Welcome back! After taking the weekend off, we return with another set of 10 movies in the countdown to get excited about!
#80 – Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
The Horror genre is typically not my favorite, but I like to think I can appreciate a master work when it comes along, and that’s exactly what Halloween is. From the startling opening long take, to the incredible score and use of negative space, Carpenter crafts a great, suspense filled horror film with scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis.
#79 – Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
This is a film that is hard to write about because it is so unique. For such an early film as Sunrise to be able to communicate a story is such a compassionate manner is impressive, but what elevates it even further is the masterful photo effects in use at a time when they were cutting edge. A film which really advances the art of storytelling in the medium.
#78 – The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)
At this point, the inclusion of The Wizard of Oz may seem too standard or uninspired, but that is quite the opposite of the truth, for what is more unique and inspiring than The Wizard of Oz!? A beautiful story with a wonderful lead performance from Judy Garland and an unforgettable story of friendship. Plus “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.
#77 – 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini, 1963)
Fellini’s masterpiece warrants inclusion on my list for a few reasons, but first and foremost because it is stylish! But it is also narratively rich. Like Adaptation. earlier in this list, which is about the screenwriter writing the movie we’re seeing, 8 1/2 transcends itself by being about the struggle of the director to make the movie we’re seeing. This level of “meta” simply entertains me in the best possible ways.
#76 – Cloud Atlas (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, 2012)
When released, Cloud Atlas received mixed reviews, but to me, it was a film that immediately felt great. Reading the novel, by David Mitchell, after my first viewing only added appreciation for the use of narrative structure. Sure, some of it is gimmicky, what with the actors playing multiple parts, but it is a story told with conviction, imagination and a whole lot of heart. A technical masterwork with a brilliant score and more than a few brilliant performances.
#75 – There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
Paul Thomas Anderson is anything but un-interesting. His films are ambitious and bold, and There Will Be Blood is unequivocally his best. It is big and over the top and features an incredible, screen grabbing performance from one of our generation’s best, Daniel Day-Lewis.
#74 – Bull Durham (Ron Shelton, 1988)
I continue down my Baseball marathon, but I wonder whether this is the perfect combination of all them, features elements of everything under the sun that makes the genre so entertaining. It has been well documented on this site that I love baseball, and this movie does too. It also loves romance, comedy, and it loves to be entertaining in the form of its three main leads giving great performances, especially Costner and Sarandon.
#73 – Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg, 1998)
Spielberg is, of course, a renown filmmaker with a huge reputation for making great films, but what is it that makes him a great filmmaker? To me, it’s his ability to craft highly entertaining, but highly human stories. Technically proficient, his films always manage to connect with the more basic factors of human existence, what it means to be a man, a soldier, a husband, a brother. That’s what makes Saving Private Ryan great.
#72 – The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
I won’t beat around the bush, Terrence Malick is my favorite filmmaker and this is just merely the first film of his that will grace this countdown. Malick is a somewhat abstract filmmaker, who uses a lot of voiceover of his characters contemplating some of the heavier aspects of life. The Tree of Life, like all his films, is a beautiful poem about humanity.
#71 – The Red Shoes (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1948)
In recent years, we saw the release of Black Swan as a crazed dancer, obsessed with her craft, was driven to insanity. Before that film came The Archers’ classic The Red Shoes. Now certainly different, The Red Shoes uses incredible colors and the powers of obsession to communicate a story featuring love, passion and profession. Anton Walbrook is great, as always, but Moira Shearer is the revelation here.
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