Archive for films

Must-See Films

Posted in Art, Blu-Ray, DVD, Film, Home Theater with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2014 by halmasonberg

powellThanks to modern internet technology (soon to be outdated), I have compiled the two previously posted MUST-SEE FILMS lists into one. The difference here is that, thanks to Listchallenges.com and its host, Eli Dragen, you can now click on the poster art for each film and it will self-calculate.

For me, what’s interesting about this exercise is not only counting how many of these “must-see” films you have already seen, but how many you have not. What a potential treasure-trove of cinematic delights that awaits each and every one of us.

Be warned: the list is long. 890 films, to be exact. Excessive? Perhaps, but we all wanted to create a list that would be far more comprehensive than the little lists floating here and there and everywhere around the internet. This is a true film-lover’s list.

Here’s what we wrote about it on the Listchallenges page itself:

This is a list created by 6 self-proclaimed Film-lovers and/or filmmakers who also share a strange love of making lists. So we decided to combine those two things to offer a “Must-See” film list for the true film enthusiast.

There have been other film lists passed around the internet, but we felt they were often such contemporary, mainstream lists of films that they, well, quite simply didn’t do justice to the art and entertainment of cinema. We also wanted to acknowledge films that were remakes, originals and/or alternate cuts. And while there are TONS of great films NOT mentioned here, the ones that ARE mentioned certainly show a wide range of tastes, styles, genres and interpretations of “Must-see.”

No film list can please or reflect the tastes of everybody, but we assure you that this list might at least challenge you and, we hope, open you up to some films that you may not have even known existed.

Be warned: This is a big list.

We hope you enjoy and happy viewing!

Click here: http://www.listchallenges.com/must-see-films

The names of the 6 list contributors are: Janice Findley, Paul Hansen, Karl Holzheimer, Caren McCaleb, Any Norman, Hal Masonberg.

Favorite & Least Favorite Films of 2009

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by halmasonberg

As some of you already know, I usually wait till long after awards season and the general critical hubbub has passed before I post any personal lists on the previous year’s films. And along with that notion, I reserve the right to add to that list as I take in more films from that year. I’ve been lucky enough to see quite a few of the films released in 2009 so far, but there’s always more to watch and I’ll be doing that as they become available on DVD or Blu-ray.

So here is the list as it stands today. I’ve broken the titles down alphabetically as it is far too difficult to break them down much further than that for me. And I don’t limit any group to a certain number. There are as many or as few listed as I felt warranted inclusion. And, as happens often with me, many of the year’s most popular films don’t show up on my favorites list. Though a few do.

The groups listed below are:
FAVORITE FILMS OF 2009
FILMS FROM 2009 DESERVING HONORABLE MENTION
LEAST FAVORITE FILMS OF 2009
MOST DISAPPOINTING FILMS OF 2009
FAVORITE OLDER FILMS SEEN FOR 1ST TIME IN 2009

And here they are:

FAVORITE FILMS OF 2009 (alphabetical):

ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY

CORALINE

DAMNED UNITED, THE

FANTASTIC MR. FOX

GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, THE

IN THE LOOP

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

LAST STATION, THE

MOON

SERIOUS MAN, A

SIN NOMBRE

SINGLE MAN, A

TOKYO SONATA

UP

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

WHITE RIBBON, THE

Oddly enough, I would have to say my favorite of all the above-mentioned films was WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. A film I expected to enjoy, but not as much as I did. I had heard rumblings of disappointment from others and even the occasional claim of “boring” from a few. And then there were those who liked it, but didn’t seem to rave. Well, when someone says boring, it almost always turns out to be a Hal favorite. Not out of any desire to be a rebel, but I’ve simply learned that what others often experience as boring, I experience as multi-layered and exciting.

Spike Jonzes interpretation of Maurice Sendak’s book is a raw emotional journey that works on such a wonderfully internal level that I think many folks who were expecting a more traditional narrative completely missed just how incredible this film actually is. Stream-of-consciousness writing at its best! And luckily, since publicly confessing my love of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, many friends and acquaintances have come out of the woodwork to share with me their love for this film as well! I think it’s a movie that will stand the test of time and find its audience.

I also felt that A SINGLE MAN, A SERIOUS MAN and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS would be right at the top of the list. For anyone interested, here’s my extensive breakdown and commentary on Quentin’s film from an earlier post, Subversive Cinema: Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.

A SINGLE MAN gave us both a startlingly calculated directorial debut by Tom Ford and Colin Firth’s performance of a lifetime. As much as I love Jeff Bridges (and I do), I would have given the acting Oscar to Firth for this one.

A SERIOUS MAN is the Coen Brothers at their best. A film that seemed to alienate many unfamiliar with Jewish-American culture, this is nonetheless the kind of film gifted filmmakers take on after winning an Oscar the previous year. One from the heart, as it were. For me, the film captured the grotesquery of faces that occupied my childhood along with the superstitious belief that the universe is out to get us for even the smallest transgressions, including the worst one of all, the belief that things may turn out alright.

Two documentaries made their way to my faves this year. Michael Moore’s CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY and  ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL. The first is in a long line of terrifically frightening, revealing and darkly amusing films by Mr. Moore. This one is right up there among his best. It is a fascinating look at the pitfalls of a Capitalist society at odds with its democratic foundation.

ANVIL is essentially the true life SPINAL TAP with story and characters almost too perfect to not have been made up. The founding members of the heavy metal band ANVIL are at the center of this document of passion and resilience. Regardless of whether or not you like their music (I don’t, particularly), their story is so damn human that anyone who has ever fought to follow their passion will relate to these aging guys and their incredible ongoing journey. I had the privilege of seeing them perform live immediately after the screening I attended.

2009 was also a good year for animated films as three topped my faves list. THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX may have been my favorite of all of them with George Clooney giving the performance he actually should have been nominated for. The old-style stop-motion animation is simply outstanding and a rare treat in the face of so much digital work overtaking the medium. And Wes Anderson’s unique style of comedy and timing (mixed with Roald Dahl’s imagination) has never been used to better effect. It may be the perfect marriage of style and content.

Meanwhile, CORALINE gave us one of the darkest children’s films to come along in quite a while. Visually breathtaking, the story and characters are straight out of a nightmare, one birthed of a wildly vivid imagination and startlingly brought to life by director Henry Selick based on author Neil Gaiman’s very cool book.

And, of course, the folks at Pixar do it again with UP. While not my all-time favorite Pixar flick, I did enjoy it more than some of their more recent outings which, while I enjoyed immensely, left me wanting something more. This one didn’t. It was perfectly touching, funny and inventive.

Steven Soderbergh’s THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE is why I want that man’s career. Any director who can go from OCEAN’S 13  to CHE to this low-budget gem is my kind of director. Shot on the Red One camera and starring complete unknowns (with the exception of porn star Sasha Grey) Soderbergh continues his well-deserved and incredibly rewarding experiments in film. He is a true auteur.

A British director largely known for his television work, Tom Hooper does a stunning job with Peter Morgan’s tight script (based on David Peace’s novel) of THE DAMNED UNITED. As that rare breed of guy missing the popular sports-gene, it takes a bit of effort for me to commit to watching any film that has a sport at its center. Lucky for me I overcame my concerns (thanks to the knowledge that Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney were in the leading roles) because UNITED is thoroughly engaging. Not so much about football (soccer to those U.S.-bound folks) as it is about vengeance, obsession, insecurity and friendship, UNITED has some of the strongest performances I’ve seen all year. Sheen is truly extraordinary in what has to be the most spot-on casting of 2009. And Timothy Spall is, as always, a joy to watch. I was completely taken with this film.

IN THE LOOP is one of the best political satires I’ve seen in a long time. While American satires rarely transcend the obviousness of films like WAG THE DOG, the Brits have a knack for taking their satires to incredible heights. LOOP feels oddly realistic in its re-creation of a world (not unlike the film industry) steeped in dysfunction and abuse and filled with personal realities that remain unaffected by the unwelcome intrusion of facts.

THE LAST STATION, while not as cinematic as I would have liked, is nonetheless riveting for both its performances and its historical depiction. A sucker for any films about Russian history, STATION also threw both Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer into the package for me. Thanks.

MOON is one of the more interesting sci-fi films to come along in many years. Held together by Sam Rockwell’s little-recognized but nonetheless incredible tour de force performance, MOON harkens back to the sci fi’s of my youth, most notably SILENT RUNNING. And the film proves that sci fi can be done on a very small budget ($8 million) so long as you have a great script, great actors, and a director with vision. Wish the public had embraced this film over the lesser DISTRICT 9.

SIN NOBRE was one of the two best foreign language films I took in this year. Granted, many of the Oscar nominees in that category haven’t been released here in the States yet so I can’t compare, but I found NOMBRE to be gripping, frightening and intensely emotional. I enjoyed every second.

Best known for his creepy, highly cinematic tales of ghosts and other unsettling phenomena, Japanese director Kyoshi Kurosawa brings his unique visual style to tell this tale of an ordinary family in crisis. No poltergeists or serial killers, the enemy in TOKYO SONATA comes from within (which, truth be told, is still in keeping with Kurosawa’s favorite themes). Japanese society, status, authority, communication, and economy are all examined under the director’s revealing inner microscope. Moving, disturbing and, at times, funny, Kurosawa’s SONATA was honored with the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes. And it was an award well-deserved. A beautiful and, yes, haunting tale of ordinary people trying to overcome very human obstacles.

The other foreign language film that completely knocked me out was Michael Haneke’s THE WHITE RIBBON. Astonishingly beautiful in stark black and white, Haneke’s emotionally violent film is mesmerizing and, like all of his films, exists in the world of the subconscious. It’s a thoughtfully paced film that squeezes you tightly and refuses to let go. Its grip lingers long after the film has ended.

Moving on now to those films I feel deserve mention, though they didn’t quite effect me intensely enough to make my Favorites list. These films worked for me on different levels. Some in their entirety, and others only in part. But in each, I feel there is something of value and interest to me that made them stand out.

FILMS FROM 2009 DESERVING HONORABLE MENTION (alphabetical)

AVATAR

BRIGHT STAR

BROKEN EMBRACES

COCO BEFORE CHANEL

EDUCATION, AN

EVERY LITTLE STEP

FLAME AND CITRON

HARRY BROWN

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE

HURT LOCKER, THE

IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSIS, THE

INFORMANT!, THE

JULIA

MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, THE

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY

PUBLIC ENEMIES

ROAD, THE

TAKING WOODSTOCK

TETRO

Okay, so while AVATAR may have had one of the weakest, most formulaic scripts to come along in quite some time, it nevertheless has its charms and is a fun, if not completely predictable, ride that appealed to the 15 year old boy in me. And while I appreciate the film’s left-leaning, socially and environmentally conscious themes, it’s the groundbreaking 3-D that makes seeing this film truly worthwhile.

BRIGHT STAR is one of Jane Campion’s more down-to-earth, straight-forward films. With terrific perfs all around, Campion’s style keeps us at a bit of a distance allowing us to watch these historically emotional events as if uncomfortable bystanders who simply cannot look away. And yes, that’s a good thing.

For years, Pedro Almodovar’s films lost me. I have always been a huge fan of his early work, but sometime soon after WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN he lost me. It wasn’t until the last few years that he started making films that spoke to me again. And while BROKEN EMBRACES may not be one of Almodovar’s best, it’s still damned entertaining.

COCO BEFORE CHANEL is gorgeous to look at and never a bore. My biggest complaint would be the underplaying of Coco’s struggle to make it in a man’s world. Despite this, I was still immensely entertained and enjoyed the film, but this kept it from being a favorite. However, the cinematography and performances are more than worthwhile.

AN EDUCATION is a somewhat uneven film, but its central perf by Carey Mulligan makes it a must-see. I truly enjoyed most of the film and its period recreation, but it was mostly the depiction of Jenny’s parents that took me out of the world of the film. Despite the fact that Alfred Molina is one of my favorite actors! They were just a bit too much comic relief where none was needed and never managed to be completely believable within the context of the film. For me.

EVERY LITTLE STEP, like ANVIL in many ways, is a testament to the resiliency and hard work of artists. Anyone who has ever tested the odds of career success as an artist will understand the trials and tribulations on display in this film. It is an emotional journey well worth taking. And, as someone who has worked casting for far too many years now, I had some personal insights that made it even more fascinating to watch.

FLAME AND CITRON is a solid WWII film set in Denmark. It’s part film noir, part historical drama and damned entertaining from start to finish. There’s something about the film that kept it from being great, however, but that didn’t stop me from sitting on the edge of my seat throughout.

HARRY BROWN is a wonderful return to form for Michael Caine. One of the best revenge films I’ve seen in many a year. Not exploitative and not an action film, BROWN is a riveting character study and just a terrific genre role for Caine.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE. Okay, so we’re not talking masterpiece here. But for someone like myself who started out not really liking this movie franchise, as the films progressed and each one grew even darker than the previous, my level of enjoyment increased exponentially. This is my favorite one to date.

Despite winning a slew of Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture, I don’t think THE HURT LOCKER is a groundbreaking film. And while I did find it well made and intense at times, the impact of the film was lessened for me after having previously viewed HBO’s miniseries GENERATION KILL, which I felt was similar but superior. By comparison, THE HURT LOCKER felt a tad contrived. That said, I still found it to be an above-average film and well worth seeing.

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSIS is pure Terry Gilliam. Weird, startlingly creative and the best kind of eye-candy. It also contains Heath Ledger’s final performance. And it’s a wonderful one at that. I was completely taken with the world of this film. It may not be as breathtaking as Gilliam’s BRAZIL, but very little in this world is.

Soderbergh’s THE INFORMANT! contains the Matt Damon performance he should have been nominated for. The film’s disturbingly funny and tragic take on this character belongs to a world all its own. Soderbergh walks a fine line here, but manages to make it all work beautifully.

JULIA is a tough film in many ways. I found it extremely difficult to watch at times due to its uncomfortable subject matter that pushed a lot of personal buttons for me. The plot moves in many different directions, many of which you never see coming, but it’s Tilda Swinton’s performance that keeps you riveted. While not at all subtle, Swinton still manages to give us one of the most memorable portrayals of an alcoholic in cinema history. The film has strong shades of Cassavetes’ GLORIA and doesn’t seem the least bit concerned with political correctness or forgiving its lead character.

Grant Heslov’s THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, based on Jon Ronson’s book, is a quirky little film with some great comic performances. Jeff Bridges is terrific as always and George Clooney is spot on. I would have much preferred to see him nominated for this one over UP IN THE AIR. But alas… The film did poorly over all, which is a shame. It’s thoroughly enjoyable, but maybe a tad too deadpan for today’s comedy audience that still insist WEDDING CRASHERS was funny.

Yeah, there were moments I didn’t completely buy and I though the end (both of them, actually) was disappointing, but PARANORMAL ACTIVITY still did what it set out to do: scare the shit outta me.

PUBLIC ENEMIES is an incredibly imperfect film, but I really enjoyed the period recreation and many of the performances. I’m a sucker for old-style gangster films (far more than contemporary gangster films) and this one had an artistic edge to it that appealed to me. Not often a fan of Michael Mann as a director (though I loved THE INSIDER), this film has some terrific use of silent communication; how characters communicate with eyes and body language either without dialogue or between/beneath the dialogue.

THE ROAD is a stark, dour film. And that equals enjoyment for Hal. No traditional plot to speak of, THE ROAD meanders across one of the bleakest landscapes captured in modern film, both internally and externally. This one almost made my favorites list, but something about the film didn’t stick with me as long as I had expected it to. Or wanted it to.

TAKING WOODSTOCK is pure, simple fun. Nothing unpredictable about it. For more of my thoughts on this film, check out my earlier post, Seeing WOODSTOCK Before TAKING WOODSTOCK.

Francis Coppola’s recently rediscovered himself as a filmmaker. After years of squandering his vast talents in order to free himself of massive debt, this master filmmaker is now making films on his own terms. And nothing could make me happier. While TETRO wasn’t quite as compelling for me as Coppola’s previous YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH, it is still brimming with creativity, inventiveness, atmosphere, and a deep love of cinema.

Now let’s move on to those films that were just so poor by my standards that they actually warrant mention as my least favorites. And I say this with full knowledge of how difficult it is to make a film, any film, and with an understanding that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. But here’s my trash.

LEAST FAVORITE FILMS OF 2009 (alphabetical)

2012

FOURTH KIND, THE

IT’S COMPLICATED

ZOMBIELAND

2012 was so ridiculous and heavy-handed that even my guilty pleasure love of disaster films wasn’t strong enough to withstand this. So much worse than it had any right to be. And all this despite the wonderful John Cusack who is completely wasted here.

THE FOURTH KIND is more of a gimmick than it is a film. Supposedly based on true events, one would never know given that the filmmakers shot recreations and then shot recreations of their recreations so that they could cut back and forth between two sets of recreated footage–one low-budget, one higher budget. The result is a mess with no scares and no tension. It’s a bit baffling to watch as none of the characters (in either footage) act with much common sense. One has to wonder what Elias Koteas and Will Patton were doing here; two wonderful actors completely wasted. And the director made the giant mistake as casting himself in the film. Granted, it’s a small role with almost no dialogue, but rarely in film history have I seen anyone appear so uncomfortable and self-conscious in front of a camera.

I must confess here and now to not being able to get through IT’S COMPLICATED. I have never been a fan of Nancy Meyers and this film highlights all the reasons why that is. For the record, I couldn’t get through her previous film, THE HOLIDAY, either. I find the humor and the characters in Meyers’ films to be completely uninteresting and obvious, as I do her dialogue. Even the talents of Meryl Streep couldn’t pull me through this one. It was actually painful for me to watch those talents wasted here to such a staggering degree.

And ZOMBIELAND, despite its popularity, didn’t work for me on any level. The humor was shockingly unfunny and the zombie action scenes quite possibly the most boring ever burned to celluloid. The entire exercise felt like a string of disconnected commercials wrapped around a few lame SNL sketches. There was no connective tissue or individual style to the world of ZOMBIELAND. The rules changed on a dime and I couldn’t help feeling that it was more a vehicle for product placement than a film or a story. Sorry ZOMBIELAND fans.

Now for those films that, while not downright awful IMHO, were nonetheless disappointing to me. Of course, in order for a film to be disappointing, one has to have entered into it with some expectations that it was going to be better. So it’s a very relative category. So here are the films I had, at least, hoped would be better than they actually were:

MOST DISAPPOINTING FILMS OF 2009 (alphabetical)

BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL – NEW ORLEANS, THE

DISTRICT 9

DRAG ME TO HELL

LOVELY BONES, THE

PANDORUM

UP IN THE AIR

WATCHMEN

WHATEVER WORKS

BAD LIEUTENANT was disappointing because I know what director Herzog is capable of. This film, for me, was a train wreck. I have no idea if Herzog meant it as a comedy or a drama as it never quite worked for me as either.

DISTRICT 9, while disgustingly popular, is nothing more than a video game actioner disguised as political commentary. For more in-depth thoughts on this, check out my previous post, DISTRICT 9: If You’re Hungry Enough, Even Cat Food Can Taste Like Fine Cuisine.

DRAG ME TO HELL left me bored. Lots of style, no real script. Had heard that the film was fun despite its lack of story. I heard wrong.

THE LOVELY BONES, while taken from great source material, completely missed the mark for me. Jackson’s view of a little girl’s heaven was both distracting and distancing for me. It felt more like an episode of MY LITTLE PONY than the drama it was meant to be. And the film concentrated less on the emotional journey of the characters and more on the “thriller” elements, which was not what I was expecting, nor was it what I wanted. And Jackson chose not to deal with the fact that this little girl was raped and dismembered. That does not exist in this film and, since it is the crux of the story and the emotional battles that ensue, I felt the film suffered tremendously from its exclusion from the story line.

PANDORUM. Okay, so I really didn’t expect this film to be any good as, by the time I became aware of its existence, it had already bombed miserably and vanished from theaters. But I love Dennis Quaid and think he is still one of the most underrated actors working today. So I’m always rooting for him. But PANDORUM is a jumbled mess that harkens back to such filmic disasters as EVENT HORIZON. Once the downward spiral starts, it swiftly picks up speed until you just want to get out of its way and let it run its course while you look elsewhere.

UP IN THE AIR. So many people loved this film, called it deep. I thought it was moderately entertaining at times, boring and self-consciously “hip” at others. In the end, I found the characters unmotivated and unbelievable. The film played it too safe for my tastes. And while I loved the cast, I didn’t feel they rose to the occasion, despite the Academy noms.

WATCHMEN was just more style over substance. The first half hour was beyond boring to me. It improved slightly as it trudged along, but never enough to propel it out of that category of potential lacking a deeper vision. Odd for a movie advertised as “From the visionary director of 300,” another film that left me hollow inside.

And despite my lifelong love of Woody Allen, the casting of Larry David as the lead in WHATEVER WORKS, while interesting in concept, was terrible in execution. David just couldn’t carry the film or handle the role and it sunk the film for me, despite a relatively amusing script. For more on this, check out my earlier post, WHATEVER WORKS. Sadly, Larry David Doesn’t.

And of course, every year brings the joy of seeing films released in previous years that I, for whatever reason, never caught up with before, but fell in love with in 2009.

FAVORITE OLDER FILMS SEEN FOR 1ST TIME IN 2009 (alphabetical)

LE FILS (2002)

BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX, THE (2008)

BOY A (2007)

CODE UNKNOWN (2000)

MARTYRS (2008)

MYSTERIOUS SKIN (2005)

PARANOID PARK (2007)

ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED (2008)

SECRET LIFE OF WORDS, THE (2005)

TELL NO ONE (2006)

WOODSTOCK: 3 DAYS OF PEACE AND MUSIC: DIRECTOR’S CUT (1970 -Had never seen the Director’s Cut before)

The Dardenne Brothers film LE FILS (The Son) is a daring and challenging journey for both its protagonist and the film’s viewers. Handheld and oftentimes hovering just behind our “hero’s” back, we are taken along a path seemingly ordinary at first, but with subtle complexities that build as the film progresses. Terrific performances and style.

THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX is one of the best bio pics I’ve seen in ages. A return to form for director Uli Edel who hadn’t made a feature film for theatrical release since 1989’s LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN (he’s been living in TV land ever since), BAADER is about as compelling as film gets. Following the exploits of the German terrorist group The Red Army Faction, the film creates a complex tapestry of emotions and political ideologies that are anything but black and white. The film simultaneously gives us a glimpse into our past while commenting enormously on our present.

BOY A is worth seeing for so many reasons, the greatest of which is Andrew Garfield’s outstanding performance as a young man released from prison for a crime he committed as a child. The film raises so many moral and social questions that it’s impossible not to be moved by the events and characters depicted here.

CODE UNKNOWN is another incredible and complex film by Michael Haneke. Following several different characters whose stories all intersect, Haneke explores the ways in which we communicate and, more importantly, fail to communicate with one another. Juliette Binoche gives one of the many terrific perfs to be found in here. I loved every second and, in perfect Haneke fashion, the film raises more questions than it answers. My kind of film!

MARTYRS is, quite simply, the most violent film I’ve ever seen. Brutal, unrelenting, terrifying. There’s also a point to the violence (though it takes a while to find it) and I found the film to be unusually and unexpectedly thought-provoking. But be warned, it will challenge the hell out of you. If you’re even a little squeamish, there’s a good chance you won’t make it too far into this one. If you think you can handle it, though, give it a try. I found it to be worth the journey. It’s certainly unlike any film I’ve seen before and the two lead performances are uninhibited and completely committed. The film would not have worked without them.

MYSTERIOUS SKIN is my favorite of the Gregg Araki films I’ve seen. Held together by a truly fearless performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, SKIN knocked me out. It’s a painful film that treads into sometimes difficult emotional territory, but Araki handles it with both an artistic eye and an extreme amount of compassion.

PARANOID PARK is another in an ever-growing list of lower-budget films from Gus Van Sant. A great companion piece to Van Sant’s ELEPHANT, PARK takes us into the world of Pacific Northwest youth and the trials, tribulations and emotional roller-coaster rides that transpire out of eye-shot of the adult world. It’s an amazing film and another testament to Van Sant’s talents and another reason why he should continue to stay away from the Hollywood machine that simply doesn’t seem to be the creative environment for him to produce his best work.

ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED is a truly amazing documentary that dives headfirst into the complexities and misunderstandings surrounding Roman Polanski’s trial and paints a vivid picture of what drove the famous director to flee the country before sentencing. Regardless of what you think of Polanski, his crime, and the events that have happened since, this film will shed new light on your previous notions.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS. I’m a big fan of director Isabel Coixet. Her last film, ELEGY, knocked me over and I’ve since made it a point to catch up with those handful of films she’s made that I somehow missed. This was one of them and it’s a terrific study of two injured people finding one another in the most unusual and unexpected of circumstances. Achingly beautiful  performances by Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins.

I found the French thriller/murder mystery TELL NO ONE to be completely riveting. It’s so rare to get a thriller that actually works and doesn’t assume the audience is a bunch of idiots. It seems to me that Europe tends to produce better thrillers than Hollywood does these days and this is most certainly one of them.

As for WOODSTOCK, though I grew up watching this film, this is the first time I’d had the opportunity to see the full director’s cut. And it was a revelation. For my full review, check out my earlier post Cinematic Masterpieces: WOODSTOCK: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT.

So that’s the wrap-up of my reactions to the films of 2009 and a handful of others. All in all not a bad year. By the same token, not one for the history books either. I’ll be adding more films to the list as I view them, so feel free to check back from time to time.

Favorite & Least Favorite Films Of 2008

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2009 by halmasonberg

elegy-poster-bigA little late, you say? Hogwash! I usually wait till long after Awards Season to make my picks as it usually takes me that long to catch up with most (though sadly not all) of the films released in any given year that I really want to see. As such, I reserve the right to add films to this list as I view them. I’m sure there are a few that I missed and will discover as the year progresses.

I don’t do “Best” and “Worst” as I don’t think I’m qualified to make such statements, but instead I prefer “Favorites” and “Least Favorites”. I also don’t limit myself to 10 films in each category. There are as many or as few as feel appropriate. There are some other categories as well and they are, I believe, self-explanatory.

As always, there will be those who will vehemently disagree with my choices, but that is one of the reasons I have made the categories “personal” and not “absolute.” It is not unusual for me to find disappointment in films that many others rave about or award statues to. By the same token, it is not uncommon for me to cherish films that either slipped under the radar or were considered “too slow” by many. I am therefore thankful that filmmakers of different visions get to express themselves in today’s world. Granted, this happens far more outside the industrial machine that is Hollywood (with so many cookie-cutter formulas and all-powerful CEO’s), but I am simply thrilled it happens at all. Here’s to different styles, visions and tastes!

Favorites:

ELEGY

HAPPY GO LUCKY

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

RACHEL GETTING MARRIED

I‘VE LOVED YOU SO LONG

MILK

THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX

THE VISITOR

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA

THE READER

PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND

Also Recommended:

CHE (Parts 1 & 2)

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

THE WRESTLER

TRANSSIBERIAN

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

PARANOID PARK

DOUBT

THE DARK KNIGHT

THE WACKNESS

WALL-E

Least Favorites

10,000 BC

HANCOCK

THE RUINS

SPEED RACER

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

Disappointments:

THE HAPPENING

HELLBOY II

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL

IRON MAN

QUANTUM OF SOLACE

W.

THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS

DEFIANCE

MUST-SEE FILMS Part 2

Posted in Film with tags , , , , on February 11, 2009 by halmasonberg

film_projector4Here we go again…

Five friends and I decided to put together a quick list of what we personally considered “Must-See Films.”

There have been other film lists passed around the internet, but we felt they were often such contemporary, mainstream lists of films that they, well, quite simply didn’t do justice to the art and entertainment of cinema. We also wanted to acknowledge films that were remakes, originals and/or alternate cuts. And while there are TONS of great films NOT mentioned here, the ones that ARE mentioned certainly show a wide range of tastes, styles and interpretations of “Must-see.”

This will hopefully be an ever-growing series of lists. Both from the original six and many other “special guests.”

The idea is to check off all the films you’ve seen in the brackets before each title (x). Pass ‘em around, compare with friends, start seeing the films you have yet to experience…

There are 408 films on this list.

MUST-SEE FILMS Part 1 can be found HERE.

These were originally created for Facebook and our group page can be found HERE.

Enjoy!

() Accident (1967-Joseph Losey)
() Affair To Remember, An (1957, Leo McCarey)
() Alexander Nevsky (1938 – Sergei Eisenstein)
() Alice (1988 – Jan Svankmajer)
() Altered States (1980 – Ken Russell)
() Amarcord (1972, Federico Fellini)
() American Friend, The (1977 – Wim Wenders)
() Andre Roublev (1966 – Andrei Tarkovsky)
() Animal Crackers (1930 Victor Heerman)
() Another Woman (1988, Woody Allen)
() Ashes and Diamonds (1958, Andrzej Wajda)
() Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner (2001 – Zacharias Kunuk)
() Atlantic City (1980 – Louis Malle)
() Audition (1999, Takashi Miike)
() Baby Bottleneck (1946, Robert Clampett)
() Bad Luck Blackie (1949 – Tex Avery) – short
() Badlands (1973 – Terence Malick)
() Band Concert, The (1935 – Walt Disney prod.) – short
() Battleship Potemkin, The (1925 – Sergei Eisenstein)
() Beast Must Die, The (1969 – Claude Chabrol)
() Beau Travail (1999 – Clair Denis)
() Before Sunrise (1995, Richard Linklater)
() Being There (1979, Hal Ashby)
() Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925, Fred Niblo)
() Beyond Kabuki (short) (1986, Janice Findley)
() Big Blue, The (Director’s Cut) (1988, Luc Besson)
() Big Business (1929 – Leo McCarey) – short
() Big Heat, The (1953 – Fritz Lang)
() Big Sleep. The (1946, Howard Hawks)
() Big Snooze, The (1946, Robert Clampett)
() Big Street, The (1942, Irving Reis)
Total so far:

() Billy Boy (1954, Tex Avery)
() Bimbo’s Initiation (1931 – Dave Fleischer) – short
() Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970 – Dario Argento)
() Birth of a Nation, The (1915, D.W. Griffith)
() Bitter Tea of General Yen, The (1933, Frank Capra)
() Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, The (1972 – R.W. Fassbinder)
() Black Sabbath (1963, Mario Bava)
() Blinkety-Blank (1955 – Norman McLaren)
() Blood and Sand (1922, Fred Niblo)
() Blowup (1966 – Michelangelo Antonioni)
() Body And Soul (1947, Robert Rossen)
() Bonnie and Clyde (1967 – Arthur Penn)
() Born Yesterday (1950, George Cukor)
() Boy (1969 – Nagisa Oshima)
() Boys in the Band, The (1970, William Friedkin)
() Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, Francis Coppola)
() Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957, David Lean)
() Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974 – Sam Peckinpah)
() Broken Blossoms (1921 – D.W. Griffith)
() Bullet in the Head (1990 – John Woo)
() Burden Of Dreams (1982, Les Blanc)
() Caché (2007 – Michael Haneke)
() Calendar (1993 – Atom Egoyan)
() Canal (1957, Andrzej Wajda)
() Cape Fear (1962, J. Lee Thompson)
Total so far:

() Celebration (1998 – Thomas Vinterberg)
() Celluloid Closet, The (1995, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman)
() Charulata (1964 – Satyajit Ray)
() Cherry Blossoms (2008 – Doris Dörrie)
() Chungking Express (1994 – Wong Kar-Wai)
() City of God (2002, Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund)
() Claire’s Knee (1970 – Eric Rohmer)
() Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962 – Agnes Varda)
() Come and See (1985, Elem Klimov)
() Conformist, The (1970 – Bernardo Bertolucci)
() Corner in Wheat, A (short) (1909, D.W. Griffith)
() Coward Bends the Knee (2003 – Guy Maddin)
() Craig’s Wife (1935 – Dorothy Arzner)
() Cremaster III (2002 – Matthew Barney)
() Crime Wave (1946, Andre’ De Toth)
() Daisy Miller (1974, Peter Bogdanovich)
() Dances With Wolves (either cut) (1990, Kevin Costner)
() Daughters of the Dust (1991 – Julie Dash)
() Dawn Of The Dead (any cut) (1978, George Romero)
() Day of the Locust, The (1975, John Schlesinger)
() Dazed and Confused (1993, Richard Linklater)
() Dead Man (1995 – Jim Jarmusch)
() Dead Ringers (1988 – David Cronenberg)
() Dead, The (1987 – John Huston)
() Death of Mr. Lazaresai, The (2005 – Cristi Puill)
() Deputy Droopy (1955, Tex Avery)
() Dersu Uzala (1975, Akira Kurosawa)
() Detective Story (1951, William Wyler)
() Devil Is A Woman, The (1935, Josef von Sternberg)
Total so far:

() Devils, The (1970 – Ken Russell)
() Diabolique (1955 – Henri-Georges Clouzot)
() Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959, George Stevens)
() Dickson Experimental Sound Film (short) (1894/1895, W.K.L. Dickson, William Heise)
() Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988, Terence Davies)
() Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The (2007 – Julian Schnabel)
() Divorcee, The (1930, Robert Z. Leonard)
() Dixieland Droopy (1954, Tex Avery)
() Do the Right Thing (1989 – Spike Lee)
() Docks of New York, The (1928, Josef von Sternberg)
() Dogville (2003 – Lars Van Trier)
() Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall, The (1942 – Chuck Jones)
() Duck Amuck (1953 – Chuck Jones) – short
() Down to the Cellar (1983 – Jan Svankmajer) – short
() Dracula (1932, Todd Browning)
() Dream Walking, A (1934, Dave Fleischer)
() Duck Dodgers in the 241/2 Century (1953, Chuck Jones)
() Ed Wood (1994 – Tim Burton)
() Education For Death (1943 – Clyde Geronimi) – short
() Emerald Forest, The (1985, John Boorman)
() Emigrants, The (1971, Jan Troell)
() Equus (1977, Sidney Lumet)
() Exotica (1994 – Atom Egoyan)
Total so far:

() Exterminating Angel (1962 – Luis Buñuel)
() Face In The Crowd, A (1957, Elia Kazan)
() Faces (1968 – John Cassavetes)
() Facing Windows (2004 – Ferzan Ozpetek)
() Faithless (2000, Liv Ullman)
() Fanny Trilogy, The: Marius (1931), Fanny (1932), Cesar (1936) (Marcel Pagnol)
() Fantasia (1940 – Various, Disney Prod.)
() Farewell, My Concubine (1993 – Chen Kaige)
() Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965 – Russ Meyer)
() Faust (1926 – F.W. Murnau)
() Female Trouble (1974 – John Waters)
() Floating Weeds (1959 – Yasujiro Ozu)
() Flying Fur (1981 – George Griffin)
() Forbidden Games (1952, René Clément)
() Foreign Correspondent (1940, Hitchcock)
() 4-D Man (1959, Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.)
() 4th Man, The (1983 – Paul Verhoeven)
() Freaks (1932 – Tod Browning)
() Gallipoli (1981, Peter Weir)
() Garden Of The Fitzi-Continis, The (1970 – Vittorio De Sica)
() Generation, A (1955, Andrzej Wajda)
() Gentleman Jim (1942 – Michael Cutiz)
() Gents Without Cents (1944 – Jules White) – The Three Stooges short
() Gerald McBoing Boing (1951, Robert Cannon)
() Germany, Year Zero (1948 – Roberto Rossellini)
() Gettysburg (1993, Ron Maxwell)
Total so far:

() Giant (1956 – George Stevens)
() Girl Crazy (1943, Norman Taurog, Busby Berkeley)
() God Told Me To (1976 – Larry Cohen)
() Gojira (1954 – Ishirô Honda)
() Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933 – Mervyn LeRoy)
() Good Glue Sticks (1907 – Georges Méliès)
() Grass: A Nation’s Battle For Life (1925)
() Great Escape, The (1963 – John Sturges)
() Great Train Robbery, The (1903, Edwin S. Porter)
() Grey Gardens (1975, Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer)
() Grizzly Man (2005 – Werner Herzog)
() Gun Crazy (1950, Joseph H Lewis)
() Guns Of Navarone, The (1961, J. Lee Thompson)
() Gus Visser and his Singing Duck (1925) – short
() Harlan County U.S.A. (1976 – Barbara Koppel)
() Heart of the World, The (2000 – Guy Maddin)
() Hearts Of Darkness (1991, Eleanor Coppola)
() Hells Angels (1930, Howard Hughes)
() Hellzapoppin’ (1941 – H.C. Potter)
() High School (1968 – Frederick Wiseman)
() His Girl Friday (1940 – Howard Hawks)
() Holiday (1938, George Cukor)
() Horse Feathers (1932, Norman Mcleod)
() House of 1000 Corpses (2003, Rob Zombie)
() House Of Mirth, The (2000, Terence Davies)
Total so far:

() How the West Was Won (1962, Henry Hathaway, John Ford, George Marshall)
() Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (1923, Wallace Worsley)
() Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (1996, Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise)
() I Haven’t Got A Hat (1935 – Friz Freleng) – short
() I Vitelloni (1953 – Federico Fellini)
() I Walked With A Zombie (1943 – Jacques Tourneur)
() I Was Born, But… (1932 – Yasujiro Ozu)
() If… (1968 – Lindsay Anderson)
() In Search of the Castaways (1962, Robert Stevenson)
() Insider, The (1999, Michael Mann)
() I-Ski Love-Ski You-Ski (1936, Dave Fleischer)
() Jabberwocky (1971 – Jan Svankmajer)
() Jason and the Argonauts (1963, Don Chaffey)
() Jazz Singer, The (1927, Alan Crosland)
() Jerusalem (1996, Bille August)
() Jesus of Montreal (1989, Denys Arcand)
() Jigoku (1960 – Nobuo Nakagawa)
() Johanna D’Arc of Mongolia (1989 – Ulrike Ottinger)
() John C. Rice – May Irwin Kiss, The (short) (1896, William Heise)
() Ju Dou (1990 – Fengliang Yang and Yimou Zhang)
() Killer Of Sheep (1977 – Charles Burnett)
() King Size Canary (1947 – Tex Avery) – short
() Knight Without Armour (1937, Jacques Feyder)
() La Ceremonie (1995, Claude Chabrol)
Total so far:

() La Jetee, (1962, Chris Marker)
() La Promesse (1996 – Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne)
() La Ronde (1950 – Max Ophüls)
() Lady For A Day (1933 – Frank Capra)
() Lady Killers, The (1955, Alexander Mackendrick)
() Landscape in the Mist (1988, Theodoros Angelopoulos)
() Last Command, The (1928, Josef von Sternberg)
() Last Waltz, The (1978, Martin Scorsese)
() Last Year At Marienbad (1961 – Alain Resnais)
() Lavender Hill Mob, The (1951 – Charles Crichton)
() Law of Desire (1987, Pedro Almodóvar)
() Le Samouraï (1967 – Jean-Pierre Melville)
() Learning Tree, The (1969 – Gordon Parks)
() Les Miserables (1995, Claude Lelouch))
() Les Vampires (1915 – Louis Feuillade)
() Let The Right One In (2008, Tomas Alfredson)
() Letter From and Unknown Woman (1948 – Max Ophüls)
() Liberace of Baghdad, The (2005 – Sean McAllister)
() Life and Death of 9413, A Hollywood Extra, The (1928 – Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapich) – short
() Little Big Man (1970, Arthur Penn)
() Little Dieter Needs To Fly (1997 – Werner Herzog)
() Little Princess, A (1995, Alfonso Cuarón)
() Lone Star (1996 – John Sayles)
() Lonedale Operator, The (short) (1911, D.W. Griffith)
() Long Haired Hare (1949, Charles M. Jones)
() Long Way Home, The (1997, Mark Jonathan Harris)
() Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), Return of the King (2003) (Peter Jackson)
Total so far:

() Lorenzo’s Oil (1992, George Miller)
() Los Olividados (1950 – Luis Buñuel)
() Lost Highway (1997 – David Lynch)
() Lost Honor Of Katharina Blum, The (1975, Volker Schlöndorff, Margarethe von Trotta)
() Love Fins Andy Hardy (1938, George B. Seitz)
() Love Me Tonight (1932 – Rouben Mamoulian)
() Lust For Life (1956, Vincente Minnelli)
() Mabel’s Married Life (short) (1914, Charles Chaplin)
() Magical Maestro (1952 – Tex Avery) – short
() Magnificent Obsession (1954, Douglas Sirk)
() Mala Noche (1985 – Gus Van Sant)
() Man of Ashes (1986 – Nouri Bouzid)
() Man Of The West (1958 – Anthony Mann)
() Man Who Would Be King, The (1975, John Huston)
() Man Without a Past (2002 – Aki Kaurismäki)
() Mascot, The (1934 – Wladyslaw Starewicz) – short
() Matewan (1987, John Sayles)
() Maurice (1987, James Ivory)
() Mean Streets (1973, Martin Scorsese)
() Melody Time (1948, Clyde Geronimi)
() Misfits, The (1961, John Huston)
() Monkey Business (1931, Norman Mcleod)
() Monsieur Hire (1989, Patrice Leconte)
() Monterey Pop (1968, D.A. Pennebaker)
Total so far:

() Moolaadé (2004 – Ousmane Sembene)
() Most Dangerous Game, The (1932, Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack)
() Mouse In Manhattan (1945 – Hanna-Barbera) – short
() Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990, James Ivory)
() Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter (1999, Errol Morris)
() Mr. Skeffington (1944, Vincent Sherman)
() Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch)
() Münchhausen (1943 – Josef von Báky)
() Murderers Are Among Us, The (1946, Wolfgang Staudte)
() Music Box, The (1932 – James Parrott) – short
() Music Lovers, The (1970, Ken Russell)
() Musical Poster Number One (1940 – Len Lye) – short
() Musketeers of Pig Alley, The (short) (1912, D.W. Griffith)
() My Life Without Me (2003, Isabel Coixet)
() Nanking (2007 – Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman)
() New York Hat, The (short) (1912, D.W. Griffith)
() New York, New York (1977, Martin Scorsese)
() Niagara (1952, Henry Hathaway)
() Night Of The Demon (1957 – Jacques Tourneur)
() Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)
() Nights Of Cabiria (1957 – Federico Fellini)
() Ninotchka (1939 – Rouben Mamoulian)
() Nobody Loves Me (1994 – Doris Dörrie)
() Now, Voyager (1942, Irving Rapper)
() O Lucky Man! (1973 – Lindsay Anderson)
Total so far:

() Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, An (1962 – Robert Enrico) – short
() Odd Man Out (1947, Carol Reed)
() Oldboy (2003, Chan-wook Park)
() On The Beach (1959, Stanley Kramer)
() One Eyed Jacks (1961, Marlon Brando)
() One Froggy Evening (1955 – Chuck Jones) – short
() One Hour with You (1932 – Ernst Lubitsch)
() One Week (short, 1920, Buster Keaton)
() Onibaba (1964, Kaneto Shindô)
() Orlando (1992 – Sally Potter)
() Ossessione (1943 – Luchino Visconti)
() Outsiders, The (Original Theatrical Cut) (1983, Francis Ford Coppola)
() Paradise Now (2005, Hany Abu-Assad)
() Parent Trap, The (1961, David Swift)
() Parting Glances (1986, Bill Sherwood)
() Passionless Moments (1983 – Jane Campion and Gerard Lee) – short
() Patsy, The (1964, Jerry Lewis)
() Payday (1973, Daryl Duke)
() Peel (1982 – Jane Campion) – short
() People Next Door, The (1970, David Greene)
() Peter Pan (2003, P.J. Hogan)
() Piano, The (1993 – Jane Campion)
() Pickpocket (1959 – Robert Bresson)
() Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)
() Pink Narcissus (1971, James Bidgood)
() Pitfall (1948 – André De Toth)
Total so far:

() Place in the Sun, A (1951, George Stevens)
() Plague, The : Writers’ and Director’s Cut (2006, Hal Masonberg)
() Plow That Broke the Plains, The (short) (1936, Par Lorentz)
() Plumbing We Will Go, A (1940 – Del Lord) – The Three Stooges short
() Poison (1991 – Todd Haynes)
() Poor Little Rich Girl (1936, Irving Cummings)
() Pride and Prejudice (1940, Robert Z. Leonard)
() Punch-Drunk Love (2002, Paul Thomas Anderson)
() Purple Rose of Cairo, The (1985, Woody Allen)
() Puttin’ On The Dog (1944 – Hanna-Barbera)- short
() Quartermass Experiment, The (1955, Val Guest)
() Rabbit of Seville (1950, Charles M. Jones)
() Ragtime (1981, Milos Forman)
() Raise the Red Lantern (1991 – Yimou Zhang)
() Ran (1985, Akira Kurosawa)
() Random Harvest (1942, Mervyn LeRoy)
() Rashômon (1950 – Akira Kurosawa)
() Ratatouille (2007, Brad Bird)
() Raw Deal (1948, Anthony Mann)
() Real Young Girl, A (1976 – Catherine Breillat)
() Reckless Moment, The (1949 – Max Ophüls)
() Red Balloon, The (1956 – Albert Lamorisse) – short
() Red Desert (1964 – Michelangelo Antonioni)
() Red Sorghum (1987, Yimou Zhang)
Total so far:

() Renaldo and the Loaf – Songs For Swinging Larvae (1981 – Graeme Wiffler)
() Reversal of Fortune (1990 – Barbet Schroeder)
() Rich and Famous (1981, George Cukor)
() Rififi (1955, Jules Dassin)
() Roman Holiday (1953, William Wyler)
() Rome – Open City (1945 – Roberto Rosselini)
() Ryan’s Daughter (1970, David Lean)
() Saboteur (1942, Hitchcock)
() Safe (1995, Todd Haynes)
() Samurai Rebellion (1967 – Masaki Kobayashi)
() Sante Sangre (1989 – Alejandro Jodorowsky)
() Scent of Green Papaya, The (1993 – Anh Hung Tran)
() Scram (1932, Ray McCarey)
() Secret of Roan Inish (1994, John Sayles)
() See You Off to the Edge Of Town (2002 – Ching C. Ip)
() Senso (1954 – Luchino Visconti)
() Seven Beauties (1975 Lena Wertmuller)
() Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954, Stanley Donen)
() Seventh Seal, The (1957 – Ingmar Bergman)
() Shaft (1971 – Gordon Parks)
Total so far:

() Sherlock Jr. (1924, Buster Keaton)
() Sherman’s March (1986, Ross McElwee)
() Show People (1928, King Vidor)
() Simon Of The Desert (1965 – Luis Buñuel)
() Sinking of the Lusitania (1918 – Winsor McCay)
() Sleeping Beauty (1959 – Clyde Geronimi)
() Snow-White (1933, Dave Fleischer)
() Sofie (1992, Liv Ullman)
() Sounder (1972 – Martin Ritt)
() Spirited Away (2001 – Hiyao Miyazaki)
() Springtime in a Small Town (2002 – Zhuangzhuang Tian)
() Stardust Memories (1980, Woody Allen)
() Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987 – Todd Haynes)
() Suspicious Circumstances (1984 – Jim Blashfield) – short
() Sweet Smell of Success (1957 – Alexander Mackendrick)
() Swing Time (1936 – George Stevens)
() Tale of Two Sisters, A (2003, Ji-woon Kim)
() Tall Blonde Man with One Black Shoe, The (1972 – Yves Robert)
() Targets (1968, Peter Bogdonavich)
() Tell It To the Marines (1927, George W. Hill)
() Tell-Tale Heart, The (1953 – Ted Parmelee) – short
() 10th Victim, The (1965, Elio Petri)
() Testament of Dr. Mabuse, The (1933 – Fritz Lang)
() Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The (1974 – Tobe Hooper)
() Their First Mistake (1932, George Marshall)
() Thieving Hand, The (1908) – short
Total so far:

() Thin Man, The (1934, W.S. Van Dyke)
() Thing from Another World, The (1951 – Howard Hawks)
() Thing, The (1982, John Carpenter)
() Three On A Match (1932, Mervyn LeRoy)
() Time for Drunken Horses, A (2000 – Bahman Ghobadi)
() Time to Die (2007 – Dorota Kedzierzawska)
() Tin Drum, The (1979 – Volker Schlondorff)
() T-Men (1947, Anthony Mann)
() To Be Or Not To Be (1942, Ernst Lubitsch)
() To Kill A Mockingbird (1962 – Robert Mulligan)
() Together (2000 – Lukas Moodysson)
() Tokyo Story (1953 – Yasujiro Ozu)
() Tol’able David (1921, Henry King)
() Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom (1953, Ward Kimball)
() Track of the Cat (1954, William Wellman)
() Triumph Of The Will (1935 – Leni Riefenstahl)
() Trouble With Harry, The (1955, Alfred Hitchcock)
() 12 Angry Men (1957, Sidney Lumet)
() Twist and Shout (1984, Bille August)
() Umberto D (1952, Vittorio De Sica)
() Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The (1964 – Jacques Demy)
() Un Chien Andalou (1929 – Luis Buñuel)
() Unconditional Love (2003, P.J. Hogan)
() Under the Sand (2000 – François Ozon)
() Unknown, The (1927 – Tod Browning)
() Unseen Enemy, An (short) (1912, D.W. Griffith)
() Vanya on 42nd Street (1994 – Louis Malle)
Total so far:

() Vengeance Is Mine (1979 – Shohei Imamura)
() Viridiana (1961 – Luis Buñuel)
() War Requiem (1989 – Derek Jarman)
() Water, Water Every Hair (1952, Charles M. Jones)
() Watermelon Man (1970 – Melvin Van Peebles)
() Way Down East (1920, D.W. Griffith)
() Where Is My Friend’s House? (1987 – Abbas Kiarostami)
() Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966, Mike Nichols)
() Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? (1989 – Yong-Kyun Bae)
() Wife vs. Secretary (1936, Clarence Brown)
() Wild Strawberries (1957 – Ingmar Bergman)
() Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957 – Frank Tashlin)
() Winchester ’73 (1950, Anthony Mann)
() Wind that Shakes the Barley, The (2006 – Ken Loach)
() Wind, The (1928, Victor Sjöström)
() Window Shopping (aka Golden Eighties) (1986 – Chantal Akerman)
() Wings (1927, William Wellman)
() Winter Light (1962, Ingmar Bergman)
() Within Our Gates (1920 – Oscar Micheaux)
() Woman In The Dunes (1964 Hiroshi Teshigahara)
() Women, The (1939, George Cukor)
() Xiu Xiu, the Sent Down Girl (1998 – Joan Chen)
() Year of the Quiet Sun (1984 – Krzysztof Zanussi)
() Yi Yi (2000 – Edward Yang)
() Zelig (1983, Woody Allen)
() Zero de Conduite (1933 – Jean Vigo)

Grand Total:

MUST-SEE FILMS Part 1

Posted in Film with tags , , , , on February 11, 2009 by halmasonberg

michaelpowellFive friends and I decided to put together a quick list of what we personally considered “Must-See Films.”

There have been other film lists passed around the internet, but we felt they were often such contemporary, mainstream lists of films that they, well, quite simply didn’t do justice to the art and entertainment of cinema. We also wanted to acknowledge films that were remakes, originals and/or alternate cuts. And while there are TONS of great films NOT mentioned here, the ones that ARE mentioned certainly show a wide range of tastes, styles and interpretations of “Must-see.”

This will hopefully be an ever-growing series of lists. Both from the original six and many other “special guests.”

The idea is to check off all the films you’ve seen in the brackets before each title (x). Pass ‘em around, compare with friends, start seeing the films you have yet to experience…

There are 422 films on this list.

There is already a MUST-SEE FILMS Part 2, which can be found HERE.

These were originally created for Facebook and our group page can be found HERE.

Enjoy!

() A NOUS LA LIBERTE
() ACE IN THE HOLE (1951, aka THE BIG CARNIVAL)
() ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED, THE
() AFRICAN QUEEN, THE
() AGE OF INNOCENCE, THE (1993)
() AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD
() AIRPLANE
() AIRPORT
() ALI, FEAR EATS THE SOUL
() ALIEN (Original Theatrical Cut)
() ALL ABOUT EVE
() ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)
() ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS
() AMADEUS (Director’s Cut)
() AMADEUS (Theatrical Cut)
() AMERICAN ASTRONAUT, THE
() AMERICAN GRAFFITI
() AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY, THE
() ANATOMY OF A MURDER
() ANNIE HALL
() APARTMENT, THE (1960)
() APOCALYPSE NOW (Original Theatrical Cut)
() APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX
() APU TRILOGY: PANTHER PANCHALI, APARAJITO, THE WORLD OF APU
() ARMY OF SHADOWS
() ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, THE
() BABY FACE (1933)
() BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, THE
() BAD SLEEP WELL, THE
() BALL OF FIRE
() BAMBI (1942)
() BANDWAGON, THE
() BANK DICK, THE
() BARRY LYNDON
() BATTLE ROYALE (2000)
() BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946)
() BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991)
() BEN-HUR (1959)
() BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ
() BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, THE
() BICYCLE THIEF, THE
() BIG PARADE, THE
() BIG TRAIL, THE
() BIRDS, THE (1963)
() BIRTH (2004)
() BLACK NARCISSUS
Total so far:

() BLACK SUNDAY (1977)
() BLADE RUNNER (Final Cut)
() BLADE RUNNER (Original Theatrical Cut)
() BLUE ANGEL. THE (1930 English or German language)
() BLUE VELVET
() BODY SNATCHER, THE (1945)
() BRANDED TO KILL (1967)
() BRAZIL (1985, Director’s Cut)
() BREAKING THE WAVES
() BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE
() BRIEF ENCOUNTER
() BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
() BUCKET OF BLOOD
() BULLITT
() CABARET
() CANTERBURY TALE, A (1944)
() CARNIVAL OF SOULS
() CASABLANCA
() CAT PEOPLE (1942)
() CELLO (aka TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY)
() CHILDREN OF PARADISE
Total so far:

() CHINATOWN
() CHINESE GHOST STORY, A
() CHOOSE ME
() CHRISTMAS STORY, A
() CITIZEN KANE
() CITY LIGHTS
() CLOCKWORK ORANGE, A
() CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (Original Theatrical Cut)
() CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1998 Director’s Cut)
() CONTEMPT
() CONVERSATION, THE (1974)
() COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER, THE
() COURT JESTER, THE
() CRIES AND WHISPERS
() CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS
() CRIMINAL, THE (1960)
() CROWD, THE (1928)
() CURE (1997)
() DANCER IN THE DARK
() DAS BOOT (Director’s Cut)
() DAS BOOT (Original Uncut Version)
() DAY FOR NIGHT
() DAY OF WRATH (1943)
() DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE, THE
() DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE (1951)
() DAYS OF HEAVEN
() DAZED AND CONFUSED
() DEAMLIFE OF ANGELS
() DECALOGUE, THE (1989)
() DELIVERANCE
() DETOUR (1945)
() DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER, THE (1941)
() DIE NIEBELUNGEN (1924)
() DINNER AT EIGHT (1933)
() DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)
() DON’T LOOK BACK (1967)
() DON’T LOOK NOW
() DOUBLE INDEMNITY
() DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE, THE
() DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1931)
Total so far:

() DR. STRANGELOVE: OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB
() DRAUGHTMANS’ CONTRACT, THE
() DROWNING BY NUMBERS
() DUCK SOUP
() E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (Original Theatrical Cut)
() EAST OF EDEN (1955)
() 8 1/2
() ELEPHANT MAN, THE
() EMPIRE OF THE SUN
() EXCALIBUR
() EXORCIST, THE (Original Theatrical Cut)
() EYES WIDE SHUT (either U.S. or European cut)
() EYES WITHOUT A FACE
() FANNY AND ALEXANDER (U.S. Theatrical Cut)
() FANNY AND ALEXANDER (Full Swedish TV Cut)
() FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (1967)
() FARGO
() FATAL GLASS OF BEER, THE (1933)
() FAUST (1926)
() FLESH AND THE DEVIL (1926)
() FOOTLIGHT PARADE
() FORCE OF EVIL (1948)
() 42nd STREET
() 400 BLOWS, THE
() FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
() GENERAL, THE (1927)
() GET CARTER (1971)
() GETAWAY, THE (1972)
() GHOST AND MRS. MUIR, THE (1947)
() GHOSTBUSTERS
() GIANT
Total so far:

() GILDA
() GIMME SHELTER
() GODFATHER, THE
() GODFATHER PART 2, THE
() GOLD RUSH, THE
() GONE WITH THE WIND
() GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY, THE
() GOODFELLAS
() GOSFORD PARK
() GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW, THE (1964)
() GRAND HOTEL (1932)
() GRAND ILLUSION (1937)
() GRAPES OF WRATH, THE (1940)
() GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946)
() GREED (1924, Unrestored Version)
() HAIL, THE CONQUERING HERO
() HARAKIRI (1962)
() HAUNTING, THE (1963)
() HEAT (1995)
() HEAVENLY CREATURES
() HELL IS A CITY
() HELL’S HINGES (1916)
() HENRY V (1944)
() HIDDEN FORTRESS, THE
() HIGH AND LOW (1963)
() HIGH SIERRA
() HITCH-HIKER, THE (1953)
() HOUSE OF STRANGERS
() HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY
() HUD
() HUMAN CONDITION, THE (1959-1961, Parts 1-3)
() I AM CUBA
Total so far:

() I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING (1945)
() I WAKE UP SCREAMING
() ICE STORM, THE
() IKIRU (1952)
() IMAGES (1972)
() IMITATION OF LIFE (1959)
() IMMIGRANT, THE (1917)
() IN A LONELY PLACE
() IN COLD BLOOD (1967)
() INCREDIBLES, THE
() INFORMER, THE (1935)
() INNOCENTS, THE (1961)
() INTOLERANCE (1916)
() INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956)
() IRON GIANT, THE
() IT (1927)
() IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
() IT’S A GIFT
() IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
() IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER
() JAPANESE STORY (2003)
() JAWS
() JOHNNY GUITAR
() JULIET OF THE SPIRITS
() JUNGLE BOOK, THE (1967)
() JUNIOR BONNER
() KILLERS, THE (1946)
() KILLING FIELDS, THE
() KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE, THE (either cut)
() KILLING, THE (1956)
() KING KONG (1933)
() KING OF COMEDY, THE
() KING OF NEW YORK, THE
() KINGDOM, THE (1994 mini series)
() KISS OF DEATH (1947)
Total so far:

() KLUTE
() KNIFE IN THE WATER
() KWAIDAN (1964)
() L’ ATALANTE (1934)
() L’AVVENTURA
() LA DOLCE VITA
() LA STRADA
() LADIES MAN, THE (1961)
() LADY EVE, THE
() LAST PICTURE SHOW, THE (either cut)
() LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, THE
() LAURA (1944)
() LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
() LE BOUCHER (1970)
() LE CERCLE ROUGE
() LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN
() LEOPARD, THE (1963)
() LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, THE
() LIMEY, THE
() LOLA (1981)
() LOLITA (1962)
() LOVE AND DEATH
() LOVERS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE
() LUST, CAUTION
() M
() M. HULOT’S HOLIDAY
() MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, THE
() MALTESE FALCON, THE (1941)
() MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA (1929)
() MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, THE (1962)
() MANHATTAN (1979)
() MARNIE
() MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN
() MARY POPPINS
() MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, A (Powell)
() MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER
() MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
() MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON
() METROPOLIS (1925)
() MIDNIGHT (1939)
() MIDNIGHT COWBOY
() MILDRED PIERCE
() MILLER’S CROSSING
() MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ
() MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK, THE
() MISSION, THE (1986)
() MON ONCLE
Total so far:

() MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL
() MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN
() MRS. MINIVER
() MURDER, MY SWEET
() MUSIC MAN, THE (1962)
() MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935)
() MY DARLING CLEMENTINE
() MY MAN GODFREY
() NAKED (1993)
() NAKED CITY (1948)
() NARROW MARGIN, THE (1950)
() NASHVILLE (1975)
() NETWORK (1976)
() NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950)
() NIGHT AT THE OPERA, A
() NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
() NORTH BY NORTHWEST
() NOSFERATU (1922)
() NOTORIOUS (1946)
() OKLAHOMA! (either 35mm or Todd-AO Version)
() OLD DARK HOUSE, THE (1932)
() OLIVER TWIST (1948)
() ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA
() ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST
() ONE, TWO, THREE (1961)
() OPEN RANGE (2003)
() OUT OF THE PAST (1947)
() OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, THE
() OX-BOW INCIDENT, THE
() PALM BEACH STORY, THE
() PANDORA’S BOX (1929)
() PAPER MOON
() PASSAGE TO INDIA, A
() PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, THE (1928, Rediscovered Original Cut)
() PATTON
() PEEPING TOM (1960)
() PETER PAN (1953)
() PETULIA
() PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET
() PILGRIMAGE (1933)
Total so far:

() PINNOCHIO (1940)
() PLACE IN THE SUN, A (1951)
() PLANET OF THE APES, THE (1968)
() PLAYTIME (1967)
() POINT BLANK (1967)
() PORGY AND BESS (1959)
() PORTRAIT OF A LADY, THE (1996)
() PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR, THE
() PRODUCERS, THE (1968)
() PSYCHO (1960)
() PUBLIC ENEMY, THE (1931)
() PULSE (2001, aka KAIRO)
() PURPLE NOON
() QUEEN CHRISTINA (1933)
() RAGING BULL
() RAN (1985)
() REAR WINDOW (1954)
() REBECCA (1940)
() REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
() [REC] (2007)
() RED-HEADED WOMAN
() RED RIVER (1948)
() RED SHOES, THE (1948)
() REMAINS OF THE DAY, THE
() REPULSION
() RIDE WITH THE DEVIL (1999-Ang Lee)
() RIGHT STUFF, THE
() RIO BRAVO
() ROAD WARRIOR, THE (aka MAD MAX 2)
() ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS
() ROPE (1948)
() ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968)
() RULES OF THE GAME, THE (1939)
() SABRINA (1954)
() SALESMAN (1968)
() SANSHO, THE BALIFF
() SCARFACE (1932)
Total so far:

() SCARLET EMPRESS, THE
() SEANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON
() SEARCHERS, THE (1956)
() SECONDS (1966)
() SEVEN MEN FROM NOW
() SEVEN SAMURAI (1954)
() 1776 (1972)
() SEXY BEAST
() SHANE
() SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932)
() SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON
() SHELTERING SKY, THE
() SHINING, THE (1980)
() SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
() SINGING DETECTIVE, THE (1986, Mini-Series)
() SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE
() SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
() SOME LIKE IT HOT
() SOPHIE’S CHOICE
() SOUND OF MUSIC, THE
() SPARTACUS (1960)
() SPIONE (1928)
() STAGECOACH (1939)
() STAR IS BORN, A (1954)
() STAR WARS (1977)
() STEAM BOAT BILL JR.
() STEEL HELMET, THE
() STELLA MARIS (1918)
() STOP MAKING SENSE
() STRANGER AT MY DOOR (1956)
() STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR
() STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (either U.S. or U.K. cut)
() STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, A (1951)
() SUGARLAND EXPRESS, THE
() SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS
Total so far:

() SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY
() SUNRISE (1927)
() SUNSET BOULEVARD
() SWEET HEREAFTER, THE
() TASTE OF CHERRY
() TAXI DRIVER (1976)
() TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE (1956)
() TENANT, THE (1976)
() TESS (1979)
() THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938)
() THIEVES’ HIGHWAY
() THIN RED LINE, THE (1998)
() THIRD MAN, THE
() THREE COLORS TRILOGY: BLUE, WHITE, RED
() 3 WOMEN
() THRONE OF BLOOD
() THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY
() TITUS
() TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT
() TO SLEEP WITH ANGER
() TOKYO DRIFTER
() TOPSY TURVY
() TOUCH OF EVIL
() TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, THE
() TROUBLE IN PARADISE
() 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954)
() TWO FOR THE ROAD (1967)
() 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
() UGETSU
Total so far:

() UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING, THE
() UNDER THE FLAG OF THE RISING SUN
() UNFORGIVEN (1992)
() VERA DRAKE
() VERONIKA VOSS
() VERTIGO (1958)
() VIDEODROME
() WAGES OF FEAR, THE
() WAGON MASTER (1950)
() WAR AND PEACE (1967)
() WEST SIDE STORY
() WHAT’S UP DOC?
() WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS
() WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS
() WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND
() WHITE HEAT (1949)
() WILD BUNCH, THE
() WINDOW, THE (1949)
() WINGS OF DESIRE
() WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE
() WITNESS (1985)
() WIZARD OF OZ, THE (1939)
() WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, A
() WOODSTOCK (Original Theatrical Cut or Director’s Cut)
() WRITTEN ON THE WIND
() YAKUZA PAPERS: BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR OR HUMANITY, THE (1973)
() YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, THE
() YELLOW SUBMARINE
() YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN

Grand Total:

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