Archive for the ‘Rating – 5 Stars’ category

The Top 100 Films of the 1990s

02/03/2016

THIS – a work in progress.  In reverse order.  For posterity.

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100. The Thin Red Line (1998, Malick)

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99. Girl, Interrupted (1999, Mangold)

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98. Pi (1998, Aronofsky)

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97. American Beauty (1999, Mendes)

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96. Zero Effect (1998, Kasdan)

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95. The Cutting Edge (1992, Glaser)

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94. Ruby in Paradise (1993, Nunez)

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93. Deconstructing Harry (1997, Allen)

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92. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998, Gilliam)

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91. Starship Troopers (1997, Verhoeven)

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90. Following (1998, Nolan)

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89. Before Sunrise (1995, Linklater)

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88. Go (1999, Liman)

Oh, Katie Holmes, how you were so ruined by the xenophobic Tom Cruise.  This is an exciting film that highlights the great Sarah Polley and William Fichtner as a triangular sales rep extraordinaire.

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87. Clueless (1995, Heckerling)

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86. Audition (1999, Miike)

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85. The Straight Story (1999, Lynch)

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84. Everyone Says I Love You (1996, Allen)

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83. A River Runs Through It (1992, Redford)

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82. Leaving Las Vegas (1995, Figgis)

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81. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993, Allen)

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80. I Stand Alone (1998, Noe)

79. Misery (1990, Reiner)

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78. Slacker (1991, Linklater)

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77. Hideous Kinky (1998, MacKinnon)

Post Titanic Kate Winslet took risks including this film and Holy Smoke – an honorable mention in this list – and good for her.  I’ve had a crush on Kate for years, unrequited.  A sweet film with Julia (Winslet) and her two young daughters as expatriate Brits in 1972 Morocco struggling against a wayward father/spouse.

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76. To Die For (1995, Van Sant)

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75. Cape Fear (1991, Scorsese)

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74. Chungking Express (1994, Kar-wai)

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73. Crumb (1994, Zwigoff)

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72. JFK (1991, Stone)

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71. Rushmore (1998, Anderson)

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70. Saving Private Ryan (1997, Speilberg)

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69. Twelve Monkeys (1995, Gilliam)

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68. Waiting for Guffman (1996, Guest)

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67. Buffalo ’66 (1998, Gallo)

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66. The Remains of the Day (1993, Ivory)

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65. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992, Miller)

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64. Dumb and Dumber (1994, Farrelly Brothers)

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63. Mighty Aphrodite (1995, Allen)

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62. Ringu (1998, Nakata)

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61. Carlito’s Way (1993, De Palma)

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60. The Fisher King (1991, Gilliam)

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59. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991, Cameron)

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58. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, Coppola)

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57. Magnolia (1999, Anderson)

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56. Three Colors: Red (1994, Kieslowski)

55. Schindler’s List (1993, Speilberg)

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54. The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Demme)

53. Six Degrees of Separation (1993, Schepisi)

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52. Out of Sight (1998, Soderbergh)

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51. Internal Affairs (1990, Figgis)

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50. Death and the Maiden (1994, Polanski)

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49. Boogie Nights (1997, Anderson)

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48. Felicia’s Journey (1999, Egoyan)

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47. My Own Private Idaho (1991, Van Sant)

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46. Flirting With Disaster (1996, O’Russell)

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45. The Insider (1999, Mann)

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44. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995, Solondz)

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43. The Ice Storm (1997, Lee)

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42. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997, Armitage)

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41. Affliction (1997, Schrader)

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40. Three Colors: Blue (1993, Kieslowski)

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39. The Cable Cuy (1996, Stiller)

This is ranked way lower than it should be.  I am sure the French love Jim Carrey and that is enough proof for me of his brilliance – which might be gone.

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38. Miami Blues (1990, Armitage)

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37. Fly Away Home (1996, Ballard)

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36. Fight Club (1999, Fincher)

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35. Exotica (1994, Egoyan)

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34. Kids (1995, Clark)

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33. Reservoir Dogs (1992, Tarantino)

32. The Big Lebowski (1998, Coen Bothers)

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31. The Pillow Book (1996, Greenaway)

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30. Wild at Heart (1990, Lynch)

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29. Bottle Rocket (1996, Anderson)

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28. Election (1999, Payne)

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27. The Loss of Sexual Innocence (1999, Figgis)

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26. Husbands and Wives (1992, Allen)

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25. The Player (1992, Altman)

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24. Goodfellows (1990, Scorsese)

23. The Sweet Hereafter (1997, Egoyan)

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22. Heat (1995, Mann)

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21. The Grifters (1990, Frears)

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20. Fearless (1993, Weir)

19. Crash (1996, Cronenberg)

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18. Lost Highway (1997, Lynch)

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17. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, Mamet)

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16. Jackie Brown (1997, Tarantino)

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15. In the Company of Men (1997, LaBute)

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14. Until the End of the World (1991, Wenders)

This is where it gets to hallowed ground.  This amazing, expansive film by Wim Wenders was originally cut to 18 hours or so.  William Hurt, although an apparent asshole in real life, is great in this role of post apocalyptic 2000s.  Decidedly off tract the film shows a visual flair unseen in other Wenders’ films.

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13. Heavenly Creatures (1994, Jackson)

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12. Fargo (1996, Coen Bothers)

11. Casino (1995, Scorsese)

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10. Safe (1995, Haynes)

9. Short Cuts (1993, Altman)

8. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, Lynch)

7. Pulp Fiction (1994, Tarantino)

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6. Eyes Wide Shut (1999, Kubrick)

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5. The Truman Show (1998, Weir)

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4. The Spanish Prisoner (1997, Mamet)

3. Twin Peaks (pilot) (1990, Lynch)

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2. Happiness (1998, Solondz)

1. Breaking the Waves (1996, Von Trier)

Happy New Year!

08/01/2016

I am working on The Top 100 Films of the 1970s by Movie Poster – and they will all be films I have seen!

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Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967–2014)

18/09/2014

The Variety Studio: Sundance Edition Presented By Dawn Levy - Day 2 - 2014 Park City

The Variety Studio: Sundance Edition Presented By Dawn Levy - Day 2 - 2014 Park City

A belated RIP to Philip Hoffman.  From 1991 to 1996,  Hoffmann made his way through stage and screen, completing roles in both Twister (Davis, 1996); and as Scotty in Boogie Nights (PT Anderson, 1997), in both as tension breaking teddy bears. It’s as “Allen” in Todd Solondz’ divisive Happiness (Solondz, 1998), one of the best films of the 1990s, when he lands on me and not for the faint of heart that. His death coincided with an important birthday of mine and I now realize he has a patch on the quilt (so to speak) of my conscience and on that of my generation of artists and for those to come.

Phil Parma, the faithful nurse to a dying Jason Robards in Magnolia (Anderson, 1999) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0175880/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_38

Crowe shows up and Hoffmann plays Lester Bangs, the Rolling Stone writer in Almost Famous (Crowe, 2000) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181875/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_35

Wilson Joel as a paint huffer in the heartbreaking and very admired (personally) Love Liza (Louiso, 2002) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0282698/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_34

My favorite PT Anderson, Hoffman plays a mad entrepreneur in Punch Drunk Love (Anderson, 2002) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0272338/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_33

Owning Mahoney (Kwietniowski, 2003) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285861/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_30

Capote (Miller, 2005) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379725/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_24

One of the more inventive films of his career, The Savages (Jenkins, 2007) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0775529/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_22

“And may ye be in Heaven 15 minutes Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (Sidney Lumet, 2007), his best role and greatest film? Certainly fortelling. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0292963/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_21

With Streep and Amy Adams in Doubt (Stanley, 2008) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0918927/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_18

The Master (Anderson, 2012), his last masterpiece with PT Anderson http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1560747/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_9

The Last Quartet, a great goodbye (Zilberman, 2012) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1226240/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_8

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“You know the circus performer who spins the plates in the air you know, and he’ll spin six or seven plates in the air? Acting sometimes is kind of that guy spinning all those plates in the air but in your head and in your body.” —– – PSH

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 12, “Still”

04/03/2014

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No spoilers, this time, really.

Whoops, you missed my review of Episode 11, Claimed, because I haven’t written it yet – just notes. I’m sure you are waiting with baited breath.

Some critics believe that television is a “dumbed down” medium with a superficial and hurried mode of narrative, which never requires the audience to think deeply about anything. Not so in The Walking Dead, even as the latter half of this season presents us segments that stand alone (some study I saw read the attention gap of the average American TV viewer is five minutes), but always connected to one of the many narratives going on during this series.

We get a hint of Daryl’s drinking days and they sound kind of fun but scary too. I think Scooby Doo is the talking dog that leads to the confrontation. We have glimpses into the future when Daryl collects cash and jewelry from the country club 19th Hole (the cash is later burned up by Daryl). So too with Beth’s collecting a collectible spoon, “The Capital of the United States – Washington D.C.” A hint? Why should we not find out if there is a Government other than that of the Governor?

There is a touching revelation from Daryl before he goes berserker on Moonshine. Worst Prop Moment: “The Rich Bitch.” Agree? I mean, that prop person shook like Styrofoam, which it is.

Is Beth insane? We know by the end of this episode that it’s at least a level playing field between Daryl and Beth. In fact, Daryl might be the sanest of the entire group.

A great closing with a great song: “Up The Wolves” by The Mountain Goats; and, one of the best episodes yet.

AMC (1984 – )

31/07/2013

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What started as short run network owned by AMC Networks in 1984 changed hands 10 times before it came out with its first original series, Remember WENN, in 1996. God knows what its about but it must be good. In 2002 AMC started playing classic movies from all decades, a departure from its original format of Marx Brothers films or anything not released after 1960. Originally, AMC didn’t play 24 hours.

Now with Mad Med, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, after watching all three,..and more to come… they signify a move from film to tv series as American evening entertainment. At least in the smart American homes.

Top 5 Most Beautiful (and talented and youngish) Female Actor People Working Today

22/05/2012

I haven’t stopped watching movies:  I watched two last night – The Fighter (Bale, Wahlberg, Amy Adams (I’ll get to her in a second)) and Carnage, from fugitive Roman Polanski based on what must be a great play starring Winslet, J. Foster, the great John C. Reilly and Christopher Waltz.

I have nothing interesting nor original to say whatsoever.

What I can offer you is the Top 5 Most Beautiful (and talented and youngish) Female Actor People Working Today.  In no particular order:

1.  Emily Blunt

2.  Amy Adams

3.  Rose Byrne

4.  Michelle Williams

5.  Greta Gerwig

Honorable Mentions:  Keira Knightley, Zooey Deschanel, Natalie Portman, Alison Lohman, Jenn Proske, Carey Mulligan, Kristen Wiig



Inception (Chistopher Nolan, 2010)

09/08/2010

As I write my brief review I listen to Hanz Zimmer’s explosive score, one of the best since Bernard Herrman’s score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.  This is a perfect film.  No flaws stick out.  Its narrative is impeccable and one can tell that Nolan spent 9 years writing and incubating this project.  He threw it at Warner Brothers after Memento, they liked it but he was wise enough to tell them that he needed to learn the art of making a Hollywood spectacle before attempting a film on such a grand scale.  So The Dark Knight was released to all the fame it deserved (and after a recent viewing I forgive the third act as relevant and important to the film).

Read Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes professional reviews for any point-by-point, minute-by-minute plot deconstruction.  We are talking dream extraction, and the technology to do so.  The ability to enter a mark’s subconscious to steal an idea or thought.  But this is different – Cobb (Leonardo DeCaprio, quickly catching up to a career on par with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, in part to Martin Scorcese’s trust in him) is planting an idea into his mark – in this case Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy).  The idea, simple enough, plants an idea to break up his dying father’s dynasty to make way for Saito’s (Ken Watanabe) business empire.

It takes four dreams – layered one on one to get to the objective, and in return Cobb can return to the United States and be reunited with his two young children left behind by Cobb and Mal (an intense and emotive performance by the absolutely stunning Marion Cotillard) due to problems with ‘limbo,’ the condition of being stuck in dream state for an immeasurable amount of time.  But at the end it’s all up for grabs.  The spinning top, referred to in the film as a ‘Totem,” reminds the dreamer if he is awake or dreaming.

Above all, this is an action film par excellence.  Experience it.  See it before it goes off the big screen, which will be awhile based on the $350M+ gross to date.  Furthermore, this mind twister is quite followable.  My second viewing wrapped up a number of plot elements.  And for you parents out there, if your youngster could handle The Dark Knight and/or Avatar this is kid’s play.  The blood violence is minimal, there is little objectionable language and there is no sex, nudity implied or otherwise.

Its gentle and careful treatment of the leads is a hallmark of Chris Nolan.  Not one character is sloppily presented, but presented to us as fully rounded out characters with unique skills that help move the story to its astounding ending, which is cathartic and beautiful.

One casting idea change I would have made – replace Ellen Page with Alison Lohman.  Both beautiful and talented actors but Lohman really would have had the chops for the role of Ariadne and based on her recent performance in Drag Me to Hell with the charming Dileep Rao, she would have hit a homer.

Making a film about dreams is hard enough; but making a film with such structure, grace and power is so rare as to place it as one of the best films of the century (thank you Robert Roeper and no thanks to you, Rex Reed – idiot).  For someone that gets into movies the way I do, this one will haunt me for a long time.

It’s a rare and so deserved 5 out of 5.

***** / *****