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Piles' top 100 films of all-time

 
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Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 9:59:36 AM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
 
Hey y'all!

I've decided to kick off, at long last, my top 100 films of all time thread. However, I don't just want to post a list of 100 films, so I'm going to review them all and give some key stats (stars, director, year, language).

I don't claim to have seen every film, or at least most of them, and there are a lot of classics that I've yet to see. I don't watch enough foreign films, definitely, and that's reflected by the fact I only have around 15 of them on my list. I also have, of course, favorite and least favorite genres, and I don't really like Westerns in particular. Of course there are exceptions, but I haven't really seen many of the supposed greats from certain genres because of my general dislike of it as a whole.

However, I do think I've seen a hundred films worthy of status on my list. So, without any further ado, I'll kick off in a few moments with Number 100. Also, please remember that these 100 will be my first 100 reviews ever, so any pointers from you seasoned veterans would be appreciated.


I hope you enjoy, and please comment...


< Message edited by Piles -- 31/1/2008 10:03:20 AM >


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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 10:01:01 AM   
Piles


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Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
 
“I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.”

Director: Steven Spielberg. Starring: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfruss, Robert Shaw. Year: 1975. Language: English.

Jaws came out many, many years before Steven Spielberg decided to turn serious with Schindler’s List in 1993, and it is always good to return to the times when Spielberg just did movies to entertain. That’s not to say that films like Schindler’s List and Amistad aren’t impressive or ground-break, but returning to a time when the mighty beard dealt with villains that were completely fantastical and, if you excuse the pun, out of the blue, like a giant shark instead of real-life dictators and enslavers, it’s a lot easier to enjoy your time in front of the screen. And that’s what cinema is about, isn’t it?

Everybody remembers the plot for Jaws. Amity Island is under threat from a giant man-eater of the Selachimorpha variety, but only marine biologist and general shark know-it-all Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfruss) and Police captain Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) realize the full extent of the impending doom. Of course, worry and terror grips the small island and the natives go out into the blue with the hope of bringing home the shark and, in true movie fashion, the large reward fee. Several sharks are slaughtered, but Hooper and Scheider don’t believe it’s big enough.

Of course, they refuse to believe the story that the shark-worries should be over, but the town mayor refuses to close the beaches because the town’s attraction to tourists may diminish (someone should have told him that deaths by shark also seem to have that effect). However, after yet more attacks, the duo are commissioned to go out and capture the shark with the help of the mysterious and quite strange ‘Quint’ (Robert Shaw).

The film’s true power is in its suspense. We don’t see the shark for the first three quarters of the film, and although this was a genuine accident (Spielberg later admitted this was because they couldn’t get the mechanical shark to work), it works to the film’s advantage. The foreboding, and now iconic, tones of the film’s theme tune adding to the suspense as they slowly and gently build up to the explosive finale. There’s no scarier moment in film than when we first see the shark, except, maybe, when we first here that music.

The characters are, however, thinly characterized and somewhat two-dimensional. Brody’s only defining feature or attribute is his ironic fear of water and Hooper doesn’t seem to have anything about him at all. Quint is the film’s key character; both interesting and mysterious. As we learn more about the slow-talking, husky-voiced fisherman he only gains in interestingness. Without Quint, the film would drift slowly into a monster-movie where the monster is the only interesting thing about it, and the fisherman’s speech about a real-life shark attack still remains as one of the best movie monologue of all-time.

Jaws is truly one of the greats for the simple reason that it’s entertaining to people of all ages. Whether you’re ten years old and experiencing the revelation of the shark for the first time, or forty and witnessing it for the hundredth, it’s still as thrilling and frightening as ever. It has, and surely will for many years to come, survived time and repeated viewings. If you don’t like Jaws, you are either an elitist who’s forgotten what an entertaining movie is, or an orange. Simply a must see.


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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 10:01:55 AM   
Piles


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Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
 
”The scorpion is an arachnoid species found in various parts of the world. Its tale comprises of five prismatic joints. The pincers, recalling those of a larger crayfish, are instruments of aggression and information.

Director: Luis Bunuel. Starring: Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque. Year: 1930. Language: French.

Luis Bunuel’s 1930 film ‘L’Age D’Or’ (The Golden Age) is often called the greatest surrealist film of all time, and it doubtlessly is. However, it’s also much more than that. It defies genre. You can’t just call it a ‘surrealist’ movie and hope that the person you’re talking to will understand what it’s about, but summing it up into one word is catastrophic. It’s a comedy, it’s a tale of romance, it’s a fantasy. You could say that it’s the kind of film that has something for everyone. However, if you did say that, you’d be wrong.

It’s plot is loose, but more firm than other Bunuel inventions. In the most sustained of the several interwoven vignettes, a young man and woman wish to consummate their love, but their attempts at doing so are thwarted by everything from their parents to society in general. However, there are other strands that don’t really seem to fit in with our main story (Christ turning up at an Orgy… four men struggling through the mountains to go to war only to die on their way…), but that’s the beauty of the surrealism. Each vignette fits into the category of both surrealism and symbolism, but it takes an awful lot of thought for you to fit the puzzle together.

All of them, however, are about freedom and liberty in the face of adversity. Linked weakly if at all, they are more a series of shorts than a feature length picture, each of which are as – if not more – shocking than the last, culminating in an image that caused outrage and still has the power to shock. It’s not surprising that, in the years where ‘Nosferatu’ can be rated R, this film was banned for over fifty years.

I said that this film was not for everyone, and less people will like it than hate it, but it doesn’t stop the fact that you have to watch it at least once. It’s power to shock, anger and generally bemuse people will never lose its potency, and its short running time do nothing to stop how tough of a watch it is.

This isn’t the kind of film you’ll watch and instantly say ‘I loved it’, it’s a film you’ll watch and think about. It lives long in the memory, and I challenge anyone to watch the final seconds of this film - which link it back to our opening shots of scorpions in the wild - and not sit still in your chair for a few moments as the screen goes black.


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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 10:03:38 AM   
Piles


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“You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.”

Director: Harold Ramis. Starring: Bill Murray, Andy MacDoweel, Chris Elliot. Year: 1993. Language: English.

Harold Ramis's delightful rom-com is one of the most heart-warming and funniest films on the 1990s. Under-achieving on its initial release, Groundhog Day has since overcome the test of time in order to become one of the most loved comedies in cinema history.

Bill Murray is Phil Connors, a weatherman for Channel 7 Pittsburgh, who wants a lot more out of life. Andy McDowell is Rita, his producer, an ever-cheerful woman who wants success in addition to a family. However, when they get caught in Punxatawney by a blizzard whilst covering the annual Groundhog Day event, something very strange happens. Phil wakes up the next morning to find out he is reliving the same day over... and over... and over again.

On the surface it seems a silly, fluffy rom-com, but when you look deeper it's much more. It's unique in the fact that the main character is someone you can identify with - a middle-aged ego-centric man who wants nothing more than a pay rise - and his way of handling the situation is what you could imagine yourself doing. First, he uses his curse for his own benefits, then for someone else's (whilst still hoping to gain something at the end of it), and then in completely selfless acts. But the true beauty of the film is the fact that Ramis never concerns himself with explaining the magical happenings, instead, he lets the comedy and the heart-warming sentiments speak for themselves.

Phil Connors is not what you expect from your usual weatherman. In fact, he’s the probably the complete opposite of what you’d expect. He’s bitter on life, and only when his existence takes a turn for the worse does he begin to appreciate his life. He goes though an expected – and to be honest, a pretty predictable – uplift. But we don’t care if it’s a little predictable, because his bitter wise-cracking seems to stick around, and any clichéd happenings are forgotten as Bill Murray relishes such lines as “my years are not advancing as fast as you might think”.

Bill Murray is at his wry best, delivering what is arguably his career-best. He hits the bitter old persona perfectly, and the hopelessly in love one even better. It's unfortunate, however, that the supporting cast doesn't really live up to his brilliance. Andy McDowell is annoying, and her poetry recital is cringe-worthy. Chris Elliot is patchy, and his one-liners are hit and miss. But, seen as Murray gets ninety per cent of the screen-time, that isn't really a major problem.

All in all, Groundhog Day is one of my favourite comedies of all time, and it should be yours too. It's not clever in the writing or the acting, but it does expect its audience to be clever in not worrying about logistics and embracing it for what it is; a comic masterpiece.


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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 4:05:17 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

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Since no one else will I'll keep you company Piles  Nice list so, not sure about Jaws being there, although I can see where it is.  Keep it up!

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 4:59:47 PM   
Piles


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Thanks, ElephantBoy. I was wondering if I was going to be posting to an empty audience, but I'll keep going regardless!

Yeah, Jaws is a funny one. I said how much I loved it to a group of friends, and some where in agreeance, some said it was good entertainment but nothing that should touch a top 100, and one said it was far too low and was his favorite film of all time. I suppose it's a matter of personal opinion :P.

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 5:03:37 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

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I like it without question, just wouldn't be in my list of the top 100 films of all time.

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 5:13:04 PM   
doncopey1


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3 Great films and reviews to open up with, nice diverse choices But good to see Groundhog Day though really love that film!

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 5:40:38 PM   
Piles


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"No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!”
 
Director: Guy Hamilton. Starring: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe. Year: 1964. Language: English.
 
If you ask any die-hard Bond fan to recommend one of 007's pictures to a newcomer to the franchise, they would undoubtedly say Goldfinger. It's not necessarily the best Bond film technically, but it contains the best of a lot of Bond's essential categories. Most would say it has the best villain, the best henchman, the best car, the best girl, and naturally the best Bond, all resulting in a film worthy of 007 status.

Bond is sent to investigate Auric Goldfinger, a man that the bank of England suspects of stockpiling massive amounts of Gold Bullion. On his mission, he uncovers a diabolic plot to raid the Fort Knox bank in Louisville in order to inflict chaos on western economy.

The plot is, in true Bond fashion, overly outlandish (a flying, cutting bowler hat!). However, unlike the latter films to their disaster, it is grounded in reality. Goldfinger's true atrocities are his cynicism and his greed. He is the most three dimensional Bond villain of all-time, and the writers of the most recent bond flicks should watch and re-watch this film until they realise how they should do a villain properly. Take 'Renard' or 'Gustav Graves' and you'll realise how shallow and two-dimensional in comparison to Goldfinger. They have no under-lying motives or interesting, internal characteristics that separate them from their henchmen. Ask anyone to name a Bond villain and their immediate response will be 'Goldfinger', and after watching his scenes with Bond, licking his lips with joy as his laser moves closer and close to 007, it's easy to see why.

Connery will always be, unless there is any breakthrough phenomenon in 007's seemingly eternal lifetime, the best Bond. He always seems to find the definitive line between a serious, gritty void of personality (Timothy Dalton) and a wise-cracking comedy act who can't be taken seriously (Roger Moore) and stick to the right side of it. He delivers his lines with a schoolboy-style giddiness that suits Bond to a tee, but when he gets down to the serious business like chasing Odd Job or the climactic battle with Goldfinger, he seems to become the embodiment of an MI6 agent; noble, tough, and always – even in the face of death – an elegant, dignified Englishman.

The film generally survives on its excellent set-pieces. Everybody remembers Bond lying on the table with his legs spread and the red laser slowly penetrating its way to his nether-regions, but there is a rich abundance of exciting and memorable situations. There's Odd Job taking a statuette's head off with his bowler, the climactic showdown between Bond and Goldfinger, and the hero and the villain's initial battle over a game of gin rummy. It boasts some of Bond's most memorable moments, and it hasn't been bettered for excitement since, even with the rise of the Special Effects machine.


Everybody had their favourite Bond film, and it's a natural reaction for it to be Goldfinger. Its popularity has almost lead to the next generation of Bond fans boycotting its allure and regard other, weaker Bond films as its superior. However, there are a select few Bonds that can be classed as on the same level as the third 007 action flick (the most obvious examples being the earlier two), and there are reasons why Goldfinger is often cited as the pinnacle outing of everyone's favourite British spy. After everyone forgets your 'Tomorrow Never Dies' and your 'Live and Let Dies', Goldfinger will always endure. A true, British classic.


< Message edited by Piles -- 31/1/2008 5:41:21 PM >


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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 5:43:46 PM   
Leomuse


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Nice banners, sir/madam.

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 5:49:16 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
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Sir , and thank you, sir/madam.

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 7:33:20 PM   
Piles


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"You don't know how lucky you are being a monkey. Because consciousness is a terrible curse. I think. I feel. I suffer. And all I ask in return is the opportunity to do my work. And they won't allow it... because I raise issues.”

Director: Spike Jonze. Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich. Year: 1999. Language: English.

Being John Malkovich is the exact definition of a cult favourite. It will not be loved by everyone, but those who love it would recommend it at a drop of a hat, and those who hate it would still agree that it's a must-see.

Craig Schwartz (Cusack) is a struggling puppeteer who can't seem to get ahead in the business because, as he puts it, 'raises issues'. He's married to animal-loving Lotte (Diaz, on career-best form), who encourages him to get a job. Craig obliges and begins work as a filer, and due to his digit-nimbleness he acquires a talent for his work. He begins to acquaint himself with his boss, Dr Lester (an exuberantly weird Orson Bean), and a co-worker, Maxine (Catherine Keener), who both he and his newly-curious wife Lotte develop a crush on. It seems like we're entering rom-com territory, until an unprecedented and inspired plot twist leads to Maxine and Craig finding a portal into the mind of John Malkovich – an actor that all of the character's agree is very well-respected and influential, but can't actually name anything he's been in.

The people are mostly repulsive. Craig is flawed, Malkovich is superficial and Maxine is power-driven to the point of being un-relatable. Even Lester, the personification of a nice old man at first sight, turns out to be as rotten as the others. It's only Lotte who really shines a good, genuine person in the entire film, depicting the creator's view of the ratio of good to bad in the real world. There's not many more harrowing sights in 90s film that Lotte, caged with Elijah the Gorilla, talking to the animal as if it were her equal. And in many ways, it is; a simple, caring being with no inner plight for power or recognition, she's just happy to be who she is.

The key to Being John Malkovich is its plot. Just when you think it is heading in one direction, it twists time and time again to the point where you don't know when the next turn is coming. It's characters elevate and fall in importance at the drop of the hat, and the good guys turn in to the bad guys and back again within single scenes. It's a vibrant, roller coaster ride mixed with dull, drab cinematography that mixes into a weird yet wonderful cocktail of excitement within despair.

It also boasts career-quality performances by John Cusack and Cameron Diaz. Whilst Cusack was great in both High Fidelity and Con Air, he never returned to the standard he set in Being John Malkovich. Diaz, on the other hand, has simply fallen into the obscurity of being another Hollywood Sweetheart who picks rolls that will make her famous, but won't make her a critic's favourite in the way that Being John Malkovich did. Malkovich himself plays along with the fun in great fashion. He has an under-rated, soft-spoken dark comic touch that isn't better exemplified in any film than in this one.

 
I have yet to meet anyone who responded to BJM with a simple "meh”. If nothing else, it leaves an impression on the beholder. Its opinions on human-control are as poignant as A Clockwork Orange without any of the violence but all of the impact. BJM is, without a doubt, a modern classic that will stand the test of time.


< Message edited by Piles -- 31/1/2008 7:34:07 PM >


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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 7:53:38 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
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"… Freedom!”

Director: Mel Gibson. Starring: Mel Gibson, Bryan Cox, Catherine McCormack. Year: 1995. Language: English.

 
The birth of sword and sandals epics took the form of this 1995 Academy Award best picture winner - and although it probably shouldn't have won the award in terms of technical prowess - it still goes down as the most moving, inspiring and breathtaking pictures of the year.

It's the story of William Wallace (Mel Gibson), the Scot rebel who seeks to repel King Charles from his thrown in England. The King has been making evermore unusual laws as regards to the Scots, and is preparing for his final purge and conquer of the highlands. The task falls to Wallace and his small clan of Scots to initially hold back the English onslaught, and then finally move into England with the hopes of issuing an ultimatum to the king; give us our freedom, or we burn more of your cities.

Everyone would agree that Braveheart is certainly Mel Gibson's greatest hour (that is excluding the opinion of rom-com loving housewives), and he shines in his role as the rebel captain. He plays the initial love scenes well, as you would expect, and handles the slight humour of Wallace with ease. It is, however, the action scenes that really make Gibson in this picture. From the second he rallies his troops, to the hand-to-hand combat with the English armies, to the surreal Horse-riding scene - Gibson's impressive form lends a sense of realism to the proceedings. And for once, an American nails a British accent. Aside from his obvious acting prowess, though, he brings a lot to the table behind the camera. This is a revelation in terms of directions. Actors often make great directors because of their knowledge of a fellow performer's mind. Mel Gibson is a fine example of an actor venturing behind the camera with exemplary effect, and although his latter attempts at re-kindling the magic (Passion of the Christ was controversial but not excellent, and Apocalypto is an excellent enigma of a film but no Braveheart) fell just short, he's clearly going to have a great, prosperous career behind the camera.

The choreography (or lack of) of the fight scenes actually works as a plus point. With, say, the Lord of the Rings, a lot of the battle scenes do seem choreographed and ordered. Take the battle of Helm's Deep for instance, the Elves seem almost robotic in their defence of the city. In Braveheart, however, you don't get that. Instead, we get a sense of organized chaos, that seems more real than many other big-screen epics.

Despite Braveheart's shortcomings (the performance of Catherine McCormack as Murron, for instance, is understated to the point of being dull), it is still thoroughly enjoyable and enthralling from start to finish. It's not until the ending, with Wallace's last cry, that it hits home how great the film you are watching actually is. Probably not the best of 1995 (a pretty good year for film), but it could well be the most loved, and indeed the one that will remain popular for the longest.


< Message edited by Piles -- 31/1/2008 7:54:17 PM >


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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 10:49:33 PM   
PB~!


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Great list so far.  Goldfinger is my favourite Bond flick, and I also LOVE Jaws. Not a big braveheart fan myself, but it has been along time since I watched it.  I may try again with it.

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 31/1/2008 10:59:08 PM   
clownfoot


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Braveheart sucks balls! Apart from that a good list. Evil Dead 2 better be in there somewhere. I mean, if you've lowered yourself into placing Braveheart in the 100 it would be near enough criminal not to have Evil Dead 2 higher!!

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 2:51:19 AM   
ElephantBoy

 

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My thoughts too.  Goldfinger and BJM are great choices!

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 5:24:53 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


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All good choices so far (well, I haven't seen the Golden Age but it looks good!)

I'd have Jaws a great deal higher but that's just me. Keep up the good work

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 7:54:41 AM   
homersimpson_esq


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Just noticed this list - had a flick through to see the films. Great choices so far - although Jaws is much lower than I'd have it, and Braveheart much, much, much, much higher... (Hey, I'm English, I don't like the film!) I'll have a read of the reviews later when I have more time, but wanted to echo the previous sentiment - great banners for the films. Might have to do something like that meself when I get round to doing a top films in the summer! 

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 8:15:33 AM   
Piles


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Aw come on, Braveheart is awesome! It's so historically inaccurate, but so entertaining too. I think it gets a hard time when it deserves recognition for Gibson's part behind and on camera alone!

Next couple of reviews will be up today :P.

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 9:07:20 AM   
hanswurst


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I think you are right about Braveheart and I really like your list so far, good reviews, good choices...

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 10:57:20 AM   
Kadaj


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L'Age D'or is superb, it's a complete mind-fuck but a brilliant experience. Undoubtedly enhanced my love for Luis Bunuel and surrealist film in general. Brilliant choice, keep the variety up.
 
By the way, have just noticed- have all our post counts decreased for some reason?


< Message edited by Kadaj -- 1/2/2008 10:59:24 AM >

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 11:26:01 AM   
ElephantBoy

 

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What Breaveheart is, is way too long and over the top.  The direction is passible at best and there really could've be someone much more suited to the role then Mel.  The trouble is he's taken it all serouis as he thinks he's creating a masterpiece.  Otherwise he might have pulled it off.

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 11:52:25 AM   
CORLEONE

 

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Jaws should be higher! Good list though Piles. Look forward to seeing The 'Burbs in here at some stage....

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RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 1:17:11 PM   
Piles


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I understand what you mean, but I do disagree :P. It can be a bit melodramatic at times, but it's still inspirng. I agree that it wasn't the best film of '95, far from it, but it is still very, very good. Anyway, moving on to number 94...
 
 
"If I am the Phantom, it is because man's hatred has made me so... If I shall be saved, it will be because your love redeems me.”

Director: Rupert Julian. Starring: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kelly. Year: 1925. Language: English.

Lon Chaney is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best silent film actor – if not the most famous. He effortlessly transforms himself at the drop of a hat to anyone or anything, to the point where parents used to tell their children "don't step on that spider, it might by Lon Chaney in disguise!” Not everyone in the movie business deserves their reputation – good or bad – but Lon Chaney deserves every single accolade that's placed upon him.

The story of the Phantom of the Opera is common knowledge thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical and Gerard Butler's 2005 abomination, but it's the 1925 Chaney version that really sticks closest to the source material. A mysterious phantom haunts a Paris opera house, and when new buyers purchase the deeds to the building, they're told about the phantom and react with flippant, unbelieving expressions. Of course, this is to their doom, as the phantom begins to haunt the opera house with the agenda of getting them to give the leading part in their major play to a young starlet, played by Mary Philbin.

The story is thin on its feet, and some of the set pieces aren't as strong as they could be, but the film's overwhelming positives stretch the story out to the point that you believe it's better than it is. First and foremost, Lon Chaney is instrumental in the film's success. He's imposing and frightening as the Phantom, commanding the screen with every bit of presence he can muster. Philbin, too, plays her character excellently, mixing pure terror with a feminine curiosity when she gets dragged down to the Phantom's lair. The supporting cast enjoy carrying success, with the major down-point being Norman Kelly's interpretation of the Phantom's chief love rival. He's a black hole of charisma at best.

Despite some of the scenes being a little weak (the final chase down the streets of Paris being the chief example), the Phantom of the Opera boasts many impressive set pieces. The most obvious example is the revelation of the Phantom's disfigured, skull-like face, which still has to power to shock and repulse even over eighty years on. The chandelier drop, too, is an impressive fete, as you know that in 1925 they'd have to drop that thing for real. The only colour sequence in the film, as well, is memorable. The phantom walks into the  masked ball with all of the menace that he possessed as his caped crusader, yet with a certain elegance about him that suggests something about his popularity and stature before his disfigurement. The phantom says, at one point, "if I am the Phantom it's because man has made me so,” suggesting his shunning from society because of his disturbing, yet superficial, disability. Does this, somehow, explain why he is like he is?

The score, however, is a major disappointment. For a major motion picture, you'd have thought that the composers and editors would have found appropriate placing for their score, which – as individual pieces – is excellent. You find yourself listening to imposing, menacing tones in simple, mundane scenes, and sometimes even sweet, melodic harp music in the darker scenes. It's not a matter of bad music, just misplaced music.

 
It really is a shame that the 1925 version of this story is beginning to slip off the map. As more and more people shun silent films as old-fashioned (which they are) and therefore un-watchable (which they most definitely aren't), future generations will see less and less of Lon Chaney's excellent, source-faithful interpretations of one of the most memorable 'villains' in screen history. Just for the unmasking, this should definitely be in your 'to watch' list.


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Top 100 Moz Songs / Top 100 Films

(in reply to CORLEONE)
Post #: 24
RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 1:29:20 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
I'm getting a little worried about posting this after the last swords and sandals picture I included, but this is pretty much the last one .
 

 
"Five thousand of my men are out there in the freezing mud. Three thousand of them are bloodied and cleaved. Two thousand will never leave this place. I will not believe they fought and died for nothing.”
 
Director: Ridley Scott. Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielson. Year: 2000. Language: English.

The swords-and-sandals genre may get a little bit of flack nowadays – following the average Troy and embarrassingly bad Alexander – but back in 2000 the release of Gladiator proved that (when done right) these types of films can work. And work it does.


Maximus Decimus Remidius (Crowe) is a general in the Roman army, holding onto the promise of freedom after one more battle. However, after a series of unfortunate events involving Joaquim Pheonix's Commodus murdering Richard Harris's Aurelius, Maximus learns the truth. He is ordered to execution, but after surviving the ceremony, Maximus rides home to his wife and son to find them raped and murdered. Another unfortunate series of events leads to Maximus's enslavement, where he is forced to fight as a gladiator. However, his natural fighting ability allow him to progress right up to Rome's coliseum, where an inevitable meeting with the new emperor awaits.  

It seems grandiose, and of course it is. However, hiding amongst this epic of majestic proportions is a nice little character study. The posters read 'the soldier who became a slave, the slave who became a gladiator, the gladiator who defied an empire', but the best part of this film is the betrayal that led to depression, the depression that led to anger, and the anger that led to revenge. It's Crowe's central character that keeps you watching, not the grand tiger fights (which are still kick-ass), and the man who has lost everything is where the key to this movie's success lies.  

Russell Crowe's finest hour (or three hours) comes in the form of this epic. He seems to always ooze hardness, but in other scenes he oozes humanity, something that his performances in, for example, LA Confidential lacks. He makes the audience care, and no matter how many men he kills (who are probably husbands and fathers – which is what we're supposed to like about Crowe), you are still always on his side. The hypocrisies of the film's title character – and in particular how easy it is to forget them – is a testament to both the writing and Crowe's performance. Without a shadow of a doubt, he thoroughly deserved his best Actor Oscar.

Ridley Scott does exactly what he does best. His grand scale shots are majestic and glorious, and it's undoubtedly one of the best looking of his films. However, he counters his grand shots of the coliseum and the emperor's halls with footage of the grim, dirty caves where the slaves are kept. He brings us back to earth with a thud, using the ying and yang to startling effect.

The supporting cast is also excellent. Joaquim Pheonix is both regal and disgusting in equal measures. Both his bloodthirsty ruling and his weird love for his sisters are believable, and he's smarmy enough to make us hate him rather than just his actions. Connie Nielson is slightly less convincing as Phoenix's sister. Her willingness to obey her brother even though she suspects him of the murder of their father alienates her from the audience, and the fact that we don't care about Maximus' love interest is why that sub-plot is the only poor side-step of the film.

But despite these minor quarms, a great script, expert direction and a career turn from Crowe really do put Gladiator into the upper quartile of war epics in terms of quality. It rejuvenated the whole genre.

< Message edited by Piles -- 1/2/2008 1:33:44 PM >


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Top 100 Moz Songs / Top 100 Films

(in reply to Piles)
Post #: 25
RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 1:42:16 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
 
This… is Phenodihydrochloride benzelex. Street name; the embalmer!

Director: Bruce Robinson. Starring: Richard E Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths. Year: 1986. Language: English.

You cannot say a bad thing about Withnail & I. Watching this film is one of the true great, entertaining cinematic experiences. From its rich, diverse performances to its bitter yet satisfying culmination, it doesn't put a foot wrong through its 100+ minute running time. Films don't rarely come in a perfect form, but for what it is, Withnail & I comes pretty damn close.

Withnail (Richard E Grant) and the first-person singular pronoun I (Paul McGann) are struggling actors who can't seem to get ahead in the business. Tired of their troublesome, mundane existences, they decide to go on a break. Enter the excellent Richard Griffiths as Withnail's eccentric Uncle Monty, from whom the pair of actors manage to secure some time away in the English countryside. However, the trials – ranging from the mundane (lack of Wellington boots) to the fantastical (a mad pheasant hunter on the rampage) - of life in the country cause their usually strong friendship to be put under pressure.

At the heart of the film is the relationship between Withnail and I. The nervous, anxious persona of I against the brash, confident personality of Withnail are played against each other with great effect. At face value, they're completely different from each other, but it's only when they're confronted with the same problems that we realise how alike they actually are. Take the scene in the pub where a man takes issue with I's perfumed boots. At first, I is happy to scarper away, but Withnail wants to pick a fight… until he meets the guy he's supposed to be fighting. Suddenly, he's whimpering and bailing like we'd expect I too, showing us he's not quite as confident or arrogant as he first seems.

The supporting characters, too, are excellent. Danny the drug dealer is an inspired character, making names up like 'Phenodihydrochloride benzelex' at the drop of the hat just to stay one step ahead of Withnail. His ego-centric attitude to everything is his key feature, and although he has limited screen time, he steals every scene he's in.

Of course, Withnail and I's greatest strength is its power to induce laughter fits in seconds. Producer Bruce Robinson once said 'I hate gags', and you can tell this quite distinctively from Withnail and I. There aren't really any jokes, yet it's still one of the funniest films of all-time, and at-least the funniest of the last twenty years. It boasts memorable, hysterical set pieces in an extraordinarily amount. Certain films benefit from having one, iconic, stand-out moment, but if you ask anyone to name their favourite Withnail and I moment, you'll get a different answer each time. And just for reference, mine is Withnail's fishing technique.

The film's strongest performance is Richard E Grant as Withnail. When I was first described to the character of Withnail, I was wondering why other actors weren't cast or at least approached for this role (can you imagine Rick Mayall attempting to fish with a rifle?), but it's only when you reach the final reel – with Withnail reciting a passage from Hamlet (his only sincere scene in the film) – that you realise just how important Grant is. He handle's the comedy and the sincerity with style, supplying belly laughs time and time again with his mad rants against everyone and everything. Also, Griffiths is absolutely fantastic. The eccentricities of Uncle Monty seem to have been written specifically for Griffiths, and his lusting after 'I' is both disturbing and hysterical in equal measures.

 
Withnail and I is simply a great British film. Although it has the ability to have anyone of any nationality rolling around in fits, the people who will truly get this film are the English. The sense of humour is quintessentially British, the characters are British in more than just their place of birth, and most importantly, every British person will know someone like Withnail or I. It reaches those parts that other comedies fail to touch, and for anyone who is content watching mediocre gross-outs like American Pie or Old School, this is a must; if only to find out what a real comedy looks like.


< Message edited by Piles -- 1/2/2008 1:43:03 PM >


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Top 100 Moz Songs / Top 100 Films

(in reply to Piles)
Post #: 26
RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 2:05:31 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
Great couple of films - I seem to be on for short snippets of time today, but I promise I'll read all the reviews so far (of films that I've seen, unless they're spoiler-free)!

In answer to the post thing, it's beginning of the month syndrome. I suspect mine will have dropped too. I did have over 4000, but there'll be less now. It usually rights itself tho after a few days.


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to Piles)
Post #: 27
RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 2:37:32 PM   
swordsandsandals


Posts: 12571
Joined: 6/1/2006
From: A magical forest
First up, Gladiator isn't high enough :)

I love these lists, and this one is turning out to be really interesting. I love the reviews (I've not read them all - I'm busy) but they are all really interesting. One note - Spielberg can still make entertaining films, can't wait for Indy IV!

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rawlinson

Swords is right about everything.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Hood_Man

Swords smells like bum.



(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 28
RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 3:26:53 PM   
CORLEONE

 

Posts: 4695
Joined: 2/11/2005
From: Nakatomi Plaza
Gladiator would be about 80 places higher in my list....

"If you find yourself walking in green fields with the sun on your face, then fear not. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead! What we do in life....echoes in eternity".

_____________________________

Al Swearengen: "Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back".

(in reply to swordsandsandals)
Post #: 29
RE: Piles' top 100 films of all-time - 1/2/2008 3:37:05 PM   
Rhubarb


Posts: 24508
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: No Direction Home
Quite an interesting list so far. There are naturally a couple that wouldn't be in my top 100, but it is good to see a couple, like Groundhog Day, that are worthy. Good list so far!

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Team Ginge
WWLD?


quote:

ORIGINAL: FritzlFan

You organisational skills sicken me, Rhubarb.



(in reply to CORLEONE)
Post #: 30
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