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Tuesday, January 07, 2003
 
The Year in movies

Harvey Kloman begins his review of 2002 cinema with the standard "movies these days stink and I know that because I'm artsie" qualification: "Please don’t go leaping to any conclusions: Just because I’m going to name 17 movies that you might want to think about renting doesn’t mean 2002 has been a 'great year for movies.' First, this list has an offbeat number of entries because I’ve eschewed the conventional roundness of the 'Top 10' for years. (The very alliteration of it makes my skin crawl, not to mention its visual corpulence.) Second, you’ll find no four-star masterpieces on the list -- no pantheon cinema or best-of-the-decade sure things (although maybe a few contenders). And third, just as we live in postmodern times, I think we live in post-cinema times as well: Except for technology, there’s nothing out there left to innovate in the medium -- no New Waves, no neo-Realisms, no Cinemas of Loneliness waiting to be discovered and devoured. The best of recent cinema is all a variation on themes and movements and blended genres, with a pleasure here, a delight there: good movies steeped in enough intelligence, humanity and conscience to serve as a tonic to mainstream banality."

Tonic to mainstream banality? What's he talking about? This year, in the movie theater down the street, I could see: Talk to Her, The Fast Runner, Adaptation, Far From Heaven, The Pianist, Spirited Away, Storytelling, Gangs of New York, Lovely & Amazing, Punch-Drunk Love, 25th Hour, Minority Report, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Signs, Rabbit-Proof Fence, About Schmidt, One Hour Photo, About a Boy, City of God, 13 Conversations About One Thing, Invincible, All or Nothing, Bowling for Columbine, The Quiet American, The Hours, Catch Me If You Can, Diamond Men, The Grey Zone, The Man From Elysian Fields, and 24 Hour Party People, among many others. All these movies listed were original, well acted, well directed, taken seriously by its makers, quite different from each other, and hardly banal. They come from famous directors (Polanski, Speilberg, Scorsese) and not yet famous ones. They come from big studios and from independents and from Canada, Mexico, and Europe. It was, in fact, a great year for movies.

I'm not going to make a Top Ten list. What's my recommendation? Go out and catch a movie this weekend. You'll be glad you did.


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