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Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
the best American film of the fifties
Alexander Mackendrick coaches career best performances from Lancaster and Curtis as the nasty newspaper columnist and his slimy press agent who attempt to slander (by any means possible) the reputation of a clean living young jazz musician who hopes to marry Lancasters overprotected sister.the relationships amongst nearly all the characters consist of betrayal and backstabbing apart from the love between the young couple at the centre of the films plot,with a blistering musical score from Elmer Berstein and James Wong Howes steely B & W photography this is movie making at its best.
Le procès (1962)
the best cinema adaptation of Franz Kafka
The Trial is the best cinema adaptation of Franz Kafka.it's also one of Orson Welles most overlooked and underrated films.i personally think it's one of his best.right from the beginning when K (Anthony Perkins) awakes to find two strange policemen? wandering around his bed chamber at five in the morning were taken on a hyper paranoid journey through the minds of both Franz Kafka and Orson Welles,with fantastically stark cinematography and unusual locations the film is genuinely un-nerving and oddly humorous in parts,especially when K attempts to explain to the two sinister policemen their is no such word as "ovular" or not to touch those "pornograph records",innocently meaning phonogram records. this was a role Antony Perkins was born to play and the assemble cast of distinguished character actors lend class to the proceedings,with Orson Welles turning in a memorable performance as the advocate.there is also a pioneering scene using pinscreen animation at the beginning of the film as a kind of prologue.....ten out of ten.
The Skull (1965)
Amicus,Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing at their best.
The Skull is probably the best film Amicus produced,based on a chilling short story by Robert Bloch and directed with visual flair by Freddie Francis it tells the story of a writer on Demonology ; Christopher Maitland(Peter Cushing excellent as usual) who is offered a skull and a fleshbound book originally belonging to none other than the Marquis de Sade for a mere £500,at first he is skeptical of its provenance but finally agrees to buy it from Marco a shifty character(memorably played by Patrick Wymark)who previously stole the skull and book from Sir Matthew Phillips(Christopher Lee)who had fallen under it's sinister spell in the past and was glad the skull and book had been stolen,Matthew tries to convince Christopher of its evil power and advises him to get rid of it as soon as possible,but to no avail,Christopher keeps the skull and begins to come unstuck, he starts hallucinating and having bizarre dreams. All the performances are first rate,but this is Peter Cushings film,he is literally in every scene and gives a convincing performance of a man falling pray to evil. I can't help thinking this could have been a true classic if it had had a bigger budget. The whole cast and crew have worked wonders with what little money and resources they must have had,it also remains(in my opinion) Freddie Francis best film as a director....a must for a cold winters night.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2001 the best film ever made
2001 a space odyssey is the best film ever made.there is no other film like it and i suspect their never will be.this is a directors film with director as the star.the visual flair of the film as still to be matched despite all the technological innovations that have been invented since its making in 1968.there is very little dialogue in the film,just enough to structure the story the rest is left to polemic direction and perfectly choreographed sound and visuals,the use of music plays a very important roll in this film,with composers as diverse as Gyorgy Ligeti,Aram Khatchaturian,Johann Strauss and Richard Strauss when Ligeti's Atmospheres begins playing as Dave Bowman enters the stargate sequence is one of cinemas enduring images,which once seen is never forgotten,the whole film from start to finish is an extravaganza that assaults the senses.i have heard many people comment on how boring this film is,but after all you need a little imagination to appreciate the finer things in life and this is certainly one of them.a true classic.this is the sci-fi film all others use as a reference....in a nutshell the BEST.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist....more than a mere horror film
The Exorcist is the best horror film ever made and there is one reason for this,the subject matter is treated with dignity and respect,too many "horror films" are made today that just don't try,it's as if they give up half way through and fall into self parody and amusement.the Exorcist is an exception and one of the very few good horror films around.the film works on a number of levels and is one of the few films I know of to do this i.e subliminal imagery,multiple storylines. a lot has been written about this film drawing mainly on sensationalism surrounding the films release that it would be hard for someone who has not seen the film to not have any preconceptions,but if you have not seen the film do try to keep an open mind because it will scare the hell out of you.this is also one of the rare cases where a film could arguably be better than the book it was adapted from.in my opinion the film could not have been made any better,the cast throughout are superb, the locations and production are second to none,all the characters are totally believable and there are points in the film where you think all this could really happen and it is for that reason the film is frightening and continues to frighten people to this day....a true shocker and one that has not lost any of its impact over the years.
The Wicker Man (1973)
the wicker man is quite simply the best British horror film ever made,right from the beginning the pace is set for a sinister ride that slowly builds to a genuinely frightning climax.the whole cast are excellent along with a beguiling soundtrack and lovely locations,its unique among films,if you have never seen it,make it the next movie you watch.
Krótki film o milosci (1988)
the best realist cinema has to offer
A short film about love is truly the work of a master,although it was released as part of The Dekalog (all excellent) it stands out above the rest for it's detailed characterization.the film is so well cast,you almost forget your watching a film with actors,but feel your witnessing a human tragedy unfold before you eyes,the performances are so convincing and the setting so real its like watching a documentary on the human condition,and the message is a clear one,not all love has an happy ending,indeed there is a very painful side to feeling love and never as the cinema explored it so poignantly as Krzysztof Kieslowski