fredag 29 december 2006

Årslistor 2006, del 4: minnesfragment

Jag frågade några vänner och bekanta med olika anknytningar till film och tv vad de tyckte hade varit minnesvärt inom området under 2006. Fältet var öppet för förslag - filmer, program, personer, händelser, vadhelst som fastnat. Jag bad om en lista på 5-10 saker, med eller utan motiveringar.

Det blev såväl korta som långa svar. Högt och lågt, ytligt och djupsinnigt, på både svenska och engelska (för enkelhetens skull har jag inte översatt de engelska bidragen). Vissa höll sig stenhårt till "5-10"-uppmaningen. Vissa gjorde det inte. Vissa inkluderade även musikrelaterade saker av bara farten.

[English intro: I asked some friends and acquaintances to sum up the year in film and television, in the form of a list, highlighting 5 to 10 movies, events, people or phenomena that made an impact on them in 2006. I received lists of all kinds - long and short, humorous and grave, in both Swedish and English (all entries appear in their original language). Some stuck to the "5 to 10" suggestion, some ran with it. And some even included music related stuff just for the hell of it. It's all popular culture, people!]

Please feel free to add comments in both English and Swedish to this post.

This is my last post of 2006, so Happy New Year, wherever you are!



***



Jesse Thorn

Season four of The Wire
After everyone thought the show was a goner, HBO comes through at the last minute. The excitement interests the media, and all of a sudden the best show on television (ever) gets the attention it deserves.

Borat
I'm not entirely convinced the film is not offensive. But boy is it fucking funny.

30 Rock & Studio 60
Who knew that the former would be hilarious and the latter unspeakably awful? Every good thing about Tina Fey, every bad thing about Aaron Sorkin.

YouTube
An explosion of democratic media, and by democratic media, I mean animals doing something weird, fat people falling, and adolescents embarrassing themselves.

Hip-Hop Struggles in the Marketplace
The downloading revolution and a lack of compelling new talent mean only one platinum rap album so far this year (TI). Even Jay-Z kinda dissapoints.

James Bond is now terrifying
I went to see Casino Royale, and now I am really scared of the new, brutal Bond. I feel like he could somehow bludgeon me to death or drown me using only his chest muscles.

Robert Altman
The death of this legendary filmmaker reminded me that I don't really like any of his movies besides M*A*S*H*.

Jesse Thorn is the host of the Los Angeles-based radio show and podcast The Sound of Young America.

***



Erik Hedling

Rome
Att HBO gör Rome 2
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Nyazeländska filmer som River Queen och The World's Fastest Indian
Brokeback Mountain
Syriana
Dom andras liv
Att man drar ner på omfattningen av den svenska filmproduktionen
Utgivningen av 1900 på utmärkt DVD

Erik Hedling är filmprofessor vid Lunds universitet.

***



Russ Joyner

Animation Is Dead... Again!
Not so fast. After closing the last of their 2D animation studios a couple of years ago, Disney, along with all the other major animation studios, decided to dedicate their resources toward emulating Pixar’s success – with less than stellar results. 2006 has seen the opening of the floodgates, along with a decidedly tepid batch of trendy 3D animated fare. The results? Same as before – crappy stories are still crap, regardless of the technical means by which they are produced. Earlier this year Disney announced the purchase of Pixar and named Pixar president John Lasseter the new president of Disney feature animation. In a deliciously ironic twist, Lasseter soon announced that one of his first orders of business would be to bring back the traditional 2D animation department. Using Pixar’s relatively sterling track record as a template, Lasseter hopefully can restore the studio’s reputation by taking control from the executives and accountants and focusing on quality instead of quantity.

Cruise and Gibson
How does one gauge the hypocrisy of the typical Hollywood studio? Paramount declared they did the “right” thing in severing ties with one of their biggest cash cows earlier this year. Whispers of Tom Cruise’s waning popularity due to bizarre television appearances seemed to indicate that his leash was becoming increasingly shorter. Then, on the heels of the lukewarm reception given M:I3, Paramount decided the time was right to make the move and say goodbye to one of the biggest moneymakers in the history of the studio. Would that have been the case, however, if the M:I3 box office was more along the lines of Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ? Gibson, of course, has his own personal demons to battle and now that Apocalypto seems destined for a quick exit from theaters, will his newfound studio support also go up in smoke? Well, it sure didn’t take Disney-owned ABC long to cancel their contract with Gibson’s company to produce the miniseries about the Holocaust. One thing seems readily apparent – the tolerance of a mega-star’s questionable behavior is directly proportionate to said star’s current earning power.

Altman and Nykvist
It’s always sad to lose one industry giant over the course of the past year. Losing two of the brightest stars ever to shine in the galaxy of cinema make for a very, very dark year indeed. Like all artists, both gentlemen balanced career lulls with stratospheric achievements – and both produced a remarkable body of work that will forever provide testimony to their distinguished careers. Altman once said, “Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes”. As an audience, it was our great fortune to be able to embrace and cherish each and every one of those “lifetimes”. Talents like these two don’t come along very often and when they do, it’s sometimes easy to take them for granted. Nykvist, I think, exhibited distaste for the direction that much of today’s cinema had taken. ”Today we make everything so complicated. The lighting, the cameras, the acting. It has taken me thirty years to arrive at simplicity.” The genesis of such beautiful simplicity was captured by his unsurpassed collaborations with Bergman. While it’s difficult to overstate the impact that each has had on aspiring filmmakers, it’s downright impossible to overstate their collective genius.

Lynch, a Cow, and Inland Empire
What to make of David Lynch’s latest foray into his subconscious? From its first appearance at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year to its hot-ticket status at year-end U.S. festivals, Inland Empire has divided audiences and critics like no Lynch film before. Comparisons to earlier works have generally proven fruitless if for no other reason than Lynch’s near-abandonment of narrative in favor of the more abstract introspection on display. But what’s really exciting about this new chapter in Lynch’s oeuvre is the newfound freedom he’s experienced that has enabled him to again shatter the artistic constrictions to which he’s frequently found himself shackled and the positioning of himself at the forefront of a new era of filmmaking. Eschewing the limitations and constraints of film for the endless possibilities and improvisational aspects of digital video seem much more suited to Lynch’s current mindset and the results are, by all reports, indicative of a reinvigorated director. The freedom Lynch has experienced with IE has also found other outlets as well, with Lynch handling the marketing and distribution aspects himself as well. A playful Lynch even found time to spearhead a traffic-stopping “for your consideration” awards plea (complete with a cow) on Laura Dern’s behalf. An early criticism being voiced is that Lynch seemingly included pretty much all the footage he shot. For my money, a three-hour “David Lynch greatest hits collection” seems like a pretty good bet (and just in time for Christmas, too!).

YouTube
Less than two years old, this juggernaut has not only become a major player on the web, there seems to be no end in sight to its growth and potential. Formerly alienated television networks are now dropping copyright suits and embracing the technology by offering their support as sponsors and partners (at the price of sharing ad revenue, natch). The YouTube masterminds (three former PayPal employees) showed foresight and savvy beyond their years in identifying and filling a niche that allowed the global community to participate in video sharing. The fact that Google recently purchased this startup for $1.65 billion helps put the YouTube phenomenon in perspective. One of their ambitious goals is to offer every music video ever created by the end of next year. Not bad for a little startup getting set to celebrate its second birthday.

Russ Joyner loves movies. He lives in South Carolina.

***



Henrik Örnebring

Film/TV-personlighet
Helt klart Sacha Baron Cohen, som är lysande inte bara i Borat utan också som skurkaktig gay fransk racerförare i oväntat roliga Talladega Nights - The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Årets machopris
Delat mellan Michael Mann (Miami Vice) och Martin Scorsese (The Departed), för två mastiga machorullar om manliga män som gör manliga saker på ett manligt sätt! Jävligt bra är de dessutom, så det så.

Årets upplevelse
Fyra restaurerade Kenneth Anger-klassiker plus en helt ny kortfilm, alla introducerade av mannen själv följt av ett långt och mycket underhållande Q&A (London Film Festival).

Bästa TV-serie, klassen karaktärsdriven superhjältehistoria
Heroes. Jag betraktar denna serie som kulmen på Tim Krings låååååånga TV-karriär.

Bästa TV-serie, klassen seriemördare-som-metafor-för-livet-i-samtidens-USA
Dexter. Signatursekvensen är bara den helt genial.

Bästa TV-serie, klassen välspelad, välsmord, bubbelgumsunderhållning
House, MD. För alla er som trodde att Bertie Wooster var rollen Hugh Laure föddes att spela - kolla sista avsnittet av House, MD säsong 2 och första avsnittet av säsong 3.

Henrik Örnebring är författare och medieforskare vid Roehampton University, London.

***



Scott Kelly

Farewell to Three Giants Award: Robert Altman, Shohei Imamura and Arrested Development

The Also Farewell Award…: Glenn Ford, Gillo Pontecorvo, Jack Palance, Alida Valli

Saddest Farewells Award: Adrienne Shelley and Chris Penn

Weirdest Farewell Award: Cory Lidle

Sad and Weird Farewell Award: Steve Irwin

Happy Trails Award: Ken Lay and Dick Cheney

Please Go Away Award: Nancy Grace and Sly Stallone and Owen Wilson and The Apprentice and The Who

Most Welcome Return Award: The Sopranos

Biggest High Profile Movie Flop Award: All the Kings Men

Blandest High Profile Movie Award: The Da Vinci Code

Desperate Cry for Help Award: Lady in the Water

Going out with a Bang that felt like a Whimper Award: Zinedine Zidane

Not Quite a Whimper or a Bang Award: A Prairie Home Companion

Pleasant Surprises Award: Tracy Morgan in 30 Rock, Mathew Perry in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; Ed Helms in The Office

The Who Cares if it‘s Derivative cause it’s Pretty Great Award: Heroes

The Return to Form but its Too Late Award: Desperate Housewives

The Return to Form but Maybe its Not Too Late Award: Survivor

Break-Up of the Year Award: Paramount and Tom Cruise

The Razzie Goes to: Jack Nicholson in The Departed, Michael Richards on YouTube and (if I had seen it, probably) Sean Penn in All the King’s Men

The Don’t Believe the Hype Award: Casino Royale

Biggest Hype Fizzle Award: Snakes on a Plane

Best “Little” Film: Brick

Best TV Show (that Used to be Better) that Brick owes a rather small debt to Award: Veronica Mars

Inexplicably Popular TV Shows that I Just Can't Seem to Watch Award: Dancing with the "Stars" and Prison Break

Guiltiest Pleasure Known to Man Award: Deal or No Deal

The Come on You can do Better than That Award: Miami Vice and Lost

Oddest New Movie Star Award: Al Gore, facelift (?) and all

The 2004 Jude Law Busiest Actor of 2006 Award: Hugh Jackman – X-Men Last Stand; Scoop, The Fountain, The Prestige, Flushed Away, Happy Feet. Female Equivalent: Kate Winslet

The Films I Haven’t Seen Yet but I’m Already Disappointed Award: The Fountain, X-Men Last Stand, The Good German, The Good Shepherd, Marie Antoinette, The Black Dahlia, Inland Empire, Strangers With Candy, Babel

Best Old-Timey Magician Movie Award: The Illusionist, no wait, The Prestige, oh hell I dunno...

Worst New-Timey Magician Stunt Award: David Blaine plays Aquaman (give me Entourage's Vincent Chase anyday)

Is Satire Dead? Award: Thank You For Smoking and Art School Confidential

Old Reliable Award: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

The Not as Bad as I Would Have Thought Award: The Break-Up and Mission: Impossible III

It Takes Two to Direct This? Award: Little Miss Sunshine

Best On-Line Movie Geek Feud Award: Dave Kerr vs. David Edelstein (a_film_by); David Ehrenstein vs. Everyone (Michael Worrell, Blake Lucas, etc., etc.) (a_film_by)

Most Memorable Film Going Experience Award: The Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan midnight madness premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival with 1200 other lucky souls

Region 1 DVD Releases of the Year Award: Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales; The Conformist; Late Spring; On Dangerous Ground

Most Disappointing DVD Transfer of a Great Movie Award: The Naked Spur

Best Movie made by Starbucks Without (!!!) any Product Placement (that I could see) Award: Akeelah and the Bee

The Get Over Yourself Award: Laurence Fishburne and Aaron Sorkin and The Killers

Been There Done That Award: Christopher Guest

Most Anticipated New Book that I Won’t Likely Read Award: Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day

The Isn’t there a Best Before Date on Sequels Award: Clerks II, Superman Returns, Rocky Balboa

Best Movie Line Award: “But I Like the Cookie” – Steve Carrell as Hammy the Squirrel in Over the Hedge

Best TV Line Award: “Who’s Normal Now America” – Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan with face tattoo on 30 Rock

Best Song Lyric Award: Neko Case, Margaret vs. Pauline: “Two girls ride the blue line. Two girls walk down the same street. One left her sweater sittin' on the train, The other lost three fingers at the cannery. Everything's so easy for Pauline”

Best Witty Song Lyric Award: Arctic Monkeys, A Certain Romance: “There's only music, so that there's new ringtones”

Scott Kelly is a film critic. He lives in Toronto.

***



Jasper Sharp

The Tragic Death of Shohei Imamura
Shohei Imamura (1926-2006) was the director of such classics of Japanese cinema as Insect Woman, Black Rain and The Eel. Imamura was always one of my favourite Japanese directors; in fact I can credit a good part of my interest in Japanese cinema to an early encounter with his 1982 Cannes Palme d’or winner The Ballad of Narayama in London’s sorely-missed Scala cinema way back in the late 80s. Though his last film, Warm Water Under a Red Bridge in 2001 was something of a disappointment, he will nevertheless be sorely missed by this viewer in particular.

The Lost World of Friese-Green/Shepperton Babylon/Silent Britain/Holmfirth Hollywood
Hallelujah! A humungous thank you to whoever it was at BBC4 and the BFI who decided to celebrate the neglected area of British silent cinema with such verve and in such depth, and to Matthew Sweet, from whose revelatory book Shepperton Babylon a large proportion of the series was drawn. All of these documentaries were brilliant, as were the films Picadilly, Hindle Wakes, and A Cottage on Dartmoor that accompanied them. The Friese-Green series in particular was an epiphany.

Little Birds (dir. Takeharu Watai)
This powerful documentary shows the 2003 US-British invasion of Iraq in all its raw, unsanitised ugliness – really deserves to be seen far more widely.

Mikio Naruse box set: Sound of the Mountain/Flowing/Repast (Eureka Masters of Cinema Series)
I can't believe it, a Western company finally daring to take the plunge and release something from Japan’s Golden Age of Cinema not by Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi. Further proof that Japanese cinema in the 50s was the finest in the world!

Nippon Connection Festival, Frankfurt
Always a great festival, but this year seeing the three generations of pink film directors represented by Koji Wakamatsu, Hisayasu Sato and Yuji Tajiri discuss ‘Sex and Politics in Japanese Cinema’ was a unique opportunity.

Rediscovering Richard Stanley
I hadn’t seen Dust Devil since its original UK video release, but seeing it on the big screen at Bristol’s Compass of Horror festival really showed it in its best light, as did its director's bemusing banter between screenings. But the icing on the cake must be the Subversive Cinema boxed set of the film which included three absolutely jaw-dropping documentaries alongside it. I really hope Richard gets to make another film very soon.

The Constant Gardener
I know it wasn’t really 2006, but Fernando Meirelles’ Kenya-set conspiracy thriller pretty much delivered everything I want from a movie.

Casino Royale
A lifelong Bond fan, the franchise had really lost its way by the last film. I am very happy that the inspired casting of Daniel Craig has put it back on to a completely different track.

Jasper Sharp is a freelance writer and independent researcher based in Bath, UK.

***



Mattias Löwhagen

Wikitubefiering
Med Snakes on a Plane vidgades Hollywoods fokusgrupper till att omfatta oss alla. Varför inte liksom? Vi borde ju veta bäst. Men vad är det då vi vill ha? Allt, bara det har en tydlig poäng och är snabb avklarat. Sedan något nytt. Borat excellerade i detta. När vi väl pitchat filmen till oss själva funkar den bäst som hype, i korta klipp. Färdiga best-of produkter, bara det göttaste, i små munsbitar. Det är Razzel och Kryzz på nytt, men nu är det vi som är Engstrand och Hegerfors. Alla ska med.

Cam Archer & Malcolm Stumpf
En bit in i Wild Tigers I Have Known slog det mig att långfilmsdebutanten Cam Archer fått till inledningen riktigt bra. Då hade han fortfarande sina starkaste kort på handen. Archer berättar med en självklar stilistisk auktoritet om glappet mellan barndom och vuxenvärld. Många seniora kolleger får faktiskt skämmas i jämförelse. Som om inte detta vore nog levererar hans 14-åriga leading man Malcolm Stumpf en lågmäld intensitet som sitter klockrent. Inga manér, inga bekväma fraseringar, inga inövade gester. Så här borde det alltid vara.

Star Spangled to Death
Samtidigt som nya högupplösta videoformat bankar på dörren har mängder av titlar ännu inte hunnit ut på DVD. Den exponentiella utvecklingen är spännande, men lämnar mycket i sticket. Under 2006 lossnade det i varje fall på några kritiska fronter, som för Michelangelo Antonionis The Passenger och Bernardo Bertoluccis 1900 och The Conformist. Criterion radade i god ordning upp flera pärlor, där den närmast löjligt genomarbetade utgåvan av Orson Welles spretiga Mr. Arkadin måste ta något slags pris. Men mest i hjärtat kändes det att få köpa Ken Jacobs mastodontverk Star Spangled to Death från hans egen sida, en film som Jacobs hållit på med till och från i snart 50 år. Hans son mailade en leveransbekräftelse och ett tack. Bara en sådan sak.

Miami Vice
Den amerikanska actionfilmen har inte mått bra på senare år. Effektspektaklen är så steroidpumpade att de regelbundet kollapsar under sin egen vikt. Nya talanger stöps om i samma gamla uttjatade former. Då gör Michael Mann entré. Miami Vice fintar med nostalgin men slänger mallarna i papperskorgen. Istället reduceras genren tills bara ett intensivt koncentrat av stämningar och attityd är kvar. Det går rakt in i blodomloppet. Audiovisuell narkotika som litar på sin publik är kärlek vid första ögonkastet.

Små DVD-förlag
I den långa svansens värld uppnås kritisk massa för specialiserad förlagsverksamhet nästan direkt. Vad man än har för särintresse kan man vara säker på att det är en försäljningsnisch. I år har jag bland mycket annat hittat en ny italiensk favorit i Valerio Zurlini (NoShame), en hypnotisk Ballard-adaption (Reel23), en box fransk 70-tals surrealism av Fernando Arrabal (Cult Epics) och två samlingar med grindhouse-trailers (Synapse). Vi har aldrig haft det så bra som nu.

Mattias Löwhagen skriver om film på En dröjande blick.

***



Ed Gonzalez

The Passing of Robert Altman
On High in DV Tomorrows: Inland Empire
The Resurrection of Army of Shadows
Spike Lee's Double Header: When the Levees Broke and Inside Man
¡Que Viva Mexico!: Battle in Heaven and Romántico
Exposing Oscar's Sham: Catherine O'Hara in For Your Consideration
Cartoon Bliss: Happy Feet and Monster House
Dexter and Michael Mann Do Miami
Humanizing the Other: Clint Eastwood's Letter from Iwo Jima
Cinematographer as Auteur: Emmanuel Lubezki's Children of Men

Ed Gonzalez is a film critic for Slant Magazine.

***



Jay Bryant

Let’s Roll ‘Em
Amid much hand wringing about it being “too soon,” Hollywood finally released not one, but two examinations of events that took place on 9/11/01. Surprisingly, Oliver Stone took the more classical approach in World Trade Center, with Britisher Paul Greengrass opting for a “You Are There” vérité style in United 93. Both worked on their own terms – if you could bear to look.

Viral Racism
Borat expressed his own view of 9/11: the attack was perpetrated by the Jews – you know, the ones that start all the wars per Mel Gibson. Fortunately, Borat’s views were expressed in character by the satirist Sacha Baron Cohen, not while taking a field sobriety test on a Malibu freeway. Later, when Michael Richards (erroneously) thought that being on a comedy club stage would excuse his “N-word” tirade, he (erroneously) claimed his own Judaism as supposed proof that he couldn’t really be racist. The results of all this: Borat became a controversial smash, Gibson’s Apocalypto opened to some strong reviews and okay box office, and Richards’ career imploded. The lesson: if you must insult a race or religion, try not to let your public meltdown become a viral video.

OK Go on YouTube
A more benign and much more entertaining viral video was OK Go’s single-shot performance of their song Here It Goes Again. With a locked-down camera, four treadmills and ingenious choreography tailored to the non-pro dancing skills of the band members, this engaging music video was a refreshing answer to 25 years of complaints about hyperactive “MTV-style” editing.

Reality – The Director’s Cut
By this point, everyone knows that most so-called reality shows are heavily dependent upon pre-planning, selective editing and the on-camera participants’ eagerness for face time. This negates the supposed veritas of the strain of shows that were spawned by MTV’s The Real World over the last dozen years. In fact, MTV’s most recent efforts seem blatantly scripted (see, if you can stomach them, Parental Control, Next, or Date My Mom). But there’s another strain that, while still heavily manipulated, at least require their participants to have talents beyond (though often including) exhibitionism, back-stabbing and over-dramatizing. Project Runway and Top Chef are basically American Idol for fashion designers and chefs, respectively. While there’s plenty of room for drama and personality clashes, no one gets very far in the competition without stepping up to a series of often fascinating challenges. Unlike Idol, these shows are truly made in the editing room, whittling endless hours of footage down to 40-odd addictive minutes per episode.

Cinematic Surprises
I haven’t seem many (maybe any) masterpieces in the cinema this year, which may say more about my depressingly sporadic attendance than the failure of the world’s filmmakers. Either way, I’ve had to take my pleasures where I could find them. I certainly didn’t expect to find much in a modest, formulaic teen dance/romance called Step Up, but choreographer Anne Fletcher brought a compelling combination of energy and grace to her directorial debut. Shot on gritty Baltimore locations, the film made up for its pedestrian plot with some surprisingly well-observed details of character and milieu amid dynamic dance sequences.

Jay Bryant is a screenwriter. He lives in Burbank.

***



Jesper Ganslandt

Bästa Herzog-upplevelse: Lessons of Darkness
Ecstatic Truth.

Bästa tv-serie: Entourage
Vet inte varför, men jag skrattar, varvat med att klappa händerna, genom hela avsnitten.

Bästa filmfestival: Lilla filmfestivalen i Båstad
Magiskt. Minus de överförfriskade bandyspelarna som skrämde mig en aning.

Bästa kulturreporter: Jan Lumholdt
För våra gemensamma intressen i film och stadig cigarettrökning.

Bästa premiär av Farväl Falkenberg: Falkenberg
Sommar, öltunna, brottning, fotbolls-VM, överrumplande reaktioner, bad i öltunnan och alla i filmen med nära och kära var där.

Bästa besatthet: Borat
Att prata som Borat, att raka mustasch som Borat, att beröma satiren. Och sen inte orka se filmen.

Jesper Ganslandt är regissör.

***



Daniel Lindvall

Al Jazeera på engelska
Al Jazeera börjar sända på engelska och blir tillgänglig i våra kabel-tv-nät. Tittarsiffrorna lär väl inte bli skyhöga, men en viktig liten spricka i den inbädda(n)de nyhetsmuren är det allt ändå och definitivt ett stycke internationell tv-historia. För första gången talar Mellanöstern direkt till oss västerländska tittare med en egen röst (om än lite väl ofta genom inhyrda gamla BBC-journalister). Detta borde väl, när vi i framtiden blickar tillbaka, ses som årets mediahistoriska händelse?

The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Tvärtemot vad alla respekterade cineaster sjunger i kör så är kamrat Ken som allra bäst när han tar sig an de stora historiska händelserna. The Wind är, möjligen med konkurrens av Bread and Roses, det bästa han gjort sedan Land and Freedom. Här får han fram två lika självklara som förbjudna sanningar: att motstånd inte är vackert men nödvändigt ändå och att klassintressen inte kan ljuga särskilt länge.

Besvikelsen över Rome, som hade svensk tv-premiär
Rome, som jag sett fram emot länge, var väl alls inte urusel men kom inte upp i närheten av den klass som förhandssnacket antytt. Av den omtalade "smutsiga" gaturealismen blev det mest inget alls. Paret Vorenus (träsmakens mästare Kevin McKidd, vars skådespelarkarriär borde dött av en överdos efter Trainspotting) och Pullo (Ray Stevenson) kändes som om de klivit ur en italiensk mytologisk lågbudgetrulle från 1973. Skildringen av elitens maktspel engagerade inte tillnärmelsevis som i gamla I, Claudius. Jämför John Hurts Caligula med Max Pirkis Octavianus... Orättvis jämförelse? Javisst, men talande. Det bästa som gjorts om Caesar de senaste åren förblir Michael Parentis briljanta bok The Assassination of Julius Caesar som manusförfattarna borde ha läst först.

Det är synd om de rika
Detta tycktes stundtals vara temat för dagen, från Sofia Coppolas hollywoodbimbomittlivsnovellversion av Marie Antoinette till girige direktör'n i Galenskaparnas och After Shaves Den enskilde medborgaren, som "har allt utom det nödvändigaste" (familjelyckan förstås). Nej, det är inte lätt att vara rik. Så mycket lättare för alla oss som bygger vårt harmoniska hemliv på taskig ekonomi.

Gillo Pontecorvo RIP
Förträngandet av att kolonialismens många folkmord pågick långt in i vår "demokratiska" era är en av två stöttepelare i den gängse västerländska historieskrivningen över 1900-talet (den andra är förstås förnekandet av klassrelationer som analytisk kategori). Pontecorvos Slaget om Alger har, oavsett hur man värderar den i övrigt, varit en av de mest framgångsrika filmerna när det gäller att leda uppmärksamhet till frågan. När jag såg att Pontecorvo skulle komma och presentera sin klassiker på de årliga "Marxism"-dagarna i London i somras var jag nära att ändra på beslutet att inte åka. Till sist stannade jag hemma ändå, men lovade mig att åka nästa gång han kom (veteranerna brukar ju återvända till evenemanget). Kanske var det lite dumt när det gällde en 87-åring. In i det sista var Pontecorvo medlem av dokumentärfilmarkollektivet Cinema nel Presente, som bildades för att ge en alternativ skildring mot Berlusconi-tv:s av protesterna mot G8-mötet i Genua 2001.

Robert Altman RIP
var årets andra stora förlust. Altman höll stilen in i det sista. Gosford Park (2001) fick väl hygglig kritik men borde fått mer än så.

Ben Dickensons bok Hollywood's New Radicalism: War, Globalisation and the Movies from Reagan to George W. Bush
Inspirerande, påläst, hoppfullt.

Belgisk tv gör en Orson Welles
Nästan 70 år efter att Welles och Mercury Theatre lurat åtminstone en del amerikanska radiolyssnare att tro att marsianerna invaderat gjorde den franskspråkiga belgiska statstelevisionen (RTBF) om tricket en onsdagkväll i december. Direkt efter nyheterna bryts sändningarna och en till synes stressad nyhetsuppläsare meddelar att Flanderns parlament ensidigt deklarerat regionens utträde ur Belgien. Kungafamiljen har flytt landet. Under ett par timmars tid håller kanalens journalister och inbjudna gäster masken. Rätt eller fel? Bra eller dåligt? Och hur lurade blev folk egentligen? Debatten rasar ännu. Men en liten not i den moderna tv-historien har i varje fall skrivits.

Mourir à Madrid/To Die in Madrid
70 år efter spanska inbördeskrigets början ger Editions Montparnasse ut Frédéric Rossifs klassiska dokumentär, gjord 1963 i protest mot västmakternas "normalisering" av förbindelserna med Franco-diktaturen.

Champions League-finalen
En bitterljuv tv-upplevelse för oss skånska Arsenal-fans. En man mindre och ändå var vi bäst. Sen kommer en liten trumpen skånepåg in och förstör festen.

Daniel Lindvall är chefredaktör för Film International.

***



Matt Belknap

Movie Comedy: Little Miss Sunshine
As the title implies, this was a ray of light in a dismal summer movie season. Classic road movie plotting with great comic characters, some surprisingly poignant turns and a slew of strong performances. It says something about how lost Hollywood has become that an indie movie sported the best execution of the Hollywood formula this year: cute kid, big song-and-dance ending, wacky characters and highway hijinks. Pitch perfect and pure fun.

Movie Drama: The Departed
Once I recovered from the whiplash of going into a Scorsese movie expecting dark and heavy, only to get outlandish comic bombast, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. About fifteen years after Hong Kong cinema made a splash on this side of the Pacific, an American finally captured the high melodrama mixed with intense action and violence that guys like John Woo did so well in the late '80s and early '90s. I thought I was sick of Nicholson playing Nicholson, I thought I was sick of DiCaprio playing tough... I actually thought I was sick of movies, period - but this movie made me well again.

Television - One Hour
This was the year I finally caught up with Veronica Mars, which, once delved into on DVD, became a 10-week ride through the first two seasons before plunging into the only recently up-to-par season three. Not only does this show combine two of my favorite genres - teen angst drama and detective mystery - but it does so with the savvy and humor of its most obvious influence: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Beyond the great writing and archetypal characters, this show has TV's best secret weapon in Kristen Bell, who should win every award for which she's eligible as far as I'm concerned.

Television - Half-Hour
This year The Office officially came into its own as not merely a surprisingly decent adaptation of the UK classic, but a classic in the making all its own. While the writing and the performances carry the comic load, injecting subversive humor into the most mundane of all possible settings, the show excels at finding small moments for genuine emotion amidst the silliness. This allows Michael, an otherwise insufferable jackass, to be human and even likable at times, without sacrificing the idiocy that makes him so endlessly funny to watch fail. Meanwhile, the show overachieved dramatically in the romance department, offering not only an unexpected love triangle with Michael at the center, but a wonderfully complicated and painfully real resolution to the Pam-Jim tryst. I assumed this relationship would either be consummated (which would potentially kill the show) or be put in an endless "will-they-won't-they" loop and bore us with repetition -- instead, the writers found a clever way to keep the characters apart and the show fresh, which has paid huge dividends already in this new season in the form of the "Stamford Branch" story arc that allowed the show to introduce some great new characters.

Entertainer of the Year: Alec Baldwin
This guy went from being the funniest thing on SNL to the funniest thing in The Departed (with stiff competition from Mark Wahlberg) to the funniest thing on 30 Rock, which is actually saying a lot considering Tracy Morgan's doing the best work of his career on the same show. It seems everywhere you look this year, Alec Baldwin is being awesome. We all knew he could do this, ever since stealing Glengarry Glenn Ross from the legendary Jack Lemmon with one scene - I guess it just took the right projects and the right attitude. Formerly burdened with everything from a superstar complex (this guy was penciled in for franchise status back when he did The Hunt for Red October) to a bad case of the Hollywood Politico Disease (nothing funny about ranting about the President from your palatial estate), Baldwin finally either loosened up or lost his marbles - whatever the case, we are all the beneficiaries.

Not only did Baldwin stand out in the superstar cast of The Departed, but he's proving to be an integral part of what makes 30 Rock - a show I never thought I'd love, but do - so good. Tracy is crazy and funny, but you can only do so much of that before it wears thin; Tina Fey is the put-upon straight woman who sets up everyone around her, which is necessary but doesn't carry a show; it is Baldwin, who can simultaneously send up the pompous corporate bigwig like no one else (he was the only good thing in last year's Fun with Dick and Jane, in which he did the same thing), and yet still find some humanity in a seemingly impenetrable jerk. Just as we find ourselves liking Steve Carrell's Michael Scott in spite of the overwhelming evidence against him, we find ourselves liking Jack Donaghy, and even agreeing with him sometimes. Though it's not romantic (and hopefully never will be), the strange, almost touching relationship that is emerging between Jack and Fey's Liz Lemon is what makes an otherwise funny but frivolous show compelling.

Matt Belknap works in motion pictures in Los Angeles. He is also head honcho of the alternative comedy forum A Special Thing.

***



Jan Lumholdt

Requiem

Kombinationen Woody Allen-Scarlett Johansson
Man visste redan när man såg Lost in Translation att det skulle hända.

Trine Dyrholm
Cinematografiskt geni från Danmark i t ex En såpa.

Danska filmklassiker på DVD
De bara pumpar ut dem. I Sverige, däremot, sker ingenting.

Babel


Casino Royale

God underhållning slår det mesta.

Bröderna Coen-episoden i Paris je t'aime

Hollywoodland
och The Prestige
Stora, dyra studioproduktioner som vågar något.

Werner Herzogs berättarröst i Grizzly Man


Jan Lumholdt är författare och frilansskribent.

***



Maxime Gérin

The Opening of the National Library in Montréal!
Thousands upon thousands of DVDs; art films, cheap exploitation, classics from around the world, animation and a particularily huge selection of 40's/50's American cinema. Everything you'll ever need to live and more... for free!

Hitchcock Retrospective on National TV Late at Night Every Sunday!
I can't believe it took me so long to get deep into Hitch's work, especially since I'm a Brian De Palma freak. This highly flawed retrospective contained none of his early British films except the original The Man Who Knew Too Much (which I missed anyway) and presented all the films in full screen format, dubbed in french! But I couldn't care less because I've quite simply discovered my favorite artist yet, all mediums confounded.

YouTube!
Even though the odor of pathetic exhibitionism and ugly, mean stupitdity waits at every corner of this site, it's become one of the best, most surprising (I never thought I'd see Robert Pete Williams play the blues and talk about the murder he comitted in front of his family and friends!) resources on the Internet.

John Huston Retrospective at Montréal's Cinématheque!
The Asphalt Jungle, The Treasure of Sierra Madre and my favorite, Fat City, are masterpieces. Not much filler in the rest of his filmography either, except, of course, Phobia, for which I feel somewhat responsible because of my Canadian heritage. Best surprise: Reflections in a Golden Eye, an insane, pulpy and sexy melodrama about repressed feelings and sexuality... and I was lucky enough to see a gorgeous Black & Gold print.

Dave Chappelle's Block Party!
By far my favorite film of the year. Superbly shot and edited, Epic feel-good documentary.

Bonus! Top Ten old films seen for the first time in 2006 (one per director, sorry Hitch):

Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958), Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks, 1939), Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1949), Le cercle rouge (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970), L'argent (Robert Bresson, 1983), The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940), Fat City (John Huston, 1972), Rififi (Jules Dassin, 1955), Mamma Roma (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1962), High and Low (Akira Kurosawa, 1963)

Maxime Gérin is an animator and an illustrator. He lives in Montréal.

***



Roger Wilson

Fredrik Wenzel (manus och foto, Farväl Falkenberg)
Det var Jesper Ganslandt som fick all uppmärksamhet när Farväl Falkenberg räddade det svenska filmåret 2006. Men frågan är vad filmen egentligen hade varit utan Fredrik Wenzels briljanta foto? Därför listar jag Fredrik som en av svensk films viktigaste personer 2006.

Tjocktjuven
2006 var året som gud glömde på svensk bio. Så uruselt att det blivit oförglömligt. Att utnämna årets sämsta film är svårt, men min röst faller på kackiga Tjocktjuven.

Hbt-vågen på bio
Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Keillers Park, Transamerica, Shortbus, En såpa. Alla bokstäverna i förkortningen hbt var representerade på bio under 2006. Och förutom det svenska bidraget, i riktigt bra filmer.

Astoriakrisen
Astoria fick ge upp landsortsbiograferna och Sverige tog ett stort steg mot vad som liknar ett biografmonopol.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Aaron Sorkin fortsätter sin kamp för smart tv. Och överför hela sitt West Wing-koncept till en meta-tv-serie. Nu är det plötsligt i amerikanska komediprogram som den verkliga politiska kampen i USA förs. Debatten om yttrande- och religionsfrihet förs upp på dagordningen gång på gång. Och Matthew Perry är för första gången en riktigt bra skådis.

YouTube
Fick sitt stora genombrott hos publiken, och blev en milstolpe inom internetekonomin när sajten såldes för 1,65 miljarder dollar till Google – trots att den i stort sett inte drar in några intäkter alls i dagsläget. Oavsett om det var en gigantisk felinvestering eller ett paradigmskifte vi såg, så var YouTube 2006 års största hit inom film- och tv-världen.

Roger Wilson är kulturjournalist.

***



Jeff Vorndam

The Wire - season 4
Deadwood - season 3
The Departed
The Good Shepherd
United 93
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Brick
Dave Chapelle's Block Party
The Prestige
Fateless

Jeff Vorndam is a film critic. Several of his capsule reviews for the films mentioned above can be found here.




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3 kommentarer:

Anonym sa...

Great job, Martin. I hate that I'm only able to read the English language entries, as I'd really be interested in Mattias Löwhagen's thoughts on Mr. Jacobs Star Spangled to Death.

Mattias sa...

Well, the thoughts are not really about Star Spangled to Death, they're more about a few important releases from this year and the fact that new hd-formats are around the corner as we are just starting to get some of the classics on dvd. But I do find SStD very interesting. Having only seen it once (in its entirety) I really feel the need to get back to it, it is not easily digested. I also very much like being able to buy films directly from filmmakers, like in this case. Azrael Jacobs (Ken's son) e-mailed me about the delivery and thanked me for the support. That felt very good.

Henrik sa...

I would like to add The Wire Season 4 to my list, a glaring omission that I can only attribute to the stress of celebrating a Bergmanesque Christmas with 18 members of my wife's family.

Does anyone know whether a Season 5 has been commissioned?