Exactly that: These are the films that remind me of why I love the medium. I loved them way back when, and still love them now.
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Casablanca 1943, PG)
Fearless 1993, R)
Among Weir's best work, 'Fearless' is a truly emotional, sincere and profound drama, boasting incredible performances, especially from Bridges and Perez as very different survivors, and an engaging tale that explores the nature of life & death and the way different people from different backgrounds approach it. Backed up but some incredible crash sequences and a haunting yet moving score from veteran Maurice Jarre, and 'Fearless' remains one of the greatest films that the 90s ever spawned.
Apocalypse Now 1979, R)
Engaging from beginning to end, Coppola's twisted, psychedelic view of Vietnam and the insanity of war boasts a powerhouse of strong performances from its distinguished cast, especially Sheen, Duvall & Brando, brilliant sound work that makes 'Nam come alive courtesy of Walter Murch, hauntingly nightmarish visuals and a solid script that isn't afraid to venture into man's darkest & most warped tendencies.
Watchmen 2009, R)
The Shadow 1994, PG-13)
Above average fare for the 90s superhero boom, 'The Shadow' is a good adaptation of the legendary grandfather of modern superheroes. This is supported with some good action, such as a fight in rooftop lab or a hall of mirrors, spot-on acting, especially the reserved & controlling Baldwin in the title role, and a solid, haunting score from the late, great Jerry Goldsmith.
Batman Returns 1992, PG-13)
Batman 1989, PG-13)
Young Frankenstein 1974, PG)
Blazing Saddles 1974, R)
Once Upon a Time in the West 1968, PG-13)
The Invisible Man 1933, Unrated)
The King and I 1956, G)
My Neighbor Totoro 1988, G)
Free of villains, subplots and even a cut & dry 3-Act structure, Miyazaki's little tale about two girls in the Japanese country and their strange encounters has buckets of charm and heart, with absolutely gorgeous animation and detail backgrounds, a simple yet moving and unbloated soundtrack, and a story that hooks on a simple & emotional level, bringing up themes of family, life & death and childhood.
Gettysburg 1993, PG)
An excellent character piece, Maxwell's tale of the Civil's War most decisive battle brings humanity and dimension to many of its iconic characters, looking at the men behind the myths, backed up with excellent performances from its ensemble cast, a moving yet heroic score by Randy Edelman and despite being four hours, it justifies every second of it with great dialogue and character moments that make these people feel alive and real, and thus make the final encounter all the more heart wrenching.
Cromwell 1970, G)
Patton 1970, PG)
Hot Fuzz 2007, R)
Brazil 1985, R)
Short Cuts 1993, R)
Altman's multistrand tale of American suburbia and its less-than-pleasant nature is quite an achievement: a boatload of quality acting from its sizeable cast, complimented by a constant vein of dark, cynical humour and its mix of moments that are by turns touching, unsettling and dramatic make this one of the late maestro's best, not to mention an easy recommend if you also enjoyed Pulp Fiction & Magnolia, which also offered sprawling tales of Western life.
Frost/Nixon 2008, R)
12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men) 1957, PG)
Rose and Lumet make for a killer team in this outstanding court room drama, bolstered by a powerhouse of excellent performances, especially Fonda, dialogue that can be both intense and humorous and a nice mix in of social commentary, mainly about class, that isn't on the nose and adds to the compelling dilemma of making the right or wrong choices with a life in the balance, and all the shades of grey therein.
Singin' in the Rain 1952, G)