Friday, December 31, 2010

The Films Of 2010 (MCN) Dec 31 fourth tally

The newest tabulation of film critics' year end top ten lists, courtesy the cinema geeks at Movie City News. About this iteration they write "There were a couple of technical glitches as the new system settles in – but the lists are starting to add up now. Yes, Social Network stays on top, but Inception and The King’s Speech are moving up the charts." My own favourites I've marked in boldface.

1 Social Network, The 548 points, 70 list appearances Videomatica Jan 11
2 Winter's Bone 317.5 points, 49 list appearances Videomatica
3 Inception 238.5 points, 34 list appearances Videomatica
4 Toy Story 3 234 points, 41 list appearances Videomatica
5 Black Swan 225.5 points, 36 list appearances onscreen
6 King’s Speech, The 191.5 points, 31 list appearances onscreen
7 Kids Are All Right, The 172 points, 32 list appearances Videomatica
8 Carlos 162 points, 24 list appearances 
9 127 Hours 149 points, 28 list appearances onscreen

10 Ghost Writer, The 130 points, 23 list appearances Videomatica
11 Exit Through The Gift Shop 120 points, 21 list appearances Videomatica
12 True Grit 115 points, 28 list appearances onscreen
13 Another Year 113 points, 20 list appearances 
14 Inside Job 96.5 points, 15 list appearances onscreen
15 Fighter, The 94 points, 22 list appearances onscreen
16 Dogtooth 80.5 points, 15 list appearances Videomatica Jan 25
17 Prophet, A 78.5 points, 15 list appearances Videomatica
18 Greenberg 71 points, 9 list appearances Videomatica
19 Town, The 68 points, 14 list appearances Videomatica
20 Let Me In 62 points, 9 list appearances Videomatica Feb 1

21 I Am Love 61.5 points, 10 list appearances Videomatica
22 Please Give 54.5 points, 11 list appearances Videomatica
23 Wild Grass 54 points, 8 list appearances Videomatica
24 Sweetgrass 50.5 points, 12 list appearances Videomatica
25 Shutter Island 46 points, 9 list appearances Videomatica
26 White Material 44 points, 9 list appearances
27 Everyone Else 43 points, 8 list appearances
28 Enter the Void 43 points, 9 list appearances Videomatica Jan 15
29 Mother 42.5 points, 9 list appearances Videomatica
30 Somewhere 40 points, 7 list appearances

31 Blue Valentine 38 points, 7 list appearances x
32 Animal Kingdom 35 points, 8 list appearances Videomatica Jan 11
33 Strange Case of Angelica, The 32 points, 5 list appearances
34 Four Lions 32 points, 6 list appearances
35 Scott Pilgrim vs The World 31 points, 8 list appearances Videomatica
36 Red Riding Trilogy 31 points, 5 list appearances Videomatica
37 Alamar 29 points, 4 list appearances 
38 Rabbit Hole 29 points, 8 list appearances onscreen
39 Never Let Me Go 28 points, 5 list appearances Videomatica Feb 1
40 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow 27 points, 4 list appearances onscreen

41 Last Train Home, The 26 points, 6 list appearances Videomatica Feb 1
42 Boxing Gym 26 points, 4 list appearances
43 Marwencol 26 points, 5 list appearances
44 Kick-Ass 25 points, 6 list appearances Videomatica
45 Fish Tank 25 points, 6 list appearances Videomatica
46 Daddy Longlegs 22 points, 4 list appearances
47 Illusionist, The 21.5 points, 4 list appearances
48 Trash Humpers 21 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica
49 Secret Sunshine 20 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica
50 Life During Wartime 19.5 points, 4 list appearances

51 Secret in Their Eyes, The 19 points, 4 list appearances Videomatica
52 Father of My Children, The 17.5 points, 3 list appearances
53 Bluebeard 17 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica
54 Tangled 17 points, 3 list appearances onscreen
55 Biutiful 17 points, 2 list appearances 
56 Jackass 3D 16 points, 4 list appearances
57 Buried 16 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica Jan 18
58 Restrepo 15.5 points, 4 list appearances Videomatica
59 American, The 15 points, 5 list appearances Videomatica
60 Oath, The 15 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica

61 Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The 13 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica
62 Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench 13 points, 3 list appearances
63 How to Train Your Dragon 13 points, 4 list appearances Videomatica
64 Film Unfinished, A 13 points, 2 list appearances Videomatica ?
65 Our Beloved Month of August 13 points, 3 list appearances
66 And Everything Is Going Fine 12 points, 2 list appearances 
67 Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, The 12 points, 2 list appearances 
68 Catfish 11 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica Jan 4
69 Waiting for 'Superman' 11 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica
70 Tilman Story, The 11 points, 2 list appearances

71 Company Men 10.5 points, 3 list appearances
72 Inferno 10 points, 3 list appearances
73 I Love You Phillip Morris 10 points, 2 list appearances
74 Around a Small Mountain 10 points, 2 list appearances 
75 Mother and Child 10 points, 2 list appearances Videomatica Jan 4
76 Vincere 10 points, 4 list appearances Videomatica
77 Machete 9 points, 2 list appearances Videomatica Jan 4
78 Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work 9 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica Jan 11
79 Mesrine (Parts 1 and 2) 8 points, 2 list appearances Videomatica
80 Easy A 8 points, 3 list appearances onscreen

81 Prince of Broadway 8 points, 2 list appearances
82 Splice 8 points, 2 list appearances Videomatica
83 I'm Still Here 7 points, 2 list appearances Videomatica
84 Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl 6 points, 3 list appearances
85 Get Low 6 points, 2 list appearances Videomatica Feb 22
86 Square, The 5 points, 3 list appearances Videomatica
87 Green Zone 4 points, 2 list appearances Videomatica
88 Tiny Furniture 3 points, 2 list appearances
89 Unstoppable 3 points, 2 list appearances
90 You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 3 points, 2 list appearances

91 Way Back, The 2 points, 2 list appearances


One Vote Wonders include...
The Portuguese Nun
Nowhere Boy

But nobody gots no respect for my beloved Me And Orson Welles or the extraordinary Of Gods And Men. Presumably the former is an idiosyncratic favourite, and the latter hasn't been seen outside of festivals yet.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Three off-the-beaten track biopics written up at Movie City News.  Not sure I could even watch the first pair: one tragic, almost absurd development after another.

Sister Smile
The Jesus Guy

Few songs in the history of Top 40 radio have been as irritating – after the first 1,000 or so listens, anyway – as the Singing Nun’s exceedingly cheerful “Dominque,” which, in 1963, topped the Billboard charts. Even if almost no one in America, apart from nuns of the Dominican Order, knew what the words meant, the Belgian novice’s chirpy ode to St. Dominic was put into heavy rotation alongside “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Louie Louie” and “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

She went on tour and appeared on Ed Sullivan’s show, a month ahead of the Beatles. Three years later, Debbie Reynolds would play a singing nun in a highly fictionalized movie based on Sister Smile’s life. The real Singing Nun, Jeanne-Paule Marie Deckers, would dismiss it as “fiction.”

Without Vatican censors standing in the way of the truth, two biographical movies about Deckers’ tumultuous life have been released in the last 10 years: Roger Deutsch’s Italian-language Sister Smile (2001), starring Ginevra Colonna, and Stijn Coninx’s Soeur Sourire (2009), with Cecile De France in the lead role.

Neither found distribution in the United States, so most Americans familiar with the song probably think the Singing Nun is either dead, by now, or opening for the Pope on his pastoral missions. In fact, Deckers was never comfortable with life in the spotlight. Neither did she enjoy having to justify her progressive beliefs, including the need for the Church to allow birth control, to her superiors. Without another hit to promote, the Dominican sisters waved goodbye to Sister Smile in 1967, knowing her original vow of poverty would keep residual checks flowing to the order.

In Deutsch’s film, Deckers finds companionship among hippies and other denizens of the Belgian underground. Still seeking personal redemption, she gets hooked on drugs and is tormented by demons that could be traced back to her father and early sexual issues. Finally, she accepts her romantic feelings toward other women, specifically longtime companion Anna P├ęcher, with whom she founded a school for autistic children. Tortured by the demands of tax collectors, who refused to accept that Deckers’ share of music revenues were kept by the Church, both women committed suicide in 1985. Only 51 at the time of her death, Deckers was buried alongside Pecher in a Wavre cemetery. Colonna’s portrayal is very powerful. The DVD set includes two of Deutsch’s shorts, Dead People and Mario Makes a Movie.

Also from MVD Visual comes The Jesus Guy, Sean Tracey’s documentary portrait of an American evangelist who walks the planet barefoot, preaching the word of God and looking very much like holy-card images of Jesus Christ. Citing the bible, Brother James Joseph (a.k.a., the Jesus Guy, Whats Your Name? and Carl) accepts no money, carries no food or personal belongs, and owns only one tunic. He doesn’t claim to be the reincarnation of Jesus or anything but a messenger for His teachings.

In the 1960s, Brother Joseph would have been greeted with signs that read, “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Although some people still consider him to be a kook, the Barefoot Evangelist has enjoyed generally warm receptions on his spiritual mission. He has appeared on 20/20 and in dozens of publications, including Time and the Wall Street Journal. For the past 16 years, Joseph has wandered through 47 states – last month, he was spotted in Tampa, Florida — and 13 countries. In the film, a Catholic priest compares his mission to that of St. Francis of Assisi. The religion correspondent of the Washington Post attests to the genuineness of his appeal before townspeople she’s interviewed. Indeed, the worst thing said about him is that he’s “only human” or a “normal guy,” not the deity they wanted him to be.

As is to demonstrate his affinity with Jesus Christ, Tracey films bonehead cops demanding of Joseph that he obtain a permit for exercising his constitutional right to chat with Americans – not proselytize or beg – on the streets of their home towns. That local officials probably wouldn’t give such an oddity a permit, even if such a thing were available, is as immaterial to cops today as it was in the ’60s or in Jerusalem, 2011 years ago.

He’s far more welcome in nursing homes, at church groups and halfway houses. I’ve run into men who’ve looked like Joseph and spouted scripture to beat the band. None have listened to the people to whom they’re preaching, as the Jesus Guy does, or debate doctrine. I’ve never encountered a televangelist who’s gone an hour without asking for money or offering to trade prayers for donations. Typically, Joseph refuses such offers.

Does Joseph have foibles? Yes. Does he lose patience with skeptics? Occasionally. Is he a slave to the media? Probably. Does he appear to be more genuine about his religious beliefs than most American politicians and bible-banging religious leaders? Undeniably, yes. The DVD adds Q&As and panel discussions with Tracey and the Jesus Guy at early screenings.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Films Of 2010 (MCN) Dec 24 third tally

The latest iteration of the Movie City News tabulation of film critics' end-of-year Top Ten lists.

Movie City News | Critic Top Tens 2010
Dec 24 2010

1 Social Network, The | 466 points, 59 lists Videomatica Jan 11
2 Winter's Bone | 268.5 points, 41 lists Videomatica
3 Toy Story 3 | 199 points, 34 lists Videomatica
4 Black Swan | 185.5 points, 29 lists onscreen
5 Inception | 165.5 points, 25 lists Videomatica
6 Carlos | 155.5 points, 23 lists
7 Kids Are Alright, The | 151 points, 28 lists Videomatica
8 King's Speech, The | 143.5 points, 24 lists onscreen
9 Ghost Writer, The | 123.5 points, 22 lists Videomatica
10 127 Hours | 118.5 points, 23 lists onscreen

11 True Grit | 104.5 points, 24 lists onscreen
12 Another Year | 95.5 points, 17 lists
12 Exit Through the Gift Shop | 90 points, 17 lists Videomatica
14 Inside Job | 86 points, 14 lists onscreen
14 A Prophet | 69.5 points, 14 lists Videomatica
16 Dogtooth | 68 points, 12 lists
16 Wild Grass | 68 points, 10 lists Videomatica
18 Town, The | 67.5 points, 13 lists Videomatica
19 Fighter, The | 62.5 points, 14 lists onscreen
20 Let Me In | 62 points, 9 lists Videomatica Feb 1

21 Greenberg | 59 points, 7 lists Videomatica
22 Enter the Void | 51.5 points, 9 lists Videomatica Jan 15
23 Sweetgrass | 51 points, 11 lists Videomatica
24 Somewhere | 50 points, 8 lists
25 Please Give | 48.5 points, 10 lists Videomatica
25 I Am Love | 48.5 points, 9 lists Videomatica
27 White Material | 45 points, 9 lists
28 Mother | 44 points, 9 lists Videomatica
28 Shutter Island | 44 points, 8 lists Videomatica
30 Everyone Else | 40 points, 8 lists

31 Blue Valentine | 38 points, 7 lists
32 Animal Kingdom | 35 points, 8 lists Videomatica  Jan 11
33 Strange Case of Angelica | 32 points, 5 lists
34 Four Lions | 30 points, 5 lists
35 Rabbit Hole | 28.5 points, 7 lists onscreen
36 Never Let Me Go | 28 points, 5 lists Videomatica  Feb 1
37 Last Train Home, The | 26 points, 6 lists
37 Marwencol | 26 points, 5 lists
37 Boxing Gym | 26 points, 4 lists
37 Alamar | 26 points, 3 lists

41 Scott Pilgrim vs the World | 23.5 points, 7 lists Videomatica
42 Daddy Longlegs | 22 points, 4 lists
43 Trash Humpers | 21 points, 3 lists Videomatica
43 Red Riding Trilogy | 21 points, 3 lists Videomatica
45 Secret Sunshine | 20 points, 3 lists Videomatica
46 Restrepo | 19 points, 4 lists Videomatica
47 Fish Tank | 17 points, 5 lists Videomatica
47 Kick-Ass | 17 points, 5 lists Videomatica
47 Biutiful | 17 points, 2 lists
47 Hadewijch | 17 points, 2 lists

51 Illusionist, The | 16 points, 7 lists
51 Green Zone | 16 points, 3 lists Videomatica
51 Buried | 16 points, 3 lists Videomatica  Jan 18
54 Life During Wartime | 15.5 points, 3 lists
55 Oath, The | 15 points, 3 lists Videomatica
56 Vincere | 13.5 points, 4 lists Videomatica
56 Jackass 3D | 13.5 points, 4 lists
58 American, The | 13 points, 4 lists Videomatica  Dec 28
58 World on a Wire | 13 points, 2 lists
58 And Everything is Going Fine | 13 points, 2 lists

61 Secret in Their Eyes, The | 12 points, 3 lists Videomatica
61 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows | 12 points, 3 lists onscreen
63 Inferno | 11.5 points, 2 lists
64 Girl With the Dragon Tattoo | 11 points, 2 lists Videomatica

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Films Of 2010 (MCN) Dec 17 second tally

Second iteration of the MCN tabulation of Critic Top Ten Lists. 50 critic lists now represented. Glad that Inception won't be the year's dominant film, disappointed to see that The Social Network will be, but pleased as punch that Winter's Bone is clearly the Indie to beat. Need to see Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, on Vancouver screens now) and TS3 (on DVD). Wish I could see the five your Carlos, waiting for Let Me In on DVD though I want to see the Let The Right One In with GOOD subtitles first. GHOST WRITER at #10? Dear lord of movie criticism, will you not intervene? Expecting King's Speech to rally, eager to see it, maybe even before Christmas. Tickled that Please Give is in the top 20, but realizing Animal Kingdom maybe just didn't get seen by enough folks: well, it's still my Number One, they can't take that away. Also realizing Me & Orson Welles probably just an idiosyncratic pleasure, and sticking to my theory that crits have forgotten how fine was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, lumping it in with its lumpen sequels.

Movie City News | Critic Top Tens 2010
Dec 17 2010

1. The Social Network [#1 on previous list]| 237.5 points, 32 list mentions Granville 7, Intl Village, etc
2. Winter's Bone [3] | 139.5 points, 22 list mentions  Videomatica
3. Black Swan [7] | 101.5 points, 16 list mentions Fifth Ave, SC Riverport, etc
4. Toy Story 3 [4] | 98.5 points, 18 list mentions  Videomatica
5. Carlos [9] | 85.5 points, 13 list mentions
6. Inception [2] | 71.5 points, 9 list mentions Videomatica
7. The Kids Are Alright | 68 points, 12 list mentions  Videomatica
8. Let Me In | 59 points, 8 list mentions   Videomatica Feb 1
9. Inside Job [5] | 55.5 points, 8 list mentions  Granville 7
10. The Ghost Writer | 54.5 points, 9 list mentions   Videomatica

11. The King's Speech [6] | 49 points, 7 list mentions  Park, SC Riverport, etc.(Coen) 
12. Dogtooth | 47 points, 8 list mentions
13. Another Year | 46 points, 7 list mentions 
14. Exit Through the Gift Shop | 44 points, 9 list mentions  Videomatica
15. 127 Hours [8] | 42.5 points, 9 list mentions Fifth Avenue, Intl Village
15. Please Give | 42.5 points, 9 list mentions   Videomatica
17. True Grit (Coen) | 42.5 points, 8 list mentions  Fifth Ave, RC, SC Riverport, etc
18. Greenberg | 40 points, 5 list mentions   Videomatica
19. Shutter Island | 35 points, 6 list mentions  Videomatica
20. Sweetgrass | 34 points, 8 list mentions  Videomatica

21. Wild Grass | 33 points, 6 list mentions  Videomatica
22. Enter the Void | 32.5 points, 6 list mentions  Vancity Sat Dec 18, 8:45
22. A Prophet | 32.5 points, 6 list mentions   Videomatica
24. Mother (Bong Joon-Ho) | 31.5 points, 6 list mentions  Videomatica
25. Everyone Else | 31 points, 6 list mentions
26. White Material | 30 points, 7 list mentions
27. The Town [10] | 26 points, 5 list mentions Videomatica
27. Alamar | 26 points, 3 list mentions
29. Somewhere | 23 points, 3 list mentions 
30. Secret Sunshine | 20 points, 3 list mentions  Videomatica

31. Never Let Me Go | 18 points, 3 list mentions   Videomatica Feb 1
32. I Am Love | 16.4 points, 3 list mentions  Hollywood   Videomatica
33. Buried | 16 points, 3 list mentions  
33. Green Zone | 16 points, 3 list mentions  Videomatica
35. Life During Wartime | 15.5 points, 3 list mentions
36. The Last Train Home | 15 points, 3 list mentions
36. The Oath | 15 points, 3 list mentions  Videomatica
38. Bluebeard (Breillat) | 14 points, 2 list mentions  Videomatica
38. Fish Tank | 14 points, 4 list mentions   Videomatica
38. Daddy Longlegs | 14 points, 3 list mentions 
38. Boxing Gym | 14 points, 2 list mentions

42. The Illusionist | 13 points, 2 list mentions
42. Marwencol | 13 points, 3 list mentions
42. Red Riding Trilogy | 13 points, 2 list mentions   Videomatica
42. Strange Case of Angelica | 13 points, 2 list mentions 
46. Blue Valentine | 11 points, 2 list mentions
46. Trash Humpers | 11 points, 2 list mentions  Videomatica
46. Our Beloved Month of August | 11 points, 2 list mentions
46. Restrepo | 11 points, 2 list mentions  Videomatica
50. Around a Small Mountain | 10 points, 2 list mentions 

51. The Fighter | 9.5 points, 3 list mentions  Fifth, Intl Village, SC Riverport, etc
52. Scott Pilgrim vs the World | 9 points, 4 list mentions
52. Animal Kingdom | 9 points, 3 list mentions  Videomatica Jan 11

jan 28-30 | missions fest film festival

Deb Sears is as "Pacific Theatre" as a Pacific Theatre person can get. She toured with the Salt Company (along with folks like Anthony F. Ingram, Erla Fay Forstythe, Damon Calderwood, me, and more), has appeared on our mainstage (You Can't Take It With You, You Still Can't, and many Stones Throw Productions over the year), was our board president and then key staff member through the transition years into Holy Trinity. She's still a PT regular, but her focus is more on film, and she's ended up curating what is now apparently an annual film festival in conjunction with Missions Fest. Good catch, MF...

Civil Rights Champions and Missionary Pioneers Celebrated 
at 2011 Missions Fest Vancouver Film Festival

Vancouver, BC, Canada – January is a terrific month to honour civil rights pioneer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - the 3rd Monday, near his January 15 birthday, is an American federal holiday. King's legacy will also be reflected upon later in the month at the 2nd annual Missions Fest Vancouver Film Festival (MFVFF) January 28 - 30, 2011 in Rooms 1 – 3, a 450 seat capacity space, on level 2 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, 999 Canada Place.

Two films included in the festival’s programming reference King and the non-violent approach for which he is renowned. Ethnographic Media's LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM, directed by award-winning filmmaker Jim Hanon (END OF THE SPEAR, THE GRANDFATHERS), takes viewers to Israel and follows a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Christian and a Jew in their courageous struggle for a nonviolent solution to the crisis that has torn Palestinians and Israelis apart. And, Vancouver based Myra Ottewell's MISSISSIPPI REMIXED takes a fresh look at race relations in America’s Deep South. Both filmmakers will be present for post-screening talkbacks with the audience.

The pioneering spirit of other twentieth century greats is also celebrated in Yuan Zhiming's THE CROSS: JESUS IN CHINA - SEEDS OF BLOOD and, in THE FLAME. The former explores the footprints of the Chinese missionaries of the older generation following the Boxer Rebellion and unpacks why, despite communist control, the number of Chinese Christians increased from 700,000 in 1949 to approximately 70 million today. The latter unites two well-respected American Christians with a powerful medium.

World Vision and Samaritan's Purse founder Bob Pierce believed in the power of film to touch hearts and impact lives as nothing else could. Between 1950 and 1965 he shot and produced nine groundbreaking films – all revealing the divinely inspired evolution of World Vision's ministry. In 1952, Pierce partnered with director Dick Ross to make THE FLAME - a narrative documentary blend utilizing footage Pierce had shot in Korea. Over the years, Ross worked with many Hollywood stars including Gary Cooper, Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, John Wayne, Jean Arthur, Richard Chamberlain and, Pat Boone and Erik Estrada (THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE). After teaming up with Pierce, Ross went on to found the Billy Graham Association's film production arm, now known as World Wide Pictures, where he helmed many fine films. "My father had no way of knowing what God would do with his first film (THE 38th PARALLEL) or the others that followed. He simply took it a step at a time, faithfully sharing the Gospel, showing the need, and challenging Christians to live out their faith. He trusted God to do the rest...and He did!" states Marilee Pierce Dunker, one of the keynote speakers featured at Missions Fest Vancouver 2011. Following THE FLAME screening, Pierce Dunker will be present to speak about her father's filmmaking and answer audience questions.

The main film festival programming is rounded out with three films that tackle the challenging topics of contemporary persecution and enslavement. Opening night features the world premiere of Chris Atkins' FREEDOM FIGHTER. Sentenced to death because of his faith, the film follows Egyptian Rev. Majed El Shafie, who survived severe persecution and torture eventually escaping to Canada, as he fights to help those facing a similar fate in dangerous countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. El Shafie will be present for an audience talkback after the premiere. Hosted by Geetanjali Guptara, Michael Lawson’s INDIA'S FORGOTTEN WOMEN explores domestic violence, dowry crime, sex selective abortion, female infanticide, bonded labour, rape, temple prostitution, and human trafficking in the 250 million strong Dalit community. Closer to home, Hope for the Sold's ENSLAVED AND EXPLOITED: The Story of Sex Trafficking in Canada offers candid interviews with victims and agency representatives as well as Ratanak International’s Brian McConaghy and Canadian W5 Journalist Victor Malarek addressing various issues raised in the film. McConaghy will also be present for audience Q&A following the screening.

Many of the themes covered in the long form documentaries are also treated in award-winning shorter films. Saturday's programming includes three such films. The 168 Film Festival's 2010 Best Documentary Award winner, DESERT ARK, screens before FREEDOM FIGHTER. Preceding LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM is OLD RADICALS; honoured with three awards in Toronto's 2010 Hot Docs Doc Challenge. And, KAVI, which received the Gold Medal – Best Short Narrative Award at the 2009 Student Academy Awards®, follows the ENSLAVED AND EXPLOITED screening.

The film festival concludes Sunday afternoon with a collection of short pieces focusing on local and international mission and relief work mostly produced by Lower Mainland filmmakers. The filmmakers will be present for a brief talkback following each film.

In addition to the 8 film programs, containing nearly 500 minutes of film, four seminars are being presented in association with the film festival. Writer Marnie Wooding offers What is a Good Story? and, The Stories We Tell seminars on Friday afternoon at 1:30pm and 3:00pm respectively. At 12:30pm on Saturday, Actor / Producer Shannon Braithwaite moderates a panel of filmmakers on the topic Putting It All Together: From Funding to Filming to Distribution followed at 4:00pm by a hands on workshop entitled I Am Filmmaker facilitated by Phil Hood and Greg Meeres.

Weekend Film Festival Passes (admission to all screenings) are $10.00 and, Single Screening Tickets are $3.00. Tickets can be ordered in advance by cheque or credit card (MC, VISA, AMEX) by calling 604-524- 9944 or e-mailing Any remaining passes and tickets may be purchased at the door. Admission to the seminars and the Sunday afternoon film program is free.

Some films do contain scenes of the effects of violence in war torn countries as well as other content which may not be suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. offers show times, film descriptions as well as links to trailers. The Missions Fest Vancouver program guide (available at area churches and at Missions Fest) provides similar information. A film festival booklet with full details and behind the scenes info will be available on site.
Founded in 1984, Missions Fest Vancouver is part of Missions Fest International. It highlights global mission opportunities, showcases over 230 international mission organizations, features world class speakers within the context of 130 seminars, plenary sessions, film screenings, youth rallies, and children's workshops. Its three-fold purpose is to inform, celebrate and challenge people of all ages to get involved in missions by sending, praying, giving and going. This all happens within a three-day weekend conference with 35,000+ people attending annually. Speakers for the 2011 fest, are: Viv & Ieda Grigg, Afshin Javid, Stephen Lungu, Michael Oh, Marilee Pierce Dunker and, Mike & Danae Yankoski. The “weekend at a glance” schedule can be accessed here

Missions Fest Vancouver has selected “What Does the Lord Require of You” as its 2011 theme. General admission is free.

Missions Fest Vancouver Film Festival 2011 Press Kit

Thursday, December 16, 2010

dec 21 28 29 | the apartment

Upcoming at Pacific Cinematheque, one of my great favourite films

Tuesday, December 21 — 1:00pm
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 8:50pm
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 7:00pm

The Apartment is available at Videomatica

Monday, December 13, 2010

Critical Consensus Lists: 1995-2009

Here are links to the "Critical Consensus" tabulations back to 1995, each of which tallies Critic Top Ten lists at the end of a particular year. The list for 2010 is in progress.


From 1995-2002, the early days of the internet, it was strictly a labour of love: Alex Fung (apparently a student at an eastern Canadian university) collected Top Ten lists by various critics, submitted to him by other internet users, and compiled them into a master list. I have been unable to find his compiled charts for 2001 and 2002, but I do have the individual critic top ten lists from which he worked, and have gone some distance toward compiling them. Then in 2003 Movie City News took up the torch, and continue to the present.

I have also worked on a meta-meta-list that would combine the tabulations for the years of the new millenium into one master chart. Big job, so it's not done yet, but here's an in-progress iteration: Critical Consensus, 2000-2008. Hope to finish up that project as we move into 2011.

The Films Of 2010 (MCN) first tally

Movie City News posted their first tally of critic Top Ten lists a few days ago (December 9). With only six critics represented, it's a very small beginning: the final tabulation usually goes up a few weeks into January, and includes over 200 lists.

Still, no surprise that Social Network and Inception top the list by a significant margin, both widely-appreciated films, though neither are among my own favourites. The superb Winter's Bone is a solid third: I figured it for the top-listed indie film of the year, so it won't surprise me if it stays pretty high, though Toy Story 3 may well slip past it. I'm also pulling for Please Give, Animal Kingdom and Nowhere Boy, all of which have already appeared on at least one list. The King's Speech will get many more mentions. Nice to see Get Low already making a showing, as well.

Obviously the specific placings, etc, have no real significance: the great fun and value of this annual ritual is simply to come up with titles to rush out and see, and to think again about the films we've seen in the past twelve months that were stand outs.

For now, for what it's worth...

Movie City News 
Top Ten Scoreboard
Dec 9, 2010: first tally, 6 critic lists

1.  The Social Network 28
2.  Inception 27
3.  Winter's Bone 19
4.  Toy Story 3 17
5.  Town, The 14.5
6.  Greenberg 12
7. Black Swan 8
8. The Fighter 7.5
9. 127 Hours 4

Films occurring on only one list
Carlos 10
Let Me In 10
Wild Grass 9
Everyone Else 8
King's Speech, The 7
White Material 6
Takers 6
Father of My Children, The 5.5
Dogtooth 5.5
Inside Job 5.5
Company Men, The 5.5
Restrepo 5.5
Mother 5.5
I Am Love 5.5
Ghost Writer, The 5.5
Life During Wartime 5.5
A Prophet 5.5
Please Give 5.5
Scott Pilgrim vs The World 5
Kick-Ass 5
Get Low 5
Marwencol 5
Splice 4
I Love You Phillip Morris 4
Animal Kingdom 3
Fish Tank 3
Monsters 3
Jackass 3D 2
Other Guys, The 2
Green Zone 1
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger 1
Nowhere Boy 1
Sawgrass 0

I wonder whether the sharp decline in professional published film reviews this year will diminish the number of lists that will be considered for the meta-list.


For what it's worth, here are my personal favourites so far this year, in very rough order starting with the ones I got the most excited about...

Animal Kingdom
Please Give
Me And Orson Welles
Nowhere Boy
Winter's Bone
Of Gods and Men
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Secret In Their Eyes
The White Ribbon
The American
Get Low

Expect Dragon Tattoo to start showing up on some lists, though its rep may have tarnished by association with the disappointing follow-up instalments in the series by a different director. I don't expect most critics to share my affection for the Orson Welles pic: a peculiar pleasure. Foreign films suffer from the fact that their staggered release schedules split them across more than one year: Secret In Their Eyes and White Ribbon will be too old for some critics to consider this year, and Of Gods And Men will not yet have been seen by many.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

dec 8 & 12 | it's a wonderful life | cineplex classic films

It's A Wonderful Life (1947)
"They're making memories tonight!"
Directed by: Frank Capra
Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Plot: An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. A perennial holiday favourite!

Wednesday, December 8, 7:00pm
Sunday, December 12, 1:00pm

Presented in 2K Digital. All tickets five dollars. SilverCity Riverport, SilverCity Coquitlam, Colossus Langley, Scotiabank Theatre. The Classic Film Series presents one great title each month on the big screen from September 2010 to August 2011: details here.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is available on DVD at Videomatica