Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

December 30 at 8:30am

My Best Cinema Experiences of 2011

By Ted Hope

The end of the year has become a bit overwhelming in terms of "Best Of" lists. We evaluate things so much in terms of quality (or at least attempt to), but I hear very few people speak of true pleasure. Quality and pleasure often are not the same, but these end of the year list camouflage that a bit. We don't go to or watch movies just because they are good. We love films because they are fun — and it's never just the content that makes the experience so great. It's the company and the context.

What was the most joyous experience of the year for you, for me? Since this blog is really only about film, I am going to have to leave out most of what's on my more expansive list (and after all that stuff is still a private matter, isn't it?), and instead focus only most on my most joyous cinema experiences of 2011 — and for that matter experiences that didn't involve my own movies (as the festival premieres of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, COLLABORATOR, and DARK HORSE were all pretty damn wonderful). It's a pleasure to do so in that remembering, recognizing, bring it all back and more so.

The skin i live in 6  My Best Cinema Experiences of 2011

THE SKIN I LIVE IN: My wife and I saw SKIN in Karlovy Vary, which has to be one of the loveliest places to screen a film. If you have a chance to go, don't delay. It's a spa town, nestled in a valley, with a wonderful hotel, and an extremely well-curated selection. The main theater there is huge — I think 4000 seats but I am not sure. The screen is colossal none the less. Gigantic. And the people love movies; students camp out in the hills to attend screenings all week. SKIN was a hard ticket to get, even with a festival pass. I begged for days, succeeded, but then got confused on the time and we almost missed it. It was hot that day, very. We ran along the river through crowds of tourists and the only seats were on the floor up front. The kinkiest film that Hitchcock never made loomed above us as we caught our breath and tried to cool down. Each twist and turn above us was a total surprise. I was appalled in the best way on a regular basis. And when the leopard scene occurred, well, very few films ever blow my mind but Pedro does constantly. I can think of no other filmmaker who has been such a pleasure to watch him become a true master. When Vanessa and I left the theater we couldn't stop talking about it., As much as I loved the movie, I loved far more that I had someone to share it with who felt so much like I did, and that we had experienced it together in such an over the top way.

rise of the planet of the apes 20110414031517118  My Best Cinema Experiences of 2011

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES: My son and I saw APES opening weekend. We've seen all the Planet of The Apes films — except the Tim Burton one because I thought it sucked. But we've only seen them on video. When I was a boy I collected the Planet Of The Apes cards with my dad, in anticipation of seeing it together, but due to complications, that never happened. My expectations for this one were pretty low, due to Burton's debacle. Low expectations helps everything always and the movie soared well beyond my measly expectations. Andy Serkis' turn is one of my fave of the year, and drew me into that movie like few this year. The bridge sequence captures what I imagine the exhilaration of revolution to be (along with the humor of the stupidity of mankind that is always fun to be reminded of). But the real pleasure of movies is always social, and just hearing my son say how much he enjoyed it, helped me recognize how much I have enjoyed sharing so much with him. In many ways, the movie completed a circle for me that I had not yet recognized wasn't closed.

without  My Best Cinema Experiences of 2011

WITHOUT: There are a few people who did an awesome job tipping me to under-appreciated films this year, but primarily Kim Voynar (who sent five or so great works to me) and Michael Tully, who via Hammer To Nail does so regularly. I think it was Kim who recommended Mark Jackson's WITHOUT to me though. I watched it alone, in my apartment, with no real context of what was to come. I have a HD projector that fills one wall in our apartment so the image towers over me when I watch. It was summer and the city was quieter than usual. Left alone, like the character, to figure out what was going on or not. As much as I love work from emerging directors and noble failures that reach high (not always to succeed), I confess I am jaded enough to not anticipate controlled, disciplined, ambitious, original work from a filmmaker or film that I have no clue about. At that time, Kim (or was it Tully?) had been the only one to recommend it. WITHOUT is some of the strongest work this year. Afterwards, I sat there still on the couch wondering what is wrong with our indie film infrastructure that this film isn't being celebrated as it should be, and how I am going to have to work so much harder to do so.

THE DISPOSABLE FILM FESTIVAL: I got to be a judge for this San Francisco festival this past year and it was another great marriage of subject and setting. All the films in the selection were hand-crafted gems made on a shoe-string budget. They represented the diversity and quality of individual artist today. If they were not inspiring enough, the festival is held at The Castro Theater, one of the greatest houses to worship cinema ever built. I had never been there and it is so gorgeous. When I travel, despite not being at all religious, I can not help but visit churches and be amazed with what worship, devotion, and conviction can achieve. Sitting in The Castro seeing such handmade work, I wanted to go on a global pilgrimage to all the great movie palaces, before it's too late. Sign me up for that tour if you hear of it, okay?

margaret  My Best Cinema Experiences of 2011

MARGARET: Hands down, Kenneth Lonergan's film is the best American film of the year. Great work not only does not get seen, but often not even released. Even when it was first released, I had my doubts. I couldn't believe that a film by this writer/director, with that cast, could be any good and not have been screened for so long. Shame on me. The movie was a wake up call. I saw when it came along a second time. I had just gotten MoviePass and was delighted to see the theater where it was playing on their list of cinemas; it meant I had no risk. The great thing about a subscription theater service is I can try out movies like never before — the only thing I am sacrificing is time. But I digress. Or maybe not. Maybe it was because I accepted the movie with no preconceptions, but I was so thrilled at the quality of the writing & performance. Naturalism is currently my fave cinematic aesthetic and Lonergan used it to make the micro epic, and he did it so bravely, warts and all, I felt I knew each of his characters or at least passed them on the street. I saw it with my wife, and as we left the theater, fully engaged, I thought of all the great films we experienced together and felt that despite how close this excellent film came to never being screened, that life was actually good and everything will be okay and I must never forget how fortunate I am.

Attack the Block 2  My Best Cinema Experiences of 2011

GENRE VIDEOS AT HOME ON THE COUCH WITH MY FAMILY: I hate to admit it but I think this may trump my cinema going highlights. I am one of the lucky few who has a great video store less than a block away (Allen's Alley). Be it DOCTOR WHO, AIRPLANE!, V FOR VENDETTA, A.I. or ATTACK THE BLOCK some of my most fun came courtesy of DVDs, good company, comfortable environments and the pause button. We are going to have to work harder to make theatrical exhibition the must-see entertainment I'd like it to be. And I suspect that this is the year that I cancel my Netflix subscription too.

So, tell me, what were your most enjoyable cinema experiences of 2011?

  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print


leave a comment
  1. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  2. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody having similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  3. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    You are so cool! I don’t believe I have read a single thing like this before. So nice to find somebody with original thoughts on this topic. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  4. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Excellent site you have here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  5. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Excellent blog you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  6. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the finest sites on the net. I’m going to highly recommend this blog!

  7. Clair Im / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    You have remarked very interesting points! ps decent website.

  8. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!

  9. Quinn Antoniuk / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    I conceive you have mentioned some very interesting details , thankyou for the post.

  10. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!

  11. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Great info. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!

  12. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    May I just say what a comfort to discover someone that truly knows what they’re talking about on the net. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people should read this and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you aren’t more popular because you most certainly have the gift.

  13. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    May I just say what a relief to find somebody that actually understands what they’re discussing on the web. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you aren’t more popular since you certainly have the gift.

  14. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

  15. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    I quite like reading through an article that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

  16. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Aw, this was a really nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  17. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    This excellent website truly has all of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  18. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

  19. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this matter here on your blog.

  20. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    May I simply just say what a comfort to uncover somebody that actually knows what they’re discussing on the internet. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular given that you certainly have the gift.

  21. www / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Carlena Lazarus / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    I have observed that in the world of today, video games are classified as the latest phenomenon with children of all ages. There are occassions when it may be difficult to drag your kids away from the activities. If you want the very best of both worlds, there are lots of educational activities for kids. Good post.

  23. Terra Palek / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Perfectly composed content, thank you for information. “He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.” by Michel de Montaigne.

  24. Larita Weyhrauch / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I’m very glad to see such excellent information being shared freely out there.

  25. Josiah Cardosa / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    You can certainly see your skills within the paintings you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart. “Every man serves a useful purpose A miser, for example, makes a wonderful ancestor.” by Laurence J. Peter.

  26. Wilbert Gividen / Dec 30 at 8:30am

    I have recently started a website, the information you provide on this website has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work. “The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky” by Solomon Short.

  27. I was looking at some of your blog posts on this internet site and I conceive this internet site is really informative! Retain posting.

Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!