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Obviously Criterion has some of the best movies you'll find out there, with only a few great films evading it's collection. So these are, in my opinion, the top 10 movies in there.
Easily in my top 3 as far as my favorite movies in general, and if you've watched it you can see why. Aside from the top-notch acting and writing on this film, it has a lovely zither theme that you will find yourself humming endlessly. Now, I confess I've not seen Welles' debut opus Citizen Kane. As it has been so hyped up by so many, I probably won't find myself doing it anytime soon. This film serves as my introduction to Orson Welles as an actor and I must say he is a brilliant one. Kudos!
What a wonderful film. I confess I've never watched Lawrence of Arabia, and because it's so hyped up, I probably never will. My introduction to Peter O'Toole was this film. You really get a good grasp of his range as an actor with this one. Playing (as the film puts it) "...a paranoid schizophrenic Gurney.", O'Toole goes from musical, spry and joyful Jesus Christ to sociopathic, calculating homicidal Jack the Ripper – in the mind of a schizophrenic. The overall message? The aristocracy is ******** crazy.
I think RoboCop is easily one of the strangest entries in the Criterion Collection. Just due to the fact that it's a staple in the action genre alone, and the sheer comic book nature of the whole thing just doesn't scream "art house". That aside, do you remember that running gag in Saturday morning cartoons where the kids snuck into the violent R-rated movie that their parents wouldn't let them see? Paul Verhoeven directed that movie.
While as an American I don't (and possibly never will) entirely get the satirical element of if..., it has brilliant surrealistic moments, a well-made anarchistic thesis, trippy music, and you can really get a feel for why Stanley Kubrick chose McDowell as Alex DeLarge based on the strength of this film. Also it doesn't hurt that Malcolm McDowell happens to be one of my favorite actors of all time and I listen to the ending reprisal of the theme to if...'s "sequel" O Lucky Man! on a regular basis.
When you know a thing or two about R. Crumb beforehand, this doesn't disturb you nearly as much as it would. But Crumb is still a great and shocking person. This, I must admit, is one of the few documentaries out there that I enjoy, both as a film guy and a lifelong lover of comic books.
A lovely little comedic art film. The Red Balloon is a movie that both arthouse and casual film goers can enjoy. Nor does it particularly hurt the film that it was the recipient for the 1956 Palme d'Or (short film category). This is a movie you watch with your nieces or nephews or children. This is a kid film. This is a kid film in the sense of a Disney film or a Hayao Miyazaki film - that same innocent, childish imagination is present here, and it has astounding special effects for it's time.
What can I say? It's a 3.5 hour long film, so you need to clear some serious time for it, but Kurosawa hit the nail clean on the head. The drama is grand, the action life-like, and of course there is the film's legacy on it's own. Any self-respecting fan of action movies should see this one. Also any self-respecting fan of the film should avoid Samurai 7, but that's just my opinion.
This is, at the same time, funny and savage as Hell. This is the kind of movie that is going to leave you in a cold sweat thinking "What the Hell just happened?". The best way to describe it is to use a quote from the film "One of God's own prototypes – too dangerous for mass production but too rare to destroy". It's a roller coaster, really. You'll be sick by the end, but the ride is worth it.
It's a strange one, Nick Roeg and Bowie's debut. The Man Who Fell to Earth is a science-fiction classic, and unfortunately Criterion's bit is out of print (at the moment at least). The Man Who Fell to Earth is a film that you could only imagine David Bowie in. Eccentric, pale, at times distant, hyperactive, trippy, kind of ****** up, but it's a good film. Hey, still a better transition from music to acting than Cool as Ice. Hell it's more dignified than Cool as Ice. Hell anything's more dignified than Cool as Ice.