2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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TMDaines
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#26 Post by TMDaines » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:47 am

I'm gonna finally commit to doing a short write up of every film I watch for this project. Let's see how long this will last... (two weeks max).

Die Stille nach dem Schuss (2000 - Volker Schlöndorff):

Drawing parallels with real members of the RAF far-left militant group and events of the 70s and 80s in Germany, Die Stille nach dem Schuss depicts the relationship between the terrorist organisation and the East German Stasi through the eyes of an individual. Rita Vogt seeks refuge in the GDR after becoming the target of a manhunt following a prison break gone wrong. Rita is shown to be unique in her unconditional love for the supposed values of her adopted homeland, standing in stark contrast to her fellow citizens, all of whom refuse to have the wool pulled over their eyes.

The film lacks both the style and thrills of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008) or any real sustained drama. Much of the time you find yourself lacking empathy for the characters and unmoved by the lack of much suspense or action. Arguably this indifference and coldness from the audience to the East is intended at times, but at others there is something lacking. Just when it seems the stakes are to be raised in Rita’s personal life, the narrative moves on too soon.

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YnEoS
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#27 Post by YnEoS » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:48 am

Forgot to mention this resource again in the 1990s list since I didn't end up participating, but again LoveHKfilms.com has a great top 50 Hong Kong films list for the Aughts. As previously, I recommend reading through the various writeups in the countdown order in which they were posted.

52-41
40-31
30-21
20-11
10-4
Top 3

And once you finish reading through those, or if you're a cheater...

Full List and Analysis

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zedz
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#28 Post by zedz » Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:55 pm

More reflex reflections on bam's to-see list:

2001:

24 Hour Party People (Michael WInterbottom) - Pretty entertaining, and definitely one of Winterbottom's more successful films. Of all his many hats, comedy might be the one that fits best (see also Tristram Shandy and The Trip) - there's actually the makings of a really interesting ongoing partnership with Coogan (and Brydon), if he could focus enough to develop it further.

All About Lily Chou-Chou (Shunji Iwai) - I was really impressed with this on release, but it's a film I need to rewatch before ranking it this time. Over time, the much more low-key Korean coming-of-age film Take Care of My Cat from the same year has retained a stronger impression, and I highly recommend tracking that down.

The American Astronaut (Cory McAbee) - Striking but rather tedious, a Guy Maddin derivative that's even more arch than the original - if you can imagine such a thing.

Brotherhood of the Wolf (Christophe Gans) - Rollicking, energetic, vapid period swashbuckler with werewolves. Exactly as professional / forgettable as you'd expect, with no discernable personality of its own as far as I could see.

The Circle (Jafar Panahi) - I'd say this and Crimson Gold (2003) are his best and toughest films.

Distance (Koreeda Hirokazu) - Probably my favourite Koreeda (and a world away from the sentimental fare he's been putting out lately), but I'd love to have a better transfer of it than my old crummy DVD.

La Libertad (Lisandro Alonso) - Terrific, super-minimalist film that I'm keen to rewatch for this project. Abandon hope all ye who enter here looking for an action packed narrative (any narrative, really). Our hero chops wood, then chops some more wood, and then some more. Eats an armadillo. Chops some more wood. I think this was Alonso's best film until the amazing Jauja, but they're all worth watching if you don't have blood pressure issues.

The Man Who Wasn’t There (Joel Coen) - Blah. One of the very many Coen Brothers films which are fine while they're happening but leave no lasting impression on me. This one had the disadvantage of reminding me of lots and lots of older, better films.

Porto of My Childhood (Manoel de Oliveira) - Quasi-doc, quasi-bio that's one of de Oliveira's most accessible and charming films. I'll have to include at least one of his films on my list, and I'm leaning towards his other 2001 release, I'm Going Home, but I should probably rewatch them all.

Session 9 (Brad Anderson) - Creative and atmospheric calling-card film, with the gift of a brilliant location, but nothing for the ages here.

The Swamp (Lucrecia Martel) - If Martel gets onto my list, it'll probably be for The Holy Girl, but I've yet to rewatch this on the Criterion Blu.

2002:

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Sijie Dai) - I've actually seen this but can remember almost nothing about it beyond 'generic middlebrow arthouse drama'.

Cremaster 3 (Matthew Barney) - The most bloated of the series - which is saying something! Some amazing sequences (e.g. a demolition derby in the lobby of the Chrysler Building), but also some interminably tedious ones and total misfires that really expose Barney's limitations as a filmmaker (such as an extended slapstick sequence in a bar). The section available on DVD ('The Order') is one of the film's best. If you like that, proceed with caution; if you don't, head for the hills.


The Decay of Fiction (Pat O’Neill) - A beautiful, haunting vision of Hollywood past that will definitely be making my list. David Lynch's subconscious probably looks a lot like this. O'Neill has made a lot of his films available on DVD, but not this one (yet). I believe there was a pricy, long-OOP DVD-ROM that included the film.

Demonlover (Olivier Assayas) - Sensational stuff, and one of the few films (if I recall correctly) that domino and I both like. Probably the most psychedelic exploration of Assayas' pet theme of globalization to date (though Boarding Gate is in the same ballpark).

Domestic Violence (Frederick Wiseman) - Harrowing, brilliant, and probably the best Wiseman of the decade (though his four films this decade are four of his best ever).

Infernal Affairs (Andrew Lau and Alan Mak) - Slick, accomplished: hugely entertaining and hugely overrated. Like The Departed, it's a superior genre flick but nothing groundbreaking.

Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (Bernardo Bertolucci, et al.) - Any reason why this is on your list but not its companion film? Like most portmanteau films, these are mixed bags. The only absolutely essential film across the two is Erice's 'Lifelines' (which is in The Trumpet). Denis' contribution 'Vers Nancy' is little more than a footnote to L'Intrus, so if you're a fan of that film you'll want to see this, and Menzel's is quite moving if you're well-versed in Czech New Wave cinema (it's a tribute to the late, ubiquitous Rudolf Hrusinsky).

2003:

Café Lumiere (Hou Hsiao-hsien) - Basically you need to see every available Hou film for any of these lists. Three Times might pip this one as my 00s selection, but it follows close behind and will probably make my list as well. Some fantastic train sequences in this.

Come and Go (João César Montiero) - I watched most of Monteiro's films in one big hit when I received that box set and I must admit I couldn't remember which one this was until I consulted imdb. Oh yeah, it's his 'Look, I'm dying' film. Interesting enough in the context of his entire oeuvre, but not a peak work.

Distant (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) - My favourite Ceylan until I saw Winter Sleep, but now I've re-seen Winter Sleep this probably pulls ahead again (until I re-see this, maybe). Contains cinema's best (only?) Tarkovsky joke to date.

Gozu (Takashi Miike) - Miike's a filmmaker I only find fitfully interesting, and here he's at his most self-consciously showboatingly transgressive, which is a mode that wears thin very fast. I just find this kind of stuff really lazy, particularly from a filmmaker who's capable of such diversity and craft.

Love and Diane (Jennifer Dworkin) - I can't remember much about this documentary expect really liking it at the time, so I guess that's some kind of recommendation.

Memories of Murder (Joon-ho Bong) - Superb thriller that, like most of Bong's work, balances contrasting moods with skill and audacity (or, if you're in the anti- camp, is a total failure because it deigns to mix comedy and tragedy). It's marvellously complicated and messy, like the closely related Zodiac, and will definitely make my list. Now available on subtitled Blu from Korea.

Niki and Flo (Lucian Pintilie) - I actually find this one of Pintilie's weaker films, and definitely the weakest of his 21st century works. The Afternoon of a Torturer deals with similar subject matter in a fresher way, and his mid-length final film Tertium non datur is better than either.

The Return (Andrei Zvyagintsev) - Impressive and refreshingly large-scale film on release, but I feel I need to revisit it, since I've been much less impressed by Zvyagintsev's (still very fine) work since then.

bamwc2
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#29 Post by bamwc2 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:12 pm

zedz wrote:More reflex reflections on bam's to-see list:

Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (Bernardo Bertolucci, et al.) - Any reason why this is on your list but not its companion film?
Thanks for the incredible annotations! I've mentioned having real honest to God OCD in the past, and one of the ways that it's manifested itself over the years is these lists that I've assembled. I cull other lists out there like Rosenbaum's 1,000 essential films, the BFI hit list, the results of past viewing projects on the forum, etc. For whatever reason, Ten Minutes Older: The Cello was included somewhere on one of those lists, while Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet wasn't. I'm perfectly happy to watch films that aren't on these lists, but these are the ones that I'm actively looking for.

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Gregory
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#30 Post by Gregory » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:30 pm

My to-watch list/pile for the decade is growing quickly. For one thing, I've finally resolved to dive into the deep end of the Film Movement DVDs, rather than just dipping a toe in as I've done in the past, to see what happened at some of the festivals I missed out on. I've purchased Manito and the Festival Shorts Collection, and then I have a list of 13 more to see how long those take me. Recommendations are welcome for Film Movement titles from this decade (or of course for more recent Film Movement releases in the label's thread). Of the FM discs I've seen since they began, my favorite has been Munyurangabo, so there's my recommendation for everyone else.

Catching up on a couple of documentaries as well: I recently blind-bought Wade in the Water, Children and Into the Arms of Strangers, and plan to watch Lake of Fire thanks to the recommendations above. Finally getting around to watching Angels in America and the Extended Cut of The New World. I'll also finally give Good Bye, Lenin! a shot, because a close friend has recommended it highly over the years.

The Day I Became a Woman is on the list too, as is Heddy Honigmann's Forever. And of course plenty of familiar ones to revisit too.

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Tommaso
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#31 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:48 pm

Some reflex reactions to zedz' reflex reflections:
zedz wrote:The Circle (Jafar Panahi) - I'd say this and Crimson Gold (2003) are his best and toughest films.
Definitely. This is structurally almost like an updated version of "La ronde", but of course with a totally different drift. An amazingly captivating portrait of (female) life in contemporary Iran which never feels preachy. Great acting and cinematography, deeply involving and quite definitely a masterpiece. I'd rate Crimson Gold somewhat lower, because it's far more conventional, but nevertheless a fine film, too.
zedz wrote:Porto of My Childhood (Manoel de Oliveira) - Quasi-doc, quasi-bio that's one of de Oliveira's most accessible and charming films. I'll have to include at least one of his films on my list, and I'm leaning towards his other 2001 release, I'm Going Home, but I should probably rewatch them all.
Absolutely wonderful film. Lovingly recreated scenes of 30s Portugal, somewhat melancholically looked back at about 70 years later, at a time when all the old magic of coffeehouses, the women and the style of that era (and not least his early filmmaking efforts, as per the excerpts from "Douro, Faina Fluvial") had basically become a thing of memory only. Enchanting and certainly on my list.
zedz wrote:Cremaster 3 (Matthew Barney) - The most bloated of the series - which is saying something! Some amazing sequences (e.g. a demolition derby in the lobby of the Chrysler Building), but also some interminably tedious ones and total misfires that really expose Barney's limitations as a filmmaker (such as an extended slapstick sequence in a bar). The section available on DVD ('The Order') is one of the film's best. If you like that, proceed with caution; if you don't, head for the hills.
Bloated it may be, but actually I must say I've never seen anything remotely like Barney's films before or after (even Greenaway or Lynch are far less extreme). I have next to no idea about contemporary visual arts, and if people say that Barney is a fake I must accept it. Still, the car demolition scene that you mention left me completely baffled, just like "The Order" sequence and a few others in this installment, too. All I can say is that Barney's films, whether they're good or bad (and in the end I don't care), are so completely far out and unusual compared to 'normal' cinema that this alone should make them worthy of attention. That they're complete visual treats and thought-provoking (even though in the end I don't understand them) is another point in their favour. This will figure extremely high on my list, as will Drawing Restraint 9, probably his best structured and most accessible film. (Still waiting for a chance to see "River of Fundament"...)

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colinr0380
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#32 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:51 pm

zedz wrote:Brotherhood of the Wolf (Christophe Gans) - Rollicking, energetic, vapid period swashbuckler with werewolves. Exactly as professional / forgettable as you'd expect, with no discernable personality of its own as far as I could see.
This is also the decade of Christophe Gans' Silent Hill adaptation. It is a rather unsatisfying film in some ways (though the way the horror sequences peter out is staying pretty true to the video game series) but it handles its locations and eerie tone extremely well and features all round committed performances. I appreciate that film if only for the surprisingly affecting and well handled small moment of the husband and wife briefly crossing each other's paths in different realities, heartbreakingly occupying the same space yet missing each other. Just avoid the (tellingly non-Gans directed) sequel, which messes up almost everything that worked the first time around (Sean Bean escapes relatively unscathed though), whilst solving none of the original film's 'issues'!

I think Gans is a rather undervalued fantastical director, maybe not quite having hit the heights of Guillermo del Toro, but he's the next name I'd come to on the list! His darkly romantic segment of Necronomicon, the H.P. Lovecraft anthology film from the 90s, ("The Drowned") was by far the best, and most Lovecraftian in tone of the three. He also did an interesting (although nowhere near as extreme as the manga) adaptation of Crying Freeman, about a hitman unable to kill an innocent virginal witness to one of his assassinations, instead falling in love with her and having to fight off his employers, which almost comes to be a kind of doomed lover's suicide pact. Brotherhood of the Wolf is perhaps his biggest scale work, being a large scale period fantasy, though in a similar vein I'm really looking forward to getting a chance to see his version of Beauty and the Beast with Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux, which also looks to be completely in keeping with his preoccupations of sweeping, darkly romantic fantasies.
zedz wrote:The Swamp (Lucrecia Martel) - If Martel gets onto my list, it'll probably be for The Holy Girl, but I've yet to rewatch this on the Criterion Blu.
I'd be curious as to your thoughts about The Headless Woman too, also eligible for this decade.
zedz wrote:Gozu (Takashi Miike) - Miike's a filmmaker I only find fitfully interesting, and here he's at his most self-consciously showboatingly transgressive, which is a mode that wears thin very fast. I just find this kind of stuff really lazy, particularly from a filmmaker who's capable of such diversity and craft.
A Miike film I might recommend for a far less transgressive experience would be his TV movie Sabu which is a very uncharacteristically straightforwardly played drama involving wrongful imprisonment and love affairs, and which is also a rare period set one for the director (or at least it was a rare thing until more recently!)

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#33 Post by sir_luke » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:13 pm

After having thoroughly enjoyed my position as a neutral observer for a few genre and decade lists, I've finally decided to take the plunge and participate. I have so much work to do that I think it would be pointless to mock up a provisional Top Ten, so I think I'll just go ahead and start with write-ups.

La león (Santiago Otheguy, 2007) This is an impressive debut feature that nevertheless has some fundamental flaws. La león tells of a laborer, Alvaro, who lives and works in a densely wooded and sparsely populated region of Argentina and who is subjected to further isolation due to his sexual orientation. Rather than reaching out, he keeps to himself while he is reviled, confronted, and eventually assaulted.

While watching, I was reminded of Lav Diaz’s recent Norte, the End of History; like the Diaz, La león is comprised primarily of beautifully composed, mostly static shots and features precious little dialogue, most of which is inconsequential (the film could perhaps work just as well as a book of photographs). It also proceeds at a snail’s pace and provides little context for the goings-on, both of which are intentional but also perhaps have negative effects on the film’s potential impact. We sense the dread and sadness that persistently haunt Alvaro, thanks in part to the shadowy black-and-white cinematography and minimalist barely-present score, as well as the near-wordless performance of Jorge Román, but the whole affair on a certain level seems rather empty. The penultimate scene, however, in which
SpoilerShow
Alvaro’s gruff and uber-masculine foreman, who has hitherto been verbally abusive towards him, rapes him as an inadvertent expression of repressed feelings and midway through realizes those feelings,
is a shocking and emotionally potent disruption of the sleepwalking contemplative tone. As a result, the film is both fascinating and frustrating.

(P.S. I had to laugh when I saw the poster, which describes the film as a “lusty tale” as if it’s a cheap paperback novel featuring greased-up underwear models on the cover. Don’t look for titillating “lusty” romance here.)

Dumplings (Fruit Chan, 2004) A repulsive but inherently silly piece of culinary pseudohorror from Hong Kong. The film achieves an odd effect because of how nonchalantly and sometimes comically it addresses the crucial element of its premise,
SpoilerShow
that dumplings containing human fetuses hold the key to youth,
and how awkwardly unlike a horror film it is. Throughout the film there is an inconsistent tone, wavering from quiet to creepy to goofy to stomach-churning, but the transitions between these are seldom fluid. For some reason I always tend to attempt making a big deal about my perception of films' "intended meanings," but I think it would be foolish to ascribe any significance to the film’s treatment of abortion, because I don’t think the film is necessarily morally concerned with it, no matter how serious or suggestive it seems to get. The film is simply what it sets out to be: weird and gross. I haven’t yet watched the short film it's based on, featured in the omnibus Three…Extremes, but I imagine the story would probably fare better if it were shorter. I will say one thing: the cinematography, by frequent Wong Kar Wai collaborator Christopher Doyle, is exceptionally beautiful, but unfortunately the film itself is ugly and ultimately not worth much.

Gozu (Takashi Miike, 2003) I am mostly unfamiliar with Miike’s work (something I hope to remedy over the course of this project), but this mind-boggler hits all the right notes for me. The obvious comparison is to David Lynch, and indeed this is very much in the same vein as Lynch’s best work while also remaining its own beast. I would be hard-pressed to come up with a rational justification of all the bizarre elements (including but not limited to an adult birth, a man with a cow's head, talking private parts, and a copious amount of breastmilk), but perhaps that’s just because I haven’t cracked the code yet. It’s also possible (and more likely) that Miike is just having fun, launching the viewer into a confuzzling brew of weirdness from which there is no escape until the final fadeout. I realize that after my criticisms of Dumplings above I might sound a bit hypocritical, but where Dumplings can be moody and self-serious Gozu is blatantly, thoroughly tongue-in-cheek, and as a result the latter is not only more effective in its intentions but also more enjoyable to watch and ultimately more memorable. But again, I’ve seen woefully few Miike films (and I occasionally enjoy "self-consciously showboatingly transgressive" stuff as zedz puts it, whatever that says about me). It remains to be seen whether I'll change on this as I continue my viewing.

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domino harvey
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#34 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:33 pm

Gregory wrote:Catching up on a couple of documentaries as well: I recently blind-bought [...] Into the Arms of Strangers
I wouldn't get your hopes up on this one. It's an interesting film and an educational one, but not much more than your garden variety PBS (or, I think in this case HBO?) documentary. The story's compelling to be sure, but the doc is too presentational and pedestrian to really be list-worthy

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zedz
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#35 Post by zedz » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:36 pm

sir_luke wrote:Dumplings (Fruit Chan, 2004) A repulsive but inherently silly piece of culinary pseudohorror from Hong Kong. The film achieves an odd effect because of how nonchalantly and sometimes comically it addresses the crucial element of its premise,
SpoilerShow
that dumplings containing human fetuses hold the key to youth,
and how awkwardly unlike a horror film it is. Throughout the film there is an inconsistent tone, wavering from quiet to creepy to goofy to stomach-churning, but the transitions between these are seldom fluid. For some reason I always tend to attempt making a big deal about my perception of films' "intended meanings," but I think it would be foolish to ascribe any significance to the film’s treatment of abortion, because I don’t think the film is necessarily morally concerned with it, no matter how serious or suggestive it seems to get. The film is simply what it sets out to be: weird and gross. I haven’t yet watched the short film it's based on, featured in the omnibus Three…Extremes, but I imagine the story would probably fare better if it were shorter. I will say one thing: the cinematography, by frequent Wong Kar Wai collaborator Christopher Doyle, is exceptionally beautiful, but unfortunately the film itself is ugly and ultimately not worth much.
I pretty much agree with this, but really have to reinforce your last point: Doyle's cinematography is absolutely stunning, and quite different from the more impressionistic work he'd done with Wong and other directors to that point. I think this section was the dubious highlight of Three Extremes as well, which I didn't like much at all, though in my opinion the feature works better: with the short, 'weird and gross' really is all you get.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#36 Post by John Cope » Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:24 am

Tommaso wrote:
zedz wrote: The Circle (Jafar Panahi) - I'd say this and Crimson Gold (2003) are his best and toughest films.
Definitely. This is structurally almost like an updated version of "La ronde", but of course with a totally different drift. An amazingly captivating portrait of (female) life in contemporary Iran which never feels preachy. Great acting and cinematography, deeply involving and quite definitely a masterpiece. I'd rate Crimson Gold somewhat lower, because it's far more conventional, but nevertheless a fine film, too.
To respond to your response to his response: I have to confess that I fall on the other end of the scale from you both on this one. I haven't seen it in awhile and don't intend to see it again but I remember finding it almost suffocatingly didactic. I did love Crimson Gold though, especially for the way in which it functions as a usurpation of its own form and conventions.
Tommaso wrote:
zedz wrote: Porto of My Childhood (Manoel de Oliveira) - Quasi-doc, quasi-bio that's one of de Oliveira's most accessible and charming films. I'll have to include at least one of his films on my list, and I'm leaning towards his other 2001 release, I'm Going Home, but I should probably rewatch them all.
Absolutely wonderful film. Lovingly recreated scenes of 30s Portugal, somewhat melancholically looked back at about 70 years later, at a time when all the old magic of coffeehouses, the women and the style of that era (and not least his early filmmaking efforts, as per the excerpts from "Douro, Faina Fluvial") had basically become a thing of memory only. Enchanting and certainly on my list.
A fine film of course but slight in comparison to the films that surround it, especially the run of masterpieces from '02-'05. The Uncertainty Principle is pretty firmly ensconced at the top of my list followed close behind by the supremely underrated Fifth Empire. I'm Going Home is excellent but always seemed too uncharacteristic to me in its paucity of spoken language except for during the excerpts from the staged plays and the film-within-the-film. I don't doubt that that's an intended part of the structure and form of this film but it still contributes toward me being less enamored of it than many. Does provide able indication however of what he can do with images alone (e.g. the superb final one).
Tommaso wrote:
zedz wrote: Cremaster 3 (Matthew Barney) - The most bloated of the series - which is saying something! Some amazing sequences (e.g. a demolition derby in the lobby of the Chrysler Building), but also some interminably tedious ones and total misfires that really expose Barney's limitations as a filmmaker (such as an extended slapstick sequence in a bar). The section available on DVD ('The Order') is one of the film's best. If you like that, proceed with caution; if you don't, head for the hills.
Bloated it may be, but actually I must say I've never seen anything remotely like Barney's films before or after (even Greenaway or Lynch are far less extreme). I have next to no idea about contemporary visual arts, and if people say that Barney is a fake I must accept it. Still, the car demolition scene that you mention left me completely baffled, just like "The Order" sequence and a few others in this installment, too. All I can say is that Barney's films, whether they're good or bad (and in the end I don't care), are so completely far out and unusual compared to 'normal' cinema that this alone should make them worthy of attention. That they're complete visual treats and thought-provoking (even though in the end I don't understand them) is another point in their favour. This will figure extremely high on my list, as will Drawing Restraint 9, probably his best structured and most accessible film. (Still waiting for a chance to see "River of Fundament"...)
For me this film and the second one are the best in The Cycle but I agree with everything you've said here. If you can, seek out Nancy Spector's book on the films. It is tremendous and tremendously valuable in providing context and insight into Barney's many symbols and allusions. I too cannot wait for River of Fundament. Hopefully it will screen more and leak out eventually.

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zedz
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#37 Post by zedz » Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:20 pm

John Cope wrote: For me this film and the second one are the best in The Cycle but I agree with everything you've said here. If you can, seek out Nancy Spector's book on the films. It is tremendous and tremendously valuable in providing context and insight into Barney's many symbols and allusions. I too cannot wait for River of Fundament. Hopefully it will screen more and leak out eventually.
Cremaster 2 is by far my favourite of the series, and the only one where I'm basically on board with what Barney is attempting and achieving most of the time. I have no idea whether it was intentional or not, but when I was watching it it felt a bit like a Sesame Street-esque "brought to you by the letter M" presentation, with every component based on something beginning with that letter: Murderer; Magician; Medium; Mailer; Mirrors; Mustangs; Mormons; Mounties - plus many more I may not 'member.

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Tommaso
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#38 Post by Tommaso » Sat Jun 06, 2015 7:21 pm

zedz wrote:Love Torn in a Dream (Raúl Ruiz) - Will almost certainly be the strangest film you see for this project. One-of-a-kind doesn't even begin to describe it, as the premise (conveniently explained in the first ten minutes) sounds completely unfilmable. Turns out it isn't quite.
I've just seen this, and yes, it's far out. The film follows the idea of telling nine stories in one, with a basic story about a young priest tempted by apostasy, which is 'infected' by other stories (and stories within stories) which all get a life of their own. Situations reoccur in different guises, and the whole thing follows an entirely dreamlike logic, which however has some sort of momentum towards a final outcome.

The stategy of recurring situations/stories in different forms and combinations (indeed nicely explained right at the beginning) reminded me a little of "Finnegans Wake", but the film in general seems to be more firmly grounded in the surrealist tradition (including a bit of cannibalism and some references to the occult/esoteric tradition a la Jodorowsky), which makes it a little old-fashioned but also saves it from becoming only a postmodernist exercise in storytelling, which I think it nevertheless basically is. The final finding of the treasure chest, which only reveals that the treasure consists of further treasure maps, is probably just a reflection of the idea of endless semiosis, or of there being no reality outside of the 'text' itself (and destinies being determined by texts, like in the story in which an internet site/blog tells what will happen to characters one day in advance). The film is perhaps a little less original than it appears to be and is firmly rooted in what was going on in the postmodernist heydays of the 80s/90s. It's a visual treat, but it's very much 'thought out' and much more foreseeable than the truly dreamlike films of Lynch, for instance. I liked it but am not convinced that it's really a masterpiece.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#39 Post by jindianajonz » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:00 pm

Is Ashes of Time Redux eligible for this list?

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#40 Post by swo17 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:37 pm

I think the majority of people that would have voted for any version of Ashes of Time would have done so during the 1990s list. I suppose technically the rules as I have them stated now would suggest that you could vote for it in the 2000s list if you're of the opinion that the Redux version is the only one of any worth, but I would expect any such votes to end up as orphans.
The Rules wrote:Generally, if multiple films are allowed to be combined for voting purposes, you should probably vote for them that way unless you are strongly opposed to doing so.

• Variant edits: For films that exist in multiple versions (e.g. Welles' Mr. Arkadin, Rivette's Out 1), all votes that don't specify a "secondary" version will be counted toward the "primary" version.
Although actually, there's also the fact that IMDb places the film in the 1990s, consistent with its original release, so there's one more reason that you shouldn't vote for it.

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John Cope
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#41 Post by John Cope » Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:22 pm

Does anybody know whether Egoyan's Citadel is available anywhere?

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#42 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:28 pm

Speaking of Egoyan, is Ararat any good? He had such a brilliant 90s but his 00s Hollywood movies were pretty terrible. I'm hoping his more personal films might be more interesting.

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John Cope
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#43 Post by John Cope » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:30 pm

I love Ararat but many do not and I understand why they wouldn't. It was the cinematic result of all his personal and artistic struggle with a highly contentious subject, intricately argued. And though I still consider it among his best work it's also deeply flawed and even frankly a mess. Part of that has to do with his own emotional investment in the subject, the attempt to "do right" by it, but it's mainly the taking on of too much, an excess of ambition that gets away from him. And that has much to do with the unwieldy way in which he attempts to do justice to the emotional states while simultaneously deconstructing them. Sometimes that works gloriously, other times it gets bogged down by the mechanics of the attempt itself.

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jorencain
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#44 Post by jorencain » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:53 pm

Tideland (Terry Gilliam, 2005)

This isn't in my top 10 for the decade, but it's certainly going to make my top 50. Gilliam's vision feels pure and uncompromised in this film, as opposed to some of his "bigger" films. I think he very effectively balances some very dark and heavy subject matter with a lightness of tone and visual inventiveness. The lead actress is fantastic and a pleasure to spend two hours with.

I'm a big fan of Gilliam's, yet I can understand criticisms of his work. For me, "Tideland" doesn't go over the edge of self-indulgence or silliness, like some of his recent work ("Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" and "The Brothers Grimm"....I haven't seen "The Zero Theorem" yet). The camera is frenetic and the frame is often very busy, but it feels like it is in service of the story. One of his best.

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Tommaso
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#45 Post by Tommaso » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:47 am

Ballo a tre passi (Salvatore Mereu 2003): More or less by chance I recently discovered this Sardinian director's outstanding 2012 film "Bellas mariposas", which will most likely be my spotlight for the 2010s list. Three Step Dancing, his debut film, may not be quite as extraordinary, but it's a very fine film in its own right. The film consists of four separate, though very slightly interconnected stories arranged according to the seasons and set on the island of Sardinia. "Spring" shows a young boy for the first time coming to the sea with some of his friends. He learns how to smoke and also somewhat discovers his sexuality. "Summer" is about a shepherd and cheesemaker who has an affair with a French aviatrix. As he's only lived with his sheep, his ideas about sex are, well, a little unusual. "Fall" is about a nun who visits her family for a relative's wedding. Here she realises how much she has left their worldly lifestyle behind. "Winter", finally, is about an old man who prepares for a visit to a prostitute; however, the evening ends with communal music-making and a big 'parade' of all the characters of the film, but it is not clear whether it's real or just the last imagination of a dying man. In all four stories, not much happens on the surface, but looking deeper, the film explores questions of sexuality, rural and urban life, tradition and modernity. A lyrical, extremely beautifully photographed film, with some nods to Rossellini and Fellini perhaps, although Mereu even in this debut film shows a clear style of his own. Calling it neo-neorealistic doesn't do it justice. Anyway, highly recommended.

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zedz
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#46 Post by zedz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:52 pm

More random bam blams:

2004:

3-Iron (Kim Ki-Duk) - This is where I officially gave up on Kim's pseudo-mystic misogynistic tripe. Sure he has chops, but I think he's just a ghastly filmmaker.

2046 (Wong Kar Wai) - I don't think I've ever rewatched this since it was first released, when I found it very impressive but mildly disappointing, given the run of films that led up to it. I blamed the difficult production circumstances and applying Wong's notoriously indecisive / improvisatory process to a much more ambitious project, and assumed that getting back to basics would rectify matters, but little did any of us suspect that My Blueberry Nights lurked around the corner. Definitely requires a rewatch, but my gut feeling is that Wong will be crowded out of my list this time around.

The Holy Girl (Lucrecia Martel) - Likely inclusion, and currently my favourite Martel. I don't know if I have too much to say about her work, but I find it tactile and mysterious, and I always have more to add to the film than is up on the screen, which is a good thing.

Innocence (Lucile Hadzihalilovic) - Tactile and mysterious also seems a useful tagline for this film, but my specific memories are rather vague at this distance, so it needs a rewatch.

Les pont des Arts (Eugène Green) - Probably the 2004 film I've seen the most times, as it's one I've enthusiastically introduced to several unwitting visitors (be warned if you ever stop in for a coffee). Beautifully poised, blankly expressive and unexpectedly emotionally wrenching, but like all of Green's films, it's very smart and sharply funny. Likely top 10, definite top 20 for me. Greens' two previous features and subsequent one are all eligible, all available with English subs, and all recommended.

Regular Lovers (Philippe Garrel) - Rather epic for a modern Garrel film, with the spirit of Zanzibar stronger than in any of his other recent features, and consequently it's my favourite of his films from this century.

Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs) - Speaking of epic. . . This is a weirdly frustrating / rewarding experience, since I was never quite sure how to watch it. The subliminal texts can be very heavy (entire screens of tiny print) and only readable if you stop the film dead, and they give an entirely different tenor and structure to the material which, if you watch it 'straight' (i.e. no freeze framing) is just a really big scrapbook of interesting stuff. Quite an experience - and you'll need to set aside much more than just the vast official running time to 'do' it properly.

Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (Theo Angelopoulos) - Ulysses' Gaze and Eternity and a Day felt to me like weak films from an obviously great director, making this his strongest work in many years. The second part of the trilogy was a huge step down (and maybe not coincidentally, a return to international co-financing casting), and the third. . . well, let's not talk about that. But I hope people can appreciate this film as a standalone work despite Angelopoulos's intentions.

Woman is the Future of Man (Hong Sang-soo) - If you're going to be doing Hong for this list (and that would be a great thing to do), then you should probably do the whole kit and kaboodle. All the films are good, and preferences are much more likely to come down to individual predilections than any objective criteria. This one falls around the middle for me.

Une visite au Louvre (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub) - Not a particular favourite S/H film, but at least it's available with subs! I don't think that's true of any other of their 00s films.

2005:

The Aura (Fabián Bielinsky) - Tricksy, stylish thriller that didn't especially stand out from other tricksy, stylish thrillers of the time but seemed to gain quite a cult when the director died soon after release. Ricardo Darin is always good value and he gives the film more gravity than it probably deserves, but it's well worth seeing anyway.

Black Sun (Gary Tarn) - A really creative documentary. So many docs this decade adopted look-at-me stylistic tics that were largely unwarranted and unwelcome, but here's a great example of one that has a very distinctive style motivated by its subject.

The Descent (Neil Marshall) - More effective than usual but nevertheless by-the-numbers monster flick - don't think this should be troubling many lists.

Hard Candy (David Slade) - I know domino is a big fan, but I'm tempted to say the same about this. Twisty thriller that isn't as clever as it thinks it is, particularly in terms of turning tables on genre conventions, but the filmmaking is well-crafted (Slade makes great use of the set / location) and the performances are way better than this kind of material generally attracts / tolerates.

Linda Linda Linda (Nobuhiro Yamashita) - Adorable, nuanced high school film with great music - what are you waiting for?

Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt) - Maybe Reichardt's best film. A lovely one to sink into that I've been saving up for a rewatch like you save up a good whiskey.

Our Daily Bread (Nikolaus Geyrhalter) - Icy and immaculate documentary, but not one that I was particularly taken with.

Reefer Madness: A Movie Musical (Andy Fickman) - Another domino rec I scratch my head at. Game, sub-Rocky Horror camp that's inoffensive enough while it's on, but totally forgettable as soon as it ends. I can understand somebody seeing this and going, "yeah, that was okay", but I personally don't see anything remotely in the neighbourhood of greatness about it.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chan-wook Park) - To me, Park just comes off as a slicker, slightly less pretentious Kim Ki-Duk: lots of attention-grabbing gore-for-gore's-sake, but precious little substance. A filmmaker for whom "wicked, dude" is the ultimate critical approbation.

Who’s Camus Anyway? (Mitsuo Yanagimachi) - I love this film, even though it can be a little uneven (the Death in Venice-obsessed teacher subplot is a weak point for me). Such beautiful, fluid filmmaking, regularly unfolding into effortlessly impressive set-pieces, and all tinged with darkness.

2006:

Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako) - I haven't seen all of Sissako's features, but this is easily the most impressive of those I have, expertly juggling global and personal issues. From around the same time, Ousmane Sembene's final film Moolaade is even better.

Daratt (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun) - Haroun is a lesser filmmaker than Sissako or Sembene, and this is a lesser film. If I recall correctly, this was one of the New Crowned Hope commissions to celebrate Mozart's 250th anniversary - not that you'd know that from imdb. That was actually a really good slate of commissions, most of which are worth seeing. Syndromes and Century, I Don't Want to Sleep Alone and Half Moon especially (and more than Daratt).

Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo) - See above. This Hong ranks a bit lower for me, and I prefer his previous film (Tale of Cinema) and particularly his subsequent one (Night and Day - where he tackles the overwhelming Rohmer influence on these mid-period films head-on in a marvellously witty way).

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#47 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:12 pm

On the other hand, Hong's Woman on the Beach is one of my top favorites -- but I can only second your recommendation of Linda Linda Linda (just possibly the film I most enjoy watching when I need to watch a film that I can enjoy watching).

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#48 Post by denti alligator » Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:22 pm

I may not be able to participate (though I will try), but was wondering if the project will circle around again and begin at the beginning in January?

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#49 Post by swo17 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:30 pm

See here for all that's been planned at the moment.

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knives
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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions

#50 Post by knives » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:28 pm

(If just to encourage talk)
Directors Guide--1

Phillip Kaufman
Quills (2000) R1 Fox
Twisted (2004) R1 Paramount

Kaufman is a pretty odd duck at this point. He tends to only come out of the woodwork twice a decade with one film being an often illiterate love letter to books while the second some little genre exercise. Even then he tends to come up with little good; this decade being his worst pair yet. Quills comes with a veneer of semi-respectability, but essentially adds up to little more than a course in how not to adapt a writer's style to their biography (that is assuming anyone involved has read anything from De Sade. Still, it at least has some fun performances from a unique series of overactors including pre-Oscar Joaquin Phoenix. Which is more than can be said of Twisted. That might be the lamest of the Ashley Judd: Detective genre that was popular at the time. It's stupid, nonsensical, and somehow even manages to put Samuel L Jackson to sleep. Only the truly masochistic need apply until next decade's far better Hemingway and Gellhorn.

João César Monteiro
Snow White (2000) R2 Atlanta
Come and Go (2003) R1 Image OOP/ R2 Atlanta

This board has been wonderful in giving the treat of Monteiro and while his last two features are not among his best they're engaging and formally daring enough to be worth checking out (not to mention the rest of the films in the box). Come and Go is the more typical of the two focusing on a few pet topics of his and waxing nostalgia without any of the creepiness that Monteiro could achieve. His Snow White though as a successor to Jarman's Blue is the one to watch if you only have one option though. It retells the familiar story through a Robert Walser adaptation. It's not more than a trifle, but as such it's a great one.

Paul Schrader
Autofocus (2002) R1 Sony
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) R1/A Warners
The Walker (2007) R1 Thinkfilm
Adam Resurrected (2008) R1 Image

Schrader managed to only write one film proper this decade, but you couldn't tell that given how his output is centered around his favorite themes and characters to the point of near parody. The best is probably the first as Autofocus turns Hogan's Heroes Bob Crane into another madman attempting suicide through sex. The film is haunting mostly due to the humour that abounds. That said the film never trivializes Crane's life which the format could have easily done. On the other hand Dominion is easily the least Schrader film in all senses of the phrase. A half baked Exorcist prequel that was only released after being shelved for tax reasons this is Schrader as much a gun for hire as he could be turning in a mostly anonymous work. That said it's hard to hate the film as it does remain entertaining throughout with a few okay scares. Which leads to Schrader's revisit to the world of male prostitution and his only screen credit for the decade The Walker. It borders on being a great film collecting all the right players for this tale of isolation and corruption, but a sleepy tone posing as art house serious undermines most of it. Adam Resurrected has the other problem exploding in overacting, visually and the actual thing, nonsense from a great premise and cast. I'd say though that it fares better than The Walker in terms of being a memorable grappling with much the same themes.

Brian De Palma
Mission to Mars (2000) R1/A Disney
Femme Fatale (2002) R1 Warners OOP
The Black Dahlia (2006) R1/A Universal
Redacted (2007) R1 Magnolia

Oh boy, if anyone lost their reputation this decade it's De Palma who seemed to fall away what little respect he had retained across the '90s and just watching Mission to Mars it's easy to see why. It has a lot of his familiar gimmicks to the extent that it is impossible to the pass the buck, but even as an auteur viewing it is essentially worthless and stupid. Fortunately despite popular reputation his next three manage to be all great and better with each go out. Femme Fatale is a bit like those Schrader films in that it has a great premise and many great elements, but they just don't coalesce into a great whole. Mostly it feels like De Palma letting off steam and trying to exercise his creative juices after being under the producer's nail too long. In a certain respect the much maligned Black Dahlia is his biggest accomplishment of the decade since it is possibly his best fusing of commercial requirements to his genre and political laden quirks. There's a million reasons that can be given to its toxic reception and few great ones are mentioned in the film's thread here on the board, but the key is that this is not LA Confidential and how you react to that statement probably goes a long way to stating how you'll react to the film proper. Redacted wishes it had any sort of reception and it speaks a lot about the times that the only film to engage with Iraq as a horror show can't even bother people into a feigned outrage. It's also interesting to see De Palma utilize the found footage format. He's not really concerned with the particulars on the found part of that which alone makes it the best example of the method. Instead he pushes it as a way to implicate the people further. Everything is out in the open and we still act heinously and don't care when confronted with such actions.

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