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The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. Now Complete.

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The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. Now Complete. - 14/12/2009 8:50:41 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

And so it begins. Seven months. Five counters. Thirty lists. Countless films.

Now, here on your computer screen, the most definitive list ever produced by something affiliated with Empire Magazine.

Educate yourself. Explore yourself. But, most importantly, enjoy yourself.

Disclaimer: The blurbs contained herein may contain spoilers. The administrators of the Top 1000 list take no responsibility for films spoiled by these blurbs, legal or otherwise.


1. Rear Window (1954; Alfred Hitchcock)

2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001 - 2003; Peter Jackson)

3. The Godfather (1972; Francis Ford Coppola)

4. Taxi Driver (1974; Martin Scorsese)

5. The Apartment (1960; Billy Wilder)

6. Blade Runner (1982; Ridley Scott)

7. Jaws (1975; Steven Spielberg)

8. Vertigo (1958; Alfred Hitchcock)

9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968; Stanley Kubrick)

10. Back to the Future (1985; Robert Zemekis)

11. There Will Be Blood (2007; Paul Thomas Anderson)

12. Goodfellas (1990; Martin Scorsese)

13. The Empire Strikes Back (1980; Irvin Kerschner)

14. Ikiru (1952; Akira Kurosawa)

15. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953; Kenji Mizoguchi)

16. Se7en (1995; David Fincher)

17. Citizen Kane (1941; Orson Welles)

18. The Third Man (1949; Carol Reed)

19. Pulp Fiction (1994; Quentin Tarantino)

20. Raging Bull (1980; Martin Scorsese)

21. Fight Club (1999; David Fincher)

22. Seven Samurai (1954; Akira Kurosawa)

23. Miller's Crossing (1990; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)

24. The Godfather Part 2 (1974; Francis Ford Coppola)

25. Casablanca (1942; Michael Curtiz)

26. City of God (2002; Fernando Meirelles; Katia Lund)

27. Once Upon a Time in America (1984; Sergio Leone)

28. Amelie (2001; Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

29. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007; Andrew Dominik)

30. The Shawshank Redemption (1994; Frank Darabont)

31. Lawrence of Arabia (1962; David Lean)

32. L.A. Confidential (1997; Curtis Hanson)

33. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004; Michel Gondry)

34. Brazil (1985; Terry Gilliam)

35. The Big Lebowski (1998; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)

36. The Usual Suspects (1995; Bryan Singer)

37. Apocalypse Now (1979; Francis Ford Coppola)

38. Chinatown (1974; Roman Polanski)

39. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943; Micheal Powell, Emeric Pressburger)

40. Come and See (1985; Elem Klimov)

41. It's a Wonderful Life (1946; Frank Capra)

42. Aguirre – The Wrath of God (1972; Werner Herzog)

43. Alien (1979; Ridley Scott)

44. The Dark Knight (2008; Chris Nolan)

45. Ran (1985; Akira Kurosawa)

46. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968; Sergio Leone)

47. A Clockwork Orange (1971; Stanley Kubrick)

48. Badlands (1973; Terrence Malick)

49. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981; Steven Spielberg)

50. Singin' in the Rain (1952; Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen)

51. Some Like It Hot (1959; Billy Wilder)

52. Bicycle Thieves (1948; Vittorio de Sica)

53. The Thing (1982; John Carpenter)
53. The 400 Blows (1959; Francois Truffaut)

55. City Lights (1931; Charles Chaplin)

56. Evil Dead 2 (1987; Sam Raimi)

57. Reservoir Dogs (1992; Quentin Tarantino)

58. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962; John Ford)

59. North By Northwest (1959; Alfred Hitchcock)

60. The Searchers (1956; John Ford)

61. Pan's Labyrinth (2006; Guillermo Del Toro)

62. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966; Sergio Leone)

63. Life of Brian (1979; Terry Jones)

64. Star Wars (1977; George Lucas)

65. Three Colours Blue (1993; Krzysztof Kieslowski)

66. His Girl Friday (1940; Howard Hawks)

67. Memento (2000; Chris Nolan)

68. Mulholland Dr. (2001; David Lynch)

69. Groundhog Day (1993; Harold Ramis)

70. Army of Shadows (1969; Jean-Pierre Melville)

71. No Country For Old Men (2007; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)

72. Pierrot le fou (1965; Jean-luc Godard)

73. Zodiac (2007; David Fincher)

74. L'Atalante (1934; Jean Vigo)

75. 12 Angry Men (1957; Sidney Lumet)

76. Spirited Away (2001; Hayao Miyazaki)
76. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975; Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones)

78. Dr Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964; Stanley Kubrick)

79. Sansho the Bailiff (1954; Kenji Mizoguchi)

80. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975; Milos Forman)

81. Rashomon (1950; Akira Kurosawa)
81. The Matrix (1999; Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski)

83. Touch of Evil (1958; Orson Welles)

84. Paths of Glory (1957; Stanley Kubrick)

85. Die Hard (1988; John McTiernan)

86. Unforgiven (1992; Clint Eastwood)

87. The Night of the Hunter (1955; Charles Laughton)

88. Schindler's List (1993; Steven Spielberg)

89. The Shining (1980; Stanley Kubrick)

90. Sunrise (1927; F.W. Murnau)

91. Double Indemnity (1944; Billy Wilder)

92. Fitzcarraldo (1982; Werner Herzog)

93. Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974; Jacques Rivette)

94. The General (1927; Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton)

95. Aliens (1986; James Cameron)

96. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1948; Robert Hamer)

97. Wall-E (2008; Andrew Stanton)

98. Boogie Nights (1997; Paul Thomas Anderson)

99. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939; Frank Capra)

100. The Wild Bunch (1969; Sam Peckinpah)

101. Toy Story (1995; John Lasseter)

102. Monsters, Inc (2001; Pete Docter)
102. A Bout de Souffle (1960; Jean-luc Godard)

104. Trainspotting (1996; Danny Boyle)

105. Three Colours Red (1994; Krzystof Kieslowski)

106. F For Fake (1974; Orson Welles)

107. Black Narcissus (1947; Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)

108. Grave of the Fireflies (1988; Isao Takahata)

109. The Terminator (1984; James Cameron)

110. La Haine (1995; Mathieu Kassovitz)

111. My Neighbour Totoro (1988; Hayao Miyazaki)

112. The King of Comedy (1983; Martin Scorsese)

113. Tokyo Story (1953; Yasujiro Ozu)

114. In Bruges (2008; Martin McDonagh)

115. Le Mepris (1963; Jean-luc Godard)

116. Airplane! (1980; Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)

117. The Elephant Man (1980; David Lynch)

118. Ghostbusters (1984; Ivan Reitman)

119. Halloween (1978; John Carpenter)

120. Shadow of a Doubt (1943; Alfred Hitchcock)

121. Days of Heaven (1978; Terrence Malick)

122. Forrest Gump (1994; Robert Zemekis)

123. Magnolia (1999; Paul Thomas Anderson)

124. Psycho (1960; Alfred Hitchcock)

125. Andrei Rublev (1966; Andrei Tarkovsky)

126. The Lion King (1994; Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff)

127. The Prestige (2006; Christopher Nolan)

128. If... (1968; Lindsay Anderson)

129. A Matter of Life and Death (1946; Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)

130. Oldboy (2003; Park Chan-wook)

131. My Darling Clementine (1946; John Ford)

132. Naked (1993; Mike Leigh)

133. Fargo (1996; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)

134. Paris, Texas (1984; Wim Wenders)

135. Beauty and the Beast (1991; Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise)

136. The Wind (1928; Victor Sjostrom)

137. Last Year at Marienbad (1961; Alain Resnais)

138. Amadeus (1984; Milos Forman)

139. Modern Times (1936; Charles Chaplin)

140. Blue Velvet (1986; David Lynch)

141. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957; David Lean)

142. My Winnipeg (2007; Guy Maddin)

143. Gladiator (2000; Ridley Scott)

144. Wild Strawberries (1957; Ingmar Bergman)

145. Stalker (1979; Andrei Tarkovsky)

145. Sans Soleil (1983; Chris Marker)

147. The Lives of Others (2006; Florian Henckel)

148. 12 Monkeys (1995; Terry Gilliam)

149. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948; John Huston)

150. Shaun of the Dead (2004; Edgar Wright)

151. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928; Carl Theodor Dryer)

152. Solaris (1972; Andrei Tarkovsky)

153. Heat (1995; Michael Mann)

154. Le Samourai (1967; Jean-Pierre Melville)

155. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000; Ang Lee)

156. Yojimbo (1961; Akira Kurosawa)

157. Barton Fink (1991; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)

158. White Heat (1949; Raoul Walsh)

159. Akira (1988; Katsuhiro Otomo)

160. The Roaring Twenties (1939; Raoul Walsh)

161. 8½ (1963; Federico Fellini)

162. The Exorcist (1973; William Friedkin)

163. Le Regle de jeu (1939; Jean Renoir)

164. Dekalog (1988; Krzystof Kieslowski)

165. Bringing Up Baby (1936; Howard Hawks)

166. Kill Bill (2003 - 2004; Quentin Tarantino)

167. The Departed (2006; Martin Scorsese)

168. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962; Robert Mulligan)

169. Full Metal Jacket (1987; Stanley Kubrick)

170. Rocco and his Brothers (1960; Luchino Visconti)

171. The French Connection (1971; William Friedkin)

172. Return of the Jedi (1983; Richard Marquand)

173. Sanjuro (1962; Akira Kurosawa)
173. Bigger Than Life (1956; Nicholas Ray)

175. The Red Shoes (1948; Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)

176. Moulin Rouge! (2001; Baz Luhrmann)

177. Rio Bravo (1959; Howard Hawks)

178. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969; George Roy Hill)

179. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993; Henry Selick)
179. Brief Encounter (1945; David Lean)

181. Leon (1994; Luc Besson)

182. Dog Day Afternoon (1975; Sidney Lumet)

183. Annie Hall (1977; Woody Allen)

184. In the Mood for Love (2000; Wong Kar-wai)

185. After the Thin Man (1936; W.S. Van Dyke)

186. The Ladykillers (1955; Alexander Mackendrick)

187. McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971; Robert Altman)
187. A Canterbury Tale (1944; Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)

189. M (1931; Fritz Lang)

190. Jackie Brown (1997; Quentin Tarantino)

191. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988; Terence Davies)

192. The Seventh Seal (1957; Ingmar Bergman)

193. Peppermint Candy (2000; Lee Chang-dong)

194. Fanny and Alexander (1982; Ingmar Bergman)

195. Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922; Fritz Lang)

196. L'avventura (1960; Michelangelo Antonioni)

197. The Asphalt Jungle (1950; John Huston)

198. Terminator 2 (1991; James Cameron)

199. Chimes at Midnight (1965; Orson Welles)

200. Sherlock, Jr. (1924; Buster Keaton)

201. The Lady Eve (1941; Preston Sturges)

202. A Woman Under the Influence (1974; John Cassavetes)

203. Lost in Translation (2003; Sofia Coppola)

204. Network (1976; Sidney Lumet)

205. Donnie Darko (2001; Richard Kelly)

206. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974; Sam Peckinpah)

207. Platoon (1986; Oliver Stone)

207. Barry Lyndon (1975; Stanley Kubrick)

209. Withnail & I (1987; Bruce Robinson)

210. Sunset Boulevard (1950; Billy Wilder)

211. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960; Mikio Naruse)

212. American Beauty (1999; Sam Mendes)

213. Spirit of the Beehive (1973; Victor Erice)

214. The Killer (1989; John Woo)

215. Chungking Express (1994; Wong Kar-wai)

216. Les Enfants du paradis (1945; Marcel Carne)

217. This is Spinal Tap (1984; Rob Reiner)

218. Hamlet (1996, Kenneth Branagh)

219. Atonement (2007; Joe Wright)

220. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989; Steven Spielberg)

221. The Double Life of Veronique (1991; Krysztof Kieslowski)
221. Manhattan (1979; Woody Allen)

223. Late Spring (1949; Yasujiro Ozu)

224. Only Angels Have Wings (1939; Howard Hawks)

225. The Wind Will Carry Us (1999; Abbas Kiarostami)

226. For a Few Dollars More (1965; Sergio Leone)

227. Mean Streets (1973; Martin Scorsese)

228. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964; Jacques Demy)

229. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966; Robert Bresson)

230. Requiem for a Dream (2000; Darren Aronofsky)

231. The Killing (1956; Stanley Kubrick)

232. The Kid (1921; Charles Chaplin)
232. The Leopard (1963; Luchino Visconti)

234. La Strada (1954; Federico Fellini)

235. The Gold Rush (1925; Charles Chaplin)

236. Partie de Campagne (1936; Jean Renoir)

237. Ed Wood (1994; Tim Burton)

238. Escape From New York (1981; John Carpenter)

239. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920; Robert Wiene)

240. United 93 (2006; Paul Greengrass)

241. The Princess Bride (1987; Rob Reiner)

242. The Big Sleep (1946; Howard Hawks)

243. Rififi (1955; Jules Dassin)

244. Batman Begins (2005; Chris Nolan)

245. Local Hero (1983; Bill Forsyth)

246. The Truman Show (1998; Peter Weir)

247. The Shop Around the Corner (1940; Ernst Lubitsch)

248. Saving Private Ryan (1998; Steven Spielberg)

249. The Wrong Trousers (1993; Nick Park)

250. Dawn of the Dead (1978; George A. Romero)

251. Le Silence de la Mer (1949; Jean-Pierre Melville)

252. Amarcord (1973; Federico Fellini)

253. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977; Steven Spielberg)
253. The Philadelphia Story (1940; George Cukor)

255. The Lady Vanishes (1938; Alfred Hitchcock)

256. Nostalghia (1983; Andrei Tarkovsky)

257. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948; Max Ophuls)

258. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974; Tobe Hooper)

259. The Mother and the Whore (1973; Jean Eustache)

260. Jules et Jim (1962; Francois Truffaut)
260. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992; James Foley)

262. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998; Terry Gilliam)
262. Amores Perros (2000; Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu)

264. Toy Story 2 (1999; John Lasseter)

265. Hard Boiled (1992; John Woo)
265. Breaking the Waves (1996; Lars von Trier)

267. La Dolce Vita (1960; Federico Fellini)

268. How Green was My Valley (1941; John Ford)

269. Drunken Master (1978; Yuen Woo-Ping)

270. Robocop (1987; Paul Verhoeven)

271. When the Wind Blows - (1986; Jimmy T. Murakami)

272. The Incredibles (2004; Brad Bird)

273. The Thin Red Line (1998; Terrence Malick)

274. The Grapes Of Wrath (1940; John Ford)

275. Masculin Feminin (1966; Jean-luc Godard)

276. Pather Panchali (1955; Satyajit Ray)

277. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring (2003; Kim Ki-duk)

278. Laura (1944; Otto Preminger)

279. The Thin Man (1934; W.S. Van Dyke)

280. American Psycho (2000; Mary Harron)

281. Le Doulos (1962; Jean-Pierre Melville)
281. The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927; Ernst Lubitsch)

283. The Proposition (2005; John Hillcoat)

284. La Chinoise (1967; Jean-luc Godard)

285. Floating Clouds (1955; Mikio Naruse)

286. Hunger (2008; Steve McQueen)

287. The 39 Steps (1935; Alfred Hitchcock)
287. Ride the High Country (1962; Sam Peckinpah)

289. The Mirror (1975; Andrei Tarkovsky)

290. Les Diaboliques (1955; Henri-Georges Clouzot)

291. Back to the Future 2 (1989; Robert Zemekis)
291. Inglourious Basterds (2009; Quentin Tarantino)

293. Peeping Tom (1960; Michael Powell)

294. Planet of the Apes (1968; Franklin J. Schaffner)
294. Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975; Peter Weir)

296. Into the Wild (2007; Sean Penn)

297. Out of the Past (1947; Jacques Tourneur)

298. An Autumn Afternoon (1962; Yasujiro Ozu)

299. A Brighter Summer Day (1991; Edward Yang)

300. The Holy Mountain (1973; Alejandro Jodorwsky)

301. Dirty Harry (1971; Don Siegel)
301. Une Femme Est Une Femme (1961; Jean-luc Godard)
301. Shoot the Pianist (1960; Francois Truffaut)

304. E.T. (1982; Steven Spielberg)
304. I Love You Again (1940; W.S. Van Dyke)

306. Edward Scissorhands (1990; Tim Burton)

307. Cinema Paradiso (1988; Giuseppe Tornatore)

307. Do the Right Thing (1989; Spike Lee)

309. Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2002; Park Chan-wook)

310. Goldfinger (1964; Guy Hamilton)
310. Satantango (1994; Bela Tarr)

312. No Direction Home (2005; Martin Scorsese)

313. Johnny Guitar (1954; Nicholas Ray)
313. Adaptation (2002; Spike Jonze)
313. Adam's Rib (1949; George Cukor)

316. Odd Man Out (1947; Carol Reed)

317. The Red Circle (1970; Jean-Pierre Melville)
317. Notorious (1946; Alfred Hitchcock)
317. Jean de Florette (1986; Claude Berri)
317. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944; Frank Capra)

321. Hana Bi (1997; Takeshi Kitano)

322. Duel (1971; Steven Spielberg)

323. Infernal Affairs (2002; Andrew Lau, Alan Mak)

324. Titanic (1997; James Cameron)

325. Let the Right One In (2008; Tomas Alfredson)
325. Starship Troopers (1997; Paul Verhoeven)

327. Princess Mononoke (1997; Hayao Miyazaki)
327. Ratatouille (2007; Brad Bird)

329. Hot Fuzz (2007; Edgar Wright)

330. Pauline at the Beach (1983; Eric Rohmer)

331. The Fountain (2006; Darren Aronofsky)

332. A History of Violence (2005; David Cronenberg)

333. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946; William Wyler)
333. Gun Crazy (1949; Joseph H. Lewis)
333. Rebel Without a Cause (1955; Nicholas Ray)

336. Duck Amuck (1953; Chuck Jones)

337. Metropolis (1927; Fritz Lang)

338. Chloe in the Afternoon (1972; Eric Rohmer)

339. Le Boucher (1970; Claude Chabrol)

340. The Wages of Fear (1953; Henri-Georges Clouzot)
340. Jurassic Park (1993; Steven Spielberg)

342. Shadows (1959; John Cassavetes)
342. Anatomy of a Murder (1959; Otto Preminger)

344. The Dead (1987; John Huston)
344. The Odd Couple (1968; Gene Saks)

346. The Hustler (1961; Robert Rossen)

347. Life Is Beautiful (1998; Roberto Benigni)
347. The Rock (1996; Michael Bay)
347. Histoire (s) du Cinema (1988 - 1998; Jean-luc Godard)

350. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962; Agnes Varda)

351. Germany, Year Zero (1948; Roberto Rossellini)

352. All About Eve (1950; Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
352. JFK (1991; Oliver Stone)

354. The Battle of Algiers (1966; Gillo Pontecorvo)

355. Delicatessen (1991; Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro)

356. Moolaade (2004; Ousmane Sembene)

357. La Jetee (1962; Chris Marker)

358. The Invisible Man (1933; James Whale)

359. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970; Billy Wilder)

360. Brick (2005; Rian Johnson)

361. Sons of the Desert (1933; William A. Seiter)

362. Sullivan's Travels (1941; Preston Sturges)

363. Murder, My Sweet (1944; Edward Dmytryk)

364. Kings of the Road (1976; Wim Wenders)

365. Bande a Part (1964; Jean-luc Godard)

366. Quiz Show (1994; Robert Redford)

367. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932; Mervyn LeRoy)
367. The Conformist (1970; Bernardo Bertolucci)
367. Yi Yi (2000; Edward Yang)

370. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942; Michael Curtiz)

371. Bambi (1942; David Hand)

372. Kill! (1968; Kihachi Okamoto)

373. House of Flying Daggers (2004; Zhang Yimou)
373. Cyrano de Bergerac (1990; Jean-Paul Rappeneau)

375. Gone with the Wind (1939; Victor Fleming)
375. Irma la Douce (1963; Billy Wilder)
375. Hoop Dreams (1994; Steve James)

378. The Long Goodbye (1973; Robert Altman)
378. Changeling (2008; Clint Eastwood)

380. Sweet Smell of Success (1957; Alexander Mackendrick)

381. L'Eclisse (1962; Michelangelo Antonioni)

382. The Evil Dead (1981; Sam Raimi)
382. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992; David Lynch)
382. Pickpocket (1959; Robert Bresson)

385. Master and Commander: Far Side of the World (2003; Peter Weir)

386. Whisper of the Heart (1995; Yoshifumi Kondo)
386. Stolen Kisses (1968; Francois Truffaut)

388. I'm Not There (2007; Todd Haynes)
388. Millennium Mambo (2001; Hsaio-hsien Hou)
388. A Diary for Timothy (1945; Humphrey Jennings)

391. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937; David Hand)

392. Aladdin (1992; Ron Clements, John Musker)

393. The Host (2006; Bong Joon-ho)

394. Grosse Point Blank (1997; George Armitage)

395. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)

396. Control (2007; Anton Corbijn)
396. 28 Days Later (2002; Danny Boyle)

398. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986; Woody Allen)

399. Sound of the Mountain (1954; Yasujiro Ozu)

400. The Breakfast Club (1985; John Hughes)

401. Mary Poppins (1964; Robert Stevenson)

402. Where Eagles Dare (1968; Brian G. Hutton)

403. Clerks (1994; Kevin Smith)

404. The Maltese Falcon (1941; John Huston)

405. Audition (1999; Takashi Miike)
405. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953; Howard Hawks)

407. Way Out West (1937; James W. Horne)
407. Tokyo Twilight (1957; Yasujiro Ozu)
407. Days of Wine and Roses (1962; Blake Edwards)
407. The Last of the Mohicans (1992; Michael Mann)
407. Remember the Night (1940; Mitchell Leisen)
407. Born on the Fourth of July (1989; Oliver Stone)

413. Dances with Wolves (1990; Kevin Costner)

414. Ghost in the Shell (1995; Mamoru Oshii)
414. Day of Wrath (1943; Carl Theodor Dryer)

416. Eraserhead (1977; David Lynch)
416. Vengeance is Mine (1979; Shohei Imamura)

418. Chopper (2000; Andrew Dominik)

419. The Crowd (1928; King Vidor)

420. Nights of Cabiria (1957; Federico Fellini)
420. The Fortune Cookie (1966; Billy Wilder)

422. The Blues Brothers (1980; John Landis)

423. Fallen Angels (1995; Wong Kar-wai)

424. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003; Gore Verbinski)

425. Police Story (1985; Jackie Chan)

426. Mystic River (2003; Clint Eastwood)

427. A Better Tomorrow (1986; John Woo)

427. True Romance (1993; Tony Scott)
427. The Big Heat (1953; Fritz Lang)
427. Dazed And Confused (1993; Richard Linklater)

431. Stop Making Sense (1984; Jonathan Demme)
431. The Music Box (1932; James Parrott)
431. Avanti! (1972; Billy Wilder)
431. Still Life (2006; Jia Zhangke)
431. Seventh Heaven (1927; Frank Borzage)
431. Inferno (1980; Dario Argento)

437. Before Sunrise (1995; Richard Linklater)

438. Dead Man's Shoes (2004; Shane Meadows)

439. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972; Luis Bunuel)

440. Pickup on South Street (1953; Sam Fuller)

441. Man Bites Dog (1992; Remy Belvaux)

441. South Park Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999; Trey Parker)

443. Armageddon (1998; Michael Bay)
443. The Graduate (1967; Mike Nichols)

445. Time of the Gypsies (1988; Emir Kusturica)
445. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967; Stanley Kramer)
445. Stars in My Crown (1950; Jacques Tourneur)

448. Short Cuts (1993; Robert Altman)
448. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005; Park Chan-wook)
448. Down By Law (1986; Jim Jarmusch)
448. Detour (1945; Edgar Ulmer)

452. The Long Day Closes (1992; Terence Davies)
452. Little Miss Sunshine (2006; Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris)
452. La Grande illusion (1937; Jean Renoir)

455. Vanishing Point (1971; Richard C. Sarafian)

456. A Touch of Zen (1971; King Hu)

456. Secret Sunshine (2007; Lee Chang-dong)
456. La Belle et le Bete (1946; Jean Cocteau)

459. Beetlejuice (1988; Tim Burton)
459. Riget (1994; Lars von Trier)
459. The China Syndrome (1979; James Bridges)

462. Memories of Murder (2003; Bong Joon-ho)

463. Children of Men (2006; Alfonso Cuaron)

464. Zero de conduite (1933; Jean Vigo)

465. The Public Enemy (1931; William A. Wellman)

465. Manon des sources (1986; Claude Berri)
465. My Sister Eileen (1942; Alexander Hall)
465. Adieu Philippine (1962; Jacques Rozier)

469. Casino (1995; Martin Scorsese)

470. Rain Man (1988; Barry Levinson)

470. The Burmese Harp (1956; Kon Ichikawa)

472. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988; Robert Zemekis)
472. An Affair to Remember (1957; Leo McCarey)
472. Spring in a Small Town (1948; Fei Mu)

475. Matewan (1987; John Sayles)
475. Indiscreet (1958; Stanley Donen)

477. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998; Guy Ritchie)

478. The Lion in Winter (1968; Anthony Harvey)

479. Freaks (1932; Tod Browning)

480. Drunken Master 2 (1994; Lau Kar-Leung, Jackie Chan)

480. The Life of Oharu (1952; Kenji Mizoguchi)

482. The Magnificent Seven (1960; John Sturges)
482. Mouchette (1967; Robert Bresson)
482. Stranger Than Fiction (2006; Marc Forster)
482. Desk Set (1957; Walter Lang)
482. My Own Private Idaho (1991; Gus van Sant)
482. The Fall (2006; Tarsem Singh)

488. Rome, Open City (1945; Roberto Rossellini)

489. Stranger Than Paradise (1984; Jim Jarmusch)
489. Madame de… (1953; Max Ophuls)

491. Roman Holiday (1953; William Wyler)
491. Mad Detective (2007; Johnny To, Wai Ka Fai)

493. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007; Paul Greengrass)
493. Serenity (2005; Joss Whedon)

495. A Close Shave (1995; Nick Park)
495. My Man Godfrey (1936; Gregory LaCava)
495. Ninotchka (1939; Ernst Lubitsch)

498. This Gun For Hire (1942; Frank Tuttle)
498. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 (2005; Derek Burbidge)
498. Heroes of the East (1979; Lau Kar Leung)
498. Pandora's Box (1929; G.W. Pabst)
498. Who Was That Lady? (1960; George Sidney)

503. Munich (2005; Steven Spielberg)

504. Persona (1966; Ingmar Bergman)

505. The Circus (1928; Charles Chaplin)

506. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007; Julian Schnabel)

507. On the Waterfront (1954; Elia Kazan)

508. A Scanner Darkly (2006; Richard Linklater)
508. The Insider (1999; Michael Mann)
508. Out of the Blue (2006; Robert Sarkies)
508. Kiss Me, Stupid (1964; Billy Wilder)
508. Blessed Event (1932; Roy Del Ruth)

513. The Great Escape (1963; John Sturges)
513. Finding Neverland (2004; Marc Forster)
513. Rocky (1976; John G. Avildsen)

516. Ace in the Hole (1951; Billy Wilder)

517. Oasis (2003; Lee Chang-dong)
517. Big Business (1929; James W. Horne)
517. Forbidden Games (1952; Rene Clement)
517. Attack the Gas Station! (1999; Sang-jin Kim)
517. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963; Stanley Kramer)
517. Persepolis (2007; Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud)
517. Black Sunday (1960; Mario Bava)

524. The Wicker Man (1973; Robin Hardy)

525. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971; Monte Hellman)
525. The Bourne Supremacy (2004; Paul Greengrass)

527. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008; David Fincher)
527. Lift to the Scaffold (1958; Louis Malle)

529. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976; John Carpenter)

530. Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937; Sadao Yamanaka)
530. The Idiot (1951; Akira Kurosawa)
530. Houseboat (1958; Melville Shavelson)
530. Suzanne's Career (1963; Eric Rohmer)

534. The Italian Job (1969; Peter Collinson)
534. Howl's Moving Castle (2004; Hayao Miyazaki)

536. Carlito's Way (1993; Brian De Palma)
536. An Actor's Revenge (1963; Kon Ichikawa)
536. The Phantom Carriage (1921; Victor Sjostrom)

539. Batman Returns (1992; Tim Burton)

540. Kes (1969; Ken Loach)
540. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976; John Cassavetes)
540. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986; John Hughes)
540. Quiet Please! (1945; William Hanna, Joseph Barbera)

544. Star Trek First Contact (1996; Jonathan Frakes)
544. The World's Greatest Sinner (1962; Timothy Carey)
544. Porco Rosso (1992; Hayao Miyazaki)
544. Vinni Pukh idyot v gosti (1971; Fyodor Khitruk)
544. Camino (2008; Javier Fesser)
544. Sabrina (1954; Billy Wilder)

550. Before Sunset (2004; Richard Linklater)
550. Broadway Danny Rose (1984; Woody Allen)

552. The Last Waltz (1978; Martin Scorsese)
552. The Blair Witch Project (1999; Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez)
552. The Blue Angel (1930; Josef von Sternberg)
552. Dans Paris (2006; Christophe Honore)

556. The Pianist (2002; Roman Polanski)
556. Casino Royale (2006; Martin Campbell)

558. In A Lonely Place (1950; Nicholas Ray)

559. Harvey (1950; Henry Koster)

560. The Great Dictator (1940; Charles Chaplin)
560. The Sniper (1952; Edward Dmytryk)
560. Carrie (1976; Brian De Palma)
560. Duck Soup (1933, Leo McCarey)
560. Café Lumiere (2003; Hou Hsiao-hsien)

565. Three Colours White (1994; Krzysztof Kiewslowski)

566. Das Boot (1981; Wolfgang Petersen)

567. Wings of Desire (1987; Wim Wenders)
567. Punch Drunk Love (2002; Paul Thomas Anderson)

569. Lone Star (1996; John Sayles)
569. Black Cat, White Cat (1998; Emir Kusturica)

571. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006; Gore Verbinski)
571. The Out of Towners (1970; Arthur Hiller)
571. The Last Picture Show (1971; Peter Bogdanovich)
571. Suspiria (1977; Dario Argento)

575. The Birds (1963; Alfred Hitchcock)

576. Barefoot in the Park (1967; Gene Saks)

577. Week End (1967; Jean-luc Godard)

578. A Very Long Engagement (2004; Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

579. Scarface (1932; Howard Hawks)
579. Hue and Cry (1947; Charles Crichton)
579. Flowing (1956; Mikio Naruse)
579. Raise the Red Lantern (1991; Zhang Yimou)
579. How to Murder Your Wife (1965; Richard Quine)
579. Listen to Britain (1942; Humphrey Jennings, Stewart McAllister)

585. Fantasia (1940; James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Norman Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen)

586. Slumdog Millionaire (2008; Danny Boyle)

587. The Escapist (2008; Rupert Wyatt)

588. Underworld (1927; Josef von Sternberg)
588. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End (2007; Gore Verbinski)
588. Kokoro (1955; Kon Ichikawa)
588. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987; John Hughes)
588. Cyclo (1995; Tran Anh Hung)
588. Don't Look Now (1973; Nic Roeg)

594. Only Yesterday (1991; Isao Takahata)

595. Nashville (1975; Robert Altman)
595. Journey Into Fear (1943; Norman Foster)
595. Them Thar Hills (1934; Charley Rogers)
595. Louisiana Story (1948; Robert J. Flaherty)

599. Kiss Me Deadly (1955; Robert Aldrich)

600. Oceans Eleven (2001; Steven Soderbergh)
600. It Happened One Night (1934; Frank Capra)
600. Swing Time (1936; George Stevens)
600. Tit for Tat (1935; Charley Rogers)

604. La roue (1923; Abel Gance)
604. Kikujiro (1999; Takeshi Kitano)
604. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959; Alan Resnais)
604. Metropolitan (1990; Whit Stillman)

608. Steamboat Bill Jr (1929; Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton)

609. The Phantom of Liberty (1974; Luis Bunuel)

610. The Diary Of a Chambermaid (1964; Luis Bunuel)
610. Traffic (2000; Steven Soderbergh)
610. Rainy Dog (1997; Takashi Miike)
610. The Silence (1963; Ingmar Bergman)
610. Regular Lovers (2005; Philippe Garrel)

615. Stand By Me (1986; Rob Reiner)

616. The City of Lost Children (1995; Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

617. Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980; Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
617. The White Sound (2001; Hans Weingartner)
617. The Consequences of Love (2004; Paolo Sorrentino)
617. Full Moon in Paris (1984; Eric Rohmer)
617. Dead Ringers (1988; David Cronenberg)
617. That Touch of Mink (1962; Delbert Mann)

623. Eastern Promises (2007; David Cronenberg)
623. Early Summer (1951; Yasujiro Ozu)

625. Visitor Q (2001; Takashi Miike)
625. Dark City (1998; Alex Proyas)
625. El Topo (1970; Alejandro Jodorowsky)
625. My Life as a Dog (1985; Lasse Hallstrom)
625. In My Father's Den (2004; Brad McGann)
625. Good Men, Good Women (1995; Hou Hsiao-hsien)
625. Father Goose (1964; Ralph Nelson)
625. What's Opera, Doc? (1957; Chuck Jones)

633. The Fisher King (1991; Terry Gilliam)
633. Spiderman 2 (2004; Sam Raimi)
633. The Railway Children (1970; Lionel Jeffries)

636. Hero (2002; Yimou Zhang)

637. Night of the Living Dead (1968; George Romero)
637. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, Bela Tarr)
637. Imitation of Life (1959; Douglas Sirk)

640. The Constant Gardener (2005; Fernando Meirelles)
640. Kagemusha (1980; Akira Kurosawa)
640. Underground (1995; Emir Kusturica)
640. The Bill Douglas Trilogy (1972 - 1978; Bill Douglas)
640. Blind Chance (1981; Krzysztof Kieslowski)
640. The Silent Village (1943; Humphrey Jennings)
640. Operation Petticoat (1959; Blake Edwards)
640. The Wayward Cloud (2005; Tsai Ming-liang)
640. The Long Good Friday (1980; John Mackenzie)

649. The Iron Horse (1924; John Ford)

650. The Wrestler (2008; Darren Aronofsky)

651. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)

652. Gone Baby Gone (2007; Ben Affleck)
652. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989; Woody Allen)
652. La Terra trema (1948; Luchino Visconti)

655. Gran Torino (2008; Clint Eastwood)
655. Dead of Night (1945; Charles Crichton, Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer)
655. Hobson's Choice (1954; David Lean)
655. A Cottage On Dartmoor (1929; Anthony Asquith)
655. The Front Page (1974; Billy Wilder)
655. The Naked Kiss (1964; Samuel Fuller)
655. Empire of The Sun (1987; Steven Spielberg)

662. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986; Hayao Miyazaki)
662. Being John Malkovich (1999; Spike Jonze)

664. White Nights (1957; Luchino Visconti)

665. The Defiant Ones (1958; Stanley Kramer)
665. Shrek (2001; Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson)
665. Blood And Black Lace (1964; Mario Bava)
665. All About My Mother (1999; Pedro Almodovar)
665. The Hairdresser's Husband (1990; Patrice Leconte)

670. The Sting (1973; George Roy Hill)
670. The Stranger Within a Woman (1966; Mikio Naruse)
670. On Golden Pond (1981; Mark Rydell)
670. Ashes of Time (1994; Wong Kar-wai)
670. Revolutionary Road (2008; Sam Mendes)

675. Umberto D (1952; Vittorio de Sica)

676. A Fistful of Dollars (1964; Sergio Leone)
676. Back To The Future 3 (1990; Robert Zemekis)

678. The Hitch-Hiker (1953; Ida Lupino)
678. A Fish Called Wanda (1988; Charles Crichton)
678. Twenty-Four Eyes (1954; Keisuke Kinoshita)
678. Mad Max 2 (1981; George Miller)

682. Antichrist (2009; Lars von Trier)
682. Tootsie (1982; Sydney Pollack)
682. Wagon Master (1950; John Ford)

685. Point Break (1991; Kathryn Bigelow)
685. Lethal Weapon (1987; Richard Donner)

687. Police Story 2 (1988; Jackie Chan)
687. The Garden (1968; Jan Svankmajer)
687. Noise (2007; Matthew Saville)
687. Trading Places (1983; John Landis)
687. The Last Samurai (2003; Edward Zwick)
687. The Iceman Cometh (1973; John Frankenheimer)
687. Harold and Maude (1971; Hal Ashby)
687. Passion (1982; Jean-luc Godard)

695. Harakiri (1962; Masaki Kobayashi)

696. High Sierra (1941; Raoul Walsh)
696. Devils on the Doorstep (2000; Jiang Wen)
696. Amazing Grace (2006; Michael Apted)
696. Videodrome (1983; David Cronenberg)

700. The Innocents (1961; Jack Clayton)

701. Once (2007; John Carney)
701. Insomnia (2002; Chris Nolan)
701. Another Thin Man (1939; W.S. Van Dyke)
701. The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971; Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
701. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951; Elia Kazan)
701. My Night With Maud (1969; Eric Rohmer)
701. From Russia with Love (1963; Terence Young)
701. Hearts and Minds (1974; Peter Davis)
701. Teacher's Pet (1958; George Seaton)
701. The Crying Game (1992; Neil Jordan)

711. Lost Highway (1997; David Lynch)
711. Event Horizon (1997; Paul W.S. Anderson)
711. The Ruling Class (1972; Peter Medak)
711. Syndromes and a Century (2006; Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
711. The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950; Frank Launder)
711. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944; Preston Sturges)

717. American Gangster (2007; Ridley Scott)
717. Almost Famous (2000; Cameron Crowe)
717. The Element of Crime (1984; Lars von Trier)
717. The Talk of the Town (1942; George Stevens)

721. The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990; Renny Harlin)
721. Inherit the Wind (1960; Stanley Kramer)
721. deUSYNLIGE (2008, Erik Poppe)
721. Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1980; Steve Roberts)
721. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004; Adam McKay)
721. Man Without a Past (2002; Aki Kaurismaki)
721. The Hill (1965; Sidney Lumet)
721. 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994; Michael Haneke)
721. A Short Film About Love (1988; Krzystof Kieslowski)

730. The Heart of the World (2000; Guy Maddin)
730. Crash (2004; Paul Haggis)
730. Gremlins (1984; Joe Dante)
730. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939; John Ford)

734. The Wizard of Oz (1939; Victor Fleming)
734. Diary of a Country Priest (1951; Robert Bresson)
734. Late Chrysanthemums (1954; Mikio Naruse)
734. Winter Light (1962; Ingmar Bergman)
734. The Pink Panther (1963; Blake Edwards)
734. Ballad of a Soldier (1959; Grigori Chukhrai)
734. Three Men on a Horse (1936; Mervyn LeRoy)
734. A Propos de Nice (1930; Jean Vigo)

742. The Straight Story (1999; David Lynch)

743. Went the Day Well? (1942; Alberto Cavalcanti)

744. Woman of the Dunes (1964; Hiroshi Teshigahara)
744. Los Olvidados (1950; Luis Bunuel)
744. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005; Shane Black)
744. Twilight Samurai (2002; Yoji Yamada)

748. The Killers (1946, Robert Siodmak)
748. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999; Jim Jarmusch)
748. Thunderball (1965; Terence Young)
748. I Was Born, But… (1932; Yasujiro Ozu)
748. West Side Story (1961; Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins)

753. 4 months 3 weeks and 2 days (2007; Cristian Mungiu)
753. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942; Orson Welles)

755. Nosferatu (1922; F.W. Murnau)
755. Top Hat (1935; Mark Sandrich)

757. Stagecoach (1939; John Ford)
757. Bob le Flambeur (1956; Jean-Pierre Melville)
757. Swiss Family Robinson (1960; Ken Annakin)
757. A Shot in the Dark (1964; Blake Edwards)
757. One False Move (1992; Carl Franklin)
757. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967; Jacques Demy)

763. An American Werewolf in London (1981; John Landis)
763. Farewell My Concubine (1993; Chen Kaige)
763. Big Fish (2003; Tim Burton)

766. Miroir noir (2008; Vincent Morisset)
766. The Green Mile (1999; Frank Darabont)
766. 5 Fingers (1952; Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
766. JSA: Joint Security Area (2000; Park Chan-wook)
766. Hair (1979; Milos Forman)
766. The Big Country (1958; William Wyler)
766. Edvard Munch (1974; Peter Watkins)
766. One Froggy Evening (1955; Chuck Jones)

774. Rope (1948; Alfred Hitchcock)

775. The Naked Gun (1988; David Zucker)
775. I Know Where I'm Going! (1945; Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)

777. Tale of Cinema (2005; Hong Sang-soo)
777. American Splendor (2003; Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini)
777. Dragons Forever (1987; Sammo Hung)
777. Il Divo (2008; Paolo Sorrentino)
777. Shakespeare in Love (1998; John Madden)
777. The Vanishing (1988; George Sluizer)
777. Becket (1964; Peter Glenville)

784. Kingdom of Heaven (2005; Ridley Scott)
784. The Reckless Moment (1949; Max Ophuls)

786. The Lost Boys (1987; Joel Schumacher)
786. Yeelen (1987; Souleymane Cisse)
786. Sonatine (1993; Takeshi Kitano)
786. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004; Rawson Marshall Thurber)
786. Food (1992; Jan Svankmajer)
786. One Week (1920; Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton)
786. The Beyond (1981; Lucio Fulci)
786. Morvern Callar (2002; Lynne Ramsay)
786. It Should Happen to You (1954; George Cukor)
786. A Room with a View (1986; James Ivory)
786. Stromboli (1950; Roberto Rossellini)

797. The Conversation (1974; Francis Ford Coppola)
797. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984; Hayao Miyazaki)
797. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955; John Sturges)
797. Man Of Iron (1981; Andrzej Wajda)
797. Daybreak (1939; Marcel Carne)
797. The Lonely Guy (1984; Arthur Hiller)
797. Sleeping Beauty (1959; Claude Geronimi)
797. What Time is It There? (2001; Tsai Ming-Liang)

805. Eyes Wide Shut (1999; Stanley Kubrick)
805. Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom (1984; Steven Spielberg)

807. Come Drink With Me (1966; King Hu)

808. Crumb (1994; Terry Zwigoff)
808. Der Mude Tod (1921; Fritz Lang)
808. Pillow Talk (1959; Michael Gordon)
808. Port of Shadows (1938; Michel Carne)
808. Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937; H. Bruce Humberstone)
808. Voyage to Italy (1953; Roberto Rossellini)

814. Adam's Apples (2005; Anders Thomas Jensen)

815. Battle Royale (2000; Kinji Fukasaku)
815. Point Blank (1967; John Boorman)
815. King Kong (1933; Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack)
815. Buffalo '66 (1998; Vincent Gallo)
815. All the Real Girls (2003; David Gordon Green)
815. Grumpy Old Men (1993; Donald Petrie)

821. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977; Lewis Gilbert)
821. Hud (1963; Martin Ritt)
821. 2046 (2004; Wong Kar-wai)

824. The Harder They Come (1972; Perry Henzell)
824. Little Women (!933; George Cukor)
824. Cool Hand Luke (1967; Stuart Rosenberg)
824. Goyokin (1969; Gosha Hideo)
824. The Station Agent (2003; Thomas McCarthy)
824. The Streetfighter (1974; Shigehiro Ozawa)
824. Jabberwocky (1971; Jan Svankmajer)
824. All About Lily Chou Chou (2001; Shunji Iwai)
824. Always (1989; Steven Spielberg)
824. This Is England (2006; Shane Meadows)
824. The Black Cat (1934; Edgar G. Ulmer)

835. Mother and Son (1997; Aleksandr Sokurov)

836. High Noon (1952; Fred Zinnemann) (Rinc)
836. Tale of Tales (1979; Yuriy Norshteyn)
836. The Lady from Shanghai (1947; Orson Welles)
836. Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005; Kwang-hyun Park)
836. Scream (1996; Wes Craven)
836. Babel (2006; Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
836. A Short Film About Killing (1988; Krzysztof Kieslowski)
836. Days and Nights in the Forest (1970; Satyajit Ray)
836. Beau Travail (1999; Claire Denis)
836. Missing (1982; Costa-Gavras)
836. The Virgin Suicides (1999; Sofia Coppola)
836. Project A (1983; Jackie Chan)
836. One Foot in Heaven (1941; Irving Rapper)

849. Ghostbusters 2 (1989; Ivan Reitman)
849. The Sun (2005; Aleksandr Sokurov)
849. Kanal (1957; Andrzej Wajda) (Elab)
849. Danger: Diabolik (1968; Mario Bava) (Rawlinson)
849. Vinni-Pukh (1969; Fyodor Khitruk)
849. Babe (1995; Chris Noonan)
849. Synecdoche, New York (2008; Charlie Kaufman)

856. All The President's Men (1976; Alan J. Pakula)
856. A Summer at Grandpa's (1984; Hsiao-hsien Hou)
856. Silence (1971; Masahiro Shinoda)
856. The Verdict (1982; Sidney Lumet)
856. Thicker Than Water (1935; James W. Horne)
856. Autumn Sonata (1978; Ingmar Bergman)
856. The Poseidon Adventure (1972; Ronald Neame)
856. American Graffiti (1973; George Lucas)

864.The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964; Pier Paolo Pasolini)

865. Koyaanisqatsi (1982; Godfrey Reggio)
865. He loves me, he loves me not (2002; Laetitia Colombani)
865. The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935; Henry Hathaway)
865. History Is Made at Night (1937; Frank Borzage)
865. For the Birds (2000; Ralph Eggleston)
865. Wooden Crosses (1932; Raymond Bernard)
865. Reds (1981; Warren Beatty)
865. Deep Red (1975; Dario Argento)
865. Save the Tiger (1973; John G. Avildsen)

874. To Be Or Not To Be (1942; Ernst Lubitsch)
874. Big Night (1996; Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci)
874. Wise Blood (1979; John Huston)
874. Rejected (2000; Don Hertzfeldt)
874. Simon of the Desert (1965; Luis Bunuel)
874. Airport '77 (1977; Jerry Jameson)
874. Bullet In The Head (1990; John Woo)

881. Gangs Of New York (2002; Martin Scorsese)

882. The Red Badge Of Courage (1951; John Huston)
882. Snatch (2000; Guy Ritchie)
882. Would You Kill a Child? (1976; Narciso Ibanez Serrador)
882. The Devil's Backbone (2001; Guillermo Del Toro)
882. Half Nelson (2006; Ryan Fleck)
882. The Train (1964; John Frankenheimer)
882. Driving Miss Daisy (1989; Bruce Beresford)
882. Sisters (1973; Brian De Palma)
882. The Road Home (1999; Yimou Zhang)

891. Total Recall (1990; Paul Verhoeven)

892. The Story Of Chrysanthemums (1939; Kenji Mizoguchi)
892. California Split (1974; Robert Altman)
892. The Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks (1944; Edgar Neville)
892. When The Last Sword Is Drawn (2003; Yojiro Takita)
892. Brighton Rock (1947; John Boulting)
892. Mulan (1998; Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook)
892. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988; Frank Oz)
892. The Haunting (1963; Robert Wise)
892. The Quiet Man (1952; John Ford)
892. A Star Is Born (1954; George Cukor)

902. Festen (1998; Thomas Vinterberg)
902. The Goat (1921; Buster Keaton, Malcolm St. Clair)

904. Most (the bridge) (2003; Bobby Garabedian)
904. Nous Ne Vieillirons Pas Ensemble (1972; Maurice Pialat)
904. Bedazzled (1967; Stanley Donen)
904. Moon (2009; Duncan Jones)
904. Once Upon a Time in China II (1992; Tsui Hark)
904. Return to Oz (1985; Walter Murch)
904. Repast (1951; Mikio Naruse)
904. The Magdalene Sisters (2002; Peter Mullan)
904. The Towering Inferno (1974; John Guillermin, Irwin Allen)
904. Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940; Norman Taurog)

914. Pat Garret and Billy the Kid (1973; Sam Peckinpah)

915. Midnight Run (1988; Martin Brest)
915. Smala Sussie (2003; Ulf Malmros)
915. Devil in Miss Jones (1973; Gerard Damiano)
915. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970; Jaromil Jires)
915. Monty Python's Meaning of Life (1983; Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam)
915. The Guns of Navarone (1961; J. Lee Thompson)
915. Malcolm X (1992; Spike Lee) (Dedalus)
915. Sombre (1998; Philippe Grandrieux)
915. Cactus Flower (1969; Gene Saks)

924. Europa (1991; Lars von Trier)
924. Hedgehog in the Fog (1975; Yuriy Norshteyn)

926. Once in a lifetime: The extraodinary story of the New York Cosmos (2006; Paul Crowder, John Dower)
926. The Beguiled (1971; Don Siegel)
926. Deliverance (1972; John Boorman)
926. Bride of Frankenstein (1935; James Whale)
926. Out of Sight (1998; Steven Soderbergh)
926. Dimensions of Dialogue (1982; Jan Svankmajer)
926. High and Low (1963; Akira Kurosawa)
926. High Fidelity (2000; Stephen Frears)
926. Pixote (1981; Hector Babenco)

935. Angels With Dirty Faces (1938; Michael Curtiz)
935. The Fire Within (1963; Louis Malle)
935. Atlantic City (1980; Louis Malle)
935. You, the Living (2007; Roy Andersson)
935. Possession (1981; Andrzej Zulawski)
935. The Interview (1998; Craig Monahan)
935. To Catch a Thief (1955; Alfred Hitchcock)
935. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001; Wes Anderson)

943. Dumbo (1941; Ben Sharpsteen)
943. Remains of the Day (1993; James Ivory)

945. Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman (1971; Kimiyoshi Yasuda)
945. Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982; Nicholas Meyer)
945. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961; Blake Edwards)
945. Frost/Nixon (2008; Ron Howard)
945. Samurai Rebellion (1967; Masaki Kobayashi)
945. Zazie dans le Metro (1960; Louis Malle)
945. The Big Boss (1971; Wei Lo)
945. Equinox Flower (1958; Yasujiro Ozu)
945. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996; Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise)
945. All of Me (1984; Carl Reiner)

955. Blood Simple (1984; Joel Coen)
955. Dead Man (1995; Jim Jarmusch)

957. The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972; Dick Richards)
957. Collateral (2004; Michael Mann)
957. Good Will Hunting (1997; Gus van Sant)
957. Angel Heart (1987; Alan Parker)
957. Pinocchio (1940; Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen)
957. The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962; Robert Bresson)
957. Pygmalion (1938; Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard)
957. A Night To Remember (1958; Roy Ward Baker)
957. Kwaidan (1964; Masaki Kobayashi)
957. Repulsion (1965; Roman Polanski)
957. Bell, Book and Candle (1958; Richard Quine)

968. X2 (2003; Bryan Singer)
968. Braveheart (1995; Mel Gibson)
968. Through a Glass Darkly (1961; Ingmar Bergman)
968. Frankenstein (1931; James Whale)

972. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004; Walter Salles)
972. Animal Crackers (1930; Victor Heerman)
972. From Here To Eternity (1953; Fred Zinnemann)
972. V for Vendetta (2005; James McTeigue)
972. Casino Royale (1967; Val Guest, Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Richard Talmadge)
972. Transformers (2007; Michael Bay)
972. The Shop on Main Street (1965; Jan Kadar, Elmar Klos)
972. The Seventh Continent (1989; Michael Haneke)
972. The New World (2005; Terrence Malick)
972. Stroszek (1977; Werner Herzog)
972. It Happened to Jane (1959; Richard Quine)

983. Fires on the Plain (1959; Kon Ichikawa)

984. Tunes of Glory (1960; Ronald Neame)
984. The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984; Chia-Liang Liu)
984. The Bishop's Wife (1947; Henry Koster)
984. Hail the Conquering Hero (1944; Preston Sturges)
984. High Plains Drifter (1973; Clint Eastwood)

989. A Bridge Too Far (1977; Richard Attenborough)
989. Zulu (1964; Cy Endfield)
989. Tatt av Kvinnen (2007; Petter Nass)
989. Speed (1994; Jan de Bont)
989. Days of Being Wild (1990; Wong Kar Wai)
989. Made in U.S.A. (1966; Jean-luc Godard)
989. Island (1973; Fyodor Khitruk)
989. Flight of the Red Balloon (2007; Hsiao-hsien Hou)
989. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990; Tom Stoppard)
989. Re-Animator (1985; Stuart Gordon)

999. The Longest Day (1962; Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, Darryl F. Zanuck)
999. Million Dollar Baby (2004; Clint Eastwood)
999. Secrets & Lies (1996; Mike Leigh)
999. Intolerable Cruelty (2003; Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
999. Shoah (1985; Claude Lanzmann)
999. Dolls (2002; Takeshi Kitano)
999. Léolo (1992; Jean-Claude Lauzon)
999. The Right Stuff (1983; Philip Kaufman)
999. The Barefoot Contessa (1954; Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
999. Charulata (1964; Satyajit Ray)
999. Duck! Rabbit! Duck! (1953; Chuck Jones)
999. Without Love (1945; Harold S. Bucquet)

< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 16/3/2010 8:14:44 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =999. - 14/12/2009 9:10:46 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1945
Director: Harold S. Bucquet

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1953
Director: Chuck Jones

The cartoon differs from a lot of the Looney Tunes output in that it places an emphasis on verbal play over physical comedy, in fact it's really just a running word game between Daffy and Bugs. Part of the 'Hunting Trilogy', all of which follow the same basic idea, the plot is simple. It's hunting season, duck season, and Daffy is trying to save his skin by convincing Elmer that it's actually rabbit season and directing him towards Bugs instead. When placed in danger, Bugs uses verbal trickery to confuse the situation and Daffy gets shot. Repeatedly.

This short goes a long way towards defining the characters of Bugs, Daffy and Elmer. Elmer is the idiot, he doesn't recognise Bugs is even a rabbit until Daffy points it out, and (like always) he doesn't realise the woman who starts flirting with him is actually Bugs in disguise. Elmer is being led by both Bugs and Daffy. Daffy and Bugs are antagonistic to each other, usually sparked by Daffy's inferiority complex and jealousy of Bugs. Daffy thinks he's as smart as Bugs, and he's probably a little bit smarter than Elmer. It's his own jealous nature that puts himself in harms way over and over again. He could easily find a way to avoid Elmer, but the temptation to try and use Elmer to get rid of his rival is far too strong. Bugs is the smartest of the lot, usually content to spend his days in the pursuit of pleasure, he only goes to war when someone attacks him. Bugs can become an arch-manipulator when he needs to survive and here he makes his trickery seem incredibly simple.

But beyond what it does with the characters, the cartoon is funny. Sometimes that's all you need.  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1964
Director: Satyajit Ray

Set in Calcutta in the late 19th Century, Satyajit Ray's masterpiece also known as The Lonely Wife, encapsulates a love affair in simple and beautiful expressions. The young wife Charu's husband runs a successful newspaper while she mopes about the house all day bored. Upon finally realising his wife is unsatisfied, lonely and neglected the husband organises for some of Charu's relatives to accompany her. Eventually another guest arrives, the husband's cousin, who is an aspiring writer. He and Charu both share a love of literature and begin to enjoy the company of one another. Inevitably their feelings for each other deepen but the political and social climate of the time, as well as the fact that Charu still loves her husband despite his neglect, mean their feelings for each must remain beneath the surface, unexpressed. It's to this role that Ray regular Madhabi Mukherjee brings an elegant, sensitive and deeply felt performance. -- Chris_scott01.


Year released: 1954
Director: Joseph L. Mankewicz

Witty but trashy melodrama. It starts with the funeral of the heroine, Maria Vargas and the film tells the story of her rise from poverty, to her becoming the Countess Torlato-Favrini. Harry Dawes (Bogart), the writer-director of her films, narrates her story. She starts off as a flamenco dancer who gets offered a screen test. She becomes a star after just three films and then becomes part of the international set with a playboy millionaire, only to leave him for a wealthy but dangerously jealous count. As an insider look at Hollywood, it's not as sharp as The Bad and the Beautiful, some of the characters feel half-hearted and Ava Gardner was never a great actress. What is appealing about the film is that it becomes a sort of gaudy bad art. You can imagine John Waters absolutely adoring the vulgar nature of this film. Only Edmund O' Brien really takes the opportunity to act and he steals every scene he's in. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1983
Director: Philip Kaufman

A funny, scintillating, human film about Chuck Yeager and the space race. Kaufman takes two different subjects - Yeager was briefly considered for the seven astronauts to go into space - and weaves them together so well that it feels like it's one story being told, rather than two different, parallel ones. The acting is superb, the cinematography is stunning, the score is rousing and chest-beating in its excellence, and the film's a triumphant, brilliant testament to the human spirit. A brilliant film, no two ways about it. -- Pigeon Army.


Year released: 1992
Director: Jean-Claude Lauzon

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 2002
Director: Takeshi Kitano

Kitano Takeshi's 10th film is a portmanteau of three stories following three very different relationships, though they all contains certain similar elements. The focus is shifted from one tale to another simply by characters passing each other by.

Each story concerns the extreme lengths people will go to for the person they love. Each has its tragedy, as the protagonists seek to make amends or overcome events that have blighted their relationships, and each contains at least one shining moment of hope and beauty. By the end of the film, only one of these relationships concludes with any sort of equilibrium - that being the central story of complete devotion. In this tale, the couple are physically linked together by a red rope (evocative of the bunraku puppet performance in the opening scene) as they trudge through Japanese countryside.
This is a slow-paced affair, with minimal dialogue (almost none in the central story), and it clearly won't appeal to everyone. However, the cinematography is beautiful throughout, colourful, picturesque and poignant as the seasons change. Whilst the film features some of Kitano's hallmarks, there is little in the way of yakuza activity or physical violence. Yet Kitano remarked that unlike his yakuza films, where violence and death is expected, the unforeseen tragedy that befalls ordinary people makes Dolls his most violent film. -- Gram123.


Year released: 1985
Director: Claude Lanzmann

The title is the Hebrew word for chaos, the best description for the Holocaust, and there's no film ever made about the second world war that has as much depth and insight as Shoah. Its power to shock, drive you to tears and make you feel humble at your luck at never having to have suffered like this, disgusted at the people who make this happen and humble at the people who survived is without parallel. At more than nine hours in length, director Lanzmann certainly allows himself the time to tell his story, but can such a thing ever be adequately captured on film? You can catch moments and people, but can the scope and scale of such destruction and disregard for humanity ever be understood?

The film is a documentary, but it contains no archive footage. Not even establishing newsreel shots. Lanzmann wanted to find eyewitnesses to the Holocaust and get their memories. He interviews survivors of the death camps and people who worked in the camps. Lanzmann tends to focus on smaller questions and make the interviews more distressing through focusing on details rather than the larger question. Lanzmann proves himself willing to go to any lengths to secure his record of the Holocaust, even secretly recording conversations with Nazi officials. Shoah also explores how it was possible for people not to know the full story about the death camps, everyone seems to have only played their apart, aware of the suffering and deaths, but unaware of the big picture. Each individual interview has the power to devastate and the cumulative effect of all these words can be crushing. Nine hours of talking heads may seem overwhelming, but it's actually riveting. By focusing on the words rather than stock footage, Lanzman brings a powerful new level to holocaust films.

Shoah is an important film, not important in the way that a studio will think a prestige Oscar-bait film is, but honestly important. It's a record of the Holocaust in the words of the people who survived it. Captured before everyone who was there and witnessed things with their own eyes have passed away. Shoah is a landmark in documentary film, and cinema's greatest monument to those who were lost, and those who survived. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 2003
Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Time to set things straight. Intolerable Cruelty is often thought of as one of the Coen brothers' weaker works, for reasons I am simply too baffled to understand. Nevertheless, those of us who know what a great film it is are rewarded when we sit down and watch it, as we slowly realize that everybody else is simply missing out on something great. Is it the brothers' best film? No, it isn't, but while the seemingly cheery romantic plot may seem too mainstream for the siblings, in actuality they manage to turn it completely on its head. After all, this is a romantic comedy about divorce attorneys, and since when were divorces either romantic or funny? Since now.

George Clooney is on his fast-talking best as the lawyer Miles Massey, who finds something different in Catherina Zeta-Jones' gold-digging Marylin Rexroth. He figures that getting her would be a way out of his has-it-all-but-still-wants-more life. However, in the world of the Coens, the road to happiness is long and littered with a variation of the "Who's on first?" routine, an extremely inappropriate yet strangely catch phrase, and the funniest murder this side of Pulp Fiction. It might not be the siblings' best film, but it is still hilarious and not the odd spot on their filmography that some people may have you believe.  -- Dantes Inferno.


Year released: 1996
Director: Mike Leigh

It's hard to believe that Secrets and Lies was made nearly fifteen years ago, because its themes of social diversity and family are just as relevant now as they were then, and will remain relevant into the foreseeable future. Mike Leigh's sprawling epic (as much as a film by Leigh could be sprawling or epic) is about a young, black, successful woman named Hortence (Marriane Jean-Baptiste) who searches for her birth mother (Brenda Blethyn), who happens to be white and lower class. It's a very good film, with a heavy emotional punch and - dare I say - gritty take on life and its pitfalls. It may verge upon the melodramatic every now and again (especially the performance of Blethyn, who - whilst good most of the time - often strays into the unfortunate category of ham), but for the most part Leigh restrains his film and gives it a sense of realism. As ever, the director observes the difference between the classes well, but here he makes his upper class just as likeable as the lower. He blames circumstance for the difference between mother and daughter, not pompousness, prejudice, or pretentiousness. The best moments come at the end, with the climactic scene at the BBQ being a just about perfect blend of melodrama, drama, tragedy and comedy. It's when all of the 'secrets and lies' that the title speaks about come to surface, and although some of them (not all of them) are obvious, there are still enough shocks here to shake a stick at. Leigh may succumb to a forced happy ending, but the question of 'what happens next?' is one that will be on every viewer's lips, and one that won't be easy to answer. It's true tragedy comes in that, although things seem to have sorted themselves out, they will end up becoming tangled and hard to deal with again. There's also an array of fantastic performances. Jean-Baptiste does well, playing one of the most normal characters in the film; a woman who is successful and likeable at the same time, and just wants to find out where she comes from even if that throws up a bunch of new questions. Brenda Blethyn, as mentioned before, may tend towards the melodrama every now and again, but she flutters between laughter and tears for the majority of the film, leading to a heartbreaking performance that verges on pantomime every now and again but always manages to keep to the right side of the line. The true star, though, is Timothy Spall, playing the brother of Blethyn's Cynthia. Oppressed from every which angle by a nagging wife and a dependant sister, he keeps all of his feelings bottled up, leading to an explosive finale that begs the question; why isn't Spall in more films just as good as this one?. -- Piles.


Year released: 2004
Director: Clint Eastwood

MDB seems to have turned, rather unfairly, into one of those Oscar winners that people love to hate. And I do hope that's simply because people think there should be some kind of impressive over-reaching ambition that awards of that type should recognise – but the Oscars rarely do, so rewarding a well-made and well-told story means that at least, for one year, a good film won.
Directing himself as a low key boxing coach, distanced from his family with only assistant Morgan Freeman in his corner, Eastwood doesn't move particularly far out of his acting comfort zone for most of the picture but is impressive as the emotionally stunted man trying to deal with a situation beyond what he thinks he can deal with at the end. Freeman's role isn't much of a stretch either – but he is a solid performer and an engaging screen presence never the less (although it would be nice to see more of the Nurse Betty type roles in his future). Even Swank, of whom I'm not a great fan, turns in a committed performance as somewhat of an inexplicably late starter who decides boxing will give her a sense of empowerment missing from her difficult life.  The film is also far from glib in its handling of the difficult and, sadly, inevitably controversial issue of euthanasia and choice.

I dislike boxing but, like Girlfight, Million Dollar Baby does spend some time considering 'why' (on earth!) a woman or the dispossessed generally would want to step into a boxing ring and I think it should be admired for that if nothing else. Elab49


Year released: 1962
Director: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki and Darryl F. Zanuck

In its time the most expensive B&W film ever made The Longest Day is a star-studded depiction of the D-Day landings that tried, at producer Zanuck's insistence, to be as authentic as possible, even, apparently, matching filming to weather. Like A Bridge too Far it was based on a book by Cornelius Ryan – in this case a collection of interviews with D-Day survivors. But in timing terms it meant many more of those who had actually been there could have some involvement – Commando Leader Lord Lovat was on set (as well as portrayed in the film with his own bagpiper in tow – British eccentricity to the core!) and, possibly most famously, Richard Todd played his former commanding officer from the time of his own participation at Pegasus Bridge.

The film captures so much so well. The impatience on both sides at the start – the Germans have known this was coming since everything started going wrong from around late 1942, it is just a question of when and it captures the disorganisation caused by competing theories of when that 'when' will be. On our side we get the impatience to move – hundreds of thousands of soldiers held waiting for the go for weeks. Rather tellingly, when one American complains of this he gets a lecture on the patience of the British – the US are newcomers to this war. They've had the Blitz and years of fighting. They know what patience is. The key thing to note here, however, is who says it – the greatest American hero in cinema, John Wayne.

With the advisors on site and the book of interviews we have to assume many of the odd happenings were based on true events – the chaplain diving for his communion set, e.g and the wonderful diversionary Ruperts. Like the recent Band of Brothers it also highlights the confusion of drop zones and paratroopers trying to work out where they are and meet up with their units. Maud on the beach with his bulldog Winston – not like those air force johnnies who leave the dogs at home. Lovat travelling with his bagpiper, piping them onto the beach and through France and confusing the heck out of Howard's troops on their arrival at Pegasus, assuming they must be hearing things – and then leading, unarmed and still playing, as Connery and his friend finally give up and block their ears.

Most of all it is a testament to the bravery of men walking into guns and risking their lives and to the spirit – and for the most part of particularly quirky type of pluck – that got them through the war. Just consider how risky the use of gliders was – all you had in your favour was silence. But if you were seen you'd be blown out of the sky. Separate interviews with Todd actually give an example of one of my favourite parts of A Bridge To Far – as Redford's troops prepare to cross a river it is made clear – it isn't the ones that go first that are the bravest but the ones that go next, once the enemy has been alerted. Here Todd talks about originally being about 30 gliders back and getting moved up – and watching once he was down as the later gliders got shot to pieces. The film closes with one of the most difficult parts of the invasion as the US troops finally manage to get off Omaha beach – an event seen as essential to the subsequent success of the invasion and which highlights the input of all branches of the military as the bravery and sacrifice of the engineers prepares the way.

Stunningly shot in Cinemascope, it is quite odd the fact of multiple directors failed to sink this, one of the most impressive films on the events of WWII that gives a real sense of personality to those taking part and starts the attack on the beaches themselves by blowing poor Gert Frobe off his horse.
.  -- Elab49.


< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 24/12/2009 10:48:23 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 2
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =989. - 14/12/2009 9:30:49 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1985
Director: Stuart Gordon

Young med student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) West arrives at Miskatonic University and sets about trying to conquer death. Using his own formula, he starts out by resurrecting his roommates dead cat. He gets his roommate Dan involved when he begins stealing corpses from the morgue to experiment on. Unfortunately his experiments lead to violent zombie resurrection rather than intelligent humans. When a rival at the university, Dr Hill, tries to stop the experiments, he's decapitated and reanimated as two separate body parts. Dan's girlfriend Megan is sexually abused by the zombified Hill (The notorious head giving head scene) as Hill and West enter a final battle. Combs owns the movie and gives an iconic performance that brought a new element to the archetype - the mad scientist as super-geek. You can't really call Re-Animator faithful to H.P. Lovecraft's disturbing original story, instead this is Frankenstein filtered through the mindset of a gross-out comedy, but it's still one of the best Lovecraft adaptations in that it captures the brilliance and insanity of West. It's not only one of the most entertaining films in the top 1000, it's one of the most entertaining films of the 80s.  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1990
Director: Tom Stoppard

Hamlet is to the Lion King what Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is to The Lion King 1.5 Hakuna Matata, only much, much better. Despite such a trite comparison, there is some meaning there. Taking peripheral characters and retelling the original story from their perspective is a genius concept that only Disney would be cheeky enough to rip off. But don't let this deter you from checking out a witty, irreverent retelling of a literary classic. Tom Stoppard's script is a precursor for his later work Shakespeare in Love. The writer (who went to the same school near York as I did) has a knack for taking what is too frequently reduced to dull classroom analysis (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet) and making it something vibrant, clever and very, very funny. Gary Oldman and Tim Roth make the two hapless protagonists tragic enough to feel sorry for them when it reaches the titular conclusion, yet likeable and real enough for us to overlook the inevitability of the dramatic irony. They are supported by a host of other talents (Richard Dreyfuss, Iain Glen) which make the Bard something that can be enjoyed. If this all sounds a bit too literary and self-consciously clever then I refer back to Shakespeare in Love. If you liked that, then you'll love this, as it is Stoppard's superior work. Which, when you consider how good that film was, is saying a lot. -- Swordsandsandals.


Year released: 2007
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1973
Director: Fyodor Khitruk

It's quite cynical, but this beautifully-animated tale of a desert island castaway trying to flag down ships with comical results is still an interesting and fun watch. The gags are great (the church-boat and the speedboat remain my favourites) and the film addresses the selfishness of humanity with a little bit of venom but not enough to make it unpalatable. Plus, the sweet, hopeful ending does mitigate the damage somewhat. -- Pigeon Army.

Island is probably Khitruk's best film from a structural standpoint. The premise is simple: a man is stuck on a tiny island, and keeps trying to escape, but instead of helping him, the society gradually exploits him more and more. The message is crystal clear, but it's the how rather than the what that matters when it comes to Khitruk's shorts. Ostrov's touching, funny, and sad at the same time. The atmosphere given how abstract it is is incredible. An absolute must-see. -- Miles Messervy 007.


Year released: 1966
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

"Made in USA" is cruelly underappreciated entry into Godard's résumé. It's the story of Paula (Godard's muse and then-wife Anna Karina), who goes to Atlantic City to see her lover Richard, only to find that he is dead. She then models herself after a Humphrey Bogart esque private detective, attempting to uncover the mystery behind his strange discovery. I really don't understand why this film isn't mentioned in the same breath as "Breathless" (unintentional pun), "Contempt", or "Pierrot le Fou". It has everything that makes a late sixties Godard film great; communist leanings, intelligent social commentary, and an unrivalled density of ideas that could make this as great to dedicated Godard aficionados as "Pierrot le Fou". But, to add to this, you have attributes that could genuinely make this film as popular to the mainstream audience as "Breathless". It has great storytelling, and even if it does venture into the surreal every now and again, it isn't too incomprehensible and Godard offers at least some answers to the questions he brings up. There's fantastic characters, particularly Paula, a character that shows just how much you can do with a tired stereotype. She's very much of the film noir private eye vain, but for a kick off she's a woman searching for clues on a dead man, which in itself flips conventions on their heads. She's also emotional to lives that noir heroes aren't, and has complexities beyond the cliché. Don't construe this as me hating on noir, because I think that particular stereotype works well within that style of filmmaking, but here Godard updates it for a new decade and a new audience. There are also some great cameos, particularly from the awesome Jean-Pierre Leaud and Marianne Faithful, who performs a powerful, melancholic rendition of "As Time Goes By".  -- Piles.


Year released: 1990
Director: Wong Kar-Wai

Set in the Hong Kong of the 60s, the film focuses on Yuddy (Leslie Cheung) a young man with women issues. Abandoned by his birth mother and raised by a prostitute, his surrogate mother refuses to help him find his real mother, despite his desperation. Meanwhile two different women fall for him, the introverted Maggie Cheung (Yuddy's initial flirtations with her make for the most interesting moments in the film.)  and the dizzy Carina Lau. Yuddy's disinterested attitude to them hurts both women, with Cheung turning into a rejected puppy. The film is beautifully acted and as visually entrancing as you'd expect from a Wong Kar Wai film. It's obviously an early work and it loses its way a little towards the ending, but it rivals Ashes of Time as WKW's best pre-ITMFL offering.  


Year released: 1994
Director: Jan de Bont

As concepts go, it's a pretty simple one. There is a bomb on a bus, if the bus slows down, the bomb goes off. As films go, it's a bloody exciting one.

Based on an unproduced screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, the film could have been so different if original leads (Stephen Baldwin, Ed Harris, Halle Berry) had been cast instead of Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper and Sandra Bullock (in the role that made her name). Reeves originally wasn't too keen on the role as written and Joss Whedon was brought in for an uncredited script polish along with some input from Reeves.

Reeves, in his middle cool-as-ice role between Point Break and The Matrix, plays L.A. cop Jack Traven who foils Howard Payne's, (Hopper) first hostage/ransom attempt and finds himself on the bus in the bombers second attempt. Jack enlists the help of his partner (Jeff Daniels) try to save the passengers with the help of passenger turned reluctant bus driver Annie (Bullock).

Playing out like one long action scene, the film starts fast and keeps the pace up for its two hours running time as director Jan De Bont hits us with plummeting elevators, unfinished freeways, airport explosions and runaway subway trains as peeved ex cop Payne tries to get the money he thinks he deserves after being forced to retire.

The sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control failed to recapture the magic, but at least we got Father Ted's Speed 3. -- Benmharper.

Former cinematographer DeBont has tried several times to replicate this very definition of an adrenalin fuelled thrill ride – his debut and his most successful film -and repeatedly fails dismally, never more so than in his most direct attempt to repeat it – Speed 2: Cruise Control is regularly in the top 5 of the worst/most hated films on the site.

But the original got it very right. Disturbed and pissed-off Hopper decides to pay back the city for its lousy pay-off in a series of bombings, with a particular target being the cop, played by Reeves, who thwarts his initial scheme. Memorably targeting a commuter bus, giving Sandra Bullock her real break as the late passenger forced to take the wheel and ensure the speed stays about 50mph, this extended sequence is topped and tailed by 2 other suspenseful encounters – first round a lift shaft and finally on a runaway subway train. But even with all of this, perhaps the cleverest move was ensuring the inept actor Reeves is called upon to do little more than look determined and utter the odd single line. That said, I don't think I was the only one in the cinema cheering Hopper on! -- Elab 49.


Year released: 2007
Director: Petter Nass

Tatt av Kvinnen is one of the best Norwegian comedies of later years. Adapted from a book by Erlend Loe, it tells the seemingly simple story of a guy and a gal, the former which is a conformist push-around and the latter which can mercifully be described as one hell of a control freak. She (that's what she's called in the credits) moves in with He (that's what he's called in the credits), and before he knows it, she has taken complete control over his life (fantastically symbolized through a yellow commode). It sounds cliched and formulaic, but the OTT writing and performances will have you forget that in a second. -- Dantes Inferno.


Year released: 1964
Director: Cy Endfield

Zulu makes neither excuses nor judgements about why the British are in Zulu territory in the first place, because it isn't a film about the high command or politics, it's a film about the courage of ordinary soldiers and it's a marvellous one. Its main strength is the actors, who manage to fit seamlessly into the time they are portraying – not for one second do you ever doubt that they are Victorians living at the turn of the century. This realism pays off tremendously during the long build up to the battle, the slowly-growing tension becomes deliciously unbearable and the battle scenes are some of the most exciting on film. And then of course, there's Michael Caine, outstanding in his least mannered role to date as the privileged young lieutenant trying to keep the men together under ever increasing pressure. Overall, a beautifully-crafted old war horse that isn't afraid to spend a long time developing interesting characters if it means making the end product all the more involving. Best scene: The regiment sings 'Men of Harlech' in the face of the enemy advance. Just a fantastic, powerful, uplifting sequence that carries you away. Ties with Casablanca for Most Spine-Tingling Movie Sing-Off.  -- TheDudeAbides.


Year released: 1977
Director: Richard Attenborough

A Bridge Too Far was one of the last of the massive multi-star WWII epics – following those great favourites of Six Degrees of Separation players like The Longest Day and The Great Escape. Although American, and adapted by William Goldman, Dickie Attenborough took the helm of a film that tried to capture the events of a mission that, ultimately, failed. Operation Market Garden was an attempt to secure onward routes from destruction during the German withdrawal – as the title says, the main targets were bridges and to try to outflank the Siegfried Line to the north (it stretched to Holland).

The film makes a highly creditable attempt to make sense of the chaos – giving due respect to the activity of the Dutch resistance, we see the difficulties in the co-ordination of a mission that brings in the Americans, the British, the Poles (great accent Gene!) and the questionable decision making up front – underestimating the opposition and the speed at which the troops will be able to move into supporting each other. One of my favourite moments is when (Major) Redford's troops need to make a dangerous daylight crossing making clear it isn't the ones that go first that are the bravest – it's the ones that go second after the enemy are now prepared.

Bringing the wide-ranging operations together into a coherent film and controlling the mass of star power on display is skilfully done by Attenborough, and while there is a slight feeling that some of the stars want to be the ones in the 'right' who know there is a problem, it feels like an honest attempt to look at the right decisions and honour the bravery on display as well as consider in more detail than a romp at the cinema might expect, what went wrong. -- Elab49.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 12/3/2011 9:33:20 AM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 3
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =984. - 14/12/2009 9:40:51 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1973
Director: Clint Eastwood

It's not everyday you see a supernatural Western. And it's not everyday you see one that is actually damn good. But Clint Eastwood's 1973 genre smasher eschews gimmicks and instead delivers on both the Western and the horror front. On the surface it is usual Eastwood fair: mysterious gunslinger is hired by a small town to defend it from some evil criminals. But as the story unfolds so do the extremely dark forces that pervade in the town. Eastwood's 'hero' is suitably cool in a way that very few leading men have ever been able to pull off. But there is a darkness behind him as he suffers nightmares about a murder in the town as well as the fact he rapes a woman after she insults him. Not only that but soon we are treated to Clint turning the town into a living hell with red painted buildings, fires and the criminals taking over. It is an incredibly dark film where no prisoners are taken and it seems, barring a couple of people, that everybody is out for themselves. Eastwood is on fine form and the mysteriousness surrounding the film really makes it stand out from so many others. Fantastic visuals, great support and the ambiguity surrounding the ever cool Clint turn this into one of the best Westerns around. -- Rinc.


Year released: 1944
Director: Preston Sturges

After penning some of the best movies of the 1930s and early '40s - If I Were King, Easy Living and Remember the Night among them - screenwriter Preston Sturges sold the script for The Great McGinty to Paramount for $1. The catch? They let him direct. So began a series of riotous comedies that tickled every sacred cow in sight, and took its flamboyant writer-director to the top of the pile. Hail the Conquering Hero is one of his best. Drawing on Sturges' elongated mantra, it remains not only remarkably fresh, but also remarkably funny, mixing satire, slapstick and social awareness to confront political corruption, hero worship and blind patriotism. Based on the classic Sturges premise of unpleasant, unfathomably ridiculous things happening to nice people, this masterpiece sees Bracken - rejected by the army due to his hayfever - greeted as a war hero. Crucially, the director coached one of the finest turns in cinema from owl-faced newcomer Eddie Bracken, his heart quietly breaking as he unwittingly betrays his widowed mother, war hero father and childhood sweetheart through one long, ridiculous deception. It's moving, memorable and chest-hurtingly funny.

Favourite bit? Shameless self-promoter Everett D. Noble (character actor and Mr Monopoly lookalike Raymond Walburn) dictates an election speech to his secretary's boyfriend, who he suspects may be an idiot. "Read it back to me," he requests, prompting a stream of utter gibberish from his ad hoc helper. In terms of pathos, Bracken's climactic speech has me welling up every time. -- Rick_7.


Year released: 1947
Director: Henry Koster

Christmas wouldn't be complete without this heart-warming (in the best sense of the phrase) film. David Niven plays Bishop Henry Brougham. Henry has been working hard to build the cathedral he's always dreamed of, but a result he's been neglecting his wife, Julia. He's unable to raise the money needed so he prays for guidance. Divine intervention arrives in the form of an angel named Dudley. As played by Cary Grant, Dudley is warm and charming and quickly makes himself popular with everyone except Henry. Dudley isn't necessarily there to help Henry get his cathedral, he's there to help and guide Henry and the others in the way they most need help. Dudley also manages to bring happiness into Julia's life for the first time in years, but complications ensure when Dudley and Julia find themselves attracted to each other. In the wrong hands this could have been sentimental nonsense, but a superb cast and a script that dances nicely across the sugary line means that it's one of the classic Christmas films you can enjoy at any time of the year. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1984
Director: Liu Chia-Liang

The Yangs, a family of soldiers are betrayed to the Tartars by rival General Pan Mei (Lin Ke Ming). The father and his seven sons are ambushed, and only two of the brothers escape with their lives. Yang 6th brother (Alexander Fu Sheng) makes his way home to his mother (Lily Li), but witnessing the slaughter of his family has driven him insane. 5th brother (Gordon Liu) ends up in a Shaolin temple, searching for a way to counter the seemingly invincible sword technique of the Tartars (Mongols).

By the mid 80s, Hong Kong action cinema was moving away from the Shaw Brothers staple of period kung fu, and towards heroic bloodshed films and kung fu comedies set in the modern day. Consequently, this period tale of avenging the family, with it's dark, serious tone and filmed mainly on a soundstage, has a decidedly 70s feel about it. Nevertheless, it is brimming with impressive old-school training sequences (including metal-fanged wooden wolves!) and tons of great fight scenes, as Gordon Liu's character battles the likes of his sister (Kara Hui), the Shaolin Abbot (Phillip Ko) and chief bad guy Yeh Li-Lin (Johnny Wang).

8 Diagram Pole Fighter has its creaks, due in part to the death of Alexander Fu Sheng mid-way through filming forcing a rewrite, but it is undoubtedly a classic from the Shaw Brothers' studio, featuring the legendary team of director Lau Kar Leung and his "adopted" brother Gordon Liu, and littered with stunning kung fu action.  -- Gram123.


Year released: 1960
Director: Ronald Neame

When people think of British films about class clashes they generally think of social realism but to my mind two of our best presentations of class conflict are the Boulting satires with the characters from I'm All Right Jack and Ronald Neame's tale of the conflict that ensures when an English officer and gentleman, and ex-POW, turns up to take charge of a Scottish regiment under the nose of Jock Sinclair. It's not just class though – it's a clash of countries and styles, the stiff martinet Barrow v's former piper 'man of the people' Sinclair symbolised rather aptly by their difference attitudes to the Scottish dancing.
Although there are sub-plots galore (including the useful plot-driver of Jock's daughter in love with a lowly piper), it's the tension in the officers' quarters – the games room, the dining room – that is the core of the film. Biting civility and stabs in the back as Jock denigrates the psychologically damaged Barrow with every oh so helpful aside inevitably result in the officers taking sides behind Jock or Barrow with only a few trying to do the decent thing in the middle – good men like Gordon Jackson's adjutant or Dennis Price's brilliantly played take on Iago. The resulting tragedy seems almost inevitable and the manner of its playing and the nature of Jock's collapse are highly effective, as the room gradually empties and the sound of Jock's distraction gets louder.
The roles in this were originally allocated the other way – Mills to play Jock and Guinness to play Barrow, a character not a million miles from his role in Kwai. It was an act of genius to realise the reverse was clearly the right choice – not only is the bluff, drunken Jock one of Guinness's best performances, but John Mills has rarely been better on screen with the quieter more desperate role as he tries to fit in.
Elab49 .


< Message edited by elab49 -- 21/8/2010 2:55:09 PM >

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Post #: 4
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. 983. - 14/12/2009 9:42:56 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1959
Director: Kon Ichikawa

Realism comes in many forms in a war film. For some realism means proper explosions and realistic bullet sounds and show the muddy, dirty, gritty reality of warfare. Some choose to look at the realistic effects of war on an individual, and some choose to do both. Ichikawa's harrowing anti-war film follows the desperate travels of Tamura across a lifeless wilderness in the Philippines at the end of the Second World War. The Japanese have been told to fight to the death as Allied forces cut off the Japanese supplies. For many Japanese soldiers it's a fight against the environment, starvation and their own humanity as well as the enemy. They are literally cut off from everything except the clothes on their back and the barren soil under their feet. Under these conditions Tamura fights for survival.

There is no rest in this film for it's protagonist Tamura. Everything you see is bleak, the stench of death and decay lingers in every scene and as the film progresses you wonder how much worse can things get. On his lonely journey Tamura meets a couple of fellow Japanese soldiers. We have already witnessed throughout the film Tamura's gradual decline into feverish madness but these two comrades now offer us a little hope in Tamura's salvation. Not in that they can help him, but they act as a comparison. These two soldiers have sunk to greater depths in order to survive, by the consumption of so called "monkey meat". Appalled by this act of depravity Tamura now becomes a hero not for doing anything great but by refusing to do something against his humanity. Not only is this a powerful and sometimes bleakly poetic damnation of war but it's also a deft character study of the dehumanising effects of war and the power of the human spirit. -- Chris_scott01.


< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 14/12/2009 10:50:17 AM >

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Post #: 5
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =972. - 14/12/2009 9:59:18 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1959
Director: Richard Quine

In the romantic comedy It Happened to Jane, Doris Day and Jack Lemmon join forces for the first and only time - together with Ernie Kovacs. The film was directed by Richard Quine who also made My Sister Eileen, Operation Mad Ball and Bell, Book and Candle in which Jack Lemmon can be seen once again. The story was written by Max Wilk and Norman Katkov (who also made the screenplay). It had premiere July 14th 1959.

Doris Day plays Jane Osgood, a young widow who lives with her son and daughter in the town of Cape Anne, Maine, where she owns her own lobsterbusiness. Everything works like a charm until the day a shipment of 300 lobsters is spoiled caused by a foulup made by the Eastern & Portland Railroad. Due to the budget cuts, there was no station agent at Marshall Town to receive the lobsters. The customer, the Marshall Town Country Club, takes the undelievered shipment badly and refuses all the future orders. With a very dark future for her business, Jane gets her lawyer and boyfriend, George Denham (Jack Lemmon) to go after the Eastern & Portland Railroad to pay for the damages. But that's easily said than done. In the E&P office in New York, Harry Foster Malone (Ernie Kovacs) finds out about the Osgood lawsuit, and sends two employees to Cape Anne to deal with the situation. They offer Jane $700 but since she thinks the loss to her business reputation is more than that, she turns it down. After her victory in court the next day, the battle between a local businesswoman and one of the biggest railroad tycoon in the country takes another level...! It happened to David, now it happened to Jane. To me this is the perfect feelgood movie with the perfect cast.

One detail to give away: You're not only going to get the chance to see Doris Day, you're going to get the chance to hear her as well. She sings the theme song and a few other songs.  -- Sugarman Treacle.


Year released: 1977
Director: Werner Herzog

i.e. The film Ian Curtis saw before committing suicide. The second and last film Herzog did with with real life street musician schizophrenic Bruno S is also a highlight of Herzog's career. Both minimalistic and profound and filmed like a documentary (with some stunning cinematography by Thomas Muach) it deals with the story of three Germans (an alcoholic street musician released from prison, his neighbour and a prostitute) who immigrate to the land of dreams and opportunity, the United States of America, only to discover it a spiritual wasteland. In a particular remark, our lead Bruno (played by the lead Bruno S) compares America to Nazi Germany, but where the Nazis harmed Bruno physically, America does it spiritually, and that is possibly worse. As you can see, it deals with the European disillusionment with the American Dream, however, it is a universal tale that can happen anywhere. Even in its strange, surreal, famous climax, it never feels fake, the acting (especially from Eva Mattes and Bruno S, but he was playing himself) is very good, Herzog's direction is great and the use of music fantastic. It's not one to like immediately, it is a particularly distressing film (not without some funny scenes, but even they tend to be quite dark in tone), and not one to watch while listening to The Idiot and feeling depressed, but it demands to be watched, and will certainly grow into you. -- Deviation.


Year released: 2005
Director: Terrence Malick

Here comes a film which greatly divided audiences and critics alike. Some thought it was a beautiful, hypnotic, intellectual, artistic film, others simply a bore that delved on self-parody. Since it's in my Top 100, you can imagine to which side I belong to. Malick is a very divisive director, to some he comes off as pretentious, to other a great philosophical artist, his films are not loved by everybody, particularly this one. Here we have a Malick re-telling of the Pocahontas story. The Europeans are colonizing America, Captain Smith(Colin Farrell) falls for one of the Native's chiefs younger daughters, Pocahontas(Q'orinaka Kilcher), cultural clashes begin. Like many of Malick's films, this will be a hard film to review, like many of his films, this is quite open to interpretation, but I'll try.

Thematically we see the recurring theme of Adam of Eve seen in Badlands and Days of Heaven, like The Thin Red Line, it features parts of Wordsworth's poetry and other prose and poetry(if not also to Faust, Paradise Lost....), philosophical themes like that of Rousseau's Noble Savage, Wagner's Ring Cycle, Naturalist philosophy, Heidegger, Death and Re-birth and so many others themes which deserve a thread on their own. I also read that it has allusions to Heart of Darkness, and I agree. It's a very interesting film, worth of analysis and discussion, which in my opinion is what artistic cinema should be. It's a very complex film inside. Like all powerful art, we don't know what it is completely. I am going to take as one between the two different cultures and philosophies of two cultures. The Colonizers have a more practical and rational philosophy to that of the romantic ones of the natives and Smith. The cultures collide. The romance between Smith and Pocahontas is doomed with the coming of civilization, but somewhat romance is not dead. It is re-born in John Rolfe(Christian Bale) and Rebecca(the new colonized Pocahontas). Pocahontas natural spirit is never completely killed. We have a cycle here, but in the plot and in the technical aspects. We hear Rhiengold Overtune 3 times, two of them in the intro, and again in the end, we have a cyclical motion in the film.

It's films like these that take films into a form of reasoning, argument, reflection and philosophizing, and even if they are not liked, they should be respected for that.

On a more technical level, the choreography is excellent, it looks outstanding, the action scenes are good but lack the intensity of The Thin Red Line, the soundtrack is as usual, excellent. The acting is all round perfect. Which is actually saying something cause as you might noticed I might have mentioned Farrell as one of the actors, but yes, he is really good here. Bale is great as Rolfe, and Christopher Plummer memorable in his little few scenes. The real surprise though here is new-comer Q'orianka Kilcher, who plays Rebecca/Pocahontas. The script and direction are pure Malick, so you either love it or hate it. I love them, the dialogue and the shots, the slow pacing and the poetry of his films, they are visual meditation. -- Deviation.


Year released: 1989
Director: Michael Haneke

The Seventh Continent is an imaginary place that the family in this film create. Haneke's début is a showcase of great things to come by one of the most interesting directors working today, the themes he will further show in his career and in my opinion, the finest film of his I've seen yet (considering I have only seen The Piano Teacher, the Funny Games films and Cache). Separated in three parts, it deals with the true story (or so it claims to be) of an urban middle class family that shown in the first part of the film, the year 1987 are shown to be living normal, repetitive, routine lives and in the third part, 1989, suddenly descend into barbarism and nihilism, destroy all their possessions and commit suicide. This life is sterile, repetitive, it creates them discomfort, it is suffocated by consumerism, failed to be given meaning, it causes them to be nervous and depressed, and in the third part causes devastation as they isolate themselves completely from modern life. They become anomic individuals. It's a bleak and depressing film as you might have noticed, but a great one nonetheless. Haneke rarely even shows his actors entirely, using mostly close-ups and extreme close-ups to body parts (hands buying things for example). This makes the film detached and cold, if not dialectical. Haneke here creates a Verfremdungseffekt, never sympathizing with the characters and leaving the audience always in a critical view. -- Deviation.


Year released: 1965
Director: Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos

Eastern Europe seems to have a tendency to deal with its most painful history in a tragi-comic manner although all pretence to comedy disappears near the end of this tale of a small Slovakian town in WWII on the brink of deporting its Jewish population.

Toni the carpenter is our everyman – resenting the loss of property to his brother-in-law he is somewhat mollified when the BiL – a fascist official in the small town – makes him the Aryan manager of a Jewish shop on main street. But the proprietor is an old woman – almost deaf, problems seeing – who doesn't know what is going on in the world outside, protected by her neighbours and the Jewish community. And Toni begins to wonder if he might have been set-up.

I agree with Kadar's point of view on this film. It is difficult to comprehend the scale of loss when millions or even hundreds die. But one life – one decision. That focus is what makes you think – it is, I believe, one of the reasons for the enduring impact of Anne Frank's diary. And then you wonder what choice you would have made if your life had been on the line – you or them?

This entire film builds up to that situation, giving you context, showing you round the town increasingly dominated by the fascist tower being built in the centre. Kadar is true to that view here – for most of the round-up he doesn't even show what is going on – you simply hear the names called outside. The choice being made takes place in a couple of rooms between one old lady and one weak man. We know what happens to those who help the Jews, leading Toni to think he's been set-up by his in-law. Do the right thing and hide and protect – but it isn't that simple. If he has been set-up, he'll probably be killed himself. So a layer of self- interest is added to the burden on the increasingly frantic, confused and drunken ex-carpenter as the old lady, who realising she is watching another pogrom, tries to hide. So he watches the round-up – an observer, condoning by inaction. Like everyone else in the small town who isn't actively a fascist in Hlinka's militia.

Shop on Main Street is a powerful examination of the reaction of anytown to fascist control, as they watch their neighbours and friends being carted away. Made under Communist rule it obviously is clearly anti-fascist in its approach but it clearly examines the impact of any regime of terror. The 2 leads are superb. Kaminsky is wonderful as the frail old woman who thinks she has found a 'new' son – particularly impressive when you consider she was even then running her own theatre in Poland, so much more normally dynamic than she portrays here. Kroner, particularly as he argues with himself in the final scenes, is the perfect everyman, our representative on screen making decisions we hope we wouldn't make.

Political and humanistic filmmaking at its best. -- Elab49.


Year released: 2007
Director: Michael Bay

I'm one of those folks that's gets excited about seeing a Michael Bay film, when said film is produced by Steven Spielberg and is going to feature giant robots beating seven bells out of each other, then my excitement levels get unbearable.

Based on a franchise I grew up with, (I still remember getting Optimus Prime for Christmas whislt my brother got Megatron, the proper Megatron who turned into a gun) the film sees a group of Transformers arriving from their home planet, Cybertron, in search for a power source called the Allspark. Megatron and the evil Decepticons want to use the cube to enslave earth and the Autobots led by Optimus Prime have come to stop them.

Getting drawn into the battle is Sam, played by Shia Lebeouf. Sam's his in his collection his Grandfathers glasses which contain information the Decepticons require. The Autobots infiltrate a car lot so Sam ends up buying one for his first car. Bumblebee, sent to protect Sam protects him from Decepticon attacks and whisks him away to meet the rest of the aubobots. Joining them is Megan Fox's Mikaela, Sam's high school crush.

Drawn into the battle is a group of marines, some computer hackers and a shady government group, led by Jon Turturro, but the humans aren't the reason for watching the film. That would be the immaculate special effects, awesome spectacle and giant robots destroying each other.  -- Benmharper.


Year released: 1967
Director: Val Guest, Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish and Richard Talmadge

From all the films in my top 100, this is the only one I wouldn’t necessarily defend when someone says it’s bad. It’s quite a mess, really. However, few films have a comparable amount of stars, which one may dismiss as irrelevant, but actually really helps the film in my opinion. Barcharach’s score is superb and while the tonal changed may throw people off, it’s the totally contrasting types of humour that make the film work for me. “I have a very low threshold of death” indeed. -- Miles Messervy 007.


Year released: 2005
Director: James McTeigue

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1953
Director: Fred Zinnemann

From Here To Eternity is fundamentally about the perversity, cruelty and dishonesty of daily life on a US army base in Hawaii. Montgomery Clift is heartbreaking as Prewitt, the fragile but unbreakable private who refuses to box for his unit and is subsequently tortured by the malicious officers determined to break him. His only friend on the base, company joker Maggio, played superbly by Frank Sinatra, is victimised by a sadistic and bigoted Sergeant who eventually has him locked in the stockade and beats him to death. Meanwhile, the bored wife of the base commander carries on an affair with his subordinate, whilst the other soldiers seek solace in a seedy 'nightclub'. Phew. If your only impression of this film is the ridiculous beach scene, boy have you got a shock coming. From Here To Eternity is no romance, but rather a subversive and brutal condemnation of the US army.
Best scene: In a tremendously filmed sequence rather reminiscent of the Mozart scene in The Shawshank Redemption, Prewitt takes his bugle and, standing in the middle of the parade ground, plays for his dead friend. The soldiers and officers freeze in their rooms and stand silently, the bugle call reminding each man of their complicity in the death and its cover-up. -- TheDudeAbides.


Year released: 1930
Director: Victor Heerman

A weekend party at the estate of Mrs.Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont) descends into farce, when her guest of honour, none other than the great explorer Captain Spaulding, (played to brilliant effect by Groucho Marx) arrives at the scene.
An absurd sub-plot involving a stolen painting, somehow works, if only to allow more screen time for the zany antics from the madcap brothers. The puns & quips come so thick & fast at times, that you'd be forgiven for thinking that you were actually watching something fresh & modern, which is truly remarkable considering its age. Indeed some eighty years on, their second feature goes some way to proving that their comedy is as hip & relevant today, as it was in their heyday. -- Jackie Boy.


Year released: 2004
Director: Walter Salles

Walter Salles's The Motorcycle Diaries, adapted from the memoirs of its protagonist Ernesto "Che" Guevara, is not quite the film you may expect if you haven't seen it. Despite what you might think before watching, it's not an overtly political film – while much of the film deals with the young Guevara's disillusionment with the social structures of Latin American society at the time, it's not really what the film is about per se.

Not so much the story of the infamous Argentine revolutionary but the story before, The Motorcycle Diaries follows two young friends, Ernesto and Alberto Granada, as they embark on a four-month journey across South America. Along the way, they see first-hand the gulf between the wealthy elite and the poverty-stricken masses, and the pair begin to drift apart as Che answers his calling. At the heart of the film is a powerhouse performance from Gael García Bernal, who gives this most mythical of historical figures a real, tangible quality absent from many other portrayals of the man. Rodrigo de la Serna is also excellent in the role of Alberto, and the friendship between the two is key to the film's success as the pair discover South America, and themselves (not for nothing has Salles been given the nod to helm a film adaptation of Kerouac's On The Road). These two central performances stand out when reviewing the film, but there's much to recommend – from Gustavo Santaolalla's astonishing, otherworldly score to the stunning imagery evoked by the subtle but effective cinematography (often nothing but the two friends, the road and the sky), there's very little to fault here.

As Ernesto sets out for the open road with Alberto on Granada's rusty old Norton 500, it's clear that The Motorcycle Diaries is about so much more than politics; it's about identity, about coming of age and realising what road to take. (It just so happens that Ernesto's road involves revolution and appearing on t-shirts.) -- Olaf.


< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 16/12/2009 11:42:10 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 6
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =968. - 14/12/2009 10:04:27 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1931
Director: James Whale

Frankenstein is a film where all of the elements work. The performances, the direction, the set, the make-up, everything is perfect. The word 'iconic' could have been invented for this film. Mention Frankenstein to anyone and the first image in the minds of most people will be that of the monster rather than the doctor, but it's a safe bet most of them will think of Karloff in Jack Pierce's make-up. The film is about Henry Frankenstein, a scientist who becomes obsessed with reanimating dead tissue and creating new life. Henry and his assistant Fritz steal body parts and piece together a human, but an error occurs where the wrong brain is placed in the body. The monster seems innocent until his frightened reaction to fire scares the humans. Thinking the Monster is dangerous, they lock it up and Fritz takes pleasure in taunting it. The Monster strangles him in retaliation and escapes to the outside world. The Monster's innocence of the world leads to tragedy when a game he plays with a young girl goes horribly wrong. Feeling lost in a hostile world, the Monster decides to look for revenge on the creator who abandoned him. The success of Frankenstein helped Universal launch their legendary horror series, and helped Karloff become a legend and Universal's number one star. His Monster was filled with a mixture childlike innocence and spurned rage. Karloff's pantomime of rage, fear and innocence was wonderful and he should have walked his way to the Oscar. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1961
Director: Ingmar Bergman

Contains spoilers. The first in Bergman’s faith trilogy is "Through a Glass Darkly", a film about a woman just released from a mental institute, Karin (Harriet Andersson). Taking place over a twenty four hour period, the film tells the story of how Karin begins to see God in the attic of their holiday home, and examines her relationship with the three men sharing her surroundings; husband Martin (Max von Sydow), father David (Gunnar Bjornstrand), and brother Minus (Lars Passgard). "Through a Glass Darkly" is a dark and depressing film about God and faith, and the existence of both upon earth. The film’s final conclusion is the God exists on the face of earth in the form of love, and it’s a very nice thought. Therefore, at the climax of this film, I didn’t feel depressed or down at the sad consequences of Karin’s illness, I felt liberated by its re-assuring message. The film also examines taboo themes, such as incest and schizophrenia. The performances are mostly excellent, with von Sydow and – in particular – Andersson putting in some great work. Andersson’s scenes of mental breakdown are done wonderfully, in particularly the first one, where she is alone in the attic. It is like a monologue of suffering, with no dialogue but plenty of brilliant physical acting. It loses points for Lars Passgard, who doesn’t manage to inflict himself on the viewer in a role that, really, should be just as powerful as the rest of the film is. Still, it’s expertly scored, with fantastic cinematography, and some wonderful scenery. I’d certainly recommend this as one of Bergman’s very best.
-- Piles.


Year released: 1995
Director: Mel Gibson

Braveheart is a film that has been much maligned, and this is most likely due to wrong expectations. Anyone that sees the title historical epic when watching Mel Gibson’s shamelessly anti-English film will inevitably make people complain about the lack of any semblance of historical accuracy, crudely stereotyped villains and all round crapness. Yet they are missing the point. Braveheart should not be seen as a realistic film that will inform and educate – it was never aiming for that. Instead view it as an epic romance of the old school, a fantastical melodrama with broad brush strokes that leave the audience in no doubt who to root for. Sure, the overly evil English, the cheery, cheeky Irish and the brave heroic Scots mean that this film is about as subtle or ambiguous as a slap in the face with a big wet fish. But screw ambiguity, this is a shamelessly brash film with stirring speeches that makes me want to be Scottish. There is no rule saying that all cinema should be down-to-earth and factually correct, so why should this be any different for Braveheart? This is a film that should perhaps be forgotten for its notion that William Wallace fathered the royal line, but remembered for its glorious cinematography, its exciting, energetic battle sequences and Brendan Gleeson as a big hairy highlander with an axe. What more could you want?  -- Swordsandsandals.


Year released: 2003
Director: Bryan Singer

The first ten minutes of X2 – a breathless sequence in which the blue teleporter Nightcrawler storms the White House before failing to assassinate the president – is a good indicator of why the film as a whole is one of the best superhero films made, and good enough to make it into this prestigious list. So in an attempt to break from the review writing standard, I’ll use bullets to show why this is.

It’s political – setting an attack in the White House to open up a film sets the scene. X2 isn’t just about a bunch of super powered guys in figure hugging suits, it’s about fitting in when you are conspicuously different, it’s about fighting the systems that try to put you in your place. Read into this what you will.

It’s exhilarating – even in the amazing Dark Knight there weren’t quite any sequences that match the pace and thrills of a blue freak with a tail disappearing in a puff of smoke before reappearing again to take out a bodyguard, before vanishing again. The rest of the film is packed with scenes like this, and it’s difficult to keep your jaw from hitting the ground as Lady Deathstrike and Wolverine duel, or Magneto escaping from his plastic prison.

It’s unpredictable – just look what they do with Nightcrawler’s character after this scene...  -- Swordsandsandals.


(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 7
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =957. - 14/12/2009 10:15:49 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1958
Director: Richard Quine

Witch Kim Novak bewitches publisher James Stewart who is on the point of marrying a woman who tormented her at college. But the developing relationship is threatened by her brother striking up a working partnership with an author determined to expose the activities of witches and warlocks in New York.
Richard Quine was a fairly stolid director but he does well making the audience forget this is an adaptation of a play, even with the fairly obvious stage sets, particularly with the emphasis on the camera work following Piewacket on his perambulations. It's been suggested the film was partly influential on the later Bewitched.
Actingwise, Stewart is coasting well in a soft comedy role he could handle with ease Elsa Lanchester essays another batty old dame and, as usual, does it rather wonderfully. The best roles TV star Ernie Kovacs as the slightly alcoholic writer who is enchanted into heading to New York, and thinks he knows a little more than he actually does about the magic that goes on there and Jack Lemmon playing Novak's brother, and clearly enjoying playing the 'not quite' good guy character with some of the best lines and delivery ("think of the devil") and a fairly dismissive attitude towards humans generally. Elab49.


Year released: 1965
Director: Roman Polanski

Repulsion takes place within a woman's fractured mind. Deneuve plays Carol, a beautiful but sexually repressed young Belgian woman living in London. Deneuve shares an apartment with her sister, when her sister goes on holiday, Deneuve lives in isolation and begins to suffer a murderous nervous breakdown.

Carol is repulsed by men and the reasons are never really explained. A background of childhood sexual abuse is hinted at, through the focus on photos of Carol as a child, but not fully explored. The fantasies that all the men in her life are trying to rape her would suggest some previous attack. She's certainly unable to understand there are degrees of sexual interest and not all of it is threatening. She also appears to be suffering some form of PTSD. She frequently loses herself in her mind, drifting away for periods, she also has an obsession with brushing and rubbing things.

Polanski's first film in the west was also the start of his 'Apartment trilogy', that also consists of Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant, where you're never sure if the dangers to the lead are external or internal. It's an unsettling film, Carol's visual and audio hallucinations are jarring. The environment cracks and decays around her as we sink deeper into her mental decline. Throughout the film you get the idea that Polanski is playing with us. We're constantly kept in the dark regarding what is real and what isn't. Carol's perception of the world is distorted something reflected in the way Polanski films the environment. Carol sees a sexual threat from every man, so when that threat does become real, how can we know? Polanski plays with this ambiguity to raise the tension in Repulsion. And that's ultimately what the film is about, it's not a narrative piece, it's a mood piece about a deteriorating mind and what horrors can exist inside it.

It's a brilliant and provocative piece of work, the finest achievement of Polanski's career, but it would all fall apart without a superb lead performance. Luckily he cast Catherine Deneuve. Deneuve does amazing work, the focus is almost always on Carol so she has to carry the film against a series of increasingly bizarre events. Deneuve has a brittle and haunted quality in Repulsion that keeps you sympathetic to Carol, even when she becomes a killer. Repulsion is the perfect meeting between a director and star at the height of their powers, and neither would top this work.  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1964
Director: Masaki Kobayashi

Kwaidan is a phenomenal Japanese horror anthology based on the short stories of Lafacadio Hearn. There are four stories in the film, each involving some kind of supernatural encounter. Black Hair is the tale of a samurai who is so desperate for wealth that he deserts his wife, only to find himself drawn back to his home many years later. The Woman of the Snow is the best of the bunch, an often told story about a young man whose life is spared by a snow spirit, as long as he promises to never tell anyone about meeting her. Hoichi the Earless, a story of a blind biwa player called by spirits to recite the tale of an epic battle. In the last tale, In a Cup of Tea sees a samurai guard haunted by a face that appears in pools of water. Kwaidan is a lyrical and evocative film where the line between the real world and the supernatural one is only seperated by a very fine line. The art direction is breathtaking and the film is shot in vivid colours, making it one of the most striking visual experiences in cinema. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1958
Director: Roy Ward Baker

In the wake of James Cameron's 1997 behemoth of a film (please, don't let that be on this list) you'd be forgiven for thinking that there's nothing else in the world of TV and film about the Titanic. Of course, that isn't the case. Two short films cropped up within months of the sinking, a nazi propaganda film about the Titanic appeared in the 40s, Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb were an estranged couple onboard the liner in 1953's effort, there have been a few TV movies and even an animated film. The best version though is 1958's A Night To Remember based on the book of the same name by Walter Lord. Lord interviewed over 60 survivors from the Titanic and his account of the night is still one of the best available. The film version has the ship's fourth officer Joseph Boxhall on hand for technical advice and the sets were created using blueprints from the day. The ever-reliable Kenneth More as Second Officer Charles Lightoller, in reality the most senior officer to survive the sinking. Giving a typically stiff upper-lipped performance, he's a focal point amongst all the chaos. Sean Connery, Desmond Llewelyn and Bernard Fox can all be found if you look hard enough. As with other films, it features various little anecdotes and personal tales that help to create a bigger picture from. Similarly, as with films made before the discovery of the wreck in 1986, it shows the Titanic sinking in one piece rather than breaking into two. It's a small flaw overall though. What sets this apart from other versions is that it's really just a good story being told well with no unnecessary embellishments. No Heart Of The Ocean. No steamed up car windows. No gun-toting Billy Zane. And for that we can only be thankful. -- Gimli the Dwarf.


Year released: 1938
Director: Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard

Bernard Shaw provided most of the script for Pygmalian so we can take it as read that he was OK with the changes made to the ending – and this film was what was carried forward into the stage musical, later filmed by Cukor.

It is inevitable when watching both that you compare the individual performances. For me, Pygmalian is by far the superior work although the musical is energetically filmed and has a fantastic score by Lerner and Loewe (On the Street Where You Live is one of my all-time favourite musical theatre songs, up there with What Kind of Fool Am I?).

I like Harrison's curmudgeon – but the take on the role is wrong and he's too old for it. If it had kept to the original non-romantic tone of the play that would have been fine – but as a love interest for Eliza he's absurd. Apparently Peter O'Toole was the main choice for the role, and a fine one he would have been. Particularly if he had played it more like Howard's wonderfully eccentric misanthrope (as opposed to misogynist). Heavily involved in the adaptation this is easily Howard's best acting performance – he inhabits the twitchy, dismissive, arrogant Higgins absolutely perfectly. He is a wonderful counterpart to the superior Hiller – even taking into account the lightness of touch required by the musical, Hepburn was never more than an adequate actress. Hiller on the other hand is an excellent one – leaving aside the broad humour of the draggle tailed guttersnipe her reaction and movement on screen in her second screen outing is amazingly good. She is an exceptionally good actress. And the play needed that sensitivity in showing the changes wrought in Eliza.

2 roles are harder to call. I like Wilfred Hyde-White but the lesser known Scott Sunderland also gives a gracious performance as the gentlemanly Colonel Pickering. But the real battle of equals is between Stanley Holloway – wonderful man, perfect comic timing and a grand swagger for the broader role in the musical – and Wilfred Lawson who bring Alfred Doolittle perfectly to screen as with an evangelical tone to his speeches of differing morality and his befuddlement at his elevation. Too tough a call I think.

The only role the musical wins through on is Freddy – upper-class twit is exactly what you get in Pygmalian and that is probably best for the role. But you get Jeremy Brett in the musical – a better actor who gives you a stronger character. You think Eliza might be better off with him than the original.

But if you've just seen the musical don't write off the play – the joy it takes in the battle of language and sex is a wonderful watch with towering performances.  
-- Elab49.


Year released: 1962
Director: Robert Bresson

I can't really pretend to be any sort of a know-it-all when it comes Robert Bresson. I have only seen "The Trial of Joan of Arc" (evidently, seen as it's in the list) and "Pickpocket", but I can already see a trend developing. It's common knowledge that Bresson treats his actors like puppets, wearing them out take after take after take after take until they have no emotion to speak of in the take that's used, and you can see that in both films that I've mentioned. I think it was elab who asked why Bresson didn't just make animated films if that's how he wanted to make his films, and I think she has a good point. But, I must take them for what they are. "The Trial of Joan of Arc" is such a restrained film; the camera is static and there are not many angles to speak of at all, and there is no music save for the drums beating at the beginning and end. It's also worth noting that the script is made up [almost] entirely of
transcripts from the actual trial, leading to us getting a sense that this is not a film with any dramatic intent, but more a re-enactment where actual people are speaking through the mouths of the actors. Bresson is also clever in his depiction of good and evil. He shoots Joan from various angles, whilst shooting the bishop head on, as if saying evil only has one side. "Pickpocket" may be a little better, but "the Passion of Joan of Arc" is still a fantastic achievement, and I look forward to finding more pleasures in Bresson's résumé.
  -- Piles.


Year released: 1940
Director: Hamilton Luske and Ben Sharpsteen

Disney's second film, judged their best by EMPIRE magazine in 2008, tells the sweet little story of an inventor, Geppeto, who creates a wooden toy named Pinocchio and infuses it with life. From there, the toy enlists the help of his conscience Jimmy Cricket in order to prove himself worthy of becoming a real boy. One of those films that just about everybody sees as a young child, "Pinocchio” is classic Disney at its very best. It infuses all of those themes that you've come to associate with the studio, like adventure and childhood innocence and teamwork and comradeship and doing the right thing, with an epic sprawling story. The general plot, as shown above, is quite easy to sum up, but the true beauty of this film is how free-wheeling it is, and how willing the directing and writing team are to take things off at tangents. It also boasts a few astounding set pieces, two of which are actually genuinely scary. The scene where Pinocchio and a 'friend', trapped in a theme park type setting, turns into a donkey was the bane of my dreams for weeks, and I'm sure it was the same to many other children. The scenes within the whale's stomach also boast an intensity about them that Disney would fail to reproduce for many years to come. The ending bursts at the seams with emotion, and is possibly one of the early magical movie moments of my own particular film-watching life. "Pinocchio” deserves its place as a Disney classic, and although it's not quite as good as a couple of their other films from the 30s and 40s, it's certainly worth a look for anyone under (and probably over) the age of ten. Piles.


Year released: 1987
Director: Alan Parker

If there ever was a movie that had only increased its quality since its release, it's Angel Heart. There is a very specific reason for that, and his name is Mickey Rourke. In 1987, he was an actor who was destined for greatness, so it was only fitting that he would star in a film with Robert De Niro, who seemed fit to act as a de facto mentor. It was as if the torch from one great actor would be passed on to the next. Unfortunately, not longer after, Rourke's career took a nosedive of such proportions that any hope he would have had of being one of the best performers of his generation vanished quickly.
Looking at the film with Rourke's fall clear in mind gives it an extra power that it didn't have at its release, as it is clear that the sleazy and dirty character he plays, P.I. Harry Angel, is not so far from how Rourke was himself at the time. While some actors deserve recognition because they manage to play characters that are different than themselves, Rourke deserves recognition because he clearly reveals as much of himself as he does of the guy he plays (if not actually more). There is a sense of pathos that is added to the film as we slowly realize that the ease that he has with the role comes from the same part of him that would almost destroy him later.
Rourke is not the only reason to watch this film. Alan Parker's direction provides just the right atmosphere for his leading man to be a part of. What Parker manages to do here is something few filmmakers have been able to do, which is to create a mood that verges on the overtly stylish, yet never seems unrealistic in the slightest bit. He draws you into the story even when it would seem to push you out of it. Any other director might have overplayed his hand and alienated his audience, but Parker never loses sight of the big picture, nor does he underestimate the talent of Rourke, who provides as much of the atmosphere as film's creepy music and simple, yet very effective visuals.
Anyone who wants to find exactly how much of a loss Mickey Rourke was to the cinematic world owes it to themselves to see Angel Heart. It seems odd to say this, but the misfortune of the guy has ironically given the film much more power than it would have had if he had stayed on the narrow path. A blessing in the disguise, then? -- Dantes Inferno. 


Year released: 1997
Director: Gus van Sant

Perhaps Good Will Hunting is a formulaic and slightly contrived movie. I always seem to forget while watching it. It wins me over every time, thanks to a handful of great performances, assured direction by Gus Van Sant, and a fantastic script by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (that launched the two of them to a stardom that is even more apparent today). Damon is the titular character (though the "good" is just an adjective), a janitor who has been in and out of jail, but really is a mathematical genius. Stellan Skarsgård is the professor who discovers him and wants to bring him out of the slums (by Boston standards - this isn't City of God, after all). Of course, Will has no intention of leaving his home and his buddies, but as it turns out, he can't have his cake and devour it too, and therefore must make a choice that will affect a few more people than just himself.  -- Dantes Inferno.


Year released: 2004
Director: Michael Mann

Any film where Tom Cruise doesn't piss me off has to be good in my book. Michael Mann's best film, Collateral is the story of a taxi driver who comes across the worst fare of his career. Cruise is excellent as the silver haired assassin Vincent, while Jamie Foxx is equally as good as the cabbie. Taut, lean and mean, and better than Heat. -- Epiphany Demon.


Year released: 1972
Director: Dick Richards

The plot of The Culpepper Cattle Co. sounds as if it could have been made in any era. Gary Grimes plays Ben, a teenager who dreams of life as a cowboy. He joins a cattle drive, run by Frank Culpepper (Billy Green Bush) in order to fulfill his desire. Ben is a youthful dreamer, Frank is stoic. So far it's every cliche in the book. A standard coming-of-age drama transposed to a western. What makes Culpepper different is how it twists the cliche. This film doesn't believe in the romantic idea of the West, it's angry, it's brutal and it's out to strip away the false ideals of the old westerns. The film's beautiful photography only emphasises the gritty and downbeat nature of the story.

The crew of the cattle drive aren't what you'd expect either. They're ruthless and violent and they spend plenty of time mocking Ben. But they're loyal to Culpepper and they live by their own codes. There are no good guys and bad guys, no white hats. Everyone has the same moral ambiguity and dilemmas as real people. The film could be filed alongside other westerns like The Wild Bunch, Unforgiven or McCabe & Mrs. Miller in the way they all aimed to strip bare the romantic mythology of the old west.

The cast are all magnificent. Billy Green Bush gives a performance that should have made him a star and strong support is provided by Bo Hopkins and Geoffrey Lewis. It's Grimes that anchors the film though and he gives a wonderful performance as his character's youthful dreams are shattered by the lonely and violent reality of life as a cowboy. The film stands as a strong statement of anti-violence, one of the finest of its kind. 
-- Rawlinson.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 18/2/2010 8:45:56 AM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 8
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =955. - 14/12/2009 10:19:43 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1995
Director: Jim Jarmusch

Johnny Depp has given many great performances, particularly as Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. This is my favourite, though, where he plays the reincarnated spirit of poet William Blake (possibly), who goes from meek bank clerk to steady-handed outlaw after a simple misunderstanding. It's a hysterical, marvellously-scripted post-modern Western from indie legend Jim Jarmusch, mixing absurdist comedy and existential fable. Dead Man makes me laugh a lot, think a little, and has what must be one of the greatest casts ever assembled: Robert Mitchum, John Hurt, Crispin Glover, Gabriel Byrne, Iggy Pop, Lance Henriksen and Billy Bob Thornton. The cinematography and music (by Neil Young) are absolutely one-of-a-kind, while the script is littered with wonderful ideas and memorable dialogue.

Favourite bit? How the Nobody Got His Name. Depp's Indian sidekick (Gary Farmer) recounts his story. -- Rick_7.


Year released: 1984
Director: Joel Coen

Blood Simple is dirty, sweat-stained little movie about adultery and revenge in seedy small-town Texas. Frances McDormand plays the sort of character she really excels at - not-too-bright, morally vague, easily led by men, and knocks it out of the park, wiping the floor with poor John Getz, who fails to make much of an impression as her lover. Dan Hedaya, as her husband trying to discover evidence of an affair, paints an excellent portrait of a bubbling volcano of silent resentment ready to explode in a role which requires a lot of silence and facial acting. And then there’s M. Emmett Walsh, who plays the slimy PI with such skin-crawling sleaziness that at times you literally want to shudder. The closing scenes in particular are a textbook example of how tension should be done. A rough-cut, unpredictable movie unlike anything the Coens have done since, and yet one which contains all the marks of their burgeoning genius. Best scene: Ray (John Getz) attempts to clean up a murder scene, encountering exactly the kind of difficulties that other movies just don’t address (a T-shirt can’t soak up that much blood!), whilst the Four Tops plays in the background. -- TheDudeAbides.

It's just so damn nice to see a debut film and realize that whoever made it didn't need years to grow into his, hers, or in the case of Blood Simple, their talent. It is, to put things as simple as they can possibly get, the first film by the Coens. It is not their best, and to say that they were fully developed as film-makers here would be a lie, but it's still extremely clear that many of their trademarks were given their birth in this film; namely their penchant for twisty plots, immoral (yet lovable) characters, and acrobatic (yet subtle) camera movements.

The four main characters that are involved in the narrative are as flat as a floor, but the Coens use this as an advantage, as any complexity or background given to them would be a distraction to the ridiculously convoluted plot. It takes a keen eye to realize exactly how everything goes wrong here, and yet at the same time, the brothers never lose their audience, thanks to smart writing and compelling set-pieces (the best of which is the climax, where Frances McDormand has to fight an enemy she doesn't know the identity to). Recommended!  
  -- Dantes Inferno.


(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 9
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =945. - 17/12/2009 5:00:55 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1984
Director: Carl Reiner

Roger Cobb (Steve Martin) is a lawyer who's more interested in playing jazz guitar than being in a courtroom. He's unhappy with his life and his place in the firm when he's sent on what he believes to be another waste-of-time errand. This time he's to take care of the estate of Edwina Cutwater (Lily Tomlin) a wealthy but sickly woman with no social skills. She's spent her life confined to a sickbed and now, on the verge of death, she's come up with a plan to have some fun at last. She's going to have her soul transported into the body of her stable man's daughter. Things don't go according to plan and Roger ends up sharing a body with Edwina's spirit, each dominant on one side. Martin's performance is a masterpiece of physical comedy and it refuses to take the easy options. This isn't just Martin flailing his limbs around, it's Roger Cobb learning to adjust to having a female spirit in his body that has control of half of him. One of the best and all too sadly overlooked comedy films from the 80s. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1996
Director: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1958
Director: Yasujiro Ozu

Revered master of classic Japanese cinema Yasujiro Ozu, after 30 years of directing films makes the change from black and white to colour in one of his most skilful and heartfelt family dramas. Ozu's career was founded on light comedies and throughout his later career, with nearly every film being shomin-geki (family drama) his delightful sense of comedy was often gently woven into the fabric of the more serious domestic affairs. This wonderful balance frames the protagonists of Equinox Flower in an affectionate light, accepting human foibles, not shying away from their impact of family relationships and not without an optimism for change.

Father of two daughters and marriage councillor Wataru openly encourages those seeking marriage the freedom to choose who they wish to marry, but his values are tested when one of his own daughters chooses herself a husband. When his relationship with his family is put in jeopardy by his traditional patriarchal values he must confront his hypocrisy and come to terms with the social changes of post World War II Japan.

Ozu's visual sense is here unrestrained. Not only is he meticulous in the composition of a scene and the framing of his beloved characters, he now has colour to play with. Knowing that Ozu isn't one to conform to popular style (his first sound film was made 5 years after Japan's first talkie), his first colour film here in 1958 proves he's an artist who knows what he wants, when he wants it. To highlight just one of Ozu's colour flourishes, he punctuates Equinox Flower's subdued brown/ green tones with splashes of scarlet red; a kettle or a vase for example. These subtle yet poignant touches underpin one of the film's main themes of a changing world in family life and act as a representation of piercing shock to Wataru's established tradition that must now make a difficult change.
-- Chris_scott01.


Year released: 1971
Director: Wei Lo

Originally intended as a film to turn legendary Hong Kong supporting player James Tien into a fully fledged leading man, The Big Boss ended up being the film that (in the East at least) made Bruce Lee a superstar. When the powers that be heard Lee's ideas about how fight scenes should be shot, the angle of the film quickly changed, and while Tien was relegated to another side part, it proved the match in the fire for Lee.

The Big Boss is the most ramshackle of Bruce Lee's meagre output, but it is also the most brutal (13 on-screen kills for Lee, compared with just one – though that one is Chuck Norris – in Way of the Dragon) and inarguably the one with the best plot. Lee is a prize fighter, but has made a promise (represented by a necklace he wears) to his mother to not engage in fighting. He gets a job thanks to his cousin (Tien) working for an ice making company, who are actually a front for a shady drug smuggling orginisation. Urban legend has it that it was based on truth, though its never actually been confirmed. When one of the workers goes missing, and earnest Lee goes to check out whats happening, and he becomes embroiled in the mystery.

Part of the film's genius lies that we don't actually see Lee fight until about half way through. Several situations present themselves, but clearly the director and writer Lo Wei sensed that the audience would not be able to wait to see Lee in action, and he stares at his necklace reminded of his promise, as you urge him into action, desperate to see what he can do. When one of the gangsters breaks his necklace, all hell breaks lose. It is magnificence itself.

While the fight scenes might be a bit more ramshackle, there is a certain rawness about them that I like, and of course, the style that Lee implemented here would be mastered by him over his subsequent films and the style for filming it would go on to be the gold standard in Hong Kong. It might be rougher around the edges than his more Hollywoodish efforts, but it's a fantastically enjoyable film and an ideal introduction to Lee, just as it was in 1971. It became Hong Kong's highest ever grossing film. Until Fist of Fury...   -- Rhubarb.


Year released: 1960
Director: Louis Malle

Louis Malle often gets the short end of the stick, and that's not because of his lack of notoriety or ability, but because he was working around the same time as the directors of the New Wave movement. Sometimes, when watching films like "les Amants" (1959), I understand this – it's a very old-fashioned film and more reminiscent of those of Max Ophuls or Jean Renoir rather than those of the directors from the new movement, but that's not a bad thing. I'd liken Malle to the two aforementioned auteurs more than I would the tradition of quality. However, with films like "le Feu Follet", "Ascenseour pour le eschafaud" (1958) and – particularly – "Zazie dans le Metro", you can certainly see New Wave influence. Malle was often one to defy convention ("My Dinner With Andre" (1981) is simply two men talking over dinner for ninety minutes), pull the rug out from under our feet ("le Feu Follet" has a surprise but inevitable ending), or simply play around with editing to create joyous viewing experiences. "Zazie dans le Metro" probably shows this best, because it's an incredibly playful little comedy about a little girl who goes to stay with her aunt and uncle, and really wants to ride the metro. From here, it's one big chase sequence, interspersed with great one liners and constant pushing of the editing barriers, not to mention the fantastic set-ups (the Eifel Tower sequence is the standout). It could be describes as live action Looney Tunes in French, but I won't reduce it to that, because there's also a big, well-explored theme here; the loss of childhood innocence, and the feeling you get when you return to it.  -- Piles.


Year released: 1967
Director: Masaki Kobayashi

From the outset, as the Matsudaira clan's finest swordsman Sasahara Isaburo (Mifune Toshiro) declares to his friend Asano (Nakadai Tatsuya) what happy peaceful times they are living in, you just know trouble's brewing.

Set in Japan's Edo period, Kobayashi Masaki's excellently directed film follows the story of Sasahara, an obedient and respected samurai, forced to accept the unreasonable demands of his daimyo (clan lord). Embarrassed by the actions of Ichi (Tsukasa Yôko), his concubine and the mother of his child, Lord Matsudaira insists on offloading her onto Sasahara's son, Yogoro (Go Kato). Despite the family's initial protestations, the couple develop a relationship and eventually have a child of their own. All seems well until Lord Matsudaira demands Ichi's return…

Mifune's character may be a highly skilled samurai, but this is not your usual chambara action flick – it's over 90 minutes in before a sword is drawn. The film's tension is wrung from the selfish whims of the daimyo, tearing rifts in the family of his vassal. The story features some great acting from the principal stars, as the political system of the Tokugawa era repeatedly clashes with the human story, and it can only end in a tumultuous finale.
  -- Gram123.


Year released: 2008
Director: Ron Howard

With a compelling subject matter, Frost/Nixon lives and breathes because of it's script. The direction is competent enough but could be handled by anyone with talent, as could the acting (it's just a bonus Sheen and Langella were so good). But the script, with its tension, revelations and plot turns, turns this political thriller into something very good indeed. Made for the stage originally, its move to screen hasn't dampened the power of it at all, especially in that final act.  -- Epiphany Demon.


Year released: 1961
Director: Blake Edwards

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1982
Director: Nicholas Meyer

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1971
Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda

I can't really tell you why really, but a fair share of my Friday nights when I was younger was spent in front of a friend's tiny television set watching rather esoteric movies. A night out would usually wind down with a random film selected from the rental shop – films ranged from Eraserhead and Solaris to Reefer Madness, Q the Winged Serpent and The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, and such evenings were always entertaining. We watched a lot of rubbish movies [Darkman III: Die Darkman Die, anyone?]. But one memorable rental, despite the awful picture quality, was 1971's Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman.

As the title suggests, the film sees Japanese cultural icon Zatoichi team up with the titular hero of the '67 Shaw Brothers wuxia classic Dubei Dao [The One-Armed Swordsman]. This clash of cultures [Zatoichi Japan, The One-Armed Swordsman Hong Kong] forms one of the key dynamics of the film, with Shintarô Katsu and Yu Wang excelling in their respective roles. The action sequences, both armed and unarmed, are visceral and engaging without being gratuitous or superfluous [don't fret though, there is the occasional lopped-off arm] and the imagery throughout is subtle but striking. [And if none of that has managed to convince you, the film also features severed ears and the use of the term "shit-monk".] So when you're looking at a film to rent next Friday, consider Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman - you never know, you might be writing about it for a film forum in a couple of years time. Yes, it's that good. 
-- Olaf.


< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 17/12/2009 5:22:39 AM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 10
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =943. - 17/12/2009 5:05:59 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1993
Director: James Ivory

Stevens (Hopkins) is butler to prominent aristocrat Lord Darlington at a time that this deeply gullible and not particularly bright man is getting caught up in the appeasement movement and, most disturbingly, with Mosely and his blackshirts. Stevens is the perfect Butler – never questions his master, never falters in his duty even in the face of his father's death and the possibility of losing Miss Kenton (Thompson), a love that never spoke its name.
Although on the surface, Ishiguro's tale of the life of a butler in a grand English house, a tale of class and emotional repression, might seem a perfect fit to Merchant Ivory, it really isn't. There is a real depth of passion in many of the Merchant Ivory works, but Ishiguro doesn't have that depth – most of his characters seem emotionally repressed because, as a writer, Ishiguro handles it so badly and with a good degree of superficiality – which is why, I think, Never Let You Go works best, because that is more in tune with the characters he creates. But Jhabvala, their regular script writer, makes the best of the source novel here, giving greater depth of feeling to the characters and helping produce a film that is superior to the source novel. Framed round an older post-war Stevens heading off to persuade Miss Kenton to return to her job (in the most gorgeous blue Daimler), she revisits the progress of the appeasers, incorporating many of the arguments of the day (Germans stepping into their own backyard in the Sudetenland), e.g.) and the concern over the politicking of aristocrats, variously naive, anti-semitic and uncaring. Two scenes are particularly disturbing – as Darlington orders 2 Jewish refugees be dismissed having met with Mosely and read the distasteful support for their views, and when the weak man allows Stevens to be humiliated by guests who have issues with the general franchise.
The film also serves as a reminder that Hopkins could actually act before he headed off to sell-out in bad Hollywood films. He handles well the aging of his character, particularly physically, as well as the difficult job of suggesting a human being beneath Stevens's almost immobile exterior.  Elab49.


Year released: 1941
Director: Ben Sharpsteen

You will read a lot of reviews about animated film where the critic says 'this is not just for kids', continuing to give you lots of reasons why the film's intelligence, pop culture references and various other tidbits make it ideal for an adult audience. Dumbo, however, is not one of those films, and I'm not one of those critics, or even one altogether. Dumbo is made for, watched by and loved amongst children. But it is undeniably one of the best children's films of all time. The plot is pretty complex for a child's story, yet easy to digest. Jumbo the elephant gets a baby from the storks who deliver children to awaiting mothers in the Disney world. The baby is Dumbo, an adorable creature at first glance. However, he quickly unravels extra-ordinarily large ears that are ridiculed by both the Circus herd of pachyderms and the general public, which incenses Jumbo to a fit of rage. She's quickly imprisoned, leaving Dumbo to fend for himself with the help only of Timothy the mouse. Everyone knows the story and its general themes; a true underdog story, a tale of depression and isolation, or an odd-couple buddy film. Whatever banner you want it to fall under, Dumbo is a rich tale that is a pinnacle of the genre. It's an animated film where the main character is an elephant, yet it's brimming with human traits and characteristics. Our main character is shunned from society, left only with a Mother's unreachable love and an unlikely friend, until he rises against the odds to the pinnacle of his profession. It paved the way for great, realistic animal animations that have humanistic qualities, like the Jungle Book and the Toy Story films. The animation, too, is incredible. The 'pink elephant' scene is always mentioned as a benchmark in animation and imagination, and of course, it is an incredible site, but the circus scenes trump it. In particular, the flaming building is incredible. The deep oranges and reds that lap up at our pachyderm friend are both mesmerising and intimidating. If you end up buying this DVD, make sure you get hold of the re-mastered version. The animation only betters with the re-mastering, growing to new heights that give this film a suitable base for its incredible story. -- Piles.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 14/2/2010 6:46:16 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 11
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =935. - 17/12/2009 5:21:03 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 2001
Director: Wes Anderson

Three former child prodigies destroyed by lost love look to rebuild their lives in the shadow of their feckless father (Gene Hackman), who's pretending he's dying of cancer.That's the left-field set-up for this peerless comedy from writer-director Wes Anderson, the creative force behind most of the best films of the last 15 years – namely Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Life Aquatic and The Darjeeling Limited. Luke Wilson plays a former tennis pro whose career capitulated when the love of his life, step-sister and playwright Gwyneth Paltrow married someone else. Their sibling, maths genius Ben Stiller, is mourning the death of his wife, whilst holding absurd, impromptu safety drills with his two identically-dressed offspring. So when father Royal Tenenbaum (Hackman) invites the family to share his final days, there's the chance of a new beginning. Or for old wounds to be opened, new rifts created and everything to end in a heap of steaming rubble. The cast of brilliantly-drawn eccentrics include domineering mother Anjelica Huston, morose psychiatrist Bill Murray and next-door-neighbour Eli Cross, a writer of Western novels who's hooked on prescription drugs. As with all Anderson's films, Tenenbaums strikes a perfect balance between offbeat comedy, rank contrariness and sentimental drama, complete with impeccable production design and superb use of music. This one utilises Simon and Garfunkel's 'Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard' to excellent effect.

Favourite bit? Ben Stiller's exchange with his father, as he looks back on a horrible 12 months. "I've had a rough year, Dad." "I know you have, Chassie". It's a moment of blissful calm amidst much offbeat hilarity, and the most touching scene in any Anderson film.  -- Rick_7.


Year released: 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

John Robie (Cary Grant) is a retired cat burglar. He's given up his mantle of 'The Cat' and now spends his days in his vineyards in the South of France. When a series of robberies that imitate his style lead the police to believe he is active again and he is forced to go on the run. Robie plans to catch the imitator in the act by getting a list of the most expensive jewels on the Riviera and planning where the criminal will strike next. Top of the list is an American widow and her beautiful spoiled daughter, Francie (Grace Kelly) To Catch a Thief is a return to the more light-hearted films Hitch' was creating when he directed The Lady Vanishes, it's a frothy and bubbly little film that comes as a bright spot after the darkness of Rear Window and Kelly and Grant are one of the great screen couples.  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1998
Director: Craig Monahan

Craig Monahan's Kafka-esque Australian film tells the tale of Edward Rodney Fleming (Hugo Weaving on top form), a sadsack unemployed man who finds his front door broken down and police officers arresting him at 5am one balmy morning. Fleming has no knowledge of the crime he has supposed to have committed, a la Josef K in The Trial, and his uniformed captors seem unwilling to enlighten him. He is thrown in an interview cell and, with his requests for food and water constantly ignored, he is questioned by two cops who seem convinced that he's committed the crime he's been arrested for. But when you don't even know what that crime is, how can you fight with any degree of effectiveness? Monahan nails the oppressive, ominous atmosphere that is pretty much a necessity for any film such as this to succeed, right down to the setting of the police station – a cavernous gothic building which gives Monahan ample opportunity for stunningly-lit tracking shots. However, as the film progresses, it becomes an intriguing and highly cerebral battle of wits. The power balance continuously shifts between Fleming and his interviewees, Det. Sgt. John Steele (Tony Martin, impeccable here and giving a performance so nuanced and oddly sympathetic that his slipping into apparent obscurity is sad indeed) and Det. Sr. Const. Wayne Prior (Aaron Jeffery, who is apparently Thomas Logan in Wolverine and plays the furious brute well here). Every shift of power seems like a gamebreaker, but Monahan is too smart and canny for that, and he manages to get a superlative 100 minutes of twisting and turning. Driven by the impeccable script and the electric performances from all involved, The Interview is easily one of the best Australian films ever made, haunting, intense, and completely unpredictable.  -- Pigeon Army.


Year released: 1981
Director: Andrzej Zulawski

Possession is one of the most truly bizarre films I've ever seen. Gloriously excessive on every level, the film tells the story of Mark and Anna (Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani) a couple on the verge of destruction. Mark finds out that Anna is leaving him, he suspects a normal affair, but discovers it's something far more distressing. Anna has given birth to a bizarre squid like creature that she has a sexual relationship with, she's also driven to murder anyone who interferes. If the storyline sounds too bizarre, then it's worth watching for Adjani's intense performance. It's a brave piece of work, from the lengthy miscarriage in the subway to sex scenes with the creature, it's the kind of role most actresses wouldn't dare to take on, but Adjani throws herself completely into the film and helps to ground it when it looks set to spin out of control.  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 2007
Director: Roy Andersson

For some this might be a Strombolian piece, although, for me, it was utterly compelling on first viewing. And even after several I certainly still probably don't fully get it, particularly the final scene. Somewhat similar to Songs from the Second Floor, the film features a series of vignettes, with some interlocking characters. People breach the 4th wall talking about their lives, their hopes, their fears and their dreams. One girl obsesses about a musician, a loud rich man boasting about his wealth is robbed before he can pay a bill, a man recalls a dream where he was condemned to death for breaking a china set. This last one generates quite some interest because he breaks the china by doing the old pull the cloth from the table trick - but the reveal is actually a swastika ingrained into the wood as the upper class attendees cluster round the walls - this has been linked to the affinity of certain Swedes for the Nazis before and during the war. The key scene seems to be a foggy tram stance with the tram showing the destination as Lethe - a river in Hades that the dead drank from to forget. Do these people want to forget? Their real lives, their troubles, maybe?

The vignettes tend to a certain physical structure - a room with a door(s)/window at the back. The main character is to the fore but at some point someone will interact from the doorway at the back. It has a slight flavour of Gary Larsson about it (especially the first one as the lady lamenting her life and her character on a park bench is joined in the background by a man who slips out from between a couple of trees). Physical location is clearly important - an extra on the DVD is a short cycling through each of the room sets featured through the film.

It is hard to recommend the film because you could understand why some might loathe it. But I don't – for me this is one of the most humane astonishing pieces of work of recent years. 
-- Elab49.


Year released: 1980
Director: Louis Malle

A small scale crook rips off bigger fish and heads to his ex-wife in Atlantic City to sell the dope, roping in her neighbour for help.
For me, this and Local Hero were Lancaster's last great performances – unlike some of the sentimental Oscar nods for the older generation, Lancaster's is a genuinely good performance as Lou Pascal (unlike the performance that took the Oscar for Fonda that year), a small-time mobster in his youth, living on exaggerated past glories while both looking after and occasionally sleeping with the widow of a man he ran away from helping. He likes to spend his spare time watching the half-naked Sarandon wash in the window opposite. (Oddly the film doesn't really deal with this – although he admits it to her later, it forgets that she is doing it lit up in front of a curtainless window. It seems disingenuous to suggest she is unaware she is could be being watched.). For the rest of the time he looks after Kate Reid's excellent Grace, locked up with her hypochondria in her overly plush bedroom. His reaction to his cowardice is wonderfully done.
 Sarandon's Sally Matthews is seems desperate to escape her small town background – her useless husband impregnated and left with her sister, and his reappearance contributes to her losing her casino job and dreams of being a croupier in France. This is a superb performance and was more worthy of the Oscar that year than Hepburn – you can see the thoughts flitting across her face in the morgue as she is clearly anticipating both her freedom and some guilt as a result, a perfectly natural performance from one of the best actresses of her generation. While her reaction to Lou's kindness might not work perfectly, their escape and the final scenes in the hotel are more affecting.

Malle almost spends as much time with the architecture in the background as with the main story of fading hopes and last chances. We see the grand old buildings falling apart and being knocked down – the story takes place shortly after the casinos were legalised to try and do something about a town that was deteriorating badly. Construction workers seem to be all over the place. But inside there is still a sense of faded grandeur, in Grace's overdone room or the hotel the coke is delivered to. This is a rundown city and when the reporter at the end refers to the swinging town we wonder what she's seen that we haven't – other than reading the press releases from the casinos. Like many seaside towns, it looks wrong in daylight – but particularly here, the whole thing seems to exist solely as an excuse to bus in gamblers and make money and the town, the community, isn't there. And in the middle of this staid deterioration we get, quite unexpectedly, a wonderful chase scene in some kind of multi-car escalator.

WIth very good lead performances and a determination to avoid sentiment, Malle brings us a fascinating tale of people living on dreams in a town desperate to provide them again with both, for now, failing equally.



Year released: 1963
Director: Louis Malle

This review (and the one following) contains spoilers. A man named Alain Leroy (Maurice Ronet) is in a clinic to treat his depression, but they want to toss him out because they believe he is cured. Deciding that he is going to kill himself, he decides to visit a few select friends in Paris to see if Adult life is worth living. This is the third Louis Malle film I've seen, and – so far – I really can't see why he is so maligned amongst French cinema enthusiasts as he is. Granted, I've only seen his three supposed masterpieces (this, "Zazie dans le Metro", and "Lift to the Scaffold"), but so far he's been nothing but excellent. Here, we have a grim, dark morality tale, which is as much a character study as it is an examination of its themes. Alain Leroy is mysterious and quiet at first, but as we learn more and more about his life from old friends and doctors, we realize just how much of a tragic case he actually is. The hardest moments to watch aren't the eventual, inevitable suicide (we should applaud Malle for sticking to his convictions and not copping out for audience satisfaction), but come about an hour into the film. It's the whole stretch in the bar, where we realize just how bad Alain's drinking problem had got. Then, in a statement from Malle about how this isn't just happening in one time and at one place, and that there are too many Alain Leroys in the world, he shows us a glimpse of the life of a young boy who is likely to turn out just like our protagonist. The score is excellent, and Ronet's tragically moving and well-balanced performance helps a film with no recurring support survive for the one hundred minute runtime. Points are taken away for a little bit of lazy writing at the start, where lines about Leroy's past are shoe horned in to set the scene, but once we get over a few initial hiccups we're treated to a dark, dramatic character study where things don't always end as you'd like them to.  -- Piles.

The film follows the last hours in the life of alcoholic writer Alain Leroy (Ronet) Despite the spoiler warning I gave, that's not really a spoiler. There's no other way that this film could end. Anything else would feel a cheat somehow. Alain is an alcoholic receiving treatment in rehab following a breakdown. His doctor tells him he's cured and free to leave, despite Alain's reluctance to rejoin life outside the hospital. Alain knows that he can no longer survive without extreme help, but nobody in his life notices how close to the edge he actually is. People pass comment on how alcohol has led to his decline, but nobody really sees how he's reached breaking point.

Despite pretty much having given up on life, Alain decides to spend a day visiting old friends in the hope that he can find something to show him life is still worth living. His time with his old friends is a waste. He feels completely isolated from them and disgusted by the way they've betrayed their youthful ideals for drug addiction, mysticism and right-wing ideals. The superficial life that his friends lead is in contrast to Alain's own life and beliefs. One of his friends accuses him of still being an adolescent, it's more that Alain is living the life of the tortured artist, unwilling to compromise or give up his own youthful ideals. Alain is someone who refuses to accept compromise while all those around him slide into complacency. It's a bleak depiction of the life of an artist as refusal to compromise leads to self-destruction.

It would have been easy to be overly sentimental with this film, Malle could have laid on the tormented cliches and wringed every last tear from the audience. Instead he manages to be compassionate and unsentimental. It's a great testament to his talents as a writer and director that he's so restrained with this film. He doesn't try to make suicide a romantic notion either, in fact he doesn't really offer any opinion at all. He just allows us to witness Alain's self-destruction with a detached eye, and the film is a classic because of that restraint.  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1938
Director: Michael Curtiz

A rollicking underworld take on the arbitrary nature of fate and the power of celebrity. James Cagney and Pat O'Brien play childhood best friends who were once caught stealing by a policeman. O'Brien was faster, got away and grew up to be a priest, whilst Cagney was a little slower and ended up in a reformatory. Released from prison, now a famous gangster, he returns to his old neighbourhood and is given a hero's welcome by the local boys. The priest must now fight the glamour of crime for control of the boys' souls, even if it means sacrificing his old friendship. Most of the film consists of the interplay between Cagney and the Dead End Kids, juvenile actors playing the young punks. Their 'street' mannerisms might make them somewhat grating to a modern audience, as apparently they were to Cagney. He eventually had to smack one of them in the face, which apparently shut them up, fortunately for the film. What is left is a surprisingly intelligent moral drama dressed up as a gangster picture.

Best scene? The electric chair. It's one of Cagney's best known moments and the hype surrounding it is justified - his death-house breakdown is utterly absent of cutesy acting tricks, haunting in its raw desperation. -- TheDudeAbides.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 14/2/2010 6:19:40 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 12
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =926. - 17/12/2009 5:35:59 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1981
Director: Hector Babenco

Or City of God, Mk. 1, being a devastating Brazilian portrait of gangsterism borne of poverty. The 11-year-old Fernando Ramos Da Silva is simply incredible as the titular slum child, who flees a reformatory but finds he can only stay alive by pimping and drug dealing. Brutalised by the world and desperately alone, he ends up a murderer. I've seen few films with such an unremittingly bleak view of life or such an ending: offering no resolution, no chink of light, no hope. The star was gunned down by police just six years later, lending a further haunting power to a film that feels utterly, desperately real.

Favourite bit? There's a scene, near the close, that recalls the last pages of Golding's Lord of the Flies. We've grown desensitised to the cherubic protagonist, as he stumbles through a life of crime. Then we see him as one ageing prostitute does - as just a child.  -- Rick_7.


Year released: 2000
Director: Stephen Frears

Lamenting the loss of his ex to the incredibly annoying Tim Robbins, music-obsessed record shop owner Rob Gordon (Cusack) decides to pursue his top 5 break-ups to find out what went wrong (and as yet another way to avoid commitment and growing up).

I'm not sure how many people thought this would actually work. Hornby's book of losers, music-obsessives and list-makers seemed so firmly rooted in England that a transfer to Chicago seemed absurd. And yet, it worked – and did so very well indeed. Taken on by the team who did Grosse Pointe Blanke (John Cusack and his old school friends) and directed by Brit Stephen Frears the films captures the book perfectly, making it one of the few really good adaptations of good books.

The film also provided the breakthrough role for Jack Black – and while he might tend towards the annoying at times he deserves the acclaim for his performance as music snob Barry – exactly the kind of employee you don't want to ask the wrong question too in a music store (like the chap my work colleague bumped into in Forbidden Planet trying to find something Star Warish for her 5yo nephew – the staffer did not like SW) and yet possessed of an astonishingly sweet voice himself. And, unsurprisingly, the film also comes with a great soundtrack, music choices being one of the most difficult decisions for a film so focussed on it. And the main character's hero – Bruce Springsteen – even turns up as himself! -- Elab49.


Year released: 1963
Director: Akira Kurosawa

Based on an Ed McBain novel, High And Low is a crime thriller split into two acts. The first act follows Gondo (Toshiro Mifune), an executive for a shoe company. Disagreeing with the other executives aims for the company, he risks all he has to buy the controlling interest in the firm. Gondo is then informed his son has been kidnapped and a ransom is demanded, but then he discovers that the kidnapper took his chauffeur's son by mistake. Does Gondo pay the ransom or save his money for the company buy-out? The second act follows the police as they attempt to track down the kidnapper, revealed to be a student jealous of Gondo.

There's a very obvious dichotomy in this film, set up in no small part bu the title. High And Low (literal translation Heaven And Hell) splits the film in two in order to place emphasis on the difference between the wealthy Gondo in his expensive home on a hill (the high or heaven) and the life of the poor kidnapper, living in the slums beneath Gondo's house (the low or hell). The second half includes some of the most impressive work of Kurosawa's career as he creates the nightmarish and noirish world of the Tokyo slums. The film is heavily influenced by Dostoevsky's Crime And Punishment, both examine the circumstances that can push someone to lose their morality and commit unthinkable crimes.

Not Kurosawa's greatest work, and far from his last entry in this list, but High And Low is still a masterpiece of cinema, working expertly as both crime thriller and examination of the human soul.
-- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1982
Director: Jan Svankmajer

The first part of this exquisite short from Czech master Svankmajer, "Exhaustive Discussion", shows three heads made up of different matter (sometimes kitchen utensils, sometimes tools, sometimes food) constantly fighting each other. Eventually, they are turned - gradually, bit by bit - into bland copies of each other, made up of a powdered substance like sand and stone. Here, Svankmajer's sword is turned against the debaters, whose soul purpose is the attack each other before eventually converging on one, dull opinion. Svankmajer is asking why opinions have to be the same, and why we all strive to inflict our opinions on each other in such a way. Next is "Passionate Discourse". Two clay figures sit around a table, staring deeply into each others eyes. Eventually, they make love, converging into one figure as the clay envelopes both of them. This moment of beauty, however, is torn apart when they begin to squabble pettily afterwards, reduced themselves into a mushy mass that resembles neither of the figures, or the mass that was made by love. This middle section of the film could be said to be an attack on love, or rather how we always seem to mess love up. The two figures, bound by a beauty unrivaled in most motion pictures despite the fact that they are made of - erm - clay, aren't happy until they have destroyed what was once beautiful. And it's not even like it's a worthwhile argument; they squabble more than argue and throw things at each other like children would. Finally, we are introduced to "Factual Conversation", in which two clay heads stare at each other across a table. They are both old, dogged, and strangely intelligent-looking. Eventually, after a long and intent stare, they begin to produce things from their mouths. At first, they are things that seemingly fit well together, like a toothbrush and toothpaste or a shoe and shoelace. It seems like a comment on how factual discussion relies on two people and their tendancy to agree with each other, before we again descend into madness. The once inter-locking articles are now used against each other, until - at last - identical objects meet and cause a standstill. What was once a well thought out, working discussion has turned into madness, with the parties using increasingly nonsensical arguments against each other before they hit a brick wall. Although they are saying the same thing, they can't seem to agree on anything. It's a reflection on the human tendency to be aggressive or stubborn, and it's a very clever one.  -- Piles.


Year released: 1998
Director: Steven Soderbergh

In the 90s, when we were beginning to wonder if the only decent adaptations of Leonard's work would be westerns, there was a renewed interest after the success of the decent Travolta vehicle Get Shorty (also scripted by Frank). A pretty poor adaptation of Pronto followed, and then Tarantino's deservedly well-received Jackie Brown. The TV adaptation of Maximum Bob wasn't that bad either, but didn't last very long.

In the middle of these was, IMO, the best of them – Soderbergh's cool and stylish take on the excellent Out of Sight, giving Jennifer Lopez the only decent role of, and getting the only decent performance out of her in, her career as federal marshal Karen Sisco (so noteworthy was the role and performance that a lesser TV series focussing on Sisco followed).

Soderbergh plays with a timeline that sees Jack Foley end up in jail, escape, and then head out after the pickings at the home of an ungrateful rich inmate pursued by the marshal they slightly kidnap during the escape. With repeated cuts between scenes (the best being the split between the pickup and later, between Foley and Cisco in the hotel) and witty dialogue, the film bounces along at a pace that belies its length helped by excellent performances from the likes of Clooney, Zahn, Rhames, Keener and Cheadle. I'd also give a nod to the soundtrack – apt choices that enhance the cool vibe and might have helped cement the idea for the next Clooney/Soderbergh collaboration (which many might not see this as much of a complement!).
-- Elab49.


Year released: 1935
Director: James Whale

Bride of Frankenstein was a sequel to James Whale's classic with Whale, Karloff and Colin Clive returning to the production. For once the sequel was an undeniable improvement upon a classic original. This time there was a nasty streak of black comedy added in the form of Ernest Thesiger's Dr. Pretorius. Pretorius convinces Frankenstein to create a mate for the monster, memorably portrayed by Elsa Lanchester. Bride actually has a good claim to the title of the greatest sequel ever made. Bride mocks religion, heterosexuality and pretty much everything that was serious about the first film and it still manages to be every bit as atmospheric and unsettling as the original.  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1972
Director: John Boorman

Four city-boys (Ed, Lewis, Bobby and Drew) decide to take a canoe trip down a river before it is flooded for good. However, the locals, who can best be described as "8 teeth in 9 people", has little love for them, and when the gang journey down-river, they eventually find that they have more challenges than just the raging current. It starts rather peacefully, though; as one of them has a musical duel with an inbred boy who plays a banjo that has since gone down in cinema history as one of the most iconic pieces of music in any film. But by the time the group settle out for their goal, things quickly change for the worse, and it becomes clear that they really should have gone golfing.

Often read as a metaphor for America's involvement in Vietnam (only this time, the invaders aren't raped just metaphorically), Deliverance is an intelligent thriller that is almost instrumental in creating our stereotypical images of hillbillies (that Lynyrd Skynyrd managed to use their southern image and find a way to success is an accomplishment of its own). But it is also a cracking good film, and in my opinion, it is one of the tensest ever made. It takes something we are all too familiar with, the trip to nature, and turns into a hellish and disturbing tale of murder and sodomy. The result? Almost four decades of people venturing out in the wilderness and asking, "Hey, have you by any chance seen Deliverance?"  -- Dantes Inferno.


Year released: 1971
Director: Don Siegel

I think there is something of an expectation from Don Siegel films, particularly when they star Clint Eastwood. But he's thrown a couple of oddities out there as well – I like Two Mules for Sister Sara, e.g., although occasionally the humour balance doesn't quite sit right. But, IMO, what you didn't really expect was him presiding over a tale of emasculation – in the same year Harry Callaghan burst onto the scene in San Francisco Siegel made his oddest film - the Eastwood starring civil war film The Beguiled.
Injured Union soldier John McBurney is helped by a young girl (12, old enough for kissin' – this is the American south!). She takes him to her nearby school for young Confederate girls, presided over by the determined Geraldine Fitzgerald as Miss Martha, whose messed up take on sexuality is infected by an inappropriate relationship with her brother. I've always had a fairly fixed view of this opening – a young girl skips through the forest, with basket in hand. All she needs is her red cape, because she sure meets a smooth-talking wolf. And it is, for me, no coincidence that later some chopping gets done!
So the wolf pitches up at the school – soft-voiced, polite. With a slow smile, knowing exactly what he is doing to the young women in that inevitably claustrophobic atmosphere bringing sex into their lives as they live in fear not only from his compatriots but from their own side, deprived of women for so long. He sets out to seduce them one by one – the anointed successor and good girl Edwina, the slut Carol. Fitzgerald reminds me of Lady MacBeth at times, particularly the talk of the last supper and the invitation for Red Riding Hood to return to the woods with a different purpose. The makers conjure a dreamy atmosphere at times matched to a rather bold dream sequence with a playful Schifrin score in a fascinating and claustrophobic tale.


Year released: 2006
Director: Paul Crowder and John Dower

The American soccer leagues are quite an odd thing. When thinking about it logically, with the support the big sports teams get over there, you would expect that Soccer, which is the most popular sport in the world, should be able to attract its own large fan base within the country. Yet somehow, it has never managed to work over there. Currently we have Beckham being paid silly sums of money to try and kick start the sport, but this isn't the first time this has happened.

Once in a lifetime follows the first major attempt at kick starting the American soccer league in the 1970's, when the New York Cosmos managed to sign the most famous (and normally considered greatest ever) player in world football, Pele. This was obviously a massive risk, but one which looked like it had paid off, with the Cosmos managing to attract as large crowds as the other big sporting venues in this country. Yet, despite this instant success, something had obviously gone wrong as soccer is still in a poor state again.

The thing Once in a lifetime does well is to discuss what went wrong with the American soccer league in the late 70's, by looking at why the New York Cosmos didn't work in the long term. The film manages to do this in a way where we aren't just presented with fact after fact, but instead are shown as many relevant clips of matches, interviews and behind the scenes footage as possible. Luckily for me, this film came out just at a time when I was starting to get my interest back in football, and also starting to seek out classic matches, great goals and highlights of some of the great players, so this film filled me with all of the information I needed for this odd time in football. -- TRM.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 17/5/2010 9:18:33 AM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 13
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =924. - 17/12/2009 5:39:44 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1991
Director: Lars von Trier

Max Von Sydow's hypnotic voiceover introduces us to this nightmarish trip through post war Germany. We join a young American, Leo Kessler,on his first journey working as a sleeping car conductor for the Zentropa Railway. Over the course of his many journeys he comes across a war ravaged country, & a broken & embittered nation, where loyalties are challenged & relationships strained. As a pacifist he has willingly returned to help with the reconstruction of his homeland, but is soon forced into making some very difficult choices.

Von Trier's post war thriller contains some striking imagery, & an array of clever film techniques, that help to capture a stark almost noir feel to proceedings. This helps to accentuate the growing horror that unfolds throughout the feature. It's a marvelous artistic & technical endeavour, which for me still remains Von Trier's crowning achievement.
  -- Jackie Boy.


Year released: 1975
Director: Yuriy Norshteyn

The Hedgehog is going to see his friend The Bear. Every night they meet, drink tea together, talk and count the stars. This night he also takes some raspberry jam. Along the way he sees a white horse standing in the fog. He begins to wonder if the horse will die if it lies down in the fog, and he decides to take a detour into the fog himself. He finds the fog a frightening place, filled with bats, owls and other terrors. But it's also a place of beauty, with butterflies, leaves that float on the wind and a giant tree that stands watch over the forest like an ancient guardian. In his awe over the tree he misplaces his bundle of jam. When he realises, his panic leads to him getting lost even further in the forest. He improvises a torch from a stick and a firefly. When the firefly flies away he finds himself pursued by predators and rescued by a friendly dog. The dog helps the hedgehog find his jam but when the hedgehog hears the bear calling to him his excitement leads him to fall into the river. Thinking he's about to drown, the hedgehog accepts his fate and floats calmly along with the water. He is rescued by an unseen someone in the water and finds his way to his friend the bear, with his life forever changed for his experiences.

On the face of it, it's a very simple story, but it's filled with deeper meanings and a beautiful, philosophical outlook on life. The hedgehog undergoes a range of emotions from fear to hope to the joy of friendship, all the way to acceptance of death. The fog is a metaphor for life, for unknown paths. The hedgehog is almost like a child, growing and developing during his time in the mist. They give the hedgehog the innocence of a small child and we get that childlike, inquisitive view of an unfamiliar world. The hedgehog is melancholy, shy and excitable. His awe at the mist, the tree, the white horse and all the other creatures of the fog is both wonderful and infectious. He's a wondrous, charming creation that deserves to stand among the greatest characters.

There's a dreamlike, magical quality to the short, it has the timeless feel that is so difficult to capture in art. The film may be based on an old Russian folk tale, but it could take place anywhere in the world at any time in history. This quality is thanks in no small part to the exquisite animation, all soft pastels except when the hedgehog is panicked when it becomes a rush of images. The talent involved in The Hedgehog in the Fog, the simple beauty that Norshteyn is able to capture, is humbling and inspiring. It's one of those rare creations that manages to evoke childhood perfectly, even though the events wouldn't be part of anyone's childhood, the feelings are. It's a perfect short film. -- Rawlinson.

An absolute delight that leapt high on my all-time favourites on first viewing. Hedgehog's under the breath muttering, the astonishing lighting that makes everything look so real and amazing visuals. The curious and unsuspecting little hedgehog ventures into the fog, with frightening bats and weirdo owls and all manner of other creatures, on his way to eat jam with his friend the bear. Not surprising really - you are reminded of Winnie the Pooh watching this. -- Elab49.


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Post #: 14
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =915. - 17/12/2009 5:52:38 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1969
Director: Gene Saks

Between directing Neil Simon adaptations of Neil Simon plays, Saks used Billy Wilder's current partner IAL Diamond to adapt a different play for his next film. I'd guess the play itself wasn't as strong as the Simon works, but with Diamond holding the pen much of that would be overcome. Cactus Flower is a relatively simple sex comedy that uses some elements of farce as dentist Julian Winston (Matthau) used a fictional wife to keep his young girlfriends at bay. When he decides to propose to his latest (Goldie Hawn very good in her proper film debut and it's only a pity that she still uses the mannerisms of a girl 30 years too young, now), she wants to meet his wife to ensure she is OK with the divorce. Winston recruits his reliable nurse Dickinson (Ingrid Bergman) to the role, and confusion ensues as Hawn tries to help the 'wife' out and check out her new boyfriend (another fake Winston has to find), while Winston finds the route to easy sex is cut-off now he is about to be married.
All the performances are very good here and Bergman, who could be so variable when she was young, faffing about and being too mannered, is excellent as the buttoned up nurse, fully in control of her life and her bosses and happy to take advantage of the chance to flower (like the cactus on her desk – geddit?). Although it never looks like anything other than an adaptation of a play, Diamond's best work is in the final scenes after Stephanie's night on the beach as both Toni and Julian get jealous, and the 2 scenes between Stephanie and Julian that bookmark this final section – 2 pros revelling in some great dialogue and Bergman surprisingly giving Matthau as good as she gets – make this film a very welcome watch.


Year released: 1998
Director: Philippe Grandieux

A nice entry in the sub-genre of transgressive cinema, Sombre focuses on Jean, a serial killer who becomes involved with a stranded motorist named Claire who shows him the possibility of love. Jean is a traveling children's puppeteer, who also murders women (usually prostitutes) after having sex with them. Claire and her sister take a ride with Jean. and he tries to keep on killing, but is eventually caught by Claire. Jean and Claire then enter into a frustrating relationship where Jean is unable to either have sex with or kill Claire. Sombre is about manipulation, possession and control and in many ways it feels like a take on Jon Jost's classic Last Chants for a Slow Dance, but more graphic and exploitative. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1992
Director: Spike Lee

It's the humanity of Malcolm X that make his movie such a great one. He is remembered as a great fighter for the rights of black people, but had he been shot only a few years earlier than he was, his legacy would have been a very different one. For almost a dozen years, he followed the words of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam. Those words were not of peace, but of anger. Now, I'm not one to suggest that black people hasn't had things to be angry about, but the hostility in Malcolm X's speeches were very often a few steps two far. He had no interest in integration. One could read between the lines and realize that, in his eyes, segregation was just an experiment with a rough start.

One year before he was killed, Malcolm left the Nation of Islam to become a Sunni Muslim, and he became a very different man, one that recognized his flaws and sought to correct them. Had he been killed a few years later, there would be no telling of how he would have been remembered. My point is this: Malcolm X was a man in constant evolution, and this movie portrays that as well as it possibly can. It doesn't cover up or hide anything. Every angle of the man is right there for everyone to see, to study, to know, to examine, and to watch. -- Dantes Inferno.


Year released: 1961
Director: J. Lee Thompson

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1983
Director: Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam

The last Monty Python feature has the reputation of being their worst, which is probably fair. That's not to say it's a bad film, it just larks the spark of the others. But for the last fling of a great comedy group, it's far better than it has any right to be, and some parts of it have rightly taken their place among the Python's most iconic moments. The Meaning of Life harks back to the group's roots by taking the form of a series of loose-linked sketches, instead of trying to tell a more coherent narrative. While the 'Fighting Each Other' segment is incredibly poor, other sketches ('Every Sperm is Sacred', 'Death', 'Mr Creosote') capture the same feel of anarchy and joy in being silly as the series. The film's crowning glory is the Terry Gilliam short that opens the feature, The Crimson Permanent Assurance, which I would rank as of Gilliam's finest directorial offerings. The Meaning of Life is a flawed but entertaining goodbye from one of the most influential comedy groups in history.
Rawlinson .


Year released: 1970
Director: Jaromil Jires

In an Eastern European village, Valerie, a thirteen year old girl experiences her first period and gets mixed up in a tale of incest, lesbianism, potential sexual molesters and vampirism. Valerie lives with her grandmother who warns her not to wear her mother's magical earrings, she warns her that the earrings are dangerous, even though her brother says they'll protect her. One morning, Valerie sees the earrings being stolen by a vampire-priest, starting a dangerous dream-like pursuit that sees Valerie face seduction and death at every turn.

Valerie... obviously takes its inspiration and its symbolism from fairy tales and European folklore, but Jires draws out the sexual undertones of these tales to reflect Valerie's own sexual awakening. Valerie is seduced by her "aunt", propositioned by the vampire-priest, and generally faces the temptations of sex at every turn. Despite the references to underage sex, incest and lesbianism, there's no salaciousness to this film. That said, the film would attract controversy if made now, in fact it would be near impossible to make because of the age of Schallerova (13/14) at the time of filming. The recent controversy surrounding Hounddog demonstrates the sort of reaction Valerie could receive today.

Sex, religion, hypocrisy and the fairytale style of Carroll's Wonderland mix together in a film that seems to run on the logic of the subconscious. The ambiguity of the narrative means it's difficult to ever be sure what's really going on, how much of this is just the fantasy of a girl beginning her sexual awakening. Valerie is basically a surreal coming-of-age story. So many of these films are betrayed by overly precocious lead actors, Schallerova however is remarkable. It's a perfectly judged performance, one of the best by a teen performer, keeping Valerie grounded against all bizarre occurences. In the absence of clarity, what Jires leaves us with is a haunting gothic fairytale, filled with creepy and enigmatic imagery.
  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1973
Director: Gerard Damiano

Yes, it's a porn film, get the sniggering over and done with, because The Devil in Miss Jones deserves its reputation as the Citizen Kane of porn. Miss Justine Jones, a middle-aged virgin, commits suicide. She goes to Heaven but is told because of her suicide she'll be sent to Hell instead. She's given a second chance to go back to Earth and have some fun and actually earn her place in Hell. Spelvin is a striking presence, older than most actresses you find in this kind of film, and she gives a superb performance by any standard. She goes through the standard hardcore porn scenes and speaking personally it's difficult to find the film erotic in any sense. Instead it's an unsettling, despairing vision of an unhappy and lonely woman finally learning to enjoy her life when it's far too late. The film's ending, where Miss Jones is punished in a very ironic way just adds to the feeling that you haven't watched a porn film, but a vision of a personal hell.  -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 2003
Director: Ulf Malmros

Smala Sussie is quiet little film about a nice and peaceful community in the middle of Sweden. No wait, that's not right. The community is only seemingly peaceful, but it is not certainly not nice, and the film is definitely not quiet. What else is it not? Bad, for one. What is it then? Damn fuckin' funny. What's it about then? Oh, sit down, and I'll tell you. Erik returns to his childhood town Värmland to find his sister, who he hasn't seen in years and who is now reported missing. He thinks the search will be an easy one, but he soon finds himself in the middle of an extremely complex and noirish plot involving double-crosses, triple-crosses, movie marathons, a guy stuck to the floor thanks to a nail-gun accident and a cop who measures the quality of films by how little dialogue there is (the less, the better, apparently).

Smala Sussie is a film geek's wet dreams. There are references to everything from Pulp Fiction to Dekalog, to The Usual Suspects and A Clockwork Orange. It is also hilariously funny, though it should be mentioned that many English-speaking cinemagoers will miss some of the jokes in translation. Still, trying to figure out how everything connects takes enough concentration on its own, so maybe that isn't a bad thing. Whatever is the case, there is no denying that Smala Sussie is a film that will take you by surprise, unless you have read this blurb, which means that I will have spoiled some of the fun of discovering it on your own. Oh well...  -- Dantes Inferno.


Year released: 1988
Director: Martin Brest

Quite simply the best buddy movie ever made, as well as a strong contender for best action-comedy to boot. Robert De Niro is a bounty hunter trying to fulfill a contract to get an ex-Mob accountant from New York to LA before his former cronies or the police catch up with him. And that's it. From this fairly standard premise come some of the finest male interactions ever captured on screen – the chemistry between De Niro's hardbitten and permanently short-tempered ex-cop and Grodin's loquacious businessman is hard to beat. In fact, the humour relies on the brilliantly convincing performances each put in, which allows for some rather unexpected and touching moments (their visit to Jack's ex-wife stands out), as well as the funnier ones ("You have two emotions: silence and rage"). Therein lies the irresistible pull of Midnight Run – it's a brilliant comedy with real heart behind it, yet one which, like the zig-zagging journey of its protagonists, never takes the conventional route.

Best scene: Jack and Jonathan, short of funds, pose as FBI counterfeit agents to relieve a bar owner of a few fifties. Outstanding timing from both actors makes this a pitch-perfect set piece.  -- TheDudeAbides.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 21/8/2010 2:58:34 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 15
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. 914. - 17/12/2009 5:55:08 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1973
Director: Sam Peckinpah

Blurb coming soon.


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Post #: 16
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =904. - 17/12/2009 6:07:53 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1940
Director: Norman Taurog

If we ignore the fact that our #56 has a couple of non-diegetic songs (i.e. numbers where the music comes out of thin air, rather than from someone playing it on-screen), then we're crowning this The Greatest MGM Musical of Them All. Bold stuff, hey? Firstly, and crucially, the film boasts the most dynamic combo in dance history: Fred Astaire and tap sensation Eleanor Powell. Both confessed that they were terrified of facing off against the only hoofer they thought better than them. But if that apprehension shows, it's in their precision and mastery of the form, rather than any loose steps or one-upmanship. Both Astaire and Powell have an easy rhythm, an eye for eye-popping moves and an understanding that the best acting a great dancer can do is when the music's playing. Cole Porter's score gives them four full numbers together, including two routines to 'Begin the Beguine' that are the most dazzling dance sequences ever put on screen. I haven't qualified that at all: there's just nothing in movies that can touch those dances. Not that Astaire and Powell don't try to top them in this very film, with a 'Jukebox Dance' that was Powell's favourite of her works and a routine to 'I Concentrate on You', crooned by Douglas MacPhail. Other numbers include the verbose, old-fashioned, charming 'Don't Monkey With Broadway', danced by Astaire and second-lead George Murphy with top hats and canes, Powell's nautical 'All Aboard' (a rare chance to hear her singing voice) and Astaire's lovely 'I've Got My Eyes on You'. While few musicals boast complex or original plots, you need something sufficiently developed to hang the songs and gags on. Otherwise you end up with Blue Skies, as Bing Crosby and co sing more than 20 Irving Berlin songs (most of them in their entirety), pretty much in a row. Here the storyline works perfectly. Astaire and Murphy are struggling performers, scouted by impressario Frank Morgan. Believing that Morgan's a process server after Astaire for unpaid debts, the dancers swap identities, meaning that Murphy is erroneously given the main role in a new show that was planned for his buddy. Astaire falls in love with the leading lady, Powell, while Murphy struggles with the steps and starts drinking. In the meantime, Morgan (The Wizard of Oz in the '39 film, and a very gifted supporting actor) tries to recruit novelty acts for the show, whilst chasing showgirls. The catch: he can only afford one mink coat, so he keeps having to pinch it back from his dates when they're not looking. The story is deftly told, with the sort of inspired comic diversions that could only have come from co-scripter Preston Sturges: the bit with the unicyclist is arguably the funniest thing that has ever happened. And yet really it all comes back to the dancing. This was Astaire's triumphant MGM debut - aside from a couple of scenes playing himself in 1933's Dancing Lady - and he pulled out all the stops. The result is an oft-overlooked gem with simply staggering musical numbers.

Favourite bit? Well, I'm torn between 'Begin the Beguine' (Mk. 1), 'Begin the Beguine' (Mk. 2), and the unicycle gag. -- Rick_7.


Year released: 1974
Director: John Guillermin and Irwin Allen

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 2002
Director: Peter Mullan

Dear Peter Mullan, please direct and write more films.

Mullan's condemnation of the Irish Catholic Church's abuses on "fallen" women is believable, stark, harrowing, angry, compassionate, vicious, excellently paced well written and directed and filled with excellent performances. Based on the events surrounding the Magdelin Laundries, it deals primarily with the stories of three women, Margeret who is sent to the asylum after being raped by her cousin, Bernardette who is sent there for being flirtatious with the boys and Rose who is sent to the laundry for being caught pregnant out of wedlock, as we experience their stay in the asylum and get cruelly treated by the nuns, abused by the priests, and also, marginalized by the society that considers fallen. Duff, Noone and Duffy all give great performances as the three lead women. There is also great work by the supporting cast, particularly Walsh as the mentally challenged and poorly educated Crispina and Geraldine McEwan as the cruel, sadistic and greedy Mother Superior. It's almost perfect (I am not sure at the ending when the characters are treated as individual characters rather than representatives of what happened is such a great idea) and demands to be watched. 
-- Deviation.


Year released: 1951
Director: Mikio Naruse

Naruse's microscope focuses on a work-weary, love-weary suburban couple. Their relationship has deteriorated into almost non-existence. The husband, Hatsunosuke (Uehara) and his dutiful wife, Michiyo (Hara) have lost virtually all sense of a proper relationship, consigning themselves to a dull acceptance of emotional survival and nothing more. Hatsunosuke's job in an office pays adequately but holds no great propects. He seems to float through his life not expecting anything else to be better or worse than his mundane job, often neglecting his wife's needs for appreciation, affection or praise. What little he says holds very little weight. Michiyo is in much the same position but her awareness is much more acute. With this Naruse explores the limits of such a relationship by the arrival in the couple's home of Hatsunosuke's niece Satoko. Being a vibrant and impulsive young girl, Satoko immediately catches the attention of her uncle. This connection rightly upsets Michiyo and she's forced to confront the real nature of her relationship with her husband. What is common among many of the films of Naruse is an underlying pessimism towards life, but instead of wallowing in self pity Naruse uses this pessimism to tackle issues head on. He represents them with all the dignity of reality, refusing to offer a nice easy way out. It's this personal touch with which Repast is graced. People are real, detailed and full of nuances, and because of this the film is riddled with emotional undercurrents, not least evoked with great skill by it's three lead performers.  -- Chris_scott01.


Year released: 1985
Director: Walter Murch

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1992
Director: Tsui Hark

Wong Fei Hung is one of the most portrayed characters in film history and over 100 films have been made about the real life Chinese folk hero, kung fu master and medical practitioner. At least three of the six films in the Once Upon a Time in China series come highly recommended. Of those, the second is perhaps the strongest, in terms of both the action and the political backdrop.

Set during the late Qing Dynasty, OUATIC 2 is directed and co-written by Tsui Hark, and stars Jet Li, reviving his greatest role as Wong Fei Hung. Wong allies himself with a group of rebels led by another historical figure, Sun Man, who aims to start the Chinese republic. Enemies come in the form of extreme nationalist cult, the White Lotus Society, led by Priest Kung (Xiong Xin Xin) who wishes to eject all things foreign from China, and ruthlessly attacks seminars on Western medicine, schools teaching English to children and so forth.

Wong also comes into conflict with the ruling Manchu headed up by General Nap Lan (Donnie Yen), and in the film's climactic final fight scene, the pair do battle in one of Hong Kong cinema's most highly regarded fight scenes.
-- Gram123.


Year released: 2009
Director: Duncan Jones

Duncan Jones, formally known as Zowie Bowie, delivered his debut film this year in the form of "Moon”. The plot sees Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) working for a corporation that is mining Helium 3 from the moon, and who is almost at the end of his three year tenure. He is kept somewhat sane by Gerty (Kevin Spacey), a robotic presence on the ship, who can keep a conversation consciously going with his human ship-mate. Let's begin with something that niggled me through around half of this film, which I saw on the big screen, and which is possibly the only downfall to this film. That would be some of the homage aspects, which I found at times a little bit distracting. The most obvious one, and the only one I'm actually going to talk about, is the similarities to Kubrick's sci-fi masterpiece, "2001: A Space Odyssey”. The most obvious thing is Gerty, who seems almost a replica of HAL-9000, in his voice, his mannerisms, and even some of the things he says ("Good morning, Sam”). Ultimately, the two characters differ wildly, but the basic idea and the aesthetical side of the robot (his voice, his eye, his all-knowing presence of the ship) caused me to think about 2001 – a much superior film – throughout the time that Gerty was on-screen. There's the ship, too, which draws parallels with Bowman's in Kubrick's film again, almost down to the tiniest details, and particularly the pod doors. I don't want to go on about this for too long, because Jones' film does manage to go on and carve its own identity and have its own ideas, but it's definitely the only major detracting factor. The main themes behind Jones's film are cloning and what it takes to be human, which he explores very well, and although this is a sci-fi film set on the dark side of the moon, anti-science fiction film fans shouldn't be put off because it's really a very human film at heart. And this side of things is all down to Sam Rockwell, who delivers a fantastically nuanced and diverse performance as Sam, incredibly committed to a role that seems effortless when – if you think about it – must have been incredibly difficult. The film also looks incredible, which is incredible considering its comparatively meager budget. Jones' film cost only a quarter of the budget for Danny Boyles' "Sunshine”, and is far more impressive visually. The shots of Mars, in and around the camp, Gerty's movements, and just about everything else in this film seem legitimate and hyper real, which really adds to the film. And then there's the score, beautifully done by Clint Mansell, which ranks amongst the finest of the year, verging from the melodramatic to the enigmatic, without ever going overboard on sentiment or futuristic cliché. "Moon” is definitely a film you should go and see, even if it owes a lot of what's great about it to older, better ones. -- Piles.


Year released: 1967
Director: Stanley Donen

Stanley Moon (Moore) is a cook in Wimpeys, in love with Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron), but too shy to ask her out. Frustrated with his life he attempts suicide, then George Spiggott (Cook) appears. George is really The Devil. He's in a competition with God to be the first to win 100 billion souls, if George wins he gets back into Heaven. George offers Stanley the chance to get Margaret, but only if he signs away his soul. He gives Stanley seven wishes, each a chance to get Margaret into his life. But George's trickery and interference spoils things each time. The film is told in episodic form, with each of Stanley's wishes playing out in fantasy sequences where he becomes everything from a fly on a wall to one of the leaping nuns of Norwich.

Cook wrote the script as well as starring, so if you don't like Peter Cook's comedy then you're not going to like Bedazzled. But if you don't like Peter Cook's comedy then you just don't like comedy. Bedazzled is Cook's writing at its finest, sharp, satirical, savage with a whimsical streak. Moore gives his finest acting performance here as the hapless Stanley. It's true that Stanley Donen wasn't exactly a directorial genius, but with a script this strong he doesn't need to be. The feeling you get is of someone who was able to guide two of comedies greatest improvisers to strong character performances. George and Stanley really are just extensions of the common public perception of Pete 'n' Dud. Stanley is a loveable loser while George is brilliant and enigmatic. This is most evident in the superb fantasy sequence with Stanley as a pop star who plays to a shrieking audience of fans, begging them to love him, only to find himself upstaged by George as Drimble Wedge, an aloof and self-obsessed singer.

One of the film's greatest strengths is that it makes both characters likeable and believable. George is the most charming incarnation of The Devil you could ever hope to meet and despite all his trickery you feel you'd like him as a friend. Stanley may be pitiful but he's a nice guy and you can understand his dilemma, what sane man wouldn't sell his soul for Eleanor Bron?
-- Rawlinson. 


Year released: 1972
Director: Maurice Pialat

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 2003
Director: Bobby Garabedian

Most is the directorial debut of bit part actor Bobby Garabedian and was written and produced by actor William Zabka (probably most famous as the bully in the karate kid). At the start of Most, we follow a father and son as they walk along a platform full of people boarding a train. This set-up does 2 things, first it shows the relationship between the father and son, something which is built on perfectly within the following few minutes back at their house, and secondly, it gives a great indication of the type of people who will be on the train later in the film.

The following day, the father and son go to the bridge where the father works, and had planned on having some fun fishing in the spare time. This falls apart though, as both the father and son separately realise that an oncoming train is going to crash, and so try to avert the disaster. The only person who seem to realise anything has happened, is a young woman on board the train, who had briefly been shown earlier in the film asking for cigarettes.

I have decided to stop there with the plot points as the main joy of this film came from not knowing too much about it. There really aren't many films that have made me sit open mouthed at what I am seeing or even well up as the events are happening, but Most managed to make that happen. The film is shot in a way that make the events seem frighteningly realistic, with the music being particularly effective, and considering it is a short, you feel very attached to the father and son by the time the incident happens.

The film was rightly nominated for an Academy award for best live action short film in 2004, and was part of the official selection at Sundance, and managed to pick up a couple of small film festival wins. 
-- TRM.


< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 21/12/2009 12:53:45 PM >

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Post #: 17
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =902. - 17/12/2009 6:11:12 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1921
Director: Buster Keaton and Malcolm St. Clair

We open on a bread line with Buster missing out on a meal because he was stuck at the back of the line. Afterwards, a man who is trying to take a picture of notorious criminal, Dead Shot Dan, gets Buster's picture by mistake. This leads to a series of misunderstandings where Buster is believed to be this wanted murderer. He's pursued by the police and even when he flees to another town, the wanted posters are already there waiting for him. He spends much of the film in an extended chase trying to evade the police who are hunting him down, with his main nemesis being Big Joe Roberts, a cop who is also the father of his love interest. Filled with insane chases and great displays of Buster's physical prowess, from the shot of Buster riding on the cowcatcher of the train, to the incredible elevator gags, this is one of Keaton's funniest and most frentic films. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1998
Director: Thomas Vinterberg

In 1995, the 100th anniversary of cinema, two Danish filmmakers held a press conference. Thomas Vinterberg and Lars von Trier announced that they were denouncing most of cinema, and setting up their own type of cinema. They launched their own Vows of Chastity that every filmmaker should follow (strict rules, in order to make a film feel more realistic – such as not using props or exaggerated violence) and created the monster known as Dogme.

No-one could really make head or tail of how serious Vinterberg and Von Trier were being (von Trier already had a bit of a reputation for being a prankster – he added the "von" in his name to offend the Danish still wary of Germans after the war), but in 1997 Vinterberg delivered the first (and arguably best) of the Dogme films, Festen.

While it broke a couple of its own Vows of Chastity (a prop mobile phone, and some windows were changed to improve the lighting) the film was a shock to the system with its shakey-cam realism, harrowing story and documentary feel. The first time I watched it, unaware of the Dogme background, I wondered if it actually was a documentary. In Scandanavia, it outgrossed the behemoth that was Titanic, which must have made Vinterberg feel vindicated.

The film concerns a birthday party from hell. As Helge, an elderly man welcomes his enormous extended family into his oversized house, the darkness under the surface starts to rise to the top. The main underlying issue is that one of Helge’s daughter’s Linda, killed herself in the house, and this is her siblings first visit back to their childhood home since that tragedy.

As the film opens, its clear the roles the characters have played within the family. Christian, Linda’s twin brother, is the success of the family, the one his father is the most proud of, while his brother Michael is not looked upon with the same pride.

Helene finds the suicide note – hidden using a complex game the kids played as children – and it throws the entire party into chaos, as simultaneously, a drunken Christian stands up and makes a toast to his father, before announcing that he and his now dead sister were abused by their father, shocking the disbelieving guests.

The film is a powerful, partly due to the disarmingly real aesthetic. The film always keeps you guessing as to how truthful Christian is being, right up to the end of the film. It’s a brilliant film, and would make the legacy of the Dogme movement worthwhile even if it had been the only film that would have ever come out under that banner. --Rhubarb.


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Post #: 18
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =892. - 21/12/2009 7:48:44 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1954
Director: George Cukor

This semi-musical remake of the 1937 William Wellman flick casts James Mason as an actor on the slide, giving Judy Garland a foothold in the business as his own life slips into the gutter. It's a gutting, brilliant blend of cynicism and show-must-go-on sentiment that's both appalled and entranced by Hollywood and the starmakers, sycophants and hypocrites populating the film industry. The movie scores big in its performances, with two superb actors giving career-best turns, but its most unexpected pleasure lies in the wonderful interplay between the leads, which seems less like chemistry than alchemy. When they're bantering they're irresistible, and when they're falling apart, it's virtually unwatchable. The film is also lit by a slew of brilliant numbers. Top of the pile are 'Born in a Trunk' – added at the 11th hour – an extended, diverse production number in the 'American in Paris Ballet'/'Broadway Melody' vein, 'Lose That Long Face', a knockabout ode to looking on the bright side, and 'The Man That Got Away', perhaps the best song ever put on screen. In it, the only thing better than what Garland is doing with her body – apparently trying to rid herself of the song via impassioned posturing – is what she's doing with her voice. It had lost the flawlessness of youth, but gained an extraordinary power, as well as a quality and expressiveness akin to Billie Holiday's. Every facet of it is evident in the haunting vocal, which appears when the film is at its most carefree, but foreshadows the movie's central tragedy. The film's invention and heart-stopping evocation of the purest human emotion is perhaps best illustrated by a moment in the 'Born in the Trunk' number. Recounting her singing debut, Garland's vaudevillian (she's playing a character in a number from a film-within-a-film!) goes into corniness overdrive, recalling her dad encouraging her from the wings: "Papa shouted: 'This is it kid, sing…'" A pause, then Garland – dressed in pale blue – starts that old standard with a tranquillity and simplicity that sends a shiver down the spine. "I'll get by," she croons, "As long as I have you..." A Star Is Born is a one-of-a-kind film: love story, fairytale and Hollywood tragedy, with the upsetting subject matter offset by the magnificence of the treatment.

Favourite bit? 'The Man That Got Away' - effectively filmed and extravagantly performed.  -- Rick_7.


Year released: 1952
Director: John Ford

For me John Ford is at his best when he's depicting a place and its people, whether it's a Welsh mining community in How Green Was My Valley, the settlers of Tombstone in My Darling Clementine, a group of strangers on a stagecoach or the small rural Irish town of Innisfree in The Quiet Man no director brings a community to such vivid life and makes you feel like you are with the people as Ford did. Although famous for being the director of westerns, Ireland and the Irish were perhaps just as important to Ford and were a thematic thread that ran throughout his career from his earliest films. The Quiet Man is his ode to Ireland, a romantic fable of mythological proportions captured on celluloid. It took Ford nearly two decades to bring to the screen. He almost did in 1937 and we have to be thankful that the project fell through at the time as it would be lacking two vital elements: the beautiful three-strip Technicolor cinematography that brings the Irish landscape beyond mere life and the pairing of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara who bring to the screen a romance worthy of Ireland myths and legends. Much of the film feels like a screwball comedy transported to Ireland – razor sharp tuneful dialogue and a series of comical events spiraling towards it's conclusion. Barry Fitzgerald steals the show as the drunkard Michaleen while Ford regulars Victor McLaglen and Ward Bond are excellent in support. Victor Young's score is a beautiful evocation of Irish culture and landscape. And let's not forget two of the screen's greatest embraces and the greatest fist fight in film history. -- Director's Cut.


Year released: 1963
Director: Robert Wise

Shirley Jackson is one of the unsung great writers of the 20th century. She's more well known in America than Britain, her short story 'The Lottery' often making required reading lists for schools. In the UK she's a bit of a name among horror fans but not much beyond that. It's a shame because not only is Jackson one of the best horror writers of the last century, she's also an insightful and thoughtful portrayer of outsider characters.

Her finest achievement, Merricat Blackwood in We Have Always Lived In The Castle, has never made the journey to screen, and in a way I'm happy about that. I've waited a long time for them to film it and if they did now I'd probably have to suffer through someone like Ellen Page in the role. Probably directed by Stephen Daldry. Not that Jackson's work is a stranger to abysmal adaptations. The 1999 version of The Haunting would rightly hold a place in a list of the worst films of all time. Jackson did have some luck the first time her incredible, The Haunting Of Hill House, was adapted though. For a start, she found a perfect match in the form of Robert Wise, who, when he wasn't directing dreary musicals, had quite the sympathetic eye for the outsider himself. She also lucked out with getting Nelson Gidding as a screenwriter, not so much because his other work was brilliant, but because he actually seemed to understand her novel. She also got two superb leading ladies in Claire Bloom and Julie Harris. Bloom is fine, but Harris is beyond superlatives and yet again, I have to complain about the blindness of The Academy when it comes to looking outside their comfort zone.

The Haunting focuses on four characters who decide to explore the remote gothic mansion known as Hill House. Led by parapsychologist, Dr. Markaway, they are there to try and explore psychic phenomena and prove that ghosts actually exist. Joining Dr. Markaway are Luke, the nephew of the current owner of the house, and Eleanor and Theodora. Theo is sophisticated, catty and clairvoyant. Eleanor is on the edge of a nervous breakdown, so brittle you feel she could shatter at a touch.

Eleanor is the heart of the film, having spent most of her life in isolation, caring for her ill and demanding mother, Eleanor's past paranormal experience appears to have been the only time she's ever felt alive. She jumps at the chance of exploring the house, believing that the people she meets there will become her first real friends and be able to save her from her own life. In many ways, Eleanor's grasping, distorted mentality makes her the personification of the house.

Not the house isn't a character in its own right, dark and foreboding, playing games with its inhabitants, Hill House has a bleak history, especially when it comes to women dying there. The house is claustrophobic, menacing and atmospheric. It throws the viewer so off-balance that you find yourself watching the shadows and the edges of the screen for the slightest movement, because you accept that the house is haunted and you're just waiting for the next manifestation.

But what is the house haunted by? It has a history, but is it just ill-luck, or does something really walk there? One of cinema's other great ghost stories, The Innocents, could be read as a ghost story, or as the sexual repression of the lead character. Some critics have tried to claim the same of The Haunting. I don't think that's ever an issue here. This house IS haunted. But does the haunting exist before Eleanor walks through the door or has Hill House spent all of its time waiting just for her? 
-- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1988
Director: Frank Oz

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1998
Director: Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1947
Director: John Boulting

In Brighton Rock, Richard Attenborough plays Pinkie Brown, a vicious, psychotic gangster. Ok, now that sentence may throw some of you who only know Dickie from Gandhi, the Baftas and Jurassic Park, but back in the day the boy could act. Of course Pinkie Brown isn't the most fearsome name for a gangster anyway and Pinkie Brown sounds more like a sexual invitation than a gang leader, but it was the 30s, times were hard and you could call yourself Fluffy McStuffington and still terrify people. The film is set in a late 30s Brighton, pre-war, but where the spiv culture that developed in the black market is beginning to rule. This is a Brighton where gangs rule the area and Pinkie rules one of he most violent gangs of them all. Pinkie kills a man at a fairground and finds himself in desperate need of an alibi. When he discovers there's a witness, he plans to marry her in order to silence her. Attenborough's performance is extraordinary, intense and still shocking in its inner violence, partly because that menace  is in sharp contrast with the ordinary locations and the Englishness of the piece. It's a remarkable achievement, Brighton Rock is one of the archetypal British gangster films and you can find traces of Pinkie in all that follow. 


Year released: 2003
Director: Yojiro Takita

Set at the end of Edo period in a changing Japan, Takita Yôjirô's film is about the elite Shinsengumi samurai, in the employ of the Tokugawa shogunate. Two men, Chiaki (Murata Takehiro), a doctor and Saito Hajime (Satô Kôichi), an aging samurai, find they have differing views about one particular samurai, Yoshimura Kanichiro (Nakai Kiichi). The pair's tales are shown in flashbacks, and converge to build a picture of the man as a whole.

Despite his unconventional approach, and loyalty to his family over the shogunate, Yoshimura is promoted, causing resentment in his seemingly more qualified rival, Saito. Yoshimura does his utmost to earn money, in order to provide for his family, which Saito initially sees as dishonourable and greedy. In contrast, Chiaki recalls how Yoshimura taught him to change with the times in order to survive, which has led him into his new career. Ultimately, Saito learns that Yoshimura knows the true meaning of loyalty, and pair become friends.

The acting is excellent, particularly from Nakai Kiichi, and facets of his complex character are slowly revealed as the story progresses. There are moments of humour and several decent action scenes, which help to make this a less meditative affair than other recent chambara films like Yamada's The Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade.

The film's only real downfall is a need for a more ruthless edit. There is a perfectly satisfactory climax about 100 minutes in, leaving about half an hour for a rather protracted emotional resolution. Nevertheless, When The Last Sword Is Drawn is a highly enjoyable modern samurai film. -- Gram123.


Year released: 1944
Director: Edgar Neville

In 19th Century Madrid, a young man, Basilio decides to try his luck at roulette. Unseen to anyone but him, a ghostly one-eyed figure enters the casino and helps him by pointing out where the ball is going to land. The stranger helps Basilio win a small fortune and when Basilio approaches him to ask for help he finds out the mysterious man's story. He's the ghost of a famous archeologist named Don Robinson de Mantua. He was murdered and his death disguised as a suicide. His daughter is now investigaing the death and he asks Basilio to protect her. Basilio also discovers that there's a subterranean city, built by Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquistion, that's now inhabited by a sinister group of hunchbacks who indulge in crimes from smuggling to rape and murder.

At least that's what I think this film is about. To say Edgar Neville's rather wonderful little film is obscure is a bit of an understatement. My copy was Spanish language only until a friend supplied subtitles, so the film could really be a lot more conventional than the gothic piece of lunacy his subtitles claim. What is certain is that it's one of the most visually impressive films of the 40s, with haunting cinematography and wonderful art direction that give the whole film a nightmarish feel. There's also shades of Cocteau to the film, especially with the ghost's use of mirrors to travel to the real world. Widely regarded as the first horror film made in Spain, Neville drew obvious inspiration from the Universal horrors of the period but with a flair for the grotesque that you'd associate more with the likes of Tod Browning's more outrageous creations. Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks is a bizarre little oddity that deserves far more respect and recognition than it's received to date.
-- Rawlinson. 


Year released: 1974
Director: Robert Altman

Robert Altman's sprawling yet focused dissection of gambling addiction is probably the most moving and also the funniest film he ever made (although I'm willing to accept M.A.S.H as a potential tie). Elliott Gould is on absolute peak form as a smartmouthed drifter Charlie who latches onto George Segal's Bill, highly-strung magazine writer, in the search for that elusive jackpot which will enable Bill to pay off his debts. We follow them in a rambling journey through the seedy, often surreal world of professional gambling through a series of vignettes which are by turns poignant or just plain bizarre (the whole sequence with the transvestite is fantastically funny). The two leads excel at capturing the damp-palmed desperation beneath their characters' nonchalant riffing. Featuring Altman's trademark dialogue, naturalistic to the point that it almost loops back into stylised, and a fantastic background cast of real-life gamblers whose individual tics are captured perfectly in a rich portrait of addiction, this is a film that deserves a wider audience. Best scene: Charlie and Bill propping up the bar soon after their first meeting, trying to remember the names of the Seven Dwarfs ("Dumbo?"), which descends into achingly realistic drunken musings on the racial implications of Disney movies. Kudos have to go to Gould, whose delivery has the rhythmic flow of poetry. -- TheDudeAbides.


Year released: 1939
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Kikunosuke is a young man who seems set to follow in the footsteps of his adopted father, Kikugoro, an acclaimed actor. However Kikunosuke lacks disciple and skill and he receives only flattery when he asks for honest criticism. A family dispute leads to Kikunosuke turning his back on his wealthy family to marry a girl from a lower class, Otoku, the only one who was ever honest with him. He tries to become a famous actor under his own steam, but without his family support he fails and the couple fall into a life of desperate poverty. Mizoguchi created some of the most exquisite films of the period and Chrysanthemums is no exception, it's a heartfelt and profound meditation on love, art and the difficulties of class barriers. -- Rawlinson.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 21/8/2010 3:02:02 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 19
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. 891. - 21/12/2009 7:51:06 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1990
Director: Paul Verhoeven

The patron saint of intelligent action movies, Paul Verhoeven is at his finest when smuggling subversive smarts into, let’s face it, a genre not usually notable for its intellectual qualities. While "Total Recall" perhaps isn’t the very best film that Verhoeven has ever produced (that’ll be Robocop), it’s possibly the best example of the anachronism that lies at the heart of his finest Hollywood work. Thinking about it, the idea of the film is pretty absurd – an adaptation of Philip K Dick’s short story musing on the nature of identity and reality... starring Arnold "Conan the Barbarian" Schwarzenegger? – but it is this meeting of opposites that lies at the heart of "Total Recall"’s success; it’s arguable that very few of the movie’s bulked-up action contemporaries offer a rumination on what it means to be truly human and a triple-breasted alien woman in one film, for starters.

So that’s why "Total Recall" earns its spot in this list – aside from the dynamic and fluid action sequences, Arnie in his finest role this side of The Terminator, Michael Ironside’s brilliantly deranged turn as unhinged henchman Richter, the wryly witty screenplay that’s too self-aware to slip into parody, the wonderfully ambiguous ending – it’s smarter than the average action movie. The best mindfuck yet? Certainly.
-- Olaf.


(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 20
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =882. - 21/12/2009 8:04:54 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1992
Director: Zhang Yimou

The Road Home is a perfect example of purity in cinema. There's no complicated plots, no special effects, no elaborate photography. It's a very simple film that is beautiful to look and tells a story that warms the heart and inspires and has characters to care about. It's quite similar to Zhang Yimou's 1992 film The Story of Qiu Ju (minus the man getting hit in groin) and his other 1999 film Not One Less in that it tells the story of a very determined young country girl. Here a man recalls the courtship of his parents and in particular the trials and determination of his mother, after his father has died. It is almost singularly focused on this and that allows the main character and her struggle to be the centre of our attention. Not a lot happens in the film and her personal triumphs may amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things but Zhang manages to make the small things impact immensely. He also shows the routine and customs of daily life in the small village, allowing us to feel apart of it. The romance is portrayed through glances and small interactions and is tenderly moving because of it and the performances of the actors. A year before Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon made her an international star Zhang Ziyi proved her leading lady credentials in this, her debut performance. She personifies the determination and strong willed nature of her character as well as magnetically holding all of Zhang's many long close up shots. The Road Home is about as far away as a film can get to the glorious wuxia epics Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flowers that Zhang would direct after this which is quite a testament to his versatility and mastery of the craft - simply one of the best director's working today.  -- Director's Cut.


Year released: 1973
Director: Brian De Palma

Another of De Palma's many Hitchcock homages, but with a far more independent feel than many of his later Hitch' inspired ventures. Margot Kidder plays Daniel Breton, a model who takes part in a Candid Camera-esque game show called Peeping Toms. We discover that Danielle was one of a pair of Siamese twins and that her twin, Dominique, is psychotically disturbed. The murder is witnessed by a feminist journalist (Jennifer Salt) from the building across the street. By the time the police investigate all evidence of the murder has been removed. Dismissed as a crank by the police, Grace begins her own investigation into both the murder and the history of the twins. This expertly paced and tense thriller is definitely the best of De Palma's Hitchcock tributes, and quite possibly the best film he ever made. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1989
Director: Bruce Beresford

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1964
Director: John Frankenheimer

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 2006
Director: Ryan Fleck

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 2001
Director: Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo del Toro's film follows the arrival of a young boy, Carlos, at the Santa Lucia school and orphanage in 1939 during the latter part of the Spanish Civil War. Carlos encounters trouble from several sources - the bullying Jaime, the intimidating janitor, Jacinto, the ever-present threat of an unexploded bomb in the courtyard, and a ghostly presence seeking to communicate with him.

The film is a political allegory and has many references to the war. Characters are both literal and symbolic – the impotent Dr Casares (Federico Luppi and the disabled Carmen (Marisa Paredes) are representative of the Republicans, whilst Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega), stopping at nothing to achieve his aims, represents Franco's Nationalists. There are plenty of other political references to look for throughout the film, but it also successful as a simple, though admittedly not particularly scary, ghost story.

The strong cast extends to a fine, natural performance from the young Fernando Tielve as Carlos. It also benefits from Guillermo Navarro's beautiful cinematography, and some decent special effects (most notably the ghostly Santi), despite the small budget. The Devil's Backbone, whilst less fantastical, shares some common ground with del Toro's later film, Pan's Labyrinth, and fans of one should find something to like in the other. -- Gram123.


Year released: 1976
Director: Narciso Ibanez Serrador

A startling Spanish horror film, similar in theme to Stephen King's Children of the Corn. A young pregnant British couple, Tom and Evelyn, arrive at a small island off the coast of Spain for a holiday. They find the island strangely empty of adults, they then witness some children beating an old man to death. They soon discover that the children of the island have risen up against all the adults and they need to find a way to escape with their lives. Would You Kill a Child became a word of mouth classic when it was unavailable in the UK other than on old grainy bootleg videos. It's not as lurid as the title would suggest and in fact is a slow-burning, thoughtful and provocative film about moral conflict, could you murder a child to save your own life? -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 2000
Director: Guy Ritchie

Now there are some who said that Ritchie's follow up is simply a rehash of his debut, which is a fair enough remark - serpentine storyline, flashy direction, dark humour and cheeky East End humour. However for me it's an improvement and an even more enjoyable film. The film seems to have a surefire confidence which makes the film sharper than its predecessor. The big name cast that includes Brad Pitt (with a physique that will have the women and fellow gay boys drooling), Benicio Del Toro and Dennis Farina all give superb, very funny and risk taking performances (well Farina is basically doing a similar take on his Get Shorty role). The standout though comes from Alan Ford as Brick Top, a man reeking of menace despite looking like a bad Austin Powers impersonator - best line: "In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary.... come again?". So yes, the film is similar to Lock, Stock but it's a very welcome similarity when compared to Ritchie's other films. A fun, rollicking, violent, unpredictable film with some spectacular bare knuckle boxing scenes thrown in to the mix. -- Beetlejuice.


Year released: 1951
Director: John Huston

Turning a book which consists largely of describing the protagonist's feelings requires a performance of phenomenal expressivity if it's going to pull it off. Luckily, Audie Murphy, a real life WW2 hero turned actor, gives the trauma of combat an unforgettable face as The Youth, a raw recruit battling with cowardice on the killing fields of the American Civil War. He is superbly supported by cast who look and sound as though they could have stepped right out of the Civil War, chief of whom is Bill Maudlin as The Loud Soldier. Maudlin, like Murphy a WW2 veteran, was well-known for his comic cartoons on army life which entertained the troops but infuriated the top brass, and his performance here shines through with the same natural vivacity. In fact, John Huston's sharp direction and crisp black-and-white photography aside, the genius of the film rests in its largely amateur cast, whose unaffected naturalism makes for a highly realistic portrayal of the soldiering life. An underseen masterpiece with a focus on the details of army life rather than on carnage, The Red Badge of Courage remains one of cinema's best portraits of war, as well as Huston's personal favourite of his films. Best scene: The death of The Tall Soldier is just as shocking as it is written. Also, The Youth finally conquering his urge to flee is pretty inspiring stuff, but shown as a victory on a spiritual level rather than a patriotic one.  -- TheDudeAbides.


< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 28/12/2009 7:05:35 AM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 21
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. 881. - 21/12/2009 8:07:15 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 2002
Director: Martin Scorsese

Blurb coming soon.


(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 22
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =874. - 21/12/2009 8:18:45 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1990
Director: John Woo

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1977
Director: Jerry Jameson

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1965
Director: Luis Bunuel

In Bunuel's satirical attack on religion, Claudio Brook plays Simon, a Syrian who did religious penance by living perched on a column in the middle of the desert. As the faithful hear about this man, they trek through the desert to see him, but most are simply after personal gain. Eventually The Devil pays him a visit, in the form of an attractive woman, and begins a series of attempts to seduce and corrupt Simon.

There's no doubt that Bunuel made his dislike of religion very clear, but people don't often comment on the fact that while hating religion, he had plenty of time for the spiritual. The target in Simon Of The Desert isn't spirituality, but more the nature of religion. The followers who flock to see Simon are often more interested in getting what they can from his miracles than they are in God or Simon's sacrifices. In one of the funniest scenes in the film, an armless man asks Simon to perform a miracle to restore his hands. After Simon does so, the man's first act with his new hands is to slap his child.

Simon is a suprising and delightful film that manages to make a serious point about morality and religion while still being absurdly funny. The cast, especially Brook as Simon and Pinal as The Devil are excellent. One of the strongest points of the film is the astonishing cinematography, thanks to one of Bunuel's regular collaborators, the magnificent Gabriel Figueroa. If this short film was better known then some of the shots of Brook atop his pillar would be considered iconic cinematic images. Simon may not be Bunuel's most famous work, but it's certainly one of his greatest. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 2000
Director: Don Hertzfeldt

A surreal, wacked-out, utterly hilarious, ever-so-slightly heartbreaking look at one animator's creative breakdown through the medium of the ads the Family Learning Channel and Johnson and Mills commissioned him to make. The little vignettes are brilliant (highlights being "Silly Hats Only", the one where Poopsy takes his first steps, and "MAH SPOON IS TOO BIG!") , and they all culminate in a furious and nightmarish apocalyptic breakdown of the animation. -- Pigeon Army.

Don Hertzfeldt is one of the most talented animators working today. Despite his simplistic, stick-figure approach, his shorts are always layered, thoughtful and intelligent. Rejected is without a doubt his most famous work, nominated for an Oscar (and losing to the sickly Father and Daughter) this is the film that introduced me, and seemingly a lot of other people, to the twisted world of Hertzfeldt. It's easy to dismiss Rejected as a one joke idea, but that's missing the apocalyptic vision that's been created. We're told that we're watching a series of shorts that were commissioned for The Family Learning Channel. We are then treated to a series of 10 second sketches that seem to make little logical sense and are often as unsettling as they are funny. They all involve a series of stick men involved in bizarre situations. When we find out the sketches have been rejected as unsuitable, the animator starts to have a breakdown and the world he's created becomes unstable and falls apart. One of the greatest things about Hertzfeldt's work is that he's a director who is constantly improving. As amazing as Rejected is, his later films are even better and they all display the same skewed worldview as this brilliant work of animation. -- Rawlinson


Year released: 1979
Director: John Huston

One of the films John Huston directed after this was the $60 million musical epic Annie (1981)…the mind boggles.
Young Hazel Motes (the excellent Brad Dourif) returns to the Bible Belt South after a stint in the army, uneducated but driven to be something more in the world he goes about making his place, in this case he becomes a Preacher (it's his new hat) and set up his own Church, the Church of Truth Without Jesus Christ. It is Motes way of rebelling against the evangelical childhood he experienced; he is fighting an unseen enemy. Soon the power of deception and greed that emanates from the street frauds and scum, including Harry Dean Stanton bring everything crashing down, which soon spirals and leads to self mutilation and martyrdom. It's a surprisingly humorous film, tragic yes but still funny (grotesquely so) and it is also one of the best adaptations of a book, based on Flannery O' Connor's short novel it's a fantastic film. -- Impqueen.


Year released: 1996
Director: Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci

It is a well-established truth that some of cinema’s most frustrating failures are those which were wildly ambitious but failed to live up to their promise. However, it is just as true that some of cinema’s most satisfying successes are those which choose a smaller target and hit it just right. Big Night is one of those, a very simple story of two Italian brothers running a hard-up restaurant in 1950s America who are given a chance to host jazzman Louis Prima by a more-successful compatriot. Stanley Tucci is wonderful as the wily smooth-talker of the pair, but it’s Tony Shalhoub who really shines as the soft-spoken naïf who also happens to be a brilliant chef, a talent which is demonstrated by some of the greatest scenes of food-porn ever captured on film (he also speaks rather convincing Italian). The relaxed pace of the film gives plenty of time for the two main characters to be developed, as well as their respective romantic entanglements, although these play second fiddle to what is essentially a story about family. And food. Gorgeous food. Best scene: At the end of the longest, most anxious night of their lives, the brothers finally snap and end up scrapping on the beach. This leads into a fantastically low-key final scene, which fills your heart without a word being spoken. -- TheDudeAbides.


Year released: 1942
Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Warsaw, 1942 and the Nazis march into Poland. This means the end of an anti-Nazi play that the local theatre group was producing starring its egotistical lead man Josef Tura (Jack Benny) and his beautiful wife Maria (Carole Lombard). Maria is also seeing handsome pilot Sobinski (Robert Stack), but their tryst is interrupted by the invasion, which sees Sobinski regrouping with the Allies. Through a series of smooth plot machinations, Sobinski goes back to Poland to enlist the theatre group in capturing a double agent who is threatening to destroy the Polish underground resistance. This entails Tura teaming up with his wife's erstwhile lover, trying to pass himself off as two different people whilst someone else dresses up as Hitler.

To Be Or Not To Be is certainly not the first film to poke film at the Nazis during wartime, or indeed the most famous, with Chaplin's The Great Dictator still being as one of the most audacious films of the time. However, whilst Chaplin sweetened that bitter pill with heavy doses of slapstick, a dash of sentimentality and a strongly worded message at the end, Lubitsch does no such thing here. There's a jet black streak of humour running right throughout the film. Jokes are made about execution orders, German soldiers who'll commit suicide on instant command from their Fuhrer, and concentration camps - has there been a more shockingly dark joke than the laughing reiteration of the "So they call me concentration camp Ehrhardt do they?". Yet the whole film is tastefully and subtly guided away from tastelessness by Lubitsch, into the realm of brilliant, dazzling satire. Awkward jokes about firing squads are rendered into terrific belly laughs through their sheer audaciousness, and execution orders become jokes at German officers treating them with the disdain of endless memos about stationary from head office.

Its reputation exists because of the sheer inventiveness that goes into it. The central plot could easily be taken from a Hitchcock film of the same period, and the humour is a beautifully balanced mixture of satire, slapstick (Sobinski leaving midway during Josef's performance for a rendezvous with his wife is a killer of a recurring gag), farce and sheer wit, with the crackling dialogue and verbal sparring being reminiscent of the best work of Preston Sturges. Lines like "Wait a minute. I'll decide with whom my wife's going to have dinner and whom she's going to kill" are brilliantly written and delivered.

The actor Michael Redgrave had a great admiration for comic actors, noting that "you can fool the town in tragedy, but comedy will find you out", and that's never truer than here, with the cats batting out the script effortlessly. Lombard and Stack are terrific, but it's Benny who is clearly the star here. An utter self obsessed, pretentious and pompous bore, Benny is a scream as Tura, who can't help asking if anyone has ever heard of "the great Polish actor, Tura", even when he's disguised as a Nazi officer. 
-- Matty_b.


(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 23
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =865. - 21/12/2009 8:40:22 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1973
Director: John G. Avildsen

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1975
Director: Dario Argento

  psychic who can read minds picks up the thoughts of a murderer in the audience and soon becomes a victim. An English pianist/music teacher Marcus Daly (Hemmings)decides to  investigate the violent murder of psychic medium Helga Ulmann (Macha Meril), which he witnesses in an apartment building.In his failed attempt at rescuing the medium, Daly realises he could have seen the killer’s face among a group of portraits on the wall of the victim’s apartment but is unable to find or recognise it when the police arrive.So begins a serris of brutal killings and during his search for the killer he begins an affair with Brezzi’s played by Daria Nicolodi,who could be the next victim?

A thrilling giallo masterpiece is considered by many to be one of the finest, if not the finest, films made by horror master of horror Dario Argento.Deep Red is high on the visuals, the arty sets, the garish lighting, the tendency for the camera to dwell on brutal details. Images are stark, with high contrast,entirely appropriate, given that the theme relates to the psychological coldness of a killer.It’s still a thing of macabre beauty full of Suspense, shocks, gore, sex, and still amazingly chilling after all these years It’s also has some real dark humor,but at times I wondered, was this meant to be a dark comedy? Some of the antics between Daria and David,especially the scenes with Daria’s little ramshackle crap-box Italian o car. Hemmings was never cooler than he was in this film and Daria Nicolodi was never sexier. After seeing this, who wouldn’t want to fall in  love? with her like Dario did.The chemistry of the two leads on screen is very hypnotic,and makes the murders all the more brutal,and you can see this as being due in no part to Darios direction.Dario immerse’s the viewer completely in a bizarre, disjointed nightmare, edged on by the fantastic Goblin soundtrack and some of the most brutally dazzling murder scenes ever filmed.The suspense and shocks of Deep Red will make you jump out of your seat,even after all these years,which again is due to the great acting and direction,and of course one of the better scripted Argento movies,unlike Susipria, wherein the story is almost irrelevant, Deep Red has an intriguing premise, with a plot that, although slow to get going, is nevertheless coherent, and builds to a riveting finale. I was quite surprised at who the killer was. Clues are very subtle, but they’re there, if you know where to look.The downside is that the film ends way too abruptly,it reaches its climax just to soon and up come the end credits. Give us a moment or two to savor the exquisite climax of Deep Red. There are few horror films that compare to those of Dario Argento,and his giallos are the same. Gothic, brutal, impressionistic, artistic, and sometimes surreal. Deep Red is one of the best,and now in it’s most complete uncut version it’s a must have.
Evil Bill

Year released: 1981
Director: Warren Beatty

John Reed is the only American buried with in the walls of the Kremlin. The only man from Soviet Russia's greatest enemy to have made enough of an impact to be buried there. That alone is probably enough that a film would at some stage be made out of it., but fortunately there is a bit more. Reed was an intellectual journalist, who always wanted to see what was going on in the world. Due to his leftist leanings, he ends up in Russia around the time of the Revolution, and writes a book (Ten Days Which Shook The World). He subsequently got obsessed with communism, and tried to bring it to America (Sporler: He doesn't quite manage that) before returning to Russia, and living the rest of his life there.

He also bought along his wife, proto-feminist intellect Louise Bryant. Reds, it turns out is as much her story as his. In fact, in perhaps a great irony, the great American Socialists story is told in the form of that most American of films – the Big Hollywood Epic. Warren Beatty (who also wrote and directed) stars as John Reed, and brings a brilliant unpretentiousness in perhaps his finest screen performace. Diane Keaton stars alongside him as Bryant and the film becomes an epic romance played out against the backdrop of one the biggest events of the last century.

The film flirts with showing us the leftwing politics of the time (particularly the in-fighting that so often does for Socialism in the West) but really the stars are Keaton and Beatty. Instead of portraying them in a dull, heroic way, they are genuinely three-dimensional, characters that you can actually care about. This is Beatty's masterstroke as an actor. As a director, he blurs the line between fiction and documentary by interviewing people who were contemparies of Reed and Bryant, and asking for how they remember the pair. It adds a genuine edge to an already believable film. -- Rhubarb.


Year released: 1932
Director: Raymond Bernard

In all the rush to acclaim All Quiet on the Western Front as the greatest war film of the 30s, this incredible movie is all too often overlooked. In many ways it is a real rival to the Western Front. As fine as that movie was, Wooden Crosses manages to combine a poetic lyricism with a toughness that evokes the harsh reality of life in the trenches that never feels as sentimental as Western Front sometimes did. The plot doesn't focus on one grand battle or the destiny of the soldiers, but rather the dullness of everyday life in battle for one French regiment during World War One. Our nominal lead, Gilbert, begins the film as a fairly refined character who finds himself toughened by the reality of the hardships of the trenches. Gilbert isn't made into a larger-than-life, heroic figure, he's no more important than anyone else in the war. We identify with all of the enlisted men because they are just normal people thrown into a chaotic and terrifying situation. The battles in the film are staggering and Bernard manages to create an incredible sense of the scale of the war. But even when the film goes epic, it still remembers that it's the intimate touches that make it work so well and we lose none of our empathy for the characters. And that's what makes this into such a great film really, the sense of empathy that shines through every scene, mixed with a despair for the failings in human nature that leads us to such conflicts. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 2000
Director: Ralph Eggleston

A hilarious and irresistible fable about bullying and group mentalities gone wrong that also doubles as a bloody marvelous three minutes of physical comedy. The tiny birds are inspired in their squeaky-toy voices and their brilliantly-expressive eyes, and the stork's Zoidberg voice is surprisingly endearing, after being initially annoying. -- Pigeon Army.

For the Birds is the last of Pixar's 3 animated short Oscar winners (Tin Toy didn't make it onto this list) and it remains my favourite Pixar short – small and perfectly formed, the tale is such sublime simplicity – the instinct to bully the outsider and the joy of retribution. The moment when the rest realise the implication of the their trick and desperately try to stop them is brilliantly timed and the expressions and the shuffling of plumage with a very convincing feathery softness another step forward in animation terms.

Released with Monsters Inc it, IMO, easily surpassed the feature. It is the only one of all their shorts that I have actually done voluntarily what my nephew made me do with Mike's New Car – watch it over and over again and still find each trip to the punchline as hilarious as the last. -- Elab49.


Year released: 1937
Director: Frank Borzage

Frank Borzage was Hollywood's great romantic and History is Made at Night is one of his very best films. It has got every thing you'd expect from a top notch romance film from the Hollywood golden era: an immensely likable couple, intoxicating romantic scenes, a sharp witty script, superb and memorable support players and it even has action spectacle to boot. Charles Boyer and the incomparable Jean Arthur light up the screen as lovers caught up in a nasty plot of Arthur's rich, obsessive, soon to be ex-husband (Frankenstein's Colin Clive). Boyer plays a suave Parisian headwaiter who views Clive's chauffeur attempt to put Arthur in a compromising situation. He rescues her under the guise of a thief, they escape and that night they fall in love. Borzage's direction is as delicate and elegant as ever bringing the film a sense of mysticism and otherworldliness, from the luminous Parisian nights to fog sweeping across the deck of the SS Princess Irene Borzage creates a magical stage for his tale of love to play out in. The story is excellent and takes a truly unexpected turn in the final third but it is the character moments that entrance and linger the most - Boyer and Arthur's late night dance to the music of an increasingly tired band (with one exception!), their reunion in New York and Boyer and his head chef best friend charming their way into taking over a restaurant. Borzage gets so close and intimate his characters that it feels like we are living the moments with them. This is masterful stuff. Also check out Seventh Heaven, Borazage's silent masterpiece also about the power of love prevailing over tragedy.  -- Director's Cut.


Year released: 1935
Director: Henry Hathaway

We've been covering some pretty well-known movies in this list, but here's one you might not be familiar with. It's the lighthearted imperial yarn par excellence, and a key influence on the genre's other highspots: Gunga Din, Soldiers Three and The Man Who Would Be King. It was also Hitler's favourite film, but we'll play that down, shall we? Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone are officers who appoint themselves the guardians of their superior's cowardly son (Richard Cromwell), whilst trying to quell rebellion on the northwest frontier of India. The interplay between Cooper and Tone is delightful, the plotting intelligent and the climax wrenchingly powerful, though I won't say anymore than that.

Favourite bit? The snake-charming sequence, in which Tone goads Cooper by endlessly playing a pipe, only to summon a most unwelcome visitor.
-- Rick_7.


Year released: 2002
Director: Laetitia Colombani

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1982
Director: Godfrey Reggio

It's usually a cliché to say that a film is 'like no other', but "Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance" is a difficult film to analyse by conventional means. It lacks actors, conventional narrative, almost any of the trappings of popular cinema that you care to name really. Instead, it distils film into its two constituent elements – music and images – and makes them the focus. The argument could easily be made that "Koyaanisqatsi" is, quite literally, cinema defined.

The core of the film is of course Philip Glass's astonishing musical score, an inspirational and staggering piece of work that's more versatile and expressive than any actor and tells the film's story more effectively than any script could hope to. It's one of the finest works of music ever recorded for a film, and elevates "Koyaanisqatsi" to heights it otherwise wouldn't reach.

This isn't to say that the rest of the film isn't great; a hypnotic and strangely calming tapestry of time-lapse photography from all over the world, it's one of the most visually striking films I've ever seen. The finest moments however, come when music and imagery come together for maximum effect: see, for example, the film's outstanding twenty-minute centrepiece, "The Grid". And while it would spawn two similar sequels – 1988's "Powaqqatsi", and 2002's "Naqoyqatsi" – neither would capture the same atmosphere, pathos or sheer startling uniqueness of "Koyaanisqatsi". -- Olaf.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 10/4/2011 7:36:43 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 24
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. 864. - 21/12/2009 8:43:03 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1964
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini

After blaspheming against the church in a way that would make Bunuel proud in La Ricotta (and facing jail for doing so), atheist Marxist homosexual director Pasolini would direct a film about the life and teachings of Christ. He also uses the gospel of St. Matthews, the gospel not featured in the Bible (for silly reasons). It sounds like the film is great act of blasphemy, especially considering the director's output and philosophy; but it is not. It's probably the best representation of the preachings of Christ you can find in cinema, not featuring some miscasting (the only problem of the otherwise excellent Scorsese's film), pornographic sadomasochism (Gibson's), over-sentimentalized plotting and over-glorification (many and many films that deal with this matter) or god awful singing (YOU LLOYD WEBBER YOU). Christ however is seen as a Marxist avant-a-lettre, so don't worry, it all fits together in the great scheme of things and the world won't implode. The lead performance of one-time actor Irazoqui is also outstanding, savage yet kind, showing love, suffering, kindness, fury and compassion. Also worth noting is the film's eclectic soundtrack, mixing from jazz, classical music to chants (changing at times in immediately from one scene to another), makes the whole thing all the more unique. So yeah, it's pretty damn fantastic. -- Deviation.


< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 8/2/2010 2:41:13 AM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 25
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =856. - 21/12/2009 8:55:47 AM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1973
Director: George Lucas

There's no doubt that George Lucas is an overrated director amongst popular opinion. He should be known for his ability to create characters and stories, like in Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but his directional efforts in the Star-trooping series have been disappointing to say the least, except for the original, which remains the best of the series. However, there's light at the end of the tunnel; American Graffiti is a very good film, and maybe even Lucas' best. Both written and directed by the man who has raped more childhoods than anybody else in recorded history, Graffiti tells the story of a bunch of teenagers on the night before they all go to college. There's the senior prom and cruising around the streets. There's no real overarching plot, just a series of linked events and stories that surround the boys and girls. It's a film with no real cause apart from to create characters, and that's what it does rather well. Bolander (Ronnie Howard), Curt (Richard Deyfruss), Milner (Paul Le Mat), and the Toad (Charles Martin Smith) are all finely crafted, three dimensional characters, with traits, personalities, and characteristics that make them human. They live like us, think like us, fear like us, and react like us. It may be a 70s, cheesy, clichéd version of humanity, but humanity runs through this film all the same. All set to a cracking soundtrack. -- Piles.


Year released: 1972
Director: Ronald Neame

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1978
Director: Ingmar Bergman

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1935
Director: James W. Horne

Probably most famous for the classic scene involving the confusion caused by the loss of rent money ("He gave it to you and you gave it to him and who gave it to what. Why, you're all nuts!"), the final scene has the the two men undergo a personality swap, and they have the mannerisms of each other perfected. It's absurd, but also wonderful to watch, however briefly, the roles reversed. There's some neat effects too. On more than one occasion, the scene change is provided by either Laurel or Hardy pulling the next frame onto the screen, curtain-like. Reliable regulars Daphne Pollard and James Finlayson providing misery help to make this one a winner. This was the final short film that Laurel and Hardy made before shifting exclusively to features. The end of an era, but they go out in style.  -- Gimli the Dwarf.


Year released: 1982
Director: Sidney Lumet

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1971
Director: Masahiro Shinoda

The first visits from the West to Japan brought 2 things – Christianity and the gun.
Often overlooked for the better-known Assassination, Shinoda's Silence tells the tale of Christianity in Japan. The Counter-Reformation first reached Japan in the mid-16th century via Portuguese traders – but the threat to homegrown spirituality, plus the Spanish deciding to encroach and criticising the Portuguese, and then the British/Dutch turning up with their 'true' religion caused the Japanese – now more unified – to lose patience and ban the religion entirely. But it had flourished – and many thousands of converts continued to practice in their own way in the centuries of Japanese isolation. Mid 19th century, the missionaries started to return.
Shinoda adapts a tale of complex spirituality – not just the reverence in which covert Christians receive the returning missionaries, but their reaction to the mixing of their faith with native beliefs (an appropriation similar to that in South America) with symbols and idols a combination of the two. And then the testing of that faith – the local overlord uses torture and persuasion to see how easily people will turn their back on the western god and there is a running analogy based on the story of the final journey of Christ, Judas and of Peter, through to the direct challenge to Rodriguez from his old mentor, now gone native (a heavily made-up Japanese actor takes this role).
One of the most visually and aurally impressive scenes is that journey on the donkey with the screams of the crowd and the continued sound of the stones as they fall back. Nature is central to the early scenes – long, slow, beautiful shots emphasising the spiritual nature of the journey but as that faith is challenged and despised the shots change and move, become choppier as talk replaces nature.
Shinoda's Silence is a beautiful film – even if you are not religious the narrative raises questions of the nature of faith and those who hold it presented with skill and artistry. ELab49.


Year released: 1984
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Childhood in cinema is usually something that's handled really badly, the children are shown as precocious, just there to ask the adult the embarrassing questions or prompt them with some Rain Man-esque wisdom. I think what makes a cinematic depiction of childhood work is the feeling that you could have experienced it yourself. You don't have to have actually have been through it, it just needs to capture some of those emotions. Which is why Stand by Me is a great depiction of childhood to me, even though I didn't go on an adventure with my friends to see a dead body. I still felt a lot of what those characters feel and I recognise aspects of myself and my friends in them. Where the Wild Things Are is my film of the year for exactly the same reason, it captured a feeling I understood even if it didn't replicate the reality. Whereas something like Home Alone is a terrible depiction of childhood because it captured none of the things I felt as a child, even though I did get left home alone over Christmas and had to fight off criminals while my family flew to Paris. A Summer at Grandpa's captures the right feeling, even though the situation is a world away from my childhood.

When their mother is taken into hospital, eleven-year-old Tung-Tung and his four year old sister, Ting-Ting, are sent to spend the summer in the country with their uncle and their grandfather. The stay proves more dramatic than may have been expected, with the country providing just as many dangers as the city. The uncle proves himself irresponsible from the start, he leaves them on the train and is more interested in sex than anything else, some of his friends are wanted for a brutal robbery, a woman miscarries her child, and the children are forced into confrontations with the adult world. Despite that, the film never tries for forced melodrama, with the situations still feeling everyday and realistic. The children try to insulate themselves from the outside world but they are forced to face adult events as that world encroaches on their life over the summer. Despite the mature themes of the film (and there are plenty of adult moments) it's the depiction of the children that feels the strongest. The children are often shown as not understanding the adults and the letters they write home express a frustration that the adults aren't making enough sense. The film is firmly on the side of the children, they are our identification figures and the film flows to their moods. Despite the fact that Hou makes his characters face some harsh truths, the film is warm. It exudes the feel of summer and it manages to capture a gently nostalgic feeling aided by the naturalistic performances of the cast.

Immaturity is a running theme. The film opens with a seemingly out of place sequence of a young girl giving a valedictorian speech, but it's thematically linked. The idea of the girl being reluctant to leave her childhood behind is reflected in Ting-Ting and Tung-Tung as their innocence is lost when real life takes over. The children are unable to articulate their emotions and this causes them to lash out. But their uncle's rash behaviour, and even some of their grandfather's actions, are shown to be just as childish as the children's. Hou is showing us how those childlike moments exist in everyone, even when we've supposedly matured. I think it's the way that Hou captures these small nuances in behaviour that prevents the film from falling into easy sentimentality. Instead of a simplistic coming-of-age story we're given a meditation on what it means to be a child, what it means to be an adult, and what gets lost in-between. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1976
Director: Alan J. Pakula

Pakula's film is probably one of the most accurate representations of the journalistic profession put to film - it's painstakingly reliant on names and details, it moves slowly and is very matter-of-fact, but at the same time there's an irresistable lure that draws you in, particularly in the last hour or so. While Goldman's script is surprisingly dry, and the ending is just plain bad in the way it cuts everything off abruptly, the film's unbelievably interesting and educational, and when Pakula and Goldman hit their A-game, they knock it out of the park (that scene in which Woodward leaves the parking garage, paranoid someone's chasing him, and the later "your lives are in danger" sequence, are impeccable pieces of tense filmmaking). Also, Hoffman, Redford, Robards and Holbrook are all excellent. -- Pigeon Army

Alan J.Pakula's electrifying political thriller, was made hot on the heels of the infamous Watergate Scandal, in which an investigation into a bungled burglary, eventually led to the downfall of the U.S president. Indeed Nixon's ignominious fall from power, was due in no small fact to the dogged efforts of two Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward (Redford) & Carl Bernstein (Hoffman), whose relentless pursuit to uncover the truth, led to what was described at the time as the scoop of the century.

The final outcome proved that democracy was the ultimate winner, by proving that nobody, no matter how powerful, was above the law. -- Jackie Boy.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 6/1/2010 11:56:07 AM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 26
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =849. - 24/12/2009 9:24:26 PM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 2008
Director: Charlie Kaufman

It's often said that true art is about trying to represent the human condition, pinning it down and exposing it to the world in a series of perfectly-executed images or chords. Synecdoche, New York stands out as a glistening achievement of this goal in amongst a veritable shitheap of pretenders, a shining diamond of honesty, intelligence and amazing thematic depth. Of course, it's a hard film to understand – aside from a vague handle on the themes tackled and a mental slog through the symbols and motifs I remember from the film's 118-minute running time, it's hard to say I understood the whole film even half as fully as I would like to – but it's an easy film to feel and become absolutely immersed in.

Charlie Kaufman's tale of a theatre director, Caden (Philip Seymour Hoffman, giving a characteristically monumental performance), who spends three decades working on a budgetless, limitless theatre work about death, life, and everything in between, is at once a philosophical text, a quietly devastating character piece and a piece of nightmarish meta-fictional genius. It's ambitious, brave, honest, detailed, powerful, emotional, odd – it's a remarkable work from a man with nothing to lose and everything to divulge, and it feels like we're peering into the innermost depths of the very concept of humanity, abstract though it is.

Kaufman's writing is top-notch, multi-layered, intricately detailed and incredibly captivating. He melds existential musings on life, death and relationships with a vicious streak of black comedy and some genuinely heartfelt and saddening character work. The man at the centre, Caden, is miserable because he focuses too much on himself and worries too much about what's wrong with him, and the women around him both despair at this (most impeccably realised in Michelle Williams' Claire) and exacerbate it (Jennifer Jason Leigh's prize bitch Maria being the best example).

Kaufman's direction is stellar, and the beautiful, understated aesthetics work perfectly with the script. Meanwhile, the script indicates an increasing maturity in his writing—the meta-antics of Adaptation and the aimless misanthropy of Being John Malkovich are still somewhat present (unlike his zenith, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), but Synecdoche is Kaufman's most developed, layered work yet. Just don't expect to understand it after the first viewing.

Or the second. -- Pigeon Army.


Year released: 1995
Director: Chris Noonan

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1969
Director: Fyodor Khitruk

A funny, joyous adaptation of A.A. Milne's classic novels, and much better than the watered-down Disney adaptation. Khitruk's interpretation is simple in its animation and its narrative, but the animation is sweet and enchanting, the narrative is nice and faithful to the source material, and the characters - Piglet and Vinni-Pukh, or Winnie in English - are endlessly appealling, singing cheery and catchy songs, cracking funny jokes and generally causing light-hearted mayhem. Easygoing fun at its finest. -- Pigeon Army.

Growing up with the Winnie the Pooh stories, the Disney versions always seemed a bit of an abomination to me. For a start, none of the characters sounded like they should, especially Pooh Bear. At some point in the production someone decides that Sterling Holloway's vocals should sound like a 90 year old prospector instead of the bear of very little brain. So with that in mind, you'd think Russian language adaptations of the stories, with radically different animation from any other depiction of Pooh, would be even more offputting. Oddly, I think, they're the greatest filmed adaptation of Milne's classic tales.

While the Disney felt sentimental, the Milne never did and nor do the Khitruk. Like Milne he's able to capture that childlike, otherworldly point of view that makes the Winnie-the-Pooh stories so charming and timeless. The backdrops only add to the whimsical feel of the piece, they look like children's drawings and while some may call that amateurish, too me it just looks magical, as if they're recreating a book onscreen.

In this first story, Pooh bear is out for a stroll when he sees a beehive on top of a tall tree and decides to steal some honey. When he's thwarted by the angry bees he enlists the help of Piglet and decides to try again by floating up to the treetop on a blue balloon. In Pooh's infinite wisdom he's hoping the bees will mistake the balloon for a piece of sky and him for an angry black cloud. Like all the stories of the hundred-acre wood, the plot doesn't matter, it's the atmosphere they evoke, often that of a late summer afternoon, and the wonderful enchanted world they allow you to step into. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1968
Director: Mario Bava

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1957
Director: Andrzej Wajda

Happily cheating I would normally count Wajda's 1950s trilogy of films about aspects of WWII in Poland as a single entry but, pushed for this list, I've opted for Kanal as the best of three in my top 100.

It's an interesting trilogy, though, and I think it is valid to see it as such, particularly the interplay between the communist resistance, eventually backed up by the Red Army and taking power, and the Home Army loyal to the London government in exile that was aware of the dangers of the rising communist sympathy and which was betrayed by the Russians during the Warsaw uprising in 1944. Come Ashes and Diamonds the conflict is more directly between the 2 – the remnants of the patriots still acting against the Russians, but inevitably getting Poles caught in the crossfire. In short, as Zamoyski and others note, it was Poland that was the real loser in WWII – population and industry losses were devastating as the country became a key part of the tug-of-war between Germany and Russia. Mass movement of population to the west as the Russians moved in and the Germans moved out, cities in rubble and an acute conflict between those who had fought, even under occupation, and those who hadn't.
In mid-1944 Warsaw rose against the Germans – the Home Army fought anticipating support from the rapidly approaching Russians. But the Russians stopped short, knowing exactly what they were doing – Poles were as much trouble as Germans, so getting them wiped out was a bonus. They lasted just over 2 months before surrendering – those who were still alive, that is.

We're barely into the film and Wajda pulls the rug out from under us – our voiceover introduces us to the remnants of Zadra's platoon. The leader, the discipline he keeps. The youngsters who promised their mothers they'd be safe (young men and women). Their post-war dreams. In any other film we'd be being introduced to our protagonists to empathise with them to hope for their future, for their survival. All seem to know the end is coming – they're outnumbered, outgunned. Some fight as for future generations. All are fighting over a city that is already in ruins.

" Watch them closely, for these are the last hours of their lives"

And so we start Kanal with as little hope as those left in Warsaw fighting the Germans.

The first half of the film we do get to know many of these people – holed up and surrounded, fatalist to the core ("hopeless heroism") and most knowing they are going to die (apparently it is easier to die when you're in love – Wajda's characters often seem to see death as the inevitable and often the easier object, voiced by Dorota in A Generation and Halinka in Kanal. Or the suggestion that they die now for future generations of Poles to honour them – not that attractive a proposition when you're a tad cynical and the one at the end of the gun. And we know, from Ashes and Diamonds, what happened to many of those hopes). This Warsaw is just rubble – virtually nothing is left whole and standing, simply half destroyed walls you can occasionally hide behind. And a piano to indulge the Polish romantic in them all. Over the phone we hear how the Germans are treating the Polish families they find, helping drive the artist attached to the platoon quite mad.

The reason why anyone would choose this over the other 2, however, is the second half. Descending into the sewers to get to 'the centre' the platoon enter a nightmarish Dante-esque underworld of gas and sewage, with Michal a pied piper leading them to their doom on his ocarina as they split up and each finishes their own story. The author had spent time in these sewers and survived but his characters aren't quite so lucky. Lipman's and Wajda's brilliant work underground with the flickering light of torches and a bit extra to emphasise the oncoming doom, raises the film to a new level. They'd already played with the visuals – Korab diving on graves or the burst of flame lighting up the cross before their descent. But this is something special as the platoon drop off one by one, further into hell.

Combining realism with a burst of gloomy expressionism at its core, this is possibly Wajda's best work and a contender for the best film to come out of Poland. Amongst the few contenders is his own personal take on the events at Katyn and his Man of Marble/Iron double header.

Although all 3 films have elements that would send film theorists into raptures, I love them because of the world and the characters they create and, in particular, that hell in the sewers as they scurry under the Germans to gut-wrenching effect. Elab49



Year released: 2005
Director: Aleksandr Sokurov

Sokurov's third film in his loose trilogy of leaders in despair – after Hitler and Lenin - is the story of Emperor Hirohito (Issei Ogata) in the final days of World War II. "The Sun" decides to leave out the big happenings, like the actual speech, and instead shows us Hirohito's private life, his pastimes, and his family. The one big event it does choose to show, Hirohito's meeting with General Douglas McCarther (the man in charge of the occupying forces, Robert Dawson), is shown only to further characterize Hirohito rather than chart historical events. Sokurov himself said that he was not "interested in the history or politics that took place", which results in a very touching and affecting drama about a leader who doesn't really lead. Hirohito is much more interested in marine biology than the War, and all of the difficult decisions – like bombing Pearl Harbour – are made by his military heads. Sokurov instead delves into Hirohito's personal life… his love of American film stars, of the creatures of the sea, his poetry. How close this film is to real life events is questionable, as is how real the portrayal of Hirohito's private or public life actually is, but Sokurov's Hirohito is gentile, amiable, quiet, and polite. His meeting with McCarther is very interesting. The American proves himself disrespectful and at times quite rude, whilst the Emperor remains soft-spoken and content throughout. There's a moment when Hirohito begins to discuss the merits of the catfish with McCarther, saying that he can't talk to anyone about his hobbies because they bow and courtesy rather than speak, before the General cuts him off to make an important phone call. Dejected, Hirohito sits for a second, before standing and dancing to the table. It's heartbreaking, but you can see that he's been through this kind of thing his whole life, and that his divinity only brings loneliness and alienation. Issei Ogata's performance is sublime; a portrait of a man on a downfall painted only with content. Wonderfully idiosyncratic with plenty of interesting nuances, Ogata turns in one of the top ten performances of the 21st century. From reading his memoirs on why Japan entered the war to smelling flowers for rude American photographers, Ogata is perfect, playing a man who just wants to be understood, but never will be. -- Piles.


Year released: 1989
Director: Ivan Reitman

Blurb coming soon.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 10/4/2011 7:45:51 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 27
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =836. - 24/12/2009 9:48:00 PM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1941
Director: Irving Rapper

One Foot in Heaven is a simple, stunningly effective movie about the life of a Methodist minister (Fredric March) and his family at the turn of the last century. Based on the memoirs of the real life clergyman's son and told in an episodic style, this quiet, wise, sometimes very funny film sees March confront the hypocrisy of self-congratulatory sections of his parish, as well as leaky roofs, whispering campaigns and perhaps the most severe of all early-20th century ills – the coming of motion pictures. It's an uplifting film, but also a wistful, nostalgic one, marvellously acted and possessing the certain magic that exists only in '40s and '50s Americana, an almost intangible, nigh-on indescribable rose-tinted evocation of a vanishing world. March, a freelancing lead at a time when there were virtually none in Hollywood, had his pick of roles, and makes the most of this exceptional one. Martha Scott is warm and wonderful as his wife, Peter Caldwell and Frankie Thomas do great work as son Hartzell (aged 10 and 18 respectively) and the supporting cast is filled with familiar faces, including Harry Davenport as a kind loner and Gene Lockhart doing his usual villainous bit. The climax, in which a joyous March thumps out 'The Church's One Foundation' on a carillon as the parishioners march through the streets, is immensely satisfying.

Favourite bit: March attends his first film, a William S. Hart silent, promising to offer a prototype audio commentary for his son, pointing out the sinfulness of the pursuit. Then he finds that he rather enjoys it. -- Rick_7.


Year released: 1983
Director: Jackie Chan

Project A is the archetypal Jackie Chan film. Chan was already a megastar in Asia before this film having made the martial arts classics Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, Drunken Master, Fearless Hyena and The Young Master, but Project A is the film that created the Jackie Chan film. It's the film that brought together everything we associate with classic Jackie Chan: the fast and frantic fight scenes mixed with genius physical comedy, amazing and imaginative use of props, stunning stunts and painful outtakes during the closing credits. This film is also the first film to star all the Three Dragons together – Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao, the three having worked previously worked together in bits and pieces as stuntmen and supporting players for a decade. Here they play a trio who set out to take down some pirates in turn of the century Hong Kong. The wait was well worth it and their climatic fight scene with pirate leader Dick Wei is thrilling and spectacular. The centrepiece of the film though is a twenty minute chase sequence that raised the bar for comedic action set pieces and culminates with Jackie dropping from a four story clocktower – a stunt he did not once, not twice but thrice! From beginning to end Project A is sheer unpretentious fun made by some of the most talented performers of this kind the world has ever known at the top of their game. The sequel Project A Part II is also excellent. -- Director's Cut.


Year released: 1999
Director: Sofia Coppola

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1982
Director: Costa-Gavras

In 1973, after the coup in Chile that deposed Allende, American filmmaker Charles Horman disappeared. Starting with his return from the countryside, his disappearance is complicated by the US involvement in the coup and his having seen US military personnel.
Costa-Gavras, who started his career in breathless style with the brilliant Sleeping Car Murders, turned his hand to some of the best political filmmaking of recent years targeting authoritarian regimes and extreme activity on the right of the political spectrum. Z, set in the time of the Colonels in Greece, remains my favourite. He shows great skill in approaching complex subjects and presenting them as cinema.
In Missing we have Jack Lemmon, playing Ed Horman, as our everyman guide – he asks the questions the objective audience should, shares some of our suspicions about the hippy activities of his son. His starting point is that his son has done something wrong and has gone into hiding and it is his difficult journey we follow as he tries to discover the truth behind his son's disappearance, frustrated by a US administration keen to portray Charles as a troublemaking radical, and to reconcile himself with the life his son chose to live. And fie on Lemmon haters, because he completely deserved his Oscar nomination in possibly the strongest fields of recent years and his discovery of his sons fate is one of the most powerful scenes in the film, although almost matched by the visit to a morgue full of bodies and, for Ed, the most conclusive evidence that his own government is lying to him and finally bonds properly with his daughter-in-law after trailing through corridors of bodies, and then he looks up and sees more and more through the glass ceiling above – and expressing his disbelief Joyce (Spacek) tellingly points out how much he sounds like his son.
Unsurprisingly the film generated quite some controversy – it ends with a State Department denial and was banned in Chile, although the country is not identified in the film and the opening voiceover notes that the names have been changed not only to protect the innocent but also the film – an older print also notes "the guilty are already protected". For further reading on the US and Chile I'd suggest Christopher Hitchens "Trial of Henry Kissinger".


Year released: 1999
Director: Claire Denis

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1970
Director: Satyajit Ray

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1988
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Kryzsztof Kieslowski's astounding career took a turn for the popular in 1987, with "Przypadek", which signalled the beginning of an incredible series of excellent films and masterpieces. Chances are, if you hear anybody talking about Kieslowski, they will be talking about one of the films from this final decade of his life. The most renowned of which is "Dekalog", the ten part serial which translates the ten commandments into a Polish urban setting. Whether this epic piece of cinema can count in its full, made-for-TV form for a greatest film list is possibly the most often debated topic for us chart-making cinephiles, and the success of this, "A Short film About Killing" (along with its sister, "A Short Film About Love"), often rests on the conclusion of such talks. Obviously not quite the cinematic achievement that "Dekalog" commadns to be called, this eighty four minute film tells the story of Jacek (Miroslaw Baka), who kills a taxi driver who appears to be flirting with the girl he likes. Unflinching in its attack on capital punishment, this lengthened version of Dekalog Five is a subtle yet potent look at the titular act of killing. It draws parallels between the senseless, random killing of the innocent taxi driver (played by Jan Tesarz) and the cold-blooded execution of its protaganist, with both murders shown in full, unadulterated, and uncompromising form. It could very well be the pinaccle of the "Dekalog" series if you take the pieces individually, and this lengthened form adds a wealth of thought to what is already a thoughtful and provocative 60 minute segment. Obviously, "Dekalog" deserves to be viewed - and appraised - as a whole, and one part cannot begin to replicate the bold genius of the ten-hour film, but "A Short Film About Killing" is the best stand-alone episode, and a masterpiece in its own right. -- Piles.


Year released: 2006
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1996
Director: Wes Craven

Revitalizing the slasher genre during the mid-90's, Scream started a run of similar style of teens-being-stalked films (Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer, the latter also written by Scream writer Kevin Williamson). The thing that made Scream stand out from the crowd was the self-referential way the characters had all seen the classic, and not so, horrors films of by-gone years (Halloween, Friday the 13th). They talked about the errors in judgement the characters in those films made (never say "I'll be right back), but still made the same mistakes themselves.

Starring a cast of beautiful folk better known for they TV work, meant everybody was fair game for the killer, especially after the best known cast member (Drew Barrymore) was finished off in the first 15 minutes.

Managing to be smart and funny whilst staying scary, Scream brought the slasher back to the mainstream taking the survivors on to two sequels. With a rumoured fourth in the pipeline we might soon see the return of Ghostface. -- Benmharper.


Year released: 2005
Director: Park Kwang-hyun

During the Korean war, the inhabitants of a remote mountain village are oblivious to the battle that is raging around them. Two soldiers from the South, three from the North and a UN guard interrupt the serenity when they all wind up in the little village,.

The political clash central to Welcome to Dongmakgol inevitably has some similarity with Park Chan-wook's Joint Security Area, and the brief battle scene at the outset has a visceral Taegukgi (Brotherhood) look, however, the film has a style all of its own. It has charm, cinematographic flair with a warmth of colour, and high production values. There is a degree of unreality / fantasy, particularly as parachuting troops are surrounded by butterflies, and a scene where the congregated parties encounter a huge wild boar.

Kang Hye-jeong of Oldboy fame is sweet as the innocent villager, Yeo-il, and there are capable performances from Shin Ha-kyun (Save the Green Planet) and Jeong Jae-yeong (Green Fish), who add weight to the story, and diffuse some slight melodrama. An engrossing and rather sweet war film... -- Gram123.


Year released: 1947
Director: Orson Welles

The plot, or as much as one can explain it, is "simply" this; Michael O'Hara (Orson Welles) an Irish sailor complete with a fine chewy accent, accompanies the beautiful and blonde Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth) whom he previously rescued from some ruffians, her grotesque, millionaire lawyer husband Arthur (Everett Sloane) and his wing man, the equally monstrous George Grisby (Glenn Anders) as they travel to San Francisco and various other tropical places en route. As the trip progresses it becomes an increasingly bizarre yachting cruise that eventually involves multiple betrayals and finally murder.

Thanks to Harry Cohn and probably Welles himself the film at times makes little or no sense, the plot is difficult to follow and scenes appear next to each other almost at random, as though they were made upon the spot or that the idea of rehearsing seemed a silly suggestion. It's well documented that Shanghai is one of the films notoriously hacked to pieces by well meaning money men but it is difficult to know which bits are the result of studio interference wand which are authentic Welles. In the end I've found in this instance that it doesn't really matter, as much as I admire and am a great fan of Welles' work as director I think the off-kilter, insanity and overall unhinged atmosphere of Lady from Shanghai was only added to.

Though Shanghai may be a tad messy I for one take the whole thing as a great piece of experimental cinema and I get the same joy from watching it as I do when I watch Hitchcock's North by Northwest, there is an absurdity to events and despite not making too much sense it's a thoroughly entertaining experience. Ignoring the fragmented nature of the film, there are some truly superb pieces of action, there is enough brilliance in several scenes that even if you don't enjoy Shanghai as much as me you really have to admire certain moments. These include a cross examination of Arthur Banister by Arthur Banister, O'Hara's tale about sharks, Elsa Bannister's song, the Chinese theatre and the famed and rightly regarded hall of mirror's climax. I haven't even mentioned the camera work with its fantastic movement, the angled shots, dialogue or the performances all of which add up to make an excellent and at the very least, interesting film. -- Impqueen.


Year released: 1979
Director: Yuriy Norshteyn

Often acclaimed as the greatest animated film of all time, Tale of Tales is a tender and poetic meditation on the history of Russia. It's about how the history of Russia as a nation becomes intertwined with the memories and history of the individual. In many ways it's an animated companion to Tarkovsky's Mirror in its examination of memory and childhood. It attempts to capture the structure of human memory, so the film feels fragmented instead of running in chronological order. Associations are made between thoughts and images until we have a series of connected imagery that's difficult to penetrate.

One of the film's main concerns is war, especially Russian losses on the Eastern Front. While there's no on-screen combat, the film is very focused on the effects of war. We are shown dancing couples who are split apart as the men disappear and are replaced by grim reapers and notifications of death coming back to the waiting wives and mothers.

The other main thread is Norstein's memories and fantasies of childhood. A boy watches crows in a tree and he dreams of sitting with them and sharing his apple. We hear a lullaby of a little grey wolf and we see the wolf and how the lullaby misunderstands him. The wolf is the highlight of the short, clever, inquisitive and one of the sweetest animated characters. Norstein contrasts this innocence with the effects of war and leaves us with a poignant and whimsical masterpiece. -- Rawlinson.


Year released: 1952
Director: Fred Zinnemann

Blurb coming soon.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 28/2/2010 12:50:13 PM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 28
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. 835. - 24/12/2009 9:50:54 PM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1997
Director: Aleksandr Sokurov

Sokurov's brilliant film explores the complex and intense maternal bond between a mother, played by Gudrun Geyer, and a son, played by Aleksei Ananishov. The film plays out the last hours of the mother's life, as the son nurses her, makes her comfortable, and talks about her past. The star here is Sokurov, who takes us on a slow paced trot around their countryside house and land. This lack of urgency is symbolic of the relationship between mother and son; there's no need to rush things, just the time spent with each other is enough. It's also wonderful how Sokurov, in his first major hit, doesn't feel the need to overpopulate his film with dialogue. Instead, he lets subtle glances, sighs, and sparsely positioned words to show how these two feel and care for each other. If there was ever (god forbid) a Hollywood remake, you can imagine that whatever director was tagged on it would feel the need to fill every possible minute with dialogue, partly to build the relationship and partly so audiences don't get bored. That would be catastrophic, because here – in the midst of an everlasting, impenetrable silence – a relationship is explored through the lack of words, not through the presence of them. It's also a beautiful film, with vivid visuals of the countryside being used to great effect. The scenes where son is alone, contemplative of his mother's plight, are beautifully filmed in incredible locations. Desolate and baron, just like his current emotional position, the planes and forests of their countryside home are carefully and beautifully shot by a man who quite clearly sees the beauty in everything from a maternal relationship to nature. -- Piles.


(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 29
RE: The Empire Forum Top 1000 Films. =824. - 24/12/2009 10:06:22 PM   
Pigeon Army

Posts: 14141
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

Year released: 1934
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer

On a train journey through Eastern Europe, a young American couple, Peter and Joan, meet Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Lugosi). An accident forces them to seek shelter at the house of Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff), but Peter and Joan are unaware that Werdegast has come looking for revenge on Poelzig. Poelzig betrayed his regiment during the war and decades later he has become both an insane architect and a Satanic priest. He's constructed a fortress over the mass grave of the men he betrayed. Wedergast was one of the only survivors of the battle and he's spent the last fifteen years in a military prison. He comes to take revenge for not only Poelzig's betrayal but also for him stealing away Werdegast's wife and daughter. Poelzig and Werdegast engage in a psychological battle over the wounds of the past, and for the soul of Joan.

Bearing no resemblence to the Poe tale, The Black Cat is one of the most overlooked of all of Universal's classic horrors. It's a tale of vengeance between two disturbed men, one warped by the evil inside him, the other by the horrors of war. It mixes allegory, pulp fiction and poetry and gives us this elegiac film that remains a high point of 30s cinema. Ulmer was a master of taking potential cinematic trash and turning it into something beautiful. Here everything feels shot through with moonlight and grief, but the starkness of Ulmer's direction stops it becoming mere melodrama.

It's Ulmer's most beautiful film to look at, obviously inspired by early German horror cinema, the expressionistic visuals register as strongly as the wonderful performances from a top of his game Karloff and a never better Lugosi. It's true that Peter and Joan leave little impression on the viewer, but the film is so stunning to look at, and Karloff and Lugosi are so vivid in their performances that the rest of the cast is relatively unimportant.

Possibly the most unsettling Universal film, the atmosphere is overwhelmingly dark. The character of Poelzig was inspired by the Satanist Aleister Crowley and Karloff relishes the chance to play such true evil. Both characters are damaged men, they drift through the movie like ghosts, or dark Gods, something acknowledged by Ulmer in the dialogue. Werdegast has been destroyed by the horrors of war, and to an extent so has Poelzig. But Poelzig is master of his own hell, one he created, trying to control the past, trying to master death and his own history by burying it beneath his twisted house.

Still shocking 75 years after its initial release, The Black Cat takes everything that feels safe and familiar about the old Karloff and Lugosi horrors and tips it on its head. It's a disturbed and melancholy masterpiece.
-- Rawlinson.


Year released: 2006
Director: Shane Meadows

Shane Meadows creates a brilliant depiction of Thatcher-era England, rife with racism and nationalism. Youngster Thomas Turgoose is excellent in the lead role, and Stephen Graham gives a phenomenal performance as the skinhead Combo. Humour, drama and a few home truths all packed into one film, and Meadows doesn't shy away from controversy. Brilliant performances, a stunning soundtrack and great direction mark this as one of the best British films of the last few years. -- Epiphany Demon.


Year released: 1989
Director: Steven Spielberg

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 2001
Director: Shunji Iwai

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1971
Director: Jan Svankmajer

My introduction to the man Jamesbondguy has heralded as an animation-come-surrealism legend, the Czech Jan Svankmajer, came in the form of "Jabberwocky". The film is named after Lewis Carroll’s poem, which is – incidentally – read out at the start of the film by a cheeky little girl who slurs her words. The visuals, however, are of toys in a magical room. They are brought to life, seemingly, by a set of clothes owned by a small boy. They are seemingly irrelevant to one and other, but all involve toys of some sort consorting and communicating with each other before being torn apart by a large black cat.

Now, I know that with most surrealism films you can’t really find a definitive answer to talk about in your review, and that’s certainly the case with "Jabberwocky". This film, like the films of every surrealist from Bunuel to Lynch, is open to continuous scrutiny and much argument. However, the thoughts and conclusions drawn up in the next few paragraphs are mine and mine only, and although they are probably wrong, they are what I took from the film. JBG said in another thread that the film is about childlike innocence, a theme I could probably draw to the film if I wanted to write a review that made me look smart for "getting" the film in accordance with what Svankmajer wanted me to get. So, without further delaying, here are my thoughts.

In "Jabberwocky", the source of all of the destruction – arguably – is the big black cat. In between every seemingly nonsensical interlude, we are returned to a very simple puzzle in which a black line attempts to avoid dead ends and gain its freedom. Each time it reaches one of these dead ends, the black cat leaps through the blocks, causing them to crash onto the floor. As I said, the obvious cause of destruction is the cat, but is he the cause of all the destruction? Or the only cause of destruction? No. In fact, almost all of the characters cause some trouble in their own way. The little statuette (is it a statuette? I think so) dances around its table on the top of a knife, causing the table top doily to get ripped and unusable. The dolls eat each other. Even nature, usually heralded as the hero in films, obstructs the room with its overreaching branches and ends up hiding our "protagonist" from shot.

So, in each of the scenes, we trouble, strife, and eventually destruction. And not one of the characters is innocent in the whole mess; not even the little set of clothes on their trusty hanger. They are the creator of this whole sorry mess, and each of the problems have stemmed from his almighty hand. It could be an attack on religion (I don’t know if Svankmajer is distinctly religious or not, so this thought hasn’t really fully formed in my mind), or it could be an attack on authority in general. Who knows? But the thing that we presume to be highest in the proverbial food chain is causing as much mess as anything else, if not more. And then, the final shot, of the clothes crumpled in the corner and the black, business-like, imposing clothes replacing it on the hanger, is what throws up the possibility of the theme being of the loss of childhood innocence. But it could also support my destruction theory; even the creator lies in the wayside. Everything hurts everything. There are no gallant heroes or innocent protectors.

The short poem that is read out at the start of the film, Lewis Carroll’s "Jabberwocky" that also lead to the worst of Terry Gilliam’s films, also supports my theory. The poem itself, when read without our narrator’s slurry voice and hard-to-understand mannerisms, is of a man who hears about a mythical creature and goes to slay it. However, in the poem itself, this Jabberwocky doesn’t kill anybody. The man hears the legend, strides to find the monster, and kills it. Again, this is senseless destruction, and although stories of the Jabberwocky’s murders are legend amongst the townsfolk, it only breeds more destruction in the hunt for it. I guess, all in all, Svankmajer is trying to point out the pointless cycle of destruction that runs, unhindered, through human life. Or, is he? Who knows. What I do know is that’s what I took from it, and although I’m probably wrong, I thought it to be a thoughtful and clever metaphor that makes me want to discover more Svankmajer and form more silly ideas about what he’s trying to say. -- Piles.


Year released: 1974
Director: Shigehiro Ozawa

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 2003
Director: Thomas McCarthy

Peter Dinklage is the kind of actor who should be a living legend. He is a truly magnetic performer, and his presence automatically improves anything he’s in, be that thing great (Death at a Funeral, Human Nature) or not-so-great (the laughable sci-fi series Threshold). His finest moment, however, is in Tom McCarthy’s debut film as director, a quiet and unassuming drama about Dinklage’s Finbar McBride.  Finbar is a reclusive dwarf and train enthusiast who works tirelessly with an old friend at a train memorabilia store, but when that friend dies, he moves to rural New Jersey to live out his life in solitude. Finding a home in an abandoned train station left to him by his friend, he spends his days walking the lines and marvelling at the dead trains on the lines. However, he discovers quickly that his hope of living out his life undisturbed isn’t going to be fulfilled any time soon, as he wakes up every morning to find a chatty Hispanic man setting up a coffee stall outside his station; and when he’s almost run over twice in one day by the same scatter-brained artist, his dreams of seclusion are essentially scattered to the wind. Dinklage makes the film what it is, his performance filled with a quiet pathos that slowly gives way to reluctant warmth. His performance gives the impression of a man who’s travelled the world and found nothing about humanity to like, and when he finally does, he refuses to believe it. Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale and Michelle Williams give Dinklage great support, and McCarthy’s direction has a subtle elegance that suits the story well, but this is Dinklage’s film, and it’s hard to see anyone else in the role. Even if McCarthy didn’t even write it for a dwarf, let alone Dinklage, to begin with. -- Pigeon Army.


Year released: 1969
Director: Gosha Hideo

Goyokin is a chambara film directed by the great Gosha Hideo, starring Nakadai Tatsuya. Nakadai plays Magobei, a former samurai who has left his clan in disgust at their massacre of a village populace, in order to intercept the titular "goyokin". The title refers to the gold and silver mined on Sado Island, off the north-west coast of Japan, which was shipped to the mainland and then across country to the Shogunate in Edo (Tokyo). Years later, Magobei hears that his former clan intend to mount another similar attack, and is compelled to intervene.

Clan leader Tatewaki justifies the massacre, as the clan require capital so they can begin to irrigate their paddy fields, to create the revenue needed to pay taxes to the Shogunate. Without that money, the clan may not survive, and the villages could descend into poverty.

Nakadai is great as ever, and the likes of Magobei's former boss Tatewaki (Tamba Tetsuro), lone survivor Oriha (Asaoka Ruriko) and accomplice Samon (Nakamura Kinnosuke) all play their roles ably. There's some interesting direction early on, Gosha using the glint from the sea and other reflective surfaces, odd colour filters and some sweeping camera moves in the opening scenes. As we get to the bones of the tale, it's all snowy wastelands and freezing coastlines.

Oh, and there's the customary woman with black teeth – a fashion statement made by married women of the time (rather than the poor oral hygiene, I'd previously presumed....).

Overall, a very enjoyable film, and a fine addition to the collection of any fan of samurai cinema, despite one rather daft moment, wherein, rather than kill Magobei, they string him up, tell him their plans and then leave him alone, assuming he will die, in true Dr Evil fashion.... -- Gram123.


Year released: 1967
Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Blurb coming soon.


Year released: 1933
Director: George Cukor

It’s not hard to see why George Cukor earned the title of ‘women’s director’ after tacking not only a film actually called ‘The Women’ but also this most feminine of institutions, Louisa May Alcott’s iconic family saga whose avid fans are hard to please when it comes to film adaptations. As one such avid fan, I can say this version passes with flying colours. Casting Katharine Hepburn as Jo, though a trifle on the nose, really does give the movie a powerhouse to hold it together, a blessing given the weakness of a few of the supporting players (if Laurie had been written as wetly Douglass Montgomery plays him, no-one would wonder why Jo rejected his proposal). The script wisely lets the words of the novel speak for themselves, especially during the first half of the film, and the story is played out beautifully at a pace which allows for contemplation of the exquisite sets whilst never slowing beyond a brisk clip. Never manipulative, the film wears its sentimentalism proudly on its sleeve and it takes a pretty hard heart not to be won over by an engaging story rendered with extraordinary faithfulness of spirit. Best scene: The Beth death scene (meh, spoiler) is very well done and just on the sincere side of tearjerking. However, for my money you can’t beat Paul Lukas, here adopting the latter of his two personas (evil European professor/kindly European professor) and completely capturing the essence of unself-aware goofiness. -- TheDudeAbides.


Year released: 1972
Director: Perry Henzell

Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff plays Ivan Martin, a character based on a real life Jamaican criminal. Martin leaves the country life to become a reggae singer in the city. He finds the only way to get airplay is to sign away his rights to his songs. Crushed by this, he finds himself drifting into a life of violent crime and drug-dealing. His naturally rebellious streak turns him into an outlaw even among the criminal set. He becomes a copkilling folk hero and his song becomes a hit, lyrics like 'I'd rather be a free man in my grave than living as a puppet or a slave' striking a chord with the disenfranchised poor and turning Martin into a Jamaican Robin Hood.

The Harder They Come gives you a look at Cliff's outlaw in much the same way as American gangster movies would treat their subjects. It shows him as a deeply flawed killer while at the same time understanding the appeal and charisma of such a man. The film also manages to walk the line of showing a great love for Jamaica and its spirituality while refusing to soft peddle the darker side of life there. In fact, the film is brutally realistic in its depictions of ghetto life.

The Harder They Come could have been little more than an average blaxploitation film, if it wasn't for the towering central performance and the loving celebration of Jamaican music. It was the first film made in Jamaica by Jamaicans and the cast and crew really made the most of this. The soundtrack often gets a lot of the attention for this film, and deservedly so. It's one of the finest soundtrack albums of all time and the title track stands not only as a great cry of rebellion but also as one of the greatest songs ever written. And what won the Oscar for best original song that year? The Poseidon Adventure. Almost as big a crime as the corruption that pushes Martin into drug-dealing.

The Harder They Come is a thrilling experience however you choose to view it: cultural document, gangster film, or as an introduction to reggae.
-- Rawlinson.


(in reply to Pigeon Army)
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