March 13, 2008

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (Rothemund, 2005)

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days belongs with the class of refined, pedigreed historical cinema that Europe seems to churn out to such a degree that it has become a "brand" of sorts here in the United States, patronized by art-house theaters from coast to coast. And though it attempts nothing radical within the confines of this particular type of film, it is nevertheless a potent, artful achievement. Culled from testimonies and long-buried historical documents, it is an examination of the last six days in the life of the German anti-Nazi heroine. And though the action (in this case not quite the appropriate word) is confined mostly to a handful of rooms and a couple of characters, it is a gripping example of cinema as historical document, as well as a showcase for a handful of fantastic, carefully calibrated performances (especially Julia Jentsch, who plays Sophie). Rothemund has crafted a work of powerful restraint that manages to be staid and verbose without ever being tedious, a work that derives considerable emotional momentum not from moments of unbridled fury, but from moments of quiet control. IMDb listing.

March 11, 2008

The Ten Best Films Of 2007

1.   There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, United States)
2.   The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, United States)
3.   No Country For Old Men (Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, United States)
4.   Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany)
5.   I'm Not There (Todd Haynes, United States/Germany)
6.   Zodiac (David Fincher, United States)
7.   The Diving Bell And The Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, France/United States)
8.   Into The Wild (Sean Penn, United States)
9.   Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, United States/France)
10. The Man From London (Béla Tarr, Hungary/France/Germany)