12 items from 2009
We are leaving Kubrick behind and fast approaching Hyams. If you get that reference, go grab yourself a cookie. It is time for us to reflect back on the decade that was. On January 1st, 2000, Disney released Fantasia 2000. On Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, The White Ribbon is set to bow. Between the release of these two films, thousands of films came and went, and some of them were far more memorable than others. It was a long trek getting this list together, but here are our collective top 100 films of the past decade.
Quick Year-to-Year by the Numbers:
2009 – 11
2008 – 11
2007 – 7
2006 – 14
2005 – 12
2004 – 8
2003 – 7
2002 – 12
2001 – 10
2000 – 8
93. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’S Stone (2001) – Chris Columbus
90. Tasogare Seibei »
- Movie Geeks
Once the hippest name in music videos, the 40-year-old director will this week terrify children with his adaption of Maurice Sendak's adored tale
A large rubber-band ball sits on the bedside table of the wilful young Max, hero of the new Spike Jonze film, while overhead, on a shelf, sits a bird's nest. Early shots of these odd objects cleverly prelude the virtuoso visual style of this audacious adaptation of a children's classic: the 1963 picture book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
In the hands of the Oscar-nominated Jonze the island of fearful monsters that Max discovers one night when he has been sent to bed without supper becomes a perilous wasteland dotted with spherical wickerwork huts, nest-like forts and rounded boulders. Although Max, along with his ugly, untamed group of new friends, is clearly recognisable from Sendak's book, any parent who returns to their nursery copy »
- Vanessa Thorpe
The well-connected director is very good at getting his own way, hence his family unfriendly take on kids' classic, Where The Wild Things Are
Ten years after Being John Malkovich, there are still few people's heads you'd pay to spend 15 minutes inside as much as Spike Jonze's. It would be easy to imagine life from his perspective as a continual flow of way-cool experiences: "Here I am dashing off another era-defining music video. Here I am hanging out with Karen O/Kanye/Mia/the Coppolas. Oh look, I've got another bunch of Oscar nominations. I think I'll pop into Vice magazine and do some cool shit. Now I'm just scrolling through the contacts on my iPhone and thinking how phenomenally well-connected I am." That's the movie version, but real life hasn't been quite so straightforward for Jonze of late. Over the past five years, a random visit to Jonze's »
- Steve Rose
Plenty of votes were cast in last week's poll, but in the end, The Coen Brothers' Raising Arizona was chosen as Nicolas Cage's finest film to date, followed closely by Spike Jonze's Adaptation. A ways behind those two films, Face/Off was a bit of a surprise at #3, while Leaving Las Vegas and Lord of War rounded out the top 5. All in all, the votes were spread around quite a bit, and various suggestions of additional films like Wild at Heart, Vampire's Kiss and Bringing Out the Dead make it clear that, contrary to popular belief, the man actually has a decent array of respected flicks under his belt. Do you agree with these results? Where would Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans rank in the list? 1. Raising Arizona -- 24% 2. Adaptation -- 21.4% 3. Face/Off -- 10.1% 4. Leaving Las Vegas -- 9.4% 5. Lord of War -- 8.3% 6. The Rock -- 8.1% 7. Matchstick Men »
To call Port of Call New Orleans a remake or a re-imagining of Bad Lieutenant would be a mistake; at least beyond an attempt to drum up publicity, which it definitely received when the original Bad Lieutenant’s director, Abel Ferrara, publicly wished for the deaths of everyone involved in this film. Especially that of its new helmer, the fearless Werner Herzog.
After watching the movie, it would be foolish to overlook the fact that it bears almost no resemblance to Ferrara’s film. It doesn’t even have the same titular character. Despite sharing the same moniker and the same appetite for moral compromise, Nicolas Cage’s goofy Detective McDonagh has a vastly different personality than that of Harvey Keitel’s nameless cult figure.
We first meet Cage’s drug-fueled, money-skimming maniac cop when he’s raiding a precinct’s flooded locker room in the days following Hurricane Katrina, »
- Arya Ponto
Werner Herzog is the kind of daring director who shoots his documentaries ("Encounters at the End of the World," "Grizzly Man," "Little Dieter Needs to Fly") like narrative films and his narrative films ("Rescue Dawn," "Fitzcarraldo," "Aguirre: The Wrath of God") like documentaries. Forever chasing what he calls "ecstatic truth," Herzog shoots fast, captures only what he needs, and incorporates locals. He dislikes rehearsing and refuses to storyboard ("It's an instrument for the cowards who don't trust in their imagination"). So when Herzog cast the glamorous Eva Mendes as the prostitute-love interest in his refreshingly hilarious take on the tired cop genre, "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans," he was not so welcoming with the demands made by her business manager, agent, and attorney. "She was apologetic and said, 'Yeah, they demand the star treatment.' I said to her, 'Eva, nobody in my film is going to be a star. »
Spike Jonze had a pretty impeccable record, from directing Christopher Walken's triumphal dance in the video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," to producing MTV's transcendently stupid pain-porn Jackass, to his magnificent collaborations with Charlie Kaufman on Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. Nothing about that remotely suggests that he should adapt a children's book, though. He does a great job of evoking the weird and making it normal, but he's never quite pulled off believable emotion. Ultimately, that's what sinks Where the Wild Things Are. It's not just Jonze, though. The entire creative team is bizarre. Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, best known for fellating her mic at live shows, composed the soundtrack; Dave Eggers, best known for a fictionalized memoir (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and a fictionalized biography (What is the What), adapted the 10 sentences »
- Alex Remington
I miss the days when actors had bad hair days. When their coifs weren't so coiffed, when their heads were allowed to look scruffy, greasy, crazy, unkempt. Not Robert Pattinson mousse-mussed, but genuinely dishabille. I miss the days when they could even be -- maybe we should whisper this -- bald. I admit that I have something of a personal stake in this. I'm a follically challenged male, and perhaps I speak for others who are losing their hair when I say that it wouldn't be such a terrible thing if we were represented a little more often on screen, »
- Owen Gleiberman
After numerous delays, horror stories of re-edits, trailers that kick ass and so much more, you could be forgiven if you don’t know what to think about “Where the Wild Things Are” anymore. Now, after all the yanking back and forth, fans will finally get to judge Spike Jonze’s film for themselves on October 16th – and the movie’s young star told us recently that it’s worth the long, confusing wait.
“Spike’s great; his big thing is he takes people and puts them in new situations, like I’ve never done the acting before,” explained 12-year-old Max Records, who plays young adventurer Max in the movie based on Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book. “He wants it all to be spontaneous and authentic and real, and not like acting.”
The method sure has worked so far in Jonze’s few-and-far-between instant classics, “Being John Malkovich »
- Larry Carroll
Filmmaker Spike Jonze has always flirted around at the outskirts of the mainstream. Ehhhh... maybe more like the mainstream's suburbs. He made an effortless transition from music videos -- including Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" and Weezer's "Buddy Holly" -- to Hollywood features like "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation." He was also a writer and producer on the "Jackass" TV series and subsequent movies. For all of that, Jonze has never quite breached into "household name" territory.
This fall's re-envisioning of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book "Where the Wild Things Are" could very well change all of that. That's probably why Jonze will be honored by New York City's Museum of Modern Art in a 10 day career retrospective, ending just two days after "Wild Things" hits theaters. The exhibit will showcase "Malkovich," "Adaptation," "Jackass: The Movie," the documentary "Heavy Metal in Baghdad" and a range of music videos and short films. »
- Adam Rosenberg
I'm sure by now you've seen the trailer. It's one of my personal favorite trailers in recent memory, because it does what I feel like a great trailer should do... it teases. It gives you a taste, but it doesn't really give anything away. Spike Jonze has taken a long and undeniably difficult road to get to this morning and, to be fair, so has Warner Bros. This is an $80 million film from the director of "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation." Not exactly a track record that makes a studio think "giant box-office guarantee." Spike's film, which I saw in »
When it comes to adapting popular novels to film, it seems there’s no winning strategy that successfully balances the demands specific to the film medium with a simultaneous loyalty to the source material—in most cases, especially when the novel is reputable and beloved, one or the other must be compromised. I personally prefer movies that treat their source material as a jumping-off point rather than a holy and unchangeable text, movies that acknowledge the filmed image and the written word as two very different forms of expression with their own unique utilities and strengths, and that modes of expression deriving from one form cannot always be successfully translated to another. Sometimes it’s better when a film acknowledges the fact that it won’t be able to fit the scope of a novel in its form (which is why short stories often make for more “successful” adaptations) and instead focuses on making the best film »
- Landon Palmer
12 items from 2009
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