Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cinema 2009 Lexicon

Moments in movies 2009.
In the tradition of these guys I present some memorable moments in 2009 films.

Falling ash from the forest fire that seems to sprinkle down on the audience in Avatar.

Nicolas Cage and Val Kilmer in Bad Lieutenant stand looking on and time seems to freeze as an iguana standing on an office desk takes over the scene.

The loneliness of the future designer in Coco Before Chanel as she wanders down each night in the mansion looking to fit in only to escape back to her room.

Carrey Mulligan looking through the glove compartment of her 'fiance's' car in An Education coming to the harsh realization that things are not what they seem.

Paul Schneider sympathetically looks out the window into the winter yard at Abie Cornish in Bright Star recalling a similarly framed scene in Citizen Kane as he is about to reveal to her that the love of her life has died.

Using saliva to clean bullets covered in blood in The Hurt Locker.

Peter Capaldi in In The Loop: "Sorry, sorry, I know you disapprove of swearing so I'll sort that out. You are a boring F, star, star, CUNT!"

The violence and meditation of chopping wood in Revanche.

The two rice cooker gifts in 35 Shots of Rum that tie the film's beginning and end.

Isabelle Huppert scratches the back and belly of her daughter and son in Home as they sit in a field under a tree enjoying the one moment of peace they have had since the traffic took over the neighborhood.

A rabbi spouting lines from Jefferson Airplane in A Serious Man.

The cardboard cutout couple that George Clooney takes with him in Up In The Air to photograph in various locations representing the only favor he can tolerate to do for his family.

Arta Dobroshi's irrational and impulsive striptease in Lorna's Silence that leads to her making love to a man she has seemingly hated up to that point.

The night shootout in the forest in Public Enemies as light flickers off of trees and bodies fall.

Liam Neesen in Taken: "I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."

The lovers in Jerichow - tragically - getting exactly what they wished for.

Hellen Mirren's explosively, dramatic, dinning room plate crashing scene in The Last Station that quickly turns from serious to humorous after she falls down and reveals that she is lying on a fork.

The explosive properties of nitrate film in Inglourious Basterds.

The fate of the family's art nouveau furniture in Summer Hours.

Penelope Cruz in Broken Embraces entering the room, looking at the video footage of herself, lip synching what she said when the scene was filmed - before turning and leaving the room.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Music of the Year

So what about the best music of the year?
Ummm, look, I won't pretend to make a 'best of' music list for 2009. One is because I am not a music critic. Two is because I don't buy near enough music in any given release year to make my opinions on the year worthy. You want that go to music review sites such as Cokemachineglow, Pitchfork or Tiny Mix Tapes.
However, I do buy a good amount of music from previous years to be able to make a list of music I really liked and 'discovered' this year.
So here goes. I'll start with six I liked from 2009. After that each album and artist listed will have the year of release next to it.


Exploding Boy After Glow - Great Swedish rock album that has yet to get a release in the US. Enjoyable while driving.
Healamonster & Tarsier Cupcake Cave - Catchy electronica pop.
Memory Tapes Seek Magic - More catchy electronica pop.
Odawas The Blue Depths - Quiet and beautiful this album would probably qualify as one of the unsung bands on this list.
White Lies (self titled) -Majestic Brit-rock, at once heady and catchy.
The XX (self titled) - Mummblecore rock at it's best and despite a pretty straight forward style they create a unique sound.

Catherine Ribiero + Alpes Paix [1972] - This one sort of snuck up on me. Ribiero is sort of a French Patti Smith.
ZZ Top Tres Hombres [1973] - Yeah, yeah you've heard them before. But most likely you have only heard their late 80's stuff. This one is their first album and it is great blues-rock.
Thin Lizzy Jail Break [1976] Theatrical heavy metal from the 70's. A band I sort of ignored for years.
The Rosebuds Life Like [2008] This would qualify as the second most unsung band on this list.
Moscow Olympics Cut the World [2008] - Think a Filipino New Order. Beautiful shoegazer sound. Tough to find.
Il Mucchio (self titled) [1970] No list is complete without 70's Italian psyche prog rock. I found a used copy on Amazon.
Tear Gas (self titled) [1971]- Early 70's hard blues rock band that time has forgotten. I found this on a hard rock 70's music blog.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Good unreleased films 2000 to 2009

Here are the some of the better films I saw this decade that did not get regular distribution in the US. By regular distribution I mean films that did not get a week long theatrical play date in New York and/or Los Angeles.
All of these films could have been seen at festivals and some had a two day run at places like the Anthology Film Archive in New York - and most all are available on DVD.

Of course, there are many, many more films that could make this list. But this is a list of what I managed to see [and like] over the last decade.

Battle Royale [2000]
Be With Me [2005]
La Captive [2000]
In The City of Sylvia [2007]
Johanna [2005]
Mysterious Object at Noon [2000]
One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich [2000]
Photos to Send [2002]
Secret Sunshine [2007]
The Silence Before Bach [2007]
Turning Gate [2002]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Best films 2008 & 2009

This decade flew by and the films kept coming. But here we are at the end. Will these films hold up in ten years? Perhaps. I enjoyed them at the time.
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days...
The Edge of Heaven
Man on Wire
Red Belt
Tell No One
Time Crimes
Vicky Christina Barcelona
Waltz with Bashir
Woman on the Beach

The Baader Meinhof Complex
Il Divo
In The Loop
Flame & Citron
The Last Station
Lemon Tree
Soul Power

*Subject to change a bit...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best films 2006 & 2007

Just past half way with the decade in full swing plenty of good titles were being released.
Army of Shadows*
Children of Men
The Departed
Half Nelson
Miami Vice
Mountain Patrol: Kekexili
La Moustache
Notes on a Scandal
The Prestige
Thank You For Smoking
This Film Not Yet Rated
* a 1969 film finally released in the US.

After The Wedding
Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Eastern Promises
The Lives of Others
Michael Clayton
Planet Terror [full version]
There Will Be Blood

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Best films 2004 & 2005

Mid-decade had plenty of good films. In fact, maybe too many. It is tough narrowing it all down to only 10. So I'll just include as many as I feel are necessary.
Blind Shaft
Bright Leaves
The Corporation
Enduring Love
Endless Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Notre musique
Secret Things

The Beat That My Heart Skipped
The Best of Youth
The Devil's Miner
The Edukators
Forty Shades of Blue
A History of Violence
The New World
Tropical Malady

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Best films 2002 & 2003

Early in the 2000's the films were going strong.
The Fast Runner
Femme Fatale
I'm Going Home
Late Marriage
Read My Lips
Sex and Lucia
The Sleepy Time Gal
Spirited Away
Talk to Her
War Photographer
Y Tu Mama Tambien

Divine Intervention
The Fog of War
Lilya 4-Ever
Lost in Translation
The Man Without a Past
The Man on the Train
The Mother
Rivers & Tides
The Son
The Station Agent
Veronica Guerin

Monday, December 07, 2009

Best films 2000 & 2001

The only way to consider what the best films of the decade were is to make a list of the top ten [or so] year by year.
It was a heck of a good decade. I'll do one post each day this week.
Aimee & Jaquire
Beau travail
The Girl on The Bridge
Human Resources
The Idiots
It All Starts Today
Yi Yi
Wonder Boys
You Can Count on Me

Amores Perros
La Cienaga
Code Unknown
The Gleaners and I
In The Mood For Love
Last Resort
The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring
Mulholland Drive
Under The Sand
Wisconsin Death Trip

I will try to be consistent with one rule and that is the film needs to have been released for a regular run in either NY or LA the year it is listed. If it played at a festival or was released in another country in an earlier year then it does not count until the year it gets an actual release in the US.

Thursday, December 03, 2009