Thursday, March 15, 2007

Movie Round-Up for 2006

1. Clean (Olivier Assayas)-Incredible international film about a mother trying to find her way back from collapse, only to discover that a life worth living requires tremendous effort.
2. A Very Long Engagement (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)-Visual stunner from the man who made Amelie. This one about a young woman searching for her lover who vanished on the front during WWI.
3. Punishment Park (Peter Watkins)-Made the year I was born, yet never released in this country until last year. Rather relevant morality tale on the treacherous road we wander when laws like the Patriot Act are enacted. Scary interpretation of fundamentalist right-wing conservative values put into action.
4. You Me & Everyone We Know (Miranda July)-Sweet movie about people struggling to find true human connection, exactly like we all do every day. The type of movie I always imagined making.
5. Primer (Shane Carruth)-Strange, no budget film about two men who accidentally discover a method to move through time, but once they start to use their invention all sense of order collapses.
6. Look At Me (Agnes Jaoui)-Moving story about a young woman whose father is a famous author and all of the people who get sucked into their lives. It's interesting to see the evolution of the heart and how the notion of fame affects people.
7. Manufacturing Consent (Mark Achbar, Peter Wintonick)-Revealing documentary following Noam Chomsky and his views on how the media controls so much of our lives.
8. Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus (Andrew Douglas)-Cinematic documentary following musician Jim White and how the South affects Americana music.
9. Being Julia (Istvan Szabo)-Amazing vehicle for Annette Benning to once again show us her fabulous, energetic fluidity that raises her above the general mundane of acting in this day and age.
10. Distant (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)-Turkish film about a quiet photographer who welcomes his jobless cousin into his home for a brief period. A very sparse script that was probably shorter than this review. Photographic perfection.
11. How to Draw a Bunny (John W. Walter)-Obscure Documentary following the life of artist Ray Johnson and the idiosyncrasies that guided him through life and death.
12. Duck Season (Fernadno Eimbcke)-A day in the life of four youngsters living in Mexico City; Two teenage boys who are best friends, their neighbor a teenage girl and the pizza delivery guy.
13. Dave Chappelle's Block Party (Michel Gondry)-Diverse Documentary following Dave Chappelle as he puts on a block party in Brooklyn with a once in a lifetime concert. Acts such as The Roots, Kanye West, Mos Def, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, The Dead Prez and even The Fugees lend a hand.
14. A Snake of June (Shinya Tsukamoto)-Crazy movie (filmed in blue light to represent water) about a woman who is blackmailed into performing erotic feats of fancy that eventually devolves into total confusion.
15. Art School Confidential (Terry Zwigoff)-Take the art class scenes in Ghost world and expand them into ninety minutes worth of footage, add a plot-line of twisted murder and voila, you have a great movie!
16. The New World (Terrence Malik)-Malik has the ability to create a movie that is more than just the story (in this case the famous story of Pocohontas and James Smith). What comes through the lens is more powerful than any plot he tries to guide the scenery around. A visual masterpiece.
17. 5 Sides of a Coin (Paul Kell)-Riveting Documentary following the rise of Hip-hop and its affect on world culture.
18. Brick (Rian Johnson)-Noirish murder mystery told in the halls of a local american high school that weaves with the cinematic aura of the golden age.
19. Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice)- Spanish film from the early seventies about the effects of Spain's civil war on a small village in the countryside, mainly on the life of a young girl with a big imagination.
20. The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach)-I have to admit that this one hit a bit close to home, trying to grow up in the eighties with unhappy parents who didn't love each other. This movie was extremely sad, but it has wonderful performances and a soundtrack by Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham have that.



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