Jiang Wen’s Gone with the Bullets

 

So Jiang Wen made a Wong Jing movie. . .

I saw the Thai DVD, which is the first version I’ve seen that has English subtitles. The running time is 119 minutes. Wikipedia and IMDB give it a running time of 140 minutes, with a 120 minute international cut, while Screen Daily‘s review from the Berlin Film Festival says it’s 134 minutes. I have no idea what’s been removed for this international cut, but I doubt the added footage would make the movie any more or less coherent.

Jiang plays a conman in 1920s Shanghai. In an opening parody of the first scene of The Godfather, he agrees to help the youngest son of the local warlord general launder his money. To do so, he spends it all on an extravagant pageant to crown the Best Hooker in Shanghai, complete with musical numbers (“a song so new Mr. Gershwin won’t even write it for ten years!”), fireworks, live radio coverage around the world and Shu Qi offering to sleep with 30 rich men in 30 nights and give all her proceeds to the poor. Shortly thereafter, she proposes to Jiang (they are old friends and lovers), he tries to talk her out of it in a melange of artificial sets and dizzying cutting (every line gets its own shot, the effect of which, given the screwball pace of the exchanges, is something like watching a Baz Luhrmann movie on amphetamines), culminating in an opium dreams of a wild musical car trip. The morning after, Shu Qi is dead and Jiang spends the rest of the movie on the run, accused of her murder.

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The 50 Best Chinese Language Films of the 21st Century

When Film4 published a list of their “100 Must-See Films of the 21st Century” and only bothered to include two Chinese films (Yi yi and In the Mood for Love, of course), I countered with this list on letterboxd of 100 Must-See Chinese Language Films of the 21st Century. Almost two years have passed since then, and I’ve been wanting to update that list, since honestly I was kind of stretching the limits of what I’d recommend when I got into the nineties. Well, yesterday came The Playlist’s list of The 50 Best Foreign Language Films of the 21st Century. Five of the films on their list are Chinese Language (the same obvious Edward Yang and Wong Kar-wai picks, along with Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Millennium Mambo, Tsai Ming-liang’s What Time is It There? and Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That’s right: no Johnnie To.), and while they’re somewhat hampered by their self-imposed one-film-per-director rules, that, to me, is still an unacceptably low number for what has been and continues to be the most vibrant and fascinating film culture in the world. And today, Richard Brody’s response in the New Yorker, while an improvement in making room for Jia Zhangke and Wang Bing (and Korean director Hong Sangsoo), still has only seven Chinese titles.

So here are my 50 Best Chinese Language Films of the 21st Century. I’m limited in making this list by the movies I’ve seen, and there are still many, many Chinese films I haven’t watched yet. I’m also sticking with The Playlist’s rule and limiting myself to one film per director (in the case of collaborations, I’m counting them as separate directors: Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai together is a different director from either Johnnie To or Wai Ka-fai individually. This is arbitrary of course). The movies are ranked in order of my current preference, with links to where I’ve written about or discussed them, along with, in some cases, no more than five other recommended films by the director.

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2015 Endy Awards

These are the 2015 Endy Awards, wherein I pretend to give out maneki-neko statues to the best in that year in film. Awards for many other years can be found in the Rankings & Awards Index. Eligibility is determined by imdb date and by whether or not I’ve seen the movie in question. Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. And the Endy goes to. . .

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Best Picture:

1. Arabian Nights
2. The Assassin
3. Baahubali: The Beginning
4. Blackhat
5. Cemetery of Splendour
6. Happy Hour
7. Kaili Blues
8. Mad Max: Fury Road
9. Mountains May Depart
10. The Royal Road

Best Director:

1. Miguel Gomes, Arabian Nights
2. Hou Hsiao-hsien, The Assassin
3. Bi Gan, Kaili Blues
4. George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Jia Zhangke, Mountains May Depart

Best Actor:

1. Michael B. Jordan, Creed
2. Wang Baoqiang, Detective Chinatown
3. Samuel L. Jackson, The Hateful 8
4. Aaron Kwok, Port of Call
5. Jung Jaeyung, Right Now, Wrong Then

Honorable Mentions: Jafar Panahi (Taxi), Subaru Shibutani (La La La at Rock Bottom), Tom Courtenay (45 Years), Elmer Bäck (Eisenstein in Guanajuato), John Boyega (The Force Awakens), Li Wen (Li Wen at East Lake), Matt Damon (The Martian), Kurt Russell (The Hateful 8), Nick Cannon (Chi-Raq), Feng Xiaogang (Mr. Six), Guy Pearce (Results), and Tony Jaa (SPL 2).

Best Actress:

1. Shu Qi, The Assassin
2. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
3. Daisy Ridley, The Force Awakens
4. Zhao Tao, Mountains May Depart
5. Kim Minhee, Right Now, Wrong Then

Honorable Mentions: Rooney Mara (Carol), Tang Wei (A Tale of Three Cities), Crista Alfaiate (Arabian Nights), Lola Kirke (Mistress America), Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road), Katana Kiki Rodriguez (Tangerine), Jenjira Pongpas (Cemetery of Splendour), Isabella Leong (Murmur of the Hearts), Ai Hashimoto (Little Forest: Winter/Spring), Bai Baihe (Go Away Mr. Tumor), Sarina Suzuki (La La La at Rock Bottom), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Elizabeth Moss (Queen of Earth), Carey Mulligan (Far from the Madding Crowd), Nithya Menen (O Kadhal Kanmani), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Agyness Deyn (Sunset Song), Akari Hayami (Forget Me Not) and the entire cast of Happy Hour.

Supporting Actor:

1. Michael Keaton, Spotlight
2. Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk
3. Emory Cohen, Brooklyn
4. Harrison Ford, The Force Awakens
5. Walton Goggins, The Hateful 8

HM: Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina), Michael Ning (Port of Call), Kevin Corrigan (Results), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Liev Schreiber (Spotlight), Adam Scott (Sleeping with Other People), Sylvester Stallone (Creed), Chow Yun-fat (Office), Chico Chapas (Arabian Nights), and Liev Schreiber (Spotlight).

Supporting Actress:

1. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful 8
2. Greta Gerwig, Mistress America
3. Sylvia Chang, Mountains May Depart
4. Tang Wei, Office
5. Mya Taylor, Tangerine

HM: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Emma Stone (Aloha), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation), Jessie Li, (Port of Call), Viola Davis (Blackhat), Katherine Waterston (Queen of Earth), Sylvia Chang (Office), Tang Wei (Blackhat), Tang Wei (Monster Hunt), Hana Saeidi (Taxi), and Tessa Thompson (Creed).

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Original Screenplay:

1. Evan Johnson, Robert Kotyk & Guy Maddin, The Forbidden Room
2. Luo Li, Li Wen at East Lake
3. Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach, Mistress America
4. Jenni Olson, The Royal Road
5. Don Hertzfeldt, World of Tomorrow

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Miguel Gomes, Mariana Ricardo & Telmo Churro, Arabian Nights
2. Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Chu Tien-wen, Hsieh Hai-Meng & Zhang Acheng, The Assassin
3. Phyllis Nagy, Carol
4. Andrew Haigh, 45 Years
5. George Miller, Brendan McCarthy & Nico Lathouris, Mad Max: Fury Road

Tough to leave a pair of adventurous Chinese films out of the Original Screenplay mix: Murmur of the Hearts and Kaili Blues. Laurie Anderson’s script for Heart of a Dog was another painful omission. And of course, the fact that Hong Sangsoo isn’t nominated is major Endy news. In fact, this is only the second year this century (the other being 2005) that neither a Hong nor a Johnnie To/Wai Ka-fai film is nominated for Best Screenplay.

Non-English Language Film:

1. Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes)
2. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
3. Baahubali: The Beginning (SS Rajamouli)
4. Happy Hour (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
5. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)

Baahubali is the big surprise here, as Rajamouli’s gonzo CGI musical epic gets the nod over fine films from established Endy favorites Johnnie To, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Hong Sangsoo.

Non-Fiction Feature:

1. Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson)
2. In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman)
3. Junun (Paul Thomas Anderson)
4. The Royal Road (Jenni Olson)
5. The Thoughts that Once We Had (Thom Andersen)

This is the strongest set of five Non-Fiction Feature nominees in Endy history.

Animated Feature:

1. Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson)
2. Inside Out (Pete Docter & Ronnie del Carmen)
3. The Peanuts Movie (Steve Martino)
4. Shaun the Sheep Movie (Mark Burton & Richard Starzak)

Short Film:

1. Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson)
2. Greed: Ghost Light (Kim Nakyung)
3. Night Without Distance (Lois Patiño)
4. No No Sleep (Tsai Ming-liang)
5. World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt)

Unseen Film:

1. Aferim! (Radu Jude)
2. Afternoon (Tsai Ming-liang)
4. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman)

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Film Editing:

1. The Assassin
2. 88:88
3. The Forbidden Room
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences

Cinematography:

1. The Assassin
2. Kaili Blues
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Mountains May Depart
5. Night Without Distance

Production Design:

1. The Assassin
2. Baahubali: The Beginning
3. Crimson Peak
4. Office
5. The Witch

Costume Design:

1. The Assassin
2. Carol
3. Crimson Peak
4. Far from the Madding Crowd
5. Mad Max: Fury Road

Make-up:

1. Baahubali: The Beginning
2. Crimson Peak
3. The Forbidden Room
4. Jupiter Ascending
5. Mad Max: Fury Road

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Original Score:

1. The Assassin
2. Blackhat
3. Heart of a Dog
4. O Kadhal Kanmani
5. The Revenant

Adapted Score:

1. Arabian Nights
2. The Hateful 8
3. La La La at Rock Bottom
4. Mountains May Depart
5. Office

Sound Design:

1. The Assassin
2. Blackhat
3. 88:88
4. Heart of a Dog
5. Topophilia

Sound Editing:

1. Blackhat
2. Crimson Peak
3. The Force Awakens
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Visual Effects:

1. Baahubali: The Beginning
2. The Forbidden Room
3. The Force Awakens
4. Go Away, Mr. Tumor
5. Jupiter Ascending

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Running Out of Karma: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

Running Out of Karma is my on-going series on Johnnie To, Hong Kong and
Chinese-language cinema. Here is an index.

A straight-to-Netflix multinational English language collaboration that is the sequel to the highest-grossing foreign language film in American history, Sword of Destiny reunites star Michelle Yeoh with the action choreographer from the first film, Yuen Woo-ping. Belonging more rightly to the CGI-driven Chinese wuxias of the 2010s (and the cheaper ones at that: it’s more Reign of Assassins than than Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons) the digitally-aided filmic art house wuxias of the early 2000s, the new film is worlds apart from Ang Lee’s original, and that’s, as much as anything, the difference between Lee and Yuen. What made the first film truly great is the combination their two sensibilities: Lee’s character-based approach to personal drama, romantic relationships constricted by social rules reflected in carefully composed, controllingly symmetrical compositions added to Yuen’s gorgeous choreography, every movement of the actors and stunt performers motivated by an ideology of fighting, reflecting their personalities, their worldview (Chow’s patient precision, Cheng’s wild flailing, Zhang’s exuberant virtuosity, Yeoh’s passionate intellectuality).

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2014 Endy Awards

These are the 2014 Endy Awards, wherein I pretend to give out maneki-neko statues to the best in that year in film. Awards for many other years can be found in the Endy Awards Index. Eligibility is determined by imdb date and by whether or not I’ve seen the movie in question. Nominations and winners are subject to change. And the Endy goes to. . .

Best Picture:
 

1. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2
2. Hill of Freedom
3. Horse Money
4. Inherent Vice
5. Jauja
6. Journey to the West
7. A Matter of Interpretation
8. The Midnight After
9. National Gallery
10. Phoenix

I wrote about Fruit Chan’s film a couple of times this past year, after the Seattle International Film Festival and again at the Vancouver Film Festival.

Best Director:

1. Jean-Luc Godard, Adieu au langage
2. Paul Thomas Amderson, Inherent Vice
3. Pedro Costa, Horse Money
4. Lisandro Alonso, Jauja
5. Fruit Chan, The Midnight After

I totally understand the logic of not splitting the winners or nominees of the Directing and Picture categories, especially for a practicing auteurist like me. But what can I say, the Endy voters like to spread the recognition around, hence the nominations for veterans Costa and Godard instead of Wiseman and Hong (both of whom have been nominated recently: Wiseman in 2009 and Hong in 2010, 2011 and 2013 (he won in 2010)). Of course, that didn’t stop me from nominating Johnnie To again, for the fourth straight year and the 12th time since 1999 (he won in 2003, 2006 and 2008). This is Godard’s first Endy nomination, but it won’t be the last as we move further into the past (the Endys run reverse-chronologically).

Best Actor:

1. Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
3. Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner
4. David Oyelowo, Selma
5. Gerard Depardieu, Welcome to New York

A solid group of actors this year, with none really standing out. I could just as easily have nominated any of: Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Haluk Bilgier (Winter Sleep), Ronald Zehrfeld (Phoenix), Miles Teller (Whiplash), Ryo Kase (Hill of Freedom), Louis Koo (Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2), Viggo Mortensen (Jauja), Jake Guyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Fabrizio Rongione (La Sapienza), Jason Schwartzman (Listen Up Philip), Michael Keaton (Birdman), or Randeep Hooda (Highway).

Best Actress:

1. Brandy Burre, Actress
2. Arielle Holmes, Heaven Knows What
3. Anna Kendrick, The Last Five Years
4. Jenny Slate, Obvious Child
5. Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

I recently changed the Endy rules to only allow one film per person per nomination, as I felt the results were unfairly favoring directors like Johnnie To and Hong Sangsoo who make multiple films per year. Under the old system, Anna Kendrick would have been a lock for Best Actress this year, with three terrific lead performances in The Last Five YearsHappy Christmas and Into the Woods. Instead, she loses out to Marion Cotillard, who was a close-runner-up in 2013 for The Immigrant.

Honorable Mentions: Nina Hoss (Phoenix), Tang Wei (The Golden Era), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Alia Bhatt (Highway), Gwei Lun-mei (Black Coal, Thin Ice), Tessa Thompson (Dear White People), Zhao Wei (Dearest), and Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria).

Supporting Actor:

1. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
2. Tyler Perry, Gone Girl
3. Jonathan Pryce, Listen Up Philip
4. Lam Suet, The Midnight After
5. JK Simmons, Whiplash

Simmons and Pryce are especially terrific, but the Endys love Lam Suet beyond all reason. This is his second nomination, having previously won Supporting Actor in 2003 for PTU. Of the ten nominees for Actor and Supporting Actor this year, only Lam has been nominated previously.

Supporting Actress:

1. Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
2. Miriam Yeung, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2
3. Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice
4. Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
5. Elisabeth Moss, Listen Up Philip

Blunt is arguably the lead in Into the Woods, but I can’t see how anyone would be billed ahead of Anna Kendrick and so she has to be Supporting. The race comes down to Moss vs. Yeung. This is Moss’s first nomination, though she is one of our favorite television actresses. Yeung lost Best Actress to the Certified Copy Binoche juggernaut in 2010. In previous years, Yeung’s strong work in another supporting role in Aberdeen would have tipped the scale, but alas, no more.


Original Screenplay:
 

1. Xin Yukun & Feng Yuanliang, The Coffin in the Mountain
2. Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Hong Sangsoo, Hill of Freedom
4. Lee Kwang-kuk, A Matter of Interpretation
4. Heiward Mak, Uncertain Relationships Society

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Wai Ka-fai, Ryker Chan & Yu Xi, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2
2. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
3. Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
4. Fruit Chan & Chan Fai-hung, The Midnight After
5. Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child

This is Hong’s seventh Original Screenplay nomination and second win (2010 for Oki’s Movie). This is Wai Ka-fai’s twelfth Screenplay nomination (nine Original, three Adapted). It’s the fifth Screenplay nomination for both Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Non-English Language Film:

1. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 (Johnnie To)
2. Hill of Freedom (Hong Sangsoo)
3. Horse Money (Pedro Costa)
4. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso)
5. The Midnight After (Fruit Chan)

This is the tenth time the Best Picture and Best Non-English Language Film Endys have overlapped since 1999, but the first time since 2010 (Oki’s Movie).

Documentary Feature:

1. Actress (Robert Greene)
2. Ballet 422 (Jody Lee Lipes)
3. Beyond Zero: 1914-1918 (Bill Morrison)
4. Hit 2 Pass (Kurt Walker)
5. National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman)

This is Wiseman’s fifth Best Documentary nomination and third win (he previously won for Belfast, Maine in 1999 and La danse in 2009.

Animated Film:

1. Lava (James Ford Murphy)
2. Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore)
3. When Marnie Was There (Hiromasa Yonebayashi)

Short Film:

1. Camera falls from airplane and lands in pig pen–MUST WATCH END!! (Mia Munselle)
2. Inside Voices (Ryland Walker Knight)
3. The Rehearsal (Carl-Antonyn Dufault)
4. Blanket Statement #2: It’s All or Nothing (Jodie Mack)
5. White, Heat, Lights (Haruka Hakunetsuke)

Best title of the year too, obviously.

Unseen Film:

1. Haider (Vishal Bhardwaj)
2. Life of Riley (Alain Resnais)
3. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson)

Film Editing:

1. Adieu au langage
2. The Duke of Burgundy
3. The Midnight After
4. National Gallery
5. Whiplash

Most editing, sure, but Whiplash does it right. Love those retro dissolves in Duke of Burgundy to be sure, and Godard and Wiseman are of course among the best editors ever.

Cinematography:

1. Adieu au langage
2. The Duke of Burgundy
3. Horse Money
4. Jauja
5. The Midnight After

Fabrice Aragno might have earned this award simply for the brain-splitting 3D shot that is the year’s most memorable image, but I’m also in love with the variety and texture of the digital colors of Adieu‘s landscape shots. Horse Money‘s brilliant compositions of earthy browns and impenetrable blacks finish a close second.

Honorable Mentions: Tokyo Tribe, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2, The Golden Era, Mr. Turner, Birdman, Nightcrawler, Aberdeen, Heaven Knows What and Inherent Vice.

Production Design:

1. Aberdeen
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Inherent Vice
4. La Sapienza
5. Tokyo Tribe

Sneaking away with the win is the last 2014 movie I saw before awards night, Sion Sono’s hip-hip musical prowl through a post-apocalyptic Tokyo gangland. Making furniture out of people counts as set decoration, right?

Costume Design:

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Inherent Vice
3. Into the Woods
4. The Midnight After
5. Tokyo Tribe

Similarly the Sono snakes this award at the last minute. Honestly, I’m not all that thrilled about any of these.

Make-up:

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
3. The Midnight After
4. Noah
5. The Taking of Tiger Mountain

Only one of these movies has a guy walking around with a hatchet in his shoulder for half the film.

Original Score:

1. Gone Girl
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Highway
4. Inherent Vice
5. Tokyo Tribe

I mean, it’s wall-to-wall Japanese hip-hop, what’s not to love?

Adapted Score:

1. Eden
2. Into the Woods
3. Jersey Boys
4. The Last Five Years
5. Whiplash

This was an amazing year for film musicals, probably the best since 1984. The adaptation of Into the Woods drew a lot of ire for softening the harshness of the play’s second act, but I don’t know, I think it works just as well in this new version. The Midnight After, Heaven Knows What and Inherent Vice just missed the cut.

Sound:

1. Adieu au langage
2. Heaven Knows What
3. Into the Woods
4. The Midnight After
5. Whiplash

Sound Editing:

1. American Sniper
2. John Wick
3. The Midnight After
4. Pompeii
5. Whiplash

Visual Effects:

1. Aberdeen
2. Lucy
3. The Monkey King
4. Noah
5. Pompeii

These last three categories are pretty self-explanatory: drums, guns and one big volcano. That’s 2014 in film.

2013 Endy Awards

These are the 2013 Endy Awards, wherein I pretend to give out maneki-neko statues to the best in the past year in film. You can also check out the special Oscar episode of The George Sanders Show, discussing a couple of former Best Picture winners in addition to award-giving and predicting, as well as the big end of the year double episode of They Shot Pictures. Awards for many other years can be found in the Rankings & Awards Index. Eligibility is determined by imdb date and by whether or not I’ve seen the movie in question. Nominees are listed in alphabetical order and the winners are bolded. And the Endy goes to. . .
Best Picture:

1. Blind Detective
2. Computer Chess
3. Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
4. The Missing Picture
5. Only Lovers Left Alive
6. Stray Dogs
7. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
8. A Touch of Sin
9. La última película
10. The Wind Rises

Best Director:

1. Johnnie To, Blind Detective
2. Rithy Panh, The Missing Picture
3. Isao Takahata, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
4. Jia Zhangke, A Touch of Sin
5. Raya Martin & Mark Peranson, La última película
I’m going with Jia Zhangke, who seamlessly blended his long-take, not quite realist visual style into wuxia genre traditions while retaining, amplifying even, the sense of social and political outrage.

Best Actor:

1. Robert Redford, All is Lost
2. Andy Lau, Blind Detective
3. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
4. Lee Kang-sheng, Stray Dogs
5. Simon Pegg, The World’s End

Leo’s performance in Wolf is the best work he’s ever done. I’d say the same for Lee Kang-sheng and Simon Pegg as well. Tough to leave out James Gandolfini in Enough Said, but this is a strong category this year.

Best Actress:

1. Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
2. Zhang Ziyi, The Grandmaster
3. Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
4. Tilda Swinton, Only Lovers Left Alive
5. Jung Yoo-mi, Our Sunhi

A really tough category this year, but I’m going with the newcomer from the movie with “Blue” in the title while the veteran and former Endy winner from the movie with “Blue” in the title just misses the cut for a nomination, edged out by a perennial Endy favorite, whose voice once starred in a movie called Blue. Meanwhile, Jung Yoo-mi in Our Sunhi might be the most interesting performance in any Hong Sangsoo movie, ever.

Supporting Actor:

1. Jung Jae-young, Our Sunhi
2. Dwayne Johnson, Pain & Gain
3. Gabino Rodríguez, La última película
4. Mathew McConaughey, The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Nick Frost, The World’s End

Supporting Actress:

1. Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
2. Léa Seydoux, Blue is the Warmest Color
3. Aoi Miyazaki, The Great Passage
4. Shu Qi, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
5. Zhao Tao, A Touch of Sin

Original Screenplay:

1. Wai Ka-fai, Blind Detective
2. Andrew Bujalski, Computer Chess
3. Rithy Panh, The Missing Picture
4. Hong Sangsoo, Our Sunhi
5. Raya Martin & Mark Peranson (et al), La última película

The sheer unexpected weirdness of Bujalski’s Computer Chess wins the Endy over perennial favorite Hong, Rithy Panh’s wrenching reminiscence and La última película‘s swirling and hilarious ode to film. A truly great year for original screenplays.

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Kensaku Watanabe, The Great Passage
2. Stephen Chow & Derek Kwok, et al, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
3. Isao Takahata & Riko Sakaguchi, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
4. Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises
5. Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street

Non-English Language Film:

1. Blind Detective (Johnnie To)
2. Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (Stephen Chow & Derek Kwok)
3. The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh)
4. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata)
5. A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke)

Short Film:

1. Hard to Say (Lee Kwangkuk)
2. Just in Time (Peter Greenaway)
3. Mahjong (João Rui Guerra da Mata & João Pedro Rodrigues)
4. Redemption (Miguel Gomes)
5. The Three Disasters (Jean-Luc Godard)

Lee is a former assistant director for Hong Sangsoo (Hard to Say ran before Our Sunhi in Vancouver) who made a feature a couple years ago that I really liked but have never heard anything else about called Romance Joe.

Documentary Film:

1. At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman)
2. A Fuller Life (Samantha Fuller)
3. The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh)
4. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (Ben Rivers & Ben Russell)
5. Yumen (JP Sniadecki, et al)

Animated Film:

1. Frozen (Jennifer Lee & Chris Buck)
2. The Garden of Words (Makoto Shinkai)
3. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata)
4. The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki)

Unseen Film:

1. Hard to Be a God (Aleksey German)
2. Like Father, Like Son (Koreeda Hirokazu)
3. Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz)
4. The Past (Asghar Farhadi)
5. The Strange Little Cat (Ramon Zürcher)

Film Editing:

1. Blind Detective
2. The Grandmaster
3. La última película
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Yumen

Cinematography:

1. Computer Chess
2. The Grandmaster
3. Gravity
4. A Touch of Sin
5. La última película

Art Direction:

1. The Grandmaster
2. Gravity
3. Her
4. Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
5. The Missing Picture

Going with Rithy Panh’s heartbreaking dioramas over Spike Jonze’s Apple Store dystopia.

Costume Design:

1. Computer Chess
2. The Grandmaster
3. The Great Gatsby
4. Her
5. Only Lovers Left Alive

Her‘s high-waisted pants over Computer Chess‘s high-waisted pants.

Make-up:

1. Blind Detective
2. Blue Jasmine
3. Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
4. A Touch of Sin
5. The World’s End

Original Score:

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. The Grandmaster
3. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
4. A Touch of Sin
5. The Wind Rises

Soundtrack:

1. Inside Llewyn Davis
2. Only Lovers Left Alive
3. La última película
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. The World’s End

I’m still annoyed that the Coens’ renamed “Dink’s Song” for the movie, but whatever. As usual their (and T Bone Burnett’s) song choices are impeccable.

Sound:

1. Distant
2. Gravity
3. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness
4. La última película
5. Yumen

Sound Editing:

1. Blind Detective
2. The Grandmaster
3. Gravity
4. Star Trek Into Darkness
5. The World’s End

Visual Effects:

1. Gravity
2. Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
3. La última película
4. The World’s End
5. Young Detective Dee and the Rise of the Sea Dragon

 
The_Tale_of_the_Princess_Kaguya_(poster)

2010 Endy Awards

Two years ago, I gave out a bunch of awards for the best films of 2010. Of course, due to the vagaries of film distribution, many great films from that year were only released (or became available to me) long after I handed them out. So here is an up-to-date accounting of my 2010 Endy Awards.

Other years can be found in the Rankings & Awards Index. Eligibility is determined by imdb date and by whether or not I’ve seen the movie in question. Nominees are presented in alphabetical order, the winner is bolded. And the Endy goes to. . .


Best Picture:

1. Carlos
2. Certified Copy
3. Hahaha
4. Let the Bullets Fly
5. Love in a Puff
6. Meek’s Cutoff
7. Mysteries of Lisbon
8. Oki’s Movie
9. Thomas Mao
10. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Best Director:

1. Olivier Assays, Carlos
2. Abbas Kiarostami, Certified Copy
3. Hong Sangsoo, Oki’s Movie
4. Kelly Reichardt, Meek’s Cutoff
5. Raúl Ruiz, Mysteries of Lisbon

Best Actor:

1. James Franco, 127 Hours
2. Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
3. Jiang Wen, Let the Bullets Fly
4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island
5. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Best Actress:

1. Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy
2. Emma Stone, Easy A
3. Miriam Yeung, Love in a Puff
4. Michelle Williams, Meek’s Cutoff
5. Jung Yoo-mi, Oki’s Movie

Supporting Actor:

1. Teddy Robin Kwan, Gallants
2. Mark Ruffalo, The Kids are All Right
3. Chow Yun-fat, Let the Bullets Fly
4. Bruce Greenwood, Meek’s Cutoff
5. John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

Teddy Robin Kwan is a Hong Kong icon, a rock star from the 60s and 70s who appeared in a number of films, in particular wacky Cinema City and Tsui Hark comedies.

Supporting Actress:

1. Lesley Manville, Another Year
2. Wei Wei, The Drunkard
3. Greta Gerwig, Greenberg
4. Rosamund Pike, Made in Dagenham
5. Rooney Mara, The Social Network

This is the first of three consecutive Endy wins for Gerwig, as she’ll go on to win Best Actress Awards for Damsels in Distress and then Frances Ha. Safe to say she’s a favorite here at The End.


Original Screenplay:
 

1. Olivier Assayas, Dan Franck & Daniel Leconte, Carlos
2. Abbas Kiarostami, Certified Copy
3. Pang Ho-cheung & Heiward Mak, Love in a Puff
4. Hong Sangsoo, Oki’s Movie
5. Zhu Wen, Thomas Mao

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Carlos Saboga, Mysteries of Lisbon
2. Laeta Kalogridis, Shutter Island
3. Catherine Breillat, The Sleeping Beauty
4. Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
5. Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit

Foreign Language Film:

1. Carlos (Olivier Assayas)
2. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami)
3. Mysteries of Lisbon (Raoul Ruiz)
4. Oki’s Movie (Hong Sangsoo)
5. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

Documentary Feature:

1. Boxing Gym (Frederick Wiseman)
2. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog)
3. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy)
4. I Wish I Knew (Jia Zhangke)
5. Nostalgia for the Light (Patricio Guzman)

Unseen Film:

1. Insidious (James Wan)
2. Aftershock (Feng Xiaogang)
3. Norwegian Wood (Tran Anh Hung)
4. Outrage (Takashi Kitano)
5. The Princess of Montpensier (Bertrand Tavernier)

Had some trouble coming up with five movies I really wanted to see. I must be overlooking a bunch.

Animated Feature:

1. A Cat in Paris (Jean-Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol)
2. The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet)
4. The Secret World of Arrietty (Hiromasa Yonebayashi)
3. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)

Short Film:

1. 607 (Liu Jiayin)
2. Day and Night (Teddy Newton)
3. Inhalation (Edmund Yeo)


Film Editing:

1. Carlos
2. Film Socialisme
3. Hahaha
4. Mysteries of Lisbon
5. Shutter Island

Cinematography:

1. Andrew Lau & Ng Man-ching, Legend of the Fist
2. Luca Bigazzi, Certified Copy
3. Christopher Blauvelt, Meek’s Cutoff
4. Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network
5. Roger Deakins, True Grit

Art Direction:

1. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
2. Let the Bullets Fly
3. Mysteries of Lisbon
3. True Grit
5. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Costume Design:

1. Carlos
2. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
3. Meek’s Cutoff
4. Mysteries of Lisbon
5. The Sleeping Beauty

Make-up:

1. 127 Hours
2. Black Swan
3. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
4. Meek’s Cutoff
5. Shutter Island

Sound Mixing:

1. Black Swan
2. Film Socialisme
3. Meek’s Cutoff
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
5. Shutter Island

Sound Editing:

1. Let the Bullets Fly
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
3. Shutter Island
4. True Grit
5. Unstoppable

Visual Effects:

1. 127 Hours
2. Gallants
3. Inception
4. Resident Evil: Afterlife
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Give me an Army of Millas over Christopher Nolan any day.

Original Score:

1. 127 Hours
2. The Illusionist
3. Never Let Me Go
4. The Social Network
5. True Grit

Adapted Score:

1. Black Swan
2. Carlos
3. Greenberg
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
5. Shutter Island

Olivier Assayas will win Adapted Score again in 2012 for Something in the Air. The man has good taste in music.