Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mid-Year Updates 2009

It's fourth of July weekend (American Independence Day) and I'm taking it easy; finally catching up on updating some old posts that I promised myself I'd get around to.

First off is my 2008 year-end list. I've seen more than a dozen 2008 films since then (I've had time, what with 2009's output merely sputtering along) and it's been enough for me to upgrade my assessment of the year. There are now excellent films like “Doubt,” “Milk” and “The Dark Knight” that I didn’t even have room for on my new top ten, whereas before I didn’t have a shred of anxiety about what to cut. In retrospect, I think “Synecdoche New York” was easily the best film of the year, and I’ll never doubt Charlie Kaufman again. I missed it in theaters because I’d read some negative reviews, by critics who I will utterly ignore in the future.

Here is the updated 2008 year-end top 10. Scroll to the bottom of it for the new material.

The biggest change has been to my year-by-year list of favorite science fiction films (The Golden Walruses: SF Edition). I’ve added more than 60 new films, bringing the total well over 500, and updated the rankings accordingly. The most noticeable batch is under 2008, which is now officially open. I’m also still [vainly] hoping to get some ballots from readers, so if you’re into SF and want to put together a list, I’m pathetically eager to peruse it!

I’ve also made watching films by female directors my latest obsessive focuses, and I’m looking forward to a potential blogathon on the topic near the end of August (to coincide with the anniversary of the 19th amendment). I’m made a bunch of updates to my list of personal favorite films directed by women, found at the end of this semi-recent post.

Some of the best new-comers include “Take Care of My Cat” (I stupidly missed a chance to see for free during a South Korean film series), “Fat Girl” (which manages to combine a bittersweet realist tone and an in-your-face controversy-courting attitude) and “Madchen in Uniform” (a 1930’s film that’s at least 40 years ahead of its time and gorgeous looking even on the scrappy transfers that survive). I also put “After the Wedding” on the list, as even though it might not be a masterpiece, Susanne Bier definitely strikes me as a director to watch. I’ve had a few disappointments: I was absolutely sure I would like Marguerite Dumas’s well-regarded but rarely-seen “India Song” (1975) and Samira Makhmalbaf’s brave “Blackboards” (2000), but neither really connected with me.

Lastly, for those who tolerate my sense of humor, I wrote a Grump Factory post a while back on one of the worst (or best?) videogames ever made.

Anyway, I hope everyone’s year is going well. And for those American readers out there, enjoy the holiday!

1 comment:

Patrick said...

I remember seeing "Mädchen in Uniform" when I started learning and German, and I was always really curious. Sounds like you enjoyed it, which is good to hear.