31 December 2009

Can I Eternal Sunshine 2009, or Do I have to like the movie for that to work?

As 2009 slips away, sadly it has been chosen that I will be spending the evening at home, reliving the few moments worth salvaging before I Eternal Sunshine the year completely. It is just about that time for me to post something really maudlin that I'll regret later (and never end up taking down). But before I do so, I'll post some (hopefully) fascinating miscellany.

My entry to The Auteurs' Notebook's year-end writers' poll went up yesterday, alongside Andrew Grant, Glenn Kenny, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Evan Davis, Gabe Klinger, Dave McDougall, David Cairns and Ben Simington's choices for our 2009 fantasy double features (of a first-run theatrical release and an older film we happened to have seen in the past 12 months). Mine covers 2 Olivier Assayas films (though I guess technically, I saw L'heure d'été in 2008, it was in the final two weeks of the year...). Glenn's beautiful screencap of Sheryl Lee as the Good Witch in Wild at Heart has become my current desktop pattern.

Cahiers du Cinéma posted their annual 10 Best of the year and continued to prove to us Yankees how much the French love Clint Eastwood (no, not for Invictus but Gran Torino; Invictus will surely make the 2010 list). Alain Resnais' Wild Grass [Les herbes folles] was their #1 (Sony Pictures Classics' website still doesn't have an official date for its release in the States), and the pleasant surprise of the list was seeing Alain Guiraudie's Le roi de l'évasion [The King of Escape] make it. One of the (many) regrets I have in regard to the final Decade List posting was that I didn't get around to rewatching Guiraudie's Ce vieux rêve qui bouge or Pas de repos pour les braves and left them off the 100 (though I'm pretty sure they should have been there).

So the Decade List posting... thanks to everyone for the nice comments. Aside from a clerical error in posting the two Abel Ferrara films in the wrong positions (Go Go Tales should be at 55, Mary at 76), I'm happy (enough) with the way things lined up, and I will be working on a "defense" if you will for my #1 within the next couple weeks. Anyway, to those of you who sent me your list, they will be posted by the end of next week, and if you're still working on yours, don't take the posting of my list as the curtain drop for the 00's nonsense...

...and though there's a purposeful hesitancy in the way I've spoken of the project in the more recent posts, I'm still possibly considering trying the previous decade on for size for 2010... but that depends on a number of factors, not least of which coming up with a (clever) name for it and determining the amount of time I will have to dedicate to it (it would really be better if I didn't have all the time, actually, as being gainfully employed and/or leaving the Midwest sound much more appealing).

2010 looks to be your year if you happen to be a Blu-ray player owning, French-speaking cinephile, as a number of really exciting releases have already been announced by Gaumont on high-definition format:

- Danton, 1983, d. Andrzej Wajda, 9 February
- La nuit de Varennes, 1982, d. Ettore Scola, 9 February, w. Marcello Mastroianni, Hanna Schygulla, Harvey Keitel
- Le silence de la mer, 1949, d. Jean-Pierre Melville, 25 March
- Un condamné à mort s'est échappé [A Man Escaped], 1956, d. Robert Bresson, 25 March
- Les maudits [The Damned], 1947, d. René Clément, 20 May
- Le général della Rovere, 1959, d. Roberto Rossellini, 20 May
- La peau [La pelle / The Skin], 1981, d. Liliana Cavani, 15 June, w. Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Burt Lancaster
- Le rouge et le noir [The Red and the White], 1954, d. Claude Autant-Lara, 15 June, w. Danielle Darrieux

All of the films will also be released on DVD on the same date, some for the first time in France, as far as I can tell. Also in France, though not exactly exciting, the film I've been blabbing about all year, Sébastien Lifshitz's Plein sud, opens today, to almost exclusively damning reviews... Though I will reserve judgment for when I do see it, I was hoping the weariness I felt after watching the blasé trailer and noticing it wasn't announced for any of the autumn film festivals was unwarranted...

And finally, I never got around to posting a 2009 music list for the Decade List, which is fine as I generally only made those for my own benefit, and while I had planned on doing some sort of "the 25 '00 albums that did the most to shape me into the cynic I am today" list... it's looking less likely. I have, however, collected 50 of my favorite singles from 2009. I looked past the disappointment I felt in (a lot of) the particular albums and selected the tracks that left their mark on me in some way. I had planned the list to only include one song per artist, but the thing ran out of steam around 43, so instead of nixing three, I tossed a couple alternate choices from the albums I did happen to like a lot this year (Fever Ray, A Woman A Man Walked By, Logos). So if my plan to Eternal Sunshine all of 2009 actually works, I guess I won't have to look far to play catch up in the music world (though my ability to discern which of the 50 aren't really good songs and don't belong has vanished today). I could post an mp3 link at some point, but I haven't the energy at the moment. It looks like I'm finished rambling, and it doesn't look as dejected as I thought I might. That's good, right? Bonne année à tous.

01. Annie - My Love Is Better [Don't Stop]
02. Fever Ray - Keep the Streets Empty for Me [Fever Ray]
03. The xx - Crystalised [xx]
04. PJ Harvey & John Parish - Pig Will Not [A Woman A Man Walked By]
05. The Hidden Cameras - Walk On [Origin: Orphan]
06. Japandroids - Sovereignty [Post-Nothing]
07. Bat for Lashes - Sleep Alone [Two Suns] (yes, the album version is much better)
08. Röyksopp (featuring Karin Dreijer Andersson) - This Must Be It [Junior]
09. Dizzee Rascal featuring Calvin Harris and Chrome - Dance wiv Me [Tongue 'N Cheek]
10. No Age - You're a Target [Losing Feeling EP]
11. Junior Boys - Parallel Lines [Begone Dull Care]
12. St. Vincent - The Party [Actor]
13. Atlas Sound featuring Laetitia Sadier - Quick Canal [Logos]
14. Vivian Girls - Before I Start to Cry [Everything Goes Wrong]
15. Whitney Houston - Million Dollar Bill [I Look to You]
16. Phoenix - Fences [Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix]
17. Sally Shapiro - Dying in Africa [My Guilty Pleasure]
18. Jay-Z - D.O.A. (Death of Auto-tune) [The Blueprint 3]
19. The Radio Dept. - David [David EP]
20. Peaches - Talk to Me [I Feel Cream]
21. The Legends - You Won [Over and Over]
22. Little Boots - Stuck on Repeat [Hands]
23. Passion Pit - The Reeling [Manners]
24. The Juan Maclean - Happy House [The Future Will Come] (the 12-minute version is much better)
25. Alcoholic Faith Mission - Gently [421 Wythe Avenue] (The song I would have chosen from this album doesn't seem to be available streaming anywhere)
26. Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM [IRM]
27. Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is the Move [Bitte Orca]
28. Animal Collective - Bluish [Merriweather Post Pavilion]
29. Depeche Mode - Wrong [Sounds of the Universe]
30. Girls - Lust for Life [Album]
31. Deerhunter - Disappearing Ink [Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP]
32. Ciara featuring Justin Timberlake - Love Sex Magic [Fantasy Ride]
33. Bon Iver - Blood Bank [Blood Bank EP]
34. Beirut - The Concubine [March of the Zapotec / Rainpeople Holland EP]
35. Bill Callahan - Jim Cain [Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle]
36. Peter Bjorn and John - I'm Losing My Mind [Living Things]
37. Miike Snow - Animal [Miike Snow]
38. Antony Hegarty and Bryce Dessner - I Was Young When I Left Home [Dark Was the Night]
39. Grizzly Bear - Foreground [Veckatimest]
40. ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - The Far Pavilions [The Century of Self]
41. The Decemberists - Sleepless [Dark Was the Night] (The only song I've ever liked by them, well at least 70% liked)
42. Fuck Buttons - Surf Sport [Tarot Sport] (The album version... exceedingly better)
43. Matt & Kim - Daylight [Grand]
44. Piano Magic - The Nightmare Goes On [Ovation]
45. Yeasayer - Tightrope [Dark Was the Night]
46. Atlas Sound - Shelia [Logos]
47. Annie - Anthonio [All Night]
48. Fever Ray - If I Had a Heart [Fever Ray] (my favorite music video of 2009)
49. Serge Gainsbourg featuring Jane Birkin - L'hôtel particulier [Histoire de Melody Nelson] (Obviously, this isn't new, but as the album was released for the first time in the US this year, and I needed to fill the 50)
50. PJ Harvey and John Parish - Cracks in the Canvas [A Woman A Man Walked By] (this isn't the 2nd best song off the album, but it's the perfect close and part of what keeps me wanting more)

26 December 2009

The Decade List: #1-20

01. Dogville / d. Lars von Trier / 2003 / Denmark/Sweden/Norway/Finland/UK/France/Germany/Netherlands

02. Talk to Her [Hable con ella] / d. Pedro Almodóvar / 2002 / Spain

03. Morvern Callar / d. Lynne Ramsay / 2002 / UK

04. Zwartboek [Black Book] / d. Paul Verhoeven / 2006 / Netherlands/Germany/Belgium

05. The Headless Woman [La mujer sin cabeza] / d. Lucrecia Martel / 2008 / Argentina/France/Italy/Spain

06. Yi Yi / d. Edward Yang / 2000 / Taiwan/Japan

07. The Piano Teacher [La pianiste] / d. Michael Haneke / 2001 / Austria/France

08. Tropical Malady / d. Apichatpong Weerasethakul / 2004 / Thailand/France/Germany/Italy

09. Late Marriage / d. Dover Koshashvili / 2001 / Israel/France

10. Wild Side / d. Sébastien Lifshitz / 2004 / France/Belgium/UK

11. Songs from the Second Floor [Sånger från andra våningen] / d. Roy Andersson / 2000 / Sweden/Norway/Denmark

12. The Intruder [L'intrus] / d. Claire Denis / 2004 / France

13. Summer Hours [L'heure d'été] / d. Olivier Assayas / 2008 / France

14. Water Drops on Burning Rocks [Gouttes d'eau sur pierres brûlantes] / d. François Ozon / 2000 / France

15. The Raspberry Reich / d. Bruce LaBruce / 2004 / Germany/Canada

16. Paranoid Park / d. Gus Van Sant / 2007 / France/USA

17. Mulholland Drive / d. David Lynch / 2001 / France/USA

18. Before Sunset / d. Richard Linklater / 2004 / USA

19. The White Diamond / d. Werner Herzog / 2004 / Germany/Japan/UK

20. There Will Be Blood / d. Paul Thomas Anderson / 2007 / USA

The Decade List: #21-40

21. Children of Men / d. Alfonso Cuarón / 2006 / UK/USA/Spain

22. Boarding Gate / d. Olivier Assayas / 2007 / France/Luxembourg

23. Los Angeles Plays Itself / d. Thom Anderson / 2003 / USA

24. La ciénaga / d. Lucrecia Martel / 2001 / Argentina/France/Spain

25. Fish Tank / d. Andrea Arnold / 2009 / UK

26. Old Joy / d. Kelly Reichardt / 2006 / USA

27. The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu [Moartea domnului Lăzărescu] / d. Cristi Puiu / 2005 / Romania

28. Caché / d. Michael Haneke / 2005 / France/Austria/Germany/Italy

29. Femme Fatale / d. Brian De Palma / 2002 / France

30. Volver / d. Pedro Almodóvar / 2006 / Spain

31. Love Exposure / d. Sion Sono / 2008 / Japan

32. Sex Is Comedy / d. Catherine Breillat / 2002 / France/Portugal

33. Otto; or Up with Dead People / d. Bruce LaBruce / 2008 / Germany/Canada

34. Reprise / d. Joachim Trier / 2006 / Norway

35. The Free Will [Die freie Wille] / d. Matthias Glasner / 2006 / Germany

36. Mutual Appreciation / d. Andrew Bujalski / 2005 / USA

37. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile] / d. Cristian Mungiu / 2007 / Romania

38. The White Ribbon [Das weiße Band] / d. Michael Haneke / 2009 / Austria/Germany/France/Italy

39. Still Life / d. Jia Zhang-ke / 2006 / China/Hong Kong

40. The Class [Entre les murs] / d. Laurent Cantet / 2008 / France

The Decade List: #41-60

41. Flight of the Red Balloon [Le voyage du ballon rouge] / d. Hou Hsiao-hsien / 2007 / France

42. Vicky Cristina Barcelona / d. Woody Allen / 2008 / Spain/USA

43. Gerry / d. Gus Van Sant / 2002 / USA

44. The Duchess of Langeais [Ne touchez pas la hache] / d. Jacques Rivette / 2007 / France/Italy

45. Fat Girl [À ma sœur!] / d. Catherine Breillat / 2001 / France/Italy

46. La vie nouvelle / d. Philippe Grandrieux / 2002 / France

47. Japón / d. Carlos Reygadas / 2002 / Mexico/Germany/Netherlands/Spain

48. Zodiac / d. David Fincher / 2007 / USA

49. Come Undone [Presque rien] / d. Sébastien Lifshitz / 2000 / France/Belgium

50. L'enfant / d. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne / 2006 / Belgium/France

51. Grindhouse / d. Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright, Eli Roth / 2007 / USA

52. Bug / d. William Friedkin / 2006 / USA

53. In the City of Sylvia [En la ciudad de Sylvia] / d. José Luis Guerín / 2007 / Spain/France

54. Code Unknown [Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages] / d. Michael Haneke / 2000 / France/Germany/Romania

55. Mary / d. Abel Ferrara / 2005 / Italy/France/USA

56. 35 Shots of Rum [35 rhums] / d. Claire Denis / 2008 / France/Germany

57. Dancer in the Dark / d. Lars von Trier / 2000 / Denmark/Netherlands/Germany/France/USA/UK/Sweden/Finland/Iceland/Norway

58. Liverpool / d. Lisandro Alonso / 2008 / Argentina/France/Netherlands/Germany/Spain

59. No Country for Old Men / d. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen / 2007 / USA

60. On War [De la guerre] / d. Bertrand Bonello / 2008 / France