My 2011: Seventh Inning Stretch

"Seventh Inning Stretch" kinda works, right? Even though July's already over, as opposed to halfway so? Let's just pretend the euphemistic ball game is going into extra innings and the organist was two weeks late to his shift.

2011 is the first year I've chronicled each of my film viewings, making particular note of first-time viewings. From January to July I've been posting month-end lists, ranked preferentially and often rather exhausting in length (for the theoretical reader, not for me, as I've worked on the posts throughout each month, adding films and their mini-reviews immediately following each viewing). For August I am going to test a more approachable version of this concept by posting (in similar format) at the end of each week. There are foreseen advantages and disadvantages to the increased frequency... we'll see how it goes.

Among other reasons, the week-by-week test run is primarily in response to how anal I've been about each month's better films. I like to highlight favored titles alongside exemplary screenshots, but as I learned early when I initially had almost 20 screenshots lined up for posting in January, too many can be, well, too many. I limited myself to a somewhat arbitrarily selected 11 screenshots per month (an homage to Sam Greenspan's 11points.com, really). Thing is, once I've hit 11 good and/or great films I want to highlight with screenshots, I become wary of watching movies I think will be as good, because then I'd have to 86 one of my established 11. Pretty anal, right? Either way, it's placing a ridiculous damper on my enthusiasm to further pursue great cinema about halfway through each month, and that's not gonna stand, man. If week-by-week doesn't work out, I'll try bi-weekly... or... something.

Anyhow, here's a top twenty-five from my 2011 first-time viewings so far, including those viewed for my Animated Soviet Propaganda series (titles are, of course, subject to shifting upwards or downwards from prior rankings... or melding together as exemplified in a certain case, seeing as Verbinski's "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels are essentially one long film):
  1. Geschichte vom weinenden Kamel (The Story of the Weeping Camel) - Byambasüren, 2003
  2. Nohoi Oron (State of Dogs) - Brosens & Turmunkh, 1997
  3. La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) - Dreyer, 1928
  4. Tir (Shooting Range) - Tarasov, 1979
  5. Altiplano - Brosens & Woodworth, 2008
  6. Triumph des willens (Triumph of the Will) - Reifenstahl, 1935
  7. Lursmani cheqmashi (The Nail in the Boot) - Kalatozov, 1931
  8. The Tree of Life - Malick, 2011
  9. Midnight in Paris - Allen, 2011
  10. Another Year - Leigh, 2010
  11. Hannah & Her Sisters - Allen, 1986
  12. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest / At World's End - Verbinski, 2006 / 2007
  13. Skin Game - Bogart & Douglas, 1971
  14. Sayat Nova (AKA The Color of Pomegranates) - Parajanov, 1968
  15. Oktyabr (October; AKA Ten Days that Shook the World) - Eisenstein & Aleksandrov, 1928
  16. The Final Comedown - Williams, 1972
  17. Un lac (A Lake) - Grandrieux, 2008
  18. Vperëd, vremya! (Forward March, Time!) - Tarasov, 1977
  19. Last Chants for a Slow Dance - Jost, 1977
  20. It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books - Linklater, 1988
  21. Mat (Mother) - Pudovkin, 1926
  22. The Return of Captain Invincible - Mora, 1984
  23. Akcionery (Shareholders) - Davydov, 1963
  24. Mezhplanetnaya revolyutsiya (Interplanetary Revolution) - Khodataev, 1924
  25. Arthur - Gordon, 1981
Useless fact of the... uh... year, I guess: the average year of release of my top 25 (well, okay, 26) first-time viewings so far is 1975.

And here's how 2011 is looking to me at this point as far as new releases go (IMDb dates only, so, for better or for worse, no "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen", "Rubber", "Insidious", etcetera):
  1. The Tree of Life - Malick
  2. Midnight in Paris - Allen
  3. Hall Pass - Farrelly & Farrelly
  4. Hobo with a Shotgun - Eisener
  5. Take Me Home Tonight - Dowse
  6. Green Lantern - Campbell
  7. Super 8 - Abrams
  8. Larry Crowne - Hanks
  9. Paul - Mottola
  10. Jane Eyre - Fukunaga
  11. Horrible Bosses - Gordon
  12. Captain America: The First Avenger - Johnston
  13. Bad Teacher - Kasdan
  14. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Marshall
  15. Bridesmaids - Feig
  16. Friends with Benefits - Gluck
  17. Thor - Branagh
  18. Rango - Verbinski
  19. Cowboys & Aliens - Favreau
  20. Crazy, Stupid, Love. - Ficarra & Requa
  21. Battle: L.A. - Liebesman
  22. The Art of Getting By - Wiesen
  23. Unknown - Collet-Serra
  24. Fast Five - Lin
  25. Just Go With It - Dugan
  26. X-Men: First Class - Vaughn
  27. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Bay

Finally, here are some gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors... after the jump (actually way too many screenshots left unused from the months prior, alphabetically by English language titles and here mostly just to let me feel like I've shared them in at least some capacity).

2001: A Space Odyssey (rewatch)


Black Belt Jones

The Boxer from Shantung




The Color of Pomegranates

Confessions of a Superhero



Dinner for Schmucks

The Dirk Diggler Story


Donkey Skin

Five Elements Ninjas

Four Flies on Grey Velvet

Hannah & Her Sisters

The Hoary Legends of the Caucasus

Hobo with a Shotgun

I'm Still Here

It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books


KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park


Message from Space

Midnight in Paris

Morning Glory

My Soul to Take

The Nail in the Boot

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Primal Fear (rewatch)

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors


The Spook Who Sat by the Door

State of Dogs

The Story of the Weeping Camel


The Sun


The Thing with Two Heads

Triumph of the Will

TRON: Legacy

Vrooom Vroom Vrooom

White Dog

A Woman Under the Influence

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

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