Rather late, but I needed to catch up on a couple more films; in the case of Bright Star, I’m very glad I did. I’m not comfortable with the results, particularly the high showing for Inglorious Basterds, but my ambivalences aside, I can’t shake how well its good sequences play, and how audacious and stupid (stupidly audacious?) the rest is. Nick Davis said it best:  it’s a moviee whose barely tempered sadism, its uneven performances and compositional rigor, and its alternations between taut and slack montage” make your teeth grind. “Now, faced with how indelible the best parts of this movie are by the end of 2009, when the best sequences of so many movies I roundly preferred have already started to fade, it became even harder to square my begrudging esteem from my visceral dislike of the movie and its politics.”

As for my two favorite love stories of the year, they underscore the importance of gesture, restraint, and silence in framing: Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow in Two Lovers, and Abbie Cornish and Billy Whishaw in Bright Star (the camera catching Cornish regarding Whishaw’s ink-stained hand in the dusty light is the erotic moment of the year).

I’ve reviewed most of these films, so use the search entry.

1. The Hurt Locker

2. Summer Hours

3. Inglorious Basterds

4. Drag Me to Hell

5. Fantastic Mr. Fox

6. The Class

7. A Serious Man

8. Two Lovers

9. Bright Star

10. The Girlfriend Experience