Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The 2012 Viewing Log with an explanation of my personally esoteric rating system and a terrible dearth of pics

one of the year's 10s

I’ve elected to rate films on a ten scale to the first decimal place. I’ll add that my method for scoring doesn’t begin at 0.0. I start at 5.0 (similar to a teacher giving a certain amount of credit for putting name to paper) and then work forward or backward depending on the film’s quality (or lack thereof). One look below will show that a film need be particularly egregious to fall below a 5.0. Masterpiece level is 9.0 and above (with a little shading from 8.8 and 8.9) with 10s being the true high-points of cinema, the cream at the top of what may become my personal canon; the 8s are undisputedly great films; the 7s are good films, 7.9 being almost great and 7.0 barely making it; the 6s are either simply flaming mediocrity or films with such huge flaws they ultimately override any good or even great aspects about them; and the 5s are an indisputably unrewarding zone. 5.0 is a flat-line. Anything above that means the film had something, no matter how minuscule, which made the viewing something other than a waste of time. Anything below a 5.0 signifies that the movie was, in the words of somebody’s grumpy uncle, a truly heinous piece of garbage. Like any veteran film viewer, I’ve developed a pretty good bullshit detector, so scores below 5.0 will be rare. But I occasionally watch movies in a social context (that is to say I don’t pick ‘em), so it’s by no means out of the question that a true stinker will rear its ugly head. An asterisk accompanying a rating carries with it my belief that with an additional viewing or time to reflect (or other circumstances, such as a deeper appreciation for a director’s filmography), my ranking could easily change by more than a few tens of a point. A film with an asterisk is far more likely to improve in my esteem than otherwise. Ranking of films without the asterisk are by no means set in stone; I just feel far more confident that they won’t vary by more than a few tenths of a point. As a look above shows, the list of films viewed will include more than just feature film; documentaries, short films, avant-garde works, cartoons, even music videos on occasion. TV poses a problem: it will be included when I give it the attention it deserves (or doesn’t, as the case may be), which essentially reflects more on my aversion to tackle TV as an expressive medium than it does on any long-debated shortcomings or inherent differences between the small screen and the large one. Got that? Good.

1/1- 13 RUE MADELEINE (1947) Henry Hathaway 7.8 (DVD)

1/4- THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011) David Fincher 9.3 (Theatre/Digital)

1/5- WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968) Michael Reeves 8.3 (Streaming/Netflix)

1/9- MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011) Woody Allen 8.7 (Theatre/Digital)

1/12- TEN (2002) Abbas Kiarostami 8.9* (DVD)

         THE BRINK’S JOB (1978) William Friedkin 7.7 (Streaming/Netflix)

1/17- THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011) David Fincher 9.3 (Theatre/Digital)

1/18- VERTIGO (1958) Alfred Hitchcock 10 (Theatre/Digital)

1/19- FILM SOCIALISME (2010) Jean-Luc Godard 9.2* (Streaming/Netflix)

1/20- ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1933) Erle C. Kenton 9.4 (DVD)

         7.7 (DVD)

1/21- BORDER RADIO (1987) Allison Anders, Dean Lent, Kurt Voss 7.9 (DVD)

1/23- MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL (2011) Brad Bird 7.7 (Theatre/Digital)

         REAR WINDOW (1954) Alfred Hitchcock 10 (Theatre/Digital)

1/24- FILM (1965) Alan Schneider 9* (Streaming/UbuWeb)

         FROM ROMANCE TO RITUAL (1985) Peggy Ahwesh 8.7 (Streaming/UbuWeb)

1/26- 3 WOMEN (1977) Robert Altman 8.9* (Blu-Ray)

1/31- HAYWIRE (2012) Steven Soderbergh 8.5* (Theatre/35mm)

2/1- THE DESCENDANTS (2011) Alexander Payne 9.2 (Theatre/Digital)

2/2- THE OTHER F WORD (2011) Andrea Blaugrund 5.5 (DVD)

2/3- LUCK- EPISODE ONE (2011) Michael Mann 8.6* (Television/Home Box Office)

2/6- THE ITALIAN JOB (1969) Peter Collinson 7.1 (Streaming/Netflix)

2/7- DUCK SOUP (1933) Leo McCarey 10 (Streaming/Netflix)

2/9- SUBMARINE (2010) Richard Ayoade 6 (Blu-Ray)

2/10- THE RED AND THE WHITE (1968) Miklós Jancsó 10 (DVD)

2/13- GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH (2010) Damien Chazelle 9.6* (DVD)

2/14- THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY (1945) Robert Siodmak 8*

2/15- CULLODEN (1964) Peter Watkins 9.7* (Streaming/Netflix)

2/16- THE 10TH VICTIM (1965) Elio Petri 7.5 (DVD)

2/18- THE WAR GAME (1965) Peter Watkins 9.8* (Streaming/Netflix)

         ETC. (1966) George Landow (Owen Land) 9.5* (Streaming/UbuWeb)

         FLUXFILM NO. 25: THE EVIL FAERIE (1966) George Landow (Owen Land) 9*

         REMEDIAL READING COMPREHENSION (1970) George Landow (Owen Land) 10

2/22- THE ARTIST (2011) Michel Hazanavicius 7.5* (Theatre/Digital)

2/23- TAKE SHELTER (2011) Jeff Nichols 9.2 (Blu-Ray)

2/29- RUNDSKOP (BULL HEAD) (2011) Michaël R. Roskam 7 (Theatre/Digital)

3/8- THE 39 STEPS (1935) Alfred Hitchcock 10 (DVD)

3/13- TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011) Tomas Alfredson 9.4 (Theatre/Digital)

3/14- LOUIE Season 1- Episodes 1-13 (2010) Louis C.K. 9 (Streaming/Netflix)

3/15- MELANCHOLIA (2011) Lars Von Trier 7.3 (Blu-Ray)

         Sam Cullman 8.3 (DVD)

3/21- AGAINST THE HOUSE (1955) Phil Karlson 7.5 (DVD)

3/29- MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (2011) Sean Durkin 9.5* (Blu-Ray)

4/5- TINY FURNITURE (2010) Lena Dunham 8.3* (Blu-Ray)

4/11- THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE (2001) Guillermo del Toro 9 (Theatre/35mm)

         COLD WEATHER (2010) Aaron Katz 9.3 (Streaming/Netflix)

4/12- ZODIAC (2007) David Fincher 9.8* (Blu-Ray)

4/18- A SHOT IN THE DARK Blake Edwards (1964) 9.8* (Streaming/Netflix)

4/19- DAY FOR NIGHT (1973) François Truffaut 9.7 (DVD)

4/26- THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2011) Pedro Almodovar 9 (Blu-Ray)

5/13- CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) John Milius 8.4 (Theatre/Blu-Ray)

5/16- THE LONG GOODBYE (1973) Robert Altman 10 (Streaming/Netflix)

5/21- THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) Wes Craven 8.8 (Streaming/Netflix)

6/6- SHIRIN (2008) Abbas Kiarostami 9.8* (Streaming/Netflix)

       THE MERCENARY (1968) Sergio Corbucci 9.5 (Streaming/Netflix)

6/12- THE AVENGERS 3D (2012) Joss Whedon 8.6 (Theatre/Digital)

         SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (2012) Rupert Sanders 8 (Theatre/Digital)

6/13- MURDER BY CONTRACT (1958) Irving Lerner 10 (DVD)

         ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS Season 1- Episode 1 “Revenge” (1955) Alfred 
         Hitchcock 8.8 (Streaming/Netflix)

6/14- PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (1965) Mario Bava 8.5* (DVD)

         SHE DONE HIM WRONG (1933) Lowell Sherman 9.4 (Streaming/Netflix)

         ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS Season 1- Episode 2 “Premonition” (1955) Robert
         Stevens 8.2 (Streaming/Netflix)

6/19- HIDDEN FEAR (1957) André De Toth 9.4 (Streaming/Netflix)

        RUSSIAN RHAPSODY (1944) Robert Clampett 9.8 (Streaming/UbuWeb)

        DAYLIGHT (2011) David Barker 7.8 (DVD)

        SCHICK COMMERCIAL (1971) Jean-Luc Godard/Jean-Pierre Gorin 9*

        ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS Season 1- Episode 3 “Triggers in Leash” (1955) Don 
        Medford 8.1 (Streaming/Netflix)

6/20- PROMETHEUS (2012) Ridley Scott 8.6* (Theatre/Digital)

6/21- EXTRATERRESTRIAL (2011) Nacho Vigalondo 8.8* (Theatre/Digital)

6/24- THE THING (1982) John Carpenter 10 (Theatre/Digital)

6/25- LE BEAU SERGE (1958) Claude Chabrol 10 (DVD)

6/27- BRIGITTE AND BRIGITTE (1966) Luc Moullet 9.8 (DVD)

         THE BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND (1949) Preston Sturges 7.3

6/28- LA LUNA 3D (2012) Enrico Casarosa 9 (Theatre/Digital)

        BRAVE 3D (2012) Mark Andrews 8.9* (Theatre/Digital)

        RIVER’S EDGE (1986) Tim Hunter 9.6 (Streaming/Netflix)

7/2- BABY FACE (Pre-Release Version) (1933) Alfred E. Green 9.2 (DVD)

       À DOUBLE TOUR (1959) Claude Chabrol 9.8* (DVD)

7/3- ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS Season 1- Episode 4 “Don’t Come Back Alive” (1955)
       Robert Stevenson 8.5 (Streaming/Netflix)

       THE SMUGGLERS (1967) Luc Moullet 9.6 (DVD)

       MY WINNIPEG (2007) Guy Maddin 8.7 (Streaming/Netflix)

7/4- PARENTS (1989) Bob Balaban 8 (Streaming/Netflix)

7/6- LES COUSINS (1959) Claude Chabrol 9.5 (DVD)

7/9- GUNN (1967) Blake Edwards 8 (Streaming/Netflix)

       PUTTY HILL (2010) Matthew Porterfield 8.6 (Streaming/Netflix)

7/12- A GIRL IS A GUN (1971) Luc Moullet 9* (DVD)

7/17- YOU CAN COUNT ON ME (2000) Kenneth Lonergan 9 (Streaming/Netflix)

7/18- MANHATTAN (1979) Woody Allen 10 (Theatre/Blu-Ray)

7/24- MAGIC MIKE (2012) Steven Soderbergh 9 (Theatre/Digital)

        THE AMAZING SPIDER MAN (2012) Marc Webb 8 (Theatre/Digital)

7/26- THE BIG BIRD CAGE (1972) Jack Hill 7.7 (Streaming/Netflix)

8/1- I VINTI (THE VANQUISHED) (1953) Michelangelo Antonioni 8 (Streaming/Netflix)

       MACHINE GUN MCCAIN (1969) Giuliano Montaldo 8.4 (Streaming/Netflix)

       PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK (1974) Francesco Barilli 6.9 (Streaming/Netflix)

8/6- MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012) Wes Anderson 9.6* (Theatre/Digital)

8/16- CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER (1979) Joan Micklin Silver 7 (Streaming/Netflix)

         MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012) Wes Anderson 9.6* (Theatre/Digital)

9/19- BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (2012) Benh Zeitlin 8.3 (Theater/Digital)

9/27- WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011) Lynne Ramsay 8.5 (Blu-Ray)

10/10- AMERICAN WAREWOLF IN LONDON (1981) John Landis 8.9 (Theatre/Digital)

          LOOPER (2012) Rian Johnson 9 (Theatre/Digital)

10/18- ARGO (2012) Ben Affleck 8.8 (Theatre/Digital)

          THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) Charles Laughton 10 (DVD)

10/25- INTO THE ABYSS (2011) Werner Herzog 8.5 (DVD)

11/1- EUROPA EUROPA (1990) Agnieszka Holland 9.1 (DVD)

11/8- BERNIE (2011) Richard Linklater 9.6* (DVD)

11/15- LANTANA (2001) Ray Lawrence 8.4 (DVD)

11/19- OLIVER TWIST (1948) David Lean 10 (Theatre/DVD)

          FLIGHT (2012) Robert Zemeckis 8 (Theatre/Digital)

11/20- LINCOLN (2012) Steven Spielberg 9.5* (Theatre/Digital)

11/27- SOUND OF MY VOICE (2011) Zal Batmanglij 4.5 (DVD)

12/6- THE SOUND OF NOISE (2010) Ola Simonsson, Johannes Stjärne Nilsson 7 (DVD)

12/13- SKYFALL (2012) Sam Mendes 8.8 (Theatre/Digital)

12/20- ROUNDHAY GARDEN SCENE (1888) Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince 8.9*

          THE ARRIVAL OF A TRAIN AT LA CIOTAT STATION (1895) Louis and Auguste Lumière
          10 (Streaming/YouTube)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Goodbye Andrew Sarris (1928-2012)

as a young man, with the great one....

as an older man, with his wife, the very talented film writer Molly Haskell...

in late life, at the machine...

More than any other writer, he's responsible for shaping how I think and care about film.

Reviews for The Vinyl District- Superchunk's "This Summer" b/w "Cruel Summer" and Pianosaurus' GROOVY NEIGHBORHOOD

Superchunk review here

Pianosaurus review here

Reviews for The Vinyl District- The Bizarros' THE COMPLETE COLLECTION 1976-1980, The Melvins' FREAK PUKE and Saturday Looks Good to Me's ALL YOUR SUMMER SONGS

Bizarros review here

Melvins review here

Saturday Looks Good review here

Reviews for The Vinyl District- Public Image Limited's THIS IS PIL, Grass Widow's INTERNAL LOGIC and Harry Nilsson's NILSSON SINGS NEWMAN

PiL review here

Grass Widow review here

Harry Nilsson review here

Reviews For The Vinyl District- Paul & Linda McCartney's RAM, HEAVY BLANKET and The Clean's COMPILATION

Paul & Linda review here

J Mascis' wailing ultimate review here

The Clean review here

Reviews for The Vinyl District- Best Coast's THE ONLY PLACE, The Sugarman 3's WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW and Copernicus' NOTHING EXISTS

Best Coast review here

Sugarman 3 review here

Copernicus review here

Reviews for The Vinyl District- Cornershop's URBAN TURBAN, OFF!'s S/T and Daryl Hall's SACRED SONGS

Cornershop review here

OFF! review here

Daryl Hall review here

Reviews for The Vinyl District- Brian Jonestown Massacre's AUFHEBEN, Lee Hazlewood's THE LHI YEARS and Beastie Boys' LOVE AMERICAN STYLE EP

BJM review here

Lee review here

RIP MCA here

Live Review from the Vinyl District- Mike Watt with J Mascis, Murph and other special guests at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC 5/2/12

Watt & J throwing down. Photo by Nate S. Rhodes

live review here