Matt's Favourite Directors: 2010 Edition
- Written by Matthew Toomey
Last Friday, I was able to attend a media preview of The Social Network. You can believe the hype. It is one of the year’s best films. It’s a shame it’s not out for another 2 weeks (October 28) but review is already up on my website if you want to check it out.
The quality that struck me most about the film was David Fincher’s direction. It’s incredibly good and reconfirmed my believe that he’s one of the best directors in the business today.
It was two years ago when I last blogged about my favourite modern day directors. The time has come to dust off and update the list.
I’ve gone through all my favourite films of the past 10 years and tried to match up the common directors. I realise some of my favourites have made great films prior to the last decade (e.g. Woody Allen), but I’m trying to seek those who are “in form”. Otherwise I’d be here all night trying to compare Stanley Kubrick with the Coen Brothers.
Here then is the list. I’ve included the ranking which I gave them in 2008. I’ve also listed their best film of the past decade along with a few others you must see (if you haven’t already).
10. Jason Reitman (not ranked last time)
My Favourite: Juno (2007)
Other Great Works: Up In The Air (2009), Thank You For Smoking (2005)
9. Clint Eastwood (last rank: 8)
My Favourite: Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Other Great Works: Changeling (2008), Flags Of Our Father (2006), Letters From Iwo Jima (2006), Mystic River (2003)
8. Darren Aronofsky (not ranked last time)
My Favourite: Requiem For A Dream (2000)
Other Great Works: The Wrestler (2008)
7. David Fincher (last rank: 6)
My Favourite: Zodiac (2007)
Other Great Works: The Social Network (2010)
6. Sam Mendes (last rank: 9)
My Favourite: Revolutionary Road (2009)
Other Great Works: Jarhead (2005), Road To Perdition (2002)
5. Gus Van Sant (last rank: 7)
My Favourite: Elephant (2003)
Other Great Works: Milk (2008), Paranoid Park (2007), Last Days (2005)
4. Paul Thomas Anderson (last rank: 2)
My Favourite: There Will Be Blood (2007)
Other Great Works: Punch Drunk Love (2002)
3. Paul Greengrass (last rank: 3)
My Favourite: United 93 (2006)
Other Great Works: Green Zone (2009), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Bloody Sunday (2002)
2. Christopher Nolan (last rank: 5)
My Favourite: Inception (2010)
Other Great Works: The Dark Knight (2008), The Prestige (2006), Batman Begins (2005), Insomnia (2002), Memento (2000)
1. Coen Brothers (last rank: 1)
My Favourite: No Country For Old Men (2007)
Other Great Works: A Serious Man (2009), Burn After Reading (2008), Intolerable Cruelty (2003), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Certificates of commendation go to Mike Leigh, Wes Anderson, Roman Polanski, Kevin Macdonald, and Alexander Payne. I just couldn’t squeeze them in.
Italian Film Festival Kicks Off This Week In Brisbane
- Written by Matthew Toomey
We’re only a month away from BIFF but there’s something to keep us occupied in the meantime. This Wednesday, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival kicks off in Brisbane. It runs for more than 2 weeks and there are more than 20 different films being shown. It’s come at the right time too. There are just 2 new releases in regular release this week.
I’m heading along to the Opening Night celebrations and hopefully the festival will be a great one.
The Palace Centro and Palace Barracks are hosting the festival again this year and you can find out more on the special website at http://www.italianfilmfestival.com.au. Tickets are $18 to most sessions (cheaper for concessions) and there are a few special events with drinks/entertainment included.
I’ve been perusing through the festival guide and to help wet your appetite, here’s a sampling of what’s on offer…
La Nostra Vita
Barracks - October 6, 14 & 23
Elio Germano plays Claudio, a construction worker living on the outskirts of Rome with a wife he adores, two small kids and a third on the way. When a tragedy befalls the family, Claudio leans on his boss to give him his own construction site to supervise. In exchange, Claudio will keep a secret Porcari is covering up. La Nostra Vita screened in competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival where Elio Germano collected the coveted Best Actor award.
The Double Hour
Barracks - October 8 & 16
Sonia, a young woman from Eastern Europe, has recently moved to the northern industrial town of Turin. She wants to find a boyfriend so she signs up for a speed-dating service - facing the blunt and the sleazy - until she meets Guido, an ex-cop turned security guard who has been making the rounds of the singles' scene for a while. Against all odds, the two hit it off and a romance quickly develops. Ksenia Rappoport's magnetic performance and sheer screen presence earned her the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival, and Filippo Timi (who won Best Actor) oozes macho sexuality.
The First Beautiful Thing
Barracks - October 7 & 16
In 1971, at a popular beach establishment near the Tuscan port of Livorno, yummy-mummy Anna is roped into a beauty contest which she easily wins. Her jealous husband, Mario, is enraged by the attention from assorted wolf-whistlers, while 8-year-old son Bruno is horrified by the spectacle of it all. His younger sister Valeria is the only one enjoying the scene. Jump to the present, when Bruno gets an urgent visit from Valeria telling him their mother is sick. Bruno tries to wriggle out of going back to Livorno but finally agrees, the trip triggering bittersweet memories. This is Italy’s entry in the foreign language category of next year’s Academy Awards.
The Man Who Will Come
Barracks - October 13 & 21
Winner of the Best Film Award at the David Di Donotello (Italian Academy) Awards 2010 and Rome's Grand Jury Prize as well as the Audience Award, The Man Who Will Come is a powerful and engrossing drama based on the World War II tragedy known as the Marzabotto Massacre, which confirms director and co-writer Giorgio Diritti as a major filmmaker in contemporary Italian cinema.
Barracks - October 8 & 19
Tommaso has a comfortable life in Rome as an aspiring writer and is in a steady relationship with his boyfriend Marco — a life he has kept secret from his family. When he's called back to his hometown of Lecce in Southern Italy to help run the family business, he decides to reveal his homosexuality to his conservative family and hopefully get out of his business obligations in the process. But when his plans are thwarted, Tommaso gets stuck on the path that he was desperately trying to avoid.
The Front Line
Barracks - October 12 & 20
Set during a turbulent period in 1970-80s Italy, Sergio joins the radical political group Prima Linea where he meets and falls in love with fellow member, Susanna. Pursuing an uncompromising cause as members of this notorious Italian terrorist organization, second only to the Red Brigades in membership and influence, they have become increasingly alienated from the real world. Their luck finally runs out when Susanna is captured and thrown in jail. Putting his life on the line, Sergio embarks on a radical plan...
Barracks - October 9 & 17
Academy award-winning veteran director Gabriele Salvatores (Mediterraneo) delivers a colourful tongue-in-cheek comedy about a writer holed up in his apartment in Milan one hot summer trying to punch out a story while the characters come to life around him offering their input on the direction they think the story should take.
What More Do I Want?
Barracks - October 10 & 24
Anna is a woman in her early thirties who works as an accountant at a large insurance firm. She lives with her long-time boyfriend Alessio, a nice guy who thinks they should settle down and have a child. Anna, on the other hand, feels like the excitement has gone out of their relationship and when she meets Domenico in her office, it isn't long before their clandestine chemistry turns into a fully fledged affair even though Domenico confesses to having a wife and two kids at home. The illicit lovers meet once a week for a few hours in a cheap motel, but soon it's not enough for Anna, who becomes increasingly needy.
We Have An Oscar Frontrunner: The Social Network
- Written by Matthew Toomey
We’re 9 months into the year and its time for the best films to step up and reveal themselves. The awards season kicks off in early December and it’ll be a bloody battle right up the Oscars on February 27.
As always, the recent film festivals in Venice and Toronto have given the big studios a chance to showcase their contenders. It’s kind of like a fashion show. They hold onto their best stuff and launch it in glitzy style (with stars, parties) over the course of a single week.
A few films made an impact but the big talking point is a film which didn’t screen in competition at the two major festivals - David Fincher’s The Social Network. You have only had to read a few news sites to see references to Citizen Kane. I’m trying not to buy into the over-hype but it’s obviously leaving a mark on those who see it. It’s the clear Oscar frontrunner.
The exciting news it that the release date has been brought forward here in Australia. We’ll now have the chance to see it on October 28 and I’m hoping my media invite comes through very soon.
Columnist Jeffrey Wells provided a great summary of the Toronto Film Festival which you can read right here. He speaks of a number of films in addition to The Social Network which I can’t wait to see. They include Black Swan, 127 Hours, Let Me In, The King’s Speech and Biutiful.
It’s been a long weekend and that’s all I’ve time for this week.
Launching A New Film Pie Column & Early BIFF News
- Written by Matthew Toomey
It’s been two weeks since my last blog as I’ve been off with the Queensland Colts golf team who were competing in the Australian Interstate Series at Wynnum. It was a fun week with the team finishing second behind Victoria. I’ve a bunch of photos from the week on Facebook for those who are interested.
As a result of being in camp, I went 10 days without seeing a movie. I think it left me with withdrawal symptoms. I don’t think I’ve gone that long without a trip to the cinema since I did a Contiki tour of Europe in 2004. I made up for the shortfall by seeing 4 movies on Sunday (which also happened to be my birthday). It was short of my record of 6 movies in a day but it was a decent effort anyway. I’m now back on track and all is well in the world.
I’ve been lucky to meet some interesting people through Twitter and now I have one of them contributing to my website. If there’s one area of cinema where I’m weak, it’s my knowledge of classic movies. I spend so much time watching all the new releases that I struggle to find time to watch the great films from year’s past.
Peter Taggart is filling the Film Pie void by putting together a weekly column which reviews cult and classic offerings which you’ll discover at your local video store (possibly gathering dust).
You can access Peter’s column by clicking here and he’s starting off this week by looking at the 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens. Hopefully you’ll enjoy his work.
Brisbane International Film Festival
Details have been out for a few weeks but I haven’t had a chance to mention them yet in my blog. This year’s BIFF promises to be something different – there’s a new date, new venues and a new director.
The Festival will run from November 4-14 and will be shared between the Palace Centro, Palace Barracks and Tribal Theatres (the old Dendy George Street). Richard Moore is at the helm this year and is a former director of the Melbourne International Film Festival.
I’m very keen to see the line up of films and I’ll be sure to keep you posted in future blogs.
Tomorrow When The War Began
In my review, I raised the question as to whether the marketing strategy for Tomorrow When The War Began would pay off. The answer is a resounding yes.
The film has taken $8.97m so far at the Australian box-office. It’s opening weekend of $3.8m was the biggest since Baz Lurhmann’s Australia in November 2008. It’s also the first locally made film to top our box-office since Australia.
It’s great to see the Aussie public getting behind the film and hopefully it’ll fuel a few sequels in the near future. Well done to director Stuart Beattie.
Toronto Film Festival
I say this every year but if there’s one film festival I wish I could attend, it’s Toronto. Hundreds of films are shown and for many high profile releases, it’s the chance to kick start their Oscar campaigns. I love reading the columns from bloggers in Toronto to hear which films have lived up to the hype. This year’s festival finished up over the weekend.
I’ll provide more detailed coverage on this year’s Oscar contenders in an upcoming blog but I want to make mention of the very importance People’s Choice Award. Previous winners have included Precious (2009), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Tsotsi (2005), Hotel Rwanda (2004), Whale Rider (2002), Amelie (2001), Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), American Beauty (1999), Life Is Beautiful (1998) and Shine (1996). All went on to receive Academy Award nominations.
This year’s audience winner was The King’s Speech. It boasts a great cast including Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Geoffrey Rush and Timothy Spall. It tells the story of King George VI (the British monarch before Queen Elizabeth II) and how he overcame a dreadful stutter with the help of a speech therapist. Reviews have been great so far and it seems a shoe-in for a best picture nomination.
That’ll do it from me for another week. Over and out.