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Film Comment‘s annual end-of-the-year survey of notable film critics, journalists, film section editors, and past and present contributors was released today with Oliver Assayas’ CARLOS, David Fincher’s THE SOCIAL NETWORK and Claire Denis’ WHITE MATERIAL taking the top spots among films released in 2010. Among films that made appearances at film festivals or special screenings worldwide, but haven’t received stateside distribution as of yet, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, Jean-Luc Godard’s FILM SOCIALISME and Lee Chang-dong’s POETRY received the top rankings.

Film Comment editor Gavin Smith said, “Film Comment’s annual end-of-the-year lists distills the viewpoints of most of the magazine’s staff and contributors as well as many of America’s most influential film critics, writers and minds into an inclusive survey of the year in film. And the addition of the unreleased films list offers a unique barometer for the coming year in film for cinephiles and film enthusiasts, as well.”

The complete lists of films and poll participants can be found and and in the January/February issue of Film Comment which hits newsstands January 10.



1. Carlos/ Director: Oliver Assayas

2. The Social Network /Director: David Fincher

3. White Material /Director: Claire Denis

4. The Ghost Writer/Director: Roman Polanski 5. A Prophet/Director: Jacques Audiard 6. Winter’s Bone / Director: Debra Granik                       

7. Inside Job/Director: Charles Ferguson

8. Wild Grass/Director: Alain Resnais

9. Everyone Else/ Director :Maren Ade                                             

10. Greenberg/ Diector: Noah Baumbach                                  

11. Mother  Director: Bong Joon-ho          

12. Toy Story 3  Director: Lee Unkrich      

13. Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl  Director: Manoel de Oliveira

14. Another Year  Director: Mike Leigh     

15. The Strange Case of Angelica Director: Manoel de Oliveira

16. The Kids Are All Right  Director: Lisa Cholodenko

17. Shutter Island  Director: Martin Scorsese

18. Around a Small Mountain  Director: Jacques Rivette    

19. Our Beloved Month of August  Director: Miguel Gomes

20. Ne change rien  Director: Pedro Costa


1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives/ Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

2. Film Socialisme/ Director: Jean-Luc Godard

3. Poetry / Director: Lee Chang-dong

4. Meek’s Cutoff/ Director: Kelly Reichardt

5. Aurora /Director: Cristi Puiu

6. Mysteries of Lisbon/Director: Raúl Ruiz

7. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu/Director: Andrei Ujica

8. The Four Times/Director: Michelangelo Frammartino

9. Certified Copy/Director: Abbas Kiarostami

10. Tuesday, After Christmas/Director: Radu Muntean

11. Oki’s Movie  Director: Hong Sang-soo      

12. Ruhr  Director: James Benning          

13. I Wish I Knew  Director: Jia Zhangke

14. My Joy  Director: Sergei Loznitsa       

15. Nostalgia for the Light  Director: Patricio Guzmán

16. Robinson in Ruins  Director: Patrick Keiller               

17. Black Venus  Director: Abdellatif Kechiche               

18. Of Gods and Men  Director: Xavier Beauvois             

19. Tabloid  Director: Errol Morris             

20. The Robber  Director: Benjamin Heisenberg

Asian pix chase Rotterdam Tigers

BRUSSELS — Asia makes the running in the first competish announcement from the Rotterdam Film Festival, which unspools Jan. 26 to Feb. 6.

An initial lineup of seven films, all debut or sophomore features, was announced Tuesday. The complete lineup of around 15 pics follows early in 2011.

South Korea provides Park Jung-bum’s “The Journals of Musan,” which won the top prize at the Marrakech Film Festival, and Yoon Sung-hyun’s “Bleak Night.” Pics shared the New Currents Award at Pusan in October.

From India there is “The Image Threads” by Vipin Vijay, from Sri Lanka “Flying Fish” by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara and from Thailand Sivaroj Kongsakul’s “Eternity.” Vijay’s short “Video Game” won a prize at Rotterdam in 2007.

Iran provides “Rainy Seasons” by Majid Barzegar, while the sole European entry so far is “Headshots,” a German-Austrian co-production by Texas-born first-timer Lawrence Tooley.

The Tiger jury will include Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, who will perform during the short and feature film prize presentations.

Other panelists include Argentinian multi-hyphenate Lucrecia Martel, helmers Andrei Ujica and Wisit Sasanatieng, and former fest director Sandra den Hamer.

Sasanatieng’s superhero movie “The Red Eagle” and Ujica’s found-footage docu “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu” will screen during the fest.

Some 20 helmers who earned kudos in past Tiger competitions will be invited back to present new work in a one-off program, Return of the Tiger.

This will include Kelly Reichardt with “Meek’s Cutoff,” Hong Sang-Soo with “Oki’s Movie” and Patrick Keiller with “Robinson in Ruins”

Details were also unveiled of the Water Tiger Inn program, combining Chinese martial arts movies and a themed festival location. Selection will trace developments in the genre, from 1929 classic “Red Heroine” to 2010’s “Reign of Assassins” by Su Chao-pin and John Woo.


L.A. Film Critics Assn. Names ‘Social Network’ Best Picture

Winners also include Colin Firth for ‘The King’s Speech’ and Kim Hye-ja for ‘Mother.’

The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. has joined the growing chorus of support for The Social Network by naming it best picture of the year. The critics group, which met Sunday, also gave awards to the film’s screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.

It also gave its directing nod to Network’s David Fincher, only in that case the award ended in a tie, with the prize also going to Olivier Assayas for Carlos, his portrait of international terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez, which was the runner-up in the best picture category. [Related: Social Network named best picture by the N.Y. Films Critics Online and the Boston Society of Film Critics.]

Colin Firth took best actor honors for his tongue-tied monarch in The King’s Speech. (CarlosEdgar Ramirez was the runner-up.) Kim Hye-ja claimed best actress for her portrayal of a mother looking for her son’s killer in Mother, with Winter Bone’s Jennifer Lawrence named runner-up.

Jacki Weaver of the Australian crime tale Animal Kingdom has been named best supporting actress and Niels Arestrup of the French prison drama A Prophet has been named best supporting actor by the critics group.

Carlos did prevail as best foreign film, while Toy Story 3 was chosen best animated feature and Lixin Fan’s Last Train Home was singled out as best documentary.

A complete list of winners follows.

PICTURE: The Social Network

Runner-up: Carlos

DIRECTOR: Olivier Assayas, Carlos, and David Fincher, The Social Network (tie)

ACTOR: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Runner-up: Edgar Ramirez, Carlos

ACTRESS: Kim Hye-ja, Mother

Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

MUSIC/SCORE: Alexandre Desplat, The Ghost Writer, and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network (tie)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Inception

Runner-up: Eve Stewart, The King’s Speech

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Matthew Libatique, Black Swan

Runner-up: Roger Deakins, True Grit

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Runner-up: Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Niels Arestrup, A Prophet

Runner-up: Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech


Runner-up: Mother

ANIMATION: Toy Story 3

Runner-up: The Illusionist

SCREENPLAY: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

Runner-up: David Seidler, The King’s Speech


Runner-up: Exit Through the Gift Shop

NEW GENERATION: Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture


LEGACY OF CINEMA AWARDS: Serge Bromberg, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno, and the F.W. Murnau Foundation and Fernando Pena for the restoration of Metropolis




 The Japanese premiere of the first live-action “GANTZ” movie was held in Tokyo on Monday. Before the screening, it was announced that the film’s U.S. premiere has been decided, with plans for distribution to approximately 300 theaters across the country.

The film, based on Hiroya Oku‘s popular manga of the same name, stars Kazunari Ninomiya and Kenichi Matsuyama. It is the first of two planned movies, which are scheduled for wide release in Japan on January 29 and April 23, respectively.

The U.S. will get a wide release of the film first, starting on January 20. Specific details about theaters and dates have not yet been announced.  Source:

Held each Spring for 15 days, the San Francisco International Film Festival, recognized throughout the world as an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in the country’s most beautiful city, is accepting submissions to SFIFF54, to be held April 21–May 5, 2011. Narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, family films, youth-produced and television works in all lengths are considered.

Refreshingly intimate for a festival of its size and scope, the International combines a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, new digital media work, live music performances and star-studded gala events.

The primary deadline is Monday, November 8; the final deadline for short films is Monday, December 6; and the final deadline for features only is Monday, December 13. Read full information about submitting your film using the links below.

I guess timing is everything. Around a month ago during Black Swan’s unveiling at the London Film Festival, we had the opportunity to sit down with Darren Aronofsky to chat about his much buzzed psychological thriller and when we cheekily tried to slip a few Wolverine questions in there, he acted as if he had never heard of the character in all his life.

This was during the week when his appointment wasn’t quite confirmed but it was increasingly looking likely it would be his next film. Fast forward to this week and now he’s officially attached, he has proven to be a lot more chatty about the film to Drew McWeeny at Hitfix.

Aronofsky reveals his film will simply be titled The Wolverine, which is the ‘to the point’ name the first movie should have had. I mean did anyone go to their box office clerk and say “2 tickets to X-Men Origins: Wolverine please” – I doubt it. They would have simply asked for ‘Wolverine’ – which by the way is the better title than ‘The Wolverine’ but whatever, I will take The Wolverine over anything Rising, Returning or Beginning or with the number 2 attached.

Interestingly Aronofsky says his movie will be an ‘one-off’ and not a sequel in the conventional sense, which I think everyone expected anyway. We already know that The Wolverine will be set in Asia and will enjoy a cast filled with all Asian actors (instead of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine) and no further characters from the Singer/Ratner movies, or the first Wolverine movie.

It’s also been revealed that cinematographer Matthew Libatique will shoot the picture – a frequent staple of Aronofsky’s films (Black Swan, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream).

So a one shot Wolverine movie directed by Aronofsky and starring Hugh Jackman from a Chris McQuarrie screenplay loosely based on a cool Frank Miller/Chris Claremont era and that isn’t bogged down by even having the need to fit into contunity.

Well, we can’t lose.


As a huge fan of the 1988 classic anime, Akira, I, like everyone else, have mixed emotions about a live-action movie version of the story.

 After reading the script for the upcoming Akira movie (dated 2010, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby and which is being directed The Hughes Brothers), I questioned whether this film is a good idea, when the anime version stands on its own merit. We’ll let you guys draw your own answer to that question, but today we have some details of the Akira script to share with you.

The story has been “Americanized,” with the center of the action taking place in New Manhattan after the decimation of the city ( an incident resembling a nuclear bomb explosion), has been blamed on the work of unknown terrorists, with the  iconic shot of Akira as the sole survivor clutching his teddy bear standing solemn in the crater at ground zero.

Flash-forward to sometime in the future where protagonists Kaneda and Travis (gone is the name Tetsuo – why not just keep it? ) belong  to one of several biker gangs that control the burned out old Manhattan, while the shiny new Chinese-owned-and-invested “New Manhattan” glitters back at them like a star that cannot be touched.

The story somewhat follows the animated film but introduces a new character, Ray Arcman, who is the mad scientist that created Akira by using psychic and kinetic experiments on children including the three Espers (the elderly looking 10-year-olds from the animated film).

Asian gangsters run the underworld along with several motorcycle gangs (sadly, the “Clowns” are not in the film). Illegal drugs are still in demand and the gangs in turn  have to pay tribute to their bosses, the ”Packies” (Pakistanis).

Liberties are taken with some of the characters: Princess Miyako is now an elderly trash-collecting lady in Old Manhattan and the Colonel’s part doesn’t come off as strong as he did in the animated version. I cannot see Morgan Freeman playing the Colonel at all – nevermind the rumor that Zac Effron could play Kaneda.

There are also continuity problems with the script. In one scene, the Colonel sets off a claymore mine in order to block the approaching Black Ops army and is wounded. Yet, in another scene after this, when he is captured, The Colonel is able to take out two military policeman and operate a .50 caliber mini-gun in a helicopter gunship in order to save Kaneda – then he promptly disappears for the remainder of the film.

Yes, Travis (Tetsuo) does expand and morph into a ballooning human amoeba, but only for one short scene. I think we can all agree that this is one of the landmark, crucial scenes that needs to be in the film, yet it’s only a mere fragment.

Kaneda gets a Tech 9 machine pistol instead of the high-tech-looking plasma-type weapon that was used in the original anime, and on the iconic Akira poster. This is not a change that makes sense to me.

I thought the ending of the script was weak (it hints at a sequel – please),  and you just didn’t care about the characters the way you did in  Katsuhiro Otomo’s production.

The time to have made this film was in the ’80s when there was still a buzz about it. This new version is not  for all audiences and sadly, I believe it will fall in the same niche category as Watchmen did.


Even movie bloggers long accustomed to dealing with ill-fated remakes of movies they love nearly choked when, exactly two years ago, Steven Spielberg and Will Smith announced plans to remake Oldboy. The Korean revenge film from director Park Chan-Wook is a landmark in the action genre, and exactly the kind of dark, sadistic thing you instinctively know will never work in Hollywood. Almost exactly a year ago (why do these stories always break in early November?) we were relieved to learn that the project had died due to rights issues, but not so fast: there may be hope (or despair, depending on how you look at it) yet.

According to a tweet from Pajiba and their reliable tipster The Hollywood Cog, Mark Protosevich has turned in his take on the script, and Mandate Pictures is happy with what they’re seeing. The studio is now working on getting Steven Spielberg back on board, and “Vaughan,” though I’m not really sure who that means (NOTE: Pajiba has clarified that this refers to Matthew Vaughn, who has also been considered for the director’s chair). If Spielberg isn’t interested any more– or if he won’t commit due to the million other projects he’s got in the works– they’re eyeing Danny Boyle, who has such a diverse resume there’s really no telling what he might be interested in.

Honestly, a Danny Boyle-handled remake of Oldboy would be a lot easier to contemplate than one from Spielberg, especially if Will Smith is also no longer involved. Would he move on to hammer murder after the arm-cutting of 127 Hours? Or, more likely, is this all still wishful thinking from a Hollywood studio that wants to cash in on something successful no matter what an uphill battle it might be? If Mandate really is serious about making this happen, we’ll likely be hearing more about this fairly soon.  Source:



Korean director Lee Seong-gyou’s “My Barefoot Friend” has been invited to compete in the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), and is tipped as a strong candidate to win among the 15 feature-length films.

IDFA is considered one of the most influential non-fiction film festivals in the world, along with the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in Japan.

Lee Hong-ki, president of IndiePD, an association of independent filmmakers in Korea, said, “‘My Barefoot Friend’ has been receiving rave reviews, and the crew and director have been invited to several events. There are already deals in the works to release it in over 30 countries.”

The documentary portrays the difficult life of Shalim, one of some 10,000 rickshaw drivers in Calcutta who live at the very bottom of Indian society.

This year’s IDFA takes place from Nov. 17 to 28, and winners will be selected in several categories including feature-length, mid-length and student films.


A television series adaptation of the 2007 Korean film SOO (otherwise known as Act of Revenge) may be headed for FX.

Deadline reports that the network is working on the project with Barry Josephson (Life as We Know It, Bones) in place as an executive producer. The script is being penned by A History of Violence scribe Josh Olson, who is also on board as an executive producer, along with Ted Kim and Jiwon Park from Soo‘s Korean distributor CJ Entertainment.

Based on Shin Young-Woo’s graphic novel “Double Casting,” Soo centers on a hitman who witness the murder of his policeman twin brother. He then decides to assume his brother’s life in order to track down those responsible and exact revenge.

Would you tune in for a Soo television series?


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