Thursday, June 18, 2009
Top 5 reasons 2009 is already better than 2008
JULIA - Best criminally underrated movie no one will ever hear about again. Like Cassavettes’ Gloria w/o all those shapeless actors workshop shouting matches & instead devoted to the story’s trashy pulp. Best Tilda Swinton maybe ever, a kind of balance of the sweaty armpitted neurotic corporate killer and the batshit warrior queen rocking the lion mane.
DRAG ME TO HELL – Best comeback from someone I didn’t realize I had fallen off so hard until now. Some directors do better with modulation (see The Straight Story), but Raimi isn’t one of them. All he has in his grab bag are dutch angles, clamorous sound effects and a joyous devotion to cranked up absurdity, so when you dial it down you have nothing but safe, serviceable Hollywood movies nowhere near as inspiredly kinetic as something like this. Most balls-out PG-13 movie since Rusty saw tits in European Vacation.
UP – Just one scene short of a masterpiece. One beat really. There's nothing wrong with talking dogs. It’s just with all the time spent humanizing the characters in the first 30 minutes, there needs to be maybe one or two more Mr. Frederickson double-takes to bridge the gap between the two worlds of heart-breakingly real and goofball. Like, “Really? Talking dogs? Really? Okay then.” That’s it. Outside of that, flat out top 5 animated all time, right behind Fievel and Bravestarr: The Legend.
HUNGER – Just as OCD in its over-calculated airtight masterly tableaus as Kubrick or Wes Anderson, but oozing with the corporeal in a way those filmmakers were never interested in going near. A tie for best sound design with Drag Me to Hell -- I will never think of ointment being applied to a festering wound the same way again.
TYSON – Best boxing movie since Fat City, better than Diggstown & Teen Wolf Too combined. Way funnier than the entirety of The Hangover, Tyson in all his batshit glory gives Toback the inspiration to make something for the first time since Fingers that isn’t just a cheap stunt.