Anton Chigurh will not be tamed, hen-pecked,
or led to bear a kiss as just a kiss.
You're not the blonde he's come home to, erect
and dreaming of a woman and a gun. Go on, dismiss
his fury, his phantom empire. Yell, rebel,
then let him strut and fret his minute on the stage
alone. Remember, though, you cannot dispel
the shadows flickering long after his rage
has smoldered down to lines half-sung,
half-turned away, then back with vicious grace.
But watch as strength gives way to fear, is flung
to ceaseless time, then lurks behind his face.
Cohen sings, "Myself I long for love and light,
But must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?"
* * *
Occasionally, the urge to goof it up a little simply can't be resisted. On to today's lists.
"Three years ago, we saluted the 90th anniversary of what was arguably the year when the classical Hollywood cinema emerged in its full form," writes Kristin Thompson, the other half of the "we" being, of course, David Bordwell. "The stylistic guidelines that had been slowly formulated over the past decade or so gelled in 1917. We included a list of what we thought were the ten best surviving films of that year." In 2008, they followed up with a list of the best of 1918; in 2009, the best of 1919; which brings us to...
"The year 1920 can be thought of as a sort of calm before the storm. In Hollywood a new generation was about to come to prominence. Griffith would decline (Way Down East may be his last film to figure on our lists). Borzage will soon reach his prime, as will Ford. Howard Hawks will launch his career, and King Vidor will become a major director. The great three comics, Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd will move into features. In other countries, an enormous flowering of new talent will appear or gain a higher profile: Murnau, Lang, Pabst, Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Dovzhenko, Kuleshov, Vertov, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Jean Epstein, Pabst, Hitchcock, and others. The experimental cinema will be invented, and Lotte Reiniger will devise her own distinctive form of animation. Watch for them all in future lists, which will be increasingly difficult to concoct. In the meantime, here's this year's ten (with two smuggled in)." And topping it is Maurice Tourneur's The Last of the Mohicans.
"In recent American movies, Boston — not New York, not Chicago, not Los Angeles, but Boston — has provided the significant setting and a special urban music of slang, oaths, nostalgia, taunts, affection," writes the New Yorker's David Denby, easing his way into a list of the "Best (and Worst) Films of the Year." Exhibits A through G in his case: Good Will Hunting (1997), Mystic River (2003), The Departed (2006), Gone Baby Gone (2007) and, from this year, The Town, The Fighter and Company Men. "All these movies are about white working-class ethnics — Irish Catholics, in particular — who can talk a blue streak, and all of them are about men and women in clans. Families, friends, neighbors. The clan makes you and it threatens to destroy you, and for the heroes (who are all male — Arise, ye daughters of Hibernia!), the question becomes: Do I leave or do I stay? Do I let the clan define me or must I strike out on my own? And for the rest of us, the question might be: Is this neighborhood and ethnic solidarity not only a celebration, an atmosphere of terrific rough talk and family warmth, but a shudder of anticipation, a last united stand in multicultural America? In part because the Boston talk has so much salt, The Fighter and Company Men are among the best movies of the year. The best is, of course, the Fincher-Sorkin The Social Network, one of the rare big-studio efforts that ravish the audience with sheer intelligence — in this case an inexhaustible vivacity of observation, temperament, wit."
Michael Guillén casts the first of two ballots before the San Francisco Film Critics Circle meets on Monday to draw up its list. Kevin Jagernauth of the Playlist gets director Louis Leterrier to list and discuss his favorite movies and music of the year. Tom Shone lists the "Best Film Scores of 2010" and UK-based Ambrose Heron picks the "Best DVD and Blu-ray Releases of 2010."
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