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Here is my list of top ten criterion collection films
My favorite film of all time, next to George Washington. For a war film, I found this film to be strangely ambient and relaxing, I think that is one of the reasons I fell in love with this movie. Terrence Malick is one of my favorite film directors of all time, and I consider this is magnum opus. The cinematography by John Toll is just breathtaking. Where most war films are shot with shaky cameras and always ask why does war happen, the camera in this film floats in the breeze and acknowledges that war is just a part of life and we shouldn't be afraid of death. I could go on about this film forever so I'll just say this maybe as close to perfection as a film can get in my opinion.
Next to The Thin Red Line, this is my favorite film of all time. I remember when I first saw this a couple of years ago. I was in complete awe of what I had seen. The cinematography is some of the greatest I've ever seen in my life. The performances, the music, everything was just done right. To me this raised the bar of what independent films are capable of.
For a film that came out in the 50's the acting, cinematography, and story are so ahead of its time. Most acting in that period is just typical 50's acting that didn't require much effort, but this was just some of the greatest acting ever caught on film. J.J. Hunsucker (brought to life by Burt Lancaster) is one of the most diabolical villains on the big screen. Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis showing us what he could really do) isn't any better I might add. James Wong Howe's shots of 1950's New York City in all of it's black and white film noir glory couldn't have been better. The music by Elmer Bernstein, especially the jazz tunes, are just great. Everything in this film is just great.
My favorite film for a little while, and still one of my favorites is Jean-Pierre Melville's spectacular Le Samourai. Alain Delon gives the performance of his career which such intense subtlety that's it's impossible to forget. Everything in this film: every shot, line of dialogue, every movement, was done for a purpose and this film just will remain one of my favorite films for as long as I live.
Fritz Lang is one of my favorite film directors of all time. For a film that was shot in the 30's I was blown away by the cinematography. Where most films in those days just put a camera on a tripod and just rotated it, this film actually had a moving camera and every shot was filled with wonder and terror. I couldn't not put this on my top ten criterion films if I tried.
The film that gave Alfred Hitchcock a run for his money, and with good reason. The set up is great, the actors are great, the tension is great, and the ending which I refuse to tell you about is one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen in a film. Henri-Georges Clouzot is one of the greatest film directors of all time.
When I first saw this film a year ago, I was in that kind of mood where you are just want to stop putting this film off and just watch it already. For being in a mood where I said "Let's get this out of the way", within the first 10 minutes I fell in love with this film. I was so happy. A great take on the Orpheus tale, this film couldn't have been any more wonderful.
After watching Hunger, I immediately became a big fan of both Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender. I had seen Fassbender in a few other films before this, but after this I said "I want to see where this guy goes." The same thing could be said about Steve McQueen as well. This film about the I.R.A. hunger strikes is both haunting and beautiful with it's cinematography. Michael Fassbender is one of the greatest actors of our time. I will admit that my one criticism of the film is the 15 minute shot which can really test your patience and your attention span, otherwise I have no other complaints for this masterpiece.
Jules Dassin is another one of my favorite directors. When it comes to film noir, he is the master. All his films on this collection are great, but Rififi is the best of the bunch in my opinion. Hollywood blacklisted Dassin during the 50's and surprisingly he received the best reviews of his career when he started working in Europe. That is honestly the greatest heist scene I've ever seen in my life, it was directed with sheer perfection. Everything Jules Dassin did in this film was great. He deserved the Best Director award at Cannes Film festival fair and square.
I am a sucker for silent film and this is one of the greatest of that and any decade of filmmaking. I like the fact that Carl T. Dreyer took advantage of the space with his cinematography, but to me the greatest thing about this film is the performance of Renee Jeanne Falconetti. In my opinion this is the greatest acting that has ever been caught on film. For a silent film you really need to get your emotions out and this is was all that and then some. This is truly something I truly need to put on my top ten.
I love silent comedies and I cannot leave without mentioning the great Charlie Chaplin. I grew up on his films and this is one of my absolute favorites from him. It is very nice to have both the original silent and the sound version, the latter of which I have yet to see. I love the atmosphere of this film, the creativity is through the roof, just Chaplin at some of his finest.