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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 1:19:08 PM   
great_badir


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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
 
126 Paths Of Glory, Stanley Kubrick (1957)In what may yet prove to be the defining performance of his career, Kirk Douglas (who's so pissed off with the French army, he doesn't even try a French accent) acts his socks off after disobeying direct orders, to prevent his men being slaughtered in an impossible mission.  One of the earliest anti-war films to come out of America and Kubrick's first major, A-list feature, it was (not suprisingly) frowned upon (ie banned) in France thanks to the overt criticisms of the military.  It also fell foul of censors in Spain and Germany as it was deemed rather too close for comfort to the end of WW2 for such and anti-military message to be made public.  Beyond the harsh commentary and stoic performances however, the real star of the show is Ludwig Reiber's production design, with Kubrick's camera (sometimes literally) capturing all of the grimly verite' filth and claustrophobia of trench warfare - a million miles away from the confortable studio sets that plagued most war films of the day.  Incredibly, Kubrick at one time tried to slip in a happy ending to ensure good box office but, thankfully, changed his mind at the last minute and went with...............well, the ending it's got now. Special mention:Sam Peckinpah's Cross Of Iron (1977) is to Vietnam what Paths Of Glory was to the Korean war and WW2.  Intensely critical of the military in general, James Coburn's Sergant Steiner shares the same level of bewilderness and distrust as Douglas's Colonel Dax - both men are confirmed brave and successful soldiers, but they feel out of place in wars where lives are spent and wasted as if it were a game, saving most of their bile for their superiors (all lauding it up comfortably with wine and good food).  Out of all of the films he made, Cross Of Iron (along with The Ballad Of Cable Hogue) was Peckinpah's personal favourite.  It's certainly the most prescient - both Glory and Iron are just as valid today as when they were first released, which goes to show how little has changed in fifty years. 

< Message edited by great_badir -- 7/2/2006 1:27:19 PM >


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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 1:19:41 PM   
great_badir


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125 Rushmore, Wes Anderson (1998)The Life Aquatic still misses the mark for me, The Royal Tenenbaums still seems like it's trying to be too odd and Bottle Rocket too minimal, which leaves Anderson's second feature Rushmore.  Tremendously quirky without being plain annoying, Rushmore lives and dies by its wonderful characters - not one of the many characters that pop in and out of the film feels out of place or unnecessary.  Bill Murray as Herman Blume is, of course, fried gold in what was his major comeback after a few years of career uncertainty.  He's equally matched by Jason Schwartzman's Max Fischer (who hasn't really been anywhere near as good since) as his foil/partner in crime, and love interest Olivia Williams is perfectly written and cast as teacher Rosemary Cross.  But top marks have to go to Seymour Cassell as Fischer Snr.  Normally cast as either a slimy business man or ageing hippy, Cassell is nothing short of genius as the much older barber with wisdom as his middle name, projecting low-key pain for his dead wife and genuine care for his wayward son.  Highlights of the film have to be the Max Fischer Group performances (extras to be found on the Criterion DVD), and Anderson favourite Kumar Pallana as Mr Littlejeans ("best play ever made"). 

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 1:30:17 PM   
The Don


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Very fucking good calls on Paths Of Glory and Mr. Hulot's Holiday, badir. Keep 'em coming!

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Post #: 33
RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 1:53:56 PM   
hozay


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Too right!! I'll add a "good call" for The Quiet Earth and Black Rain.
Hulots Holiday is my favourite Tati,hilarious.


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Post #: 34
RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 5:22:41 PM   
Leomuse


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I didn't particularly like Rushmore to be honest, though I loved The Royal Tenenbaums. The Life Aquatic was underwhelming. I haven't seen Anderson's Bottle Rocket yet.

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Post #: 35
RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 5:26:28 PM   
RebelScum


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From: Tatooine
Awesome call on Rushmore man, my personal Wes Anderson favourite. However you say that Jason Schwarztman hasn't been anywhere near as good since? I beg to differ! He's pure Max Fischer genius in I Heart Huckabees, a near grown-up version of the same character, and his deft comedic touch is the high-light of the recent Shopgirl. All in all I'd say he's one of America's most promising actors.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 5:45:35 PM   
DanielFullard


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Paths of Glory and Rushmore are both really awesome choices. This is a bloody good list so far mate

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Post #: 37
RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 5:53:29 PM   
livila


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I liked Rushmore, but found Max a really unlikeable character - he just annoys me. Great soundstrack, love Bill Murray. But, after Bottle Rocket I found Rushmore too cold.
I love Royal tennenbaums for repeat viewing - I didn't find it that odd.
The whole family theme did it for me.

I've not seen either of those two war movies - I must watch them soon!

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 7/2/2006 5:55:50 PM   
DanielFullard


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Indeed, livila. As I always say...if you only ever watch one war movie in your life make it Paths of Glory

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Post #: 39
RE: great badir's top 150 films - 8/2/2006 12:16:26 PM   
great_badir


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RebelScum

Awesome call on Rushmore man, my personal Wes Anderson favourite. However you say that Jason Schwarztman hasn't been anywhere near as good since? I beg to differ! He's pure Max Fischer genius in I Heart Huckabees, a near grown-up version of the same character, and his deft comedic touch is the high-light of the recent Shopgirl. All in all I'd say he's one of America's most promising actors.


Not seen Shopgirl yet, but I HATED every smug, holier-than-thou, oh-so-clever-clever, egotistical, self serving moment of Huckabees.  I was REALLY looking forward to seeing it (especially as my dad's hair is exactly the same as Hoffman's) and just spent the whole time with my mouth agog (in a bad way) at all the bollocks that it spewed out, with Schwartzman and Jude Law topping it off with excruciatingly bad, whiny performances.  Sorry, I just can't stick it.

To pick you up on the character of Max, livila, to be fair to Schwartzman (and i'm not usually), I think Max is supposed to be unlikable.  I mean, he never gets the audience sympathy that Blume, Dirk and Rosemary get, because he doesn't really deserve it.  I think this is shown by the ending - Max SHOULD have learnt his lesson and grown into a better person, but as the curtain closes it's almost clear (to me at least) that he really hasn't learnt anything at all and is merely planning his next move.  As for Tenenbaums, I have only seen it once, so that could be it.  I mean, I liked it fine, but it just seemed odd for oddness sake.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 8/2/2006 1:57:11 PM   
DanielFullard


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Are we getting anymore today Badir? Im enjoying this thread

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 8/2/2006 2:00:09 PM   
great_badir


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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: DanielFullard

Are we getting anymore today Badir? Im enjoying this thread


Probably not - just spent the last half an hour trying to past in a new entry to my Box Office Failures thread.

Forum's been so buggy lately.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 9/2/2006 5:50:58 AM   
livila


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quote:

ORIGINAL: great_badir

To pick you up on the character of Max, livila, to be fair to Schwartzman (and i'm not usually), I think Max is supposed to be unlikable.  I mean, he never gets the audience sympathy that Blume, Dirk and Rosemary get, because he doesn't really deserve it.  I think this is shown by the ending - Max SHOULD have learnt his lesson and grown into a better person, but as the curtain closes it's almost clear (to me at least) that he really hasn't learnt anything at all and is merely planning his next move.  As for Tenenbaums, I have only seen it once, so that could be it.  I mean, I liked it fine, but it just seemed odd for oddness sake.


I had a feeling he was supposed to be unlikeable - but I didn't enjoy disliking him on repeat viewings. I appreciate the film as a whole, but if I was asked to choose it would be my least favourite Wes Anderson film. I find the Tennenbaums a very warm film, the most accessible. But then again, I love films about families.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 9/2/2006 12:35:42 PM   
great_badir


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124 The 'Burbs, Joe Dante (1989)Not so long ago, a Tom Hanks film meant silly comedy.  Vying for placement at the top of the old-school Hanks comedy canon is The Money Pit (slightly marred by the over-rated Shelley Long) and Joe Dante's nasty little neighbourhood watch nightmare.  What sets The 'Burbs apart from Pit and most of the other candidates (Bachelor Party, Splash, The Man With One Red Shoe etc) is its broad canvas of eccentric characters (chief among these is next door neighbour Rick Ducommon and 'nam vet Bruce Dern), making Hanks the straight man for a change and adding even more laughs to his sardine allergy and overall can-crushing frustration of living next door to a family of insane European killers.  'Burbs is full of Dante riffs (Dick Miller, Robert Picardo, nightmareish visions, bones etc) and may well be Dante's, as well as Hanks', best.  At the very least, it's their most under-rated (with the possible exception of Dante's way ahead of its time Gremlins 2: The New Batch).  More good value for money comes from an against-type Henry Gibson, and the maniacal Brother Theodore as Gibson's brother.  "Red rover, red rover, let Ray go over!".  Class. 

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 9/2/2006 12:36:44 PM   
great_badir


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123 Waiting For Guffman, Christopher Guest (1996)The least known of Guest's latter day mockumentary trilogy, but for my money the best.  Guffman creeped up on me unexpectedly not too long after it came out.  Being a big fan of Spinal Tap, I was surprised that i'd not heard of Guest's latest and decided to watch it, not knowing what to expect.  About 10 minutes in I was hooked, and Guffman has swiftly become one of my favourite Guest films.  As with all of his mockumentarys, Guffman is scarily realistic - a small town puts on a play about its history (and future) and, to celebrate its sesquecentennial (that's 150th anniversary to me and you), enlists local extrovert stage director Corky St Clair (Guest) and introvert musical director Lloyd Miller (Bob Balaban), who gather together a group of very amateur actors, including lazy eyed dentist Eugene Levy.  Extremely naturalistic in execution (even moreso than Best In Show and A Mighty Wind), Guffman moves along from great moment to great moment, buoyed up by some brilliant performances with the under rated Bob Balaban (surely one of the finest American actors of the last forty years) effortlessly becoming his character.  The Guffman of the title, for anyone who hasn't seen it, is a highly regarded critic that Corky hopes will come to the show and make him (and the group) a national star. 

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 9/2/2006 12:37:25 PM   
great_badir


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122 Dekalog, Krysztof Kieslowski (1988)Kind of like a Polish Heimat (but on a smaller scale), Kieslowski's ten part mini-series that was so good it was released theatrically (usually with two parts showing back to back) is as good as Polish film-making ever got.  Okay, i'm cheating slightly here.  I could have chosen just one of the episodes, or plumped for one of the two brilliant expanded installments - A Short Film About Killing and a A Short Film About Love.  But taken as a whole, Dekalog is a perfect 9 hour microcosmic exploration of the ten commandments (but without being preachy) and blows Red, White & Blue clear out of the water.  Cruelly underseen to this day (even by many Kieslowski fans), Dekalog criss-crosses styles and genres all over the shop, but it all meshes together wonderfully thanks to the consistency in the quality of writing, directing and acting.  Favourite episode is hard to pick, but it's a toss up between the gently comic part 10 (AKA Thous Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour's Goods), or the heart breaking part 4 (AKA Honor Thy Father & Thy Mother), but all ten watched back to back is the way to go.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 9/2/2006 12:48:45 PM   
great_badir


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121 Spies Like Us, John Landis (1985)How do you follow a lofty, deep, intellectual and furrow browed nine hour Polish take on the ten commandments??  With a dumb cold-war comedy starring Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd, that's how.  Bursting with cameos, great sight gags and some genius Chevy moments (the exam, the surgery, the pretend aliens), juxtaposed with an all too real hover over the big red nuclear button.  Originally one of two major vehicles to star Aykroyd and John Belushi (the other being Ghostbusters), Spies eventually became a comedy bearing all the Chevy hallmarks.  But (and this is one thing that makes Spies so good) it's not just Chevy's movie - Aykroyd gives just as good, and the two together make for a brilliant (and under-used, if you ignore the shameful Nothing But Trouble and Caddyshack 2) double act.  Amazingly, it was one of the first American films to show a smoothing of American/Russian relations, whilst John Milius's personal wet dream Red Dawn was weighing political views down in the dark ages.  Just goes to show a dumb comedy isn't always as dumb as it seems!   

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 9/2/2006 1:11:58 PM   
great_badir


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120 Kokaku Kidotai (Ghost In The Shell), Mamoru Oshii (1995)The OTHER mind blowing anime' that people who don't like Manga tend to get on with, oddball Oshii's uber-intellectual masterpiece is filled to the brim with the kind of ideas and philosophies that The Matrix wanted to have.  Often (sometimes unfairly) compared with Akira, Kokaku is as far from Katushiro Otomo's epic as can be.  Whilst Akira, complex though it is, is content to slowly lead the viewer to a reasonably logical conclusion and explanation, Kokaku is a much vaguer and head scratching piece.  It's almost like Tarkovsky doing anime, such is the disjointed narrative and frankly odd dialogue that permeate the piece, and ten years on it's still a cracking possible future perhaps even more prescient now than it was then.  Unfortunate that it's advertised almost solely on its cyborg babe, it should be stressed that Kokaku is no Urotsukidoji teenage wank fantasy.  Now, can someone tell me what the Stand Alone Complex series is like???

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 9/2/2006 3:14:53 PM   
DanielFullard


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Im loving this list Badir...The Burbs is a great choice. A great tale of suburban paranoia and one of my favourite Hanks movies.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 10/2/2006 1:16:31 PM   
great_badir


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119 The Limey, Steven Soderbergh (1999)"TELL HIM I'M FUCKING COMING!!!!!"  Angry ex-con Brit (Terence Stamp) flies out to LA to find out what happened to his dead daughter.  Soderbergh's homage to Get Carter (trivia note - Michael Caine was originally down to play The Limey, Wilson) once again proved how versatile he is.  Going from laid back romantic comedy (Out Of Sight) to this thoroughly gritty revenge thriller in less than a year, the knives were ready (as they often still are) for Soderbergh with most critics expecting a crappy action film.  What actually came out was a slow burning mini masterpiece, with the extremely unexpected twist in the tail being that the whole thing has been a misunderstanding blown out to false proportions - to say that The Limey is unique is an understatement.  Aside from Soderbergh's frankly odd obsession with the most cliched of cockney rhyming slang (some scenes with chunky cockernee dialogue from Stamp were no doubt thought of as hilarious in the States, whilst over here they were a bit cringeworthy), it's a brilliant little meditation on what motivates violence with (almost) no quarter offered.  The acting, whilst never poor, ranges from low key mesmerism, to stilted insouciance, to giddy animated enthusiasm, so an oddly mixed bag of styles and moods.  Stamp, though, is clearly the star - born to play Wilson (though it would have been interesting to see what the older Caine might have done with the role), he gives the whole thing an air of coolness and quality that would have otherwise been missing.  Essential for any Soderbergh fan. 

< Message edited by great_badir -- 10/2/2006 1:18:37 PM >


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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 10/2/2006 1:51:38 PM   
great_badir


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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
 
118 La Battaglia di Algeri, Gillo Pontecorvo (1965)
You would think that a film put together by a war torn country's government would show that country as either victims to harsh and evil invaders, as heroes, or both.  Amazingly, Battaglia (largely financed by the Algerian government) looks at the Algerian revolution from both sides of the war - the home country and the invading French.  Battaglia was decades ahead of its time and was banned in several countries well into the 70s, with a major snubbing in France, somewhat unfairly - it's as even handed (or critical, depending on your point of view) with the French as it is with the Algerians, constantly juxtaposing both sides' techniques, methods and rules of engagement.  What startles most about Battaglia is its stark documentary like battle scenes, expecially when you consider that they were (as was the whole film) done on a shoestring, with most of the budget going on the locations.  I remember the first time I came across Battaglia - my dad was watching it on BBC2 sometime in the late 80s, and I remember thinking at the time that it must have been archive newsreel footage.  It wasn't until several years later that I realised it was a feature film and all acted out (but, obviously, with a factual historical background).  Even now, Pontecorvo's film all seems grimly, some would say, hardcore realistic.  It's by no means an easy film to sit through, but it's very rewarding. Special mention:Oliver Stone's Salvador (1986) is not only coming on with age as one of Stone's best films, it's also as close as any American film-maker has got to the harsh reality of Pontecorvo's Battaglia.  Although it chiefly follows Richard Boyle's time as a frontline journalist in El Salvador during the military dictatorship, it also looks at the true life bigger picture - civil riots, senseless murder, killing grounds and the gut wrenching rape and murder of a group of nuns who were only there to help with human rights.  Slavador is also one of the most uncomfortable films ever made - with the opening fifteen to twenty minutes, you start to think you're actually watching a black comedy thanks to the James Woods and Jim Belushi double act, but it's not long before things take a nasty turn and the truth comes out.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 11/2/2006 2:09:55 PM   
DanielFullard


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Ah the wonder that is Salvador
 
Come on Badir...Im getting withdrawl symptons with all this waiting


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You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 13/2/2006 12:20:36 PM   
great_badir


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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: DanielFullard

Ah the wonder that is Salvador
 
Come on Badir...Im getting withdrawl symptons with all this waiting




Patience DF - I do have to write the capsules before posting!!!

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 13/2/2006 12:21:00 PM   
great_badir


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117 The Long Riders, Walter Hill (1980)Coming in at the very tail end of the western's popularity, Hill's lovingly rendered take on the James/Younger gang escapades was probably the last great western until Lawrence Kasdan's under-rated Silverado.  It looks great too - great period costume (long duster jackets, lots of tweed), great locations and a subtle brown bias, giving the film an almost sepia-toned look about it.  As a bonus, lending the film an air of almost unique gravitas is a cast of actual brothers (Carradines, Keaches, Quaids and Guests - all excellent) and a more accurate portrayal of the gang, ending up as perhaps the first ultra realistic oater.  Eastwood-esque in execution (slow, dusty character drama winning out over gun fights and all-American John Wayne heroics), it's almost an anti-western with neither side presented as clearly good or bad.  Not that it doesn't have its gunfights, mind - the best sequence in the film is the Peckinpah tinged slo-mo finale with gunshot sounds played backwards, giving it an eerie, timeless feel similar to Butch & Sundance's freeze-frame send-off.        

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 13/2/2006 12:48:51 PM   
Who'sTheDaddyNow?


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Bravo! I'm really enjoying this list........for the simple fact that, your little caption review thingys are making me think.. "mmm.....I wanna see that - Let's track it down!"

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 13/2/2006 1:43:51 PM   
great_badir


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116 The Name Of The Rose, Jean-Jacques Annaud (1986)One of Sean Connery's great performances (also see Sidney Lumet's films The Offence, The Hill and the otherwise mediocre Family Business - Lumet was one of Connery's best directing influences), Annaud's screen version of Umberto Eco's labyrinthine middle-ages murder mystery stays pretty close to the source novel (albeit scaling back on Eco's darker "comedy" asides) following an English monk's investigations into the unusual deaths of several benedictines.  Although the acting (top marks go to Connery, Ron Perlman and Helmut Qualtinger, who died just hours after his last scene was filmed) and script are great, the trump cards go to the production design by Scorsese favourite Dante Ferretti (who designed the featured castle from scratch after Annaud could not find an existing one that satisfied his ideas) and the cinematography by spaghetti western supremo Tonino Delli Colli.  Even though it's hard to take a (very) young Christian Slater as Connery's eager assistant, he's actually very good, especially considering he was only 15 at the time.  And there's far more going on than the whodunnit - with allusions to witch hunts and the Spanish Inquisition, numerous philosophical debates on religion and science (one of a very small number of films that deal with the subject so even-handedly) and some good lessons about the differences between all the monk factions on show. 

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 13/2/2006 1:44:17 PM   
great_badir


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115 Flaklypa Grand Prix, Ivo Caprino (1975)The animated equivalent of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon (it played in a cinema somewhere in the world every day for about 30 years and is shown on Norwegian TV every christmas eve), this insanely brilliant stop-motion masterpiece (from Norway, of all places) reveals more every time you see it.  Some five plus years in the making, Caprino's last film is, on the surface, your basic triumph over adversity tale with a little bit of influence from films like Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines and The Great Race (there's a big race and a bit of nasty rivalry going on).  But scratch away a bit and you'll soon realise that there's plenty of intelligent commentary on friendship, trust, society and the reality of good not always winning out over bad.  Caprino (thought of as an all-round genius in his home country) was one of the first film-makers to mix adult themes and realism into kids cartoons, creating much richer tapestries than the likes of Disney had managed.  It's a technical marvel too - most of the stop-motion and camera techniques Caprino himself invented (many of them specifically for Flaklypa) are still in use today, and the attention to detail is jaw dropping (every minor background character and their actions have been as lovingly crafted as the main characters).  For years it barely got a look-in outside of Norway and surrounding countries, but since then it's had something of a rebirth.  Unfortunately, there's still no sign of the US english language 30th anniversary DVD that was mooted in 2004, so instead you'll either have to find a 20-odd year old VHS, or plump for the english unfriendly Norwegian special edition.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 13/2/2006 2:02:21 PM   
great_badir


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114 For A Few Dollars More, Sergio Leone (1965)Only his third film as full-time director (and we can't really count The Colossus Of Rhodes, as it was a studio locked pic that he had little control over), and Leone was already oozing confidence with a genre that, up to that point, had been dominated by Americans.  Whilst it's negotiable as to who actually kick started the spaghetti western genre (english director Michael Carreras's Tierra Brutal [AKA The Savage Guns] was the first acknowledged spag western, filmed in '62 and planned over '60 and '61), Leone was the man who made it go global with A Fistful Of Dollars.  With the sequel, Leone had a bigger budget, a more layered story and Klaus "madder than a box of monkeys" Kinski (okay - he ain't in it that much) on board.  Despite not having the masterful epic feel of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, FAFDM is arguably the most entertaining of the dollars trilogy.  It's also the only Leone film with a definite happy ending (as long as you don't count the Leone "overseen" My Name Is Nobody).  Note for the lads - this is the Leone film you take your girlfriend to.

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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 13/2/2006 4:26:11 PM   
great_badir


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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
113 Badlands, Terrence Malick (1973)
Contrary to what most critics say, for me Badlands isn't Malick's best film.  But it's still a cracker and, unlike his other three, whips along in what seems like an incredibly brief 90 minutes.  Not surprisingly, it's also his least challenging, with the usual philosophy heavy voice-over replaced by Sissy Spacek's (intentionally) nonchalant and literal describing of events.  It's as stripped back as a Malick film can be - typically, the nature and scenic shots are there but they're quick and few and far between, with no emphasis on the man-versus-nature theme that Malick's three films following Badlands would concentrate on.  Instead, we're given a very human, bare bones love story with an added chase element (although the final credit proclaims that any similarity to factual events is coincedental, the film is very heavily based on the Starkweather/Fugate killings in '58), all set to some magnificent scenery.  Badlands is also one of those VERY rare occasions when we see and hear Malick on film, as a visitor to a household that Kit has taken hostage (due to the original actor not turning up, Malick decided to stand in as he was the only one who knew the few lines of dialogue) and is almost essential for that one short scene alone.


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RE: great badir's top 150 films - 13/2/2006 4:26:46 PM   
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 112 Idi i smotri (Come & See), Elem Klimov (1985)Gut wrenching Russian WW2 film, told from the point of view of a young Russian villager.  Although it's unfair to compare and contrast the two, Come & See is perhaps what Spielberg's Schindler's List SHOULD have been, at least in terms of the way the touchy subject is handled on screen.  Just to explain very briefly - for me, Schindler's List (shocking and important though the subject is) is very filmic.  By that, I mean that it plays fairly loose with the facts (the real Schindler, for example, wasn't quite the almost saint as portrayed in the almost romanticised film) and its main "villain" (and I use that term specifically) is painted in very broad and one sided strokes, with Ralph Feinnes giving one of those awful "zose Britisher dogs", saliva spewing panto villain performances.  It's almost scaling down and fictionalising the epic Shoah documentary (indeed, it was Spielberg's major influence for the film).  At the other end of the scale, Klimov's film is harsher, grittier and far more realistic, fully exploring the horrors of soldiers treating their morbid tasks literally as all in a day's work (check the horriffic scene when the village is raided, and the reactions of the nazis as they're burning people alive - no remorse, no glee, just stony-faced getting on with it whilst others kick a football around).  It's a world away from Spielberg and most other war films.  Klimov also adds a psychological dimension, taking time to examine the effects of war on different people and, by the time the credits roll, you feel like you've experienced a little bit of it yourself.

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