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Tim Hetherington Killed in Libya

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

There’s not a lot to say on this subject, so I’ll keep it brief. Suffice to say that this is epically tragic news. Tim Hetherington was a veteran photojournalist who has spent over a decade covering combat in third world countries. He shot several documentaries including “Liberia: An Uncivil War” and “The Devil Came on Horseback.” Recently, he received his first Oscar nomination, as well as the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, for the Afghanistan-based film “Restrepo.” The film is an extraordinary account of U.S. soldiers serving in perhaps the most dangerous place in the world.

Hetherington has been covering the recent situation in Libya with his team. This morning, he and fellow photojournalist, Chris Hondros, were killed by enemy fire in the city of Misrata. This event is both disturbing and disheartening. Heatherington dedicated his life to bringing atrocity and war before the public eye. He tried (and succeeded, in my opinion) to make a difference in the world through his art and the world of documentary cinema will be a lesser place without his contributions.

His last tweet reported from Libya was:

“In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

My condolences go out to his family, friends and fellow journalists, especially Sebastian Junger, who lived and worked with Hetherington for months in that Afghanistan outpost.

My Top Ten List – 2010

February 15, 2011 1 comment

Last year, I can remember the huge uproar against the AMPAS extending the amount of Best Picture nominees to ten. I can also remember, that through it all, I was one of this notion’s strongest supporters. I recognize the faults in the logic. It allows for lesser films that have no business being considered one of the year’s best to fight their way in due to endless campaigning and the votes of stupid people. This flaw took shape last year in the form of “The Blind Side” getting nominated for Best Picture.

However, the upsides of the expansion are far greater. It gives the field a more diverse look, for one. It’s nice to see films from a wide range of directors and collaborators. If allows also a mix of both intelligent box office hits and scrappy indy favorites. More than anything else, however, is that five films is just two few to sum up a year in cinema. Had the Academy enacted this ruling ten years ago, one would look back on certain films and think it a crime had they not been nominated, which they haven’t. Imagine a world if films like “The Wrestler,” “The Dark Knight,” “WALL-E,” “Into the Wild,” “Once,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “United 93,” “Little Children,” “Children of Men” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” could have been Best Picture nominees, and that’s only the last five years.

It must be for that reason that critics, for over fifty years, have been issuing top ten lists of their favorite films, rather than top five lists. It’s about that time, therefore, for The Edge of the Frame to release its own list for the 2010 year. I have now seen sixty films from 2010, which is low for me and not quite an respectable amount. Over the years, I’m sure that this list will change a spot or two as I see more, but for now, I believe that I’ve seen an acceptable sum to create an adequate list.

This has been a good year for film, but not really a great one. Out of sixty films, I gave only two films “A” grades. The year has had its high points and low points. For instance, it has been a great year for lead acting performances, but a rotten year for cinematography. For sure, I will always remember 2010 as the year that the Oscars snubbed its nose at great film and went home to their comfort zones. More than anything else, however, 2010 has been the year of the documentary. Never have I seen a year in cinema in which so many documentaries have captured my interest, let alone made it into my top ten.

As always there are a few stragglers that, even though they don’t qualify for my top ten, they still deserve an honorable mention. Therefore, this next selection of films are all very good, but just not good enough. They may be packed with amazing moments, but there’s also one too many flaws that have kept them down. So without further adieu, here are the films that just didn’t quite make it:

THE RUNNERS-UP


“127 Hours”

Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy

Click HERE to see the rest of the list

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