|FRESH FROM THE THEATERS|
Grizzly Man (2005).
Though it's been weirdly ignored by the Academy, Werner Herzog's portrait of Timothy Treadwell and his obsession has just been cited as the best doc of the year by both the New York and Los Angeles film critics circles and is one of the most recent additions to our 50 Best Documentaries list. And by "Best," we mean of all time.
"The key to appreciating this film is that it is, despite Wong [Kar-wai]'s protests to the contrary, a sequel to In the Mood For Love," wrote Hannah Eaves when she caught 2046 in Rotterdam earlier this year. "Tony Leung reprises his role as Chow Mo Wan... [a] romantic melancholic, trapped in his memories and surrounded by graceful degradation, that lives on here as an archetype.... Wong could easily follow any of the women here (Gong Li, Faye Wong, Zhang Ziyi) in another film, creating (to my delight) a labyrinthine, unending series of sequels."
And don't miss Jonathan Marlow's interview with Tony Leung.
Dark Water (2005).
Walter Salles remakes Hideo Nakata's original with Jennifer Connelly in the lead. "Stylish," wrote Kevin Crust in the Los Angeles Times, "a distressing, subtly suspenseful film full of emotional resonance."
Café Lumière (2004).
"Exquisitely understated," wrote J. Hoberman when he introduced the film as part of the Village Voice's "Best of 2004" series in New York this summer. "[F]or all Hou [Hsiao-hsien]'s supposed stylistic and temperamental affinities to Ozu, as well as a few affectionate quotes from Tokyo Story, Café Lumière is hardly a pastiche. If anything, Café Lumière suggests an Ozu film in reverse - it's mainly ambience 'pillow shots,' with bits of narrative serving as punctuation."
When the Last Sword is Drawn (2002).
"Along with Yoji Yamada's Twilight Samurai (2002), When the Last Sword is Drawn appears to signal that classical chambara is on the rise again thanks to Shochiku who produced them," writes Mark Pollard at Kung Fu Cinema. "Both are excellent, but WTLSID is more robust and action-packed."
AB-Normal Beauty (2004).
"The Pang brothers, Danny and Oxide, gave us the intriguing thriller Bangkok Dangerous and a creepy ghost story, The Eye," notes Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian. "Now they are back with this Ballardian sado-nightmare set in Hong Kong."
Art of the Devil (2004).
This horror film from Thailand is not for the squeamish. A millionaire's entire family is wiped out in the most gruesome way. And it seems the murderer is using a form of witchcraft known as Art of the Devil.
Facets introduces us to a new talent: "One of Iran's hottest young filmmakers, actor-director Arash Moayerian, spins a bittersweet tale of romance in this delightful comedy about two young couples whose lives and dreams are intertwined after a fateful close encounter."
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2004).
As we've noted on our 50 Best Documentaries list: "Poignant and surprising, this isn't just for bird lovers (though the titular birds are wonderful characters) - it's a touching portrait of a destitute man's life changed... twice."
The Football Factory (2004).
English football, that is. "It's like a peculiarly aggressive edition of EastEnders guest-directed by Quentin Tarantino, and is terrifyingly realistic," wrote Philip French in the Observer.
In MacArthur Park (1977).
A 70s-era story of a Mojave Indian struggling to make it in LA. After one thing leads to another and he finds he's become a murderer, he returns to his reservation in Arizona.
Gilgamesh Tablet 04: Under a Blood Red Sky (2005).
"The animation itself is pretty top-notch," wrote Battie of the first volume. "Music in anime seems to be improving more and more, and this one is no different... [N]othing is being easily revealed about the story in Gilgamesh, which is very welcome. It's definitely worth a watch."