Friday, December 4, 2009

BEST OF THE AUGHTS: FILM

I'm sure by now those of you who know me or follow my Final Cinema project have probably realized that I'm a total list making addict. Can't make or read enough of 'em. So naturally, seeing how we've reached the end of the decade, I just felt I had to weigh in on what I thought the 30 greatest films were. Well, I don't know about "greatest" or "best", but these certainly are my favourite movies released during 2000 to 2009. Come to think of it, many of these titles may seem like total rubbish to a lot of you, but they are all films that for whatever reason hit me like a breath of fresh air upon first viewing and have continued to inspire and startle me as a cinema lover and filmmaker. I can't praise them enough, here's the countdown:







30.   INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

.
29.                HUNGER

.
28.       FANTASTIC MR. FOX
.
27.        35 SHOTS OF RUM

.
-tie-27.        IN AMERICA

.
26.        FAR FROM HEAVEN

.
25.                   OASIS

.
24.                CORALINE

.
23.                 THE SON

.
22.               REVANCHE

.
21.               DOGTOOTH

.
20.          BEFORE SUNSET

.
19. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

.
18.          NOBODY KNOWS

.
17.         TROPICAL MALADY

.
16.             TWO LOVERS

.
15.     MEMORIES OF MURDER

.
14. WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES

.
13.    A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

.
12.                   ZODIAC

.
11.      THERE WILL BE BLOOD

.
10.                 PLATFORM

.
9.              SPIRITED AWAY

.
8.                   L'ENFANT

.
7.     THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS

.
6.      IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

.
            ETERNAL SUNSHINE
5.       OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

.
4.       GEORGE WASHINGTON

.
3.                       YI YI

.
2.            THE NEW WORLD

.
1.         MULHOLLAND DRIVE


*****





recap
2000-2009
  1. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (Lynch)
  2. THE NEW WORLD (Malick)
  3. YI YI (Yang)
  4. GEORGE WASHINGTON (D.Gordon Green)
  5. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (Gondry)
  6. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (Wong Kar-Wai)
  7. ROYAL TENENBAUMS (Wes Anderson)
  8. L'ENFANT (Dardenne Bros.)
  9. SPIRITED AWAY (Miyazaki)
  10. PLATFORM (Zhang Ke Jia)
  11. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (P.T.Anderson)
  12. ZODIAC (Fincher)
  13. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (Cronenberg)
  14. WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES (Tarr)
  15. MEMORIES OF MURDER (Bong Joon Ho)
  16. TWO LOVERS (Gray)
  17. TROPICAL MALADY (Weerasethakul)
  18. 1NOBODY KNOWS (Hirokazu Koreeda)
  19. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (Coen)
  20. BEFORE SUNSET (Linklater)
  21. DOGTOOTH (Lanthimos)
  22. REVANCHE (Götz Spielmann)
  23. THE SON (Dardenne Bros.)
  24. CORALINE (Selick)
  25. OASIS (Chang-dong Lee)
  26. FAR FROM HEAVEN (Haynes)
  27. 35 SHOTS OF RUM (Denis)                                                                       -tie- IN AMERICA (Sheridan)
  28. FANTASTIC MR. FOX (Wes Anderson)
  29. HUNGER (McQueen)
  30. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Tarantino)


I encourage my friends and all of you strangers out there to post your favourite pics of the decade (or films you think I've shafted) in the comments section below.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

THANKSGIVING/CHRISTMAS QUIZ

or PROFESSOR RUSSELL JOHNSON'S "MY ANCESTORS CAME OVER ON THE MINNOW" THANKSGIVING/CHRISTMAS MOVIE QUIZ


D. Cozzalio over @ Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule has thrown together yet another one of his great film aptitude quizzes. These always keep me entertained and make my day go by a hell of a lot faster at work. Here's how I'd respond to this batch. Enjoy fellow film geeks.









1) 2ND FAVORITE COEN BROS
RAISING ARIZONA (1987), coming only after their stunning debut BLOOD SIMPLE (1985). I'm usually a sucker for the earlier stages in filmmaker's careers

*****






2) MOVIE SEEN ONLY ON HOME FORMAT THAT YOU WOULD PAY TO SEE ON THE BIGGEST MOVIE SCREEN POSSIBLE?
That would have to be Herzog's AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD (1972) preferably if it was an incredibley glossy remastered print.
*****






3) JAPAN OR FRANCE?
Dammit, that's like picking between two beloved children. I guess if I was forced to pick, I would have to go with Japan - & not because I think their cinema/filmmakers are necessarily better than France's, but because a lot of my favourite movies each year are consistently from those islands.
*****







4) FAVORITE MOMENT OR LINE FROM A WESTERN
Too many lines to choose from, but my favourite moment from a western is definitely the entire train-station intro sequence from Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)
And my favourite moment from a more recent western is the train robbery from THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2007)...I must like trains.






.




5) OF ALL THE ARTS THE MOVIES DRAW UPON TO BECOME WHAT THEY ARE, WHICH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT, OR THE ONE YOU VALUE MOST?
Definitely the visual arts, or specifically photography. The cinema started out as these simple flickering images. Filmmakers should still be able to convey story & poetry with images alone before they add all that other good stuff.
*****







6) MOST MISUNDERSTOOD MOVIE OF THE '00s
I think Paul Verhoeven's HOLLOW MAN is almost even more misunderstood than his '97 cult-classic satire STARSHIP TROOPERS.



Other contenders would be : THE FOUNTAIN, WOLF CREEK, UNDERTOW, MIAMI VICE, SPEED RACER, CHE, LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION, MISSION TO MARS, many more.








7) NAME A FILMMAKER/ACTOR/FILM YOU ONCE UNASHAMEDLY LOVED WHO HAS FALLEN FURTHEST IN YOUR ESTEEM

FILMMAKER: Lasse Hallström, Rob Reiner, Fernando Meirelles, Jan De Bont, George Lucas

ACTOR: Katherine Heigl, Ray Romano, Cuba Gooding Jr.

FILM: THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK. Bear in mind, I was in 6th grade when this was released theatrically and I was in denial to the nature of its suckitude.
**







8) HERBERT LOM OR PATRICK MAGEE?
Lom grimaced harder!




*****







9) LEAST FAVORITE DAVID LYNCH
ABSURD ENCOUNTER WITH FEAR is the only acceptable answer for me personally, and even it, as a debut short, is rather good. 
***







10) GORDON WILLIS OR CONRAD HALL?
When it comes to color cinematography, I think Conrad L. Hall, second only to Vittorio Storaro, is the best D.P. in film history. Like Gregg Toland and James Wong Howe before him, He paved the way for so many contemporary greats.


















****






11) 2ND FAVORITE DON SIEGEL
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956), after the brilliant and disturbing BEGUILED (1971) of course.

*****





12) LAST MOVIE YOU SAW ON DVD/BLU-RAY? IN THEATERS?
Dvd : SESSION 9
Blu-ray : GOMORRAH
Theatrically : THE ROAD






13) WHICH DVD IN YOUR PRIVATE COLLECTION SCREAMS HARDEST TO BE REPLACED BY A BLU-RAY?
The Coen brother's MILLER'S CROSSING off the top of my head


*****







14) EDDIE DEEZEN OR CHRISTOPHER MINTZ-PLASSE?
"Hey Chris! Ed Deezen called, he wants his nerd DNA back!" haha. Just kidding. I actually think Deezen is pretty annoying in everything I've seen him in, & Mintz-Plasse has pretty good comic timing in my book.













***








15) ACTOR/ACTRESS WHO YOU FEEL AUTOMATICALLY ELEVATES WHATEVER PROJECT THEY ARE IN, OR WHOM YOU WOULD WATCH IN VIRTUALLY ANYTHING?
Benicio Del Toro and Samantha Morton


*****







.









16) FIGHT CLUB -- YES OR NO?
That would be a big HELL YES. One of the first films I saw in my youth that convinced me mainstream cinema could operate on some level of subversive entertainment.


*****







17) TERESA WRIGHT OR OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND?
Olivia for sure







*****






18) FAVORITE MOMENT OR LINE FROM A FILM NOIR
Though not my favorite Noir, It doesn't get much better to me than Bogie as Sam Spade in MALTESE FALCON, and the way he and O'Shaughnessy bounce lines off each other. "Chances are you'll get off with life in prison. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you." And his expertly wry delivery. Classic ice-cool Bogart.



*****











19) BEST (OR WORST) DEATH SCENE INVOLVING AN OBVIOUS DUMMY SUBSTITUTING FOR A HUMAN OR ANY OTHER UNSUCCESSFUL SPECIAL EFFECT(S)--SEE THE WONDERFUL BLOG DESTRUCTIBLE MAN FOR INSPIRATION
Haha - the zombie Tom Savini tosses over the 2nd floor railing in Romero's classic DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978). It falls so lifelessly and ridiculous, and then a few seconds later Savini actually falls over the same rails. Priceless.

*****





20) WHAT'S THE LEAST YOU'VE SPENT ON A FILM AND STILL REGRETTED IT? 
I've gotten into a handful of free screenings of movies I've regretted & even received free dvds that I wished I hadn't watched afterwards, but on one particularly terrible day in 2000 (summer between Middle School and High School), I spent a whole dollar of my own hard-earned cash on DUNGEONS & DRAGONS at my local Cinemark dollar theatre. It hurt so bad!

*****








21) VAN JOHNSON OR VAN HEFLIN?
I'll have The Van Heflin.
*****







22) FAVORITE ALAN RUDOLPH FILM? 
Of the few I've seen, AFTERGLOW. Which features my favorite Julie Christie performance to date!
*****









 23) NAME A DOCUMENTARY THAT YOU BELIEVE MORE PEOPLE SHOULD SEE? 
Too many to name honestly, but I really feel like I can't champion Laura Dunn's poetic THE UNFORESEEN enough. 



*****









24) IN DEFERENCE TO THIS QUIZ'S PROFESSOR, NAME A FAVORITE FILM WHICH REVOLVES AROUND SOMEONE STRANDED 
You could argue that the film is more about walking than being stranded, but Gus Van Sant's haunting and enigmatic GERRY is my favourite.



*****









25) IS THERE A MOMENT WHEN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF FILM, OR LACK THEREOF, CAUSED YOU AN UNUSUAL DEGREE OF EMBARRASSMENT AND/OR HUMILIATION? IF SO, PLEASE SHARE. 
I used to go to Bible study with my girlfriend's late father and a group of his friends at our local Dixie House cafe. He being much older than the average teen's father, they were all a group of senior citizens and I in my early 20s. Afterwards, we would always talk about whatever topic and one day Favorite War Movies came up. They were always trying to remember what year this or that movie came out & who starred and directed & were very surprised by my nerdy encyclopedic recollection of all details from their favorite "old guy" pictures off the top of my head. Was like they had found their own movie trivia Rain Man. I was a little embarrassed when they started to put together the fact that I had way too much time on my hands in my private life.






 26) ANN SHERIDAN OR GERALDINE FITZGERALD? 
I've had a crush on Ann Sheridan since I was old enough to get wood.... Which was 4 years ago!
*****










27) DO YOU OR ANY OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS PHYSICALLY RESEMBLE MOVIE ACTORS OR OTHER NOTABLE FIGURES IN THE FILM WORLD? IF SO, WHO? 
My Buelito, god rest his soul, Mexican dead ringer for Anthony Quinn.
*****








28) IS THERE A MOVIE YOU HAVE PURPOSELY AVOIDED SEEING? IF SO, WHY? 
TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON aka THE TAINT LIGHT 2. Because I saw the first one. So boring. And the two leads have no on-screen chemistry.
 **







29) MOVIE WITH THE MOST PALPABLE OR OTHERWISE EFFECTIVE WINTRY ATMOSPHERE OR AMBIENCE?
John Carpenter's THE THING almost makes you shiver in summertime. 



*****






30) GERRIT GRAHAM OR JEFFREY JONES? 
Even though the scumbag got busted for despicable child porn stuff, a few of Jones's characters will always have a fond place in my memory. Especially the moronic father in BEETLEJUICE (1988)


*****








31) THE BEST CINEMATIC ANTIDOTE TO A CULTURAL STEREOTYPE (SEXUAL, POLITICAL, REGIONAL, WHATEVER) 
Sigourney Weaver in ALIENS (1986). Who says women can't be action film heroes? I'd take her over Arnie or Sly any day.
  *****








32) 2ND FAVORITE JOHN WAYNE MOVIE? 
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962). THE SEARCHERS (1956) is numero uno. Need I say more, Pilgrim? 

*****








 33) FAVORITE MOVIE CAR CHASE?
I love the way John Frankenheimer shot his chase scenes in RONIN (1998).  Especially the BMW VS Peugeot sequence.








34) IN THE SPIRIT OF HIS GIRL FRIDAY, PROPOSE A GENDER-SWITCHED REMAKE OF A CLASSIC 
Would like to see a remake of Lang's YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (1937) with a lady in Fonda's role. Keep the depression era setting though. Possibly a doomed lesbian romance?. Jesus, I sound like Brian De Palma.

*****









35) BARBARA RHOADES OR BARBARA FELDON?
Feldon.


*****











36) FAVORITE ANDRE DE TOTH MOVIE? 
Though not his best, HOUSE OF WAX (1953) is my favorite. I can pop the dvd in anytime and have a good time.
 *****











 37) IF YOU COULD TAKE ONE FILMMAKER'S ENTIRE BODY OF WORK AND ERASE IT FROM ALL TIME AND MEMORY, AS IF IT HAD NEVER HAPPENED, WHOSE OEVRE WOULD IT BE?
I guess Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Those jackasses make Uwe Boll look like Orson Welles. And there's nothing worse to me personally than comedy that is so overtly mean-spirited.
*










  38) NAME A FILM YOU ACTIVELY HATED WHEN YOU FIRST ENCOUNTERED IT, ONLY TO SEE IT AGAIN LATER IN LIFE AND FALL IN LOVE WITH IT? 
DONNIE DARKO. I didn't quite understand where Richard Kelly's marvel of a debut was aesthetically or spiritually coming from in 2001, and simply brushed it off as faux-post-modernist quirk. Saw it again in 2004 and was completely captivated. Inspired even.

*****









 39) MAX OPHULS OR MARCEL OPHULS? 
Max Ophüls, no doubt. MADAME DE is one of the best films ever made.

*****










40) IN WHICH CLUB WOULD YOU MOST WANT AN ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP, THE DELTA TAU CHI FRATERNITY, THE CUTTERS OR THE WARRIORS? AND WHICH MEMBER WOULD YOU MOST RESEMBLE, EITHER PHYSICALLY OR IN PERSONALITY? 
THE WARRIORS! I guess I would have to be Rembrandt cause we both have a fro and we have similar skin complexions. I would be a little less gay though. Well, maybe not.

*****








41) FAVORITE MOVIE CLICHE? 
I always get a kick out of when bad guys in action films are terrible shots with guns. The bullets or rockets always explode around the hero but never inflict any damage. 

*****








42) VINCENTE MINNELLI OR STANLEY DONEN? 
Although I think Donen's SINGIN IN THE RAIN (1952) is the greatest musical ever made, I like many more of Vincent Minnelli's films. Especially MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944).

*****








43) FAVORITE CHRISTMAS-THEMED HORROR MOVIE OR SEQUENCE? 
Joe Dante's GREMLINS (1984). Especially the scene where the mom is attacked in the kitchen while "Do You Hear What I Hear" is playing on the phonograph.



*****





44) FAVORITE MOMENT OF SELF- OR SELFLESS SACRIFICE IN A MOVIE?
Pvt. Witt at the end of THE THIN RED LINE (1998). Don't wanna spoil it, just watch the movie..


*****







45) IF YOU WERE THE CINEMATIC SPANISH INQUISITION, WHICH MOVIE CULT (OR CULT MOVIE) WOULD YOU DECIMATE? 
REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA


*****








46) CAROLINE MUNRO OR VERONICA CARLSON? 
Munro.

***** 










47) FAVORITE EYE-PATCH WEARING DIRECTOR? 
Nick Ray without a doubt.. Fritz would be a close 2nd. 

*****









48) FAVORITE AMBIGUOUS MOVIE ENDING? 
The last act of  CAST AWAY (2000). and the last 10 minutes resonates with me on a spiritual level...

*****








49) IN GIVING THANKS FOR MOVIES THIS YEAR, WHAT ARE YOU MOST THANKFUL FOR? 
I'm thankful for Sam Raimi making a punch-drunk horror comeback with DRAG ME TO HELL and for the cinematic arrival of Duncan Jones and his heady sci-fi romp MOON. Also thankful for Netflix releasing "watch-instantly" on the Playstation 3. 



*****










50) GEORGE KENNEDY OR ALAN NORTH? 
George. 
*****











(Feel free to post your answers in the comments section below. I'd like to hear how you guys would respond.)