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Films Seen 2009

New | New Docs | Unreleased | 2008 | Recent | Revivals | Old | Notes


2009 NEW RELEASES

EXTRACT (Mike Judge, USA, 2009)
THE HANGOVER (Todd Phillips, 2009)
FUNNY PEOPLE (Judd Apatow, USA, 2009)
MY SON MY SON WHAT HAVE YE DONE? (Werner Herzog, USA, 2009)
THE ROAD (John Hillcoat, USA, 2009)
BRÜNO (Larry Charles, USA, 2009)
ALEXANDER THE LAST (Joe Swanberg, USA, 2009)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Robert Zemeckis, USA, 2009)
WHATEVER WORKS (Woody Allen, USA, 2009)
A TOWN CALLED PANIC (Stephane Aubier & Vincent Patar, Belgium, 2009)
FANTASTIC MR. FOX (Wes Anderson, USA, 2009)
BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS (Werner Herzog, USA, 2009)
THE BOX (Richard Kelly, USA, 2009)
THE MAID (Sebastián Silva, Chile, 2009)
THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL
(Ti West, USA, 2009)
AN EDUCATION (Lone Scherfig, UK, 2009)
ANTICHRIST (Lars Von Trier, Denmark, 2009)
BRIGHT STAR (Jane Campion, Australia/UK, 2009)
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (Spike Jonze, USA, 2009)
A SERIOUS MAN (The Coen Brothers, USA, 2009)
THE INFORMANT! (Steven Soderbergh, USA, 2009)
35 RHUMS (Claire Denis, France, 2008)

LIVERPOOL (Lisandro Alonso, Argentina, 2008)
STILL WALKING (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2008)
UNMADE BEDS (Alexis Dos Santos, UK/Spain, 2009)
PONYO (Hiyao Miyazaki, Japan, 2008)
PASSING STRANGE (Spike Lee, USA, 2009)
YOU, THE LIVING (Roy Andersson, Sweden, 2007)
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Quentin Tarantino, USA, 2009)
DISTRICT 9 (Neill Blomkamp, South Africa, 2009)
THE HEADLESS WOMAN (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2008)
JULIE & JULIA (Nora Ephron, USA, 2009)
FUNNY PEOPLE (Judd Apatow, USA, 2009)
BEESWAX (Andrew Bujalski, USA, 2009)
LORNA’S SILENCE (The Dardenne Brothers, Belgium, 2008)
MOON (Duncan Jones, UK, 2009)
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER (Marc Webb, USA, 2009)
PUBLIC ENEMIES (Michael Mann, USA, 2009)
THE HURT LOCKER (Kathryn Bigelow, USA, 2008)
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (David Yates, USA, 2009)
WHATEVER WORKS
(Woody Allen, USA, 2009)
IN THE LOOP (Armando Iannucci, USA, 2009)
TETRO (Francis Ford Coppola, USA, 2009)
THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE (Steven Soderbergh, USA, 2009)
I LOVE YOU, MAN (John Hamburg, USA, 2009)
UP (Pete Docter & Bob Peterson, USA, 2009)
DUPLICITY (Tony Gilroy, USA, 2009)
WATCHMEN (Zack Snyder, USA, 2009)
GOODBYE SOLO (Ramin Bahrani, USA, 2008)
HANNAH MONTANA – THE MOVIE (Peter Chelsom, USA, 2009)
STAR TREK (J.J. Abrams, USA, 2009)
JERICHOW (Christian Petzold, Germany, 2008)
TREELESS MOUNTAIN (So Yong Kim, USA/S.Korea, 2009)
SUMMER HOURS (Olivier Assayas, France, 2008)
THE LIMITS OF CONTROL
(Jim Jarmusch, USA, 2009)
TOKYO! (Michel Gondry/Leos Carax/Bong Joon-ho, France/Japan, 2008)
GIGANTIC
(Matt Aselton, USA, 2008)
THREE MONKEYS
(Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey, 2008)
ADVENTURELAND (Greg Mottola, USA, 2009)
TULPAN (Sergey Dvortsevoy, Kazakhstan, 2008)
HUNGER (Steve McQueen, USA, 2008)
TOKYO SONATA (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan, 2008)
FRONTIER OF DAWN (Philippe Garrel, France, 2008)
GOMORRAH (Matteo Garrone, Italy, 2008)
TWO LOVERS (James Gray, USA, 2008)
THE CLASS (Laurent Cantet, France, 2008)
CORALINE (Henry Sellick, USA, 2009)
MEMORIAL DAY (Josh Fox, USA, 2008) #
CARGO 200
(Aleksey Balabanov, Russia, 2007)
#

#=Seen previous to 2009


2009 NEW RELEASES – DOCUMENTARIES

MICHAEL JACKSON: THIS IS IT (Kenny Ortega, USA, 2009)
EARTH DAYS
(Robert Stone, USA, 2009)
TYSON (James Toback, USA, 2008)
FRONTRUNNERS (Caroline Suh, USA, 2008)
OBJECTIFIED (Gary Hustwit, USA, 2009)
MILTON GLASER: TO INFORM AND DELIGHT (Wendy Keys, USA, 2008)
AFGHAN STAR (Havana Marking, UK, 2009)
AUDIENCE OF ONE (Mike Jacobs, USA, 2007)
VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR (Matt Tyrnauer, USA, 2008)
EVERY LITTLE STEP (Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern, USA, 2008)
ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL (Sacha Gervasi, USA, 2008)
GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN (Paul H-O and Tom Donahue, USA, 2008)
FADOS (Carlos Saura, Portugal/Spain, 2007)
ELEVEN MINUTES (Michael Selditch & Rob Tate, USA, 2008)
MUST READ AFTER MY DEATH (Morgan Dews, USA, 2009)
OF TIME AND THE CITY (Terence Davies, UK, 2008)
CRIPS AND BLOODS: MADE IN AMERICA (Stacey Peralta, USA, 2008)


UNRELEASED NEW FILMS (*=opening later in 2009)

HARLAN: IN THE SHADOW OF JEW SUSS (Felix Moeller, Germany, 2009)
NE CHANGE RIEN
(Pedro Costa, France, 2009)
A TOWN CALLED PANIC (Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar, Belgium, 2009)*
THE WHITE RIBBON (Michael Haneke, Austria, 2009)*
INDEPENDENCIA (Raya Martin, The Philippines, 2009)
MIN YE (Souleymane Cisse, Mali, 2009)
AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN (Jacques Rivette, France, 2009)
SWEET GRASS (Ilisa Barbash/Lucien Castaing-Taylor, USA, 2009)
WILD GRASS (Alain Resnais, France, 2009)
POLICE, ADJECTIVE (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 2008)
SHIRIN (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 2008)
THE EXPLODING GIRL (Bradley Rust Gray, USA, 2009)
FATHER OF MY CHILDREN (Mia Hansen-Love, France, 2009)
EVERYONE ELSE (Maren Ade, Germany, 2009)
KINATAY (Brillante Mendoza, Philippines, 2009)
BARBE-BLEU (Catherine Breillat, France, 2009)
YODOK STORIES (Andrzej Fidyk, Norway, 2008)
ACT OF GOD (Jennifer Baichwal, Canada, 2009)*
MEETING ANDREI TARKOVSKY (Dmitri Trakovsky, USA, 2008)
ECCENTRICITIES OF A BLONDE-HAIRED GIRL (Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal, 2009)


2008 RELEASES CAUGHT UP WITH

TWILIGHT (Catherine Hardwicke, USA, 2008)
BEDTIME STORIES (Adam Shankman, USA, 2008)
NOT YOUR TYPICAL BIGFOOT MOVIE (Jay Delaney, USA, 2008)
I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG (Philippe Claudel, France, 2008)
FROST/NIXON
(Ron Howard, USA, 2008)
THE HOUSE BUNNY (Fred Wolf, USA, 2008)
MAMMA MIA! (Phyllida Lloyd, USA, 2008)
GRAN TORINO (Clint Eastwood, USA, 2008)
GET SMART (Peter Segal, USA, 2008)
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (Eric Brevig, USA, 2008)
THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON (Eric Rohmer, France, 2007)
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (Scott Derrickson, USA, 2008)
BABY MAMA (Michael McCullers, USA, 2008)
CADILLAC RECORDS (Darnell Martin, USA, 2008)
CASSANDRA’S DREAM (Woody Allen, USA, 2007)
NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST (Peter Sollett, USA, 2008)
WALTZ WITH BASHIR (Ari Folman, Israel, 2008)
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (David Fincher, USA, 2008)
BURN AFTER READING (Joel & Ethan Coen, USA, 2008)
REDBELT (David Mamet, USA, 2008)
WENDY AND LUCY (Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2008)
DEAR ZACHARY: A LETTER TO A SON ABOUT HIS FATHER (Kurt Kuenne, USA, 2008)
HANCOCK (Peter Berg, USA, 2008)


RECENT-ISH FILMS CAUGHT UP WITH

MAN PUSH CART (Ramin Bahrani, USA, 2005)
loudQUIETloud (Steven Cantor & Mathew Galkin, USA, 2006)
REVOLUTION OS (J.T.S. Moore, USA, 2001)
LOS MUERTOS
(Lisandro Alonso, Argentina, 2004)
FOREST FOR THE TREES (Maren Ade, Germany, 2003)
SMILEY FACE (Greg Araki, USA, 2007)
CHOP SHOP (Ramin Bahrani, USA, 2007)
WILLIAM EGGLESTON IN THE REAL WORLD (2005)
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE Moving Castle (2004)
TWO DAYS IN PARIS (Julie Delpy, USA/France, 2007)
WHO THE #$&% IS JACKSON POLLOCK? (Harry Moses, USA, 2006)
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 2004)
THE BRIDGE (Eric Steel, USA, 2006)
BREACH (Billy Ray, USA, 2007)
JOE STRUMMER: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN (Julien Temple, UK, 2007)
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH (Paul Haggis, USA, 2007)
RESERVATION ROAD (Terry George, USA, 2007)
THE FOUNTAIN (Darren Aronofsky, USA, 2006)
FRIENDS WITH MONEY (Nicole Holofcener, USA, 2006)


REVIVALS ON SCREEN
(*=seen previously)

THE BRIDE OF GLOMDAL (Carl Th. Dreyer, Denmark/Norway, 1926)
RAMROD (Andre de Toth, USA, 1946)
PITFALL (Andre de Toth, USA, 1947)
IN A LONELY PLACE (Nicholas Ray, USA, 1950)*
MAN IN THE SADDLE (Andre de Toth, USA, 1951)
BIGGER THAN LIFE (Nicholas Ray, USA, 1955)*
PARTY GIRL (Nicholas Ray, USA, 1958)
THE MUSIC ROOM (Satyajit Ray, India, 1958)*
ARAYA (Margot Benacerraf, Venezuela, 1959)
WILD RIVER (Elia Kazan, USA, 1960)
LE COMBAT DANS L’ILE (Alain Cavalier, France, 1962)
MADE IN USA (Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1966)*
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL (Jean-Luc Godard, France/UK, 1968)*
Z (Constantin Costa-Gavras, Greece/France, 1969)*
DILLINGER IS DEAD (Marco Ferreri, Italy, 1969)
DAYS AND NIGHTS IN THE FOREST (Satyajit Ray, India, 1970)*
HAUSU (Nobuhiko Obayashi, Japan, 1977)
ALL THE MARBLES (Robert Aldrich, USA, 1981)
EYES WIDE SHUT (Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1999)*


OLD FILMS SEEN ON DVD/TV
(*=seen previously)

OUR DAILY BREAD (King Vidor, USA, 1934)
NATIONAL VELVET (Clarence Brown, USA, 1944)
LATE SPRING (Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1949)*
CURSE OF THE DEMON (Jacques Tourneur, UK, 1957)
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Robert Mulligan, USA, 1962)*
LILIES OF THE FIELD (Ralph Nelson, USA, 1963)
LADIES & GENTLEMEN, MR. LEONARD COHEN (Donald Britton/Don Owen, Canada, 1965)
L’ENFANCE NUE (Maurice Pialat, France, 1967)
TO SIR, WITH LOVE (James Clavell, UK, 1967)
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (Stanley Kramer USA, 1967)
IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (Norman Jewison, USA, 1967)
MODEL SHOP (Jacques Demy, USA, 1969)
A WARM DECEMBER (Sidney Poitier, USA, 1973)
WHO’S WHO (Mike Leigh, UK, 1978)*
XANADU (Robert Greenwald, USA, 1980)
TRANSES (Ahmed El Maanouni, Morocco, 1981)
RISKY BUSINESS (Paul Brickman, USA, 1983)
THE BILL CHILL (Lawrence Kasdan, USA, 1983)*
GHOSTBUSTERS (Ivan Reitman, USA, 1984)*
AFTER HOURS (Martin Scorsese, USA, 1985)*
THE BREAKFAST CLUB (John Hughes, USA, 1985)*
ST. ELMO’S FIRE (Joel Schumacher, USA, 1985)*
CASTLE IN THE SKY (Hiyao Miyazaki, Japan, 1986)
HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (Woody Allen, USA, 1986)*
HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS (William Dear, USA, 1987)
THE PRINCESS BRIDE (Rob Reiner, USA, 1987)*
THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS (Paul Schrader, USA, 1991)*
RESERVOIR DOGS (Quentin Tarantino, USA, 1992)*
MRS. DOUBTFIRE (Chris Columbus, USA, 1993)*
IN THE COMPANY OF MEN (Neil LaBute, USA, 1995)*
FEAR (James Foley, USA, 1996)*


NOTES [Hope to update this section soon…]

ELEVEN MINUTES (Michael Selditch & Rob Tate, USA, 2008)
Essential viewing for Project Runway junkies. Jay McCarroll tries to escape his reality TV past by…go figure…starring in a documentary. Fascinating about the nuts and bolts of the fashion industry.

MUST READ AFTER MY DEATH (Morgan Dews, USA, 2009)
Capturing the Friedmans meets Mad Men (at least the parts involving Don Draper’s home life) made in the found-footage style of Kurt Cobain About a Son. Voyeuristic, heart-breaking and riveting, even if the comparisons to the Friedmans leave you wanting more.

GOMORRAH (Matteo Garrone, Italy, 2008)
The star of this film is the amazing public housing ziggurat that provides the locus for most of the action: a burnt-out, flooded hell hole through which its cast of voluble mamas, meek accountants, resourceful nippers and brainless thugs scuttle like characters in an Ealing comedy gone bad.

TWO LOVERS (James Gray, USA, 2008)
My favorite film of the year so far. Narratively flawed and less visually majestic than Gray’s last two films (We Own the Night and The Yards) but, thanks mostly to the beleagured Joaquin Phoenix, hugely appealing. Best nightclub scene outside of a Hou Hsiao Hsien film too.

THE CLASS (Laurent Cantet, France, 2008)
An unusually austere and ambiguous film (mostly set in the smallest classroom you’ve ever seen) considering all its plaudits (Oscar nomination, Palme D’Or, NYFF opening night) and a film I would have preferred as a Raymond Depardon documentary. That said, still one of the year’s strongest films.

CORALINE (Henry Selick, USA, 2009)
Visually extraordinary (especially in 3D which renders its stop-motion models particularly tactile) and as creepy at times as The Shining.

MEMORIAL DAY (Josh Fox, USA, 2008)
Having experienced exactly the same thing that was the genesis for experimental theater director Josh Fox’s first feature film—namely driving through Ocean City MD on a holiday weekend—I felt some connection to a film that I otherwise found about as unpleasant as any film I’ve ever seen. An orgy of bad behavior that compares Spring Break to Abu Ghraib and comes up wanting.

OF TIME AND THE CITY (Terence Davies, UK, 2008)
Saw this last summer and meant to write about it. Any Terry Davies film is cause for celebration (just as the stunting of his career is cause for outrage) but I was somewhat disappointed by his first documentary which was simply less brilliant than it should have been. Davies has no trouble establishing a wonderfully elegaic tone, but his city symphony is hampered by glib music cues and schoolmarm scolding (for Terry, the Beatles were the Sex Pistols and Piss Christ rolled into one). That said, the “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” sequence is marvelous, though maybe it was more the song than the movie. Someone let this man make another feature film soon!

CARGO 200 (Aleksey Balabanov, Russia, 2007)
Saw this in Rotterdam last year. A provocative vision of the hell that was the Soviet Union in the early ’80s. Balabanov tries to erase the current creeping nostalgia for the bad old days with this impressively grungy tale of vodka-fuelled degradation and institutional corruption that plays out like Deliverance in the USSR. I loved the film’s final coda that just throws its hands up in despair.

CADILLAC RECORDS (Darnell Martin, USA, 2008)

A tad-too conventional music bio-pic that is enlivened by being about a group of musicians rather than just one, though it does turn into the Etta James story by the time Beyoncé arrives. Jeffrey Wright is as mesmerizing and charismatic as Muddy Waters as he was as Basquiat, Mos Def does a perfectly cheeky Chuck Berry and Eamonn Walker’s Howlin’ Wolf stops you in your tracks. The music is fabulous of course so I can’t complain too much about the fact that it plays so fast and loose with the truth.

CASSANDRA’S DREAM (Woody Allen, USA, 2007)

Another sloppy effort from Woody Allen, another film that might have been worthwhile if he’d just spent a little more time on the screenplay and shot more than one take of any scene (you can see actors stumble over their lines occasionally). Still, Vilmos Zsigmond’s cinematography makes it look far more polished than it is.

NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST (Peter Sollett, USA, 2008)

Boy, this film made me feel old. Not as good as Sollet’s Raising Vistor Vargas (which took place on the same Lower East Side) though Sollett didn’t write this so he shouldn’t take the blame. A Hollywood (or at least Juno-ized) version of an Andrew Bujalski film (complete with Bishop Allen cameo), Nick and Norah also struck me as a Gregory’s Girl for the late ’00s (gangly hero chases the wrong girl only to realize that the cool girl that he’s been hanging out with is the one that he wants) except that Gregory never brought Claire Grogan expertly to orgasm at the end of that film.

WALTZ WITH BASHIR (Ari Folman, Israel, 2008)

Stunning. Would have been in my top ten for last year if I’d seen it in time. Far more mysterious and inventive than I expected and with a killer soundtrack. Best Israeli film of all time?

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (David Fincher, USA, 2008)

Not much to add on this one, a film no-one I know seems to have much time for, with the curious exception of the Film Comment crew. It has its moments (Tilda Swinton swimming the Channel, the Bela Tarr-esque tug boat, Elias Koteas’ second best cameo of the year after Two Lovers) but it botches a potentially fascinating conceit. What should have been a heart-breaking mind-fuck becomes an ennervating tease.

BURN AFTER READING (Joel & Ethan Coen, USA, 2008)
A pleasant surprise. The trailers had steered me away from this as one of the Coens’ broader efforts, but, though it’s certainly not subtle, for me it was more Fargo than Intolerable Cruelty.

REDBELT (David Mamet, USA, 2008)
A big disappointment. Even though no-one had really praised this last year, as a huge Mamet apologist I thought I would like it. And at first the discombobulation of Mametian dialogue (it looks like a generic thriller, but why are they talking like that?) was enough to keep me interested. But the plot is so absurd that it soon becomes tiresome. Great widescreen cinematography by Robert Elswit though.

One comment

  1. thanks…ur list really helping me to pick a movie:)



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