Sight & Sound

Gravity

Topping this year’s list of the best films (as chosen by international critics and curators), The Act of Killing is unique for being a documentary on the prestigious roster (as well as the rare documentary to chime in at number one), but its selection isn’t all that surprising given the flavor S&S’s lists usually take on. Decidedly international without a comedy in sight (or, you know, sound), it’s much stranger to see a Hollywood blockbuster amongst its ranks. But Gravity has pulled it off — grossing beyond $600M worldwide and earning the S&S street cred. Not to say that it’s an impossible feat, but within the past few years only a few mainstream/Hollywood studio films have made it to the top ten. If an American picture breaks through, it’s typically from Focus Features or Wes Anderson or both. For a hint of recent context, the last studio project on the year-end list was The Social Network (2010). Before that, Up and Inglourious Basterds (2009) shared the space as did There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage counts, right?) and Wall-E (2008). In fact, Pixar retreating into sequels and prequels seems to have had a direct effect on how many studio movies are featured.

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Whoa. After weeks of anticipation, the seventh Sight & Sound Poll has finally revealed the results of its 2012 poll, and those results kick off with one eye-popping surprise. After fifty years of supremacy, Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane has fallen from its top spot on the critics’ poll (with 846 critics voting), with no less than Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo taking the top prize. Citizen Kane has held the number one spot since 1952, but Vertigo has steadily been creeping up the list for years now. It first appeared as a close runner-up in 1972, before moving on to the list in the 7th spot in 1982, followed by a jump to 4th in 1992 and a heel-nipping 2nd in 2002. The critics’ list also includes three new entries – The Searchers, Man With the Movie Camera, and The Passion of Joan of Arc, effectively jettisoning old standbys like Battleship Potemkin, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Godfather.  Meanwhile, the directors’ list (in only its third incarnation, and with 358 directors voting) also booted Citizen Kane from their number one, instead bestowing the honor on Ozu Yasujiro‘s Tokyo Story, with 2001: A Space Odyssey shutting Welles out from even the second spot. The directors also held on to The Godfather and 8 1/2, but changed things up considerably by including new entries like Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, and The Mirror, and leaving off old favorites like Raging Bull, Seven Samurai, and Rashomon (amongst others). The BFI posted the results with comments from […]

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We’ve been waiting on Sight & Sound‘s Top Ten List for the past ten years, and it comes out in a few weeks. To get prepped for it, and to explore the strange work of choosing the ten best movies of all time, In Contention critic and first time voter Guy Lodge explains the thought process that went into creating his list. It’s a seemingly impossible task. After all, do you place Vertigo about North By Northwest? Do you go purely personal or for “important” works? Do you brazenly include an embarrassing favorite or stick with a list that will be respectable? And why does Citizen Kane always win? Download Episode #141

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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