Sunday, February 6, 2011

Leopard List: Academy Awards

The Leopard has written in numerous blogs what is the purpose artistic competition? Who's to say one's art is better than another? And who's to judge?

Still there is an enjoyment to creating lists of what you like. There were a lot of fine films released in 2010, some ignored by the Academy of Arts and Sciences, some not. Some, like "Black Swan", which I enjoyed, are widely known. But there are others you may have overlooked.

Following is a list of a few intriguing films I saw this year that are available either on Netflix, DVD, or still in theaters.

Mother     Directed by Joon-Ho Bong
This amazing little Korean film, the story of an insistent mother who will literally do anything to protest her dim witted son, is unpredictable, exciting, and touching. The title character, played with a quiet desperation by Kim Hye-ja is one of the most original I've seen in ages.

I Am Love     Directed by Luca Guadagino
This beautifully photographed Italian domestic drama starring Tilda Swinton in a subtle, layered performance starts out conventionally but becomes more and more intense. Sexually charged, the film has a lived in quality that stays with you.

Dogtooth     Directed by Giorgios Lanthimos

Because of the pitch black subject matter, this Greek film is hard to categorize. Essentially about a family thatis cut off from the world where human psychology is pushed to it's most primitive sexual and violent limits, it's a difficult film to recommend but once endured, is easy to admire.

Other Films I really enjoyed:

Exit Through The Gift Shop     Directed by Banksy
Ultra clever documentary about art by the world famous graffiti artist.

Let Me In     Directed by Matt Reeves
Remake of the excellent naturalist vampire thriller Let The Right One In from 2009, it's surprisingly almost as effective as the original. 

Cyrus     Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass
Very funny improvised comedy about a young man willing to go to any length not to separated fro his mother.  Starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei and Jonah Hill.