You knew it was coming.
You thought you could escape.
There is no escape.
There is no Dana
's yearly best off barrage of postings covering the gamut of best of possibilities. And it knows where you live.
So what I've got here is a top ten of movies from the year. Each of my ten entries will be counting down from ten one at a time and adding something extra in the 'best of the year' category. So, without further ado, I give you number ten on the best of the year list...
#10: In The Loop
Even I was surprised that this ended up on my top of the year but there was no denying to myself that it was easily one of the most cleverly written comedies of the season, like watching an early episode of "The West Wing"
with a potty mouth. "In the Loop"
was directed by Armando Iannucci, the man the Daily Telegraph called "the hardman of political satire"
, and his resume bears it out. The film is a prequel to his successful political satire TV show "The Thick of It"
but doesn't require any viewership of that series to watch (although now I'm going to have to seek it out, dammit. Yet more TV on the pile to catch up with. *sigh*).
The story follows the Minister for International Development Simon Foster
) who after calling the possibility of a future war in the Middle East "unforeseeable"
is set upon both by his own superiors, especially the hysterically vicious Malcolm Tucker
) and by American politicians who want to use him in a pawn in their own political ambitions, notably James Gandolfini
playing Lt. General Miller
. Watching the hapless social servant, that Tom Hollander
nails perfectly, try to steer through these shark infested international waters while trying not to lose his own job and find time to deal with one of his own irate constituents (a nice cameo by Steve Coogan
) is executed perfectly, a difficult balancing act for such a large ensemble cast dealing with such a wide and complicated subject matter.
Political comedies are always a chancy game. Often they're either too simple to have any relevance or too complex to have a wide appeal. "In The Loop"
manages to straddle that line, although some of the references might be too obtuse for the entirely politically naïve. The slam-bang dialogue and top notch comedy performances certainly don't hurt either, especially by the wolverine-ish Peter Capaldi
who made it to my top male performances of the year list. For folks who like this kind of humor, you do NOT want to miss "In the Loop"
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
This was one of, if not the best, movie I saw at Fantastic Fest 09
this year, and strangely, somehow I overlooked reviewing it. Or maybe we did in an audio piece, I can't remember. Either way, "Fish Story"
is one of the most remarkable films I saw this year.
An obscure pre-Sex Pistols
punk band in Japan records a single called "Fish Story"
. Decades later the world is about to come to an end in minutes as a comet makes its way towards Earth. The film tells the story in a non-linear fashion as to how this 1975 barely known tune saved the world. It's like watching chaos theory told through the comic book "Stray Bullets"
. A series of seemingly unrelated stories all eventually make their chronal placement clear in this clever comedy that will entertain you separately with each little piece of the story, and then wow you with how they all fit in the bigger picture.
I really need an mp3 of the title tune now. It's stuck in my head! Get it out! Get it out! Only another listening can save me! Of course, I wouldn't mind at all going back to re-watch this minor masterpiece to get my fix. I've a strong feeling that a second viewing would reveal much I may not have seen the first time through. "Fish Story"
is one of those kind of movies and one I hope that eventually gets an American DVD release so everyone can see what Carlyle
and I have been raving about.