#KinemaJunpo’s Top 10 Movies For 2016 – Via Sawako Omori, Film Journalist / Translator #大森さわこ

Here are the Top Five Japanese and Top Five Foreign Films From Kinema Junpo’s Annual List of Best Films:

Japanese Films:
1) Kono-Sekai-No-Katasumini (animation) この世界の片隅に
2) Shin Godzilla  シン・ゴジラ
3) Fuchi-Ni-Tatsu  淵に立つ
4) Distraction  Babies ディストラクション・ベイビーズ
5) Nagai-Iiwake  永い言い訳

Foreign Films:
1) Sully
2) Carol
3) Bridge of Spies
4) Trumbo
5) Mountains May Depart( by Chinese director Jia Zhangke)

See here for the rest:



Singer / Songwriter Milton on “Inside Llewyn Davis”

“…I would love to have gotten the call for Inside Llewyn Davis (not to take anything away from the soundtrack that exists).  I just love the movie and its subject matter is very close to my heart. My musical consciousness pretty much dawned on 8th & MacDougal as a pre-teen and I’ve been fascinated with Greenwich Village history for most of my life.  I loved Dylan’s Chronicles, Van Ronk’s Mayor of MacDougal Street, Richie Havens’ autobiography, you name it.  The whole bohemian coffee house / winter in the city mood captured in the film was just fantastic. As a singer/songwriter in the tradition of the 60’s Village folk guys myself,  I’d love to complete that connection.  With Llewyn Davis, the Coen brothers rather quietly made a big film that says a lot very well, a true sleeper…”

Milton’s Website

Inside Llewyn Davis at IMDB


#DFNYFocus on Jules Suo, Creative Director of Uisig Films

Writer / Producer / Director Jules Suo is the creative director of Uisig Films, an independent film production company based in NYC. Her short film 528NY is a short prequel to her feature film which has screened at film festivals around the country. Dosi, her feature film debut , is to be released in 2017.

Q: Which film do you love that might surprise people?
JS: I don’t know if this will come as a surprise to anyone but would have to say Blissfully Yours by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. I love the characteristically oblique and subtle manner of the film. The pacing of the film is exquisite, melancholy and beautiful long takes of the couple is like reading a poem.

Q: If you could pair up any two actors/actresses, living or dead, which two would it be & what kind of film?
JS: Moon So-Ri and John Malkovich in a drama

Q: Which film has had the biggest impact on you personally, and why?
JS: Amour, everything about it from set design, sound fx, music, cinematography, acting, to the props. The film is an absolute masterpiece.

Q: If you could have one prop from any film what would it be?
JS: The moped in Olivier Assayas Personal Shopper

Q: Is there any subject matter which you would not make a film about?
JS: I wouldn’t do a subject matter on Christianity also I wouldn’t be good at making horror films. Although there are some good horror films. If it’s not done tastefully you could essentially be creating black magic.

Jules Suo’s IMDB Page

Uisig Films Website

2016 Best Movie List

2016 Best List Plus #DFNYFive

I admit to having some work to do from this list, but here are my #DFNYFive for 2016 – Happy New Year!

– Harmonium (淵に立つ Fuchi ni Tatsu)
– Manchester By The Sea
– The Lobster
– Your Name (君の名は Kimi no Na wa)
– The Witch

TITLE Director
13TH Ava DuVernay
20th Century Women Mike Mills – funny, tender, angry, and deeply affecting tribute to the women who made him a man
A BIGGER SPLASH Luca Guadagnino – gorgeous shaggy-dog meditation on sex, rock ’n’ roll and the enduring decadence of European art cinema.  Tilda Swinton plays a muffled, Bowie-like rock goddess
AFERIM! Radu Jude – Romanian western
AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold – paean to the wildness and impermanence of forgotten youth
A Monster Calls Juan Antonio Bayona – Adapted from the fantasy novel by Patrick Ness, it’s about a lonely teenage boy and his uneasy relationship with an imposing, tree-like ‘monster’
Anomalisa Charlie Kaufman  –Lancashire voice work of David Thewlis, strange tale of a man who only sees the same face and hears the same voice on everyone
Aquarius Kleber Mendonça Filho – An intricate, laser-like vision of where Brazil is today, in its latest, neoconservative re-incarnation.
ARRIVAL Denis Villeneuve
Autumn Nathaniel Dorsky
Bagatelle II Jerome Hiler
Bone Tomahawk S. Craig Zahler – starts as a period western, left-turns into thriller territory, downshifts into breezy comedy, blindsides with shocking gore and chucks in a spot of heart-racing action for good measure
CAMERAPERSON Kirsten Johnson – a freewheeling overview of the people and places Johnson has captured over the course of a diverse career
Certain Women Kelly Reichardt – Each of the film’s three chapters speak to a sense of dislocation among working class figures in Montana
Chevalier Athina Rachel Tsangari – men on deep-sea fishing trip decide they’ll pass time by playing an elaborate “game”
Creative Control Benjamin Dickinson’s mesmerizing science fiction thriller cleverly envisions a technology-dominated society that’s right around the corner
Creepy Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Demon Marcin Wrona – horror movie w/ dark comedic flourishes follows British man as he arrives in Poland to marry his Polish girlfriend at her family’s home
De Palma Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow
Don’t Breathe Fede Alvarez   – superbly sustained suspense doubles as a commentary on the literal, emotional, and psychological decay that’s overtaken modern-day Detroit.
Don’t Think Twice Mike Birbiglia – bleak ensemble drama that charts the dissolution of a warm improv-comedy ensemble
Driving With Selvi Elisa Paloschi – unforgettable documentary tells the simple tale of an unflappable Indian girl scarred by marriage and abuse at 14 who escapes to find a new life as a cab driver
ELLE Paul Verhoeven – lurid thriller – both star Isabelle Huppert
EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT Ciro Guerra’s fantastical mixture of myth and historical reality
Everybody Wants Some Richard Linklater’s movie contains many of the best ingredients found throughout his career: A carefree attitude about life paired with sneakier observations about its deeper mysteries.
Evolution Lucile Hadzihalilovic – the sense of control is essential to the creation of a complete, self-enclosed world, and to a visual aesthetic with its own stilled, enigmatic quality.
FIRE AT SEA Gianfranco Rosi – documentary set on Lampedusa, residents help rescue desperate African migrants
Fireworks Wednesday Asghar Farhadi’s quietly explosive look at passion, betrayal, and jealousy among the residents of one Tehran apartment building
Free Fire Ben Wheatley (Scorsese prod) – deal between two gangs that goes violently wrong, it’s sure to be another intense, brutal movie from one of Britain’s finest directors
FROM THE NOTEBOOK OF … Robert Beavers considers the nature of cinema
Green Room Jeremy Saulnier -punk band accepts gig at rural neo-Nazi music club, witness aftermath of a murder & become captives of the resident skinheads
Hail Caesar Joel and Ethan Coen – throws back to the golden age of Hollywood for a droll, screwball mystery
Hell or High Water David Mackenzie – two brothers embark on bank-robbing spree to raise enough money to save family farm from foreclosure
Hunt for the Wilderpeople Taika Waititi – improbable pair embark on an unexpected journey through the New Zealand jungle
Hush Mike Flanagan – deaf-mute author finds herself menaced by a masked predator
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO Raoul Peck documentary of James Baldwin
I, Daniel Blake Ken Loach – I, Daniel Blake’s depiction of life on the dole makes for a brutal, often uncomfortable watch – particularly for anyone working in the Department for Work and Pensions
In the Shadow of Women Philippe Garrel – romantic drama is a swift 83 minutes, follows a modelesque married couple that discovers both husband and wife are entangled in affairs
Into the Inferno Werner Herzog
Jackie Pablo Larraín
Julieta Pedro Almodóvar adapts a trio of Alice Munro stories into a terse, emotionally restrained melodrama about a woman staring tragedy in the face without blinking
Kaili Blues Bi Gan – haunting, elliptical tale where physician travels to his hometown to rescue his nephew
Krisha Trey Edward Shults – micro-budget debut charts the Thanksgiving family-reunion movie of our nightmares — a virtuoso symphony of bad vibes featuring members of Shults’s own family
Kubo And The Two Strings Oregon-based animation studio Laika’s Kubo provides martial arts fantasy thrills. Stop-motion animation has never been rendered more confidently, or more beautifully, as Kubo hops between emotional, scary, and comic moments
La La Land Damien Chazelle – unadulterated cinematic bliss, even if the story it tells isn’t always a happy one. Man & woman’s paths cross in the middle of a massive LA traffic jam, & then again & again, until they set off on a relationship filled with lovely jazz-inflected musical numbers
Lemonade Beyoncé Knowles Carter and Kahlil Joseph with Jonas Åkerlund, Melina Matsoukas, Dikayl Rimmasch, Mark Romanek and Tod Tourso – Does Lemonade deserve to be on this list? I’m not sure, but I can’t deny its energising rush, its lightning effect on the culture, its blur of the lines between cinema, music video and album, and how explosively it digested the influence of black cultural history.
Lion Garth Davis – boy becomes an accidental stowaway aboard a train headed to Calcutta, 25 years later, grown under the care of an Australian couple, the expatriate sets out to locate the mother he barely knew
Little Men Ira Sachs uses the NY real-estate market as a metaphor as well as catalyst for driving decent human beings apart, also examines the budding friendship between two Brooklyn kids
Louder Than Bombs Joachim Trier – a teacher and his sons try to come to terms with the death of their famous photographer matriarch
Love & Friendship Whit Stillman’s shrewd Austen adaptation
Loving Jeff Nichols
Maggie’s Plan Rebecca Miller – an absolute joy, a whip-smart and frank look at the tribulations of love
Midnight Special Jeff Nichols’ supernatural thriller, an eerie sci-fi tone poem plucks its mood from atmospheric forerunners like Starman and Close Encounters of the Third Kind: a stark Americana of deserted highways and dingy motel rooms
MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins – coming-of-age tale of homosexual African-American boy
Mountains May Depart Jia Zhangke – A story split in three, each chapter concerns three friends caught in a love triangle on the eve of the millennium
Mustang Deniz Gamze Ergüven – riveting, visually glorious film about young women on the cusp of grand discoveries, five Turkish sisters are trapped inside their family home after their uncle decides it’s time they were married off
MY GOLDEN DAYS Arnaud Desplechin
NEON BULL Gabriel Mascaro – vaquejada rodeo sport
Neruda Pablo Larraín – a mesmerizing depiction of national identity and literary intelligence
Nocturama Bertrand Bonello – completely defies binary categorisations of good and bad, the one I have absolutely no idea of whether I loved or loathed, but have pretty much thought about it every day since seeing it.
Nocturnal Animals Tom Ford – flits between a glossy LA high-life and a gritty Texan murder mystery, the lines of fiction and reality blurred
NO HOME MOVIE Chantal Akerman
O.J.: Made in America Ezra Edelman – epic tale of race, crime, and sports in 20th century America
Our Little Sister Hirokazu Kore-eda –  a wise, scalpel-sharp child’s-eye view of the ways modern families fit together. teenage girl meets her three carefree grown-up half-sisters for 1st time at father’s funeral
Passengers Morten Tyldum – story of a spaceship carrying thousands of people in hypersleep. Only, as circumstances progress, two of them are awake.
Paterson Jim Jarmusch – minimalist mesmerizer about NJ bus driver & poet (Adam Driver) named Paterson who lives in Paterson
Personal Shopper Olivier Assayas – Kristen Stewart is an enigmatic, warily frayed-yet-unafraid presence, almost as if she’d be happy to step over to the ‘other side’ at any moment.
Raw Julia Ducournau – Examines the dynamics of sisterhood and pressures of female identity, with violent helpings of humour and horror … an energetic tale of cannibalistic desire.”
SAUSAGE PARTY Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan
Sieranevada Cristi Puiu – A film analysing what it means to grow up believing in living-room myths and legends, and the discomfiting mix of terror, disappointment and guilt at realising that being an adult means propagating them at the risk of losing face.
Silence Martin Scorsese’s austere and sublime adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about Portuguese Catholic priests who travel to 17th-century Japan
Sing Street John Carney – inspiring film about a couple of Irish teenagers who dream of musical stardom
Son of Saul László Nemes – follows  a member of the Sonderkommando whose task it is to assist in the massacre of his fellow Jews.
Sunset Song Terence Davies -With WWI brewing and her family scattered across the countryside, a Scottish farm girl struggles to find her way.
Swiss Army Man Daniels’ beautifully strange blend of slapstick and musicality is a surreal buddy movie energized by a few innovative uses of flatulence
Tale of Tales Matteo Garrone – This ornate, grotesque, enchanting fantasy is an authentic fairytale nightmare, deep and dark.
The Academy of Muses Jose Luis Guerin – portrait of romantic drama through a scholarly lens
The Childhood Of A Leader Brady Corbet – account of a small boy who grows up to be a megalomaniacal fascist dictator (Story by: Jean-Paul Sartre)
The Death of Louis XIV Albert Serra has made a film somewhat in the contained, stately, solemn manner of Straub-Huillet. Extremely beautiful and even moving, in a rigorously detached way
The Dreamer Nathaniel Dorsky
The Fits Anna Rose Holmer – expressionistic snapshot of young girl trying to transcend her estrangement, define her identity, and find a place for herself in the world.
The Illinois Parables Deborah Stratman
The Lobster Yorgos Lanthimos – deadpan dystopian comedy that also functions as a bizarro-world examination of love, relationships, marriage, and the basic human desire for connection
The Meddler Lorene Scafaria – film is partly about grief—the everyday experience of mourning a loss and trying to move on with positivity and optimism
The Nice Guys Shane Black – 1970s neo-noir comedy Crowe / Gosling
The Ornithologist João Pedro Rodrigues – A fevered reverie, beginning as a National Geographic showreel and morphing with rugged elegance into a fable of erotic transcendence.
The Pearl Button Patricio Guzman links scientific exploration – this time a look at water and its role in human lives – with an angry, emotional elegy for the victims of Pinochet’s cruel regime
The Treasure Corneliu Porumboiu – Romanian comedy about down-on-his-luck office drone, who joins his neighbor, a professional metal detector, to hunt for fortune buried beneath family estate
The Wave Roar Uthaug – pits small Norwegian village against a fjord-enabled tidal wave. When the townsfolk realize their fate, and only have 10 minutes to evacuate, not since Titanic has underwater photography looked so terrifying
The Witch Robert Eggers
THINGS TO COME Mia Hansen-Love – meditative domestic drama – both star Isabelle Huppert
TONI ERDMANN Maren Ade – sublime & squirmy comedy about fatherhood, daughterhood, joke-shop false teeth, Bulgarian folklore, German humor, workplace sexism
Tower Keith Maitland – animation recreates events from the limited perspective of people near University of Texas at Austin clock tower on 8/1/66
Triple Nine John Hilcoat -elaborate heist involves the execution of a rookie cop on one side of town and a high-stakes robbery on the other
Uncle Kent 2 Todd Rohal – meta-romp through the mind of “Uncle Kent” star & “Adventure Time” animator Kent Osborne results in the most cinematically inspired sequel in ages.
Under the Shadow Babak Anvari – taut, terrifying horror movie set in war-torn Iran. About alienated young mother whose rights have been stripped away following the Islamic Revolution. Politically astute, emotionally complex and genuinely scary
Victoria Sebastian Schipper – starts at 4am in the depths of a dingy Berlin nightclub & doesn’t stop until the sun is coming up, a good 2.5 hours later. But what’s remarkable about Victoria is how quickly you forget about the technical achievements of its single-take gimmick. The 1st hour of this unique German indie is an ode to youthful late-night mischief and drunken flirting; the second half, morphing into a thriller barely without warning, is more kinetic than a jaunt down the autobahn. Cinema as theatre: alive, visceral, and electrifying.
Weiner Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg – The candidate’s humor, misguidance, and determination make Weiner one of the greatest political portraits
Wiener-Dog Todd Solondz – Four vignettes comprise this wickedly comical, existentially provocative look at life with pets
Zero Days Alex Gibney documentary details the genesis of super computer virus dubbed Stuxnet, created by U.S. & Israel to disable Iran’s chief nuclear facility

DFNY Q&A w/ Atlas Media’s Bruce David Klein – Producer of “Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened”

Documentary from director Lonny Price traces what happened to the original 1981 cast of rare Stephen Sondheim / Hal Prince Broadway failure, “Merrily We Roll Along”.

DFNY: How did you first get involved with the project?

BDK: I have been a Sondheim obsessive for many years — and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG was my favorite of his shows. I didn’t care that it closed in 16 performances. What I cared about was that it was the most honest, soul-searching, bittersweet reflection on how we live and love and grow old and make mistakes — and how we end up in places we never would expect. A key song from the show “Our Time” was actually my wedding song. So thanks to this obsession, I have always been very tapped into news about Sondheim and MERRILY through friends, social media and the like. So when I saw in an online post that Lonny Price, one of the original cast members of MERRILY was trying to put together a MERRILY documentary, I immediately reached out and offered any and all help.

DFNY: How was it to come in after several other producers had already been involved – were you always certain you were going to finish the film?

BDK: Never had any doubt we would finish the film. Of course Lonny was driven to complete the film on so many levels given that this is, in a sense, his very personal story — but also everyone else from the producer team, Executive Producers, DPs, editors, researchers, footage and music rights holders were just so passionate about doing their part to help finish the film. It was an amazing 4+ year process.

DFNY: Were there any major disagreements on how to proceed/content, etc?

BDK: It was an incredibly respectful, creative collaboration throughout. Any disagreements were intensely, passionately discussed but quickly resolved. The important thing is what Lonny wanted to do was very clear, and everyone who worked on the film was on the same page. It was about telling the story, staying true to the themes, and celebrating one of the greatest scores ever written for the theater.

DFNY: As a lifelong Sondheim fan, did working on this film make you look at him and his work in a different way?

BDK: I think getting so up close and personal with the music, the unmixed stems, the documents, the script — and watching the footage that captured the writing process while Steve and Hal and George were making creative choices back in 1981 — allowed me to appreciate the craftsmanship even more, if that’s possible. These guys were absolutely fearless from a creative perspective. Aways looking for the harder, more interesting way to do something. So inspiring!

DFNY: Did the show’s theme of aging/regret make you look at your own life in a new way? Any regrets?

BDK: I think the MERRILY story, and its tendency to inspire self-reflection, had already been with me for 30+ years even before I started working on the film. While I am all for an examined life, that’s a lot of self-reflection! One of the things I love about the film is that it allows me to gain insights into my own life by watching others self-reflect. Some of the “life lesson” insights from the people in the film are just devastatingly beautiful. When Terry Finn talks about how kids early in their career don’t appreciate the fact that they are building something, that they are actually opening doors, doing their thing, even though it may not feel like it at the time — it just hits you like a ton of bricks. And as any Sondheim fan knows, that the feeling of being hit by a ton of bricks — an epiphany that comes from a few perfectly strung together words — is quintessential Sondheim, and seems to be a big part of what audiences are taking away from the film.

BEST WORST THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED opens 11/18 in New York at the IFC Center and Lincoln Center/Film Society and in LA on 11/25 at Laemmle’s Royal. More theaters and markets will be announced soon.

IFC Post on “Best Worst Thing”

Laemmle’s Blog Post on “Best Worst Thing”

“Best Worst Thing” IMDB Page

Atlas Media Corp.

Singer / Songwriter MILTON Picks His #DFNYFive “Obscure Awesome Movie Songs”


Pocket Money by Carole King from Pocket Money w/ Paul Newman and Lee Marvin

The Good Times are Coming by Mama Cass  from Monte Walsh w/ Lee Marvin and Jeanne Moreau

Blue Shadows on the Trail – by Randy Newman from Three Amigos! w/ Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short

Freedom – by George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr & Friends from Water w/ Michael Caine

Bob Dylan singing Shel Silverstein’s A Couple More Years from Hearts of Fire w/ Bob Dylan


Milton’s Homepage

#DFNYFocus On: Aurora Bugallo – Classic Film Blogger / Mass & Social Media Adjunct Instructor

(Handing over the reins to Aurora for her self-introduction – take it away!)

My name is Aurora Bugallo, but I am known by most as @CitizenScreen on Twitter. I became a classic movie fan as soon as I arrived in this country from Cuba at age five. Relatives gave us a second-hand TV set and I gravitated to old movies although to me there were of the moment. I credit those old movies with teaching me the English language, as a matter of fact. To this day I find comfort in classic movies and they are my favorite pastime.

I’ve collected movies since I was a child and watched them with a pad in hand so I could jot down quotes I liked since about the age of eight. It’s no wonder then that I’d eventually start blogging about them at Once Upon a Screen. It was after I joined Twitter and discovered an entire community of like-minded fans that I decided to give blogging a go. Now it’s an important outlet for my obsession, which has led to new friendships that serve to feed my desire to watch more movies. It’s a vicious cycle I adore.

By day I work as an administrator in higher education and teach mass and social media as an adjunct instructor. But my love of movies spills over to most of what I do in one way or another on a daily basis.

DFNY Focus Five Questions:

Q: Which film do you love that might surprise people?

AB: I don’t know if this will come as a surprise to anyone, but I simply adore Michael Gordon’s The Impossible Years (1968). It seems the silly romp that the New York Times reviewer called “a peculiarly joyless, fumbling, dirty comedy” was constantly on TV when I was growing up and I can’t get enough of it. The cast is fairly impressive with David Niven and Lola Albright playing conservative parents to freewheeling teenager, Cristina Ferrare, but the story does lack substance. Regardless, this is a guilty pleasure that brings me joy.

Q: If you could pair up any two actors/actresses, living or dead, which two would it be & what kind of  film?

AB: Marlon Brando and Judy Garland in a hard-boiled crime drama.

Q: Which film has had the biggest impact on you personally, and why?

AB: There are many, but I’ll go with the Donen/Kelly musical On the Town (1949), which played an important role in welcoming me to this country when I was five. I’ve loved it ever since. For quite some time I thought New York City streets were littered with dancing sailors and I loved that about my new country.

Q: If you could have one prop from any film what would it be?

AB: I gave this a lot of thought and have to go with the piano Judy Garland leans on during “The Man that Got Away” number in A Star is Born (1954). Perhaps the greatest exhibition of unadulterated talent to ever appear in a movie happens near that piano.

Q: Is there any subject matter which you would not make/watch a film about?

A: Not really, although my movie watching relies heavily on my mood. There are times when I avoid extremely upsetting subjects.

Citizen Screen Twitter Account

Once Upon A Screen Blog

#DFNYFocus is a series from Daily Flick NY focusing on the personal film tastes of Screenwriters, Directors, Producers and other individuals working in the film industry