December 31, 2009–Every year, it is any critic’s “duty” to put together a list of the “ten best” films of the year. I find year after year that this is a time-consuming and difficult task. How is one who truly loves film supposed to narrow down a list to a mere “top 10″? I’ve tried every way I know how to list, number, and/or categorize my favorite films of the year – a lengthy list, indeed – and it never feels as though I’m doing true justice to those films that don’t fit in a list of ten.
So: I have listed my “top 10″ alphabetically below, preceded only by my two favorite films of the year, then my “Eleventh Place tie” for the films every bit as good that don’t quite fit in those 10 slots. There are categories after that. Still, this is all pretty arbitrary in the grand scheme of things. However, as a top ten is some kind of sacred thing for critics, here goes… Continue reading
Whether you believe that the decade ends in December 2010 or December 2009 (a surprising amount of debate on this of late), I believe the latter, and so I have assembled my list of the decade’s best films. It actually wasn’t so difficult, because I took my favorite film of each year, my runner-up for each year and a special achievement and list them here alphabetically. After, of course, my favorite film of the decade. Enjoy! Continue reading
, 127 min, 2009
Penélope Cruz (Lena), Lluís Homar (Mateo Blanco / Harry Caine), Blanca Portillo (Judit García), José Luis Gómez (Ernesto Martel), Rubén Ochandiano (Ray X), Tamar Novas (Diego), Ángela Molina (Madre de Lena), Chus Lampreave (Portera), Kiti Mánver (Madame Mylene), Lola Dueñas (Lectora de labios), Mariola Fuentes (Edurne), Carmen Machi (Chon), Kira Miró (Modelo), Rossy de Palma (Julieta), Alejo Sauras (Álex). Directed by Pedro Almodóvar and produced by Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García. Screenplay by Pedro Almodóvar.
Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces brings his Hitchcockian influence full-circle. From the lush, melodramatic score to the stylish cinematography and the complex plot of adultery, blackmail, voyeurism and crimes of passion. It combines all of these elements that Almodovar favors with perhaps his favorite element: Penelope Cruz. Continue reading
“You cannot hold the process to ransom any longer, so end the violence, and end it now.”
– Tony Blair, voice heard over the opening credits (quoted in Newsweek: “Peace Isn’t Impossible”)
“I am convinced that the time is right finally to put the past behind us and meet the deep thirst of the people of Northern Ireland for peace, normality and prosperity.”
– Tony Blair (Address, May 16, 1997)
Jim Sheridan’s The Boxer (1997) is a morally complex tale of redemption, simply told, through a series of tiny yet bold, precarious yet solid steps toward a hopeful, lasting peace in Northern Ireland. Its protagonist, having spent fourteen years in Maze Prison for connections to the Provisional Irish Republican Army and, of course, not naming names, is quite the idealist. Continue reading