Top of my 'To See' list this year:
Ballast, from director Lance Hammer.
from the major distributors:
Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky, Charlie Kaufman's Synechdoche, New York, Gus Van Sant's Milk, Rian Johnson's Brothers Bloom
Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Three Monkeys, Guillermo Arriaga's The Burning Plain
This year or next:
Jim Jarmusch's Limits of Control, and an armload of others
I finally got to see a Joseph Von Sternberg film this week. In one of my classes we watched a print of his 1932 Marlene Deitrich vehichle Shanghai Express.
Deitrich is immense. There is no way you can not be charmed/aroused/terrified/delighted by her presence on-screen in this film.
She is so much bigger than life, the New York skyline would have to work hard to match her grandeur. In some shots the way the cinematographer lights her, and the way she moves in the light... it will crush you. She trembles, and you want to implode.
And Von Sternberg, he is the real deal. This film is imperfect, maybe; but what Von Sternberg, Deitrich, and cinematographer Lee Garmes create in the Deitrich character is totally stunning.