movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

2005 HUMBY'S: top 10

10. SIN CITY

SIN CITY was simply the best time that I had at the movies this year. It has everything… cool characters… great dialogue… badass action… and it is based on a Frank Miller comic. I have said this before, but I am going to say it again… SIN CITY is the best adaptation of a comic that has ever been made. It is the pure visualization of Miller’s story put directly on screen. The result it a damn good time. At its core, this is a film noir. Stark, high contrast black and white photography, the witty over slick way of speaking, and stories of revenge, damsels in distress, and looking good while kicking ass. What is there not to like about it? My favorite of the stories is the first one, involving Marv (Mickey Rourke) going after the men that killed the only person that was ever nice to him, a prostitute by the name of Goldie. Nothing can stop him as he blasts his way through the opposition and comes out the other side, a bloody mess. Congratulations to Rodriguez and Miller for making the coolest movie of 2005.

9. NOBODY KNOWS

The plot is simple… Three children are abandoned by their single mother and left to fend for themselves for a year in Tokyo. Based on a true story, NOBODY KNOWS is a sweet and heartbreaking film. The pace is slow, but that allows the audience to feel the time passing along with the kids and really get to know them. The oldest is given the responsibility of caring for the rest and keeping everything from falling apart. Since the cast is comprised of children, the film was shot over the period of a year so that the cast would grow up in front of the camera. The patience to take this approach pays off in the final product. You feel bad for the kids, but develop an admiration for their strength. Nothing can break them apart. There is nothing stronger than family.

8. OLDBOY

OLDBOY is the second part of a trilogy of vengeance by Korean director Chan Wook Park. A man is imprisoned for fifteen years, but has no idea why. When released, he goes on a mission of singular focus to find out not only who is responsible, but more importantly… why. After 15 years of solitude, he is a little crazy, hallucinating and having difficulties with social interaction (to say the least), but we are with him on this journey of discovery. Why was his life taken from him? The answer is shocking and disturbing, as are other discoveries made along the way. There are a few moments that are over done here, but the journey is worth it. It will shock you, confuse you, and amaze you.

7. THE CONSTANT GARDNER

Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Socially important. This follow up to CITY OF GOD by director Fernando Meirelles is reassurance that he is the real deal. One of the greats. THE CONSTANT GARDNER is a story of how true love drives a man through a journey of self-discovery. Once he finds his wife dead, Justin tries to find out why, leading to a series of events where, finding out facts about his wife and her work, he gets to know her in a way that he never did while she was alive. These discoveries are intercut with flashbacks of their relationship and he ends up with a mixture of regret and love. While he was in love with Tessa, Justin gains an admiration for her that was absent before. With this respect, his love grows deeper, propelling him deeper into the web of intrigue. The farther along he gets, he sees the injustice that Tessa was fighting, and his motivations change from curiosity to a need to continue her fight. There is a lot going on here and the movie does get bogged down in the suspense portion of the story, but it is still a great film. There is a scene in the middle of the film that is the culmination of the flashbacks that just breaks my heart every time I see it. Justin is confronted by the loss of his wife when he goes to their hose in London for the first time since she has died. By this time you are able to understand the loss of Tessa with him and feel exactly what he is going through. First-rate filmmaking.

6. SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE

MR. VENGEANCE is the first part in Chan Wook Park’s vengeance trilogy. Ryu (who is deaf and dumb) will do anything to safe the life of his sick sister, quickly gets in over his head as events spiral out of control, leading to disastrous results. You understand everything that Ryu does throughout the film, even when it leads to unthinkable acts. There is a logic to the events that engages you as a filmgoer, so that you experience the tragedy as it takes place. There are no “bad guys” in SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, just people. Everyone makes mistakes and horrible things happen. There is no way to stop this, you only feed into the destruction. I don’t want to get into the details of the story, so I won’t describe scenes that point to the greatness of this film, but there are many. Part of the journey is to watch everything unfold until you reach all of the tragic consequences that come from vengeance.

5. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

A love story. There is something so simple, yet complex about trying to make a movie about real love. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN gets into the complexity of a forbidden love in a time that had little to no tolerance for homosexuality. This lack of tolerance is not only from society, but also from the lead character himself. Ennis was raised to think of homosexuality as bad, something that should be punished, and if he lets it “takes hold”, will ruin his life. These conflicts combined with the intensity of his love for Jack, leads to Ennis hating himself. He can never embrace this love and will torture himself for the majority of his life because of it. He hates himself for his fear and he hates Jack for the love that they have. Spanning twenty years, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is an epic story of the power and the pain of true love.

4. SYRIANA

The entire world is dependent on oil, which is in limited supply and is running out. SYRIANA is about what people, governments, and societies will do for the control of what is left. This is not a film that points fingers (despite popular opinion), it simply raises questions. These questions have no answer; they just lead to bigger and more complex questions. Many people seem to have a problem with the fact that SYRIANA appears over complicated and don’t understand all of the connections between the multitudes of characters. That is not a bad thing. The subject is over complicated. Everything is not supposed to make complete sense. If it did, there would be a solution to the problem. What SYRIANA asks the audience to do is just absorb what is presented. Relax, pay attention, and take it all it. A friend of mine compared it to one of those pictures that you look at, relax your eyes and slowly, you are able to see a 3-D image. With this particular film, the “image” is an abstract painting. It is okay that this movie is complicated and challenging. SYRIANA should make you think about the problem, not provide an explanation.

3. MUNICH

MUNICH is Steven Spielberg’s best film since SCHINDLER’S LIST. It is also the most bold and controversial film of his career. This, like SYRIANA, doesn’t pretend to answer a difficult question; it just presents the question in an interesting way and lets the audience think about it. What is the proper way to respond to an act of terrorism? Is there a proper response? What happens when you respond to violence with more violence? The movie looks at Israel’s response to the attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics and what it did to the people involved. MUNICH looks not only at why Israel is seeking vengeance, but also why Palestine is fighting and what they are fighting for. Not take sides, it presents the arguments and demands discussion. In today’s political climate, everyone should look at MUNICH and think about the consequences of our actions. Retaliation is complicated and the result is not always what we think it might be. “An eye for an eye leaves the world blind.” - Gandhi

2. GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK

“This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.” – Edward R. Murrow (1958)
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK is not about Murrow or McCarthy, it is about a single moment in history… a moment where a broadcasting giant stood up to the most feared man in America and said, “No. You can’t do that.” Murrow took a stand for the people that couldn’t. It was not about going after communists, it was about the fact that the government was infringing on its citizen’s civil liberties in the process. I have heard criticism that this film is nothing more than a civics lesson or a documentary. It is a docu-drama and one of the best that I have seen. The use on real footage is not a hindrance, but a benefit, adding realism to the subject matter. This is not a civics lesson, but it raises important and relevant questions. How far is too far for the government to go? How can people stand up for themselves? I am glad that a filmmaker has the courage to raise these questions and not sugar coat them. This is the type of responsibility that Murrow was speaking about in 1958 when he spoke to the Radio and Television News Directors Association about the future of the media. There is a place for pure entertainment, but there should always be a place for something to inspire and provoke intelligent discussion. GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK is a film that does that. It is exciting, entertaining and extremely relevant. I am glad that movies like this are able to get made and still get some attention in today’s society.

1. 2046

2046 is the most raw and purely emotional film I have seen in a long time. Beautiful in its pain, it never flinches when looking at the consequence of love. This is a love story, but not one that we are used to watching. It is, however, one that most everyone has experienced... You fall in love, but it ends and you are left alone to pick up the pieces and start over again. Before you see 2046, I recommend that you go out and rent IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, the unofficial prequel. Here, we meet Chow and experience the love that eventually destroys him. Having seen and loved IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, I came into 2046, knowing and caring about Chow. It is important to understand who he is and what he has gone through, because he is a total bastard here. He is destroyed emotionally, so he inadvertently destroys the women that come into his life. Because Chow can’t get over the events of his past, he cannot achieve the happiness that he so desires. There is no hope that he can see. 2046 is a movie that I saw as I was going through a difficult time in my life, allowing me to connect in a very personal way. This clouds my opinion of the film, sure, but one’s “favorite” is, by definition, a personal choice. I make no apologies. This is a phenomenal film and one that everyone should check out.

BEST OF 2004:

1. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTTLESS MIND
2. CLOSER
3. HERO
4. SIDEWAYS
5. MILLION DOLLAR BABY
6. SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER & SPRING
7. THE AVIATOR
8. BEFORE SUNSET
9. THE INCREDIBLES
10. BROTHERHOOD OF WAR

BEST OF 2003:

1. CITY OF GOD
2. IN AMERICA
3. COLD MOUNTAIN
4. 21 GRAMS
5. LOST IN TRANSLATION
6. RETURN OF THE KING
7. THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS
8. FOG OF WAR
9. KILL BILL volume 1
10. FINDING NEMO

BEST OF 2002:

1. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE
2. ROAD TO PERDITION
3. CHICAGO
4. SPIRITED AWAY
5. THE PIANIST
6. THE HOURS
7. FAR FROM HEAVEN
8. BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE
9. CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND
10. NARC

1 Comments:

Blogger lucdaring said...

When we agree we really agree, but when we don't, I have to simply assume that you are drunk. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE was the best film of, 2002, but to put ROAD TO PERDITION as your number 2 made me sad. There are some great shots in it, and the acting is superb, but the film falls flat (mainly because of the child actor and his useless narration). Moving on to 2003, where you slated COLD MOUNTAIN as your number 3. A very good choice, but then I see that LOST IN TRANSLATION is number 5, but that's not the travesty (what I am saying is that LOST IN TRANSLATION was just not that good). One of my favorite films of 2003, BIG FISH, didn't even crack your top 10. Poop to you sir. You get it as right as you can in 2004. ETERNAL SUNSHINE was fantastic and the rest of your list is admirable. We would have gotten along great in 2K4. Evidentally I should have been ashamed of myself in 2005, because I only saw 3 of your top 10, but I definitely would move BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN to the top of my 2K5 list. Not mad about any of these choices, but a foreign as number 1? Bold choice. Next thing you will be telling me is that Kurosawa is a better director than Schumacher, just cuz he's foreign and artsy. Hmmph. Seriously though, I gotta think that you're gonna go foreign again this year, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

10:05 PM  

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