Top 10 Albums & Films of the Week (2010)

Tags: 
  • 4/5/2010 - 4/18/2010
  • 1. Faust-Faust (1971)
  • 2. Taxi Driver-Scorsese (1976)
  • 3. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?-Aldrich (1962)
  • 4. Dirty Harry-Seigel (1971)
  • 5. La Novia-Acid Mothers Temple (2000)
  • 6. Improvisie-Paul Bley (1971)
  • 7. Spiderland-Slint (1991)
  • 8. Ys-Joanna Newsom (2006)
  • 9. Psycho-Hitchcock (1960)
  • 10. Mean Streets-Scorsese (1973)

  • NEW ACQUISITIONS RATED [FILM]:
  • Dirty Harry-Seigel (2000) 8/10 ...one of the most perfectly paced, brilliantly edited and shot films ever made...

  • REVISITED & RE-RATED [FILM]:
  • Psycho-Hitchcock (1960) 9/10 to 8/10 and now 2 weeks later: 8/10 to 9/10
  • Mean Streets-Scorsese (1973) 9/10 to 8/10


  • 3/29/2010 - 4/4/2010
  • 1. Nostalghia-Tarkovsky (1983)
  • 2. Improvisie-Paul Bley (1971)
  • 3. Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte-Aldrich (1965)
  • 4. Nashville-Altman (1975)
  • 5. Rock Bottom-Robert Wyatt (1974)
  • 6. Suicide-Suicide (1977)
  • 7. Irrlicht-Klaus Schulze (1972)
  • 8. The Survivor's Suite-Keith Jarrett (1976)
  • 9. Second Edition-Public Image Ltd
  • 10. Electric Heavyland-Acid Mothers Temple (2002)

  • NEW ACQUISITIONS RATED [MUSIC]:
  • Second Edition-Public Image Ltd (1979) 7.5/10
  • Electric Heavyland-Acid Mothers Temple (2002) 7.5/10

  • REVISITED & RE-RATED [FILM]:
  • Cries & Whispers-Bergman (1973) 9/10 to 8.5/10


  • 3/8/2010 - 3/28/2010
  • 1. Nostalghia-Tarkovsky (1983)
  • 2. Cries & Whispers-Bergman (1972)
  • 3. Citizen Kane-Welles (1941)
  • 4. The Doors-The Doors (1967)
  • 5. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  • 6. Excerpts From A Love Circus-Lisa Germano (1996)
  • 7. Flying Teapot-Gong (1973)
  • 8. Geek The Girl-Lisa Germano (1994)
  • 9. Trust-Low (2001)
  • 10. Piper At The Gates of Dawn-Pink Floyd (1967)

  • NEW ACQUISITIONS RATED [FILMS]:
  • Cries & Whispers-Bergman (1973) 9/10

  • REVISITED & RE-RATED [ALBUMS]:
  • Excerpts From A Love Circus-Lisa Germano (1996) 7.5/10 to 8/10

  • REVISITED & RE-RATED [FILMS]:
  • Traveling Players-Angelopoulos (1975) 9/10 to 8.5/10
  • Point Blank-Boorman (1967) 9/10 to 8.5/10
  • Battleship Potemkin-Eisenstein (1925) 9/10 to 8.5/10
  • Splendor In The Grass-Kazan (1961) 8/10 to 8.5/10


  • 2/22/2010 - 3/7/2010
  • 1. Nostalghia-Tarkovksy (1983)
  • 2. Touch of Evil-Welles (1958)
  • 3. Stalker-Tarkovsky (1979) ...intensely fascinating and deeply profound, enigmatic and spiritual...Tarkovsky is indeed the greatest genius of cinematic profundity...probably the key film that inspired Bela Tarr...without question one of the very greatest visual achievements in film history...virtually every scene is an emotionally gripping experience just to look at...
  • 4. Neu!-Neu! (1972)
  • 5. Brazil-Gilliam (1985)
  • 6. Blow Up-Antonioni (1967) ...stunning...
  • 7. Rock Bottom-Robert Wyatt (1974)
  • 8. La Novia-Acid Mothers Temple (2000)
  • 9. Exile On Main Street-Rolling Stones (1972)
  • 10. Chinese Democracy-Guns N' Roses (2008) ...just when I thought it was safe to put it on the shelf for awhile...it really is an amazing, surprisingly powerful album (to little 'ol me at least)...to those still willing to give this cliche ridden Meatloaf-ian, Jim Steinman-ian extravaganza-ian another chance-ian, I recommend playing it on a good system (and definitely not via computer, and preferably not via headphones). Let it play loud and in space so it's densely layered and relentless compositions (seriously!) have room to breathe and overwhelm the space (this is not a joke!) ( :

  • NEW ACQUISITIONS RATED:
  • Have One On Me-Joanna Newsom (2010) 7/10 ...superb follow up to Ys...beautifully composed...pure, dreamy and eloquent, at times it is quite breathtaking...something like a cross between early-mid 70's Joni Mitchell, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Beth Gibbons (from Portishead) & Fiona Apple
  • Under The Pink-Tori Amos (1994) 7.5/10
  • La Novia-Acid Mothers Temple (2000) 8/10

  • REVISITED & RE-RATED:
  • Chinese Democracy-Guns N' Roses (2009) 7/10 to 7.5/10
  • Ys-Joanna Newsom (2006) 8.5/10 to 8/10
  • Disappeared-Spring Heel Jack (2000) 7.5/10 to 8/10

  • 2/8/2010 - 2/21/2010
  • 1. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?-Aldrich (1962) ...gleefully demented, hysterically homicidal and improbably heartbreaking with Davis delivering one of the most courageous, emotionally destroyed performances in film history...simultaneously among the most jet black comedies ever while also being a harrowing drama and disturbing, unspeakable gothic nightmare...collides into an overwhelming, devastating, completely off-the-rails soap opera...nearly the masterwork his follow up Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte is...
  • 2. Brazil-Gilliam (1985)
  • 3. Mirror-Tarkovsky (1974) ...simply incredible...it may be the most structurally impressive film ever made...
  • 4. Chinatown-Polanski (1974)
  • 5. Wings of Desire-Wenders (1987)
  • 6. Psycho-Hitchcock (1960)
  • 7. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)
  • 8. The River-Springsteen (1980)
  • 9. Appetite For Destruction-Guns N' Roses (1988)
  • 10. Original Sin-Jim Steinman (1988)

  • NEW ACQUISITIONS RATED:
  • What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?-Aldrich (1962) 9/10

  • REVISITED & RE-RATED:
  • Chinese Democracy-Guns N' Roses (2009) 8/10 to 7/10
  • Appetite For Destruction-Guns N' Roses (1988) 7.5/10 to 8/10

  • 1/18/2010 - 2/7/2010
  • 1. Metropolis-Lang (1927) & Nostalghia-Tarkovksy (1983) ...I can't choose which one I loved more this week...they're both so emotionally resonant, each in completely different ways...I can't wait for the fully restored version of Metropolis on its way. Right now, as a work of art, I would place Metropolis just ahead of Trout Mask Replica and just behind Black Saint & The Sinner Lady, but following its restoration who knows--it may be worthy of even higher praise!
  • 3. Mean Streets-Scorsese (1973)
  • 4. Funny Games-Haneke (1997)
  • 5. Fare Forward Voyagers-John Fahey (1973)
  • 6. Sans Soleil-Marker (1983) ...a fascinating look at the potential beauty and pathos within the banalities of life, as well as a free form, intellectually stimulating essay on various facets of humanity, told straight from the director's soul.
  • 7. Superunknown-Soundgarden (1994) ...with Superunknown, Vitalogy & Odelay I'm revisiting some of my old 90's favorites (I rate all three 7.5/10, though Superunknown is close to, and may just be, an 8/10)
  • 8. Vitalogy-Pearl Jam (1994)
  • 9. A Picture of Nectar-Phish
  • 10. Odelay-Beck (1996)

  • NEW ACQUISITIONS RATED:
  • Funny Games-Haneke (1997) 8/10 ...startling, methodical, obliviously insane and intensely horrific...perhaps the ultimate example of audience manipulation in film history.
  • Sans Soleil-Marker (1983) 7.5/10 ...it's kind of in a category of its own but the closest comparison may be Welles' F For Fake crossed with Tarkovsky's Mirror.


  • 1/11/2010 - 1/17/2010
  • 1. Mean Streets-Scorsese (1973)
  • 2. The Modern Dance-Pere Ubu (1978)
  • 3. 2001: A Space Odyssey-Kubrick (1968)
  • 4. M-Lang (1931)
  • 5. Twin Infinitives-Royal Trux (1990)
  • 6. Limelight-Chaplin (1952)
  • 7. Sunrise-Murnau (1927)
  • 8. Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables-Dead Kennedys (1980)
  • 9. Weekend-Godard (1967)
  • 10. Mulholland Drive-Lynch (2001)

  • REVISITED & RE-RATED:
  • Mean Streets-Scorsese (1973) 8/10 to 9/10
  • The Traveling Players-Angelopoulos (1975) 8.5/10 to 9/10
  • Lady From Shanghai-Welles (1947) 9/10 to 8.5/10


  • 1/1/2010 - 1/10/2010
  • 1. Nostalghia-Tarkovsky (1983)
  • 2. Brazil-Gilliam (1985)
  • 3. The Kingdom-Von Trier (1994)
  • 4. Point Blank-Boorman (1967)
  • 5. Limelight-Chaplin (1952)
  • 6. Taxi Driver-Scorsese (1976)
  • 7. Inland Empire-Lynch (2006)
  • 8. Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables-Dead Kennedys (1980)
  • 9. Days of Heaven-Malick (1979)
  • 10. Vertigo-Hitchcock (1958)


  • REVISITED & RE-RATED:
  • Vertigo-Hitchcock (1958) 9/10 to 8/10
  • The Traveling Players-Angelopoulos (1975) 9/10 to 8.5/10
  • Landscape In The Mist-Angelopoulos (1988) 9/10 to 8/10
  • Days of Heaven-Malick (1979) 8.5/10 to 8/10
  • Badlands-Malick (1972) 8.5/10 to 8/10

Funny Games, really?

I think that's one of Haneke's worst (and he's one of the best workings directors in my mind).

The ideology behind it, to shock viewers into a reflection regarding how they consume violence, is all very smug and self-satisfied. The way he addresses the audience is very complacent, essentially telling us that we want the characters to suffer because if there wasn't conflict we wouldn't be watching. Okay, fine, so we want to watch a film where something happens, but he doesn't seem to realize we have the ability to differentiate between a movie and real life.

Visually it's typical Haneke, which is to say it's very good, but other than that it just didn't work for me. The artists intent was too great to overlook.

I thought he was toying with the audience to make them seem uncomfortable and disgusted. And that the film is as if the director (or camera man) is actually playing the game along with the villians, ensuring they win, even after they don't (in the most shocking scene of all). The director himself (Haneke) is an invisible character, the master villain, and is infact the "grandmaster" behind the whole "funny game", which is true even in real-life (because, he is after all the actual director of the film). It is original and fascinating (to me) in the way it so clearly alludes to the pessimism and horrifying psychological state of the director himself without the director actually appearing in the film or talking in voice over during the film or being directly addressed in the film (as in documentary films or other such works).

Yeah, I can see the points you're making. Certainly he's the "grandmaster", but he's one who's hypocritically wagging his finger at his audience the whole time... not to mention he views his audience as a delusional group who can't differentiate between simulated and real violence. And honestly, making a film and in the process condemning it at the same time?... Its self-congratulatory nature makes it so tonally off-putting. It's not ironic, it's fraudulent and arrogant.

I much, much, much prefer The Seventh Continent, Code Unknown, The White Ribbon, Cache, etc.

And it's too bad we have such differing reactions to Sans Soleil, I think it's one of the most perfect pieces of art I've ever encountered. To each their own, of course.

I can see your viewpoint re: Funny Games.

Re: Sans Soleil...don't underestimate a 7.5, particularly after one viewing of a film that is quite a bit to digest. Whether it rises in rating or not, a 7.5 is the top of the heap of most directors careers and I was not disappointed in the film at all.