Thursday, August 05, 2010

Leonard Maltin's 2011 Movie Guide (a book)

Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide: 2011 Edition. New York: Signet, August 2010. 1643 pages, over 17.000 entries, including 300+ new entries

Late Sunday night we drove back to Helsinki, witnessing on the way the devastation of the recent storm. Thousands of trees had crashed to the ground, and equally many had been torn from their roots, standing askew in weird angles.

"Hot town, summer in the city". The Helsinki asphalt was hot, and we realized how privileged we had been by the lakeside.

The attendance of our Cinema Orion has been good during the hot summer weeks, thanks probably also to our well-functioning air conditioning. Since Tuesday I have been able to sample our summer programming again. Love Happy (1949) proves that the Marx Brothers stayed funny until their very last film together. A Short Film About Killing (1988) was Krzysztof Kieslowski's experimentally ugly masterpiece shot through sickly yellow and green filters, also an intellectual treatise on the philosophy of justice: Kieslowski's screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz was a lawyer. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) is the most popular Jim Jarmusch film in our cinema, a witty collection of short stories, each one different from the others. The Young One (1960) is in my opinion a special Luis Buñuel masterpiece that started his great 1960s period even before Viridiana. The Young One, Viridiana, and The Diary of a Chambermaid form a unique trilogy starring women. All previous major Buñuel films had starred men.

Next block from Cinema Orion, there is the Corona Bar (with Café Moskva on the side, and Cinema Andorra and Club Dubrovnik downstairs), a favourite meeting place for film folks. Aki Kaurismäki, himself, one of the owners, is enjoying a break. I know him since the 1970s when he was a student at the Tampere University and a film society activist, ardent on Godard, Bresson, Buñuel, and Melville. Now he has finished principal photography on his forthcoming film called Le Havre.

In August the new annual edition of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide is published, and immediately after buying it I stay for hours at Café Aalto at the Academic Bookstore to read many of the new entries and listings. The book is a model in the art of crystallization, of packing a lot in a small space. The book is America-centric with an emphasis on the mainstream. Otherwise it is one of the great books on the cinema.

Maltin's annual recommendations are worthy of attention. This year they are:
City Island (Raymond De Felitta)
L'Heure d'été / Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas)
In the Loop (Armando Iannucci)
The Answer Man / Arlen Faber (John Hindman)
The Tiger's Tail (John Boorman)
Five Minutes of Heaven (Oliver Hirschbiegel)
Big Fan (Robert D. Siegel)
World's Greatest Dad (Bobcat Goldthwait)
That Evening Sun (Scott Teems)
La nana / The Maid (Sebastián Silva)
Trucker (James Mottern)
Me and Orson Welles (Richard Linklater)

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