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Archive for January 10th, 2011

Exquiste, enigmatic 'Lourdes' is the best film of 2010

by Sam Juliano

     The prevailing opinion expressed by a fair number of bloggers is that the just-expired year was not particularly memorable in the world of movies.  Some compiled lists in the spirit of ‘the best of the least’ and seemed to have little to be excited about.  Still, while just about as many were far more favorable in their summary assessment, it appears that most of the lingering euphoria surrounds a plethora of foreign-language releases, which arrived on these shores steadily over the twelve month period, with some carry-overs from 2009, when they opened in their respective countries.  Any ten-best list that fails to acknowledge cinema from board, though still artistically valid, can be seen as lazy in construction and predicated on a paucity of available contenders.  The most dedicated and enthusiastic bloggers can be relied on to seek out as much of the newer crop as is physically negotiable, this invariably leads to the most informed and interesting year-end wrap.  2010 was no better or no worse than the years immediately preceeding it, and in all probability won’t be eclipsed by the coming years.  For those adventurous souls with the hankering and the wherewithal to put in the needed investments, there are always between 30 and 40 films each and every year that will reward cineastes with a bevy of accomplished works by world-class directors, and some notable independents and documentaries, in large measure by artists trying to make their marks.  Hence, for those throwing up their hands, I pose that they must seek out and not wait for the films to come to them. (more…)

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Cap from Lucy Walker's "Wasteland," year's best documentary

by Sam Juliano

Snow continues to complicate life for Northeasterners, with more of the white stuff predicted for mid-week, though those living in the mid-west and the south have had their share as well.  It looks like Farmer’s Almanac had this one called right, even if making such a prediction these days isn’t exactly going out on a limb.   While braving the cold for some is little more than traveling to work, to a supermarket or to the local multiplex, others have opted to stay warm and watch DVDs, or spend much of their time firming up their year-end best lists or blogging.  For those even luckier, they’ve found refuge in cleaning, organizing, reading, painting, football and music, with perhaps even some time for cooking or eating out.  In any event it’s a time for indoor activity and cultural enrichment.

Here at Wonders in the Dark in the post-Joel Bocko era, continuing sidebar tinkering by Dee Dee has given the site a decided but glorious “noirish” look, in the promtion of some much-anticipated upcoming festivals and fundraisers.  And Allan’s ‘Fish Obscuro’ series continues to flourish with and examination of some  Jacques Rivette features, with Jim and Bob Clark continbuting some outstanding work on Howard Hawks and game construction.  We are inching closer to Maurizio Roca’s film noir countdown and Bob Clark’s science-fiction countdown.

Gang Green fans are in euphoria after their final play win yesterday over the Indianapolis Colts, though the prospect of a win up in New England seems unlikely.  Besides, Joel Bocko has his horns on the Jets, and that’s a bad sign.

Best of the year lists continue to show up at a number of sites, and can be acessed on some of the links that follow below or from the sidebar.  Among those post in this capacity, who hadn’t yet been heard from last week are Just Another Film Buff (JAFB) at The Seventh Art, Jon Lanthier at Aspiring Sellout, and John Greco at Twenty Four Frames. (John opted for now to go with a listing of the classic masterpieces he saw for the first time in 2010).  The National Society of Film Critics have gone crazy for The Social Network like just about everybody else, but they did something wonderful.  They named Giovanna Mezzogiorno the year’s Best Actress for her role as Mussolini’s mistress in Marco Bellochio’s excellent Italian language film Vincere. This is a performance I have been talking about for many months as the year’s absolute best in that category.  I was thrilled to hear that announcement. (more…)

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