|· Portal||Help Search Members Calendar|
|Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )||Resend Validation Email|
|Welcome to Mobius. We hope you enjoy your visit.|
You're currently viewing our forum as a guest. This means you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use. If you join our community, you'll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free.
Join our community!
If you're already a member please log in to your account to access all of our features:
|Please Support Our Mobius Affiliates|
|| Adult DVD Empire | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | buy.com | DVD Empire | DVDPlanet.com | RBCMP3.com | YesAsia ||
Posted: Jan 31 2006, 08:29 PM
Member No.: 165
Joined: 23-October 04
Well, here goes. Probably tons of misspellings, and I apologize in advance if I mispelled any of the names of the people who voted. I also had to make a couple of judgement calls while tallying the ballots, but I don't think it affected the outcome. This is the weighted results, as promised.
I'll try to put up the results on the films that wound up on the most number of ballots - either high or low - in a day or so. I'll also try to clean up the presentation of the individual ballots, but not tonight.
Also, please note that I didn't strictly enforce the DVD voting, as a couple of 2004 releases snuck in (e.g., DAWN OF THE DEAD), but these were mostly isolated instances.
Thanks to all 26 of the voters!
2005 BEST FILMS:
Kung Fu Hustle 62
History of Violence 57
Grizzly Man 55
Good Night, and Good Luck 43
King Kong 33
Batman Begins 32
The Taste of Tea 31
Me and You and Everyone We Know 29
Sin City 27
Mysterious Skin 21
Broken Flowers 20
Nobody Knows 20
Brokeback Mountain 16
Kamikaze Girls 14
Land of the Dead 14
Hotel Rwanda 13
Cinderella Man 12
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance 12
War of the Worlds 12
The Constant Gardner 11
Look at me 11
Days of Being Wild 10
The Devil's Rejects 10
The 40-Year-Old Virgin 10
Funny Ha Ha 10
The Inheritance 10
The World / Shijie 10
Be Here to Love Me 9
The Descent 9
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 9
Platform / Zhantai 9
Turtles Can Fly 9
Crazy 'n the City 8
Ice Harvest 8
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 8
The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse 8
Memories of Murder 8
Samaritan Girl 8
Star Wars III 8
Survive Style 5+ 8
Wallace & Grommit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit 8
The Wayward Cloud 8
Howl's Moving Castle 7
L'Intrus (The Intruder) 7
Major Dundee: the Extended Version 7
Wedding Crashers 7
The New World 6
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic 6
The Squid and the Whale 5.5
The Jacket 5
Three.. Extremes 5
The Aristocrats 4
Initial D 4
Inside Deep Throat 4
The Life Aquatic 4
Bride and Prejudice 3
The Consequences of Love 3
Paradise Girls 3
Wolf Creek 3
Electric Shadows 2
Godzilla Final Wars 2
Mind Game 2
Moonlight in Tokyo 2
Sky High 2
Crying Fist 1
Layer Cake 1
Lightning Bug 1
Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran 1
The Weather Man 1
This post has been edited by Erik Nelson on Jan 31 2006, 09:59 PM
Posted: Jan 31 2006, 08:31 PM
Member No.: 165
Joined: 23-October 04
2005 BEST DVD RELEASES
King Kong Collection 51.5
The Val Lewton Collection 39
The Fly: Collector's Edition 26
F for Fake 25
Le Samourai 20
For Your Height Only / Challenge of the Tiger 18.5
Sin City: Recut, Extended, Unrated 18
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind 17
Danger: Diabolik 16
Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde 16
Blind Dead Collection 14
The Descent 13
Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection 13
Sex and Fury 13
Nightmare Alley 12
My Own Private Idaho 11
The Adventures of Pete & Pete Season 1 10
The Atrocity Exhibition 10
Call of Cthulhu, The 10
Cannibal Holocaust 10
Chinese Ghost Story Trilogy 10
Dawn of the Dead (Anchor Bay, 1978) 10
The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse 10
Le Notte Bianche 10
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance 10
Youth of the Beast 10
Aeon Flux 9
April Snow 9
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia 9
Dream of the Red Chamber 9
5 X 2 (Five Times Two) 9
I Heart Huckabees 9
The Muppet Show: Season One 9
Nathan Barley 9
Samurai Rebellion 9
SCTV vol. 3 9
Seven Men From Now 9
Touchez pas au Grisbi 9
King Kong vs. Godzilla / King Kong Escapes 8.5
Bela Lugosi Collection 8
The Errol Morris Collection 8
The Killing Machine 8
Ma Mere 8
Porco Rosso 8
Rebel Samurai: Collection 8
Saving Face 8
Story of a Love Affair 8
The Adventures of Superman - First Season 7.5
The Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection 7
Battlestar Galactica 7
Crazed Fruit 7
Crazy 'n the City 7
Hammer Horror Series 7
Heaven Can Wait 7
Looney Tunes, Golden Collection, volume 3 7
Manson Family, The 7
Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys 7
Punishment Park 7
Ramones: End of the Century 7
Edward R. Murrow Collection 6
Kolchak: The Night Stalker Complete Series 6
Kung Fu Hustle 6
Point Blank 6
Went the Day Well 6
Candy Snatchers, The 5.5
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry 5.5
The Flesh Eaters 5.5
The Greatest American Hero 5.5
The Twilight Zone: Definitive Editions 5.5
The Avenging Eagle 5
Band Wagon, The 5
Batman - the Animated Series, volume 4 5
Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre 1 & 2 5
Henry Jacobs: The Fine Art of Goofing Off 5
High Tension 5
House by the River 5
Incident at Loch Ness 5
Metropolis (Eureka / Masters of Cinema) 5
Over the Edge 5
This is Your Life - the Ultimate Collection 5
Au hazard Balthazar 4
Descendant of the Sun 4
Flash Goirdon Silver Anniversary Edition 4
Green Rose 4
Land of the Dead 4
MPD Psycho 4
Rockford Files, Season One 4
Tetsuo: the Iron Man 4
Battle Wizard 3
The Corporation 3
Edison: Invention of the Movies 3
Long Weekend 3
Shoot the Piano Player 3
Sting, The 3
We Were Strangers 3
All About Lily Chou-Chou 2
Bitter Victory 2
Crying Out Love, In the Center of the World 2
The Devil's Rejects 2
Dragons Forever 2
The Exorcism of Emily Rose 2
Ilya Muromets 2
Pinky Violence Collection 2
Pom Poko 2
Sins of the Fleshapoids 2
The Thin Man Collection 2
Bad Timing 1
Bride and Prejudice 1
Bright Leaves 1
Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts: 1929 - 1960s 1
It Had to Be You 1
Major Dundee - Extended Version 1
Private Parts 1
Tout Va Bien 1
Posted: Jan 31 2006, 08:34 PM
Member No.: 165
Joined: 23-October 04
INDIVIDUAL BALLOTS - A - G
Wong Kar Wai makes yet another brilliant film in his
long-awaited return. This movie is proof that in
contemporary Asian cinema, some of the biggest stars
are also among the best actors - much like old-time
2) Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt
One of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time
receives a moving & unflinching portrait. Steve Earle
famously said "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter
in the world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee
table in my cowboy boots and say that." When told of
this, Townes replied "Steve has obviously never seen
Dylan's bodyguards." Check out the site & see if you
can see it in your area.
Joss Whedon makes a terrific debut film with strong
writing, directing, comedy, tragedy, action...you all
know what I'm talking about. I saw it 5 times at the
cinema which is the most I've done that for any film
in my life.
4) The Taste Of Tea
A well-deserved winner of the audience award at the
2005 New York Asian Film Festival, this Japanese
family film is humorous, moving, and surreal at
different times. This might be the best film of 2005
that you've never heard of.
5) A History Of Violence
David Cronenberg's latest is a character study shot
through with humor and pain. Viggo Mortensen is
terrific in the lead and William Hurt is wonderful in
a supporting role. One of my favorite directors has
done it again.
6) The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Judd Apatow has made a comedy that is hilarious and
also touching. Steve Carell and Catherine Keener are
convincing in the lead roles and fine support is
provided by Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and many others.
This Korean film has mindblowing twists and turns and
so much psychological pain that even Joss Whedon would
be impressed. I've also seen the director's film
Joint Security Area which is terrific as well.
8) Mysterious Skin
Gregg Araki's latest film may be his best to date.
This powerful drama follows two boys and their
differing responses to childhood trauma. Michelle
Trachtenberg plays a supporting role as a good friend
of one of the young men.
9) Mind Game
This is a thrilling anime that will surprise you. The
artwork is terrific and I cared about the characters.
10) Crying Fist
This Korean film is a moving story about redemption
for two men - one young and one middle-aged. It's
another film with strong characters and lots of humor
In alphabetical order, here are my honorable mentions:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Hana and Alice
Land of the Dead
March of the Penguins
One Nite in Mongkok
Tale of Two Sisters
Walk the Line
10 Best/Favourite DVD's 2005
5X2(FIVE TIMES TWO)
LAND OF THE DEAD
THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE
Genre Films, still sadly missing on DVD:
EYES OF FIRE(1983)
MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH(1976)
MESSIAH OF EVIL(1972)
Movie Ballot for 2005
It was not a good year for movies; I found it difficult to come up with ten. The last few on the list wouldn’t have made it in a better year.
10. 2046 – Very evocative mood piece of romantic longing and anomie. Suffers from taking forever to gin up, and then taking forever to finish. But the middle of the film, with Zhang Ziyi, is just mouthwateringly beautiful and sad.
9. CINDERELLA MAN – Traditional “underdog makes good” kind of story, helped immeasurably by good performances and a commitment to authenticity. Crowe is very fine, ably handling the difficult job of playing a good man in an interesting way.
8. LOOK AT ME – I’m not generally a fan of “intelligentsia behaving badly” movies, but this is a good example of the breed. Manages to be a lot tougher on its characters than the inexplicably overrated THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, which gives it a ping of authenticity and hard-won knowledge that the other lacks.
7. SERENITY – A nice break from the Star Wars/Star Trek grind. Whedon is the kind of artist I relate to.
6. HOTEL RWANDA – I didn’t get a chance to see this until 2005. A good example of how genre constraints can add to a work’s power.
5. ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW – This is another genre I’m generally not a fan of, “let’s look wide-eyed at the world around us”. But I think this movie took a stock situation and infused it, for once, with some genuine grace and poetry. I especially appreciated the willingness of the moviemaker to both not romanticize this world and yet, at the same time, keep a sense of wonder about it. ME AND YOU is a hard movie to put into words, it’s kind of an ethereal thing, but it walks it’s tightrope in a fascinating way. Underrated movie.
4. KONTROLL – Saw this at the Philly Film Festival and was quite glad to see it won the Danger After Dark Festival over OLDBOY, a movie I didn’t like. A movie that manages to take on a bunch of symbolic overtones without ever quite giving up it’s spine of story, it’s the kind of thing a lot of people try and fail at.
3. WAR OF THE WORLDS – I thought this was the most satisfying Hollywood flick I saw in a generally low quality year. No one was surprised more than me by it. I’m not an especial fan of Spielberg, Cruise, or Fanning – if I recommend a movie that has all three of ‘em, you gotta believe there’s something there.
2. 3-IRON – Haunting spiritual/mystical love story about a couple who achieve fulfillment through abnegation and self-effacement. Absolutely riveting.
1. KUNG FU HUSTLE – Movie of the year in a walk. Jaw-dropping from start to finish.
1. Grizzly Man
2. Broken Flowers
3. Nobody Knows
4. A History of Violence
5. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
7. Memories of Murder
8. Land of the Dead
Just missed the cut: Hustle & Flow, Syriana, Oldboy, Save the Green Planet, Cronicas
Other films I enjoyed in 2005: Good Night, and Good Luck, Capote, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Kung Fu Hustle, King Kong, Sin City, March of the Penguins
Films I didn't see, that could have made the list: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, The White Diamond, Caché, Mysterious Skin, The New World, Munich, The Constant Gardener, Howl's Moving Castle, Palindromes, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
1. The Atrocity Exhibition (Reel 23 Pal R0 The Netherlands)
2 The Val Lewton Horror Collection (WB)
3. The Rebel Samurai Collection (Criterion)
4. The Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection (Universal)
5. The Best Buy two-disc King Kong Collection, w/Son of Kong & Might Joe Young (WB)
6. The Blind Dead Collection (Blue Underground)
7. MPD Psycho (Volumes I, II & III) (Adness)
8. For Your Height Only/ Challenge of the Tiger (Mondo Macabro)
9. The Pinky Violence Collection (Panik House)
10. Tie: Major Dundee Extended Version (Columbia) &
The Big Red One Reconstruction (WB)
Just missed: Hanzo the Razor Collection (HVE) and The Lina Wertmuller Collection (Koch Lorber) (LWC missed due to the sub par release of the films on DVD).
Kudos to Criterion, NoShame, Mondo Macabro, Panik House, Blue Undeground, Synapse, and Fox Film Noir Series, for stellar DVD releases.
Ten Best Movies of 2005
In order of preference:
Depression-era drama that shows what it was really like to be poor and hungry during that oft-filmed hard luck period of American history. Great boxing scenes, too.
Exactly the kind of adventure/monster/south seas/lost island-with-dinosaurs movie I grew up on, but with all the bells and whistles earlier models couldn’t afford. Great acting, wonderful details, beautiful recreation of old New York. (And, after CINDERELLA MAN, the second movie this year to show us Central Park’s Hooverville shantytown.)
KUNG FU HUSTLE
Hong Kong moviemaking up to all of its old tricks. A return to old-school glory with all sorts of new school touches. Funny, touching, moving, action-packed, beautifully crafted. Stephen Chow’s best.
GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK
Solid dramatic depiction of one of CBS News’ finest hours. Great acting and great recreation of Murrow’s historic newscasts. In beautiful b&w.
Delirious romantic drama from Wong Kar Wai with stunning photography, great costumes, beautiful actresses and, like all of Wong’s great works, a rhythmic play with the flow of time.
Solid comic book adaptation. Strong story, dramatic, atmospheric, character-oriented. Nice, gradual build-up; saves its big action scenes for the end. Great ensemble male cast.
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE
Another winning Hayao Miyazaki animated film. Full of imaginative surreal and magical touches. Beautiful score by Jo Hisaishi. Surprisingly good English dub features veteran actresses Jean Simmons and Lauren Bacall.
BRIDE AND PREJUDICE
The director of BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM brings some Bollywood touches to this update of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” The closest thing, as far as I could tell, to an original movie musical to come out last year. And Aishwarya Rai just shines.
GODZILLA FINAL WARS
The Big G’s last movie, or so they say, and a delirious, lunatic binge of kaiju action designed to shoot past our critical defense mechanisms right into our kaiju-friendly subconscious. Helped by seeing it with a packed house of enthusiastic G fans at Subway Cinema’s annual series.
Very good period sci-fi anime from AKIRA director Katsuhiro Otomo, with some typically Otomo-style spectacle. Superb English dub cast includes Patrick Stewart, Alfred Molina and Anna Paquin.
Ten Best DVDs of 2005
In order of preference
NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1984/Disney)
One of Hayao Miyazaki’s best films given a stunning transfer. I’ve seen this film in many different formats and this is the best copy yet. One of several Studio Ghibli titles released on DVD this year. The others include POM POKO and PORCO ROSSO, both must-haves as well.
DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER (1977/Shaw Bros.-Celestial)
The greatest discovery among the year’s Shaw Bros. releases. Brigitte Lin and Sylvia Chang, early in their careers, give powerful performances in this tearjerking adaptation of a famous Chinese literary work.
THE KILLING MACHINE (1975/Adness)
After years of full-frame English dubbed copies, finally a pristine copy of this great Sonny Chiba martial arts drama set in Japan in the postwar years. Widescreen and in Japanese with English subtitles.
POKÉMON: DESTINY DEOXYS (2004/Disney)
What can I say? None of you will know what I’m talking about, but this seventh Pokémon movie is one of the best ever. It bypassed a theatrical release and premiered on television before showing up on DVD a few weeks later.
SEX AND FURY (1973/Panik House)
What a find. And I only learned about it by reading of it on Mobius. This is a delirious Japanese female Yakuza film with plenty of sex and violence and gorgeous cinematography and production design and some jaw-dropping scenes. I’m astounded that this managed to go under my radar for so long.
THE AVENGING EAGLE (1978/Shaw Bros.-Celestial)
The first time I’ve seen this masterpiece in widescreen and its original language. One of the very best Shaw Bros. kung fu epics, with one of the studio’s great team-ups, Alexander Fu Sheng and Ti Lung.
DESCENDANT OF THE SUN (1983/Shaw Bros.-Celestial)
Easily the best superhero movie I’ve yet seen come out of HK and one of the best Shaw Bros. fantasies I’ve seen so far. It’s very much inspired by Superman, not only the original comic book story but the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies.
BATTLE WIZARD (1977/Shaw Bros.-Celestial)
A short (72-minute) delirious Shaw fantasy with nonstop super-powered battle action from INFRAMAN star Danny Lee and support from two great SB actresses, Tanny Tien Ni and Lin Chen-chi. Another great find.
ILYA MUROMETS (1956, Image)
I finally get to see my childhood favorite SWORD AND THE DRAGON in its complete form, in its original Russian language, and in widescreen. A spectacular film and a beautiful DVD.
DISNEY TREASURES: DISNEY RARITIES: CELEBRATED SHORTS: 1920s – 1960s (Disney)
I haven’t watched this yet, but its collection of 32 cartoons from a span of five decades is exactly the kind of thing the Disney Treasures series does best. Most of these are things I haven’t seen before and there are quite a few I hadn’t even heard of before.
I'm on record as having questioned the assertion that 2005 was a "great" year for film. And, indeed, I had no problem whittling a Top 14 list into a Top 10. But I have roughly 40 "11s" listed, so, yes, it was pretty good. I mean, I could've dropped passing fancies like SAHARA off the list, but I enjoyed them at the time and decided to leave them in should my fellows spot them on DVD or cable and consider taking them for a spin.
My "Flop 10s" were easy to compute this year, as I skipped most of the bad-sounding Hollywood films...which meant a concentration on woeful indies instead, often sincere, uncalculated films that simply fell wide of the mark for me. Re: LAST DAYS, a reminder to myself never to see another film with a zomboid protagonist who isn't an actual member of the living dead.
BEST: [From No. 10 to No. 1]: LAND OF THE DEAD, KING KONG, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE, MEMORIES OF MURDER, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, NOBODY KNOWS, GRIZZLY MAN, LOOK AT ME, MYSTERIOUS SKIN, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
WORST [Alphabetical]: ASYLUM, THE BROTHERS GRIMM, DEAR WENDY, DOMINION: A PREQUEL TO THE EXORCIST, HAPPY ENDINGS, HIDE AND SEEK, LAST DAYS, MELINDA AND MELINDA, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS, WHERE THE TRUTH LIES
UN CERTAIN REGARD [Alphabetical]: THE ARISTOCRATS, BATMAN BEGINS, BALLET RUSSES, BROKEN FLOWERS, CAPOTE, ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM, EROS (Wong Kar-wai segment, "The Hand"), THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, HUSTLE & FLOW, THE ICE HARVEST, JUNEBUG, KUNG FU HUSTLE, MATCH POINT, THE MEMORY OF A KILLER, MY SUMMER OF LOVE, NINE LIVES, 9 SONGS, PARADISE NOW, THE PASSENGER (re-release), THE PRESIDENT'S LAST BANG, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, THE PRODUCERS, SAHARA, SARABAND, SAVE THE GREEN PLANET, SHOPGIRL, SKY HIGH, STAR WARS: EPISODE III--REVENGE OF THE SITH, THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA, THREE...EXTREMES (Park Chan-Wook and Fruit Chan segments, "Cut" and "Dumplings"), TONY TAKITANI, TROPICAL MALADY, 2046, WALK THE LINE, WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE WHITE DIAMOND.
BAFFLERS (Movies I just didn't get, or couldn't warm to or embrace, despite favorable critical and/or audience reception): CACHE (HIDDEN), THE CONSTANT GARDENER, CRASH, LAYER CAKE, MAJOR DUNDEE: THE EXTENDED VERSION, ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW, MUNICH, THE NEW WORLD, OLDBOY, SIN CITY, SYRIANA, WEDDING CRASHERS.
Also from Bob Cashill, sender of the Top and Flop 10 Films List previously...
No Flops here. It was another fine year for the format and though marriage, moving, and other real life issues prevented me from watching more I was more than satisfied with what I was able to screen at home in 05.
TOP 10 [From #10 to #1]: PRIVATE PARTS (72), MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO: SE, KING KONG VS. GODZILLA/KING KONG ESCAPES, THE HAROLD LLOYD COLLECTION, THE VAL LEWTON COLLECTION, LE SAMOURAI, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (New series, Seasons One and 2.0), SAMURAI REBELLION, SCTV VOLs. 3 and 4, KING KONG (1933)
UN CERTAIN REGARD: THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY, THE BELA LUGOSI COLLECTION, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE: SE, CARRIE (1952), THE COMPLETE JAMES DEAN COLLECTION, THE DEER HUNTER: SE, THE FLESH EATERS, THE FLY (1986): SE, THE FREAKMAKER, THE HAMMER HORROR SERIES (Universal), HOSTAGE (05, a Mobius recommendation), MATANGO, OVER THE EDGE, POINT BLANK, SERENITY (another Mobius recommendation), TITANIC (1997): SE, THE WAGES OF FEAR, WARLOCK (59), WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953): SE.
I've included a top fifteen here, partially because I saw lots of great stuff and partially because moving to NZ has meant that I don't get to see a lot of the end of year's releases before the poll. Expect possible contenders for next year to include A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, MATCH POINT, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, SYRIANA, etc. Anyway, I'll spare everybody my typical twenty paragraphs of prefatory arglebargle and get straight to business:
1. CACHE (HIDDEN)
2. GRIZZLY MAN
3. THE WAYWARD CLOUD
4. L'INTRUS (THE INTRUDER)
5. OLD BOY
7. THE LIFE AQUATIC
8. KING KONG
9. KISS KISS BANG BANG
10. THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE
11. WALLACE AND GROMIT IN THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT
12. DUCK SEASON
14. HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE
15. MYSTERIOUS SKIN
1. F FOR FAKE. One of my top twenty movies of all time gets the treatment it deserves. Commentary of the year.
2. THE MUPPET SHOW: SEASON ONE. Supplement of the year: Henson's pitch reel. But where's Beaker? He's on the menus, but not in the episodes. Sigh. Bring on season 2!
3. THE ERROL MORRIS COLLECTION: despite being a bit of a disappointment supplementwise, I've been waiting for this since the dawn of the format.
4. PUNISHMENT PARK (R1, Project X). My first exposure to Peter Watkins, and it vastly exceeded my high expectations.
5. UNSEEN CINEMA - might be higher if I'd made it through more of it yet, but the little taste I've seen has been phenomenal.
6. HARAKIRI - haven't explored the supplements, but a fantastic film.
7. INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS - not a great film, but very entertaining, and a perfect treatment on DVD, with both surface and depth supplements allowing you two completely different approaches to the film.
8. CHARISMA - special mention also to SEANCE, but glad to see more of the other Kurosawa getting represented on DVD.
9. POM POKO - would be higher if it wasn't one of the most padded 2-disc sets in history, but this is one sorely overlooked film in the Ghibli canon and it's never not mindblowing.
10. TOUT VA BIEN - only watched the main feature so far and the Godard interview, but an astonishingly packed disc for Criterion's lower price point.
A special mention for UNSCRIPTED, a series which I loved but that HBO dumped entirely supplement-free to DVD. It seems to be near universally reviled (or maybe just ignored), but I really enjoy what Soderbergh/Clooney/Heslov have got going with this and K STREET. And also for the BBC TV series LOOK AROUND YOU - I don't think the DVD came out this year, but it was the most laughs I had from anything I watched on DVD this year.
Lots of other interesting stuff I haven't had time to come close to fully (or even slightly) exploring: ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT SEASON 2, THE DIRECTORS WAVE 2 BOX SET, REBEL SAMURAI: SIXTIES SWORDPLAY, WB GANGSTERS COLLECTION, HONG SANG-SOO COLLECTION, OLD BOY (R2), ZATOICHI (R2), BURDEN OF DREAMS, RAN, KAGEMUSHA, KURONEKO, NAKED ISLAND, SPECTRES IN THE SPECTRUM, ERROL MORRIS' FIRST PERSON, THE INCREDIBLES, COLLATERAL, RIDING GIANTS, THE STEVE MCQUEEN COLLECTION, EXTRAS (R2), and the W.C. Fields box set (not sure if it's this year or not). Plus everything I couldn't afford/was smart enough not to buy when I already had too much to watch.
2. The Devil's Rejects
3. Survive Style 5+
5. Broken Flowers
6. Sin City
7. Mysterious Skin
8. Grizzly Man
10. The Squid and the Whale AND 3-Iron (tied)
My favorite DVD releases were:
The Adventures of Pete & Pete Season 1
F for Fake
The Fly Collector's Edition
Heaven Can Wait
Over the Edge
Tetsuo: The Iron Man
The Devil's Rejects
Sin City: Recut, Extended, Unrated
Listed in reverse order (10 to 1). My list includes two films (3-IRON and THE TASTE OF TEA) that were seen in film festivals rather than during commercial runs, but I felt that both were so outstanding they needed to be included. Some of the non-US releases may have release dates earlier than 2005, but all were first showings in the San Francisco Bay area, with commercial theatrical runs (except for the two film fest entries). All films on my list were seen in theaters (not DVD).
10. VEER-ZAARA (2004, Yash Chopra)
Yash Chopra’s return to directing is Bollywood at its most opulent -- high production values, lush costumes and scenery, colorful musical numbers, and plenty of tear-inducing melodrama. Featuring genre heavyweights Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherjee, with Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini in supporting roles, this 3-hour epic traces a decades-long romantic tragedy between a Pakistani girl and an Indian helicopter rescue pilot, adding a theme of cultural and religious tolerance to the usual ones of love and sacrifice. Familiar territory for Bollywood fans, but a lovely visual extravaganza.
9. SIN CITY (Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez)
SIN CITY is all style. Rodriguez creates a three-dimensional version of interwoven stories from Miller’s series of gritty, nihilistic comic books, crystallizing the film’s actors into hardboiled archetypes through audacious use of black and white and lurid splashes of color. In a year filled with cinematic visual creativity, this film certainly makes the top of the list.
8. SERENITY (Joss Whedon)
I’ve never seen an episode of FIREFLY, but I thoroughly enjoyed tagging along for a wild space ride with this ragtag crew of not-really-mercenary-at-heart fugitives. The pace was exciting, the production values top-rate, and the world-building rich and complex. (I’m looking forward to seeing this again after watching the DVD set of television episodes, a terrific Christmas present!)
7. MIRRORMASK (Dave McKean)
The collaboration of award-winning graphic novelist Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean, who also directs. Unlike many adolescents who’d love to run away and join a circus, MIRRORMASK’s protagonist Helena finds her circus performer parents exasperating and longs for a more ‘normal’ life. When a careless insult appears to send her mother into a coma, Helena withdraws into the dark and elaborate world of her drawings, in which a scenario very similar to her predicament in the real world is unfolding. Gaiman and McKean create visually stunning images to populate Helena’s private world: the visuals are like nothing you’ve ever seen on film before.
6. WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT (Nick Park)
2005 was a better than average year for animation features, with the long-awaited return of Aardvark Studio’s dynamic duo in their new “Anti-Pesto” rodent extermination venture topping the list. Almost as good, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE presents Hayao Miyazaki’s take on the popular fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones -- a surprisingly apt combination.
5. KAMIKAZE GIRLS (2004, Tetsuya Nakashima)
Momoko is the odd one out in her rural Japanese town, eschewing the uniformly ugly clothing worn by everyone else in favor of elaborately frilly dresses evoking the era she wishes she inhabited: 18th century Rococo France. Desperate to make money to pay for her expensive indulgences, she tries selling bootleg designer clothes leftover from her father’s yakuza days. Her best client: Ichiko, a self-styled ‘Yanki’ punk and girl-gang member who casually inserts herself into Momoko’s world and changes her life completely. Funny, surreal, and surprisingly touching, this is a fresh and insightful look at the bizarre world of Japanese obsessive youth culture, unlikely friendships, and the magical powers of embroidery.
4. 2046 (2004, Wong Kar-wai)
Typically WKW in its themes of memory and regret, as well as gorgeous imagery both visual and aural, but for the first time the director incorporates science fiction elements that, surprisingly, don’t clash at all with the film’s recurring focus on the past, even within the future. I’ve never before seen a film so haunted by the past, on so many levels -- Hong Kong’s past, the histories of the characters (some of them not even in the film itself), WKW’s entire body of cinema, and (not least) the spectre of Leslie Cheung. Fans of Wong’s work were also treated to the short film “The Hand,” by far the best of the EROS trilogy honoring Michelangelo Antonioni.
3. 3-IRON (2004, Kim Ki-duk)
Aptly described in the San Francisco International Film Festival program as “lyrical and strange,” this story of a young drifter who breaks into empty houses and tidies them as he explores the trappings of the inhabitants’ lives balances humor, poetry, and violence, and is nearly silent. I liked this better than Kim’s earlier SPRINT, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER … AND SPRING. Probably my favorite film of the festival.
2. THE TASTE OF TEA (2004, Katsuhito Ishii)
Full of fine understated performances and delightful visuals (including playful use of animation and CGI effects), this episodic look at the day-to-day lives of the slightly quirky Haruno family living in a small countryside town north of Tokyo is utterly charming. Who knew the Japanese might so embrace magic realism?
1. DAYS OF BEING WILD (1990, Wong Kar-wai)
Yes, this one counts, as WKW’s stylistic breakthrough film finally got its US theatrical release in 2005. DAYS is moody, romantic, tragic, lyrical, sultry, mesmerizing, and totally drenched in tropical malaise and obsession. Watching this in a theatre (four times during its San Francisco run) was one of the biggest treats of the year for me.
Once again, my list of the year’s favorites is definitely not going to match anything you will see in newspaper critic round-up or lists of film award nominations. I've enjoyed several excellent, more mainstream, films in 2005, including THE CONSTANT GARDENER and GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, and I'd be not at all disappointed to see Ang Lee's BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN win the Oscar for Best Picture. However, the ten movies on my list are the films I most enjoyed seeing in theaters during the past year.
Order is somewhat arbitrary, but what the heck.
1. CHINESE GHOST STORY TRILOGY (FortuneStar)
FortuneStar's boxed set of digitally remastered versions of the three films, cleaning up the pictures and with new, somewhat though not totally improved, English subtitles (but I miss some of the great lines like "We're surrounded by our toes!"). Comes with a small booklet of photos.
2. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (Criterion)
Finally! A great 2-disc package including a restored version of one of my favorite films, with bunches of extras. I would have liked an audio commentary track, but .... An even more impressive 2005 release is the package for THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. You go, Criterion!
3. PORCO ROSSO and NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (Disney)
Walt Disney Studios continues its new DVD releases of Hayao Miyazaki films with 2005 releases of PORCO ROSSO and NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND, which (finally!) include the Japanese audio tracks as well as the English dubbed versions. More of these to come ... like MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO in early 2006.
4. THE CALL OF CTHULHU (H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society)
The seminal Cthulhu mythos story done in the style of a classic 1920s silent movie, using the "Mythoscope" process — a mix of modern and vintage techniques. The DVD also features a making-of documentary, high-fidelity and Mythophonic audio, special features, and intertitles in twenty-four (!!) languages.
5. HEAVEN SWORD AND DRAGON SABRE 1 & 2 (Shaw/Celestial)
My favorites from the 2005 Shaw releases, a two-part adaptation of the classic Jin Yong novel, directed by Chu Yuan and starring Lo Lieh and Derek Yee.
Dave Garrett (Houston, TX)
1 Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde (Image)
2 The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection (New Line)
3 The King Kong Collection (Warner)
4 The Ramones: End of the Century (Rhino/WEA)
5 The Edward R. Murrow Collection (Docurama)
6 This Is Your Life - The Ultimate Collection, Volume 1 (R2
7 L'Eclisse (Criterion)
8 The Corporation (Zeitgeist)
9 Sins of the Fleshapoids (Other Cinema)
10 Bad Timing (Criterion)
Edison: The Invention of Movies (Kino)
Avant-Garde: Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s (Kino)
Forgotten Films of Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle (Mackinac Media)
Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities (Disney)
Looney Tunes Golden Collection #3 (Warner)
Film Noir Classics Collection #2 (Warner)
Ben-Hur (4-disc SE) (Warner)
The Wizard of Oz (3-disc SE) (Warner)
In the Year of The Pig (Home Vision Entertainment)
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (Paramount)
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (Anchor Bay)
Beach Red (MGM)
Forty Guns (Fox)
Seven Men from Now (Paramount)
Adventures of Superman: The First Complete Season (Warner)
Quincy M.E.: Seasons #1 & 2 (Universal)
Bob Newhart Show: Season #1 (Fox)
Rockford Files: Season One (Universal)
Kojak: Season One (Universal)
The Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons (Shout! Factory)
The Dick Cavett Show: Ray Charles Collection (Shout! Factory)
Punk: Attitude (Capital Entertainment)
1 GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK
2 KUNG FU HUSTLE
3 BATMAN BEGINS
4 ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
5 KISS KISS BANG BANG
6 KING KONG
7 THE ARISTOCRATS
Posted: Jan 31 2006, 08:37 PM
Member No.: 165
Joined: 23-October 04
INDIVIDUAL BALLOTS - I - N
This was an extremely weak year for film. My top seven or eight films are really the only ones that are great, beyond that they’re simply above average.
1. 3 IRON – Easily my favorite Kim Ki-duk film to date. It revels in visual artistry of the format, conveying a powerful love story with very little dialogue. Truly masterful.
2. GRIZZLY MAN – I questioned its validity (as a documentary) throughout, yet it was the most emotionally authentic film I saw all year.
3. JARHEAD – Existential war films (APOCALYPSE NOW, THE THIN RED LINE, etc.) always work for me. One of the most effective anti-war films I’ve ever seen.
4. YOU AND ME AND EVERYONE WE KNOW – This fits into a subgenre of indie comedies distinguished by off beat characters and awkward humor. I’ve grown to hate these films, however Miranda July’s undeniable charm helped separated this one from the herd. It was my number one for a long time, but a second viewing didn’t hold up as well as I thought it would.
5. SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC – A stand-up performance that is occasionally broken up with sketches. The sketches are generally weak with a few exceptions, but the stand-up is amazing. Silverman delivers a subversive humor a la “The Howard Stern Show” at its best.
6. SIN CITY – This is what every popcorn movie should aspire to. Rodriguiez does an amazing job capturing the spirit of Frank Miller’s brilliant comics. Lots of fun.
7. INSIDE DEEP THROAT – This one’s almost cheating. I’m so interested in the adult film industry that I would even enjoy a poorly made documentary on the topic. This one happens to be very well done.
8. WOLF CREEK – We’ve seen the road-trip-gone-bad-via-hillbilly story countless times. Sometimes done well (THE HILLS HAVE EYES) and sometimes done poorly (WRONG TURN), but it’s always nice to see it done right.
9. 2046 – This easily could have been the best film of the year. Touching, well told, well acted, powerful imagery and characters. I really enjoyed watching the life and loves of this writer. However, it suffers from a painfully drawn out ending. It goes on 30 to 45 minutes after I’ve received my closure as a viewer.
10. THE WEATER MAN – A nice departure from the Hollywood bulk with a surprisingly original story and satisfying conclusion. A solid film from start to finish though it never really touches you the way it wants to.
12. LAST DAYS
14. WALLACE AND GROMIT: CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT
15. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
16. THE HOLY GIRL
17. WALK THE LINE
18. MARCH OF THE PENGUINS
Location and a fixed income contributed to my inability to see these presumably list worthy films: KINGS AND QUEEN, CACHE/HIDDEN, TROPICAL MALADY, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, THE WORLD, CAPOTE, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, HEAD-ON, THE INTRUDER, SYRIANA, THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED, BREAKFAST ON PLUTO, REGULAR LOVERS, THE NEW WORLD, MATCH POINT, THREE TIMES, ZIZEK, THE CONSTANT GARDNER, BLUE MOVIE
The Bottom Ten
1. THE RING TWO
4. ASSAULT ON PRECINT 13
5. LAND OF THE DEAD
7. THE ISLAND
8. FOUR BROTHERS
9. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
10. THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN
Top 10 on DVD
Mostly movies from Hong Kong and Korea.
10. It Had To Be You. Hong Kong. A romantic comedy set in an Italian Restaurant with Ekin Chen & Karina Lam. I like the actors, the story & the setting.
9. Crying Out Love, In the Center of the World. Japan. This movie may not count as it was released on DVD in late December, 2004 but I’m inlcuding it as it was past the Mobius deadline. A wonderfully romantic lyrically lovely film about love, loss & rain.
8. Election. Hong Kong. Simon Yam is so good as the soon to be and then newly elected triad leader. Not the usual Hong Kong triad movie. Johnnie To ‘pushes the envelope’ a little further and never disappoints.
7. Green Rose. Korea. This Korean TV drama includes a murder mystery, a quest for revenge, romance, melodrama, attractive actors & actresses. What more could one ask for? Highly enjoyable.
6. Sin City. USA. Frank Miller’s saga on the ‘silver screen’. Dark, murky, violent, entertaining.
5. Divergence. Hong Kong. A mystery, Aaron Kwok playing against type and a somewhat unsatisfactory ending but still the attention to detail and Daniel Wu as the bad guy add up to an entertaining movie.
4. Crazy ‘N the City. Hong Kong. This movie is why I so enjoy Hong Kong movies. The obvious romantic entanglement doesn’t happen and a mentally ill man finds romance in this touching movie that takes place on a police beat in Wanchai.
3. Saving Face. USA. Joan Chen is wonderful as the mother of a twenty something gay daughter. Chen is also unwed and pregnant at forty something.
2. April Snow. Korea. A subtle very slowly paced movie by Heo Jin-Ho, the director of One Fine Spring Day. A wonderful study of betrayal and love. If not for mega heartthrob Bae Yun Jun, who is very good in the lead role, this movie would not have had the commercial success it’s enjoyed as it’s not really a movie with mass appeal. However its commercial success may mean more movies from Heo.
1.Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Korea. The last movie in the revenge trilogy series by Park Chan-wook is by far the best movie I’ve seen this year. A gripping well told story with superb acting. Lee Young-ae is excellent as Lady Vengeance and gives her best performance to date in this movie.
Sorry to be so last minute. If I was on the ball I'd write a few lines about each choice, but that would make this list late. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
10. Incident at Loch Ness (Fox R1)
9. For Your Height Only/Challenge of the Tiger (Mondo Macabro R0)
8. The Rockford Files Season One (Universal R1)
7. Flash Gordon Silver Anniversary Edition (Momentum R2)
6. Henry Jacobs: The Fine Art of Goofing Off (Tinocorp/Important Records R0)
5. The Descent 2-disc SE (Fox/Pathé R2)
4. Sex & Fury (Panik House R1)
3. G.O.R.A. (SPV R0)
2. Nathan Barley (Channel 4/Talkback R0
1. The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse Universal UK R2/4
10. LAYER CAKE
9. BATMAN BEGINS
7. BROKEN FLOWERS
5. SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE
4. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
3. THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN'S APOCALYPSE
2. ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
1. KUNG FU HUSTLE
Here's my top 10 theatrical list.
1) Good Night and Good Luck
4) Wedding Crashers
6) The Jacket
7) Land of the Dead
8) Grizzly Man
10) Kung Fu Hustle
I'm not sure if Hostel counts because it premiered in 2005, but didn't start it's theatrical run until the first week of 2006. If it doesn't count I guess Two For the Money is a distant 10th, and everything else gets bumped up a notch.
I'm won't submit a DVD list since I'm not really sure what the criteria is for judging, and I don't think I've seen more than a dozen DVDs that debuted in 2005 anyway.
Top 10 DVDs of 2005 (in alphabetical order):
THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
Thank you, Warner Brothers, for releasing this seminal TV superhero series with such lavish care. The audio commentary tracks (by so-called SUPERMAN experts) could have been better, but that’s the only black mark against this box set of 26 episodes and extras. 104 episodes were made, but the first year, lensed in crisp black-and-white in 1951, was the best. Under the tutelage of producer Robert Maxwell, the scripts fell into the rein of crime drama with gangsters, robbers and molls threatening the good people of Metropolis and no-nonsense Kryptonian Superman (superbly portrayed by George Reeves) knocking the bejeezus out of ‘em with a couple of right crosses.
Before later seasons became cutesy and sillier under new producer Whitney Ellsworth, the Maxwell episodes benefited from noirish cinematography, a slightly more mature approach to the comic-book material (more so than the National Periodicals comics of the period) and actress Phyllis Coates, the sexiest Lois Lane of all (and I’m a Teri Hatcher admirer). But no one would care about or even remember THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN today if not for George Reeves, a consummate professional who not only made you believe that the guy beneath the obviously padded costume was an invulnerable superhero, but also made his alter-ego, reporter Clark Kent, a full-blooded three-dimensional man who was as important to the show as its title character.
The Warners box set also benefits from its exceptional, colorful packaging and the inclusion of SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE-MEN, the first live-action Superman theatrical film that starred Reeves and Coates and was later split into a two-part episode.
THE CANDY SNATCHERS
Subversive Cinema presents a major coup in cult cinema, the first-ever home video release of director Guerdon Trueblood’s 1973 sleazefest. This downbeat crime thriller is no less than one of the best and most disturbing drive-in flicks of the 1970's. From its witty theme song, "Love Is The Root Of All Happiness", to its daringly pessimistic final crane shot, THE CANDY SNATCHERS is full of story twists, amoral but well-developed characters, sex, violence, social commentary and good acting. It isn't a fast-moving, action-packed thriller, but I can‘t imagine anyone with an adult sensibility not becoming fully absorbed in writer Bryan Gindoff‘s taut story and fascinating characters.
Unfortunately, Subversive’s menus are among the worst I’ve ever seen, but the extras are pretty astounding, especially for such an obscure picture. The audio commentary featuring actresses Tiffany Bolling and Susan Sennett is a rare case of candor and honest human emotion being captured on a DVD extra, and you’d have to be pretty cold to not feel something for these women after hearing it.
CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER/FOR Y’UR HEIGHT ONLY
A dwarf flying over the jungle with a jet pack strapped to his back. Topless women playing tennis in slow motion. A kung-fu brawl against a charging bull. Whenever you think you’ve seen everything film can offer, something like Mondo Macabro’s DVD release of FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY and CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER comes along, leaving you with your mouth open and your faith in humanity restored.
FOR Y’UR HEIGHT ONLY, a cheapo Filipino movie with 2’9” “actor” Weng Weng as a karate-kicking, nut-crunching, chick-loving super spy, and CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER, wild Hong Kong chopsocky with Bruce Le and Richard Harrison as CIA agents, are two of the most memorable movies I’ll ever see. And here they are together on one DVD. With CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER in a beautiful 2.35 print even! I can never get tired of these two.
DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY/RACE WITH THE DEVIL
Anchor Bay went the extra mile with these seminal ‘70s car-chase thrillers, both starring Peter Fonda at the peak of his fame as a drive-in icon. Both offer terrific-looking prints and cleaned-up audio, as well as informative audio commentaries, documentaries, trailers, etc. While RACE WITH THE DEVIL has its share of entertaining moments, DIRTY MARY is terrific entertainment with jaw-dropping stuntwork at a danger level you’re unlikely to see in today’s Hollywood.
THE FLESH EATERS
This is the Retromedia disc that was scrapped after it was learned that a rival DVD company actually owned the rights to the film. I believe only about fifty of them were ever pressed, making it a real collector’s item, I presume. It’s a decent letterboxed release of a grim, gritty independent horror picture that takes an unexpected turn into science fiction in its final reels. The DVD’s real treat is its audio commentary by FLESH EATERS writer Arnold Drake, historian Tom Weaver and Retromedia’s Fred Olen Ray, an informative, entertaining examination of one of the 1960’s oddest genre outings.
THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO
I can’t believe I now own every episode of one of my all-time favorite TV series. Anchor Bay put out all three seasons of this eccentric ‘80s Stephen J. Cannell production, which benefited from warm, likable performances by its stars: William Katt, Connie Sellecca and Robert Culp. With Katt playing a reluctant superhero learning to use his powers while forced into an unlikely partnership with gung-ho FBI agent Culp, the show’s simplistic plots were merely clotheslines on which to hang Cannell’s trademark flip dialogue and appealing group interactions. The special effects don’t hold up today, but they didn’t look good in 1981 either. That’s not what this show is about. Katt has never been better, Sellecca certainly never again got a part this good, and it’s a testament to Culp’s great talent and longevity that this is just one of his well-remembered character parts.
Not only is this 1933 adventure one of the best movies (forget monster movies) ever made, Warners’ 2-disc set also contains an enormously entertaining making-of docu that runs more than two and a half hours…and never drags. That’s just one of the many extras that makes this disc, the first time KING KONG has ever been released on DVD, an essential one for fantasy film fans.
KING KONG VS. GODZILLA/KING KONG ESCAPES
On the other hand, I found these Toho productions to be nearly as entertaining…in their own way. Universal put this 2-pack out in appealing, colorful 2.35:1 prints that will have you cheering, giggling and having a great time, especially if you’re watching them with a group of good friends. The only thing better than a giant monkey fighting a giant dinosaur is a giant monkey fighting a giant robot double. The lovely Mie Hama appears in both movies, as if they weren’t already irresistible.
Media Blasters released several Japanese science fiction/horror movies in 2005. I only saw these two, which were definite eye-openers for me. MATANGO is a low-key horror thriller that relies on mood and atmosphere, rather than monsters, to achieve suspense. Don't let the silly monster suits keep you away from this Gothic chiller, which relies on complex characterizations and story turns, as well as remarkable, colorful production design, to create a feeling of paranoia and terror. THE MYSTERIANS offers a giant robot and invading aliens in a fast-moving, colorful collection of setpieces and space battles that blows away the memories I have of seeing pan-and-scan TV prints as a kid.
THE TWILIGHT ZONE: DEFINITIVE EDITIONS (SEASONS 2-5)
This might be the finest complete TV-series collection ever on DVD. Not only has every episode of one of TV’s greatest genre shows been presented in pristine-looking prints, but nearly every episode has at least one related extra, be it an audio commentary by one of the original stars or filmmakers, a radio adaptation or an isolated score. These four boxes (Season One came out in 2004) represent an important artifact in American pop-culture history. Image really jacked up the retail price on these sets, but it’s difficult to argue that they aren’t worth it.
T.J. HOOKER: THE 1ST AND 2ND SEASONS
OK, it’s schlock, but as a rabid William Shatner fan, how can I ignore the release of Bill’s iconic ‘80s TV crime drama. How could I have ever predicted that I’d be able to see Bill in blue riding on the hoods of speeding cars, taking down bad guys using sweet karate skills, flirting with bikini-clad women half his age, or talking smack to his tight-panted partner Adrian Zmed on crystal-clear digital prints?
2. King Kong
3. Star Wars III
4. Kun Fu Hustle
5. Land of the Dead
6. Batman Begins
7. Sin City
8. Transporter 2
9. Sky High
10. The 40 Year-Old Virgin
1. King Kong Collection
2. Blind Dead Collection
3. Bela Lugosi Collection
4. Hammer Horror Series
5. Kolchak: The Night Stalker Complete Series
6. High Tension
7. The Call of Cthulhu
8. The Sting
9. Dragons Forever (HK Legends R2)
10. Bride & Prejudice
This is my final answer (I think). Just a quick list before breakfast. Probably forgot some stuff, and lots that I just didn't get around to seeing.
Lenny Moore, New York City
My film viewing this was truly dominated by selections found in my ever-growing (630+) DVD collection. Under the circumstances, it would be stretching it to craft a viable top ten theatrical list, since I purchased tickets no more than nine times. Therefore, what follows is the best of what I saw in the last year on DVD, with the quality of the films mattering far more to me than the bells and whistles.
1. L’ECLISSE (1962)- One of the great personal film viewing events of recent years! Antonioni’s mastery of the medium is reflected in every frame, shot, scene and sequence. Who thought a film about the alienation of people from there own emotional lives in a modern world that values surface, artifice and greed could be so moving an experience? Monica Vitti and Alain Delon star as would-be lovers whose romance is preordained to fail for reasons they’ll never comprehend. While Richard Pena’s commentary track is serviceable, I think he misses the deep level of meaning that can be found in practically every scene, but in particular the “African dance” and the immediate aftermath.
2. LE SAMOURAI (1967)- Approximately fifteen years ago I read about a Japanese laserdisc (no English subtitles) of this film in Video Review magazine and have been waiting ever since for an American release of this classic by Jean-Pierre Melville. Laserdiscs have come and gone, but finally the Criterion Collection has answered my long-standing wish with this wonderful DVD. Alain Delon plays a hit man who is seen by a witness after a job, bringing the interest of the police and the wrath of his employers. Action filmmakers obsessed with constant motion would do well to study this film for what it says about the power of stillness. Gorgeous cinematography. Also check out Walter Hill’s THE DRIVER and, of course, John Woo’s THE KILLER.
3 2046 (2004)- While not as immediately engaging a film as IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE on initial viewing, Wong Kar-Wai’s follow-up film has stayed in my memory ever since, which is ironic considering the theme is memory and it’s effects on our present and future decisions and choices. The character Tony Leung played is now a shallow gambler/playboy, one permanently, or so it seems, damaged by his failed, aborted love affair with Maggie Cheung. He flits from relationship to relationship without the ability to appreciate another woman for who she is, rather that who she is not. Tony Leung does his usual fine work, Gong Li is as beautiful as ever (though I suspect a good deal of the scenes she shot were not used due to the truncated nature of her appearances in the film), Faye Wong looks as fetching as she did in CHUNGKING EXPRESS, but the revelation to me is the gorgeous Ziyi Zhang. No performance that I’ve seen this year has been as moving or more heartbreaking.
4. THE VAL LEWTON COLLECTION While my hundred dollar laserdisc set of these films is still valued by me for sentimental reasons, when the urge to view the titles THE CAT PEOPLE (1942), THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (1944), THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943), ISLE OF THE DEAD (1945), THE LEOPARD MAN (1943), THE GHOST SHIP (1943), BEDLAM (1946), THE BODY SNATCHER (1945), or I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943) strikes, it’s this essential DVD set that I’ll be turning to. While not the best film in the set, I’m particularly fond of THE LEOPARD MAN, find THE SEVENTH VICTIM to be almost indefinably creepy, and adore the beautiful Simone Simon in THE CAT PEOPLE.
5. KUNG FU HUSTLE (2005)- When the gang started to dance, I knew I was going to like this film! A real throwback to the kind of vibe one felt going to the local theatre to check out kung-fu movies in the 70’s (CGI and wire-fu notwithstanding), Stephen Chow has made good on the pleasures of SHOALIN SOCCER.
6. THE BAND WAGON (1953)- An absolutely gorgeous looking disc that brings out all the Technicolor glory of this film. A movie star whose career is on the wane sets out for Broadway in the hopes of a revival, something that turns out to be more difficult than first expected. Girl Hunt Ballet and A Shine on Your Shoes are my favorite numbers, but Dancing in the Dark is quite elegant as well. For all of that, the selling point is, of course, seeing the incomparable Fred Astaire (with main dancing partner Cyd Charisse) glide across the screen as only he can.
7. SIN CITY (UNCUT, EXTENDED, UNRATED) (2005)- The most visually arresting theatrical film I’ve seen this year is now expanded on DVD by Robert Rodriguez. Mixing live-actors with stark black and white, comic book settings (with dashes of color at various moments), the film makes good on the promise shown by Rodriguez in his debut, El MARIACHI, something writer and co-director Frank Miller deserves a good deal of credit for. The nature of the project required that Rodriguez maintain an extraordinary level of fealty to the source material, so that his more scatter-shot impulses were reined in, resulting in what I think is his most disciplined effort yet. Mickey Rourke (doing his best work in years) and Clive Owen are the acting standouts, while Carla Gugino fans (and I count myself as one) will be very pleased!
8.HONDO (1953)- For a long time I’ve been rather cool towards the films of John Wayne, but this past year has seen somewhat of a rapprochement with his work, as I’ve purchased close to ten of his films and enjoyed most of them. HONDO sees the Duke at his movie star best as a lone wolf cowboy who takes a young boy and his mother under his wing during an unsettled time in Apache country. Beautifully shot, well acted, and not an ounce of bloat to be found in it’s running time. A fabulous western.
9. THE THIN MAN COLLECTION- The final two films in the series can’t really hold a candle to the initial four (with THE THIN MAN and AFTER THE THIN MAN being the best of all), but having the complete collection in my possession after long ago passing on the laserdiscs is a welcome treat. Has any on-screen husband and wife team had the chemistry of William Powell and Myna Loy? The films are well crafted, funny as can be, and you might even get an imagined contact high from all the alcohol these folks put down. Includes: THE THIN MAN (1934), AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936), ANOTHER THIN MAN (1939), SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN (1941), THE THIN MAN GOES HOME (1944) and SONG OF THE THIN MAN (1947).
10. WARLOCK (1959)- Woefully under appreciated (until now) this Henry Fonda/Anthony Quinn/Richard Widmark western can, at last, be viewed in it’s widescreen glory. Fonda plays a gun for hire brought in to crack town on the lawlessness of a town named Warlock. Unfortunately, the cure may be as bad as the disease, which leads lawman (and former bad guy) Widmark into a confrontation with Fonda. The Kirk Douglas vehicle LAST TRAIN FROM GUN HILL would make an excellent western double feature with this.
PANIC IN THE STREETS (1950)- The pneumonic plague may be loose in New Orleans unless the Public Health Commissioner (Richard Widmark) and a detective (Paul Douglas) can identify the carriers, a task that leads them into the criminal underworld. Jack Palance gives an effective early performance as a thug who doesn’t have things as together as he thinks, but the real stars of the film in my view are the stark black and white noir cinematography, and New Orleans and it’s real-life denizens.
LACKAWANNA BLUES (2005)- S. Epatha Merkerson gives the second best performance that I saw last year (next to Ziyi Zhang) as the warm-hearted proprietor of a boarding house in upstate New York who takes in a young boy in need of a home and stability. Check out the scene when Nanny Rachel (Merkerson) faces down an abusive Golden Gloves boxer out to collect his wife and children from her care. If there’s any justice, the Emmy is hers! Based on the autobiographical play by Ruben Santiago Hudson, it also stars Carmen Ejogo, Jimmy Smits, Macy Gray, Jeffrey Wright, Terence Howard (who has a particularly good scene when social service workers come to check up on young Ruben), Rosie Perez, Mos Def and Louis Gossett Jr. as boarders at the house over the years, each with their own story. This is another well-written and acted drama (with loads of music) from HBO. The ensemble piece, EVERYDAY PEOPLE, also from HBO, would make for a great double feature
TOP 10 FILMS – 2005
1. History of Violence
3. Ice Harvest
4. Old Boy
6. Kung Fu Hustle
7. Sin City
8. Wallace & Grommit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
9. Batman Begins
10. Lightning Bug
RUNNERS-UP: Good Night and Good Luck, Corpse Bride, Capote, Kontroll, Land of the Dead, Wedding Crashers, High Tension, Cinderella Man, War of the Worlds, Star Wars III – The Revenge of the Sith, The Smartest Guys in the Room, The Upside of Anger, Broken Flowers, King Kong, March of the Penguins, Gunner Palace, The Brothers Grimm, Layer Cake.
NOT SEEN YET: Red Eye, Breakfast on Pluto, Rent, The Producers, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Squid and the Whale, Junebug, I Walk the Line, Match Point, Syriana, Munich, In Her Shoes, Jarhead, The Devil’s Rejects,
I DON’T GET IT: Grizzly Man, Brokeback Mountain, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Crash, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Overall, I thought 2005 was a good year for entertaining movies, but an off year for great films. However, my top two films are masterpieces by directors who will probably offer a couple more in the upcoming years. ICE HARVEST and SERENITY are two great films that will find their audience on DVD. I don’t think OLD BOY even got a theatrical presentation in Houston, but I luckily picked up the DVD on a hunch during an Amazon sale. Another theatrical no-show, LIGHTNING BUG, was my favorite independent film of the year, and it’s available on a terrific DVD from Anchor Bay.
Top 10 DVD’s:
1. The Fly
2. Seven Men from Now
3. King Kong (Best Buy set with SON OF KONG and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG)
4. Looney Tunes, Golden Collection, volume 3
5. Nightmare Alley
6. Batman – The Animated Series, Volume Four
7. Au hazard Balthazar
8. Danger: Diabolik
9. The Adventures of Superman – The Complete First Season
10. Rockford Files, Season One
Runners-up: The Complete James Dean Collection, Shoot the Piano Player, The War of the Worlds (George Pal), Twilight Zone, The Definitive Collection, Seasons Two – Five, The Val Lewton Collection, 24, Season Four, Hammer Collection, SCTV, Volumes 3 and 4, Heaven Can Wait, The Trailer Park Boys Christmas Collection, Kojak, Season One, Kolchak – The Night Stalker, Ugetsu, Point Blank, Major Dundee, Astaire and Rogers Collection, Volume 1, The Thin Man Collection, The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection, The Bird With Crystal Plumage, My Own Private Idaho, My Name is Nobody / Nobody is the Greatest, Le Samourai, The Quatermass Collection, Tales of Hoffman, Walker Texas Ranger – the Final Season, etc., etc.,
The great DVD trend of the year was the major studios releasing Special Edition DVDs - with extras worthy of Criterion - which you could buy on the week of their release for $10. THE FLY is a wonderful presentation of my favorite Cronenberg film, with extras I couldn’t have hoped for. A true labor of love. FOR $10!! SEVEN MEN FROM NOW is a stunning presentation of one of the best films of Budd Boetticher / Burt Kennedy / Randolph Scott (and I feel like throwing in Lee Marvin and Gail Russell as principal collaborators also). Jim Kitses’ booming audio commentary was one of the best I’ve heard. The best of Paramount’s great Batjac series – THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY and ISLAND IN THE SKY are a lot of fun, packed with extras, and HONDO is a small gem. It was wonderful seeing NIGHTMARE ALLEY again after seeing it a couple of decades ago at a college screening. Wonderful sequence after wonderful sequence. The scene where Tyrone Power takes the first drink of his fall, and you hear the theremin and geek cries muffled together in the background, may be my favorite of the year.
The second great DVD trend of the year was Warner opening their vaults. I only listed about half of their releases on my list (and runners-up) but they were all worthy. KING KONG was their finest hour, with a stunning restoration and great extras. (SON OF KONG and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG were icing on the cake!) The Looney Tunes set is almost as wonderful as the first two. There was a slight overall dip in quality, but there are lots of great, underrated and underexposed cartoons, surrounded by amazing extras. The fourth season of Batman Animated had a stylish “new look” which leant itself to a higher (and more consistent) level of animation (performed overseas). I wish there were more commentaries on the set, but there are several choice ones, including one for a Joe R. Lansdale episode that “isn’t a fan favorite” where Batman fights mutant chickens. My favorite detail – on the commentary for “Legends of the Dark Knight” – points out how composer Shirley Walker mimicked the temp tracks for “The Adventures of Superman” show on the episode that is half 50’s Dick Sprang. That particular episode also does a nice version of 80’s Frank Miller. The Adventures of Superman set DID have goofy commentaries, but the extras were choice. Warners should also be praised for including BOTH versions of “Superman Meets the Mole Men” in the set.
In the first season of Rockford Files, the show was working on finding its unique tone, and there is not nearly enough Angel Martin. (Rocky’s friend LJ was in more episodes!) Extras are practically non-existent on the first season set, but they did get James Garner to sit down for a short interview. It’s also disappointing that the pilot movie / made-for-tv-movie (not really sure what it was!) is missing also. Still, many excellent episodes, and several solid ones with memorable moments. One of my favorites was the two-part episode, “Profit” and “Loss”, which has Rockford exposing Enron-type manipulation of financial statements, while trying to fix his garbage disposal. Rockford’s trailer looks especially dingy on DVD.
I don't really have time to write up specific info, other than these are films I really enjoyed this year. There are several I have missed and want to catch up on, so I've left 2 spots open, at least. History of Violence probably would be there if I'd seen it, as I'm a big fan of Cronenberg.
1. Batman Begins
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
3. Hotel Rwanda
4. Sin City
7. War of the Worlds
8. King Kong
The dvds I bought this year were primarily for older films or ones that either lack the right treatment or lack the quality to be included.
1. Dawn of the Dead (3-4 disc set of the original).
2. Aeon Flux
3. Sin City Recut and Expanded
4. Old Boy
Posted: Jan 31 2006, 08:38 PM
Member No.: 165
Joined: 23-October 04
INDIVIDUAL BALLOTS - R - Y
Top Ten (are we limiting to ten?) Movies I saw from 2005:
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg - Canada)
The Descent (Neil Marshall - UK)
Samaritan Girl / 3-Iron (Kim Ki-Duk - Korea) - can these be a tie?
Turtles Can Fly (Bahman Ghobadi - Iran/Iraq)
Caché (Michael Haneke - Austria)
Palindromes (Todd Soldonz - US)
Good Night, and Good Luck (George Clooney - US)
The Constant Gardner (Fernando Meirelles - UK/US?)
Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee - US)
Munich (Steven Spielberg - US)
Top Ten DVDs released in 2005 THAT I ACTUALLY WATCHED ALREADY:
The Val Lewton Horror Collection (R1, Warner)
I Heart Huckabees (R1, Fox)
The Fly: Collector's Edition (R1, Fox)
The Descent (R2, Pathé)
F for Fake (R1, Criterion)
Metropolis (R2, Eureka/Masters of Cinema)
Danger: Diabolik (R1, Paramount)
Edison: Invention of the Movies (R1, Kino)
All About Lily Chou-Chou (R1, HVE)
Bright Leaves (R1, First Run Features)
Brandon Crawford Smith
I've never in my life seen so few new films -- I only saw HARRY POTTER, STAR WARS, and JARHEAD in theaters and only BATMAN BEGINS, BE COOL, and GRIZZLY MAN on dvd. Loved many of the above, but I will have to abstain from voting for new films.
As for dvd, the following 8 films (ranked in order of preference) were the essential dvd releases for me this year:
Youth of the Beast --
My favorite color Seijun Suzuki film and one hell of an action/ Nippon-neo noir film. It is a great story and features one beautifully designed and executed set piece after another. Great Jo Shishido performance and the best filmed action that I’ve seen (so far) from Suzuki. Brilliant transfer too -- release of the year for me.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia --
Sam Peckipah’s last stab at a gin soaked masterpiece. It’s a sick film -- it is a “down in the dirt, kicked in the teeth, and infested with crabs” kind of cinema that Peckipah and Warren Oates must have poured a little of their souls into making -- or least had several penicillin shots during the filming. Excellently gritty transfer and well done commentary track.
Val Lewton Collection --
I had wanted to see “I Walked With a Zombir” for years and I was highly impressed, but it was “Ghost Ship” that was the knockout in this bunch. A film (sort of) narrated by a half-crazed and knife-wielding mute -- whoa! I was not expecting the greatness of this film at all -- to top it off Lawrence Tierney comes off as a lamb in comparison to the stiff and stoic Richard Dix. Really great films assembled here and they were all new (and affordable) to me.
Sophisticated science fiction/horror from Japan in the ‘60s? To a mind that was accustomed to (and turned off by) guys in rubber suits and bad dubbing, this film was a complete revelation. Great dvd that has encouraged me to turn over other stones.
Point Blank --
Great commentary with Boorman and Stephen Soderbergh. I still wish the “Sons of Lee Marvin” would have gotten together for slow motion reenactments of some of the best shots from “Point Blank” as a dvd extra. Still, this film has the best slow motion ever and a great transfer on my set-up.
Le Samourai --
I finally got to see it!
King Kong --
I finally got to see it!
Shoot the Piano Player --
One of my (current) all time favorites, finally re-released with a decent transfer and plenty of extras. More people should steal from this movie.
- both are by Jai Zhangke who I was please to discover this year; PLATFORM is out on DVD . . .
MAJOR DUNDEE: THE EXTENDED VERSION
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
GOODNIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK
CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE/LE CONSEQUENZE DELL'AMORE - a teriffic Italian thriller that has not yet (to my knowledge) had an American release; I saw it at a film festival . . .
THE DEVIL'S REJECTS - just about perfect for what it was . . .
LE NOTTI BIANCHE - Visconti
TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI - Becker
STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR - Antonioni
CRAZED FRUIT - Nakahira
WENT THE DAY WELL? - Cavalcanti
HOUSE BY THE RIVER - Lang
WARLOCK - Dmytryk
WE WERE STRANGERS - Huston
BITTER VICTORY - Ray
SAMURAI REBELLION - Kobayashi
Films that played on a big screen in my town (i.e., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Jan to mid-August; Penang, Malaysia since then):-
1) THE INHERITANCE (Denmark, 2003)
This superbly paced, directed (by Per Fly) and acted (notably by Ulrich Thomsen) drama about a man who has to make sacrifices for his family has a story and main characters that ring so true as well as leave an enduring after-taste.
2) THE CONSTANT GARDENER (U.K., 2005)
Fernando Meirelles successfully crosses borders to bring us this mesmerizing adaptation of a John Le Carre novel which covers thought-provoking along with heart-breaking territory (and I don’t just mean Kenya here!).
3) CRAZY ’N THE CITY (Hong Kong, 2005)
This modest James Yuen drama which admirably wears its distinctively Hong Kong heart on its sleeve also happens to be full to the brim with the kind of tender humanity that too many of its Mainland Chinese audience-pandering, wanna-be pan-Asian blockbuster contemporaries dearly lack.
4) HITCH (U.S.A., 2005)
Will Smith stars -- and is charisma personified -- in this thoroughly entertaining “feel good” romantic comedy that’s full of laughs, fun, and real wit but the ingratiating Kevin James still manages to steal the show from him!
5) SPL (Hong Kong, 2005)
This Toronto Film Festival “Midnight Madness” favorite features two scintillating fights (the first between Donnie Yen and Jacky Wu, the other between Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung) which gave me an incredible adrenaline rush and darn near propelled me out of my theatre seat!
6) THE TASTE OF TEA (Japan, 2004)
Director Katsuhito Ishii serves up an interesting combination of sympathetic family character study, inspired magical realism and droll comedy to make for one eminently watchable as well as unique movie.
7) INITIAL D (Hong Kong, 2005)
This Andrew Lau and Alan Mak offering is one of those movies which would not have appealed to me on paper -- among other things, I don’t have an innate love of cars and street racing -- but whose visual style, hypnotic soundtrack and overall technical quality proved impossible for a filmophile like myself to resist.
8) PARADISE GIRLS (Holland, 2004)
Dutch-Chinese director Fow Pyng Hu’s three-part movie paints a generally interesting multi-cultural portrait but it is its set-in-Hong Kong third story which gives this multi-lingual film its true voice and distinction.
9) MOONLIGHT IN TOKYO (Hong Kong, 2005)
Containing as it does both guffaw-inducing scenes along with moments of genuinely tear-jerking pathos, this inspired offering from co-directors and –scriptwriters Alan Mak and Felix Chong is truly genre-transcending (But that still doesn’t excuse those responsible for its publicity for seeming to not know how to go about marketing it!).
10) MONSIEUR IBRAHIM ET LES FLEURS DU CORAN (France, 2003)
Omar Sharif shines in this gentle, beautiful film, some of whose themes and subject matter could have made for a much uglier picture in the hands of less sympathetic and humane others.
And just for the heck of it, here is a Top Ten list of (other) films which I know played on a big screen elsewhere (i.e., Hong Kong) in 2005 – not least because I viewed eight of them on my two visits to the HKSAR last year!:-
1) HOTEL RWANDA (U.K./South Africa/U.S.A., 2004)
2) KEKEXILI: MOUNTAIN PATROL (Mainland China, 2004)
3) DOWNFALL (Germany, 2004)
4) WILD ROSE (Mainland China, 1932)
5) ELECTION (Hong Kong, 2005) – I.e., the unapologetic Hong Kong version, as opposed
to the tamer Mainland Chinese which Malaysians were sadly reduced to seeing on a big screen.
6) THE HIDDEN BLADE (Japan, 2004)
7) TONY TAKITANI (Japan, 2004)
8) SWING GIRLS (Japan, 2004)
9) HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (Japan, 2004)
10) 2 YOUNG (Hong Kong, 2004)
John Van Thaden
I'm not usually much for individual rankings, or commentary that I know
I will change as I rewatch these new films (and see ones that I have
missed). Nevertheless, I always enjoy taking part in this poll. A good
number of the films at the top of this list really struck me as special
pieces of work this year.
1. Funny Ha Ha
2. Grizzly Man
5. The New World
6. Mysterious Skin
7. 40-Year-Old Virgin
8. Kung Fu Hustle
9. A History of Violence
10. Broken Flowers
William S. Wilson
Here is my very unfancy list. I could only think of 5 DVDs so those are the ones I listed. I hope that is okay. I am glad to see the Mobius poll still going and that I actually have the time to participate this year.
1. GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK
2. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
6. GRIZZLY MAN
9. KING KONG
1. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (Grindhouse)
2. DANGER: DIABOLIK (Paramount)
3. FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY/CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER (Mondo Macabro)
4. THE MANSON FAMILY (MTI)
5. ANTHROPOPHAGUS (Beat Records)
I had a really impossible time ordering my list this year – all except for my number one film have changed position on the list many times. Every film was seen in theaters in 2005 (* many seen at film festivals):
10. BLACK (2005, Sanjay Leela Bhansali)
Well I have to admit that I thought Rani’s performance almost ruined it – luckily Amitabh and little Ayesha Kapoor were SO AMAZING that they tipped the balance back in the film’s favor. Of course being that I’m such a whore for eye candy I’d be tempted to place BLACK in my top 10 based on Bhansali’s trademark visuals alone.
9. *ELECTRIC SHADOWS (2004, Xiao Jiang)
Just when I think okay I’ve seen too many sad, family-centered pieces that take place in poverty stricken Chinese villages to move me anymore along comes another. Of course you’ll always gain fans like us if you make a film about completely crazed film lovers!
8. TURTLES CAN FLY (2004, Bahman Gohbadi)
I really have no idea how I ended up at this screening. This is SO not my cup of movie. But once inside I fell hard for those sad, incredible children.
7. DUMPLINGS (2004, Fruit Chan)
That special brand of disgusting brought to you only from Hong Kong film – hurray! Question: How do they make us like the grossest shit?? Answer: Gobs of talent.
6. *ARAHAN (2004, Ryu Seung-wan)
How come after all the attempts, and stolen actors, and stolen directors, Americans can’t replicate Hong Kong mania this good?? Ryu now has it so totally down that I almost forget I’m not sitting in a Chinatown theater.
5. NOBODY KNOWS (2004, Hirokazu Koreeda)
JESUS! What a story! And so delicately handled. Koreeda makes me want to feel other people’s pain like a junkie wants his juice.
4. 3-IRON (2004, Kim Ki Duk)
“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. They help each other escape to la-la land and the effect is both beautiful and creepy. I don’t care what people say about him I think Kim is brilliant.
3. KAMIKAZE GIRLS (2004, Tetsuya Nakashima)
“Chocolate coated, freaky and habit forming” (P-Funk). Tasted so nice I tried it twice. Thank you Mr. Hendrix for pushin’ this sugary lollypop - yum.
2. KUNG FU HUSTLE (2004, Stephen Chow)
Wow. I knew I would enjoy the film but had no idea Little Stevie could pull it off quite so stylishly. I can’t wait for more. And I still can’t believe some distributor didn’t fuck up the U.S. release!
1. *TASTE OF TEA (2004, Katsuhito Ishii)
I expected to laugh out loud. I expected fun filled animated sequences. But even though I’m apparently one of the few that adored Ishii’s previous film (PARTY 7) what I didn’t expect was emotionally enriching art of this caliber.
Just Missed (And as Peter Martin says “on a different day they might end up in my top 10”):
20:30:40 (2004, Sylvia Chang)
A BITTERSWEET LIFE (2005, Kim Ji-woon)
CUTIE HONEY (2004, Hideaki Anno)
FORMULA 17 (2004, Chen Yin-jung)
HANA & ALICE (2004, Shunji Iwai)
MANGAL PANDEY (2005, Ketan Mehta)
MONGOLIAN PING PONG (2004, Hao Ning)
ONE NIGHT IN MONGKOK (2004, Derek Yee)
THE GRACE LEE PROJECT (2005, Grace Lee)
TONI TAKITANI (2004, Jun Ichikawa)
APAHARAN (2005, Prakash Jah)
BEFORE THE FLOOD (2005, Yan Yu and Li Yifan)
BUTTERFLY (2004, Yan Yan Mak)
DUMA (2005, Carroll Ballard)
THE GREEN HAT (2004, Liu Fendou)
HARRY POTTER & THE GOBLET OF FIRE (2005, Mike Newell)
HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, A (2005, David Cronenberg)
HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (2005, Garth Jennings)
THE JOURNEY (2004, Ligy J. Pullappally)
LAND OF THE DEAD (2005, George Romero)
MY MOTHER THE MERMAID (2004, Heung-Sik Park)
MY SUMMER OF LOVE (2004, Pawel Pawlikowski)
OLDBOY (2003, Park Chan-wook)
PAHELI (2005, Amol Pallekar)
PARINEETA (2005, Pradeep Sarkar)
THE PRESIDENT’S LAST BANG (2005, Im Sang-soo)
THE PRINCESS OF MOUNT LEDANG (2004, Saw Teong Hin)
RED EYE (2005, Wes Craven)
RIZE (2005, David LaChapelle)
SAVING FACE (2004, Alice Wu)
SERENITY (2005, Joss Whedon)
SIN CITY (2005, Robert Rodriguez/Frank Miller)
JAMES (2005, Rohit Jugraj)
So it was the most clichéd story out of Bollywood last year and as you all know that’s saying a lot. So it was just an excuse to showcase the hot new muscles of Mohit Ahlawat and the skin of skanky starlet Nisha Kothari. The fact that the filmmakers knew this and didn’t apologize for it but gave it their full efforts kinda charmed me. Like last year’s GARV, JAMES is what it is – blunt, violent and trashy. Now how can that be all bad?
Biggest Buzz Kill:
ROLL BOUNCE (2005, Malcolm D. Lee)
Alright you’re probably thinking well what did she expect but seeing as I spent almost every waking hour of the 70’s getting’ down on my roller skates and the story centered on the black skating experience I had a little bit of hope. But everything in this film except for the funk music and “capping” (ridiculing) was old as hell even back in the 70’s!!! And to top it off there were some glaring mistakes like the fellas supposedly not knowing who the Bee-Gees were (everybody knew) and then moments later the same fellas reference Travolta’s dance moves in SNF - hello! Of course the two things that annoyed me the most were the lack of drugs or at least some curiosity/talk of drugs (it was all prevalent) and the fact that music from 1975 was chosen to dance to instead of music from 1978 (the year the story took place). Nobody danced to old music (even three year old music) – there was WAY too much hot new stuff! Anyway I wish I’d written my experiences of summer nights gettin’ high and practicing in schoolyards and Sunday afternoons boppin’ to boomboxes in Golden Gate Park with thousands of truly amazing skaters.
5. BRIDE & PREJUDICE (2004, Gurinder Chadha)
4. GARAM MASALA (2005, Priyadarshan)
3. IZO (2004, Takashi Miike)
2. KAAL (2005, Soham Shah)
1. NIGHT CORRIDOR (2003, Chi Chiu Lee)
AFTER LIFE (1998, Hirokazu Koreeda)
HARAKIRI (1962, Masaki Kobayashi)
MUGHAL-E-AZAM (1960, Karimuddin Asif)
NEW TALE OF ZATOICHI (1963, Tokuzo Tanaka)
SAMARATIN GIRL (2003, Kim Ki-duk)
SAMURAI REBELLION (1967, Masaki Kobayashi) OH - MY - GOD!
SAMURAI SAGA (1959, Hiroshi Inagaki)
SILENT WATERS (2003, Sabiha Sumar)
THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI (1964, Hideo Gosha)
ZATOICHI THE FUGITIVE #4 (1963, Tokuzo Tanaka)
Bollywood dance numbers that gave me joy:
MANGAL PANDEY’s “Rasiya” - The village comes alive one night as passionate nautch girls spin, kick and sway to pounding drums and escalating vocals around the flickering fire of Mangal Pandey.
MANGAL PANDEY’s “Main Vari Vari” - Rani enchants us with come hither eyes, Cheshire cat smile, heaving bosom and sassy nautch girl attitude.
DUS’ “Dus Bahane” - Abhi has definitely found his niche giving tough guy attitude while shaking his moneymaker - if he keeps it up he’ll be as big as Elvis even if he never matches his father’s popularity!
BLUFFMASTER’s “Right Here Right Now” – Hey it’s Abhi working those Dus Bahane moves again but this time with more outfits, more set changes and sometimes even his own voice. Plus I’d rather look at co-star Priyanka Chopra than weasel-faced Zayed Khan any day.
PAHELI’s “Kangna Re” – Little Rani jangles her bangles and flashes that killer smile in a sunbathed, swirling ecstasy of brilliantly sareed dancers.
BRIDE & PREJUDICE’s “Dola Dola” – Nobody plays with sticks the way Aish does even in a stinker film.
MAINE PYAAR KYUN KIYA’s “Laga Prem Rog” - Shushmita Sen loses all of her dignity but none of her charm as she drunkenly writhes in the streets with the unworthy Salman Kahn and a bunch of boys in silly yellow rain jumpsuits.
NO ENTRY’s “No Entry” - Good goddess! Bipasha Basu swivels her ample hips almost as well as girlfriend Salman Khan.
BUNTY AUR BABLI’s “Dhadak Dhadak” – Jeez it’s the Abhi and Rani hour! Well they do seem to be at the top of their game. The debonair duo enthusiastically dances across India’s landscape channeling youthful adventure.
EK KHILADI EK HASEENA – Fardeen Khan & Koena Mitra kick it in (you guessed it?!) an indoor boxing ring that rains.
Posted: Feb 1 2006, 01:21 AM
Member No.: 194
Joined: 26-October 04
Glad, and pleasantly surprised, to see 3-IRON do as well as it did.
A tie between two distintively different Hong Kong films for top film, demonstrates that Asia, as expansive and diverse as it is, is currently making - FAR & AWAY - the most exciting cinema in the world.
...AND, it shows in our poll, as the top two films were Asian, also three of the top five, four of the top ten, and eight of the top twenty, with Hong Kong, Korea and Japan all well represented.
Personally, six of my top ten were Asian and Four (G' MAN, HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, 2046 & 3-IRON) of my ten made the top five which was nice.
Thanks, Erik, for all the hard work!
This post has been edited by Michael Blanton on Feb 1 2006, 02:20 AM
"Don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em."
Posted: Feb 1 2006, 07:15 AM
Member No.: 13
Joined: 17-October 04
Yeah, thanks Mr. Nelson. If for no other reason than it was a trip to see KUNG FU HUSTLE tied for number one. I was sure that was gonna be an eccentric choice -- now I feel very righteous indeed.
|Brandon Crawford Smith||
Posted: Feb 3 2006, 12:37 PM
Member No.: 127
Joined: 20-October 04
2005 was one of those years for me..
I completely forgot that F FOR FAKE and KUNG-FU HUSTLE were released on dvd in 2005 -- or they would have been included in my list for dvd's without a doubt.
As always, I enjoyed reading the list and another nod of thanks to Erik for compiling the results.
Posted: Feb 3 2006, 02:20 PM
Mobian Rock Star
Member No.: 125
Joined: 20-October 04
I'm pretty amazed that two of my top ten are the top two here and three more are in the top ten here, with a sixth in the top 25. I don't know if THAT's ever happened here before.