Mastroianni’s midlife crisis is used to explore the complex interior life of man. Fellini’s masterpiece is effervescent, scary, and profound, transcending film itself.
Juliet of the Spirits
Same idea from a woman’s point of view, but created in the wake of the maestro’s LSD experience. It’s magical, and he gets the colors right.
Gregory La Cava
My Man Godfrey
A rich guy pretending to be a butler during the Great Depression, the great William Powell’s best part. Plus Carole Lombard. It’s a thoughtful riot.
In the early sixties, young Tom Courtenay knows he’s got to leave soul-killing Yorkshire and escape to London, where it’s all about to happen. Awesome Julie Christie tries to help, but can Tom get it together?
Fanny and Alexander: Theatrical Version
All the depth of Bergman’s earlier work plus youth and joy.
On the Waterfront
It was you, Charlie.
The Third Man
I’ve seen this picture a zillion times but always find something new to wonder about. Graham Greene, Carol Reed, Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, Nazis, gangsters, Hitchcockian surrealism, innovative cinematography, a moody babe, Vienna, a zither for ear candy: it’s all here.
About the working life of Gilbert and Sullivan and what it takes to create a work of art. Jim Broadbent and the rest of the cast nail it down. Original, moving, but never sentimental.
Withnail and I
Among other things, the best film about the demise of the sixties counterculture. With iconic performances by Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths, and the unbelievable Ralph Brown. Stupidly funny.
Michael Atkinson’s Top 10
Michael Atkinson writes film criticism for IFC.com, Sight & Sound, and Moving Image Source. His books include Exile Cinema: Filmmakers at Work Beyond Hollywood and the novel Hemingway Deadlights.
James Franco’s Top 10
“I am obsessed with the Criterion Collection . . . Basically, I have every disc in the collection, and I am making my way through them all. It’s rare that I watch one I don’t like.”
Richard Hell’s Top 10
Richard Hell was a founding member of the early CBGB bands Television, the Heartbreakers, and Richard Hell & the Voidoids. His Voidoids album Blank Generation (Sire, 1977) is generally acknowledged as seminal to “punk.”