Dazzle's Top Movie Experiences Of 06

Postby Dazzle on Thu 4/Jan/07 7:09am

It is the time of year for pretentious wankers to put out lists pretentiously wanking on about their top 10 whatever�s for 2006. Thus a wanker of a pretentious nature, such as myself, is required, nah, driven, to produce such a list.

Without further ego buffing, here is my top 10 movie experiences of 2006. These are movies I saw calendar year 2006, regardless of their actual year of production. I am actually going to touch on more than 30 movies along the way, including some World and UK premieres. It�s my list and I will break the rules whenever the fancy takes me. So there.

Previous movie list wanking here:
Year 2005: http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopict-33407-top.html
Year 2004: http://www.vorb.org.nz/ftopic-18515-0.html

In no particular order:

1) London screenings � Bicycle Film Festival
Thanks to the global reach of Vorb, I discovered the London leg of the touring Bicycle Film Festival was going to be showing a short about cycle messengers. It appeared to be shot back when I was road crew and with appearances by several mates that were still chopping about in traffic deliverying packages for a living. I caught two sessions of the festival.
The first: Joe Kid on a Stingray - The History of BMX (2005). Awesome documentary. Like �Dog town and Z boys�, but, well, better. Dogtown covered a very specific crew of skateboarders over a short period of time, with very little surviving footage to work with. Joe Kid in comparison is an embarrassment of riches. It covers in-depth the first decade of BMX and the highlights of the next two decades. Presented are a who�s who of the original promoters, racers, bike builders and publishers, along with amazing footage and pictures to back up the stories they tell. Any cyclist should enjoy the story of kids sifting on their home welded bikes on illegally built tracks eventually becoming a global corporate phenomenon, with road trip, race bike stories and more than a few laughs along the way. http://www.joekidonastingray.com/
The second featured: preview cut: M.A.S.H(2007?) Wow. A beautifully shot and edited montage of fixie riders chopping it up in San Francisco. The stunts and prowess on display are not going to impress the hucking/jumping crowd � but if you have ever diced around traffic on a no brake fixed wheel speed machine you will appreciate how much flow and style is on display here. Head over to http://www.mashsf.com/ right now and check out the preview. Now!
The combination of that afternoons screenings was the straw that broke the camels back. After going nearly 2 years with out buying a new bike I went and acquired a full noise fixed road machine to commute on.

2) Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
A masterpiece. Go and see this. It�s a beautifully realised fairytale. A real fairytale. Like �Hansel and Gretel�, who were abandoned in the forest because their parents could no longer afford to feed them, who were then taken in by a wicked crone that forces Gretel into servitude and fattens Hansel up for slaughter. That kind of fairytale, dark, troublesome and a warning to all children that take heed of its moral.
Pan�s Labyrinth works on multiple levels. The fantasy world a young girl escapes into away from a cruel stepfather. The pregnant mother that has taken up with the local fascist commander to secure a future for her daughter and unborn child. The Spanish civil war being fought between the fascists and the rebels hiding in the forest. Touching, gorgeous, troubling, fantastic. Take the first chance you get to see this. It is Spanish language and independently produced, meaning it may not be easy to find in the future and will probably never show up on TV.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/pictureho ... labyrinth/

3) Danger: Diabolik (1968)
Not legally available on dvd until 06, it has taken me years to track this down. Unfairly considered to be the European equivalent of the Adam West camp 1960s Batman. This reputation was probably not helped by the Beastie Boys lifting footage directly for their video �Body Movin� and camping it up while injecting themselves into the story line.
Diabolik is an Italian antihero � equally happy ripping off crime lords or the corrupt law. Diabolik, like this movie, has style to spare. He wears skin tight leathers and mask, laughs at authority, has the beautiful Eva (the utterly drool worthy Marisa Mell) at his side, drives a kick arse Jaguar, has the gimmicks to pull of his fantastic crimes and lives in the secret lair to end all secret lairs. Director Mario Bava brings all his skills to bear to take foreground miniatures, primary lighting, psychedelic animations and a score by Ennio Morricone to deliver the ultimate comic book movie on time and well under budget. Not a Hollywood action movie about a comic book character, but an actual old school comic book, realised on the big screen. Tremendous fun, fantastically over the top.

4) Get Thrashed (2006)
This was a world premiere screening at the Raindance film festival. A documentary about the history of thrash metal, told by the people who were there. If you are fan of 80s heavy metal you MUST track this down once it comes to dvd. This was obviously a labour of love for the directors, as they tracked down and interviewed anyone and everyone, and got amazing photos and historic footage. Things start with an overview of what thrash metal is, then into the first band to break through � Metallica. Lars and Kirk represent along with a everyone talking about the emergence of thrash from the new wave of British heavy metal. Next, Dave Mustaine kicks off the Megadeth section. He appears on screen and produces the most jaw droppingly arrogant and egotistical statement about himself that I cannot do justice to. But then the interviews and live footage back up the claims, including Kirk talking about what an amazing rhythm guitarist and writer Mustaine is. The profiles then go to Slayer, Exodus and finally Anthrax. All the way through, the interviewees are a whos who of modern metal band members or people from back in the day, telling their stories about the bands and what it was like being there as things exploded from not being able to get any thrash played on the radio to headlining stadium tours. This builds towards the crossover between thrash, punk, hardcore and rap, the fights with the poser hair metallers and then the devastation of the American metal scene by grunge. It ends with the rise of New Metal icons such as Pantera and not NU metal, which gets characterised by a picture of Fred Durst standing on a toilet. Yeah, these guys like to keep their metal real.

5)Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
I first started hearing murmurs about this way back in mid 05 � something about the director walking of the picture due to the star starting a riot at a rodeo. Wtf? This was followed up by the most vigorous stealth marketing campaign I have ever witnessed. Free public screenings were held six months before release. Clips and reviews were showing up online everywhere. Then the overt marketing started with Borat showing up everywhere and anywhere that would have him. Could it live up to the word on the net, of it being �fist bitingly funny�? Indeed. It was. It is an unclassifiable movie, part candid camera, part humiliation, part stand up, and part performance art. And its utterly unique, because the character of Borat is never going to be able to do this again without the public being wise to the game. It is executed so well that any one trying something similar is going to look rather poor in comparison. The only movie I paid to see twice this year, and the 2nd time was funnier than the first, due to taking a friend who had completely avoided the hype and took it entirely on my word that we were going to see a documentary about a man from Kazakhstan visiting America.

Five down, five more to go.

Now get off your butts and check out what is in the corners of the video shop, or on TV during strange hours, or at your local art house cinema, or slinking around in film festivals. I literally travelled the world to compile this list and lurked in dark alleys to procure DVDs. There are a lot of very different yet good cinematic experiences out there just waiting for you to discover them.

I�ll be back.
Last edited by Dazzle on Sun 14/Jan/07 8:30am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Dazzle on Thu 4/Jan/07 7:26am

6)Dirty Sanchez: The Movie (2006)
Most of you would have heard that the merry Jackass pranksters were back in cinemas last year with a sequel to Jackass: The Movie (2002). But anything MTV can do, MTV Europe can do cheaper. The day Jackass Number Two (2006) debuted to American cinemas, select under filled UK cinemas unleashed the arguably superior Dirty Sanchez: The Movie (2006). Yes, I saw this opening night, and there was only one other person besides me in the cinema.
The Jackass crew are a mix of performance artists, actors, extreme sport athletes and talented directors. They have the budget and connections to pull off pranks involving animals, age makeup, hidden cameras and extensive props. The Sanchez crew on the other hand are mostly Welsh and frequently drunk. That is their charm. They mostly perform low cost lo fi bravado challenges and the harshest of pranks on each other. These usually involve beer or bodily fluids or whatever comes to hand with a special sideline in drunken shaming. There is no pretension of art or Hollywood star aspirations. This is four guys that have not progressed beyond the primary school stage of 'I dare you to eat this' and seeing who can leave the largest welt in a game of ball tag. Once you get over the initial harshness, it becomes apparent that they really are friends and all the blood letting and agro is male bonding taken to the extreme degree.
The Sanchez movie makes my list for one simple reason. They did things on the big screen that I NEVER thought I would see in a mainstream release. The UK used to have one of the strictest censorship standards in the Western world. I still find it hard that according to press coverage, the only thing censors required removed before release involved the consumption of animal faeces as it emerged from the animal. Now, if you have a problem with the consumption of animal faeces you will want to skip the rest of the review, it only gets rougher from here.
There is a story line of sorts here, following the Sanchez boys as they travel the world enacting challenges based around the seven deadly sins. Along with the challenges there are various intertwined pranks, revenge pranks and moments of concerned 'have we gone too far this time' self doubt.
I tried to describe to a friend the scene involving one member getting a stomach liposuction without anaesthetic, and the eventual challenge to consume the cold and congealed bloody fat. She just about vomited. The loser of the challenge did indeed vomit, several times, but eventual managed to hold the human fat down. And this was only the FIRST act of cannibalism in the movie!
The best bits for me are the human emotions. Extreme and unmitigated joy, guilt, pain and anger flashpoint as the guys trying to get ever escalating revenge pranks on each other. There is a moment in Thailand where an argument breaks down into a point/counterpoint revelation of who did what to who that is just joyous to behold. The pride of thinking you have pulled the best prank, to only discover your target has already got you back in a most intimate manner. :thumbsup:
If you have any problem with the infliction of pain, bleeding penis's, Asian lady boys or the consumption of human fluids stay well clear of this movie. Immature sure, gross definitely, fun certainly. If you’ve got a very strong stomach and a taste for the bizarre check this out.

Last edited by Dazzle on Sun 4/Feb/07 8:57am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Henry Dorset Case on Thu 4/Jan/07 10:33am

hey thanks for that.

I might post up a few favourites myself (being an egotist, with a populist and elitist bent...)

If you like those docos, and you get a chance, check out the definitive history of NZ skateboarding...

Its called "No More Heroes" and its one of my favourites from this years fillim festival.

I am SO buying it on DVD.

the NZFF site is still live...
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Postby Dazzle on Fri 5/Jan/07 2:18am

A far more wordy review of Pans Labyrinth - pointing out just how brilliant it is:
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Mov ... index.html

and currently sitting at 99% fresh - with 80 reviews: http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/pans_labyrinth/
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Postby Dave_the_Slushy on Fri 5/Jan/07 10:26am

No motherfucking snakes?
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Postby Dazzle on Fri 5/Jan/07 10:37am

Nope - i saw some much crazier shit than snakes. Like Japanese exploitation Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter and The Impossible Kid which is a Philipines James Bond/Kung fu rip off staring a 2'9" midget (who gets the ladies!). AND even those movies weren't crazy enough to make the mother hucking list.

Just wait till part II - up in the next 24 hours or so....
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Postby JaredTheAmazing on Fri 5/Jan/07 10:46am

If Naked Lunch isn't listed, this thread would be null and void. Think 44/11; it takes a while to wind up....
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Postby Dazzle on Fri 5/Jan/07 11:43am

Somebody did not read the rules of the list.....
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Postby Dazzle on Sat 6/Jan/07 12:28pm

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Postby Dazzle on Mon 8/Jan/07 3:36pm

Well, I am STILL doing the write up for numbers 5 -10. Meantime, here are the special mentions for the year:

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005) Documentary following anthropologist (and confirmed metal head) Sam Dunn as he travels the world interviewing the icons and fans of Metal music to find out what metal is, and what it means to its followers. After seeing this I MUST attend a Europe metal festival. This covers a lot of ground, but has lots of funny and cool moments, as well as an awesome flow chart of how all genres of metal relate to each other. Something here for everyone, metal and non metal heads alike.
The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak (1984) - French big budget softcore comedy rip on Indiana Jones. Finally available in widescreen to enjoy the composition, visuals, bondage themes and copious boobies. Relatively big budget and utterly unique.
The Mighty Boosh Live (2006) The Boosh are the modern Goodies - combining music, satire, surrealism and lo-fi fx into a delicious Brit comedy stew. The live performance shows just how much fun you can have on stage with five guys, minimal props and an ape suit.
Over the Hedge (2006) - yet another Hollywood computer animated assorted animal story with multiple stars slumming it to do the voicing - BUT - this one is rather well done - AND - features a protracted joke at the end that just about choked me to death with laughter.
Out of the Trees (1976) - Douglas Adams/Graham Chapman TV comedy pilot. Long thought lost, but recovered and screened by the BFI. Very Python Series 4 type humour and marks the meeting between Adams and future Hitchhiker alumni Mark Wing-Davey and Simon Jones.
Casino Royale (2006) - Bond done right. Kind of what they were aiming for with the Dalton Bond, but with the public ready for the change and a Jason Bourne template to work from.
Tom yum goong (2005) aka Honour of the Dragon (Europe: English title) aka The Protector (USA) aka Warrior King (UK) - Follow up though not direct sequel to Ong Bak (2003), a movie I have previously ranted about. Yes, the story is nonsensical crap and the English is completely laughable BUT I just have to love the over the top action, the beautiful visuals and sheer creativity on display. I mean - they start with an elephant chase(!) which builds to a longboat and helicopter chase (!!) and later even include a segway chase(!!!). The water and flames temple fight is action movie eye candy, the never ending blackshirt beat down is as comedic as it is brutal, but it’s the one continuous shot fight up the stairwell that should have your jaw on the ground. Fantastic stuff if you can park your mind in neutral.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/weinstein ... trailer1r/
The American Nightmare (2000) - Documentary about horror movies. Very intelligent look at classics of the horror genre and how they actually reflect on the politics and events of their era. Interviews with all the directors concerned (Carpenter/Craven/Hooper/Romero etc etc) and has a mixing of segments from their films and contemporary newsreels that at times get very confusing as to what is fact and what is fiction.
The Terminator (1984) I was too young to see this on the big screen first time around
so jumped at the chance to see it with a large audience. James Cameron came from a
visualfx background, and it shows through here. Everything apart from some ropey blue
screen flames at the end still looks great to modern eyes. The fx are well integrated,
helping the story and being helped by the story. Cameron also nails the script, it's all
motion, working on an action and intellectual level. A classic that sometimes gets overlooked because of its big budget booms and bangs sequel.
Seijû gakuen (1974) - School of the Holy Beast If you thought the Italians were the masters of juxtaposing repression, religion, nudity and psychedelic visuals, check out this Japanese Nunsplotation classic. A right mind bender that gets around the Japanese censorship issues in creative ways but still manages to be chock full of perversion. :thumbsup:
Last edited by Dazzle on Fri 12/Jan/07 1:48pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Dazzle on Mon 8/Jan/07 4:57pm

Parts 5 - 10 are still coming. Here is yet MORE special mentions for the year.

Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006) I don't even like football (that's soccer to most of you), but still enjoyed the heck out of this doco. Follows the Cosmos's beginning (part time players on a muddy prison island pitch) rise (bought by mogul - who hires the most expensive and famous player in the world) and massive implosion(It was the 70's, so plenty of sex, drugs and disco). Really well done, with lots of funny behind the scenes stories along the way.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/miramax/o ... e/trailer/
This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006) The American film censorship process affects everything that comes out of the Hollywood system and this is the documentary that took it head on. This shows the different treatment that violence and sex get (bloody shootings are fine but not buttock exposing sex), male hetro sex and all other sex (boy fucks pie in trailer, it gets shown to all ages, teenage girl is implied to be mastabating - r18) and the better treatment studio films get to independants (studios part fund the system). The topper here is the film maker hires a detective to unmask who these anonymous non governmental censors are, puts it in his doco, and THEN SUBMITS IT FOR A RATING. :thumbsup:
Bugsy Malone (1976) Special screening of the new digital print with director Sir Alan Parker answering questions afterwards. Lots of kids in attendance seeing this for the first time, and they took to it . It looks gorgeous, sounds delightful and is so completely un PC that it could never be made today. This really deserves a complete separate review of its own. Timeless and unique.
Too Tough to Die: A Tribute to Johnny Ramone (2006) - Documentary covering "The Ramones" 30th anniversary concert and the subsequent death of Johnny Ramone. I rate End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones" (2003) as the greatest rock and roll documentary of all time, its so dark, so improbable, yet compellingly real look at being in the most influential of rock bands. That documentary was also a kind of love letter to Joey and Dee Dee Ramone, who died before and during production. This documentary on the other hand is really about the passing of Johnny. Much of the running time is about the concert as he knew the cancer was going to take him soon, and made sure it was a star studded affair. Concert footage features 'X' and 'Red Hot Chilli Peppers' opening, then the remaining Ramones alumni being fronted by the likes of Henry Rollins, Joe Strummer and Eddie Vedder in front of a home town NY audience. All great stuff. This builds to and ends with Johnny's funeral, eulogies from his friends and an outstanding story from Rob Zombie explaining how Johnny's grave marker came to be. End of the Century kind of emphasised some of the negative elements of the band, their feuds and extreme personalities. All the anecdotes presented here dont turn Johnny into a saint, but bring out a side to him that Century did not. The loyal friends, the attention to detail that helped make the Ramones and his wife appearing on camera (unlike Century) and the issue between her, Joey and Johnny being addressed. Century is still the greatest rock and roll documentary ever, but this one is about the music and sending Johnny off in the rock and roll style he wanted. The screening I attended had Johnny's widow in attendance and Marky Ramone on hand for a Q&A session. When this eventually makes it to dvd, I will be purchasing and putting on the shelf next to my other Ramones DVDs. Gabba Gabba Hey indeed. :) :thumbsup:
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Postby Chickie on Mon 8/Jan/07 5:57pm

I loved the Bugsy Malone movie :thumbsup:
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Postby Dazzle on Wed 17/Jan/07 4:01pm

Chickie wrote: I loved the Bugsy Malone movie :thumbsup:
The director had many funny and interesting stories about making it. Its the first time I've been to a cinematic Q&A session where all the hardest questions were coming from the primary school crowd!
But yes, a great movie, great soundtrack (Huzzah Paul Williams :thumbsup:) and the restored digital print I saw should be the basis of a new DVD release.

Well - getting the rest of the top 10 out has turned into a bit of an epic. I have posted number 6 up the top of the page along with pretty pictures, and here comes number 7. That means I've only got horror, cannibals and perversion left to go!

7)The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disney Digital 3-D (1993)/(2006)
Digital cinema projection is here, slowly being rolled out into theatres around the world. You may have already seen features projected digitally and not realised. 'So what?' I hear you say. Well, digital projection removes the film print from the equation. It looks good every time, no more scratches, fading or dust, and it makes it cheaper to distribute smaller art house features that can avoid the costs of making distribution prints. Digital also allows greater than 24fps frame rate, allowing faster and smoother action. For an example of choppy 24fps action take a look at the zombie attacks in 28 Days Later(2002). But the main reason that I, you and everyone should be excited about digital projection is the immanent return of 3D.

Stereographic film has generally suffered from quality of projection and quality of content. With the exception of Imax, 3D on the big screen wore its welcome out fast with brief fads in the 50s and 80s.

Imax uses its own specialised projectors with a permanent onsite calibrated 3D polarised system to ensure the quality of image. This is combined with Imax exclusive 3D releases like Deep Sea 3D (2006) and T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (1998) and mainstream 2d computer animated features like The Polar Express (2004) being re-rendered in stereographic 3D. Features like these can play on Imax 3D years simply because the home theatre experience simply cannot do 3D.

Hollywood smells money in returning to 3D, particularly as it cannot be pirated and watched at home. The quality content is now starting to line up to cash in with mainstream digital 3D distribution infrastructure. Rumours abounded about Superman Returns(2006) or King Kong(2005) being pioneering releases. 3D Kong rumours came to naught, but four short sections of Superman Returns were converted to 3D for an Imax release. The claim was that there had not been enough time to run the entire film through the 2D to 3D computer conversion process. I saw this day and date with the regular Superman Returns cinematic release. You watched the movie on the cavernous Imax screen, and every so often the flashing glasses icon on the bottom the screen indicated it was time to put on the special glasses for 5 minutes of ooh and ahhh.

The big news is this 2D to 3D conversion process is currently being applied to all six Star Wars movies, which will be released one per year, further financing Mr Lucas’s plans for global domination. On the original front, the really big news is James Cameron’s next movie is going to be 3D. After doing a pair of Imax 3D docs (Ghosts of the Abyss (2003) and Aliens of the Deep (2005), with rumours of a 3D Mars documentary in the works) he seems to think technology has caught up with what he wants to do. Avatar is scheduled for a 2009 release, with a budget rumoured in the vicinity of $200 million US and special effects supplied by Wellingtons own Weta Digital.

Being a bit of a 3D fan, I have gone out of my way to check out this technology. I have been able to see Chicken Little (2005) and Monster House (2006) on the Real D 3D projection system. Chicken Little was not a particularly good movie. Although I have to give them credit for making the polarised 3D glasses look like the ones the character wears. Thumbs up for making an audience full of adults earnestly wear bright green chicken motif glasses. On the other hand, I enjoyed Monster House immensely. It was fun, it felt like a throw back to the 80’s and had managed to work in some nice 3D moments. But for me, the crown jewel was the 3rd release on this system in 2006, the 2D to 3D conversion of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I still remember seeing Nightmare on its pre release festival run in New Zealand some 13 years prior. Presented here again it is still a glorious and goofy musical stop motion indulgence. Typing this up, I am compelled to hum 'What's This?' - one of the many infectious songs written and performed by Danny Elfman. The 3D conversion is for the most part well done and pleasing to the eye. The one area that did not work for me was the ghostly dog. Shot in 3D movies work well with semi transparent shapes and light distorting glass objects. They just look, ahem, dimensional, a visual reminder your not watching a regular old flat movie as they warp light through them. The computer process of lifting the 2D image of the dog and placing him in a 3D movie could not add this dimensionality. That minor complaint aside, it was a really good 3D experience and I was very glad to have seen it.

Judging by the volume of additional names in Nightmares credits, the conversion process is labour intensive, and will probably be reserved for very popular back catalogue mainstream features. But hang on for 2009 and beyond, a new wave of shot on 3D Hollywood releases are coming your way!

http://www.apple.com/trailers/sony_pict ... ter_house/
Last edited by Dazzle on Wed 17/Jan/07 4:05pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MrsAlmaGarrett on Wed 17/Jan/07 6:14pm

Me & HDC saw Metal: A Headbangers Journey at the film festival here.
I'm not really a metal fan but loved the film.

And I had completely forgotten we also saw The Ramones doco until I read your review.
:blush: Must be getting old...
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Postby Bigfoot on Wed 24/Jan/07 3:44pm

So what does dazzle think about the oscar nomineeeees? :eh:
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