Survive Style Sonata + Bright Futures: Cine Wave Baraba w/ subtítulos en ingles

New Year + 2010 Favorites
January 19, 2011, 4:03 am
Filed under: 2010, Lists

This year I have given myself the goal of watching 213 films before the year is up. I know this is nothing compared to this guy but sometimes homework and other things ruin movie time. I use the term “film” loosely in the sense that DVD, streams, and video files will count along with theater presentations and in the sense that short films and series will count (for example the thirteen episode anime Baccano! can be looked at as film cut into parts). Only things seen for the first time will count.

First film watched this year was Elevator to the Gallows which hopefully the title will not be indicative of the year ahead of me.

Some stuff I was able to see and really enjoyed from this year. I don’t count film festival premiers for year and only look for date of the film’s domestic release. If I counted stuff to make it’s US debut in 2010 I would put Bong Joon-ho’s Mother at the top.

1. Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, US)

2. The Man from Nowhere (Lee Jeong-beom, South Korea)

3. Buried (Rodrigo Cortés, Spain)

4. Poetry (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea)

5. Golden Slumber (Nakamura Yoshihiro, Japan)

6. Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (Imaishi Hiroyuki, Japan)

7. True Grit (Coen Bros., US)

8. Somos lo Que Hay (Jorge Michel Grau, Mexico)

9. Yuriko’s Aroma (Yoshida Kota, Japan)

10. Jack Goes Boating (Philip Seymour Hoffman, US)

11. 127 Hours (Danny Boyle, US)

12a. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, US)

12b. Tangled (Nathan Greno y Byron Howard, US)

13. Black Swan(Darren Aronofsky, US)/
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand

Stuff I Really Wanted to See But Couldn’t Because of Horrible Foreign Exposure in Certain Parts of the United States or Maybe I Have it Downloaded and Either Have Not Gotten to It Yet or Lack of English Subtitles:
Kokuhaku (will probably top the list from what I’ve heard about it)
I Saw the Devil
Let the Bullets Fly
Echoes of the Rainbow
Last Train Home
Live Tape
The Housemaid
13 Assassins

Also Really Dug:
Outrage, Jackass 3D, Despicable Me, Kick-Ass, Greenberg, Secret Reunion, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Loved Ones, La Pantera Negra, and finally the classy Mutant Girls Squad.

¡Hope for good future year!

UPDATE: Since the time of this post I have seen a great deal more 2010 films and would say that Ogigami Naoko’s Toilet and Nakashima Tatsuya’s Confessions would take the first and second spots while I Saw the Devil, 13 Assassins, Please Give, The Trip, Atami no Sousakan, and The Seaside Motel would have places on the list. (May/2/2011)


The Decade: 113 Movies Part 2
January 7, 2010, 3:08 pm
Filed under: Lists

WARNING to Reader: I have only seen pictures from the Avatar movie therefore making this list uninformed and worth skimming. Pictures are included for the dyslexic.

90. Memento/Irreversible (2000/2002)

89. Burn After Reading (2008)

88. Rudo y Cursi (2008)

87. Chocolate (2008)
Although not the first in this sort of next generation martial arts genre where the people are actually hitting each other, with plenty of replays and during credits injury footage to prove it, this one is the first to feature a female in the lead. Sure she may be a little autistic but can still kick ass.

86. Harold and Kuma Go to White Castle
Finally two Asian dudes who are not complete stereotypes. While Kumar is rockin’ the rebellious side of the duo (shaving pubes, standing up to one’s father, not backing down against the white punks, but mostly the shaving scene) and Harold, an Asian male lead, getting the very attractive girl. See part 2 for completionists of Harold and Kumar, if there are any.

85. Mother (2009)
South Korea’s chance at finally being nominated at the Oscars (Oldboy wasn’t nominated?). Bong Joon-ho’s latest film was something I held off from watching for a while after getting the Korean DVD. Even after I started watching this I was overcome with a feeling of dread. Knowing Bong has done a very dark thriller before with Memories of Murder I knew that this movie was going to be tense and heart breaking. It was. Very good choice to represent South Korea  but probably will not take home the gold not due to the quality of the film but no genre attitude is off putting to the conservative academy.

84. Crank 2: HIGH VOLTAGE (2009)
Although it is not high cinema it is the Tokyo Drifter for this generation. Retaining the same urge to hyper stylize and the offbeat take of the action movie just as Seijun Suzuki did back in the sixties.

83. Battle Royale (2000)
Kinji Fukasaku, the man who arguably reinvented the way to make a Japanese gangster film (show the cold reality instead of the “fun” of it all) hit his eighties. Growing older he leaves a final message to the youth of Japan. Adapting the manga where a group of school kids are sent to an island and are forced to fight to the death knowing the one left alive will be able to return home, he sends out the message to never trust adults. Except for the one telling you of course.

82. The Fountain (2006)

81. Zombieland (2009)

80. A Prarie Home Companion (2006)
Robert Altman’s final film isn’t just about a radio show about to be canceled but about facing death, of your work or the real thing. Eerily fitting for this master American director.

79. Man on Wire (2008)

78. The Wrestler (2008)

77. Party 7 (2000)

76. Volver (2006)

75. Big Man Japan (2007)

74. Inside (2007)

73. Capturing the Friedmans (2001)

72. Ghost World (2003)

71. In Bruges (2008)

70. Black Snake Moan (2006)

69. Departures (2008)
Ended the almost fifty year streak of Japan not winning Best Foreign Film. Hopefully this somber dramedy about death will spark new interest within the American mainstream for Japanese cinema (although it seems as though it hasn’t). Not even a wide release after the win, which could have also featured the Japanese short that won the same year as well.

68. Cold Souls (2009)

67. Happy Accidents (2000)

66. Big Fish (2003)

65. The Science of Sleep (2006)

64. Best in Show (2000)

63. WALL-E  (2008)
Up there on the greatest robotic romances in the history of film so far.

62. Little Children (2006)

61. Adaptation (2002)

60. Sunshine (2007)

59. Eastern Promises (2007)

58. Memories of Murder (2003)
Six years later Bong Joon-ho does return to rural set desolate murder mystery but that time it focuses on the mother of the accused. The first time he visited the territory the focus is on the detectives and the toll the serial murder case takes on them. Kind of one of my first dips into Korean cinema only to be ignited by Bong’s The Host. As always Bong manages to inject humor, although dark, into the film which has an increasing sense of dread.

57. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

56. Ichi the Killer (2001)
At first watch Kobayashi Ichi is more standard extreme Miike. A film with multiple characters with multiple problems, most of them combining the violent with the sexual. This is also what it seems on second, third and fourth glace.  But if one makes it to the fifth they soon realize underneath all the surprisingly graphic content this film may just be about the art of directing a movie. If you can stomach it, find the deeper meanings.

55. Mad Detective (2007)

54. Tideland (2005)

53. [REC] (2007)
With High Tension and Inside France became the new place to go for horror movie fare that is edgy, horrifying, and actually decent as a film and not just a genre film. [REC] is a warning to audiences that they better keep an eye on with Spanish speaking countries. [REC] may be shot in the now overused hand held style but it definitely is one of the better ones and a step forward for Spanish cinema. American audiences have only barely heard of [REC]. The DVD was held off for a whole year after the DVD for the American remake (which came out a year after the original’s release in Spain) Quarantine. Some truly shady Hollywood dealings.

52. Paprika (2006)

51. Be Kind Rewind (2008)
You really have to love films in order to appreciate the ways Black and Mos Def get down to the heart of movies. They use pizzas instead of blood splatters and Christmas decoration to recreate the Ghostbusters proton beams showing that simplistic and ingenuous effects can match the multi-million dollar budgets.

Addendums Part 2:

Amelie (2001)

The Decade: 113 Movies Part 1
January 1, 2010, 8:16 am
Filed under: Lists

WARNING to Reader: I have only seen the first Transformers film therefore making this list uninformed and worth skimming. Pictures are included for the dyslexic.

113. The Wayward Cloud (2005)
In a sense this is a dystopian erotic musical romance film, but that might give you the wrong idea about the film. No matter how wrong you can possibly go with any assumptions towards Tsai Ming-ling’s film, which was Taiwan’s official entry for Best Foreign film that year, it will not be as perverse and quietly haunting/beautiful as this strange fruit (see what I did there, I am so sorry). Also you cannot go wrong with watermelon sexual situations.

112. Caché (2005)

111. Synecdoche, New York (2008)

SPECIAL NOTE: The Afghan film Osama (2003) I recently watched and would place it in the top 10 although none of the original ten would be bumped off (I did the math and it worked out(please note I have little to no understandings of basic math concepts)).

Osama (2003)

110. Idiocracy (2006)

109. Man on Fire (2004)

108. The Trap (2007)
Either one of the most depressing films thus far or the darkest black comedy I have seen. The world may never now…

107. Super Size Me (2004)

106. Fay Grim (2006)

105. Ice Harvest (2005)

104. 11:14 (2003)

103. The Good the Bad the Weird (2008)
Western audiences should not need any more proof that Korea can produce flashier and overall better action films. The dry humor and spectacular action set pieces are in top form in this neo-spaghetti western from the director of a horror film, an existential gangster flick, a loser wrestling comedy, and a movie about a family brought together by the accidental deaths of every customer who stays at their bed and breakfast.

102. Achilles and the Tortoise (2008)
The end to Kitano Takeshi’s self deprecating, critical of his own career and of the making of art itself trilogy (Takeshis’ and Glory to the Filmmaker! were the previous two). Following an artist’s life from childhood to late in his adult life, trying to find the right balance of originality and homage.

101. Wordplay (2006)
Along the lines of Spellbound and King of Kong. Watch people who would commonly be labeled as nerds in our society find home while avoiding being stuffed in dumpsters (I will never forgive you Susie Mayberry).

100. School of Rock (2003)
Rock isn’t just a genre of music, it’s a verb, an essence and a way of life. Any future teachers should check out the gift Black extends to his class. Notable for some pre-iCarly iCarly and the most number of kids in a film who I was not annoyed by. Freeze framing the shot of the music history chart on the chalk board will hold some pleasant surprises for the avant-garde music lovers, you sickos.

99. Three…Extremes (technically the 2nd one) (2004)
I never understood why Audition was considered a horror film. It was really a slow burning romance that featured an ending so extreme and out of nowhere that audiences have forgotten the sweet romance from the previous hour and forty minutes. Unfortunately Miike is now labeled as a master of horror when he is just a master of the extreme (Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, Zebraman). Three great directors of Asia (Park, Chan, Miike) compile short films that are nice additions to their own omnibuses.

98. The Visitor (2007)
Finally Richard Jenkins gets a lead role after much little screen time in many movies causing quite a few Why-hasn’t-this-guy-been-a-lead-yet?s

97. Lost in Translation (2003)
Bill Murray proves he is one of the only original SNL members who can stay fresh long after the change in line up on Saturday Night Live. Exclude Garfield.

96. Tropic Thunder (2008)
Absolutely floored me when the film went into the existential, “I know who I am! I’m the dude playin’ a dude disguised as another dude!” says Downey’s Lazarus. Who really is this dude? The audience wonders. It didn’t help when the film brought on the metaphysical (“I don’t read the script, script reads me.”)

95. Tokyo! (2008)
Another omnibus film from two French guys and a Korean that, on paper, sounds quite a bit like the two films for New York City and Paris. When viewing the film however it seems the directors were not afraid to make criticisms of Japanese society while still conveying a wonderment in the immerison of the streets of Tokyo. While Bong Joon-ho’s was the favorite, Gondry and Carax’s fit in nicely. Interesting how these directors from very different ilks have been able to create films that feel distinctly Japanese. Does setting have anything to do with it?

94. Choke (2008)

93. The American Astronaut (2001)

92. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
Kind of like Douglas Adam’s goodbye to the world/venture to the the restaurant. Should’ve put this in as #42 but I couldn’t risk making this even more cheesy than it already is.

91. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Throughout the making of this list I watched some other movies that should be in here.

1. Kamikaze Girls (2004)

2. The Brothers Bloom (2009)

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