I’m Making A List And Checking It Twice: Towards a List of My Favorite Movies of the Decade.

Sep 06 2009 Published by Benito Vergara under Uncategorized

Laiya, Batangas, August 2009.

Is it time for a Best Films of the 2000s list yet? (Because if not, I’ll be reposting this at the end of 2010, and removing the two films below from 2000.)

The list will probably undergo numerous revisions — obviously because the films from the second half of the decade will get short shrift, and I’ve probably forgotten a title or two, plus I can’t make up my mind about Mysterious Object at Noon or Linda Linda Linda just yet, and I’ll probably sneak in a Favorite Horror Movies sub-list — but in any case, here’s my list, in alphabetical order:

- Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000)
- The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
- Evolution of a Filipino Family (Lav Diaz, 2004)
- In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
- The Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson, 2001-2003)
- Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
- The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005)

I’m a little wary of including anything I haven’t seen at least twice, but Diaz stays up there. (Oh, what I’d do for a second viewing…)

I was also surprised to find that the other movies that immediately came to mind — Goodbye, South, Goodbye; Irma Vep; Magnolia; Dead Man; Satantango; Taste of Cherry; The Matrix; and A Brighter Summer Day (only seen once) — were all from the previous decade! Nuts. (But hey, along with Trust, Life Is Sweet and Reservoir Dogs, that’s a mighty fine Best Films of the Nineties list right there.)

Anyone else out there making lists yet?

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Peter Jackson, “King Kong” (2005).

Aug 21 2008 Published by Benito Vergara under review

Peter Jackson’s King Kong is grand entertainment in the swashbuckling Saturday matinee B-movie style (not that I saw any of those growing up). It’s also a film that perhaps more explicitly foregrounds the colonial, with knowing nods to Conrad and the historical cinematic / anthropological apparatus. (A poster for Cooper and Schoedsack’s 1927 film Chang appears prominently in the background in an early scene.)

The premise is familiar to everyone: Jack Black plays Werner Herzog, who orders people around to lug his equipment deeper into the jungle — oh wait. Jackson skillfully grounds the film during the Great Depression, with quickly sketched, if sanitized, scenes of hunger and unemployment. It’s a nice contrast to the well-heeled denizens of New York who get swatted around in Times Square near the end of the film. Black and his crew (including the gorgeous Naomi Watts, wonderfully effective in an early scene where she channels her wide-eyed Mulholland Drive performance, plus Adrien Brody as a shanghaied Clifford Odets) head off somewhere in the direction of Indonesia, and end up in a jungly Mordor instead.

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