Tag Archives: movies

Good movies seen in 2009

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.

American Teen
Paris, Je T’aime
Saints & Soldiers
Revolutionary Road
Blindness
I Served the King of England
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Helvetica
Synecdoche, New York
Rachel Getting Married
The Wackness
The Big Lebowski
American Beauty
Slumdog Millionaire
Pan’s Labyrinth
Punch-Drunk Love
Wit
Being John Malkovich
Delicatessen
Rushmore
Milk
Sita Sings the Blues
Frozen River
Divided We Fall
My Wife Is An Actress
Much Ado about Nothing
Coraline
Funny People
Waltz with Bashir
Tokyo! (but only Gondry’s Interior Design and Bong’s Shaking Tokyo, not Carax’s Merde. Fast-foward.)
Objectified
Nursery University
Rudo y Cursi
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
Young@Heart
Sólo con tu pareja
The Informant!
Paris 36
The Class
Closer
High Fidelity
Doubt
2 Days in Paris
This is England
Henry Fool
Un Secret

Visual communication (on the big screen)

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.

DVD cover fail: the case of Blindness

blindness

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?

blindnessdvd1

Critics’ Choice Awards 2008

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.

Good movies seen in 2008

I love movies, but I didn’t get to see many films at all for the first 2/3 of the year while I was living and traveling in Europe and had better things to do. None of them were super new releases (as much as I love the Sundance festival I see more through Netflix). I am remedying that now though. I am choosing my next must-see titles from my reaction to Apple trailers and the reviews of the critics I read most: Kenneth Turan, A.O. Scott, Bob Mondello and Roger Ebert. I’m also sifting through Slate.com’s movie critics’ 11-part review of 2008.

From earliest to most recently seen:
The Darjeeling Limited
Spanglish
Death at a Funeral
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Lars and The Real Girl
The Savages
Eastern Promises
The Counterfeiters
No Country for Old Men
Ratatouille
Dan in Real Life
Son of Rambow
In Bruges
Persepolis
The Lives of Others
Be Kind Rewind
The Edukators
Juno
Talk to Me
There Will Be Blood
Priceless
Tropic Thunder
Wall-E
Charlie Wilson’s War
La Ley de Herodes
The Dark Knight
Bringing Up Baby
In the Mood for Love
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Flight of the Red Balloon
Burn After Reading
Walk Hard
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

If I keep this up, I may be able to watch about 100 movies in 2009.