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1oo. A Woman Under the influence(1974)
96.The French Connection(1971)
94.The Return of Martin Guerre(1982)
93.Leon: The Professional(1994)
92. 8 1/2(1963)
90.The Killing of a Chinese Bookie(1976)
87.The Godfather Part II (1974)
84. The 400 Blows(1959)
80. Love in the Afternoon(1974)
79. Taxi Driver(1976)
78. Paris Belongs to Us (1961)
77. Come and See (1985)
76. Raging Bull (1980)
75. The Conformist(1970)
73. L'Avventura (1960)
72. Stalker (1979)
71. Bad Lieutenant(1992)
70. My Night at Maud's (1969)
69. Rear Window (1954)
68. Red Desert (1964)
67. Second Wind (1966)
66. Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
65. A Man Escaped (1956)
64. Diabolique (1955)
63. Fox and His Friends (1975)
62. Breathless (1960)
61. Opening Night (1977)
60. Psycho (1960)
59. Jules and Jim (1962)
58. E'clisse (1962)
54. La Femme Nikitta (1990)
53. Love Streams (1984)
52. Faces (1968)
51. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
50.The Bycicle Thief(1948)
49. Youth of the Beast (1962)
48. The Mirror(1975)
46. Les Cousins (1959)
44. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
43. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
42. The Idiot (1966)
41. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
40. Branded to Kill (1967)
39. Yojimbo (1961)
38. Sanjuro (1962)
37. The Wrestler (2009)
36. Black Swan (2010)
35. Belle De Jour(1967)
34. Goodfellas (1990)
33. Mean Streets (1973)
32. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
31. The Battle Of Algiers (1966)
30. My Life to Live (1962)
29. Double Indemnity (1944)
28. Pepe Le Moko (1937)
27. Out of the Past (1947)
26. 3 Women (1977)
25. Seven Samurai (1954)
24. Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
23. Weekend (1967)
22. Hause (1977)
20. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)
18. Claire's Knee (1970)
17. Ivan the Terrible Part I (1954)
14. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
13. Silence of the Lambs (1991)
12. Pierot Goes Wild (1965)
11. Over the Edge (1979)
10. Bad Boys (1983)
9. Boyz in the Hood(1991)
8. Fresh (1994)
6. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
5. Orphans of the Storm (1921)
4.Death Wish (1974)
3. I Saw The Devil (2011)
2.Perfect Blue (1998)
1.Angel's Egg (1985)
The Dead Outside (2008)
The best zombie film of the past 30 years
Those with short attention spans and no appreciation for minimalism will balk at this film, which is probably why it has a laughable 4.3 rating (as of this review). However, as a huge fan of zombie films, I think this one is criminally underrated and for those with an appreciation for something more challenging, "The Dead Outside" delivers.
The premise is dirt simple: Danielle, a man who recently lost his wife and child in this national zombie epidemic, finds an empty house on his travels. He stops in for a bit and is discovered by a teenage girl named April, who has survived their on her own for many years.
The film mostly follows them in their time living together. It's a typical dynamic on paper, with Danielle being more humane and not wanting to kill the zombies, while April has no hesitation in killing them. While Danielle is fairly calm and collected, April is volatile and paranoid. Their dialogue and interaction are realistic and nuanced. Nothing feels cliché or forced here, and even the revelation of April's back story, which could've easily been over the top, is well done.
The pacing is slow and methodical. Many smaller moments, such as Danielle taking a shower when the lights go out, or April chopping wood, adds to the feeling that we're watching life unfold rather than a traditional movie. It's helped by the camera work, almost always close in, adding to the intimacy and intensity. Combined with the beautiful but foggy and desolate setting, creates a gripping atmosphere.
The film builds into one of the most intense climaxes in a zombie film since "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie", and when it was over, I wished that the film would go on longer. Not for any kind of loose ends left, but simply to see it continue.
Highly recommended, especially if you're looking for something a bit different.
Ghosts are easy. Being a pop singer is hard.
"White" or "White: The Melody of Curse" has a fairly familiar premise: a failing pop idol group finds an old, uncredited song, and use it to rise to the top. However this tale of fame and fortune becomes mixed in with the paranormal: the song is cursed, fueled by the wrath of a vengeful ghost.
The comparisons with Ringu/The Ring are obvious, from the ghost itself down to the fact the song is discovered on a videotape. The movie does give a respectable effort in ratcheting up suspense, and to be fair there are a couple of effective scares.
However the real strength of this film lies in two areas. First, the story is pretty well done. While the paranormal stuff is prominent, there's also a strong focus on the characters, who are as much affected by their shifting fortunes as they are any bumps in the night. You would think once the ghostly stuff showed up, it would take center stage. Instead it runs parallel to the sudden pressures, ego trips, and bouts of jealousy of their new found fame, meshing together very well and creating a greater emotional and psychological depth than one might expect from such a premise. The film is even fairly touching and somewhat sad at points, aided by pretty good performances.
The second main area is the visuals. There is a certain flare here. It's not Argento or Fulci by any stretch, but the film does look really good. Whether it's a dark room/hallway or the flashiness of the dance stage, the cinematography and imagery are strong. Even without caring for the plot and characters, one could sit back and appreciate the look.
Is the movie a masterpiece? No, I wouldn't go that far, but it is very enjoyable, and if you're a horror movie fan with nothing to do on some afternoon, you could do a lot worse than this.
A Touch Unseen (2014)
The greatest ghost of this movie is that of the time wasted watching it
Like a cross between Zulwaski's "Possession" and "The Entity", but don't take that to be an endorsement-this lame duck of a movie doesn't posses any of the intensity of those two movies (and certainly nowhere near as disturbing as the Zulwaski film). Anyone expecting something on par with "A Tale of Two Sisters" or "I Saw the Devil" will be severely disappointed.
The film follows Yeon-sul, a young college bound woman whose psychotic former lover has returned to carry on their relationship, and who stalks her as she continues to refuse him. However, she's also raped by an incubus, a ghost that wants sex with women.
If you're wondering what these plot lines have to do with each other, well, nothing, really. Of course not everything in a movie has to tie in directly, but in this case all that's happening is that the stories are competing for screen time and attention, like two people fighting over the last window seat on the bus. Worse than that, neither are particularly terrifying or even interesting. The stalker is barely threatening, and nothing but cheap, stereotypical techniques are used to try and make him intimidating, which wouldn't be a problem if they were done even remotely effectively. The incubus scenes are laughable, coming off like soft core scenes, relying on the actress to try and convey the horror being brought upon her after the fact. The problem being, the actress isn't very good.
There's no real build up to anything. The plot gets going right away. The characters are paper thin. Even the stereotypical characterizations in a slasher film can at least be fun to watch until the inevitable slayings. These characters are not only paper thin, but dull as dirt, and we're spending most of the film with them bumbling around waiting for either the incubus or the stalker to underwhelm us with their presence again.
Not even worth watching just to kill eighty minutes, there's thousands of better movies that could do that. Taking an eighty minute walk around in broad day light in a friendly, low crime neighborhood will produce more terror and anxiety than this piece of cinematic dead weight.
Are there any positives? Well, it's competently made, that's about it. I'm not making the argument this is one of the worst movies you'll ever see, not by a long shot, but it is excessively difficult for me to name any legitimate redeeming values.
Le cercle rouge (1970)
A film closer to "Persona" than "Heat"
Melville has always had an attention to detail that would seemingly put his films in the realm of realism, but often delved into abstraction and formalism. Nowhere is that more apparent than "Le Circe Rouge" or the Red Circle.
We start with two parallel characters: Corey, recently released with an offer for an "easy" heist job and immediately robs a local gangster for money to get himself back on his feet, while another felon, Vogel, escapes while being transported and prompts a nation wide manhunt. The two come across each other by chance, both deciding to take the job after enlisting the help of an alcoholic former ex-cop. These three characters are total abstractions. Histories are hinted at, but never explored. Unlike Jeff Costello, there's little to analyze or think about. It's like they were born into this world at film's start, empty shells carrying on like wind up toys. This parred down method may not please those wanting more fleshed out characters, but it does add to the film's tone and atmosphere, and seems to be a deliberate choice rather than an inability to create good characters (which Melville's films have done many times)
In contrast is the inspector, the one who was escorting Vogel when he escaped, and who escaped due to him giving Vogel the benefit of the doubt, but as his superior tells him, "all men are guilty". The inspector must hunt them down, and finds himself using increasingly sinister tactics, including trying to force the owner of a club to inform, despite the latter's strong, somewhat honorable convictions against such. These are the most realized characters in the film.
The film has a grayish, foggy look to it, almost akin to a dream state, and that's the best way to describe the film, like a dream. Full of coincidence as well as some bizarre scenes (such as the spider dream sequence), taking this film as a straight forward heist film will result in disappointment. The minimalism in dialogue as well as music add to this surreal and bleak mood prevalent throughout the movie. This is the definition of a slow burn, and one is advised to simply soak this all in as they watch rather than waiting for plot development. I know when I first saw it, I was kind of baffled, but the film remained firmly on my mind for awhile, which is when I began to appreciate the beauty of this film as his truly most abstract work.
No review should go without mentioning the heist scene. Twenty five minutes and without dialogue, it never drags because of the impeccable lighting and unwillingness to cut corners. You will see everything, and it is exciting. Michael Mann tried to create similar kinds of heist sequences in "Thief", and as good as that film is, it couldn't pull off those scenes with quite the power Melville did here.
At two hours and twenty minutes, the movie is far more likely to feel too fast than too slow. Amazing how such a slow pace and long run time can go by so briskly.
Le samouraï (1967)
Style that supports substance
Much like Hitchcock, Melville had an assembly line of masterpieces, with most film makers lucky to have even one film on any of their levels. Both film makers also made their most career defining films closer to the end of their run. In Hitchcock's case, it was the 1960 film, "Psycho". In Melville's case, it was 1967's "Les Samurai", among the most influential films ever made. Not only did it inspire imitators on an international level (such as "The Driver"), but director's entire filmographies, such as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorcesse and John Woo, owe a debt to this one movie.
The first shot has Jeff Costello, our lead, laying in a smoke filled room, before we go on a step by step process as he gets ready for his next job in a dialogue free 10 minutes where we soak in the look and mood. A greyish look to what is otherwise a colorful film, often with the only accompanying noise being foot steps across the pavement, inserting music only where fitting, without breaking the mood. This is in addition to each beautifully composed shot.
Jeff carries out his hit, killing a night club owner, but is rounded up in an intense twenty minute sequence where the police, try to find the killer among the line. Of course it's too early in the film for Costello to be taken to prison, we realize as a viewer, but the suspense comes in knowing Jeff killed the man and going step by step as the police at first are only going through person by person, but begin to suspect Costello and use every tactic they can to try and implicate him. I won't spoil how he gets out, but trust me when I say even on repeat viewings, the tension of this entire part does not falter.
Although let go, he is trailed by the police and sought after by former employer, who fear him getting caught and ratting them out to police. For much of the movie we are treated to a cat and mouse game where he evades both sides constantly, whether through a memorable sub way chase or an almost western style shoot out. Smooth editing and tight pacing combine with the great visuals to create a brisk thriller that despite often being free of dialogue, never gets dull and never overstays it's welcome. Melville is a master of detail, going through things step by step (whereas most would cut out many details), only piling on the suspense. There's also many little touches, such as how we almost never see Costello draw his gun, it just is suddenly in his hands (in most cases anyway).
Now I could talk about the aesthetics of this movie for longer, but one common quip about this film is that it is style more than substance. Now I won't deny style is a big part of the appeal, but I don't feel the film is lacking. It's a simple story, but effective. Not just for the crime thriller aspects, but Jeff himself, played with cold calculation as well as subtle intimidation by Alan Demoine. He talks very little, and his motivations are ambiguous. It's comically common for a movie to be called existential simply because it's arty, but in this case it applies. Jeff's motives are never made entirely clear. We are left only to try and interpret what he's thinking at any given time, only knowing he is driven by some inner code of conduct. Ultimately this is what the movie is about, not the cops, not the double cross, but Jeff himself. He is a fascinating character and one could talk endlessly about what drives him and what the ending was about.
If you can appreciate films driven more by suspense than action, more vague than explained, such as "Bullit", "Point Blank", "The French Connection", etc. than "Le Samurai" is up your alley.
Le deuxième souffle (1966)
What I find is that a great film of great length, whether slow paced or not, is life a sheep in wolf's clothing. However intimidating a run time may look, the greats go by quicker than many 90 minute efforts. Whether it's Solaris(1972) and Andrei Rubev(1966) in just short o9f 3 hours, or Seven Samurai(1954) and Godfather II(1974) in excess of 200 minutes, there films to me never feel their length and always justify it. While many have commented on "Second Wind" (using the English title for simplicity's sake) running time, rest assured, it too is deceptive.
The film opens abruptly into the finale of an escape sequence from prison, giving no breathing room as you are thrown into the action. One man dies but the other two make it out, as we go to an atmospheric opening credits sequence of the two running through the forest, with little to no music. Only one of the escapees is of concern to us, Gustave Minda (regularly called Gu), put behind bars for a train robbery gone wrong. He comes back to his old stomping grounds, rescuing his sister and loyal friend from a pair of thugs. Their murder further brings heat down on him in a case led by Blot, a wise cracking but crafty inspector. Many plot points are running intersect, including a battle over the cigarette business and the forming of a heist, the latter of which Gu is drawn into in order to have some money when he leaves the country. While there are a lot of characters and going ons to keep track of, as long as one is paying attention, following along is simple, as Melville masterfully brings these plot points together.
This is a dialogue and character heavy movie, making it more similar to "Bob the Gambler" (1955) than "Le Samurai(1967). While maybe not as snappy as Godard, or Tarantino for a more modern example, Melville's films were always strong in dialogue, and this is no exception. This movie is composed of a string of home running scenes. Whether it's humorous, like inspector Blot's sarcastic rant on the unwillingness of a restaurant's employees and customers to comment on the shooting that had occurred, or serious, such as a trio of gangsters confronting a man they believe set them up, there are no wasted scenes or dull moments, whether five minutes or twenty. There's nothing here story wise that is of particularly new ground: a noir style fatalism, a police force as corrupt as the criminals they pursue, political intrigue and betrayals, however it doesn't matter. Originality is welcome but not necessary in anything, and here we see these familiar threads executed with such enthusiasm, backed by strong performances all around, that it hardly matters whether one has seen these things before. If there is one possibly original aspect, it is in it's ending which I won't spoil here. It's a small, but important moment, and much like his follow up "Le Samurai"(1967), widely open to interpretation.
Melville is known for his awesome visuals and mood, and this is no exception. His love of noir is apparent in the perfectly dark lighting, combined with an often minimal soundtrack that aids in creating a mood of dread in many scenes. This is actually a much more subdued effort for Melville in that regard, but it works here as the focus is much more on story and characters.
Not to be missed for fans of crime films.
Un homme qui dort (1974)
Moody Experimental Film
This criminally underrated 1974 film easily ranks among the likes of "Pickpocket", "Breathless" and "The 400 Blows" as among the greatest films in french cinema. This film chronicles a young man who has dropped from his studies and is trying to distance himself from the world around, but starts finding it increasingly hard.
Shot in black and white, the film feels like a new wave film with it's raw, low budget cinematography, having a grainy and gritty look that punctuates the intense, somber mood of the film. Scenes in darkened areas are reminiscent of noir films in their use of shadow, and the editing is generally quick, sometimes with a musical flow. In addition to the imagery, the story is conveyed through a second person female narrator (second person meaning the narrator is always referring to "you", such as "you do or don't get up"). Interestingly, whenever the situation becomes more anxious and desperate, the narrator's normally flat tone starts to become more panicked, or angry. So while the film may seem initially as just a woman talking about something this man is doing, in reality it does have a, albeit abstract, character arc.
Although at times trying on the patience, this film's style ultimately pays off, creating a completely unique and engrossing experience. The slow, subtle deteoration of the main character's mental state spills into your mind. I was rarely bored while watching, thanks to the powerful imagery and raw, minimalist atmosphere. The detachment our lead is trying to create is perfectly conveyed. The film recreates the tedium and a sort of numb pain, the depravity, desperation and entrapment this attempted lifestyle leads to.
If you want a more traditional narrative, certainly look elsewhere. If what you've read here and in other reviews sounds interesting, than this is probably the film for you.
A Parallel Revolution
in 1959, the revolutionary French New Wave movement was taking place. Spearheaded by film critics turned film makers who wanted a change from the tradition of quality, prestige films based on novels in rigid structures, the new wave went in the polar opposite direction. These were low budget, contemporary films, often with non professional actors with no adherence to traditional narrative structure. Ironically, in 1959, there was a film being made in America that was low budget (no studio funding at all), non professional actors, contemporary, and no adherence to narrative structure. This film was John Cassavette's "Shadows".
"Shadows" could be described less as a story and more a glimpse into the lives of three individuals. Where it begins is virtually arbitrary, and it ends without any meaningful resolution. The dialogue, as would be typical of Cassavette, felt improvised and more like real life was being filmed. For the time it was unheard of, and even today you would seldom see a movie like this, or at least not in the main stream.
Of course a movie being "realistic" does not make it inherently good, contrary to what some may believe. The strength of "Shadows" lies in it's fully realized characters and situations. Every actor really brings the character they play, however important or non important, to life. Every emotion, from small talk and wise cracks among friends, to consoling a broken hearted sibling, to getting into a near fight, feels absolutely legitimate. We have Hugh, the sibling with darker skin, who struggles with his lounge singing career while struggling to maintain artistic integrity and be the rock of his family. There's his brother, Ben, who is lighter skinned, that hangs out with trouble making friends. Finally their sister, Lelia, who easily passes off as white, trying to break away from her little sister role and finds herself in a romantic relationship. There really is no main character, all three have their own little thread going on that often crosses over with the others, but doing so naturally. Although racism does come up at one integral point in the movie, this isn't really a movie that focuses on racial issues.Most of the things these characters deal with are universal.
Note must also be made of the jazz soundtrack that helps light a constant fire under the movie, and truly helps make it a time capsule for 1950's Manhatten. I feel the movie would truly lose some of it's fire and passion without this score. At the end of the day, passion may be the key word for this film. Either you're swept up in the authentic displays of human interaction and emotion, or you're likely wading through the longest 82 minutes of your life. If the latter, than the strong performances and intimate cinematography, the innovation, won't mean very much.
A Trippy but accessible sic-fi dark comedy
This 2013 scandanavian sci-fi film centers on Robert Nord, a formerly powerless man in an unsatisfying life, who discovers the exact frequency needed to control people's minds. He can give orders to their subconscious, from what to do to how to feel and what they even notice. Testing this out on his neighbors, he continuously experiments with this new power, while also using it to deflect law enforcement and a man who wants to know the secret for himself.
The story is told in a non linear fashion, with scenes often put out of order, to where we'll see something begin but cut away and go to another part of the story, before we see it's result later on. Don't be scared off by this, however. The film is easy to follow, you simply need to pay attention. In addition, the film is very cold and distant, using none of the usual techniques to manipulate audience reaction, but simply allowing things to play out. This works well for the dry sense of humor the film has, much of it centered around how both dark and absurd Robert's experiments become, which needless to say fall very short of what most rational people would consider moral. The only judgements made, however, are by the audience alone. However even with his immoral action, it's easy to feel some slight sympathy for Robert, a mentally ill, somewhat pathetic individual who at times seems to have his heart in the right place, but whose actions never lead to consequences good for anyone, not even himself. LFO: The movie finds that perfect balance, between conveying the philosophical quandaries of it's subject matter as well as the innate comedy of it, which come together especially perfectly in the film's conclusion.
I don't want to say too much more, because it's better to go into this knowing very little. If what I wrote sounds even a little intriguing to you, chances are this film is right up your alley and you should seek it out immediately.
Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (2010)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Divide a Film Going Audience
When it comes to art films, there's always been a divide. More casual viewers are more likely to dismiss a lot of them as pretentious and stupid, film buffs are more likely to find them beautiful and above anything you'll spend ten to fifteen to watch in a multiplex today. "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" is one of those films, however, that even divides film buffs amongst themselves. Despite winning Palme D'or, the film has many detractors, and a 6.6 on this site(as of this review). 6.6 isn't bad but far below what you would expect given some of the praise. So, what IS this film exactly?
The title character is a man who is slowly dying, living out with his family for his remaining days. Those days become consumed by flashbacks to past lives (though it's not always clear what that life is or how it relates), being visited by the ghost of his wife, and trying to plan for his after life. The film has a very loose structure. Many people find the pace unbearably slow, I think in part because the film doesn't really build up to anything. To call this film meditative would not be a hyperbole, it's a mellow kind of movie. After watching it, I felt different, like I had been given the world's greatest massage, my muscles loosened up and everything, it's not like anything I've gotten from a movie before. This is helped by the beautiful scenery and cinematography. This is a movie that, if you can't watch it on a big screen with loud speakers, should at least be watched in a dark room with headphones if watching on a laptop/desktop. There's little in way of soundtrack (except for one beautiful song later in the film), but the sounds of nature are beautifully captured.
The actual narrative is composed of many smaller stories, all of which connect with Boonmee. All of them work on their own level, and together do create a low key but very, very touching film. the scene where Boonmee talks to the spirit of his wife about the anxiety he used to have giving speeches may be the highlight there, though the princess story and the final flashback are also up there.
This is a film you have to watch on it's terms. You have to be willing to watch it as a more meditative kind of experience, to simply enjoy it the way one might enjoy a hike in the woods of a car ride. If that's not what you want out of a film, avoid this at all costs.
For me, personally, I was a little hesitant going in, given how divided opinion was, but I'm glad I did, and will certainly watch again. It's a powerful film. It won't necessarily leave you in tears, but it will likely leave an impression on those who gravitate towards things like this.