Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Joe's Deca-lounge: 10 Recent Favorite Movies

There Will Be Blood--for its profane and immensely satisfying ending; for Daniel Day-Lewis's chewing up the scenery; for Upton Sinclair's foreshadowing of the key issues of the early 21st century in America; for Jonny Greenwood's jarring and sublime musical score; for its evocation of capitalism's severe Old Testament past; for its courageous literariness

No Country for Old Men--for the Coens' channeling of Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston; for the eerie sense of narrative implicit in the desert crime scene, achieved through fluid camera movement and evocative mise-en-scene; for Tommy Lee Jones's dark and unsentimental closing monologue; for the best motel sequence since Psycho

Zodiac--for the creepy opening sequence, haunted by Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man"; for the other equally haunting murder scenes; for Jake Gyllenhaal and for, in scene-stealing cameos, John Carroll Lynch and Brian Cox; for its dry police-procedural intelligence

Across the Universe--for the young lovers played by Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood; for "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"; for "Let It Be"; for Joe Cocker in multiple incarnations; for Joe Anderson's vintage sixties good looks; for the army induction sequence

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford--for the performances by Casey Affleck, Brad Pitt, and Paul Schneider; for the idyllic homoeroticism of late 19th-century America; for Roger Deakins' exquisite cinematography

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street--for Tim Burton's deftness in translating opera to cinema; for Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter; for Jamie Campbell Bower's pre-Raphaelite prettiness

Into the Wild--for film as a spiritual experience; for nature, sublime and terrifying, without a single cute or sentimentalizing frame; for Kristen Stewart; for McCandless's selfless and touching goodbye note

2 Days in Paris--for an utterly believable story of romance; for utterly believable parents (played by Julie Delpy's actual parents); for the use of taxis as chapter headings

Hairspray--for Nikki Blonsky; for Michelle Pfeiffer's "Cruella" turn; for the dance numbers; for the John Waters cameo

Eastern Promises--for Vincent Cassel (for any movie, even Ocean's Thirteen, that offers Vinz work)

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