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.

Friday, June 03, 2016

My 150 Favorite Movies - #18

Pillow Talk (1959)

The first and, arguably, the best in a series of classic romantic comedies starring one of the screen's most enduring couples, Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Pillow Talk revolves around a shared party line, and a case of seduction by deception. Also starring Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter, the film proved to be so popular, that Day and Hudson were reteamed twice more (as different characters) in Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

My 150 Favorite Movies - #19

Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979)

Based on the Ann Beattie novel, and originally called Head Over Heels (with a happier ending), this tale of obsessive love unrequited is both emotionally draining and exhilarating, if such things can co-exist in the same story. Starring John Heard, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Riegert, and Gloria Grahame (yes!) in the extreme latter part of her career, this movie is definitely worth seeking out and worth savoring.