Matt's Blog

The Two Best Films Of The Decade - Billy Elliot & Magnolia


It’s the penultimate blog of 2009.  Next week, I’ll unveil the final version of my top 10 list of 2009.  If you’re looking for a sneak peak, you can listen my 612ABC show from last Thursday where I went through the list with Spencer.  We also took some talkback on people’s favourites.  You can listen right here -

 

612ABC Best Of Year Show

 

One film which will be making the list (which wasn’t included in the show) is Avatar, which I saw last Friday night.  It is simply stunning and you must see it.  The reviews from most critics have been glowing and this is going to win a lot of Oscars (certainly in the technical categories).  Whether it can win the big one remains to be seen but this movie has serious momentum and will make a lot of money.

 

AFI Awards

 

The 2009 AFI Awards were held over the weekend and here were the major winners –

 

Best Film – Samson & Delilah

Best Director – Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah)

Best Original Screenplay – Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah)

Best Adapted Screenplay – David Williamson & Robert Connolly (Balibo)

Best Actor – Anthony LaPaglia (Balibo)

Best Actress – Frances O’Connor (Blessed)

Best Supporting Actor – Oscar Issac (Balibo)

Best Supporting Actress – Rachel Griffiths (Beautiful Kate)

 

Not to sound like a broken record but 2009 has been a great year for Australian cinema in terms of quality.  I’ve seen plenty of amazing films and I can’t begrudge Samson & Delilah winning the top prize.  I have a soft spot for Balibo after meeting Anthony LaPaglia and hosting a Q&A earlier in the year.  It was nice to see that film recognised also – and LaPaglia deservedly winning the best actor prize.  I also supported the win of Frances O’Connor for best actress after 4 previous nominations without a win.

 

I don’t know what’s in the works for 2010 but let’s hope some more terrific Aussie films will be seen.

 

3D Reaches Dendy Portside

 

The Dendy Portside cinemas are the latest to acquire a 3D projector.  They’ve gotten in just in time and I think the Dendy would be a superb venue to watch the 3D version of Avatar.  Tickets are $18.50 for adults and $15.00 for Club Dendy members.  I know it sounds a little pricey but as I’ve spoken about previously, these projectors are expensive and the cinemas have to find some way of recouping the large cost.

 

Matt’s Best Of The Decade – Drama

 

For the past 10 weeks, I’ve been slowly revealing my best films of the decade.

 

We’re done to the grand finale this week – my two favourite drama films.  And I have to admit that when I think about, these two films would be my OVERALL favourites of the decade.  I’ve seen them a lot of times and I’ve never grown tired of them.

 

Both were released back in 2000 and they are…

 

    Billy Elliot (released in 2000) – full review is here.

 

    Magnolia (released in 2000) - full review is here

 

I ended up seeing Billy Elliot five times at the cinema.  That sounds a little crazy I know but I took different groups of friends each time.  It’s an incredible story which is told so beautifully by director Stephen Daldry (who earned an Oscar nomination).  There are so many great scenes and if I started talking about it now, I wouldn’t stop.

 

In 2005, I went to London to attend the British Open golf but also high on my list to do was see Billy Elliot: The Musical.  I queued up for 3 hours to get tickets (front row, centre) and simply adored it.  To see it with the original cast made the experience all the more special given it has become a worldwide sensation and is still being performed in both London and New York.

 

Magnolia is a completely different film – a 3 hour ensemble piece that you will either love or hate.  Paul Thomas Anderson is a talented director and this is his masterpiece.  He tells a compelling story but does so poetically – with the use of his camera lens and Jon Brion’s film score.  My favourite scene is a continuous take where the camera follows around a group of characters with no editing whatsoever.  He used the same technique in Boogie Nights and Punch Drunk Love.  The opening is brilliant and the ending is poignant.  This could be my most watched film on DVD.

 

Drama is a huge category and honourable mentions go to – American Beauty, Traffic, Monster’s Ball, The Quiet American, Million Dollar Baby, Capote, The Departed, United 93, The Wrestler, The Cider House Rules, The Insider, Topsy-Turvy, Wonder Boys, Almost Famous, Cast Away, The Contender, Thirteen Days, Bloody Sunday, Black Hawk Down, Last Orders, City Of God, The Emperor’s Club, The Pianist, 21 Grams, Elephant, House Of Sand & Fog, Touching The Void, The Constant Gardener, Good Night And Good Luck, Look Both Ways, Mysterious Skin, Sideways, Match Point, Atonement, Blood Diamond, Michael Clayton, The Namesake, No Country For Old Men, The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, There Will Be Blood, Milk, The Reader and Revolutionary Road.  Just to name a few…

 

If you missed past blogs, you can currently check out all my other favourite films of the decade on the front page of my website.