48. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) - Definitely the greatest film rendition of this tale I have seen. Fredrich March is oh-so chilling in this title role.
47. The Social Network (2010) - My favorite film of 2010. David Fincher’s impressive directing soars in this one, and the fast-paced script really makes the film so great.
46. The Shop Around the Corner (1940) - One of the most charming love stories of the era. Brilliantly written, exceptionally acted, and cleverly funny.
45. Way Out West (1937) - One could never go wrong with Laurel and Hardy! This well-executed westerns spoof is one of their most gut-bustingly hilarious films.
44. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - A magnificent WWI film that was definitely far ahead of its time. Its use of pathos really brings out the agony of the frontline.
43. The Producers (1968) - One of Mel Brooks’ earliest and (in my opinion) best films. Lead actors Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder are perfect in their roles, and the screenplay is truly memorable.
42. Schindler’s List (1993) - This could possibly be the finest example of a modern classic. Its praise is very well-deserved; this is a truly beautiful masterpiece and one of Spielberg’s finest.
41. Days of Wine and Roses (1962) - Everyone likes to watch a train wreck. The downward spiral of the characters’ plight of alcoholism makes for a truly tragic, yet very well-made film.
40. Harvey (1950) - A movie with such an unusual plotline, involving an imaginary (?) 6-foot-tall rabbit, that is brilliantly streamed together with the acting talents of James Stewart and Josephine Hull.
39. Lolita (1962) - This controversial story, that could have plummeted, has been saved by the undeniably amazing Stanley Kubrick. High regards also given to the two leads, James Mason and Shelley Winters.
38. Young Frankenstein (1974) - One of the best horror movie spoofs ever made, and what could possibly be Mel Brooks’ finest film. Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman are hilarious together!
37. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) - A brilliant film adaption of a real-life hostage situation. Al Pacino shines as the lead bank robber, who is surprisingly realistic, and Sidney Lumet adds another classic to his belt.
36. Persona (1966) - Skillfully complex and surprisingly intense, this is my favorite of Ingmar Bergman’s films I have seen so far. The psychoanalytic backdrop and great performances add to this remarkable film.
35. Amores Perros (2000) - A very well-made film that, through its violent aspects, carries on an impressive amount of depth. Definitely one of the best - if not the best - Mexican films I have seen.
34. The Freshman (1925) - While this is not as great as Harold Lloyd’s classic Safety Last!, it holds a great amount of humor and memorable scenes that make it an excellent, though much overlooked, silent comedy classic.
33. The 39 Steps (1935) - One of Hitchcock’s more earlier films, which still stands up to the amount of brilliance as, say, Dial M For Murder. The narrative flow stands up very well, as does the cinematography.
32. Ballad of a Soldier (1959) - This could possibly be Soviet cinema at its very best. The different forms of love and affection are effectively represented in this beautiful film, shown in a sort of novel-esque narrative form.
31. Sunset Blvd. (1950) - A perfect example of a noir done right. One of Billy Wilder’s most honored works, this film blends an excellently made screenplay with beautifully shot scenes and legendary acting peformances by William Holden and Gloria Swanson.
30. Peeping Tom (1960) - This film was definitely so far in advance of its time. The idea of a camera being a weapon of murder is just plain genius! This is definitely one of the most peculiar and sensational films about voyeurism that has ever been conceived. That’s not to mention the chilling acting performance by Karl Heinz Bohm, whose psychological portrayal of the killer, though subtle, is so spot on. I would recommend this to any fans of Hitchcock films, such as Psycho or Vertigo.
29. Mon Oncle (1958) - I have been getting more into Jacques Tati this past year, and this is the best film I have seen by him thus far. He brings back his awkward, yet lovable character Monsieur Hulot and his experiences with France’s infatuation with American-style consumerism and efficiency. I like to think that this was Tati’s response to Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times - and this may even be just as great as Chaplin’s film! Also, the visuals of this film are also truly vibrant and fascinating, not unlike much of Tati’s other work.
28. Thelma and Louise (1991) - Now, I’m a bit of a feminist, so I tend to be a bit biased towards films that give female leads the upper hand. Though this may be the reason why I loved Thelma and Louise so much, it does not negate the fact that it truly is a great film. Though it is unlike most of what Ridley Scott is known for, the journey of these two women (played magnificently by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) and the bonding that occurs between the two really makes for a truly great film. Not to mention the totally kickass ending!
27. Network (1976) - One of my favorite films by the late, great Sidney Lumet, this is probably one of the most darkly humorous films I have ever seen. Who would’ve thought that a film about a fictional TV network trying to keep their ratings up would stand so well? The acting performances are so phenomenal and the long-standing praise this film has received is truly well-deserved. My favorite element of the film, however, would have to be the spitfire scripting. It is so unique and so very brilliant!
26. The Invisible Man (1933) - Like many Universal horror films of this era, the overall scariness of this film has, unfortunately, dwindled with the desensitization of movie-watchers. Nonetheless, this film is a fine example of an era in cinematic history, where “movie monsters” were dominant. The lead acting of Claude Rains makes for a truly remarkable debut appearance (if “appearance” is the correct term). That’s not to mention the groundbreaking special effects used to create the “invisible” appearance.The title character remains one of the most underrated classic movie villains.
25. Before Sunrise (1995) - Whoever says that films don’t stand well if they rely on simple conversation has obviously never seen Before Sunrise. This is a great example of a modern-romance film done right. The two lead roles have such great chemistry, and the romantic tension between the two is so spot-on. This is definitley one of the best non-comedy love-based films I have ever seen. Also, this was the last film I’ve seen this year so far that has made me cry; the ending is just so perfect.
24. Seven Chances (1925) - As you can probably tell, I am a HUGE Buster Keaton fan. Though this does not match up to Sherlock Jr., my personal favorite of his films, it still carries on just the right amount of hilarity you would expect from a Keaton film. There is a marvelous chase scene at the end, where Buster consistently dodges giant rocks resulting from an avalanche. If this scene does not cause you to marvel at the genius that he is, nothing will!
23. Psycho (1960) - I don’t think I could say anything about this film that hasn’t already been said. It is truly amazing, hands down. The cinematography alone is some of the best I have seen. Norman Bates, portrayed by Anthony Perkins, still remains one of the most convincing psychopaths in film, and has become a lasting inspiration for many to come. As brilliantly chilling and thrilling Psycho is, this is rightfully deserving of its title as one of Hitchcock’s most famous films.
22. Ed Wood (1994) - Depp plays an incredibly convincing Ed Wood, who has been hailed as the worst director of all time. However, Martin Landau’s performance as an aging former Dracula-portrayer Bela Lugosi takes the cake - he practically BECOMES Lugosi! These elements, combined with the cinematography, shot in beautiful black and white, the awesomely witty screenplay, and the great direction by Tim Burton, could possibly make Ed Wood the greatest Burton-Depp collaboration ever!
21. Apocalypse Now (1979) - The first time I finished watching this film, I immediately watched it a second time. This may be the best film about the Vietnam War I’ve ever seen! With its underlying message about society’s terror towards non-conformity, it carries an incredible, graceful amount of depth. The performances by Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando are nothing short of legendary, and the direction by Francis Ford Coppola contribute to the overall grisly feeling of this film. Overall, this film is not only a magnificent work of art; it is a piece of history, to be cherished for years to come.
20. Children of Paradise (1945) - This film has frequently been stated as France’s answer to 1939’s Gone With the Wind. It tells the story of a beautiful woman and four men of differentiating classes, each who love her for their own benefits. Like anything French, the romantic elements of this film are incredibly apparent, and it surprisingly moves the story along very well. Though it does clock it at nearly three hours long, the beautiful dialogues and its overall magnificence seems to melt the time away.
19. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - Once again, so much has been said about this film that I think my own input would do it fairly little justice. Obviously, the one element that stands out, possibly above the rest, is Anthony Hopkins’ performance as the notorious Hannibal Lecter. Besides this, there are many other aspects that make this a terrific film: the great screenplay, the captivating cinematography, and the flawless direction by Jonathan Demme. This was the last film to sweep all five major Academy Awards, and for good reason. The tale is so captivating, at times unsettling, and has become an instant classic among movie fans.
18. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - The year 1967 was quite the turning point in the cinematic world. After having been controlled by the Hays code for nearly 40 years, American films were finally able to express what was needed to be said. Bonnie and Clyde was one such example of this; this depiction of the infamous crime couple, portrayed by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, became one of the most violent films to hit the mainstream, and it really set the stone for many of these types of films to come. There is much criticism stating that this film was highly romanticized, but I believe that it’s just one element of the film that makes it so beautifully done.
17. Seven Samurai (1954) - I was finally able to catch up on more of my foreign films, mainly on the more Italian and Russian side. However, I was also able to watch a few of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s films, my favorite being Seven Samurai. The thing I love most about his films is that they aren’t just films - they are works of art. He has an obvious flair for combining brilliant storytelling devices and creating mind-blowing epics. As a result, it has become the inspiration for many eventual classics to come. The intense, emotional battle at the film’s second half really seizes one’s full attention, and is a fine example of great filmmaking at its peak.
16. The Elephant Man (1980) - After watching this film, and even now, I struggle to figure out if this replaces Blue Velvet as my favorite David Lynch film. The story of the graceful and intelligent, yet terribly disfigured, John Merrick remains one for the ages. The black and white cinematography and the Victorian-era landscape offer much accompaniment in putting beauty into the unfairness of the overall predicament. The story itself is extremely tragic, yet surprisingly humanistic. Merrick is such an inspiration, and though this film is not easy to watch, it is extremely well done and is one of Lynch’s finest works.
15. Raging Bull (1980) - This film was so hard for me to watch the first time around, mostly because of the sheer portrayal of domestic violence that is presented to us. After given it a second chance, I am fully convinced that this is one of Martin Scorsese’s most finest work, if not his greatest ever. As troubled boxer Jake La Motta, this has also got to be the performance of Robert De Niro’s career; I’d even rank it above his Travis Bickle role. The cinematography should not be missed either, especially when taken inside of the ring. In a cinematic world where most boxing films (and sports films in general) seem overly cliché, this is one of the most uniquely made, and therefore one of the best.
14. The Apartment (1960) - I’ve become a huge fan of Billy Wilder, and The Apartment is one of those reasons alone. What’s not to love about it? It’s a fun film about a man who rents his apartment out to colleagues for their extramarital affairs. The screenplay totally takes the cake, as it remains as smart and witty as Wilder screenplays come. That’s not to say that it isn’t a bit cynical as well; though there are moments of sheer whimsicalness, much of the humor is quite dark. Nonetheless, the performances by Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, and Wilder regular Jack Lemmon really hit the target. This is one of my most favorite comedies by the writer-director, and should not be missed by any fans of his work.
13. Metropolis (1927) - Futuristic films may seem a bit overdone now, but in 1927, Fritz Lang’s film was the bee’s knees. Decades before Blade Runner and The Terminator - even before Orwell’s novel 1984 - this was such an innovative film, and has since become a huge inspiration for filmmakers far after Lang’s era. There are tons of undertones that depict the overall well-being of the society a century into the future; some of these messages are obviously Biblical. The set design, elaborate with early examples of German Expression, is so breath-taking, in the sense that it is both beautiful and frightening. This has been highly regarded as one of the best films of all time, and that’s not surprising. This is a film no cinephile should dare to pass up.
12. Manhattan (1979) - Thanks to my self-induced movie challenge, I was able to introduce myself to more great Woody Allen films. Manhattan is one of these such films, and I believe this is his most sophisticated work. Shot in black-and-white, with great shots of New York and Gershwin’s flowing soundtrack, this is, genuinely, Allen’s love letter to his beautiful hometown. Of course, it is also very funny, but replaces much of his younger slapstick humor to scenes that are funny in a more “mature” way. Diane Keaton and Mariel Hemingway are wonderful in their roles, as is Woody himself. This film is also remarkably tragic, yet surprisingly uplifting. It truly is a work of art, and one of the talented filmmaker’s very best.
11. Some Like it Hot (1959) - I have so much difficulty deciding if this film or The Apartment is my favorite Billy Wilder comedy, because they are both so great! This one, however, is definitely in a class of its own. Jack Lemmon’s and Tony Curtis’s characters must disguise themselves as women, which result in some really great, far-fetched humor for its time. Unfortunately, Marilyn Monroe was always cast in “dumb blonde” roles that always undermined her true-life intelligence, but this role is one of her strongest. Last, but certainly not least, the dialogue and screenplay of this film, chock-full of double entendres and risque content, truly make it a delight to watch. This film made me fall in love with Wilder’s films, and, honestly, never gets old.
10. Mary and Max (2006) - Out of all the films I have watched in these past 6 months, Mary and Max is the one film that has surprised me the most. Though it is a claymation, the darkness in content and humor really packs in a lot of surprising depth to the work. We follow two very unlikely pen pals into their lives, through the good and (mostly) the bad. Though they are not flesh-and-blood beings, they are still very much human - certainly not by appearance, but by dignity and perseverance. Sure some of the humor is still a bit childish, but this film is not for kids, by a long shot. The subject matter and humor is very much targeted towards adults, as is the underlying message in how much a single lifetime could mean to someone else, no matter how insignificant. This movie is beautiful and tragic, in just the right ways.
9. Bringing Up Baby (1938) - Ten years after the introduction of sound in film, comedies have evolved from the days of goofy slapstick to more clever screwball comedies, by means of smart dialogue. Bringing Up Baby is one of the best examples of such films, heightened further by the excellent comedic timing of leads Katherine Hepburn and Carey Grant. The plot follows Grant’s character trying to get an endowment from a wealthy individual, while Hepburn’s character hinders this task. Oh, and for no discernible reason, there’s an exported tamed leopard from Brazil who gets in the way sometimes. The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous - yet it’s just so remarkably funny. The chemistry is also so great; thanks to this film (as well as The Philadelphia Story), Hepburn and Grant have become two of my most favorite classic actors.
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - I find it so incredibly difficult to believe that films as advanced as this had been possible nearly 45 years ago - yet, it does exist! Often cited as one of the greatest films of all time, 2001: A Space Odyssey is, without a doubt, the most artsy film put out by Stanley Kubrick. The narrative structure is also the most obscure of all his films, and that’s only where one main aspect of this work lies. The story itself seems simple, but after a second, even third, viewing, it becomes so much more. The marvelous cinematography of space travel, accompanied by the never-fail classical pieces, really set this film apart. It is artistic, philosophical, beautiful, poetic, impressive, and, more than anything, absolutely breathtaking.
7. A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - I’m going to have to be completely honest here: no film this year, so far, has made me laugh harder or longer as A Fish Called Wanda has. First thing’s first; the cast is absolutely marvelous. We have two former Pythons (John Cleese and Michael Palin), along with Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline (who won an Academy Award for his role). Add in a jewel heist gone awry, and we’ve got ourselves a movie! The screenplay, by Cleese himself, is just brilliant. If the awkward situations of the characters don’t put you in stitches, the British wit evident in the dialogue most certainly will. Simply put, there is never a dull moment in the whole film. This film certainly stands its ground as one of the most hilarious, most original comedies to come out of the past 25 years.
6. Fargo (1996) - After I first watched Fargo, I instantly knew it would replace The Big Lebowski as my favorite Coen Bros. film. Basically, the story follows a ridiculously macabre crime gone wrong. I don’t think I lacked as much sympathy for so many of the characters as I did with this film. The saving grace came with Frances McDormand’s character as a no-nonsense deputy, whose crime-solving tactics remain so down-to-earth, despite all that goes on around her. The cinematography is also absolutely remarkable, with much accentuation to the bleak wintery atmosphere of the midwest. Like many of the Coens’ films, the element of dark humor is also present in the screenplay. In all, this is one of the best movies to come out of the 1990’s; I would even dare place it up in the ranks with Pulp Fiction.
5. The Third Man (1949) - Through the year, I have also been getting more and more into films of the noir genre. As of now, it looks as though this gem by Carol Reed is my favorite so far. Though there isn’t anything absolutely spectacular about the plot (involving decoding a death by accident, which may not have been an accident), the visuals and cinematography is truly what makes this film worth watching. The acting by Joseph Cotten and (later on) Orson Welles really propels the the otherwise slow-moving story. One other thing that sets this apart from other noirs is the music; the zither tune used throughout is, ironically, very happy, in contrast the the melancholy score of typical crime dramas. For any fan of the film noir genre, or for a soon-to-be fan who is looking for a good starting point, The Third Man is a must-see.
4. La Strada (1954) - The Italian director Federico Fellini has quickly become one of my favorite Italian directors. From what I’ve seen (though it isn’t much), his masterpiece is definitely La Strada, the tragic tale of a naive young woman who is sold off to a traveling circus and endures many abuses along the way. Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina plays the lead role of the film, and she does so excellently. Her presence is a bit Chaplin-esque, and I was mostly just overwhelmed over how adorable she is. The film itself still remains so fresh, and the great cinematography and score really adds to it. Nonetheless, it does portray a tale of tragedy, of how life really was for individuals living in this oppressed time. Despite this, there is also hope for the future - a future that is but uncertain, but also is an alternative, nonetheless.
3. The Philadelphia Story (1940) - This film is one of my favorites because it has the perfect blending two crucial elements that make it work; these two elements are humor and heart. The amazing Katherine Hepburn gives the performance of her career as Tracy Lord. Carey Grant and James Stewart (two of my other favorites) also give great performances, as Tracy’s ex-husband and new love, respectively. The film is chock-full of witty one-liners that may not always pass through the first time. This is a film that may require a second viewing to experience the entire beauty of it. All in all, it is a “feel-good” movie, but it is also quite clever. It chooses not to take the easy way out with the direction of its narrative, yet remains completely satisfying. This film should not - NOT - be passed up by any fan of Old Hollywood.
2. 12 Angry Men (1957) - Once again, Sidney Lumet comes up on the list, and I believe that this very film is the finest piece of work of his career. The plot is nothing complicated: a jury of twelve men meet in a room to discuss the verdict for a murder case. That’s about it. Yet, the following hour and a half remains some of the most intense filmmaking of its time - and, perhaps, of all time. But how? After all, there are almost no instances where the men (nor the camera) leave the room. The magic lies in the underlying message about humanity, about how one man, branching out from popular opinion, could, in just a matter of hours, completely change the direction of the case, and, therefore, save a life. The magic also lies in the script - the conversation between the men, as well as their clashing personalities, really make the film interesting and surprisingly intense. There isn’t any profound special effects, low-brow humor, or eye-catching sexuality; it is words and words alone that keep this film propelled. As I have said before, this is Lumet’s best work, and multiple viewings never degrade its true art. This is a classic, in every sense and definition of the word.
1. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
“nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands” - e.e. cummings
I am so incredibly grateful that I had decided to put this 500 Movie Challenge upon myself, as it has introduced me to so many amazing filmmakers whose works I had previously put off for no discernible reason - one of these filmmakers being Woody Allen. By that same token, I otherwise would not have discovered the simplistic and beautiful film that is Hannah and Her Sisters. This, I believe, is Allen’s absolute masterpiece and is my personal favorite of his. The beauty of the film is not entirely obvious; it’s subtle, even a bit vague, but it is there nonetheless. The cast is absolutely brilliant, and every individual does their part in making the story work. Mia Farrow portrays the title character, and her two sisters Lee and Holly are played by Barbara Hershey and Dianne Wiest, respectively. Michael Caine plays Elliot, Hannah’s husband who falls in love with Lee; Woody Allen plays Mickey, Hannah’s ex-husband who is a hypochondriac. The stories of the relationships between these characters seem to weave in and around each other seamlessly, each approaching contentedness, conflict and, eventually, resolution. One thing I love about Allen’s films is his knack for creating such vibrant, strong female roles, and the representation of the three sisters here proves no exception. Hannah is the backbone of the family, but is constantly troubled by her husband; Lee is struggling to battle her feelings for Elliot; and Holly is an ex-cocaine addict who is just trying to find her proper place in the world. Wiest and Caine won Academy Awards for their roles - and they are very much deserved! And if the plot of the film isn’t enough to keep you watching, it also gives a great excuse to offer the audience spectacular shots of beautiful Manhattan, a trademark of much of Allen’s films. This film has been my favorite of the year for the above reasons, and also so much more! In conclusion, this is just a marvelous work of art that must be seen to be believed.
And that's pretty much it. :)
May I add that I am SO eternally thankful that this blog finally went through. I worked very hard on this, and I hope you all enjoyed it. And feel free to leave any comments about anything you agree with, disagree with, or would like to add.
Thanks a lot guys! Hope you are all doing well. ^_^
Hello everyone! Hope you've all been doing great.
As always, I'm contnuing forward on my quest to watch 500 new-to-me movies by the end of the year. Unfortunately, I have been hindered as of lately by a variety of factors, primarily school and mental stress. It's the final stretch now, and things have been even more intense and time-crunching than it has been all year long. As a result, this month has been relatively weak for me, as far as watching films is concerned. The good thing is that watching movies is my own way of relieving stress acquired day-by-day, so it all really works out. :)
Anyways, as my life is so boring and uneventful, nothing else has changed, and not much more can be said at this point. So without further hesitation, here's the full list of films I've seen throughout April.
FILMS SEEN IN THE MONTH OF APRIL 20111. Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (The Testament of Dr. Mabuse) (1933) - 80% 2. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) - 70% 3. Stripes (1981) - 70% 4. Network (1976) - 90% 5. Apocalypse Now (1979) - 100% 6. Metropolis (1927) - 100% 7. A Day Without a Mexican (2004) - 40% 8. Less Than Zero (1987) - 60% 9. Journeys With George (2002) - 70% 10. Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead) (1992) - 70% 11. The Red Shoes (1948) - 80% 12. Moon (2009) - 80% 13. The Circus (1928) - 80% 14. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - 90% 15. Bambi (1942) - 80% 16. Office Space (1999) - 80% 17. 11:14 (2003) - 60% 18. The Apartment (1960) - 90% 19. A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - 80% 20. A Midsummer Night?s Sex Comedy (1982) - 60% 21. Jaws (1975) - 70% 22. The Cameraman (1928) - 80% 23. Mildred Pierce (1945) - 90% 24. Groundhog Day (1993) - 80% 25. An American in Paris (1951) - 70% 26. Seven (1995) - 80%
Total films watched in 2011 so far: 146
Once again, I'm definitely behind on my watching pace. If I were to keep this up, I'll only be up to 444 films by the end of the year. Fortunately, I'll be graduating in about 2 and a half weeks. This means summer break... which, in turn, means lots of extra time to catch up on films!
Anyways, I'll stop this right here. I hope you are all having a good day! Thanks for reading, and feel free to drop a comment down there. ;)
I've seen some members around RT do this Q&A blog already, so I'll just assume you guys know what to do. ;)
I think this is a neat idea. I feel like the site simply represents each person as a "machine", designed to just write reviews, post blogs, and make comments. Really, we are all so much more than that. We have opinions, experiences, feelings, and reactions that extend far beyond the scope of the interwebz. As Mr. Chaplin says in his revolutionary speech from The Great Dictator, "You are not machines!... You are men!". And women.
Anyways, go ahead and ask me anything. And I'll answer as honestly as possible. And yes, you may ask more than one question.
Ready, set, go!