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Archive for December 2008

Movies of ’08

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I’m a wee bit reluctant to admit my favorite movies of ’08.  Mostly because The D.M. and I are engaged in an ongoing debate over mainstream studio productions (which I tend to like and D.M. suspects are evil) and short-run, poorly-distributed, (often) foreign films (which I also tend to like, and D.M. would prefer to see more of). 

I’m easy to please movie-wise, so unless the film I’m watching is unbearably boring, I usually leave the theater happy.  And if half the fun of seeing a movie is discussing it afterwards, then there’s your argument for buying tickets to whatever’s opening big that weekend.  Like Mama Mia!  (which I liked!) or The Dark Knight (which was fine – even though the plot was stupid).  I hadn’t seen a James Bond movie in years, so Quantum of Solace had me at  “naked ladies made out of sand, Danial Craig pointing a gun, White Stripe-y theme song” hello.  It was a total surprise  when Sex and the City didn’t suck.   Same with Benjamin Button, which was sort of pointless and kind of interesting.  I still can’t figure out why they would make this movie about a guy who ages backwards and pretty much lives a normal, boring life.  Aside from the whole turning into a baby thing (I didn’t even realize he actually should have turned into a old baby man).

But now I must admit that even though I enjoyed everything listed above, The D.M. wins when he insists that all these movies range from mediocre to pretty awful, that they don’t stand up when compared to anything really good  and that there are amazing movies being made which no one is seeing, and it sucks.

So lo and behold, out of all the movies I saw in ’08 (most of) the best of them were short-run, poorly-distributed foreign films.  They are listed below – and I really wish that more people would watch them, since they are all great:

 

four_months

4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

It’s that Romanian abortion flick!  And it’s amazing – really the best movie of the year.  Here are some links to reviews:

New York Times
New Yorker

There’s so much to say about this movie,  it’s complicated and intense and emotional but never feels manipulative, the acting and directing are incredible .  It deserves to be seen and you should see it.  Maybe not on your birthday, and definitely not on a first date – but seriously – go rent. 

 

 

sxh2006poster2

Still Life

New Yorker
New York Times

Still Life is, simply, a beautiful movie, where two people wander around a town on the Yangtze River looking for their spouses.  The town is 2,000 years old, and will soon be underwater, flooded as part of the Three Gorges Dam project.  That’s basically the whole story – there’s not a lot of dialogue, which is fine since the movie is so visually stunning.  It’s also crazy to think when you’re watching it that the town where it was filmed two years ago is indeed, now completley under water. 

 

 OK – not every movie I liked this year was depressing.  The next two are fun.  I promise!

REPRISE_QUADReprise

You know what Sofia Coppola movies do for dreamy blond teenage girls?  I think Reprise does the same thing for ambitious 20-something Norwegian boys.  Except Reprise is way more fun (and way less annoying) than any S.C. film.  I’ve also heard this movie compared to Trainspotting, except with writers instead of heroin addicts.  I see that – its got the same fast-paced style.  It’s also super enjoyable to watch.  And funny.  Reprise makes you want to go to a party with a bunch of your friends and get drunk and dance around.  Wooooo!

New York Times

man_on_wire_ver21

 

Man on Wire

Hey meanies – this movie is in English!  Well, most of it.  Except for a few interviews (in French) with members of a merry band of tightrope enthusiasts who helped fellow frenchie Philippe Petit wire walk in between the World Trade Center towers in 1974.  Man on Wire is a documentary but it feels like a heist movie and is, like the poster says, exhilarating. 

New York Times

 

 

 

I suspect I’ve missed out on a lot this year (still haven’t seen Wall-E, heard good things about A Christmas Tale) and I also left off a few filmies that I really really liked (Milk, Rachel Getting Married) but these four were the best.  And out of the four, D.M. picked the first three.  So he chooses better movies.  Blah, I like to think I read better books.

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December 30, 2008 at 4:31 pm

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The Return of Mao Mao Monday!

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Giap denonce, je renonce Mao Mao!

Same song, new clip.

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December 29, 2008 at 10:58 am

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Hippos for X-mas

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Don’t you want a little pygmy hippo-face for Christmas?  I do!

Why is everyone in this video so quiet?  Maybe the little hippo gets scared by loud human voices.  Awwwwwwwwwww!  So cute.

Speaking of cute animals – sometimes they need to be told where to get off.

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December 18, 2008 at 11:59 am

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Wine and Cheese of ’08

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Well, well.  Isn’t this a classy “best of” category?  Yum. Yum. Yum.  ‘Tis.

 

glug glug

glug glug

Lambrusco:

I had never even heard of lambrusco until I accidentally ordered it at a bar last winter, thinking it was champagne.  Since then, I’ve heard rumors (of The New York TimesStyle section variety) that lambrusco it the new ros.  Whatever.  Lambrusco is good.  Every kind I’ve ever tried has been red, but apparently ros and white varieties exist too.   Try the red first!  Then try the others, I guess, but I can really only give my 08 rec to the red.  Also, be careful – some lambruscos can be really sweet and gross.  Ask for a dry bottle.

 

Truffle Tremor:

truffs!

truffs in here!

This cheese has truffles in it!  It is delicious!  It is also quite expensive.  I only tried it because it was served at a work function held at a fancy-pants wine bar, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Stay classy, meanies.

Written by rarface

December 17, 2008 at 1:28 pm

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Recs in effex

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Inspired by the myriad of year-end lists out (see previous post), I’ve been collecting my own little besties of 2008. To clarify, these are really more recommendations than anything else – all things that I liked best in the year that was – some of which were around before ’08, all of which are totally awesome. Anyway, did they really exist before I discovered them? Perhaps no.

Expect these to trickle out all week…

Book of ’08

cover

Since Christmas crafting has been eating up all my spare time recently (ugh. what a mistake), it’s looking less and less like I’ll finish 2666 before the new year rolls around. 2666 could have been a contender, but it’s topping all the best books lists anyway, so I’m happy to throw my shout out to The Exception by Christian Jungersen, published in paperback in 2008 ,this is undoubtedly my favorite book of the year. This book is so good! Go out, buy it now, start reading tonight and I promise you will be done by Christmas because it is un-put-down-able. Admittedly the beginning is a bit slow, but it picks up, and what starts out as a kind of examination of the psychology of evil (what makes average people turn into Nazi killers, and then turn back into average people at the end of the day?),becomes a crazy suspenseful “murder mystery about office politics.” I cannot recommend it enough – particularly if you’ve ever been paranoid. Or shared an office with someone who is. Go forth and read, meanies.

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December 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm

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The Ultimate Year End List

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Fimoculous 2008 Year End Lists

Hopefully everyone’s work load has started to slow down a bit as people begin to disperse for the holidays.  This comprehensive list of all the “year-end-lists” should keep you clicking away on the internet while you pretend to be “tying up lose ends” or whatever you tell your boss you’re doing when you really have nothing to do.    I thought about trying to compile something like this but I’m so glad someone else did.

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December 15, 2008 at 3:48 pm

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How I’m Feeling This Morning…

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Very caffeinated.  Not so coordinated.

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December 15, 2008 at 12:14 pm

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