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The Keep (1983)
In the immortal words of Roger Ebert...
"I hated, hated, hated, hated this movie!".
This film is really just a midnight movie with absurd pretentions to be something 'deep and meaningful'. The acting is atrocious, the excellent cast (including Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne and Jurgen Prochnow) seems to cough out their dialogue with minimal conviction, the dialogue they cough out is even worse, the special effects will have you cringing, and the direction is even more disappointing, as Michael Mann puts gives the film an undeserved spooky atmosphere that leaves you wishing that the film was actually scary (and easy to understand). Films with a plot this simple should just be treated as a fun, entertaining, and scary films, not artsy pretentious crap like this. 2/10.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
The film of 2001
I had been anticipating this movie unlike I ever had with any other movie. David Lynch is my all time favorite director, and this masterpiece confirms that no other director will reclaim his place in my book.
Mulholland Drive is many different things, on the surface it's a mystery, a thriller, a black comedy, but above all it's a satire of the superficial world that is Hollywood, a world where dreams are either bought or destroyed. Every character and scene in the film contributes to the central theme of Hollywood's superficiality and shallowness from the boogeyman behind the restaurant to Watts' audition scene (one stunning scene).
Meanings, interpretations, and symbolism aside, I have to give credit to how perfectly crafted this film is, as this is a first-time viewing, and it's best to analyse and interpret this film once you are familiar with the film (despite how unforgettable it is). Naomi Watts gives a brilliant performance, mixing camp and raw terror beautifully. I can't imagine many performers understanding the feelings that Lynch wants to convey via his characters, but Watts does, and gives a tour-de-force that will banish every memory of "Tank Girl" from your mind. Angelo Badalamenti's score rivals his Twin Peaks work, and the photography is gorgeous (Almost as much as co-star Laura Harring). Lynch's films are bursting with great scenes, and this is no exception, the Club Silencio scene, The Cowboy's entrance, and the excellent scene in the restaraunt at the beginning when a man is explaining to another man about a recurring dream he has featuring the same restaurant they're in.
Mulholland Drive is a prime example of why I love David Lynch, and even more, it's a prime example of why I love movies. 11 out of 10.
I used to consider myself a bit cynic...
...but seeing I loved this film, I can't anymore. Last year I wasn't too impressed by the foreign film sensation that was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Even though I did write a glowing user comment for it), so I am pleased to find that I was impressed by Amelie. And I honestly don't know why I liked it so much. It wasn't the frenetic camerawork, the obsessive-compulsive characters, or Audrey Tatou's batty eyes, it was the genuine warmth that pervaded the film. Even if it was overly cute at times, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet handles the material with such conviction that I couldn't help but enjoy the little vignettes that make up this film. Out of all the films I've seen this year, this one left me feeling the happiest, and that's all that I really want out films of this genre. 9/10.
Another John Ford masterpiece
I have only seen three of John Ford's films; The Grapes of Wrath, The Searchers, and this one, but they are all near-perfect. This one is slightly more flawed than the other two, but a very powerful and entertaining one nonetheless. Even though the story is told in flashback, and thus the ending is partially revealed, this film kept me guessing the entire way through, up until the excellent (if slightly implausible, this being the film's only minor flaw) surprise ending. Brilliantly performances (with Lee Marvin stealing the show making Liberty Valance one of the greatest screen villains of all time), masterfully direction and impeccable writing all combine to make this one of the great Westerns. 10 out of 10.
Blood Simple. (1984)
One tight-ass thriller
This is the Coen bros. first film, and IMO, their best. Stylistically, the film very much the same as Fargo (The body disposal scene on the highway is identical to that of Fargo), and the same quirky humour that is now the Coen's trademark is applied here. While Fargo was more successful at bringing a sense of impending tragedy for the characters, Blood Simple works beautifully as an intricately plotted and carefully paced Hitchcockian thriller, and once the suspense starts, it never lets up. What more could you want? Oh yes, black comedy, you got that too. And what a final scene! 10 out of 10.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Though I felt that the 'tragedy' aspects of the story good have been improved, this is a vastly entertaining and perfectly paced suspense thriller. Joseph Cotten gives a perfect performance, it's amazing how we feel sympathy for both him (the murderer) and his daughter who is in danger from him. One rattlingly good thriller. 9 out of 10.
One of the greatest films of all time
This is a brilliant film about illusion, honor and faith. Thematically, I think this is a stronger film than Ran (Yes, I know Ran is based on Shakespeare), and some scenes in it are so haunting and chilling they stick on your mind for a long time (particularly the dream sequence *shudder*). Also features one of the most powerful climaxes ever. Definitely one of my top 30 films ever made. 10 out of 10.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
A surprisingly imaginative and very funny film
After Shrek, I was a little tired of computer-animated films. I loved Toy Story when it was released, but on repeated viewings it just doesn't hold up. I have found computer animation becoming less and less impressive as time progresses, so I wasn't exactly anticipating Monsters Inc. highly, despite it's excellent premise. However, throughout this film I was thoroughly entertained. The premise was executed beautifully, especially the scenes in the workplace as the monsters scare the children to extract their 'scream gas'. The voicework from Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Jennifer Tilly is great and even the required Disney sentimentality (which I can't stand) is handled well. I especially liked it because it doesn't succumb to the methods that Shrek used to appeal to kids and adults (alternating between half-assed gross-out humour and movie references), it just simply uses genuinely funny humour. And to add to the praise, the climactic chase was possibly the most inventive and delightful chase scenes I've seen in a long time. One fun film. 8.5/10
Bande à part (1964)
A great, great film
Bande à part [A Band of Outsiders] is an extraordinarily influential film, maybe even more so than Breathless. It's themes of a generation lost are still relevant today, and many scenes have been copied by numerous filmmakers. Quentin Tarantino, for one, regards this as one of his all time favorite films, and it's not hard to see why, the cafeteria and dance scene were heavily borrowed for Pulp Fiction. Anna Karina is one of the most gorgeous actresses of all time. 9.5/10.
La planète sauvage (1973)
This is a beautiful trip of a film that is a must for lovers of intelligent and inventive animation. The animation is more similar to "Yellow Submarine" or the animated sequences in "Pink Floyd The Wall" than Disney or anime. The plot is a little hard to follow, but it's messages are clear and you don't need to pay much attention to the plot, the visuals with take you in. With or without mind-altering substances, this is a great film. 8/10.