This Week in Rankings

Over the several week since the last update, I wrote about Johnnie To’s Three for Mubi, Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day for Movie Mezzanine and Sion Sono’s Bicycle Sighs for InReview Online (link coming soon). Here at The End I counted down the Best Movies of 2016 (So Far) and at Seattle Screen Scene I wrote about a trio of under-the-radar new Chinese releases, Cold War 2, One Night Only and For a Few Bullets, and a pair of American movies: DePalma and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. We also released the final episode of The Frances Farmer Show, on Three and Samuel Fuller’s Shock Corridor.

The are the movies I’ve watched and reattached over the last few weeks, and where they place on my year-by-year rankings.

Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly) – 1, 1952
Shock Corridor (Samuel Fuller) – 10, 1963
Dragon Gate Inn (King Hu) – 3, 1967
A Touch of Zen (King Hu) – 1, 1971
Scarface (Brian DePalma) – 9, 1983

My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki) – 2, 1988
Bicycle Sighs (Sion Sono) – 42, 1990
A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang) – 2, 1991
Love in the Time of Twilight (Tsui Hark) – 10, 1995
Persuasion (Roger Michell) – 15, 1995

Young and Dangerous (Andrew Lau) – 53, 1996
Young and Dangerous 2 (Andrew Lau) – 59, 1996
Yi yi (Edward Yang) – 5, 2000
State and Main (David Mamet) – 17, 2000
Cold War (Longman Leung & Sunny Luk) – 52, 2012

Kaili Blues (Bi Gan) – 18, 2015
Sixty Six (Lewis Klahr) – 23, 2015
Three (Johnnie To) – 3, 2016
OJ: Made in America (Ezra Edelman) – 9, 2016

One Night Only (Matt Wu) – 10, 2016
Cold War 2 (Longman Leung & Sunny Luk) – 19, 2016
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (Jake Szymanski) – 22, 2016
For a Few Bullets (Pan Anzi) – 23, 2016


The Best Movies of 2016 (So Far)

We are now halfway through the year and as has become an annual tradition here at The End, it’s time to look back at the best movies of the year so far. As I discussed in the 2013 halfway post, the consensus movie-dating system is nonsensical and posits New York as the center of the universe. Far more logical (and much easier to use) is a system reliant on imdb’s dating system, which locates a film in whatever year it first played for an audience. That’s what we use here for all Rankings & Awards as it’s the most fair to all eras and areas. (A dating system reliant on playing in a certain locality I think can be valuable for a publication that is geographically specific, like a local newspaper or website. We’ll be putting together a Seattle-specific lists for Seattle Screen Scene later this week, for example. But here at The End, we have a global reach.)

A by-product of the system is that a number of films that first go into wide-release in any given year actually had their premiere in the year before. A number of the films on many critics’ halfway-thorough lists include these films, films that find their proper home here on my 2015 list. And so here we have two lists: the Best Movies of 2016, following the strict imdb dating system, and the Best 2015 Movies of 2016, which includes those films from last year that you might find on a more chronologically-illogical list (and despite the title, also includes one film from 1991 and one from 2012, both of which only premiered in New York this year). I also have a third list, Best Unreleased Movies of 2015, of last year’s films that have yet to see a New York release and therefore don’t (yet) exist by the standards of most critics. And a fourth list, a halfway version of my annual Best Older Movies list, counting the top movies I saw for the first time this year that are more than a few years old.

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This Week in Rankings

Since the last update the Seattle International Film Festival has come and gone. My coverage included fifteen reviews, three podcasts and a trio of previews, all at Seattle Screen Scene. I posted the English language version of a short survey of Contemporary Chinese Cinema I wrote for the Estonian arts magazine SIRP and I listed 50 of the Best Chinese Language Films of the 21st Century. Jealous of the massive Hong Sangsoo retrospective going on in New York, I indexed all of my writing and podcasting on Hong and resurrected a lost podcast episode I helped record last year on Hong and Oki’s Movie. And, with the festival over, I finally was able to watch and review my much-anticipated English-subtitled DVD of Jiang Wen’s 2014 film Gone with the Bullets.

These are the movies I’ve watched or rewatched over the last few weeks, and where they place in my year-by-year rankings.

The General (Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman) – 1, 1926
The Big Road (Sun Yu) – 6, 1935
Merbabies (Vernon Stallings & Rudolf Ising) – 23, 1938
Heaven Can Wait (Ernst Lubitsch) – 4, 1943
A Scandal in Paris (Douglas Sirk) – 13, 1946

Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly) – 1, 1952
Los tallos amargos (Fernando Ayala) – 22, 1956
Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles) – 2, 1965
Dragon Gate Inn (King Hu) – 3, 1967
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies) – 1, 1988

The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies) – 6, 1992
Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) – 9, 1997
Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) – 12, 2001
Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) – 6, 2008
575 Castro St. (Jenni Olson) – 18, 2009
Gone with the Bullets (Jiang Wen) – 26, 2014

Sunset Song (Terence Davies) – 11, 2015
Murmur of the Hearts (Sylvia Chang) – 24, 2015
De Palma (Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow) – 47, 2015
Concerto: A Beethoven Journey (Phil Grabsky) – 58, 2015
Thithi (Raam Reddy) – 63, 2015

Tag (Sion Sono) – 74, 2015
The Island Funeral (Pimpka Towira) – 83, 2015
Ten Years (Various) – 91, 2015
The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Maddin (Yves Montmayeur) – 99, 2015
The Final Master (Xu Haofeng) – 114, 2015

Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) – 1, 2016
Three (Johnnie To) – 3, 2016
A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (Shunji Iwai) – 7, 2016
Trivisa (Jevons Au, Frank Hui & Vicky Wong) – 8, 2016
Creepy (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) – 9, 2016

My Beloved Bodyguard (Sammo Hung) – 10, 2016
Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World (Werner Herzog) – 11, 2016
The Mobfathers (Herman Yau) – 14, 2016
The Seasons in Quincy (Tilda Swinton, et al) – 15, 2016
In a Valley of Violence (Ti West) – 20, 2016

This Week in Rankings

With the Seattle International Film Festival just around the corner, I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks reading actual books (Joan Didion, John McPhee and James Agee) and watching baseball (and playing Out of the Park) rather than watching movies, trying to save up energy for the endless slog that is the world’s most exhausting film festival. But before that little break, I did write some stuff: I watched a bunch of Chinese language films from 1996 to compile an Underrated ’96 piece for Rupert Pupkin Speaks, including Johnnie To’s A Moment of Romance III. I wrote about Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! and Alexander Sokurov’s Francofonia for Seattle Screen Scene, along with the Chinese thriller Chongqing Hot PotI also wrote about the state of Chinese cinema for the Estonian magazine Sirp. You can read it here in Estonian, I plan to publish the original English version in a few days.

Since the last update we’ve done four episodes of The Frances Farmer ShowMysterious Object at Noon and Gates of the NightProspero’s Books and The Princess of FranceYouth of the Beast and Sonatine, and A Brighter Summer Day, SPL 2 and Purple Rain.

These are the movies I’ve watched and rewatched over the last few weeks and where they place on my year-by-year rankings.

Gates of the Night (Marcel Carné) – 14, 1946
Dirty Gertie from Harlem USA (Spencer Williams) – 17, 1946
Youth of the Beast (Seijun Suzuki) – 15, 1963
Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Kinji Fukasaku) – 6, 1973
Deadly Fight in Hiroshima (Kinji Fukasaku) – 12, 1973

Proxy War (Kinji Fukasaku) – 21, 1973
Final Episode (Kinji Fukasaku) – 18, 1974
Police Tactics (Kinji Fukasaku) – 31, 1974
Purple Rain (Albert Magnoli) – 12, 1984
Under the Cherry Moon (Prince) – 30, 1986

Violent Cop (Takeshi Kitano) – 19, 1989
A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang) – 2, 1991
Prospero’s Books (Peter Greenaway) – 7, 1991
Sonatine (Takeshi Kitano) – 9, 1993

Mahjong (Edward Yang) – 2, 1996
Viva Erotica (Derek Yee & Law Chi-leung) – 8, 1996
Stage Door (Shu Kei) – 21, 1996
Beyond Hypothermia (Patrick Leung) – 22, 1996
Ebola Syndrome (Herman Yau) – 28, 1996

Big Bullet (Benny Chan) – 31, 1996
Black Mask (Daniel Lee) -41,  1996
A Moment of Romance III (Johnnie To) – 42, 1996
The Stunt Woman (Ann Hui) – 47, 1996
Dr. Wai in “The Scripture with No Words” (Ching Siu-tung) – 49, 1996

Shanghai Grand (Poon Man-kit) – 57, 1996
Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star (Wong Jing) – 66, 1996
Yes, Madam 5 (Lau Shing) – 78, 1996
Mysterious Object at Noon (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 15, 2000
The Princess of France (Matías Piñeiro) – 40, 2014

Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 13, 2015
SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang) – 14, 2015
The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams) – 20, 2015
Francofonia (Alexander Sokurov) – 72, 2015

Lemonade (Beyoncé Knowles & Jonas Åkerlund) – 1, 2016
Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) – 2, 2016
Chongqing Hot Pot (Yang Qing) – 6, 2016
Confirmation (Rick Famuyiwa) – 10, 2016
Get a Job (Dylan Kidd) – 11, 2016


This Week in Rankings

Since the last update, I wrote about Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid at the Mubi Notebook and talked wuxia films on the Filmspotting podcast. Here at The End I wrote about 30 Essential Wuxia Films, continued my chronological Johnnie To series with The Fun, the Luck and the Tycoon, and reviewed the new Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel Sword of Destiny. Over at Seattle Screen Scene I wrote about The Witch and Rise of the Legend.

Ater 83 episodes we wrapped up The George Sanders Show with a look at Canyon PassageThe Razor’s Edge and the Best Films of 2015. Then we launched The Frances Farmer Show, which is basically exactly the same show, but based at Seattle Screen Scene instead. On the first episode, we talked about The Big Sleep and Fire Walk with Me.

Also since the last update, I announced the winners of the 2015 Endy Awards. Concurrently I updated a number of previous awards based on some of the films listed below (1992, 1994 and 2006 in particular saw some major revisions) and I’ve now got fake movie awards from every year from 1990-2015.

These are the movies I watched and rewatched over the last few weeks, and where they place on my year-by-year rankings.

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks) – 1, 1946
Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur) – 5, 1946
Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau) – 10, 1946
The Razor’s Edge (Edmund Goulding) – 11, 1946
The Strange Woman (Edgar G. Ulmer) – 19, 1946

Donald’s Double Trouble (Jack King) – 24, 1946
The Dark Corner (Henry Hathaway) – 29, 1946
Dressed to Kill (Roy William Neill) – 32, 1946
The Flame and the Arrow (Jacques Tourneur) – 21, 1950
Desk Set (Walter Lang) – 43, 1957

The Heroic Ones (Chang Cheh) – 4, 1970
A Moment of Romance (Benny Chan) – 26, 1990
The Fun, the Luck & the Tycoon (Johnnie To) – 40, 1990
Fire Walk with Me (David Lynch) – 5, 1992
Ashes of Time (Wong Kar-wai) – 4, 1994

The Blade (Tsui Hark) – 9, 1995
The God of Cookery (Stephen Chow & Lee Lik-chi) – 18, 1996
Thirdworld (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 22, 1998
Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 3, 2002
Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 1, 2004

Worldly Desires (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 32, 2005
Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 2, 2006
The Anthem (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 20, 2006
Luminous People (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 38, 2007
Vampire (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 32, 2008

Phantoms of Nabua (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 8, 2009
A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 21, 2009
Haiku (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 37, 2009
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – 4, 2010
Rise of the Legend (Roy Chow) – 73, 2014
Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick) – 11, 2015

Office (Johnnie To) – 17, 2015
The Witch (Robert Eggers) – 45, 2015
Forget Me Not (Kei Horie) – 49, 2015
The Mermaid (Stephen Chow) – 2, 2016
10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg) – 3, 2016
The Sword of Destiny (Yuen Woo-ping) – 5, 2016

This Week in Rankings


A lot of 2015 films in this rankings update, as I spent the last month trying to catch up at the end of the year. There’s more to come over the next six weeks or so (or really, forever, it’s not exactly impossible to actually catch up, as there are a finite number of films that were released in 2015, but it’s functionally so), leading up to the Endys/Oscars at the end of February (Endy nominations will be out this week).

Since the last update I’ve written a few reviews: Creed, Spotlight, and BrooklynMacbethSistersMojin: The Lost LegendConcussion, and Mr. Six at Seattle Screen Scene; and John Woo’s The Crossing Parts 1 & 2 here at The End. We’ve done George Sanders Shows on Alexander, Nightmare Alley and Our 2015 DiscoveriesThe Force AwakensHelp!, A Pistol for Ringo and the Best of 1965, and Noroît and The Black Pirate.

I polled a bunch of local critics and programmers for the first annual Seattle Screen Scene Seattle Film Poll, listed the Best Older Movies I Saw in 2015, handed out the Endy Awards for 1965, and posted a Top 50 Films of 2015 (More or Less).

These are the movies I’ve watched or rewatched over the last few weeks and where they place on my year-by-year rankings.

Grand Display of Brock’s Fireworks at Crystal Palace (George Albert Smith) – 1, 1904
The Black Pirate (Albert Parker) – 8, 1926
Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding) – 23, 1947
Help! (Richard Lester) – 23, 1965
A Pistol for Ringo (Duccio Tessari) – 26, 1965

Duelle (Jacques Rivette) – 5, 1976
Noroît (Jacques Rivette) – 8, 1976
Return of the Jedi (Richard Marquand) – 11, 1983
Eddie Murphy: Delirious (Bruce Gowers) – 24, 1983
The Phantom Menace (George Lucas) – 51, 1999

Attack of the Clones (George Lucas) – 27, 2002
Alexander (Oliver Stone) – 11, 2004
Revenge of the Sith (George Lucas) – 7, 2005
Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell) – 75, 2012
Girlhood (Céline Sciamma) – 44, 2014

Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes) – 4, 2015
Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson) – 9, 2015
Mistress America (Noah Baumbach) – 10, 2015
The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams) – 13, 2015
Baahubali: The Beginning (SS Rajamouli) – 14, 2015

Tangerine (Sean Baker) – 22, 2015
Cemetery of Splendour
(Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 24, 2015
The Hateful 8 (Quentin Tarantino) – 30, 2015
The Mend (John Magary) – 37, 2015
Experimenter (Michael Almereyda) – 49, 2015

Bone Tomahawk (S. Craig Zahler) – 52, 2015
Pitch Perfect 2 (Elizabeth Banks) – 56, 2015
Sisters (Justin Moore) – 59, 2015
Chi-Raq (Spike Lee) – 64, 2015
Macbeth (Justin Kurzel) – 67, 2015

The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu) – 71, 2015
The Crossing Part 2 (John Woo) – 72, 2015
Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg) – 74, 2015
Mr. Six (Guan Hu) – 75, 2015
Amy (Asif Kapadia) – 83, 2015

Wild Card (Simon West) – 89, 2015
Concussion (Peter Landesman) – 93, 2015
Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs) – 96, 2015
Mojin: The Lost Legend (Wu Ershan) – 100, 2015

A Top 50 Films of 2015, More or Less

As I did last year, I’m making a Best of the Year list following the conventional system for what counts as a 2015 film, mainly the nonsensical and ahistorical system that decrees that critics may only consider movies to have existed once they have played for a week in a commercial venue in New York City. (This is the system that claims my favorite film of 2013 (La última película), which played for a week in Seattle in 2014, can only be considered a 2015 film because that is when it finally got a New York release, although it will only play Los Angeles in 2016). (Not to mention the absurdity that is the fact that Tsai Ming-liang’s 1992 debut feature is qualified for this list.) But alas, we all must bow to convention, however silly, every once in awhile.

My 2015 list of course will never be finalized, as there’s no such thing as a final list here at The End: there are always more new movies to discover and old movies to reevaluate. But in a couple of weeks I’ll have the nominations up for the 2015 Endy Awards, with the winners to be announced during the Academy Awards ceremony. This list is a snapshot of my favorites of 2015 as they stand now, on the last day of the year.


1. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien)


2. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)


3. La última película (Raya Martin & Mark Peranson)


4. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso)


5. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson)


6. Blackhat (Michael Mann)


7. Horse Money (Pedro Costa)


8. The Royal Road (Jenni Olson)


9. Carol (Todd Haynes)


10. World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt)

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