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Including films that achieve the correct button-mashing combo to earn fancy kudos and are positively lauded, there are only a select few from the whole bunch that have the significance of “definitive.”
These are films that transcend ownership of marquee space, or their critical importance with film niches, and take on a wide cultural significance. Such happens to a point in which these movies now help outline our exact understanding of an entire year of film itself. These are the films that are created from specific thematic trends from all of our culture, or in some historical cases, became trends themselves.
From the paranormal parody of “A Haunted House” to the controversial “Wolf of Wall Street,” here are 13 films that best define the movie year that was 2013.
1. “A Haunted House”
Hide as one may try from junky horror spoofs that aim to abuse the clever imbalance of low budget filmmaking with multi-million audience appeal, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
- Sasha Stone
Clio Barnard's The Arbor charted the troubled life of working-class playwright Andrea Dunbar. Her new film, The Selfish Giant, about two boys who scavenge to survive on a Bradford estate, has been called 'a Kes for the 21st century'. Here she talks about the appeal of the margins
Back in 2010, when Clio Barnard was shooting her first feature film, The Arbor, on the Buttershaw estate in Bradford, a young local lad caught her eye. "I first saw him when he was just 14, when I went to Buttershaw to do a workshop at a school," she recalls. "There was just something about him that was different from the other lads I met. He was a bit volatile, but enigmatic too and he really made his presence felt. When I went to Brafferton Arbor [the street on which The Arbor is set] for the first time, there he was, wearing his rigger boots and really dirty clothes. It was pure attitude, »
- Sean O'Hagan
Sometimes a really good movie will sneak into theaters with no fanfare or advance screenings. Disconnect played basically unannounced at one theater for a week earlier this year and it’s one of my favorites so far. That also looks to be the case with The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete. Despite its clunky title, it’s currently sitting on an 88% over at Rotten Tomatoes and looks like something well worth seeking out. St. Louisans will have the chance as it opens here this weekend exclusively at The AMC West Olive and the Regal St. Louis Mills 18.
David Noh at Film Journal International wrote of The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete:
“There very well may not be a more moving, honest film this year. In their depiction of the hardscrabble existence of these underprivileged children, laced with mordant street humor, director George Tillman, Jr. and screenwriter Michael Starrbury »
- Tom Stockman
Directed by: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Running Time: 1 hr 38 mins
Release Date: September 20, 2013 (Chicago)
Plot: A ten-year-old from Saudi Arabia named Wadjda (Mohammed) enters a Koran-reciting contest so that she can use the prize money to buy a bike.
Who’S It For? Those who like to witness revolutions.
Wadjda is a film from a country that doesn’t have movie theaters. It is about archaic rules for women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country that fears gender mixing at public film screenings. Saudi Arabia has a slowly growing film scene, but such homemade products, such as first-Saudi-made movie titled in 2006 Keif al-Hal? (translated to “How are you?”) can only be viewed in private living spaces. Showtime Arabia hooked people up with Keif al-Hal, and TV is a handy way to get censored media. Even video stores exist, but scenes »
- Nick Allen
Perhaps no two actors of the great Italian film heyday spanning Neorealism and beyond have such inimitable range, class and style as Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. Together they costarred in 12 films and worked with the masters and the grandaddies -- Fellini, Antonioni, De Sica, Visconti, et al. I recently viewed Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell," spotlighted in my column last week, and in that film one of Mastroianni and Loren's most exquisite pairings is briefly referenced for its thematic similarities to Polley's documentary. From 1964, Vittorio De Sica's "Marriage, Italian Style" -- nominated for two Oscars -- deals with domesticity, parenthood and (as in "Stories We Tell") uncertain paternity, and whether pursuing the answer to that uncertainty will get you anywhere at all. This late effort from the "Bicycle Thieves" director is a visually impeccable comedy of manners and errors, and a swooning May-December romance between a philandering businessman and the cunning, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they dig into Vittorio De Sica’s heart-squeezing journey through post-wwii Rome in search of The Bicycle Thief, appreciating how pessimistic and PG-rated it can be. In the #33 movie on the list, Antonio needs his bicycle for work, but it’s stolen, so he and his son Bruno must track the thief down or risk going hungry. But why is it one of the best movies of all time? Landon: »
- FSR Staff
Satyajit Ray's enduring 1963 masterpiece about one woman's struggle for independence is back on the big screen
Satyajit Ray, who died in 1992 at the age of 70, is one of the giants of world cinema. The son of a prominent Bengali literary figure, he was an accomplished writer, composer, editor and artist as well as a great movie director. His passionate interest in the cinema developed early on, and shortly after the second world war he accompanied Jean Renoir when he travelled to India to scout locations for The River. Subsequently he wrote a wonderfully perceptive article about this experience for Sequence, the film magazine edited by Lindsay Anderson, Gavin Lambert and Karel Reisz.
- Philip French
I can't tell you how happy I am that I had to start giving clues before anyone got all the titles correct in this latest "Guess the Movies" game. It's so much more fun when you all can't get the movies right away and have to start working together and discussing each title. The dissension over whether or not #10 was Batman Begins or not was great all on its own, and just as great was the difficulty some had with #15 and #25 and how long it took to get #14. That said, you can trust my next one will be even harder. This time around #13 was the big stumper, but my goal for the next one will be to have at least three that I need to give clues for before you'll able to get them. However, for now, let's all give a hearty congratulations to Andre Marques who was the first »
- Brad Brevet
2001: A Space Odyssey
I believe the best final images break the mold, pack a punch, or have compositional poignancy. Here are some of my favorites:
Moulin Rouge Inception Rocky Hannah and Her Sisters The Conversation The Bicycle Thief Welcome to the Dollhouse Night of the Living Dead Midnight Cowboy 2001: A Space Odyssey The Shining Napoleon Dynamite Do the Right Thing Sunset Boulevard Robocop Some Like it Hot A Serious Man
What are some of your favorites?
How about this as a horror-movie concept? A mad scientist is convinced that within the large, strange brain of the shark lurks an untapped skill for written communication. What if a shark could be trained to post on Facebook? No - Twitter! Yes, yes, why not Twitter?! The scientist is right! Then things go horribly awry when the beasts, routinely fed a chum of vitamins, radioactive materials and laptop circuitry, learn to compress themselves into 140 characters or less, disguising tail and fin with tempting hashtags like #HaveASnack. Click on an innocuous-looking Tweet and you may end up saying goodbye to your hand, »
- Tom Gliatto, PEOPLE TV CRITIC
"Sharknado" was more than a Syfy Original Movie when it aired on Thursday (July 11) night. It was a cultural phenomenon. Both normal people and celebrities -- including Mia Farrow, Damon Lindelof, Wil Wheaton and more -- got in on the action with their Twitter feeds.
Here is a round-up of some of the best "Sharknado" tweets of the night.
Need more "Sharknado"? Check out our full blog recap here.
Mia Farrow 13m
"Omg omg Omg #sharknado"
Also from Ms. Farrow:
"We're watching #sharknado"
"'We lost the night to #SharkNado? What the hell is that?'" - »
It was raining sharks on Thursday night for TV’s intelligensia.
The Syfy telepic “Sharknado” caught fire in social media, particularly after it began unspooling on the East Coast at 10 p.m. Et. The hashtag-friendly title and utterly ridiculous premise — Los Angeles is ravaged by a tornado of sharks — made it an irresistible target for Twitter commentary for a host of prominent showrunners, producers, actors and industry execs.
On Thursday night, “Sharknado” was the top-trending term on Twitter for hours, and tweets with that hashtag were arriving at the rate of dozens per second during the East and West coast runs of the so-bad-it’s-good telepic starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid.
Given the explosion of second-screen interest in the pic, bizzers will be closely eyeing the ratings on Friday to see if it had more traction that the average fantastical Syfy made-for, and whether the West Coast airing saw »
- Cynthia Littleton
We're almost done with these quickie surveys of my favorites and yours from decades past. Herewith the 1940s which I hesitated jotting down as there are more classics from this decade that I haven't seen than in arguably any other. If I keep waiting until I've watched everything it would never be posted. In truth, I need a project which forces me to fully deal with the gaps in my 40s viewing. A pleasurable project it would be, surely. But for now, off the top of my list-manic head....
Black Narcissus (1947)
01 The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
02 Casablanca (1943)
03 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
04 Meet Me in St Louis (1944)
05 Double Indemnity (1944)
06 Black Narcissus (1947)
07 Citizen Kane (1941)
08 Notorious (1946)
09 It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
10 Gilda (1946)
with apologies to other greats
Rope (1948), The Heiress »
- NATHANIEL R
If you've had enough fireworks and barbecue and outdoor holiday fun, perhaps you'd like to spend some time in a nice air-conditioned movie theater. You've got all kinds of choices, luckily.
This is an excellent week to catch Austin movies. On Saturday afternoon, Austin Film Festival hosts a special screening of family-friendly Holes, which local author Louis Sachar adapted from his novel, at the Texas Spirit Theater in the Texas State History Museum. Trash Dance (Don's review), the delightful doc about the choreographed Austin Waste Services project (pictured above), screens at Alamo Ritz on Tuesday night. And Aff teams up Wednesday night with the Texas Film Commission to screen the locally made film Holy Hell (Aff 2009 review) at the Texas Spirit Theater, as part of the Made in Texas series.
The Paramount and Stateside movie calendar is full this week. One of my all-time favorite movies screens Tuesday at the »
- Jette Kernion
Anurag Kashyap ended a years-long drought for Hindi films at Cannes with last year’s six-hour “Gangs of Wasseypur,” which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight. He’s back this year with a posse of pics, and received the Order of Arts and Letters from French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti on May 20 at the fest.
Besides Directors’ Fortnight player “Ugly,” which he directed, Kashyap produced “Monsoon Shootout” (Midnight Screening) and Critics’ Week choice “The Lunchbox” (Dabba). He contributed a segment to omnibus film “Bombay Talkies,” which pays homage to 100 years of Indian cinema and gets a special gala screening at the fest.
The Indian filmmaker, whose career matched the growth of the multiplex on the subcontinent, prefers to make edgy, decidedly non-Bollywood movies, the kinds of films he likes to watch. He is influenced by movies from the West, including Vittorio De Sica’s classic films. In fact, it was seeing the »
- Shalini Dore
Despite not being particularly popular at the moment, foreign films have always held a special place in cinema. Freed from the constraints often found in Hollywood, foreign language films tend to take more risks, deal with more complex topics, and often pay more attention to the human element than English language productions. Despite many people being wary of foreign language films because of subtitles, good movies are good movies regardless of what language they’re in.
The influence of some of the best foreign film directors permeates throughout Hollywood. George Lucas drew on the films of Akira Kurosawa while creating Star Wars, Woody Allen was heavily influenced by the films of Ingmar Bergman, and the examples of other directors inspired by foreign cinema are endless.
The following directors not only made great films that have stood the test of time, but they are also incredibly influential on modern films in »
- Paul Sorrells
There’s a fun little series on NPR, titled “Watch This,” which occasionally takes a look at the favorite films from filmmakers such as William Friedkin, Paul Feig, and Kevin Smith. The latest edition features “The Sopranos” creator David Chase and it’s filled with a lot of interesting choices. It’s always fascinating to learn more about what influences certain filmmakers and Chase’s list definitely reflects that. His list includes Stanley Kubrick's “Barry Lyndon,” Vittorio De Sica's “Bicycle Thieves,” Laurel and Hardy’s “Saps at Sea,” Powell and Pressburger’s “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” and “A Canterbury Tale” (check out our recent retrospective on the filmmakers), Lindsay Anderson’s “O Lucky Man!,” Luis Bunuel’s “Tristana” and “Viridana,” and Johnathan Demme’s “Something Wild” (the most contemporary picture of the bunch). David Chase cites “Barry Lyndon” as his favorite Kubrick movie, saying “What’s great about it, »
- Ken Guidry
The French film industry has always been among the worlds most important……at least to film studies professors. Most French movies are either funded by the French government or made with the support of government-linked media companies. Filmmakers face little market pressure in the creative process. That helps explain why they’re so boring!
Starbuck opens this weekend so we here at We Are Movie Geeks have decided to post this article about our favorite French films. Okay, so Starbuck is technically a Canadian film shot in Quebec, but its French language so, in our eyes that makes it French! The Hollywood remake is already in the can. It stars Vince Vaughn. The remake was originally tilted Dickie Donor but they’ve changed it to Delivery Man, so you just know they’ve screwed it up bad. This list may not line up with that of your typical French Cinema scholar. »
- Movie Geeks
I've mentioned before how several years ago I created a list using Roger Ebert's Great Movies, Oscar Best Picture winners, IMDb's Top 250, etc. and began going through them doing my best to see as many of the films on these lists that I had not seen as I possibly could to up my film I.Q. Well, someone has gone through the exhaustive effort to take all of the films Roger Ebert wrote about in his three "Great Movies" books, all of which are compiled on his website and added them to a Letterbxd list and I've added that list below. I'm not positive every movie on his list is here, but by my count there are 363 different titles listed (more if you count the trilogies, the Up docs and Decalogue) and of those 363, I have personally seen 229 and have added an * next to those I've seen. Clearly I have some work to do, »
- Brad Brevet
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