Monday, December 28, 2009

Tyler's 2009 Year in Review

Best Films of 2009:
Antichrist (Director: Lars von Trier)
Inglourious Basterds (Director: Quentin Tarantino)
Polytechnique (Director: Denis Villeneuve)
Lymelife (Director: Derick Martini)
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (Director: Mark Hartley)
The Brothers Bloom (Director: Rian Johnson)

Honorable Mentions:
Pontypool (Director: Bruce McDonald)
Thirst (Director: Chan-wook Park)
Bronson (Director: Nicolas Winding Refn)
Tetro (Director: Francis Ford Coppola)
The Damned United (Director: Tom Hooper)

Best Performances of 2009:
Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa in "Inglourious Basterds"
Charlotte Gainsbourg as She in "Antichrist"
Willem Dafoe as He in "Antichrist"
Tom Hardy as Charles Bronson (aka Michael Peterson) in "Bronson"
Michael Sheen as Brian Clough in "The Damned United"
Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell in "Moon"
Timothy Hutton as Charlie Bragg in "Lymelife"

Worst Films (If you can even call them films...) of 2009:
2012 (Director: Roland Emmerich)
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Director: Chris Weitz)
Observe and Report (Director: Jody Hill)
Brüno (Director: Larry Charles)
Halloween II (Director: Rob Zombie)

Films I'm still waiting for the chance to see from 2009:
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Director: Werner Herzog)
The Road (Director: John Hillcoat)
Collapse (Director: Chris Smith)
[Rec] 2 (Directors: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza)
The Loved Ones (Director: Sean Byrne)

Here's hoping we get some great films in 2010 as well!

*Updated: Finally took in "Antichrist".

- Tyler

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Skot's year end breakdown

Best films of 2009:
Pontypool (Directed By Bruce McDonald)
Moon (Directed by Duncan Jones)
Bakjwi aka Thirst (Directed by Chan Wook-Park)
Cold Souls (Directed By Sophie Barthes)
Anvil: The Story of Anvil (Directed by Sacha Gervasi)

Honorable Mentions:
You Might as well Live (Directed by Simon Ennis)
The Damned United ( Directed by Tom Hooper)
Inglorious Basterds (Directed by Quintin Tarantino)
Surveillance (Directed by Jennifer Lynch)
Tetro (Directed By Francis Ford Coppola)

Favorite Performances of 2009:
Sam Rockwell in “Moon”
Stephen McHattie in “Pontypool”
Ok Bin-Kim in “Bakjwi”
Michael Sheen in “The Damned United”
Vincent Gallo in “Tetro”

Worst “Films” of 2009:
Observe and Report
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
Friday the 13th

I'm still anxiously awaiting the chance to see:
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
The Road
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scott's top films of 2009

My New Year's resolution for 2010 is to make a banner for my posts. Until then here are my top ten films of 2009:

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. Moon
3. Thirst
4. Where the Wild Things Are
5. Ingourious Basterds
6. The Informant!
7. Pontypool
8. You Might As Well Live
9. Cold Souls
10. Watchmen

Films I wish I could've seen before I made this list:
1. The Road
2. Antichrist
3. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
4. Up In The Air
5. Bad Lieutenant

Amber's Jambers on films from 2009

Tops of 2009 (thought I had 5, but I only have 4)
1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. Inglorious Bastards
3. Where the Wild Things Are
4. Julie and Julia (yeah that's right, Julie and Julia)

1. Avatar
2. Away we go
3. Men Who Stare At Goats
4. Brothers
5. Time Traveler's Wife

Films that I can’t believe I still haven’t seen
1. Moon
2. Polytechnique
3. A Serious Man
4. Brothers Bloom
5. Thirst

Films I can’t believe I sat through
1. Confessions of a Shopaholic
2. He’s Just Not That Into You
3. Bruno
4. 17 Again
5. Paul Blart Mall Cop

2009 Films I’m peeing my pants in anticipation of their arrival in Saskatoon!
1. Antichrist
2. The Road
3. Satisfaction (or whatever title this Miranda July project ends up with)

The film that would be on my best of list if Tyler Baptist would be less militant about release dates
1. Let the Right One In

Friday, December 18, 2009

OBSERVE AND REPORT - Faster, Seth Rogen, Die, Die

 Written and Directed by : Jody Hill

Seth Rogen
Anna Feris
Ray Liotta
Michael Pena
Collette Wolfe

Though it may make my skin crawl, I need to begin this exploration in to the insipid state of popular comedy with a personal tale. Two or three years ago I was at some kind of family gathering, if not Christmas then thanksgiving, and had just finished dismissing Judd Appatow's highly overrated “Knocked up” to a few of my cousins, specifically sighting the ever smug-to-be-useless Seth Rogen. Who could be engaged by such bland, one-note performance? Is he really so surprised that he's employed in a Hollywood picture that he can't stop grinning like that for a single frame? Is he a cardboard cut-out with a “Press here for dick joke” button attached to him? Okay, before anyone complains, he also jokes about other sex organs and bodily functions, but that's about the size of his dynamic range. Before I really got around to detailing this though, one of my relatives noted “That surprises me, I was just saying how much he reminded me of you”.

Time stood still for a second as I thought to myself “I sure hope she just means that we're both overweight”. I mustered a chuckle, feigned good humor and tried to change the subject as the room began to spin and I descended in to grim and unflattering introspection. A lot of suicides in the holiday season, I thought.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Maybe there's a little wild animal in all of us?

The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Released November 25th, 2009)
Directed by Wes Anderson
Screenplay by Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach
Adapted from the novel by Roald Dahl

"I'm a wild animal" and indeed no matter how much Mr. Fox desires to fulfill Mrs. Fox's expectations and by extension that of a middle class existence, he cannot. It is the tug of war between Mr. Fox's true nature and the constant pressure of society which underscores the Fantastic Mr. Fox. At the beginning of the film Mr. and Mrs. Fox (voiced splendidly by George Clooney and Meryl Streep) face an ever familiar crossroads when one is hurled reluctantly from the last tenants of adolescence into adulthood. In the case of Mr. and Mrs. Fox they find their particular crossroads in the form of fox trap at the exit of a squab coop. Felicity Fox chooses this moment of life and death to announce she's got a pup in the oven.

Fast forward some fox years later and we arrive at the familial home (or foxhole) complete with cub, and a reformed Mr. Fox, now a columnist for the local paper. But its hard to take the Vulpes vulpes out of the Vulpes vulpes.
Driven by a need to fill the void left by leaving his passions behind, like much of pre-recession USA, Mr. Fox indulges in the so-called American Dream. He moves the family on up - literally to a bigger, 'better' home (can we afford this? Mrs. Fox asks). Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, this new and shiny abode is surrounded on all sides by temptations that are irresistible to Fox of his nature (the bountiful farms of the greedy Bogus, Bunce and Beans). Mr. Fox's need to scratch his itch, puts not only his family but the rest of his furry friends in peril.

This nostalgia influenced stop animation world of cerebral minded foxes, badgers and possums clothed in Parisian style suits is the product of indie auteur Wes Anderson. An adaptation of a novel by another lanky, tall and well suited gentlemen, the late, ingenious British Children's author Roald Dahl. The Anderson - Dahl pairing is a truly 'fantastic' match. Roald Dahl's widow must also have approved, allowing Anderson not only to adapt the book but also to write the screenplay at Dahl's home, the Gypsy house. Its not too much of a stretch to guess Mr. Fox at least in appearance is the combination of the two men. In fact much of the settings are modeled on the author's home and surroundings.

Familial bonds (though strange and strained at times in Anderson's films) are themes that both the filmmaker and author often gravitate towards. Anderson twists the tale slightly with the insertion of Kristofferson (Eric Anderson, yup Wes' bro) the zen like, naturally athletic cousin sent to stay with the Fox's and seemingly disrupt the life of Ash their quirky- malcontent son (voiced by Jason Schwartzman). Ash and Kristofferson play out sibling rivalry of sorts we've seen from Bottle Rocket to Darjeeling Limited. In fact its not hard to (more like impossible not to) imagine the Fox's human counterparts. Mr. Fox is Steve Zissou/Royal Tenenbaum the distracted somewhat absentee father, Etheline Tenenbaum and Felicity Fox could swap places if not for the fur... you get the idea.

When published in 1970 the Fanatistic Mr. Fox was criticized for being anti capitalist, which now is in vogue rather than condemned. Though Anderson changed some of the ending (the book ends with the raid on the goods of the three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean), it stays true to the Dahl's implied criticisms and contempt for social institutions. After many a quivering fox hair, fox tears and family tribulations, Mr. Fox leads his family et. al., to his biggest score and success. They gain entry into that of the Supermarket owned by the three previously mentioned fat cats. The greedy three, Boggis, Bunce and Bean are left to go mad, forever trying to out fox the fox. The moral of this fable, shouldn't be too sly to slide by the adult audience, while the quirky comedy,fantastic cast and marvelous animation will keep the nine to twelves mesmerized.