Tag Archives: To the Wonder

It’s Never Too Early: Pondering 2013’s Best Films … So Far

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I think 2013 has been a surprisingly strong year for movies. Okay, maybe not BIG movies, but there have been many smaller films that, to me, will rank high when the year comes to a close. I decided to make June 30 the cut-off here, so any film that has not officially opened before then (that I’ve already seen) is not here—hence, no “Blue Jasmine.” And of course, there are plenty of movies I still need to see that could make a dent: “Leviathan,” “Beyond the Hills,” “Simon Killer,” “The Act of Killing.” You’ll note that there is plenty of 2012 product here, but I am considering any film actually released in 2013 in North America is fair game. This list may change dramatically tomorrow, but today, in random order, here it is:

  • “Stories We Tell”
  • “Frances Ha”
  • “The Place Beyond the Pines”
  • “Upstream Color”
  • “Before Midnight”
  • “The Bling Ring”
  • “Lore”
  • “Mud”
  • “No”
  • “This is the End”

Some others that at the very least are in the conversation, for me: “The Gatekeepers,” “Side Effects,” “Room 237,” “Like Someone in Love,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Fill the Void,” “Spring Breakers,” “To the Wonder,” “Something in the Air” (yes, I think I’ve completely changed my mind on this one), “Ginger and Rosa.”

What do others think? Here are several lists of 2013’s halfway-point bests:

“Upstream Color” still from the film’s official site.

 

Welcome to FilmSwoon!

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Thanks for visiting FilmSwoon.com, a website that has been percolating in my mind for some time, and which I’m quite excited about.

If you are here, there is a good chance you’re familiar with my work as a critic – I’m a regular contributor to the Buffalo News, a frequent writer for Buffalo Spree magazine and its website (buffalospree.com), and I’ve also contributed to Indiewire’s The Playlist and The Film Stage.

Or, perhaps you just stumbled on my name somewhere. However you made it, I’m glad you’re here. A few notes on what I’m up to here:

… While this is a site based around my writing, I hope it will also be a source for news. Each week, I’ll include a round-up of some of my favorite film etc. pieces from the week. I’ll also keep up with the world’s film festivals, especially the Toronto International Film Festival, which I’ve attended every year since 2007.

… This is not a review site, exactly. I think of it more as an opinion site. Sure, there will be short reviews here, and links to my reviews, but it’s more a place for me to offer quick opinions on everything from movie trailers to new releases and oldies.

… While I am based in Buffalo, NY, and will certainly make sure Buffalo is part of what I do – I’ll look at movies opening or screening locally, etc. – this is not merely a “Buffalo” movie site.

… That brings me to the name. I did not want my name to be in the name of the site. I found that “swoon” was a word I was using frequently in reviews (including my Buffalo News review of “To the Wonder”), and everyday conversation. It seemed a little … Weak. But folks I talked to seemed to like it, and it also has a strange significance for me. Back in 1995, as a film-crazed 15-year-old, PBS ran a documentary called “American Cinema.” I can’t say it was great, but at the time, it was an important resource for me. A great deal of time was spent on a film I was unfamiliar with, Tom Kalin’s “Swoon,” and this tale of Leopold and Loeb seemed strange, unsettling, and utterly fresh. It was also, at the time, unavailable. (Downloading was not an option, yet, and I wasn’t clued in enough to figure anything else out.) Anyway, it took me another 15 years to get to watch “Swoon,” and I didn’t love it, but I liked it a lot. And it reminded me that there was a time when I couldn’t easily see everything I wanted, and wondered what films and stories were looking outside of suburbia.

I hope that many of you will like the Facebook page, read the updates on Facebook and Twitter (twitter.com/FilmSwoon), and occasionally stop by. I promise that of you have even a shred of interest in cinema, it will be worth it. Let’s get started, shall we?