December 7, 2009

Decades: the best films, music

“This future – the year is 2027 – is a plausible extension of right now. The same red double-decker buses wind through the same wet London streets, although they are now joined – in a brilliant touch – by rickshaws. The same sullen crowds, the same Tube stops, the same terrorist bombs in the city. The same burning cows in fields, the same black, sooty air … Contemporary Britain’s phobia about asylum seekers has been magnified: now they’re in cages on the side of the road, pleading in all the world’s languages, threatened by Abu Ghraib-like border guards and barking dogs. Entire towns are heavily policed refugee camps."

The above is from my review of Children of Men back in November, 2006. This is the film that felt the most like this decade.

With two films in the top 20, Alfonso Cuaron had a good decade. As did David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant -- especially when you think about how things looked for him in 1999, between his Psycho remake and Finding Forrester -- and Michael Winterbottom. Were the list a little longer, Richard Linklater could have easily added a few more (I was never a fan of Before Sunset, preferring to imagine my own sequel to Before Sunrise, but Tape, A Scanner Darkly, The School of Rock ...). A real shame that Lynne Ramsay hasn't made anything since Morvern Callar. Kind of a shame that David Lynch made the fitfully brilliant but largely muddily self-indulgent Inland Empire. Perhaps a shame that Scorsese is here for a doco not a drama.

The top 50, 2000-2009:
1 Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006)
2 Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
3 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
4 Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2003)
5 The New World (Terence Malick, 2005)
6 Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, 2007)
7 Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002)
8 Waking Life (Richard Linklater, 2001)
9 Spider (David Cronenberg, 2002)
10 Last Days (Gus Van Sant, 2005)
11 Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001)
12 Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
13 Werckmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr, 2000)
14 There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
15 In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar Wai, 2000)
16 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
17 Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)
18 Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuaron, 2001)
19 Let the Right One in (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
20 Keane (Lodge Kerrigan, 2004)
21 In My Father’s Den (Brad McGann, 2004)
22 Irreversible (Gaspar Noe, 2002)
23 Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
24 The Child (Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, 2005)
25 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
26 The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach, 2005)
27 The Saddest Music in the World (Guy Maddin, 2003)
28 Paradise Now (Hany Abu-Assad, 2005)
29 The Others (Alejandro Amenabar, 2001)
30 Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, 2007)
31 Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, 2000)
32 Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles, 2006)
33 Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)
34 24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)
35 A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
36 The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)
37 Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer, 2000)
38 Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)
39 The Return (Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2003)
40 For My Sister (Catherine Breillat, 2001)
41 City of God (Fernando Meirelles, 2002)
42 American Splendor (Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, 2003)
43 Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt, 2008)
44 Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)
45 The Man Without a Past (Aki Kaurismaki, 2002)
46 Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004)
47 Talk to Her (Pedro Almodovar, 2002)
48 Little Fish (Rowan Woods, 2005)
49 Red Road (Andrea Arnold, 2006)
50 Adaptation (Spike Jonze, 2002)

The ten best New Zealand films
1 In My Father’s Den (Brad McGann, 2004)
2 Out of the Blue (Robert Sarkies, 2006)
3 Rain (Christine Jeffs, 2001)
4 Rubbings from a Live Man (Florian Habicht, 2008)
5 Whale Rider (Niki Caro, 2002)
6 Eagle vs Shark (Taika Waititi, 2007)
7 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson, 2001)
8 Rain of the Children (Vincent Ward, 2008)
9 Woodenhead (Florian Habicht, 2003)
10 The Devil Dared Me To (Chris Stapp, 2007)

The ten best films about music
1 24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)
2 No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (Martin Scorsese, 2005)
3 Last Days (Gus Van Sant, 2005)
4 DiG! (Ondi Timoner, 2004)
5 End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones (Jim Fields and Michael Gramaglia, 2003)
6 Joy Division (Grant Gee, 2007) – with Control (Anton Corbijn, 2007)
7 Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, 2004)
8 The Devil and Daniel Johnston (Jeff Feuerzeig, 2005)
9 9 Songs (Michael Winterbottom, 2004)
10 High Fidelity (Stephen Frears, 2004)

Musick to Play in the Dark Vol 2, Live One and Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil – Coil; Kid A and Amnesiac – Radiohead; Person Pitch – Panda Bear; Burial and Untrue – Burial; Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea and White Chalk – PJ Harvey; Earth and Om; I Believe You Are a Star – Dimmer; The Visitors – Cyclobe; the Fall; the Dead C; Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven and Yanqui UXO – Godspeed You Black Emperor!; The Woods – Sleater-Kinney; NYC Ghosts & Flowers – Sonic Youth; Kesto – Pan Sonic; The Disintegration Loops and The River – William Basinki; Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice; Stars of the Lid; Exterminator – Primal Scream; Passover – the Black Angels; In the Future – Black Mountain; Grinderman; Third – Portishead; The Hawk is Howling – Mogwai; Sleep Has His House – Current 93; the White Stripes; Six Organs of Admittance; The Eraser – Thom Yorke; American IV: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash.