Friday, October 31, 2008

Top 10 American Movies (Prior to 2000)

1. The Godfather Trilogy by Francis Ford Coppola
2. The Shawshank Redemption by Frank Darabont
3. Saving Private Ryan by Steven Spielberg
4. Casablanca by Michael Curtiz
5. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb by Stanley Kubrick
6. Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese
7. Citizen Kane by Orson Welles
8. Nashville by Robert Altman
9. Unforgiven by Clint Eastwood
10. Raging Bull by Martin Scorsese
Honorable Mention: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (anything else by Altman in the 1970s); Goodfellas; The Best Years of Our Lives; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Rear Window

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Absurd Lists - Top 10 Foreign Films (Prior to 1990)

Still no order*

1. Cries and Whispers by Ingmar Bergman

2. Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa

3. Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard

4. Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders

5. Fanny and Alexander by Ingmar Bergman

6. Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo

7. Band of Outsiders by Jean-Luc Godard

8. Persona by Ingmar Bergman

9. Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa

10. 400 Blows by François Truffaut

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Top 10 Foreign Films since 1990

1. Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro (2006)

2. Three Colors Trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski (1993-1994)

3. Tsotsi by Gavin Hood (2005)

4. The Double Life of Veronique by Krzysztof Kieslowski (1991)

5. Amores Perros by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (2000)

6. Joyeux Noel by Christian Carion (2005)

7. Y Tu Mama Tambien by Alfonso Cuaron (2001)

8. Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni (1998)

9. Curse of the Golden Flower by Yimou Zhang (2006)

10. The Orphanage by Juan Antonio Bayona (2007)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Top 10 Directors Over 60

This is the second list in a series of randomly ordered top 10 movie lists

1. Martin Scorsese
2. Ingmar Bergman
3. Akira Kurosawa
4. Alfred Hitchcock
5. Stanley Kubrick
6. Robert Altman
7. Krzysztof Kieslowski
8. Terrence Malick
9. Werner Herzog
10. Jean-Luc Godard

Honorable Mention - François Truffaut, Clint Eastwood, Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, Howard Hawks

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Weekend of French Tragedy

Above is one of the most famous images from François Truffaut's Jules and Jim if not from the entire French New-Wave. The film was just one of two films that I watched this weekend with tragic results, the other being the equally beautiful and tragic Contempt by fellow Frenchman, Jean-Luc Godard, which is about the process of making a film, though not in the same way that Fellini's 8 1/2 or Truffaut's Day for Night is about the making of motion pictures.

Godard has a much more subversive goal in his film. He tells the story of a love triangle that develops between the writer and his wife, along with the producer of the film. Much in the same way that Jules and Jim has the two titled men pining after Catherine. Despite the leauges of differences between the two films, at their core, in their essence are fairly similar.
Shot in a grandiose Cinemascope (which is what Kubrick shot his '68 masterpiece, 2001 in) and some of the most breathtaking technicolor ever put on film Godard's film is simply breathtaking. At times the score outshines the film, in that it plays as a score for the film that the crew in the film (including Germany's great, Fritz Lang, as director) is making, rather than the film Godard is making.
On the flip side of this, Truffaut shot Jules in Jim in a playful, nearly hand-held, style black and white, much to the style of A Hard Day's Night would later be shot. In the midst of this, however, he interweaves pieces of film that look as if they could be pieces of old home movies or documentary footage as well.
The two films above are amongst the greatest films of the French New Wave, rendering them amongst the greatest films ever made. I would highly recomend these films to anyone who asked, and to anyone reading this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ordet by Carl Theodor Dreyer

Feeble are the words that are about to come from this writer. It is that way because there are few words to describe Dreyer's 1955 film, Ordet, without sounding dumb unless you are made of stone. This is quite possibly the most important film about spirituality ever made and as I commented to my roommate last night is a stark and beautiful contrast that I could only describe as "Antibergman" but you will have to watch for yourself to see if you agree.

The film follows five main characters: A man, his three sons and the eldest son's wife. The five principles have differing levels of faith from "lost it long ago" all the way to claiming to be the person of Jesus of Nazareth to bring peace to the family through the hardships they will face soon.

How the film plays out is poetry on celluloid and I will endevour to say no more about the film in order to avoid spoiling it for anyone. If one has an interest in things spiritual, or just wants to see a fine film (the next to last film Dreyer directed) should look into viewing this film.