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Since the collection has contained hundreds of titles across different home viewing formats, I decided to limit myself to their films released on Blu-ray and DVD that I have seen.
I didn't go to high school in the 1970's. And I didn't go to high school in Austin, Texas either. But I look at this movie and I can relate to it. The characters, the summer atmosphere, everything. In a way, it's like the spiritual successor to "American Graffiti." It also has one of the best source soundtracks of any movie I've seen.
They say the first casualty in war is innocence. Well, then thank God that Owen Wilson's Army-look-alike has never actually gone to war, or else this film would lose all its charm. It lacks the color and style that would become staples of Wes Anderson's later films, but "Bottle Rocket" is probably all the better without them.
Has there ever been a greater actor-turned-director debut than this? Charles Laughton's visuals are reminiscent of those found in the expressionist films of the German silent era ("Nosferatu" in particular comes to mind), using light and shadow tell the story more so than the dialogue. Laughton (who would not go on to direct another film, a loss for us all) presents the American south not as a tall tale, but a Gothic fairytale, with Robert Mitchum as the devil in sheep's clothing. The original American horror story.
This movie is almost two and a half hours long. The first half is slow paced and takes its time setting up the plot and characters. But as soon as those trucks start moving, things don't slow up. I was on the edge of my seat even after it had ended.
Like "Seven Samurai," my first exposure to "Hidden Fortress" was through one of its imitators, a little film you may or may not of heard about called "Star Wars" (of which its influence on is undeniable). It is perhaps Kurosawa's most entertaining film. A buddy comedy set in feudal Japan, the film moves at fast pace despite its 2.5 hour running time (shorter than "Seven Samurai," but still a), to of humor and adventure.
A cast headlined by the likes of Henry Fonda, John Fiedler, and Lee J. Cobb, and Sidney Lumet's use of long single takes, makes this a literal stage play put on film.
My favorite Kubrick film. Yes, even more so than The Shining or Full Metal Jacket. Perhaps it has to do with Kubrick's take on the crime genre, or the performances, or the hard-boiled dialogue, or the jazz score. Or all of the above.
This would make a great double feature alongside Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation."
A modern day Hitchcock thriller.
Despite its misunderstanding of theology and the occasional weak line or performance, "The Last Temptation of Christ" is unlike any film ever made, religious or not. Without a doubt, it is the one film in my years as a moviegoer that I am most torn about. It is equal parts frustrating and accomplished, off-putting and fascinating. It's Scorsese, perhaps our greatest living director, on a low budget, grounding the film in reality. This isn't a Biblical epic like the ones that used to populate multiplexes in the 50's and 60's. The film is intimate, even exotic, in Scorsese's approach. And that Peter Gabriel score is worth the price of the movie alone.
The most beautiful film ever shot.
The visual iconography of this movie alone is enough to secure it a spot on this list. But it is its examination and depiction of Catholic guilt in the Middle Ages that resonates with me more than anything, particularly that scene in the confessional.
One of the most beautiful films ever shot, and perhaps one of the greatest uses of the Technicolor process. It's equal parts melodrama and horror. The third act has horror imagery on par with anything in "Nosferatu" or "The Exorcist."