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10 Visually Remarkable Films

by Mylomook

Created 09/09/12

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These are 10 films that I have seen from the Criterion Collection that have left me awe struck by their incredible visuals. I apologize in advance that I left out Terrance Malick's films, I have yet to watch Days of Heaven or Thin Red Line. I love movie suggestions.

  • This film is so incredible and inventive in its directing, cinematography, acting, editing and everything in between. The only thing more incredible than this film is the fact that no Top Ten has a single von Trier film in it. Europa and Element of Crime could have easily made this list as well, but I didn't want to include a director more than once...for some reason.

  • I wish I could buy a beautiful frame to put this film in and hang it from my wall. In every scene every character, every piece of furniture everything so immaculately placed it just absorbs you. A lot of Kurosawa's films have this effect, but this one I find to be the most remarkable.

  • This movie is like sweet candy for the eyes. The colors are so vibrant and otherworldly its like seeing color for the first time...okay, it's not really like that, but it is a LOT of fun!

  • I love this movie! This is unlike any movie I have ever seen before. With almost no dialogue it relies heavily on its incredible soundtrack and visuals. Fantastically bizarre and wholly original. Like its poster claims "The most incredible film you've never seen."

  • Winner of the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Cinematography its pretty clear why I would add this beautiful technicolor drama. Shot mostly in a studio with painted landscapes that give life to the mountain town, Michael Powell had this to say about it; "Our mountains were painted on glass. We decided to do the whole thing in the studio and that's the way we managed to maintain colour control to the very end. Sometimes in a film its theme or its colour are more important than the plot."

  • Blow Out is amazing, not just for its use of visuals but the combination of sound and visual. I really love the use of the spilt dipoter lens to keep the foreground and background in sharp focus. Especially effective in the opening scene while John Travolt's character is out in the night capturing sounds, and in the final climactic scene with a brilliant fireworks background. So good, so fun.

  • So classically noir it almost parodies it. This movie is so wonderful in dialogue, acting, and directing, but what I like most is the use of lighting. Black and white films (not to mention noir films in general) take an extra bit of attention to lighting. This movie has absolutely perfect lighting...perfect.

  • This film is so...bright! Like a manic moving Roy Liechtenstein painting. Some really radical editing choices and a disjointed (to say the least) narrative make this film a little hard to follow. So if you're like me you'll have to watch it more than once, which is definitely not a bad thing.

  • Great makeup, great sets, and great dream sequences make this a favorite in the Criterion Collection.

  • I think this is Wes Anderson's most chaotic, most experimental film, which makes it his most rewarding film as well.

22 comments

  • By NAME
    September 09, 2012
    08:44 PM

    I love you, Mook. But I think Red Shoes should come before Black Narcissus.
    Reply
    • By Mark Nave
      September 27, 2012
      07:21 PM

      No, No, No, No, No, Black Narcissus deserves to be near top of any list of visually striking movies, or beautiful Technicolor movies or perfectly photographed movies. Red Shoes is great, but Narcissus was created for the expressed purpose of demonstrating the power of color, and that it did.
  • By kurt
    September 11, 2012
    09:08 AM

    I like your list..not a big fan of Blow Out, but the rest of it is on point. You should add Life During Wartime...just saying! I do have Antichrist in my top ten...Love it!
    Reply
  • By Craig J. Clark
    September 11, 2012
    10:24 AM

    I'm glad you included High and Low. Seeing that at a Kurosawa/Mifune retrospective really made a huge impact on me.
    Reply
  • By zehkee
    September 15, 2012
    10:21 PM

    How about Tarsem Singh's The Fall?
    Reply
    • By paulv
      September 28, 2012
      08:42 AM

      Agreed but this is not a Criterion release. If one were to open up the discussion I would also add "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". Now THAT is a film worthy of a Criterion release...
  • By alexander delarge
    September 23, 2012
    09:40 PM

    That's hilarious because The Killing has so many lighting inconsistencies and continuity errors as far as lighting goes... you need to watch that film closer. It's still a great film and the lighting IS dramatic.. but very amateurish.
    Reply
    • By Elliott
      September 28, 2012
      02:58 AM

      Amateur (n): a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons. Compare professional. Sounds... ideal! Competence (and continuity) are maybe overrated?
    • By paulv
      September 28, 2012
      08:45 AM

      I'd love to be an amateur like Kubrick!
  • By Joe B
    September 24, 2012
    12:43 PM

    The fascination with Wes Anderson and his tedious characters is baffling to some of us. Ditto the other Anderson on the scene and Malick as well.
    Reply
  • By Nick Katranis
    September 24, 2012
    03:59 PM

    Barry Lyndon....a miracle of low light (interior shots) and (exterior shots) adaptation of Constable's landscape style...also: Days of Heaven! (Malick overrated? Maybe recent Malick....) but I agree w Joe B on Wes re: his characters, but who can deny the visuals....in fact, they seem to be the whole point of his films, and after all, this is a visual medium, not literature or theatre.
    Reply
  • By Grethiwha
    September 27, 2012
    01:26 PM

    Neat list! I've seen six of them. Definitely pretty movies, but my choices would be completely different. Goes to show how many fine-looking films are in the Criterion Collection I guess. :) My Choices/I recommend: 7. Wings of Desire 6. Days of Heaven 5. Ivan's Childhood 4. The Night of the Hunter 3: Mishima- A Life in Four Chapters 2: Kagemusha 1: Kwaidan
    Reply
  • By Ron G
    September 27, 2012
    05:37 PM

    "Cries and Whispers" or pretty much anything shot by Sven Nykvist
    Reply
  • By Tom G.
    September 28, 2012
    03:05 PM

    I am very surprised that "Before the Rain" was left off the list.
    Reply
  • By Nick
    September 30, 2012
    02:27 PM

    If you like High and Low you might like Yasujiro Ozu's work, which can look absolutely beautiful. He has a perfect balance and geometry in each frame. My favorite is Late Spring, but his color films are really stunning as well. Another amazing director that really works with color and scenery is Hou Hsiao-Hsien. He isn't on Criterion, but his work is amazing. The best way to see it is in 35mm. I've only seen A City of Sadness that way, but it was an amazing experience.
    Reply
  • By Michael John Smith
    October 03, 2012
    01:05 AM

    Juliet of the Spirits - Fellini's first color film. Michael
    Reply
  • By Michael H.
    October 03, 2012
    11:59 AM

    Some great choices here, but I never would have thought of "Blow Out" as a visually interesting film, although its use of sound is outstanding. And instead of Kurosawa's "High and Low", I would have chosen Ozu's "The Story of Floating Weeds" as an excellent example of placing actors and objects within the frame (and the use of the color red). There are several other Criterion releases that should have made the list: Tati's "Playtime", Wender's "Wings of Desire", and Malick's "Days of Heaven", and two b&w masterpieces photographed by Stanley Cortez: "The Night of the Hunter" and "The Magnificent Ambersons" (it was on Criterion laserdisc, and I've been waiting forever for a dvd/blu-ray release).
    Reply
  • By Kevin Green
    October 04, 2012
    07:25 PM

    Hope they release Day of the Locust and Greenawy's a Zed and 2 Noughts, The Cook , theThief....,Drowning by Numbers, and Propero's Books. And maybe ..........Baby of Macon !
    Reply
    • By Aleksi
      November 15, 2012
      06:23 PM

      Yes... all of these -- especially Baby of Macon! If you're into supremely visual movie experiences you owe it to yourself to check out the movies of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, especially Parsifal; Ludwig - Requiem for a Virgin King; and Hitler: A Film from Germany
  • By David_Zou
    October 08, 2012
    10:40 PM

    The latest Blu-ray of In the Mood for Love
    Reply
  • By WillML
    November 05, 2012
    07:27 PM

    Yeah it's without question that you need to see Days of Heaven...
    Reply
  • By KJH6926
    January 19, 2013
    05:08 PM

    love life aquatic....I hope at some point it is released on Blu-ray...
    Reply