about afterwards than to watch. Therefore, I'm guessing it gets funnier to watch on multiple go-rounds. Got it? And how about that sneaky perfect punchline ending?
Un Conte de Nöel (A Christmas Tale) -An absorbing, sophisticated and lengthy family drama/mystery/comedy. It's almost like seeing a really good novel or spending an inordinated amount of time with an overstuffed fascinating scrapbook. There's so much going on. Opens November.
The Dark Knight -You've seen it already. Next...

Elegy -Fine adult performances from Kingsley, Cruz and Patricia Clarkson especially ... all of them lensed for maximum beauty/interest in their performances. (article)
A Girl Cut in Two
-Divisive (you might hate it) but I found it colorful, kinky and involving. Ludivine is luscious but Benôit steals the show with a flamboyant and charismatic star turn.
In Bruges -Martin McDonaugh's strong debut feature. If you've seen his brilliant plays you won't be surprised at his depth, black humor, and intricate command of plot and character. Now on DVD

Kung Fu Panda
-Dreamworks makes an animated feature without excessively dated pop culture jokes. Slapstick gags rule instead. Those age just fine, think Looney Tunes.
Rachel Getting Married
-Anne Hathaway rises to a performance challenge and the formerly sleepwalking director Jonathan Demme is noticeably wide-eyed again. It's a vibrant, spontaneous, movingly humane picture. (prev post) Opens October
Reprise
-An overachieving Norwegian picture about talented 20something best friends whose lives take abrupt turns once success hits. Director Joachim Trier is one to watch. Now on DVD

Trouble the Water -this raw rapping multi-faceted documentary on Hurricane Katrina, the US government, poverty and survival is a must see. "Who scared of water? Not me!" (review)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
-Woody Allen's overly erudite sexy summer in Spain. Penélope Cruz is headed for her second Oscar nomination for her blazing funny take on that Woody staple: the rampaging ex-girlfriend/wife.
Wall•E -You've seen it already. Next...

I figure if I show you these now, I'm using my teensy powers for good. See these before the year is through. It's an order a kind request. They're all quite discussable which is, in its own way, more of a recommendation than a "thumbs up" you know? ...for true movie lovers that is. But now that that's typed up it's soon to expire. Oh the sweet futility of the "in progress" list: I see Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler and Clint Eastwood's Changeling in the next two days. Wish me luck.
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TTT ~ Season 2: Horror Performances, Longest Best Picture Titles, Cinematic Princes, Jude Law, Weirdos, Hookers, Best of '07, Ways to Improve Oscar Ceremony, Black Actresses and more...
TTT ~ Season 1 Index: Christian Bale, Bald Heads, Best of '06, Horseplay, Holly Hunter, Funny Girls, Future Bios, Catwoman, Oscar Nominationless and more

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23 comments:

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

You have my blessing on Conte de Noel and Wall-E, and probably Reprise. I'm hoping I enjoy Vicky Cristina Barcelona as much as you did. I had my own personal Woody Allen Film Festival this month and I'm turning a bit obsessive. (What's so dorky about that?)

JoFo said...

Interesting.... Many of these are yet to be released in Aus, but im definitely looking out for them.

Speaking of the homeland, have u seen the gem that is The Black Balloon yet? Its a treasure!

John T said...

I've seen Vicky, Wall-E, Dark Knight, and am seeing Burn on Saturday. You've convinced me on Reprise (in the Netflix list), and I'll hopefully catch Conte de Noel in November. I guess Trouble with Water will have to head to Netflix as well here.

Adam H said...

I really enjoyed The Black Balloon. I don't know the actor who played charlie but i thought he was really impressive.Toni Collette was as reliable as ever playing the mother.Rhys Wakefield's character Thomas was the main focus of the film and his performance certainly helped to give you some idea of what it must be like to have a brother or sister with autism,but i think you would have got the same effect if Charlie had suffered from any other number of mental or physical conditions.

Adam H said...

Burn After Reading-definitely one of the funniest films of the year.

Fox said...

As tempted as I am to do this, you must be crazy to think I am gonna prematurely ejac my Top 10 just three months before the finish line! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED Mr. Nathaniel! :)

Anonymous said...

I think if "In Bruges" had been released in November, there would be all kinds of buzz for the actors and the screenplay. Colin Farrell is wonderful in this, and so is Brendan Gleeson. It's a tragicomedy with actual laughs. Farrell reminds me of why everyone was so excited when he first came on the scene.

For comedies, I'd have to add "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" and "Ghost Town".

"Pettigrew" is a period charmer with a perfect cast: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Ciaran Hinds, Lee Pace (of "Pushing Daisies"). Every aspect of it is topnotch - it's just that it's a 1930s comedy with leads being women, released in February. It's sobering that some other director can see Frances McDormand as witty, clever, and gorgeous, but her own husbamd can't seem to write that kind of role for her (I guess he can't see it).

"Ghost Town" also works out extremely well, and is going to be one of those perennial favorites that we can't figure out why we didn't see it in a theatre and love it the first time around. Everyone is so keen on Ricky Gervais? Then go see his movie, for pity's sake.

NATHANIEL R said...

ah but Fox. if past years are any indication, the studios have shoved AT LEAST half of the best films into that final three months.

we shall see. (though i am dead certain that 3 of these movies will survive easily to make the top ten) so i've really only given away 30% of the list ;)

Dave said...

Well, I've booked to see A Christmas Tale at the London Film Festival, so that one will be crossed off your list very soon. (I loved Kings and Queens so a new Desplechin was first on my list. And last, unfortunately.) Looking forward to Burn After Reading, hope I get to see Trouble with Water (they'll probably show it on tv here), and totally agree on Reprise and Elegy. Can't see what everyone else does in In Bruges or Wall-E, but I quite like being different. (You must see Boy A, by the way, it's terrific.)

Clay Atlas said...

Overachieving Norwegian picture? That's an interesting perception of Reprise ... As for the list - I would take Panda off, but the other choices are pretty strong. Haven't seen In Bruges yet, so I certainly can't hate on it, though I can hate on Colin Farrell.

NATHANIEL R said...

dave -- i have boy a on my rental queue. shall check it out.

clay -- well it's fitting. the characters are overachievers and the film is remarkable in ways that it doesn't even have to be ;)

anon -- i'm sure that the Mr. McDormand CAN see it. But if you look through their filmography they're never very interested in witty and gorgeous. Just the "clever" part. although I'm guessing the BURN AFTER READING role is the dumbest that McDormand has ever essayed --and I mean dumbest as in low intelligence not as in a bad role ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

y kant --don't count on loving VCB. many people don't ;) It's not as strong as Match Point but you can't have everything.

RJ said...

Reprise is still #1 for me.

Fox said...

Is it ok to like Reprise just for the sole reason that Viktoria Winge is the cutest girl ev-er???

NATHANIEL R said...

any reason 2 love Reprise is fine by me. So do u have a thing 4 bjork too because seriously...

Fox said...

Nathaniel-

Did U just turn N 2 Prince for that last comment? :0)

And oh yes, I think Bjork is adorable too. Very much. But in my fantasy world I want to date Viktoria. I don't think I could date Bjork.

I'm also a sucker for freckles... LIKE BIG TIME... so V. Winge just steals my heart when I see her.

Boyd said...

Oh, Nate... only you could call a movie called "A Girl Cut in Two" divisive! You're a genius!

gabrieloak said...

Nate--I often agree with you on films but not this year. I hated Burn After Reading, Not only was it unfunny, I didn't care what happened to anyone, except perhaps Richard Jenkins' character. I was bored at WALL-E after the first half hour, and Un conte de Noel should have been cut down at least by a half hour. I think the last film disappointed me the most because I had read so many rave reviews. Deneuve and the other actors were fine but the movie was repetitive and pretentious. I much preferred two other French films that should be released soon--Assayas's L'heure d'ete and Philippe Claudel's Il y a longtemps que je t'aime with an exquisite performance by Kristin Scott-Thomas. And I just saw Happy Go Lucky which will probably make my top 10, along with The Visitor.

NATHANIEL R said...

boyd --how so... does everyone hate it? i liked it so much but since then me pals Nick and Goatdog have hated it.

Glenn said...

I think he's referring to the fact that you called a movie called A Girl cut in two as divisive. You know... split down the middle. Hah hah. I got a good chuckle out of it too.

My faves so far from 2008 are Up the Yangtze (documentary), Wall-E, The Horseman, Three Blind Mice, Black Water, Men's Group, Hallam Foe, The Dark Knight and The Visitor.

NATHANIEL R said...

omg ha ha er... i was drunk when i typed those comments yesterday (friend's birthday)

Bill_the_Bear said...

I haven't seen all your choices (not all of them have shown in Montreal), but I'd add in "The Visitor" and I'd also drop "Wall-E." (A real 'meh' film, IMO...and who set it up so that two inanimate objects have a heterosexual romance?)

High on my list of best of 2008 would be a Québécois film which hasn't made it down to the States yet, "Maman est chez le coiffeur."

Catherine said...

The last few months at the cinema have been just so blah for me. The only worthwhile film I've seen recently was a showing of Badlands at the Irish Film Institute a fortnight ago (they're showing Eraserhead in a few weeks - I'm so there!

This Friday I'll hopefully swing by I've Loved You So Long with Kristin Scott Thomas which is garnering rave reviews. Hopefully the cinema landscape (from where I'm sitting) will improve over the next month or so. Burn After Reading is opening in 2 or 3 weeks, I think: can't wait for that.

So far, my favourites this year have been: The Visitor, Wall-E, Man On Wire and maybe Happy-Go-Lucky.