My Favorite Movies
Some (not all) of my favorite films.
|flixsterman's Rating||My Rating|
Come and See (Idi i smotri) 1985, Unrated)
Akahige (Red Beard) 1965, Unrated)
"The pain and loneliness of death frighten me. But Dr. Niide looks at it differently. He looks into their hearts as well as their bodies." Kurosawa does such a magnificent job of infusing the virtues of decency and humanity into the story that they almost become concrete, tangible characters. The fact that Red Beard is rarely, if ever, listed as one of Akira's cinematic milestones has me a little perplexed. Highly underrated.
Kumonosu J˘ (Throne of Blood) (Macbeth) 1957, Unrated)
Talk to Her 2002, R)
Pedro Almodˇvar continues to confound and amaze me. He can take the most peculiar circumstances, the most perverse scenarios, and extract incredible, romantic love stories. I'm not certain how he does it, but after viewing several of his films I have formed a hypothesis: he views situations without prejudice. He ignores preconceived notions. Instead of focusing on the differences, Almodˇvar concentrates on the commonality, thus encouraging us (his audience) to see the world with an unjaundice eye. In the end, what might have appalled us is now cause for reflection, maybe even celebration.
M 1931, Unrated)
As a child of the 60's, I grew up knowing Peter Lorre as a spooky looking character actor with supporting roles in old classics like The Maltese Falcon and Arsenic and Old Lace. Although I enjoyed his performances I never fully appreciated his talent until I saw this 1931 Fritz Lang masterpiece. In it, Lorre plays a psychotic child murderer stalking a German city. Lorre's approach to the character is unusual in the sense that he himself is tormented by the unspeakable acts he commits. There is a tangible emanation of right and wrong, of good versus evil, that Lorre projects. I found myself fascinatingly disgusted (or disgustingly fascinated) by my empathy for his character.
The Children's Hour 1961, G)
Director William Wyler is known for getting the best from his actors and The Children's Hour is certainly no exception. James Garner, Audrey Hepburn and (especially) Shirley MacLaine are at the top of their game. I don't know why this film doesn't get more press. Maybe the taboo nature of the material got it swept under the proverbial rug? It was certainly ahead of its time in terms of social statement and point-of-view. Or maybe it's just that schmucks like me don't shout its praises loudly enough. Whatever the reason, this is a film that should not be missed.
City of Life and Death 2010, R)
Leave Her to Heaven 1946, Unrated)
A Face in the Crowd 1957, Unrated)
This one is disturbing for all the right reasons. Watching Andy Griffith play a money-grubbing, amoral, unlikeable bastard is like watching Mister Rogers play Hannibal Lector. After all, this is the same Andy that kept the streets of Mayberry safe for all those years and the same Andy that taught Opie how to fish and throw a curve ball. It's even more unnerving because Griffith does it so well.
To Kill A Mockingbird 1962, Unrated)
Das Boot (The Boat) 1981, R)
The Bride of Frankenstein 1935, Unrated)
Harold and Maude 1971, PG)
Night of the Living Dead 1968, R)
City Lights 1931, G)
Animal Kingdom 2010, R)
The Station Agent 2003, R)
Badlands 1973, PG)
Terrence Malick has crafted two characters that treat robbery and murder as incidental mishaps and necessities. Martin Sheen's character is sociopathic and cold-blooded but yet still likeable. Sissy Spacek, as his young accomplice, is fully aware of his atrocities, yet she retains her innocent charm. This bizarre intermingling of murder and manners, of the brutal and the benign, is why Badlands is unnerving and unforgettable.
Psycho 1960, R)
Rebecca 1940, Unrated)
A Cinderella story that quickly turns into a nightmare. Directed by Hitchcock and produced by David O. Selznick [Gone with the Wind], two of the giants of the golden age of Hollywood. Often times a collaboration of two such egos would result in a competitive struggle that would damage the end product but here there's just the right amount of Hitchcock's noir-ish suspense and Selznick's Hollywood pizzazz to make the whole thing work. There's not one illogical or nonsensical twist or turn in the entire screenplay. I sat, eyes glued to the TV, for an hour and a half, anxiously waiting to see what was going to happen next. Absolutely incredible, top to bottom, side to side.
The Big Lebowski 1998, R)
When it comes to The Big Lebowski you won't find too many critics that ride the fence. In fact, cinemaphiles generally fall into one of three categories. Either (1) they love the film, (2) they haven't seen the film or (3) they just don't get it. Count me among those in group number one. The plot, like most Coen brothers' scripts, begins with a catalystic injustice (i.e. a case of mistaken identity) that starts a chain reaction of strange occurrences, eventually coming full circle to right a wrong. The plot is dark, hilarious and complex (hit the pause button if you get up to go pee). This is one of those rare movies that actually lives up to the hype.
Strangers on a Train 1951, PG)
Sunset Boulevard 1950, Unrated)
One of the best film noir pictures ever made. Just look at the plethora of glowing reviews. Not much more can be said.
Double Indemnity 1944, Unrated)
Not all monsters are grotesque and ugly, sometimes they are as beautiful and breathtaking as Barbara Stanwyck. Considered by many to be the best and most influential film noir ever made, Double Indemnity has become the standard by which all others are judged. For my money, from the cast and direction to the cinematography and scripting, it's a near perfect film. Definitely one of my all-time top 20 movies.
Picture this: 1920-something China. A rich man has four wives. Each wife has her own house. Each house is connected by a common courtyard. Every night the four wives stand by their door to see which house will get the red lantern. The house with the red lantern gets to 'host' the husband for the night. The wife with the red lantern also gets to decide what's for dinner, has general control of the combined households and, most importantly, gets a foot massage. Throw four women together in vicious competition for a foot massage and you've got the makings of top-notch drama. Five stars.
The Red Shoes 1948, R)
Dead Man 1995, R)
Meet Me In St. Louis 1944, G)
The Room 2003, R)
Billed as a 'dark comedy', I feel relatively safe in saying that the laughs are purely unintentional. The true value of this 'film' is that it gets steadily worse as it goes along, which actually makes it better. *Ed Wood would be so proud! **UPDATE: Four viewings so far (and counting!) I love Rocky Horror and Plan 9 and believe me, this is 100 times funnier! Find it, rent it, buy it, borrow it, whatever - just SEE IT!
The Lady Eve 1941, Unrated)
Winter's Bone 2010, R)
Metropolis 1927, PG-13)
Le Notti di Cabiria (Nights of Cabiria) 1957, Unrated)
Fellini puts the loveable Giulietta Masina through yet another tragic set of circumstances. Here she's a prostitute who dreams of finding her one true love, even though her heart is repeatedly broken by a series of men with ill intentions. Masina's irrepressible impish charm compels you to root for her, but her characters always seemed destined for disappointment. Come on Federico, give the gal a break! (Where the hell is Frank Capra when you need him? lol)
Dead of Night 1945, R)
Jaws 1975, PG)
Great Expectations 1946, Unrated)
Jason and the Argonauts 1963, G)
King Kong 1933, Unrated)
This Is Spinal Tap 1984, R)
Patton 1970, PG)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1974, PG)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978, PG)
One of the very, very few remakes that rival the original production. A good film in it's own right but still falls a little short of the 1956 classic.
The Searchers 1956, PG)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956, PG)
The Great Santini 1979, PG)
The Godfather 1972, R)
The Godfather, Part II 1974, R)
The Wizard of Oz 1939, G)
GoodFellas 1990, R)
Cidade de Deus (City of God) 2002, R)
The Elephant Man 1980, PG)
Little Big Man 1970, PG-13)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948, Unrated)
The Last Man on Earth 1964, Unrated)
Ju Dou 1990, PG-13)
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976, PG)
Suspiria 1977, R)
If it is true that Hitchcock's Psycho would have been less effective if it had been filmed in color then the opposite could be said for Dario Argento's Suspiria. It is the abnormally bright hues, especially the reds, that help give the entire picture a surreal sort of feel and atmosphere. Released in 1977, it has lost some of its initial shock value. In fact, modern "gore-mongers" who enjoy graphic offerings like Saw and Hostel will no doubt find the violence soft-core and perhaps even a little comical. Still, Suspiria is an important, if not timeless, genre classic.
Jeremiah Johnson 1972, PG)
Diabolique (Les Diaboliques) 1954, Unrated)
Bad Company 1972, PG)
I first saw this one in 1972 and enjoyed it very much. Now, some 36 years later, I can honestly say that it's stood the test of time. It's a film that's shot mostly, if not entirely, on location so it never has that "studio" feel about it. It's gritty, it's unpolished, and it's wonderfully understated. You don't have to like westerns in order to enjoy and appreciate this one.
Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival) 1951, Unrated)
A stark, unflinching portrayal of rouge journalism and how one man's ambition can overtake and smother ethics and decency. A box office flop when it was released in 1951, this may well be Kirk Douglas at his absolute best.
Me and You and Everyone We Know 2004, R)
Smoke Signals 1998, PG-13)
I recently finished reading Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" and felt compelled to revisit Smoke Signals for about the 8th or 9th time. I love this film a little more every time I view it, which is easy to do considering that the first time I saw it I just wasn't that impressed. I had felt that, in their quest to have the first "All Indian" movie, they had sacrificed a little quality and technical expertise. Maybe I still feel that's true but it's not something I notice much any more. Now I find myself engrossed in the rich characters, especially Arnold (Evan Adams). Arnold is a misfit and yet he might be the most 'indian' character in the entire ensemble. He's bright, he's introspective, and he's terribly, terribly honest. Even when he's embellishing stories he is still exposing truths. Much like it's screenwriter, Smoke Signals is deceptively deep, intelligent and philosophical even if it's not perfectly crafted. .
Ponyo 2008, G)