Cinecast Episode 150 – 2009 in Review

Episode 150:

Here it is. We have reached the end of yet another year; marking the end of the third complete year of the Cinecast that includes both Andrew and Kurt. Man, how time flies. Anyway, to help commemorate this “special” occasion, we’ve recruited the help of a few friends to count down the year’s best with us. Included per usual is Matt Gamble. But also along for this reminiscing ride is writer/director Gary King and Minneapolis Star Tribune movie critic, Colin Covert. So awesome to have extra voices in on the mix; particularly one who actually gets paid for his opinions and another who makes the opinions possible with his craft. Should be interesting. So thanks one more time to everyone and anyone who has bothered to listen to just one episode over the past 12 months and a big shout out to all of our regular listeners and commenters. We could do it without you, but it wouldn’t be much fun. So cheers, happy new year and we look forward to another great year of bickering, laughing and debating throughout all of 2010. Enjoy the show!

Click the Audio Icon below to listen in:

show content

show content

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:


Announcement: :00 – 1:00
Opening clip: 1:00 – 2:23
Intros: 2:24 – 3:36
Year in review: 2:51
– – “down on your luck” films
– – Intense childrens films (animated and 3D)
– – Unconventional comedies
Top 10 lists: 31:12
Outro music: 2:31:37 – 2:34:12

The Blindside
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Up in the Air
The Road
The Girlfriend Experience

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Where the Wild Things Are
Princess and the Frog
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Funny People
Observe and Report
The Hangover
The Informant!
Drag me to Hell
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
In the Loop
The Men Who Stare at Goats

MISSING REEL:show content

Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Rotten Tomatoes

Gary King (writer director, New York Lately, What’s Up Lovely, Death of the Dead)
Kitchen Table Films

10. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
9. The Cove (Louie Psihoyos)
8. A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen)
7. Thirst (Chan Wook-Park)
6. Coraline (Henry Selick)
5. The Road (John Hillcoat)
4. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
3. Observe & Report (Jody Hill)
2. District 9 (Neil Blomkamp)
1. Moon (Duncan Jones)

10. Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
9. Mr. Nobody (Jaco van Dormael)
8. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
7. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
6. Up in the Air (Jason Reitman)
5. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
4. A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen)
3. Mammoth (Lukas Moodysson)
2. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
1. Enter the Void (Gaspar Noé)

10. Colore Non Videnti (Jay Cheel)
9. Ink (Jamin Wynans)
8. Taken (Pierre Morel)
7. Away We Go (Sam Mendes)
6. Up (Pete Docter, Bob Peterson)
5. Sin Nombre (Cary Fukunaga)
4. Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodóvar)
3. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
2. Up in the Air (Jason Reitman)
1. The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh)

10. A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen)
9. Up (Pete Docter, Bob Peterson)
8. New York Lately (Gary King)
7. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
6. The Class (Laurent Cantet)
5. Antichrist (Lars Von Trier)
3. TIE: Inglourious Basterds/ Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodóvar)
2. The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh)
1. Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)


newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Shannon the Movie Mo

Wow guys that was freaking epic long. I love how not everyone agrees on certain films – makes it very entertaining.

I almost lost my tea when the comment that the dog in Up was fat though – that killed me. I was surprized to hear people found that it didn't always live up to the promise of the beginning – I really found that it did that surprizingly and subtly so.

Was awesome to hear everyones top 10's but now I have more filsm I want to see!


This is one the best cinecasts yet. Gotta say, Matt, that Observe and Report was one of my favorites of the year as well. It was not only funny, but fascinating to me by how it explored the mental pathology of Seth Rogan's character. I was completely engaged, plus it has has high re-watch value. The soundtrack rules. Also, I completely agree with you on not being able to identify with Almodovar movies. I've only seen Volver, and it was alright, but all I took away from it was Penelope Cruz's breasts and farting ghosts. His movies just don't interest me. I showed Volver to my mom and she loved it. Don't know what that means. I now think that Almodovar movies are movies for my mom.

Andrew, The Class blew me away as well. Just so authentic. I definitely gotta revisit this movie on dvd soon.


Matt, A Single Man has more substance than your top 3 combined, give me a break. This notion that A Single Man is about Colin Firth having it off with other guys is about as superficial a reading as to say Gerry is about walking in the desert, completely missing the human element of what is being told. Is it indulgent? Hell yes, indulgent in the same way Wong Kar-Wai and Douglas Sirk are indulgent, yet it remains wholly original (not a reproduction of Mad Man's austerity). Its hardly worth debating with someone who entirely misses the point, so no essay here.


for rots pleasure:

I was in the lobby of AMC Yonge/Dundas when A Single Man emptied out and there were a group of mid 20something girls going absolutely apeshit together in their love of the movie, it was as if they had just met Justin Timberlake and been invited to a backstage party with a certain gift in a box.


Also A Single Man was not going for vintage realism the environment is like a fever dream of Life Magazine, deliberately, everyone is coming on to Firth in the film, the world is oozing sexuality because that is integral to the character (i.e. his line about living in a world without sentiment). His partner has died but he feels that love in the absence of everything around him, and that is played up in the style of the movie. At one point a character even remarks how odd the lighting is in the shot, almost delving into Lynch territory.

I am not big on over stylization but in this case it works because the entirety of what is onscreen IS the character, its not dialogue and story arc, its mood. You might as well say In the Mood For Love is short on character.


Kudos to Gary for being the only one among you to see the greatness of Away We Go, and that it is one film better than Taken.

Jandy Hardesty

Haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I gotta say I love Gary's list. I gotta go seek out New York Lately right now.

Matt Gamble

Notice how Rot can't even stop bitching even after he claims he won't. It must be killing him just to limit his comments this much.

Too bad we didn't record Colin and I discussing the film, as we both agreed on the premise and themes of the film, only he liked them while I thought they were terrible. But then its easier for rot to dismiss any faults of the film as being uninformed because otherwise he might acually have to analyze such a flimsy house of cards.

I am not big on over stylization but in this case it works because the entirety of what is onscreen IS the character, its not dialogue and story arc, its mood.

And herein lies the problem as the character is as banal as they come. Nothing interesting about him, his lover, his friends or his depression. Nothing that can drive his actions or his struggle. Its like watching a child pretending to be an adult. And if it isn't your kid who's performing then who gives a shit?

Its a film that celebrates the bourgeoisie lives of these incredibly dull people, and thus revels in superficiality. Shocking such a film came from a fashion designer.


Matt, I am quite surprised you like Haneke because you seem to have such a low threshold for pretense, although as an 'art film' director his are pretty austere so I guess I can see that. Any kind of uninhibited emotional/existential ruminations via style, particularly those not conforming to a rigid narrative structure, and I suspect you are turned off before it even its get going. Can you think of counter-examples?

I believe you dislike Lynch and Von Trier, what about Van Sant, Malick, Wong Kar-wai?

as far as banal characters, again I would say Tony Leung in In the Mood For Love is banal, one note, and yet character is not what the film is about, its about mood… and I guess from what I wrote above is I don't think you dig on mood pictures all that much.

Matt Gamble

I don't have a problem with pretense in films, but I think it is something incredibly difficult to pull off well, and far to many directors think they have the chops to do it. All to often it turns into dramaticising the mundane, which I find both uninteresting and lazy at best and self-aggrandizing at worst.

I like Lynch (but I do think he has flaws), Van Sant and Malick though none would number among my favorite directors. Hate Von Trier more because I find his films structurally and thematically lazy, which makes his pretension incredibly annoying. No question that he has oodles of talent.

And I don't have issues with mood in films, I just need the character to be interesting or compelling in some manner. A couple counter examples that I can think of would be Noi or Schramm. Those are all about style and mood, with little to no plot and I found both fascinating. But then I also think films driven by mood are very often like oil and water, they either mix just right or they separate and you have a bit of a mess on your hands. If they don't compel me in some way early on, its hard for them to reel me in.


"And I don’t have issues with mood in films, I just need the character to be interesting or compelling in some manner"

than that probably excludes


Last Days



In the Mood For Love

Mulholland Dr

Lost Highway

Waking Life


Wendy and Lucy

Synechdoche New York

The New World

Far From Heaven

All That Heaven Allows

although you mentioned liking Limits of Control, and that is all mood, zero character.

I don't consider any of these films flimsy because of lack of strong characters because that is not what they are about, characters are in service of mood, of ideas, feelings, they are not something to be admired as separate parts.

A Single Man is about grief, alienation, and contemplating suicide, about an existential mood that most people feel, and you don't have to be gay, or from the sixties, or a fashion designer to feel it in this film. The world Falconer inhabits is ominous, it is gaudy and sexualized and without sentimentality, and that is the point, that is what Falconer is confronting. He has bored conversations with his friend because that too is the point, you need that kind of space to make this story work, a willingness to be sprawling and indulgent. I called it a fever dream before, and I think that is right, you don't critique a fever dream for being short on plot and character, you take it for what it is, a particular experience that ought to be judged on its own terms. I can understand not liking Falconer, and his plight, maybe you yourself are without an existential worry, got the world figured out, I don't know.

Sometimes its just personal choice, like Andrew regarding Margot at the Wedding and not wanting to be around a group of loathsome people… I don't find that a fault, I enjoy encountering all sorts of things in film, not all pleasant. I don't think A Single Man does anything wrong, for what it is trying to do, it does it perfectly… well except the final, final ending which I didn't like, only because there were two better choices before.

Matt Gamble

than that probably excludes

Except I really enjoy about half of those films.

A Single Man is about grief, alienation, and contemplating suicide, about an existential mood that most people feel, and you don’t have to be gay, or from the sixties, or a fashion designer to feel it in this film.

Except it does them poorly, and in a manner that is boorish and borderline offensive in how tritely it treats its themes. Granted that is who Falconer is, a man devoid of any actual angst or depth, but simply because a film shows that he's a miserable boob doesn't mean the film is good or that I should automatically be emotionally invested in his non-plight. I'd hope standards would be higher than that.

But then perhaps I'm alone in thinking that the theme of existentialism isn't suited to be treated in a superficial manner. That to me is counter-productive and pointless. Why examine if you aren't going to actually examine?

I can understand not liking Falconer, and his plight, maybe you yourself are without an existential worry, got the world figured out, I don’t know.

You seem to have me confused with Henrik.


I really really liked the action parts of Taken, but the first half hour and ending are ridiculously insulting, absolute shit, from the dialogue to the acting to the casting, everything. Maggie Grace is horrid.

I liked the action parts because it was quick, cold blooded and only focused on what was necessary and let it push the story forward.


my roommate explains Takens' appeal

"It's every divorced dad's wet dream: your daughter has been kidnapped, and your ex and her beau beg you to save her. Best of all? You told them so."