sâmbătă, 31 decembrie 2022

Top films of 2022 (& doc and series)

I saw more films this year than in the last 2 pandemic years (2020 here and 2021 here),  unfortunately not so many in a cinema, and mostly not so good there, a lot more streaming, my count of 427 films (including those rewatched (always a pleasure:) & catch-up's, shorts, documentaries and series (=one count per season or series)
I have nor seen yet some films they talk/write about or could be contenders, Aftersun (saw it meanwhile, not for me), Babylon (which would've made the top but saw in Jan 23 on the big screen), The Whale, EO (that could be a color Au hasard Balthasar), so on and so far.
***-where there are links there are my reviews or opinions. 

Top 5 Feature Films:

  1. The Banshees of Inisherin -Martin McDonagh

  2. Triangle of Sadness-Ruben Ostlund

  3. Nope -Jordan Peele

  4. The Fabelmans-Steven Spielberg

  5. Elvis -Baz Luhrmann

  6. (mention) El Buen Patron (Fernando Leon de Aranoa, from 2021, saw it on this year's TIFF with a magnificent Javier Bardem) and Kiril Serrebrennikov's Petrov's Flu (from last year's Cannes, saw it in cinema this spring)

-also in our cinemas Nightmare Alley,  that tops my 2021 top ;) And also from last year, The Forgiven, from  Martin McDonagh's brother John Michael (McDonagh), reminiscent of Under the Vulcano, with a brilliant performance by Ralph Fiennes.

Debut of the year: 

John Patton Fotd -Emily the Criminal. Also a superb performance by Aubrey Plaza (could win Independent Spirit Awards).

Top 3 Made in Romania

  1. Miracol-Bogdan George Apetri

  2. R.M.N.-Cristian Mungiu

  3. Metronom-Alexandru Belc

Comedy of the year:

CoupeZ! (Final Cut) -Michel Hazanavicius

-also could've been The Menu if they emphasised more on the comedy/satire. 

Top deleted scene of the Year: or The Nicolas Cage Award 2022

Nicolas Cage vs. Nic Cage in the deleted Caligari dream sequence from The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent! (unfortunately a wasted film :()

Top 3 Horror

Pearl (Ti West) (tied as it should with) X (Ti West)

Barbarian (Zach Cregger)

Bones And All (Luca Guagadino-a sort of neo Near Dark meets Cat People in Nomadlands:)

Animation (& curio) of the year: Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio  


As for performances,  can get Cate Blanchett's tour-de-force can get her a third Oscar. But deservingly would be Vicky Krieps for Corsage (which could win for best foreign film also). Ana De Armas' bravura performance in Blonde  is the stunt of the year ! And she got nominated too...

I root for Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin, And Kerry Condon as supporting actress.

and we can see Mark Rylance to get another Oscar (also supporting) for Bones and All. (UPDATE: oups, he didn't even get nominated...)


Now, also about the worst, Disney/Zemeckis' Pinocchio surely wins the cup, with Amsterdam close and Blonde being the most disappointing film of the year (for me).  Too bad George Miller's much expected Three Thousand Years of Longing didn't do all the distance....

Series (& mini-series)

  1. The Offer (Michael Tolkien, Leslie Greif, Paramount+)

  2. Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, HBO)

  3. Better Call Saul (Vince Gilligan, final season, Netflix)

  4. White Lotus season 2 (Mike White, HBO)

  5. The English (Hugo Blick, Prime, HBO)

  6. Tokyo Vice (Michael Mann, J.T. Rogers-HBO max)

  7. Peacemaker (James Gunn, DC,HBO max) also best super-hero film/series

  8. 1883 (Taylor Sheridan, Paramount+)

  9. Slow Horses (season 1, apple tv, based on Mick Herron's books, great theme song (Strange Game) by Mick Jagger!)

  10. Barry -season 3 (Bill Hader, Alec Berg, HBO)                                                                                   +Australian hitman show Mr. Inbetween would've been in the top up, cos' I saw all three seasons and loved it, but it ran from 2018 to 2022, on FX. Scott Ryan, the protagonist Ray Shoesmith, the director and the creator of the show is a name that Hollywood should notice. 


Ennio -Giuseppe Tornatore (premiered Venezia 2021,  saw it this year,was released super-limited in Romanian cinemas)

The Last Movie Stars (Ethan Hawke, TNT, HBO)

vineri, 30 decembrie 2022

RIP Pele (the Real Conqueror)

Legendary Brazilian fottballer Pele made a single film in his career,but whaaat a film! It's called VICTORY or Escape to Victory (1981), a WW2 film directed by none other than John Huston, starring Stallone, Michael Caine and https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083284/?ref_=nm_knf_t_1Max von Sydow. Pele makes a legendary fork in the film 

and all my schoolmates were obsessed with that scene so they went to the cinema to see it again and again...One of the few fun films in early 80's communist Romania, translated as DRUMUL spre Victorie. Also weirdly enough,the film which is the sports (football) Great Escape was shot in another communist caountry,Hungary. Pele died on Dec. 29th 2022,he was 82....

marți, 20 decembrie 2022

The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

The Banshees of Inisherin looks like it could be the film of this year, 2022, for me. 

Martin McDonagh impressed me (In Bruges, no. 5 in my top of 2008), psyched me (Seven Psychopaths) and dissapointed me as well (Three Billboards Outside EM, why? cos I expected more...)

But this,the Banshees is his best film until now, his most literary (the man is a great playwright as well, see “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,”a play from 2001), about ordinary Irish people on a small island, during the Irish Civil war, in 1923.  It's about friendship, it's about denial, depression, love, booze and ultimately death. I love McDonaugh's fascination with pets (cats, dogs or donekys), and their role in men's inner secret affections.

Colin Farrell  (named best actor at Venice Film festival, and up to an Oscar imo) and Brendan Gleeson have been up together on the big screen for McDonagh in his most impressive and personal debut, In Bruges (2008). Farell was also the lead in his LA fare, Seven Psychopaths (2012). But now they do a tour-de-force that reminded me of Waiting for Godot or Guinness drinkers Rosenkrantz and Guilderstern are Dead. I think these two plays could be good companions to The Banshees.

Superbe supporting cast-Kerry Condon as Farrell's sister Siobhan and Barry Keoghan as the dom Dominic.

Absolute gorgeous music by Carter Burwell,  McDonagh collaborator on all his four gigs. Burwell,Coen's fidelius musician and musicist is worth an Oscar (twice nominated,  maybe third time's a charm;)

marți, 13 decembrie 2022

RIP Angelo Badalamenti

One of the great film composers, Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch's closest collaborator, died on Dec. 11th. He was 85. 

He worked with Lynch from Blue Velvet to Twin Peaks, Lost Highway,The Straight Story and to Mulholland Drive , and last again for the new Twin Peaks (2017), but he was a composer of great songs (for Nina Nimone, Nancy Wilson, Shirley Bassey, Marianne Faithull, etc), as much as scores. He won a Grammy in 1990 for Twin Peaks.

Worked close also with Jean-Pierre Jeunet (La Cite des enfants perdus, Une longue dimanche de financailles) and Paul Schrader (Comfort of Strangers, Forever Mine, Auto Focus, Dominion). Also did the music for Russian director Fedor Bondarciuk's war epic Stalingrad,Danny Boyle'sThe Beach, Eli Roth's cabin Fever and for Nicole Garcia's L'adversaire. 

Obituary in The Guardian.

sâmbătă, 3 decembrie 2022

Final Cut / Coupez! (2022)

Coupez! (Cut, but English title Final Cut, 2022) was the opening film at Cannes Film Festival in 2022. A high profile remake of Japanese cult classic from 2017, One Cut of the Dead, written & directed by Michel Hazanavicius (OSS, L'artiste, Le redoutable) and distributed by Wild Bunch. A film-in-film, meta-film if ever was one;), zombies included (I think worse we can do is to spoil it!),  the making of a Z grade zombie film. It is one of the year's most fun and underrrated films. Think in comparison of the (a)void The Dead Don't Die, another opening in Cannes, this time by Jim Jarmusch in his one-too-many deconstruction of genres. My two-bits on that here!

But Coupez! has to be seen especially in its construction of 3 acts, 1st and 3d mirroring one another. I have seen only bits of the original Japanese which was a low-budget 25.000$ production but it was a huge hit (25 million $ BO) with awards in over 20 genre festivals. The French remake had a 4 million euros budget and known actors in the lead, Romain  Duris as the neurotic director, Berenice Bejo as his actress/makeup artist wife.  It's more sophisticated (mais oui, c"est français) and also nods the Japanese original, with members of the original cast, adding a most funny sound effects technician. The Z comes from the Z channel, a genre streaming initiative. You just have to watch the one-take act 1 (first half hour) with patience and then you'll be rewarded ;) Crazy rhythm and joie-de-cinema, Day for Night avec beaucoup du faux sang!