Monthly Archives: December 2011

IMDB top 250 challenge recap

I could not end the year without offering a brief recapitulation of what has been the most satisfying part of my young blog: the IMDB’s Top 250 challenge.

When I started, the goal was to push myself to fill the voids in my film repertoire with some of the so-called “classics” that I have not had the pleasure to see until now.

It is clear that the avid moviegoer that makes up the bulk of the users at IMDB are good judges on what makes a film great. Their ratings are very close to mine in almost every case, with only “Blade Runner” and “The Thing” as the two slight disappointments so far. My average rating for the 16 films is a remarkable 4.25 out of 5, well above the average rating in my film archive of 2.7

Following is a brief summary of the 16 films I have reviewed since I began the challenge. Find an excerpt of my original post for all 16 reviews and, under some you will also find the new tag “Blog of Big Ideas’ Top 250 films ever” which is a list I will be publishing by the end of my challenge.

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Lloyd’s of London receives rare landmark protection

While browsing through “archdaily” – a publication that follows architecture on a daily basis, mostly through the review of significant new buildings around the world – I found very good news regarding one of the most fascinating pieces of architecture I have ever had the pleasure to experience first hand.

The heritage minister of England, John Penrose, decided to place the “Lloyd’s of London” building on Grade 1 landmark status that has only been conferred to some of the most celebrated monuments in Britain’s history. In doing so, the minister has given the Richard Rogers masterpiece a very rare place among post-war architecture, joining a very exclusive club that includes only 3 other modern structures.

To read more about this, follow the link:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/dec/19/lloyds-building-grade-i-elite

Great work Mr. John Pensore for recognizing such a magnificent and influential piece of architecture.

Niels

1-minute reviews: Incendies and The Help

My goal to catch up with the year’s best films has started earnestly. Today I offer you two reviews that touch upon films that are, in different measures, both successful and entertaining. Although Incendies was officially released overseas late last year, its incursion into American cinemas did not happen until this year. For that reason, the following films will be considered, in my view, as 2011 movies.

Continue reading 1-minute reviews: Incendies and The Help

Upcoming reviews for 2011: Incendies, Submarine, Win Win, and more…

There is no way I will be posting the much-required “best films of 2011” without watching some of the movies that have been branded by critics as some of the best of the year. Due to my professional responsibilities and my IMDB top 250 challenge, I have not managed to keep up with some of the most attractive offerings at the multiplex this year.

Continue reading Upcoming reviews for 2011: Incendies, Submarine, Win Win, and more…

IMDB Top 250: Donnie Darko (2001)

Ever since it was released, Donnie Darko, written and directed by Richard Kelly, has turned into one of the most talked-about cult classics in contemporary American cinema. Like other films with a similar cult status, Donnie Darko relies on rather odd symbolism to make its point across.

When a film suprises you and steps away from convention, it often stays with you well after you are done watching it. More than statements that push the story forward, these so-called symbols used by directors such as Kelly act as placeholders that allow us to remember a film for many years, maybe for our entire lives.

Continue reading IMDB Top 250: Donnie Darko (2001)

IMDB Top 250: Downfall (2004)

Released in 2004, “Downfall” is a daring film by German director Oliver Hirschbiegel that offers a view of the last days of Nazi Germany inside Hitler’s bunker in Berlin.

It is the first and only film I have had the chance to watch that dared to portray Hitler and his inner circle with great care and detail, never compromising its version of reality to avoid the criticism of those who quickly jumped at it to condemn its supposedly sympathetic portrayal of the Fuhrer.

Continue reading IMDB Top 250: Downfall (2004)

1-minute reviews: Melancholia, Baaria and The Devil’s Double

In this post of “1-minute reviews” I analyze three films that I have seen over the last couple of weeks: Melancholia, Baaria and The Devil’s Double.

Melancholia (Lars Von Trier – 2011)

If judged from a purely visual standpoint, the latest film by Danish director Lars Von Trier is as stunning as anything you will see in theaters on this or any year. The large mansion, the expansive landscapes and the endless skies all serve to build a cinematography that is elegant and captivating, setting the stage for extremely detailed characters that express a plethora of emotions that range from complete and utter desperation to a quiet sense of resignation.

Continue reading 1-minute reviews: Melancholia, Baaria and The Devil’s Double