December 31st, 2005


A Year at the Movies, with Me, Setsuled!

At last, a day stretching before me with almost nothing I need to do. I've been itching to post about movies I've seen lately, but Christmas put me quite behind on Boschen and Nesuko, so I've been drawing like mad all week. I'm nonetheless basically happy with the chapter as it stands, even though I changed it significantly as the week progressed. Sometimes I wonder if I oughta settle down on Boschen and Nesuko and simply write it as one of the sorts of stories it seems to be in certain chapters, but I get a certain glee from watching it hop genres.

Anyway, greygirlbeast posted a list of her favourite movies of 2005. Here's mine, of what I've seen--though it ought to be noted that I still have not seen King Kong;

1. Munich
2. A History of Violence
3. Serenity
4. Sin City
5. Brokeback Mountain
6. Grizzly Man
7. Revenge of the Sith
8. Batman Begins


Rarely have I left a movie theatre feeling more pleased. This is the most unsentimental Spielberg movie I've seen and I love it.

It's also the second best spy movie I've ever seen (Notorious is still #1). Mainly because it never falls into the two big spy movie traps--it never gets the dry bird's eye view of the political world and it's games (like a Tom Clancy movie), and it never treats itself like it's fake (like a James Bond movie).

Spielberg shows that the biggest influence on him as a filmmaker is probably Alfred Hitchcock, whether he likes it or not, because the main reason this movie works so well is that we see everything from Avner(Eric Bana)'s point of view. The stuff about Israelis and Palestinians is interesting, and always played intelligently without Spielberg giving a heavy hand to either argument, but instead allowing things to sit out in the light; cold, bloody, and tragic. But the presence of those details is important mostly because they enhance Avner's story;

Munich is about rationally deciding to kill for something you love, and then continuing to kill because it continues to seem like the most rational course action, and then waking up one day and realising you're a creature whose entire life is wrapped around killing others and avoiding getting killed yourself. The movie shows the strange deletion of beautiful, seemingly integral parts of the human perception. There are some critics saying this movie has a lot of fat to be trimmed, but I wouldn't remove a single thing. The reviewer at CHUD claims there's too much of the business of killing in the middle, but what I saw was a movie seamlessly moving through amazing action sequences to create the feeling of Avner's mind realigning to the new conception of life. Not just becoming good at killing but learning how vulnerable everyone is to a bomb under the bed, or in the telephone.

Here's a movie that says we've lost innocence and goodness, we're probably never gonna get 'em back, and no-one knows any solutions.

A History of Violence

I thought of this movie a couple times while watching Munich. They're both brilliant movies about the function of violence on our world, the effects it has on our lives, and whether or not it's worth those effects.

I talked about the movie in this post.


I talked about it here.

I've since watched the first five episodes of Firefly and, while I love the Joss Whedon written episodes, the others are only good. There was a ballroom scene in the episode called Shindig where Inara really didn't come off but Kaylee was adorable and it was somehow fun seeing everyone playing with what was essentially a standard ball from a 1930s or 40s Western.

Sin City

I talked about it here.

I've since gotten the extended edition, which is really nice, since it isolates the stories as their own short films. Now I can skip That Yellow Bastard with a clear conscience. I'm finding The Big Fat Kill has grown on me quite a bit, especially since I've read A Dame to Kill For. Really looking forward to the next movie.

Brokeback Mountain

Gorgeously shot, with Crouching Tiger-ish views of vast, mist shrouded mountains. Well acted with an endearingly subtle, grumpy performance from Ledger, and a charmingly Marlboro-ish Jake Gyllenhaal.

The premise of a love that everyone in the world forbids, yet persists anyway, is obviously the makings of a great tragic romance. Or a cheesy one. It's to Ang Lee's credit more than anyone else's that it is definitely the former.

The characters are real and complex and the movie, though it looks beautiful, never goes for the decadent and operatic, choosing instead to seemingly allow the real feelings speak for themselves.

Of his motivation to make movies of wildly different subject matter, Lee often says that he's mainly attracted to stories of people trying to adjust to a world changing around them while not accepting them. And that was one of two things about Brokeback Mountain that reminded me of John Huston's The Misfits. The other thing being that The Misfits took place in relatively the same period in relatively the same society. It's not hard at all to imagine Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist competing with Montgomery Clift's Perce Howland at the rodeo.

And while The Misfits is about free spirited cowboys being broken by capitalism, and a divorcee being broken by the impermanence of love, Brokeback Mountain is about two men being gay in the middle of what could be one of the worst possible cultures to be gay in. And that's made clear by a flashback Ledger's character has of an old man being beaten to death for just maybe being gay.

It's a good, beautiful film. And yes, damnit, it's a little sad. Why is it I feel like I'm the only person I know who likes sad movies? Anyway . . .

Grizzly Man

Talked about it here. I gots to see more Herzog movies . . .

Revenge of the Sith

I still like it, bitches. I talked about it in this post.

Batman Begins

I said things about it in this post. For some reason I don't feel much like getting the DVD. I'm not sure why. You know, I don't get a hankering to re-watch Memento very often, either.
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