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This is my list of Criterion's films that I've seen in approximate order.
While the three filmmakers above can be described as poetic. None compare on a poetic level to Malick. Malick is the only filmmaker who I would consider a true poet through and through. No other filmmaker has such a way with either words or images, not to mention the combination. The Thin Red Line is my second favorite of Malick's work, The Tree of Life being my first. The Thin Red Line is the most beautiful and thought provoking war film you'll ever see. The siege of the hill alone is reason to see it, although the true heart of the film is found in the scenes with Jim Caviezel's character.
My absolute favorite film in the collection! Steve McQueen is without a doubt the most promising auteur of the new millennium. Hunger is both gritty and poetic. One conversation takes up nearly a third of the movie and is comprised of a 17 minute two-shot followed by a 12 minute close-up. Fassbender is one of the few actors who can keep a 30 minute dialogue scene absolutely fascinating through to the end.
While the three films stand on their own, the trilogy package that Criterion offers is the best product Criterion has to offer. Thus, it ties with my favorite stand-alone film. The supplements are extraordinarily in-depth and really support the films by revealing Kieslowski's techniques. I'd only seen the first 10 minutes of Blue, but that was all I needed to know I had to have the complete set. Don't let the price scare you off, this is the most valuable addition to my collection.
I can't ever speak of Tarkovsky without mentioning Stalker. I really hope Criterion will be able to acquire it in the very near future. That being said, Solaris is the next best thing to own until then. It's constantly compared to 2001, but I prefer Solaris. It has all the great philosophical themes and astounding imagery that Tarkovsky is famous for, with some fantastic production design to boot.
Bought this blind and was very pleased. It takes a while to set in, but after it's worked on you for a day or two, you kind of fall in love with it. It just feels so honest. One of the best parts about it is that the young actress is not a great dancer. Mia's private dance routines feel pretty clumsy, but hey, she's doing what she loves. The result is a character that really feels genuine. I believe that she is a normal relatable person, because her passion for dance far outweighs her skill. While dance is actually only part of the film, it's how Mia starts to become a likable and relatable character. The coming of age tale that follows carries on that same honesty that's established early on. It's a really nice little film.
Days of Heaven is stunning. There isn't much more to say about it.
I love these types of films. La Haine creates such an atmosphere in itself that is quite captivating. It feels very gritty, but has a few scattered moments of humor. One of the best moments early on is Vincent Cassel doing the mirror routine from Taxi Driver.
I still don't think I understand it all, but it's so incredibly fascinating. A really gorgeous film.
This was a splendid addition to the collection. Sadly all Criterion has to offer is the film itself, but it's a great film. The shooting style feels a lot like something Alfonso Cuaron would have made if he was Russian and alive in the 50s. Some of the most active camera work I've seen from the era. Very ahead of it's time.
This is one hell of a film! Gena Rowlands disappears into her character unlike any actor/actress I've ever seen. Peter Falk is very impressive as well. The chemistry between them is of the highest quality. This is one of those films that stays with you forever.
My favorite samurai film! I feel like Kurosawa usually steals a lot of the glory from these types of films, but I think this is far better than any Kurosawa film I've seen. A truly fantastic story and some really immaculate compositions.
A fantastic film to discover! Not my first introduction to Kiarostami, but immediately my favorite of his work. This is such an incredibly fascinating film and offers one of Juliette Binoche's most fantastic performances to date. So remarkably interesting!