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These are my top fifteen (it's too hard to choose just ten!) Criterion titles, of films that I have seen that are in the collection. I don't own all of these on Criterion, but of course I would love to. This is bound to change over time, with new films entering the top, or titles switching positions. Regardless of order, these are definitely my favorite films in the collection. Made July 17, 2012.
I could go on and on about this film, and I have in my college courses. This film really hit me when I first saw it. It's power is matched only by it's style. It really showed me what a film was capable of: evoking such a strong message, but presented in such an interesting and creative way. This film is genius, I love nearly every aspect of it.
Wes Anderson, the man is a genius. His style is unmistakable, and so cool! I think The Royal Tenenbaums is his crowning achievement (though Rushmore is close!). His style is just all over this film. It is such a solid piece of work, and a great example of cinematic art that an auteur can create.
Because I can't really choose one of these Wes Anderson films over the other, I put Rushmore "second" because I have only seen it - dare I say - once. I really did like it, but I need to see it again to justify how good I remember it being. But what I do remember is great, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray are excellent. The soundtrack may slightly eclipse Tenenbaums, but it's close. And, because it came before Tenenbaums chronologically, I feel that it started Wes with his true stylistic vision.
I can watch this movie over and over and never get tired of it. It has its lowbrow laughs, but is filled with taught emotion. The viewer really feels drawn into the teenage world of the '70s that it creates. We laugh along with the kids, but feel their pain as well, because hell, being a teenager is not all fun and games. Dazed and Confused is so often overlooked as just a stoner comedy, but it is so much more. A look at teenage life, and how timeless its emotions are, this movie should be seen by every kid who enters, and then graduates high school.
The most beautiful film ever made about war. This film is rather overwhelming (as Malick's films tend to be), but it is exquisite. Every shot is a work of art. The pain and the struggle of the men in the film is felt emanating from the screen. This film is glorious.
Again, it's Malick, so it's gorgeous. I know I like The Thin Red Line more mainly just because of the subject matter, but Days of Heaven is a little slice of cinematic heaven. It is another grand vision of one of the most talented directors of all time. His films don't even need a plot, or characters, or sound. They are visual masterpieces.
Whenever I am asked what my greatest fear is, I often think of the events of The Game. The fear that there is no one you can trust, and that everyone is out to get you is so terrible, and that is what makes this such an intense and awesome film. You're along for the ride with Michael Douglas as he has to fend for himself, because nothing and no one is what or who they seem. I truly think that this is Fincher's best work, but it is so underrated. Anyone who says they like Fincher for Fight Club, or Seven, or The Social Network needs to reconsider The Game.
This film is so badass. Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle are excellent. The story is tight, and the style is slick. It takes place in Boston, so it automatically gets points from me. If you like The Departed, or any movie Ben Affleck has made, (but not Boondock Saints 'cause fuck you) then you obviously need to see this.
If I have to choose my number one favorite director, it inevitably comes down to Kubrick. Everything that he has made is a masterpiece. The Killing was just the beginning (technically 2nd or 3rd) of his genius. This is a completely solid and (no pun intended) killer film noir. The characters (male and female) are tough to the core. The violence and thrills are unflinching, and the story is spot on. This definitely set the bar for the heist genre, and few films have hit the mark. Any fan of Kubrick, really just film in general should definitely see this film.
You just can't go wrong with Kubrick. The one thing that I always remember about watching this for the first time was how LOUD it was. The battle sequences were utterly jarring. Kirk Douglas is great. And of course, Kubrick's directing shines. I consider this the last of Kubrick's "classic" films, as his films in the sixties became more mainstream. I think this may be one of his most mature films however.
R. Crumb is an American treasure. His artwork is hilarious, gross, subversive and surreal. And this documentary on his life and career is no different. Getting a look at his family life, we see that maybe he isn't the weirdest crumb on the table, and that's what makes this film so great.
Rosemary's Baby is masterpiece of horror cinema. Its power is in how subtly frightening it is. It is tense, and atmospheric. We share Rosemary's dread that there is some greater conspiracy at work against her. In the final moments when we realize that Satan's child is in our midst, we know that there is nothing stopping the greater powers of evil, and that is what makes this a truly dark film.
Quite possible the creepiest film in all the Criterion Collection. When this film ends, the viewer has no idea what went on, but they are terrified. The haunting atmosphere of this film resonates deep, and the mystery lingers long after the film is over. What happened in this film?
Terry Gilliam is a genius filmmaker. He knows how to make his films fun, and really visually interesting. Fear and Loathing a terrific blend of surreal visuals, humor, and social commentary. Depp's Hunter S. Thompson is unforgettable, but there are so many subtle references, and cameos (Tobey Maguire, Chris Meloni, Thompson himself!) to round out the film and give it such rich detail, that make watching it over and over again so rewarding.
Though the films of Kevin Smith are seldom worthy of such nice treatment as Criterion gives, Chasing Amy is easily his magnum opus, and his most personal and touching film. Though it is of course filled with typical dick jokes and comic book references, beyond that there is a heartfelt story of a man in love. And Smith's monologue about "Chasing Amy" is among the greatest in cinema regarding thoughts on love and women.
Another Gilliam masterpiece. Brazil is a fantastic dystopian tale, with amazing art direction, and awesome performances. This is a hilarious, surreal vision, from the king of hilarious surreality. I need to watch this again soon.
Talk about hilarious and surreal. If you want that combination, pushed to the extreme, look no further than HAUSU. I had the great pleasure and fortune to be able to project a 35mm Janus print of this film, at my school's theater. Upon seeing it for the first time, I was baffled, but could not stop laughing. It is a horror tale, told as a comedy, and turned on its head. To try and make sense of this film is pointless, but to just watch and enjoy, it a great treat for yourself.
I have only watched this film once, but I was blown away. It plays like the much better version of Black Swan, (which I truly enjoyed). It is dark, dramatic, and visually stunning. This is a marvel of technicolor, and to be restored by Criterion to such beautiful high-definition is a treasure of cinema.