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As a guy who grew up during the digital age, I am proud to have a film list that does not only extend as far back as 1995, and I can safely say that I like films from every genre, both art-house and mainstream.
I decided to limit it to 1 film per director because that was how Akira Kurosawa made his list, and if The Emperor did it that way, who am I to argue, eh?
Comments are appreciated! >_<
The Magic of Amélie Is More Than Just The Impish Eyes & Whimsical Grin!
And of course, it's more than just that short hair with bangs too!
In all honesty, is there anything about this movie that hasn't been said? I've seen and heard Amélie being described by many words: magical, charming, colorful, gorgeous, ethereal, surreal, and many others. For short, they're all true. Amélie is all that, and more! This is the kind of movie that anyone can appreciate. It's a movie about cherishing the little things in your life to experience even more joy. After all, the main character engages in a series of misadventures to better others' lives, and eventually her own too.
Praises have showered this movie from its initial release. Audrey Tautou & Jean-Pierre Jeunet have heard enough compliments perhaps. But I'll still say this: this is my favorite movie of all time! I have never seen a movie better, more charming, more wondrous, and more mirthful than Amélie, and I don't think I ever will. Missing the happiness this movie tries to bring you is a pity big enough to be sorry for.
And who knows, maybe if you look at that girl who often dresses in red while staring directly to the screen, you'll fall in love with her like I did!
Forever recommended! 100/100!
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Greatest Superhero Movie of All Time
I just got back from the premiere screening with my parents, and I must say...The Dark Knight Rises will forever remain as a ethereal memory I will never forget.
Going into the movie, I'm aware of the unreal expectation Christopher Nolan has to live up to, especially after The Dark Knight 4 years prior. And I also realize so many people will consider this movie to be inferior to The Dark Knight. But, not me. To me, not only this movie is the best out of the trilogy, this movie is the greatest superhero movie of all time. And I don't throw around "the best of all time" title in any genre or sub-genre that much. I know people would say the lack of Joker effects the quality of TDKR as compared to TDK, but I daresay this movie is perfect without The Joker. Because this series is never about The Joker, it's about the journey of Batman. This is the end of that saga and what a finale it was.
The story is set 8 years after The Dark Knight, with all the impact of Harvey Dent's death being felt. Batman was literally buried beneath the hatred of many people until Bane arrives and forces him to don his bat-suit again.
From the storyline perspective, this is easily the most powerful and emotional out of the trilogy. The idea of the loss of loved ones, redemption, hope, and faith is revisited and hinted many many times throughout the movie, and I couldn't help but cry over certain scenes, particularly Alfred's farewell, Bruce Wayne finding his faith back in the hole, the first & second return of Batman, the surprising twist involving a knife, and of course the perfect ending. The story is gripping from start to finish, and the 164 minutes screen-time isn't even actually felt thanks to how tight the story clinches your attention.
About the characters & the acting...I can only say, wow, they are all perfect! Christian Bale gave the strongest performance of a Bruce Wayne ever. Anne Hathaway practically told Michelle Pfeiffer to step aside just like Heath Ledger did to Jack Nicholson. Gary Oldman had a memorable performance as a tormented "war hero". Michael Caine, as always, was emotional and powerful in every delivery you could imagine. Tom Hardy successfully made Bane the most threatening & powerful villain you'll ever see in every comic book adaptation. Marion Cotillard played the luscious surprise convincingly. Morgan Freeman provided the much needed supporting character. And lastly, Joseph-Gordon Levitt displayed himself as an amazing sidekick & eventually a future hero.
And for the umpteenth time it seems, Christopher Nolan has outdone himself yet again! Regardless of the haters, it's obvious Mr. Nolan is the best living director today and will more than likely reign as so for a long time. I'm proud to call myself a Nolanite.
All in all, this movie is very well made and I have never seen a greater superhero movie than this. And I truly doubt I ever will. This is an otherworldly experience and I'm lucky to have seen it. 100/100. Recommended for an eternity. >_<
A Cold Night's Death (1973)
The Creepiest Made for TV Horror In Existence
Among many horror movies that can truly be called a buried treasure, this takes the cake. This is it. This is the most unknown horror movie that will scare anyone that has ever seen it. It is so unknown, it practically got little to no recognition even among the majority of horror movie buffs.
It told the story of two researches taking over a laboratory after their fellow died a mysterious death atop a snowy mountain. Slowly but surely, they begin to experience what their colleague might have experienced.
Among many horror movies I've ever seen, this may very well be the best when it comes to creating the feeling of claustrophobia. And the tension was very well built as the trust of the two deteriorated as days went by, making the final twist in the end much more terrifying.
And without a doubt, no other made for TV horror reached this level of horror film-making. Hell, it's rare to see a horror film-making that actually touched this in general, period.
Greatly recommended. 10/10.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
True, when most people talk about Romero, Dawn of The Dead is generally regarded as the superior work. Some call it the best zombie movie ever made, some call it the best horror movie ever made. There is nothing wrong with that, because Dawn is indeed a great movie. But I am definitely in another club. I beg to differ. In my opinion, Night of The Living Dead is the superior movie.
Above all others, of course because of its influence of basically reinventing the whole zombie sub-genre. But it is also the fact that it was made with budget so little, Hollywood producers would probably have laughed at it. But most of all, it's because the movie achieved what so many horror movie actually did: being frightening.
The making of great horror does not need millions of dollars or special effects or CGI, no. The quintessence of horror is to scare you with something you cannot see or have never seen before. That was what Romero achieved with this movie. He managed to put something "unknown" to many that terrorize your mind long after you see it or after you have seen it many many times.
And since everyone & their mother probably know about the story of this movie, I won't even bother writing it down here. I just want to praise Romero for presenting a REAL feeling of isolation all throughout. This movie is Horror 101, a textbook of making a great horror with the effective scare (not the special effects).
And among many of the zombie movies I've ever seen in my life, this one I take a great delight of watching over and over again. Never before I see a zombie movie so good, and I don't think I will ever.
Das Leben der Anderen (2006)
By Listening to The Lives of Others, One Man Rediscovered His Own
I know little about Germany, GDR, and their history altogether. And to be frank, all I ever cared from Germany is their movies, the good ones of course. I'm a huge fan of Brazil since I was young, so I never cared about Germany's national football team. But their movies are a different story.
I encountered this movie by chance, when I found out Pan's Labyrinth didn't win the Oscar For Best Foreign Language. Now, the Oscar made a mistake countless times in almost every major categories. For one, I'm still baffled to this day that Amélie received major snubbing in many categories from the Academy. So when I found out there was a German movie called Das Leben der Anderen that beat Pan's Labyrinth, I was determined to see the movie for myself. And boy, was it worth it! Among many movies not made in the English language that received the Best Foreign Language Oscar on the last decade (2000-2009), this must be the most deserving.
Set only 4 years before The Fall of Berlin Wall, this movie is far from your standard political thriller filled with boring conversations and endless conspiracies. No, there is no action scene at all in this movie, but the tension was there, the story was existent, the protagonists were 'human', and even the antagonists were realistic. It was more like a human drama to me. It is not about how this guy solves mission A or this guy solves mission B, no. It's more about how a hardened soldier rediscover where his heart was by listening to how others share theirs.
Gerd Wiesler was an experienced Captain and interrogator Stasi, GDR's Secret Police, with 20 years worth of service. A very hardened veteran inside & outside, he is the guy you don't wanna mess with. No one could topple him in the interrogation table. He knew how the break his targets, what their weaknesses were, and what would push their buttons. He knew human psychology like the palm of his hand. But in his personal life, he was no more than a loner. No wife, no kids, no friends, no human contact at all. All he ever did in his apartment was eating some meals, watching random TV shows, and inviting prostitute to take care of his sexual needs.
But his life changed forever when he was assigned a mission to spy on a playwright and his girlfriend, a stage actress, whom his higher ups believe to secretly stand against the socialism beliefs the government of GDR upheld. At first, it seemed like it was just going to be another mission for him. Another one of those jobs that was going to end soon not long after it began. But day by day, week after week, as Wiesler heard & watched how they live, how they share their love, and how they handle their distress, he felt like he was a part of their community. After 20 years of loneliness, there was a sense of wanting to be need, wanting to have something more than just missions. He began to feel like he was one of them. That sympathy reached its peak when he found out his current targets were actually innocent and he was assigned to this mission only so his superiors could receive personal achievement, something he greatly disliked because he believed the party he served for as long as he could remember were driven by heartless & egoistical people. Only then, he started to rediscover his heart, which he neglected long ago. Little by little, he became human again. And all this leads to a poignant conclusion.
The late Ulrich Mühe gave what may very well be the greatest performance in his career as Gerd Weisler in the best movie he has ever been in. He said more in his silence than in his words. His eyes alone spoke what he felt inside his heart. His actions were louder than his words. None of his actions felt forced, each and every one of it was genuine. He really showed the transformation of his character to become human. The rest of the casts did an outstanding job as well, especially Sebastian Koch who played the writer. He was successful on making his character likable, but without making it look weak.
All in all, this is a very powerful & human drama. I agree this is one of the best movies of the last decade. And to me personally, this is so far the best German movie I have ever seen in my life. 10/10. Eternally recommended!
The Godfather (1972)
The Most Outstanding Achievement In Motion Picture of The 20th Century
Steven Spielberg once said he considered retiring after watching The Godfather. Stanley Kubrick admitted The Godfather may very well be the greatest movie ever made and without a doubt has the best cast. If two of the greatest directors of all time had claimed such statement, what more needs to be said about this masterpiece, really? By now, it's already a stuff of legend. Countless lists and people have rated this as the finest motion picture to ever grace the silver screen. The genre and cinema itself have been heavily influenced by the contents in the movie, and even real-life mafias mimicked how Don Vito Corleone, portrayed by Marlon Brando in what I consider to be the most splendid acting job done by any actor or actress in any movie ever, carried himself. When did you ever hear something like that happened? If there was ever any? I doubt Francis Ford Coppola himself would have thought his first big directorial job would have given birth to an enduring legacy THIS big. Sure, he had Marlon Brando in his pocket, complete with Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, James Caan, and Robert Duvall as future stars just to name a few, which must have been exciting for a young director for that time. But I still doubt Coppola would have known he was directing the greatest motion picture of the 20th century even once during the entire 62 days of shooting, even when he, the entire casts, and the entire crews gave it their all for those 62 days. But that magic was there. And it is now known throughout the world as The Godfather.
I think the story is rather famous now, but I'll say it anyway. It tells the story of an organized crime family after the World War II was over. Spanning over 10 years, the movie was a journey of the youngest son (played brilliantly by the legendary Al Pacino) transformed from a war hero not wanting to have anything to do with his family's business to become the next head of an organized crime dynasty.
It featured brilliant performances from every single person involved, especially the mythical Marlon Brando. Every scene he was in, no way you didn't have your eyes on him. Even when he wasn't around, you would still feel his presence and power. His character, to me at least, made this movie. No one could play him as grand as Marlon Brando did.
On technical aspect, this movie is flawless. Coppola's directing really captured the quintessence of every character in the movie. The dark photography added to the whole mystique of every scene in this movie. And the last but definitely not the least, the score is magical.
What else is there need to be said about this masterpiece? Only a few movie can be called perfection, The Godfather is a prime example of it. Everything in this movie is so unbelievably perfect it is almost unreal. How come something became this great is hard to decipher. This timeless classic is a definite must see for anyone. And among many movies made in the 20th century I have seen, this is the best of the best. The finest of the finest. Maybe several movies can come close, but I don't think anything can top this. I firmly believe The Godfather is without a doubt the most brilliant motion picture of the 20th century.