By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
Man On Wire (16 points/mentions): A nonfiction film with the heart of a Hollywood caper, James Marsh’s wildly entertaining docudrama revisited French provocateur Philippe Petit’s 1974 tightrope walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and turned it into an eccentric valentine to imagination, risk-taking, and creative self-expression.
The Love Guru (5 points/mentions): In the same year that Slumdog Millionaire became a word-of-mouth smash, onetime box-office champ Mike Myers went slumming in brownface as the eponymous cupid of this little-seen (but much-loathed) “comedy.”
Best Undistributed Films
1. The Headless Woman (15 points/mentions): After Che, the love-it-or-hate-it attraction of last year’s Cannes Film Festival was director Lucrecia Martel’s intentionally disorienting immersion into the unstable universe of a bourgeois Argentine woman reeling from a bump on the noggin. As usual, away from the Cannes hothouse, the film’s supporters quickly outnumbered its detractors.
2. Tony Manero (11 points/mentions): You can tell by the way he uses his walk that the monomaniacal protagonist of director Pablo Larraín’s unnerving sophomore feature really, really wants to win a John Travolta lookalike contest on a TV variety show in the waning years of Pinochet’s Chile.
3.Four Nights With Anna (10 points/mentions): Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski’s return to feature filmmaking — and to form — after a self-imposed 15-year hiatus is a typically idiosyncratic, darkly funny tale of obsession in which a lonely morgue worker can only express his love for a beautiful nurse through subtle acts of home invasion (and home improvement).
The Ground Rules: We asked each critic to cite 10 films, three male lead performances, three female lead performances, three male supporting performances, three female supporting performances, 10 films without distributors, and one choice each for documentary, first feature, and worst. Ranked ballots were weighted as follows: For film: 1 (10 points), 2 (9), 3 (8), 4 (7), 5 (6), 6 (5), 7 (4), 8 (3), 9 (2), 10 (1). For performance: 1 (3), 2 (2), 3 (1). Unranked films were awarded 5.5 points each, unranked performances 2 points. Ties were verboten. Outside of the undistributed category, we asked voters to focus on films that opened for U.S. theatrical engagements in 2008.
Participants:L.A. Weekly/Village Voice Media contributors: Robert Abele, David Ehrenstein, F.X. Feeney, Scott Foundas, Lance Goldenberg, Ed Gonzalez, Tim Grierson, Aaron Hillis, J. Hoberman, Brian Miller, Kristi Mitsuda, Adam Nayman, Michelle Orange, Elena Oumano, Nick Pinkerton, Nicolas Rapold, Jim Ridley, Vadim Rizov, Sam Sweet, Ella Taylor, James C. Taylor, Luke Y. Thompson, Martin Tsai, Chuck Wilson
Others: Jason Anderson (Eye Weekly), John Anderson (Newsday), Melissa Anderson (Time Out New York), David Ansen (Newsweek), Sean Axmaker (Seattle Post-Intelligencer), Sheila Benson (freelance), Richard Brody (The New Yorker), Peter Brunette (The Hollywood Reporter), Ty Burr (The Boston Globe), Justin Chang (Variety), Tom Charity (CNN.com), Daryl Chin (Documents on Art & Cinema), Richard Corliss (Time), Peter Debruge (Variety), David Edelstein (New York), Jim Emerson (RogerEbert.com), Steve Erickson (Gay City News/Baltimore City Paper), David Fear (Time Out New York), Howard Feinstein (Filmmaker), Larry Gross (Film Comment/Movie City News), Molly Haskell (Turner Classic Movies), Christoph Huber (Die Presse, Vienna), Harlan Jacobson (Talk Cinema), Christopher Kelly (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), Ben Kenigsberg (Time Out Chicago), Peter Keough (The Boston Phoenix), Leonard Klady (Movie City News), Robert Koehler (Variety), Dan Kois (NYmag.com), Michael Koresky (Reverse Shot), Diego Lerer (Clarin, Buenos Aires), Philip Lopate (Film Comment) Todd McCarthy (Variety), Patrick Z. McGavin (Screen International), Wesley Morris (The Boston Globe), Mark Olsen (Film Comment), Gerald Peary (The Boston Phoenix), David Poland (Movie City News), Richard Porton (Cineaste), John Powers (Vogue), James Quandt (Cinematheque Ontario), Berenice Reynaud (REDCAT), Carrie Rickey (Philadelphia Inquirer), Jonathan Rosenbaum (JonathanRosenbaum.com), Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York), Brent Simon (FilmStew.com), Chuck Stephens (freelance), David Sterritt (DavidSterritt.com), Amy Taubin (Film Comment), Charles Taylor (Newark Star-Ledger), N.P. Thompson (Movies Into Film), Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times), James Verniere (The Boston Herald), Matthew Wilder (Collider.com), Michael Wilmington (Movie City News), Neil Young (Jigsaw Lounge, UK), Stephanie Zacharek (Salon.com)
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