Monday, January 9, 2012

The L Magazine's 2011 Film Poll

Here's The L's annual poll of its regularly contributing critics. We each pick 20 movies, ranked in order of preference, and the editors compile our choices into a Top 25 list.

1. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
Like the God of Job, Malick can leave his supposed intimates struggling to make sense of themselves within his cosmos: he's burned through who knows how many editors, worked sound teams to the bone, and left composers and many actors feeling cheated. But his methods have also inspired devotional loyalty among those who've achieved their capacity for grace under his eye: in The Tree of Life, he coaxes the work of a lifetime out of Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Emmanuel Lubezki (and Jack Fisk, whose realization of Malick's hallowed spaces is his own life's work). And by prodding us to engage with our own capacities, he makes us into better, more open, attentive moviegoers. And people? Sure. Mark Asch

2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
This leisurely examination of a dying man preparing for his next life creates intense, dream-logic poetry from visuals and sounds that always register strongly but often seem disconnected from one another. Like Tree of Life, Uncle Boonmee made me tear up over the beauty, value, connectedness, and fragility of all forms of life, but I'm damned if I know how they did it. Elise Nakhnikian

Read the rest of the list--and editor Mark Asch's intro, a sharply argued case for respecting other people's opinions and holding true to your own.

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