25 January 2007

Once said at the fires...

I can officially cross two of my 40 MIA DVDs for 2007 off the list, as Anchor Bay has announced an Alejandro Jodorowsky boxset, which will include El topo and The Holy Mountain, as well as a new disc of Fando y Lis. Granted this is a title that seems posed for numerous postponements, like the Kenneth Anger box-set, though I just ordered my copy today.

Other than that annoucement, I figured I'd just post a pull-quote from John Waters in This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Kirby Dick's wildly uneven assault against the MPAA.

John Waters (about felching): "No one has actually done it. I know a lot of perverts, and even they haven't."

And, as you know, I don't really get around to seeing every film that comes out, so here's a list of quotes my friends and non-friends have made in the past week or so, regarding the realm of cinema.

Chris B. (on In My Skin): "Vegetarian propaganda!"

David H. (on Freeway): "There's no such thing as a video store having too many copies of this film."

Katie P. (on her favorite quote from Six Feet Under): " 'I don't want him cruising me in the afterlife;' needless to say, I'm obsessed."

Random guy at bar (on Belle de jour): "Shit, it has everything -- sex, flogging, Catherine Deneuve, blasphemy, and horses."

Tom S. (on Hounddog): "Dakota Fanning getting raped is the best thing to hit cinemas this year!"

Tom B. (on Letters from Iwo Jima): "I think he's really pulled the wool over the critics' eyes, cloaking what really amounts to a lack of imagination with the label ''classicism.'"
Tom B. (on The Departed): "Jack Nicholson + strap-on dildo = summit of human cultural achievement."
Tom B.: "I recently had a dream where Godard, after delivering some obnoxious lecture, returns to his dressing room, hits the stereo and rocks out to 'Back in Black'. I awoke with a hard-on."
Tom B. (on Shortbus): "Damn Hedwig and his porno actors and their sublime sorrow!"

Josh W. (on Time to Leave): "Hot French guys should never have to die."

Nathan H. (on my blasting of his five-star rating for Life Is Beautiful): "Your antisemitism is cute."
Nathan H. (on Hedwig and the Angry Inch): "So fucking beautiful & hilarious it makes me wanna stomp a lightbulb."

Mike H. (on Show Me Love): "Shit, this made Foreigner sound touching!"

Cindy L. (on Prairie Home Companion): Blah-blah-blah boring."

Mike M. (on The Covenant): It's like The Craft, only for thirteen-year-old gay boys."

Me (in response to Mike M.): "Isn't The Craft like The Craft for thirteen-year-old gay boys?"

A douche bag who works at a video store (on The Guardian): "On an Ashton Kutcher scale, it's somewhere between The Butterfly Effect and Just Married."

Chris M. (not in response to him): "The Butterfly Effect is Donnie Darko for morons."

Me: "Fuck Donnie Darko."

24 January 2007

The Oscars love Mexicans, just like Paul Haggis!

Thank goodness they had Salma Hayek around for the announcement of this year's Academy Award nominations, 'cos even Naomi Watts can't pronounce Alejandro González Iñárritu's name (and she worked with him!). Like Michael Peña in Crash, the Mexicans could do no wrong as the nominations came around this past morning, with Alfonso Cuarón getting a Best Adapted Screenplay nod for Children of Men (he did not, however, receive a much-deserved Best Director nod) and Guillermo del Toro picked up a bunch, including Best Foreign-Language Film, for Pan's Labyrinth. Missing in action was that conquistador Pedro Almodóvar in a sizable mistake by the Academy. No nomination for Volver further supports the theory I discussed in by Best of the Year list. Penélope Cruz did indeed get a nod for her work on the film, but let's just clap for her now, because Mirren has it in the bag. And, no Best Picture nomination for Dreamgirls!? The Academy is racist!!... where was Beyoncé's nod? Expect her father to make some bull-headed, moronic comment about this publicly soon (if he hasn't already). With no real guarantees, except Mirren and Pan's Labyrinth for Best Foreign Language film, this could be one of the more exciting years for the Oscars. And, as my friend Mike said, after this morning, we can officially refer to Click, Poseidon, and The Black Dahlia as "Academy Award Nominees." The complete list is here, if you're interested.

22 January 2007

Take to the sky...

Broken Sky (El cielo dividido) - dir. Julián Hernández - 2006 - Mexico

The nauseating task of watching a filmmaker jerk off in his hand and feed it to the public is not one I would normally indulge, but you never know. A critic (or two) mentioned Broken Sky on Indiewire.com's Best of 2006 poll, so I gave in and plan to regurgitate everything the director gave me in harsh words. The last time I checked, there wasn't a handbook on how to make a film as pretentious as possible, but director Hernández could have easily penned one. Taking cue from the French (Claire Denis, Sébastian Lifshitz), the Scottish (Lynne Ramsay), the Koreans (Kim Ki-duk), and Taiwanese (Tsai Ming-liang), Hernández has successfully made his text-book example of how not to make a film. Though I admired (and became distracted) by Almodóvar's use of cinematic references in Kika, Broken Sky's breed of homage is merely self-serving narcissism. I'd imagine the check-list to look something like this:

- Make your film over two hours (check, 140 minutes to be exact)
- Minimal dialogue (check, in fact the two main leads only speak one word to one another)
- Plenty of graphic sex and nudity (check, though it's tamer than Hernández's influences would have been)
- Open with a quote, preferably as snobby as possible (check, Marguerite Duras from Hiroshima mon amour)
- Include some sort of mythological or anthropological metaphor by unrelated characters (check, the film actually uses the exact same myth that John Cameron Mitchell adopted so beautifully in the song "The Origin of Love" in Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
- Fancy cinematography (check, though its panning motifs prove obnoxious by about the twenty-minute mark)
- Cast non-actors (check, one can imagine the directorial cues to range from "look pensive" to "now look sad")
- Classical music score, plus ironic pop music (check)
- Put the title card half-way into the film (check, though I like this idea, Pen-ek Ratanaruang did it so much better in Last Life in the Universe)
- Insert unrelated narrator to throw around even more metaphors of love (check, on top of a white screen, no less)

I don't think Hernández missed a single cliché in making Broken Sky, except for the necessary shot of a character looking blank while smoking a cigarette. I'd be sure to let him know that smoking is necessary for a film of this sort. This check-list of pretensions have worked beautifully in other films, specifically Lifshitz's Wild Side and Ramsay's Morvern Callar, but both rank as exceedingly more gifted filmmakers than Hernández, whose talent seems to be limited to the undergraduate film school liking. I can see a round-table discussion of well-versed freshman film students eating up every last morsel of shit in Broken Sky. I can also probably envision a terrorist bomb located beneath that table. What's most shocking about Broken Sky isn't how dreadful it is, but that it's a vast improvement over Hernández's last film, Mil nubes de paz cercan el cielo, amor, jamás acabarás de ser amor (translated as A Thousand Clouds of Peace Fence the Sky, Love; Your Being, Love, Will Never End). Somewhere, Fiona Apple is smiling. Elsewhere, those clouds of peace are brewing a shitstorm.

20 January 2007

On the Verge

Kika - dir. Pedro Almodóvar - 1993 - Spain/France

The 1990s weren’t a remarkable period for Pedro Almodóvar. The decade was bookended with two notable works, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and All About My Mother, but was unfortunately littered with some of his weakest efforts (The Flower of My Secret, Live Flesh, High Heels). This may be hard to imagine for those used to his astonishing quartet of nearly flawless motion pictures in his third decade of filmmaking. Kika is probably the best of his middle time period and easily the “naughtiest.” This is not to say Kika is a great film, by any means, but it’s the last time you can see Almodóvar’s youthful outrageousness as he moved onto more serious work afterward. The film contains what you’ll probably regard as the funniest rape sequence since Divine got fucked by a giant lobster in Multiple Maniacs, and, other than Peter Coyote as an American crime novelist, the cast is exquisite.

Anyone who’s read about Almodóvar will note that his assumption of the role of filmmaker came directly from his love of film. The film history references pop up frequently in his films, though most of these nods come from the genre of melodrama lately. You mustn’t forget his delightful homage to Rear Window in Women on the Verge where Carmen Maura sits outside an apartment building, peeping her own version of Miss Torso and Miss Lonely Hearts while looking for her lover. Moments like this are cute, little treats for you cinephiles that really amount to little more. Kika, on the other hand, seems entirely composed of these moments, loose references to films that had a lasting effect on Almodóvar during his formative cinematic years. The allusions aren’t always as concise as the Rear Window bit in Women on the Verge (though it is worth noting that Kika also features apartment window spying), but they’re hardly mistakable. Both an over-the-top comedy and crime mystery, Kika jumps all over the place, one minute taking cue from Peeping Tom (a movie poster for the film can be seen on one of the walls), the next John Waters doing his best Harold Lloyd. Kika is fortunately spunky enough to dismiss these faults, thanks mostly to his crop of ladies. As the title character, Verónica Forqué balances obnoxiously dim-witted with undeniably charming. Rossy de Palma, one of my personal favorites, plays Kika’s lesbian maid whose psychotic nymphomaniac porn star brother (Santiago Lajusticia) has escaped from prison. And most lovely is Victoria Abril as Andrea Caracortada, a.k.a. Scarface, a ratings-hungry television “journalist” with an obsession with crime and serial killers (and impeccably dressed by Jean-Paul Gaultier). Riding a motorcycle and wearing a giant camera atop her head, Abril has the best moments of Kika, getting ejaculated on her face in the shape of a tear, wearing plastic breasts that would have made Madonna jealous, and interviewing a woman getting gunned down. The appeal of his women here, like many other of his films, blind the audience to the inconsistencies of the film itself.

Kika exists as the final boisterous, “zany” work of Almodóvar before he moved onto more “respectable” films. Unfortunately, his style for dramatics was hardly fleshed out at this period, leaving much to be desired. The film loses its cheeky sensibilities near the end, when Almodóvar decides that he wants to say something about the unethical dealings of the media and the relationship between art and the artist. Thankfully, he’s savvy enough to have left clues to the final twist throughout the course of the film; Abril carefully points out that no woman, not even a lesbian, ignores personal grooming, which ends up being a big, juicy clue in the end. For all of its convolutions, Kika is still a joyous film, wonderfully portrayed by his cast of lovely ladies and equipped with that admirable raucousness that inhabited his earliest features.

In related news, you can pick up your Pedro box-set on the 30th of January, which includes Matador, Law of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Flower of My Secret, Live Flesh, All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Bad Education, and a bonus disc.

19 January 2007

Coming in April

Criterion will be releasing the long MIA La haine, one of the finest French films of the 90s, on DVD in April. The film stars Vincent Cassel and Saïd Taghmaoui and was directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. The DVD will include an introduction by Jodie Foster, likely about the race issues of the film. God, she really doesn't have a sense of humor, does she?

18 January 2007


The Oscar nominations are coming soon, so I thought I'd run down a few of my dark horses -- likely none of which will get nominated. I'm not mentioning some of the more probable nominations that would please me, like Abigail Breslin and Steve Carell for Little Miss Sunshine, Mark Wahlberg for The Departed, Jackie Earle Haley for Little Children, Penélope Cruz for Volver, Sergi López for Pan's Labyrinth, etc.

Best Picture & Director
Alfonso Cuarón - Children of MenPaul Greengrass - United 93Best Actor
Nick Nolte - CleanMelvil Poupaud - Time to Leave (Le temps qui reste)Nolte reminded us that he was a good actor and perfectly complimented Maggie Cheung's instability with a surprising tenderness. Clean wouldn't have worked without him or Cheung. Le Temps qui reste also owes its success to Poupaud, who wonderfully expresses the confusion and denial of a man diagnosed with terminal cancer. It would have been easy for Ozon to cast someone just as attractive, but likely with lesser results.

Best Actress
Maggie Cheung - CleanAbbie Cornish - SomersaultBryce Dallas Howard - ManderlayCheung already won the Best Actress prize at Cannes two years ago (yes, that's how long it took Clean to come stateside), so an Academy Award nomination would probably mean less. Cornish is dazzling as a runaway teenage girl, and Howard made the difficult decision to fill Nicole Kidman's shoes as Grace in Lars von Trier's sequel to Dogville.

Best Supporting Actor
William Hurt - The KingDanny Huston - The PropositionHurt's performance in The King is probably his finest to date, a direct counter to last year's Oscar nomination for his tongue-in-cheek role in A History of Violence. When the plot of The King takes a turn from expectations, it's really Hurt that allows you to stick with the film. Huston, as Guy Pearce's outlaw brother, gives one of the more haunting performances I've seen this year.

Best Supporting Actress
Vera Farmiga - The DepartedGong Li - Miami ViceFarmiga, also wonderful in Down to the Bone, somehow emerges as the most fascinating character in The Departed. As the sole female in the main cast, she's fully believable as a professional woman on the exterior with a taste for bad boys outside of the office. Gong Li, despite not knowing how to speak English or Spanish, is both sexy as hell and genuinely effective. Both Farmiga and Li redeem their unnecessary love interest characters by proving more interesting than their male counterparts.

16 January 2007

I ain't no trickbaby

Reese Witherspoon has only looked better one other time... and if you know me well enough, you can figure out when.

Do you really care about the rest?

13 January 2007

And without further adieu...

...the best films of 2006. Still MIA for my viewing: The Queen, Half Nelson, Old Joy, Inland Empire, Venus, and The Lives of Others.

1. Children of Men - dir. Alfonso Cuarón - UK/USA - Universal

In an apocalyptic future where women are no longer fertile, Clive Owen must take a young immigrant woman (Claire-Hope Ashitey), miraculously and curiously pregnant, to the promise of safety. For a long time, I’d never truly been converted to the love for Cuarón, though I’ve enjoyed all of his films, save Great Expectations. Children of Men is not only the convincing factor in a newly formed love affair with the director, but the film could have been half as good as it is, and I still would have fallen. Children of Men has a strange force, one that really can’t be denied by film geeks, sci-fi nerds, or your average movie-goer. Like few films I can think of, Children of Men is absolutely riveting. Using a number of single-takes, the film feels like the antithesis of a Jerry Bruckheimer film. In the single take, Cuarón brings the audience into the action and never lets go. The level of desperation is immeasurable. As I just saw it, I’m still reeling through the experience at hand, piecing things together into a greater whole. Unfortunately, that conclusion hasn’t been solidified yet, so I can only describe and explain. Though one could see Children of Men’s placement as a knee-jerk decision, the only thing I can soundly state is that Children of Men is the finest film of 2006. So, yeah…

2. Volver - dir. Pedro Almodóvar - Spain - Sony Pictures Classics

For most of the 90s, Pedro Almodóvar was a cult figure of international cinema in the United States. Beginning with the surprise hit of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, he earned a small, but fervent following among those with a taste for the humorously perverse. He (and likely also Madonna, as a result of her sexual fantasies in Truth or Dare) made Antonio Banderas an international star and appeared to gain fans with each new film (though I really doubt he acquired any new ones with his lousy Flower of My Secret). Then in 2000, he won the best foreign-language Oscar that no one ever expected he’d win with All About My Mother. From there, he’s become probably the most famous foreign director in the United States with Talk to Her and Bad Education. Volver is the fourth of his critical successes, but for reasons beyond me, probably ranks as the lowest showing of support from his audiences. I find it troubling to rank his films in terms of quality or personal preference. Volver has made a number of critics’ list and won a few end-of-the-year prizes, but the enthusiasm just doesn’t seem to be there. Almodóvar is hardly the victim of an inability to broaden or advance with each film, so where’s the love? I’m certainly not criticizing my friends, but it seems as if each one who’s seen the film has resorted to the “Yeah, it was pretty good” response, a reply I cannot mirror. I left the screening of Volver glowing, reeling with pure enthusiasm. I was a bit hesitant at first to blow my wad over Volver to my friends, as it felt a bit less ambitious than Bad Education or Talk to Her, but I’ve ardently changed my tone. Out of all of his films, Volver has elicited the strongest emotional response from me. Enriched by Penélope Cruz’s radiant performance as the conflicted Raimunda, Almodóvar crafted an uncompromising world of broken, but pious women, each of them with unsatisfied void and despair. Seeing Almodóvar mature is a personal pleasure of mine. A friend of mine and I discussed the most telling moment of maturation in Volver when Almodóvar slides past a potential romance between Raimunda and a young production assistant. In his earlier films, he would have given us a wild, lusty sex scene between the two, but at this point in his career, his vision is more clear. Getting excited about a new Almodóvar film is the closest thing I can experience in relation to the hey-day of international cinema in the 1960s and 1970s. I hope I never become a person whose duty as an intellectual is to merely attend a film I’m supposed to see without any sort of passion. Though 2006 was a strange year for cinema, it provided me with at least a dozen films that served as reminders of why I do what I do.

3. United 93 - dir. Paul Greengrass - UK/France/USA - Universal

Of course you didn’t want to see this. I didn’t either. I still can’t make a proper defense for the film’s necessity, but a number of great things, especially in cinema, have come from a real lack of such. We all know World Trade Center was Oliver Stone’s Inside Man, a way to get back fans after the abysmal Alexander (Spike Lee should still be sorry about She Hate Me). But for Greengrass, United 93 is his solidification as one of the finest new directors of the past five years. What’s not here is revolting sentimentality; what is here is nail-biting tension and exactitude.

4. L'enfant - dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne - Belgium/France - Sony Pictures Classics

For a long time, I doubted the appeal of the Dardenne brothers. Their style of filmmaking is sparse, and their subjects morose. I always thought of them as the Belgian answer to the grimy British Mike Leigh or Ken Loach, both of which hardly tickle my fancy. L’enfant, winner of the Palme d’Or in 2005 but not released in the States until a year later, wholly changed my opinion. Yes, the style is sparse, and, yes, the subject is morose, but simple this film isn’t. L’Enfant is an utterly nerve-racking depiction of two lost youths (Jérémie Renier and Déborah François) and their conflicting relationship with their newborn baby. Though the haunting sequence where Renier sells the baby is absolutely pulsating, the finer moments of L’enfant occur when the Dardennes counter the reality that these two people are parents with the characters’ playful jeunesse. It’s the first film I can think of that actually filled me with fear at the idea of kids having kids even if that wasn’t what they were trying to accomplish. Above all, L’enfant is realism without schmaltz or God-like dictation; it’s an unsettling window into poverty, dissatisfaction, and unfortunate aimlessness.

5. Shortbus - dir. John Cameron Mitchell - USA - ThinkFilm

I’ve written plenty and discussed extensively this film, so instead of writing something new, here is what I wrote for Playback’s best of the year. Both emotionally profound and curiously meta, Mitchell and his non-actors designed the characters together for Shortbus, breathing an air of authenticity and, at the same time, subversive theories on the nature of acting and filmmaking. The actors, especially Sook-Yin Lee as a "pre-orgasmic" relationship counselor, resonate with undeniable genuineness that you not only sympathize with these people, but you wish you were friends with them. It's hard to separate the characters from the actors, as they all appear to be playing themselves or, at least, extensions of their personalities, and partaking in unsimulated sex acts with one another. This strange contradiction is always in balance in Mitchell's hands, in a film that succeeds at coexisting emotional and theoretical levels. Shortbus is thoroughly resonant, blissfully triumphant, and admirably hopeful in its depiction of the anxieties and struggles of a generation.

6. The Proposition - dir. John Hillcoat - Australia - First Look

Nick Cave’s songs always suggested a capacity for the realm of film, particularly his album Murder Ballads. What better setting for a Nick Cave-penned feature than the western? In the western, he reduces man to his instinctual beast-like quality, a godless uncivilized world of beautifully filmed ugliness. As one-third of a trio of lawless outlaw brothers, Guy Pearce is given clemency by a town’s captain (the excellent Ray Winstone, who also turned in a fine performance in The Departed) if he can turn in his elder sibling (Danny Huston). There’s a surprising humanity buried within the grimness, a fine companion to both Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth. Who knew that 2006 would be the year that humanity in film (especially genre-bound films) would actually feel… human?

7. Time to Leave (Le temps qui reste) - dir. François Ozon - France - Strand Releasing

What happens when beautiful people die young? Le temps qui reste shows us in a likely more fascinating approach than, say, Factory Girl. As a thematic sequel to Ozon’s finest film, Sous le sable (Under the Sand), the film examines the grief and closure of the life of a young fashion photographer, diagnosed with terminal cancer. Ozon allows Romain (Melvil Poupaud) a single opportunity to finalize his existence and relationships with the people in his life that mean the most, including his aging grandmother (Jeanne Moreau) and younger boyfriend (Christian Sengewald). Le temps qui reste is undeniably French in its approach to melodrama; it’s aesthetically beautiful, inconclusive, and wonderfully fragmented. It’s not so much a three-hanky endeavor as it is a poem or mood piece, and an exceptionally affecting one at that.

8. The Descent - dir. Neil Marshall - UK - Lionsgate

When a horror film actually scares me, it’s certainly worth noting. But when a horror film instills extreme panic and terror within me, it’s a remarkable feat. The Descent is a rare horror film that’s carved from precision and skill instead of sloppy gore and cheap spooks. See if you want to go spelunking afterward.

9. Brothers of the Head - dir. Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe - UK - IFC Films

Ever hear that really awesome song that totally fucks itself with the vocals or lyrics? Ever want to mute the singing and just listen to the instrumentation? That may be a lousy comparison, but Brothers of the Head is the cinematic equivalent. I want to take the film, cut out all of the talking-head interviews of this faux documentary (yes, even the Ken Russell one), and piece together the rest into a wholly satisfying, mystifying film. The archival footage of the conjoined twin rockers (Harry and Luke Treadaway) is astounding as the film becomes much more of a thoughtful meditation on identity and stardom than you might assume. Unlike the atrocity of For Your Consideration, Fulton and Pepe’s refusal to step away from their documentary roots (or mockumentary in the case of Consideration) becomes a mere blemish in the long run, as the delicacy and poignancy of the rest of the film wins out in the end.

10. Pan's Labyrinth (El laberinto del Fauno) - dir. Guillermo del Toro - Mexico/Spain/USA - Picturehouse

I never would have guessed a film with head-smashing, monsters feasting on fairies, torture, and a minotaur would be so touching. Well, maybe I did, as Pan’s Labyrinth was definitely one of the films I didn’t need to see to know I liked it. Either way, Pan’s Labyrinth is Guillermo del Toro’s finest film, twelve steps better than his acclaimed Devil’s Backbone. The film is a grim fantasy about a young girl (Ivana Baquero) who escapes the torments of her tyrannical step-father (Sergi López) in a labyrinth where a giant creature tells her of her lineage as the reincarnation of a lost underworld princess. Set during the early years of Franco’s rule over Spain, del Toro uses his setting not in a political way (though with this and The Devil’s Backbone one could see a fascination with the time period), but as a literal, effective manifestation of the fantastical battle between good and evil. Pan’s Labyrinth is a real marvel.

So, of course, I somehow left out two other films that deserve a mention for the year... so here, they are. I don't know where they'd fit exactly, but oh well...

Combat - dir. Patrick Carpentier - Belgium - Water Bearer Films

If James Broughton had directed Tropical Malady, it might have looked something like Combat. Two lovers (Tomas Matauko and Léo Joris) escape civilization to a remote forest where they proceed to kick the shit out of each other as a game. Fight Club comparisons aside, Carpentier crafts a grand poem of visual and audio, as the scenes between the lovers are cut with frightening images of clouds and the director reciting the poetic thoughts of one of the men. The appeal of Combat isn’t simply in Carpentier’s dwellings of the relationship between brutality and intimacy as much as it is in his dexterity. The two characters speak only a few sentences to one another throughout the course of the film, and this is to its benefit. As the conclusion to a trilogy called L’irrégulaité de la Déchirure (The Irregularity of the Tearing), you must not forget that one man’s “pretentious” is another man’s “glorious.”

Little Miss Sunshine - dir. Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris - USA - Fox Searchlight

I said earlier that Little Miss Sunshine could have easily been the forgotten “indie” of 2006 that exploded à la My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It certainly could have been, but there’s a greater allure to the film that gives it legs on which to stand. One critic called the film “as calculated as a fourteen-year-old’s Myspace profile,” and to that I can’t necessarily argue, but Little Miss Sunshine’s humor is intelligent and its charm contagious. How can one not appreciate the idea of Steve Carell as the self-loathing homosexual “number one Proust scholar” whose grad student boyfriend left him for the number two Proust scholar? The cast is exceptional (though Greg Kinear would probably be the weakest link), and the score by Devotchka is wonderful. Little Miss Sunshine may not have been one of the ten best films of the year, but it still deserves to be mentioned.

11 January 2007

Presque... encore...

After much hesitation, I have finally completed my best of the year list, even without seeing The Queen. Sorry, Helen Mirren. I have crammed 20 films into the list, though of course all you care about is the 10, so I'll refrain from commenting on the latter 20 and focus on the tops. Even though I've compiled a list of 20, I still am feeling the need to mention a few other films (making this list really surprised me with the number of exceptional films I saw this year). Those other films include Jean-Marc Vallée's C.R.A.Z.Y., Caveh Zahedi's I Am a Sex Addict, Todd Field's Little Children, Asia Argento's The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, James Marsh's The King, Lars von Trier's Manderlay, and Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly. Just to get you prepared: here are the eleventh through twentieth best films of 2006.

11. Heading South (Vers le sud) - dir. Laurent Cantet - France/Canada - Shadow Distribution

12. Shadowboxer - dir. Lee Daniels - USA - Code Black Entertainment

13. Jackass Number Two - dir. Jeff Tremaine - USA - Paramount

14. Clean - dir. Olivier Assayas - France/Canada/UK - Palm Pictures

15. Dave Chappelle's Block Party - dir. Michel Gondry - USA - Rogue Pictures

16. 20 Centimeters (20 centímetros) - dir. Ramón Salazar - Spain/France - TLA Releasing

17. The Intruder (L'intrus) - dir. Claire Denis - France - Wellspring

18. Miami Vice - dir. Michael Mann - USA - Universal

19. Somersault - dir. Cate Shortland - Australia - Magnolia

20. Next Door (Naboer) - dir. Pål Sletaunen - Norway/Denmark/Sweden - TLA Releasing