Monday, October 17, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #11

My Night at Maud's (1969)

The most durable director of the French New Wave, Eric Rohmer excelled at making films that the public wanted to see.The third (fourth in terms of date of release) in a series of Six Moral Tales; My Night at Maud's deceptive simplicity, in which a man, infatuated with one woman, spends the night with another, belies a deeper complexity in which philosophy and religion play a strong role, taking  up most of the voluminous conversation in this film. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, along with Best Screenplay, My Night at Maud's endures as one of Rohmer's strongest statements that he ever put on film.

Friday, September 30, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #12

Lost in America (1985)

Written and directed by, and starring comedian and actor Albert Brooks, Lost in America is a satirical look at what happens to one  middle-class couple when they try to drop out of the rat race and explore America in a Winnebago, sort of an Easy Rider for the Yuppie set. Winner of the Best Screenplay award from the National Society of Film Critics, this sharply observed comedy follows the rapid descent of the couple's idyllic journey as it devolves into neurotic desperation. Without a doubt, this is Brooks's finest effort to date.

Friday, September 16, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #13

Rebecca (1940)

Based on the celebrated novel by Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca was Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood-made film, and the only one that won the Best Picture Oscar. With a blue-chip, pedigreed cast, including Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, and Judith Anderson, Rebecca stays true to it's source material, with only minor changes. It's a film worth watching again and again, for the intelligence of the performances in addition to the riveting mystery at the center of it all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #14

Pulp Fiction (1994)

This movie was a game changer for many, including it's director, Quentin Tarantino, it's star, John Travolta, and the Hollywood landscape in general. Inspired by many genre films, Tarantino first made his mark with Reservoir Dogs (see My 150 Favorite Films - #82), and continued his trajectory with this landmark film. Without a linear plot point, it's difficult to describe what this movie's about, but suffice to say it manages to be both shocking, and very, very funny. Also starring Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, plus a cast of thousands (seemingly), Pulp Fiction went on to inspire and influence many more films in its wake. Winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Monday, July 11, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #15

Jean de Florette (1986) 

Jean de Florette and it's companion drama Manon of the Spring, are, quite apart from the plot, two of the most sumptuously photographed stories ever committed to film. The haunting tale, of greed, revenge, murder and plot twists make this a film for the ages. Filmed in rural Provence, the story it tells is of two local farmers who scheme to trick a newcomer out of his property. As it stars Gerard Depardieu, Yves Montand, Daniel Auteil, Emmanuelle Beart, and is directed by the acclaimed French director, Claude Berri, this film has proven to be one of the most sumptuous and moving of all time. Filmed together, but released separately, I am counting the two films as one.

Monday, July 04, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #16

The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Before Ang Lee became world famous directing such modern-day classics as Brokeback Mountain, Sense and Sensibility and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, he made this small, early film, about a gay, Taiwanese man who intends to go through with a sham wedding in order to please his traditional parents. Needless to say, complications arise. Nominated for Best Foreign Language of 1993, The Wedding Banquet was also the most profitable film of 1993, relative to its cost, and to my mind, the most enjoyable.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

My 150 Favorite Movies - #17

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

The French Lieutenant's Woman takes a novel approach to adapting the metafictional novel, and brings it to the big screen by making it a movie within a movie. In line with the source material having two different endings, the screenplay, by Harold Pinter, adapted from the novel by John Fowles, intercuts between two love affairs, between the 19th-century characters in the novel, played by Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons at his most swoon-worthy, and the "actors" (also played by Streep and Irons) portraying these characters. A mesmerizing film, from beginning to end.