My Picks For The Best Films of 2009... and late-2008
Ok, people, this year I'm making two separate lists. Rather than mixing the Best Films of 2009 together with all the great films that were released in late-2008 that I never had a chance to see before posting my Best Films of 2008 list, I'm simply dividing them into two different lists: "Best of 2009" and "Best of Late-2008".
And of course, as is the case every year, there are a few late-2009 releases that I have yet to see that could very well have made this list had I had a chance to see them, most prominently Up In The Air, A Serious Man, An Education, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, The White Ribbon, Broken Embraces, Bad Lieutenant, and Crazy Heart.
So, here they are, my picks for the best films of the past year:
TOP 15 FILMS OF 2009
"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."
Yet another disturbing story involving sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has just come to light. This one straight out of Southern India and including all of the standard elements we've come to expect, such as the attempted cover-up and a complete lack of compassion for the victims.
According to the story in the British newspaper The Independent, a former nun named Sister Jesme has written a book detailing the illicit sex, habitual abuse, threats, downright cruelty and outright rape that, it seems, is a regular part of life for a nun in the Church, at least in that part of the world. A Church spokesman has even admitted as much (read on).
In the room where fortune falls
On a day when chance is all
In the dark of this exile
I felt the grace of your smile
Honey you're my lucky day
- Bruce Springsteen, "My Lucky Day"
Lucky day indeed. Yesterday marked not only the release of Bruce Springsteen's new album, Working On A Dream, but also the release of Woody Allen's wonderful Vicky Cristina Barcelona on DVD. And it sure made for one heck of a terrific day for all us fans of great music and film.
As for the Bruce album, after six good listens I can now say with quite some certainty that Working On A Dream is one of his greatest albums of the past two decades, if not his whole career.
It's a full two weeks into the new year and I've finally assembled my list of the best films of the past year. It may be a bit late, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a list of 25 must-see new films; films that helped make this such a phenomenal year for a movie nut like myself.
Hey, all you fans of comedy and politics, Bill Maher has a new film out this weekend, a documentary on religion called "Religulous". I haven't seen it yet, but it sure looks great. What I have seen, however, is Jon Stewart interviewing Maher on "The Daily Show" earlier this week and, man, was it ever good! Check it out here:
The "Eternal Sunshine of Charlie Kaufman's Mind" Rave (Featuring My List of The Top 5 Comedies of All Time)
There are lots of good, even great, films out there, even a few amazing ones, but what's especially exciting, at least for a film buff like myself, is when you come across a completely original piece of filmmaking. Which is exactly what "Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind" is - completely original AND totally amazing. I just watched it again, for the first time in four years, and, like so many other great films, it blew me away even more on second viewing.
Here they are, finally, My Picks For The Best Films of 2007. I may be a few days late with this, but, hey, cut me some slack. I mean, you've gotta understand that it's taken me this long to recuperate from all those holiday parties, especially since they've continued right into the New Year.
Am I the only one who's bloody well sick and tired of all these goddamn sequels?! Is it really so hard to come up with a few original ideas rather than just making parts 2, 3 and 4 of every successful movie that has come out over the past few years? And is it really too much to ask for a few films based on something other than comic books and amusement park rides... and now toys - toys! Seriously, is it?
For all you lovers of great comedy, the wait is almost over. Only 4 more days to go until the release (on November 17th) of the new Christopher Guest film, "For Your Consideration". And it sounds like it's going to be great, just like Guest and co-writer Eugene Levy's last three films: "Waiting for Guffman", "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind". If it's even half as funny as "Best In Show" then it stands to be one of the funniest films of the year.
A Mind-Boggling Omission: Premiere Magazine's "50 Greatest Comedies" List Somehow Omits "Life of Brian"
Back in early-July I sent a letter to the editors of Premiere Magazine and they've just printed it in the issue that came out this week (October 2006 - the one with Cate Blanchett on the cover). However, they edited it down to almost nothing. I would've liked them to use the final three paragraphs, where I was actually saying something, but I guess they wouldn't want anything too critical - or even slightly political - to appear in print. It was worth a try anyway. Below you'll find a) My letter that I sent to them on July 7th, and b) What they actually printed.