Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Village Voice Critics' Poll

So the Village Voice Movie Poll is out, and I've got to say, it's a bit of a surprise, perhaps because I've been following film criticism less closely this year than the last five or so years. First, demonlover (a review of which will be out before Miramax releases Hero, I promise!) at #3? I missed the love for that troubling, incoherent and brilliant picture. And even Lost in Translation at #1 was a little strange, considering the terrain the Voice critics generally chart. The participants selected by Voice film editor Dennis Lim run to the high-end of the brow-meter. These are guys that go for the oblique and rigorous -- Beau Travail and Werckmeister Harmonies , and this year, The Son and Unknown Pleasures . I know Sofia's gotten plenty of love from the mainstream crits, but I thought the highbrows met her moving but facile exercise in hipster cool with polite applause, not a thunderous ovation. Lost in Translation is really quite good, but it still stuns me that so many would select that well-crafted if flawed chamber mood piece over the similar but magnificent Friday Night. It's like seeing the Pazz & Jop go for "Pieces of You" instead of "Exile in Guyville." But I digress.

Great to see Maddin's Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary and Kaurismaki's The Man Without A Past , two relatively unsung but awesome films, get acknowledged. Also, deserved props to Murray and Skarsgaard and Turning Gate and Brown Bunny in the Undistributed Poll.

Lastly, how many attempted bon mots did Jim Ridley and Steve "The Unit" Erickson send in to land that many published blurbs? Good job, though, guys.