Saturday, December 17, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #8

Living in Oblivion (1995)

This slyly clever film pokes satirical fun at the world of independent filmmaking with all it's recalcitrant problems and inherent woes told from an insider's perspective by indie director, Tom DiCillo.  One of the first starring roles for each of the following: Steve Buscemi, as the Director, Catherine Keener, as the leading lady, James LeGros as the leading man (doing a subversive parody of Brad Pitt, despite what the director may say), Peter Dinklage, and Dermot Mulroney. Enjoyable on many levels.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #9

Mulholland Drive (2001)

As fascinating as it is frustrating, Mulholland Drive ostensibly tells the story of  the illusion and disillusion of  Hollywood, and how corrupting an influence it can be. The film is enigmatic, to say the least, and open to wildly different interpretations. It can best be categorized as a psychological thriller, with the central mystery never being entirely explained. Naomi Watts hit the big leagues in her role as a young Hollywood hopeful and cult film director David Lynch was nominated for an Academy Award. The film itself has been named to many "Best" lists, including "Best Picture of the Decade" by Cahiers du Cinema and Best Picture of the 21st Century by  a BBC poll.

Friday, November 04, 2016

My 150 Favorite Films - #10

8 1/2 (1963)

Regularly showing up on every Top 10 Best List that there is, this loosely autobiographical film, written and directed by famed Italian film director Federico Fellini, concerns an existential crisis as experienced by a famed Italian film director. The director is played by actor Marcello Mastroianni, who has often been considered to be a stand-in for the director in those movies of Fellini in which he has appeared. A fair number of muses appear in the film, including those played by actresses Anouk Aimee, and Claudia Cardinale. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, 8 1/2 has gone on to influence many other films and was even made into a Broadway show, titled Nine, starring Raul Julia, which itself was later turned into a film of the same name, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

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.