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Cinema Chat: Sight & Sound's 2022 greatest films of all time list, 'Avatar: The Way of Water,' and more

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The Michigan Theater
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The State Theatre

SIGHT & SOUND'S GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME

Since 1952, Sight and Sound has asked an international group of critics every decade to vote for the ten films they consider the greatest of all time. Ten years ago, "Vertigo" displaced "Citizen Kane" as the “Best Film of All Time”, but this year, Sight and Sound expanded its reach, soliciting ballots from more than 1,600 critics, almost twice as many as in 2012, resulting in this eclectic Top 10:

  1. "Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
  2. "Vertigo" (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
  3. "Citizen Kane" (Orson Welles, 1941)
  4. "Tokyo Story" (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)
  5. "In the Mood for Love" (Wong Kar-wai, 2001)
  6. "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
  7. "Beau travail" (Claire Denis, 1998)
  8. "Mulholland Dr." (David Lynch, 2001)
  9. "Man with a Movie Camera" (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
  10. "Singin’ in the Rain" (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1951)

Previously on the 2012 list, there were two films directed by women and only one by a Black director in the Top 100. Now, there are nine women, as well as seven by African and African American filmmakers, including Spike Lee, Jordan Peele, and Barry Jenkins.

The updated list also shows a greater admiration for animation and fantasy, with two films by the great Hayao Miyazaki, "Spirited Away" and "My Neighbor Totoro", for the first time.

OPENING THIS WEEK

"Avatar: The Way of Water" — OPENS TODAY AT THE MULTIPLEX

FromJames Cameron comes this long-awaited sequel to the 2009 smash hit that still holds the record as the highest grossing film of all time.

Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, it begins to tell the story of the Sully family, the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.

Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Kate Winslet.

"Decision to Leave" — OPENS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16 AT THE STATE

From writer/director Park Chan-wook, one of the most prominent South Korean filmmakers working today "‘Oldboy", "The Handmaiden")

From a mountain peak in South Korea, a man plummets to his death, leaving the question: Did he jump, or was he pushed? When detective Hae-joon arrives on the scene, he begins to suspect the dead man's wife, but as he digs deeper into the investigation, he finds himself trapped in a web of deception and desire.

The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where Park won Best Director, and was also selected as the South Korean entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards. It was also named one of the top 5 international films of 2022 by the National Board of Review.

"The Whale"— OPENS FOR ADVANCED SCREENINGS TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20 AT THE MICHIGAN

From directorDarren Aronofsky, known for his psychological dramas "Pi", "Requiem for a Dream", and "Black Swan".

Starring Brendan Fraser as a reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.

Fraser has received a Best Actor nomination at the 80th Golden Globe Awards and is inspiring the discussion of a “Frasierssance” that may be upon us.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"Nanook of the North" — PLAYS TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN (FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!!)

With live accompaniment from our Head Organist Andrew Rogers on the Barton Organ

Recognizing its 100th anniversary this year, this silent “documentary” follows the lives of an Inuit man, Nanook, and his family in the Canadian Arctic. Written and directed by Robert J. Flaherty, the film is considered to be the first feature-length documentary to achieve commercial success, proving the financial viability of the genre, though was and remains controversial for Flaherty’s staging of several sequences and dramatization around his filmmaking.

"Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale" — PLAYS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16 AT 7:30 PM AT THE MICHIGAN

With director Aaron Schillinger in attendance, a new documentary about Detroit’s Boblo Island, one of America's earliest amusement parks that sparked the imaginations of both children and adults for more than 85 years.

Their 90 years of operation witnessed America's industrial revolution and social justice movements, but in 1993, Boblo Island tragically shut down, and the boats were left to ruin. Interweaving local lore and mythology, the film explores the whitewashed history of amusement parks and one crew's crusade to bring back the memories.

"Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" — PLAYS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16 AT 9:30 PM AT THE STATE

Part of the Late Night at the State Series

The film follows a young boy named Pietari and his friend who think a secret mountain drilling project near their home in northern Finland has uncovered the tomb of Santa Claus. However, this a monstrous, evil Santa, much unlike the cheery St. Nick of legend who may hold the key to why reindeer are being slaughtered and children are disappearing.

Holiday Classics at the Michigan Theater (Tickets are free on Sundays!!!!)

Honoring Italian Cinema - Film & Food Festival (Thursdays at the State)

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"White Noise" 

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach ("A Marriage Story" and "Frances Ha") and adapted from the 1985 novel of the same name by Don DeLillo.

The film follows a husband and wife (played by Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig) and their four children whose lives are torn asunder by "the Airborne Toxic Event", a cataclysmic train accident that casts chemical waste over his town.

In the cast, Driver and Gerwig are joined by André Benjamin (or Andre 3000 as he better known in the music industry), along with Jodie Turner-Smith and Don Cheadle.

The film had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival last August where Baumbach was nominated for the Golden Lion, the festival’s top prize.

"Empire of Light"

Written and directed by Sam Mendes ("1917", "American Beauty", "Skyfall")

A poignant tale of human connection that takes place in an English coastal cinema during the 1980s, and a love letter to the magic of cinema.

Sam Mendes recruited an all-star cast and crew, with Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Colin Firth, and Toby Jones in starring roles, a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Oscar winners for Disney Pixar’s "Soul") and the film was shot by Roger Deakins, two-time Academy Award winner and perhaps the most widely praised cinematography working in the industry today.

"Spoiler Alert" 

From director Michael Showalter ("The Big Sick", "Hello, My Name is Doris") starring Jim Parsons, Ben Aldridge, andSally Field.

A heartful drama with a fine touch of wit, based on the memoir "Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies" by Michael Ausiello. The film follows the final 11-month period of Manhattan photographer Kit Cowan's life, from his diagnosis with terminal cancer to his death, through the eyes of Michael, his partner of 14 years, and later spouse.

"The Fabelmans" 

A 2022 American coming-of-age drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and written and produced by Tony Kushner and Spielberg. It is a semi-autobiographical story loosely based on Spielberg's adolescence and first years as a director, told through an original story of the fictional Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring filmmaker who explores how the power of movies can help him see the truth about his dysfunctional family and those around him. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Gabriel LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Judd Hirsch. It is dedicated to the memories of Spielberg's real-life parents Arnold Spielberg and Leah Adler. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2022, where it won the People's Choice Award.

Young Sammy Fabelman falls in love with movies after his parents take him to see "The Greatest Show on Earth." Armed with a camera, Sammy starts to make his own films at home, much to the delight of his supportive mother.

"The Menu"

A 2022 American comedy horror film directed by Mark Mylod, written by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, and produced by Adam McKay, Betsy Koch, and Will Ferrellthrough their production banners Hyperobject Industries and Gary Sanchez Productions respectively. The film stars Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, and John Leguizamo. It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Young couple Margot and Tyler (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) travel to a remote island to eat at Hawthorne, an exclusive restaurant run by celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), who has prepared a lavish molecular gastronomy menu where food is treated as conceptual art, although his approach to cuisine has some shocking surprises for the wealthy guests.

"The Banshees of Inisherin" 

This is a 2022 black comedy film written and directed by Martin McDonagh. The film follows lifelong friends (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship; Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan also star. It reunites Farrell and Gleeson, who previously worked together on McDonagh's directorial "In Bruges" (2008). It had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, where Farrell won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor and McDonagh won the Golden Osella for Best Screenplay.

Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, this film follows lifelong friends Pádraic and Colm, who find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship. A stunned Pádraic, aided by his sister Siobhán and troubled young islander Dominic, endeavors to repair the relationship, refusing to take no for an answer. But Pádraic's repeated efforts only strengthen his former friend’s resolve and when Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events swiftly escalate, with shocking consequences.

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Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Nick Alderink is the programming manager at Ann Arbor's historic Michigan Theater.
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