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In his controversial masterpiece The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona.
Featuring a killer soundtrack and electric performances from Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, and Ray Liotta, Something Wild, directed by oddball American auteur Jonathan Demme, is both a kinky comic thriller and a radiantly off-kilter love story.
Guillermo del Toro made an auspicious, audacious feature debut with Cronos, a highly unorthodox tale about the seductiveness of the idea of immortality. Cronos is a dark, visually rich, and emotionally captivating fantasy.
Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory is among the most powerful antiwar films ever made. This is a haunting, exquisitely photographed dissection of the military machine in all its absurdity and capacity for dehumanization.
Terry Zwigoff’s landmark 1995 film is an intimate documentary portrait of the underground artist Robert Crumb, whose unique drawing style and sexually and racially provocative subject matter have made him a household name in popular American art.
Made with its director’s customary precision and wit, Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train is a triptych of stories that pay playful tribute to the home of Stax Records, Sun Studio, Graceland, Carl Perkins, and, of course, the King himself, who presides over the film like a spirit.
Two heartsick Hong Kong cops cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye works. Chungking Express is one of the defining works of nineties cinema and the film that made Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai an instant icon.
America, 1976. The last day of school. Bongs blaze, bell-bottoms ring, and rock and roll rocks. Among the best teen films ever made, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused eavesdrops on a group of seniors-to-be and incoming freshmen.
When Max Renn goes looking for edgy new shows for his sleazy cable TV station, he stumbles across the pirate broadcast of a hyperviolent torture show called Videodrome. This is one of David Cronenberg’s most provocative works, fusing social commentary with shocking sex and violence.
Director Terry Gilliam and an all-star cast headlined by Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro show no mercy in bringing Hunter S. Thompson’s excoriating dissection of the American way of life to the screen, creating a film both hilarious and savage.
The Last Temptation of Christ, by Martin Scorsese, is a towering achievement. Though it initially engendered enormous controversy, the film can now be viewed as the remarkable, profoundly personal work of faith that it is.
Tenth grader Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is Rushmore Academy’s most extracurricular student, and its least scholarly, in Wes Anderson’s dazzling sophomore effort—equal parts coming-of-age story, French New Wave homage, and screwball comedy.
Al Reinert’s visually dazzling documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who traveled to the moon—told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences.
The Red Shoes, the singular fantasia from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is cinema’s quintessential backstage drama, as well as one of the most glorious Technicolor feasts ever concocted for the screen.
A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system that is as riveting as it is spare, this iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the dissenting member on a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father.
With an innovative color-coded cinematic treatment to distinguish his interwoven stories, Steven Soderbergh embroils viewers in the lives of a newly appointed drug czar and his family, a West Coast kingpin’s wife, a key informant, and police officers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
soundsop: “Thank French New Wave and Truffaut for ushering in modern day independent film.”