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The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results

 
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The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 8/8/2011 7:15:15 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.


As usual, please keep comments to the other thread, which can be found here.

http://www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=2975399

Thanks to everyone who put a list together, and thanks for putting up with me pestering for lists over the last few weeks.

Be warned, any film reviewed could contain spoilers, approach with caution.

And so it begins...

1. Rear Window (1954; Alfred Hitchcock)
2. Taxi Driver (1976; Martin Scorsese)
3. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001 - 2003; Peter Jackson)
4. The Apartment (1960; Billy Wilder)
5. Citizen Kane (1941; Orson Welles)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968; Stanley Kubrick)
7. Vertigo (1958; Alfred Hitchcock)
8. Blade Runner (1982; Ridley Scott)
9. Se7en (1995; David Fincher)
10. Ikiru (1952; Akira Kurosawa)
11. Jaws (1975; Steven Spielberg)
12. Alien (1979; Ridley Scott)
13. The Godfather (1972; Francis Coppola)
14. Ran (1985; Akira Kurosawa)
15. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004; Michel Gondry)
16. The Big Lebowski (1998; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
17. A Clockwork Orange (1971; Stanley Kubrick)
18. The Thing (1982; John Carpenter)
19. Raging Bull (1980; Martin Scorsese)
20. The Third Man (1949; Carol Reed)
21. Seven Samurai (1954; Akira Kurosawa)
22. Back To The Future (1985; Robert Zemeckis)
23. LA Confidential (1997; Curtis Hanson)
24. M (1931; Fritz Lang)
25. Casablanca (1942; Michael Curtiz)
26. Chinatown (1974; Roman Polanski)
27. Once Upon a Time in America (1984; Sergio Leone)
28. GoodFellas (1990; Martin Scorsese)
29. There Will Be Blood (2007; Paul Thomas Anderson)
30. Mulholland Dr. (2001; David Lynch)
31. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, Kenji Mizoguchi)
32. Aguirre, The Wrath Of God (1972; Werner Herzog)
33. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007; Andrew Dominick)
34. Badlands (1973; Terrence Malick)
35. City Lights (1931; Charles Chaplin)
36. Singin' in the Rain (1952; Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly)
37. Apocalypse Now (1979; Francis Ford Coppola)
38. North by Northwest (1959; Alfred Hitchcock)
39. Brazil (1985; Terry Gilliam)
40. Psycho (1960; Alfred  Hitchcock)
41. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981; Steven Spielberg)
42. The Empire Strikes Back (1980; Irvin Kershner)
43. Dr Strangelove (1964; Stanley Kubrick)
44. Halloween (1978; John Carpenter)
45. The Godfather Part II (1974; Francis Ford Coppola)
46. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927, F.W. Murnau)
47. Fight Club (1999; David Fincher)
48. Some Like It Hot (1959; Billy Wilder)
49. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928; Carl Theodor Dryer)
50. Groundhog Day (1993; Harold Ramis)
51. Amelie (2001; Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
52. Miller's Crossing (1990; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
53. Grave of the Fireflies (1988; Isao Takahata)
54. The Shining (1980; Stanley Kubrick)
55. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Sergio Leone)
56. Three Colors: Red (1994; Krzyzstof Kieslowski)
57. Come And See (1985; Elem Klimov)
58. It's A Wonderful Life (1946; Frank Capra)
59. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943; Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
60. Aliens (1986; James Cameron)
61. The Searchers (1956; John Ford)
62. Les quatre cents coups (1959; Francois Truffaut)
63. Lawrence of Arabia (1962; David Lean)
64. Paths Of Glory (1957; Stanley Kubrick)
65. No Country for Old Men (2007; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
66. Black Narcissus (1947; Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)
67. Oldboy (2003; Park Chan-wook)
68. Pulp Fiction (1994; Quentin Tarantino)
69. Evil Dead II (1987; Sam Raimi)
70. Airplane! (1980; Abrahams, Zucker, Abrahams)
71. F for Fake (1974; Orson Welles)
72. Spirited Away (2001; Hayao Miyazaki)
73. The Shawshank Redemption (1994; Frank Darabont)
74. His Girl Friday (1940; Howard Hawks)
75. Sansho the Bailiff (1954; Kenji Mizoguchi)
76. Blue Velvet (1986; David Lynch)
77. Wall-E (2008; Andrew Stanton)
78. Double Indemnity (1944; Billy Wilder)
79. The Dark Knight (2008; Chris Nolan)
80. Magnolia (1999; Paul Thomas Anderson)
81. Fitzcarraldo (1982; Werner Herzog)
82. The King of Comedy (1982; Martin Scorsese)
83. If…. (1968; Lindsay Anderson)
84. Memento (2000; Chris Nolan)
85. The Thin Red Line (1998; Terrence Malick)
86. Naked (1993; Mike Leigh)
87. Die Hard (1988; John McTiernan)
88. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979; Terry Jones)
89. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975; Milos Forman)
90. Army of Shadows (1969; Jean-Pierre Melville)
91. Paris, Texas (1984; Wim Wenders)
92. Lost In Translation (2003; Sofia Coppola)
93. Trainspotting (1996; Danny Boyle)
94. City of God (2002; Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund)
95. Pierrot Le Fou (1965; Jean-luc Godard)
96. 12 Angry Men (1957; Sidney Lumet)
97. The Wild Bunch (1969; Sam Peckinpah)
98. Touch of Evil (1958; Orson Welles)
99. Three Colours: Blue (1993; Krzysztof Kieslowski)
100. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977; George Lucas)
101. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966; Sergio Leone)
102. Dog Day Afternoon (1975; Sidney Lumet)
103. Zodiac (2007; David Fincher)
104. A bout de souffle (1960; Jean-luc Godard)
105. Mirror (1975; Andrei Tarkovsky)
106. The Matrix (1999; Wachowski Bros)
107. The Proposition (2005; John Hillcoat)
108. Rashomon (1950; Akira Kurosawa)
109. My Neighbour Totoro (1988; Hayao Miyazaki)
110. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1948; Robert Hamer)
111. Rio Bravo (1959; Howard Hawks)
112. Ghostbusters (1984; Ivan Reitman)
113. Days of Heaven (1978; Terrence Malick)
114. Pan's Labyrinth (2006; Guillermo Del Toro)
115. Celine and Julie go Boating (1974; Jacques Rivette)
116. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010; Edgar Wright)
117. The Usual Suspects (1995; Bryan Singer)
118. Andrei Rublev (1966; Andrei Tarkovsky)
119. Schindler's List (1993; Steven Spielberg)
120. Chimes at Midnight (1965; Orson Welles)
121. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975; Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones)
122. The General (1926; Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton)
123. L'Atalante (1934; Jean Vigo)
124. Tokyo Story (1953; Yasujiro Ozu)
125. Modern Times (1936; Charles Chaplin)
126. Full Metal Jacket (1987; Stanley Kubrick)
127. Fargo (1996; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
128. Sunset Boulevard (1950; Billy Wilder)
129. In The Mood For Love (2000; Wong Kar Wai)
130. Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964; Jacques Demy)
131. Elephant Man (1980; David Lynch)
132. Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman)
133. 8½ (1963; Federico Fellini)
134. Solyaris (1972; Andrei Tarkovsky)
135. The French Connection (1971; William Friedkin)
136. Barton Fink (1991; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
137. Boogie Nights (1997; Paul Thomas Anderson)
138. Bicycle Thieves (1948; Vittorio de Sica)
139. McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971; Robert Altman)
140. Stalker (1979; Andrei Tarkovsky)
141. Heat (1995; Michael Mann)
142. Monsters, Inc. (2001; Pete Docter)
143. The Seventh Seal (1957; Ingmar Bergman)
144. The Exorcist (1973; William Friedkin)
145. Night of the Hunter (1955; Charles Laughton)
146. The Thin Man (1934; W.S. Van Dyke II)
147. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962; John Ford)
148. The Wicker Man (1973; Robin Hardy)
149. Jurassic Park (1993; Steven Spielberg)
150. Reservoir Dogs (1992; Quentin Tarantino)
151. Stand By Me (1986; Rob Reiner)
152. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939; Frank Capra)
153. Let the Right One In (2008; Tomas Alfredson)
154. The Princess Bride (1987; Rob Reiner)
155. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973; Victor Erice)
156. Toy Story (1995; John Lasseter)
157. Barry Lyndon (1975; Stanley Kubrick)
158. This Is Spinal Tap (1984; Rob Reiner)
159. Platoon (1986; Oliver Stone)
160. The Silence of the Lambs (1991; Jonathan Demme)
161. The Wages Of Fear (1953; Henri-Georges Clouzot)
162. Peppermint Candy (1999; Lee Chang-dong)
163. A Matter of Life And Death (1946; Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)
164. Inception (2010; Chris Nolan)
165. Unforgiven (1992; Clint Eastwood)
166. Black Swan (2010; Darren Aronofsky)
167. A Woman Under the Influence (1974; John Cassavetes)
168. The Red Shoes (1948; Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)
169. Bringing Up Baby (1938; Howard Hawks)
170. Sans soleil (1983; Chris Marker)
171. The Wrong Trousers (1993; Nick Park)
172. Late Spring (1949, Yasujiro Ozu)
173. The Lion King (1994; Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff)
174. The Kid (1921; Charles Chaplin)
175. Shaun of the Dead (2004; Edgar Wright)
176. Beauty and the Beast (1991; Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise)
177. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957; David Lean)
178. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992; David Lynch)
179. Last Year at Marienbad (1961; Alain Resnais)
180. The Terminator (1984; James Cameron)
181. The Dead (1987; John Huston)
182. Princess Mononoke (1997; Hayao Miyazaki)
183. Mean Streets (1973; Martin Scorsese)
184. The Departed (2006; Martin Scorsese)
185. Fanny and Alexander (1982; Ingmar Bergman)
186. Le Mepris (1963; Jean-luc Godard)
187. Withnail and I (1987; Bruce Robinson)
188. The Philadelphia Story (1940; George Cukor)
189. Wild Strawberries (1957; Ingmar Bergman)
190. Metropolis (1927; Fritz Lang)
191. The Innocents (1961; Jack Clayton)
192. Sherlock, Jr. (1924; Buster Keaton)
193. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969; George Roy Hill)
194. Brief Encounter (1945; David Lean)
195. In Bruges (2008; Martin McDonagh)
196. Manhattan (1979; Woody Allen)
197. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974; Sam Peckinpah)
198. The Killer (1989; John Woo)
199. The Shop Around the Corner (1940; Ernst Lubitsch)
200. Dawn Of The Dead (1978; George A. Romero)
201. Dekalog (1988, Krzystof  Kieslowski)
202. My Darling Clementine (1946; John Ford)
203. Le Samouraï (1967; Jean-Pierre Melville)
204. Return of the Jedi (1983; Richard Marquand)
205. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988; Terence Davies)
206. Dead Man's Shoes (2004; Shane Meadows)
207. La Double Vie De Veronique (1991; Krzysztof Kieslowski)
208. Cinema Paradiso (1988; Giuseppe Tornatore)
209. The New World (2005; Terrence Malick)
210. The Lady Vanishes (1938; Alfred Hitchcock)
211. Hana-bi (1997; Takeshi Kitano)
212. Hunger (2008; Steve McQueen)
213. The Lady Eve (1941, Preston Sturges)
214. The Roaring Twenties (1939; Raoul Walsh)
215. Persona (1966; Ingmar Bergman)
216. Network (1976; Sidney Lumet)
217. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989; Steven Spielberg)
218. The Social Network (2010; David Fincher)
219. The Truman Show (1998; Peter Weir)
220. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948; John Huston)
221. My Winnipeg (2007; Guy Maddin)
222. Four Lions (2010; Chris Morris)
223. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975; Peter Weir)
224. On the Waterfront (1954; Elia Kazan)
225. Yojimbo (1961; Akira Kurosawa)
226. High Fidelity (2000; Stephen Frears)
227. Night of the Living Dead (1968; George A. Romero)
228. Howl's Moving Castle (2004; Hayao Miyazaki)
229. Clerks (1994; Kevin Smith)
230. Do the Right Thing (1989; Spike Lee)
231. Jackie Brown (1997; Quentin Tarantino)
232. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977; Steven Spielberg)
233. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992; James Foley)
234. The Breakfast Club (1985; John Hughes)
235. Pather Panchali (1955; Satyajit Ray)
236. American Beauty (1999; Sam Mendes)
237. Leon (1994; Luc Besson)
238. A History of Violence (2005; David Cronenberg)
239. Battle Royale (2000; Kinji Fukasaku)
240. The Sting (1973; George Roy Hill)
241. JFK (1991; Oliver Stone)
242. Sullivan's Travels (1941; Preston Sturges)
243. Annie Hall (1977; Woody Allen)
244. The Wind (1928; Victor Sjostrom)
245. The Last Picture Show (1971; Peter Bogdanovich)
246. Bigger Than Life (1956; Nicholas Ray)
247. La Regle de Jeu (1939; Jean Renoir)
248. Down by Law (1986; Jim Jarmusch)
249. The Wind Will Carry Us (1999; Abbas Kiarostami)
250. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001; Wes Anderson)
251. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962; Tony Richardson)
252. The Conformist (1970; Bernardo Bertolucci)
253. Only Angels Have Wings (1939; Howard Hawks)
254. A Brighter Summer Day (1991; Edward Yang)
254. O Lucky Man (1973; Lindsay Anderson)
256. Fallen Angels (1995; Wong Kar Wai)
257. The Ladykillers (1955; Alexander Mackendrick)
258. Shoot the Pianist (1960; Francois Truffaut)
259. White Heat (1949; Raoul Walsh)
260. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960; Mikio Naruse)
261. Au hasard Balthazar (1966; Robert Bresson)
261. Satantango (1994; Bela Tarr)
263. Hamlet (1996, Kenneth Branagh)
264. Local Hero (1983; Bill Forsyth)
265. Belle de Jour (1967; Luis Bunuel)
266. The Fountain (2006; Darren Aronofsky)
267. The Incredibles (2004; Brad Bird)
268. Cleo from 5 - 7 (1962; Agnes Varda)
269. Punch-Drunk Love (2002; Paul Thomas Anderson)
270. Das Boot (1981; Wolfgang Petersen)
271. The Naked Gun (1988, David Zucker)
272. Rocco and His Brothers (1960; Luchino Visconti)
273. L'Eclisse (1962; Michelangelo Antonioni)
274. Akira (1988; Katsuhiro Otomo)
274. Dirty Harry (1971; Don Siegel)
276. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007; Paul Greengrass)
276. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... And Spring (2003; Kim Ki-duk)
278. The Prestige (2006; Chris Nolan)
279. Requiem for a Dream (2000; Darren Aronofsky)
280. Goldfinger (1964; Guy Hamilton)
281. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998; Terry Gilliam)
281. Le grande illusion (1937; Jean Renoir)
283. Amarcord (1973; Federico Fellini)
284. Ed Wood (1994; Tim Burton)
284. Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948; Max Ophuls)
286. Inglourious Basterds (2009; Quentin Tarantino)
287. Shutter Island (2010; Martin Scorsese)
288. Moolaade (2004, Ousmane Sembene)
289. The Odd Couple (1968; Gene Saks)
290. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000; Ang Lee)
291. Kill Bill (2003-2004; Quentin Tarantino)
292. Before Sunrise (1995; Richard Linklater)
292. Hard Boiled (1992; John Woo)
294. Dr Mabuse the Gambler (1922; Fritz Lang)
294. Memories of Murder (2003; Bong Joon-ho)
296. Twelve Monkeys (1995; Terry Gilliam)
297. Roman Holiday (1953; William Wyler)
298. Donnie Darko (2001; Richard Kelly)
299. The Big Sleep (1946; Howard Hawks)
300. Peeping Tom (1960, Michael Powell)
301. The Sweet Smell of Success (1957; Alexander Mackendrick)
302. The Hustler (1961; Robert Rossen)
303. The Birds (1963; Alfred Hitchcock)
304. Vengeance is Mine (1979; Shohei Imamura)
305. Eraserhead (1977; David Lynch)
306. Rififi (1955; Jules Dassin)
307. Eyes Wide Shut (1999; Stanley Kubrick)
308. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942; Orson Welles)
308. Police Story (1985; Jackie Chan)
310. In a Lonely Place (1950; Nicholas Ray)
311. Dead Man (1995; Jim Jarmusch)
312. Walkabout (1971; Nicolas Roeg)
313. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
314. All About Eve (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
315. The Straight Story (1999; David Lynch)
316. Histoire (s) Du Cinema (1988 - 1998; Jean-Luc Godard)
317. The Blair Witch Project (1999; Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick)
318. Shadow of a Doubt (1943; Alfred Hitchcock)
319. United 93 (2006; Paul Greengrass)
320. A Canterbury Tale (1944; Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
320. My Own Private Idaho (1991; Gus Van Sant)
320. Remember the Night (1940; Mitchell Leisen)
323. Secret Sunshine (2007; Lee Chang-dong)
324. After The Thin Man (1936, WS Van Dyke)
324. Synecdoche, New York (2008; Charlie Kaufman)
326. The Leopard (1963; Luchino Visconti)
327. A Room with a View (1986; James Ivory)
328. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962; Robert Mulligan)
329. Les enfants du paradis (1945; Marcel Carne)
329. The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927; Ernst Lubitsch)
331. Downfall (2004; Oliver Hirschbiegel)
332. Shadows (1959; John Cassavetes)
333. Moon (2009; Duncan Jones)
334. Forrest Gump (1994; Robert Zemeckis)
335. The Wizard of Oz (1939; Victor Fleming)
336. The Red Circle(1970; Jean-Pierre Melville)
337. Kings of the Road (1976; Wim Wenders)
337. Up (2009; Pete Docter and Bob Peterson)
339. Suspiria (1977; Dario Argento)
340. An Autumn Afternoon (1962; Yasujiro Ozu)
341. Repulsion (1965; Roman Polanski)
342. Anatomy of a Murder (1959; Otto Preminger)
343. A Prophet (2009; Jacques Audiard)
344. Le Doulos (1963; Jean-Pierre Melville)
344. The Lives of Others (2006; Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
346. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005; Park Chan-wook)
347. Ponyo (2008; Hayao Miyazaki)
348. Casino (1995; Martin Scorsese)
349. Floating Clouds (1955; Mikio Naruse)
350. 2046 (2004; Kar Wai Wong)
351. La Jetee (1962, Chris Marker)
352. Ride the High Country (1962; Sam Peckinpah)
353. Adam's Rib (1949; George Cukor)
353. Audition (1999; Takashi Miike)
353. La Haine (1995; Matthieu Kassovitz)
356. Detour (1945; Edgar G. Ulmer)
356. The Gold Rush (1925, Charles Chaplin)
358. Chungking Express (1994, Wong Kar-Wai)
359. Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005; Nick Park & Steve Box)
360. RoboCop (1987; Paul Verhoeven)
361. The Long Goodbye (1973; Robert Altman)
362. Une femme est une femme (1961; Jean-Luc Godard)
363. Listen to Britain (1942; Humphrey Jennings)
364. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944; Frank Capra)
364. Whisper of the Heart (1995; Yoshifumi Kondo)
366. Possession (1981; Andrzej Zulawski)
367. Saving Private Ryan (1998; Steven Spielberg)
368. Hedgehog in the Fog (1975; Yuri Norstein)
368. Lethal Weapon (1987; Richard Donner)
370. A Thousand Clowns (1965; Fred Coe)
371. Evil Dead (1981; Sam Raimi)
372. Invisible Man (1933; James Whale)
373. The Grapes Of Wrath (1940; John Ford)
373. In the Loop (2009; Armando Iannucci)
373. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003; Peter Weir)
376. Far From Heaven (2002; Todd Haynes)
376. Toy Story 3 (2010; Lee Unkrich)
378. Breaking the Waves (1996; Lars von Trier)
378. Ninotchka (1939; Ernst Lubitsch)
380. Danger: Diabolik (1968; Mario Bava)
381. Assault On Precinct 13 (1976; John Carpenter)
381. The Graduate (1967; Mike Nichols)
383. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986; Woody Allen)
383. Infernal Affairs (2002; Andrew Lau and Alan Mak)
385. L'Avventura (1960; Michelangelo Antonioni)
386. La Dolce Vita (1960; Federico Fellini)
387. Galaxy Quest (1999; Dean Parisot)
388. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986; Hayao Miyazaki)
389. Les Diaboliques (1955; Henri-Georges Clouzot)
390. Toy Story 2 (1999; John Lasseter)
391. The Conversation (1974; Francis Ford Coppola)
392. Five Easy Pieces (1970; Bob Rafelson)
393. Zulu (1964; Cy Endfield)
394. Johnny Guitar (1954; Nicholas Ray)
395. Good Will Hunting (1997, Gus Van Sant)
395. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000; Bela Tarr)
397. Dances with Wolves (1990; Kevin Costner)
397. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993; Henry Selick)
399. The Green Ray (1986; Eric Rohmer)
400. All About My Mother (1999; Pedro Almodovar)
400. The Circus (1928, Charles Chaplin)
400. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002; Park Chan-wook)
403. A Scene at the Sea (1991; Takeshi Kitano)
404. Lift to the Scaffold (1958; Louis Malle)
405. Jules et Jim (1962; Francois Truffaut)
406. American Psycho (2000; Mary Harron)
407. A Diary for Timothy (1945; Humphrey Jennings)
407. Gremlins (1984; Joe Dante)
407. The Snowman (1982; Dianne Jackson)
410. Through a Glass Darkly (1961; Ingmar Bergman)
411. Tremors (1990; Ron Underwood)
412. Nil By Mouth (1997; Gary Oldman)
413. Out of the Past (1947; Jacques Tourneur)
414. Where the Wild Things Are (2009; Spike Jonze)
415. Carlito's Way (1993; Brian De Palma)
415. The Lion in Winter (1968, Anthony Harvey)
417. Edward Scissorhands (1990; Tim Burton)
417. Midnight Run (1988; Martin Brest)
419. Strangers on a Train (1951; Alfred Hitchcock)
420. Winter Light (1962; Ingmar Bergman)
421. The Long Day Closes (1992; Terence Davies)
422. Festen (1998; Thomas Vinterberg)
422. Starship Troopers (1997; Paul Verhoeven)
424. Mother (2009; Bong Joon-ho)
425. Broadway Danny Rose (1984; Woody Allen)
426. Fantasia (1940; James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Norman Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield and Ben Sharpsteen)
426. INLAND EMPIRE (2006; David Lynch)
426. Make Way for Tomorrow (1937; Leo McCarey)
429. Bande Á Part (1964; Jean-luc Godard)
430. A Town called Panic (2009; Stéphane Aubier & Vincent Patar)
431. Three Colors: White (1994; Krzysztof Kieslowski)
432. The Battle of Algiers (1966; Gillo Ponetecorvo)
433. Wings of Desire (1987; Wim Wenders)
434. Aladdin (1992; Ron Clements and John Musker)
435. The Long Good Friday (1980; John Mackenzie)
436. Being John Malkovich (1999, Spike Jonze)
437. Nosferatu (1922; F.W. Murnau)
438. District 9 (2009; Neil Blomkamp)
439. Blood Simple (1985, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
440. Heavenly Creatures (1994; Peter Jackson)
441. Fires on the Plain (1959; Kon Ichikawa)
441. Went the Day Well? (1942; Alberto Cavalcanti)
443. Batman (1989; Tim Burton)
444. Midnight Cowboy (1969; John Schlesinger)
445. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974; Werner Herzog)
446. The Wrestler (2008; Darren Aronofsky)
447. Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005; Park Kwang-hyun)
448. Chloe in the Afternoon (1972; Eric Rohmer)
449. Gladiator (2000; Ridley  Scott)
450. The Mother and the Whore (1973; Jean Eustache)
451. A Close Shave (1995; Nick Park)
452. Gone with the Wind (1939; Victor Fleming)
453. The Human Condition Trilogy (1959 - 1961; Masaki Kobayashi)
454. True Grit (2010; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
455. Nostalghia (1983; Andrei Tarkovsky)
456. Control (2007; Anton Corbijn)
457. La Strada (1954; Federico Fellini)
458. Sanjuro (1962; Akira Kurosawa)
459. How Green Was My Valley (1941; John Ford)
460. Don't Look Now (1973; Nic Roeg)
461. Devils on the Doorstep (2000; Jiang Wen)
461. Moulin Rouge! (2001; Baz Luhrmann)
461. The 39 Steps (1935; Alfred Hitchcock)
464. Zero de conduite (1933; Jean Vigo)
465. Ghost World (2001; Terry Zwigoff)
466. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974; Tobe Hooper)
467. Hedd Wyn (1992; Paul Turner)
467. The Holy Mountain (1973; Alejandro Jodorowsky)
467. Notorious (1946; Alfred Hitchcock)
470. Duel (1971; Steven Spielberg)
470. Edvard Munch (1974; Peter Watkins)
470. Syndromes and a Century (2006; Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
473. Out 1 (1971; Jacques Rivette)
474. Gun Crazy (1950, Joseph H. Lewis)
474. Odd Man Out (1947; Carol Reed)
474. Out of the Blue (2006; Robert Sarkies)
477. Duck Amuck (1953; Chuck Jones)
478. I Was Born, But... (1932; Yasujiro Ozu)
479. Once (2006; John Carney)
479. When the Wind Blows (1986; Jimmy T. Murakami)
481. A Single Man (2009; Tom Ford)
482. Jean de Florette (1986; Claude Berri)
483. Mad Detective (2007; Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai)
484. Stranger Than Paradise (1984; Jim Jarmusch)
484. Underground (1995, Emir Kusturica)
486. I Love You Again (1940; W.S. Van Dyke II)
487. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920; Robert Weine)
488. All the Real Girls (2003; David Gordon Green)
489. The Host (2006; Bong Joon-ho)
490. Blue Valentine (2010; Derek Cianfrance)
490. Commando (1985; Mark L. Lester)
490. The Rock (1995; Michael Bay)
493. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999, Jim Jarmusch)
494. Charley Varrick (1973; Don Siegel)
494. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972; Luis Bunuel)
494. The Silence (1963; Ingmar Bergman)
494. Sweet Sixteen (2002; Ken Loach)
498. Neds (2010; Peter Mullan)
498. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942; Michael Curtiz)
500. What's Opera, Doc? (1957; Chuck Jones)
501. Stromboli (1950; Roberto Rossellini)
502. Ashes of Time (1994; Wong Kar Wai)
502. Dancer in the Dark (2000l; Lars von Trier)
504. Escape from New York (1981; John Carpenter)
505. La Chinoise (1967; Jean-luc Godard)
505. The Last Waltz (1978; Martin Scorsese)
505. My Name Is Joe (1998; Ken Loach)
505. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971; Monte Hellman)
509. Gone Baby Gone (2007; Ben Affleck)
509. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970; Billy Wilder)
511. The Insider (1999; Michael Mann)
511. Oasis (2002; Lee Chang-dong)
511. Quiz Show (1994; Robert Redford)
514. Drunken Master II (1994; Lau Kar-Leung; Jackie Chan)
514. Lost Highway (1997; David Lynch)
514. Sound of the Mountain (1954; Mikio Naruse)
514. This Is England (2006; Shane Meadows)
518. Day of Wrath (1943; Carl Dreyer)
518. Stroszek (1977; Werner Herzog)
518. Vanishing Point (1971; Richard C. Sarafian)
521. Au Revoir les Enfants (1987; Louis Malle)
522. The Asphalt Jungle (1950; John Huston)
522. La Belle et La Bete (1946; Jean Cocteau)
522. Duck Soup (1933; Leo McCarey)
522. Une Partie de Campagne (1936; Jean Renoir)
526. Rebel Without a Cause (1955; Nicholas Ray)
527. Kwaidan (1964; Masaki Kobayashi)
527. Visitor Q (2003; Takashi Miike)
527. Winter's Bone (2010; Debra Granik)
530. Hour of the Wolf (1968; Ingmar Bergman)
531. Ace in the Hole (1951; Billy Wilder)
531. Only Yesterday (1991; Isao Takahata)
531. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988; Robert Zemeckis)
534. Dazed and Confused (1993; Richard Linklater)
534. Yi Yi (2000; Edward Yang)
536. A Touch of Zen (1971; King Hu)
537. A Better Tomorrow (1986; John Woo)
537. Man Bites Dog (1992, Remy Belvaux)
537. Sons of the Desert (1933; William A Seiter)
540. Brick (2005; Rian Johnson)
540. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975; Jim Sharman)
542. Mary Poppins (1964; Robert Stevenson)
543. The Devils (1971; Ken Russell)
544. Get Carter (1971; Mike Hodges)
544. The Leather Boys (1964; Sidney J. Furie)
544. Pauline at the Beach (1983; Eric Rohmer)
544. Scarface (1932; Howard Hawks)
544. El Topo (1970; Alejandro Jodorowsky)
549. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986; John Hughes)
550. Drunken Master (1978; Yuen Woo-ping)
550. The Road (2009; John Hillcoat)
552. Scream (1996; Wes Craven)
553. A Child's Christmas in Wales (1987; Don McBrearty)
554. The Thin Blue Line (1988; Errol Morris)
554. This Sporting Life (1963; Lindsay Anderson)
556. I'm Not There (2007; Todd Haynes)
556. A Taste of Honey (1961; Tony Richardson)
558. Pick-Up on South Street (1953; Sam Fuller)
559. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976; John Cassavetes)
559. The Life of Oharu (1952; Kenji Mizoguchi)
559. Morvern Callar (2002; Lynne Ramsey)
559. Return to Oz (1985; Walter Murch)
563. Batman (1966; Leslie H. Martinson)
563. The Hurt Locker (2008; Kathryn Bigelow)
563. Predator (1987; John McTiernan)
563. A Room for Romeo Brass (1999; Shane Meadows)
567. The Crowd (1928; King Vidor)
567. Ghostbusters II (1989; Ivan Reitman)
567. Hero (2002; Zhang Yimou)
570. Bride of Frankenstein (1935; James Whale)
570. Harakiri (1962; Masaki Kobayashi)
570. Twenty-Four Eyes (1954; Keisuke Kinoshita)
573. Titanic (1997; James Cameron)
574. The Music Box (1932; James Parrott)
574. Pickpocket (1959; Robert Bresson)
576. Hot Fuzz (2007; Edgar Wright)
577. The Secret of Kells (2009; Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey)
578. Black Cat, White Cat (1998; Emir Kusturica)
578. Delicatessen (1991; Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro)
578. The Fog of War (2003; Errol Morris)
578. The Last of the Mohicans (1992; Michael Mann)
578. My Man Godfrey (1936; Gregory La Cava)
578. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960; Karel Reisz)
584. Freaks (1932; Tod Browning)
585. Into the Wild (2007; Sean Penn)
586. Grizzly Man (2005; Werner Herzog)
587. The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008; Kim Ji-woon)
588. The Station Agent (2003; Thomas McCarthy)
589. Juliet of the Spirits (1965; Federico Fellini)
589. Serpico (1973; Sidney Lumet)
591. Still Life (1974; Sohrab Shahid Saless)
592. I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang (1932; Mervyn Leroy)
593. Le Boucher (1970; Claude Chabrol)
593. The Burmese Harp (1956; Kon Ichikawa)
593. The Devil Rides Out (1968; Terence Fisher)
596. Chopper (2000; Andrew Dominik)
596. The Illusionist (2010; Sylvain Chomet)
596. Muppet Christmas Carol (1992; Brian Henson)
596. Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937; David Hand)
596. Tale of Tales (1979; Yuri Norstein)
601. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953; Howard Hawks)
602. The Phantom Carriage (1921; Victor Sjostrom)
603. Adaptation (2002; Spike Jonze)
604. Beau Travail (1999; Claire Denis)
605. Kes (1969; Ken Loach)
606. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975; Chantal Akerman)
606. Short Cuts (1993; Robert Altman)
608. Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003; Gore Verbinski)
609. King Kong (1933; Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack)
610. Carrie (1976; Brian De Palma)
610. The Taking of Pelham 123 (1974; Joseph Sargent)
612. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985; Woody Allen)
612. Spring in a Small Town (1948; Fei Mu)
614. Madame de… (1953; Max Ophuls)
615. Harvey (1950; Henry Koster)
616. Kill! (1968; Kihachi Okamoto)
616. Rocky (1976; John G. Avildsen)
618. Taste of Cherry (1997; Abbas Kiarostami)
619. Stagecoach (1939; John Ford)
620. Pygmalion (1938; Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard)
621. Barefoot in the Park (1967; Gene Saks)
621. Big Fish (2003; Tim Burton)
623. Lone Star (1996; John Sayles)
624. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939; John Ford)
625. The Haunting (1963; Robert Wise)
626. An Actor's Revenge (1963; Kon Ichikawa)
626. The Maltese Falcon (1941; John Huston)
628. One Froggy Evening (1955; Chuck Jones)
629. Amores Perros (2000; Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu)
629. Love and Death (1975; Woody Allen)
631. Quiet Please! (1945; William Hanna and Joseph Barbera)
632. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928; Buster Keaton & Charles Reisner)
632. To Be or Not to Be (1942; Ernst Lubitsch)
634. ET - The Extra Terrestrial (1982; Steven Spielberg)
635. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951; Elia Kazan)
636. An American Werewolf in London (1981; John Landis)
636. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004; Walter Salles)
638. The Awful Truth (1937; Leo McCarey)
639. Belleville Rendez-Vous (2003; Sylvain Chomet)
639. Early Summer (1951, Yasujiro Ozu)
639. Sideways (2004; Alexander Payne)
642. American History X (1998; Tony Kaye)
643. Heathers (1989; Michael Lehmann)
644. Europa (1991, Lars von Trier)
645. Silent Running (1972; Douglas Trumbull)
646. The Killing (1956; Stanley Kubrick)
646. The Science of Sleep (2006; Michel Gondry)
648. A Serious Man (2009; Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
649. Shoah (1985; Claude Lanzmann)
650. Children of Men (2006; Alfonso Cuaron)
650. Watchmen (2009; Zack Snyder)
652. The Blues Brothers (1980; John Landis)
653. A Fish Called Wanda (1988; Charles Crichton)
654. M. Hulot's Holiday (1953; Jacques Tati)
654. The Railway Children (1970; Lionel Jeffries)
654. White Nights (1957; Luchino Visconti)
657. Cabaret (1972; Bob Fosse)
657. The Descent (2005; Neil Marshall)
659. American Splendor (2003; Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini)
659. Sweeney Todd (2007; Tim Burton)
661. The Green Mile (1999; Frank Darabont)
662. Antichrist (2009; Lars von Trier)
663. Marketa Lazarova (1967; Frantisek Vlacil)
663. Volver (2006; Pedro Almodovar)
665. Night of the Demon (1958; Jacques Tourneur)
666. Battleship Potemkin (1925; Sergei Eisenstein)
666. Dumbo (1941; Ben Sharpsteen)
666. The Element of Crime (1984; Lars von Trier)
666. Talk of the Town (1942; George Stevens)
670. Twilight Samurai (2002; Yoji Yamada)
671. Batman Returns (1992; Tim Burton)
672. Il Divo (2008; Paolo Sorrentino)
672. The Palm Beach Story (1942; Preston Sturges)
674. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955; John Sturges)
675. Persepolis (2007; Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud)
675. Secrets & Lies (1996; Mike Leigh)
677. The Omen (1976; Richard Donner)
678. One Week (1920; Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline)
678. The Reckless Moment (1949; Max Ophuls)
680. Blazing Saddles (1974; Mel Brooks)
680. A Nightmare on Elm St. (1984; Wes Craven)
680. True Romance (1993; Tony Scott)
680. Witchfinder General (1968; Michael Reeves)
684. Gregory's Girl (1981; Bill Forsyth)
685. Clue (1985; Jonathan Lynn)
685. Rebecca (1940; Alfred Hitchcock)
687. Ordet (1955; Carl Dreyer)
688. Total Recall (1990; Paul Verhoeven)
689. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973; Sam Peckinpah)
690. Heart of the World (2000; Guy Maddin)
691. Ring (1998; Hideo Nakata)
692. Umberto D (1952; Vittorio De Sica)
693. Frankenstein (1931; James Whale)
694. Thelma and Louise (1991; Ridley Scott)
695. Les yeux sans visage (1959; Georges Franju)
696. Rushmore (1998; Wes Anderson)
697. Eastern Promises (2007; David Cronenberg)
698. Faces (1968; John Cassavetes)
698. The Phantom of Liberty (1974; Luis Bunuel)
700. Good Morning (1959; Yasujiro Ozu)
701. The Gospel According to St Matthew (1964; Pier Paolo Pasolini)
702. Iphigenia (1977; Michael Kakogiannis)
702. It Happened One Night (1934; Frank Capra)
704. Week End (1967; Jean-luc Godard)
705. The Goonies (1985; Richard Donner)
706. New Jack City (1991; Mario van Peebles)
707. Manhunter (1986; Michael Mann)
708. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989; Hayao Miyazaki)
709. Shakespeare in Love (1998; John Madden)
710. Bright Star (2009; Jane Campion)
710. 9 Souls (2003; Toshiaki Toyoda)
710. Submarine (2010; Richard Ayoade)
710. The Untouchables (1987; Brian De Palma)
714. The Burbs (1989; Joe Dante)
714. Hoop Dreams (1994; Steve James)
714. Quatermass and the Pit (1967; Roy Ward Baker)
714. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006; Ken Loach)
718. Boy A (2007; John Crowley)
718. Garden State (2004; Zach Braff)
718. Millennium Mambo (2001; Hou Hsaio-hsien)
721. Murder, My Sweet (1944; Edward Dmytryk)
721. Shock Corridor (1963; Sam Fuller)
723. Bloody Sunday (2002; Paul Greengrass)
723. Departures (2008; Yojiro Takita)
723. Le Silence de la Mer (1949; Jean-Pierre Melville)
723. Way Out West (1937; James W. Horne)
723. Das Weißsse Rauschen (The White Sound) (2001; Hans Weingartner)
728. The Fortune Cookie (1966; Billy Wilder)
728. Killer of Sheep (1977; Charles Burnett)
728. The Magdalane Sisters (2002; Peter Mullan)
728. Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983; Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, 1983)
728. Tokyo Twilight (1957; Yasujiro Ozu)
733. El Aura (2005; Fabian Bielinsky)
733. Cat People (1942; Jacques Tourneur)
733. The Crow (1994; Alex Proyas)
733. Inferno (1980; Dario Argento)
733. Nights of Cabiria (1957; Federico Fellini)
733. Seventh Heaven (1927; Frank Borzage)
733. Still Life (2006; Jia Zhangke)
740. Everything Will Be Ok (2006; Don Hertzfeldt)
740. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008; Guillermo Del Toro)
740. Hillsborough (1996; Charles McDougall)
740. Metropolitan (1990; Whit Stillman)
740. Time of the Gypsies (1988; Emir Kusturica)
745. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, William Wyler)
745. Death Line (1972; Gary Sherman)
745. Riget (1994; Lars von Trier)
745. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945; Elia Kazan)
749. The Hidden Fortress (1958; Akira Kurosawa)
749. Manon des sources (1986; Claude Berri)
749. My Night at Maud's (1969; Eric Rohmer)
749. The Public Enemy (1931; William A. Wellman)
753. American Graffitti (1973; George Lucas)
753. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989; Woody Allen)
753. The Fifth Element (1997; Luc Besson)
753. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003; Tsai Ming-Liang)
753. Matewan (1987; John Sayles)
753. Millennium Actress (2001; Satoshi Kon)
753. Planet of the Apes (1968; Franklin J. Schaffner)
753. 24 Hour Party People (2002; Michael Winterbottom)
761. Jesus' Son (1999; Alison Maclean)
761. The King's Speech (2010; Tom Hooper)
761. Stars in My Crown (1950; Jacques Tourneur)
764. An American in Paris (1951; Vincente Minnelli)
764. Atonement (2007; Joe Wright)
764. Blessed Event (1932; Roy Del Ruth)
764. Grosse Point Blank (1997; George Armitage)
764. His and Hers (2010; Ken Wardrop)
764. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999; Hiroyuki Okiura)
764. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984; Hayao Miyazaki)
764. Pandora's Box (1929; G.W. Pabst)
764. This Gun For Hire (1942; Frank Tuttle)
764. 3-Iron (2004; Kim Ki-duk)
774. The Big Heat (1953; Fritz Lang)
774. Brassed Off (1996; Mark Herman)
774. Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee (2009; Shane Meadows)
774. JSA: Joint Security Area (2000; Park Chan-wook)
774. The Man with a Movie Camera (1929; Dziga Vertov)
774. Masculin-Feminin (1966; Jean-luc Godard)
774. A Scanner Darkly (2006; Richard Linklater)
774. Straw Dogs (1971; Sam Peckinpah)
782. Big Business (1929; James W. Horne)
782. Black Sunday (La maschera del demonio) (1960; Mario Bava)
782. Forbidden Games (1952; Rene Clement)
782. Kagemusha (1980; Akira Kurosawa)
782. No Direction Home (2005; Martin Scorsese)
782. Re-Animator (1985, Stuart Gordon)
788. Love Streams (1984; John Cassavetes)
788. Radio Days (1987; Woody Allen)
790. Cyrano De Bergerac (1990; Jean-Paul Rappeneau)
790. Elephant (2003; Gus Van Sant)
790. Heartless (2009; Philip Ridley)
790. How to Train Your Dragon (2010; Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois)
790. Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937; Sadao Yamanaka)
790. The Idiot (1951; Akira Kurosawa)
790. Kelly's Heroes (1970; Brian G. Hutton)
790. Mother and Son (1997; Aleksandr Sokurov)
790. Orphans (1997; Peter Mullan)
799. Culloden (1964; Peter Watkins)
799. Never Let Me Go (2010; Mark Romanek)
799. Porco Rosso (1992, Hayao Miyazaki)
799. Where Is the Friend's Home? (1986; Abbas Kiarostami)
803. The Blue Angel (1930; Josef von Sternberg)
803. The Fantastic Planet (1973; Rene Laloux)
803. Knockabout (1979; Sammo Hung)
803. The World's Greatest Sinner (1962; Timothy Carey)
807. Café Lumiere (2003; Hou Hsiao-hsien)
807. Kuroneko (1968; Kaneto Shindo)
809. L'Appartement (1996; Gilles Mimouni)
809. Bowling for Columbine (2002; Michael Moore)
809. Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness (1993; Sam Raimi)
809. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest  (2006; Gore Verbinski)
813. Bambi (1942, David Hand)
813. The Fall (2006; Tarsem Singh)
813. A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Signalman (1976; Lawrence Gordon Clark)
813. The More The Merrier (1943; George Stevens)
813. Red Desert (1964; Michelangelo Antonioni)
813. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005; Tommy Lee Jones)
813. Throne of Blood (1957; Akira Kurosawa)
820. Chasing Amy (1997; Kevin Smith)
820. Friday Night Lights (2004; Peter Berg)
820. Kokoro (1955; Kon Ichikawa)
820. Koyaanisqatsi (1983; Godfrey Reggio)
820. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End (2007; Gore Verbinski)
820. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987; John Hughes)
820. Profondo rosso (1975; Dario Argento)
820. Strictly Ballroom (1992; Baz Luhrmann)
820. Tokyo Godfathers (2003; Satoshi Kon)
820. Underworld (1927; Josef von Sternberg)
830. The Bourne Supremacy (2004; Paul Greengrass)
830. Cries and Whispers (1972; Ingmar Bergman)
830. Nashville (1975, Robert Altman)
830. Them Thar Hills (1934; Charley Rogers)
830. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010; Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
830. Les Vampires (1915; Louis Feuillade)
836. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959; Alain Resnais)
836. Tit For Tat (1935; Charley Rogers)
838. Mad Max 2 (1981; George Miller)
838. Pastoral - to Die in the Country (1974; Shuji Terayama)
838. Poetry (2010; Lee Chang-dong)
841. Dead Ringers (1988; David Cronenberg)
841. Odd Couple (1979; Chia Yung Liu)
841. Scarface (1983; Brian De Palma)
841. Traffic (2000; Steven Soderbergh)
845. Casino Royale (2006; Martin Campbell)
845. Consequences of Love (2004; Paolo Sorrentino)
845. The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009; Wes Anderson)
845. Island People (1941; Paul Rothka, Philip Leacock)
845. On the Run (1988; Alfred Cheung)
845. Rosemary's Baby (1968, Roman Polanski)
845. La Roue (1923; Abel Gance)
852. My Life as a Dog (1985; Lasse Hallström)
852. Pedicab Driver (1989; Sammo Hung)
852. Rumble Fish (1983; Francis Ford Coppola)
852. The Woman in Black (1989; Herbert Wise)
856. Bill Douglas Trilogy (1972 - 1978; Bill Douglas)
856. The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1995; Christopher Monger)
856. Rainy Dog (1997; Takashi Miike)
856. The Wayward Cloud (2005; Tsai Ming-liang)
860. Come Drink With Me (1966; King Hu)
860. A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929; Anthony Asquith)
860. Cry Baby (1990; John Waters)
860. Dead of Night (1945, Crichton/Hamer/Dearden/Cavalcanti)
860. Deep End (1971; Jerzy Skolimowski)
860. Deliverance (1972, John Boorman)
860. Gran Torino (2008; Clint Eastwood)
860. Jackass: The Movie (2002; Jeff Tremaine)
860. Made in USA (1966; Jean-luc Godard)
860. The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976; Nic Roeg)
860. Naked Kiss (1964; Sam Fuller)
860. Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1980; Steve Roberts)
872. Blood And Black Lace (1964, Mario Bava)
872. Dead Poet's Society (1989; Peter Weir)
872. The Jungle Book (1967; Wolfgang Reitherman)
872. Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002; Shane Meadows)
872. Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms (aka Crippled Avengers) (1978; Chang Cheh)
872. Spare Time (1939; Humphrey Jennings)
872. The Stranger Within a Woman (1966; Mikio Naruse)
879. La Maison en Petits Cubes (2008; Kunio Kato)
879. The Orphanage (2007; Juan Antonio Bayona)
879. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976; Clint Eastwood)
879. Samurai Rebellion (1967; Masaki Kobayashi)
879. Save the Tiger (1973; John G. Avildsen)
879. Saw (2004; James Wan)
879. A Summer at Grandpa's (1984; Hou Hsiao-hsien)
879. Swimming with Sharks (1994; George Huang)
887. Finding Nemo (2003; Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich)
887. The Hitch-Hiker (1953; Ida Lupino)
887. Insomnia (2002; Chris Nolan)
887. La Terra Trema (1948; Luchino Visconti)
891. The Butterfly Effect (2004; Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber)
891. Slapshot (1977; George Roy Hill)
891. Tootsie (1982; Sydney Pollack)
891. Young Adam (2003; David Mackenzie)
895. Twentyfour Seven (1997; Shane Meadows)
895. Trading Places (1983; John Landis)
897. Autumn Sonata (1978; Ingmar Bergman)
897. Being There (1979; Hal Ashby)
897. Vinni Pukh (1969; Fyodor Khitruk)
900. The Court Jester (1956; Melvin Frank, Norman Panama)
900. For The Birds (2000; Ralph Eggleston)
900. The Great Dictator (1940; Charles Chaplin)
900. Island (1973; Fyodor Khitruk)
900. Knife in the Water (1962; Roman Polanski)
900. Sleep Furiously (2008; Gideon Koppel)
906. The Band Wagon (1953; Vincente Minnelli)
906. Cool Hand Luke (1967; Stuart Rosenberg)
906. Day of the Dead (1985; George A. Romero)
906. Dogville (2003; Lars von Trier)
906. Gimme Shelter (1970; David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin)
906. Half Nelson (2006; Ryan Fleck)
906. High and Low (1963; Akira Kurosawa)
906. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944; Preston Sturges)
906. Performance (1970; Nic Roeg)
906. Pink Flamingos (1972; John Waters)
906. Presto (2008; Doug Sweetland)
917. Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll (1997; Enda Hughes)
917. Harold and Maude (1971; Hal Ashby)
917. A Man for All Seasons (1966; Fred Zimmerman)
917. Nine Queens (2000; Fabian Beilinsky)
917. Sonatine (1993; Takeshi Kitano)
922. Companeros (1970; Sergio Corbucci)
922. High Sierra (1941; Raoul Walsh)
922. Monsters (2010; Gareth Edwards)
922. A Propos de Nice (1930; Jean Vigo)
922. SPL aka Kill Zone (2005; Wilson Yip)
922. Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)
928. Back to the Future III (1990; Robert Zemeckis)
928. Ball of Fire (1941; Howard Hawks)
928. Turtles Can Fly (2004; Bahman Ghobadi)
931. The Hole (1998; Tsai Ming-liang)
931. Natural Born Killers (1994; Oliver Stone)
931. Requiem for a Village (1975; David Gladwell)
931. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004; Stephen Hillenburg, Mark Osborne)
931. Stolen Kisses (1968; Francois Truffaut)
931. Tekkonkinkreet (2006; Michael Arias)
937. Easy Living (1937; Mitchell Leisen)
937. The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984; Liu Chia-Liang)
937. The Hill (1965; Sidney Lumet)
937. Late Chrysanthemums (1954; Mikio Naruse)
937. My Fair Lady (1964; George Cukor)
937. The Prince of Egypt (1998; Simon Wells, Brenda Chapman & Steve Hickner)
937. Splendor in the Grass (1961; Elia Kazan)
937. The Town (2010; Ben Affleck)
937. 25th Hour (2002; Spike Lee)
946. Ballad of a Soldier (1959, Grigori Chukrai)
946. Bronson (2009; Nicholas Winding Refn)
946. Casino Royale (1967; Val Guest, Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Richard Talmadge)
946. C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005; Jean-Marc Vallee)
946. Crumb (1994, Terry Zwigoff)
946. Diary of a Country Priest (1951; Robert Bresson)
946. Forbidden Planet (1956; Fred M. Wilcox)
946. The Garden (1968; Jan Svankmajer)
946. Top Hat (1935; Mark Sandrich)
946. Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968; Jonathan Miller)
956. The Bishop's Wife (1947; Henry Koster)
956. The Constant Gardener (2005; Fernando Meirelles)
956. Enter the Dragon (1973; Robert Clouse)
956. The Fog (1980; John Carpenter)
956. The Iron-Fisted Monk (1977; Sammo Hung)
956. Joy Division (2007; Grant Gee)
956. The Killers (1946; Robert Siodmak)
956. Louisiana Story (1948; Robert Flaherty)
956. La notte (1961; Michelangelo Antonioni)
956. West Side Story (1961; Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins)
966. A Bittersweet Life (2005;Kim Jee-woon)
966. Bob Le Flambeur (1956; Jean-Pierre Melville)
966. For A Few Dollars More (1965, Leone)
966. In My Father's Den (2004; Brad McGann)
966. Little Miss Sunshine
966. Rejected (2000; Don Hertzfeldt)
966. A Shot in the Dark (1964; Blake Edwards)
966. Swiss Family Robinson (1960; Ken Annakin)
974. Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980; Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
974. The Big Country (1958; William Wyler)
974. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961; Blake Edwards)
974. Finding Neverland (2004, Marc Forster)
974. 5 Fingers (1952; Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
974. Hair (1979, Milos Forman)
974. In the Mouth of Madness (1994; John Carpenter)
974. Lolita (1962; Stanley Kubrick)
974. The Prodigal Son (1981; Sammo Hung)
983. Amazing Grace (2006; Michael Apted)
983. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000; Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
983. The Silent Village (1943; Humphrey Jennings)
983. Spoorloos (1988, Sluizer)
983. The Sun (2005; Aleksandr Sokurov)
988. The Beyond (1981, Fulci)
988. Camino (2008; Javier Fesser)
988. The Deer Hunter (1978; The Deer Hunter)
988. Imitation of Life (1959 ;Douglas Sirk)
988. The Lost Boys (1987; Joel Schumacher)
988. Whistle Down the Wind (1961; Bryan Forbes)
988. Woman of the Dunes (1964; Hiroshi Teshigahara)
995. The Heartbreak Kid (1972; Elaine May)
995. Jour se Leve (1939; Marcel Carne)
995. Look Back in Anger (1958; Tony Richardson)
995. What Time Is It There? (2001; Tsai Ming-liang)
995. When the Last Sword Is Drawn (2003; Yojiro Takita)
1000. Black Dynamite (2009; Scott Sanders)
1000. Born on the Fourth of July (1989; Oliver Stone)
1000. Confessions (2010; Tetsuya Nakashima)
1000. I Know Where I'm Going! (1945; Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)
1000. A Moment of Innocence (1996; Mohsen Makhmalbaf)
1000. Of Time and the City (2008; Terence Davies)
1000. Romeo + Juliet (1996; Baz Luhrmann)
1000. Shallow Grave (1994; Danny Boyle)
1000. Who Can Kill a Child? (1976; Narciso Ibanez Serrador)

< Message edited by rawlinson -- 30/8/2011 11:32:57 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 8/8/2011 7:18:49 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
1000.
Black Dynamite
(2009; Scott Sanders)



Last Year's Position: (-)

As a parody of blaxploitation, Black Dynamite shouldn't really work. As a genre, Blaxploitation is so tongue-in-cheek that it's nearly impossible to parody it, what exactly are you going to exaggerate about films like Sugar Hill, Coffy or Dolemite? They're as over the top as it gets. But Black Dynamite seems more about sending a comedic love-letter to the films of the creators' youths than parodying a genre outright. They're tuning in to the natural comedy of those earlier films and putting that humour on the surface. Coming across as a mix of Fred Williamson and Rudy Ray Moore, Michael Jai White stars (and co-writes) as Black Dynamite, bad-ass super-stud, out to avenge the death of his brother. Plotwise it's as incoherent as many of the films it's inspired by, although the standard idea of a super-cool soul-brother refusing to kneel down to the man is as strong as ever. It's surprising how perfectly the film walks the line between comedy and homage, the clothes, the music, the fight scenes, the general attitude - all are hilarious but at the same time feel as if they could be coming straight from a 70s offering. It's difficult to single out a favourite moment, but Dynamite's Vietnam monologue, a flashback to the orphanage, and a fight scene being interrupted by a real slap and a bad edit were all high points. Just a really inspired piece of comedy.

- Rawlinson

1000.
Born on the Fourth of July
(1989; Oliver Stone)



Last Year's Position: (407)

Tom Cruise goes to war. Bet the Viet Cong shit themselves.

- Rawlinson

1000.
Confessions
(2010; Tetsuya Nakashima)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Confessions is an excellent revenge drama not similar in any way to the Vengeance Trilogy or I Saw the Devil (as the trailers want you to believe). It's also some of the most unique films released last decade and I do not say this lightly. At best I can describe it as the bastard child of Tarkovsky's Mirror, Godard, Park and Bergman with even more Existential angst than Bergman himself. It is composed of series of monologues by the teacher whose daughter has been killed, the two murderers (her students) she accuses of killing her daughter and another girl. It's bleak, everything about it is bleak, anything close to happiness is suppressed in the bleakness of it all. The colors are faded out from the visuals. Sadness, madness, nihilism rule supreme. It even has Radiohead on the soundtrack, that's how bleak this shit is, but don't let that throw you off, it's enthralling and fascinating to say the least. It's bravura, risky film-making at its best (well not so risky on Japanese levels) and mostly works superbly, a mix of constant narration supported by the images seen on screen. It can overdo the slow-motion though.

- Deviation

1000.
I Know Where I'm Going!
(1945; Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)



Last Year's Position: (775)

I Know Where I'm Going is a Hebridean romance with the greatest stock plot going: a girl seeks security in the form of a wealthy husband, then falls in love with a pauper. Here the girl is Wendy Hiller and the man is Roger Livesey, playing the exquisitely-named Torquil MacNeil. Heading for the Isle of Kiloran - where's she's all set to wed a middle-aged industrialist - the pair are stranded together on Mull, and the heady atmosphere begins to cast its spell. It's wonderfully scripted and directed, with a mesmerising evocation of island life, and delightful chemistry between the leads. It's also somewhat reminiscent of Powell's first great film - The Edge of the World.  

- Rick_7.

1000.
A Moment of Innocence
(1996; Mohsen Makhmalbaf)



Last Year's Position: (-)

"A Moment of Innocence” is the only Iranian film that I've seen outside of the work of the acclaimed, and really quite brilliant, Abbas Kiarostami, and it is indeed very similar in tone and point. Its story is interesting, merging the line between fact and fiction in an intelligent and well observed manner. It tells of Makhmalbaf himself as a young man, in the days where he was a political rebel, where he stabbed a policeman (Mirhandi Tayebi, playing himself) in attempts to get his gun. The story is simple, but Makhmalbaf re-tells it in an elaborate and effective manner. It's the making of the making of a film, where the director and the policeman play their old selves, tutoring young actors Ali Bakhsi and Anmar Tafti respectively. First and foremost, I think, "A Moment of Innocence” is a musing on memory and nostalgia. Over the first forty five minutes to an hour of the film, Makhmalbaf simply looks back to his life as a young man, where he had grandiose thoughts about saving humanity and marrying a young girl who shared his passion. Tayebi does the same, teaching his young protégé about everything he used to know, from how to salute and march to how to swoon a girl that he was in love with. And here is where the central dynamic is set up; Tayebi – and indeed Makhmalbaf – is looking back on his old life with both fondness and regret. He is both re-living old times and improving them, trying – a full twenty years later – to go back and put right a wrong that has plagued him ever since. I mentioned that it's similar to the films of Kiarostami, and it is in its merging of fact and fiction. Both Abbas and Mohsen see that the line between drama and life is indeed thinner than most other directors imagine, and exploit this fact to maximum effect. The finale of this fine film may indeed be the best moment of its entirety. Not only does it have intelligent musings on whether it would be more effective to save humanity with a knife or with bread, but it's also exquisitely acted, and has an intense drama about it which has you on the edge of your seat, which says a lot about a film so subtle and so minimalist. Top notch stuff which has certainly persuaded me to go out and find more Cinema Iran.

- Piles

1000.
Of Time and the City
(2008; Terence Davies)



Last Year's Position: (-)

The fifth feature from Britain's greatest living director, Terence Davies, was shot for just £250,000 as part of Liverpool's European Capital of Culture celebrations. His first movie since 2000, it followed years of failed, thwarted projects. Anyone familiar with Davies' work will recognise his pet concerns here, as he uses the city as a canvas on which to paint memories of childhood and lost innocence. He no longer recognises the city; barely recognises himself. Davies delivers an intensely personal voiceover that's tragic, verbose (he has a nice turn of phrase) and ripe for parody, offering one part incomprehensible wordiness to every dose of pithy poetry.

Some have hailed this as the director's greatest achievement, but it is only when Davies stops yapping and dedicates himself to those unparalleled fusions of music and nostalgic visuals - passages of lyricism, irony and sorrow - that the film really approaches the brilliance of his earlier work. The sequence set to Peggy Lee's The Folks Who Live on the Hill, charting the move from terraced housing to the false dawn of high-rise blocks, is one of the best things he has ever done. Oddly, though, the continuation of that thread, which seems to stress the terrible human cost of such schemes as young children return to the hellish towers, is interrupted by Davies going on about municipal architecture being a bit of an eyesore, comprehensively undercutting the effect. On second viewing, Of Time and the City looks the same as first time around - only more so. It's erratic, lurching from truth to redundant repetition, though when it works, it's glorious.

- Rick_7

1000.
Romeo + Juliet
(1996; Baz Luhrmann)



Last Year's Position: (-)

I love the bard and I'm down with the kids (from 1996).

Oh and Leo is soooo dreamy.

- Rinc

1000.
Shallow Grave
(1994; Danny Boyle)



Last Year's Position: (-)

An unexpected delight. My first Boyle, for the record, and utterly fantastic. This is like a Coen film on drugs. The characters are certainly unlikeable, but using that as a criticism as most who disliked the film did is utterly daft. The whole point of noir is that the flawed protagonist reveals his hidden side when tempted, corruption through power, etc. The fact that the characters are well-off doesn't mar the whole thing, as the money itself is pretty much a McGuffin. Like I said earlier, echoes of Coen Brothers are certainly present throughout the film, but Shallow Grave also reminded me of Pinter. The other frequently named major criticism of the film is that the plot is disjointed, particularly because the two gangsters set up as a threat through the gruesome torture sequences are promptly disposed of, but therein lies the brilliance of the film. A sense of uneasiness is present from the start, even before the flatmate ends up dead, and the menace creeps up as the external threat (here's when my Pinter analogy comes in) gets nearer, but once the thugs are dead and buried, we realise that what the characters really have to fear is each other. The ensuing paranoia is once again open to criticism as far as the plot goes, but the claustrophobic feel of the film at that point even transcends the brilliance of another paranoia-laden masterpiece I watched recently (The Thing in case you were wondering), so it really doesn't matter. While Shallow Grave isn't amazing visually (few debut features are in my experience anyway, although Badlands blah blah), the technical aspects of the film are hard to criticise, and the performances in particular are a delight, adding the necessary humour to the film. Overall, this might even surpass Blood Simple. Wow

- MilesMesservy007

1000.
Who Can Kill a Child?
(1976; Narciso Ibanez Serrador)



Last Year's Position: (882)

At times I watch an horror that simply takes my breath away.  One that manages to take me to a place I dare not wish to have visited or had seen with my naked eye.  The best horrors are those that leave you in a cold sweat, feeling uncomfortable and edgy.  They take you to the edge of extreme and nearly tilt you over, the imagery and concept stays in your mind long after the credits roll.  As a fully fledged horror fan, when I see these kind of films which are a rarity in the genre, I feel the need to tell other people about it.  A new film that tips the horror scales up to an eleven should be shared and shouted from the roof tops.  I was taken on this ride a few weeks back with the exceptional Black Swan and I thought I would be a very lucky horror fan if I saw a film like that again.  I mean, how many times does a film of such quality comes around, once maybe, but twice in a month, it never happens.  In reality it has not happened now.  Yes I have just witnessed the best horror film of the year, that knocks the feathered wings of that Swan but sadly it can not grace my Top 10 of the year.   Why? Because Who Can Kill A Child is a film that was released in 1975, a film that I am ashamed to say that I have never seen until this very week, and one that is so underrated, that its the best secret masterpiece of horror out there, and possibly bar Halloween, the best 70's horror that no one has never heard of.

The concept of child killers is not actually new to the horror genre even way back in 1975 with Village Of The Dammed predating it by fifteen years.  Recently though the horror genre has seen a recent craze in this style of horror with Eden Lake, Ills, F and The Children all taking the taboo matter of children going crazy to the next level.  None though despite their best attempts can somehow match the style of this old Spanish horror.  To say this stunned me at how good it was is understatement, even though the film starts off on very dodgy ground.

The beginning made me at first thought I put on the wrong film.  The opening ten minutes suffers from being more like a documentary, a showcase of real cases in which children are being badly hurt.  We see images of children starving, suffering from war, and much more that are really powerful but seem out of place once the film gets going.  I am not complaining that the director wanted to highlight this severe problem that has probably got worse over the last thirty years, but while the message is powerful enough, mixing real life with fiction is an oddity that luckily the film does not suffer from.

Even then though the film trots along at a snail's pace.  The film baring a remarkable resemblance to Don't Look Now in that we see a couple on holiday, and enjoying their last days of freedom until the arrival of their child.  The wife Everlyn (Prunella Ransome) heavily pregnant and in need of a little break, is enjoying herself and the fireworks show when she is convinced by her husband Tom (Lewis Fiander) to take a short holiday on the island of Almanzora which he fondly remembers of being a very nice place and its only a speed boat away.  Here of course is where the modern horror fan may give up and decide to watch Saw part 60. because the film does not worry in heading straight to the main event.  It wants you to get to know this couple and like all good horrors, makes you like them so when the suffering starts, you right by their side.  Its one of the reasons why the ten minute prelude of news footage seemed so out of place, we start off with such a powerful blast to the senses, that we then get a forty minute sequence of holidaymakers going out and about.  The balance is not quite right and if the point was that it was time for the children to look after themselves and fight back, then the last hour sends home that message more than the an opening that I can only suggest was a "shock value!" for the sake of it!

Once they arrive on the island though, the film takes a turn for the worse.  The place seems empty and eerie.  The first sign that thinks are not quite right is when Tom encounters a young boy fishing and asks him what he has caught!  The boy gives him such a stare that its starts the feeling of uncomfortable for the viewer, there is something in the air, and its not pleasant.   Another delightful twist that sets this film apart is that the entire imagery is set in the broad daylight.  The sun itself plays an important part as horror is well known for taking place when the moon is up, so to see the events occur when the sky is blue, again sets off a unique tone of darkness.  There is no place to hide when daylight shines on your back.

Tom and Evelyn wander through the island and soon realise there are no adults around.  This of course mirrors the Stephen King novel and film Children Of The Corn and I wonder if there was some inspiration from this film, because the concept is uncanny but if you trust my horror opinion then this is the much better tale.  In fact I doubt I be able to look at that Corn film in the same ray of sunshine again.  Who Can Kill A Child is the ultimate in child killing horrors.  When they come across an adult survivor, they tell them that all the children have become murderous and they have to leave and go now.  Of course this proves to be impossible and the children soon arrive with only one sole intention, and that is kill the married couple.

You could say that what follows is simply nothing but a chase movie, but its too classy to be called that!  The direction is superb and the movie in short bursts of horror infects you mind with what is going on.  The purposely slow build up is now paying off and lets not forget there is no stupid sub plot here.  The children have not been overtaken by Aliens or a virus, they do what they want and that is be murderous and vicious little bastards who have a thirst for blood.  Not once do you hear "But the corn told me to do it!", because this an horror that is as real has can be, its brutal with a moral message ringing through it.

Its a debate that you will probably have when watching.  Would You Kill A Child?  Of course I would have no problem with this if it meant protecting by pregnant wife, but there is something unsettling seeing this all on screen.  Maybe its the parental instinct in us all, and while we can scream at the TV for Tom just to kill the little buggers, you must be a cold hearted person not to think twice when you holding a gun towards a small young child!  That is why I could not help but sympathise with Evelyn who really should have frustrated you over her denials of the going on but you can see why it is so hard to believe.

There are moments that I have to say are simply breathtaking and its a criminal shame that they are hardly ever mentioned when fans are talking about horror films.  There is one image of when a mother on the other side of the island sees that her own children have turned to what I can only describe as the "dark side!" . As they fail to listen to her instructions to come into her home she looks up towards the mountains and slowly but surely a wave of children appear.  Its a moment that even frightened me and for a second it took my breath away.  An horror that is over thirty five years old and is hardly known, should not be this good!

The film charges along until the finale and nothing will disappoint you to what happens.  The blood gore may lack to today's standards but the beauty of Who Can Kill A Child is the way it just unsettles you.  Any film showing a cute child holding a gun and pointing a gun with the sole intention to kill is wrong, and that is why this works to perfection.  Its a film that you have probably never heard of as it certainly does not grace many best of lists, but make no mistake, its probably one of the finest horror film ever made, and one that is so underrated and lost in the vault of time that I can only despair of its neglect.

Give it a try, it may stun you like it did me...

- HughesRoss


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 9/8/2011 10:30:47 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 2
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 8/8/2011 10:59:35 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
995.
The Heartbreak Kid
(1972; Elaine May)



Last Year's Position: (-)

The film opens with the wedding of Charles Grodin and Jeannie Berlin. She's deeply in love, by the time they're a couple of hours into their honeymoon road trip he already hates her. At the resort he meets his shiksa godess, Cybill Shepherd and quickly decides to divorce Berlin and pursue her. Despite the fact that Berlin is funnier, sexier and far more interesting. I can understand the problems some have with the film. The pace slows after Jeannie Berlin leaves the film and Grodin pursues Shepherd, but I think that's intentional. He pushes everything too hard and it's more about his obsession that things will be better with his shiksa and slowly realising how bland both she and his new lifestyle will be. Once he loses his more down-to-earth but lively wife, he loses something more important than he realises. Also, Shepherd's performance isn't the best, but when was she ever a great actress? I think her rather vapid presence works perfectly for the second half of the film, but early on, when she's meant to be a cool temptress, it doesn't work as well and the joy is in Grodin's desperation to see her. Berlin is superb, as is Eddie Albert as Shepherd's father, who wants nothing more than to keep the idiot Grodin away from her, and they deservedly picked up Oscar noms. I think more acclaim should go to Audra Lindley as well, who does wonders while mostly reacting to Albert and Grodin. It's easy to underestimate just how good Grodin is here, he's playing an absolute bastard who somehow never manages to lose the audience. It's a great comedic performance but also shows just how sympathetic a performer Grodin is. It's brilliant work, perfectly played (except for Shepherd) with one of Neil Simon's best scripts and excellent direction from one of the funniest women of her era.

- Rawlinson

995.
Jour se Leve
(1939; Marcel Carne)



Last Year's Position: (797)

When the film begins we know that Francois (Gabin) will soon be dead. It's pointless even acting as if that's a spoiler. He's trapped in his attic room, having just murdered Valentin, a venomous seducer who visited him late at night, and he's surrounded by the police. He's barricaded himself in, refuses to allow the police to enter, or to explain why he killed Valentin. By French law the police can't enter his apartment until daybreak, so in the long night while he waits for the inevitable, he recalls what led him to be in this situation. He met a pretty girl named Francoise (Laurent) and over a short period of time they fall in love. One night she tells him she can't see him because of another engagement. Out of jealousy he follows her to a theatre where she watches Valentin perform a dog act on stage. There he meets Clara, an older woman, and a former lover of Valentin's, who has just quit as Valentin's assistant. When he sees Francoise and Valentin leave together, he begins a relationship with Clara, but his heart still remains with Francoise.

Based on the storyline alone, the film shouldn't be too special. The love quadrangle and the inevitable tragedy is pure melodrama. But luckily the film is more than its synopsis. The term poetic realism gets thrown around a lot when talking about French cinema of this period and Daybreak is possibly the definition of that term. The claustrophobic sets, especially that of Francois's room, the haunted atmosphere and the sheer fatalism of this doom laden romance makes it Carne's bleakest work. The realism has as much relevance as the poetic fatalism, and while the love story seems to have been written in the stars, the gritty realism of life in that era means that the film is more at home in the mean streets of noir than as a sappy romance.

The entire cast is superb, Arletta's worldly performance as Clara and Berry's performance as the manipulative Valentin are especially worthy of praise. But Gabin's performance is a career high. Gabin's great sensitivity as an actor, his haunted everyman toughness, are a large part of what makes this film so memorable, and his performance more than justifies his reputation as one of the greats of all time and (along with Simon) the great French actor of the period.

Gabin's skilful performance even helps to override a lot of the concerns about Francois. There is a huge potential for lack of sympathy with Francois. So much of the plot takes place because he can't live with the idea that Francoise slept with Valentin. Is this really a true and eternal love? Is he so romantic that the death of love must mean the death of him? Is he honestly so in love that the idea of his beloved with another man is so hurtful that he's plunged that deep into existential despair? Or is he just a jealous stalker? The possibility of viewing Francois as little more than possessive and self-pitying is strong, and a lesser performance, writer or director could have made this film intolerable. But everything comes together perfectly here, so that you do believe that Francois is that heartbroken and you do feel the weight of the tragedy when this couple are torn apart.

The ending of the film is inevitable, anything else would have been a cop-out, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept. In fact, the film was seen as so gloomy that it was banned by the French government of the time for being too demoralising to the country in a time of war. I wouldn't as far as that government, but Daybreak is certainly a depressing experience, it's also one of the greatest films that cinema has given us.

- Rawlinson

995.
Look Back in Anger
(1958; Tony Richardson)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Tony Richardson really had an incredible half a decade in the late 50s and early 60s. Awards success may have come with 1963's "Tom Jones” (for which Richardson won Best Director and Best Picture), but the five years directly prior to that saw Richardson direct three really quite excellent films. "A Taste of Honey” may be flawed with its over-density of social commentary, but other than that it's a fabulous film, and I just can't fault "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”. Amazing, then, that "Look Back In Anger' is just as good as the Tom Courtenay film of 1962. Starring Richard Burton as a university graduate who has settled in a one-room council flat in the Midlands with his wife, Alison (Mary Ure), and a lodger, Cliff (Gary Raymond), "Look Back in Anger” tells the story of a dangerous love triangle between Jimmy (Burton), Alison, and her friend, Helena (Claire Bloom). The story itself isn't exactly groundbreaking, but the dialogue and social commentary is. Our 'angry young man' in this kitchen sink social realism film is Jimmy, a boy who has become scornful of life and everything in it because of his own shortcomings. He is doubtlessly intelligent, but his cynicism and his borderline violent nature keep him back, and the only outlet he has for his brimming anger is his witty but biting dialogue. Based on the play by John Osborne and adapted by Nigel Kneale, the film uses a three-act structure to translate this love triangle onto screen with excellent results, but relies heavily on the success of its incredible dialogue. Jimmy's monologues about the injustices of life are brutally honest, as is Richardson's direction, which is just as good here as it was in his other two classics of the same period. And then there are the performances, from Burton's powerhouse turn as the cynical lead to Ure and Bloom's different but similar supporting ladies to Raymond's amiable man-in-thhe-middle, the cast is universally excellent. Its commentary on the injustices surrounding the class system (the differences between Alison and Jimmy are highlighted early and often, most notably their social status and class) and such varied topics as racism are brilliantly drawn, and its ending is incredibly emotionally involving. One of my biggest regrets in watching films is that I didn't go to see this when it was showing at my local cinema last year.

- Piles

995.
What Time Is It There?
(2001; Tsai Ming-liang)



Last Year's Position: (797)

Blurb coming soon

995.
When the Last Sword Is Drawn
(2003; Yojiro Takita)



Last Year's Position: (892)

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.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 3
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 8/8/2011 11:27:31 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
988.
The Beyond
(1981, Lucio Fulci)



Last Year's Position: (786)

We come to this, Lucio Fulci's ultimate masterpiece, his Suspria, a film that will live beyond his legacy, and a horror that should be cherished with anyone who claims to love the horror genre.

The Beyond enters this Poll with sadness on my part.  Its a film that deserves more praise and acclaim it actually gets, and sadly its often overlooked by the above mentioned Suspria even though its safe to say that its on equal level terms of Argento's ultimate horror classic, and the both films should be labelled as the pinnacle of when Italian horror was cool and must see cinema.

To even get to the storyline seems to of no point.  This is a film that demands the viewer to lose itself with what is on offer.  The dreamscape surroundings and surreal plot will have you shaking your head but Fulci shows no care in respecting the audience intelligence, he is to busy planning his next big set piece, if its not tongues and limbs being hacked off, baths full of acid, or even would you believe bonkers spider attacks, The Beyond has everything you need horror to be.  Its a case of why have plot when there is so much fun to be had in washing the screen with blood and gore that even the most diehard of Gore hounds will find perhaps a  bit overwhelming.

The weird and quite wonderful thing about this film is that while there were numerous films of this nature before and after, like Suspria, it seems to have an edge, a unique balance that strikes a chord with the viewer.  As soon as the credits roll, the film is awash with colours, it seduces you, makes you fall in love, you never scared at what's on show, but being in complete awe with the violence on screen is a notion that scares me, its like "we should be scared, but how can we" and its quite easy to be swept away by everything going on.

But what is going on?  There must be a plot? Or this is just me rambling on!  Ok. Its all about the gateways to Hell and the events that take place in a hotel called Seven Doors.  Starting off in the 1920's where an artist is brutally murdered by a gang who believe he is a Warlock, and its his death that opens a portal which allows the dead to cross into the living.  The action then switches to 1980 where Fulci regular Katherine McColl (Lisa) inherits the hotel and decides to open the place for business but her decision to make the property more attractive reactivates the portal and soon the hotel is overrun with the undead and only her and Dr McCabe (David Warbeck) can save the day....along with a mysterious blind girl who may know the secret behind room 36!

Its amazing how fate plays such a part in creating a movie masterpiece.  Its hard to believe that this was not the film that was originally intended.  Fulci set out to do a haunted hotel theme but such back then was the clamour for Zombies, that the great man was forced by his German distributors to make such a film, a haunted theme did not appeal to their tastes, and so Fulci added the undead and also rewrote the final act, and thanks to that, created his ultimate movie.

The Beyond is a pinnacle of Italian Horror.  There is not just one great artist at work here.  Yes its Fulci's film, but all credit must go also to the wonderful effects by Giannetto de Rossi and what can only be described as a lesson of how to do breathtaking cinematography by Sergio Salvati who creates such a vision of delight that as I have said earlier, will leave you simply breathless.

Its also hard to distinguish the difference between Fulci and Argento for this particular piece.  Its a work that matches everything that Dario himself achieved, even though not once does it seem to copy the blueprint.  Its a movie that boasts of originality, a horror that fully achieves everything that was great about Fulci.  There are critics of his work, there are those who dismiss his ability, but they fail to let go and join the ride that he dares you to make, a trip into a nightmare world, this is hell but Fulci's way, and if you have never even attempted to even take a peek into the dream world that he created then shame on you!  The biggest crime of all is that when I watch this, I can not help but think of A Nightmare On Elm St.  No not the original but the remake.  Here we have everything in such a trippy dream that it fascinates and it reaches out to your horror tingles and makes your juices flow.  In Freddy they had a man who could invade the dreams of his victims, a plot vice with endless ideas and worlds to explore, somehow they created a film so lacking in imagination and cheap scares that you can not help but weep.  Can you imagine what would have been achieved in the hands of great masters like Fulci and Argento.  In an age where horror is made for an audience who clearly want teen scares, senseless gore, we are entering a stage where new blood is needed.  Some director to take a bold stance and offer something new.  The upcoming Suspria remake may open the doors for such a thing.  If though, they manage to get it right........

- HughesRoss

988.
Camino
(2008; Javier Fesser)



Last Year's Position: (544)

Camino tells the tale of Camino, an eleven-year-old girl brought up a highly devout Catholic by her exceedingly pious mother, Gloria. When Camino comes down with a disease few ever recover from, Gloria tells Camino to praise God for choosing her – for what, exactly, no character in the film seems to be able to definitively say – and to ask him for the strength to survive whatever she's been chosen for, something she does obediently. However, her condition continues to deteriorate – and as it does so, the interest of the Opus Dei rises, the group callously looking to her as a way to get young people interested in the faith by beatifying her once she dies.

For a film that paints an incredibly unflattering portrait of the Opus Dei, both as a religion and as a group of people – Camino's local priest is a smug bastard who tells her father Fernando that it's all his fault she's sick, and the hospital chaplain is more concerned with her potential beatification than her suffering – Fesser's presentation of religion isn't as loaded. Indeed, Fesser drives home the point that, while faith is not a bad thing in and of itself, the way organised religion exploits peoples' weaknesses and faith in order to advance their own agendas is rife and horrible. After all, compared to Camino's pure and unwavering faith, and her mother's crumbling fanaticism as she comes to terms with the reality of Camino's illness, Opus Dei are monsters, and rightly so.

However, Camino's true triumph is in the way it manages to overcome the slightly one-sided nature of the above message to present a heartbreaking and devastating tale of a childhood cut short by illness. Nerea Camacho is excellent as young Camino, her natural innocence and vibrant eyes working perfectly for the role of a typical eleven-year-old burdened with the knowledge of her impending death before her life has begun. The supporting actors are all fantastic, particularly Carme Elias as Camino's fundamentalist mother, and Jose Ferrer's exquisite, stylised direction and honest, evocative writing are fantastic in and of themselves.

Camino is a movie everyone needs to see, a cliché though it is. It is simply the best film of the year.

- Pigeon Army.

988.
The Deer Hunter
(1978; Michael Cimino)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Was one of my biggest American cinema blindspots. Glad to be rid of it now, but ambivalent about the actual film.
Let’s start with the positives. The cast is faultless, with Walken as a stand-out and Streep and Cazale in solid support, considered the latter, who was the former’s fiancée, was dying and didn’t get to see the release of the film. The cinematography is also very impressive (both the deer hunting scenes and some of the more claustrophobic stuff), though I think this is only the second film I’ve seen of Zsigmond’s lauded resume. There are some outstanding scenes, like the Green Beret at the wedding, the last deer hunting scene, or the very first Russian roulette. Unlike for many others, the film never dragged for me, and I can’t fault it for taking the time it took to tell its story.
However, there’s a flip-side. Leaving the important factual error alone despite the misrepresentation it causes, and disagreeing with Rosenbaum’s notion that this is apologetic of America’s Vietnam involvement (even though I can see where he’s coming from, I think this is a story about 3 friends and the effects the war has on their lives and the stuff others derive from it is not intended), as for instance I find the final scene sad and ironic rather than patriotic, there are still a lot of problems. First of all, unless I’m mistaken, there’s a huge plothole/logical flaw: if the reason for Nick’s catatonic state is his belief that his friends are dead, how can he send money to one of them back home?
But more importantly, the film’s 3 acts never work as a satisfying whole for me. The wedding, as I mentioned above, doesn’t drag for me at all and I think it’s great at establishing the characters, but after that, the film just doesn’t rise above its general melancholic mood except for a few exceptions. Compare it to Apocalypse Now, which escalates in its madness, and this seems almost dry.
I can understand the haters and the lovers, and I think the latter are more right as this is an important and well-made film, but it doesn’t work as it should, and give me Bullet in the Head over it any day.

- DantesInferno

988.
Imitation of Life
(1959 ;Douglas Sirk)



Last Year's Position: (637)

Lana Turner plays the widowed mother of a young girl. While playing on the beach one day she meets Annie, the black single mother of a light-skinned daughter. She also meets Steve, a struggling photographer. Steve becomes the love of her life and Annie becomes her best friend and housekeeper.  Turner compromises her relationships through her single-minded dedication to her acting career while Annie and her daughter grow apart through her daughter's desire to pass as white. This could have been as melodramatic as Magnificent Obsession, but the implausabilities here (Turner inviting two people home to live with her, her getting a job by telling a writer one of his scenes is terrible, etc) are never as off-putting as the ones in Obsession. The acting is a lot better here as well, with Juanita Moore a stand-out as Annie. Possibly Sirk's most impressive film, it certainly comes a lot closer to justifying his reputation as a great director.

- Rawlinson

988.
The Lost Boys
(1987; Joel Schumacher)



Last Year's Position: (786)

So what have we got!  A pre Jack Bauer with fangs, a sexy Jami Getz, The two Corey's when they were cool and fun, a cheesy Saxophone player who can not mime to save his live and of course a cover of "people are strange" and pure 80's music "Cry Little Sister!".  Ah yes, it can only be The Lost Boys.   80's most cherished of guilty pleasures, a horror that is loved by most fans of the genre, such a massive cult that not even a piss poor (and I mean POOR) sequel can tarnish.

The Lost Boys lasting legacy is that even by today's standards its still a huge watchable amount of fun.  Its  pure 80's, a decade when they tried to make the Vamp genre fun and sexy.  This followed in the wake of Fright Night (the daddy of 80's fang films) and the less popular but still enjoyable Vamp (worth watching for barnstorming Grace Jones role).  When two brothers arrive in the new town of Santa Carla, they are stunned to find its the murder capital of the world.  When the oldest Michael is seduced by a bike riding gang and is turned into the undead, its up to the younger brother Sam and his new found friends the Frog brothers who have a vast knowledge of Vampire lore to save Michael and also try to save the town.

Part Goonies meets Dracula, this may have been higher in other peoples lists, but such is the quality of the decade, it settles here, mainly because of the more tongue in cheek approach than the horror angle it provides.

Last year, the sequel "Tribe" came out and well, as I have written its awful but that has not stopped a third "The Thirst" all set for release later this year.

I doubt even the poor quality of the second sequel will spoil the love for this pure 80's joy......

- HughesRoss

988.
Whistle Down the Wind
(1961; Bryan Forbes)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Children seem to like finding people in barns and constructing worlds around them – over a decade before young Ana goes to see Frankenstein in Spirit of the Beehive, Hayley Mills starred in this film based on a book written by her mother Mary Hayley Bell.

Whistle down the Wind is a tale based on christian allegory and childish innocence, as a group of children find a murderer on the run in a barn in Lancashire and decide that he is Jesus, denying him and being beaten for believing it.

Whistle seems an odd choice for Forbes directorial debut, but it did seem to bring together a lot of friends with Richard Attenborough producing. Mills casting isn't quite the nepotism it seems though – after her initial acting forays in Tiger Bay, The Parent Trap and Pollyanna, it'd be difficult to name a better known child actor in the country at the time. The film remains so popular today Andrew Lloyd Webber even came up with a terrible musical based upon it.

- Elab49

988.
Woman of the Dunes
(1964; Hiroshi Teshigahara)



Last Year's Position: (744)

Niki Jumpei is an entomologist on vacation in a remote region of Japan. He's collecting specimens from the insect population in the hopes of discovering a new species. He misses the last bus home and is offered shelter by a poor village. He is taken to a sand dune where a rope ladder leads him down to a house, in the house he meets a young woman who gives him food and shelter for the night. He finds out that her job is to shovel sand while digging for a water supply, the sand is then removed by the locals and sold illegally, in exchange the locals give her food and water. He also finds out her family were killed by the sand. In the morning he finds the rope ladder gone and himself trapped with the woman and ordered to help her, in exchange he gets sexual favours from her as well as food and water.

So if you haven't seen it then this film probably sounds like just another weird entry in my list and it would be foolish to deny that the film falls firmly into the category marked 'odd'. But it's so much more than that. Woman of the Dunes has an offbeat and timeless feel that lifts it above being mere oddity and into the realms of a genuine classic. For a start, despite its at times dreamlike aura, it's one of the most extraordinarily physical films ever made, the contrast between the shifting sands and the lovers bodies contains more intense eroticism than most pornographic movies could ever dream of. Add to that the unrelenting and oppressive feel of the film brought about by the claustrophobia of the ever-shifting sands, sands that have so much life and presence to them that they nearly become a character in their own right.

The film also has an existential quality that places it close to the work of the likes of Kafka or Camus. Teshigahara draws upon the myth of Sisyphus to create an allegory for life and for the effects of capitalism on humans. Niki craves recognition to validate his life, feeling that he can only really be worthwhile once he's achieved something in his chosen field. The villagers just do what they can to survive, the woman's existence is spent shoveling sand, as he asks at one point, is she living to shovel or shoveling to live? It's implied that neither lifestyle is more worthwhile and that they're more similar than the man would probably care to admit. They're both trapped in ultimately futile endeavours, each trying to reach a goal that's probably always going to be beyond them.

- Rawlinson


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 18/1/2012 12:42:33 AM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 4
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 8/8/2011 4:55:12 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
983.
Amazing Grace
(2006; Michael Apted)



Last Year's Position: (696)

I'm both thrilled and surprised to see Michael Apted's inspiring, thoughtful film about William Wilberforce make this list. The critical reception was lukewarm on most fronts, and the only times I've heard it mentioned on the forums were when I was talking about it. But hopefully now that it has made the list, more of you will check it out. Technically, there is nothing special here – the camerawork is sensible, as are the casting decisions, locations and costumes – radical this is not. But films don't have to be revolutionary to be powerful. The central character of Wilberforce (portrayed with humour and grace by Ioan Gruffudd) provides a strong emotional core to a film that, based on early 19th century politics, could easily have been dry. Romola Garai as the love interest also adds warmth, making Amazing Grace a personal film as well as historical. So as a result, we have a mighty film driven by people and ideas, making you see the passion behind the politics, and may well inspire you too to stand against injustice. This may sound a little grand and worthy, but Amazing Grace is an emotional, affecting work about how it is possible to stand for what you believe in, and that, above anything else, is why this magnificent film deserves to be in this list.

- Swordsandsandals.

983.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
(2000; Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)



Last Year's Position: (651)

George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson play a trio of convicts who escape a southern chain gang during the Great Depression. They're on a quest to recover buried treasure only to find their odyssey disturbed by river sirens, a blind seer, and a cyclops and their freedom and their lives on the line. Along the way they find themselves written into the myths and reality of American history. O Brother... is an imaginative and glorious looking slice of whimsy, a shaggy dog story mixed with a loving homage to screwball comedies and a folk musical, O Brother is one of the brothers' oddest but most endearing films. Clooney steals the show as the dimwitted and loud-mouthed leader of the gang, but all the cast do well and it remains one of the Coens' best films.  

- Rawlinson

983.
The Silent Village
(1943; Humphrey Jennings)



Last Year's Position: (640)

Humphrey Jennings, the propagandist described by Lindsay Anderson in 1954 as "the only real poet the British cinema has yet produced". It's one of his few wartime efforts with a straightforward narrative, as he transplants Nazi atrocities in Lidice, Czechslovakia to a Welsh mining village. The intention was to bring the threat of invasion home, a goal that's chillingly realised in this horrifying film. The work hints at the depth and complexity of Jennings: the arrogant, tyrannical intellectual who grew to admire the stoicism of the working classes and observe and articulate the gentle rhythms of their lives; the state filmmaker who could effortlessly evoke the terror of war with economy and a complete absence of sensationalism. The first eight minutes of this short present magnificent vignettes - children playing by a stream, a Methodist choir, a mother cooking tea - that tranquility shattered by the arrival of a black car, playing marching music through a loudhailer. The Silent Village is a bleak companion piece to Went the Day Well? (see #91), an emotionally devastating movie about the ritual destruction of a community and its identity, shot through with a mixture of tender sentiment and white-hot fury.

Favourite bit: The firing squad sequence, which is as upsetting as movies get.

A bit of background on the director: Humphrey Jennings was a Cambridge-educated poet and painter who came to film with a mercenary mind. Needing money to support his young family, and finding little from his artistic endeavours, he got a job at GPO (later the Crown Film Unit), the Post Office's public information division. Irritating his new workmates by constantly patronising their state education and their films, he injected life into the work: his riotous sense of humour producing a series of delirious, slapstick jaunts, miles away from what the unit had been churning out. A founder of mass observation and the organiser of the first major Surrealism exhibition in Britain, he was individualistic, arrogant, high-minded to the point of being blinkered. Colleagues say he was the most shouty man in western Europe. When Britain declared war on Germany, the newly-renamed Crown Film Unit switched to propaganda films. And Jennings, until then an enfant terrible with a wicked superiority complex, began to produce dazzling, freeform hymns to Britain. The tougher the war became - and the more time he spent with the working-class subjects he shot - the more elegiac, touching, empathetic and gentle his films seemed to become. The Heart of Britain, an ode to the industrial north, has the best ending of any film I've ever seen. Cutting its footage of bombed-out buildings to Beethoven's 5th, it splices in interview clips with female workers, ARPs and steelworkers. "No-one with impunity threatens the Heart of Britain," thunders a voiceover. "We will hit back." Then, to choral hallelujahs, a Spitfire takes off.

See also: Spare Time, Jennings' first masterpiece, a 15-minute portrait of British industrial workers and their families at play. The sequence set to Handel's Largo is magic. Words for Battle, The True Story of Lilli Marlene and The Heart of Britain (with that incredible finale implying a divine right to military victory) are all exceptional, while Fires Were Started - Jennings' sole feature - is an ultra-realistic drama-documentary about firemen in wartime Britain.

- Rick_7

983.
Spoorloos
(1988, George Sluizer)



Last Year's Position: (777)

Over the years, Sluizer has had his hand in just about every film-making pie going - though a respected director from the 70s on, he originally plied his trade as everything from a production assistant gopher, to producer and everything in between. Spoorloos is the sum total of his prior 30 odd years worth of experience and is as perfectly formed as just about any 80s movie. Set-up is simple - a couple are on holiday, the girlfriend is kidnapped and the boyfriend spends most of his subsequent time trying to find out what happened to her. So far, so formulaic. But with the introduction of "villain" Raymond Lemorne (played by French workhorse Bernard Pierre Donnadieu), the film steps up several levels entirely. Far from the panto villain in the remake (see below), Lemorne is at heart a good family man who merely wants to see how far he can push himself into danger and wrong doing. So, an affable and (it has to be said) likeable Lemorne offers to show the boyfriend exactly what happened to his missing girl......but you'll have to see it yourself to see the awesome finale!

Not-so special mention:

Sluizer's own American remake was ALMOST there - a decent script and premise already in place and a good cast signed up. Unfortunately, the suits got too involved and made the villain (in this one, played by Jeff Bridges) your average panto lunatic, pumped it up with some pointless action scenes and (horror of horrors) replaced the classic final scenes of the original with a typical happy ending. After completing his last Hollywood contracted film (the terrible Crimetime), Sluizer's career was all but over - a couple of mediocre films since and that's about it. Perfectly demonstrates how fickle Hollywood can be and how moneymen can easily ruin entire careers.

- Great Badir 

983.
The Sun
(2005; Aleksandr Sokurov)



Last Year's Position: (849)

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.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 5
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 8/8/2011 7:27:36 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
974.
Berlin Alexanderplatz
(1980; Rainer Werner Fassbinder)



Last Year's Position: (617)

The film is the story of Franz Biberkopf (Lamprecht). As the film opens he's just being released from a murder sentence, after killing his prostitute girlfriend when she left him for another man. On his release he proceeds to attempt to rape her sister before starting a romance with a barfly named Lina. During the relationship with Lina, he vows to become one of the few honest men in the corrupt Weimar Berlin. Franz tries not to be a criminal, but the economic conditions of the period make it impossible for him to survive. He tries everything from selling shoelaces to porn to Nazi newspapers. When Franz is betrayed by his friend Otto over a woman (a widow who Franz has sex with and Otto blackmails) Franz loses all faith in the world and goes on an epic drinking binge. While recovering from his debauchery, he meets Reinhold. An event that will have a catastrophic influence on Franz's life. They make a strange arrangement where Franz takes Reinhold's latest woman from him when he tires of her. This odd friendship comes to a head when Reinhold tricks Franz into going on a robbery with him. When he thinks they're being followed by the police, Reinhold throws Franz out of the moving car, leading to his arm being amputated. Franz no longer wants to be honest, realising there are no options for a one-armed man in Berlin. He becomes a master fence and meets a good woman, a prostitute named Mieze, but the evil Reinhold isn't out of his life, and more tragedy is set to follow.

A plot summary doesn't do justice to his remarkable work. This adaptation of one of the most highly respected pieces of German literature is Fassbinder's most complex directorial effort. It's a monumental achievement, one of the finest in the history of cinema or television, with an epic scope to rival that of The Wire. It's also an intensely personal film for Fassbinder, a longtime dream project that stretched back to when he read the novel as a teen and Fassbinder identified with the childlike hero, Biberkopf. Late in his life he realised that he had taken in the novel to such an extent that he claimed he had been making Dobin's work into his own life. He named the lead in Fox and His Friends (who he played himself) Franz Biberkopf, the name Franz recurred throughout his career and several of his films had their roots in the novel. At the film's heart is a three way love story between the vulnerable Franz, the predatory Reinhold and the naive Mieze. The film plays like a linked series of short but brutal stories, as Franz's attempts to be a decent man are constantly undermined by the society he lives in. It's a tawdry world, but Fassbinder finds something beautiful and glamorous there. The characters are whores, pimps and thieves, but there's a tenderness about them and there's a purity under the rough edges.

It's an incredible visual achievement, with the art direction and cinematography vividly recreating the Weimar era Berlin, and it's perfectly acted all down the line. But as good as the supporting performances are, Gunter Lamprecht gives one of the all-time great performances as Franz. Without a great performance to anchor it, Berlin Alexanderplatz could have slipped into unpleasant melodrama. Franz is a murderer and rapist, but Lamprecht finds the humanity in the character to make his attempts at redemption believable, honest and painful. This is a shattering, heart-breaking masterpiece and a film everyone should devote some time to.

- Rawlinson

974.
The Big Country
(1958; William Wyler)



Last Year's Position: (766)

Blurb coming soon

974.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
(1961; Blake Edwards)



Last Year's Position: (945)

Audrey Hepburn is splendid throughout this charming little romantic comedy that contains enough dark elements to contrast against the lighter moments. George Peppard is also excellent and the two stars have wonderful chemistry together. It's maybe dated a little now but this is the perfect example of rom-com done good.

- Beetlejuice

974.
Finding Neverland
(2004, Marc Forster)



Last Year's Position: (513)

Blurb coming soon

974.
5 Fingers
(1952; Joseph L. Mankiewicz)



Last Year's Position: (766)

Efficient filmmaking from Mankiewicz (and Brodine behind the camera brings a dark noirish look to nights out in Istanbul) but the real stars here are scriptwriter Wilson and Mason's beautifully supercilious lead, a spy who cares nothing for causes but just wants the money.

Based on a trueish story (although I'm not sure if Hansard will tell us if it was actually raised in Parliament!), books were published by the German inbetween man and later by the spy himself. Mason is valet to the British ambassador and offers to pass on secrets for cash, cash to fund a new life for him and his former employer, a self-serving bitch of a countess who not only steals from him but tries to get him killed as well (in the process actually helping to create sympathy for the spy). Mason's Diello doesn't particularly care about the German causes, he isn't even that interested in what he is photographing. As a poor Albanian who had to make himself a gentleman, what riles him is class. In one particularly venomous speech he refers to his betters expecting no less of him than to dally with chambermaids. The real story doesn't have the romantic subplot but an even more fascinating tale of the German's secretary also being a British spy but I guess that might have seemed more fantastic, and given too big a role to a co-star.

Apart from the reasoning, this is one of the best spy thrillers around. Mason outclasses everyone in sight in one of his best performances, inexplicably missing an Oscar nomination in a pretty poor year. Did they not like nominating 'bad guys'? The politics of neutral countries even allows him a free pop at Michael Rennie's pursuer.

In retrospect we know this to have been written by one of the screen's least known writers of famous films, another victim of blacklisting. Although Michael Wilson now has his credits for Kwai and Lawrence the most interesting is probably still one of the films that really slipped under the McCarthy radar under the guise of heroism - with fellow blacklistee Dalton Trumbo and fighter against censorship Ben Hecht he penned The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell. No doubt Preminger and Cooper, a star strongly opposed to the blackist, also signed up fully understanding the  
political subtext of the film.

On a completely separate side-note - the chap playing von Papen is the absolute spit of him.

- Elab49.

974.
Hair
(1979, Milos Forman)



Last Year's Position: (766)

Blurb coming soon.

974.
In the Mouth of Madness
(1994; John Carpenter)



Last Year's Position: (-)

One lingering question hangs over this film like one great big black cloud, why the hell is it not available on region 2??? I really, honestly don't get it. My number two best horror of the nineties, and it has appeared on many horror lists as one of the best. This film was the reason i eventually got my dvd player chipped. Some dumb fuck somewhere has let this one sit on the shelf for 15 bloody years as a vhs only version in the UK. Come on distributors, sort it the fuck out!!!!

Rant over, now to the good stuff   Oh my oh my, what a film we have here! Most definitely Carpenter's last classic, and easily his best since the Thing, in fact, it's probably his second best film, behind the Thing. In the Mouth of Madness is a real brain teaser. I remember my first viewing of this film, and going down the local straight after watching it. I sat there, in a corner, i didn't speak to anyone for some time, i just stared out into space, sipping my beer. My brain was a mess, my senses were all over the place, i couldn't concentrate, couldn't think straight. Am i living in reality here, or is this some bizarre incident from a story, am i a puppet, is nothing i do or say my own choices, is reality really what i think it is, or have i got it all wrong. Bloody hell, when a horror fucks up your poor little brain and turns you into a blundering, almost vegetable, hell it deserves recognition! I was a total mess down the pub, and it took me a few beers to get my head straight.

The film is lead by Sam Neill  who plays an insurance guy by the name of John Trent, a realist, a guy who sees what's in front of him and doesn't believe in, shall we say, hocus pocus   He has been hired by a publishing company to track down their most profitable writer, the mysterious Sutter Cane. Cane, apparently, out sell's Stephen King by the bucket load and his work is known to have an effect on the reader, basically turning them into a bit of a psychotic, basically, a bit like me down the pub that night   Trent decides to delve into this horror writers work after being told of how is books effect people. A truly mesmerising scene see's Trent and his boss in a cafe talking about the case, whilst creeping up outside is a crazy looking man who looks like he should be homeless. He has a huge great axe, and uses it to smash through the cafe's windows in order to ask Trent "do you read Sutter Cane" in a strange, higher than expected voice. He could've just used the door, but it wouldn't have had the same effect! He is shot dead, and Trent is a little nervous, and after finding out the guy was actually Cane's agent, Trent starts to believe that maybe the books do have some sort of hold over its readers.

Trent reads, and nightmare visions become all too frequent. A brilliant scene, reminiscent of the classic dream sequence from An American Werewolf in London, sees Trent wake up from a nightmare, only to turn head on into another. Its these moments that show Carpenter's skill, and proof that he can make as many Ghosts of fuckin Mars as he wants, but he still has this film under his belt! Starting to go a little mad himself, Trent believes he has found a map to Hobb's End, the town mentioned in all Cane's books, and the place he expects to find him. He heads off, using his map and taking a female publisher, and has an almost childlike optimism that this whole thing is a set up, a way of getting him to help sell Cane's new book. The build up before this gradually gets more and more intense, as Trent's visions and mental state seem to be getting worse. And who better to play the part than the King of all things weird and crazy, Sam Neill. Anyone else, the film would not have been as good, it would still have been a classic, but Sam Neill's commanding central performance pushes its level of greatness just that little bit further.

As we head towards Hobbs End, Carpenter is clearly relishing in his inventiveness at really messing with our heads. We have Cane's agent who keeps making an appearance to Trent's dreams, saying "he see's you", and an odd looking Cane fan in a book shop also telling Trent "I see you". Everyone seems to be able to see him! So Carpenter brings us to Hobbs End in fantastic style. Trent, still full of excitement at this hoax, the woman sleeping, and we start to see a young lad on a bike ride past the car in the middle of nowhere, in the dead of night. Not once, but a few times. It's creepy to say the least. The woman takes over driving, and in a scene very much like the arrival of the Cenobites in Hellraiser, she drives through a dark tunnel with strange lights coming through the gaps. Bright light all of a sudden, Hobb's End, we have arrived. Fully expected to be the stuff of nightmares, it look like your average country town. Nothing strange or odd about it. What the hell was all this fuss about. They check into a hotel from one of Cane's novels, but hey, what that? The woman who apparently cut her husband into little pieces is nothing but a frail old bag who probably couldn't harm a fly! But there is something sinister going on, the paintings seem to be moving....

Trent still believes it all to be a hoax, and even after witnessing the towns folk attempting to Lynch Cane at his Demon church in order to get their kids back, Trent does not believe. Nobody pulls his strings, this is NOT reality!! Carpenter lets loose some great set pieces, like Cane's dogs coming out from the church, all in slow motion, and attacking the locals, the excellent use of paintings which are ever changing, the creepy old lady in the hotel, could she really murder her husband? The mood continues to darken and become more and more dreamlike. One of horrors truly great moments happens as Trent decides enough is enough and he tries to leave. After witnessing the woman he is with swallowing the car keys, and letting out a really heartfelt "Jesus!!!!", he drives off. That young lad who they kept seeing at the side of the road, is there again, this time he is old and they knock him off his bike. After riding off, Trent is dealt another horrific blow, his lady friend has turned herself upside down, in a brilliant special effects and perfect sound effects moment, and she appears from behind the car. You almost want to laugh, but it's just too damn unsettling to laugh at, you're horrified! And then Carpenters big moment comes, one of horrors true greats, Trent on his way out of town, suddenly drives back into town "a few bad judgements, a few wrong turns" says Trent   Ok, let's try again, whoops, no, not gonna happen! He can't get out! Its genius, a brilliant brilliant moment!

Even after all this, all this pure horror brilliance, playing everything perfectly, doing everything you always hoped a horror would deliver, Carpenter still has even more great moments up his sleeve. In the Mouth of Madness is literally full of all those horror moments that you cannot help but love. Not horror cliché's, Carpenter is too full of ideas here for that, but horror moments, and some even nodding back to the 80's heyday. Another nod to Hellraiser is when Trent is literally chased out of Hobbs End after being told his fate by Cane, and a bunch of wonderful, non-CGI moments chase him. You only get glimpses of the beasts, but it's just enough, and they do look awesome. Cane himself is not quite how you expected him to be, he's devilish and creepy but has a charm to him, a feeling you would've got from Julian Sands as the Warlock. He's evil, but not made to look over the top evil. He doesn't need to hide behind horrific monstrous looks; he's more a confident evil bastard!

We finish off on a most excellent ending, full of more head fuck, jump out of your seat moments. We truly sympathise with Trent's mental state, and a sudden moments when everything inside his coach turns blue, you find yourself literally screaming along with him. I won't go into any detail about the end in case you haven't seen it, but it's a great twist, and very few horrors have pulled off a mind-trip quite like this. It's a truly wonderful finish to a perfectly polished film, and the final scene will either have you applauding at its greatness, laughing at its irony, and screaming your damn head off. Either way, In The Mouth of Madness is one of the last truly great horrors with more ideas than it could justifiably squeeze in to 95mins, more terror, more brute power than most other horrors put together. It is a one off, one that doesn't require a sequel, or a feckin remake, it just requires a damn fine special edition version on region 2!!!!
10/10

- dj vivace

In 1994, we saw two things.  John Carpenter finally making another good film and at the same time seeing the end of his director legacy as since this rare beauty, the man that give us Halloween, The Fog and The Thing, as simply vanished into B movie horror.

The film that sits proudly at the number one was a huge flop!  It was! If you want to ask me why? Then I can simply not answer that!  Maybe it was ahead of its time, maybe the different and weird tone was too much for the audience of that year, who knows? But one thing I do know, that over the years the reputation of this film as increased and now its considered a lost film of Carpenter's, waiting to be discovered by his hordes of new fans.

In the Mouth Of Madness is heavily influenced by the works of H.P.Lovecraft, even the title is slightly borrowed from one of his plays "At the mountain of madness", and like his many tales, the nightmare on show here as to be seen to be believed.

We start off in the present and see the man of the story John Trent in a sort of mental breakdown in a padded cell.  Black drawn crosses fill the surrounding walls as Trent begins to tell his story of how he got there.    At first the plot seems basic if not borderline boring, as Trent is a Fraud investigator whose next case is discover why a famous Horror writer as disappeared!  So far so simple and for the a while this film seems to be nothing special.

But then a change of tone and pace develops as Trent goes further into the disappearance of Sutter Cane, he slowly begins to lose his sanity and for the watching its a trip into a nightmare world of things all black.

Sam Neil is simply outstanding in the role.  His straight laced to demented man is a portrayal that should have won more acclaim than it actually did.   He plays it with such an energy and vibe that its hard not to feel sympathy for the man who is just trying to do his job.  Jurgen Prochnow and even Charlton Heston are all great supports as the film moves into a strange world of horror.

Fans of Carpenter rejoice, all his signature moves are here from certain shots to his own created music.  The truth is when big John is as good as this, no other horror director can touch him, its just a shame we do not see it any more.

In the Mouth is no question one of thee underrated horrors ever to be ignored.  Its simply a wonderful horror and concluded Carpenters self confessed "Apocalypse Trilogy" following on from The Thing and Prince of Darkness.

Its not Carpenters best film but that's only because the films before it are in a different league to most horrors.  It is though in my opinion 90's best horror and a film destined to be found by a new generation.

- HughesRoss

974.
Lolita
(1962; Stanley Kubrick)



Last Year's Position: (-)


Lolita is many things: Shocking on its release, surprisingly humorous, chillingly abrupt, and with a quaintness that appears at odds with the content. However, it is a film that explores the darker, less-written-about paths through the human psyche and presents them in an almost straightforward way that burrows into one's view of acceptability until one has to step back and think, she's fourteen. The shock is somewhat lessened by Sue Lyons actual age, as she clearly looks older than her character is supposed to be. Not acceptably older, granted, but older nonetheless. She is also viewed alongside the horrifically ordinary (or as Quilty might say, 'normal') Charlotte Haze, who begins to grate not only on Humbert (Mason) but on the viewer as well. We are supposed to find Lolita the more reasonable of the two. Just as Poirot or Miss Marple were given the illusion of exceptional powers of deduction when surrounded by idiots and fools, so Lolita is given the illusion of exception powers of seduction, when surrounded by the same. Indeed, the film is not an impartial account, but a view of the world through Humbert's eyes. So it is that "Lolita's Theme” as played over the intimate credits sequence is melodious, and aching, and beautiful, and everything that Humbert thinks he can have with this girl. It is specifically not atonal, nor tense, and does not give away the sickness within the film.

Despite the film being from Humbert's point of view, Sellers as Clare Quilty steals the film absolutely. Whether gleefully ignorant in the opening (and closing) scene (a nice self-referential Spartacus reference), or jittery impersonating a policeman, or assured as the Germanic doctor, or nervous as a pervert phone caller, he masters every scene he is in. The chameleon-like quality to his acting style foreshadows Kubrick's next film, Dr Strangelove, in his trio of parts. James Mason does a fine job as the lead, treading that line between sympathetic and alienating himself. In one significant scene we see him lying with Charlotte, by now his wife, kissing her neck and shoulders as he glances at the framed photo of Lolita on her bedside table. It is eerie and wrong, yet presented in a tender way. Kubrick does not resort to cheap tricks to pull our emotions this way or that, but allows us to make up our own minds. The fact that the marriage is a sham is never spoken but is clearly a front only to stay close to Lolita. Perhaps the accident is a little convenient, but it does allow us to see what Humbert is emotionally capable of doing which is a chilling prelude to the opening, and closing scene of the film.

Lolita is not an easy film to watch, but it is surprisingly easy-going. The film is rife with humour – both subtle and obvious (the cot-bed farce is great) – and that humour is then used even more effectively as it is undercut by the themes within the film. Certainly this is not one of Kubrick's greatest, but as a character study, especially given the era in which it was made, it is superb.

- homersimpson_esq


As with a good majority of Stanley Kubrick's films, Lolita was greeted with a huge amount of controversy on its initial release. Adapted from Vladmir Nabokov's already hugely controversial novel, just why Kubrick decided to attempt an adaptation isn't exactly clear. Of course, his presence alone would suggest that Lolita (the film) would become a masterpiece of visionary cinema, but it was clearly destined for box-office failure (apart from the visits of rowdy students and the baggy-coat paedophile parade) and moral indignation (Cary Grant actually turned down the role that James Mason plays because of the latter). The plot sees two middle-aged men (James Mason and Peter Sellers) become infatuated with a 14-year-old girl (Sue Lyon). In fact, Professor Humbert Humbert (Mason) falls so desperately in love that he marries Lolita's mother (Shelley Winters) to get closer to her.

Lolita's primary strength is its wonderful cast. Peter Sellers is the star despite the fact that he only really has a supporting role. He reels off a fine range of impersonations and dialects, each one of them as hilarious as the last. It wouldn't be an understatement to say that this is no doubt a pre-cursor to his signature role(s) in Dr Strangelove or... and that he was probably cast as the president, the scientist and the RAF officer because of the versatility that he so wonderfully shows here. James Mason is equally well versed as the introvert Professor Humbert, exuded smarm whilst still suggesting enough charm to show why the titular Lolita fell for him in the first place. If there's one problem with the casting (notice I didn't say the acting, but the casting), it's that of Sue Lyon as the pre-pubescent Lolita. Although she put in a perfectly fine performance, she was sixteen and looked it. It's perfectly understandable, though, that the studio would want a slightly older actress to play the fourteen year old, if only to make an already inappropriate subject a little less alienating.

What Lolita is, is a black comedy. You would be forgiven for thinking that it's a drama, but it's not. There are plenty of top-notch jokes, including a drunk James Mason learning to 'dance', and the whole performance is played out with a tongue-in-cheek quality that makes the film supersede the fact that its source material is overly risqué. The best segments, though, are those that see Sellers involved, particularly the opening segment in which he is oblivious to the fact that Mason's Humbert is about to kill him. In fact, he plays ping-pong with him, the paddle in one hand and a pistol in the other. It's the hypocrisy of Lolita that makes the whole thing so funny. For instance, Humbert points out the paedophilic nature of Sellers' Clare Quilty, when he himself is only berating him so he can get nearer to the pre-pubescent prize. In fact, you could argue that Lolita is an attack on the hypocrisy of the viewer, as if we too are appalled by the sordid acts of our performers, yet we can't bear to look away.

Verdict

Although not quite on the level of Kubrick's better creations, Lolita is a darkly comic, important, deep, and highly controversial film that still deserves its reputation as a bonafide classic.

- Piles

974.
The Prodigal Son
(1981; Sammo Hung)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Wing Chun is a close combat martial arts style, a form of Chinese boxing inspired by snake and crane movements and featuring the "sticking hands" technique. Legend says the fighting style was taught to Yim Wing-Chun (and named after her) in the early 1700s by a Shaolin nun, in order to help Yim defeat a warlord who was trying to force her into marriage. The character of Yim Wing-Chun can be seen played by Michelle Yeoh in the 1984 film Wing Chun. The lineage of the style can allegedly be traced from the nun who taught Yim, Ng Mui (one of the Five Elders of Kung Fu) down to Ip Man and Bruce Lee in the 1950s and early 60s.

The Prodigal Son, one of the great kung fu films of the early 80s, centres on some of the earliest known (i.e. non-folkloric) proponents of Wing Chun, grand sifu Wong Wah-Bo, his compatriot, student (of Wing Chun) and teacher (of pole fighting) Leung Yee-tai, and their student (of both styles), Leung Jan.

Leung Jan (Yuen Biao) is a boorish young man, under the false impression that he is a highly skilled kung fu practitioner, though in fact his wealthy father has been paying his opponents to lose. Upon attending a Chinese Opera performance with friends, Leung Jan tries to get it on with the lead actress. Unfortunately for him, the lead turns out to be a man, and worse, he's Wing Chun expert Lee Yee-tai (Lam Ching-ying). Unlike Leung's previous opponents, Lee refuses to bribed and swiftly puts the youth on his arse. Learning the truth, Leung resolves to follow Lee hoping to convince him to teach him some real martial arts.
An attack on the opera troupe forces Lee and Leung to flee, and whilst they sojourn with Lee's peer, Wong Wah-Bo (Sammo Hung), Leung finally receives the training he so desperately desires, before being forced to put his new skills into practice.

The films features astounding wall-to-wall kung fu fights and training sequences from 3 of the greatest martial arts exponents at their physical peak. There's some typically HK silly humour, which may seem out of place and detract from the story for some viewers, and perhaps there's a little too much of Lam Ching Ying speaking in falsetto. Quite a lot of the film is devoted to that old kung fu film standard of the young novice desperately trying to get the skilled master to be his sifu (see also The Victim and Warriors Two amongst other), when it could have been getting on with more important business. Nevertheless, it's a hugely entertaining kung fu showcase.

- Gram123


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 1/9/2011 10:05:29 AM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 6
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 9/8/2011 9:53:09 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
966.
A Bittersweet Life
(2005;Kim Jee-woon)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Lee Byung Hun is the epitome of cool in this violent and taught thriller. Jee Woon Kim adds heart and soul as well as style and action to the proceedings. Hugely underrated stuff from one of my favourite directors.

- MonsterCat

966.
Bob Le Flambeur
(1956; Jean-Pierre Melville)



Last Year's Position: (757)

Melville's "Bob le Flambeur" tells the story of the titular Bob. Bob, as the title would suggest to all you French-speakers, is addicted to gambling. A small-time crook who once robbed a bank and landed in jail for it, Bob is ready to hit the big time again. His monetary troubles cause him to plot a robbery on a casino, where a reported eight hundred million sits in the safe, just waiting to be taken. The best thing about "Bob le Fambeur" is the last hour, where everything really comes together. Things start heading towards an uncertain conclusion, and there is genuine tension and suspense in the air. It's a shame that the first thirty minutes are nothing more than the set-up, and everything that happens seems obviously shoe horned in just so the real film begin. But, when that film does begin, there's no holding back. Robert Duchesne, playing Bob, seems a different man altogether, as if a spark has been lit. I guess that's the point, because this heist – to Bob – is not just a way to make money. It's a way back into the fray and begin doing the only thing he's ever known how to do. The rest of the performances are equally impressive, particularly Isabelle Corey as Anne, the primary love interest for Bob's apprentice, Paolo (Daniel Cauchy). It's also good in its exploration of its themes; chance and fate. There's a certain degree of both in the cards that Bob plays and in the crimes that he plans. The only other problem with the film, though, is that Melville never knows what kind of film he really wants to make. Is this a character study on Bob? A plain heist film? A romance between Bob, Anne, and Paolo? Sometimes, Melville lets things get a little bit too busy, and flits between the three different styles of narrative at the drop of a hat. It's still a strong film, but its lack of identity and first half hour stop it being the film it could be with a little tweaking.

- Piles.

966.
For A Few Dollars More
(1965; Sergio Leone)



Last Year's Position: (226)

Blurb coming soon.

966.
In My Father's Den
(2004; Brad McGann)



Last Year's Position: (625)

In the recent lists celebrating the finest films of the past decade, one movie has been completely - and bafflingly - ignored. But then its initial release was met with muted response as well: three-star reviews and an accompanying shrug. It treads well-worn ground, the critics said, then lapses into melodrama. Well I'm on a one-man mission to see In My Father's Den inducted into the pantheon of the greats. Matthew Macfadyen plays a photojournalist who returns from a warzone to his childhood home in New Zealand after his father's death and finds he can't escape the past. Though the more obvious, unfortunate staples of this sub-genre are present (child abuse revelations, a climax involving a big gun), those elements are extremely well-handled, while much of the film's focus alights on Macfadyen's burgeoning relationship with the 16-year-old girl (Emily Barclay) who might be his daughter. He also feuds with his brother, rages at his former girlfriend's live-in lover and broods about at least one dark secret. The film is similar in many ways to Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count on Me, which had Mark Ruffalo in the "returning anti-hero" role. This film's superiority, drawn from its unconventionality and unwillingness to deliver any kind of happy ending, is epitomised by how it handles one key exchange. In You Can Count on Me, Ruffalo comes up against his child's odious stepfather and pummels his face to the point of oblivion. Here Macfadyen tries the same thing but gets kicked down some steps, his face bleeding. "Fuckin' prick," says his assailant. The plot is fascinating, its "whodunnit" elements aided by writer-director Brad McGann's non-linear telling, with characters who feel utterly real. And the acting is just extraordinary. Macfadyen's performance is my favourite of the past 10 years, while Barclay is excellent in support. This is a film that makes you feel absolutely terrible, but that's OK - I can't think of many movies that have had such a big effect on me.

- Rick_7.

966.
Little Miss Sunshine
(2006; Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris)



Last Year's Position: (452)

was expecting this to bring the funny, but I wasn't expecting it to bring this much funny, and throw in some emotionally affecting moments in some sort of package deal. The performances are all uniformly excellent, with Carrell, Arkin, Breslin and Dano standing out, and the writing and characterisation are just so utterly brilliant. As with any indie movie of late, the tragedy flies thick and fast, but here it doesn't feel like its being dumped on the characters by the shedload, though the fact that it's only slightly less subtler in that regard is probably the film's biggest fault. However, that's more than made up for by the reveal of Olive's performance piece, one of the funniest things I've ever had the pleasure of watching.

- Pigeon Army.

966.
Rejected
(2000; Don Hertzfeldt)



Last Year's Position: (874)

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

966.
A Shot in the Dark
(1964; Blake Edwards)



Last Year's Position: (757)

Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is called to the country estate of Benjamin Ballon (George Sanders) following the murder of his chauffeur. The chauffeur was having an affair with the maid, Maria Gambrelli (Elke Sommer) and she was found standing over the corpse. She seems the obvious guilty party, but Clouseau falls in love with her on sight and refuses to believe she's the murderer. More murders are committed, with Maria implicated each time, but every time she's arrested, Clouseau sets her free, much to the annoyance of his superior, Dreyfus (Herbert Lom). As Clouseau continues to mess things up (including getting arrested every time he attemps undercover surveillance) he finds himself a target for murder.

Following quickly after the first Pink Panther film, Edwards took advantage of the popularity of the bungling detective by slotting him into a stage play that didn't originally feature the character. It was a stroke of genius because this is probably the funniest of the Clouseau films. I think it helps that here the character is anchored to the strongest story in the series, but at the same time the story is never allowed to overpower the characters. There are some superb set-pieces (Sellers at the nudist colony and the later drive home is a highlight) and note perfect performances  Sellers is obviously magnificent, but Herbert Lom steals the film away from him as the increasingly manic Dreyfus. Burt Kwouk is also hilarious in his series debut as Kato, Clouseau's servant/fight partner.

- Rawlinson

966.
Swiss Family Robinson
(1960; Ken Annakin)



Last Year's Position: (757)

I can't help but gush about this film. It was my first-ever favourite film, I used to watch it endlessly. One whole summer was planned around how many times I could watch this. It's by far the film I've seen most as well, way over 200 times more than ant other. I don't think any VHS tape in existence has ever been worn so much. The final 20 minutes, the pirate attack, I watched countless times, over and over endlessly, in the thousands. However, I haven't seen it since about 1992. Now to be sure, it has faults, most notably that kid who does nowt but shout yippee and the like. It not a masterpiece of deep meaning and philosophy, it won't further your understanding of the human race, but as family entertainment, an adventure film, it's nigh-on untouchable. Storms, snakes, pirates, tigers, that wonderful treehouse that I always wanted to live in (love the version in Disneyland Paris as well), John Mills and Dorothy McGuire as the kind of folk you wouldn't mind being stuck on an island with, that great theme by William Alwyn, everything is just damn fine. After 17 years I was worried that, like with many childhood favourites it would have lost its charm, but it hasn't, not a bit. I know that nostalgia's playing a part in this, but I don't care! And that pirate attack still rocks!

- Gimli the Dwarf. 


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 9/8/2011 11:00:19 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 7
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 9/8/2011 11:33:01 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
956.
The Bishop's Wife
(1947; Henry Koster)



Last Year's Position: (984)

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.

956.
The Constant Gardener
(2005; Fernando Meirelles)



Last Year's Position: (640)

Blurb coming soon.

956.
Enter the Dragon
(1973; Robert Clouse)



Last Year's Position: (-)

While on the phone with my father today, I asked him why he neglected to show me this film when I was a child. He seemed baffled by the question, and asked if I was referring to the Bruce Lee film. On verification of that, he proceeded to say he didn't know and recommend Blind Fury as if that was somehow compensation for the discrepancies in the cinematic education he offered me. Enter the Dragon is a film that I feel, had I seen it when I was ten or eleven, I would have fallen in love with to this day, but as it stands, I only first experienced it in a class on East Asian cinema and, thus, I could not capture the lightning in a bottle childhood would have offered. This reimagination of Dr. No by way of a very Americanised 'Hong Kong' is enjoyable in its silliness, all the more enjoyable because it seems so unaware of how silly it is. Bruce Lee cuts through proceedings with a steely gaze and silly animal noises whenever he fights, and he's ably assisted in perpetuating the film's cheesiness by a leery John Saxon and Jim Kelly's swarthy afro-sporting Williams. The plot moves along with an usual lack of logic, and there are moments aplenty that seem to have been lost in some time-warp of 1970s kitschy silliness - the New Zealander who speaks with a rough Irish-American accent; Bruce Lee's philosophical teachings of a young student at the start; the inexplicable cages of nondescript drunks Han keeps under his island; the symbolism-heavy mirror fight that sports some impractical leaps of logic; "We, Mr. Braithwaite?"; etc. etc. Of course, when the film matters, it matters like a motherfucker - Bruce Lee's fighting skills are insane, ignoring that they're tempered by him calling his moves like he was a rooster, and Saxon, Kelly and Bolo Yeung are pretty excellent in support. It's a piece of stupid pulp fun, and while it's by no means high art, it is enjoyable while it lasts.

- Pigeon Army

956.
The Fog
(1980; John Carpenter)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Antonio Bay is celebrating its 100th anniversary. On what should be a joyous time for the small fishing town, the local priest discovers the dark history of murder that the town was founded on. Six of the founders of Antonio Bay deliberately sunk a ship of lepers. Now the lepers have returned from the grave to seek revenge.

The Fog is often seen as the weak link in John Carpenter's early career.  Coming between Halloween and Escape From New York (with the exception of a couple of t.v. movies) its often overlooked in their favour. It's important that the tradition the film stems from is understood. The opening scene sets the tone of the film, a ghost story told around a campfire to a group of children. The Fog is Carpenter's attempts to create a cinematic version of a literary ghost story.  The storyteller (John Houseman in a cameo role) is named Machen, a nod to Arthur Machen, one of the greatest horror writers who ever lived, and a hugely influential figure. The film also includes nods to H.P. Lovecraft and many critics have seen it as a very Lovecraftian tale. Personally I always felt as if it could have been adapted from a short story by William Hope Hodgson. Hodgson's  ghost stories often took place at sea, and The Fog feels like it could settles nicely alongside his work. 

The fairly large ensemble cast work well together. Adrienne Barbeau is the particular stand-out as the town's dj. Having her broadcast from the lighthouse was a nice touch. It ties her in directly with the town's history while allowing her to almost act as a narrator figure.

The film's slow pace has led to some criticism, but the pacing isn't that far removed from Halloween. The power of The Fog doesn't come from the sudden ghost attacks, if anything the more graphic death scenes can break the mood of the film at times. The chill of The Fog lies in what we can't see, not in what we can. Much like Halloween, the film is at its most effective when the characters are being stalked. The fog effects are superbly spooky while the atmospheric cinematography adds to the haunting feel of the film.

I don't delude myself into thinking that The Fog is for everyone, fans of the more action-packed Carpenter films may be very disappointed. But those willing to lose themselves in its chilly atmosphere and those with a deep love for classic ghost stories will find many rewards here.

- Rawlinson

956.
The Iron-Fisted Monk
(1977; Sammo Hung)



Last Year's Position: (-)

You might not think it to look at him, but Sammo Hung is rightly regarded as one of the Gods of Hong Kong cinema. Once you see him in action it's easy to understand why. He's also regarded as one of the finest and most influential directors in action cinema, and this was his first time behind the camera. Hung stars as a young man seeking revenge against the Manchus for the murder of his uncle. Looking for vengeance and finds a town overrun by Manchus, led by a murderous rapist (Fung Hark-on) he teams up with a Shaolin monk to battle the evil overlord and his henchmen. Ok, so it's simplistic. The Manchu are evil as evil can be, led by a brutal rapist. It's melodramatic at times and the tone shifts uneasily between darkness and sillier comedic scenes. But as debuts go, it's incredibly confident, setting up Sammo as a director with a great deal of talent, especially when it comes to choreographing action scenes, the final battle is an absolute jawdropper.  Newcomers to Hong Kong cinema of this period might not find much of interest, fans will probably be left breathless.

- Rawlinson

956.
Joy Division
(2007; Grant Gee)



Last Year's Position: (-)

The doc that introduced me to the sonic delights of Joy Division. Pop promo man Grant Gee cooked up a fascinating look at the post-punk band and it's tragic lead singer, Ian Curtis.

Packed with loads of great talking head scenes with Hooky, Barney Sumner and the late great Tony Wilson.

- Monster Cat

956.
The Killers
(1946; Robert Siodmak)



Last Year's Position: (748)

956.
Louisiana Story
(1948; Robert Flaherty)



Last Year's Position: (595)

is a fascinating film from docu-drama pioneer Robert Flaherty concerning oil exploration in the Louisiana swamps. As with his earlier triumphs Man of Aran and the smash-hit Nanook of the North, it's a realistic but intensified portrait of a way of life that will soon be lost forever. It's also notably lacking in propaganda considering it was bankrolled by Standard Oil! The film is told through the eyes of a young Cajun boy, allowing the director to avoid questions of the morality surrounding oil drilling, focusing instead on the awesome spectacle of the process - as well as the changes that the new technology may bring. The narrative mixes breathtakingly poetic scenes of daily life, the greatest of which show the boy (Joseph Boudreaux) paddling around the wilds, with a handful of scripted scenes utilising non-professional actors that are artificial and stilted by comparison. For the most part, it has a lingering power and sense of wonder that no other director has ever really approached, with extraordinary cinematography and ideal playing by Boudreaux - from whom Flaherty draws a naturalistic, engaging performance.
 
Favourite bit: The opening sequence, a jaw-dropping journey through the swamps.
 
See also: Jim Jarmusch's Down by Law, which also spends some time in Louisiana. For Flaherty, how about a double-bill of Nanook of the North and Kabloonak? The former is Flaherty's 1922 film about the Inuk people in the Canadian arctic; the latter is a fictionalised making-of, with Charles Dance as the director. Incidentally, Flaherty's body of work remains controversial, since he recreated genuine and authentic-looking scenarios in his "documentaries". That's led to accusations of fakery. If he'd just pegged the films as fiction, he'd have been praised for their startling realism.

- Rick_7

956.
La notte
(1961; Michelangelo Antonioni)



I have my own recipe for Strombolian films, which I came up with a few months ago. Rather than re-watching the film, I watch another film by the same director. It worked for Rivette. It worked for Wong. Now it worked for Antonioni.
I’ll begin by stating the obvious. The film is amazingly beautiful – the mise-en-scène is perfect, so is the cinematography, and so is Vitti. I took 26 screenshots while watching the film, which is an obscenely large amount, even for me. Sure, I won’t keep all of them, but the fact that it made me want to should account for something...
As I said, my recipe worked. I liked La notte more than L’avventura but I also now I appreciate the latter more than I used to. If I remember correctly, the former didn’t click with me because the character’s motivations didn’t make sense. Now I know that they don’t have to. The intelligentsia drift through life and relationships, leaving behind only memories they later regret. The characters actually feel more real than they usually do; it’s the fact that they’re flawed which makes them so easy to identify with.
In a way, it’s a film that’s too mature for me. I wouldn’t expect the film to connect with me, but it did. That’s partly because of the brilliant performances (my second Moreau and Vitti film, my first Marcello, if I’m not mistaken, and I certainly want to see more from all of them), partly because of the aforementioned cinematography, and partly, because it just manages to pull it off. Also, unlike L’avventura, I didn’t find it slow. Sure, not many things happen, but nothing feels excessive, which is always a trademark of a good film.

- Miles Messervy 007

956.
West Side Story
(1961; Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins)



Last Year's Position: (748)

Gangs are scary for kids. Especially gangs that dance.

- Martin Crane

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 8
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 10/8/2011 9:01:52 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
946.
Ballad of a Soldier
(1959, Grigori Chukrai)



Last Year's Position: (734)

Blurb coming soon.

946.
Bronson
(2009; Nicholas Winding Refn)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Bronson opens with our titular convict, 'Charlie' Bronson (Tom Hardy), ruminating on how he always wanted to "be famous". "I had a callll-ing; I just didn't know what as," he says with a clipped Cockney accent and the tone of someone who knows the answer to his own question. "It wasn't singin'. I can't fuckin' act. Kind of runnin' out of choices, really. Aren't we?" It's this small monologue that serves as the springboard for the next ninety minutes, both as a portrait of Britain's most violent prisoner and an investigation of the cult of personality that surrounds some of the world's most notorious prisoners, how we as a society give them exactly what they want through hype and media coverage. Winding Refn may not necessarily negotiate it in pitch perfect fashion - certainly, Bronson is a work that's rough around the edges thematically (and aurally, at least in the case of the screener I was watching). However, what Winding Refn does is allow us to understand how easy it is to become fascinated by a figure like Charles Bronson, thanks to both Winding Refn's grand, bold direction and Tom Hardy's tour de force performance. Hardy is like a man possessed as Bronson, encapsulating the real-life prisoner's terrifying, enthralling theatricality. He's a man on a stage, and the world is his audience, cheering behind their copies of The Sun and The Telegraph as he kicks arse and takes names. At the same time, there's no doubt that Bronson is a man - a grotesque, larger-than-life man, certainly, but a man all the same, one capable of heartbreak and sadness, but not one capable of letting those emotions be seen (the scene in which Bronson's girlfriend reveals she's in love with her boyfriend Brian who "has a motorcycle" is a fantastic example of this, Hardy barely moving a thing while his eyes scream out in pain). Meanwhile, Winding Refn directs with a style suiting the man, one that encapsulates his magnetic personality. Scenes are scored to grandiose classical compositions, long shots and low-angle shots are used regularly to frame Bronson and his prison environments, and the audience cheers as Bronson avoids rehabilitation (his taking hostage of his art teacher gets raucous applause, condoning his rehabilitation failing in spectacular fashion because it gives them more of the cheeky brawler Bronson they know and love, not sensitive arty Bronson). It's cleverer than it lets on, and Hardy is a powerful screen presence who should've been Oscar-nominated for this role ahead of some of the actual nominees (*cough*Freeman*cough*), and if it were a bit more in-depth and intelligent than it is, it could conceivably be amazing.

- Pigeon Army

946.
Casino Royale
(1967; Val Guest, Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Richard Talmadge)



Last Year's Position: (972)

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.

946.
C.R.A.Z.Y.
(2005; Jean-Marc Vallee)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

946.
Crumb
(1994, Terry Zwigoff)



Last Year's Position: (808)

This critically acclaimed documentary examines the bizarre life and work of Robert Crumb. For those unfortunate enough to have never encountered the work of Crumb, he's a near legendary comic book artist who was first acclaimed as part of the 'underground' scene of the late 60s. His breakthrough came from his Fritz The Cat and Keep On Truckin' cartoons, but the man seems unhappy with his most famous work or at least with the way they entered the mainstream.  His disdain for the film of Fritz The Cat is legendary, and he makes clear that he dislikes the fact that Keep On Truckin' has been reused over the years without any payment going his way. But is there more to Crumb than just the weird sex that people associate with his cartoons? Was that question even worth asking?

I'll just start off by saying that Crumb is either completely reckless or incredibly honest. For a man who seems so publicity shy, he's willing to completely expose himself on camera here. He makes no attempt to hide the darker side of his personality. But then he's been exposing himself on paper for decades, so what difference does a camera make? His comics have been criticised over the years and both his critics and supporters are interviewed in this documentary. His critics think he is both racist and sexist, while his supporters have claimed that it's simply a case of extreme social criticism.

So what's true? I think there is an element of parody and social critique in his work, in fact I think it makes up a large part of his work. But there's also an undeniable sense of anger in his cartoons. But I don't think he's racist or sexist. With the racism, I think he's merely taking a viewpoint and exploding it until it's as in your face as it can possibly be. Race would have been a huge issue through Crumb's formative years, and I think he's playing with the racial attitudes he came into contact with. As for the sexism, his comics do have a warped view of women and they show what some call misogyny, but I always thought of it as misanthropy. Crumb doesn't hate women, he hates everyone, himself included. If anything I think his sexism is a misguided awe of women. His women are usually strong and dominant and his men are snivelling and weak. It's a bizarre form of respect that's been filtered through a damaged mind. Crumb's view of sex takes up a large part of the documentary, he himself admits to having a lot of anger towards women. His former lovers that agreed to be interviewed seem to have fairly positive memories of this odd little man.

So is the fact that Crumb is a damaged man a reasonable excuse for some of the attitudes that he displays in his work? The film reveals that Crumb suffered trauma as a child from various sources, from his tyrant of a father, from his seemingly uninterested mother, from the neglect by girls his age. He was a geeky teenager who felt that women were unattainable. But when he actually let out his fantasies on paper, they became interested in him.

The film depicts Robert Crumb as a man tormented by his demons. We spend a lot of time thinking of him as this strange individual but when we meet his brothers, we realise that Robert was the normal one in the family.  The exploration of Charles and Maxon is actually frightening. Charles appears to be an incredibly gifted artist, and possibly the man that inspired Robert to start drawing. But he suffered some kind of breakdown and lived in a back bedroom of his mother's house, surrounded by old books and barely able to function. The interview with Charles makes for the most tragic part of the film, he's an obviously talented and intelligent man, and seeing him in such circumstances is close to heartbreaking. You can only wonder at how insightful, and disturbing, a documentary on Charles would have been. The interview with Maxon is less enlightning. He's obviously just as damaged as Charles, and just as talented an artist, but he's somehow more withdrawn and he refuses to reveal too much of himself on camera.

So the film leaves us with questions. Does great art come from a life of torture? Why did Robert escape the madness to become such an icon while his brothers live life in such despair? Were his comics his therapy and was his success the reason he can live a normal life? Is he just a racist and a sexist or is his work social criticism? For all of his honesty on camera, these questions remain frustratingly unanswered. Part of me longs for a follow-up documentary to see how he's doing these days, but part of me is worried that the despair in this film would be too overwhelming if Zwigoff ever revisited it. Crumb is a unique portrait of a unique man.

- Rawlinson

946.
Diary of a Country Priest
(1951; Robert Bresson)



Last Year's Position: (734)

Blurb coming soon.

946.
Forbidden Planet
(1956; Fred M. Wilcox)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

946.
The Garden
(1968; Jan Svankmajer)



Last Year's Position: (687)

Two friends whose relationship remains unknown meet and discuss nature, before hopping in the car and going to one of their homes. The host talks about coffee, about cultivation, and about a good house. The visitor can't keep his eyes from straying to the perimeter of the garden, and the host's living, breathing fence. The fence is made up of hundreds of people, holding hands and staring off into the distance, and you can't help but feel a little uneasy when watching it.

I don't know anything about Svankmajer's political leanings, but if I had to hazard a guess I would say that "the Garden” – at heart – is an anti-communist film. It's never explained why the people stand there, and whether they do it out of choice or because of the host's oppression, and all the better for it. At first, it actually feels quite uplifting. These people, out in the fresh air, holding hands, it's quite a refreshing sight. Even the host, Josef (Jiri Halek), notes how beautiful it is, and how calm the people are. But, there are several little moments and touches that give away Svankmajer's ulterior motives. The first is Boruvka (Vaclav Borovicka), who takes naps at night and sometimes even has a sit down. While this may seem quite normal, he receives a stern telling off from his Lenin-esque 'owner'. The second is the line "I put an engineer between two butchers, or vice versa”. Occupation is unimportant, and prestige is non-existent. Although this may seem like a good thing, the loss of identity is actually quite frightening. Thirdly, there are the two members of the fence plays "rock, paper, scissors”. Whenever Josef appears, they stop, as if worried that their joviality will receive stern punishment. Finally – and perhaps most poignantly – there is Frank (Ludek Kopriva), the visitor. When he hears about the wall and its supposed advantages, he leaps at the chance to join the line. As soon as he does, he is no longer Frank. He is now just part of the system… another cog in the wheel… another soul for Josef to own.

Past this, there is the general aesthetic of the film to applaud. This is Svankmajer's first film made up completely of live action, but he still directs it as he would one of his animations. There are quick cuts, often several in the space of a couple of seconds, to cram as much information, emotion, and meaning into as little time as he can. There are also intense close-ups, showing bemusement, happiness, or boredom on the faces of Svankmajer's actors. If there was ever one film which was testament to the thought that you can't get the kind of emotion that you do from animation as you do from live action, it's this one, because this is Svankmajer's most emotive film to date. It's also great how he gives you enough to let you in on the plot, but keeps enough from you to keep the secret to himself. After watching this wonderful little film, I was wondering as to whether I should be confused, enlightened, affected, amused, or disturbed, and then it dawned on me; I was all of these things. In just seventeen wonderful minutes, Svankmajer crafts a film as toughing and as intelligent as most directors do in a hundred.

- Piles

946.
Top Hat
(1935; Mark Sandrich)



Last Year's Position: (755)

Top Hat is the pinnacle of the Fred and Ginger series, with the best musical numbers, the funniest jokes and the most outrageous production design - including a patently ridiculous Venice, a city that's apparently indoors and made out of plaster of Paris. Fred is an affable playboy who falls for model Ginger, but - due to reasons too silly to go into here - she's convinced he's married. And an adulterous wretch. That mistaken identity plot trundles on for most of the film and provides an extraordinary number of laughs. The music is sublime, with all five of the Irving Berlin numbers emerging as classics. 'No Strings' is a solo tap for Fred, danced in a hotel room. The famous 'Top Hat, White Tie and Tails' is a clever stage-set number. The epic 'Piccolino' recalls 'The Continental' (from The Gay Divorcee, Oscar winner for Best Song), while 'Isn't It a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)' and 'Cheek to Cheek' are two of Fred and Ginger's greatest dances together. The connotations of the latter: love conquering all at a time of considerable adversity, have seen the Top Hat version used in films as varied as The Purple Rose of Cairo and The English Patient. Despite tough competition from The Gay Divorcee and Swing Time, Top Hat is my favourite Fred and Ginger movie. It's also my favourite musical of all time - a glorious paean to love and song that also finds time to put a frozen steak on Edward Everett Horton's face. And it doesn't get much better than that.

Favourite bit: Cheek to Cheek - blissfully romantic, the troubled filming (ostrich feathers everywhere, quite a few strops) leaving no mark on the escapist wonderment of the finished article.

- Rick_7.

946.
Whistle and I'll Come to You
(1968; Jonathan Miller)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Jonathan Miller's adaptation of M.R. James classic ghost story stands among the finest films of 1960s British cinema. James's stories stood as warnings to those who delve to deeply into forbidden knowledge or areas where they didn't belong. Whistle tells the story of Professor Parkins, an academic who takes a holiday to the eastern coast of England. While exploring the shore area, he discovers an old whistle inscribed with a phrase in Latin, 'Who is this who is coming?'. When Parkins blows the whistle, someone, or something, answers the call. He becomes haunted by dreams of being followed along the beach, and he soon finds he is no longer alone in his hotel room. Parkins is a rational figure whose disbelief in the supernatural becomes shaken to the core. Michael Hordern gives an endlessly inventive performance as Professor Parkins. By turns he is argumentative, comedic, eccentric, arrogant and blinkered to the feelings of others, yet still pulling great empathy from the viewer. The performance is possibly the finest the great actor ever gave. Miller also shows a great talent at capturing the sense of quiet foreboding of James' stories, turning the windswept coastline into a desolate area where nightmares live, and conjuring phantoms out of the everyday.

- Rawlinson 

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 9
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 10/8/2011 10:54:20 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
937.
Easy Living
(1937; Mitchell Leisen)



Last Year's Position: (-)

The film opens as notorious banker J.B. Ball (Edward Arnold) and his wife Jenny (Mary Nash) are having an argument over her extravagance, an argument Arnold ends by throwing her new, incredibly expensive, fur-coat off their balcony. This happens to be at exactly the same moment as an open-top bus is passing underneath, carrying Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) to work. The coat hits her and kicks off a string of events that begins with Arnold buying her a hat to go with the coat and follows through her getting fired from her job whereupon she ends up living in the penthouse of a swanky, but failing, hotel and being romanced by Arnold's son, John Ball Jr. (Ray Milland) who she thinks is a busboy, before culminating with her nearly causing a stock market disaster. It's simply one of the most charming of all the screwball comedies, as a string of mistaken identities and unexpected events build to one glorious muddle with Arthur absolutely enchanting as the naive Mary Smith. I think my favourite ever Jean Arthur moment comes from Easy Living, when you discover her kind-hearted approach to opening a piggy bank. There's also excellent support from Milland, Arnold and William Demarest's gossip columnist. Nearly stealing the entire show is Luis Alberni as the hotel manager desperate to keep his business afloat.

- Rawlinson

937.
The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
(1984; Liu Chia-Liang)



Last Year's Position: (984)

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.

937.
The Hill
(1965; Sidney Lumet)



Last Year's Position: (721)

Remember when Sean Connery used to actually be an actor? It seems like a hell of a long time ago now but once upon a time watching him act was an actual pleasure. The Hill is up there with The Offence as his finest work, here he plays a British soldier thrown into a military prison in the African desert for assaulting an officer. A sadistic new prison guard takes delight in forcing the soldiers to repeatedly climb a man-made hill, in full kit, under the blazing sun. When a tragedy occurs, the prisoners rebel against their guards. Connery is magnificent, relying on more than his accent and his charisma and actually creating a memorable and believable character. He's ably matched by a supporting cast that includes Ossie Davis, Ian Hendry, Ian Bannen, Michael Redgrave and Harry Andrews. Lumet was at his best when directing tense and claustrophobic dramas and The Hill ranks among his finest work.

- Rawlinson .

937.
Late Chrysanthemums
(1954; Mikio Naruse)



Last Year's Position: (734)

Blurb coming soon

937.
My Fair Lady
(1964; George Cukor)



Last Year's Position: (-)

This is, I fear going to be a controversially high placing, but what do I care - with every viewing of My Fair Lady, I love it just a little bit more. That isn't to say its without its faults, its sory of loses its way a bit after the intermission, and does probably go on a bit too long, but it is such a delight, especially in the first half that it is all forgiveable. For those not in the know (you're possibly on the wrong website), My Fair Lady is of course the musical version of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, in which a linguist, Henry Higgins bets his, erm, friend that he can pass urchin flower seller Eliza off as a Lady within three months. The stage show featured Rex Harrisson and Julie Andrews. Somewhat controversially Andrews (not yet a star) was axed in favour of Audrey Hepburn, who it was decided couldn't do the songs well enough and was dubbed anyway. Andrews got the last laugh, winning an Oscar for Mary Poppins over Hepburn even while My Fair Lady won basically every other oscar ever.
While the debate about her voice can rage on (On the DVD and inevitably on YouTube you can hear her versions of a couple of the songs, and they aren't that bad at all) I'm not sure her performance can be knocked, she's convincingly hearty as Eliza Doolittle street flower seller on Tottenham Court Road, and the reveal of her as Lady Eliza in big hat and bow (Lady Gaga was surely taking notes) is sublime. Rex Harrison is reprised from the musical, as closet homosexual/"confirmed bachelor" (Why can't a woman be more like a man, indeed) Henry Higgins, and he is the thing that keeps the film still while Hepburn can be as ostentatious as the role decrees.
The main reason of course, why My Fair Lady is so blooming (sorry) brilliant is the songs - what good is a nigh-on three hour musical without some memorable tunes? And indeed, My Fair Lady has them in spades - Wouldn't it be Loverly, The Rain in Spain, Just you Wait, Show Me, Get me to the church on time, I've grown accustomed to her face etc - anyone who isn't humming them for days has something the matter with them.
The film owes a debt to its stage beginnings, with some scenes (like the final dance where Higgins tries to pass Eliza off as a Lady) looking quite stagey, but I love how it toys with the conventions of the musical. Of course in musicals, the songs are supposed to express the inner feelings of the character, in My Fair Lady, this is done, but you're never exactly sure if the songs take place or not - there is a wonderful moment where Eliza, sick to death of being shaped, imagines Higgins killed and is interrupted mid song by Higgins himself, and we're never exactly sure if he's caught her singing or not.
There is also the suggestion that Harrison's Higgins is a misogynist, but I don't think so either. He's elitest, classist, possibly in the closet, misanthropic, arrogant and often awful, but there is never the sense that he would treat any pupil any differently from Eliza, indeed his is so disdainful of one of his previous students, now a translator for an absassador for a Prime Minister he can barely hide it. And he treats Eliza's father with a similar amusement to that that he treats Eliza.

- Rhubarb

937.
The Prince of Egypt
(1998; Simon Wells, Brenda Chapman & Steve Hickner)



Last Year's Position: (-)

For their first traditionally animated feature film, Dreamworks decided to tackle the Bible - this, obviously, is a difficult thing to do. But damn, they did it fantastically. It looks amazing; the animation is stunning, with the chariot race being a highlight. Hans Zimmer's score is brilliant - the opening number is fantastic. What's more, they don't take a simplistic approach to the subject matter; the relationship between Rameses and Moses is pretty realistic whilst the Angel of Death scene is horrible. It's a great film, but doesn't seem to get much love.

Best Scene: the Plagues (great song combined with a great sequence)

- MovieAddict247

937.
Splendor in the Grass
(1961; Elia Kazan)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

937.
The Town
(2010; Ben Affleck)



Last Year's Position: (-)

While his name does not yet make my heart skip a beat in excitement like the Coens or Fincher, for example, Affleck is now two-for-two with a tense and confidently crafted follow up to Gone Baby Gone, that with its ear for dialogue and good character beats mixed in with action would not look out of place alongside something from Sidney Lumet in the 70s. Affleck has a natural affinity for the blue-collar world in which his gang of bank robbers operates and roots the world in a downbeat, boozy reality. The heist sequences are handled deftly and there's a refreshing avoidance of routes well-travelled - the bank manager of their last heist that Affleck's gang leader falls for (Rebecca Hall) spots an identifying tattoo on one of his gang - but whereas most other, lesser, films would heavily signpost for a climatic development, Affleck swerves it and does no such thing. It's a bit of a backhanded compliment to say it's Affleck's best on-screen performance, but it is, and while the other characters are all a cliche (the hot headed best friend, the innocent beauty, the dogged FBI man on their trial, the criminal mastermind on the periphery) Affleck elicits good performances throughout, with Jeremy Renner's psycho the most memorable. Impressive stuff that leaves genuinely excited about where Affleck could be heading.

- Matty_b

937.
25th Hour
(2002; Spike Lee)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 10
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 11/8/2011 6:53:43 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
931.
The Hole
(1998; Tsai Ming-liang)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

931.
Natural Born Killers
(1994; Oliver Stone)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

931.
Requiem for a Village
(1975; David Gladwell)



Last Year's Position: (-)

God bless the BFI. Through their Flipside label they're releasing some of the most interesting examples of British cinema, but as good as some of the more unknown releases have been, nothing prepared me for the unsettling Requiem for A Village. We open in the English suburbia of the 70s. An old man takes his bike out of his shed and rides out into the nearby country, modern life gives way to the pastoral as cars disappear to be replaced by shots of cows and chickens feeding, before we finally reach the village graveyard. The old man is the groundskeeper, and he's come to tend to the dead. Inside the church is a town meeting, shots of diggers tearing up the landscape is explained at the meeting, developers want to tear down the woods and the old village to build new estates. As the vicar talks of the generations that have lived and died in that little village, the groundskeeper begins to remember the lives of those buried in the cemetary. In one of the most memorable scenes in a film packed with surreal little moments, the dead begin to rise from their graves, clawing their way through pebbles, and then head into the church. The groundskeeper follows them, opens the door, and we step into his memories. All the dead are seated attending a wedding, and the groundskeeper is the young groom. A traditional village wedding leads into a traditional wedding night, and a jump-cut to an unexpectedly graphic scene of childbirth. We're then taken through life in the village, the traditional craftsmanship that took part there, the gathering of harvests, and the private lives of the villagers, including both sex and violence.

It's easy to read the film as tradition = good, progress = evil, but I think it's more complex than that. There are several scenes where time shifts and overlaps, where characters from different time periods almost intrude on each other. I think Gladwell was calling for a remembrance that we are all linked, through the land and through our interactions with each other. It's true that machinery is seen as dangerous, but it's also seen as necessary for survival in earlier times. I think the fear of technology comes from the changes that were taking place on a large scale in rural areas during that time. Ways of life were changing and something was being lost, whether you think it was something good or bad.

The film is impossible to classify. It's a rural drama, an ode to memory, a documentary, a mood-piece. Some sections could easily be claimed to fall into the horror genre, and you can certainly see similar sensibilities to the kind of horror cinema that Britain was turning out in the period. A fascination with older customs that recalls The Wicker Man, Blood on Satan's Claw and Penda's Fen. It's not really horror though, the dead rising is simply a means of interacting with the past without simply using flashbacks, but it retains the same unsettling air as many of those films. The director had famously been the editor for both If.... and O Lucky Man, and he brings much of that surreal worldview to his own directorial work, using an amateur cast, very little dialogue and an astonishing choral score to create a film that succeeds through it's otherworldly atmosphere. All of this in a film that runs only slightly over an hour long. It's a masterpiece, a film that jumped into my top 100 on its very first viewing. It's also one of the most unique films I've ever had the privilege of seeing.

- Rawlinson

931.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
(2004; Stephen Hillenburg, Mark Osborne)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Plankton steals Neptune's crown and frames Krabs, in an attempt to finally get hold of the recipe for Krabby Patties. Only Spongebob and Patrick can save the day. Surreal, hilarious and utterly, utterly awesome.

- Rawlinson

931.
Stolen Kisses
(1968; Francois Truffaut)



Last Year's Position: (386)

Stolen Kisses, the third instalment of the Antoine Doinel story after "the 400 Blows" and "Antoine et Colette", is the story of Antoine (Jean-Pierre Leaud) as a young adult. After being honourably discharged from the armed forces, he goes out into the real world in the hunt for a job. After meeting a private detective by chance, he gets a job at Mr Blady's (Andre Falcon) agency, where – on one of his first assignments – he falls in love with his client's wife (Delphine Seyrig). The Antoine Doinel story is quite brilliant, in that they are all free-standing films (Colette, played by Marie France Pisier, does make a small cameo), but they still keep a continuity running through them. The Antoine here is the same as the Antoine in "the 400 Blows", except that he has grown (emotionally and physically) as a person. I have heard complaints on IMDB that this is not the same Doinel. It clearly is, he's just progressed. If Antoine was still the same now as he was nine years prior in "the 400 Blows", then it would feel a little ridiculous, both because a child is trying to solve cases and because this man should have grown, and that he has is just natural. Leaud is as wonderful as ever, at times deadpan, at others totally animated. His emotions range dependant on who he's with, leading to a natural and three dimensional performance. Truffaut directs as you'd expect him to (wonderfully), photographing Paris with flair and admiration. The film really is just a real pleasure; romantic, dramatic, and at times quite amusing, with a wonderfully complex lead character. It lacks the spark of "Shoot the Pianist" and "Jules et Jim", the two films I would liken to "Stolen Kisses" (strangely, more so than I would "the 400 Blows") because of their romance, comedy, and drama, but It's still a film I'll re-visit in the future.

- Piles.

931.
Tekkonkinkreet
(2006; Michael Arias)



Last Year's Position: (-)

An excellent anime film from Studio 4°C. The anime style is different from the norm - the characters are angular and quite simplistic, whilst the 3D backgrounds are amazingly full and detailed, By contrast, the dream / imagination sequences have an almost water-colour look.

The story is well constructed and rather dark, concerning brothers Black and White, two homeless children, surviving in a rapidly changing city in Japan.
Certain things are left unexplained - how come the brothers (and other orphans they encounter, Dusk and Dawn) have the inhuman ability to leap around the city's large buildings?; how come Black has at least equivalent strength and greater fighting ability than the Yakuza?; and are Snake's henchmen really aliens?
Despite, or maybe even because of, such unanswered questions and the film's unusual look, it's easy to become engrossed in the story.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the film - suffice to say it's one of the best anime films I've seen in a long time.

- Gram123


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 13/8/2011 1:24:39 AM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 11
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 11/8/2011 7:50:47 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
928.
Back to the Future III
(1990; Robert Zemeckis)



Last Year's Position: (676)

Blurb coming soon

928.
Ball of Fire
(1941; Howard Hawks)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

928.
Turtles Can Fly
(2004; Bahman Ghobadi)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Turtles can Fly is a magical realist war/drama set in the Iraqi-Turkish border in Kurdistan during the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It focuses on three Kurdish children; Satellite, a rather dishonest but well meaning pro-American child who knows little about the USA (he confuses Zidane and Bruce Lee as American) who leads a bunch of other kids, some of them maimed, into clearing the landmines for the arrival of the American forces. Agrin is a young teen who is taking care of baby she has no affinity for with her armless clairvoyant brother Hengov. These three await the incoming American forces. Beautifully shot in Kurdistan, sporadically funny, features a beautiful soundtrack by Alizadeh, effectively told (the fantastical angle works surprisingly well) always engaging and incredibly, heartrendingly tragic, it comes pretty close to perfection, the only flaw being a few OTT acting found throughout the film. Still, when considering most of the actors here where amateurs picked from the streets, it is still a superb achievement. Ghobadi, you have my total undivided attention.

- Deviation

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 12
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 11/8/2011 9:24:54 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
922.
Companeros
(1970; Sergio Corbucci)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

922.
High Sierra
(1941; Raoul Walsh)



Last Year's Position: (696)

There are 3 adaptations of WR Burnett's novel "High Sierra". Burnett himself contributed the screenplay to the first and last (Heisler's "I Died a Thousand Times") takes on the novel (supported by John Huston in the original), but took a step back from the westernisation of the noir in "Colorado Territory", also directed by Walsh.

The basic story remains the same (and if you are watching Colordo Territory for the first time without knowing what it is you get a very strong feeling of déjà vu!). Roy Earle (Humphrey Bogart) is helped out of prison to help pull one last big job. On the way to meet his team he encounters a good and simple family, forming an attachment to the crippled granddaughter. Arriving at a woodland camp site, he not only doesn't care for his heist team he is also saddled with a girl they picked up from a dance hall (Ida Lupino).

High Sierra has the strongest noir credentials of the three as the sense of doom surrounding Roy Earle is the most pervasive. Lupino is easily the most impressive of the bad girls bringing a damaged and fragile air to her needy character which works much better than, say, Winters less persuasive brassy approach in I Died a Thousand Times. All 3 are very watchable though I Died is the weakest of the 3, even with Marvin and Lon Chaney Jr playing the man who got Roy out.

- Elab49.

922.
Monsters
(2010; Gareth Edwards)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Monsters was great you silly ninnys.  

- Deviation

922.
A Propos de Nice
(1930; Jean Vigo)



Last Year's Position: (734)

The death of Jean Vigo at 29 was the biggest, most tragic loss in the history of French Cinema, if not in the history of all of cinema. It's just lucky that the loss is made less painful by the fact that Vigo left behind four films, of which two are undoubted masterpieces, one is a possible masterpiece and one is the best swimming instruction film ever made.
A Propos de Nice is the possible masterpiece, but for me it stands among the very finest short films of all time, a deceptive trick of a film that appears simple on the surface, but is very bitter and intelligent beneath.
Through the use of montage, Vigo explores the complexities of the French resort town Nice, around the late 1920's. The film serves as a biting social indictment, contrasting the unrestrained 'splendour' of the holiday-makers (most of whom were British, I believe), the festival and the lives of the poorer residents of the town, who are living in cramped, dirty streets and work in huge, ugly factories. Although both sets of people live, or are staying, within mere miles of each other, they seem to exist in completely different worlds.
Already Vigo's style is stamped all over the film. His mastery of the image and of slow-motion is already evident- just witness the scene with the dancing women and clowns at the time of the parade, a sequence which manages to be both utterly beautiful and slightly grotesque at the same time.
Not much more remains to be said apart from the fact that the film is utterly beautiful and completely convincing- Vigo's message comes loud and clear, with great clarity. As Truffaut said, everyone should see it at least once in their lives.

- jamesbondguy

922.
SPL aka Kill Zone
(2005; Wilson Yip)



Last Year's Position: (-)

This 2005 film saw the first collaboration between director Wilson Yip and action coreographer / actor Donnie Yen. It is a significantly better than their next film, Dragon Tiger Gate, and amply demonstrates the skills of both men, with nice direction and some decent quick-fire action scenes. Key amongst these are Yen's 2 fight scenes with the crime boss (Sammo Hung, great in a cigar-puffing bad guy role). The film's tone is dark throughout (certainly darker than anything I've seen Sammo in before) and is all the better for it.

I only have 2 gripes with the film: 1) the pretty standard device of an unnecesarily mentally-challenged character witnessing a murder - are there mentally-challenged people hanging around crime scenes all over East Asia? and 2) the lack of depth for some of the characters. Simon Yam's Detective received the strongest background info, but the scenes fleshing out the characters of his team were token only. That said, the film was 1hr 45 already, so I imagine time constraints and the pace of the film restricted such character development. Regardless, this was one of the better kung fu action films of the 2000's and I hope Yip and Yen's next cop film (Dao huo xi aka Flash Point aka Fuse aka City Without Mercy) can achieve as much. 4/5

- Gram123

922.
Videodrome
(1983, David Cronenberg)



Last Year's Position: (696)

Lets make it clear, this IS more Sci-Fi, but when Videodrome dips its toes into the horror genre, then its totally wonderful, a surreal trip that not even the mind of Lynch could come up with.  Its a shame that David Cronenberg  has not made a horror for many of years has when Cronenberg is in the mood, he can deliver among all the horror icons, and he really is one of the most underrated directors in that field.

Videodrome is a cult movie that should not be, as it as more acclaim to it, than most cult films should have.  Ahead of its time and that reason alone why it flopped on release, its one of the most original films of the 80's, a trip into and imagination that needs to be seen to be believed.  What other film has a scene where James Wood with a hole in chest and in it, inserts a video tape????????? yes really???????...only from Cronenberg!

The story, well I try to explain the best I can......Max (Woods) loves porn, and soon finds his need to go further to satisfy not only his needs but also his TV company whose "soft-core" output is not enough and he wants something to really hit the audience hard with.  He comes across Videodrome, a station that embarks on brutal torture images and this enlightens Max who demands that the show is "pirated" in what he believes is the future of TV!

Only he does not realise what Videodrome is, a signal that somehow causes damage to the brain, causing freakish hallucinations and as Max tries to unravel the secret behind the station, he is soon sucked into a gruesome world of sadomasochistic sex, where bodily transformations are the norm, and a conspiracy that is still not quite answered to this day!

You can read from that, Videodrome is not a typical movie and the truth is while this flopped big time, its only really now, where the likes of Porn and everything Facebook is so easy to get on the easy available Net that this feels  so reliant, that the films premise is only now in such fashion.  What seemed unbelievable way back 27 years ago, is totally possible now, and its too Cronenberg's credit that he delivered a film so far ahead of its time.

There are quite stunning visual effects that still look up to scratch in this day an age, and it has such a dense mystery that it not once leaves you baffled, just an eager to know what is going on, even though that could take up to many views to actually fathom what the heck is going on.

Woods is simply on the money as the troubled Max, and Cronenberg delivers on all accounts, it is a required taste, but for anyone who wants something different for their horror tastes, then Videodrome delivers in spades, its simply fascinating and totally gripping, a surreal trip that is unappreciated simply because it was a style not ready yet for a cinema audience!

- Hughes Ross.


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 12/8/2011 9:42:39 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 13
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 12/8/2011 9:47:34 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
917.
Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll
(1997; Enda Hughes)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

917.
Harold and Maude
(1971; Hal Ashby)



Last Year's Position: (687)

Probably the definition of a cult comedy, this Hal Ashby masterpiece is a darkly comic love story between Harold (Bud Cort), a wealthy young man who only really feels alive when faking his own death, and Maude (Ruth Gordon), a 79 year old who seems filled with the joy of life. Harold's socialite mother (a wonderfully snobby Vivian Pickles) has decided Harold needs to settle down and find a wife, as long as the wife is the correct one. But every attempt she makes to introduce him to the right kind of girl is met with another faked suicide. Harold's obsession with death extends beyond that, he drives a hearse and attends the funerals of complete strangers. At one funeral he meets Maude and the two form a friendship where she attempts to teach him the need to make the most of his life. Both characters are outsiders, Maude has experienced great horror (she's an Auschwitz survivor) and decided to live life on her own terms, while Harold is the typical alienated youth hero of his era, suffocated by the society around him who try to live his life for him. Ruth Gordon gives her finest performance here, outstripping even her Oscar winning turn in Rosemary's Baby, while Cort gives another great quirky outsider performance. In the hands of a lesser talent than Ashby this kind of material would have just been crass and silly, here it's given great depth and charm. There's also a fantastic soundtrack from Cat Stevens.

- Rawlinson

917.
A Man for All Seasons
(1966; Fred Zimmerman)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Written by Robert Bolt and based on his own play, A Man for All Seasons tells the tale of the later sanctified Thomas More, beginning near the end of the marriage of his king, Henry VIII, to his seemingly 'barren' catholic wife Katherine of Aragon. England is still bound to the 'true' religion and Henry recently lauded as a Defender of the Faith. But that faith binds him in ways he is no longer content with – he now wants Protestant Anne and demands that Thomas find a solution. When Henry finally marries Anne, More stands with his conscience and becomes a traitor in Henry's eyes with the film ending on More's trial then execution.

The play is a story of one man's conscience. It's odd in a way -  More is arguing he has a right to his church and the state can't interfere, when the very basis of the confrontation between church and state throughout Europe was the manner in which the church actively undermined sovereign authority. But only one point of view is presented here with More a man of complete and stubborn faith, and a good and honest man and the film genuinely doesn't suffer from the bias. Mostly because of the powerful central performance from Paul Schofield. While he gets some excellent support from Robert Shaw as Henry, Leo McKern as Thomas Cromwell and Wendy Hiller as More's wife, it is Schofield's More, a compelling and humane presence, proud, stubborn and decent, that commands the attention and took home a deserved Oscar.

Word of advice – be careful not to confuse this with Charlton Heston's desperate remake in his attempt to pretend he can act. It's awful.

- Elab49

917.
Nine Queens
(2000; Fabian Beilinsky)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Beilinsky's feature debut is an assured twisty turny tale of conmen and their methods. Young Juan is rescued from a failed trick (one that is still common everywhere and was even tried on my mum in her days working behind a counter) by experienced trickster Marcos. As Marcos's partner is AWOL, Juan strings along for a day to see how they get on and both end up in the biggest deal either of them has ever been involved with – Marcos wants the money for himself, Juan as a bribe for his dad. Using forged stamps they act out a con on a high-level crook about to be deported in the hotel Marcos's disapproving sister works at.

There is a sadness watching this film now as there always is when you can see this kind of talent and know it died too young (see also Witchfinder General). Especially when the director so quickly establishes one of the most impressive director/actor partnerships of the noughties – in Ricardo Darin he found a perfect foil for a quality of writing superior within the genre (and this was even bettered by their sophomore effort The Aura). As conman and family crook he's completely convincing in the con and out to the extent you're not sure first watch what's going on and on rewatches still can't see the join. There's some wonderful stuff when the stamps are first being checked as the sound of the shredder gets louder and you can see him trying to keep control and stay relaxed, his nervousness falling back on the persistent music question running through the film. In Hollywood this would have made him a superstar, which he already was back home.

It's not a one man show however – Gaston Pauls is a very able accomplice and plays well on his youth to aid his cons and Bredice is excellent as Marcos's sister, who offers quite the sacrifice to try and convince their younger brother of what kind of man Marcos really is. First time I watched it I didn't notice, but I'd say now there is one deliberate flick of the eyes which Beilinsky offers as the sole clue to anyone watching. Focussing on the con game is a relatively common type of movie and Nine Queens is one of the best.

Also, if anyone has a clue how to find it, I really want to see La Sonambula directed by Fernando Spiner and written by Beilinsky – I can't find anything with English subtitles.

- Elab49

917.
Sonatine
(1993; Takeshi Kitano)



Last Year's Position: (786)

The final film in Takeshi Kitano's unofficial Yakuza Trilogy, Sonatine isn't as bleak as Violent Cop or Boiling Point, though it still maintains the undeniably nihilistic streak that the other two weren't afraid to flaunt, and once again it deals with the theme of the circularity and inescapibility of violence, though it's more of a footnote to the gangster genre deconstruction and the social commentary on Japan's stuffy, reserved personality than the main event. Telling the tale of Murakawa, a successful Tokyo gangster who's sent to Okinawa by his boss to mediate in a territorial scuffle, but finds himself being set up, the film starts off fairly conventionally, the tone deadpan (the scene in which he accidentally drowns a hold-out in his area while trying to make a point to him is hilarious, if simply for Kitano's facial expression, which pretty much says, "Oh...well, that wasn't meant to happen") and the shocking, abrupt violence of Kitano's gangster films there in spades. However, when Murakawa and his cohorts retreat to a beachhouse in the middle of nowhere to escape heat, the film moves into genre-breaking, funny, endearing territory, as they revert to pranks and games to pass the time and generally break down their stoic killer personas. This may well be the best example of the humanisation of the gangster in cinema history (even better than Goodfellas in this regard), and Kitano's stunning visual sense and almost Godardian filming style, Joe Hisaishi's evocative and simple score, and the great performances from all involved, including a very impressive Kitano, combine to carry out this humanisation, this deconstruction of the genre, in perfect style. It also means that, when the typical Kitano violence does occur, it's a lot more shocking and ugly than it would be, because of the way the characters switch between their 'stoic killer' persona and their real selves while on the job (it's much better than in Pulp Fiction, which attempts the same but fails, as the only difference between Vincent and Jules on the job and Vincent and Jules off the job - and Tarantino makes this distinction - is that Vincent and Jules off the job aren't waving their guns about). Sure, the pacing's still punishing, and the token female character in this seems a bit superfluous, but it's otherwise an excellent way to finish off the Yakuza Trilogy.

- Pigeon Army.

Kitano Takeshi stars as Murakawa, a successful Tokyo yakuza captain who is farmed out to Okinawa, ostensibly to mediate between two warring gangs. He finds only a small scale dispute, but an attack on his men drives them to a hideout on the coast.

Whilst the film is still a gritty yakuza drama, and undoubtedly contains some dark and violent scenes, it has a lighter tone than Kitano's earlier works, Violent Cop and Boiling Point. This is partially a result of Kitano's character, who a little more human, not quite as psychotically unpredictable as in those films. Only slightly, though – he witnesses a rape, but rather than intervene, he walks by. Only when the perpetrator squares up to him, does Murakawa react. His subsequent relationship with the victim the result of a skewed form of "white knight syndrome".

It's also partially to do with the second act, as Murakawa and his men spend time hiding out by the sea.

In contrast to their normal yakuza activities, they pass the time playing games and pranks, (Frisbee, human-toy sumo, digging holes in the sand and luring people to fall into them etc). However, the fun is often tainted with violent undertones, the gang lifestyle they can't fully escape from - Murakawa and Ken (Terajima Susumu) fire live rounds at the frisbee, like a clay pigeon; Murakawa, Ken and Ryoji (Katsumura Masanobu) play Russian Roulette; amid a fireworks battle, Murakawa gleefully pulls out his gun and starts shooting in the direction of his opponents.

And of course, the time comes when the fun must end, gang members are killed off, and Murakawa goes looking for revenge.

One of my favourite Kitano films, filled with his trademark stylings, and a turning point between his very dark early outings and his later, more serene pieces.

- Gram123. 

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 14
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 13/8/2011 8:16:38 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
906.
The Band Wagon
(1953; Vincente Minnelli)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Fred Astaire plays Tony Hunter, an aging old movie star who has somewhat fallen from grace. He is lured home by Lester and Lily Marton (Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray) to play a part in their new musical. However, the Martons have hired Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan) to direct, and he sees the lead character as a modern day Faust, and – after hiring ballet dancer Gabrielle Gerard (Cyd Charisse) as the female lead – takes the production in a completely new, and quite pretentious, direction. "The Band Wagon” is a film about themes that have been quite relevant to this particular subforum over the past few weeks; to what extent should art be important or relevant? It's a film about art for art's sake, and one that plays testament to switching your brain off and enjoying yourself for a couple of hours. It's quite ironic then that "The Band Wagon” is actually a deceptively intelligent film, then, but it does also practice what it preaches. It's quite nice how the film kind of makes a joke of its themes, communicating them through a mix of satire and silliness, eventually delivering a thirty minute sequence that, through its lack of thematic point, communicates the thematic point of the film wonderfully. The finale shows us several scenes from the re-vamped production as it tours the country, from wonderfully comic routines to the brilliantly stylish and noir-esque novel-within-musical-within-musical sequence. Fred Astaire, as the aging, potentially has been musical star, is quite wonderful, filling his performance with slight melancholy and even a hint of smug self-importance, but it's also one filled with hope for the future. His character communicates the fickle nature of fame whilst always remaining charming (even if not quite as charming as Gene Kelly in the other Minnelli film I've seen, "An American in Paris”) and witty. The dance numbers are cracking, particularly the finale, and Astaire's counterpart Cyd Charisse is probably better than Kelly's "An American in Paris” leading lady. A superb film, then, with some charming set-pieces and some brilliantly conveyed themes to boot.

- Piles

906.
Cool Hand Luke
(1967; Stuart Rosenberg)



Last Year's Position: (824)

Blurb coming soon

906.
Day of the Dead
(1985; George A. Romero)



Last Year's Position: (-)

The living dead now outnumber the living by 400 000 to 1 and what remains of humanity appears to be in a vast underground bunker where Dr. Logan is being allowed to carry out experiments on zombies to try to understand them.  However there is increasing friction between Logan and his friends, and Capt. Rhodes and his soldiers, who are sometimes sacrificing their lives in capturing zombies for Logan.  When Logan befriends a rather time zombie called Bub, Rhodes becomes tyrannical and is perhaps more dangerous than the army of zombie outside the compound, waiting to get in……………….

Day  Of The Dead was generally regarded as a big disappointment coming only seven years after the great Dawn Of The Dead, although its reputation has increased and Romero himself regards it as his favourite.   I was among those initially let down.  Instead of the action and sheer fun of Dawn Of The Dead, with likeable characters who race around a shopping mall dispatching zombies with style, here we had a really claustrophobic film, set in a depressing looking bunker setting with mostly whites and greys, with little action until the last half an hour,  and with mostly dislikeable characters who bicker and threaten each other.  Romero originally planned a much more elaborate film than the one that he eventually made, with the military still underground but the scientists living above ground in a fortress and training an army of zombies.  When the $7 million dollar budget proved too much unless Romero toned down the gore and got an 'R' rating, something he refused to do, the budget was halved and Romero drastically scaled down the film, returning it to something closer to Night Of The Living Dead than the second movie, and perhaps not really moving things on much.  Some of the unused ideas would later though make it into the very long awaited fourth instalment, Land Of The Dead.  With even many horror fans not finding much to like about the film, Day Of The Dead was a commercial failure on release [though surprisingly in the UK the BBFC only cut around half a minute from the film, a small amount considering the shocking amount of graphic gore in the film and the fact that Dawn Of The Dead lost over three minutes!], but as I've said before it seems to have got more liked over the years and it does have much to recommend it.  It remains quite a drop in quality after Dawn Of The Dead, but if one ignores that movie, it becomes a lot more enjoyable.

Well, actually, enjoyable isn't really the word.  This is one bleak movie, where what seems to remain of humanity just seems to want to tear itself apart.  At least the flesh eating zombies are just following their instinct!  Although it opens with a great sequence showing zombies shuffling around a city, much of the film does indeed consist of rows between the military and the 'civilians', with some almost poetically foul dialogue which would make Quentin Tarantino proud.   Despite the verbiage there's a considerable amount of tension in these scenes and although we automatically side with the civilians because Captain Rhodes and his lot are so dislikeable,  especially when they make sexual threats to the one female in the group Sarah, one does actually start to sympathise with the military a bit.  After all, they are gradually losing their lives in supporting Dr. Logan's experiments and its possible Logan's research will achieve nothing anyway.   Who doesn't feel somewhat disgusted when it turns out Logan has been feeding Bub parts of dead soldiers?  Along the way Romero still remembers to give us periodically some really grim gore, along with some really black humour, such as the body lying on the table with his stomach cut open who sits up and deposits his insides all over the floor!  Or there's the body with everything removed from the head except for the brain!  Tom Savini's effects really reach a peak here in gruesomeness, inventiveness and detail, and unlike in Dawn Of The Dead the blood really does look realistic this time, so what when people have chunks bitten off them it really looks nasty!   The zombies look rather different too, they're generally far more detailed and 'inhuman' looking, as if the 'race' of zombies is more fully developed now [maybe they are the grown children of zombies?], and with more of an Italian horror movie look to them.

The tension builds to a peak and we are treated to a truly unpleasant arm lopping, then the action proper starts as the zombies are let into the bunker.  There's a fantastic sequence set in some underground caves where some of the characters battle zombies, with the dead popping out over the place and being dispatched in somewhat amusing ways, this is great fun and is probably the only time when Day Of The Dead has some of the feel of its immediate predecessor.  And then we have the incredibly gory climactic cannibalism, which takes zombie gore about as far as it can go, along with more extremely black humour, with one guy crying "choke on them” as he's ripped in two.  It's interesting that, considering the film's overall tone, which is actually closer to Night Of The Living Dead than Dawn Of The Dead, this one ends on a more positive note.   SPOILERS The first movie ended with everyone dying and the hero's being shot, the second movie ended with two survivors escaping in a helicopter into the sky but with no reassurances that they might actually be safe.  This one ends with three survivors, on a tropical island somewhere, and for the time being they do actually look safe, albeit with nothing much to do SPOILERS END

With a bigger central cast than Dawn Of The Dead, the acting is more erratic, but sometimes very good indeed, with Lori Cardille the most likeable female lead so far [in fact Romero compensates for his first two movies by having the woman be the most sensible and 'with it' person in this one] and Joseph Pilato a splendidly nasty Capt. Rhodes.   Richard Liberty really does well with a typical mad scientist role and Howard Sherman is memorable as Bub, the first sympathetic zombie of the series.   The score, mostly from John Harrison, while serviceable, is rather too light for the film and has a main theme rather too similar to that in Dawn Of The Dead.   Overall Day Of The Dead is very well made, but even if you like explicit gore it's somewhat of a hard film to like.  It also doesn't really have any major new ideas to add to the previous two movies aside from that of the character of Bub-in scaling down his picture, I don't think Romero kept enough originality in it to compensate.  I also didn't see much social comment in this one, apart from the really obvious stuff about the military and scientists having differing ways of how to solve a problem. I've heard that this movie is partially about aids, but I just don't see that at all!   On its own though it's still a memorably nihilistic, extremely tough horror movie that is rather compelling, especially on successive viewings, in spite of itself.  The 2008 remake, by the way, isn't really a remake at all and is best forgotten! 8/10

- Dr Lenera

906.
Dogville
(2003; Lars von Trier)



Last Year's Position: (-)

"Dogville” is a film set completely on a stage, with little more than chalk outlines to represent the different sets. On this stage, von Trier tells the story of Grave (Nicole Kidman), who arrives in Dogville (which is literally the end of the road) under mysterious circumstances, and is accepted into the small-town community on the condition that she works for the hospitality. Lars von Trier has claimed that the film is not a condemnation of America or the so-called American dream, but it's hard to see it as anything else. Over the course of the staggering three hour runtime, Grace is beaten, raped, and emotionally battered, until the shocking conclusion gives the townspeople their comeuppance. In my view (and many other's, including Ebert, who condemned the film for its apparent attack on America), it's a ruthless and poignant de-construction of the myth of small-town communities, and of human nature as a whole. Our pre-conceived perception is that the people of a small town are much more personal and emotionally connected than those living in the city, but von Trier's main point is that evil can arise anywhere, regardless of setting. He shows that human nature is to accept someone into the community, and to offer help to those less fortunate, but to always look for something in return. It also condemns how we see outsiders, and how we build relationships that can be some irredeemably weakened by the introduction of a new person. It's sublimely acted, too, with Nicole Kidman putting in perhaps her best performance, and the same can be said for Paul Betanny. What's more, we have seasoned pros like James Caan, Lauren Bacall, Ben Gazzara, Philip Baker Hall, and Patricia Calrkson reminded us why they're so well regarded. It does, though, have a couple of problems; a few of the scenes do seem a little superfluous, and at three hours it's all the more noticeable. John Hurt's narration can add tension and suspense, and sometimes even an extra dimension to what's happening on screen, but at others it feels unnecessary and in there just for the sake of it. Still, it's certainly an experience, and as an experiment it's quite stark and perfectly measured.

- Piles

906.
Gimme Shelter
(1970; David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon

906.
Half Nelson
(2006; Ryan Fleck)



Last Year's Position: (882)

Inner-city history teacher Ryan Gosling may be a crack addict, but "one thing doesn't make a man", as he tells the 13-year-old student (Shareeka Epps) who finds him lighting up and falling down in the school toilets. Half Nelson is a simply brilliant drama about loneliness, self-destruction and mutual reliance, boasting two of the most remarkable performances I've ever seen. As the hollow-eyed lost soul stumbling from one catastrophe to another, Gosling offers a method masterclass that blends quiet tragedy with wry black humour. Epps is the perfect antidote: completely naturalistic, straightforward and unschooled, as her damaged, impressionable teen reaches out for some hand to guide her and finds only a hopeless case and an unrepentant dealer (Anthony Mackie). The writing is intelligent, subtle and devoid of cliche, while Fleck's handheld camera makes for some truly arresting imagery: Epps on her bicycle, winding her way through a city block; our protagonists glimpsing one another through a science park slide; and Gosling crouched, red-eyed in a doorway, as the film reaches its powerhouse emotional climax. A shoo-in for my next Top 100.

- rick_7

906.
High and Low
(1963; Akira Kurosawa)



Last Year's Position: (926)

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.

906.
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
(1944; Preston Sturges)



Last Year's Position: (711)

Blurb coming soon.

906.
Performance
(1970; Nic Roeg)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Nicolas Roeg was one of the finest directors of the 70s, despite his decline of recent years, there were few other film-makers as original, as daring, and as brilliant as Roeg. With Performance, his directorial debut, he would share directing duties with Donald Cammell, a director who would never live up to his early promise, even with the underrated little gem, White of the Eye. It's difficult to know who provided more of the inspiration for this drugged-up, loss-of-identity psychodrama, but I like to think of it as a real collaborative project. Heavily influenced by figures as diverse as Bergman, Anger, Warhol and Borges .The directors take a simple story and make it complicated through jump-cuts and elliptical editing. The visual imagery is manipulated to such an extent that it becomes impossible to find the line between reality and fantasy. The psychedelia may seem a little dated now, but the film itself is as fresh and energetic as ever.

The film begins as a straight thriller, Fox plays Chas, an enforcer for some London gangsters. He gets involved in an unauthorised murder and has to hide out in order to escape payback. He stays at a strange guesthouse while waiting to flee the country and becomes involved with a reclusive singer, Turner (Jagger) who feels he has lost his creativity and the two women he shares a sexual relationship with. The singer recognises something of himself in Chas and some of his creative power lurking in the violence of the gangster. He decides to push his boundaries with sex and drugs in order to reach some of that creativity. Turner manipulates Chas and undermines his sense of identity, head-trips and mind-fucks abound until personalities and sexualities merge to the extent that Chas even begins cross-dressing and admits an attraction to Turner.

It's not difficult to see this film as an allegory for the death of the 60s, the casting of Jagger plays a large part of this considering the role of The Rolling Stones in Altamont. But even with other casting, the idea of music and art being subverted by violence and the shared links between aggression and creativity speaks to the death of the 60s ideal. The insulated world that Turner has retreated to can be seen as a metaphor for the bubble that so many in the artistic world live in, in the late 60s that bubble was burst by Hells Angels, here it's burst by Chas. Much like Roeg would later do with David Bowie, here he takes Mick Jagger and draws out that otherness that made him such a charismatic figure.

The film is filled with ideas about the nature of power, creativity and identity. Both Turner and Chas have lost their way somehow. Chas's love of violence meant he didn't when to stop, while Jagger has lost the madness that informed his creativity and can no longer find a way to begin his music. Turner wants to subvert Chas's ideas about his own 'manliness' and hopefully find his own creativity in him.

Warner Bros were reportedly disgusted by the film and didn't have a clue how to market it. There are even stories they wanted the negative destroyed. So the film pretty much disappeared from view, only becoming a hit on the underground scene until getting a critical reappraisal years later and being hailed as a classic of British cinema.

Performance really is one of the great films of British cinema, our answer to Persona, and for those of you who still need convincing, there's even the added bonus of Memo From Turner.

- Rawlinson

906.
Pink Flamingos
(1972; John Waters)



Last Year's Position: (-)

If there was ever a form of cinema terrorism, then John Waters would be its Osama Bin Laden. With Pink Flamingos, he set out to make one of the most offensive films imaginable, and he succeeded. Regular Waters player, Divine, stars as  Babs Johnson. In case you're not aware, Divine was a 300 pound man who usually played women in Waters' films. Babs, her son, Cracker (Danny Mills), her mother (Edith Massey) and Ms Cotton (Mary Vivian Pierce) are the filthiest family live.  We know this because a tabloid proclaims Babs to be the filthiest person alive. A nearby couple, Connie and Raymond Marbles (Mink Stole and David Lochary) want the title for themselves and vow to do whatever it takes to get it. The Marbles are the evil filthy people, while Divine and co. are our anti-heroes. The Marbles run an adoption agency where they kidnap women, rape them, and then sell the babies to lesbian couples. Soon, all-out war breaks out, as Divine and family prove just why they are the filthiest family in the world. The film, despite its claims of being trash or filthy, is really one of the only ways those involved had of lashing out against the middle-class conformity around them. Pink Flamingos may disgust many viewers, but the way it cherishes individuality is something to be celebrated. If the underclass in the film are celebrating perversity and excess, so are the middle class, only the middle class are a lot less joyous about it. The film provides some of the most memorable moments in the history of cinema, from the sight of Edith Massey sitting in a playpen and obsessing over eggs, to the singing arsehole, Divine and Mills licking the Marbles' furniture and of course THAT ending, all towered over by an incredible performance by Divine. It's the film's fortieth anniversary next year. We should all do something disgusting in homage.

- Rawlinson

906.
Presto
(2008; Doug Sweetland)



Last Year's Position: (-)

This spectacular homage to classic cartoons stars a cute little bunny named Alec who desperately wants a carrot. The only problem is that he's due on stage as part of a magic act with Presto the magician. Presto needs Alec to perform the traditional 'rabbit out of a hat' trick, but Alec can see some carrots waiting in the wings and he's determined to get them. Presto's top hat is linked to another magic hat, and when he reaches into one, his hand appears through the other, no matter how far away, and when he tries to grab Alec it gives the crafty little bunny the opportunity to cause mayhem. Over the course of seven minutes, Presto is electrocuted, sucked into a vacuum, caught in a mouse trap, slammed into a ladder and maimed in any other way Alec can think of. The short becomes a running battle between a frustrated William Powell-esque magician and one ravenous rabbit.

An obvious tribute to not just Bugs Bunny cartoons, but also the shorts of Tex Avery, (there's a definite hint of Magical Maestro about this), it also uses Avery's repetition and enhancement of a joke routine that he perfected in cartoons like Bad Luck Blackie. While it may never reach the same glorious heights as its inspirations, it's a hilarious and anarchic short and Alec and Presto have plenty of potential to appear in other shorts and even become a running double-act for Pixar.

- Rawlinson


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 14/8/2011 4:31:52 AM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 15
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 13/8/2011 10:18:49 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
900.
The Court Jester
(1956; Melvin Frank, Norman Panama)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon

900.
For The Birds
(2000; Ralph Eggleston)



Last Year's Position: (865)

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

900.
The Great Dictator
(1940; Charles Chaplin)



Last Year's Position: (560)

"The Great Dictator", Chaplin's last really great film ("Limelight" is good, but doesn't match the standard of any of his classics), tells the story of a Jewish Barber (played by Chaplin) living in the ghetto, and his doppelganger Hynkel (also Chaplin) who is the dictator of Nazi-esque Tomania. Their fates, despite their different social statuses, wealth, and opinions, are oddly entwined, and Chaplin's film studies how the effects of dictatorship are felt right down to the smallest entity. It was certainly a brave film to make, and it's quite obvious how Chaplin's film satirizes Nazi Germany and its dictator at the time, who had just started the second world war almost single-handedly. Most of the jokes stem from just how ridiculous his campaign actually is, and how his lust for destruction and domination tends towards the farcical. The scenes between Chaplin and a rival dictator, where their dictatorial respect makes way for blatant penis envy, are amongst the best in the film. Of course, Chaplin allows his trademark slapstick and sentimentality take the foreground, particularly in the scenes in the ghetto, and the romance between Chaplin and Paulette Godard's Hannah is undeniably sweet. There are also some smart jokes to like, most notably how the two foreign dictators are reduced to pieces by some English Mustard, which – as one of them describes it – is "the really hard stuff". It's nothing we haven't seen before from Chaplin, and it's certainly more hit and miss than some of his earlier stuff, but it's certainly a worthy, respectable addition to the director's considerable canon.

- Piles.

900.
Island
(1973; Fyodor Khitruk)



Last Year's Position: (989)

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.

900.
Knife in the Water
(1962; Roman Polanski)



Last Year's Position: (-)

A pair of rich, snobbish socialites (Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka) are on their way to spend a few days on their boat. However, when they almost run over a young hitchhiker (Zygmunt Malanowicz), they decide to invite him along for no real reason whatsoever. That the entire film, its themes, and its superb tension rest so inexplicably on this strange turn of events (why would the young boy even be invited into the car, let alone onto the boat?) is probably its major flaw (apart from the poor subtitling on the copy I watched, but I can’t really hold that against Polanski), but I’m guessing there is something to be said here about the course of nature leading to the events on the boat. However, it doesn’t really feel like an organic progression, and I couldn’t help asking myself for the remainder of the film why this boy is even on that boat. If you can forget that, though, the events on the water are really quite brilliant, as the film turns into a series of one-upmanship between the man and the boy. There’s sexual tension aplenty, with the hitchhiker eyeing up the perennially bikini adorned Krystyna at every opportunity. This sexual tension is the bedrock of the tension that Polanski nurtures, the very title of the film suggesting that, perhaps, these seemingly childish games of ‘anything you can do I can do better’ are soon to be turning into something darker. Polanski plays off this wonderfully, using the cramped interior of the boat (which the characters are forced to retreat into quite soon because of a storm) to create an imposing, claustrophobic atmosphere, the camera unable to move as freely as it would like and thus transferring this claustrophobia to the viewer. It’s quite a wonderful trick, and it’s quite surprising that, when we’re back on top of the deck, the close-quarters feel transfers with us. It’s also superbly performed (note that Polanski himself was going to play the role of the boy, but was deemed not handsome enough to do so), particularly by Jolanta Umecka who plays a flippant yet calculated character who, at the end of the film, ends up ambiguously placed on the moral scale. Superbly acted and supremely shot, “Knife in the Water” – which remains Polanski’s only film made in his native Poland – is undeservedly little known in comparison to “Chinatown” or “The Pianist”, but is just as good.

- Piles

900.
Sleep Furiously
(2008; Gideon Koppel)



Last Year's Position: (-)

"Sleep Furiously” is a documentary about rural farm life in a small, sleepy, aging village somewhere in Wales. Koppel's film, shot in the rural village where his parents (as refugees) found a home, is a moving and quite beautiful one that begins slow and doesn't really pick up much pace through its slender runtime. Koppel uses his camera like a bystander, positioning it – completely still – and simply letting the action (I didn't think I'd use the word action to describe this film) unfold in front of it. This, along with the amiable lack of narration, creates the effect that we are outsiders, looking in on a lifestyle that most of us will never fully appreciate or understand. We are given snippets of real life rather than propaganda or opinion, and it's something quite wonderful to watch. When documentaries so often feel it necessary to say something big about something important, it's refreshing that a film like "Sleep Furiously” can say something big about life and people without ever needing to load up on cliché or self-important opinion. The film is at its best when it simply captures the landscapes and the people of the small village. There's certainly a tonal influence of Abbas Kiarostami, particularly his films "Where Is the Friend's Home?” and "the Wind Will Carry Us”, in the shots of the rolling hills, the standstill camera, and the gentile humour. There's something strangely hypnotic about watching a van slowly run up the side of one of Wales' beautiful hills, and the film is full of such shots. The most hypnotic and moving moment in the whole film is certainly of this ilk, accompanied by an inspiring performance from the village's own choir. The film's general message is that there is no need to rush, and that happiness can occur when you let life swallow you up and pass you by. In this village, they leave the fighting to the animals, and the only time when they look even close to sorrowful is when they're confronted by unavoidable conflict. The final shot of the farmhouse's unused materials being put to auction as they become antiques is a masterstroke, and the sequence involving the stuffed owl, serves a purpose in that they show that everything has a death but nothing ever becomes obsolete, even if they become simply aesthetic artefacts of times gone by. Both aesthetically and artistically, 'Sleep Furiously' is an absolute gem.

- Piles


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 16/8/2011 9:15:27 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 16
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 13/8/2011 11:38:07 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
897.
Autumn Sonata
(1978; Ingmar Bergman)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

897.
Being There
(1979; Hal Ashby)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Being There in some way is an anti-Forrest Gump. The ramblings of a clueless (but likeable) idiot here are not taken as being great profound views of life by the film like in the aforementioned movie, but the ramblings of a clueless (but likeable) idiot who are taken as something profound by the possibly Republican politicians, businessmen and the wives who meet him. It is possibly a satire on television, Chance has spent his entire life never going outside the house he lived and the only showcase he has had of the outside world was what he saw on television and that proves mostly useless. It even features one of most extraordinary ambiguous ending I've seen. Whatever it means, it is also very entertaining, superbly paced, tense in its awkwardness, funny and sometimes rather moving with some incredibly fine performances to boot. Tight script and fantastic direction also help, with an almost career best performance by Sellers who creates one of the most unique characters I've seen in American cinema (without falling to Gump levels of irritation).

- Deviation

897.
Vinni Pukh
(1969; Fyodor Khitruk)



Last Year's Position: (849)

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.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 17
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 14/8/2011 12:09:59 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
895.
Trading Places
(1983; John Landis)



Last Year's Position: (687)

Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) has wealth, power, an attractive fiancée, and a job at a successful company, working for the Duke brothers, Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche). Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) has nothing, he's a dirt-poor hustler, who gets arrested early in the film because Winthorpe insists he tried to rob him. Unknown to both, The Duke Brothers make a bet on the issue of nature versus nurture to see if they can make a gentleman out of Billy Ray and a criminal out of Louis. To do so, they have Louis arrested for theft and drugs, fired from his job, thrown out of his house and left penniless, while Billy Ray is hired and given access to all of Louis' belongings. When Billy Ray discovers the Dukes' scheme, he and Louis, with the help of a prostitute named Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Winthorpe's former butler, Coleman (Denholm Elliott) start to look for revenge. Probably the best film Eddie Murphy ever made, it's also a wonderful reminder of the time when Dan Aykroyd was rightly considered a comedy genius. There's also a series of flawless supporting performances, with Elliott especially deserving praise. It's a little sad to see how much talent from this film (both male leads, the female lead and the director) have been wasted down the years, but it's still one of the greatest comedies ever made.

- Rawlinson

895.
Twentyfour Seven
(1997; Shane Meadows)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 18
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 14/8/2011 12:55:47 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
891.
The Butterfly Effect
(2004; Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

891.
Slapshot
(1977; George Roy Hill)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Paul Newman is Reggie Dunlop, ageing player/coach of failing hockey team, The Charlestown Chiefs. The team has the talent to win, largely thanks to star player Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean) but can't seem to keep it together. When the small town that's home to the Chiefs loses its main source of employment, Dunlop realises that his team will probably fold soon after and determines to get the team not just on a winning streak, but on a controversial and talked about winning streak. Dunlop is a master manipulator and starts playing mind-games with the opposing teams, either by taunting them about their wife turning gay (You haven't lived until you've heard Newman screaming "Suzanne sucks pussy" at a rival goalie) or deliberately provoking them into attacking him. The controversy really starts when he lets the Hanson Brothers loose on the ice, three geek-ish, seemingly simple-minded newcomers to the sport. Off the ice they like nothing more than to play with their toy cars, on the ice they're violence incarnate, progressing from attacking rival players during the game to attacking players before the game to leaping into the crowd and starting a riot among the rival fans. The Chiefs hit a winning streak and the more they turn into merciless thugs the more the fans love it, but will their new found success be enough to save the team?

A savage attack on the way sports players are used up and discarded and also on the notion of inspirational sports films, for about five minutes in the film we're threatened with the possibility of an inspirational moment, but the script is so damn smart that it's quickly dismissed and we're thrown the most left-field alternative imaginable. The film isn't pc, there are sexist and homophobic lines, but they're true to the characters and the era, something backed up by the fact that the screenwriter Nancy Dowd based all of the characters on people her brother was playing pro hockey with at the time. Slap Shot is a hilariously funny film, with Newman giving one of his best performances (in a film he often claimed as his personal favourite) and great supporting work from Strother Martin, Michael Ontkean, the Hanson Brothers, M. Emmet Walsh as a gullible journalist and a surprisingly sexy Melinda Dillon.  

- Rawlinson

891.
Tootsie
(1982; Sydney Pollack)



Last Year's Position: (682)

It's deliciously fitting that it's Dustin Hoffman in the central role of struggling actor Michael Dorsey, an actor struggling because of his argumentative streak with directors and fellow actors. Hoffman is notorious for his intense and combative way of working, and so is therefore a perfect fit for an actor who, hilariously, has a fit of rage over the logical way of playing a tomato. He's also quite brilliant and convincing as Dorothy Michaels, the woman he dresses up as to fake his way into daytime hospital soap. In fact, all the cast are quite superb - Bill Murray as his sardonic flatmate with a permanently raised eyebrow at his crossdressing antics, Teri Garr as his best friend and fellow struggler, Dabney Coleman as the sleazy director Michael/Dorothy ends up working for and Charles Durning as the father of his co-star, Jessica Lange, who develops a substantial crush on Dorothy. The only mystery is that the one person to walk away with an Oscar in this was Lange, when Garr was the far more deserving nominee in the category. Anyway, it's full of great lines, superb comic moments and Pollack's direction is light and zippy making this one of the best studio comedies of the 80s.

- Matty_b

891.
Young Adam
(2003; David Mackenzie)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 19
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 14/8/2011 1:57:34 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
887.
Finding Nemo
(2003; Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich)



Last Year's Position: (-)

The Plot: After arguing with his overprotective father Marlin, Nemo, a young clownfish, is fishnapped by an Australian dentist and taken to his office. Marlin searches for his son, meeting new fish and having new expierences along the way. Meanwhile Nemo (stuck in a tank in the offices) befriends the other tank fish and plans his escape.

This was the first Pixar film I saw in the cinema (they also gave us a VHS of Monsters Inc with the family ticket). That's irrelevent to the review, but it was an important stage of my cinematic expierence. Finding Nemo is a fantastic film. The animation is stunning - the reef at the beginning is beautiful. The characterisation is fantastic - the tank fish all have their own quirks (the cleaning shrimp and the starfish are two favourites of mine). The cast are perfect; Ellen DeGeneres stands out as Dory, being both funny and moving, whilst support from Willem Dafoe and Geoffrey Rush is also great. The humour is perfect - the seagulls only screeching "MINE!" is a stroke of genius. And, like most Pixar films, it has heart - the father/son relationship is realistic, and some of the scenes are really moving. It's the most I've ever cared about fish.

Best Scene: It's hard to pick, but the scenes in the dark and with the Angler fish is pretty good. Or the fish at the playground who says "I'm obnoxious!"

- MovieAddict247

887.
The Hitch-Hiker
(1953; Ida Lupino)



Last Year's Position: (678)

Blurb coming soon

887.
Insomnia
(2002; Chris Nolan)



Last Year's Position: (701)

Blurb coming soon

887.
La Terra Trema
(1948; Luchino Visconti)



Last Year's Position: (652)

Visconti's 1948 masterpiece, which is probably the best film that I've seen from the neo-realist period. Stark, austere and vivid portrayal of the hardships of a family in a small Sicilian fishing village. One spirited young man (Antonio) embarks on his own business adventure in an effort to eliminate the greedy middlemen. With the family home mortgaged, he risks a lot but his hard works pays off and the family begin to prosper. When a unexpected storm destroys their fishing boat, he's met with scorn, rejection and revenge. It's a sympathetic and sensitive film, one which sweeps through a whole tide of emotions, from hopes and successes, love and desire to despair, depression and exclusion. While Visconti maintains the air of realism he never strays too far from poeticism.

- Chris_scott01.

Luchino Visconti created Italian "neorealism" (please don't fall asleep, this is important), shooting semi-documentaries with unprofessional actors in real locations. His first movie was a bizarre take on 'The Postman Always Rings Twice', later filmed as a standard noir in Hollywood, called Ossessione. His follow-up was La terra trema - or The Earth Trembles, to give it the marvellous translated title. This breathtaking, emotionally draining movie is set in a Sicilian fishing village, where the buyers - and the fates - are set against the locals. Reminiscent in some ways of the trendsetting Robert Flaherty's 1934 movie Man of Aran - which also saw its fishermen adrift in a storm - this one delves into the family lives of its protagonists, giving it even greater depth. An ultra-realistic two-and-a-half hour movie about impoverished fishermen might not sound overly appealing, but this heartfelt portrait of working class life grips from the first, and never lets up.

Favourite bit: After the storm: having been buffeted by raging tides, the wrecked remains of a new fishing boat return, forlorn-looking, to the quay.

- Rick_7.


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 24/8/2011 4:41:17 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 20
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 14/8/2011 11:31:00 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
879.
La Maison en Petits Cubes
(2008; Kunio Kato)



Last Year's Position: (-)

*sigh* I was quite right. Had I seen this before my Oscar choices I'd have been one more to the good. While I might criticise some of the winners, particularly when superior shorts have lost out, there is no denying that sometimes the Academy gets it bang on and, in the process, brings to wider attention a film that truly deserves it.

The drawing is superb, the colouring beautifully done. The choices of watercolour might remind you a little of the reds, greens and yellows that a lot of Jeunet's work uses. But this is a poignant trip through the past for an old man living just above the waterline in an almost completely submerged town. As the water rises, he builds a new story to his house. Dropping his precious pipe he goes down through the levels, and back through his past, to a time when the town was whole, telling us why, unlike most everyone else, he never left. Simply wonderful - and kudos to, I think, someone called Kenjo Kodo for the music which is a perfect fit to the emotional feel of the piece.

- Elab49

879.
The Orphanage
(2007; Juan Antonio Bayona)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Championed by Guillermo Del Toro this is a beautiful, occasionally terrifying and ultimately extremely moving film.

It starts with children playing a game akin to hide and seek We learn that one of them – a pretty blonde girl is soon to be taken away to a new life. Years later the girl Laura returns to the orphanage with her husband Carlos and their adopted HIV positive  son Simon (who does not know of his adoption or his condition) They intend to re-open the run down building as a residential home for children with special needs.

Simon tells Laura that he has made new friends with the children there including a boy who wears a mask made of sackcloth. They can never grow up he tells her – and neither will he. Laura dismisses these new friends as imaginary but she is soon confronted by the masked boy during an opening party at the home She escapes from this disturbing encounter to find that that Simon has disappeared.  Does the masked phantom have something to do with the disappearance and what does the disturbed and possibly dangerous “social worker” Benigna Escobada know? Laura becomes more and more obsessed with the children she now believes are real and still in the house.

This is fairly old fashioned ghost story, with brilliant creative use of sound (especially in the séance sequence) and simple but hugely effective visuals. There’s something genuinely unnerving about a child wearing a sack on his head that speaks to something primal within us. It’s a film that’s all about atmosphere and dread only occasionally resorting to shock tactics which perhaps because of their sparseness are actually shocking.

There’s some fantastic performances here especially from Belen Rueda as Laura. Its almost impossible not to feel her pain at the loss of her son and sympathise with her obsession with finding out what happened to him and to the friends she left behind Geraldine Chaplin brings an otherworldy quality to her role as a medium helping to investigate the strange goings on in the house and Montserat Carulla manages to be contemptible yet strangely sympathetic as Benigna.

Whilst there are scares to be had ( and very scary they are too) the emotion that you will come away from the film with is desperate sadness.

The Orphanage is a odd mix of horror and heartbreak and I urge you to see it as soon as you can. If you’ve already seen it then I urge you to see it again.

- Scruffybobby

879.
The Outlaw Josey Wales
(1976; Clint Eastwood)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

879.
Samurai Rebellion
(1967; Masaki Kobayashi)



Last Year's Position: (945)

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.

879.
Save the Tiger
(1973; John G. Avildsen)



Last Year's Position: (865)

Blurb coming soon.

879.
Saw
(2004; James Wan)



Last Year's Position: (-)

And "saw" began the noughties No 1 horror franchise........

Its amazing that its only been five years since the birth of Jigsaw, but the many sequels and its currently on five, has somewhat ruined the memory of the original thanks to the decline of quality in the franchise.  But its easy to see why the movie studios are such in a rush to rush out a Saw film in time for Halloween.  The original was only made for a mere $1.3 million but grossed a staggering $104 million return and the many follow ups, have been made for less and doubled its budget back.  Its safe to say that this horror brand is not going to go away yet and with a scheduled three more films to come, the original is going to be even more tarnished by the time this juggernaut rolls to a halt.

Voted at 499 by Empire magazine in their 500 greatest films, Saw became this decades horror film.  In the eighties we were too scared to sleep due to a scarred man called Freddy, the nineties saw us having fun with GhostFace and its guess the killer theme, and the last ten years as seen us horror fans watching poor victims trying to get out of situations before they meet their maker.

It all started with this, two men chained in a rundown large bathroom with a dead body in a pool of blood nearby.  First they have no memory of what got them there and only a microcassette recorder in their pockets telling them that they have got to play a little game.  Listen to the rules and they will survive, a game set up by a serial killer named Jigsaw.  A different murderer to the norm as he actually does not kill anybody.  He places his victims in a situation where pain and suffering is a must and if they survive they will find a better perspective of life, a freedom that only some lucky ones get in their lives.   The two men Adam ( Leigh Whannell) and Lawrence (Cary Elwes) remember the man who is making the news and thanks to flashbacks, we get to see their lives and how fate got them into the mess they are in.

Thanks to the twists and turns of the plot, us the viewers are led into a path of discovery as we also see the detectives trying to crack the identity of the mad man, led by Det David Tapp (Danny Glover).  There is enough plot going on here to fill three movies and that's the beauty of it all.  A relentless pace grips the viewers and its hard to take your eyes off the entire show.

By the time we get to the final act, the film as given us many false dawns and then pulls the rug from under us with a great twist that fooled many hardened horror fanatics.

The shame of it all is that Saw is a great film whose reputation as been ruined by lets face it, some really bad sequels.  Credited alongside Hostel as the inventor of torture-porn, but many readers of this thread will now that its a stupid notion that I instantly dismiss.....  Yes there is huge amounts of gore on here to please bloodhounds but the best set-piece on offer is the one we do not see.  That poor man who was stripped naked and to escape he had to trawl through barb wire to get to the exit door......the thought of pain he went through shudders me!!!!!

Set on its own, Saw is one of noughties best horrors, there is a great argument that its not actually a horror.  More of a deeply deranged dark thriller, but there are some moments of slash that qualifies it for me, and there are some brutal images that only belong in a horror film.  I very much doubt this will be in the next Empire poll of top 500 films, but it should be remembered for being one of 2004's best films, and not for given some really bad sequels

- HughesRoss

879.
A Summer at Grandpa's
(1984; Hou Hsiao-hsien)



Last Year's Position: (856)

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 graduation 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.

879.
Swimming with Sharks
(1994; George Huang)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 21
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 15/8/2011 12:43:48 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
872.
Blood And Black Lace
(1964, Mario Bava)



Last Year's Position: (665)

The Godfather of the Gialli genre is this brilliant shocker from Mario Bava. Technically it's not the first giallo, or even the first from Bava, but it laid out many of the preoccupations of the genre, ones that Argento and others would run with and make such a success the following decade. During a fashion show, a model, Isabella, is hunted down by a black-gloved killer. Her body is found hidden in a closet in the fashion house. Another model, Nicole, discovers Isabella's diary and soon finds herself hunted down by the killer. Another model, Peggy, finds the diary and discovers it full of the sex, corruption, abortions and drug scandals of all of the models. Soon Peggy becomes the killer's next victim, and she won't be the last.

Blood and Black Lace is a stylistic masterpiece, beautifully crafted by one of horror's greatest artists. The use of colour is exquisite and if this wasn't a horror film you have to think it'd be held in much higher regard. I think it's the mixture of violence and eroticism that keeps it controversial, and it really is violent for its time, with spiked gloves being driven through the face of one model and another having her face slowly burned. Still, it's a bravura piece of work and one of the most important horrors ever made.

- Rawlinson  

872.
Dead Poet's Society
(1989; Peter Weir)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

872.
The Jungle Book
(1967; Wolfgang Reitherman)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

872.
Once Upon a Time in the Midlands
(2002; Shane Meadows)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

872.
Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms (aka Crippled Avengers)
(1978; Chang Cheh)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Unrelated to 5 Deadly Venoms except in director and several of the actors, yet given this title in the US as opposed to the superior original Crippled Avengers. Bloody Americans. They're not even playing the "Venoms"...

Anyway, in the latter period of Shaw Brothers studios, they were increasingly looking for new spins on the kung fu genre, with this being a fairly outlandish addition. Black Tiger Dao Tian-Du (Chen Kuan Tai, Executioners from Shaolin) is out and about, when some rivals aiming to kill him turn up at his gaff, so they proceed to chop off his wife's legs and his sons arms instead. Upon returning home and surveying the scene, he's understandably miffed, and quikly dispatches the trio. Dao's wife doesn't make it, but he has some fancy weapon-loaded iron arms fashioned for his young 'un.
Later on, father and son get riled up at the slightest thing, and go about crippling anyone who gets in their way, in diverse and fiendish ways.

Four lads cop the Dao family wrath - one blinded, one made deaf and dumb, one gets his lower legs chopped off and the last one has his head squeezed until all the sense drains out of him. Fortunately, they manage to get trained up and given the necessary props to go back and confront the Dao's clan.

Chang's "Venom Mob" play the parts of Dao Jnr and the injured fellas. They all get the chance to showcase their various talents, be it Philip Kwok's amazing skill with the pole, Sun Chien's kicking ability, Chiang Sheng's wild acrobatics and so on. Each of the four crippled avengers gets an opponent to battle before the big showdown with the Papa Dao and son. The training and fight scenes are great, the best I've seen in a while, particularly the battle in which Chen Shuen (Kwok) and Wang Yi (Chiang) use metal rings to fight against Dao Chang (Lu Feng). There are some annoying moments - primarily the mugging by Wang Yi (the stupid one) and Blacksmith Wei (the deaf-mute one, played by Lo Meng), and as you'd expect from a 70s HK movie with a plot like this, it's quite silly in parts, but despite that, it's a hugely enjoyable martial arts flick.

- Gram123

872.
Spare Time
(1939; Humphrey Jennings)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Made on the brink of war, Jennings short film examines what 3 industrial communities do in their spare time. Laurie Lee's sparse commentary makes the timing clear – they might have spare time now, but maybe not for much longer.

Each segment is linked by the music of the community they visit – the steel town has a brass band, the cotton mills a rather odd jazz kazoo band (and in one of the best known scenes segues from a tableau created by the band of a rising Britannia, to a real lion behind bars) and in the mining community it starts with a lady at a piano gradually being joined by a male voice choir. The camera visits football matches and dance halls, wrestling and the theatre, healthy cyclists and whippets in a style of observation that seems very much Jennings's own – no judgement, no social message, just a fall out from his own key work in the Mass Observation movement.

Created under the auspieces of the GPO, the film was made for the 1939 World Fair in New York.

- Elab49

872.
The Stranger Within a Woman
(1966; Mikio Naruse)



Last Year's Position: (670)

Blurb coming soon.


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 18/8/2011 4:57:23 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 22
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 16/8/2011 9:13:59 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
860.
Come Drink With Me
(1966; King Hu)



Last Year's Position: (807)

1966 Wuxia pian classic from Chinese director King Hu. Cheng Pei Pei stars as Golden Swallow, a skilled swordswoman whose brother has been kidnapped by bandits, in the hope of trading him for their jailed leader. Yueh Hua co-stars as Drunken Cat, a wuxia-master-turned-beggar, who secretly assists Golden Swallow in her task.

With Come Drink With Me, King Hu is credited with bringing the Peking Opera style of action into martial arts film. Typical of that style, we have Golden Swallow disguised as a man (though still looking clearly like a woman to the viewer...) and a villain, Jade-faced Tiger (played by Chan Hung Lit) with his face painted white.

The film is notable for being the first in which Cheng Pei Pei performed martial arts. It was also first film on which Sammo Hung worked in a capacity other than as a child actor – at the tender age of 14, his role was assistant to the action director.

This is the earliest Chinese martial arts film I've seen in it's entirety, and it is filled with fascinating elements and the early seeds of modern Hong Kong action cinema. The action style and accompanying music score feels less akin to modern Hong Kong actioners than it does to Japanese chambara films, and the excellent cinematography compliments the style. Cheng Pei Pei looks accomplished in the lead role, despite being just 19 at the time. Wuxia films with powerful female protagonists were quite common in the 60s, a trend that seemed to die out until the emergence of stars like Michelle Yeoh in the early 80s.

The plot is strong, but suffers slightly from a shift to a more "Gong wu" style midway through (wherein people have chi powers, allowing them to leave handprints in rocks, and blast one another with chi force etc), an unfortunate result of studio interference. Still, it is done with panache, doesn't detract too badly from the brilliant first act, and the final battle scenes are great.

- Gram123.

860.
A Cottage on Dartmoor
(1929; Anthony Asquith)



Last Year's Position: (655)

This dazzling and innovative silent is a dark and brooding thriller that deals with the dangers of obsessive love. A young barber, Joe, falls for the manicurist, Sally, who works with him. They go out on a date but she ends up rejecting him for a client, a young farmer named Harry. When the couple become engaged, an angry confrontation between Joe and Harry leads to Harry being cut by Joe's razor, and Joe being sentenced to Dartmoor Prison for attempted murder. Years later, Joe escapes and makes his way towards the isolated cottage where Sally lives. Told with some of the most poetic and haunting imagery in British cinema, A Cottage on Dartmoor deserves to be rediscovered and recognised as a classic of early cinema.  

- Rawlinson .

860.
Cry Baby
(1990; John Waters)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

860.
Dead of Night
(1945, Crichton/Hamer/Dearden/Cavalcanti)



Last Year's Position: (655)

This classic from Ealing, has a strong claim for the title of the greatest horror film ever made. It certainly contains one of the most frightening sections ever put on film. It's an anthology horror film with each section directed by one of Ealing's greatest talents. There's a wrap-around story of an architect being invited to a country house. He has dreamed of the house many times and he has a vague anxiety over something bad happening during his stay. When he informs his hosts of his worries, their attempts to calm him starts a cycle of ghost stories that culminate in the nightmarish Dummy story. The earlier segments, with tales of ghostly golfers, a prophetic dream, a cursed mirror and a children's party gone wrong, are all strong stories, but it's Redgrave's segment that made the film a legend. He plays a ventriloquist in a cabaret act. He develops a dual personality and believes his dummy Hugo is alive and planning to leave him to team up with a rival ventriloquist. Michael Redgrave's performance is powerful and distressing, perfectly capturing a man on the edge of a paranoid breakdown.

- Rawlinson

860.
Deep End
(1971; Jerzy Skolimowski)



Last Year's Position: (-)

The times have been tough on Skolimowski- his films are now near impossible to see in most cases, especially the earlier work, which his supporters would say is his greatest. Deep End has been painted as the end of Skolimowski's finest era- there were the autobiographical Polish films, then the exile films- Le Depart in France, with Jean-Pierre Leaud and Catherine Isabelle Duport, and Deep End, a kind of British film that is really European. It's made by Poles in exile, who have just left France, it's shot in West Germany (and the money came from there) and it's set in England, with English actors (including Diana Dors). One can imagine the West Germans hoping for another Swinging London film, and one can also imagine their faces, their suprise, when Skolimowski came back with a film that is closer to Vigo and Bunuel than to The Beatles and Radio London- and one which has slowly built-up a cult following.
It's set in a public bathouse. Mike (Jon Moulder-Brown) is around 16, and he's just left school. So this is only supposed to be a stop-gap job, but the seeminly innocent Mike we begin with is by the end a very different boy- mainly because, hand-in-hand with Susan (Jane Asher), the female attendant and a mysterious figure who cheats on her slimy husband-to-be with a number of customers and may or may not be a stripper, he has a painful and obsessive sexual awakening that leaves him quite possibly half-insane. The bath-house/swimming pool comes to represent not just a public facility, but a kind of funhouse, or perhaps haunted house, which is quite mundane but always on the edge of tipping directly over into the surreal, and taking everyone inside with it.
I guess it's erotic atmosphere and almost cruel tenderness are close to Vigo, but Skolimowski lets himself, and his audience, become more detached than Vigo ever did (perhaps this is down to Skolimowski's own probable feelings of alienation, after his bouncing around Europe- I believe he had never gone to Britiain). One feels, watching L'Atalante and Zero for Conduct, that Vigo likes his characters- but Skolimowski just likes watching them squirm. That's not to say it's a bad film- in fact, it's a very good one, and certainly an oddity that demands reviewings to fully appreciate, or take in. But for now? Well, it's enough to make mainstream British cinema itself squirm- how could this outsider, this Pole, make a film that revealed aspects of that country much better than it's long-term residents and wannabe storytellers could? There are really electric scenes- Diana Dors living out her football fantasies in an kind of semi-rape scene, Mike's rejection of a former girlfriend, tied-in with a rejection of his life to that point (very accurate, that), the final scene in the swimming pool where the paint mixes with blood, and the whole sequence which starts with Mike following Susan out of work, his various escapades in the Red light district and his eventual confronting of Susan on the train on the way home- a long strech (maybe 20 minutes) that is the equal of many of the greatest sequences in the cinema. The decor is close to Demy (yellow, blue and red walls and rooms), the atmosphere is that of kind of surreal and seedy humour reminiscent of Bunuel. A teen film unlike any other. Further viewings are essential.

- JamesBondGuy

860.
Deliverance
(1972, John Boorman)



Last Year's Position: (926)

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.

860.
Gran Torino
(2008; Clint Eastwood)



Last Year's Position: (655)

Gran Torino is the cinematic equivalent of your senile 87-year-old grandfather saying they've brought you a special birthday present and giving you a bath plug, an expired bus pass and an urn containing their dead cat's ashes - well meaning, but you just kinda wish they hadn't bothered.

- Matty_b

860.
Jackass: The Movie
(2002; Jeff Tremaine)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon

860.
Made in USA
(1966; Jean-luc Godard)



Last Year's Position: (989)

It's funny that I should start my list with a film from the Grand Daddy of the French New Wave, and jamesbondguy shouldn't, but that's how it goes. A slightly less well regarded, and certainly less seen, film, "Made in U.S.A.” stars Anna Karina as Paula Nelson. When she arrives in Atlantic City to meet her lover Richard, she discovers that he has died. From there on in, she turns into a female private eye of the Humphrey Bogart mould, investigating the murder in a very surreal, very New Wave manner.

It's funny that "Made in USA” is not mentioned in the same breath as other Godard communist manifestos like "La Chinoise” or "Masculin-Feminin”, because it carries with it the same concepts and ideology as those two films. Often in your face about it (the radio reads out communist messages and, at one point, Karina and Laszlo Szabo break the fourth wall and recite their own beliefs and principles directly to the audience), but often subtle, Godard manages to get his point across – I feel – better here than those other two films, because it feels at home as part of the narrative. Yes, the story can be sometimes surreal, but there always seems to be progression of either the plot or the characterization. "Masculin-Feminin” fairs well in that department too, but not as much as this film, and "La Chinoise” seems to concentrate ninety per cent on its message and ten per cent on everything else.

And although this narrative can sometimes be a little cloudy and more than a little surreal, I for one love it. Not everything has to be set in stone to be good, and Godard uses that theory to full effect here. He's always given us answers, but opening up even more questions in a five to one ratio. Sure, not all seems to get resolved, but does it really have to? Life itself doesn't ever tie itself up in a little bow, and whenever you've crossed one thing off your to-do list, a few more always seem to crop up. I don't know if the intention of the director was to do this, but the ever-changing nature of the plot seems to reflect that of life in general.

The performances are all of a high standard, particularly Anna Karina as the rough and tough private eye lead, and Jean-Pierre Leaud, whose presence seems almost entirely surreal. Characterization is good, and at times it seems that Godard is pointing out just how much you can do with a stereotype. Karina's character is basically a noir cliché; the private eye, but he gives her so much more than a typical character of this ilk would have. First of all, she's a woman investigating the death of a male lover, which flips conventions on their head completely. She also has the emotion that I feel lots of noir leads lack, which makes her a much more believable human being. She's complex, and her motives seem completely different to that of the majority of the private eyes we are used to. At times, it feels as if she's in it for the rush and to emulate her favourite film stars rather than to find her dead lover, highlighting the importance and reflective effect that film has on people's lives.

But the true star here is Jean-Luc Godard, who does two things brilliantly. I've already mentioned the density of ideas here, which could rival the brilliant "Pierrot le Fou”, one of a few films mentioned as the director's masterpiece. This film isn't really so well regarded, which is a shame, because for me it's Godard's second best (yes, unfortunately, there is only room for one more film from the director in this list). Why? Because apart from the messages, you have wonderful aesthetics to make this a pleasant and buoyant watch. The film is painted in vibrant, vivid colours, like oranges and blues and greens, which help to create a hyper real, dream-like world. The surreal nature of the movie makes it amusing, and certainly keeps you on your toes. But most of all it's the story and it's rather wonderful lead character that keep you enraptured and riveted throughout. Godard's skill as a thought provoking director goes without saying, but his masterful story telling is perhaps best displayed here.

- Piles

860.
The Man Who Fell to Earth
(1976; Nic Roeg)



Last Year's Position: (-)

They don't come much more otherworldly than David Bowie, and its a dream casting as the outsider from another planet who makes riches here, but is at turns enchanted and defeated by the planet he's outcast too.  A haunting and moving story that's 9 parts art house to its 1 part everything else, but still a memorable and disturbing piece of film-making.

- Professor Moriarty

860.
Naked Kiss
(1964; Sam Fuller)



Last Year's Position: (655)

Blurb coming soon

860.
Sir Henry at Rawlinson End
(1980; Steve Roberts)



Last Year's Position: (721)

Eccentric, racist, sexist, drunken aristocrat Sir Henry Rawlinson spends his days drinking and lamenting the decline of the British Empire and the campaigns he fought on foreign soil, usually shot through with racist attacks on all other cultures. He also has problems. The German prisoners of war he keeps in a private camp at the bottom of his garden are trying to escape. The ghost of his brother Humbert, who died while committing adultery during hunting season, roams the house searching for his trousers. Ralph Rawlinson plays billiards on horseback. And a crooked clergyman and a cockney spiv decide there's money to be made at Rawlinson End. In order to keep up with his master's demands, Old Scrotum, the Wrinkled Retainer, has to scale the outside of the mansion to reach him in time and avoid a pistol-whipping. His cook, Mrs. E, has to sleep in her uniform so that she can be out of bed and cooking the second he demands his breakfast. Henry's wife, Florrie, is knitting a stair carpet and spends her time remembering when Henry was a more kindly soul, such as when he shot a gardener who broke his leg because he couldn't stand to see a dumb animal in pain.

Imagine Bertie Wooster got old, racist and drunk, moved into Gormenghast and then had his life story written by a teaming of Monty Python, The Goons and Peter Cook and then filmed by Luis Bunuel and produced by Ealing and you have some idea of the oddity of this brilliant and bewildering film. Vivian Stanshall was one of the great eccentrics, in addition to the music he created with The Bonzo Dog Band (house band for the Python precursor, Do Not Adjust Your Set), Stanshall is also responsible for Rawlinson End and the grotesque family who live there. Sir Henry started life on the John Peel show, Stanshall was a frequent guest and he'd often delight listeners with the latest instalment in the escapades of Rawlinson End. Stanshall's delight in wordplay and talent with accent and voices brought the crazed family to life. The radio series led to an album and the album led to the film. I think the film could be difficult for newcomers. It's so clever and brilliant with its language that unless you're already familiar with it, the stream-of-conscious lunacy could go over your head. I've also known some call it racist, which is just idiotic. The film, and the original radio episodes, were satires of the colonial mindset where people thought they were somehow superior based on class or race, it condemns it, it doesn't celebrate it.

Casting Trevor Howard might have been seen as an unusual move, but it's a truly surprising performance and one that I have no problem in calling a career-best. And the rest of the cast are note perfect, with Patrick Magee being an obvious stand-out. The film is also beautiful to look at, with rich sepia cinematography and glorious art-direction. If you're at all interested in British comedy, you know to become familiar with Stanshall's world. Rawlinson End influenced everyone from Chris Morris to Stephen Fry and the comedy landscape wouldn't be the same without Sir Henry.

- Rawlinson


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 18/8/2011 5:54:25 AM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 23
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 16/8/2011 10:07:54 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
856.
Bill Douglas Trilogy
(1972 - 1978; Bill Douglas)



Last Year's Position: (640)

As Terence Davies did, Douglas seems to be trying to locate his youth and development through these 3 inter-connected films – My Childhood, My Ain Folk and My Way Home.

Two young boys are living with their gran in an impoverished mining village near the end of WWII. The children live in quite hard-breaking poverty with the younger (Jamie) rooting through heaps outside the mine for bits of coal for the fire. Jamie, not in school for some reason, has as his only friend a German POW working in fields round the village, to whom he is teaching English. Their mother is in an asylum and it is clear that their gran blames the elder's father for it – his visit to the boys, claiming it is the elder's birthday, is not welcomed. We later discover a local man is Jamie's father.

The films follow Jamie through his maternal grandmother's death, a short stay with his father's family (with his paternal grandmother providing one of screen's great monsters, no matter how pitifully she ends up), before a respite in a home under the care of what seems to be a genuinely good man. With some toing and froing back to the village and old patterns of behaviour (and one heartbreaking dream of a normal domestic life, with his own little house), Jamie ends up in Egypt on National Service and finally meets someone who starts to convince him that his existence might not be so pointless, and death not be such a desired release.

While one might think Lindsay Anderson must throw the phrase around, having tagged it on Humphrey Jennings, he also called Douglas a screen poet, and deservedly so. His skill behind the camera, locating and repeating images and symbols, and connecting them throughout the 3 films is tremendously impressive, and the black and white images of the world round the village are often quite stunning. We see the ambulance coming down the hill, matched to the hearse going back up it. The repetition of pearls and apples, the birds and planes escaping and that solitary hunched stance in the corner, cringing away from the world, with a child unable to engage.

From young Stephen Archibald (who ages from 12-19 in real life during the filming, was almost as damaged as his character and who looks so painfully young as an adult – Douglas apparently cast both young actors when they tried to cadge cigarettes off him at a bus-stop), Douglas has coached arguably the greatest child performance on screen, and leaves you with the frightening thought that much might not be performance – that this morose young actor with the pinched face was acting out his passage in life as much as Douglas's. Like 400 Blows, both young children constantly run to escape, well, pretty much everything – both brothers race the train and stand circling on the bridge as the steam surrounds them, with Jamie going further and finally jumping. But the train, with its brief moment into the sun, seems only to be going in a circle as well.

Douglas's trilogy is sometimes difficult to watch (you want little more than to hug these children, let them see some kind of human compassion to that little boy sneaking in and out at the back of the ongoing lives with no-one giving a damn about him). The black and white shots of city and village, and the final trip to Egypt, are crafted by a master, in films that are so clearly personal it makes the nearly 3 hour length a painful, intense and absolutely necessary watch. Possibly the greatest Scottish film ever made.

- Elab49.

856.
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain
(1995; Christopher Monger)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Hugh Grant and Ian McNeice play cartographers for the British government who have been sent to a small village in Wales to measure the exact height of their mountain. When they discover that it's actually only tall enough to qualify as a hill, the villagers plan to claim back their mountain by making an artificial mound on the top. They just need to keep Grant and McNeice in the village and then convince them to remeasure it. Maybe the fact that the story the film is based on took place so close to home for me colours my view of the film slightly, but I think it's a greatly underrated work. The story is slight, but charming and the likes of Colm Meaney and Tara Fitzgerald give excellent performances with the wild but wonderful Kenneth Griffith, surely one of the maddest Welshmen of the 20th century, stealing the film as the village's Reverend.

- Rawlinson

856.
Rainy Dog
(1997; Takashi Miike)



Last Year's Position: (610)

Miike Takashi is probably best known for his brash, outlandish films littered with heavily stylised - even comic - violence. However, judging him by the likes of Ichi the Killer and Visitor Q is like judging Ang Lee's output on the back of Hulk. There are many more strings to the bow of this most prolific of directors. In his 18 years of film-making, Miike has directed around 70 films. Some of his finest work can be found in his yakuza films, which, although still containing flashes of brutal violence, often also happen to be his more realistic, thoughtful and reflective works.

More like an early Kitano film than his own hyperkinetic 'shock cinema', Rainy Dog is a fine example of this side of Miike's work. Shō Aikawa plays Yuuji, an isolated, exiled Japanese yakuza living in Taipei, earning money by working as an occasional hitman. A woman he barely remembers leaves him with a young mute boy, Ah Chen, claiming it is the son he never knew he had. After initially blanking the boy, Yuji's icy nature eventually dissolves and he relents to his responsibilities.

When he befriends prostitute Lily, Yuuji decides to take a risk to help his new, dysfunctional "family" escape from Taipei. He carries out a hit on a triad boss and grabs a case of money, inevitably inciting the wrath of the replacement gang boss, forcing the trio into hiding.

The gloomy, dirty locale of Taipei is an ideal setting for this bleak, quiet gangster tale. Yuji's dangerous lifestyle is counterbalanced by poignant scenes of the neglected Ah Chen sleeping rough in the rainy streets while he waits for his newfound guardian, and doggedly traipsing after him wherever he goes.

If you want to see the other side of Miike Takashi, this is a great place to start.

- Gram123.

856.
The Wayward Cloud
(2005; Tsai Ming-liang)



Last Year's Position: (640)

Blurb coming soon.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 24
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 17/8/2011 12:29:45 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
852.
My Life as a Dog
(1985; Lasse Hallström)



Last Year's Position: (625)

Blurb coming soon.

852.
Pedicab Driver
(1989; Sammo Hung)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Classic Sammo film with some elements of daft comedy, serious points such as the indiscriminate murders ordered by Master 5 (John Shum), and some great fights including one between Sammo and Shaw Brothers legend Lau Kar Leung. Features appearances from a number of well known HK actors, including Lam Ching Ying, Dick Wei, Eric Tsang and Corey Yuen.
The film is let down a bit by the transfer - it's generally a little dark and there are scratches on the film, plus the subs (slightly dodgy English and Chinese) are burnt in. But as this is the only print of the film currently available (AFAIK) I can put up with it.

- Gram123

852.
Rumble Fish
(1983; Francis Ford Coppola)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon

852.
The Woman in Black
(1989; Herbert Wise)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Arthur Kidd is a young solicitor, ordered to Crythin Gifford, a small town on the east coast to attend to the estate of the recently deceased Alice Drablow. While there he finds the townsfolk hold a dislike for Drablow and for her home, Eel Marsh House, a secluded place that can be cut off from the town at high tide. Kidd settles down in the house to sort through Drablow's papers but he finds the house haunted by a mysterious woman in black who is rumoured to cause a death whenever she appears. Very much in the tradition of classic ghost stories, The Woman in Black has a good claim to the title of the scariest film ever made. It's a subtle and restrained piece, allowing the scares to build through atmosphere and character rather than shock effects, although there is at least one scene that can make you leap out of your skin. The script was adapted by the great Nigel Kneale, and while I'm not a fan of one or two changes he makes from the novel, he mostly does a superb job. The film is so good that you have to wonder why more filmmakers are unable to make films this tense, chilling and downright terrifying. And it's not even a tenth as frightening as the stage play of the story.

- Rawlinson


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 18/8/2011 4:56:38 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 25
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 17/8/2011 7:55:39 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
845.
Casino Royale
(2006; Martin Campbell)



Last Year's Position: (556)

"Shaken or Stirred" - Waiter
"Do I look like I give a damn" - Bond

After Die Another Day recieved a mauling from fans and critics alike (but still made a shed load at the box office), the producers of the Bond franchise decided a reboot was in order. Bringing back Martin Campbell as director (after he succesfully returned Bond to our screens in 1995 with Goldeneye) changes to Bond formula were decided upon. Out went Q, Moneypenny and an over-reliance on CGI, in came Daniel Craig as the new Bond.

Using Flemings original Bond novel as the basis for the story, the filmakers go back to show the beginning of Bond's career. We see him introduced to the cars, girls, stunts, action and stunning locations we are used too from the previous twenty films, but with less of the finesse Bond normally shows in everything he does. Assigned by M (Judi Dench) to stop Le Chiffre and his terror networks, Bond sets about his mission by demolishing building sites (in a Parkour style footchase), having shoot outs in embassy's, smashing up his beautiful Aston Martin, sinking a building and even playing poker (changed from the novels Bacarat), as we get to meet the worlds finest secret agent at the beginning of the learning curve that will make him MI6's best asset.

With Craig as Bond, the audience is given a Bond for the new millenium, who looks like he could the things we see him doing on screen, and was vunerable enough to fall deeply in love with his treasury contact Vesper Lynd (the stunning Eva Green). and he also looked good in a pair of Speedo's.

- Benmharper.

845.
Consequences of Love
(2004; Paolo Sorrentino)



Last Year's Position: (617)

Titta di Girolamo (Toni Servillo) has been living alone in a hotel for the past eight years, with minimal contact with anybody and everyone around him. Every now and again, a suitcase full of money arrives in his hotel for him to deposit into a Swiss bank account. He plays cards with the other permanent hotel guests. He harnesses a crush on the barmaid (Olivia Magnani) of a place he frequents. Over a hundred minutes, we slowly learn more and more about Titta di Girolama and the mysteries surrounding his isolated existence.

And that's probably the best thing about "The Consequences of Love”; the mystery. There's a certain amount of intrigue that follows each and every revelation (and there are a few) that the film has to offer. Di Girolamo's past – as well as his future – are fed to us slowly and episodically over the film's runtime, and Sorrentino is able to easily keep his audience hooked and intrigued for the entire duration. It seems, after about an hour, that we have found out all we need to know about Titta, but – ever so surprisingly – the film never stops throwing up complications and (as the title would probably suggest) consequences surrounding the man's actions. It's also a very stylish film, with wonderful visuals and cinematography to match it. It's no surprise that Luca Bigazzi's work on the film won multiple awards, and although it's not perfect the majority of shots are wonderfully imposing. The music also works well within the context of the film, and the slower segments are contradicted wonderfully by some sequences conducted at break neck speed. It's probably this original pacing that accounts for how intriguing and enjoyable the film is, because nothing ever gets stale, and the visuals alone are enough to keep one hooked for a hundred minutes.


There are, though, a handful of flaws, which can probably be put down to the fact that this was only Sorrentino's second feature film. It does, at times, feel a little bit like style over substance, and although I guess you could argue that it's more of a character study than anything else it still feels more than a little (if you'll excuse the pun) inconsequential. There are also more than a few clunky moments. The slightly odd and jarring hired assassins sequence is the weirdest inclusion. Not only is it poorly edited (everything seems so choppy in this five minute period, something that you can't say about the rest of the film), but the murder of a young handicapped male seems inserted purely for shock value. Maybe if this was an isolated incident it could be forgiven, but the film can feel a little inconsistent at times, in that brilliantly directed, flowing sequences come alongside decidedly clunky ones. Perhaps this was the point, but it feels more than a little bit jarring.

Still, at only a hundred minutes long there is more than enough here to make "The Consequences of Love” a mysterious, enjoyable narrative film, and although it has little (I think – correct me if I'm wrong) depth, it's more than enough to make me want to watch Sorrentino's much-more acclaimed "Il Divo”. Oh, and Servillo's performance is magnificent

- Piles

845.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
(2009; Wes Anderson)



Last Year's Position: (-)

While it's true that Anderson filters Dahl's vision through his own sensibilities, he captures his dark worldview perfectly. Anderson creates an animated masterpiece here, close to being not only the best film of his career, but possibly the greatest adaptation of Dahl. The Fox family are in trouble, the titular Mr. Fox has stolen from the neighbouring farmers once too often and they're planning to kill him at any cost. In Anderson's world, Fox is a charming bandit addicted to the thrill of the heist and looking for one last big score. Apart from a young Paul Newman, there's nobody better than Clooney to take on this role. The rest of the voice cast are excellent. Jason Schwartzman excels as the kind of angsty teen he built his career on, Bill Murray has a great supporting role as the badger, It's even difficult to hate Streep here. Anderson created something absolutely remarkable here, astonishing animation coupled with a storyline that can appeal to adults and children with ease. Fox's encounter with a kindred spirit is surely one of the finest and most surprisingly soulful moments in 2009 cinema.  

- Rawlinson

845.
Island People
(1941; Paul Rothka, Philip Leacock)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

845.
On the Run
(1988; Alfred Cheung)



Last Year's Position: (-)

On the Run: A gritty and pretty much kung fu-free film from director Alfred Cheung, starring Yuen Biao as Hisang Ming, a cop hoping to emigrate when his ex-wife moves to the US. Queue a murder, followed by a rapid decline in Hsiang's fortunes due to hitwoman Chui (Pat Ha) and some corrupt homicide cops (including Yuen Wah) led by Inspector Lu (Charlie Chin).

The film is almost entirely shot in night scenes, adding literal darkness to the emotional darkness of the film. It's refreshing to see Yuen in a non-kung fu film (and for that matter, Charlie Chin oustide of his comedic Winners and Sinners role) - the action here was distinctly "heroic bloodshed", John Woo / Ringo Lam-style gunplay, though there was place for the odd stunt here and there.
The disc I watched is the US R0 version from Tai Seng, which is basicly the HK Mega Star version, but with a little gold Tai Seng sticker slapped on the inlay. The film print is a little scratched, and perhaps a little darker than intended, and the subs are a little dodgy, as is the norm. The final scene from this version (and the only other known HK print from Deltamac) has been edited out, so the film ends a little abruptly. It seems like the missing scene may have been too close to a happy ending, so was lopped off and replaced with a paragraph of on-screen text explaining the futures of the main characters. However, this doesn't really detract from the film, which was entertaining throughout, and is well worth a watch if you're a fan of Yuen Biao. 4/5

- Gram123

845.
Rosemary's Baby
(1968, Roman Polanski)



Last Year's Position: (-)

A young couple, Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse (Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes), move into a new apartment. On the outset, it seems perfect. It's cheap (or at least affordable), it's clean, and it's big enough for them and their soon-to-be-born baby. However, the neighbours are certainly a problem. At first glance, it seems they are rather intrusive, sometimes rude, but mean well. However, it's not long before they realize something else, something darker and otherworldly, is going on with the neighbours, and then they try to take her baby for the occult. Rosemary is not happy. But Guy seems ambivalent to it all. Rosemary's Baby, a horror film by trade, doesn't by any means go for the conventional scares. Instead, the majority of its scares come from asking you to place yourself in Rosemary's shoes. As much as it is a film about the occult trying to demonize a baby, it's a film about alienation. And the most worrying scenes are when Mia Farrow's Rosemary is left all alone defending the child. She has no one except the child she is carrying, and when they try to take that away from her too, a primal instinct kicks in that makes Rosemary do anything she can do to keep it for her. It's her only company in an otherwise lonely world, and the fact that these demonic pensioners (almost a translation of wolves in sheep's clothing) keep prying and grabbing at it leads to a sense of claustrophobia that Polanski exploits perfectly. With the irrational, explosive dream sequences along with the pent-in, claustrophobic scenes where the camera flits from close-up to close-up, it's clear what Polanski is trying to do. He's keeping us closed in, and it adds to both the thrills of the plot and the encroaching nature of the villains. Almost to the point where we feel threatened too.

- Piles

845.
La Roue
(1923; Abel Gance)



Last Year's Position: (604)

Blurb coming soon.


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 18/8/2011 4:55:59 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 26
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 17/8/2011 8:56:53 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
841.
Dead Ringers
(1988; David Cronenberg)



Last Year's Position: (617)

Beverly and Eliot Mantle (Both played by Jeremy Irons) are both doctors, running a gynaecology clinic together. The seduce the patients who come to the clinic, the more confident twin (Elliot) seduces them and then when he bores of them he passes them on to Beverly. When an uptight actress, Claire arrives looking for help, they begin a strange love triangle. Beverly becomes obsessed with Claire and her abnormal reproductive system, developing delusions about mutant woman, and even having instruments designed to work on these imaginary deformed women. A strange psychological horror/character study, with a career best turn from Irons. Maybe not as overtly horrific as other Cronenberg films, but it has a haunting quality that lingers with the viewer.

- Rawlinson  

841.
Odd Couple
(1979; Chia Yung Liu)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-Wing play two roles each in this period kung fu comedy - Hung is the King Of Sabres and Lau is the King Of Spears, two evenly matched old weapons experts who each take on a student to finally prove which is better. The elder Hung is sifu to the young Lau and vice versa giving each actor plenty of opportunity to display their proficency in either weapon. Much like the early Jackie Chan films, the comedy is broad and silly but the fight scenes are amazing (and there's loads of them).

- Gram123

841.
Scarface
(1983; Brian De Palma)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon

841.
Traffic
(2000; Steven Soderbergh)



Last Year's Position: (610)

What's more scary to you? A serial killer lurking under the bed? A monster with three eyes? Kathy Bates naked? Or is it the fact that the people who make a living selling drugs possess more money than the people appointed to arrest them? This is one of the more unbelievable, yet still true facts from Steven Soderbergh's magnum opus, Traffic. Like any film centered around a social problem, its confessions may seem hard to take in at once, but this is just one of many of many reasons why the quality of this film is unparalleled in its area. By showing us a world we have little wish to see, Soderbergh crafts a film that is (ironically) well worth seeing. The truth hurts, but sometimes it makes good movies.

Despite a good reputation and a wealth of Oscar-nominations (including a well-deserved win as Best Director for Soderbergh), Traffic is still, at least in my opinion, not getting the true attention it deserves, because this is a masterpiece without an equal in the genre. One of the chief reason for this is the fact that it avoids being centered on users, instead giving focus to, well, literally everyone else. Narcotics flow through the film like water in the river Nile, yet, one might ask: is it really just a MacGuffin? After all, the film's emotional focus lies not in the product itself, but in the tragic circumstances it causes. Like the money in Psycho, narcotics kick-start the plot, but by the end, it is not really about abuse anymore, but rather about the consequences one have to pay for it, even if you are only linked to it indirectly.

The film opens in a bleached-out image of Mexico, as cops Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) and Manolo Sanchez (Jacob Vargas) bust a truck loaded with heroin, only to find the arrest being taken over by General Arturo Salazar (Tomas Milian). Salazar acts as the local tzar in the area, and there's little both Javier and Manolo can do about it. Much further north, Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) has just been appointed to lead the war on drugs in the US. He attends a greeting-party, and quickly discovers that every participant in the room has his or hers own opinion on how to win this battle. As Wakefield continues his quest, he quickly discovers that there's a difference between talking and walking the walk, especially as he realizes the harsh truth of his daughter. In the meantime, Helena Ayala (an unusually stellar Catherine Zeta-Jones) finds out the occupation of her husband the hard way, as he is arrested for smuggling narcotics over from the Mexican border. The key witness to his trial is Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer), who has been arrested by DEA agents Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro (Luis Guzman). They provide the heart and humor of the movie. Confused yet? Don't worry. Thanks to a brilliant script, fantastic actors, and Soderbergh's wise decision to give each section of the story a different color filter, there is never any doubt which path we are walking. He draws the line so fluently you'd think the pen was carried by a prodigy.

Despite covering every angle of the problem, Soderbergh is able to create sympathy for every one of the participants, even if some of them, most notably Mrs. Ayala, washes their clothes in the river and not in the machine. Make no mistake, though. The narrative demands the viewer's strict attention, and if re-watches will always remain useful if one wishes to catch every single little detail (and there are many), the patient viewer will get what he or she needs on the debut viewing. The film is also host of a plethora of great scenes. One sees a woman make orange juice for two men (whose names shall go unnamed here), which turns out to be a clever play on the theory of morals. There is also plenty of tension, particularly in a desert execution and in the moment where Wakefield realizes how the deep the water around him has become.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Soderbergh offers no solution to the problem, but he provides a fitting coda to what is already a masterpiece of cinema. He may now be ruining his reputation somewhat with the Ocean's-movies, but it will never vanish completely, because Steven Soderbergh made Traffic.

- Dantes Inferno.


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 18/8/2011 4:55:07 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 27
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 17/8/2011 9:53:03 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
838.
Mad Max 2
(1981; George Miller)



Last Year's Position: (678)

Blurb coming soon.

838.
Pastoral - to Die in the Country
(1974; Shuji Terayama)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon.

838.
Poetry
(2010; Lee Chang-dong)



Last Year's Position: (-)

After leaving the screening, a friend of mine made comment that Poetry seems like Lee's active response to one of the most prominent critiques of Peppermint Candy, found in Kim So-young's article "Do Not Include Me In Your Us: Peppermint Candy and the Politics of Difference" - that is, its focus on the deconstruction of the male identity in modern South Korea ("gendered trauma") renders the struggles and traumas of women in South Korean history "invisible". Here, the focus is squarely on our kind-hearted female protagonist, put-upon, unappreciated grandmother Miji. She's harassed by the stroke sufferer she acts as the maid for; her grandson is a disinterested and lazy shit; and her daughter is too busy focusing on her career to really care about either Miji or the son she left with her. When Miji's grandson and his group of friends are incriminated in a local girl's suicide, their guilt unquestionable, Miji finds herself being cajoled by the rich fathers of those boys into coming up with 5 million won in order to buy the silence of the girl's family, her mediocre income of no real concern to them. As it is, she finds solace in a poetry class she signs up for at the last minute, and while she goes around looking for "poetic inspiration", she slowly comes to terms with the world around her and the position it's forced her into. Here, the suffering of Miji is front and centre, and it's hard not to feel for her as the demanding, patriarchal society around her pushes her into doing terrible things in order to maintain the status quo. Yoon Jeong-hee is excellent in the lead, the latest in an apparent pattern of strong female roles in modern South Korean cinema - indeed, her performance is on a par with that of Kim Hye-ja in Mother, Lee Yeong-ae's in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance or Jeon Do-yeon's in Secret Sunshine. She perfectly captures Miji's seeming need to be everything to everyone, a need drilled into her by a society that only really cares if she's what they want, not what she wants. Meanwhile, Lee's direction is typically incredible, the typically striking stillness of his camera as poetic and evocative of the anxieties bubbling under Miji's surface as any of his works. It really is an answer to not including 'me' in his 'us' - with this and Secret Sunshine, his 'us' is no longer gendered or restricted by age or infirmity, but all-encompassing.

- Pigeon Army

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 28
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 18/8/2011 2:25:45 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
836.
Hiroshima Mon Amour
(1959; Alain Resnais)



Last Year's Position: (604)

Legend has it that Alain Resnais made three masterpieces towards the start of his career. "Last Year at Marienbad”, which is a bleak and enigmatic tale of memory and love in an elaborate country manner, certainly holds that title. It's the greatest puzzle you'll never solve. "Night and Fog”, the Second World War documentary about the concentration camps, is certainly less of an entertaining watch, but one that is just as worth while. The third and final one that I finally got round to watching the other night is "Hiroshima Mon Amour”, Resnais' narrative film about a woman who meets, sleeps with, and kind of falls for a Japanese man on a visit to Hiroshima. It begins with a sequence just as philosophic and enigmatic as the entirety of "Last Year at Marienbad”. For fifteen minutes, Resnais uses montage – utilizing short, sharp shots and voiceovers – to create a feeling of hysteria, asking questions about the nature and reliability of memory. From there, Resnais changes course slightly, moving away from the memory montage into narrative, discussing the fates of his two lead characters, played by Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada. He swaps short sharp cuts for long, leisurely paced shots, generally chronicling the conversations about their past, present, and future. The only problem is that Resnais rarely reaches the dizzy heights of those first fifteen minutes, which are utterly captivating despite their lack of actual narrative importance. There is a fine middle segment involving Elle's past, in which Riva finally gets to stretch her acting chops and the character takes on a new life, and it would be unfair – and plainly incorrect – of me to call the concluding hour of this film anything less than excellent, but after the superb opening it does move down a notch to find its comfort zone.

- Piles.

836.
Tit For Tat
(1935; Charley Rogers)



Last Year's Position: (600)

Stan and Oliver have opened up a hardware store, but their neighbour doesn't like them very much. And when this neighbour besmirches Ollie's good name by spreading a rumour about the rotund comedian and his wife, an escalating series of ridiculous attacks follow. "Tit For Tat” isn't just a film filled completely with slapstick. Well, actually, it is, but it may just be the pinnacle of slapstick. All of this film is, is an escalating series of slapstick pranks, and that's not a bad thing. Although it may be incredibly base, and there's no real substance here whatsoever, there's no denying that "Tit for Tat” – the title an obvious reference to the back and forth nature of the fight – is an excruciatingly funny film. This has always been Laurel and Hardy's main attraction; their ability to stretch out a simple, seemingly insignificant joke into a brilliant series of them, without ever making it seem drawn out or boring. There's also a great running joke, perfect performances, and more laughs than you could shake a stick at.

- Piles


(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 29
RE: The Empire Top 1000 Films: Year Two: Results - 18/8/2011 4:52:54 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
830.
The Bourne Supremacy
(2004; Paul Greengrass)



Last Year's Position: (525)

SPOILERS The Bourne trilogy is a series of films that could only work in a post 9/11 world. Not the post 9/11 where the whole world backed a grieving America and united in the search for Bin Laden, but the post 9/11 where everyone realised just how corrupt any government could be and how cynically it could exploit any tragedy. It is in this world of mistrust and paranoia that Jason Bourne, the amnesia-ridden assassin searching for his true identity, lives and functions, and gives the trilogy such a sharp edged intelligence. There's an interesting paradox at the heart of the trilogy (and I refuse to seperate them out. Yes, the Greengrass installments are better, but Liman's opening film is better than you remember and the story is incomplete without it) in that on one hand it's not a massively complex epic for three films, with a relatively simple plot. The first film is about Bourne discovering his identity, the second is about him being framed by his old bosses and the third is about him bringing them down. But on the other hand, the plots are fast moving, hopping from country to country and throwing in a lot of information about Bourne and his history. It would be easy to get lost or lose the various threads that unravel but Liman and Greengrass have constructed a stream-lined and purposeful trilogy that barely have an ounce of fat on them. The whole series moves pacily with each fresh revelation dropped in alongside some of the best action cinema you'll see this decade. Greengrass is particulary effective at this, uprooting the camera and thrusting it right into the centre of the action, whether it be one of the bruising car chases that each of the films have, or one of the numerous hard-hitting combat scenes that Bourne engages in against various assassins. The series has an intensive, brutal force that smashes the action across the scene with a juddering impact for the audience. It's no wonder the Bond producers took note on how the audiences reacted to this bludgeoning approach, but one key difference between Bourne and Bond is that while the Bourne films take place across various iconic European cities, it is not a glamourous sight-seeing trip. The cities Bourne functions in are grey and rainy, the kind of places where shadowy assassanations do take place. This all gives the trilogy the hard-nosed sheen of realism that distinguishes it above action or spy dramas of its ilk. The casting helps too, with Damon being superb as the steely-eyed, intensely tuned Bourne, and other roles being filled with the likes of Joan Allen, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Franka Potente, Clive Owen and David Strathairn giving the Bourne the weighty quality of high drama. Damon and Greengrass seem resistant to the prospect of a fourth Bourne outing and good for them - it's hard to see how they could possibly improve the quality of this trilogy.

Key moments - One from each. From The Bourne Identity, it's the thrilling and pulverising car chase. From The Bourne Supremacy it's the moment where Bourne calls Pamela Landy, the CIA operative trying to find him at the end of the film. They end the conversation with a grudging respect although Landy has no idea where Bourne is. He ends the call with the words "Get some rest, Pam. You look tired" and it's clear where he's been the whole time - in the building across the street watching her. We see him disappear into the crowd, Moby's Extreme Ways kicks in and it's just about the coolest fucking ending to any film this decade. And in The Bourne Ultimatum it's Bourne's pursuit of the assassin trying to kill his colleage, Nikki (Julia Stiles). It's a roof-top flight across the streets of Tangiers which ends up with Bourne using a book and a towel as a deadly weapon. That's the appeal of the trilogy right there in that sequence.

- Matty_b

830.
Cries and Whispers
(1972; Ingmar Bergman)



Last Year's Position: (-)

I've seen several extreme films in my time, and I feel I can hold my own with even the most jaded cinemagoer. But this is quite possibly the most difficult film I've ever watched. The emotions in this film are so strong that they become painful as they scream at you from the screen. In fact, it's only because I've been unable to subject myself to a rewatch that the film is so low down the list. Cries and Whispers is dark and perceptive, a psychological drama about a dysfunctional family at the turn of the century. It's about the secrets they keep and the distances between them.

The action takes place at the turn of the century in a remote country house. Agnes (Andersson) is dying, and is cared for by her two sisters, Karin (Thulin) and Maria (Ullmann) but the only comfort she receives is from her maid (Sylwan) Agnes dies a slow and painful death over the course of the film, so much of the film's emotional thrust comes from regret, both for things that have been done and those that haven't. The film is also about suffering and pain, and about the way that isolation and a lack of communication and love can lead people to become icy and self-contained. The three leads are all in some sort of agony, be it emotional or physical. Agnes punctuates the narrative with screams of agony, and flashbacks reveal the emotional horrors Maria and Karin have suffered.

All of the sisters are damaged in some way. Agnes has the regret of a woman who has lived an empty life. Now bedridden and dying of cancer, she is the only one who realises how damaging the distance is. Karin is sexually repressed and bitter to the extent that she mutilated her vagina with broken glass. While Maria is little more than a self-absorbed child. Even while their sister dies, both Karin and Maria are too self-involved to tend to her. It's pretty much understood that with such a strong cast the film is going to be superbly acted, but I would honestly rate the acting from the four leading ladies as among the best ever captured on film.

Cries and Whispers is rich, textured and intelligent. It's also one of the bleakest films I've ever seen. It seems to be saying that pain can only be overcome in fleeting moments, such as when the maid allows Agnes to suckle her breasts as an act of comfort. As an exploration of the soul, and of our great capacity for cruelty and torment, it's one of the most depressing experiences you can put yourself through.

- Rawlinson

830.
Nashville
(1975, Robert Altman)



Last Year's Position: (595)

Blurb coming soon.

830.
Them Thar Hills
(1934; Charley Rogers)



Last Year's Position: (595)

The plot revolves around Ollie being ordered to take a mountain vacation to cure his gout. Stan goes with him and the hapless duo find themselves in bootlegging territory and end up getting drunk on moonshine (thinking it to be fresh mountain water). Charlie Hall and Mae Busch play a couple whose car has broken down, while Hall fixes the car Busch takes lunch with the boys, including a few spoons of that delicious 'mountain water' Soon all three are drunk and singing the delightful 'Pom Pom' song. Hall's anger at the boys when he discovers his drunk wife leads to an ever escalating 'tit for tat' war.

- Rawlinson.

830.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
(2010; Apichatpong Weerasethakul)



Last Year's Position: (-)

Blurb coming soon

830.
Les Vampires
(1915; Louis Feuillade)



Last Year's Position: (-)

A landmark serial from Feuillade, one of the earliest and greatest of French directors, Les Vampires proved so popular that some of the episodes were even banned for a while by the French authorities for encouraging criminal behaviour. The plot follows an underground ring of thieves, The Vampire Gang, as they steal from the French elite and generally strike terror into the people of Paris.

The gang are tracked by an insipid reporter, and despite the fact that their crimes are often foiled, it seems as if Feuillade prefers his villains to his heroes. The sheer difference in charisma, the presentation of the characters and the level of interest that Feuillade pays to the gang seems to support the idea that he preferred their evil but hypnotic charm to the rather limp journalist. In fact it almost feels as if Feuillade delights in his Vampires. And who can blame him? A large part of the gang's charm is that Feuillade created one of the screens great icons to represent them, Irma Vep, the black-clad villainess, played to lithe perfection by Musidora. It's the most memorable performance in the film, one of the most memorable in cinema as a whole.

The film is split into ten episodes with such lurid but memorable titles as The Hypnotic Gaze, The Killer Ring and The Severed Head and the episodes more than live up to their titles. Les Vampires gives you everything you'd expect from a pulp drama. We get secret disguises, hidden passageways, evil plots and deadly devices, mixed in with a little slapstick and some ingenious subversion. It's an extraordinary fantasy, one that still holds strong after nearly 100 years. Feuillade wasn't just one of cinema's great surrealists, he was one of its great action directors, and there's more genuine thrills in one episode of Les Vampires than in all the Michael Bay films combined.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 30
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