This week’s High and Low celebrates the sublime and the obscene. But though the two movies I've spotlighted couldn't be more different, they're both a lot of fun. Perhaps the case could be made that both movies celebrate female artists and their unique voices, but that might be stretching things a tad. Still, you might find yourself surprised by these titles — one’s less stodgy, and the other less stupid, than the casual observer might at first realize. more »
I'm thrilled and honored to welcome you to the first of several virtual roundtables featuring Oscar's nominee class of 2012 -- commencing today with those behind the five films nominated for Best Documentary Feature. They are (in alphabetical order):
And so my most-favorite, least-favorite task of the year rolls around again. I never call it a "10 best" list -- meaning the unequivocal 10 best films of the year -- because I'm fully aware of how subjective it is. Yet as frustrating as it usually is to pull together just the right 10, I found the job surprisingly pleasurable this year. So many movies to love! How could this have happened? Let's not even address the fact that two 3-D movies made it onto my list -- that surprises me as much as anyone. The remarkable thing is that year after year, no matter how much samey-sameness Hollywood (or even so-called indie cinema, for that matter) seems to give us, there are always pictures that resonate, movies that stand apart as if to do so were their God-given right.
Now that everyone has grown tired of touting the allegedly thrilling promise of 3-D, we may have some chance of figuring out exactly what its future might be. While I still think 3-D is almost less than a gimmick, I've come to think that its real promise lies not in big-budget filmmaking along the lines of The Adventures of Tintin or even a picture as wonderful as Hugo, but in the hands of directors working on a more modest scale who simply have a good idea and a spark of enthusiasm for the medium. Wim Wenders has brought that spark to a rather unlikely subject, the late German modern-dance choreographer Pina Bausch. For years, Wenders and Bausch, longtime friends, had been working on a movie together. Bausch died suddenly in 2009, at age 68, and Pina is Wenders's tribute to her, less a strict documentary than a heartfelt -- and visually gorgeous -- celebration of Bausch's work and her mode of working.