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Note: I have recently decided to add television shows to the list; therefore, over the following weeks, this list may grow dramatically before abruptly stopping at, I estimate, about 5,000.
Additional lists: 10/10: http://www.imdb.com/list/BIp1517cfaQ/ 9/10: http://www.imdb.com/list/rGYz0KlVV0Y/ 8/10: http://www.imdb.com/list/ik136zAQcLQ/
Les filles de Malemort (1974)
Very weird and mildly entertaining
Some have referred to this film as softcore, a classification with which I must disagree. There is an aged man who takes advantage of younger females (presumably his servants), and a captain who comes into town looking for a treasure. That is, quite honestly, all that I got from this choppy film.
It begins with a young man finding a book "les filles de Malemort" and he reads it to a female. After reading a few lines, the audience is taken back to the events retold in the book. It is, I must say, an intriguing film, but I simply could not figure out what was going on most of the time.
I gave it a 5/10 because I enjoyed the setting and cinematography, and because it was still a fun film to watch, despite my lack of comprehension. A mostly worthwhile use of 75 minutes.
Ultimate example of 1994 horror
I love movies. Action, drama, romance, science fiction - you name it, I love it. However, horror has always held a special place in my heart. Sci fi is there to awe us with futuristic possibilities (or impossibilities, as many acquainted with actual science may say); romance is meant to make us feel happy for those two who fall in love. Horror is special, though; rather than make us feel good, we are supposed to be, well, horrified. Unfortunately, this film didn't scare me, just as few, if any, ever have. However, as a work of art (something which I think all films are), Brainscan was excellent.
Dealing with a sixteen year old boy (T2's Eddie Furlong) who comes upon a video game that puts him within the eyes of a murderer, Michael experiences horror after horror when he finds himself essentially inside a truly scary horror flick. There were flaws, as there are in even the greatest of films, and many avenues which I thought could have been investigated; the film definitely would not have ended the way it had had I written in, yet it did have quite the humorous ending (in the blackest sense).
I give it an 8/10 rating, and hope to see many more like it. Also, if I may offer my recommendation, be it this: eXistenZ
La chiesa (1989)
Pretty good. . .
Before I start, I wish to make it clear that I am in no way an expert on Italian cinema. American, yes; European, not in the slightest. After having made my way through nearly every worthwhile American movie ever made, I've decided to go on to the European ones. While many are pretty good (you always get a dumb one or two), I find the experience somewhat tainted by my background in American cinema.
I watched Prince of Darkness a few months ago. It was good - not nearly as scary or as well made as I would have expected from John Carpenter. The Church was probably a better movie. Prince of Darkness took too many elements from Carpenter's older films like Assault on Precinct 13, so it did lack in some ways. However, having seen Prince of Darkness, a film very similar to this one, I knew what to expect. It reminded me of other, similar titles, as well. Rosemary's Baby (such as the 'devil-rape' scene in both films) being the most noteworthy.
The Church was not exceptionally gory, as I had been led to believe Italian cinema would be (Cannibal Holocaust, Zombi 2, etc.), and that probably helped it. There was blood, but it was far from being ubiquitous; there was sex and nudity, but neither proved to be a common occurrence. I'm a firm believer that such scenes take away from the horror by providing a distraction; this film had just the right amount to keep from getting - shall we say - boring. Not that I would find such a movie boring; indeed, the church's Gothic architecture, and all of the secrets that may be buried therein, provided a pleasant sight throughout most of the film.
Being one of my first Italian films, I do so hope that this film shan't be considered a masterpiece of sorts when compared to other Italian movies; while, as I said, I did like it, I cannot help but hope for something better from Italian filmmakers.
The House of the Devil (2009)
Startlingly well made horror masterpiece
I am still unsure of what to rate this film: nine stars or ten? It was an excellent movie - easily one of my favorite horror movies of all time (and I do mean all time, I've seen horror movies dating back to 1910) - but the ending (which I shan't give away; the 'SPOILER alert' is up because I am reminiscing about the ending, something which can ruin the movie's enjoyability for some people) wasn't as good as it could have been. It just didn't seem right.
The rest of the film, though, was terrific. She needs money, she gets a job as a babysitter, she goes to the babysitter's house (who just happens to live in the middle of no-where), and she learns that - 'Lo-and-Behold!' - there is no baby. Instead, she's watching an old woman.
As in the tradition of the old masterpieces (The Sentinel, Rosemary's Baby, the Omen, etc.), the first 75% is a build up of tension and suspense, whereas the last few minutes encompass the whole of the film's horrific elements. I like it that way. Unlike the Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th movies, where people are being killed off left-right-and-center, you get to develop feelings for the character - you don't want them to suffer at the hands of some daemon, or some madman, or whomsoever else the villain of that particular movie might be.
That's why this is a good movie. Writers these days don't seem to know how to make people wait for the scary stuff and, in the end, nothing is scary. Definitely a movie I'd recommend.
Reservation Road (2007)
Memorable, but not memorable. . .
I could easily rate a hundred movies a day on here, and it would take a good month to go through all the movies I've seen (much less television episodes). With about half of those movies, I think to myself, 'This is that movie I'm thinking about, isn't it?'. Perhaps forty percent more I can distinctly remember having seen, and a few minor plot elements, but no more. Only a percent or two of those movies are truly memorable - are ones that you find yourself quoting (i.e. "Go ahead, make my day", etc.) This movie, however, falls somewhere between those two places.
I can remember watching this movie. I can remember quite a bit of it, despite having watched it months ago - probably a whole lot better than I can remember the other movies I watched at that time. I can also remember having been enthralled by the film. And yet, for the life of me, I cannot possibly remember why I liked it so much. Had I rated this title the day I watched it, I'd have probably given it ten stars; yet, after only a few months, the reasoning has completely escaped me. I typically give this type of movie a seven star rating, but something tells me it was far better than your average similar-themed drama.
The plot was good - with a tad too much irony, as is common in most Hollywood films. (It's not much of a SPOILER, but I'll list it as a SPOILER alert because I wouldn't have wanted to know had I read a review before having watched this movie.) The man who hits and kills Joaquin's character's son is the same lawyer whom Joaquin hires later on. Out of all the lawyers to be found in whatever city you are in (they make up a good 50 pages of my local telephone directory), he had to hire his son's killer. Sure, without that touch of irony, the movie wouldn't have been half as good as it was, yet something about it still, though making the movie, ruined it as well.
Anyway, this is definitely a movie I'd recommend (and have recommended) to anybody looking for a good, heartfelt drama.
Good, even for a Wahlberg film
I don't like Mark Wahlberg. I'd go so far as to say that I hate him -- despise him, even. The Happening, Max Payne, The Departed - he has this way of systematically ruining everything he does; he's like Adam Sandler, almost.
Despite Wahlberg's role in this film - which, if I might add, wasn't very good (as can be expected) - I was surprised to find that I enjoyed this film. I never thought I'd hear myself saying such a thing about a Wahlberg film, but it's true. This was an enjoyable, thrilling movie that I am glad that I watched.
I'd recommend it to anybody in search of a good, old-fashioned thriller.
The Sentinel (1977)
Excellently made horror
I expected this to be an adequate film. It wasn't until the mid-80s that horror films became laughable, so I wasn't expecting anything like Freddy vs. Jason or Leprechaun; I wasn't expecting another Rosemary's Baby, either, but that was what I got.
The beginning was slow. That's how all horror movies should be: nice and slow. Let you get a feel for the characters, develop any type of positive emotional attachment. It didn't feel like a horror film at first - but, then again, neither did Rosemary's Baby. Producers/writers/directors today seem to think that people want the horror to start the second the film does. Unfortunately, that doesn't give the viewer enough time to get emotionally connected with the characters, which leads to a lack of fear. The Sentinel was done in such a way that you felt for Alison.
The Omen is among the few films which, when I watched it, I found startling. Prophecy was excellent, as was The Ninth Gate. Thus, I find myself at a quandary: should I classify these films as Daemonic Horror, or as Catholic Horror? I've seen Daemonic horror films - Legion being quite noteworthy - which were quite ridiculous. However, I am unable to think of a horror film which incorporated Catholic elements that I did not like. The Catholic element was not the source of the horror in these films, thus I fear that it would be inaccurate to call them 'Catholic horror films'.
Whatever I call them, they are terrific. And the Sentinel might very well be the best.
Splice - a good film, with a few flaws.
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS Splice was... an interesting movie. There are flaws, like most movies, though it was far better than the average movie.
Science fiction has, historically, been a story of that which may be possible at a later date; however, Splice wasn't like that. Splice was about something that, most likely, is possible now. Back in the 70s a book was written by a man who claimed to have been involved with a project to clone a human. He claimed that they succeeded, though the scientists of both his day and now say that it was all a lie.
Still, there is also a chance that he was telling the truth. What if a clone walks among us today? Yet, Splice wasn't exactly about human cloning, rather human-animal hybridization. Still, there are historical examples for this topic, as well; the most notable being the 'Montauk Monster' which washed ashore July of 2008. There were many possible explanations for precisely what this 'Monster' was, and a common theory was that it was a raccoon, or some other animal. Still, one cannot help but wonder.
The aforementioned flaws were comparatively minor: the characters - being fictional - were typologically inaccurate. The acting, while exquisite when it comes to Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody, could have been better by the other actors.
SPOILERS Dren ('nerd' spelled backwards; fans of Happy Days may recognize it...) was formed in a laboratory as a hybrid between another creature and a human. Her 'parent' was a genetically engineered hybrid-creature which was used to synthesize a protein. The female of that species later turned into a male in a rather grisly 'murder' scene.
Anymore information, and the horror (or rather, the little horror present in that film) would be even lower than the already less-than-satisfactory 'horror film'.
Overall, a very good film dealing with the ethical and moral implications of cloning/hybridization.
Sin City (2005)
Odd, but fun
I was hesitant about this movie. It had a strong cast and an interesting premise, but something just seemed 'off'. My fears, as it turns out, were not unfounded. The graphics were ridiculous, the premise bizarre, and the whole feel of the movie was strange. However - it was fun. It was fun in a way that most movies could only dream of. Sure, it was ludicrous, but that added to the enjoyability. Most of the film was in black and white, with some color added - such as to a dress or a head. When Elijah Wood's character got dismembered, there was little if any blood. He was just sitting there, with a smile on his face - then you see that his limbs are gone. Quite strange. Mickey Rourke walks around with his face covered in band-aids during the beginning - another ridiculous, but fun, scene in the movie.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
A terrific movie.
Death. A common fear amongst almost all the civilizations in the world. But what if you could overcome death? Would you do it? What if, in order to overcome death, you were reduced to a brainless automaton? You get bit. You bleed to death. You come back. That is the premise of this film. However, when you come back, there is nothing left of you but your body; your mind is all but gone - wasted. There is a stark difference between vampires and zombies - vampires are sentient, zombies are not. That fact makes them all the more terrifying. Similar to the original, the few survivors take refuge in a mall (an allusion to consumerism in modern society, perhaps?).
Across the river of zombies trying to bite the survivors is a gun store, owned by Andy. Neither of them can reach each other, so they use a dry-erase-board to communicate. They play a game: the people in the mall write down the name of a celebrity, such as Burt Reynolds. Andy then shoots the zombie-look-a-like in the head. A classic scene.
The film also poses the belief: the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. A man was bit, he is slowly dying and shall eventually turn into a zombie. What do you do? Do you kill him right away, or do you let him die then resurrect as a zombie? At which point is a human beyond hope?
Morality and philosophy intermixed with horror and zombie fun. A masterpiece in modern film-making.