movies, music and everything else

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

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I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

2006 HUMBY'S: director

10. Rian Johnson - BRICK
BRICK is a fascinating idea… a classic style film noir set in a high school. Rian Johnson takes this concept and with a very low budget, turns it into a great film. He pays homage to the great noirs of the 40’s and 50’s without ever seeming to copy, but instead, making it his own. It is a tight, intense and extremely well told story that oozes style.

9. Chan-wook Park – LADY VENGEANCE
With the third installment in the “vengeance trilogy (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, OLDBOY), Park again continues to prove that he is one of the most talented filmmakers in the world today. LADY VENGEANCE follows a woman who, once released from prison for a crime that she didn’t commit, embarks on a well planned journey of revenge. As with all of his films, there is much more below the surface. It is stacked with layers of morality and repercussions that weave with the intricate plot to form one of the best movies of the year.

8. Christopher Nolan – THE PRESTIGE
I don’t know if Nolan will ever equal his breakthrough film (MEMENTO), but what he has delivered a string of well crafted, thought provoking and entertaining films. THE PRESTIGE is about as well made as a movie can be. The plot twists and turns, leading to a harrowing conclusion. This is a film that really shows its true colors upon multiple viewings so that you can see the planning and brilliance of execution by Nolan as he unveils this mystery one trick at a time. In a film about magic, Nolan proves to be the real magician.

While watching A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, it just feels raw and right. Montiel had little training and had not made a film before, so he broke many of the established rules of filmmaking, but in the process he followed his instincts and showed his true instincts as a storyteller. This is the tale of his youth (based on his memoirs) and he was the only one that could tell it and capture the life as he lived it. SAINTS is a brilliant debut for any filmmaker and makes me excited for whatever he chooses to do next.

6. Anthony Minghella – BREAKING AND ENTERING
Minghella has proven he can make sweeping epics (ENGLISH PATIENT, COLD MOUNTAIN), but with BREAKING AND ENTERING he returns to his roots and tells a small and intimate story of real people and how their lives relate and interconnect. Like I have said before… this is the movie that CRASH wanted to be, but could not achieve. It deals with race, economic class, immigration, poverty, marriage, infidelity and much more and folds it into a story that never once feels forced or cliché. Issues are explored and points are made, but never preached and forced. This is a beautiful and painful film that challenges those who will see it and not pander to them.

5. Martin Scorsese – THE DEPARTED
Martin Scorsese is considered the greatest living American director and when he returned to “the streets” for another crime movie, the expectations could not be higher. Based on the brilliant INFERNAL AFFAIRS, THE DEPARTED takes on the complex story of a criminal undercover in the police force and a cop undercover in the criminal world. It moves fast and makes no apologies for what it is of how it is made. After “chasing the Oscar” for his last few films, Scorsese just seems to want to tell this story the way that he wants to. Filled with violence, racism, whip pans, steadycam shots, an extreme sound design, and language, he makes no apologies for this movie. This is not a film about winning the Oscar that has become so elusive, it is just a movie… and a damn good one. The irony is… this is the movie that might actually give him that Oscar that has always been just outside his grasp.

4. Darren Aronofski – THE FOUNTAIN
This is the most personal film of the year. Inspired by death and love, Aronofski set out to make this movie seven years ago, only to have the rug pulled from beneath him time and time again. Money falling through, actors leaving, and countless rewrites did not stop him from eventually bringing his vision to the screen. The result is a stunning look at love transcending time and space. It may be dismissed as an “art film” or pretentious, but this is a personal and raw look at love and should be not only seen, but embraced.

LITTLE CHILDREN has one of the trickiest tones of any film this year, balancing multiple storylines of hope, fear, apathy and dreams together. Field creates this world on film and guides us through it. With IN THE BEDROOM, Field introduced himself as a promising new talent, but with LITTLE CHILDREN, he delivered a mature and thought provoking film that delivered on that promise. In almost any other year, this would be my choice for best director.

2. Paul Greengrass – UNITED 93
To say that making a movie about the tragedy on 9/11 is a tightrope is the understatement of the year. For a movie about the passengers on board United 93 to work at all, the execution would have to be pitch perfect. Greengrass delivered THAT film. There is not one moment in this film that feels false, melodramatic or disrespectful. This is a movie that reminds us what we are all capable of when push to the limit of who we are. This is a respectful look at the people on that flight who stood up and fought for what was right. This is not a pro-American movie or an anti-American movie. It is simply the account of what happened based on what information we had about that event. Using a combination of a documentary style with many of the actual people that worked in the control center, this never feels like a “movie”, but succeeds in putting the viewer there, on the plane or with the air traffic controllers on that day. It does not make judgments or point fingers, it just tells their story the way that it should be told.

1. Guillermo Del Toro – PAN’S LABYRINTH
In the real world portion of PAN’S LABYRINTH, Del Toro captures the realism of war torn Spain. You feel the horror of the war and the terrible life that Ofelia has become immersed in. This is punctuated with the extreme (at times) violence that is difficult to watch. It is almost unbearable and that is why she must escape. This is where the fantasy world comes in.

Even though the fantasy world is dark and filled with frightening creatures you are not sure are trustworthy or menacing (some are simply evil), it is still an escape for Ofelia and a welcome one for her and for the audience. It is a place of magic, where there is still hope for her and for her dying mother. If she can only complete her journey, she will be able to escape her world and finally find peace in the underworld.

Del Toro juggles the extreme and sometimes surreal aspects of both settings and makes both of them seem real… because they are real to Ofelia. They blend together as one, seamless world. This is not only the core to the magic of PAN’S LABYRINTH, but to the brilliance of the direction of Guillermo Del Toro.


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