Sunday, July 4, 2010

A few of my favorite films of '09

Love Exposure - In summary, A 4 hour long epic masterpiece about religion, panty-shots and unrequited love, by Japanese director of Suicide Circle, Sion Sono. The soundtrack is killer. If I've had enough caffeine the climax makes me shake. Despite the fact that this is 4 hours long, it'll suck you in immediately, and it's a joy to watch throughout. Truly a must-see, dynamic film, and my personal pick for favorite of last year for sentimental reasons.

Breathless - The main character in this film is a violent angry bastard. He's had a fucked up past, which is shown via flashbacks, and hatred and resentment is embedded deeply within him, which he takes out on everyone he is involved with. The plot revolves around his chance encounter with a girl who has an equally fucked up past and has her own share of negativity, and their relationship together, and his progression as a person. The score is rather minimal but incredibly moving, it will induce chills at certain moments. The ending is so heartrending, and his character comes around so drastically, you'll just have to see it for yourself. Never has a movie made me cry like this movie did, and I don't cry often watching movies. This is one of the best films I've seen in a very, very long time.

Dogtooth - Such a strange and surreal vision, in the same vein as a Michael Haneke film, Dogtooth is subtly unnerving in such an indirect manner. This film is a depiction of a family who completely shelters their children from the outside world, controlling every aspect of their lives as they see fit, in turn creating a twisted and deranged family unit. This movie is crazy - literally. Partially due to the acting which is incredibly convincing on a psychological level, and the directing which takes you captive and holds you hostage in this warped fictional world, never flinching for a moment. The ending could have been, well, a little more, maybe. But sometimes less is more. Get ready for pornography, ritualized spazz-outs and cat killing with garden shears.

Antichrist - This was a really challenging movie for me. I've seen it exactly two times and I will never ever watch it again. It is the culmination of the neurotic state caught on camera. Lars Von Trier portrays mental decay, despair, insanity, anxiety and all of the underlying themes of chaos in nature, death and suffering that cause these states, then he neatly organizes them into one coherent and terrifying film, complete with allusions to adam and eve. I'd say that this is the most unnerving thing I've ever had the displeasure of watching. However, that being said it was expertly crafted and a true work of art, which is why I'm putting it on this list. If you're a masochist, you might find some enjoyment in watching this movie. If you're a fragile person, steer clear; Antichrist will leave an imprint.

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
- Ahhhh, this refreshingly stands out in stark, bright contrast to Antichrist. Full of vibrant colors and a soaring imagination, Ponyo is a quaint, light-hearted adventure in a fashion only Studio Ghibli can deliver. The first thing you'll notice is that the visuals and the quality of animation are absolutely stunning, by far Studio Ghibli's best work to date. The plot is of course outlandish and geared towards kids, but the characters and world is filled with magic and sparkles with such life that even adults can enjoy. Although Up was probably the better movie, Ponyo was my personal favorite so it made the list instead.

The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call - New Orleans - At the time of the shooting, with Nicolas Cage going through a financial meltdown, I can't help but feel as if his performance in this roll was REAL. That he was actually stressed out of his mind, actually smoking crack, actually seeing iguanas that weren't there. He's one of those actors you can't pinpoint what he's really like off set. He's been in some amazing roles, and on the contrary, he's been in some downright shitty ones as well. Does he do the shitty ones for the money, knowing they're shitty, playing the role with a hint of irony? Or is he just kind of a douche bag who happens to hit gold every once in while. Me? I'm a fan. His performance in The Bad Lieutenant was completely hilarious and awesome - the epitome of a "badass." In addition, there's a plethora of memorable lines such as the sure to be legendary, "Shoot him again. His soul's still dancin'" If you haven't seen this movie, do so immediately, its one of last year's best.


  1. Cage was fucking brilliant in BL, my favorite movie of last year.

  2. Explains a little, and makes me respect him even more.