2006: 7 movies

posted on 2020 April 20

Dave Chappelle's Block Party
Directed by Michel Gondry
Written by Dave Chappelle
Produced by Mustafa Abuelhija, Dave Chappelle,
Julie Fong, and Bob Yari
Music by Cory Smith
Cinematography by Ellen Kuras
Editing by Jeff Buchanan, Sarah Flack,
and Jamie Kirkpatrick
Production design by Lauri Faggioni
Art direction by Pete Zumba
Costume design by Whitney Kyles
Hair-styles by Mary Cooke and Qodi Armstrong
Make-up by Anita Gibson and Francesca Buccellato
Starring Dave Chappelle, Quest Love,
Yasiin Bey, Dead Prez,
The Roots, Erykah Badu,
Jill Scott, Kanye West,
Common, Cody ChesnuTT,
Lauryn Hill, The Fugees,
Talib Kweli, and John Legend

   How does one even talk about this movie? First off, is it even a movie? What in the world is it? After repeated viwings and 14 years distance, I can finally see 3 things this project is. It starts off as a touching and inspirational act of charity, because superstar Dave Chappelle is giving back to his community as well as sending a message of unity and celebration and beauty to the world. Secondly, it's a superb concert video, among the best, capturing the best underground black U.S. musicians as well as the best mainstream black U.S. musicians. It builds up from when the concert was a concept to the sign off, the whole time weaving in several of the most riveting musical performances recorded to film. Mixing in commentary on music, comedy, their intersection, and the state of race relations at the time. And thirdly, it's a document that reveals the spirit of the United States of America at the time. It's a diverse population with loads of baggage, tons of tension, but we see here the medicine, the panacea, that Dave offers is the correct prescription for peace and prosperity. It's the same energy from the hippie 60s, the same energy that elected the first black president. It's the same energy that occupied Wall Street, and it's the same energy behind the 2016 and 2020 Bernie Sanders campaigns. That energy never died. It's alive and well. It's the heartbeat of the world. And Dave Chappelle and Michel Gondry documented it.

The Water Diary
Written and directed by Jane Campion
Produced by Christopher Gill, Lissandra Haulica,
and Marc Oberon
Music by Mark Bradshaw
Cinematography by Greig Fraser
Editing by Heidi Kenessey

   In a few minutes, this movie shows you our world, how vulnerable we are, that it's important to value what really is essential, and it ends with a vision of the species we have within us to become. Highest honors, a work of excruciating beauty. The cinematography and direction is on some spiritual, grand Beethoven-type riff, and it is very welcome.

Marie Antoinette
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola
Produced by Sofia Coppola and Ross Katz
Music by Dustin O'Halloran
Cinematography by Lance Acord
Editing by Sarah Flack
Production design by K.K. Barrett
Art direction by Pierre Duboisberranger
Set decor by Véronique Melery
Costume design by Milena Canonero
Make-up by Jean-Luc Russier and Hue Lan Van Duc
Hair-styles by Desideria Corridoni and Gérald Portenart
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman,
and Asia Argento

   Delicious. Just a pure delight. It's a cream puff, only existing to give joy. And part of the joy that this movie gives is the bittersweet sensation that life is beautiful but it has and end. A masterpiece. The soundtrack is unbelievably enjoyable and ground-breaking for its contrast with the time-period of the setting. Adds a whole other layer of meaning.

Vinyl's Attack
Direction, Production, and Animation

   Dude, I don't know what this even is! All I know is I can't stop watching it. Starts out like a blend between a 1930s monster movie and a 1960s monster movie, with a little bit of modern animation flair thrown in. And then when the robot protagonist climbs a skyscraper like King Kong and is zapped by alien vinyl rockets, the robot protagonist starts shooting out vinyl discs like mad person on a rampage. Is this prophecy? Is this wishful adolescent fantasy? Or is this some kind of advertisement? I don't know what political agenda they're pushing. All I know is that they're pro-music and pro-cinema, and I can't stop watching it!

Hors de prix
Directed by Pierre Salvadori
Written by Pierre Salvadori and Benoît Graffin
Produced by Philippe Martin
Music by Camille Bazbaz and David Hadjadj
Cinematography by Gilles Henry
Editing by Isabelle Devinck
Production design by Yves Fournier
Set decor by Philippe Cord'homme
Costume design by Virginie Montel
Hair-styles by Madeleine Cofano, Jane Milon,
and Agathe Moro
Make-up by Turid Follvik and Nathalie Kovalski
Starring Audrey Tautou, Gad Elmaleh,
and Marie-Christine Adam

   Fast paced comedy that asks essential questions about love and money. Simultaneously fun and deeply probing, and still romantically pleasing. Phenomenal direction and performances. Stellar cinematography. The editing is timeless. The colors and lighting present a gift all their own.

Directed by Mel Gibson
Written by Mel Gibson and Farhad Safinia
Produced by Bruce Davey and Mel Gibson
Music by James Horner
Cinematography by Dean Semler
Editing by John Wright
Production design by Thomas E. Sanders
Art Direction by Roberto Bonelli, Naaman Marshall,
and Stefano Susco
Set decor by Jay Aroesty
Costume design by Mayes C. Rubeo
Make-up by Vittorio Sodano and Aldo Signoretti
Hair-styles by Aurora Chavira
Starring Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernández,
Jonathan Brewer, Morris Birdyellowhead,
Raul Trujillo, Carlos Emilio Báez,
Israel Contreras, Mayra Serbulo,
and Lorena Heranandez

   Kind of hard to not refer to in conversation, because it is the epitome of horror. It's a gripping, freaky study in paranoia, but simultaneously, it's a prayer of solidarity for those dealing with the crushing side of life. It gives comfort to those struggling because of its depiction of life as one horrifying challenge after another.
   Additionaly, it's a condemnation of end-time philosophy and of the fundamental religious people who use end-time philosophy for their agendas. The fact that it's so realistically choreographed is an asset. The fact that it follows the brisk tempo of an action-adventure movie almost ruins it, but luckily, the other parts are so good that they over-rule.

Bernard and Doris
Directed by Bob Balaban
Written by Hugh Costello
Cinematography by Mauricio Rubinstein
Editing by Andy Keir
Production design by Franckie Diago
Art direction by Dirk Braeger
Music by Alex Wurman
Costume design by Joseph G. Aulisi
Make-up by Ma Kalaadevi Ananda and Lynn Campbell
Hair and wigs by Milton Buras, Stacey Butterworth,
Robin Day, and Paul Huntley
Starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes

   What is a servant? What is a master? What is wealth? What is good living? What is going too far? This movie tenderly goes deep into the heart of these questions and more with spectacular pacing due to genius writing, direction, and performances. There seems to be no director, and I think this is a tribute to the director, because he somehow vanishes, as if he were never there. It's as if we have walked into this world, this story, and there is no one telling it, no one who is narrating, no one who is pulling the strings. In the end all that we're left with is this deep rich pulsing yearning in an unfortunate time, a time that we still exist in.

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