Monday, November 30, 2009
Basically, you get two shirts for the price of one, and they could ACTUALLY BE ONE OF THE ONES YOU MISSED OUT ON BUYING THE FIRST TIME AROUND!!! See, TeeFury sells one T Shirt a day and once the 24 hours is up, that shirt is gone forever. But now, because of this grab bag deal, I might be getting the Trap shirt or the LolFather shirt! OH HAPPY DAY.
To buy some awesome surprise shirts for yourself, head over to TeeFury! See full post
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
oops, i kinda sorta maybe forgot Cache. but that happens to the best of us… by which i mean it happened to me. wouldn’t have cracked my top ten, though. also… sorry Hellboy II. alright, let’s end this lugubrious trail of tears… after a RECAP!
115.) GOODBYE, DRAGON INN
113.) REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
112.) RUSSIAN ARK
110.) LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
108.) CRIMSON GOLD
107.) THE AURA
105.) ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
104.) MONSOON WEDDING
103.) THE OTHERS
102.) FISH TANK
101.) INLGORIOUS BASTERDS
99.) WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE / ANTICHRIST
98.) THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD
97.) A CHRISTMAS TALE
96.) THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE
92.) LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
91.) RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
90.) CITY OF GOD
89.) BATTLE ROYALE
88.) PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE
86.) GOODBYE SOLO
85.) TURNING GATE
83.) KISS KISS, BANG BANG
82.) MARIE ANTOINETTE
81.) THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED
80.) MYSTERIOUS SKIN
79.) CASINO ROYALE
78.) THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI
77.) SHAUN OF THE DEAD
76.) LINDA LINDA LINDA
75.) THIS IS ENGLAND
74.) LUST, CAUTION
73.) THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU
72.) THE DEPARTED
71.) WALTZ WITH BASHIR
70.) THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE / A SERIOUS MAN
69.) SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE
68.) THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS
67.) 28 DAYS LATER
66.) IN THE BEDROOM
65.) INTO GREAT SILENCE
64.) UP / RATATOUILLE
63.) NOBODY KNOWS
62.) THE WHITE RIBBON
61.) THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
59.) HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
58.) THE PIANIST
57.) 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, AND 2 DAYS
56.) THE WORLD
55.) MEMORIES OF MURDER
54.) KILL BILL
52.) TROPICAL MALADY
51.) SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER… AND SPRING
50.) THE PRESTIGE
49.) Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN
48.) TALK TO HER
47.) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
46.) THE WHITE DIAMOND
44.) ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
43.) MY WINNIPEG
42.) TOKYO SONATA
41.) MEMENTO / SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE
40.) BEFORE SUNSET
39.) BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE
38.) THREE TIMES
37.) LITTLE CHILDREN
36.) CHILDREN OF MEN
35.) THE LIVES OF OTHERS
34.) SILENT LIGHT
33.) MAN ON WIRE
31.) 35 SHOTS OF RUM / STILL WALKING
30.) THE WIND WILL CARRY US
29.) WHAT TIME IS IT THERE?
28.) CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
27.) LAKE OF FIRE
24.) MULHOLLAND DRIVE
23.) IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
21.) SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR
19.) LORD OF THE RINGS
18.) FAT GIRL
17.) ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
16.) BLIND MOUNTAIN
15.) 25TH HOUR
14.) 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN
13.) SPIRITED AWAY
12.) SECRET SUNSHINE
11.) GRIZZLY MAN
Top Ten after the jump!
10.) BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! (dir. Guy Maddin)
poor Guy Maddin’s mother. an apocryphal tyrant tempered by nostalgia in My Winnipeg, here - as the overlord of an island lighthouse in which sinister activities are afoot - she’s a pure Freudian monster. the most fantastical of his 16mm fever-dreams (and the one stuffed with the most deliriously indelible of inter-titles), Brand Upon the Brain! finds another cinematic distillation of Guy Maddin revisiting his supposed childhood home and finding himself overrun by memories replete with wild inventions (the aerophone!) and psycho-sexual confusion (Chance and Wendy Hale!), and ties them altogether in a bow fashioned from the forgotten etchings of Edward Gorey or perhaps an Arthur Conan Doyle story deemed too steeped in the fog of memory to ever be published. the relentless voiceover was recorded by a series of performers (and then performed in choice venues by whatever madcap talent Maddin could summon for the evening, including castrato), but my favorite is Isabella Rossellini’s, for she is an actress most simpatico with Maddin, and her spirited and mellifluous cadence is intoxicating. a mess of metaphors that resolves itself into a tender reconstitution of both young men and young film, Brand Upon the Brain! is a singular work from a singular filmmaker.
9.) ALMOST FAMOUS: UNTITLED DIRECTOR’S CUT (dir. Cameron Crowe)
the movie cameron crowe has already lived and was born to make, Almost Famous captures on film a time captured by music. an exuberant and heartfelt elegy for the world that shaped him, this rock autobiography is rich with loving detail and absolutely bursting at the seams with enthusiasm. crowe’s natural proclivity to focus on his proxy (embodied by patrick fugit in an unconventional role so complete it seems to have robbed him of any other significant gigs) allows the film to suffuse every corner of its frames with vibrant period details that contribute to a sense of community rather than hollow spectacle… the ambitions, archetypes, and trajectories on display here are all familiar, but when seen through the wide, naive eyes of a too-young journalist it all feels new again… and the details. the details. this film works and works so well because of the immaculate details, all of which share a harmonious timbre of sly importance… a happy ending is never in doubt - the suspense lies in how kid Crowe will navigate a dreamworld where he seems to be the only one who can hear the music for which everyone ostensibly shares a communal love. and it’s the details that have me singling out the extended cut of the film, in which myriad scenes that don’t contribute to the plot allow for a much fuller portrait of the kid’s loves… the more precise Crowe gets, the more broadly relatable his passions become. i mean… i could go on, i could write essays on Philip Seymour Hoffman’s ridiculous Lester Bangs or the diction of Terry Chen’s Ben Fong-Torres, but i imagine you probably love this movie as much as it loves itself.
8.) CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (dir. Ang Lee)
an unlikely masterpiece from an erratic filmmaker who is almost always better when he’s not working in english, Ang Lee’s emotionally charged surprisingly wu xia epic not only channeled the great King Hu, but revitalized his films in a broad and painterly melodrama of tremendous feeling. perhaps the most commendable element of Lee’s film is that amidst its unspeakably stunning vistas and immaculate choreography (seriously… the fight sequences here are the stuff of hostile ballet, and Lee has the good sense to not interfere Yuen Woo-Ping’s fluid blocking with lazy cuts, relying instead on glorious long shots), the film has supreme confidence in its characters and story… which is a rarity for the genre. the film takes an expected poetic license with gravity, but rather than do so simply because of convention, it explores how genre tropes might better express character… namely, the various extents to which the characters are burdened by their choices. it honestly smacks of Milan Kundera. the love story is fierce, believable, and legitimately erotic, and the devastating reservations of the tale’s elder statesmen are deeply affecting without ever falling prey to nonsense. add in an unforgettable score and the star-making performance of Zhang Ziyi and you have one of the most surprisingly yet deservedly oscar nominated films ever. for realz.
7.) THE SON (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
methinks i might have mentioned at the verrry start of the fortnight that i never quite jived with the Dardenne brothers this weekend. well… every rule has its exceptions, even if few of them are as indelibly powerful as The Son. the story is excessively simple - par for the course for the Belgian duo - and to reveal too much would be positively criminal… the relentlessly vigilant and bobbing camera (never anchored to anything but the DP’s staunch shoulders) is most trying to keep pace with the aggressive steps of a man (Dardenne regular Olivier Gourmet who delivers one of the single most complete performances i’ve ever seen), who imbues juvenile delinquents with the craft of carpentry. a tight-lipped man whose palpable yet initially unexplored anger seems to course through his muscles (the leather strap that encircles his chest seems there less to support him than to keep him contained)… Gourmet’s absorbing performances is a resolutely physical one… the Dardenne’s are obsessed with labor, and communicate far more effectively through the protocol of motion than through spare dialogue. he has a new ward about whom he seems conflicted. what unspools from there is… i mean, to even describe the emotional territory it mines would be ruinous. suffice it to say that the Dardennes… here… it’s literary filmmaking at its most kinetic and spiritual - they tell stories in a way that exploits cinema’s unique capacities for deceptively naturalistic filmmaking that mocks the very notion of verite… i can’t say much more. this is a concise and perfect film you will never forget. and there’s one shot where Gourmet is driving and says “I’ve gone too far” and looks backwards as he puts the car in reverse that is pretttttyyy much the best thing ever.
6.) THERE WILL BE BLOOD (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
paul thomas anderson’s stab at evolving from wunderkind to titan was more than a little successful. i’m not gonna bother here, but… lesson learned: if you’re gonna make a movie about a single-minded oil tycoon, hire jonny greenwood to provide the score.
5.) THE BEST OF YOUTH (dir. Marco Tullio Giordana)
if you haven’t seen Best of Youth, see it before you see any of the other films on this list. as one friend to whom i recently recommended it said after her first viewing: “I am in pieces. I will be in pieces forever.” at first glance that might seem a bit much, but methinks she was being a bit understated about it - Best of Youth doesn’t fuck around.
some films (e.g. The Son) feel like classic novellas, whereas something like the 6-hour Best of Youth (originally devised as a mini-series for Italian television) have the breadth and emotional scope of fine literature. Giordana’s film is intimate, almost unspeakably moving family saga (seriously… you’ve cried more this week than I have in the past 15 years, and one moment towards the end of this film utterly devastated me) about two brothers on divergent paths, that humanizes italy’s turbulent half-century in the years following WWII without ever feeling reductive. episodic and addictive, hugely broad while also hauntingly nuanced… this is rather simple meat & potatoes filmmaking that tells a wonderful story perfectly. it’s one of my favorite films.
4.) YI YI (dir. Edward Yang)
ahh Yi Yi. Taiwanese master Edward Yang’s final finished film before he died a few years ago and not old enough, Yi Yi is cut from the same cloth as Best of Youth in that it’s a multi-generational saga of a family defined by its decisive individualism - unlike the latter work, however, Yi Yi’s narrative is restricted to the confines of a single, occasionally tumultuous year. it’s hard to call it concise at a running time of 3 hours (especially as it seems to span entire dimensions) but at a gentle, ruminative pace (contemplative but never brooding) it seems to slip right on by. a wise glimpse of modern Taipei and the quiet crises of its denizens, the film is anchored by a family man’s curiosity as to what his life might have been with another woman. while every member of his clan gets their fair share, my affection is largely reserved for the family’s youngest son Yang-Yang, an adorable rapscallion with a penchant for photographing the backs of heads so as to reveal to his subjects their most intimately obvious mystery. while an easy metaphor for the film as a whole, it’s also an entirely appropriate one, as Yang’s camera (with yang-yang and his camera a clear proxy) distilling existential crises into domestic doses. the great issei ogata shines as a Japanese software developer named Ota - the time NJ (oops, he be the protagonist) spends with him during a mid-film sojourn to Tokyo is absolutely rapturous. in such limited space i can’t do much more than to draw your attention to the title, which translates literally as “one one” but more colloquially as “a one and a two.” the character couplet “- -“ can be translated as “a one” and also as “two.” given the often perpendicular orbits of the diffuse lives in Yang’s final family, this sly pun essentially delineates the various strata of human perspective within which the film operates.
Yang’s film was most fortunately immortalized in the Criterion Collection, as it’s a work that I very much look forward to growing with and filling in. from a decade overrun with astounding and inventive Asian cinema, Edward Yang’s stoic and reserved yet dauntingly ambitious saga was the best.
3.) WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES (dir. Bela Tarr)
if the opening sequence and the agreeable wikipedia description on top of the film’s lofty position on my list don’t have you convinced to see, reconsider, or continue to admire the austere and enigmatic genius of Bela Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies… there ain’t much more i can do. this is how the world ends: not with a bang, but with a whale in a truck.
Werckmeister Harmonies (Hungarian: Werckmeister harmóniák) is a 2000 Hungarian film directed by Béla Tarr, based on the novel The Melancholy of Resistance (1989), by László Krasznahorkai. Shot in black and white and composed of only thirty-nine languidly paced shots, the film describes the aimlessness and anomie of a small town on the Hungarian plain that falls under the fascist influence of a sinister traveling circus lugging the immense body of a whale in its tow. A young man named János tries to keep order in the increasingly restless town even as he begins to lose his faith in the unnatural and disordered universe from which God Himself seems to have disappeared.
The title refers to the baroque musical theorist Andreas Werckmeister. György Eszter, a major character in the film, gives a monologue propounding a theory that Werckmeister’s harmonic principles are responsible for aesthetic and philosophical problems in all music since, which need to be undone by a new theory of tuning and harmony.
2.) DANCER IN THE DARK (dir. Lars Von Trier)
DAVID MORSE ALERT.
i’m convinced that Dancer in the Dark is the greatest musical the cinema has ever known. not exactly in the tradition of Arthur Freed, Lars Von Trier’s sadistic tale is that of Selma - a good woman with bad vision (Bjork, in what i unequivocally consider the single best performance of the decade… that the academy awards failed to acknowledge her work is maddening and particularly damning proof that the Oscars are shrill, meaningless, and out-of-touch… to be generous) who tirelessly works at a factory in order to raise the funds necessary to afford her son a vision-saving operation. the spangly timbres and lush tones of hollywood musicals offer Selma her only solace from a menial and seldom-rewarding existence in the Pacific Northwest… a world ever more complicated by the affections of her doltish co-worker (Peter Stormare, killing it) and a duplicitous neighbor (the one true David Morse). although it initially appears as if Von Trier is content to settle into the grooves of dogme 95’s dane-o-realism, around the 45-minute mark the violent machinery of the factory at which Selma works begins to churn out a faint toe-tapping beat… and through the eyes of several dozen cameras, Selma explodes into song. accompanied by ingeniously organic choreography and one of the several brilliant songs Bjork contributed to the soundtrack (her cuts here are on par with her finest work… and that’s saying a LOT coming from me), Selma’s fantasia of an escape is made palpable and dangerously consuming. later musical sequences - all of which nimbly express Selma’s faintly fanciful inner-being while transcending it entirely - involve as many as 100 cameras, so as to capture the action from every conceivable angle, a tactic which tacitly communicates the completeness of Selma’s delusions. while the film eventually resolves itself into an extremely grueling experience that ends on a particularly deadening note (seriously makes Breaking the Waves feel like a charmer), Von Trier’s increasingly visceral saga uses blunt force to hammer home abstract ideas… gratuitously paralyzing his audience as if opening their pores, allowing his take on human exploitation, capital punishment, and the discourse between culture and fantasy to seep right on in. you’ll never count to 107 quite the same way, again.
END OF DAVID MORSE ALERT.
1.) LOST IN TRANSLATION (dir. Sofia Coppola)
different films resonate with different people. that’s just the way of it. some films were just made for certain people, and it’s the beauty of the medium that you never quite know where they’re going to come from. Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up - an Iranian slice of meta-cinema from the early 90s - turned my world upside down at 10 AM one Tuesday morning. my affinity for Sofia Coppola’s sophomore film was a tad more predictable. I have a storied affection with Japan that repeated trips have largely deprived of fetishistic qualities, am more than a little interested in the dialogue between romance and film, and go all quivery at the sight of a simple and confident composition painted with a soft palette. also, i take my films with a heavy pinch of longing and wordlessly unfulfilled desire, thanks. i hate to go all aintitcoolnews on you guys, but my relationship with this film is a decidedly personal one.
while i’d happily prattle on about how there isn’t a single fucking frame in this impeccably edited film which doesn’t in some way contribute to a feeling of isolated discordance, my initial response was purely guttural. sure, i was lulled by lance acord’s immaculately fitting cinematography and the perfect musical accompaniment provided by the likes of KEVIN MOTHERFUCKING SHIELDS, but… as i first watched this film on the afternoon of september 12, 2003 at the 68th street Loews… i was a bit bored. bored but apparently in ms. Coppola’s thrall, as the next day I went back by my lonesome, if only to satisfy my curiosity. as someone who very seldom sees a film more than twice during its theatrical run, I was more than a bit surprised at my behavior as I purchased my 6th ticket for Lost in Translation a few weeks later.
Sofia Coppola is a humanist filmmaker of the highest order (okay, maybe not the HIGHEST order… she hasn’t exactly proven herself the equal of Kurosawa or Bresson quite yet…), and Lost in Translation is a simple and tremendously relatable tale. in it Coppola examines both the macro and the micro of the fundamental isolation of the human experience… a species disenfranchised from one another by virtue of divergent identities, attempting to reconcile the divisive chasms with the unifying forces of culture and partnerships. the obviously foreign qualities of Japanese society are comically and economically employed to jostle the twin protagonists towards self-awareness in a way that the simple flirtations of a chance meeting could only hint, and Coppola is careful not to be jingoistic, but rather to slyly damn her Americans for their natural inability to be at peace with the differences. alternately consuming cultural mores (Charlotte’s inability to cry) or mocking them while suffering from the banal indignities of their own homes (Bob’s experiences in the ad world in contrast to carpet samples and clips from his less than illustrious film career), Tokyo - as a decidedly different brand of metropolis that mirrors American life in a way that the more ramshackle conurbations of Shanghai and the like don’t bother to - is the perfect foil for two Americans made royal by either upbringing or celebrity.
Coppola eventually happens along the rather reductive understanding that connections - no matter how fleeting - are pretty much all there is to this world. but more than that to me Coppola’s is a film about moments spanning entire lives… about aesthetics and how the perfect set dressing or aural accoutrement can save defining moments from withering memories. it’s a film that knows it knows only so much, and one that i’ve been happy to retrace… a somewhat quixotic (yet remarkably successful) adventure undertaken as if to prove the film real (i mean… down to performing karaoke in the actual booth in which Charlotte whimpers Brass in Pocket… among my most fanboyish moments, and one i’ll probably have to strike from the record if in the unlikely event Film Comment ever demands me to don my serious critic hat… which is also a bandit hat from Fantastic Mr. Fox. oops).
there really ain’t two ways about it - Lost in Translation is my favorite film of the… Naughties? at least for now. maybe forever.
if you’re still reading this, thanks. and also… really?
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Previously on 90210
Naomi is a lying ho who cant get into college
Jasper is a drug dealer, despite claiming he isn't, but is REALLY intense about making sure he gets caught in that lie. WHY.
Annie & Jasper did it. Blech.
Silver's mom died and now we have to watch her cry and stuff. Buh.
And now for this week's episode!
Episode 10: To Thine Own Self Be True
Live blogging after the jump!
Silver's mom is taken to the ER. Silver runs and her face gets all contorted. Ohhh, she's sad, I get it.
Naomi asks Navid if she can join the school broadcast...what exactly is the Blaze? Afterschool Broadcast Journalism? Does any school actually have this program other than West Beverly?
But rejoice! Naomi's asking because she realizes that she can't sleep her way into college and that she might actually have to ::gasp:: work?!!?!
But she wants to do a sex segment called Clark After Dark. I don't want sex advice from Naomi. nope nope dont want it please stop
Navid says she can help by unpacking some AV equipment and then says "exsqueeze me" for some reason
"Adrianna's on drugs" "Pshh, noooo." Didnt Naomi and Navid have that exact same conversation last episode?
My cat starts crying when she notices her reflection in the mirror. I am distracted for a good 30 seconds. What just happened?
Oh. This. : Naomi: Are you on drugs? Adrianna: Can't you tell by the way my hair is parted?! Of COURSE I'm on drugs.
Except that Adrianna' s actual response was more like "I'm not on drugs, trust me, I'd never lie to you, ever ever ever, you can totally trust me, no drugs."
Adrianna points out to Naomi that when she was on coke, wasn't she acting totally different? That somehow convinces Naomi. She's not acting like she's on coke cause she's on downers, Naomi, heellloooooo there isn't just ONE drug on the planet.
Damnit. Silver's mom isn't dead, just gonna die. Ugh now we have to deal with all these goodbye scenes and more of Silver's contorted face, buhhhhhhhhhesfisefhkjsdhfgjhgf
Jessica Stroup has really gotten the short end of the stick on this show. She started off making out with the cast member who looks like he's 12 and has zero sex appeal, then went crazy, and now just cries about her alcoholic mom all the time. Booooring.
Kelly doesn't wanna see her dying mom. Do I really have to recap this storyline?
It's morning at Debbie & Harry's house (Debbie Harry? Lead singer of Blondie? Was this on purpose?). Dixon is an asshole and Annie is all chipper. I don't really care.
Huh. Dixon & Annie both had sex with psychos. Too many psychos on this show. It's getting old.
Jasper slept over?! Scandal!! I wish he was normal. Siiigh.
Annie tells Jasper that her parents said he could come over for dinner. Debbie knocks on the door and asks if Jasper would like mahi mahi or chicken for dinner. Annie inexplicably chooses mahi mahi. What high school student picks fish over chicken? I don't care where you go to high school, I call bullshit.
JASPER IS SO CREEPY. Just standing there, doing nothing, he's so creepy.
Ivy's mom suddenly has a recording studio. And they are gonna use it to bring down Naomi's sister. Ooookay.
Ivy jumps on Liam's back. JUMPS ON HIS BACK. WHY. Stop it. And why is this a handheld walk and talk?! That scene was a whole lot of awkward.
Navid & Dixon judge Jasper from afar. Sigh. I hate it when the outcasts everyone hates are actually bad people.
Naomi pretends she is hosting a show about sex advice. Ah! She's creeping me out. Stop talking about sex. Stop stop stop.
Hot College Guy wants to do "filthy things" to Naomi. You're in college! Filthy things to a high school junior?! No no gross gross.
The Dean of CU, mother of Richard, the guy Naomi dated to get into CU, walks in on Naomi making out with Richards roommate, Hot College Guy. Hahaha Naomi, getting what you deserve NO CU FOR YOU.
Cut to Ryan & Jen getting dressed up to which I say NO WHY ARE THEY STILL TOGETHER?! STOP IT. NOOOO RYAN. Ughhhh.
Blair Waldorf could pull off all of Jen's lines way better than Jen could. Jen wishes she was more like Blair Waldorf.
Ryan wants Jen to see more of "his world." But Jen doesn't like your world, dump that shit, please
Hot College Guy dumps Naomi for using the phrase "Carbo-Loading." Oh, that's not why he dumps her?
Hot College Guy actually dumps Naomi for admitting she was using Richard to get into CU. Haha college boys don't like girls who use boys, take that Naomi. Go be a good student and stop being a ho.
Navid is filming a boring segment for The Blaze. Adrianna storms in and says, in front of the camera guy, "Why did you tell Naomi I was using?"
Guy behind camera says "I'm gonna go away from here" and thoroughly earns his sag day rate! First genuine laugh of the episode.
Adrianna is pulling a Jasper and going REALLY out of her way to lie. There are gonna be bad consequences when the truth comes out
Adrianna tells Navid that he was easy to get over. Yikes. Jessica Lowndes just pulled that off very nicely. I buy her bitchiness. The acting backs it up.
Jen arrives at Ryan's with a shitload of stuff for camping. Apparently she went to the Beverly Center to grab some things. She's an idiot.
Silver and Kelly. We consider fast forwarding again.
Why do they think this a storyline anyone wants to watch? ZZZzzzzzzz.
Naomi stops by CU to speak to Richard. Is she gonna tell him the truth and apologize?! Is Naomi gonna grow as a person?!!?!
Naomi says watching the movie about industrial meat production just gave her a craving for "kobe sliders" heehee. Second genuine laugh of the episode.
Dixon tells his parents that Jasper is a drug dealer RIGHT before he arrives for dinner. Dixon is such an ass. Even though Jasper IS in fact a drug dealer. Still a dick move.
Ryan wants to use Jen's New York Times to start a fire. She gets all huffy. Yeah right like Jen reads the Times. Ah hah! Ryan correctly guesses that she only reads the Style section, which will not be used to start the fire. Hey Ryan - did you hear yourself? You are saving THE STYLE SECTION. WHY ARE YOU WITH THIS WOMAN?
Ryan says he didn't bring anything to prepare for bad weather because "It never rains in LA." Uh. Did you just move here?! It rains here.
Jen freaks out at Ryan for not checking the weather report. Why didnt SHE check the weather if she's such a freak about it? I hate her so much.
Navid, Ivy, Dixon & Liam get together to unpack AV equipement. ... Where is Teddy in this episode? Why is no one even mentioning him?
Their revenge plot is way lame.
Ivy, stop palling around with Liam like that! Why is everyone so awkward.
Jasper, Annie, Harry & Debbie enjoy dip. Harry & Debbie are visibly frightened by Jasper.
My mom comments that Jasper's hair is stupid.
Annie gets upset about how dumb everyone at her high school is. Jasper tells Annie "Hey, we talked about this, right? You just gotta forget it." My dad comments that if a guy ever talked to me like that in front of him & my mom, they'd kick him out on the spot.
Jasper says "I know you think I'm a drug dealer," then insists he isn't. Except he is and AUGH this is annoying, some bad shit is gonna go down.
Naomi arrives to unpack Navid's "crap." Hmm, I like Naomi more now that she has a heart.
Ah hah. Here's why she had to help. She runs into Liam, he hurts his hand, she puts ice on it. For no reason, prompted by nothing, Liam tells Naomi he wishes he could take back what he did last year and he regrets it every day.
They still have ZERO chemistry.
This heart to heart moment between Liam & Naomi was REALLY not warranted, 90210
Eraser of death kills Kelly's mom. Kelly is sad. I'm a little sad for her.
Ryan & Jen get in the car cause it's raining. Jen wants to leave. They get into a fight cause Ryan always does what Jen says but she hates whatever he wants to do. Ryan puts up with it cause he likes stupid barbies. Shouldn't the message here be that intelligence is sexy, not vapid whore-ness?
Oh they moved Silver & Kelly's mom to a private room. Not dead. Kelly has time. Yawn.
Debbie, Harry & Annie talk about Jasper. Sidenote: I like Annie SO much more this season
Oh shit! Harry says Annie can't see Jasper anymore. She asks if it's because of the stupid rumor. Debbie says its more than the rumor, it's because "Jasper is odd." Bwhahaha. Good call, Mama 90210.
Kelly and mom. zzzzzzz.
Hot College Guy forgives Naomi for using Richard. "It was hard for me to stay mad at the [17 year old] girl I'm falling for." If they break up, he can't commit statutory rape! Oh noes!
Psychos and Statutory Rape. All this show knows how to do. Oh and drugs. Lots of drugs.
Naomi breaks up with Hot College Guy because...she is still hung up on Liam?! Oh come onnnnn. No chemistry, nothing to back it up. Lame.
Hahaha, Annie tells creepy Jasper that she is forbidden from seeing him. Hahahaa. I laugh and laugh and laugh. Jasper throws the phone at the wall.
Naomi goes to Adrianna's to complain about breaking up with Hot College Guy. She notices Aid's drugs, yells at her & leaves.
Aaaaand "No Drama Adrianna" will now be "Overdose Adrianna" yet again.
Hey, Hot Sleepy Teacher fell asleep! Awesome.
Jen is building a tent, making an effort to fit into Ryan's world, set to Ryan Adam's cover of Wonderwall. Why is the show trying to make us think that Jen cares about anything? Thankfully, we know better.
Ryan says there is nothing Jen could say that would make him like her less...I tend to...disagree...emphatically.
Why does Jen think it's so bad to admit her husband cheated on her? That doesn't reflect poorly on her character, it reflects badly on her ex-husband's. She sucks.
Ryan and Jen are all lovey dovey. Don't buy it. Can't wait for this charade to end next week.
Silver and Kelly's mom dies for like the 80th time. Is it real yet?
And Jasper TRIES TO KILL NAVID by pushing him down the stairs. Are you kidding me?!
Ivy's contribution in tonights episode has exclusively been "Liam, I'm gonna touch you and say one line and be cute lalalala" Oh well. I still like her more than most of the people on this show. Especially Jen.
Next Week: The truth about Jen comes out! Finally. If Ryan forgives her, so help me...
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20.) OLDBOY (dir. Park Chan-Wook)
my thoughts here. though i will reiterate that this film endures not only because of how absurdly slick it is, but also because of its moral intrigue. a deceptively cerebral and emotionally involved film that has as much on its mind as any of Park’s films… here, however, the questions are just as difficult to elucidate and grapple with as the answers. oh, also, the sheer virtuosity of the plot mechanics are astounding in their own right.
19.) LORD OF THE RINGS (dir. Peter Jackson)
i don’t have much to add here… these films are the result of one good decision after another (remember when Miramax proposed that Tolkien’s trilogy be condensed into two installments?). the extended editions of these fully realized fantasies are certainly the definitive cuts - and while i feel as if the gripes concerning the manner in which Return of the King reaches its eventual end were largely unwarranted, Fellowship remains my favorite. could have done without the ents in Two Towers, though..
The rest after the jump!
18.) FAT GIRL (dir. Catherine Breillat)
a wonderfully acidic film that so acutely picks apart the myriad ways in which sex - that most deceptively simple of human acts - is complicated and challenged by… well, everything. a short film about two sisters on vacation (one 15 and attractive, the other 12 and responsible for the film’s title), in which the first sex sequence is 25 minutes, and yet in some ways less tender than the rape with which the film anticipates its final shot (in which Breillat - provocateur extraordinaire that she is - acerbically quotes the last image of Truffaut’s 400 Blows), Fat Girl quickly renders adolescent sex both banal and vital. the oft-acknowledged camera makes for particularly uneasy viewing, wherein pubescent girls challenge the psychosexual dynamics to which our society most desperately clings. Breillat doesn’t empower one particular gender so much as she disempowers any narrative which dares not to confound laura mulvey or a cinema boxed by “gazes.” and the film’s controversial finale (after that masterfully ominous highway drive) doesn’t excuse rape so much as it liberates it from its definition… whereas the former would be unforgivably irresponsible, the latter is the work of some productively shocking filmmaking.
17.) ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (dir. Michel Gondry)
not merely a perfect amalgam of high-concept screenwriting and delightfully inventive direction, the preposterous Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is is ironically the decade’s most honest depiction of modern romance - not A modern romance or a homogenized distillation of the modern romance as a narrative, but the institution as it exists in the wild. clementine’s often unctuous and intensely self-aware character renders joel (jim carrey’s charlie kaufman proxy) a stone-faced foil for the absurdities of relationships in a world where everyone is subjected to a mess of archetypes and expectations. the supreme achievement of the screenplay is not the fluid execution of its memory-bending conceit but rather how that conceit allows for a convincing love story that excuses most love stories (it exposes common elements of co-mingling so silly that the ridiculousness of the memory-erasing service is smiled at rather than challenged) . cohering into a mutual resignation that’s made all the more powerful by its simplicity (“okay.”), the film excuses entire generations of their behavior in detailing their sage resolve and tender helplessness. gondry’s hectic, fanciful direction charmingly juggles a bouquet of sub-plots and tones while never interfering with the uniformly perfect performances of his cast.
16.) BLIND MOUNTAIN (dir. Li Yang)
a frigid critique of modern rural china as well as a feminist prison film wrapped in a pulpy b-movie winter coat, Li Yang’s second feature film (Blind Mountain was his first, which was pre-dated by an array of documentaries) is brave and harrowing cinema. a pretty young woman signs up for a quick job in the countryside… soon after her arrival she’s drugged and sold as a bride to a village in desperate need of future generations. the village feels not entirely dissimilar from that of The Prisoner - allies are illusory and escape is futile. moreover, the woman is repeatedly raped by her “husband” and all in all is not really having the best life ever. her repeated escape attempts are harrowing stuff, and Huang Lu’s central performance is devastatingly invisible. a violently humanist peek at one of the most frequently ignored of personal tragedies, Blind Mountain is a brave film that confronts a world in which morality is suffocated under circumstance. and the abrupt and bloody ending will make fans of Death Proof’s denouement scream with delight.
15.) 25TH HOUR (dir. Spike Lee)
the decade’s most criminally under-appreciate major american film is also for my money Spike Lee’s best film (though be sure to remember that i’m woefully unemployed). adapted from david benioff’s novel and adapted by the author himself (in an effort that towers over his subsequent hack work), the story of a man’s last day before a 7-year prison stint for drug peddling is impressively wide-reaching for such an astute character study. clinically dissecting modern manhood as if the concept were a cold cadaver, Lee’s volatile film - introduced to the viewer through the blue beams of Ground Zero’s “Tribute in Light” - remains post-9/11 cinema’s finest elegy of innocence and hope. Edward Norton’s indelible lead performance spews frustration in every which direction before eventually turning it in upon himself and his own failings… in this extremely chatty film it’s an unspoken sorrow that rules the roost, hanging its bloodied head in a penultimate sequence in which the bonds of friendship are savagely perverted by a world in which even the best things can hurt. and the sobering fantasia with which the film ends is devastating not only with its imagery but also with its duration, protracted just enough to blight out the inevitable before returning to it with a beleaguered sigh of a final shot. it’s an honest film but not a cynical one - a film that allows you to aimlessly marvel at how close “this life came to never happening.”
14.) THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN (dir. Judd Apatow)
according to my list, this is the best single film that the major arm of an american studio released this decade. The 40 Year-Old Virgin. really. so deeply and genuinely good that the extent to which it reshaped the comedy landscape is invariably a mere afterthought. comedy is a subjective beast, and so for me to say that (for me) this is the funniest movie i’ve ever seen says far more about my friends, circumstances, and the pathology of my disposition than it does the history of comedies. the ubiquity of this film (particularly on cable) and the subsequent extent to which it has infested my vernacular is not to be underestimated. that being said, the sincere sweetness and wisdom on display in judd apatow’s feature-length debut should not be discounted because its expressed through such brilliant dialogue as “if jack palance looked like that lady, i would want to fuck jack palance right now.” i mean, yeah, the cast is magical… the cadence of every line perfectly considered and the comedy layered in ways that reward that 300th viewing. but seriously, the comedy - sophomoric as some of it appears to be - is so relentlessly successful because of how honest it is… clever and deceptively sophisticated while never betraying either its characters or how people manage to relate to one another in a culture complicated by culture. and if you don’t like it you can go fuck a goat.
13.) SPIRITED AWAY (dir. Hayao Miyazaki)
the incomparable Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest masterwork? that it’s even a question is a testament to the supreme genius of his imagination… cinema’s most transcendent purveyor of animated worlds doesn’t make films so much as he reveals portals, and few of his portals lead to places as rich and profoundly wistful as the bathhouse into which little Chihiro wanders. a domain of spirits which nostalgically recalls an old Japan with a diffusive palette unequaled in other Miyazaki films, it’s in the bathhouse that the little heroine must forge herself a new identity in order to navigate an unrecognizable and disarmingly dangerous world. superimposing cultural mores and grasps for national identity over his usual concern with the environment, Miyazaki spins his most sophisticated tale, relying on folkloric structures to sidestep confusion. and the trip to zeniba’s house is among the more beautiful sights ever imposed on celluloid.
12.) SECRET SUNSHINE (dir. Lee Chang-Dong)
it’s a bit of a travesty that yet another Lee Chang-Dong masterpiece had no domestic life here in the States beyond the New York Film Festival (it’s not even available on region 1 DVD, though I’ve proposed the idea to Criterion and they seemed curiously receptive…). this - his finest film - finds a young widow (the world-rocking Jeon Do-Yeon) and her son relocating to a rural Korean town in order to start their lives. the first hour of the rather luxurious and choppy narrative finds the duo acclimating to their new environs, but in a heartbeat the smooth rhythms of the Korean New Wave are disrupted by a calamitous vertigo of faith and grief more akin to the work of Lars Von Trier. in a decade teeming with phenomenal South Korean films, this was the best. an immensely enigmatic experience that registered and settled with me like few films ever have, Secret Sunshine is undoubtably worth the trouble to see. for a more involved and agreeable take, clickity-clack.
11.) GRIZZLY MAN (dir. Werner Herzog)
i wrote my thesis on the man (herzog, not timothy treadwell) and simply don’t have the interest or energy to devote all that many more words to the man in the midst of some hot listing action. herzog has an unparalleled knack for discovering or otherwise fashioning ideal partnerships between subject and artist, and with Grizzly Man his calculated fortuity makes for some tragically sublime cinema. the scene in which herzog listens to the audio of treadwell’s death is a self-contained storytelling masterclass.
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Monday, November 23, 2009
Over the past few weeks I've seen a bunch on shit on the Internets that I am dying to own, so I thought I'd share them with you guys in the hopes that (either you buy them for me, or) they turn out to be the perfect gift for someone you know this holiday season.
So, without further ado!
Super. Emo. Harley Quinn.
I am a huge Harley Quinn fan and do not have NEARLY enough HQ stuff on my Geek Shelf. She is one of my all time favorite characters. Created by the glorious Paul Dini for the Batman Animated Series, she isn't even from the comic books, but is so effing cool, that she's part of the official Batman canon anyway. That's not easy to do. I want this art print on my Geek Shelf so bad it HURTS MY SOUL. Oh. There was only one left. So I bought it. Oops. $20 well spent.
See other Super Emo limited edition art prints here and while you're at it, buy Eruditechick an Emo Rogue.
More gifts after the jump!
It's a Dug. Who talks. JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIE OMG. I have a talking Boo doll from Monster's Inc that I love ever so much, and it seems appropriate that the other talking inanimate object I possess and regularly play with should also be from a Pete Docter movie. And only $16.50?!?! WANT.
Buy it for me here
Where the Wild Things Are Notebooks
I love Where the Wild Things Are and I LOVE MAX and I love small notepads. These lovely items are only 4 bucks each so if you are looking for a cheap, but awesome & meaningful purchase for a wild thing, this is the way to go.
Buy them here.
The Office Manager shirt
Cause I love me some Joany! Ranging from $15-$22 and available in various materials, colors & sizes, this is a great gift for that Mad Men fan who thinks Joan is the cat's meow. Yeah, I just said cat's meow. And I MEANT IT. Thanks to @manostorgo for the tip.
Buy it here
Tina Fey Is God Tote Bag
While I don't think I have the balls to walk around sporting this clever tote, if you know anyone who does, 25 bucks is a fine price to pay to make someone's jaw drop to the floor with joy & utter disbelief. I mean, what a strange, strange item. A must-have for any 30 Rock lover familiar with iconic 60s graffiti.
Buy it here.
Favorite Director Coaster Series
I'm OBSESSED with these. I want a set. Please. I'll take Spike Jonze, Quentin Tarantino and some combination of Wes Anderson (You won me over with Fantastic Mr Fox, Wes), The Coen Brothers, Woody Allen & Martin Scorsese. I mean. HOW. COOL. ARE. THESE. A complete set is 48 bucks, so this gift isn't exactly on the cheap side, but DAMN is it cool.
Buy them for me here
Anything by Brandon Bird
This guy is a genius. Head to his site and try to tell me I'm wrong. Both last year and this year I've purchased xmas presents from this artist, because he is simply awesome. I mean, look at those. LOOK AT THEM. And these are just the tip of the iceberg. Most drawings are available in shirt or print form and most of the paintings are available for purchase as art prints. If you really wanna throw down, you might even be able to snag an original. (While we're at it, let's put together an art show featuring Bird, M.S. Corley, Tyler Scout and Brandon Schaefer, Tom Whalen, and Olly Moss, shall we?)
Buy Bird's work here
As we get closer to the holidays, another gift guide may appear, but for now, I hope this has been helpful!
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30.) THE WIND WILL CARRY US (dir. Abbas Kiarostami)
Abbas Kiarostami’s timeless vision of purgatory as portrayed by a remote Kurdish village is - like all kiarostami films - about nothing less than what it means to be alive. a group of journalists arrive at the village ostensibly to document the ritual with which the locals mourn a terminally ill woman… except the woman refuses to die. as the harried city folk struggle to accept their removed helplessness (one funny recurring bit features the lead character, an engineer, sprinting to the top of a local mountain for adequate reception every time he receives a phone call), they find themselves slowly becoming consumed by the daily rhythms of the village life, a transition which culminates in a breathtaking stand-off between the engineer and a young girl in a cave. the old world and the impatient new are not distilled to points of convenient opposition that find the two mutually exclusive, but rather a fluid relationship in which one defines the other… the whole thing feels a lot like melville to me (the author, not the filmmaker), but maybe that’s just me.
The rest after the jump!
29.) WHAT TIME IS IT THERE? (dir. Tsai Ming-Liang)
Tsai Ming-Liang’s beautiful and deeply clever meta-masterpiece is - to me- much less involved with time than it is memory and isolation… elements thrown into sharp relief by time. so okay, it’s kinda about time. a Taipei watch-seller meets a girl in the days before she sets sail for Paris. in the wake of their meeting (and his father’s death), the man sets every clock in Taipei to Paris time… an affecting conceit that reaps dividends as mournful as they are unexpectedly hilarious (a moment in which the man uses a long pole to push the hands of a massive, tower-mounted clock is among the most indelible moments of aughts cinema… filmed from a long distance by necessity - the work required of the viewer to discern the scene a microcosm of how tsai’s films provide only tantalizing invitations). as is increasingly typical of a Tsai film, What Time is it There is both a dual narrative and precociously curious about the flow of cinema itself… two scenes in which Jean-Pierre Leaud (aka Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel) nudge the 4th wall earn more than just a smile.
28.) CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (dir. Steven Spielberg)
among the most endlessly re-watchable films ever made, Spielberg’s seldom mentioned masterpiece (yeah, i called What Time is it There a masterpiece, too… but we’re getting close to the end here and i’m too lazy for synonyms) is as sneaky and two-faced as its jet-setting hero, fermenting a touching emotional current beneath a framework of zippy cleverness and charming doublespeak. Catch Me if you Can is the truish story of a teenaged frank abagnale jr. running away from his breaking family (in a spielberg film!?) and forging checks and trying on a number of different hats in a series of grin-inducing bits punctuated by voids of love… christopher walken as abagnale’s father is absolutely killer - the distance between a father and son trying to either discover or maintain their respective roles is almost too entertaining to be so devastating. tropical imagery bounces off of xmas sights and some of tom hanks’ best work to color in jeff nathanson’s perfect screenplay and - together with spielberg’s silky and intimidatingly confident direction - results in a film that i’ll always keep close.
27.) LAKE OF FIRE (dir. Tony Kaye)
the definitive abortion film, tony kaye’s documentary - 16 years in the making - is a difficult, epic, austere examination of an issue that needlessly continues to divide america. i mean… i’m about as biased as one can be on this particular topic, unabashedly pro-choice rather than anti-choice, but Kaye doesn’t care much about that. even after poring over the film with a fine-toothed comb it’s hard to resolve what side Kaye himself is on (though in court I’d argue he’s with me), as his film is far more concerned with processing and documenting the conflict than espousing polemic. bouncing back and forth across the aisle, Kaye’s film is like the anti-Brecht, forcing you to stick your face in the issue so that eventually you can see only its heart… culminating in an unflinching real-time depiction of a late-term abortion procedure, the film boils the matter down not for you, but to you.
26.) MUNICH (dir. Steven Spielberg)
in some ways spielberg’s best film (and in other, more frustrating ways… not), this gritty yet decidedly stylized revenge saga in which erica bana gets seth rogen laid, feels like the 70s cop drama spielberg was too busy inventing the blockbuster to make at the time. the beneficiary of a smart and relentlessly focused tony kushner screenplay, spielberg’s take on the aftermath of the terrorism at the 1972 Olympic Games is a surprisingly unapologetic tale of the banal and cyclical nature of retaliation, and the collateral damage it wreaks. smart and arguably subtle choices (framing the final scene with the World Trade Center in the distance) compensate for silly, overly anguished slo-mo sex, and… well, that one scene aside, the whole film just craftily walks the line between being too particular or too broad. Munich is pathos driven pop myth-making at its finest.
25.) HUNGER (dir. Steve McQueen)
celebrated visual artist Steve McQueen makes his first feature-length film debut with this mesmerizing account of the 1981 hunger strike in Ireland’s maze prison. the first third of the film sets the scene with a series of haunting, painterly images before McQueen hones his focus on Bobby Sands (michael fassbender), the strike’s eventual figurehead. an assimilation of concordant stimuli tells the story, here… while the film’s only scene of dialogue is immensely effective (an epic conversation captured entirely within one shot), McQueen communicates the brunt of his story in the banging of pots… snow falling on a cigarette… a wall lathered in shit. and when things get particularly dire and the childhood flashbacks kick in, they’re accomplished with a devastatingly earnest sentimentality that is so often defanged in hackneyed studio films… Hunger is not the highest rank debut film on me list, but as far as pure filmmaking prowess is concerned, it’s easily the best.
24.) SIDEWAYS (dir. Alexander Payne)
the porch scene. too tired to often more than that.
23.) MULHOLLAND DRIVE (dir. David Lynch)
NO HAY BANDA. there is no band. ahh… Mulholland Drive. my favorite Lynch. naomi watts in this film is so beautiful in this film it’s downright repugnant. anyhoo, this “love story in the city of dreams” does indeed tell a coherent story, however irrelevant its sense might be. wacky and ominous (or at times downright frightening), Lynch has never been better than he is here at wringing compelling portentousness from the barest of essentials… his still frames - drowning in shadows and replete with dialogue more vague than that of an average episode of Lost - are stories within stories within stories. initially devised as a television series, the story… ostensibly about a pure and plucky blond who comes to LA with dreams of stardom is… in the interest of time… a uniquely foreboding fever dream of modern identities in motion, Lynch’s film is the alchemy of both its sum and its parts. it’s all over the place yet with its feet firmly in the ground, its the iconography of its props and faces paying cold tribute to Old Hollywood while peeking under its current form.
22.) IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (dir. Wong Kar-Wai)
21.) SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR (Roy Andersson)
roy andersson - once among the world’s pre-eminent commercial directors - embraces the mantle of auteurism with Songs From the Second Floor, a film from which any frame would be instantly recognizable. a series of abstractly related yet mostly disparate vignettes that all revolve around a chromatically muted swedish zombie apocalypse of sorts… (“of sorts” is kinda key there)… the camera never moves, and the people and rats trudging about in front of it seem to have completely lost any idea as to where they’re going. violence and destruction abounds, but it doesn’t seem to be much of an obstruction… certain segments stick out in the mind, and everyone has their favorites, my favorites typically being those in which andersson establishes a fantastic foreground before dragging your eyes to someplace else entirely, resulting in an accumulated apathy for the more prominent sliver of the tableaux. this is the modern world viewed from a distance, but the sly, hideous clarity of its perspective is damning… you don’t have to squint to recognize the scenery. cannot wait to see his follow-up, You, The Living.
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