Happy New Movie Year!

I’ve been doing this all decade (Rubber was the 3000th post!), and previous lists are here, so I don’t need to make a best-of-decade list. Of course I’m paying attention to other people’s year-end and decade-end lists, but not finding a ton of movies I missed that weren’t already on my radar, since I paid close (maybe too close) attention all year to what played where.


I did make this letterboxd list of all the must-see movies released in 2019.
As of now, I’ve watched about a third of them.

Tried to make a companion list of must-see movies that played 2019 fests or NYC and still haven’t been released here, but it’s hard to track down reliable reviews of all the fest movies, or to know what’s coming and what’s going to die on streaming. But here are a few, a top-ten of 2020 hopefuls:

What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?
First Cow
Deerskin
Bacurau
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Vitalina Varela
Fourteen
Zombi Child
Joan of Arc
Varda by Agnès


Besides the above, I’m currently looking forward to NOT catching up with the consensus faves, but trying some new directions. When I constrain myself to some project or another, like the movies from Rotterdam I watched in January, I end up seeing more unusual and exciting things than usual. My “favorite older movies” list this year was SHOCKtober-heavy because that’s the only time I focused on pre-2010’s movies. I could stand to do that more often… while trying in vain to keep up with the new films of 2020, naturally. There’s only so much time in the year for moviewatching, and I don’t want to be someone who didn’t make time for The Irishman or Parasite or Knives Out because I’d talked myself into only watching more obscure stuff. So I’ve come up with a bunch of possible viewing projects for next year, but I already embarrass myself enough with this blog, so let’s not list them.

Hola, amigos. I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I got a lot on my plate these days. Running a few months behind on the ol’ blog. Obviously I could quit, but instead let’s rush out some posts based on my sparse notes and weak memories, and hit reset in July. I can always revise the posts when I rewatch these on their decade anniversaries, which I’ll probably do if no more new movies get released after 2019. Using this opportunity to pause and take stock of movies… movies are still good, about twenty of the movies in the backlog were excellent, and I hope to watch more movies in the future.

Happy New Movie Year!

Pretty much the same comments as last year (fell behind on the blog, made lists of movies to watch and didn’t watch the movies) but this time I have better excuses. Anyway, still watched a few movies, and some of them were great, and even the ones that weren’t great were pretty great because watching movies itself is great, so three thumbs up for 2018.

Another good year of LNKarno and SHOCKtober and True/False. I also set up a new movie database, which only kinda sorta integrates with my old one but has a different purpose, and maybe I’ll merge them eventually, but anyway it’s not publically accessible yet, nor maybe ever will be, I’m just using it to determine what new things are worth watching.

Lists:
Favourite 2018 Movies
2018 Favourites: Recent & Older Movies & Rewatches
2018 Favourites: Shorts & TV
2018 Must-sees & Other Lists

Happy New Movie Year!

This year I watched barely anything on the BLIGS list I made for myself, fell behind on the blog and caught up last-minute with some short and inadequate write-ups. But I also had a good SHOCKtober, went to an amazing film festival, created my own home film festival, and watched a record number of movies in theaters.


The Lists:

Favorite 2017 Movies
Favorite Recent Movies watched in 2017
Favorite Older Movies watched in 2017
Favorite Rewatches of 2017
Favorite Shorts of 2017
2017 Movies To Watch
Previous year lists


Some Movies Begun and Abandoned in 2017:

Porco Rosso
What Happened to Monday
Casting JonBenet
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City
Soderbergh’s recut of 2001
Code Unknown
The New World (“first cut”)
The Sorrow and the Pity
Karl Marx City
War Horse

Happy New Movie Year! Here is a look back at the previous movie year.

The Lists:

Favorite 2016 Movies
Favorite Recent Movies watched in 2016
Favorite Older Movies watched in 2016
Special Screenings and HD Rewatches, 2016
Favorite Shorts of 2016
2016 Movies To Watch
Previous year lists


Bonus List: The Year in Television

Best shows I watched this year, not counting shows I/we haven’t finished yet, and excluding some miniseries that I am counting as movies:

1. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
2. Master of None
3. Archer
4. Neon Genesis Evangelion
5. Black Mirror
6. Rick and Morty
7. Horace & Pete
8. Veep
9. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
10. BoJack Horseman


BLIGS:

I find either top-1000 lists or large collections of annual top-ten lists very appealing, because among all the obligatory auteur favorites and consensus greats there’s plenty of room for unusual selections. And 1000 titles seems like a good canon size, a whole lifetime of film viewing for normal, non-movie-obsessed people, and can cover the entire timeline of film history. A compulsive list-o-phile, I’m always tempted to make my own top-1000 list, but stop myself because I feel like I’ve never caught up with enough of the classics – and also it’d be a lot of work, nobody would ever read it, and as soon as I watch Fanny & Alexander or The Passenger or Paterson it’ll probably change.

As recently discussed in the 10th Blogniversary post, my go-to top-1000 lists have been Jonathan Rosenbaum’s and They Shoot Pictures. I just realized there are massive movie lists online by three more of my favorite critics on their personal sites: Vadim Rizov, Mike D’Angelo and Michael Sicinski. Plus you’ve got your Sight & Sound polls, your Cahiers top-tens, Edgar Wright’s recent list, recommendations from books and magazines and all over. And I’ve started organizing and tagging these.

So, to celebrate my turning A Certain Age this year, instead of listing my favorite movies, I’ve made a composite checklist of the top 1000 unseen movies that I need to watch. Maybe if I get through these, I’ll list my own favorites. No promises.

Almost all are narrative features that I think I might be able to find on video (aiming for HD). Probably half are written and directed by white male Americans, too bad. Mostly excluded are shorts (because I’m tracking them elsewhere) and documentaries (ditto) and avant-garde features (because of availability) and everything from Africa (because we watch those on Katy’s schedule) and movies I’ve already seen and hope to rewatch and anything from the current decade.

Needed a stupid, catchy name for the list, settled on BLIGS (short for “obligatory”, acronym for “Big List I Gotta See”). Sortable list of bligs is here.


Sally Jane Black:
“I haven’t finished watching a movie until I write about it.”

My writing has gotten worse and lazier lately, but it has been a year full of distractions… at least I’m keeping up. Here’s to a better 2017.

I’ve already mentioned (numerous times) my love for film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s writing and his lists of favorite films, including the big top-1000 list published in his “Essential Cinema” book. I hope to watch all of these, but probably never will.

There’s also the top-1000 list at They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?, compiled from thousands of other lists (including Rosenbaum’s). I hope to watch all of these (except Warhol’s Empire), and maybe someday I will.

There’s also the Criterion Collection, which I’ve been following since the early days of DVD, steadily releasing a series of great-looking films. I hope to watch all of these, but never will, since they keep putting out new ones.

Any movie that appears on all three of these lists is obviously a must-see… and as of Shoah, which I watched over the past few weeks, I think I’ve seen everything in this triple-list intersection. So for today, the tenth anniversary of the movie journal, I’m rounding up the R1K/TSP/CRIT meta-list.

The sixty unlinked ones were last seen in the dark days before the blog started. I probably won’t keep this list updated, since the TSP list changes annually and Criterion releases new stuff all the time. So I’d have to add In a Lonely Place in a few weeks, and Alice in the Cities a month later, and it’s hard to keep track.

This movie blog is months older than (public, non-academic) Facebook and only a few weeks younger than Twitter. But unlike those sites, I don’t think this one has any readers… it’s hard to tell since I disabled comments. So nobody is gonna congratulate me. But I’m pleased with myself! Here’s to another ten years. And if you’re reading: most of these are really good movies. You should check them out.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1976, Chantal Akerman)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Robert Aldrich)
Rushmore (1998, Wes Anderson)
L’Avventura (1960, Michelangelo Antonioni)
L’Eclisse (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Red Desert (1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Sawdust and Tinsel (1953, Ingmar Bergman)
Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)
The Last Emperor (1987, Bernardo Bertolucci)
The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes (1971, Stan Brakhage)
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945, Robert Bresson)
A Man Escaped (1956, Robert Bresson)
Pickpocket (1959, Robert Bresson)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966, Robert Bresson)
Mouchette (1967, Robert Bresson)
Rosetta (1999, Dardenne bros.)
Viridiana (1961, Luis Buñuel)
The Exterminating Angel (1962, Luis Buñuel)
Belle de Jour (1967, Luis Buñuel)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972, Luis Buñuel)
Phantom of Liberty (1974, Luis Buñuel)
That Obscure Object of Desire (1977, Luis Buñuel)
Children of Paradise (1945, Marcel Carné)
Shadows (1959, John Cassavetes)
Faces (1968, John Cassavetes)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976, John Cassavetes)
Love Streams (1984, John Cassavetes)
The Kid (1921, Charles Chaplin)
The Gold Rush (1925, Charles Chaplin)
City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin)
Modern Times (1936, Charles Chaplin)
The Great Dictator (1940, Charles Chaplin)
Monsieur Verdoux (1947, Charles Chaplin)
Limelight (1952, Charles Chaplin)
Daisies (1966, Vera Chytilová)
Wages of Fear (1953, Henri-Georges Clouzot)
Beauty and the Beast (1946, Jean Cocteau)
Orpheus (1949, Jean Cocteau)
Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)
Y tu mamá también (2001, Alfonso Cuarón)
The Long Day Closes (1992, Terence Davies)
Bicycle Thieves (1948, Vittorio De Sica)
Umberto D. (1952, Vittorio De Sica)
Lola (1961, Jacques Demy)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, Jacques Demy)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Vampyr (1932, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Day of Wrath (1943, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Ordet (1955, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Gertrud (1964, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Alexander Nevsky (1938, Sergei Eisenstein)
Ivan the Terrible 1 (1945, Sergei Eisenstein)
Ivan the Terrible 2 (1958, Sergei Eisenstein)
(1963, Federico Fellini)
Nanook of the North (1922, Robert Flaherty)
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939, John Ford)
My Darling Clementine (1946, John Ford)
All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)
Blood of the Beast (1949, Georges Franju)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962, John Frankenheimer)
Pickup on South Street (1953, Samuel Fuller)
Shock Corridor (1963, Samuel Fuller)
Breathless (1960, Jean-Luc Godard)
Contempt (1963, Jean-Luc Godard)
Band of Outsiders (1964, Jean-Luc Godard)
Alphaville (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Masculine Feminine (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1966, Jean-Luc Godard)
Weekend (1967, Jean-Luc Godard)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939, Howard Hawks)
Safe (1995, Todd Haynes)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Monte Hellman)
The 39 Steps (1935, Alfred Hitchcock)
The Lady Vanishes (1938, Alfred Hitchcock)
Rebecca (1940, Alfred Hitchcock)
Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)
Stranger Than Paradise (1983, Jim Jarmusch)
Down by Law (1986, Jim Jarmusch)
In the Mood for Love (2000, Wong Kar-Wai)
Close Up (1990, Abbas Kiarostami)
Taste of Cherry (1997, Abbas Kiarostami)
Three Colors: Red (1994, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Killing, The (1956, Stanley Kubrick)
Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick)
Ikiru (1952, Akira Kurosawa)
M (1931, Fritz Lang)
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933, Fritz Lang)
Shoah (1985, Claude Lanzmann)
Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)
Brief Encounter (1944, David Lean)
Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964, Richard Lester)
Trouble in Paradise (1932, Ernst Lubitsch)
Twelve Angry Men (1957, Sidney Lumet)
Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)
Mulholland Dr. (2001, David Lynch)
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)
W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971, Dusan Makavejev)
Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick)
The Thin Red Line (1998, Terrence Malick)
Touki Bouki (1973, Djibril Diop Mambety)
La Jetée (1962, Chris Marker)
Sans Soleil (1983, Chris Marker)
Make Way For Tomorrow (1937, Leo McCarey)
Army in the Shadows (1969, Jean-Pierre Melville)
Life of Oharu (1952, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Sansho the Bailiff (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Madame de… (1952, Max Ophüls)
Lola Montès (1955, Max Ophüls)
In the Realm of the Senses (1976, Nagisa Oshima)
I Was Born, But… (1932, Yasujiro Ozu)
Late Spring (1949, Yasujiro Ozu)
Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968, Roman Polanski)
The Thief of Bagdad (1940, Michael Powell)
Peeping Tom (1960, Michael Powell)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959, Otto Preminger)
A Canterbury Tale (1944, Pressburger & Powell)
I Know Where I’m Going! (1945, Pressburger & Powell)
The Red Shoes (1948, Pressburger & Powell)
Bigger Than Life (1956, Nicholas Ray)
Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)
Aparajito (1957, Satyajit Ray)
The World of Apu (1959, Satyajit Ray)
The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed)
Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932, Jean Renoir)
Grand Illusion (1937, Jean Renoir)
La Bete Humaine (1938, Jean Renoir)
Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)
Golden Coach, The (1953, Jean Renoir)
Night and Fog (1955, Alain Resnais)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959, Alain Resnais)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)
Walkabout (1971, Nicolas Roeg)
My Night at Maud’s (1969, Eric Rohmer)
Paisan (1946, Roberto Rossellini)
Germany Year Zero (1948, Roberto Rossellini)
Stromboli (1949, Roberto Rossellini)
Europa 51 (1952, Roberto Rossellini)
The Rise of Louis XIV (1966, Roberto Rossellini)
Chronicle of a Summer (1961, Jean & Edgar Morin Rouch)
Sullivan’s Travels (1941, Preston Sturges)
The Palm Beach Story (1942, Preston Sturges)
Andrei Rublev (1969, Andrei Tarkovsky)
Solaris (1972, Andrei Tarkovsky)
M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953, Jacques Tati)
Mon Oncle (1958, Jacques Tati)
Play Time (1967, Jacques Tati)
The 400 Blows (1959, Francois Truffaut)
Shoot the Piano Player (1960, Francois Truffaut)
My Own Private Idaho (1991, Gus Van Sant)
Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961, Agnès Varda)
Vagabond (1985, Agnès Varda)
Gilda (1946, Charles Vidor)
Zero for Conduct (1933, Jean Vigo)
L’Atalante (1934, Jean Vigo)
Senso (1954, Luchino Visconti)
The Leopard (1963, Luchino Visconti)
Docks of New York (1928, Josef von Sternberg)
The Scarlet Empress (1934, Josef von Sternberg)
Ashes and Diamonds (1958, Andrzej Wajda)
F For Fake (1974, Orson Welles)
Ace in the Hole (1951, Billy Wilder)
A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang)
Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)
Crumb (1994, Terry Zwigoff)

The Dissolve was my favorite film site, and most important resource for news and opinions. Check it in the morning for today’s reviews (always well written and nearly-always giving a good indication whether I’ll like the film in question) and movie news. Check in the late afternoon for a news update, feature articles (if time to read them), and links to important film writing elsewhere on the internet. All of this was cleanly and appealingly laid-out, and chronologically ordered so I can instantly tell where I left off last time.

There seems to be no single replacement, and I need one – in the aftermath of Dissolve shutting down, I didn’t know a new Tarsem Singh movie had opened, couldn’t tell you whether Minions was any good, and almost missed It’s a Mad Mad Mad Max Fury Road. Until a benevolent billionaire re-funds the site, I’m reading this sprawl of daily sources instead:

Fandor Keyframe Daily for less-frequent links to good articles elsewhere, and the best film festival aggregate coverage.

Letterboxd activity feed (feat. most of the ex-Dissolvers)

Shadowplay for the best film writing in the business.

– Screencrush, but only Matt Singer’s articles (because I cannot bear to see things like “10 Facts you might not know about Ant-Man” in my news).

Criticwire, but not the rest of Indiewire (because they had a series of oscar-prediction articles in August). In case I ever reconsider, here are actual headlines from a recent day’s Indiewire front page: “[some trailer] Will Take Your Breath Away,” “[another trailer] Will Break Your Heart],” “[another trailer] Will Send You Into A Vicious Fit.” They also wrote a review of a banner ad.

Occasionally twitter is useful, and AV Club‘s okay. Still avoiding video content and podcasts because who has time for those? And I’ve got a pile of sites to check weekly, and others to check monthly/occasionally, not worth replicating here since they change often and since nobody is reading this. And there’s always my treasured Cinema Scope paper subscription (thinking about adding Cineaste and/or Film Comment).

 
What else is going on?

 
– The BBC polled “62 international film critics” to make a top-hundred list of American films, which is mostly more of the same so I don’t feel like tracking it too closely. The eight I haven’t (fully) seen: Imitation of Life, Birth of a Nation, Marnie, A Place in the Sun, The Shop Around The Corner, The Right Stuff, The Shanghai Gesture, Heaven’s Gate. Little White Lies list of 100 Great Movies by Female Directors looks more exciting. Also found some best-animation and best-horror and best-chinese lists, and there’s still the Criterion collection, and recommendations from my books and magazines and the Anthology Film Archives list and the Sight & Sound poll and Cahiers lists and all the new movies coming out daily.

 
– Auteur Completism Update: In October 2005, I finished watching all the Sam Fuller movies I was able to find (later found and watched four more, and rewatched a bunch in improved DVD and bluray copies), then decided to tackle Fritz Lang movies next. In March 2007, I finished watching all the Fritz Lang movies I was able to find (later found and watched four more), and had since added Rivette, Resnais, Marker and Bunuel to the auteur-completism stack.

That was over eight years ago! I’ve continued to add new directors: Bresson, Chaplin, Sternberg, Polanski, Fellini, Bergman, not to mention keeping up with old favorite directors and discovering new ones all the time. Lately I’m always starting film-watching projects and never finishing any, making a hundred must-watch lists (see above) and trying to make gradual progress on them all at once. I miss the sense of accomplishment, saying “there, I’ve seen ALL the Lang movies I can find – here are my faves, here are the ones I need to rewatch on bluray” or whatever. So back to that 2007 list: I’ve averaged one Bunuel per year since then, still missing five (sort of) Resnais, one or two Rivettes (plus the extended Joan the Maid), and it’s hard to tell how many Markers are available these days – they’ve been steadily surfacing on video. Either way, I could reasonably watch the remainder of these by the end of 2015 – and there’s another big list I’m almost through, assuming I can find the energy to watch Shoah sometime.

 
– I’m building a list of movie write-up traps – here are three:

1. “It’s good, but flawed” (pref. with no elaboration on “flawed”).

2. “This movie from the past/present could never be made in the present/past because these/those days movies are/were like ____.”

3. Any mention of “explosions and car chases” re: a movie that lacks these things.

 
– An Adrian Martin phrase I liked very much:
“harnessing our hard drives as our outsourced memory banks”

 
– Since it has become sport to ask me how many movies I watch per year, I’ve accessed my outsourced memory banks to come up with an answer: 238, on average.

Number of movies watched per year:

Before the movie journal, Deeper Into Movies was set up to host movie lists (and some pictures of my birds), tracking all the movies I’ve watched (that I could recall – probably still missing bunches of Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry shorts) and all the ones I’d like to watch. Soon I realized that I was forgetting entire movies I claimed to have seen, partly because I was moving on to the next thing without spending enough time reflecting on the previous one, so the movie blog was born. And sometime between the new year and today, it’s reached a milestone: I’ve written journal entries on more than half the movies I’ve ever seen!

Time for year-end lists! I seem to do this differently every year. This year I wasn’t able to get to the theater as often, but tried to keep up with some movies from the last five years at home, so I put those in their own category.

Favorite New Movies of 2013

Favorite Recent Movies watched on video in 2013

Favorite Older Movies watched on video in 2013

Favorite Shorts watched in 2013

Some 2013 Movies To Watch

I’ve got a new way of tracking various must-see movie lists.
Some of the ones I made (minor) progress on this year:
– They Shoot Pictures: seen 67%
– TSP 21st Century: 81%
– Jonathan Rosenbaum: 55%
– Criterion: 60%
– Time Out Horror: 79%
– Anthology Film Archives: 41%

This is about the 1850th post on the ol’ blog, now covering some 2780 titles (including shorts). Been running a month or two behind lately, hence these lists appearing halfway into January.