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DAILY BULLETIN: Django Unchained soundtrack commentary, Metacritic’s top 10

Happy New Year people!

I’ll say this upfront: half my brain is still working on processing Django Unchained, which I just saw. Overall, I found it was good, but not great. I don’t want to repeat myself, so you can check my twitter for a few more thoughts. And I’ll go more in depth on it in my next podcast, which, time permitting, will be recorded tomorrow. Alright, this is gonna be a short one, so, onward…

Tarantino commentary for the Django Unchained soundtrack
django-unchained
Sticking with the Tarantino theme, he was on Sirius recently promoting his soundtrack for Django, and he provided a track-by-track commentary of his selections. I know, I know, this is kind of a double dip, considering I already did a whole long thing about Tarantino’s soundtracks not that long ago. But the commentary is something new, and I could listen to Tarantino talk about pretty much anything. So if you’re like me, you should give this a listen. I haven’t gotten a chance to hear it all yet, actually. The full show runs almost an hour and a half, so if I’d listened to the whole thing before starting this post, I’d be up laaaate. And since I’m traveling tomorrow, that’s not in the cards. Anyway, click through to check it out.

Metacritic’s best films of 2012
I think I implied in a previous post that I wouldn’t be covering the various top 10 lists as they came out. After all, I’m not doing mine until a few months from now, and pretty much every critic runs their own list, so I can’t very well discuss them all individually.

I can, however, discuss them collectively. On that front, review aggregating website Metacritic has put out their best of 2012, which compiles all the top 10 lists from various critics and assigns points based on how each film ranked in each list, and blah blah blah. Point is, the list is intended as an “overall best of” type list. Here’s the top 10  (so far anyway, they’re still updating I think):

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. The Master
3. Moonrise Kingdom
4. Lincoln
5. Amour
6. Argo
7. Holy Motors
8. Beasts of the Southern Wild
9. Silver Linings Playbook
10. Django Unchained

Pretty standard stuff, no surprises. I haven’t seen everything on here, but they’ve all gotten ample buzz and I know of them. I’ll definitely be checking these out.

Some of the more interesting selections (for me anyway) come a bit later. The highest rated documentary on the list (This Is Not A Film) ranks 11th. Again, I know of it, but haven’t seen it yet. It’s the story of Jafar Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker. Filmed secretly and smuggled out of the country in a thumb drive hidden in a cake (I’m not making this up), This Is Not A Film documents Panahi’s daily activities during his house arrest in Tehran.

bernie-posterAnother must for me is Bernie, which ranks only 25th on the list. It’s a Richard Linklater film about a mortician played by Jack Black. I really don’t know much more about it than that, but that’s enough for me to be interested.

But the best parts of these lists are the films I’ve never even heard of. I mean, I like to think of myself as pretty knowledgeable when it comes to movies. But one thing I’ve learned about films and film history in the years I’ve been studying is the more you think you know, the more you come to realize you’re clueless about. Let’s face it – I’m only one man. Thousands of movies come out every year. I can only see so many. On this list of 33, I’ve at least heard of 27. So let’s look at the mystery six:

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia: This is a film from Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan. I don’t know him, but I should. They love him in Cannes. His film Distant won the Grand Jury Prize in 2002, and this film won the same prize at Cannes in 2011. He also won best director at Cannes for Three Monkeys in 2008, and the FIPRESCI prize for Climates in 2006. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia sounds like a bit of a character study as a bunch of people go off into the mountains in search of a dead body that proves to be hard to locate. It stars, well, nobody I’ve ever heard of. But I won’t hold that against it.

The Deep Blue Sea: This one comes from British director Terrence Davies. He’s best known to me as the director of the documentary Of Time And The City, which looked at his hometown of Liverpool. That movie was well-liked by critics, but I found it pretty dull, sad to say. The Deep Blue Sea is a romantic drama about the wife of a judge who gets involved in an affair with a former RAF pilot. It’s a period piece, and it stars Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston. I like both of them, so I might give Davies another shot.

Tabu: I haven’t got a hope of summarizing the convoluted-sounding plot for this one better than the IMDb summary, so here it is: “A restless retired woman teams up with her deceased neighbor’s maid to seek out a man who has a secret connection to her past life as a farm owner at the foothill of Mount Tabu in Africa.” It doesn’t exactly scream “must see” to me, and again I know none of the people involved. But I might check it out if I find the time.

the-loneliest-planet-posterThe Loneliest Planet: This is a thriller from director Julia Loktev. She’s only directed a couple of movies previous to this (Moment Of Impact in 1998 and Day Night Day Night in 2006). But Day Night Day Night garnered her the “Someone To Watch” Award at the Independent Spirit Awards. The Loneliest Planet stars Gael Garcia Bernal, who I know of, and Hani Furstenbrg, who I don’t. From the description, it seems to be a movie about secrets, as “an engaged couple’s backpacking trip in the Caucasus Mountains is derailed by a single misstep that threatens to undo everything the pair believed about each other and about themselves.” It sounds promising, but it’s worth noting that this film isn’t doing well with general audiences. With 673 user reviews on IMDb, it’s sitting at 5.4 out of 10, by far the lowest of any of these six films.

The last two films on the list are documentaries, which I’ll list together:

How To Survive A Plague and The Gatekeepers: The first one is a documentary about AIDS, which sounds thought-provoking. The second is a documentary about the former heads of Shin Bet, a top secret Israeli security agency, which sounds badass. The documentarians are David France and Dror Moreh, neither of whom I know anything about. Both films have been shortlisted for the best documentary Oscar. To my chagrin, I tend to undervalue documentaries. They always seem to be the things I see after I’ve seen all the other stuff I’m interested in. This time, I’ll try and bump these two up the list a little, along with This Is Not A Film.

Hey, I think that passes as a New Year’s resolution! On that note, I’m out. Hope you all have a great 2013!

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