Friday, November 20, 2009

Best Of The Decade: 2000-2009: Foreign Film

Maribel Vardu in Alfonso Cuaron's mesmerizing Y Tu Mama Tambien

Not only was it a premiere decade for Foreign Language film but it also produced some of the best most exciting movies around. I'm thinking of Alfonso Cuarron who's Y Tu Mama Tambien -which tops my list- and Fernando Mereilles, an eagerly wanted director in Hollywood, who started off with a microscopic budget to make the gangster classic City Of God. Want More? Guillermo Del Toro -director of the upcoming Hobbit- bursting out his imagination to create visual miracles in -the miraculous- Pan's Labyrinth. Every single director on my list has been sought out by Hollywood to direct- most have agreed some have declined the offer and decided to stay in the independent system to fully enhance their own vision. Forget starting from the bottom and heading up to the top- here's the ten best Foreign Language movies from 1-20. A decade which was the best for Foreign cinema in close to three decades and featured the further education of Mainstream audiences to these fine films by building solid fan fare for art house cinema.

1) Y Tu Mama Tambien
2) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
3) Cache/Hidden
4) City Of God
5) Spirited Away
6) Amelie
7) Old Boy
8) Maria Full Of Grace
9) Pan's Labyrinth
10) Downfall & Un Conte De Noel
11) The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
12) Atanarjuat/The Fast Runner
13) L'Emplois Du Temps
14) Apocalypto
15) The Barbarian Invasions
16) Swimming Pool
17) Les Triplettes De Belleville
18) The Motorcycle Diaries
19) Tell No One
20) 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Anvil & its Oscar snub

Every year comes a time to bitch about the Oscars and their idiocies- this year bitching has started early with the announcement of the viably selected documentaries up for this year's Best Doc award. What's Missing? Anvil, a rock doc -about a down and out band- so good it is bound to end up on my ten best list by year's end. The fact that they have snubbed it proves how irrelevant their methods are and how unlikely they will actually honor the right movies when nomination time comes in January. Another unjustifiable snub is James Toback's Tyson-which just like Anvil, has the kind of rebellious spirit the Academy pussies out on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best Of The Decade 2000-2009: Animation

Robot love in Andrew Stanton's WALL E (2008)
Although this list will be updated if the critically acclaimed Fantastic Mr Fox is as good as some critics/audiences claim it is. This is THE list for now, which contains 5 Pixars and goes to show the dominance it has sustained throughout the decade in Animation. Only two -Monster Inc. & Up- do not make list & they are both highly recommended on my part. Although Pixar has had an amazing run, they did not produce the best animated movie I've witnessed in a theatre this decade- that honor goes to Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, which brought dark, original wit to an almost simply conventional story on paper. Notice I say on paper, because Miyazaki's masterpiece is far from simple- in fact it represents no conventionality shape or form to its competitors.

1) Spirited Away
2) Wall E
3) Ratatouille
4) The Fantastic Mr. Fox
5) Les Triplettes De Belleville
6) Waking Life
7) The Incredibles
8) Finding Nemo
9) Shrek
10) Chicken Run

Monday, November 16, 2009

'Badgers ? We don't want no stinkin' badgers'

As horribly as some blinded folks might think John Huston's Treasure Of The Sierra Madre has aged- there is one scene that is a real hoot but very creepy. It's a almost fancifully campy -notice I say almost- & establishes the fact that serious drama made in the 40's and 50's still had the kind of humor that completely lacks in the modern era of cinema. Case in point, the following clip- which features a fearless & paranoid Humphrey Bogart negotiating for his life with a dirty mexican (played with comic wit by Alfonso Bedoya)

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