Thursday, December 22, 2011

I was greatly disappointed by City Paper's selections as listed in "The Year in Film"


The Mail

Attack the Critical Bloc

I was greatly disappointed by City Paper’s selections as listed in “The Year in Film”

Published: December 21, 2011

As usual, I was greatly disappointed by City Paper’s selections as listed in “The Year in Film” (Top 10, Dec. 14) and the other selections on the web site.For whatever reasons, CP critics ignore, for the most part, socially conscious movies. Instead I see films such as Drive or Hanna, both dripping with ultra-violence, or Bridesmaids with its heavy dose of toilet humor. Also listed was Melancholia, a film more excruciating to watch than a Republican presidential campaign debate.

Super 8 is somewhat cute, but it is lightweight. Any Terrence Malick film, including The Tree of Life, deserves to be on the list, and who did not love Midnight in Paris, with Woody Allen’s alter ego Owen Wilson dreaming of the literary life in 1920s Paris?

Eric Hatch’s guest list includes the brilliant and socially conscious Better This World.But he drank the Kool-Aid and included Melancholia.

On the various other lists, there were several must-see films: Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Beginners, Hugo, Win Win, and Potiche. However, my major complaint is the fact that so many films are missing.

Three of the best films, not just for 2011 but for the decade, have to be on a Best list: Of Gods and Men, one of the best-ever perambulations about the power of nonviolence; Even the Rain, which begins with a quotation from Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States and compares the exploitation of Native Americans 500 years ago to the situation today; and the marvelous The Hedgehog, which reeks with class-consciousness, promotes Leo Tolstoy, and features two unforgettable leads, a dumpy concierge and a girl living in the privileged class.

Other films that raised important issues and did not insult our intelligence are as follows: Margin Call, Wall Street malfeasance; Buck, child abuse and the power of animals; Incendies, memory and the Middle East; Made in Dagenham, women’s rights and union rights; Miral, finally a film about Palestinian women; J. Edgar, a love story featuring the man most responsible for the shredding of the Bill of Rights, which continues today; Sarah’s Key, about good people refusing to take action against injustice; The Whistleblower, sex trafficking; and finally Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, about the Lincoln assassination, but really about today’s War on Terror and military tribunals.

Since I see about 50 films a year, I have not seen many of CP’s selections for best films of 2011, though a number of them I avoided. Many of them could well be worthy of being listed. However, there is an obvious inattention to socially conscious films and an attraction to quirky movies, a number of which say nothing about the awful state of the world where injustice is rampant.

Max Obuszewski


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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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