Friday, December 30, 2011

The Year-End Reflections of 2011

Well, it's pretty much been a thrilling year for me considering that I spent 2010 going through personal issues, leaving, and try to get myself back into writing. After all, 2011 had me do more essays and bigger projects that gave me more to do while I also got to finish a screenplay and I've got a few other script projects in the works as outlines. Overall, I would say I had a pretty incredible year.

I think the big thing for me this year was the fact that I was able to expand my horizons as far as the world of film is concerned. I knew there were filmmakers that either I haven't been familiar with or filmmakers I've heard of but don't know enough of their work. There were also films that I discovered and became big fans of. In the world of music, not much happened other than a few re-discoveries and some discoveries I've made during that whole period when I did my 1991-20 project for at my music blog. Here is a list of the 10 Best Things that Happened for Me This Year.

If anyone missed this film on the big screen, it's a big loss as I would probably rank it as one of the best cinematic experiences I've ever had. Largely because it's unlike anything I had seen in film that was on a big screen. It just took me on a journey and I didn't want to end although I left the Tara Theater confused and bewildered over what I saw. More importantly as a critic, I would say of all the reviews I wrote that year. That was the hardest because it defied everything I knew about plot conventions and storytelling. Even when I was finished, I still felt having to tinker with it as it's a film I hope to see again while I'm also excited that Terrence Malick will have a few more films coming out in the coming years.

Before May of 2011, I only heard of Lynne Ramsay by name and the fact that she was considered one of the best filmmakers working today by the Guardian. After doing the Cannes marathon that May, everything changed as I became a fan of her work where I recently did an Auteurs piece on her. It was Morvern Callar that really became the film that introduced me to her as I was entranced by what she does as a filmmaker and let things fold without dialogue. It certainly gave me ideas on what I would do if I ever become a filmmaker.

3. The New Discoveries

There's always something about doing marathons or take part in a LAMB Movie of the Month which is to make some discoveries. Along with Lynne Ramsay, there's filmmakers that I'm glad to discover like Nicolas Winding Refn, Steve McQueen, Andrea Arnold, Jacques Audiard, and Jeff Nichols. Even veterans like Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Bresson, Andrei Tarkovsky, Powell & Pressburger, Alain Resnais, Carlos Saura, Chantal Akerman, and many others allowed me to realize a whole new world is out there away from the confines of Hollywood.

4. Re-Discovering the Cure

The Cure was a band I've always enjoyed but never delve back into their catalog as I was disappointed by their last studio album. Then I heard about these Reflection shows where the band played their first three albums with returning keyboardist Roger O'Donnell and original drummer/keyboardist Lol Tolhurst rejoining the group for these shows. It gave me the chance to re-discover the band throughout the entire catalog where I found some new favorites and realized there was a whole lot more to the band than just Pornography, Disintegration, and all of the Goth-pop stuff as I hope whatever new album they make would be a return to those early recordings.

5. Essays, Screenplays, & All Sorts of Crazy Shit.

While last year had me do a couple of director-based essays that I called the Auteurs, it gave me the chance to expand my range as a writer while writing about films also did things. The 1991-20 project really gave me the chance to stretch myself more as I originally went for something simpler but it ended up becoming much bigger than that. Writing these essays and doing all of these things definitely gave me a break from writing reviews while doing the screenplay stuff also gave me an outlet to try and make something of my own as I did finally finish a script called Ugly last month as I'm now in the process of working on two outlines for the moment.

6. New Musical Discoveries.

With a lot that is going on in the world of music, I will confess that I found the music year of 2011 to be uninspiring. There's some pretty good albums here and there that came out this year but nothing that really grabbed me. Particularly with rock as I've become very disenchanted with that genre as the big discovery I've made this year was in the band Talk Talk and their 1991 album Laughing Stock which was different from everything that I was hearing on top 40 radio or in mainstream rock. I also made discoveries in bands like Spacemen 3, Kraftwerk, and Slint. I like to find something new that excites me whether it's an old band or something just so I can feel good.

7. CM Punk & Zack Ryder

I'm a longtime pro wrestling fan for about 20 years going back to the days of WCW and WWE in the early 90s and watching the Monday Night Wars unfold. Though I think the current product of WWE isn't as exciting as it once was during the Attitude Era of the late 1990s and early 2000s when there were the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, HHH, Chris Jericho, and THE MOST ELECTRIFYING MAN IN ALL OF ENTERTAINMENT in the Rock. There has been a few guys that has kept me excited. One is CM Punk who definitely has an attitude that isn't seen much in pro wrestling as he's a guy that has built his career up for many years and is now the WWE champ. Then there's Zack Ryder, a young wrestler who was definitely lost in the shuffle by a lot of superstars as he used the Internet by having his own Internet show and is now the United States Champion. With another Internet sensation in Bryan Danielson the World Champion WWE's Smackdown, it's a good year for the Internet marks.

8. Minimalist Filmmaking

For me, films with lots of plot, dialogue, exposition, and such tend to bore these days. There's too much to grasp into and at times, it lags the pace for me. Films like Morvern Callar, Somewhere, Last Year at Marienbad, and Jeanne Dielman 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles have really shown the idea where it's all about images telling the story rather than some form of dialogue, exposition, and action. These films definitely gave me ideas for the script I had been working on for months as well as the other ideas I've been having.

9. Expanding the DVD library

Thank goodness for Barnes & Nobles Criterion DVD sales. It gives me the chance to gather whatever money I've saved and blow it on DVDs where I can assemble an awesome collection. Definitely to the people who often come to my parents house where they would be in my room and see the films I have where it's likely that they have never seen these films. For me, my DVD collection represents exactly who I am as I hope to expand more for 2012 and actually be a show off for once. That's the only thing I'll flaunt, my DVD collection.

10. The Bloggers

I have to give love the bloggers that I constantly read every day and to those that comment on my blog. So, I just want to thank James @ Cinemas Sights, Ed @ Between the Seats, Bill of Bill's Movie Emporium, The guys @ Big Thoughts from a Small Mind, Bryce @ Things Don't Suck, The Final Girl Project, The Gang @ Anomalous Material, Andrew of gmanReviews, Ryan of the Matinee, Dan of Dan the Man's Movie Reviews, Film Intel, Alex of the Film Forager, Norma of The Flick Chick, Jake of Not Just Movies, Bonjour Tristesse, Andy of Andy Buckle's Film Emporium,">Steeve of Cinematic Paradox, Cinema Du Meep, Laura of City Lights, Phil of Phil on Film, John of John Likes Movies, Leysa of Eternity of Dream, Jessica of the Velvet Cafe, Sam of Duke & the Movies, Alex of And So it Begins..., and Joel of Deny Everything. Thank you all for giving me something to read other than a bunch of dumb posts from the IMDB and the idiotic

Well, that is it for 2011 as I will post one more review before the end of the New Year. Until then, I will close with what is undoubtedly one of the best wrestling promos eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-ever!!!!

Take care, spike your hair, woo-woo-woo, you know it!

(C) thevoid99 2011


Ryan McNeil said...

Many thanks for the mention good sir. Here's to a fun-filled and healthy 2012!

Dave Enkosky said...

Tree of Life floored me. I actually didn't even end up writing about it because I didn't know how to approach it. Terrence Malick is one of the few directors to make masterpieces into his old age. Of course, when you direct only 5 features over a period of 38 years, you have more time for perfection.

Andrew said...

good stuff man and a productive 2012 to yourself as well... glad to be among your morning readings :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks man! Happy New Year to you!

Unknown said...

Big thanks for the shout out. Happy New Year!

Stevee Taylor said...

Happy New Year to you, and hope that 2012 is good for you! Thanks for the mention :)

Courtney Small said...

Thanks for the love, Steven. I greatly appreciate it. Part of my goal 2012 is to comment more on the blogs, such as yours, that I not only read often but inspire me to strive to do better. All the best for 2012!