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December 17, 2009


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GOODBYE SOLO. How come no one is mentioning this? It unfolds with such simplicity and loveliness, and the performances are so right and true. I caught it on DVD and was surprised how powerful I found it to be by the end.


I'll second the TWO LOVERS praise. Not only did it help me work through my James Grey apathy, but it also overcame daunting task of sharing source material with my all-time favorite movie (LE NOTTE BIANCHI). And those rooftop scenes are so beautifully framed--such an intuitive sense of how to move the camera and actors around an otherwise strange pile of bricks. Those moments, for all their apparent simpleness, are better than even Grey's most carefully executed cop-movie set pieces (the WE OWN THE NIGHT car chase in the rain being my favorite so far). Perhaps Grey should just give up crime films completely. The dude's too much of a romantic.


Stuart, glad to read I'm not the only one who teared up at UP. I finally caught up with it this week, and maybe it was just the frame of mind I was in, but the opening silent montage just wrecked me. I went back to read Glenn's review, and I think he captures the power of that montage and the later, end-of-the-film follow-up scene very well. I was surprised at how touched by the film I was.

Lord Henry

@Tony Dayoub

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK were released in 2009 in the UK, where I live. I apologise to Glenn and to your good self for not knowing the US release dates.

I'd put THE WHITE RIBBON in there also, and MOON.

Matthew Fisher

Not certain the "critical copout" thing is referring to my request for a decade top-ten, but it probably is. Look, what I wrote came out wrong. My fault. I don't think a long-ish list is in any way a copout our failure to choose, or any other such thing. When I sat down to do my own list the other day, I had a helluva time, because so many meant so much, for so many reasons, and it ended up being longer than yours. I was genuinely interested in your top-ten, or three, or seventeen, and still am, because I respect your judgement, and since ten IS harder (cuz it's only ten), it would be even more fascinating to mull over (cuz I respect your judgement).

I'd still love you to try, off the top of your head, but it ain't no thang either way. Thanks.


Many on your list I haven't seen, including your #1 pick, which I am hesitant to see if only because I find Assayas to be a maddeningly inconsistent filmmaker (I liked LATE AUGUST, EARLY SEPTEMBER and CLEAN, but while there were parts of IRMA VEP and DEMONLOVER that I liked, they seemed way too impressed with themselves). The ones I have seen are SERIOUS MAN (agree completely; it's on my list), INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (ditto), UP (I'm afraid I'm one of those who finds it overrated; after a wondrous opening 20-25 minutes, it became a Pixar version of a regular Disney animated film, and I didn't think the kid or the dog were that funny or cute), THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX (love that one, and it's on my list), and THE LIMITS OF CONTROL, ADVENTURELAND, TWO LOVERS, THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE and INVICTUS (liked them all, but not quite enough to go on my list).

I have seen UP IN THE AIR, and while I admit we have seen this movie before, it was done well (and unlike ABOUT SCHMIDT, I didn't get the sense the movie was made solely because the filmmakers felt a middle-aged man's mid-life crisis was automatically a good story), though it may or may not make the list. And along with IN THE LOOP (the funniest movie I saw this year, bar none), I have to ask, what about ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, which was the best documentary I saw all year? (I also loved IT MIGHT BE LOUD, but I think that has a more limited appeal than ANVIL)

Glenn Kenny

@ Matthew: No, I don't think it was your comment I was referring to. It was signed "mike," and was kind of intimidating in a giving-me-a-homework-assignment way.

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