Monday, December 28, 2009

YMD and Friends Film Bonanza part 22

We're just about done here, and the second-to-last entry comes from noted rascal Alex Gibbons, the youngest person to write us a list, and still a student at the old Fordham University up in the Bronx. I'm running out of random bullshit to say about people so let's let Alex's writing speak for its damn self.

- The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring dir. Peter Jackson (2001)
I don’t think it’s fair to mesh multiple movies of a series into one film. Heck no. I’ve yet to watch all three of these beasts in one sitting, so I’ll continue to treat each installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as separate films. The Fellowship of the Ring is the slowest of the trilogy and contains the least amount of battles, yet the most amount of “holy-crap this is something I’ve never seen before and it’s brave and awesome” moments. I can remember seeing the movie for the first time, amazed by the scene where Gandalf and Frodo ride toward the Shire set to Howard Shore’s awesome score…it’s simply too much wonderment, just the thought of it sends me into nerdy convulsions of delight.  

- Ong-bak dir. Prachya Pinkaew (2003)
Wooooooooheeeee! Holy-shit, boy! Did you see that? Did you see that!? He just! What! He just kicked that guy’s face, while, what! Oh shit! Did you see his kneecap? just…went the other way…the wrong way!
I have so many scenes of this film burned into my retinas, but the most memorable must be when, in a seedy underground fight club, a hulking Australian advances on Tony Jaa, declaring “FUCK MUAY THAI” to which Tony Jaa replies by administering a sturdy kick to the bastard’s mouth, ending the fight immediately. I feel like a whoopin’ old man watching this. Hot dang! That boy’s sure got some moves!

- Talk To Her (Hable con ella) dir. Pedro Almodovar (2002)
Let me get all art-school on your asses for a moment. Pedro Almodovar is without a doubt one of the more talented and innovative directors working today. That is to say, he looks toward the maximum and pushes his films beyond that, causing the viewer to shudder in frightful disgust or look-on, maybe cringe, in awe. Hable Con Ella made me do was beautiful but freaky, a great piece of magical realism. There is a scene where a tiny man crawls into a giant luminescent vagina and, watching it, you’ve just got to shrug, take it in, and realize that it for some reason makes perfect sense.  

- Waltz With Bashir dir. Ari Folman (2008)
The best utilization of animation I saw all decade, without a fucking doubt. No other medium could convey such emotion or evoke such catharsis. Watching this movie, it’s easy to forget that it’s nonfiction, a documentary. That’s when you realize the absolute horror of the events discussed within.  

- 28 Days Later dir. Danny Boyle (2003)
There was a time when humanity said in unison “deliver us from the plot-holes caused by really slow moving zombies” and Danny Boyle responded to this plea with 28 Days Later’s hardcore, Olympic fast, abso-freaking-lutely believable zombies. Everything in this movie is so right…and very low-tech, which only enhances the captivating nature of this apocalyptic zombie flick. It’s too bad that now, only eight years later, the zombie movie craze has become an overwhelming horde of lifeless shit (see what I did there?), and the masses are now chanting “deliver us from zombie movies, altogether, dammit!”  

- The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans dir. Werner Herzog (2009)
-Shoot him again!
-What for?
-His soul is still dancing…ahahahahaahahahahahaahaha!

Hey kids, forget cocaine, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is so goddamn concentrated you’ll get a contact high just talking to someone whose seen this flick.  

- Punch Drunk Love dir. Paul Thomas Anderson (2002)
I spent too much of my adolescence hiding behind a film snob veneer, protesting any movie that presented itself as an obvious romance or love story. What a mistake, and what a tragedy it would have been if I let that prejudice get in the way of Punch Drunk Love which is about as gumball, syrupy-sweet as a movie can get. Adam Sandler and PTA prove that a movie can be cutesy and dark-chocolate as Hell at the same time. And what about the beautiful homage to…whatshisname?...Robert Altman’s Popeye as Sandler goes on a quest for his soul mate set to Shelley Duvall piping out “He Needs Me.” That scene was so cute I could smash its fucking face and eat it.  

- Apocalypto dir. Mel Gibson (2006)
I’m not a proponent of Mel Gibson’s wild evangelicalism or his penchant for getting sloppy and spewing anti-Semitism, but I still contest that Apocalpyto got a bad rap solely because of Gibson’s DUI and subsequent drunken tirade. That said, I also contest that Gibson’s fuck-up only got so much attention because of The Passion of the Christ and, shit, haters loved hating on that flick…but that conversations for another day.

Apocalypto was really, really cool. I mean it was cool in the most basic sense of the word. Gibson’s direction, hell, his whole philosophy surrounding this film was close to Werner Herzog’s notion of ecstatic truth…this movie put you in the jungle, right there, playing Rambo, only thirteenth-century Mayan style.  

-A Serious Man dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
My favorite Coen Brothers film. I only wish I had the luxury of being best friends with those guys so everyday I could sit down and discuss with them all the archetypes that went into the production of this movie. A surreal and suburban interpretation of the cosmos and religion, and the best one presented to us as of yet.  

- Grizzly Man dir. Werner Herzog (2005)
Third Herzog reference FTW. The reason I liked Grizzly Man so much, and also why I liked Herzog’s most recent documentary Encounters at the End of the World, was the genuine admiration Herzog had for his subjects. He approached the life of Timothy Treadwell, a man who, to the rest of the world was either a joke or a nut or some left-wing crazy, with a profound amount of respect and objectivity.

I got one more list for ya later tonight. Bet you can't get whose it is.

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