Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Film Club Favourites

Lucy Lowe sent a comment about my slating of the martial arts flick Crouching Twaddle Hidden Nonsense. In it she suggested that I publish my top ten films.

Well, I'm in need of displacement activity at the moment because I ought to be doing something useful, so here goes. In no particular order and I reserve the right to change my mind as time goes by:

Twelve Monkeys (1995, Terry Gilliam), because it's a bit of a mind-blast and Bruce Willis actually manages to act:
The Pillow Book (1996, Peter Greenaway). Greenaway's a genius; utterly bonkers, but a genius. This film is beauty and madness all in one.The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989, Peter Greenaway). Theatrical cinema at its best; superb performances by Helen Mirren and Michael Gambon. A visionary nightmare on celluloid, sumptuously dressed by Jean Paul Gaultier:Jean de Florette (1986, Claude Berri). All life passes before your eyes in this film about small things on a huge scale. Gerard Depardieu is magnificent in the title role. An absorbing tale, well told, with drop-dead gorgeous scenery: Reservoir Dogs/True Romance/Pulp Fiction (1992/1993/1994 Quentin Tarantino/Tony Scott/Quentin Tarantino) This'll have to count as one choice; after all it was originally one script!. Tarantino took the gangster movie to a new and exciting plane in this trilogy; great performances combined with rip-snorting dialogue and plenty of very dark humour:The Magnificent Seven (1960, John Sturges). Oh, come on, everyone loves a good western, and they don't come much better than this. Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen in the same film - heavenly. The Seven are as cool as they come.Fiddler On The Roof (1971, Norman Jewison). I'm a sucker for a good musical and it was a toss up between this and Cabaret for a place on this list. Fiddler wins out because of its terrific sets and Topol's definitive and moving performance as Tevye. I saw him perform the role live quite some years ago - magical.Life Is Beautiful (1997, Roberto Benigni). A very serious film with a delightfully light comic touch. How on earth do you make a comedy about the deportation of the Jews under Nazi occupation? Like this is how you do it. If you ignore every other film on this list - watch this one.Pan's Labyrinth (2006, Guillermo del Toro). What a ride this film is, a exceptional mixture of fantasy and deeply unpleasant reality. One of the best performances as a villain that I've seen by Sergi Lopez as Captain Vidal; truly chilling. A very moving piece of cinema that stands up to repeated viewings. What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993, Lasse Hallstromme). Johnny Depp before he became an industry in his own right gives a delightfully understated performance in the title role; Leonardo di Caprio is stunning as a boy with severe learning difficulties. A genuine off-the-wall family comi-tragi-drama in which everything happens whilst nothing much occurs (does that make any sense?).
Well, that's ten; so many others could have easily been on the list: almost anything by Pedro Almodovar, the very weird Delicatessen, John Wayne's last performance as The Shootist...the list goes on and on.

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