Friday, January 21, 2011

Moments of The Year '10

In conjunction with my favorite films of the year list, I offer up some moments out of 2010 films that made an indelible impression on me. Older online buddies will recognize this as a recurring event. This list is a collection of film dialogue, gestures, camera movements, moods or looks and ideas within a given scene. This list is inspired by Roger Ebert's list of movie moments as well as the once great (now dead) yearly wrap up in Film Comment. Possible spoilers so beware!

1. Floating through the entire film with a beautiful waif-like presence, the way in which Alice de Lencquesaing tries to act grown up and orders a coffee… “The Father of My Children”.

2. A camera crew roaming around the burial grounds of a killer at nigh time, running into a group of kids playing urban legends in “Cropsey”

3. Sitting in the backseat of a car, slowly fazing out of focus, a girl (Katie Jarvis) listens to Bobby Womack. “Fish Tank”

4. The percussive editing of Christian Caron’s “Farewell” and a group of spies being arrested, including the wide eyed face of a jogger (Diane Kruger) realizing what’s happening as she tries to run away.

5. A man violently slashing a cabbage patch with a scythe. “The White Ribbon”

6. The lateral pan behind a fence as Nazi soldiers are shot… just the beginning of a nightmare in Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island”.

7. Lizzie Caplan in “Hot Tub Time Machine” and the hug she gives John Cusack with “…maybe the universe will bring us back together.”

8. In “The Ghost Writer”, a note being passed on and on and the camera trained in almost reverent observation.

9. “Hey” as the black swan in her nightmares finally speaks to Nina (Natalie Portman). “Black Swan”

10. Here’s one that got away monologue. “Red Riding Trilogy”

11. A regular guy (Andy Garcia) doing an audition for a Martin Scorsese movie in “City Island”

12. On a rooftop, silhouetted by the setting sun, a guy consoles a girl as a flock of birds flies away. Wordless romanticism visualized to perfection in “The Exploding Girl”

13. The thrashing guitar drone as One Eye (Mads Mikkelson) tramps up a hill in one long take. “Valhalla Rising”

14. Like a beautiful matte painting, a group of scholars and priests surround a man as darkness engulfs the edges in Alejandro Amenenbar’s hugely under appreciated “Agora”

15. Rebecca Hall as a tormented mother almost melting away as she asks Eddie (Andrew Garfield) “are you gonna save me?” “Red Riding Trilogy”

16. The opening black and white surveillance camera images of a bank robbery timed to beautiful music. Just the first images in David Michod’s startling debut “Animal Kingdom”.

17. Val Kilmer oil painting an old woman modeling for him… “MacGruber”

18. “Do you wanna finish this?” and a hand on a gun on the passenger side as a sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) slowly backs away from the vehicle he’s just pulled over in “Winter’s Bone”.

19. “Secret Sunshine”- A woman wailing uncontrollably in a pew in an extreme long take, and then a hand slowly reaching out and touching her head

20. Bathed in red light, the furious struggle of a naked man (Tom Hardy) with his guards timed to The Walker Brothers’ The Electrician. “Bronson”

21. A man looking into the reflection of himself in his computer monitor screen and making a decision. “Father of My Children”

22. A fight amidst a windy garbage dump and each side rolling balls of garbage as their protection… just another absurd and totally unique shoot out scene in a Johnny To film “Vengeance”

23. The eyes of Cora (Olivia Wilde) as she sees her first sunset. “Tron Legacy”

24. In Le You’s “Spring Fever”, the boat ride shared by three people in silence as they all understand their time together will not last much longer… a longeur visualized in heartbreaking terms.

25. “You can tell me anything. Just tell me” and the seemingly caring prodding by a true beast played to scary perfection by Ben Mendelsohn in “Animal Kingdom”

26. A young girl pushing her horse into the water and treading across it as two professional bounty hunters look in on stunned silence… this ain’t your daddy’s western. “True Grit”

27. A woman (Anna Bederk) slowly dancing to techno beat, bathed in blue light, her head tilted and staring straight into the camera. Seduction and lots of food in Fatih Akin’s lighthearted “Soul Kitchen”

28. A horse riding into the frame and suddenly tripping over something invisible. Just the first evil episode in a long line of quiet atrocities. “The White Ribbon”

29. A van diving into the river.. And the 45 minutes of universe and dimension that propels from it. “Inception”

30. During a Fourth of July picnic, the quick, scared glances shared across the grass between a man and woman when they see a house fire in the distance. “The Square”

31. Probably the most unique and inventive car chase in years….a man follows the directions of a saved GPS route in “The Ghost Writer”

32. Wordless, wandering around in despair… and the way her husband picks up her shoes and tries to give them to her. “I Am Love”

33. “fuck you very much” the desperation of being stuck in a coffin and not having a very friendly operator on the cell phone. “Buried”

34. In “True Grit”, the high pitched squeal/scream as a man has his fingers cut off .

35. A man, in slow motion, walking directly into the camera as he carries the limp, lifeless body of a dead girl…. Crime and punishment in “Animal Kingdom”

36. Mack the Knife playing as a man (Tahar Rahim) walks down the street with a baby and woman in tow… and a slow line of vehicles joining in the fray. A king is born. “A Prophet”

37. Walking along a sandy, cold beach in nothing but a flannel shirt, the smile she (Alicja Bachlda) gives the man (Colin Farrell) as he returns home in Neil Jordan’s sublime modern fairy tale “Ondine”

38. A man framed deep in the left corner of the frame, through a window with a vase of yellow flowers dominating the center of the frame…. The cold blooded hit-man-thriller given a painterly point of view in “The American”. It only continues to look better from there.

39. Like something straight out of a 40’s noir, the way smoke curls around Leonard diCaprio as he stands in the center of an adorned room caught between reality and nightmare in “Shutter Island”

40. “Tastes like coconut…and metal.” “Iron Man 2”

41. An overturned vehicle after a chase, and a man running up to peer inside when he discovers something in the backseat. Just more tragedy piled on in “The Square”.

42. Tilda Swinton fighting with her son by the pool… and then…. “I Am Love”

43. The long tracking shot following two men (Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth) as they talk, and eventually fight, along a fog-covered street in "The King's Speech"

44. Just about everything Emma Stone does in "Easy A", but especially as she spells out the word "cunt" with her peas

45. A quiet, slow tracking shot behind a parked car. As a train loudly rolls in front of the car, a shadow jumps up from the backseat to provide food for his young love. "Let Me In"

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