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Warning you about crappy movies since 2008.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Little Movies I've Loved, part 3

101. Real Women Have Curves (a Mexican-American mother and daughter at odds over education, life – and the daughter’s weight.)
102. Y Tu Mama Tambien (translates as “And Your Mama, Too.” Coming of age story with lots and lots of s-x that is actually necessary to the plot. Surprising life lessons learned on a road trip.)
103. Winged Migration (Documentary about the magnificence of birds in flight.)
104. The Taste of Others (In French, with English subtitles. 2001 Oscar nominee for best foreign language film … about good taste and bad taste, wanting to acquire a taste for the arts and how we can never really know the desires and motivations of others, even those closest to us.)
105. Shattered Glass (Hayden Christiansen stars as the compulsive liar/wunderkind who fabricates stories at The New Republic.)
106. Touching the Void (Docudrama about two mountain-climbing friends in the Andes tethered together, when one breaks his leg – in the middle of a white-out – and the other must decide if he can possibly save himself and his friend. A nearly unbelievable story about survival instinct and the will to live.)
107. Buffalo Soldiers (Saw this story about unsavory, amoral U.S. soldiers at the same time the photos of abuses in the Iraqi prisons came to light, which gave it even more weight. Joaquin Phoenix is a bored (but not boring), intriguing, loathsome, yet watchable character on a U.S. base in Germany during peacetime.)
108. Blood Simple (early Coen brothers, with adultery, murder-for-hire and lots of plot twists.)
109. Osama (What could be worse than being a girl in Al Quada-run Afghanistan?)
110. The Fog of War (Robert McNamara reflects on his tenure as Secretary of Defense during Vietnam.)
111. Bad Education (Gael Garcia Bernal stars in a Pedro Almodovar gender-bending film noire.)
112. The Machinist (Christian Bale lost a scary 60 lbs. to play the sleep-deprived, skeletal factory worker who’s haunted by something – but what?)
113. Vera Drake (A kindly woman in 1950s London “helps young girls out” – and she and her family pay a price.)
114. The Sea Inside (Javier Bardem deserved – but didn’t get – an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Ramon Sampredro, a quadriplegic who fought for the right to die with dignity. Based on a true story.)
115. Melinda and Melinda (Woody Allen tells the same story from a tragic and comic perspective. As always, Manhattan looks gorgeous!)
116. Dear Frankie (Sweet story of a mother who stays on the move to protect her son – you find out late in the film why – and the sailor/adventurer father she forges letters from to keep her boy happy.)
117. Paperclips (Documentary about middle schoolers in a white-bread Tennessee community who study the Holocaust as a way to understand the dangers of prejudice. When they can’t comprehend the number 6 million (the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust), they decide to collect 6 million paperclips. Wonderful.)
118. The Edukators (German with subtitles. Two twentysomethings want to get under the skin of the upper class. The break into their plush homes, rearrange the furniture and leave notes with messages such as, “Your days of plenty are numbered.” Then, a young woman – the girlfriend of one – wants in on the fun. And, it all unravels …)
119. Water (An 8-year-old widow in India is forced to live out her days in a home for widows. Touching, sad and ultimately uplifting.)
120. Match Point (Woody Allen muses on the nature of luck. Even the irritating Scarlett Johnasson couldn’t ruin a film this good.)
121. Why We Fight (A documentary that makes the case that the U.S. – thanks to the military/industrial complex Eisenhower warned about – cannot afford NOT to fight.)
122. Tsotsi (A young hoodlum in the South African slums steals a baby – by mistake – during a carjacking and discovers his own humanity.)
123. House of Sand (NOT to be confused with “House of Sand and Fog.” This Brazilian movie is about so many things: familial ties, acceptance of fate, making something out of nothing/creating a sense of community where there is none, the meaning of ‘home.’ Slow in parts, but with a HUGE payoff.)
124. No End in Sight (And, indeed there is no end in sight to the Iraq War we started. If you don’t already think W is the biggest dolt to ever “lead” our country, this documentary will make you believe. We destroyed an entire country – eradicated their history, emasculated their men and stood by and watched it all happen. Shame on us.)
125. A Man Named Pearl (As feel-good as “No End in Sight” is feel-bad. A documentary about a man who simply wanted to win “Yard of the Month” in his neighborhood and ended up, quite possibly, saving his town. Even horticulture experts are at a loss to explain why some of the plants are able to thrive in a climate they should die in. Pearl Fryars would probably tell you it’s just God’s will.)

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