Saturday, January 06, 2007

Year in Review: Under Appreciated & Special Citations

Re: 5 underappreciated films & 2 special citations

(excerpt) #3 Curse of the Golden Flower
Fans of the action packed wuxia pictures Hero and House of Flying Daggers were inevitably going to be thrown by Zhang Yimou’s latest. It’s dressed up in the same genre clothing but one of these films is not like the others. Swords, flying weaponry, and gravity defying warriors do eventually make appearances in Curse of the Golden Flower but they’re a tertiary concern. If your action cravings subside in time, you’re likely to find this whole affair an elaborate and temperamental hoot. This time around Yimou is more interested in high stakes melodrama (incest, betrayals, murder) subtextual political messages (there’s a cynical black comedy about intractable power inside) and the imperial beauty of Gong Li (an endless supply of close-ups starring her face and cleavage await you). The only thing this filmmaker seems to love more than Gong Li is color...

READ THE REST
for more on Zhang Yimou's gonzo colorogy, my issue with INLAND EMPIRE, Bettie Page, a Frankenstein monster of a movie, and one genre that Nathaniel loves more than most and probably more than he should.


previously in the 'Year in Review'

"Our Leaders. Ourselves" the ruling class * They're Bringing Sexy Back the hottest star turns * The Overrated from Dreamgirls to Clint Eastwood * Best Trailers, Posters marketing efforts * Cinematic Shame -obnoxious actors and terrible films * Stocking Stuffers cool items from the movies * This Blog is so self indulgent!

Tags: movies, cinema2006, box office, The Painted Veil, Inland Empire, The Black Dahlia, frankensteinfilm, Gong Li, Bettie Page

15 comments:

OhMyTrill said...

be happy that you have seen Inland Empire...others (aka those of us who now live in Houston...) have not had the chance (and maybe never will?) to see it. I've been waiting patiently for at least a year (or whenever it was first announced) and now I'm living in the last city to receive distribution of everything! ack! so don't complain about not having a enough time to see it when thousands of David Lynch devotees can only dream of seeing it! Ok...so maybe I'm just jealous. /end rant

adam k. said...

MBump LMS up to a B+, Nathaniel. You know you want to.

One thing I've seen more and more on repeated viewings is how well directed it is. It's a shame Dayton & Faris aren't getting more credit. It seems like an "actor's movie," sure, but casting the perfect people and getting their best work out of them is no small feat. Plus the pacing and tone of it all are just great.

adam k. said...

Bump LMS up to a B+, Nathaniel. You know you want to.

One thing I've seen more and more on repeated viewings is how well directed it is. It's a shame Dayton & Faris aren't getting more credit. It seems like an "actor's movie," sure, but casting the perfect people and getting their best work out of them is no small feat. Plus the pacing and tone of it all are just great.

Ali said...

Downgrade LMS to a C, Nathaniel. You know you want to.

I'm totally down on a second Black Dahlia viewing; it's a such an oddly compelling film, isn't it? Plus, getting to see Fiona Shaw pull the rug under you x2 again is just too good to pass up.

I don't quite think The Painted Veil is as innocent as you make it out to be re: the representation of culture. With the exception of the disgruntled army chief who gets one scene to criticize imperialism, all the other Chinese characters are either violent, pushy or on the verge of death. Namely, all threats to the white heroine and her husband. But I see the appeal otherwise; A+ production values and Naomi Watts perf.

I'm convinced Inland Empire will not open in Toronto anytime soon, so I'll going ahead with my year end list without it.

Bruno Packer said...

I'm kind of grateful I don't live in the U.S. The Mad December season runs here from January to April, even. Great months to watch all sorts of great pictures.

In the other hand it kind of sucks, because perhaps Inland Empire may never be released.

Nice to see some love for An Incovenient Truth. Pretty scary stuff. Al Gore is just an awesome dude.

adam k. said...

Hey, he does want to upgrade it, I saw it in the list of grades:

B (B+)?

I guess Ali and I disagree ; )

Arkaan said...

I love you for including The Black Dahlia. I actually think it's a good film (ie - I'd place it on the same level as something like Mulholland Drive), and I highly recommend everyone sees it twice.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Keep LMS at a B cause that's where it belongs. :)

I love being diplomatic.

Anyway. Much like Bruno, there are big pros and cons to living outside the America. On one hand we get movies more spread out, yet on the other hand we get totally ripped off sometimes. I wonder how long it will take to get Lynch to release Inland Empire down here. I need it now!

And, seriously, The Black Dahlia is a fascinating disaster. I really want to see it again just to confirm my initial thoughts that it is indeed a big ol' hilarious mess.

Anonymous said...

The Black Dahlia is a fascinating disaster and for me it was a disappointment! I love movies about 1940s and 1950s but that one was… I can’t say it’s bad but it wasn’t what I expected from Brain De Palma. We have three people (Josh, Aron and Scarlett) who should form a love triangle or something but there was no chemistry. And Swank!!! What was she thinking? I heard the original movie was three hours then they made it two only!!! Mark Isham’s soundtrack was the best thing in that movie. I’m listening to the score right now.

Anonymous said...

Al Gore is just a boring dude.

John T. said...

The Black Dahlia-when was the last time there was an awful film that was truly this fascinating? You take any aspect of the acting, the writing, or the plot, and it's utter huey, but underneath all of that lies something so sinister that you can't help but want to know what carwreck will ensue. Oh, and the production values are fantastic (Oscar better show some love).

Kamikaze Camel said...

"I can’t say it’s bad but it wasn’t what I expected from Brain De Palma."

Funny, cause it's exactly what I expected from DePalma, especially considering he's on an even weirder trip as of late (I lurve Femme Fatale.

The Black Dahlia may be awful and inept and poorly made, I don't think anybody's denying that, but I keep finding myself defending it because, dear god has something that awful, inept and poorly made been that wholly fascinating and gosh darn entertaining. Not in a while, no. And it has ace techs too so it's not like it's ugly to watch either.

Man, misunderstood is totally the right word.

Anonymous said...

"Femme Fatale"!!!!
Dear Lord! That was DePalma? The same dude who made The Untouchables and M:I?

Arkaan said...

"The Black Dahlia may be awful and inept and poorly made, I don't think anybody's denying that,"

I AM!!!! I don't think it's awful at all - as a sinister condemnation of the dream factory, it's sensational. The sequence at the Olympic Hotel is one of the year's best - it's operatic. It would be better if it were half an hour longer, true, but really - it's so intriguing and dramatic that I can dismiss most of it's flaws.

Oh and Femme Fatale is better than The Untouchables.

Bruno Packer said...

Femme Fatale is a f'cking masterpiece. Rebecca got robbed a nomination that year. She was freaking intense!