A Century of Film: 1912-2011

So when does film begin?  Does it begin with some of the Edison shorts?  Do you start with Méliès?  What about a specific film to start with like A Trip to the Moon in 1902 or The Great Train Robbery in 1903?  You could easily start in 1906 with The Story of the Kelly Gang, the first film to run over an hour, kind of the demarcation point for what constitutes a feature film (though the Academy defines it as 40 minutes).  The problem is The Story of the Kelly Gang, while running over an hour in length, today consists of only fragments and those fragments add up to only 17 minutes.  So where to begin?

All of this also brings up the question of where to end a history of film.  Every week new films get released.  Do you include them?  Do you need time to truly reflect on them?  You could cut things off on December 31, 1999 and call it a day but that leaves 17 years of films worth out in the cold and it accounts for considerably less than a century’s worth of films since feature films didn’t yet exist in 1900. (more…)

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“You realize who this linen girl Tanya is?” (p 612 – Pevear / Volokhonsky translation)

My Top 9:

  1. Dr. Zhivago
  2. The Pawnbroker
  3. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
  4. The Collector
  5. A Thousand Clowns
  6. King Rat
  7. The Human Condition: Part III
  8. Thunderball
  9. The Train

Note:  That’s it.  After years and years of a list longer than ten, I can only come up with nine films and one of those, The Train, was actually nominated in the Original Screenplay category even though it was based on Rose Valland’s book. (more…)

And Marty tallies yet another Nighthawk Award.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Hugo  *
  2. The Artist  **
  3. Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
  4. Midnight in Paris  *
  5. The Descendants  *
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
  7. A Separation
  8. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  9. The Tree of Life
  10. My Week with Marilyn
  11. The Ides of March
  12. Contagion
  13. Beginners
  14. Incendies
  15. Jane Eyre
  16. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  17. Rango
  18. Margin Call
  19. As If I Am Not There
  20. Moneyball  *

Analysis:  The first 15 films are ****.  The rest are ***.5.  In spite of an overall weak year (see various categories below), the Top 5 tracks almost exactly along with 2009.  In fact, the first four films here all earn the exact same ratings as the first four in 2009 and The Descendants is one point better than Broken Embraces in the #5 spot, so this year’s Top 5 is actually one point better.  That said, it’s still the second weakest Top 5 since 1998 (and the same goes for the Top 10 and Top 20).
The Help was actually 4th in the Consensus.  There are 5 films because Midnight in Paris and Moneyball tied for 5th (as did War Horse). (more…)

The best cameo of the year in the Oscar winner for Best Animated Film.

The 84th annual Academy Awards, for the film year 2011.  The nominations were announced on 24 January 2012 and the awards were held on 26 February 2012.

Best Animated Film:  Rango

  • Puss in Boots
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Chico & Rita
  • A Cat in Paris

Most Surprising Omission:  The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (more…)

Congrats to the single best collection of five performances ever nominated for Best Actress.

The record didn’t get tied this year, but it was close.  And for the first time in 13 years, I have actually seen all the Best Picture nominees already, even if I only predicted eight of the nine (see the end here). (more…)

One of film’s most iconic moments and not in the original at all.

My Top 10:

  1. Dr. Strangelove
  2. High and Low
  3. Harakiri
  4. Mary Poppins
  5. The Americanization of Emily
  6. The Best Man
  7. The Night of the Iguana
  8. The Chalk Garden
  9. Goldfinger
  10. My Fair Lady

Note:  There are 20 films on my list.  Only one of the other ten is reviewed below as a WGA nominee (Seven Days in May).  The other nine are all listed towards the bottom of the post. (more…)

“To speak out boldly at once, she was in love, according to the present universally received sense of that phrase, by which love is applied indiscriminately to the desirable objects of all our passions, appetites, and sense, and is understood to be that preference which we give to one kind of food rather than to another.” (p 420)

My Top 10:

  1. Tom Jones
  2. Shoot the Piano Player
  3. White Nights
  4. Hud
  5. The Great Escape
  6. The Leopard
  7. Captain Newman, M.D.
  8. Sundays and Cybele
  9. Irma La Douce
  10. Charade

Note:  There are 14 films on my list.  The other four are all listed towards the bottom of the post. (more…)