2011-06-30

Banner for the Results of 2011


Link to the Results: http://cinephiliaque.blogspot.com/2011/06/2nd-edition-of-most-influential.html

2011-06-29

2nd edition of The Most Influential Directors of All-Time: The Results

You have waited long enough, here are the final results of the 2011 poll:




1. Alfred Hitchcock
176 pts

It's no surprise that the master of suspense wons again the first price of the Poll. He is listed as number one on nine lists out of twenty-five. 

2. Orson Welles
122 pts

The number 2 spot hasn't changed either this year, the director of Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Othello, and The Touch of Evil, just to name a few, diserved his place into this pantheon.



3. Stanley Kubrick (1up)
110 pts

First change this year, Kubrick gaining the bronze medal for his influence, his liberty and the amplitude of his whole oeuvre.



 4. Akira Kurosawa (1 down)
106 pts

If there are ups there are also downs and I'm torn between two of my favorite directors of all-time, Kubrick and Kurosawa. I'm happy for Stanley but I think I would prefer to see Akira stay at the third place because it would be more international and underground. Plus only four points separate one from another!



5. John Ford (1 up)
63 pts

The most respected American director of all-time, with four Academy awards as Best Director (he holds the record) gains one position and should be keeping the rythm through the years with his dense filmography. A director every cinephile should discover from A to Z.



6. Jean-Luc Godard (4 ups)
62 pts

Really close to John Ford, Godard a hated/loved director who did so many films, explored a multitude of narratives, and who digested the History of Cinema with his dense and meaningful Histoire(s) du Cinéma gained four positions. The biggest jump in the whole poll.



7. Martin Scorsese
57 pts

The second living director on this list and the first to still work today (Godard made his final film in 2010 with Film Socialisme). Even if his later films don't have the raw power of his 1970's and 1980's had they are still awaited by the movie-goers and create a certain expectation, especially for me. No move here for Marty, seventh last year and still seventh this year.



8. Ingmar Bergman (3 downs)
50 pts

Even if we haven't understood the whole importance and the message of his films, Bergman diserves his place here. Somewhat he took a drop of 3 positions since last year. His theatrical mise en scène and the fact that he directed foreign films may have affected the votes.



9. Charles Chaplin (6 ups)

The biggest break-up in this year's poll! Chaplin a personal favorite and my idol, gained six places. I think the fact that his films are immortals and that the legend that followed the man himself helped him to pass through time and the memories of the cinephiles.



10. Howard Hawks (1 up)
38 pts

This late entry on the final spot of the list is well deserved. Put into the spotlights by Les Cahiers du Cinéma as the perfect example of a true auteur, his print over genre films (Westerns, Gangsters, comedies) has earned him the respect he deserves. The man could be on the number one spot and I wouldn't even blink!


So that's it for this year! Spread the words that the lists of everyone who participated will be posted gradually on this blog with links and promotion for your blogs!

2011-06-25

Poll is closed

So with the second edition of The Most Influential Directors of All-time closing, the votes are compiled and I have to post the results!

But before, I must thank everyone who participated in this year's poll and who helped me promote this modest but amazing exercice. Especially the LAMB, Jack, and Kevyn you were great partners in this crime!

Tomorrow June 26, I will post the final list with all your entries and the results. Plus an analyze of the changes in the order since last year's poll!

So stay tuned!

And if you want to treat yourself with something good and encourage this blogger please visit the suggested items below... They might be clues to find the number one director of this list...


2011-06-23

Easy A


Easy A (Will Gluck, 2010)

This intelligent teen comedy, wait did I really wrote that? Yes, it is an intelligent teen comedy that describes best this Emma Stone (Zombieland) movie where the main character, Olive, pretends to have lost her virginity to get rid of her annoying friend. Beginning as a little lie, this declaration of her faked sexual exploits snowballs into the great story of Easy A. First, she’ll pretend to sleep with guys who have problems to replace their popularity in school. Shortly after, her reputation will catch her up and the helpful girl will have to deal with the consequences of her declarations.

The supporting cast is large and looks like if everybody (Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow, Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson, Malcolm McDowell, Fred Armisen, Thomas Haden Church, Penn Badgley) wanted to appear in this fresh good hearted comedy. Olive’s family is funny, present, supportive and finally the parents (Patrica Clarcson and Staley Tucci) aren’t strict stubborn or stupid useless characters. What’s putting apart Easy A is how it falls into the cliché then uses it and turn it upside down to analyzes the whole thing with Olive’s podcast. Easy A wants to be in the 2010’s what John Hugues teenager comedies were, intelligent, thoughtful, and moments that the teenagers of its time could rely to and understand the feelings of its characters. The many references to Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, Breakfast Club, etc., aren’t put there just for nostalgia, they refer to great teen flicks and a standard that’s haven’t been achieved for a long time. This is the perfect example of a modest but brilliant film that doesn’t take people for idiots and ignorant.
Moreover, this is a fun film to watch and the story is as original as you may have hoped it to be. It doesn’t fall into the easy penis jokes that the teen comedies like American Pie and Seth Rogen have set as standards and that seemed like the only way to make laugh the younger generations. Even if those comedies where the fat laughter is permitted, sometimes you need meat around the bone... (sorry this one was too easy)

If you want a fun movie with intelligent lines and an original screenplay describing with exactitude the high school life we all lived with the chit-chat, the rumours, the attitude, the gangs, etc. For once, a movie that speaks to you, that makes you think in the same time that you have a load of entertainment. Watch this film it’s for your own good.

2011-06-22

The Tree of Life


The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

Malick's latest offering was the movie I was expecting the most for 2011. To me he has this Stanley Kubrick-like aura of a cult director with his final cut and a full freedom in his creations. Nevertheless, the difference between both directors is the fact that Kubrick was exploring amongst known genres. With his subtle and unique narratives Kubrick blended his style within the genres he choose to practically reinvent! On the other side Malick's an artist, he developed his own narratives and the way he writes and shoots his films couldn't be copied or remade. Well, you might see where I'm going here with this comparison but as many stated before: The Tree of Life has this weird unsettling resemblance with 2001: A Space Odyssey. But why is this parallel is made? Well, on three levels both films excel: the meaning of life or philosophy, cinematic outcome, and spirituality.

First, The Tree of Life can't be summarized or told in words, its meaning is deeper than the simple story of a difficult dad, a revolted child, or the mourning of a family over a lost son. Those are elements you will find in the film but it includes so much more than just a simple plot line. Filmed in a form of memories or dreams reminiscent, The Tree of Life is simply not composed with straight forward scenes and simple editing. The cinematography here is simply marvellous and the juxtaposition of simple 1950’s occupations with the exuberant yet beautiful shots of nature representing the many emotions and states of mind of its creators populate the 138 minutes of the film. This is probably the most personal film Malick has ever done, telling a rich story of a Texan family over the interactions between the sons, the father, and the mother. The point of view is clearly the one from our childhoods. I meant our childhood because this isn’t the childhood of the character or anyone, this is the presentation of the memories shot in against low-angle with an ever moving camera. The strength of the unique narrative by Malick here is the tight collage of the many, many images shot in a blissful way. He achieves here the status of artist and surpasses the simple job of being a movie director. His inspiration goes beyond Cinema, it is about life itself how it begins and how we live it with our love and our hate within every relationship we have. The difficult love of a father and his son, the Oedipus complex of the eldest son, the confidence between brothers, the submitted wife, the failure of the father who wants to achieve the American Dream, and finally the universality of the familial cell that is represented and which composes the genealogy of the actual tree of life...

The beginning of life is represented by the birth of the first child of the family, but also by the birth of the world, the creation. Represented with a 20 minute montage of the creation of the world and the evolution of the species until the extinction of the dinosaurs. I will insert a personal comment here, this scene unsettled me and many viewers during the projection and I almost felt attacked by the pretension of Malick that included, without any distinct premise this beautiful but frustrating sequence. Does it represent the conception of the first born child with the extraordinary visuals and the explosion of the volcanoes? Or is it the allegory of the two dinosaurs (the predator submitting the herbivore) tolerating each other representing the forgiveness evoked later in the film? I also noticed that we briefly perceive a tree in those sequences and the images of trees are a recurrence. With a step back this sequence takes a better place into my appreciation of The Tree of Life. Still, it should have been shortened to keep more scenes with Sean Penn that were deleted. In first place, the movie was over four hours long. Almost all his scenes were left out, it explains Penn’s absence at Cannes. His character doesn’t make any sense now and the few scenes involving him aren’t as useful to the film as a whole.

Terrence Malick hasn’t been the director who gave us many films, which makes everyone of his projects unique and greatly expected. But in the whole his narratives have evolved deeply and gradually he attained a level of absorption and summarization of his stories. The distinction of The Tree of Life is clear, he completely reinvented the way of telling a movie. He literally rewrote the theories of Sergei M. Eisenstein about montage and the subjectivity of his camera work. For Malick the camera becomes objective and his montage suggest many interpretations of the images pictured. In a very different manner that Eisenstein explored, Malick’s narratives aren’t as bold and eye popping as Eisenstein did with October for example.

The symbolism used by Malick touches the spirituality of humanity and it is probably his interpretation of religious beliefs and clearly his battle and dilemmas with God, on another level something like Ingmar Bergman’s confusion with the silence of God and Martin Scorsese’s revisionist version of the passion of the Christ. Except here, Malick plays within the religions without really involving one in particular but the spirituality of our existence. The discourse may be hard to follow and many aspects of it are maybe lost in the way it is showed but the global feeling about the picture reflects faith but more precise faith in life and in the humans.

Personally I was speechless after the viewing of The Tree of Life and Malick’s understanding of childhood; seemed like my own childhood and teenage years who were accentuated by a strict father figure, a hate relationship with my only brother, two moving from town to towns, and the absence of a real strong mother. The first five minutes of the film almost brought me into tears and the visual beauty and poetry of Malick’s film captivated me. The whole movie seemed somewhat too long maybe because some elements that were missing from the first four hours cut seemed useless or didn’t brought anything to the picture but I think besides the many extraordinary aspects of the film, it has some flaws in its story and in the explanation of the many images Malick targets at the viewer. On another side, I think that many elements introduced in the film aren’t concluded when the end comes and the lack of structure may be the major flaw here.

This is a film that moved me very much in my deep core, the many shots are still haunting me even a week after having seen them. The richness of it all makes it a very powerful film that will live many years after its release. On the other side, many tacky elements will probably bother the public and the popularity of the film won’t be as wide as 2001: A Space Odyssey was. Even if I think that for once the filmmaker doesn’t think that the viewers are stupid and couldn’t understand a little symbolism, Malick may go too far in his allegories. The first thought I had when I got out the theatre was the fact that this is almost an experimental film that also looked like an artistic commercial. With a little retreat, the style, the narratives, and the shots take wonderful places in your mind and the recollection of it all gives a sole place to the film in my cinephile experiences along with 2001: A Space Odyssey for its meaning and Mulholland Drive in its form.

2011-06-17

Boxcar Bertha


Boxcar Bertha (Martin Scorsese, 1972)

This is my contribution for the Roger Corman blogathon hosted by Nathanael Hood at the Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear blog from June 17 to 19.

2011-06-12

Re-reminder The Most Influential Directors of All-Time Poll

Don't forget to send your contributions at michael.parent at hotmail.com.

I will receive your votes until June 23 so start thinking about the directors who influenced your work, your life, your movie tastes or the filmmakers you admire today!

I already received eight lists from:
- Filmmaker Christian Audet (Outre tombe, Appartement #1, La victime, Le banc de neige, Le bal du maniaque, 37 Z, Au printemps mon cadavre puera, Angoisse à zéro)
- The greatest film critic of San Francisco Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid
- John LaRue blogger at The Droid You're Looking For!
- Montreal based film critic and journalist Kevin Laforest HOUR Community
- Film Blogger Yishai Reno of the beautiful Blog Movies and Directors
- Flim critic and Historian Kevyn Knox (also a personal influence) at The Cinematheque and The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World
- DDX of the magnificent film Blog Bonjour Tristesse
- Widnes, Great Britain Film critic Iain Stott One-Line Review


So if you want to be a part of this already impressive list of participants I encourage you to do so!


Here are the rules and instructions:




 Last year was a blast and I received some interesting lists when I asked you to provide the Top 25 most influential directors of all time!


I've decided to hit it back this year while adding more specifics:
- Rank the Top 10 most influential directors of all time or The 10 MOST Important Directors. Influential is used as important, the ones who changed the way films are/were made.
- Entries are accepted until June 23 2011, 23:59 EST.
- Send your lists @michael.parent@hotmail.com
- Spread the word to all movie/film lovers out there.
- Put the banner on your Blog/Website.
- Have fun!

Rules: points are awarded as follows 10 for number one spot, 9 for number 2, 8 for number 3 and on...

See last year's Results

2011-06-06

The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II (Todd Phillips, 2011)

Two years after the nice surprise of the fresh and unexpected Part I, filmed with a small budget, without big stars depicting the three bestmans of a not-so-lucky groom that is lost in Las Vegas after the whole bunch got drugged and didn't remember the events of the last evening comes the follow up or the copy-paste version/location changed for Thailand of The Hangover. With the Part II, we catch up with the three heros, read here losers, that made us laugh to tears last time.

The main problem of the movie is the surprise effect of the first time isn't here anymore and the fact that the same joke isn't as funny the second time. It could be funny but still, comedy has to surprise and punch. The one trick pony can't get really far, if you know want I mean... Moreover, the public has expectations because he knows the formula and the twists must be more effective. However, even if the story isn't as fresh and funny as the first time, the jokes and the situations still have this crazy laughs and the entire theater was laughing out loud during the best moments. Although, I think many gags don't work and sometimes they just push too far for the crowd.

The other problem of this feature is how it became a parody of itself, the parts with the three main characters as delirious as they can be are caricatures of the characters of the first film. I know in a comedy subtility isn't the objective and being crazier and stupider may be the rule but sometimes it gets annoying...

As a whole the movie stands as an above average comedy and the fact that I am such a good public for comedies I can say that it's worth the look if you want to disconnect and relax.

2011-06-05

Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed (Luke Greenfield, 2011)

Adapted from a chicklit Best-seller of the same title, Something Borrowed is a light rom-com about misunderstandings within many relationships between the characters of this movie. First, you have Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), the best friend of Darcy (Kate Hudson) who's gonna marry Dex (Colin Egglesfield) and the guy friend Ethan (John Krasinski). Rachel is the one who presented Dex to Darcy and she should be the one. In fact, the whole thing is a misunderstanding. Rachel is generous, intelligent, cute while Darcy is self-centered, shallow and annoying. Dex is a sign showing pecs and abs while the "boy" friend Ethan is funny, intelligent and, by the way, has the most interesting part and the best one liners. Well, there's not a ton of them here but his are worth noticing.

Even if Something Borrowed isn't a complete failure there's a sense of rhythm that just didn't felt right. First the character of Dex isn't interesting at all and we cannot understand how in the first place Rachel could have felt for him and how she could manage to still have feelings for him after he started dating the opposite of her: Darcy, her best friend did I mentionned that? I don't think I even understand how these two girls were friends after all, they're so different and Rachel just doesn't seems to care for all the unfair actions Darcy does to her. Sometimes, I think that the people who makes chick flicks just think that girls/women have no tastes and know nothing about films.

Moreover, the whole film, as for its directing, editing, cinematography looks cheap and made with restricted budgets like a soap. Like if framing correctly was an option or editing a scene tighter to keep up the rhythm and or letting the action takes its place wasn't available at the time. Instead, they prefer to shoot three seconds shots with conventional, if not textbook action/reaction shots.

As you might have guessed, I wasn't a big fan of Something Borrowed but I gave a chance to the movie. Even my girlfriend who's a fan of chicklit and who devoured the novel wasn't really cheerful about the film either giving it a six out of ten, which by the way is a bad rating in my gf's book. Since I'm harsher in my ratings I gave Something Borrowed one star out of five and maybe one more for John Krasinski's presence since he is the star of the movie in my book.

2011-06-02

Reminder The Most Influential Directors of All-Time Poll

Don't forget to send your contributions at michael.parent at hotmail.com.

I will receive your votes until June 23 so start thinking about the directors who influenced your work, your life, your movie tastes or the filmmakers you admire today!

I already received five lists from:
- Filmmaker Christian Audet (Outre tombe, Appartement #1, La victime, Le banc de neige, Le bal du maniaque, 37 Z, Au printemps mon cadavre puera, Angoisse à zéro)
- The greatest film critic of San Francisco Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid
- John LaRue (please send me your Blog Name and URL)

- Montreal based film critic and journalist Kevin Laforest HOUR Community
- Film Blogger Yishai Reno of the beautiful Blog Movies and Directors

So if you want to be a part of this already impressive list of participants I encourage you to do so!


Here are the rules and instructions:



 Last year was a blast and I received some interesting lists when I asked you to provide the Top 25 most influential directors of all time!


I've decided to hit it back this year while adding more specifics:
- Rank the Top 10 most influential directors of all time or The 10 MOST Important Directors. Influential is used as important, the ones who changed the way films are/were made.
- Entries are accepted until June 23 2011, 23:59 EST.
- Send your lists @michael.parent@hotmail.com
- Spread the word to all movie/film lovers out there.
- Put the banner on your Blog/Website.
- Have fun!

Rules: points are awarded as follows 10 for number one spot, 9 for number 2, 8 for number 3 and on...

See last year's Results

2011-06-01

Fifteen Movie Questions Meme

Since that many Bloggers took the quizz I've decided to answer it myself to let you know a little more of me...


1) Movie you love with a passion.
There are countless films I love with a passion. La règle du jeu, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shinning, Modern Times, The Trial, etc. The Cinema is a thing I love with a passion. But my number one spot since ten years or so is Taxi Driver. I love everything from this film and I think it might be one of the few perfect films ever made.




2. Movie you vow to never watch.
As a movie lover, there aren't that many films I never want to see. However, I think one of the films I wish to never see because it represents many thinks I hate in movies today is Precious. The story seems to be overdramatic-made-for-Oscars-kinda-shit. I know the story is touching, but I vowed myself to stay away from it.


3) Movie that literally left you speechless.
Again so many to name just one except La règle du jeu. Every time I rewatch this film I kind of love it more and more. Everytime it ends I try to take a pen and write my impressions about it but all that comes out can't describe the greatness of it all.


4) Movie you always recommend.
Le salaire de la peur or Les diaboliques both by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Those two aren't the greatest films of all-time but they are some of the greatest thrills of the seventh Art. Clouzot knew how to handle a great play and he (re)defined the action genre and the horror genre. I don't like to recommend obvious films like The Godfather or The Shawsank Redemption, to me Cinema did not ended with those films.


5) Actor/actress you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie.
I would love to say Robert De Niro, but he made so many crappy ones in a row that now I don't think he's the same actor as he was in the 1970's and 1980's. Plus I'm not such an actor guy at all but I'll try to answer anyway: Christian Bale. Yes, really since American Psycho I think he's one of the few constant actors out there. More mainstream than Daniel Day-Lewis but still strong and character driven.


6) Actor/actress you don't get the appeal for.  
Dennis Quaid and Will Smith for the boys and Angelina Jolie for the girls.


7) Actor/actress, living or dead, you'd love to meet.  
Charles Chaplin. The man's an inspiration for me and even if in the US they tried to bring him down I think he's one of the greatest man of the 20th Century.


8) Sexiest actor/actress you've seen.
There are three beautiful women in that place right now and without any order Zooey Deschanel, Scarlett Johnasson, and Mila Kunis. 






9) Dream cast.  
Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Zooey Deschanel, Kirsten Dunst in a film directed by Michael Parent... You said Dream cast right? My absolute dream is to direct movies as a living and doing it with some of my favorite female actresses would be heaven!


10) Favorite actor pairing.  
James Stewart and Grace Kelly. I loved their parts in Rear Window and I though it made sense. What I like about Stewart is that he is the average American being a mild actor fitting in Westerns or Mystery films. And Grace, well, it's Grace Kelly. Do I have to say anything more?


11) Favorite movie setting.
 I love cities, they have this vibrant life of culture, Art, and different expressions of the humans that I think I prefer films made in  cities. Even if great films like Werner Herzog's Fitzcaraldo and Aguirre the Wrath of God were aboslute Jungle made masterpieces.


12) Favorite decade for movies.
Tricky one because I love films from each decade but the decade I have the most personal favorites is the 1970's. The Second Golden Age of the Cinema! The age where the diretors took Hollywood change the way movies were made for more than a decade.

13. Chick flick or action movie? 
What's the difference? Two genres invented to sell to a particular gender. Well, boys will be boys Action movies!

14. Hero, villain or anti-hero?
I hate when we categorize people. But I can define me, definitely anti-hero, like myself and Travis Bickle.

15. Black and white or color (and/or colour)?         
Since I'm more into Classic films my answer could automatically be black and white but also I like colour pictures because some films are better in colour and some couldn't have been the same without their contrasted black and white.     
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