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Sunday, December 18, 2005


The end of 2005 approaches. Many changes made in my life. Turned 39, left New England for the breeze of San Francisco and got myself back into physical shape. The journey contines and I can't wait to see what's coming next! And, even tho the year's not quite over and there is a Woody Allen movie that the critics are calling his return to form --- but, I've heard that before. I think I know what I felt was the best of the year. Just my opinion, but here are my picks for what impressed me in the areas of film and music. There were many other works I liked and enjoyed, but these are the ones that stuck with me thru the year. There is really no order -- I liked them all and I struggle with the concept that we should even have to declare one work the very best. Very favorite seems more appropriate.

At the movies:

ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW --- Miranda July's "little" movie turned me off when I first saw it, but I could not stop thinking about it and the characters she created. At the end of the day, I loved this movie. In fact, it is my favorite of the year.
It is a bit forced at times and I guess it carries a sort of idealistic hope in humanity, but I like that. I would not change a frame. I also felt this movie presented a very clear and realistic portrayl of children as children really are. I think our society is very uncomfortable with the idea that children are sexual beings. Not sexualized and not exploited, but July dares to create characters who are children who live and operate in a world filled with sexual energy. As we get older we forget that we have always been sexual creatures -- we just didn't understand those feelings or the implications involved. This movie reminds us what it is like to be human at all the stages in life: childhood, 30 something's, 40 somethings and the terror we all experience at growing old --- and the desire to not do that alone. This is sweet but somehow bold movie about navigating in a harsh world without losing heart or the fear of living and taking chances. Excellent and it deserved a bigger audience! It just came out on DVD. Rent it!

OLDBOY -- From Korean film director/writer, Park Chan-wook --- this is actually the second in his revenge triliogy and it took over 2 years to find a US distributor --- It is a brilliant, dark, funny, controversial and disturbing puzzle of a movie.

Choi Min-sik gives an astounding performance as a man who suffers at the hands of a sadistic and damaged younger man for something he did --- that he can no longer remember. A surprise at every turn. This is a hard one to explain, but it gave me a feeling of exhileration I've not experienced since 1986 when I saw Dennis Hopper in David Lynch's BLUE VELVET. This film is a total original and I cringe knowing that we will have an American-ized version headed out way next year! That is so wrong! This is the version to see!

MYSTERIOUS SKIN -- Gergg Araki got serious and adult on our ass --- and it worked. One of the rare times I can think of when a film actually improved an already great novel. It is my opinion that Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave the most impressive performance of the year in this brilliant film. Brave, uncompromising and painfully real in every frame. I doubt I will ever watch this one again, but I will never forget it. Probably far too harsh for the stuffy and rather superficial OSCARS to notice, but they should.

2046 -- This one took a year or two to reach the US, but it was well worth the wait and I was so psyched when it got a distributor. Tho, presented as a sequel of sorts to the unforgettable IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, this film from Kar Wai Wong is really more of a mediation on the dangers of heartbreak and desire. Not reallly all that connected to the first film, but much better in so many ways! Worth seeing for Christopher Doyle's cinematography alone. Beautifully sad and tragic!

THE DEVIL'S REJECTS -- Rob Zombie knows his film history and created a really violent sort of opera. I went in expecting another camp classic along the lines of HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES, but discovered a twisted classic. A sort of rollercoaster of horror and a great use of classic 70's rock! Can't wait to see what he does next!

3 IRON -- Korean bad boy director, Kim Ki-duk's odd and very sensual film offers little in plot. But the dream like trance is so fucking awesome! See it!

PALINDROMES -- The film critic from Paper Magazine called this a cinematic bitch slap. I like that description! Todd Solondz continues to make really disturbingly funny and horrific films about middle class culture. It is my opinion that Jennifer Jason Leigh gave the most impressive performance by an actress of the year in this movie. ...and she managed to do this with only approx 7 or 8 minutes of screen time. I love this movie even if Solondz did kill off Dawn Wiener --- this is a sort of sequel to WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE and it opens at the funeral of poor Dawn. This is a perfect movie!

CAPOTE -- Sad and powerful look at the selling of a soul for a great book. Exceptional in every way!!!

JUNEBUG/THUMBSUCKER --- Both are quirky little comedies that hit on some pretty serious topics. I like them both even if they were both flawed. Just great movies.

HUSTLE & FLOW -- I never thought I would see a realistic film about a pimp who exploits and sells women --- and not only like it, but feel empathy for the pimp. Great movie.

HIDDEN -- from Michael Haneke. It has not played in San Franciso as of yet. I've not seen it. But, I know I will love it. So, I am listing it. French family starts receiving mysterious video tapes of their activities and things will naturally take a turn for the odd/twisted in no time! I would bet it isn't as brilliant as The Piano Teacher, but it will be amazing. I'd bet money on it!

THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT --- A really perfect movie. Void of silly subplots -- this is a powerful little film and more "current" than we want to admit. George Clooney made an excellent movie!!!

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN --- Yeah, I can't say I enjoyed it, but it is just too well made to not make my list. Sad, sad and frustrating --- but great.

JESUS IS MAGIC/THE ARISTOCRATS -- Sick, foul and just wrong on so many levels --- these two movies made me laugh so hard I cried. I am counting the days for the arrival of the DVD's!!!! Must sees if you like to laugh and know how to check all of your PC sensibilities at the door. Sarah Silverman delivered the best line uttered in any movie this year when she tells her confused audience, "I don't care if you think I'm racist as long as you think I'm thin." ....pushing the envelope has never been so much fun!

...and in my CD Player

Once again, no particular order -- I've played all of these 2005 CD's so much I am surprised the laser didn't burn thru them by now.

Aerial by Kate Bush --- from washing the laundry to speaking the language of birds, Ms. Bush rocks my aural world.

Supernature by Goldfrapp --- electronica + disco + kink. ....this is Kylie gone very bad and very nasty! Their best album yet!

I Am A Bird Now by Antony and the Johnsons --- Somehow both sad and happy. I never tire of this CD. And, what a great cover shot of Candy Darling, don't ya think?!?!?

Witching Hour by Ladytron -- Just so fucking cool.

Actually, beyond cool. Electro-cool. Hella-cool. Too cool for school. Buy it.

Dynamite by Jamiroquai -- Yeah, he steals from every great R&B act of the 70's, but he steals it all so well! Great album!!! ...and, as always cute in silly hats!

Mysterious Skin (soundtrack) by Robin Gutherie and Harold Budd -- a sort of 4AD wet dream! Great floating music and as close as one can get to a Cocteau Twins worthy sound. Not your average soundtrack in any way!!!

Guilty Pleasures by Barbra Streisand/Barry Gibb -- Did anyone think I would fail to list it?!?!? Please! Sigh. Like disco butta!

So, there were many films and CD's that I liked this year -- but the above were my favorites. Can't wait for the new David Lynch and I heard that Portishead may return in '06!!! ...and my fave actress, Isabelle Huppert has over 4 movies in production for release next year. Yay!


Blogger ing said...

I still haven't seen Oldboy or Capote or Jesus is Magic. They're on my list. I need to get out more. Me and You etc. sounds like the cure for the holiday blues.

And David Lynch has a new film? Yay!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Miss Marisol said...

You have excellent taste. I agree wholeheartedly.

I rewatched In The Mood For Love recently because I never got a chance to see 2046 in the theatre.

Wong Kar Wai may be the only person who understands me right now.

Thank you for the birthday wishes. You are a good friend.


2:39 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I always know I can rely on your recommendations Matt. Pretty much everything on your list is something that I've somehow managed to not get round to seeing/buying, eg: the Ladytron album; it's a crime that I don't own that considering how much I love the first two!! Sounds like you've had a very cultural year Matty.

5:14 PM  
Blogger matty said...

ing -- Oh, yes -- everyone needs to see JESUS IS MAGIC!!! ...yeah, new David Lynch film for next year! yay!!!

miss marisol -- thank you. in the mood for love is such a beautiful film. so is 2046, but in a very different way. i've got big hopes that 2006 is going to bring you much love, happiness and self discovery. you deserve the very best. ...don't accept any less.

tim! i am in shock! how could you not have gotten that ladytron cd the day it came out?!!?! I was at rasputin (thus far, my fave cd store in san francisco) the day of its release! you will love it.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Do you have Wong Kar Wai's CD Memories of Sound & Light? Well actually not his [unofficial], but a fair portion of music from his films. Now I have you addy, I can send you a copy. heh!

Oh and Cocteau Twins has an old/new CD set out by 4ad came out last month: Lullabies and Violaine... Puuurrrty!

Y'know I used to like DLynch, but not so much these days. Seems like at times he's just weird for the sake of being strange. Bleh. Dunno, maybe it's just me! Toodles!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Well, in my defence, um ..... OK, I just kind of haven't got round to it yet. The thing is, I buy so much music it's hard to keep on top of everything! Oh, and forgot to say that I LOVED 2046, more than In The Mood For Love, which I have to say sends me to sleep, even though it is a beautiful film!!

3:44 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

Disco butta.... I love you.

4:16 AM  
Blogger ginab said...

Mysterious Skin was great. I forget the actor, the main one (not the Capote scientist blocked from traumatic memories), he can act!

7:41 AM  

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