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December 21, 2012


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Brian Z

4 of the same top 5, and the only different one is The Turin Horse, which I'm watching tonight. That's freaky.


I was hoping Melancholia would make the list, after you'd had a year to reconsider...


(And I'll dissent on the inclusion of Jiro, which I found annoyingly derivative, if adequately executed, and The Grey, whose problem I thought you hit upon in your sparse, non-spoiler review.)


Completely in agreement about #1, obviously, as you know. But I gotta ask, though I'm afraid to: did you see KILLER JOE?

David Ehrenstein

1.Keep the Lights On


3. A Burning Hot Summer (L’Ete Brulant)

4. The Deep Blue Sea

5. How To Survive a Plague



Tony Dayoub

Wow, after seeing KILLING THEM SOFTLY yesterday, I feel like that commenter... about the movie, not your reviews my friend.

And I will repeat that question posed by Bill, how about KILLER JOE?




But seriously, the loopy outrage that this movie seems to have provoked in some people is mystifying to me. Even at it's worst (and don't get me wrong, it has some pretty bad moments), it's better than the ludicrous bombast and mania of TDKR.

Also, I'm surprised to see that THE DEEP BLUE SEA didn't place. Fantastic film full of basically flawless performances. And that tracking shot is, plainly, the shit.

Hauser Tann

At first I read "Best undistributed" as "Best kept undistributed"; I was prepared to write an impassioned plea for Post Tenebras Lux. I imagine that's not in fact the intended meaning...

Kevyn Knox

You loved Killing Them Softly!! Are you mad, young man!? Okay, I suppose since it is such cheap humour to play on that joke, I will stop. On the same note though, one of those people your angry reader saw walk out, may have been my own lovely wife, as she departed stage left, about forty minutes in. I stayed though. I still disagree with you - I thought it rather disappointing, at least as a whole (some moments were quite sublime) - but who the hell wants everyone to agree with them? I know I don't want that. Anyway, I digress. On with the show...

Kevyn Knox

Oh yeah, and bully for you. Love to see the love (even as a runner-up) being thrown at the sadly maligned John Carter. A fun film indeed.


As far as Killing Them Softly goes, I fall into the "performances were great but the social commentary felt awkwardly grafted on" camp.

5. Something in the Air (Assayas)
4. Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami)
3. Bernie (Linklater)
2. Life Without Principle (To)
1. Holy Motors (Carax)

(Turin Horse and Anatolia were on my Top 10 list last year.)


I agree with Zach's surprise over the absence of THE DEEP BLUE SEA. I was so annoyed that Binoche and Dunst were overlooked last year for best actress, and I will be so annoyed if the Academy ignores Weisz.

Kevyn Knox

Well, Partisan, I think you better get ready to be annoyed, because I do not see Weisz, though great in the film, getting a nod this year. Chastain, Lawrence, Mirren, maybe Riva, maybe Watts, maybe Cotillard, maybe even Wallis, but I think Weisz is going to come up short. But, hey, we are off subject here, so I will ask my question. What of The Cabin in the Woods? Did I miss it listed somewhere, or did you just not dig it, Mr. Kenny? It is actually making my own Top Ten.

Chris L.

Glenn's #4 and 5 are my 1 and 2 thus far, but there's a helluva lot unseen. Anyone still capable of dismissing W. Anderson as some sort of hollow decorator (e.g. Gleiberman) just doesn't have their own heart in it. Same goes for the "Dardennes repeating themselves" contingent.

If nobody's put in a word for "Miss Bala," I'll gladly do so, and add one more vote for T. Davies. Our host's apparent reservations on that one might make a fascinating post themselves. And if Rachel W. can crack the usually glitz-oriented Globes lineup, there might just be hope with Oscar voters.


Can someone please explain to me why people hate killing them softly? When I first heard about the F CinemaScore, I was honestly puzzled and assumed it was somehow wrong. Now to hear that there were loads of walkouts, etc? This is the first movie in I don't know how long in which I really just don't understand what people don't like. I thought it had some auteur flourishes but what was so off putting? I really loved it.

Dan Coyle

Some of my favorites: Marvel's The Avengers, The Hunger Games, 4:44 Last Day On Earth (is this a 2011 release, though?), and Goon, though I'm beginning to think the people behind it had a very, very different movie in their heads than the one I saw.


THANK YOU for mentioning Post Tenebras Lux. If it scores US distribution sometime next year, will it be up for your 2013 best-of?


POST TENEBRAS LUX opens in the US next May.

La Faustin

Slight, wistful hijack: all I want for Christmas is more Hepburn-Tracy Project.


Skyfall all the way and avengers as well.

The Flying Pedant

Sacha Baron Cohen did not direct "The Dictator". That would be Larry Charles.


I think people went into KILLING THEM SOFTLY (and I saw some walkouts myself) expecting non-stop Brad Pitt killing people (something more like JACK REACHER, a film I enjoyed greatly despite my better judgment), not lengthy, impeccably acted (Scoot McNairy is especially amazing in the bar scene) dialogue scenes straight out of the pages of George V. Higgins.

I loved it, but partly because it was such a joy to spend 97 minutes in a movie theater immersed in Higgins-world. I didn't even mind the overlay of political commentary, relevant or otherwise, and I especially didn't mind the often dazzling style.


Any reason 'Rust and Bone' didn't get at least a mention?

Pat Hobby

>>>dialogue scenes straight out of the pages of George V. Higgins.

Had they just filmed the book it would have been a better picture.


about The Master. glen your writing on this film has been my favorite film writing of the year. it's great to find that someone out there likes your favorite movie as much as you do. Keep up the good work dude


Great list. I found "The Master" to be a superb film, with a perfect integration of storytelling, acting, that really rise the film to a level of artistry that I didn't see anywhere else. Personally I found "Lincoln" a good film, but again, overrated and very much built on a formula level. When will Steven Spielberg start directing films again that are risky and imaginative? "Killing them Softly" was another fantastic film - I personally enjoyed it a lot more than Andrew Dominik's first feature, and Brad Pitt was perfectly cast in the film. Looking forward to see "Zero Dark Thirty".


Interesting list. I haven't had enough time this year to seek out the less-accessible films on this list, but I agree, The Master was stunning.

Since I couldn't find a place to comment on your reviews at MSN Movies, I just want to briefly comment on your review for Silver Linings Playbook. I found a lot of that movie to be problematic, and the reliance on standard rom-com tropes annoyed me. For me, the performances of Cooper, Lawrence, De Niro, et al. saved the film.

But one thing about your review threw me off: "Bradley Cooper has precisely none of the physical characteristics one might associate with a Philadelphia-born Italian-American"

I'm not entirely sure what "physical characteristics" are normally associated with "Philadelphia-born Italian-American," but Bradley Cooper was in fact born in a suburb of Philly, and is half Italian-American, half Irish-American. So I'm not sure what you're getting at there. I for one really connected with his performance - Pat was an unpredictable, vulnerable character, and Cooper really captured that energy.

Glenn Kenny

@ a: Being half Italian-American (on my mother's side) and half Irish-American (on my father's side) myself, just like Cooper, I am perhaps either oversensitive or completely unsensitive to this issue. Where I erred, I suppose, would be in citing "physical characteristics." Now that you mention it, I can see Cooper's "Irish eyes," but as far as ethnicity is concerned what he tends to project in movies is a relatively deracinated hunkiness. I think his performance in "SLP" is accomplished enough that he transcends that, but early on I was distracted by a conviction that he could not have sprung from a union of Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver. Also there is very little about him that projects a notion of "working class."

That I should call him and the movie out for this is a token of my own unreasonable subjectivity at work; super-attractive lead actors who have no resemblance to actors who are playing their relatives is a Hollywood concention and you either go with it or you don't/ But given that "SLP" aspires to a certain idea of naturalism in other areas, the disparity kind of stuck out for me.


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CD Printing

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