Thursday, March 08, 2007


If you, like I, hunted around New Year's for the best 'year end' blog post, then you may have stumbled upon It's a Mad Mad Blog, where Joseph B. submitted 40 of his favorite 'moments' (not movies) of 2006. It's a fantastic entry and Joseph followed it up with a nutritious Top 20 of 2006. Such surprises are not uncommon at Joseph's blog, where he routinely writes on intriguing, original topics -- his latest gem is an exploration on the similarities between 'The Big Lebowski' and 'Cutter's Way,' a wonderful connection that I never made during my multiple viewings. Joseph also submitted one of the best entries to the Lovesick Blog-a-thon at 100 Films, where he took on The Most Romantic Movie You've Never Seen.

T&A & CONVERSATION: 'I can remember watching "Wild Things" with a bunch of friends one night. About 3/4 of the way through (in an incredible scene by the pool) someone hit the pause button and we immediately began talking through the plot points and just how in the hell did we arrive at this point? Always fun when a film fucks with a group like that.'

'For straight up gore something like "Demons" or "Dead Alive". But if I want something to really crawl under someone's skin, I'd toss up Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Pulse" that builds up an unbearable sense of dread. Also, any one of Matthew McConaughy's recent flicks like "Failure To Launch" does the trick.'

"Casino" 1995 by Martin Scorsese. A near perfect film in every respect.'

I do a very nerdy thing and keep a list of all the films I see in the theaters throughout a given year. As of January 5, I'd seen 136 films on the big screen in 2006. If you add to that the revolving door known as Netflix, that number triples. I'd guess I watch 5-6 movies a week, interspersed with some fantastic TV watching.'

'The first film that I remember seeing as more than just a "movie," but something with an intellect behind the whole affair, staging the action and arranging the camera moves, was Scorsese's "Good fellas."'

I've had a major affinity for director Tony Scott for years now, and I can't figure out why. I once wrote a 3000 word essay analyzing and dissecting his films (in the late 90's I believe, sadly lost 2 computers ago and a message board now floating in cyber space). So, when films like "Domino", "Enemy of the State" or "Deja Vu" creep up on my favorites lists, it always baffles some people. And I have a hard time justifying that these films are more than popcorn action flicks.'

'I went into "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" with little expectations, simply because there were very few words about the film floating around the internet or print outlets. I knew it starred Robert Downey Jr. which is usually enough to gain my money. I left the theater amazed and shocked by how searing and truthful the entire film felt. It quickly became one of my favorite films of last year and earmarked the director, Dito Montiel, as a wonderful prospect to follow. I can't gush enough about this one.'

Hitchcock's "Psycho." I think it'd be fascinating to observe the ripple effect of controversy (both socially and cinematically) that this film had on that time period.

I consider myself a fan of the "art house" fare, so when critically celebrated filmmakers such as Bela Tarr, The Dardenne Brothers or Apichatpong Weerasethakul (to name three) produce a film that wrangles the attention and admiration of almost every respected film critic in the country, what am I missing? I loved the 3 hour film called "The Death of Mr. Lazarascu" released last year, but have yet to make it all the way through any one of Bela Tarr's long snoozefests. How different can these two 'demanding' art films be? That's always dumbfounding to me.'

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