Sunday, January 27, 2008

2007, so far

Here's another thing that grosses me out: the use of the word "skin" to describe things like cell-phone covers or the background of a MySpace page. Bit too Cronenbergian for me. I love Cronenberg, but I never, ever want to touch anything that's been in any of his movies, Viggo Mortensen excepted.

Last night I went to a fancy art museum and saw this crazy Syrian movie (free! because I am a student-level patron of the arts) called Sacrifices that made me want to call in Samuel L Jackson and have him do his famous Pulp Fiction number. The recurring "punch line" in the film is that someone says, "What?" and the person they're talking to says, "What 'what'?" Over and over; it's like 90 percent of the dialogue. After a while, even though the movie was very beautiful and strange, the what-saying got on my nerves. I was like,

Anyway. Everyone else on earth has been doing top-10 movie lists, but I can't be bothered to narrow it down that much. Internet space is infinite. So here are the 2007-release films that I actually saw in 2007 and liked, vaguely in order but not strictly so. I'm not writing much about any of them because other people have done so a lot better than I could, but arguments are of course encouraged.

  • Lust, Caution -- starring my only real boyfriend (sorry, Brando; sorry, Hutz), Tony Leung Chiu Wai (the pic is from In the Mood for Love, though; and probably it's really Wong Kar-wai who's my boyfriend after all; when I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I hope it turns out he directed it).

  • No Country for Old Men
  • The Host
  • Children of Men
  • Grindhouse -- I liked the Rodriguez half (Planet Terror) a lot better than the Tarantino half (Death Proof), but maybe because I haven't seen the longer version of Death Proof; it supposedly rules. Even the shortened version was pretty sweet, and holy hooch, Kurt Russell! Yow. But the girls' conversations I thought were draggy and inane (unusual for QT). Allegedly the timing is better in the longer version; there are pauses, etc.
  • Margot at the Wedding
  • Sweeney Todd -- I want to be in a Johnny Depp/Helena Bonham Carter sandwich. Mrs Lovett's dream scene of a happy goth picnic on the beach is my favorite part, esp when his hand creeps over to her knee for a second, then hastily retreats. So sad. But at least he tried.
  • The Darjeeling Limited -- Watching Owen Wilson unbandage his face in the mirror as his brothers look on is excruciating. It's audible. Gross. That whole scene is a weird combination of suspenseful, tender and scary; the rest of the movie is so perfect and beautiful, and suddenly they're peeling the facade away, just for a second, and you get a peek at this poor wounded naked thing and it's just heartbreaking. Well, I thought so anyway.
  • The Lives of Others
  • Romance & Cigarettes -- Kate Winslett is the coolest dame. I've loved her since she peed in the desert with Harvey Keitel all those years ago. She goes all out in this one, too.
  • Dans Paris -- no living boy should be allowed to be so cute, not even a French one. It's just ridiculous.
  • Lars & the Real Girl
  • 10 Canoes
  • Paprika -- I really liked the scary dream music in this.
  • Rescue Dawn
  • Avenue Montaigne
  • Waitress -- the best of the oops-I'm-pregnant movies.
  • Helvetica
  • Charlie Wilson's War -- Have read a bunch of negative reviews of this, so I'll concede that I might've liked it mainly because I saw it on my most-fun vacation day in Portland, palling around with Bradford. Motorcycles, lunch, weaponry, beer, then a matinee -- it's possible my judgment was clouded, but at the time I thought this movie was a lot of fun.
  • This Is England -- tiny skinheads! So cute.
  • Juno -- I think they actually speak leet in here once or twice.
  • Knocked Up
  • Red Road
  • Shoot 'Em Up
  • 28 Weeks Later - there went my crush on Robert Carlyle.
  • Night of Lust -- dug up out of the California soil by Seth & his Simple Farm Boy, screened in NYC at the Pioneer Theater. Ancient pulp-crime story spliced together with utterly non sequitur closeups of French boobies. Everyone but me and two icky dudes walked out twenty minutes into it, but that's okay.
  • Day Watch -- not as good as Night Watch.
  • The Golden Compass -- I know, I know. Everyone hated it. It's probably terrible. But I went on a night when I was desperate for sparkly escapism, and it did what I needed it to do. Also made me kind of want to read the books, for what it's worth.

Here are the movies I didn't like:

  • Death at a Funeral (I don't think anybody else saw this)
  • Into the Wild (just calm down, alright Eddie Vedder? Jesus.)
  • Jindabyne
  • Mystic Ball (death to hippies)
  • The Jane Austen Book Club (icky-sticky girl stuff, but not that hideous until the last 30 seconds, when to my surprise it turns into a bodysnatcher-zombie film)

I've also missed a lot of movies I should've seen, including Eastern Promises. Still haven't made it to I'm Not There, or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, or There Will Be Blood. (Maybe today!) Last year, when I was freelancing at Willamette Week, I saw 74 movies (not counting older stuff and things I watched at home or at the beer theater). (Oh how I miss the beer theater.) My favorites from 2006, since nobody asked, include The Science of Sleep; Don't Come Knocking; Russian Dolls; Kekexili: Mountain Patrol; and Night Watch.

And as long as we're in a reflective mood, here are some memorable live shows I saw in 2007:

  • Shock Troops (Cocksparrer tribute band, feat. the former teenage boyfriend on guitar, and he looked right at me during "Teenage Heart"), Ash Street, Jan 13
  • The Shotgun (sadly disbanded), Tonic Lounge, Jan 17
  • Hunches & Black Lips at Dante's, Jan 18
  • Daniel Menche (astounding!) at Doug Fir, Jan 21
  • Tragedy & Defect Defect in Gresham, Jan 27
  • Polysics, Dante's, Jan 28
  • Dagger of the Mind (first glimpse of the teenager's Shakespearean power-metal band-- also known as that time Becky fought the hooker on the kitchen floor), Simmhut, Feb 9
  • 2 Ton Boa at Rotture, March 2
  • Dagger of the Mind at Monkey Pub March 24 & Wetspot (teenager gets his naked butt whipped, likes it) March 25, Seattle
  • DJ Dieselboy, on a boat, Hudson River, NYC, Sept 2
  • Marcellus Hall, Lakeside Lounge, NYC, Dec 8 (see below)
As for books, lots of what I read from 2007 were comix. Some good ones:
  • Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White by Taiyo Matsumoto
  • Shortcomings, by Adrian Tomine
  • The Salon, Nick Bertozzi

In the fiction category, the winner was of course Willy Vlautin's novel The Motel Life. And I really want to read the new Junot Diaz book; his short stories are excellent.

I am now officially tired of thinking, despite this being a remarkably shallow, analysis-free glob post; also I have to go finish a graphic-novels review that's due tomorrow.
So long.


  1. Anonymous9:21 AM

    Maybe it is genetics, but I too liked the Golden Compass movie. Only saw it because the Christian right told me not too, but it fit my need for escapism, as well. The only part I didn't like was Sam Eliot's role - too much Sam, not enough character.
    When you have a kid, you have to be picky on movies, 'cause you only get two or three a year in the theater, so I'll have to narrow down your list to a few and see if I can find them in second run.


  2. Anonymous12:35 PM

    Wait a minute... you are recommending a documentary about the creation and use of a font... Not selling me here.


  3. Yes! The fact that I made your year-end list 3 times almost makes up for the absence of any of my bands on any other year-end lists.