In my post about my favorite movies seen in 2008, I predicted I’d be able to see 100 in 2009. Ha! I didn’t even reach 50 (see the list below). But that’s OK! I’ve been happily busy in my work, and that’s a great thing to have had during ’09 especially.
Throughout 2010, I’ll continue to maintain a running list of good movies in the right-hand column of this blog. And since I’m part of what Wired calls “the cult of the somewhat delayed,” (via Kottke) I plan to be seeing a lot of 2009 and 2008 releases during 2010. I’ll start with Roger Ebert’s picks for best picture of 2009 (I haven’t seen any of the 10 mainstream or 10 independent titles listed), best ’09 animated films (I’ve seen 3/10), best ’09 foreign films (1/15), <EDIT> (I left this link off) best ’09 documentaries (0/10)</EDIT> and best films of the decade (12/20), because I like his approach to lists, recognizing that it’s a subjective process and that the “top 10” is an arbitrary number, and his blog gets good comments. Maybe I’ll start doing some reviews or ratings here too.
If you are into movies and want to connect with them through filmophile social networks, you can find me on Netflix Friends or The Auteurs.
Paris, Je T’aime
Saints & Soldiers
I Served the King of England
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Synecdoche, New York
Rachel Getting Married
The Big Lebowski
Being John Malkovich
Sita Sings the Blues
Divided We Fall
My Wife Is An Actress
Much Ado about Nothing
Waltz with Bashir
Tokyo! (but only Gondry’s Interior Design and Bong’s Shaking Tokyo, not Carax’s Merde. Fast-foward.)
Rudo y Cursi
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
Sólo con tu pareja
2 Days in Paris
This is England
Obsessed as I am of late with typography (having added more than 70 typography blogs to my RSS reader) I finally watched the doc Helvetica tonight. It’s given me a lot to chew on about design in general and type treatment in particular.
Then I surfed over to Apple’s trailers to add to my queue and found a real gem of a movie from Sweden that is the film I most want to see right now. Watch the trailer for Everlasting Moments and like me you may already find yourself smitten with this heroine photographer:
Finally, I saw a well executed, short film done for some Schweppes contest that clocks in at cute but not smarmy 12 minutes. See it here if you like.
Blindness is a movie I saw this week that I immediately added to my Facebook profile favorite movies: it was THAT good. Really though, it’s one of those movies that keeps you thinking about it days later as few others do (and for me at least, those that do all tend to be very difficult movies like Colors of Paradise and Late Marriage).
Not only that, its cinematography was beautiful. Fading to white and blurred shots were used consciously because the “white blindness” was an integral part of the story. Thus, the poster above—which makes a darkly playful reference to eye charts—has a brilliant tie-in to both the subject material and the look of the movie.
Contrast that with the whale of a fail below: I was shocked to see this as the DVD cover design. Not only does the cropping of the headshots and the bottom still evoke your average 2-star horror flick, the color black is opposite of what the film’s core. The blindness of Blindness is explicitly white; it was if those afflicted “were caught in a mist or had fallen into a milky sea,” the original novel says.
What do you think? The milky white movie poster or the dark black DVD cover?
Yesterday I watched the Critics’ Choice Awards on Vh1 and I was pleasantly surprised. To me, it’s an ideal awards ceremony. Low-key (only 14 years running) yet many top stars attend. Not nearly as long or grating as the Oscars: no host as far as I can tell, and they spent about 15-20 seconds tops recapping each nominee (snapshot-style video graphics which I liked a lot). After announcing the winners they still gave award recipients time enough to say their acceptance speech and thank yous without drowning them out in wrap-it-up music (NSFW). I could hardly believe they spent 10 minutes on Richard Gere’s work with Tibet.
And the winners were? Slumdog Millionaire swept quite a few, including best picture, best writer and best director (Danny Boyle), Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) and Meryl Streep (Doubt) tied for best actress, Sean Penn (Milk) for best actor, Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) for best supporting actor and Kate Winslet (The Reader) for best supporting actress.
Awards shows aren’t everything, but they do help people decide which films might be worth watching. I can definitely say that the nominated films for the Critics’ Choice Awards are firmly at the top of my list. I suppose this gala counts less than the Golden Globes or Academy Awards–there are many fewer categories for example–but it was engrossing enough to keep me in on a Friday night and I look forward to it next year.