Top 10 - Films about Films
Films about films or film making.
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|SirPant's Rating||My Rating|
8 1/2 1963, Unrated)
The Artist 2011, PG-13)
The Artist has received so much hype in such a short time which isn't always a good thing for a film. Luckily though, you can believe the hype! It's a clever idea, although I'm sure it raised a few eyebrows when first shown to the producers. Those familiar with director Michel Hazanavicius will know to trust him though, OSS 117 looked like a horrible idea on paper but in reality the combination of Hazanavicius's quirky humour and Jean Dujardin's physical comedic abilities made it something special and now they've taken that great chemistry and have made something wonderful. An ode to the silent era, a love letter to the often forgotten stars such as Douglas Fairbanks and Lillian Gish and the golden age of cinema. This isn't just a silent black & white film though, it is filmed beautifully and with some very clever tricks up its sleeve. I think the biggest surprise for me was that it was so funny, the OSS 117 films cracked me up so I'm not sure why I'm surprised but I can't think of the last Oscar bound film that was funny or in fact essentially a comedy. I really can't fault it, it's really quite wonderful!
Ed Wood 1994, R)
Cannibal Holocaust 1979, NC-17)
This film is terribly misunderstood. It's actually a culture piece focusing on contrasts within different societies. It also contradicts itself somewhat as we see the 'Sensationalists/Exploiters' being punished for their acts, albeit within a sensationalist/Exploitation film. It's the voice of reason and understanding that survives and actually befriends the cannibals in the end which is a remarkably likeable end to a horrific and shocking film. In my opinion, Cannibal Holocaust is probably the best horror film ever made. It's truly unique, utterly terrifying (without being ridiculous) and rather intelligent. Recommended for those with strong stomachs!
Barton Fink 1991, R)
Le Mépris (Contempt) 2008, PG)
Le Mepris is one of my more favourite Jean-Luc Godard films, a director who is very up and down in my book. There was a real trend of film within a film films around this time, all the greats have tried it but very few seem to pull it off successfully - Godard is in that few. Ok, so the film dips between two peaks, but getting Fritz Lang to play himself was quite a coup and Jack Palance's performance is brilliant as it is amusing, although I doubt that was intentional. Tongue, I'm guessing, was firmly in cheek throughout though I'd imagine. I think it was a great experiment and it didn't come at the expense of the entertainment value - in fact, it makes you wonder if Godard might just have been a better, or should I say, could have made much better films if he'd had better budgets!? Anyway, I liked this a lot - It's got Brigitte Badot's bare behind in it for Christ sake, what's not to like about that?
Adaptation 2002, R)
Its part adaptation and part reconstruction of a fabricated documentary. Hard to put into words really, that said though, its absolutely brilliant and original. It's one big metaphor really, excellently realised. Including Charlie Kaufman as a character was just brilliant, you could tell there was a lot of him in the character but at the same time we see his twin brother who doesn't actually exist. Clever stuff but most importantly, very entertaining.
State and Main 2000, R)
The performances are good and the idea is very sharp but it's the quick paced and witty script that really makes State and Main. David Mamet is a great writer, a better writer than director but I thought he did a great job here, especially as he never once makes it easy for himself. He avoids all cliches and even when the plot may seem predictable, he follows it up with something unexpected. Intelligent and feelgood, a winning combination although deadpan doesn't seem to go down well these days, the dumbing down has commenced.
What Just Happened? 2008, R)
An inside Hollywood film for people inside Hollywood films. There is a lot of in-jokes and back patting here and I'm afraid I generally have no sympathy for the average Hollywood film producer but I found this film very easy to watch. Barry Levinson is a good director, he's got a mixed CV but generally you can depend on him. For me it was all about the performances though, I loved the whole 'The dies story-line', good on Sean Penn for getting involved and Bruce Willis makes amends for his horrible self-cameo in Oceans 12. Almost anyway. Every one does well, De Niro is totally watchable but for my money, Michael Wincott steals the show, his is a great performance. I really thought this film was ok, I'm not really sure why it's got all the hate on it.
Warnung vor einer Heiligen Nutte (Beware of a Holy Whore) 1971, Unrated)
Beware of a holy whore is life imitating art and a very self-indulgent parody from Fassbinder. It reminded me of Jean-Luc Godard's Passion (A film I didn't particularly enjoy - although Passion came later). Worth watching for Eddie Constantine's trade-mark scowl but apart from that, a somewhat tiresome film from Fassbinder. 10 out of 10 for expressing his contempt and protesting against the system he loathed but he has executed the point much more efficiently in other films. We all have our bad days though eh!