Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Passing through alot of fellow blogs and sites lately, it's apparent that we're all making some sort of new year's resolution within the wide universe of blog-ism. Some, like Moriarity at Aint It Cool News, plans on bringing back his much appreciated DVD blog. Others, such as TLRHB plan on posting more about specific directors (and check out his latest post on John Dahl, one of a handful of underappreciated genre directors working today). Still there's Adam over at DVD Panache who plans on re-vitalizing a trick from a newspaper in his hometown that conducted weekly 'spotlights' on people, re-focusing that effort on more contemporary means by choosing a different blog to link each Friday. He's neatly transformed that into yet another exciting example of the 'linking possibilities' opened up by ordinary people who use the blogger universe to type out thousand word essays on whatever topic charges their minds. It's empowering to see (even in the short year I've been hammering away at this site) the number of friendships and acquaintances struck across the globe due to the limitless structure designed by the blog. No longer is media criticism (or any other criticism for that matter) created and consumed by the print conglomerates. Some of the most inventive, insightful and entertaining writings I've read in the last 15 years have surfaced from unpaid writers on a simple computer screen (and that even includes the message board and newsgroup formats, which is currently drawing its last breath as I type this). So, I fully intend to throw my hat in the ring, pull no punches, and continue to fully embrace the blog format in all its glories and I hope everyone else does the same.

With that comes great responsibility, grasshopper. I intend to post more frequently this year, and I've got several things in the mix that will hopefully help me achieve that modest goal. First, as far as movies go, I've been invited to participate in a website found here that should motivate me to more opening weekends this year than ever before and supply me with ample fodder for capsule reviews. The site, which officially launches tomorrow, February 1st, contains a wonderful roster of writers, and if we have any say on things, should eventually rival Film Freak Central (which I won't link to, obviously, because they're now the enemy). Secondly, I plan on doing more of the same type of director appreciations found at TLRHB. Only one last year on this site, dedicated to Michael Haneke, is certainly not enough. Next, I plan on attending the newly renovated American Film Festival held every spring here in Dallas that always brings a nice flavor of selections to the city. Rumors are already flying that this fest will host David Gordon Green's latest! And finally, I think the trick to posting more is finding a niche that forces you to post more. For example, The Listening Ear conducts a Friday 'random music list' from his Ipod. Jim at Talking Moviezzz also raises the music bar by adding a weekly You Tube clip that highlights a forgotten 80's video. So, what's my niche? I figured I'd post a weekly (or hell, bi-weekly, I'm not that voracious of a viewer) list of movies in my Netflix queue. Not only does a list do the body good, but certain titles may well inspire someone to spark up a discussion on it. Or someone may ask why in the hell I'd want to watch that. But regardless, it's a few more posts a month, it gives everyone some insight into my viewing tastes (which I assure you are varied!) and just may continue a small portion of the healthy debate already blazing across this splendid creation known as blogs.

So, without further ado: the current ten titles in my Netflix queue (excluding recently mailed)
1. Nathalie (Anne Fontaine)- French film that got some accolades.
2. The Guard From Underground- early nineties Kiyoshi Kurosawa that I've never heard of before- I'm a Kurosawa junkie so couldn't pass this one up.
3.Into the Perilous Night- Johnny To film, still trying to watch all that are available from this fantastic director.
4. Bob Le Flambeur- all the talk about "Army of Shadows" gave me the jones to revisit all of Melville's films, so few there are on DVD.
5. Back Door To Hell- Last film that I need to watch from Monte Hellman. I loved "Two Lane Blacktop" and "Cockfigter", could barely make it through "China 9/Liberty 37", so his 70's output is very inconsistent. We'll see.
6. Tora, Tora, Tora- Ever since late last year, I've been eating up war films by the dozen. I've never seen this film, so hit me now.
7. Cutter's Way-I remember Richard Jameson in Film Comment raving about this one and came across it on Netflix while just skimming through one day (to hell with those recommendations that NEVER seem to recommend anything half-way cool).
8. Wu Yen- Johnny To
9. Love On a Diet- Yes, even more Johnny To. Hell he made 4 films a year, ok.
10. Uno Bianca- Drew at Aint It Cool News called this one the "Heat" of the Italian 90's pics. That's mighty praise.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this. Happy belated new year everyone!


TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

That Netflix posting is a GREAT idea!

My queue is a mess. Every time I am on the site, I always add films to it (usually looking up a director or actor and adding everything I haven't seen). I think I have 480 on it. Should take me a few years to go through.

Joe Baker said...

Thanks, Moviezzz. Yep, my habits of movie choosing on Netflix happen in pretty much the same way. Between recommendations from places like Aint It Cool News and Video ETA, each new edition of Film Comments brings about 50 new titles that I have to add. I had it down to around 125 at one point late last year, but it's currently bloated and numbering 205.

weepingsam said...

I am off to a rip-roaring start, given my "new year's resolution" to write more and longer - we'll see if that survives spring training.... I certainly find that having a couple "memes" keeps you in the habit - thus the iPod posts; if I had a cat, I'd be a cat blogger. Lately I've been annotating my iPod posts, which is good - I want to write about music, I just never sit down and do it... As for netflix - I've had a couple films for nigh on 6 months now. I have 3 long foreign films sitting there, and have been cycling through the one other film: I have to commit a few hours and watch Devils on the Doorstep or something so I can get the queue moving again... My top 10 right now would be very boring - it's all Columbo episodes...

cathi o said...

Hi! Any confirmation or sources on the rumor about David Gordon Green at that Dallas film festival? Would that be "Snow Angels" at

Joe Baker said...

Sam, yea you really need to get that queue moving! And there's nothing wrong with a queue filled to the brim with TV titles. I just recently knocked out the last 3 seasons of "Six Feet Under" (so depressing in those final 5 episodes, but still a truly great viewing experience) and now I'm on to the next 3 seasons of "The Wire".

Crazy Loofah (wow two words I never thought I'd type back-to-back), no confirmation on "Snow Angels", although the AFF loves to spotlight local talent, and what better way.

cathi o said...

OMG - the last few episodes of "Six Feet Under" were so great. I loved the ending. Not sure if it's out on DVD yet, but Michael C. Hall's "Dexter" is intoxicating too.

Joe Baker said...


Tell me about "Dexter". I'm not familiar with that show, but it's cropped up on many TV critics (and even film critics) lists over the past month.