Saturday, December 26, 2009

Favorite Movies: 2000-2009 (40-31)

40. Dancer in the Dark
let no one say that lars van trier is not an auteur. he is a director but he is most certainly an auteur through and through. his films are not meant to entertain but to invoke, to inspire, and to move and this one does all three. it invoked me to inspire a movement of depression in my self. this is without question one of the darkest movies ive ever seen. the selfless tale of a mother trying to save up money for her son to get eye surgery is devastating and unnecessarily tragic. bjork stars and her soundtrack EP for the album is just as ethereal and dark. plus, any peter stomare is good stomare.

39. Code Unknown/Code inconnu

another michael haneke film...i told you i loved him! this is the 3rd of 4 and while this film is not as confound as cache it is just as rife with poetry and class struggles. this is one of those many people lives intersect sorta films but the intersection is transient and the action all takes place from a walk down a street. in the hands of any other director a film like this would devolve into sappy 'youve got to love everyone' thing but haneke presents his characters as flawed, troubled, and real, not sympathetic. i attached a video on the film and the failure of the multiculturalism in modern society. heavy stuff but a brilliant film

38. In the Mood for Love
many film critics consider kong kar wei's in the mood for love the best film of the last ten years. i agree that its up there. in fact, i think KKW is one of the most interesting directors working today. both this and the follow up 2046 are so other worldly it is strange to place it to a certain era. the fashion and the sets were closer to the 50s then now but the feel of the film is futuristic without a doubt. the plot is obscure and the acting is wonderful with standout performances by tong leung chiu wai and maggie chung. the last time a love affair burned this intensity without anything physical was david lean's brief enounter some 70 years ago. watch the movie below? SURE!

37. Werckmeister Harmonies

part of the watching truly brilliant artistic films is developing patience. i talked about iranian director abbas kiarastomi and the idea of films are art rather than entertainment; a sentiment i have echoed quite a few times on this blog before. werckmeister harmonies is a strikingly beautiful film by hungarian director bela tarr. his 1994 satan's tango is considered a masterpiece of cinema and harmonies, a follow up of sorts is just as brilliant. tarr relies on long unbroken tracking shots that can last upwards of 10 minutes. there are slow pans of farms, scenery, and general activity. shot in B&W harmonies is a stark and bleak tale of peasants who fall under the spell of a travelling carnival and a "whale" he has in his show. the movie is really about the dull monotony and hopelessness of peasant life. the film is only 39 shots long which means that each one lasts about 6 minutes. this is a difficult film to watch if not youre into highly artistic films without much of a plot. if you are into seeing some experimental cinema and some wonderful nuanced methods, then check it out!

36. Best in Show
...and now for something completely different. best in show is my favorite of the christopher guest directed mockumentaries. ive seen this spoof of dog shows and obsessive dog owners over a dozen times and it still cracks me up consistently. there is no weak link in this and everyone holds up their comedy end. my favorite aspect of guest's quirky characters is their secondary obsessions that overshadow the reason they are in the film in the first place. for example, harlan pepper (played by guest) and his love of ventriloquism or cookie (the brilliant catherine o hara)'s slutty past. guest's films are far from overbearing but consistently silly and clever...lets hope he makes another one soon! and btw, what is eugene levy? he needs to stop with the american pie direct to dvd sequels and call guest up.

35. Eye, The/Gin Gwai
NOT THE REMAKE!!!!!!!! i really hope that the US stops remaking asian movies of any genre. anywho, directed the remarkable inconsistent pang brothers, this is probably the prince of all asian horror films behind ringu and ju-on (ring and grudge, resp) and for my dollar is one of the saddest of them. like most good asian horror films, the scary long haired ghost is really just crying out for attention and wants closure she didnt get in life. the story is ingenious too. blind woman gets cornea transplant and develops the ability to see ghosts. its really scary but sad.

34. Sea Inside, The/Mar adentro
the sea inside was a spanish film directed by alejandro amenabar (the others) is about a completely paralyzed author played brilliant by javier bardem and his quest to end his life. the subject matter is comparable to million dollar baby and the barbarian invasions (discussed early in the list) but is the most affective of the movies in the case of right to die. from the amazing opening sequence (pasted below) in which the paralyzed bardem gets up and flies to the touching conclusion, this is a film that is hard to forget. i think that bardem's performance in this is up there on my list of favorite performances this decade. check out this clip:

33. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
now this is a movie that deserved more; a lot than the tag of box office failure. john c reily got a golden globe nomination and for acting and best song and that was about it. this movie didnt just have a spectacular soundtrack but was one the second best music movie comedy ever made (second only to this is spinal tap). the brilliance of dewey cox is that it doesnt just spoof samey music biopics but also the last 50 years of music as a whole. from the film's beginning parodying buddy holly-like pop to beatles to the brian wilson to disco, this is a music lover's dream film. perhaps it didnt catch on because didnt get the subtleties with apt spoof of old bob dylan documentaries, the buddy holly story, and the life of brian wilson. still, every music lover and student should see this movie and purchase the amazing soundtrack. i include the clip below not because its the funniest thing in the movie but because i think of jack white as elvis anytime i see actual elvis.

32. Bubba Ho-tep
aaaaaaaaaaaaand speaking of elvis, bruce campbell (my hero) stars as him in this bizarre cult film from the early 00's. in a nursing home, elvis lives with a black old JFK (played by ossie davis) and battles mummies. though there isnt much action or violence but a lot of existential conversation and generally strange things. this film has a huge following among certain circles and not just the loyal followers of the campbell the bruce (me among them). i havent seen this years and need to give it a rewatch but this has stayed in my head for years. considering i saw this before i discovered the criterion collection and film canons and maintained my love for it, it is impressive.

31. R Point
it is taking longer and longer to do these film synopsis and why they deserve to be here. this is another obscure film im slappin on here for y'all to enjoy. r point is the tale of soldiers in the vietnam who are on a mission to rescue a lost brigade. they end up at the mysterious r point and begin to have conversations with ghosts of deceased soldiers from the past over their radios. the film is INTENSELY spooky and might be the best war/horror film ever made granted there arent many of those type of films made. the war isnt just the backdrop but an equal focus to the horror. this is a perfect of scary ghosts and war is hell. i just discovered that the whole film is on youtube to watch. i put in the first part of it and i really recommend it if you like horror or war films.