Saturday, January 27, 2007

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2006

10. Gubra (Yasmin Ahmad)
Honestly, I don't get all the hate towards this film. I honestly don't. When other local films are portraying devout muslims(berserban, berjubah, etc) as terrorists or extremists, nobody said a thing (I'm looking at youse Misi 1511, Perempuan Melayu Terakhir, Berlari Ke Langit, Syaitan, etc). When in come a Bilal whose *only* fault is petting a dog (And also according to many for befriending a prostitute), all hell breaks loose. And about the so-called "ideology"? "Get a grip on r.e.a.l.i.t.y.", that's all I'm saying. Anyway Gubra is far from a flawless film, but its merits are enough for me to put it on the list.

9. The Prestige (Christopher Nolan)
A terrifically entertaining movie, and substantially superior than its "competition" The Illusionist. The rather 'messy' third act doesn't detract from the overall excitement. And Nolan is a genius in conjuring up a movie about magic, that is a magic trick all on its own.

8. The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
Martin Scorsese's remake of Infernal Affairs really improved a lot on subsequent viewings. Now I really think that it's a little better than IA due to its details, depth and character-driven plot. And the script(dialogues) is the best 2006 has to offer(or even the best since a few years). Highly entertaining, and highly rewatchable. Scorsese's most accessable film to date.

7. United 93 (Paul Greengrass)
Contrary to pre-assumptions, for me United 93 is an unbiased, unjudgmental, and unsentimentalized account of the tragedy that befell flight 93 in 9/11. And I respect this kind of filmmaking, especially for a film that could easily be pro-American. If anything the movie criticizes the American government itself. Both the passengers and the terrorists are portrayed as "humans", not cut-and-dry heroes and villains. And I accept the film as a half-fact, half-fictional account of that day. It's possible that everything that transpires "inside" the plane are not accurate, but it's also a possibility that it is. Probably there are no 'terrorists' at all. These are all assumptions. And I accept this one as one of the possibilities. The movie's a thoroughly engrossing watch, and it deserves to be on the list for that final, heartwrenching crash sequence.

6. The Road To Guantanamo (Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross)
Easily one of, if not the most important film of the year. This docu-drama follows the experiences of three British Muslims who are mistakenly captured in Afghanistan, and transported to the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison. Michael Winterbottom is probably the most versatile filmmaker, with films of various genres under his belt.

5. The Proposition (John Hillcoat)
I never really liked the Western genre before this. Now I do. The Proposition is *far more* than just another take on the tired ol' genre. It's as brutal and unflinching as the best of Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone, but defies tradition and revitalizes the genre to new heights. Ironically this 'Western' film is not even set in the good ol' Texas, it's set in the Australian outback.

4. Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles)

As Borat Sagdyiev would say, "Very Niiice!"

3. Volver (Pedro Almodovar)
Pedro Almodovar, Penelope Cruz, and Carmen Maura are back together again. And the result is quite obvious.

2. Pan's Labyrinth @ El Laberinto Del Fauno (Guillermo Del Toro)
One of the best fantasy films ever. Forget Harry Potter or even Lord Of The Rings. *This* is what "fantasy" is all about. Highly imaginative creations that you have *never* seen before. It's an adult-oriented film, but never forgets its 'childlike' roots.

1. Children Of Men (Alfonso Cuaron)
A resounding accomplishment in almost every regard. Maybe it's even the best film since 2 or 3 years ago, if I may be so bold. My jaw dropped from start to finish of sheer amazement. And I only watched the movie on my PC. Imagine if I were to watch it on the big screen. haihh

Honorable Mentions: Inside Man, Little Miss Sunshine, A Scanner Darkly, A Prairie Home Companion, Thank You For Smoking, Half Nelson, L'Enfant, Casino Royale, Brick, Three Times, Happy Feet, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, 13: Tzameti, Cinta

Most Disappointing Films (not worst): Miami Vice, Superman Returns, Babel, The Queen, Little Children, X-Men 3, Cars

Worst Films: Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code, Dragon Tiger Gate, Flags Of Our Fathers, Nana Tanjung (yeah I DID watch it. About 15 minutes of it. Probably even the most painful experience of the year.)

Need To See: Letters From Iwo Jima, The Fountain, Inland Empire, Perfume, The Last King Of Scotland

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


APOCALYPTO (Mel Gibson, 2006)

Lemme get this off of my chest first: Mel Gibson is one sick, *sadistic* dude. There's something wrong with the guy. It's like with every subsequent movie(or even every scene!), he tries to top off the other with the ultimate ultraviolence. Constantly seemed to be trying to prove to himself how 'far' he would go, creating creative ways to kill off the characters in his film. And I do feel his 'enjoyment' in doing so. But I give credit to him where it's due: there's never a dull moment in Apocalypto. Yeah sure the story is almost non-evident, and it's basically an Action/Chase movie set during the Mayan Civilization, but what the hell if it's darn entertaining ain't it? That is, if you can stomach the insane amount of decapitations, impalements, torn limbs, and such. I know I do. Well, maybe there *is* something wrong with me too, after all.

Verdict: 3.5/5

BLOOD DIAMOND (Edward Zwick, 2006)

This is definitely Leo DiCaprio's year. Giving exceptional performance to both his movies, The Departed and Blood Diamond. His intensity in The Departed contribute greatly to what is already a very good film. But this is not the case for Blood Diamond. Sadly, the film failed *despite* the great acting. Zwick seems to be paying too much attention in preaching and history lessons than telling a worthwhile story. Don't get me wrong, I *do* care and sympathize for the sufferings in Africa. But seriously, half of the movie is spent on lectures on political-correctness, without giving me much motivation story-wise to keep paying attention. As far as this type of sociopolitical movie goes, there are definitely better ones out there. i.e The Constant Gardener and Hotel Rwanda. I can't commend much on the action part too, because they're nothing extraordinary. Just some stuff blown up real good and that's that. Only the performances of Dicaprio and Hounsou that are keeping me riveted. However, I'll be generous because even though it's a relatively bad film, it's done with the right intentions.

Verdict: 2.5/5

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Volver Song

I am frightened of the meeting
With the past that is returning
To confront my life all over.
I am frightened of the nighttimes
When my dreams are linked and fleeting
And old mem’ries come to stay.
And yet the trav’ler who’s fleeing
Sooner or later must stop on the way…
And though oblivion, which destroys all being,
Has killed my old hopes, ripping them apart,
Yet I keep hidden a humble hopeful glimmer
That is the only fortune there is in my heart.

Return… with my forehead all wrinkled,
My temples turned silver by time’s falling snow…
To feel… that one’s life is a twinkle,
Twenty years hardly reckon,
And two fevered eyes beckon,
In shadows forestall you
And seek you and call you.
To live… with the soul firmly clinging
To one sweet remembrance
That makes me weep so.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Just thought I'd share a scene from Richard Linklater's Before Sunset. One of my favorite movies ever. And this scene in particular, is also one of my favorite scenes ever.

Friday, January 5, 2007



Bagi aku filem ni adalah filem 'masterpiece' Guillermo Del Toro. Inilah filem yang betul-betul melonjakkan namanya dalam A-list pengarah filem. Cantuman elemen realiti dan 'dark fantasy' yang sangat baik, seangkatan dengan filem awalnya The Devil's Backbone. Walaupun aku anggap The Devil's Backbone hanya biasa-biasa saja, Pan's Labyrinth bertindak sebagai 'pelengkap' kepada tema filem itu(iaitu tentang kekejaman dunia dari perspektif seorang kanak-kanak), dan juga sebagai persembahan sempurna 'jiwa artistik' atau trademark Del Toro: Dengan ton filemnya yang gelap, ganas, serta imaginasi yang unik dan 'grotesque'. Tapi hasil imaginasi Del Toro tidaklah terasa 'superficial/cartoonish' macam imaginasi Tim Burton. Walaupun sang protagonis adalah kanak-kanak dan plot utamanya bercorak 'fairy tale', tapi memang, filem ini sesuai untuk orang dewasa sahaja. Kalau budak-budak tengok mungkin akan ada 'nightmare' malam-malam (terutamanya babak yang melibatkan 'child-eating monster' yang matanya kat tapak tangan). Aku boleh bayangkan kalau aku kecik-kecik tengok kompem tak boleh tidur.

Kesimpulannya filem ini aku gelar sebagai 'the definitive Del Toro movie'. Dari filem genre horror Cronos, kepada filem superhero Hellboy. Cebisan-cebisan elemen dari filem-filem terdahulunya direncahkan dengan sempurna dalam Pan's Labyrinth. Antara filem fantasi(atau separa fantasi?) terhebat pernah aku tonton.

Verdict: 4.5/5

P/S: ...baru saja aku rasa filem-filem tahun 2006 ni macam hampeh. Nampak gayanya tidak...heh