Friday, December 30, 2005

Present Confusion Awards 2005


Okay. Crappy Title, I admit.

2005 was quite an interesting year for cinema. Cannes picked a couple of dudes from Belgium for their gold palm; the Star Wars franchise finally closed its movie doors; remakes and sequels were the order of the day for Hollywood; Park Chanwook finally finished his vengeance trilogy, Uwe Boll continued making mediocre garbage; and the indie cinema movement in the Philippines continued gaining attention and support.

Instead of the cursory top ten list, I’m going to present awards to movies and series that I saw this year that gained my attention. They don’t have to be made in 2005, they include movies and series that I saw this year, regardless of the production date. Regretfully, there were some films I had to exclude from the list – it doesn’t make them any less good. It’s self explanatory, so don’t worry, it’s not that complicated. So let’s begin!

Best Watched Movie of the Year: Fight Club (1999)

the first rule of fight club is...

This movie is not just a movie; it is an entire philosophy crammed into 2 or so hours of entertainment. This movie is a swirling downward spiral of violence and insanity that after the movie, I simply wanted to watch it again, read the book, everything. David Fincher, thank you for this movie.

Best B-Movie/Guiltiest Pleasure Award: Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1993)

Like Fight Club, I wanted to watch this movie again after seeing it once… but for totally different reasons. This movie is also a swirling spiral of violence and insanity, and, surprisingly enough, unbridled hilarity. See Cynthia Luster crossdressing! See a man strangled by his own freaking intestines! See a jail warden with mints… in his eye! What the f…?

Runner Up: Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

Camp literally overflows in this movie, from the hammy, totally overacting villain to the Keanu lookalike to the strange bilingual communication that goes on between the characters. Ever want a movie with a first half that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever? If the guys in the rubber suits weren’t enough… It’s also absolutely fun to watch.

Classic Movie/s of the Year Award: The Godfather Parts I and II

I’ll give you an offer you can’t refuse… to watch two of the best examples of American Cinema. The first, a long, epic portrait of a gangster family, is a modern masterpiece; the second one, in many respects, a worthy successor to the original, in some cases even surpassing the grim beauty of the first.

“I Am Oozing With Style” Award: A Bittersweet Life (2005)

This movie is the perfect example of a stylish movie. Taking Noir and Action elements together, the film simply… oozes with style.

Best Romantic Film: Someone Special (2004)

We know. Relationships Suck.

Korean romantic comedies are known for their formulaic plots, their melodramatic surprises, their formulaic characters. This film takes all these conventions and mocks them openly before throwing them out of the window. It’s also funny.

Runner-up: The 40-Year Old Virgin (2005)

This film is quite unique. I don’t really have much to say about it other than the fact that it is hilarious.

Filipiniana Award: Ala Verde, Ala Pobre (2005)

I can’t remove the images of this film from my mind. It’s a bit flawed, but it showed me that Filipino Cinema still has promise in good acting, good storytelling, good everything.

Runner-ups: Masahista (2005) and Ilusyon (2005)

One, a subdued character piece. The other, a moody, surreal romance. Both extremely good and both worth watching.

Asskicker Award – Male Category: Lee Byung-hyeon (A Bittersweet Life)

Let’s face it. He was in a movie that oozed style, and his cold, professional demeanor combined with his sharp fashion sense gave him a +924052080 upgrade in pogi points. If that made any sense…

Runner-up: Don Frye (Godzilla: Final Wars)

Don Frye: All-American Hero.

The man has a freaking katana, is the captain of a kick-ass ship, and speaks English in an otherwise Japanese film. He looks like an ultra-buff version of the captain guy from Robotech or something. I have no idea why he’s the runner-up, but he kicks so much ass and exudes an aura of asskicking that it’s weird not to include him.

Asskicker Award – Female Category: Kanae Uotani (Sky High)

I just had to put a picture: Kanae Uotani

She’s hot, she also has a freaking katana, and she’s hot. Did we say she was hot? She also kicks ass. Ryuhei Kitamura has this knack of bringing out the asskicking abilities of people. Kanae Uotani, one of his staple actresses (she’s appeared in almost every film he’s made,) is the best example of this.

Oh, and did we mention she was hot?

Runner-up: Aya Ueto (Azumi 2: Death or Love)

I can’t believe you can make someone kick so much ass while being so cute at the same time. Aya Ueto manages to do this whilst being splattered with tons of blood in Azumi 2.

WTF Insanity Award: Pistol Opera (2001)

wtf?

Seijun Suzuki has been making films into his nineties, and Pistol Opera is one of them. I don’t know what kinds of insane things happen when you get old, but damn. What happens if you get an insane 1960’s film called Branded to Kill and remake it into an even more incomprehensible, insane film? You get Pistol Opera. It isn’t even funnily insane, it’s just… insane.

Arty Art film of the Year: 3-Iron (2004)

Kim Ki-duk’s works from Crocodile to Samaria finally culminate in a great treatise on love and alienation and separation and all those little things that trouble us in our sleep as we pine away on lost love. That was a long sentence, wasn’t it? Oh, and the two main characters hardly speak for the entire movie, and still there’s characterization. Actions speak louder than words.

Runner-Up: This Charming Girl (2004)

She walks in hidden beauty.

The portrait of a woman with a past. Of course, how she is portrayed may be nothing like what you think. It’s intelligent, quite and contemplative. I like it.

Anime of the Year Award (Finished): Genshiken

It was hard trying to think which Anime series I’ve finished watching is worthy to be called best of the year, since I’ve seen so many. There’s Wolf’s Rain, This fun look into the lives of otaku and the otaku lifestyle in general touched me, warmed my heart, made me sympathize. It’s only 12 episodes long, but each is worth the watch.

Runner-up: Samurai Champloo

Another excellent anime series that is truly a mishmash of concepts and a homage to the samurai/jidaigeki genre in general.

Anime of the Year Award (Unfinished): Naruto

It’s slow as hell and packed with filler, but this series made me feel like a young boy again. Great series.

Runner-up: Azumanga Daioh

Uniquely funny, the series seemingly has no plot and direction but it has. It also has a cast of the most endearing characters in an anime.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Double Punch


Two movies about boxing. Both are dramas, both are underdog stories. One is a good teacher on what to do to exceed conventions in making films like this, the other is the opposite. Making a boxing film is a bit easy, especially if it’s a drama – somehow the sport is evocative of stories of self determination and victory over adversity – that’s the kind of things audiences like. That’s also one of the reasons I liked The Contender – it brings the story of the aspiring boxer to a more personal level, despite the reality show spin it had to it. These fighters had families, had dreams, had aspirations. It makes the drama more entertaining, not to mention the matches they would go through. Like some guy said, a fight reads better if there’s a backstory between the fighters involved – it makes you want to care for them, it makes you want to root for them.

Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby is an underdog story, of sorts. Hilary Swank plays a waitress/aspiring woman boxer who wants a trainer/manager to teach her the finer aspects of the art. Clint Eastwood happens to be one, and he’s in the area. However, in his trademark gruffly voice, he doesn’t want to, because of various failures in his past. Insert a few sidestories involving a kid who wants to be a boxer too despite being picked on by everybody else, and an event that changes the story flow into the last third, and you have this film.

Technically the film is well done. The feel is very heavy-handed, dark and moody. The screen seems to be saturated in hues of dark blue, which highlights the mood of the film, if the rest of the film hasn’t done that already. The music is also well done, as is the camerawork. You can expect such a quality from Eastwood’s films.

Despite the fact that the movie is well done, something about the execution bothers me. The story is, basically, like the plot of a made-for-TV movie. The characters are no exception either – aside from Eastwood’s character, they lack complexity. They are just simple one-dimensional characters that serve no purpose but to stand there and act their roles like little toy soldiers. Everyone is so easy to categorize, so easy to classify. If you’re good in this film, you’re very, very good. If you’re a villain in this movie, you’re basically scum. It’s tolerable to an extent or if you’re making a point, but this is ridiculous – it makes the whole movie feel fake. Hell, even Godzilla isn’t totally bad. Of note are the parents of Hilary’s character and the East German Boxer who faces off against my heroine in her last fight. They’re eeeeeeeevil, and it is shoved down into our throats that these people are eeeeeeevil. Okay, we get it. They’re evil. Also, the good guys are good just because the people who made the movie say so, not because we come to like them. This is a pitfall for many movies.

Is it because the director or the scriptwriter underestimates the intelligence of the audience that they do this? I don’t really know. In fairness to the movie, the actors do their jobs quite well, with what little they were given with. Clint Eastwood does well as the gruffly hardass with a past. Hilary Swank makes her role so sympathetic you will cry if you fall into her feminine wiles (hehe). Morgan Freeman, who narrates the film and acts as our eyes into the film, just does his job, although I think he was sadly underused.

Another way of looking at this film is as a dark fairytale, a kid’s story told to adults. My appreciation of the film increases a bit when I think of it this way, although not too much. The melodrama makes this prime Oscar Bait - and guess what, it did win at the Oscars. Stick to films like Unforgiven – they’re still Eastwood’s best.


* * * * * *


On the other hand, what if there was no real enemy – what if two underdogs – two people you desperately want to root for – face each other in the ring? Who would you root for? The 2005 film Crying Fist poses this question. Directed by talented filmmaker Ryu Seong-wan (Arahan, No Blood No Tears,) this film is a boxing film, and it is also a melodrama. It fits the latter because it’s about the lives of two men who wish to change their lives through boxing.

One of them, portrayed marvelously by the director’s brother Ryu Seong-bum, is a young man who has taken the wrong choices in life much too easily. Although he doesn’t talk much in the opening minutes of the film, you could see the restraint, the deep, swirling, violent emotions within him, yearning to break free. Eventually he gets sent to jail for getting involved in one crime too many, and there he discovers boxing as a way to repent for his sins.

On the other hand, Choi Min-sik portrays a former Asian Games silver medalist now down on his luck. His recent financial troubles have caused strain on his relationships with his wife and young son. Soon, he is forced to become a human sandbag in the streets for money. He’s portrayed as a total loser, much like his character in Failan. He plays his character with much heart that it is hard not to be heartbroken when he gets into desperate situations with his job and his former colleagues.

As you may notice, neither of the two characters could be classified as purely good or bad. At the start they’re quite unlikable, but over time, as we get to know them more, we begin to sympathize with them. We aren’t forced to like them, we do only after a long process. That’s what good storytelling does. We realize that however unsavory these characters might seem at first, despite the crap they go through, their hearts are basically in the right place. Anyone who has gone through hardships in life can understand the things they’re going through. It’s hard, and it tests your resolve to live on. At one point in the movie Choi’s character tells someone that he’d probably have killed himself had it not been for his son – his son is the tether that holds him to his life.

Eventually, both catch wind of a boxing tournament, and both decide to join – not only for their own sakes, but for the sake of those they love, in the hopes that a win could allow them to give their loved ones a better life. They fight for dignity and for the chance to stand out in a world that has shunned them.

This excellent characterization owes much to the superb performances by both main actors – at times it seemed like Choi and Ryu were both vying for my attention in the best way possible. Although we know the veteran Choi is a damn good actor and he shows that in spades, props have to go out to Ryu Seong-bum, who gives a career-defining performance in this movie. He’s completely unrecognizable from his earlier role as the bumbly, well-meaning cop in Arahan.

Technically the film delivers in many ways, with the cinematography darkening the visual atmosphere of the film to deliver a gritty feel, reminiscent of Ryu’s older films like Die Bad and No Blood, No Tears. The world is portrayed as a violent place, and no one is seemingly safe.

One of the best set pieces in the film is when Ryu and Choi’s characters face off. The music is that of a Maori folk song, sung by the women to welcome their warrior men after coming back from the battle. The scene intercuts between the faces of the combatants, bloodied and bruised, and you can see the sheer determination that these two characters have – that they won’t ever bear being knocked out. It tells me that the movie is about the journey and the self-transformation. They may have been lost before, but through boxing they have come home to where – and who – they truly belong.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Drama

What is it with me with anime series based on H-games lately? This latest one I’ve seen is called Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, translated as “The Eternity You Wish For.” I’m glad to say that it’s not a Hentai. I’m also surprised to say that it’s a school drama that isn’t really a school drama – it’s done more in the style of a soap opera or chinovela – and it really, really works. I’m not spoiling anything, but the series has one of the best introductory episodes in an anime, rivaled only by the introductory episode of Saikano.

The series starts with Mitsuki, Haruka and Takayuki, three friends in high school. Mitsuki’s on the swim team and is best friends with Haruka and casual friends with Takayuki. Haruka’s in love with Takayuki, and ever the good friend, Mitsuki even helps her with her confession. Takayuki, on the other hand, is ambivalent as hell and can’t make a decision. Everything settles down, however, until one single event changes everything.

The series deals with character interactions, and there are lots, and they are sad, even depressing as hell in some parts. I found myself at different points in the series saying “Oh, the Drama!” thanks to the sheer dramatic impact of some scenes. These characters are put into different levels of mental and psychological anguish so many times that it’s hard not to feel sorry for them.

One thing that interests me is how love scenes were inserted into the storyline without compromising their integrity. This is based on an H-game, after all. The sex, however, is not explicit and could be in an R-15 movie. It also brings depth and complexity to the stuff that’s happening to the characters – something that’s very admirable, considering the many ways this stuff can turn out to become.

The director of the series obviously intended to infuse a sense of realism in the telling of the story, and his efforts come as a bit of a pleasant surprise. There aren’t any world-destroying aliens or mutants or anything else to deal with, there are only people - damaged people at that - and their wounds are deeper than any physical scar could inflict.

The series has an atmosphere of despair hovering over it; I won’t be lying to you if I said this show was sad. It is, and very much so. It’s not an anime that everyone will like either – people looking for solid drama and something a little different from normal anime fare can look here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Disappointment


A few years ago, I watched an anime series based on an H-game. Despite the nature of most H-games, I had heard that this anime series was a very sweet one, and it was a school based romance-drama. Little did I know that To Heart, the anime series I watched back then, would be one of my all-time favorite anime, changing the way I viewed romantic dramas and how I saw romantic stories in general forever. I even adapted my writing style on it for a few years. Full of excellent characterization, a very sympathetic main male protagonist (despite the fact that he looks bored 90% of the time) and female protagonist, contemplative scenes that belie their complexity as well as general cuteness all around (who wouldn’t find Multi cute?) made this quite the anime series to watch for me.


Imagine my disappointment, two or so years later, when I found that the anime sequel to To Heart, the 13-episode To Heart: Remember My Memories, was nothing like its predecessor. It is true literally and figuratively: everything with the two series is different, except for the voice actors, and the fact that it was based on an H-game. Everything else is different, and I’m sorry to say that it’s a bad kind of different.


Firstly, as we are thrust into the first episode, we see that a year has passed for protagonists Hiroyuki and Akari. The first thing you notice from the getgo is that the character designs have stepped down a notch. Honestly speaking, despite the closer affinity to the original character designs from the game, they’re simply ugly and generic. This especially applies to Hiroyuki himself, who looks entirely different from his other incarnation.


This is compounded by two other things: the change in direction and the change in character personalities. Let’s begin with the first one. The first few episodes alone tell you how much the series has changed in directorial tone. I enjoyed the first series’ leisurely, episodic pace, with the stories being more or less slice-of-life. This new series’ pace is faster, and relies more on 2-3 episode dramatic arcs that feel fast and a bit overdramatic for my taste. It’s more of a conventional style of dramatic storytelling that resembles a telenovela. I’ve never really liked those. Plus, the scale of the stories feel different: in the first series the show was pretty much small-scale and character-focused. Here we get the sense of something bigger, something that’s larger-scale. The slice-of-life aspect is downplayed in favor of dramatic resolution that could have honestly been done better.


For the second point, it is kind of understandable that characters’ personalities would change over time. After all, time has passed. However, the change is too abrupt; I would have settled for character changes to develop over time, in a more subtle manner. The most drastic changes are with Kotone and Hiroyuki; here the result is a jarring transition that spoils the entertainment value from me. Kotone is more assertive, even cheerful, less shy; Hiroyuki turns into a male version of Shiho who screams “Multiiiiiii!” every five minutes. It gets even worse when in a later episode, Kotone semi-goes back into her demeanor in the first series. More confusion ensues.


One grave mistake this series made is to follow its H-game roots too closely – it treats the characters in a ‘harem’ manner - as if we need another damn series with all of the female characters in love with the male protagonist, as is the case here. In the first series Hiroyuki treats the various female characters in different ways, not all involving romantic emotions. For example, he treated Multi in a brotherly, even patronizing manner; he served as a helping hand towards Aoi; he served as someone who was eager to listen in the case of Serika. Kotone was in love with someone else (I won’t spoil who) but in the second series she magically falls in love with Hiroyuki – even if in the first series it was with Akari that she interacted with the most – she barely even spoke with Hiroyuki. Er… yeah. Whatever.


Luckily, the series picks up at around episode 8, when the drama becomes marginally worth watching. It elevates the status of the series from “horrible” to “halfway decent.” It still isn’t that good, though. The only good things I liked from this one was how it made the first series so much better, as well as the voice acting. To Heart fans should avoid this at all costs. Anime fans will see this as another mediocre series, a far cry from the brilliance that was the first one.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Black Lotus

Dancing wildly the raindrops fall
Here walks a man whose time has come
He walks of his own volition to his doom

Silent are his steps through the cold streets
The mountains of stone and the sky
That weeps for his fate.

His face betrays no emotion,
His hand gripped on the handle of his blade
His only comfort in this moment.

A red flower on the ground, scattered petals

On another concrete mountain
An empty heart sits, alone
Watching the city behind cold glass

No longer does he remember
The songs he once loved
Now dirges whispered through space

Broken glass lying on the floor, gleaming with moonlight

In a garden closed from the sky
Someone dances without abandon
Arms outstretched, accepting

Her heart slowly fading away
Hollow, vacant
She waits for the dance to end

She remembers her past
And that which she knew as love
And she momentarily smiles

In circles she spins, leaves falling
Unmindful of impending vertigo
Accepting her turmoil as her strength

A ray of hidden sunlight, peeking out for one second

In the tempest of raindrops
Tears fall down her cheek
Running aimlessly towards nothing

She searches for that lone man
She pursues his shadow in vain
And the tears and raindrops mix

And she stares into the memory
Of the shadow and sees herself

And she runs, determined
To catch a fading dream

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Serendipitous Discovery

While I was browsing through books at the local Powerbooks I found a great, fat tome entitled 1001 movies you must see before you die. Including a comprehensive collection of movies up to the very beginning of 2003; I heard recent editions having movies later than that. Anyway the book is a great, enjoyable read for casual readers and fans of film. What interests me is the one Filipino entry in the collection, Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag. Other Asian films in the list include a couple entries from India, the usual Kurosawa/Ozu/Imamura/Mizoguchi and a Korean film or two.

I tried to see how many movies in the list are movies that I've seen, even partially. I compiled a list and came up with a pathetic 164 movies. They are:

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

2. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

3. Gone With the Wind (1939)

4. Pinocchio (1940)

5. Citizen Kane (1941)

6. Dumbo (1941)

7. Casablanca (1942)

8. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) (part)

9. Singin' in the Rain (1952)

10. The Seven Samurai (1954)

11. The Ten Commandments (1956)

12. Ben-Hur (1959)

13. Psycho (1960)

14. Spartacus (1960)

15. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

16. The Birds (1963)

17. The Nutty Professor (1963)

18. Doctor Zhivago (1965)

19. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

20. Planet of the Apes (1968)

21. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

22. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

23. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

24. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

25. The Godfather (1972)

26. The Exorcist (1973)

27. The Godfather Part II (1974)

28. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

29. Manila in the Claws of Brightness (1975)

30. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

31. Rocky (1976)

32. Taxi Driver (1976)

33. In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

34. Star Wars (1977)

35. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

36. Saturday Night Fever (1977)

37. Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

38. Alien (1979)

39. Apocalypse Now (1979)

40. The Muppet Movie (1979)

41. Mad Max (1979)

42. The Shining (1980)

43. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

44. Airplane! (1980)

45. Raging Bull (1980)

46. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

47. Chariots of Fire (1981)

48. E.T.: The Extra-Terestrial (1982)

49. The Thing (1982)

50. Poltergeist (1982)

51. Blade Runner (1982)

52. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

53. Scarface (1983)

54. The Terminator (1984)

55. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

56. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

57. Ghostbusters (1984)

58. The Killing Fields (1984)

59. Ran (1985)

60. Back to the Future (1985)

61. The Quiet Earth (1985)

62. Aliens (1986)

63. Children of a Lesser God (1986)

64. Platoon (1986)

65. Top Gun (1986)

66. Project A, Part II (1987)

67. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

68. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

69. The Untouchables (1987)

70. Akira (1988)

71. The Naked Gun (1988)

72. Big (1988)

73. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

74. Die Hard (1988)

75. A Tale of the Wind (1988)

76. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

77. Rain Man (1988)

78. Batman (1989)

79. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

80. The Killer (1989)

81. Reversal of Fortune (1990)

82. Goodfellas (1990)

83. Dances with Wolves (1990)

84. Pretty Woman (1990)

85. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

86. Total Recall (1990)

87. Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

88. Thelma & Louise (1991)

89. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

90. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

91. JFK (1991)

92. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)

93. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

94. Candy Man (1992)

95. Farewell My Concubine (1993)

96. Thirty Two Films about Glenn Gould (1993)

97. Groundhog Day (1993)

98. Philadelphia (1993)

99. Jurassic Park (1993)

100. The Puppetmaster (1993)

101. Schindler's List (1993)

102. The Piano (1993)

103. Hoop Dreams (1994)

104. Forrest Gump (1994)

105. Clerks (1994)

106. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

107. The Lion King (1994)

108. Natural Born Killers (1994)

109. Pulp Fiction (1994)

110. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

111. Chungking Express (1994)

112. Babe (1995)

113. Toy Story (1995)

114. Strange Days (1995)

115. Braveheart (1995)

116. Heat (1995)

117. Seven (1995)

118. The Usual Suspects (1995)

119. The Pillow Book (1996)

120. Fargo (1996)

121. Independence Day (1996)

122. Trainspotting (1996)

123. Scream (1996)

124. L.A. Confidential (1997)

125. Happy Together (1997)

126. Princess Mononoke (1997)

127. Open Your Eyes (1997)

128. Titanic (1997)

129. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

130. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

131. Run Lola Run (1998)

132. Pi (1998)

133. The Thin Red Line (1998)

134. Ring (1998)

135. There's Something About Mary (1998)

136. Magnolia (1999)

137. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

138. Taboo (1999)

139. The Audition (1999)

140. Fight Club (1999)

141. Being John Malkovich (1999)

142. American Beauty (1999)

143. Attack the Gas Station! (1999)

144. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

145. The Sixth Sense (1999)

146. The Matrix (1999)

147. In the Mood for Love (2000)

148. Gladiator (2000)

149. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

150. Meet the Parents (2000)

151. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

152. Traffic (2000)

153. Memento (2000)

154. Dancer in the Dark (2000)

155. Amelie (2001)

156. And Your Mother Too (2001)

157. Spirited Away (2001)

158. Moulin Rouge (2001)

159. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

160. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)

161. The Pianist (2002)

162. Talk to Her (2002)

163. City of God (2002)

164. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

In addition, I have a few movies that I personally want to see, or movies that I already have but are yet unseen. They are, among others:

1. M (1931)

2. Rashomon (1950)

3. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

4. Lolita (1962)

5. Woman in the Dunes (1964)

6. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

7. Alphaville (1965)

8. Come Drink with Me (1966)

9. Dersu Uzala (1974)

10. Eraserhead (1977)

11. Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

12. Tampopo (1986)

13. Peking Opera Blues (1986)

14. Red Sorghum (1987)

15. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

16. Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

17. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

18. Unforgiven (1992)

19. Man Bites Dog (1992)

20. Tetsuo (1998)

21. Amores Perros (2000)

22. What Time Is It There? (2001)

23. Fat Girl (2001)

24. Mulholland Dr. (2001)

That wraps it up. The only caveat is the book is 1700 pesos - quite expensive. Well, there's always Christmas...