As I look towards the continent-- err, blog index situated to the left of my screen, I see that only a few more titles remain on the "Still Pending" list before I start my top ten list countdown. Sadly, documentaries and animated films are scarce to be seen on my 2006 list and I felt guilty enough about this yesterday to visit the video store and rectify this injustice. I just finished up with An Inconvenient Truth, a cinematic adaptation of Al Gore's global warming presentation I had meant to catch months ago (whoops), and I plan to give that spooky Monster House a look in the next few minutes. The Guggenheim doc was expectedly informative and even intelligible to a science dunce like me, but I don't think the director removes himself enough from the kind of hero worship I warily anticipated from the get-go. Gore, undeniably an appealing protagonist, has invested much of his energy and dedication to bringing awareness to this hotly-debated issue, but the film is too eager to paint him as the singular, do-no-wrong champion of the cause. The opening and closing moments of the film are telling in this regard, but still, as a educational resource, I think it's one of the most important films of the year. Hopefully the Oscar win next month will draw more viewers who were initially doubtful that a movie about Gore and the weather of all things would be worthwhile. B-
I've had a good run with the movies lately, as you can see from the grades posted. Strangers with Candy - a prequel to the series I'd had little knowledge of before now - was delightful; a giddy mockery of high school movie clichés and the familiar "lessons learned". I'm even thinking of adding the maniac Amy Sedaris to my very competitive Best Actress list; her work is utterly fearless (and equally revolting.) Hysterical stuff. Another film featuring strong work by a lead actress is Quinceañera, the small film about an extended Mexican family in California's Echo Park that won the Audience Award at Sundance last year. The weaknesses are apparent (I certainly wish that the final twenty minutes didn't exist), but it does more things right than wrong. It's a very courageous take on the Virgin Mary tale, and the fact that this particular directing duo (Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, professional and private partners both) did this this lends a lot to post-screening discussion. And by the way, Emily Rios in the lead role leaves Abigail Breslin, Ivana Baquero and Keke Palmer in the dust. B's for both. I'll definitely have a lot to say about The Death of Mr. Lazarescu later on; for now, SEE IT IMMEDIATELY.
After finishing up with the haunted house movie, I think I'll have seen everything I wanted to (at least for now.) It's very hard to get a copy of Sherrybaby (really, what an unfortunate title) at the many rental places I frequent, but once I do, the top ten/fifteen + awards will be in the works. I definitely want to get started before the Oscars, because after that, everyone is exhausted and sick of this topic (I sense we've already reached that feeling in some sense.) I'm not too concerned about The Good Shepherd or Venus, but if I get the chance in the next few days, why not? (I'll definitely be watching the latter sometime in the next few weeks just because I'm an Oscar completest.) Then I have Winterbottom's Tristam Shandy, which I've had sitting on top of my DVD player forever (read: September), but still haven't had the inclination to sit through (- what's wrong with me? I love Steven Coogan and Naomie Harris!) Finally, I want to give Three Times a look after it showed up on some end-of-year lists (particularly Nick Schager's, who placed it in his #1 slot.) Everything else I can wait for - if I delayed any longer, the list would make an appearance in April like it did last year (and even then I added a title after-the-fact.)
And don't get me started on INLAND EMPIRE, okay? I understand that distributors wouldn't know what to do with it anyways and that Lynch had to release it himself, but I can't hold off until the DVD release in June. I just can't. If it's that good, then I'll write in an addendum later on.
I'm thinking of ways to host my awards on the blog; it will be difficult to have the entire list of categories on one page. Perhaps I'll split them into groups as others have done (Majors, Acting, Writing, etc) - it would look a lot neater.
The next few picks of Male Actors' Performances should be up this weekend.