December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

New Movies:
I haven't seen Wendy and Lucy or Ballast or The Burning Plain or Silent Night, or lots of other films I want to see that came out or are coming out this year.

Of what I have seen three new feature-length films stood out. I could give you ten or twenty or thiry new movies I enjoyed, but only three really demanded my total respect. They were (in order of preference):

Paranoid Park - Gus Van Sant

Happy-Go-Lucky -Mike Leigh
Burn After Reading - Joel and Ethan Coen

Honourable Mention:
I enjoyed The Dark Knight like everyone else. Sure. It was fun.

While I had problems with Mister Lonely , I thought Harmony Korine's film was really really really interesting. Really.

Woody Allen's film Cassandra's Dream also came out early this year and was quickly overlooked. That's a shame, 'cos it's a pretty good thriller.

Less Honourable:
I was surprised that I didn't like Synecdoche, New York, Three Monkeys, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Snow Angels, or Rachel Getting Married.


Old Movies:
I saw lots of great old films this year. The best of the bunch was probably...

Miklós Jancsó's The Red and the White
or maybe the best was The Werckmeister Harmonies, or perhaps The Fire Within, or maybe even Andrei Zvyagintsev's 2006 film The Return. Actually, it was probably Dennis Hopper's Out of the Blue.

I also loved:
Shanghai Express - Josef Von Sternberg
The Power and the Land - Joris Ivens
Applause - Rouben Mamoulian
Trouble Every Day - Claire Denis
Necrology - Standish Lawder
Letter From An Unknown Woman - Max Ophuls


My New Year's Resolution Movies:
They All Laughed - Peter Bogdanovich
Kings of the Road - Wim Wenders
Love Streams - John Cassavetes
The Travelling Players - Theo Angelopoulos
Red Psalm - Miklós Jancsó
Red Desert - Michelangelo Antonioni
Berlin Alexanderplatz - Rainer Werner Fassbinder


I'm half way through Walker Percy's novel The Moviegoer right now. Woe.


nathan davies said...

few things...
i agree about paranoid park.
i am sorry to hear about three monkeys. i am so incredibly excited to see that movie. i bought his early ones from britain and loved them as much as distant and climates.
wendy and lucy - i just watched old joy and i was not impressed at all. so i am not too excited to see it.
that's all for now.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

i actually haven't seen old joy, but it sure sounds good.

three monkeys is almost great, but falls a little short. still pretty decent.

paul schrader called paranoid park a "truly contemporary" film. i like that. the more i think about that movie the more i love it.

Anonymous said...

I have an opinion on Happy go lucky, which I posted and then decided to erase due to harshness.

summary version: I don't think that movie is very good. "nice" means something else.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Not a fan of Happy-Go-Lucky? Gosh.

Harshness? Wow.

I'm intrigued. Tell me more. I am at a loss to begin imagining why you wouldn't have enjoyed it at least a little, but I love the WAY you watch movies SO much that I want to hear all the harshness. I need to understand.

You know, you're my favourite moviewatcher. If you understand what I mean.

Anonymous said...

I think you may have built my criticism up a any case my view:

The character in Happy Go Lucky is supposed to be a portrayal of "nice", and "good" etc. I feel that this portrayal was completely incorrect, that she was not "nice" but in fact ignorant. It annoyed me to no end to see this up on a screen that so many people would see - it was like knowing there was a professor in a University teaching some terrible interpretation of T.S Eliot, Solzhenitsyn, Huxley, name it. If I knew about it, i would do something about it by voicing my opinion.

In itself, teaching a bad interpretation shouldnt be a problem...the problem comes from the overall lack of individuality and thinking power of people in general. What is told from a position of "authority" is unquestioned, taken for truth.

I felt hurt on behalf of me, and cornered on behalf of all the real nice people out there while watching Happy Go Lucky because of this issue. I don't want people believing that the character in the film is a good portrayal of what nice means. I want them to meet someone like Roberta McGregor and *then* know what nice is.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

aha. I see and understand.

I didn't find her character ignorant at all. Actually she seemed pretty streetwise to me, just not poisoned by the knowledge-gaining process. Have you never met a girl like her?

I like(d) her. In fact, what I liked about her was that she was nice without being stupid. So I'm a little surprised to hear your criticism.

I don't think she represents nice people. she only represents herself. I think there's room for her AND Roberta McGregor.

When I left the theater after seeing Happy-Go-Lucky a girl in the group I'd gone with talked about how therapeutic an experience the film had been for her. She's a girl who shares a lot of personality traits with the main character, and it was really meaningful for her to see someone like herself onscreen who wasn't portrayed as an imbecile.