Monday, December 29, 2008

Movies for Music
Lovers: 2008 Edition

Part two (click
here for part one)

Though I compile a top 30 every year, I find positions 21-30 the most difficult to compile. Simply put, they're films I liked. A lot. But with reservations. But I still liked them. A lot.

Second runners-up:
21. Tell No One (Guillaume Canet)
22. Ballast (Lance Hammer)
23. Doubt (John Patrick Shanley)
24. Burn After Reading (Joel and Ethan Coen)
25. Mister Foe (David Mackenzie)
26. Synechdoche, NY (Charlie Kaufman)
27. Baghead (Jay and Mark Duplass)
28. Cadillac Records (Darnell Martin)
29. Jellyfish (Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret)
30. The Visitor (Tom McCarthy)

Note: The stunning chase sequence in Tell No One equals the chase sequence in The Dark Knight—and probably cost millions less to execute. Granted, it recalls The Marathon Man, but I'm not so sure that's such
a bad thing...I just wish the ending had been less sentimental.

Top reissues:
1. The Human Condition (Masaki Kobayashi)
2. Faces (John Cassavetes)
3. Last Year at Marienbad and Muriel (Alain Resnais)
4. Becky Sharp (Rouben Mamoulian)
5. The Saga of Anatahan (Josef von Sternberg)
6. La Chinoise and Vivre Sa Vie (Jean-Luc Godard)
7. The Exiles (Kent McKenzie)
8. Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin)
9. Ashes of Time Redux (Wong Kar-Wai)
10. In the Land of the Head Hunters (Edward S. Curtis)

[Top retrospectives still to come.]

Other notable films (in alphabetical order): 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu), A Christmas Tale (Arnaud Desplechin), Be Kind Rewind (Michel Gondry), Bigger, Stronger, Faster (Christopher Bell), Blindsight (Lucy Walker), Boy A (John Crowley), Erik Nietzsche - The Early Years, Part 1 (Jacob Thuesen), Fear(s) of the Dark (Various), Girl by the Lake (Andrea Molaioli), Grace Is Gone (James C. Strouse), Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood), Hidden Face (Bernard Campan), Iron Man (Jon Favreau), It Is Fine. Everything Is Fine! (Crispin Glover), Jar City (Baltasar Kormákur), Miracle at St. Anna (Spike Lee), Mister Lonely (Harmony Korine), I Always Wanted to Be a Gangster (Samuel Benchetrit), The Orphanage (Juan Antonio Bayona), Patti Smith - Dream of Life (Steven Sebring), Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud), Pineapple Express and Snow Angels (David Gordon Green), Recount (Jay Roach), Searchers 2.0 (Alex Cox), Shotgun Stories (Jeff Nichols), Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle), Standard Operating Procedure (Errol Morris), Strange Culture (Lynn Hershman Leeson), Stuck (Stuart Gordon), Teeth (Mitchell Lichtenstein), Ten of Dreams (Various), Time to Die (Dorota Kedzierzawska), Tropic Thunder (Ben Stiller), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen), Wall-E (Andrew Stanton), The Wrecking Crew (Denny Tedesco), and Zidane, a 21st Century Portrait (Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno).

Note: The Emmy Award-winning Recount was produced for HBO, but betters most theatrical releases, while Gran Torino doesn't open (outside New York and Los Angeles) until January. Also, Dream of
Life originally made my doc top 10 until I remembered At the Death House Door from Hoop Dreams directors Steve James and Peter Gilbert. For anti-death penalty prop-
onents, it's a must-see, though there's noth-
ing heavyhanded about their approach.

Films I missed (in alphabetical order): Alexandra (Alex-
ander Sokurov), Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Sacha Gervasi), Chop Shop (Ramin Bahrani), The Duchess (Saul Dibb), La Duchesse de Langeais (Jacques Rivette), Flight of the Red Balloon (Hou Hsia-Hsien), La France (Serge Bozon), Heavy Metal in Baghdad (Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi), I've Loved You So Long (Philippe Claudel), My Effortless Brilliance (Lynn Shelton)*, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (Eric Rohmer), and Still Life (Jia Zhangke).

* I look forward to watching the screener, which I received months ago, and feel guilty that I haven't yet. I've also got one for the Oscar-shortlisted Flow floating around here somewhere...

Note: This is only a partial list. I just wanted to explain why certain contenders are otherwise absent. If it seems as if I see everything under the sun, I don't. Alas. So thank God for DVD. And thanks to the Grand Illusion Cinema, the Northwest Film Forum, and the Seattle International Film Festival Group for another year of fabulous screenings. Finally, all praise to France and Japan for continuing to provide some of my favorite film experiences of this or any year.

Endnote: Cross-posted at Facebook.
Tell No One image from Killer Virgo.

No comments: