Saturday, January 19, 2008

That is SO Last Year-Part Two


Anyone that knows me or has been able to gather from my writings is that time is an issue with me. I am everything's going down the proverbial terlet, as Archie Bunker used to call it . Okay! I admit it! It's cheap therapy and you're all invited!
indeed a slave to time. There's never enough time, time is wasted, the passage of time is cruel, I'm in age denial...etc., etc., etc. So why do I handcuff myself to these year end wrap ups? I suppose I take the opportunity for reflection to remind myself that not

2007 HIGHLIGHTS
THE SOPRANOS-Infuriating in its final hour, still one of the very best shows ever produced for television. I still maintain that the last episode was one of its weakest, but on second viewing the ending kind of grew on me. Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" playing on the diner jukebox while the Mafioso nuclear family ate onion rings? Actually, kind of sweet.
Other TV gems:
MAD MEN, ROME, JEKYLL on BBC America, the season finale of RESCUE ME, the EXTRAS finale special and MR. WARMTH: THE DON RICKLES PROJECT, the best work John Landis has produced in over 20 years.
The whole dizz-guzzting Britney fiasco did mange one bright note. A local Portland band called Nickel Arcade wrote the first pre-emptive Britney Spears memorial song "I Hope That There's Vodka in Heaven". Find the video from these lil' rascals on You Tube.
Storm Large and Wade McCollum in the Portland Center Stage of CABARET made me proud.
SPAMALOT was also a kick in the ass. So there.
The rediscovery of one of the finest film essayist around, former Portland resident Kim Morgan’s ongoing blog SUNSET GUN. read her work at http://sunsetgun.typepad.com/

BEST FILMS OF 2007 (the year they were released, if I have to adhere to the rules of time)
PAPRIKA-The first anime I've seen in a cinema was one of the great mind-trips of the year.
THE SIMPSONS MOVIE-It was exactly what I wanted it to be. For those who complained "It's ten years too late", get in your time machines, go back to 1997 and screw yourselves.
DAY WATCH-Them Russkie vampires! They sure am wacky!
Most of GRINDHOUSE-I loved everything right up until Quentin Tarantino's DEATH PROOF, which he totally botched with his now tiresome wanking.
BLACK SNAKE MOAN-Like a one long wet fever dream set to the blues, this little gem could have played the Grindhouse circuit all by itself. Craig Brewer is a filmmaker to watch.
THE HOST-A giant monster movie for the new millennium. Come on! Give it up for the Koreans! It beat CLOVERFIELD to the punch.
THE DARJEELING LIMITED-Wes Anderson makes films like no other. This may be a bit slight, but I'm a fan and probably an apologist like I always tend to be when I admire an artist.
PAN'S LABYRINTH-A sweet and sour fairy tale from a new master, Guillermo Del Toro.
The best of the year: EASTERN PROMISES-God bless David Cronenberg. After all these years, he has more integrity in his little finger than almost any one of his peers. Unflinching, uncompromising, Cronenberg's the Man. So is Viggo Mortensen.
Keep in mind that I haven't seen about ten to twenty of the rest of 2007. I gotta play catch up, that's for sure.

2007 began a rediscovery in the passion I have in the world of film. Probably one of the best gifts someone can give me is a free subscription to a home film delivery service like Netflix or in this case Blockbuster. It is also the worst I could get since I am incapable of nothing more than watching movies. I am a junkie and this fed-and nearly overfed-my habit. for the first six months of 2007. By the end of June, had seen over 100 films and I can honestly admit that enough was enough. I was full.With this fine gift, however, I found myself able to further my film education, immersing myself in as much variety as I have never have before. There are filmmakers whose work I had been unfamiliar and genres untapped by these eyes, so I took a journey around the world cinema and came home happy, but most assuredly spent.



There were some documentaries that played right into my psyche and drew me back into the filmaholic world I knew oh so well. At times I felt like the obsessive fans like Henri Langlois, whose life is viewed in HENRI LANGLOIS: PHANTOM OF THE CINEMATIQUE or Jerry Harvey, mad programming genius of the cable’s fabled magnificent obsession Z CHANNEL in the documentary of the same name, kindred spirits that made me feel not so isolated in the world. Then again, there were the wack-jobs of CINEMANIA, that made me realize that there but for the grace of God go I. But on the other hand, Langlois died an overweight pauper and Harvey killed his wife before he offed himself, so gee, where does that leave me?


So now I give you, recommendations all, the absolute best of

FILMAPALOOZA 2007

The films of Jules Dassin-NEVER ON SUNDAY, NIGHT AND THE CITY and the real jewel in the crown-THIEVES HIGHWAY

The films of the unsung French maestro Jacques Becker-TOUCHEZ AU PAS GRISBI, LE TROU and CASQUE D'OR

Incredible film noir: OUT OF THE PAST and my new favorite Robert Siodmak's THE KILLERS


Anime-mania:Hiyao Miyaki's entire catalogue and Satoshi Kon's brilliant MILLENNIUM ACTRESS

Radical Politics: THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, ASHES AND DIAMONDS and THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR

Two new entrants for the WTF Film Festival: Takashi Miike's murder musical HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS and Alejandro Jodorowsky's brilliant THE HOLY MOUNTAIN

So many classics: Bunuel's VIRDIANA, Lang's TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE, De Sica's UMBERTO D., Bergman's WILD STRAWBERRIES, Roeg's BAD TIMING, Peckinpah's RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, Fellini's I VITTELONI, Powell's THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, Clement's PURPLE NOON, Miike's AUDITION, Chaplin's THE GREAT DICTATOR, De Palma's SISTERS, Cooper's OVERLORD

And that was just the REALLY good stuff. There was more...LOTS more.

I can always claim that in 2007, I furthered my film education. That's just a pretentious way of saying "I sure watched me a whole buncha movies!"

Yes, I gorged myself...and I am months behind on a pair of projects that should have been completed by now.

What can I say?

I ran out of time.
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