Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More favorites

Here’s some other films I saw in 2006 for the first time and loved although they are older releases. Of the nine, only one is American and it was made in 1963. As I said in yesterday’s post regarding the great Mexican trifecta in 2006—American directors need to make better films!

Laputa: Castle In the Sky (Japan, 1986)—I watched this brilliant Hayao Miyazaki anime film two times in 2006. One word review: magical. This has all the Miyazaki staples—flying contraptions, good v. evil, kids on adventures and just so many other elements. This might be my favorite Miyazaki film and that’s saying something considering his past.

Charade (USA, 1963)—Completely beguiling film with star studded cast: Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Walter Matthau. Paris looks romantic and beautiful as this delivers twists and turns and is a joy from the first frame to the last. Perfect.

City of God (Brazil, 2002)—This is an intense coming of age film set in Rio De Janeiro where childhood friends take alternate paths as they grow up. Violent, vibrant and energetic as all get out, City of God puts an interesting spin on the crime film with its setting and characters.

The Bird People In China (2003, Japan)—This was a surprise from gonzo Japanese director Takeshi Miike. BPIC is a bit of a madcap comedy early on in a remote village in China that then slows into a meditative, lush look at rural life. Tender, beautiful, funny and a welcome departure for Miike.

Tony Takitani (Japan, 2004)—Enjoyable, brief, dreamlike film based on a short story by Haruki Murakami (read his stuff!) about a man who spends most of his life alone until he meets a special woman w/ an odd addiction. Quirky and hypnotic look at longing and loneliness.

Hands Off the Loot (France, 1954)—I was absolutely blown away by this ’54 French gangster film from director Jacques Becker. I’m stunned I never saw it, as it’s one of the best gangster films I’ve ever seen! What I love about is it is subtle and understated as it follows the weary struggle of an aging gangster trying to save his partner and loot in the Paris underworld. Amazing!

Schultze Gets the Blues (Germany, 2003)—Sweet as heck film about a laid off German worker who loves the polka and playing his accordion. One night Schultze hears zydeco music on the radio and his world is turned upside down. Schultze is a man of few words but he’s so honest and innocent, just like this film.

Best of Youth (2004, Italy)—I’ll save the best for last. This is a nearly six hour epic family drama that traces the lives of two brothers as they go from youth to middle age. This covers every facet of life—love, marriage, fatherhood, heartbreak, political history etc. The last hour+ is flat out magical and even after 6 hours I didn’t want it to end.


Anonymous said...

I loved TONY TAKITANI! Did I see that on your recommendation?

And you already know how much I loved BEST OF YOUTH. I seriously owe you for that one.

Replicant said...

I think I wrote something about TT a few months ago. I know 3 other people now who watched Best of Youth and were slackjawed by the end of it, sort of like I was when it finished.