Thursday, December 28, 2006
What I Liked
This might be due to the lingering effects of the high-quality hash that was readily available in NY in the 80's, but I can't remember all the films I saw this year. Perhaps next year I'll keep a log. In any case, of the films I can remember here's my top twenty faves in alphabetical order.
My ultra-Zionist friend, Mike, was appalled that I paid to see this, but as Tony Bourdain said, "I'm no fan of Donald Rumsfeld, but if he makes a good sandwich, I'll certainly eat it." As history it was rubbish, but as entertainment it was worth $10 of my Jew dollars.
2. Casino Royale
Daniel Craig isn't just the shortest actor to play Bond, but the most interesting. During his career he's been an object of adoration for Francis Bacon, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, a 60-something widow and an obsessed Rhys Ifans. What range! As a reboot of the franchise Casino Royale portrays Bond as a newly minted 007 of non upper-crust origin. He's got smarts, he's got parts, but he's not a connoisseur and takes his luxuries as earthly consolations, not as occasions to display abstruse knowledge. He also tends to get his shirt bloodied. Like Cillian Murphy in Breakfast on Pluto, Craig's Bond traverses a cat's worth of lives, all the while wondering if it's really worth it. It will be interesting to see whether this nest of tensions continues as the series develops, but with this first installment, EOM Productions has provided the most fascinating Bond in over forty years.
3. Death of Mr. Lazarescu
4. The Descent
5. District B13
7. I Am A Sex Addict
Caveh Zahedi appears to be a very sincere person, which makes his self-portrait as a head-on collision between George Costanza and Dr. Tobias F/onke all the funnier. Plus, he looks like Harpo Marx when getting a blowjob. As Kenny Banya would say, "that's gold, Jerry! Gold!"
I can't pretend this was a better film than Capote, but it contained more historical and emotional depth, more subtlety, better dialogue, more humor, a better role for Jeff Daniels than Chris Cooper and the opportunity to see Hope Davis doing the twist. Toby Jones may not be a better actor than Philip Seymour Hoffman, but his resemblance to Truman Capote was freakishly accurate. Whether this bodes well for his future career is to be seen, but in Infamous, motherfucker is Truman Capote.
10. Inside Man
11. The Intruder
12. Jack Smith and The Destruction of Atlantis
Documentaries on underground subjects tend to be micro-budget labors of love, held together with shoestring and spit. Eliciting the participation of everyone from Michael Almereyda to John Zorn, Mary Jordan managed to make a visual feast, wholly befitting the baroque aesthetic of Jack Smith. An accomplishment with a capital A.
13. Lady Vengeance
Maybe someday Dominik Moll will do a film called 'Lemmy' about a couple whose plumbing gets clogged by the lead singer of Mot/drhead, but until then this mashup of Kubrick and Hitchcock will have to do.
15. The Proposition
16. The Science of Sleep
17. Time to Leave
18. Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
19. TV Party
20. Wassup Rockers
Dude in Apocalypto dodged jaguars, clubs, arrows and spears and nearly got his heart ripped out, but he didn't live in LA and he didn't do an ollie on the steps of Beverly Hills High while wearing a Ramones t-shirt. Fortunately for us, his descendents do. And they have a band.