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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Float Takes on Hollywood

I’d make a terrible movie reviewer. The films I enjoy fall into but a few categories. I’d end up writing reviews like: This was a horror movie, so I didn’t enjoy it. One star.

That said, it was a banner year for movies I do like. And so, I bring you:

kStyle’s Arbitrary 2005 Movie Countdown, a Week Late, without Any Actual Counting, and Only Five Movies (Though I Did See More Than Five)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The very talented Johnny Depp paired again with Tim Burton, with delicious results. Quirky and darkly humorous, the film’s atmosphere suited Dahl’s writing well. Burton went a little crazy with the subplots, but I forgive him after seeing Oompah-Loompahs performing synchronized swimming in a chocolate waterfall.

Good Night, and Good Luck George Clooney’s directorial debut is smart, gorgeous, and inspirational without any sap. This film is a meaty 90-minute close-up of Edward R. Murrow standing up to the grotesque, formidable Sen. Joseph McCarthy, shot in stunning black-and-white and brilliantly acted. It made me want to be a better person.

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill A documentary that spoke to my soul. Homeless Zen bum Mark Bittner befriends a flock of wild parrots living in San Francisco. In 83 minutes I laughed, cried, and began to think a little differently about life. This little gem was refreshingly honest and utterly without pretension. Also: Parrots!

Bollywood/Hollywood Okay, so I think this is technically a 2002 film, but it just appeared in the New Releases section at Blockbuster. Charm! Singing! Dancing! Pretty saris! Romance! This tongue-in-cheek look at both Bollywood and Hollywood formulas won me over with a wink and a coy smile. Set among Toronto’s East Indian population, the film is acted in English, with songs performed in Hindi. It’s a delightful, lighthearted masala hated by critics (what do they know) and adored by yours truly.

March of the Penguins Can I just say how much I hated this movie? Really, really hated every self-important, dreary minute of this nonsense. If you’re looking for a good bird movie, take my advice and see Wild Parrots instead. Thanks for listening. I feel better now.


Blogger Eric said...

Good list, kStyle. I think you underestimate yourself in this department. Shiatsu business/movie review service, anyone?

This year for the first time since the late 1980s, I didn't make a top ten list myself: a combination of underwhelming movies and a seriously abated interest in the medium. The real highlights for me, though, were a pair of mismarketed family dramas, both sold (by the same studio) as wacky comedies: In Her Shoes and The Family Stone. The former is gone by now but the latter's still out there, and I recommend it highly.

I also enjoyed The Jacket very much, a rare melancholic thriller. I also liked the first two thirds of Wedding Crashers, and much of War of the Worlds as well.

That said, no movie this year was as good as at least two plays I saw, or at least three novels I read. 2005 just wasn't a visual-medium kinda year for me, I suppose. I'm glad kStyle has picked up the slack.

4:16 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Eric, you're too kind. I wonder: Did you not see the movies on my list, or did you not like them?

6:10 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Hey! I liked "March of the Penguins" well enough! I mean, it wasn't soooo incredible (and I'm completely amused how the right wing tried to glom onto it, while conveniently skipping the parts--like evolution--with which at least some of them disagree). Plus, the Kid liked it--I took him (at his request); maybe it was his presence that improved it for me, as I don't know that I would have managed to go see it otherwise.

7:29 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

It was all about baby penguin death.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I have not seen a single one of your movies, kStyle. But now I want to.

I want to add one to my own pseudo-list: I saw Brokeback Mountain last night and found it first-rate.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

I guess part of my affection for penguins is related to the Kid: when he was about 2.5 or 3, we took him to the zoo. He got a little scared by the penguins (you view them from underground, through a big window/pool) and their noise. A few days later his mother couldn't figure out what he was saying--turned out he was saying "penguin noises."

12:05 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Oh, that's sweet. And bear in mind, my list is totally arbitrary. I make no claims to a sophisticated understanding of cinema.

12:15 PM  

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