Saturday, January 19, 2008

At Keyboard

Back at keyboard.

It has been a dreadful few months, but I won't talk about that.

What I will talk about is some of the absolutely brilliant movies I watched in the last year or so. Unexpected movies. Surprising movies. Riveting even.

Inland Empire - David Lynch
Zodiac - David Fincher
Grindhouse - Tarantino and Rodriguez
No Country For Old Men - Coen Brothers
There Will Be Blood - P.T. Anderson

In a fit of stupor I will compare the above 5 to a meal at a restaurant:

Inland Empire - is like one of those whacko meals in a fancy restaurant where you don't even know what the ingredients are. Surprisingly good, once the whole things is eaten, all of the ingredients blend together satisfyingly. This is a masterpiece of narrative threads woven into a whole. Can Lycnh extend this idea even further?

Zodiac - is like a really great burger. However, once you finish it, you realize that there were some unexpected ingredients that continue to surprise you. Personally, I think this is Fincher's most subversive movie yet. The system fails and only the work of an obsessive produces any answer at all. I look forward to see what he does next to see if this a turning point, or merely a dead-end detour.

Grindhouse - is like a one of those big meals at an Asian restaurant where there are many plates to try. Unfortunately, one of the dishes is only mediocre, while the other is well-crafted. I don't think Tarantino's part (Death Proof) is as perfect as some say. For one, his ridiculously crafted dialogue can grate, but overall it is still a nice piece of filmmaking. Need to see the DVD for the extended scenes.

No Country For Old Men - is like a rare tenderloin, perfectly and expertly cooked to perfection. There are no vegetables or sauces, nothing extraneous. The Coen brothers expertly extract both a taut thriller and some existential meaning from McCarthy's novel (no, I have not read it yet). Beautifully shot and wonderfully silent for long stretches. The ending is unexpected. The rug is pulled from under the audience. This movie is both familiar and bizarrely unexpected. Alien.

There Will Be Blood - is a perfectly made yet high calorie dessert with multiple layers and surprising ingredients in every layer. I have heard one critic describe this as "no matter what you think of this movie, you will have to watch it, and you will have to wrestle with it". This movie and No Country For Old Men will in my opinion fight to the death at the Oscars this year. Both are expertly shot, excellent sound, fantastic acting (or overacting?) and expertly directed. That type of synergy leads to many awards. TWBB throbs in your subconscious like an itch you can't scratch. The ending is brilliant, and will likely lead to hate it/love it divisions. Just a character piece, or can far greater meaning be extracted from this surprising movie. I will definitely have to see all of Anderson's work, but I have to ask, where does he go from here.

That definitely makes for a full stomach/brain. What can we expect in 2008? More great cinema, or a crash. I can't wait to look back on 2007 from say, 2017. Will these hold up over time?

Other movies I watched:

Rescue Dawn - Herzog
Juno - Reitman
3:10 To Yuma - Mangold
SpiderMan3 - Raimi
The Simpsons - Silverman
Sicko - Moore
The Darjeeling Limited - Anderson
Children Of Men - Cuaron
Pan's Labyrinth - del Toro

Movies I wished I hadn't seen:


Movies I want to see: Too many to count. Over 600 releases in 2007? Too many.

Netflix ate up the rest of my time.