Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Film: Some Irresistible Film Lists

Lists: some people hate them but I can’t get enough them, especially film lists.

I’ve been making film lists for years but it’s been ages since I compiled my favourite 100 films. I remember 8 ½ , 2001: A Space Odyssey, Wages of Fear, Badlands, Taxi Driver, Vertigo and Viranda made it into the top 10 circa 1997; I don’t know where they would be now and I don't know when I'll have the time to find out. Anyway, without further ado, let the listing - in no particular order - commence.

Best Films of 09

The Unloved (Samantha Morton)
This semi-autobiographical film about a child filtering from abusive father to the care system was my most heartbreaking experience of the year. It was first shown on CH4 but now has a well-deserved cinema release.
Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson)
The rarest of things: an original and successful horror film that's so much more!
Moon (Duncan Jones)
The best debut of the year that cements Sam Rockwell's reputation as one of the greatest yet underrated actors of his generation.
The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)
It's already a cliche to say this was the movie Mickey Rourke was born to be in, but it's so right. It's also great to see Aronofsky resuscitated after the disastrous The Fountain.
The Children (Tom Shankland)
A film on par with Rosemary's Baby and The Omen as a horror to prevent another baby boom.
Drag Me To Hell (Sam Rami)
Great to see Rami is back to doing what he does best: horror Evil Dead stylee!
Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Jean-Francois Richet)
Mesrine: Public Enemy No.1 (Jean-Francois Richet)
Vincent Cassel excels as Mesrine raising hell in France and Canada.
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
Tension of the most unbearable kind has never been done so well so recently.
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle)
Story telling at its most exuberant.

Best Films I Saw In 09

Raise Ravens (Carlos Saura, 1976)
The Silent Partner (Daryl Duke, 1976)
4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days(Cristian Mugiu, 2007)
My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007)
You, the Living (Roy Andersson, 2007)
Edge of Heaven (Faith Akin, 2007)
The Mist (Frank Darabont, 2007)
I’ve Loved You So Long (Philippe Cludel, 2008)
Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008)
Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)

Films Of 09 I Can’t Wait To See

35 Shots of Rum
An Education
Fish Tank
A Serious Man
The Hide
Henri-Georges Cluzot’s Inferno
Inglurious Basterds
(funny how the adverts had to call it Inglurious but Stephen Fry's smooth talking Bar-Steward in the 90's Heineken Export adverts were green lit)
Johnny Mad Dog
Katalin Varga
Red Cliff
Tony Manero
The White Ribbon

Top 10 Films of the last decade (2000’s/Noughties)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007)
You, the Living (Roy Andersson, 2007)
Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
Once (John Carney, 2006)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)
Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
Head-On (Faith Akin, 2004)
Morven Caller (Lynne Ramsey, 2002)
City of God (Fernando Meirelles, 2002)
Jesus’ Son (Alison Maclean, 1999 – but released in 2000)

The Film Of 09 Which Most Felt Like A Shovel To The Head
(aka Bad Idea For A Date Movie

Previous winners of The Film Which Most Felt Like A Shovel To The Head were Funny Games (Haneke!), The Piano Teacher (Hanekeeeeee!), Wolf Creek, Flex and, for different reasons, a short film aptly named Dick.

Although Martyrs wasn't far behind, Antichrist wins this year. Lars Von Trier's film left me both exhilarated and numbed as it skated so closely to portentousness and preposterousness (eg, the slow motion showering of acorns over Dafoe - funny/weird) yet managed moments of sublime beauty and sheer horror; it's endlessly provocative and intriguing. For me it didn't match the emotional intensity of Breaking the Waves or the uncanny madness of The Kingdom but it did stay with me for weeks, much to my dismay. And thanks to Antichrist (and Insides is guilty of this, too) scissors will never be the same again.

Biggest Disappointment Of 2009

Previous winners have been Eyes Wide Shut and the films of Dario Argento 98 onwards (that's 5 films and counting).

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button wins hands down. After David Fincher's great run of films (particularly Fight Club and Zodiac) TCCOBB was such a let down. Overlong, not half as thought provoking as it thought it was and dull. If it had any redeemable features it was the special effects, in fact the whole movie is an excuse for the special effects. It is worth watching Brad Pitt as an old wrinkly baby, after which it's time to switch it off and put your copy on ebay.

Please don't do that to me again, Fincher...

On Writing #6: Article in Public Domain

An article I wrote - which I mentioned in the On Writing #3 7/12/09 blog - is being published in February’s edition of Fibromyalgia Focus. Having been sent a pdf copy of the magazine for proofing I've had a sneak preview. My article lies near the centre of the magazine and covers two pages and includes one photograph. I'm excited and nervous.

All I can do now is hope that it resonates with the readers - and that the stabs at humour work.

I’m going to read through the magazine’s 24 pages and hope that my article fits snugly between the other articles.

It’s quite nerve racking anticipating what the general response will be, if any. Also, I'm not too keen on reading the article again: it’s been several weeks since I last read it and I’m sure I’ll see something in it that I will want to change, but then again it's been through a few edits so there shouldn't be anything too drastically in need of change.

Off the top of my head, there is one aspect of the article I would like to change: the photograph of my mother and I. The photograph is two years old. Ideally I would have liked to have issued a more up to date photo but sadly that wasn’t possible at the time due us being 300 miils apart.