Friday, January 23, 2009

Two Links for the Day, and Oh Yeah, Oscar

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - First: my latest article, on Jean-Luc Godard's 1966 film Made in U.S.A., which only now has gotten a proper U.S. theatrical release at Film Forum (its run is already over, however). I've seen it once before, on a copied DVD from an underground source, but I was much more impressed with the film the second time around in this new 35mm. print: it's as rich and provocative as much of his '60s work, but, in its sense of melancholy, you can already see seeds of his later style being planted.

But the second link is the one I'm really itching to share: I'm on a podcast! Talking about movies! Talking about the year in movies 2008! Granted, I am one of many voices in this one, and I only got to chime in a few times with comments, but it was still cool to be a part of it, and to meet certain film bloggers that I read frequently. Click here to check it out (and let me know how I sounded, because I certainly am not going to be listening to myself on this one).

Oh yeah, and speaking of 2008 movies: the Oscar nominations yesterday? Pffft. I don't necessarily agree that 2008 was a weak year for movies---as I was trying to come up with my top 10 of last year, I could have easily rattled off 25 or so solid-to-great titles. Overall, though, it was a fairly unexciting year for American mainstream films---yeah, despite much-discussed films like The Dark Knight and Synecdoche, New York, neither of which impressed me all that much---and its Oscar crop represents this. Any Oscar year that considers an unintentional Holocaust sex comedy like The Reader as the epitome of prestige and good taste gives one more piece of evidence of its lack of relevance.

Perhaps, between now and Feb. 22, I'll consider discussing why I pretty much have no love for any of the Best Picture nominees, especially the deeply problematic Slumdog Millionaire. (If the Academy had actually had the guts to lump WALL-E into the Best Picture category, then maybe we'd have a contest---even if, for me, it would have been a landslide victory.) Until then, I will just put in these three random comments:

1. Where the fuck is Sally Hawkins in all this?

2. What the fuck is Departures? (It's the Japanese Foreign Film nominee, yes, but I've never even heard of it until today.)

3. I missed Melissa Leo in Frozen River, but even so, I pretty much think that, with the exception of Anne Hathaway, Juliette Binoche in Flight of the Red Balloon pretty much beats all of this year's Best Actresses. I'm just saying.

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