Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Greatest Films List (SM)

Sight & Sound has laid its cards on the table, and now we must all follow suit.  Right then.  I like the idea of a tier system (see TP's post just below), but I'm too afraid I'll omit or misclassify something crucial and be branded forever with the mark of Kane.  So here are 36 or so masterpieces that eternally and immutably belong on my top shelf.  All the usual disclaimers apply, plus many others (haven't had my coffee yet, I'm an Aries, probably didn't get enough love in my childhood, etc.)  Here goes something.

[In alphabetical order.]

Aguirre: The Wrath of God (Herzog, 1972)
Annie Hall (Allen, 1977)
Brief Encounter (Lean, 1945)
Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942)
Children of Paradise (Carne, 1945)
Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)
Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
City Lights (Chaplin, 1931)
Days of Heaven (Malick, 1978)
Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)
The Earrings of Madame de... (Ophuls, 1953)
Fanny and Alexander (Bergman, 1982)
Five Easy Pieces (Rafelson, 1970)
Goodfellas (Scorsese, 1990)
La Grande Illusion (Renoir, 1937)
Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952)
Jules and Jim (Truffaut, 1962)
The Lady Eve (Sturges, 1941)
The Last Picture Show (Bogdanovich, 1971)
Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962)
Make Way for Tomorrow (McCarey, 1937)
Nashville (Altman, 1975)
The Night of the Hunter (Laughton, 1955)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928)
Paths of Glory (Kubrick, 1957)
Sans Soleil (Marker, 1983)
The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
Sherlock Jr. (Keaton, 1924)
Sherman's March (McElwee, 1986)
Singin' in the Rain (Donen/Kelly, 1952)
La Strada (Fellini, 1954)
The Third Man (Reed, 1949)
Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969)
Winter Light (Bergman, 1963)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Greatest Films List (TP)

I fear this list will only serve to show how few movies I've seen and the various national cinemas I have so far neglected in my viewing (Russian, Chinese, Japanese, etc.), but by request below is my list of best films. The list is divided into two tiers. The first tier is comprised of films I believe could be one of the 10 greatest films ever made (you will see there are many more than 10) and the second tier is comprised of other masterpieces and great films. [Other than the separation by tiers, the films are listed alphabetically by title.]

Note: I updated the list on 1/29/13.

First Tier:
L'Argent (Robert Bresson, 1983)
Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966)
Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973)
Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
Cleo from 5 to 7 (Agnes Varda, 1962)
Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1991)
Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
Days of Being Wild (Wong Kar-Wai, 1990)
Deja Vu (Tony Scott, 2006)
The Devil, Probably (Robert Bresson, 1977)
Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)
The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin, 1925)
Hiroshima, mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959)
In Praise of Love (Jean-Luc Godard, 2001)
The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls, 1948)
The Lovers On the Bridge (Leos Carax, 1991)
M (Fritz Lang, 1931)
Made in U.S.A. (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966)
A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 1957)
Me and My Gal (Raoul Walsh, 1932)
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raul Ruiz, 2011)
Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)
Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
RoboCop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987)
Scarface (Howard Hawks, 1932)
Scarlet Street (Frtiz Lang, 1945)
Sherlock, Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924)
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
Weekend (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)
World On a Wire (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973)
Zero for Conduct (Jean Vigo, 1933)

Second Tier:
The Addiction (Abel Ferrara)
Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard)
Annie Hall (Woody Allen)
"L'arrivee d'un train en Garede la Ciotat" (Auguste & Louis Lumiere)
"At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World" (David Cronenberg)
Bad Lieutenant (Abel Ferrara)
Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard)
Barbara (Christian Petzhold)
The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo)
Beau travail (Claire Denis)
The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica)
Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene)
Blade Runner (Ridley Scott)
The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg)
Blue Velvet (David Lynch)
Boarding Gate (Olivier Assayas)
Body Snatchers (Abel Ferrara)
Les Bonnes Femmes (Claude Chabrol)
Boy Meets Girl (Leso Carax)
Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard)
Cache (Michael Haneke)
Calendar (Atom Egoyan)
Capitalism: Slavery (Ken Jacobs)
Les Carabiniers (Jean-Luc Godard)
Casablanca (Michael Curtiz)
Un Chien Andalou (Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali)
Children of Paradise (Marcel Carne)
Chinatown (Roman Polanski)
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)
A Corner in Wheat (D.W. Griffith)
Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg)
Dangerous Game (Abel Ferrara)
A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg)
David Holman's Diary (Jim McBride)
The Day He Arrives (Hong Sang-soo)
Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero)
demonlover (Olivier Assayas)
The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
Despair (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies)
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
Duck Soup (Leo McCarey)
Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl (Manoel de Oliveira)
Eraserhead (David Lynch)
Essential Killing (Jerzy Skolimowski)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
F for Fake (Orson Welles)
Une femme mariee (Jean-Luc Godard)
Film Socialisme (Jean-Luc Godard)
The Fly (David Cronenberg)
Fort Apache (John Ford)
4:44 Last Day On Earth (Abel Ferrara)
Four Nights of a Dreamer (Robert Bresson)
Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick)
The Gay Divorcee (Mark Sandrich)
The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher)
Go Go Tales (Abel Ferrara)
The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola)
The Godfather, Part II (Francis Ford Coppola)
Goodbye First Love (Mia Hansen-Love)
Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis)
Halloween (John Carpenter)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax)
House of Tolerance / Pleasures (Bertrand Bonello)
Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas)
Ishtar (Elaine May)
Jacques Rivette: The Night Watchman (Claire Denis)
La jetee (Chris Marker)
King of New York (Abel Ferrara)
The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock)
Lancelot du lac (Robert Bresson)
Laura (Otto Preminger)
Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel)
Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami)
The Maltese Falcon (John Huston)
Man's Castle (Frank Borzage)
Manhattan (Woody Allen)
Martin (George A. Romero)
Mauvais sang (Leos Carax)
"Merde" (Leos Carax)
The Merry Widow (Ernst Lubitsch)
Miami Vice (Michael Mann)
Monkey Business (Howard Hawks)
New Rose Hotel (Abel Ferrara)
Night and Fog (Alain Resnais)
Night Moves (Arthur Penn)
North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock)
Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur)
The Party (Blake Edwards)
Passion (Brian De Palma)
Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick)
Peeping Tom (Michael Powell)
Pickpocket (Robert Bresson)
Pola X (Leos Carax)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Billy Wilder)
Public Enemies (Michael Mann)
Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)
Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophuls)
Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock)
Resident Evil: Retribution (Paul WS Anderson)
Road to Nowhere (Monte Hellman)
Rope (Alfred Hitchcock)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski)
Rushmore (Wes Anderson)
The Satin Slipper (Manoel de Oliveira)
Shadows (John Cassavetes)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick)
The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar)
The Social Network (David Fincher)
Something Wild (Jonathan Demme)
La sortie des usines Lumiere (Louis Lumiere)
Spartacus (Stanley Kubrick)
Stagecoach (John Ford)
Starship Troopers (Paul Verhoeven)
Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas)
Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes)
Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami)
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Thief (Michael Mann)
This Is Not a Film (Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahasebi)
The 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock)
Three Colors: Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Time Regained (Raul Ruiz)
Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
The Trial (Orson Welles)
The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr & Agnes Hranitzky)
12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (David Lynch)
Two Lovers (James Gray)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick)
Vamps (Amy Heckerling)
Vengeance (Johnnie To)
Videodrome (David Cronenberg)
Vivre sa vie (Jean-Luc Godard)
The Warriors (Walter Hill)
We Own the Night (James Gray)
What's Up, Tiger Lily? (Woody Allen)
White Material (Claire Denis)
Who's Minding the Store? (Frank Tashlin)
Wild Grass (Alain Resnais)
The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, King Vidor, & Mervyn LeRoy)
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet! (Alain Resnais)


Sunday, August 5, 2012

How to Charm a Lady with Food

The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)

Mauvais sang (Leos Carax, 1986)

Thomas Prieto


There's a moment in Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush that perfectly captures the feeling of loneliness in a singular, unforgettable image. Chaplin awakes from a dream in which his love interest, Georgia, and her friends attend his New Year's Eve party as they had promised. In his dream, he has impressed them with one of the film's most dazzling sequences, a dance performed with two pieces of bread. After he awakes, he realizes that they have in fact not shown up. He hears a noise coming from outside his home and opens the door to hear the denizens of the town, including his love interest, celebrating at the local bar. A medium shot of Chaplin with the door partially ajar cuts to a close-up of his face.

Thomas Prieto

On the Anniversary of Ms. Monroe's Death

                            Monkey Business (Howard Hawks, 1952)

It's rather fitting that in the last week I've seen a couple Marilyn Monroe movies, since today is the anniversary of Ms. Monroe's death. Unfortunately, there have been quite a few negative comments about Ms. Monroe today. What some don't realize, particularly those that don't actually watch her movies and focus solely on the gossip about her personal life, is Ms. Monroe was quite bright.This argument is best made by the great film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum here.

Monroe was able to imbue characters like Lorelei Lee with great complexity. Most would have played her as just a shallow, brainless bombshell, but Monroe turns her into "a parodic expose of capitalist duplicity". Her suitors and, by implication, the audience are portrayed as grotesque. As Mr. Rosenbaum puts it, "The difficulty some people have discerning Monroe’s intelligence as an actress seems rooted in the ideology of a repressive era, when superfeminine women weren’t supposed to be smart. They often fail to see past the sexist cliches she used as armor, satirically and otherwise, fail to notice that she was also positing a utopian view of sex, one that was relatively guilt free and blissfully pleasure oriented — something entirely new for that period."

Thomas Prieto