Top 10 Films of 2013 So Far

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Ignore the 12 month calendar, when it comes to movies, the year is divided into two seasons: before the fall, and after the fall. We get mid-level genre fare from January until May, along with a couple of second-tier blockbusters. Summer brings out the big franchise sequels, and a few well-reviewed indies as counter-programming. But any studio—large or small—that has a promising movie made with artistry and intelligence, usually holds it back till the unofficial beginning of Oscar season, heralded by three festivals (Venice, Telluride, and Toronto) that take place in early September.

In Hollywood wisdom, this is where anything aimed at adults begins the four month race toward Academy Award nominations—without which, box office prospects are considered severely impaired. So, what this means for moviegoers, is that for right months we bemoan the lack of anything good in cinemas, catch up on all the quality cable TV shows, then find ourselves scurrying to catch up with a sudden embarrassment of riches, many of which get lost in the hustle. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s the way things are, and hey, at least we get a few months when loving movies is not a zero sum game.  

And yet, 2013 has been a schizophrenic year. On the one hand, the multiplexes have been filled with the usual bloated lowest-common-denominator dreck, but on the other, indie movies have been much stronger than usual, and I can count at least 10 films released thus far that I would heartily recommend without reservation. So, without further ado, my personal best of 2013, at the unofficial half-way point before the quality onslaught begins.  

Honorable Mentions: Pacific Rim was dumb as a brick, and yet, a movie aimed at 12-year-old boys that made me feel (and cheer) like one. The Great Gatsby was an over-stylized mess, and yet a bold and unique interpretation of a classic text. Spring Breakers‘s hallucinatory fever dream eventually fizzled, and yet contained a balls-out brilliant performance by James Franco. World War Z was instantly forgettable, robbed of the novel’s socio-political satire, and yet an undeniably exciting thrill ride with some fantastically realized set pieces.  

10. Stories We Tell

While I wasn’t a fan of Sarah Polley’s first two directorial outings, there’s no denying the emotional power and skilled construction of her very personal documentary essay—which interweaves an entire family’s memories and secrets into a fascinating rumination on the various facets of  so-called "shared truths" and the different ways people construct narratives from the seen and unseen events of their lives.   

 

9. Mud

Though not as transcendent or mind-blowing as Take Shelter, Jeff Nichols’ third feature is a well-told, laid-back Southern yarn, that blends Twain and Dickens for a sweet yet unsentimental coming of age story set in the swamplands of the Bayou, as a young boy’s chance encounter with an ex-con brings his ideas and notions about love crashing into reality.  

 

8. Frances Ha

Like an episode of Girls directed by Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach makes his best movie since Squid and the Whale, with this rarest of beasts—a romantic comedy with no romance. Greta Gerwig creates a vivid, completely unique character, whose growth and maturation has, refreshingly, absolutely nothing to do with finding a man.  

 

7. The East

Brit Marling writes herself a great role in this smart, complex thriller set in a grass roots eco-terrorist cell. The moral nuances are embraced, the characters are believable and fully realized, the pace is exciting, and the themes urgent and relevant without ever being preachy.  

 

6. Blue Jasmine

Woody’s best movie since Vickiy Cristina Barcelona is a searing indictment of 1% entitlement, and in Cate Blanchett’s performance, contains the best special effect of the year. Her performance is a thing to be amazed by—a slow motion breakdown that is never less than utterly hypnotic, and no matter how despicable, still manages to somehow, strangely retain our sympathies due to its unavoidable, messy humanity.

   

5. The World’s End

Edgar Wright’s third and final film in the loosely connected "Cornetto Trilogy" (`after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) is hysterically funny, riotously entertaining, mind-bogglingly ambitious, and actually, genuinely about something: the dead end nature of nostalgia, the corporatization of culture, the effect of time on friendships, and the self-destructive yet utterly unique nature of the human ego, that sets us apart from all other species, animal or alien. Like Invasion of the Body Snatchers beating up the The Big Chill after a dozen pints at a stand-up comedy night, The World’s End is two completely different films unapologetically smushed together to make something brilliant and unique, and the final ten minute epilogue is the most brazenly left-field and inspired ending I’ve seen this decade.  

 

4. Short Term 12

Depicting the lives of a young couple as they navigate a roster of damaged, abused kids in a foster care facility, this absolute gem navigates truly treacherous terrain and somehow manages to avoid cheap sentiment and predictability, achieving its own kind of clear-eyed grace without ever hitting a false note. Brie Larson is a revelation as a woman whose no-bullshit  compassion with her young charges conflicts with her struggles to heal her own past, but the entire cast does stand-out work in this hard-hitting, deeply humane, genuinely important film about the actual skill it takes to love others, and ourselves.

   

3. Upstream Color

Shane Carruth’s second feature after the Sundance-winning Primer, is one of the boldest American art films of this young century, that practically invents its own cinematic language. There are elements of plot, there are characters, but the narrative follows the logic of dreams and emotions, which, if you surrender to their flow, provide a truly unforgettable trip (in all senses of the word). I’m not sure I can tell you what it all means—it involves identity-theft, fear of intimacy, alienation, love, and ur… pigs—but it made sense to me at a deeply sub-conscious level, and there are images and scenes forever burned into my brain, that still have me in awe. An uncompromised work of art by a true visionary auteur—this is the future of independently financed, independently made, independently distributed film, that breaks the mold of all pre-existing cinema within the prevailing, and failing, current system. A one-of-a-kind masterpiece, pure and simple.

   

2. Before Midnight

The perfect end to a perfect trilogy. Richard Linklater’s third and final rumination on romance is one of the most mature, realistic, yet deliciously enthralling depictions of a long term relationship, beyond its characters’ fantasies and idealized expectations of what love should be. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are mesmerizing in their conversational dance around each other’s alter egos, who, after 20 years and sojourns in three European countries, reveal layers and complexities that most films daren’t even attempt. Before Midnight works as a great stand alone movie, but as the third part of a larger whole, completes one of the strangest and genuinely romantic cinematic experiments of all time.

   

1. The Grandmaster

Absolutely avoid the dumbed-down butchered version currently screening in US cinemas, head down to Chinatown or `yes.asia.com’, and buy the full, uncut, 130 minute Chinese version, in all its overstuffed, culturally specific glory. This jaw-droppingly beautiful movie is like Dr. Zhivago with martial arts, an elegiac tone poem for the honor-bound, highly coded world of kung fu before it spread its reach to the outer world. Ostensibly a biopic of Bruce Lee’s teacher, Ip Man, it is above all, another masterpiece from Wong Kar-wai, and like the rest of his oeuvre,  a highly stylized, achingly romantic mood mosaic about beautiful, heartbroken smokers, with the added bonus of the most hands down awesome fight sequences since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  

 

 

And that’s it for the first eight months. The rest of the year begins with a bang now, as I head down to the Toronto film festival. Stay tuned for thoughts on Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, The Past, Prisoners,  and many, many more, as we collectively forget the calamities on most studios’ slates, believe in a world where art and commerce happily co-exist, and let the fall feast of films begin.  

Daniel Hardy lives in a cabin in the woods, watches a lot of movies, and occasionally writes screenplays for a living. 

From Godard and Hawks to Ozu and Kazan, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in NYC

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As summer ends and we begin the descent into our winter of discontent, what better way to pass the time than in darkened theater? And this weekend, cinemas around New York are screening a generous amount of fantastic films—from French New Wave classics to the best in ’90s American indies—so there is certainly something to satisfy your need to escape into another world for the evening. And although you may be sitting at your desk lamenting the fact that you’re not in Toronto soaking in fifteen films today, take comfort in knowing this weekend is replete with screenings just around the corner.

To make your life easier, we’ve rounded up the best of what’s playing throughout the New York, so peruse our list, grab your sweater and an extra large bag of M&Ms, and curl up in the theater for the next few days.

IFC Center

Reality Bites
Passion 
Our Nixon 
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints 
Best Kept Secret 
The Canyons 
Frances Ha 
Fire in the Blood 
Il Futuro 
The Holy Mountain
I Am Breathing 
Museum Hours  
The Trials of Muhammad Ali
Una Noche
Written on the Wind

Museum of the Moving Image

Rear Window
To Have and Have Not
Rio Bravo
Fig Leaves
The Cradle Snatchers
Fazil 
Senna

BAM

Gleaming the Cube
Blue Jasmine
Skateboard
The World’s End
The Grandmaster
Freewheelin’
Thrashin’
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

MoMA

Tokyo Story
Salvatore Giuliano
The Earrings of Madame de…
The Actress
On the Waterfront
East of Eden
To Catch a Thief
Mr. Arkadin/Confidential
Report

 

Nitehawk

The Grandmaster
Drinking Buddies
In a Word…
Passion Planet of the Apes
City Slickers

Landmark Sunshine

Short Term 12
Drinking Buddies
In a World
The Spectacular Now
The Room

Film Forum

Contempt
La Maison de la Radio
Russian Ark
The 3 Worlds of Gulliver

Film Linc

Interior. Leather Bar.
Blackfish
Concussion 
In a World…
In the Name of…
Passion
Short Term 12
Twenty Feet From Stardom
Geography Club
It Came From Outer Space
Love Me Not
Pit Stop
Newfest Shorts Program 1 & 2
The Last March
Free Fall
The Most Fun I’ve Had With My Pants On
You and the Night

Angelika Film Center

Salinger
The Grandmaster
Blue Jasmine
Closed Circuit

From Scorsese to De Palma, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing in NYC This Weekend

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We’ve finally reached the last stretch of our summer days, and although the beaches my be closing, there is plenty to look forward to on the film front. And whether you’re BBQ’ing your way through the weekend and relaxing on beach outside these humid streets or hiding away in your apartment savoring that extra day of doing absolutely nothing, you can always find the time to head down to the cinema and enjoy something wonderful.

This weekend there’s a generous plenty to choose from, whether you’re in the mood for classics or the summer’s best premieres. Take a look at the evil inside with Rosemary’s Baby or torture yourself with Taxi Driver and then discover the power of connection with Short Term 12 and fall into feeling with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints—just to name some options. But whatever your film fancy, there are a number of wonderful worlds to escape into this weekend. We’ve compiled the best of what’s playing in the city, so peruse our list, grab yourself a large box of candy and enjoy.

 

IFC Center

The Wild Bunch
Passion
The Canyons
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
El Topo
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Frances Ha
Jaws
Museum Hours
Our Nixon
Prince Avalanche
Rio Bravo
Una Noche

BAM

Blue Jasmine
Enter the Dragon
Fruitvale Station
The Spectacular Now
The World’s End
The Grandmaster

Film Forum

Rosemary’s Baby
Tokyo Waka: A City Poem
Demon Seed
Alien
Aliens
Total Recall
The Howling
Starship Troopers
Village of the Damned

Film Linc

Passion
Short Term 12
Twenty Feet from Stardom
Singin’ in the Rain
Re-Animator
In a World…
Far From Vietnam
Blackfish

MoMA

The River
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Never Fear (The Young Lovers)
Limelight
Steel Helmet

Museum of the Moving Image

Dog Day Afternoon
The Taking of Pelham One Two
Three Born to Win
Taking Off
The Panic in Needle Park

Landmark Sunshine

Taxi Driver
Short Term 12
Drinking Buddies
In a World…
The Spectacular Now
Afternoon Delight

Nitehawk

Moulin Rouge! Sing Along
In a World…
The Grandmaster
Drinking Buddies
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Frankenhooker
Car Wash
Rushmore

From Wong Kar-wai to John Waters, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing in New York City This Weekend

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If Wong Kar-wai has taught us anything from his films, it’s that love is all a matter of timing. What we hold in the grandest of proportions can be unhinged from the smallest fraction of time, whether we’ve met the right person too late or allowed moments to slip through our fingers in an earlier life. But as tomorrow begins the start to another weekend, you’ll have two days of relaxation to reflect on the myriad ways time has put a expiration date on the many loves that pass in and out of our lives. 

Or, if you’re looking for a more productive and pleasurable way to spend your time, you can head down to the cinema and dive headfirst into Kar-wai’s world with two of his best films as well as his latest. But if you’re looking for something more, there’s plenty of classics invading our cinemas this weekend—from British psychodramas to sci-fi thrillers and chillers. And alongside, we’d got some of the best premieres of the summer that show just how amazing some of independent cinema’s new talent truly is. So whatever your film fancy, peruse our list, find yourself a king size bag of candy and curl up in a darkened theater tomorrow night. Enjoy.  

 

Film Forum

The Servant
The Patience Stone
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Fearless Vampire Killers
Blacula
Creature From the Black Lagoon
The Incredible Shrinking Man

IFC Center

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
The Canyons
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
El Topo
The Happy Sad
Prince Avalanche
A Perfect World
Una Noche
Devil’s Pass
Frances Ha

BAM

Blue Jasmine
Odds Against Tomorrow
Black Natchez
Fruitvale Station
The Spectacular Now
The World’s End
Nothing But a Man
Two Thousand Maniacs!
A Raisin in the Sun

Nitehawk

The Jerk
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Fruitvale Station
In a World…
Caddy Shack
New York Ripper
It

Film Linc

Pink Flamingos
Short Term 12
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Game Change
Therese
The 17th Parallel
Blackfish
La Commune
The Pirate
Attica 

MoMA

Shadows
Old Cats
The Student

Museum of the Moving Image

2046
In the Mood for Love
Midnight Cowboy
Coogan’s Bluff
The French Connection
Across 110th Street

Landmark Sunshine

Drinking Buddies
Cutie and the Boxer
In a World…
The Spectacular Now
Short Term 12
Footloose

Angelika Film Center

The Grandmaster
Therese
Lovelace
Austenland
Blue Jasmine

Diving Into the World of ‘The Grandmaster’ With Wong Kar-wai

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It’s a restless moment. Wong Kar-wai keeps his head lowered…to give me a chance to stay away. But I could not, for too much interest. He turns, takes off his sunglasses, and tells me he hates me. It’s a bizarre and memorable first encounter between me and the beloved director, but in time, he pats my backpack and reveals that he was only joking—he doesn’t hate me. I can once again breathe. We continue.

But if there’s anyone you wouldn’t mind sharing an unusual moment with, it’s the man who has crafted some of the most achingly beautiful and imaginative films—love stories that have eternally stained your heart. Whether it’s his kinetic and melting watercolor portrait of love’s longing with Chungking Express or the lurid and languid impossible desire of In the Mood for Love, Kar-wai’s oeuvre paints a delicate balance between the elegant and the sensual, filled with still moments that reverberate with the soul’s cry for that which it cannot obtain. 
 
As an obsessive and meticulous filmmaker, we inhabit the world’s of his films as if being absorbed into their presence, offering us a portal into a very specific place and time that not only oozes with emotion but the sounds and textures of his characters’ existence. And with his latest film, the decade-spanning kung fu epic, The Grandmaster, we see Kar-wai venture back into Ashes of Time territory, but with a far more powerful and impassioned look at not simply one man’s journey but the legacy of an artform.
 
Telling the story of legendary master of Wing Chun and the mentor of Bruce Lee, Ip Man, The Grandmaster is a film six years in the making—and as it has been cut from it’s original Chinese version to meet US requirements—may continue to evolve with time. Inspired by the life and times of Ip Man, the film takes us through the golden age of Chinese martial arts. Played by the brilliant Tony Leung, whose career has become synonymous with Kar-wai’s, we see him fully embody Ip Man with precision, stepping into a role unlike any we’ve seen him take on before. 
 
Last week, I got the chance to sit down with Kar-wai to discuss his attraction to the world of martial arts, diving headfirst into the unknown, and capturing the essence of the past.
 
This film is an obvious departure from your most recent films yet still feels right at home with your work. Was martial arts always a subject of fascination for you?

I wanted to do something very different from what I’ve been doing. I’ve always been fascinated with Chinese martial arts, but actually I never had the chance to practice. I always saw on the streets people going to martial arts school, but in those days parents didn’t encourage kids to practice kung fu. So at the end of the film there’s a scene with the kids standing in front of the Ip Man school, and in the film it’s Bruce Lee, but it could be me. I was always thinking, what’s so mysterious about this king fu and are they really that great? I think because of this film, I can walk through this door and find out exactly what is this world of martial arts.
 
Did you also want to tell, not only a personal story, but one about the legacy of martial arts and the effect it’s had on Chinese culture?

Yes, that’s right. There are so many kung fu films made before this, and most of them, it’s about who is the best fighter and about revenge. But most of the time it’s about the hero or the technique, and in a way, I wanted to make a film more than that. I needed to find an angle, and a big part of the Chinese martial arts tradition is about passing on the torch and about the legacy. This is an angle that can give me perspective, which can make this film original or different from the others.
 
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Your films always play with the passing of time in an interesting and fragmented way. Not on in the arc of the story as a whole but in each moment, which lends itself here perfectly. What did you see as this film’s relationship with time?

In most of the films, the characters live for the time. And in most kung fu films, you need to make the hero more heroic—you always have a bad guy, there’s opponents and something they have to fight with and for. But when we look at the story of Ip Man, it’s not about a physical opponent, it’s really about time that he has to deal with. He has to fight with time and he has to fight with ups and downs of his life. When you look at his life story, he was born when China was still in the Imperial time and he went through the early days of the Republic, the civil war and then the Japanese invasions, the second civil war, and later on ended up in Hong Kong. He was born with a silver spoon, but at the end of his life he almost lost everything except the commitment. So it’s an interesting story and it’s something I think will bring a new perspective to the audience. 
 
There’s a gracefulness and lyricalness to your style of filmmaking, and especially in the way people use their bodies. And with this film, that’s taken to the highest degree with the fight choreography. It’s so skillfully done and precise, it feels almost like you’re watching a ballet. Was there a particular way you wanted the fighting to be portrayed aesthetically?

One thing I noticed when I was doing the research—because I spent three years on the road and attended hundreds of demonstrations—with all these great martial artists, no matter if they are 60 years old or a normal person like a teacher or a worker in the train station, when they do the demonstrations it’s always very elegant, it’s a different presence. The Chinese martial arts is more about the balance, not just the balance of the body, but also the internal balance. And when you look at the form, it’s not when they’re moving but when they’re posing, it’s already very elegant. So when you look at the choreography of this film, we wanted all the action to be authentic. It’s not just going to be wire or a show or trick—if Tony plays Ip Man, all his movements should follow the rules. And in a way they’re very beautiful to look at, but in fact, if you know the skill, all these moves are actually very deadly.
 
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Can you tell me about working with Tony on the film? He’s someone you’ve worked with many times now, you’re work very closely linked with one another, so what was the preparation process like?
I think it’s two sides. First of all, I think audiences have seen many films about Ip Man and things in those films, you see Ip Man the fighter, but when you look at his story, he’s not the typical fighter, he’s coming from a very rich background. People who have seen him, and when you’re doing interviews with his students or family, he doesn’t seem like a fighter at all, he’s very elegant and almost like an intellectual or a teacher. So it’s very difficult to cast someone for Ip Man just by casting an action star because you need to have all these layers and this elegance, which I was sure Tony could deliver.
 
But the problem was, can he deliver actions, can he fight? So this is something that, for me, was the biggest challenge for Tony. So when I proposed this role to him, he wanted to do it because he’s never done any action film before and he’s a big fan of Bruce Lee and it was a big opportunity for him to prove himself to be the master of his idol. So in fact he went through three years of training and broke his arm twice. But the thing is, without this training, it’s not really about action. The training is so intense, you have to do it daily for four, five hours and with this training you know the discipline of a martial artist so you know exactly how to sit, how to react, how to move. I think that’s a very, very important process with him.
 
And in having the relationship that you two share, I’m sure that helped in building the trust needed to push himself to where he needed to go as Ip Man.

Of course it’s the trust between us and also it’s something that is a journey for himself. The first time he broke his arm, it was totally by accident in rehearsal and the thing is, he was at his peak at that point because he was fresh from the training and he had full confidence to perform the first action scene. But somehow he broke his arm during the rehearsal yet never thought about quitting. He said that means this journey was something he had to finish, so he had a cast on his arm but he was always on set, he was always going to be there to support the picture. 
 
There’s a meticulous beauty to all of your work and with this film you had to build an entire world. The set design, costumes, everything was so stunning and detailed. Having worked on the film for many years, did you have a wealth of visual references and research that you build from?
When we were doing the research on this film, we realized that basically there’s not a lot of visual references from that time because in those days taking pictures was something that was very expensive. The only archive reference that we have is always about group photos—either family photos or photos from a party or a meeting—very formal. And that’s why when I looked at it, I thought maybe there’s a way to structure his film like photo albums. Every chapter with the group shots, and I said the character of Ip Man, he comes from a very rich family and also like Gong Er is from a very important family. So they actually belong to a class which doesn’t exist today, it’s more like aristocrats. So these people, they are very meticulous about the look and they are very disciplined and elegant and well-educated. I just wanted to make sure that it’s right, because every detail—the costumes, the way they behave, and even the set—I haven’t seen any martial arts films correctly or precisely that capture that essence.
 
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Had the idea to make a film like this been brewing in your mind for a long time, even when working on your previous films?
Yeah, but I knew it was going to be a huge world because you have to rebuild the time. The time has three chapters—one in the south in the 30s, and then 40s in the north, and then the 50s in Hong Kong, so basically it’s an epic film and martial arts is not something that I have done before. So the process is like: you want to have a swim in the winter but you know it’s very cold, it’s freezing so you just walk around the swimming pool and it takes some time, so eventually you just say, okay I’ll jump in.
 
The theme of complex love is something that you’re clearly taken with and something that translates to audiences internationally—everyone understands what it is to yearn for someone or lose their chance at love—but with this film, the themes are more centralized.

In a way, in this film, there are certain things that are very universal. The family values and the responsibilities in front of the most critical feelings, the relationship between daughters and fathers, and family honors—those can be easily understood by everyone. And the relationship between Gong Er and Ip Man, I won’t say it is purely physical or just because they are man and woman. In fact, it’s like a mutual appreciation because they are from the same background, they are like two grandmasters playing chess. And it is something that they feel find in each other and it is a comradeship. At the end of the film when Ip Man has this long goodbye, I don’t think it is only to a friend or a lover or someone you admire, it is also a farewell to his past and the best time of his life.
 
There’s been much discussion about the distinctions between the original Chinese cut of the film and the trimming you had to do for the US. What was that process like and how did you go about finding a way to make it work for you?

The original version of the film is like two hours and ten minutes, but we have an obligation to release the film in the United States within two hours. So for a lot of people, it might be a relatively simple process just to cut it short and trim it and take out some scenes. But I find original, the structure of the original version, is very precise. If I’m going to take things out and simply cut it shorter, the film doesn’t feel right for me. So instead I’m thinking, maybe I should tell the story in a different way. Without doing just the trimming, I replace some of the scenes with unseen footage and to build a story in more focus from the perspective of Ip Man and his time in Hong Kong before the reunion. I think for the US audience, because they have a long history with the genre—besides Chinese audiences the American audience is basically the expert of king fu film—we can just make it more simple with captions and focus more on the meat of the story between these two martial artists.
 
So you’re happy with it then?
I’m very proud of this.

Watch Quentin Tarantino Discuss His Favorite Films From 1992 to 2009

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With the release of his latest feature, The Grandmaster, director Wong Kar-wai has critics and audience members scrambling over what to make of his decade-spanning kung fu epic. As a departure from his oeuvre of romantically tangled tales of unattainable yearning and love lost to the past, his new film has been chopped down from its original Chinese version to meet a US set of requirements, which has proved ruinous to some critics, while palatable to others who have only seen the film in its new context.

But before sharing my interview with Kar-wai tomorrow, I was reminded, not only of my own love for his dizzying, melting expressionist painting of a film, Chungking Express, but Quentin Tarantino’s personal gushing over the work, as seen in the movie’s DVD extras. And as a massive fan of both Kar-wai and kung fu films of days past, in looking for what Tarantino had to say about the director’s latest, I stumbled upon a short video of him rattling off his favorite films that were made between 1992 and 2009—he begins with that year specifically because it marks the start of his directorial career with the release of Reservoir Dogs.

In the six-minute video he lists the films alphabetically rather than numerically, save his favorite film that has come out in those seventeen years, Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royal—”If there has been any movies that have been made since I have been making movies, it’s that one.” He goes on to list classics such as Dogville, The Blade, Dazed and Confused, Boogie Nights, Lost in Translation, and of course, many more.

Take a look below to see him go through his list with some amusing anecdotes on his favorites.

 

From David Lowery to Werner Herzog, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in New York City

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Now that it’s neither raining nor swelteringly humid, this weekend is the perfect time to indulge in your favorite sumer outdoor activities. But really, why would you when you could spend your lazy days curled up in a darkened cinema diving into a world outside your own? And with a generous helping of fantastic films screening and premiering this weekend, there’s certainly something to tickle every film fancy. 

From David Lowery’s poetic ode to to lovelorn Westerns and Zachary Heinzerling’s meditation on love and art to Woody Allen’s most compelling film in years and Michelangelo Antonioni’s subtle killer, there’s really no reason to not shell out the money to get yourself into a theater this weekend. And to make your decision easier, I’ve rounded up the best of what’s playing around New York, so grab yourself a large bag of Twizzlers, and take a moment to breathe.

IFC Center

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
The Canyons
Crystal Fairy
Drug War
Frances Ha
Jaws
Museum Hours
Prince Avalanche
The Searchers
The Swarm
This is Martin Bonner

 

BAM 

Blue Jasmine
Crisis + The Children Were Watching
Portrait of Jason
Shaun of the Dead
Hot Fuzz
The Learning Tree
To Kill a Mockingbird

Nitehawk 

I Spit on Your Grave
Fruitvale Station
In a World…
Only God Forgives
Prince Avalanche
Beautiful Losers

FilmLinc 

Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Lovelace
Our Children
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
The Manitou
Too Big to Fail
Heart of Glass
Signs of Life
The Three Musketeers
Fitzcarraldo

Film Forum 

Computer Chess
Intolerance
The Patience Stone
Godzilla
Mothra
Psycho
Peeping Tom
The Magician
The Tingler

 

Museum of the Moving Image 

The Grandmaster
My Blueberry Nights
Superfly
Rosemary’s Baby
Little Murders
The Landlord
The Angel Levine

MoMA 

L’Avventura
Until the Light Takes Us

Landmark Sunshine 

Cutie and the Boxer
Videodrome
In a World…
The Spectacular Now
The Act of Killing
Blackfish

Berlinale Unveils Classics Retrospective Lineup

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Sundance may have come to a close this week, but the annual Berlin International Film Festival kicks off Thursday and will host the premiere of a plethora of new films, running until the 17th. And just in, the festival—which shows about 400 films per yearhas announced an expanded retrospective titled, Berlin Classics. With each film presented by a prominent festival guest, the retrospective will screen recently restored classic films, featuring the European premiere of the 3D Dial M for Murder and the world premiere of a new restoration of On the Waterfront. Yesterday we saw the cast of Cabaret reunite on the Today Show, marking the 40th anniversary of Bob Fosse’s masterpiece musical. Some of the films in competition at the festival include the long-awaited Before Midnight, Camille Claudel 1915, Night Train to Lisbon, Prince Avalanche, Child’s Pose, and In the Name of. Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster will be opening the ceremony. 

Here are the five films included in the Berlin Classics. 

cabaret
Cabaret, 1972
Directed by Bob Fosse

waterfront
On the Waterfront, 1954
Directed by Elia Kazan

dial m
Dial M for Murder, 1954
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

fff
Der Student von Prag (The Student of Prague), 1935
Directed by Arthur Robison

tokyostory
Tokyo Story, 1953
Directed by Yasujirô Ozu

Go Behind the Scenes with Wong Kar-wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’

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Known for his artfully shot films populated with lonesome characters enduring some form of existential romantic yearning, director Wong Kar-wai last graced us with the mildly-received My Blueberry Nights. But from the director who brought us Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love, and 2046, it’s difficult not to be excited by any project he has his hands in. And with his first feature in six years, Kar-wai looks to be harkening back to his Ashes of Time sense of action with The Grandmaster. Starring Kar-wai film staple Tony Leung, the film tells the story of the famed martial arts master Ip Man who trained Bruce Lee. 

Last week, The Grandmaster had it’s Hong Kong and China premiere, opening to generally well-received reviews across the board. Variety stated:

Venturing into fresh creative terrain without relinquishing his familiar themes and stylistic flourishes, Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai exceeds expectations with "The Grandmaster," fashioning a 1930s action saga into a refined piece of commercial filmmaking. Boasting one of the most propulsive yet ethereal realizations of authentic martial arts onscreen, as well as a merging of physicality and philosophy not attained in Chinese cinema since King Hu’s masterpieces, the hotly anticipated pic is sure to win new converts from the genre camp.

Next month, the film will have a premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, but in the meantime, Twitch has provided three new behind the scenes featurettes to build on the anticipation for the film. The clips include interviews with the cast and crew, a look at the location and sets of the film, as well as Leung’s training for the role.