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December 31, 2007

My Best of 2007

exiled.jpg

Having spent the first three months of this past year in Chiang Mai, Thailand, my perception of the best films of the year is a little skewed. As it stands, there are still some films from 2006 I still haven't gotten around to seeing, like Borat and Dreamgirls. Even seeing Thai movies in Thailand turned out to be less productive for a while as the only new Thai films playing were the first two parts of the trilogy of King Naresuan.

I did end my last free day of the year visiting Denver's newest movie theater. This is no chain theater cast off but an actual, newly constructed multiplex. The seats are actually comfortable. The food must be good because people were making a point of having actual cooked meals with their films. The theater that I saw Michael Clayton in had several love seats with ottomans. Even the regular seats have lots of leg room. This may well be the one theater in this town worth getting out of the house for. If all goes well, maybe I'll see the best of 2008 there.

Looking back at 2007 . . .

The Best New Film seen in a Theater: Exiled. Just like an overly praised film that many are naming as the best film of the year, Exiled takes place during a previous decade, tweaks the western genre, is about stolen loot, loyalty and idiosyncratic codes of honor. Johnny To's film was much more stylish, funny, thrilling and ultimately more profound in showing the characters lose everything for the flimsiest of reasons.

Best Old Film seen for the first time in a Theater: Death of a Cyclist. I had read about this film and understand why it has the reputation it has. The film was shown as part of the salute to Janus Films and is not available on DVD.

Best Film seen in 2007 that should be better known in 2008: Alone. One of the best horror movies about Siamese, excuse me, conjoined twins, was made in the country formerly known as Siam. Alone has appeared in the U.S. at a few film festivals, and an English language remake is already in the works.

Best Thai Film that may never be known outside of Thailand: The Sperm. I'm not alone on this one - Curtis of Wise Kwai's Film Journal and CelineJulie of Limitless Cinema agree. Unfortunately The Sperm was such a colossal box office failure in Thailand that it hasn't even received festival showings. Between the original title of Asujaak, the fact that it's a comedy about sex, and features an actress named Pimpaporn, you would think the folks at Strand Releasing would be all over this film like sugar on a donut. I will give them credit for releasing the Thai film Thai people can't see, Syndrome and a Century. In the meantime, to get an idea of how subversive Taweewat Wantha is, see his previous film, SARS Wars, which is easily available on DVD.

Best Classic newly released on DVD: Ace in the Hole. Unlike Kirk Douglas's character, I've developed a taste for Mexican food living in the northeast corner of the Southwest. Some have called this film prescient, except that nowadays, the notion of a journalist with any kind of conscious seems quaint.

Best Soundtrack that came with a movie (tie): Across the Universe and Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten. I use to be a big Bob Dylan fan and saw him in concert months before the "accident". I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now . . .

Best Costume Design: Black Snake Moan. 'nuff said.

black snake moan.jpg

Happy New Year to everyone who's come to visit!

Posted by peter at December 31, 2007 12:31 AM

Comments

Happy new year to you Peter.

I've just discovered how difficult it is to write about The Sperm and the uh, release thereof. Anyway, I won't hold my breath for an English-friendly DVD release.

Like Grindhouse, it'll be one of those things I can brag about seeing 10 years from now when nearly everyone else on the planet missed it.

The lesson: If you want to see a film, go the cinema.

Posted by: Curtis at January 1, 2008 04:41 AM

Happy new year to you, Peter.

I'm glad you still remember THE SPERM. I also hope it will be more famous than this.

Posted by: Celinejulie at January 3, 2008 09:16 AM