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Archive for the ‘My Lists’ Category

I make lists of movies

Top 10 Discoveries of 2015

Posted by martinteller on January 1, 2016

It’s no secret that my interest in movies has waned (as has my interest in writing about them… there are a several movies I saw that never made it to this blog). I watched fewer films in 2015 than any of the previous 14 years. Additionally, a higher proportion of what I watch is now devoted to newer releases and revisits. So what used to be a top 20 list of older movies I discovered in the past year is now reduced to a top 10. These are all the non-new films I saw in 2015 for the first time that I rated 85 or higher. It’s a smaller list, but it’s a good list, and re-reading these reviews has started to rekindle my interest in cinema a little bit.

 

1. Kokoro

“It has a profound impact as it examines the psychological, spiritual, and moral complexities of its characters.”

2. Watership Down

“The film handles death in a way that makes it both terrifying and poignant, haunting and lovely.”

3. Deep Water

“A thoughtful piece of work, a thorough meditation on misguided human endeavor.”

4. Intimate Lighting

“It all has such an easy-going tempo that it goes down smoothly.”

5. The Ape Woman

“The movie never quite goes in the direction you think it will, and the characters are not easily shoehorned into easy boxes.”

6. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

“Although undoubtedly campy, it has a sincerity and a solid emotional core that shines through.”

7. Time Stood Still

“Both sides of this generation gap are presented with sympathy and understanding.”

8. Gone to Earth

“The bold colors help lend the film its faintly surreal aura, an otherworldly patina.”

9. Imitation of Life (1934)

“Stahl’s [version] has much to recommend it as well, and is even more daring for its time.”

10. Titli

“Compelling, honest and sometimes touching portrait of a mother-daughter relationship.”

Posted in My Lists | Leave a Comment »

Top 100

Posted by martinteller on June 10, 2015

1. Fanny and Alexander (1982, Ingmar Bergman)

/

2. Mahanagar a.k.a. The Big City (1963, Satyajit Ray)

/

3. The Hole (1998, Ming-liang Tsai)

/

4. A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)

/

5. Linda Linda Linda (2005, Nobuhiro Yamashita)

/

6. Charulata (1964, Satyajit Ray)

/

7. Scenes From a Marriage (1973, Ingmar Bergman)

8. Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)

9. Time of the Gypsies (1988, Emir Kusturica)

10. An Angel at My Table (1990, Jane Campion)

/

11. Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)

/

12. Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)

/

13. Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)

/

14. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)

15. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog)

/

16. The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)

/

17. Jules and Jim (1962, Francois Truffaut)

/

18. Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder)

/

19. The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000, Anh Hung Tran)

/

20. Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)

21. Revenge of a Kabuki Actor (1963, Kon Ichikawa)

22. What Time Is It There? (2001, Ming-liang Tsai)

/

23. Girl Walk//All Day (2011, Jason Krupnick)

/

24. The Trial (1962, Orson Welles)

/

25. The Blues Brothers (1980, John Landis)

26. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg)

/

27. Nights of Cabiria (1957, Federico Fellini)

28. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Sergio Leone)

29. Stop Making Sense (1984, Jonathan Demme)

/

30. Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)

31. Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)

32. Hausu a.k.a. House (1977, Nobuhiko Obayashi)

/

33. Once (2006, John Varney)

/

34. 8½ (1963, Federico Fellini)

35. All About My Mother (1999, Pedro Almodovar)

/

36. El Norte (1983, Gregory Nava)

37. The Scent of Green Papaya (1993, Anh Hung Tran)

/

38. Innocence (2004, Lucile Hadzihalilovic)

/

39. The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)

/

40. Airplane! (1980, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)

41. Drugstore Cowboy (1989, Gus Van Sant)

/

42. The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy)

/

43. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)

/

44. Winter Light (1962, Ingmar Bergman)

45. Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)

/

46. The Turin Horse (2011, Bela Tarr)

/

47. High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa)

48. Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch)

49. Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)

50. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, Bela Tarr)

51. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)

52. The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)

53. Woman in the Dunes (1964, Hiroshi Teshigahara)

/

54. The Long Day Closes (1992, Terence Davies)

/

55. American Movie (1999, Chris Smith)

/

56. Red Beard (1965, Akira Kurosawa)

57. The Wayward Cloud (2005, Ming-liang Tsai)

/

58. Songs from the Second Floor (2000, Roy Andersson)

/

59. Syndromes and a Century (2006, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

/

60. Secrets & Lies (1996, Mike Leigh)

/

61. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)

/

62. Devils on the Doorstep (2000, Wen Jiang)

/

63. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)

/

64. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, Mike Nichols)

/

65. The Dead (1987, John Huston)

/

66. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, Vincente Minnelli)

/

67. Safe (1995, Todd Haynes)

/

68. The Story of Qiu Ju (1992, Zhang Yimou)

/

69. Devi (1960, Satyajit Ray)

70. A Moment of Innocence (1996, Mohsen Makhmalbaf)

/

71. The Lineup (1958, Don Siegel)

/

72. The New World (2005, Terrence Malick)

73. Three Colors: Blue (1993, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

/

74. In the Loop (2009, Armando Iannucci)

75. The Burglar (1957, Paul Wendkos)

/

76. I Fidanzati (1963, Ermanno Olmi)

/

77. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Wes Anderson)

/

78. Hairspray (1988, John Waters)

/

79. Shame (1968, Ingmar Bergman)

80. Cairo Station (1958, Youssef Chahine)

/

81. Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)

/

82. All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)

/

83. Wendy and Lucy (2008, Kelly Reichardt)

/

84. A Page of Madness (1926, Teinosuke Kinugasa)

/

85. A Man Escaped (1956, Robert Bresson)

/

86. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000, Jonas Mekas)

/

87. The Exterminating Angel (1962, Luis Bunuel)

88. The Seventh Victim (1943, Mark Robson)

/

89. Ordinary People (1980, Robert Redford)

/

90. The Cloud-Capped Star (1960, Ritwik Ghatak)

91. Thirst for Love (1966, Koreyoshi Kurahara)

/

92. Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky)

/

93. Imitation of Life (1959, Douglas Sirk)

/

94. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)

/

95. Rat-Trap (1982, Adoor Gopalakrishnan)

/

96. Rosetta (1999, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne)

/

97. Malcolm X (1992, Spike Lee)

/

98. The Match Factory Girl (1990, Aki Kaurismaki)

/

99. Wallace and Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (1993, Nick Park)

/

100. Xanadu (1980, Robert Greenwald)

/

Very minor updates this year.  On principle, I hate to lose one of my few female-directed films, but I just no longer feel that Sita Sings the Blues belongs on this list.  It was also the only animated movie, but it’s been replaced with The Wrong Trousers… which is now the shortest film in my top 100.  I’ve resisted putting shorts on the list in the past, but a recent revisit with this delightful, masterful Wallace & Gromit tale convinced me to make an exception.

I also dropped Playtime, as my journey through the Tati box set was a disappointing one.  I simply don’t love him like I once did.  Taking up its spot is an old favorite, Ordinary People.  Somehow it never felt “worthy” of inclusion before, but I can no longer deny the emotional power the movie holds over me.  Perhaps I’ve lost another piece of burdensome cinesnobbery.

I also moved up Girl Walk//All Day and moved down All That Jazz.  Also just now I decided to knock The Exterminating Angel further down the list because it felt way too high up there.  Just minor fiddling with the arbitrary numbers that are somehow supposed to represent my tastes.

That’s all I did to the top 100, but there are also a few changes in the 101-250 list.  I had to make room for Sita and Playtime, so I dropped Le bonheur (with some regret again for shafting a female director) and The Bothersome Man.  I also wanted to add The Young Girls of Rochefort and The Black Stallion, so I removed The Wind Will Carry Us and The Thin Red Line.

You may have noticed I did not put “(2015 revision)” in the title of this post.  That’s because this is likely to be the last time I post an update to these lists.  If I have any changes to make in the future, I’ll just edit this entry.  For better and for worse, my tastes have gradually solidified into a personal canon that is unlikely to shift very much.  And really, this all feels a little too pointlessly anal.  More and more, movies are becoming a hobby to me rather than an obsession.  I can’t deny I get some satisfaction from assigning numbers to them and ranking them in lists, but it’s less important to me than it once was.

Posted in My Lists | 10 Comments »

Top 20 Discoveries of 2014

Posted by martinteller on December 31, 2014

1. Remember the Night

“A beautifully rendered, expertly executed, and often exceptionally touching picture.”

 

2. Big Night

“A very engaging, often hilarious film that sidesteps cliché and puts something special on your plate”

 

3. Death By Hanging

“I really loved the film’s novel premise, increasingly absurd plotting, palpable anger and thoughtful approach.”

 

4. Mukhsin

“A sweet ending to a very dear trilogy.”

 

5. Out 1: noli me tangere

“I was astonished at how engrossing it turned out to be.”

 

6. Snow Flurry

“Kinoshita again shows a bitter streak, railing against outmoded notions of status, glory and shame.”

 

7. Shura

“As you watch the carnage and despair, the cruel irony of it only makes it more upsetting.”

 

8. Vendredi Soir

“Denis uses traffic as a space that opens up new freedoms, where the frustration seems to give way to transformation and possibility.”

 

9. Girl With Hyacinths

“The multiple-flashback structure is pulled off really nicely, with the fractured chronology skillfully managed so as not to become too confusing, and also beautifully tying events together.”

 

10. Ballad of Orin

“It’s a beautiful film both visually and emotionally, with excellent performances by Iwashita and Harada.”

 

11. Black River

“Corruption and degradation overruns everything, and the winner is always the one who’s willing to take the most drastic action.”

 

12. The Inheritance

“Everyone wants a bigger piece of the pie, as greed inspires deception, impersonation, manipulation, double-crosses and even murder.”

 

13. Gubra

“It’s a rich and rewarding work that manages to juggle two completely disconnected plot threads without disorienting the viewer.”

 

14. I Wish

“It’s a gentle hug of a movie, with a lot of sweetness and just enough melancholy reality to make it hit home.”

 

15. The Ballad of Narayama

“The cinematography of this movie is stunning, especially because of the vibrant color palette and beautiful sets.”

 

16. Lady in White

“The movie has such a strange atmosphere and unexpected surprises and striking visuals that I was carried away by it.”

 

17. Peggy Sue Got Married

“It’s a weird film but in such an easy-going way, like the movie is totally content to do its own thing, willing to be a bit messy and unfocused the way life often is.”

 

18. Boy (Shonen)

“The movie eschews not only standard narrative development but also the sentimentality that could be exploited for such a tragic situation.”

 

19. Tommy Boy

“I haven’t had laughs this good — and this honestly earned — in a while.”

 

20. Little Man, What Now?

“It shines a spotlight on the troubles that we face, and also the goodness in us that helps us cope with them.”

 

Honorable mentions: The Visitor, My Father’s Glory/My Mother’s Castle, Himizu, Muriel’s Wedding, The Thick-Walled Room, Split Second, Miracle on 34th Street, Shotgun Stories, Crashout, Deprisa Deprisa, Dirty Dancing, The Loneliest Planet, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Fugitive, The Glass Web, All My Sons

I also want to highlight my top 10 RE-discoveries of the year (actually 12, because I cheated and grouped the John Waters movies together).  In a year where I spent a lot of time revisiting old favorites — and sharing them with my fiancée — I also found new appreciation for many that I had mild to outright negative reactions to before.  In no particular order:

The Black Stallion
Opening Night
Land of Silence and Darkness
Midnight
Hairspray/Female Trouble/Desperate Living
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Out of Sight
Persona
Lancelot du Lac
The Stranger
(Satyajit Ray)

Posted in My Lists | 4 Comments »

Top 100 (2014 revision)

Posted by martinteller on August 7, 2014

1. Fanny and Alexander (1982, Ingmar Bergman)

/

2. Mahanagar a.k.a. The Big City (1963, Satyajit Ray)

/

3. The Hole (1998, Ming-liang Tsai)

/

4. A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)

/

5. Linda Linda Linda (2005, Nobuhiro Yamashita)

/

6. Charulata (1964, Satyajit Ray)

/

7. Scenes From a Marriage (1973, Ingmar Bergman)

/

8. Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)

/

9. Time of the Gypsies (1988, Emir Kusturica)

/

10. An Angel at My Table (1990, Jane Campion)

/

11. Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)

/

12. Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)

/

13. Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)

/

14. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)

/

15. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog)

/

16. The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)

/

17. Jules and Jim (1962, Francois Truffaut)

/

18. Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder)

/

19. All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)

/

20. The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000, Anh Hung Tran)

/

21. Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)

/

22. Revenge of a Kabuki Actor (1963, Kon Ichikawa)

/

23. What Time Is It There? (2001, Ming-liang Tsai)

/

24. The Trial (1962, Orson Welles)

/

25. The Blues Brothers (1980, John Landis)

/

26. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg)

/

27. The Exterminating Angel (1962, Luis Bunuel)

/

28. Nights of Cabiria (1957, Federico Fellini)

/

29. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Sergio Leone)

/

30. Stop Making Sense (1984, Jonathan Demme)

/

31. Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)

/

32. Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)

/

33. Hausu a.k.a. House (1977, Nobuhiko Obayashi)

/

34. Once (2006, John Varney)

/

35. 8½ (1963, Federico Fellini)

/

36. All About My Mother (1999, Pedro Almodovar)

/

37. El Norte (1983, Gregory Nava)

/

38. The Scent of Green Papaya (1993, Anh Hung Tran)

/

39. Innocence (2004, Lucile Hadzihalilovic)

/

40. The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)

/

41. Airplane! (1980, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)

/

42. Drugstore Cowboy (1989, Gus Van Sant)

/

43. The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy)

/

44. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)

/

45. Winter Light (1962, Ingmar Bergman)

/

46. Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)

/

47. The Turin Horse (2011, Bela Tarr)

/

48. High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa)

/

49. Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch)

/

50. Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)

/

51. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, Bela Tarr)

/

52. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)

/

53. Play Time (1967, Jacques Tati)

/

54. The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)

/

55. Woman in the Dunes (1964, Hiroshi Teshigahara)

/

56. The Long Day Closes (1992, Terence Davies)

/

57. American Movie (1999, Chris Smith)

/

58. Red Beard (1965, Akira Kurosawa)

/

59. The Wayward Cloud (2005, Ming-liang Tsai)

/

60. Songs from the Second Floor (2000, Roy Andersson)

/

61. Syndromes and a Century (2006, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

/

62. Secrets & Lies (1996, Mike Leigh)

/

63. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)

/

64. Girl Walk//All Day (2011, Jacob Krupnick)

/

65. Devils on the Doorstep (2000, Wen Jiang)

/

66. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)

/

67. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, Mike Nichols)

/

68. The Dead (1987, John Huston)

/

69. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, Vincente Minnelli)

/

70. Safe (1995, Todd Haynes)

/

71. The Story of Qiu Ju (1992, Zhang Yimou)

/

72. Devi (1960, Satyajit Ray)

/

73. A Moment of Innocence (1996, Mohsen Makhmalbaf)

/

74. The Lineup (1958, Don Siegel)

/

75. The New World (2005, Terrence Malick)

/

76. Three Colors: Blue (1993, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

/

77. In the Loop (2009, Armando Iannucci)

/

78. The Burglar (1957, Paul Wendkos)

/

79. I Fidanzati (1963, Ermanno Olmi)

/

80. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Wes Anderson)

/

81. Hairspray (1988, John Waters)

/

82. Shame (1968, Ingmar Bergman)

/

83. Cairo Station (1958, Youssef Chahine)

/

84. Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)

/

85. Sita Sings the Blues (2008, Nina Paley)

/

86. Wendy and Lucy (2008, Kelly Reichardt)

/

87. A Page of Madness (1926, Teinosuke Kinugasa)

/

88. A Man Escaped (1956, Robert Bresson)

/

89. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000, Jonas Mekas)

/

90. The Seventh Victim (1943, Mark Robson)

/

91. The Cloud-Capped Star (1960, Ritwik Ghatak)

/

92. Thirst for Love (1966, Koreyoshi Kurahara)

/

93. Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky)

/

94. Imitation of Life (1959, Douglas Sirk)

/

95. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)

/

96. Rat-Trap (1982, Adoor Gopalakrishnan)

/

97. Rosetta (1999, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne)

/

98. Malcolm X (1992, Spike Lee)

/

99. The Match Factory Girl (1990, Aki Kaurismaki)

/

100. Xanadu (1980, Robert Greenwald)

/

 

Well, I didn’t shake things up this year as much as I wanted to, but there are a few pretty big changes.  While I try not to fret too much over the order, there was some shuffling of titles around… notably dropping Casablanca from #3 to #8, and bumping both Linda Linda Linda and An Angel at My Table into the top 10.  It’s safe to say that I still adore Casablanca but it isn’t quite close enough to my heart to be top 5.

There were 11 substitutions this year.  Sadly, none of the new entries were movies that I saw for the first time in the past year, although I did add Remember the Night to my top 250 (which has, of course, also received a few other revisions).  The new additions are:

Once (#34)
Girl Walk//All Day (#64)
Meet Me in St. Louis (#69)
Hairspray (#81)
Wendy and Lucy (#86)
Imitation of Life (#94)
Rat-Trap (#96)
Rosetta (#97)
Malcolm X (#98)
The Match Factory Girl (#99)
Xanadu (#100)

With the exception of Rat-Trap, these are all films I revisited in the past year and felt a strong connection to, or affection for.  Rat-Trap is kind of a spur of the moment pick, but it seemed right.  I hope to rewatch it soon and see if it still feels top 100-worthy.  Match Factory Girl one of the lowest-rated entries on the list (in fact, 7 of my new entries got less than a 95) but I think of it as a representative of Kaurismaki’s work as a whole.  The lowest is Imitation of Life (90) but it’s a film I have a lot of love for, despite some flaws.

The removals:

The Seventh Seal (#21)
Network (#23)
Yojimbo (#52)
Underground (#57)
Amelie (#67)
Visage (#74)
Pratidwandi (#85)
Satantango (#87)
The Graduate (#88)
Drowning by Numbers (#92)
Pink Floyd: The Wall (#96)

Some high numbers falling off the list there.  My recent review of Seventh Seal should give an indication of why I no longer hold it so close to my heart.  Yojimbo, Underground, Visage and Pratidwandi were essentially removed because I felt the directors were represented well enough elsewhere on the list, although each is also one I’m not quite as enthusiastic about as I used to be.  In the case of Satantango, it’s been 6 years since my first viewing and I still haven’t worked up the whatever it takes to sit through the 7.5 hours again.  I loved it the first time, and a few scenes still ring strong in my memory, but it’s on probation until I finally get around to that second viewing.  Drowning by Numbers honestly never really felt right for the list, and I’m kind of tired of The WallNetwork and The Graduate were just feeling sorta stale.  The former doesn’t seem as relevant as it used to, and the latter I’m just not that jazzed about any more (keep in mind, we’re talking about small degrees here… both are still in my top 250).  As for Amelie, I don’t really know what compelled me to pull it out of the 100.  It was a gut feeling.

Hopefully the next 12 months will bring some great new discoveries and give me a chance to agonize more over this list.

Posted in My Lists | 6 Comments »

Top 20 Discoveries of 2013

Posted by martinteller on January 1, 2014

As I have done previously, I am not considering recent releases as “discoveries”.

1. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty
“Life-affirming, moving, energetic, and lovely, lovely, lovely.”


2. Girl Walk // All Day
“The world needs more things like this.”

3. A Tale of the Wind
“A free-associating mix of essay film, tone poem, ethnography and autobiography.”
4. Peacock
“Each person sees life through a different prism, trying to find their own happiness, redefining their dreams.”

5. The Organizer
“With exceptionally good period recreation in the art direction and costuming, nothing about it feels artificial.”

6. Two Living, One Dead
“The film explores human frailty and foibles in a manner that would make Bergman himself proud.”
7. The Doll
“Funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time.”
8. A Fugitive from the Past
“Compelling, beautifully executed and just damn good.”
9. Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment
“Giant figures of American political history made real and human.”

10. The Scarlet Letter
“One of Sjostrom’s most finely realized works.”
11. Lucky Star
“Borzage uses light like nobody’s business, people and objects have a warm, luminescent haze around them.”
12. Le Roman de Renard
“The animation is truly visionary and charming, with beautiful attention to detail and impressionist touches.”
13. Leila
“A film that eloquently comments on unfair gender roles in their society, and also the kind of romantic pitfalls that could happen to any of us.”
14. Wild Reeds
“The heart yearns to be kind.  Now that’s a sentiment I can get behind.”
15. Sepet
“The splendid performances give the film a lot of heart and humor.”
16. Flamenco, Flamenco
“Guaranteed to get your toes tapping, your mind humming and heart pounding.”
17. The Man With the Balloons
“A simple film that can be unboxed a number of ways.”
18. Time Table
“Tight, compelling and firing on the right cylinders.”
19. Return to Me
“Disarmingly sweet and remarkably unfussy.”
20. Postriziny
“A warm, nostalgic, joyful and funny little movie.”
—————————————–
Honorable mentions:
Peppermint Frappé
In Vanda’s Room
The Mortal Storm
Anzukko
West of the Tracks
The Way to the Stars
Sundays and Cybele
Philadelphia
Offside
The Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors
A Casa
To Live and Die in L.A.
Riffraff
Chicago Calling
Our Song

And then there’s the bottom 10 of the year, starting with the worst…

1. The Apple
2. A Christmas Puppy
3. From the Clouds to the Resistance
4. Sudden Danger
5. Nouvelle Vague
6. Le roi et l’oiseau
7. Sicilia!
8. Thousands Cheer
9. Empire
10. Criminal Lawyer

Posted in My Lists | Leave a Comment »

Top 100 (2013 revision)

Posted by martinteller on September 15, 2013

1. Fanny and Alexander (1982, Ingmar Bergman)

/

2. Mahanagar a.k.a. The Big City (1963, Satyajit Ray)

/

3. Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)

/

4. The Hole (1998, Ming-liang Tsai)

/

5. A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)

/

6. Scenes From a Marriage (1973, Ingmar Bergman)

/

7. Time of the Gypsies (1988, Emir Kusturica)

/

8. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)

/

9. Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)

/

10. Charulata (1964, Satyajit Ray)

/

11. Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)

/

12. Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)

/

13. Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)

/

14. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog)

/

15. The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)

/

16. Jules and Jim (1962, Francois Truffaut)

/

17. Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder)

/

18. Revenge of a Kabuki Actor (1963, Kon Ichikawa)

/

19. The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000, Anh Hung Tran)

/

20. All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)

/

21. The Seventh Seal (1957, Ingmar Bergman)

/

22. Linda Linda Linda (2005, Nobuhiro Yamashita)

/

23. Network (1976, Sidney Lumet)

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24. What Time Is It There? (2001, Ming-liang Tsai)

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25. The Trial (1962, Orson Welles)

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26. The Blues Brothers (1980, John Landis)

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27. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg)

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28. The Exterminating Angel (1962, Luis Bunuel)

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29. Nights of Cabiria (1957, Federico Fellini)

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30. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Sergio Leone)

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31. Stop Making Sense (1984, Jonathan Demme)

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32. Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)

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33. Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)

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34. Hausu a.k.a. House (1977, Nobuhiko Obayashi)

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35. Play Time (1967, Jacques Tati)

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36. 8½ (1963, Federico Fellini)

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37. An Angel at My Table (1990, Jane Campion)

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38. All About My Mother (1999, Pedro Almodovar)

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39. El Norte (1983, Gregory Nava)

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40. The Scent of Green Papaya (1993, Anh Hung Tran)

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41. Innocence (2004, Lucile Hadzihalilovic)

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42. The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)

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43. Airplane! (1980, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)

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44. Drugstore Cowboy (1989, Gus Van Sant)

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45. The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy)

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46. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)

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47. Winter Light (1962, Ingmar Bergman)

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48. Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)

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49. The Turin Horse (2011, Bela Tarr)

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50. High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa)

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51. Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch)

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52. Yojimbo (1961, Akira Kurosawa)

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53. Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)

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54. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, Bela Tarr)

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55. Safe (1995, Todd Haynes)

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56. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)

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57. Underground (1995, Emir Kusturica)

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58. The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)

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59. Woman in the Dunes (1964, Hiroshi Teshigahara)

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60. The Long Day Closes (1992, Terence Davies)

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61. American Movie (1999, Chris Smith)

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62. Red Beard (1965, Akira Kurosawa)

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63. The Wayward Cloud (2005, Ming-liang Tsai)

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64. Songs from the Second Floor (2000, Roy Andersson)

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65. Syndromes and a Century (2006, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

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66. Secrets & Lies (1996, Mike Leigh)

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67. Amélie (2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

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68. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)

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69. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)

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70. Devils on the Doorstep (2000, Wen Jiang)

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71. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)

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72. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, Mike Nichols)

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73. The Dead (1987, John Huston)

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74. Visage (2009, Ming-liang Tsai)

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75. The Story of Qiu Ju (1992, Zhang Yimou)

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76. Devi (1960, Satyajit Ray)

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77. Sita Sings the Blues (2008, Nina Paley)

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78. A Moment of Innocence (1996, Mohsen Makhmalbaf)

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79. The Lineup (1958, Don Siegel)

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80. The New World (2005, Terrence Malick)

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81. Three Colors: Blue (1993, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

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82. In the Loop (2009, Armando Iannucci)

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83. The Burglar (1957, Paul Wendkos)

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84. I Fidanzati (1963, Ermanno Olmi)

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85. Pratidwandi (1972, Satyajit Ray)

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86. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Wes Anderson)

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87. Sátántangó (1994, Bela Tarr)

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88. The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols)

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89. Shame (1968, Ingmar Bergman)

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90. Cairo Station (1958, Youssef Chahine)

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91. Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)

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92. Drowning by Numbers (1988, Peter Greenaway)

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93. A Page of Madness (1926, Teinosuke Kinugasa)

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94. A Man Escaped (1956, Robert Bresson)

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95. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000, Jonas Mekas)

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96. Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982, Alan Parker)

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97. The Seventh Victim (1943, Mark Robson)

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98. The Cloud-Capped Star (1960, Ritwik Ghatak)

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99. Thirst for Love (1966, Koreyoshi Kurahara)

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100. Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky)

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Another year, another re-evaluation of the films I call “my favorites”. There really aren’t many changes from last year’s list. The most obvious revision is that I’ve switched around my two highest Bergmans, giving me a new #1. This was the last thing I changed, just a spur of the moment decision. It felt like the right thing to do. Maybe it’s because I’m in a chipper mood today and wanted a somewhat more upbeat movie at the top than Scenes from a Marriage.

There have been a few other relocations within the list. Moving up are Linda Linda Linda, The Vertical Ray of the Sun, and All About My Mother. Slipping down are 2001: A Space Odyssey, I Fidanzati, Werckmeister Harmonies, and Pink Floyd: The Wall.

Then there are the replacements. Re-entering after a brief absence is A Man Escaped. I’ve finally accepted that Stalker is indeed one of my favorites, and after a second viewing, I made room for The 7th Victim. The only discovery from the past year that I’ve added is As I Was Moving Ahead, which joins Satantango as the only movies on the list I’ve seen only once (not coincidentally, also the two longest movies on the list). Three recent discoveries did get added to the 101-250 list: Girl Walk // All Day, Waiting for Happiness, and A Tale of the Wind.

Because 100 is a stubborn and inflexible number, four new entries means four got dropped. These are Love and Death (sadly leaving no Woody Allen), The Beautiful Washing Machine (I need to see it a third time before I can commit to it as a favorite), Even Dwarfs Started Small (recent rewatch revealed it’s no longer as dear to me) and The Wizard of Oz (I was pretty uncertain about including it the first time).

Posted in My Lists | 5 Comments »

Top 20 Discoveries of 2012

Posted by martinteller on December 28, 2012

This is why I watch as many movies as I do. Because every now and then, you come across a new delight, something that grabs hold of you and becomes a new favorite. Not all of these 20 films have worked their way into my personal collection (most of them have) but all left a strong impression and were exceptionally rewarding and/or surprising. Note that recent releases (for example, Mysteries of Lisbon and This Is Not a Film) are not included. The idea is to highlight those gems that I could have, and should have, discovered before now.

 

1. Thirst for Love (Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1966)

“Constantly jolting you with cinematic surprises, a kind of quiet wildness suitable for Etsuko’s simmering emotions.”

2. Waiting for Happiness (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2002)

“This is the type of film that keeps me searching out for new avenues to explore.”

3. Xanadu (Robert Greenwald, 1980)

“The rare treat of a movie so eager to please that it actually succeeds.”

4. Sparrow (Johnnie To, 2008)

“With a light touch, To brings warmth and comedy and sweeping romantic eloquence to the tale, where every moment is a delicious surprise and every shot is some sort of cinematic magic.”

5. Elippathayam a.k.a. Rat-Trap (Adoor Gopalakrishnan, 1981)

“Certainly one of the strangest Indian films I’ve ever seen, one that is begging to be decoded but also entrancing when appreciated on a surface level.”

6. Jazz on a Summer’s Day (Bert Stern, 1960)

“A fantastic, highly enjoyable and visually captivating document of the music, its performers and its audience.”

7. Un homme qui dort (Bernard Queysanne, 1974)

“I can think of few films that provide a purer depiction of depression and alienation.”

8. Noriko’s Dinner Table (Shion Sono, 2005)

“By the end, personalities have been turned upside down and inside out, and identities have flipped.”

9. Cocorico monsieur Poulet (Jean Rouch, 1974)

“Wildly unpredictable, often hilarious, loaded with charm and with just enough strangeness to keep it interesting.”

10. Salaam Cinema (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1995)

“Both harshly cynical and warmly humanist, full of wonderful little surprises and a thoughtful new angle around every corner.”

11. Routine Pleasures (Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1986)

“There’s such a wonderful humor and freedom to it.”

12. La Promesse (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 1996)

“Slowly draws you into the drama, doling out information at a pace that never leaves you feeling either overwhelmed or lost.”

13. Duck Season (Fernando Eimbcke, 2004)

“These four young actors really play wonderfully off each other, and the relationships between the characters are a joy to watch take shape.”

14. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (Guy Maddin, 2002)

“It’s often stunningly beautiful, with ultra-soft focus and blown-out lights and expressionist angles.”

15. The Threat (Felix E. Feist, 1949)

“A tight script that sports some clever business and a fine build of tension as the situation gets more and more desperate for everyone.”

16. Streetwise (Martin Bell, 1984)

“These stories are as riveting as most fictional narratives.”

17. Female on the Beach (Joseph Pevney, 1955)

“I never quite knew where it was going next.”

18. A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)

“A sterling romantic comedy, managing to achieve a rare warmth without betraying the underlying cynicism.”

19. Home of the Brave: A Film By Laurie Anderson (Laurie Anderson, 1986)

“Original and highly enjoyable, showcasing Anderson’s unique sensibility and marvelous talents.”

20. Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins, 1974)

“We get an astonishingly complete portrait of the man.”

Honorable mention: Lenny, The Rock-afire Explosion, Time Regained, All the King’s Men, The Staircase, The Two Mrs. Carrolls, Shield for Murder, The Big Night, Be Pretty and Shut Up, Intimidation, The Idiots, They Drive by Night, Nine Lives, Blues in the Night, Hanyo, The Devil Thumbs a Ride

And the 10 worst discoveries of 2012:

1. The Blue Planet
2. The Age of the Earth
3. American Psycho
4. The Girl in Black Stockings
5. Cat-Women of the Moon
6. Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight
7. Iron Man 2
8. Far and Away
9. Out of the Fog
10. Klimt

Posted in My Lists | 4 Comments »

Top 100 Noir

Posted by martinteller on December 1, 2012

I urge everyone not to take the rankings too literally. I basically took the list I slapped together last year and reslapped it based on my current Criticker scores, which are very slippery and arbitrary. While it’s safe to say that I like Double Indemnity more than The Locket, the numbers themselves are pretty fluid. I’d say it was hard to cut some off the list, but it wasn’t because I’m not taking this too seriously. This is simply a list of 100 noirs that I’m happy to call my “favorites”, with the understanding that there’s probably about 25-30 more I’d also be happy to call “favorites”, another 40-ish I’d say that I love, and likely another 100 that I enjoyed watching. As I continue to watch and rewatch, the list will undoubtedly change, perhaps even drastically. But for this moment, here’s a nice round number of noir goodies that I recommend.

1. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)

2. Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957)

3. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

4. The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958)

5. The Burglar (Paul Wendkos, 1957)

6. Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding, 1947)

7. Odds Against Tomorrow (Robert Wise, 1959)

8. Beyond the Forest (King Vidor, 1949)

9. Blast of Silence (Allen Baron, 1961)

10. They Made Me a Fugitive (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1947)

11. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)

12. The Asphalt Jungle (John Huston, 1950)

13. Murder By Contract (Irving Lerner, 1958)

14. Sudden Fear (David Miller, 1952)

15. The Phenix City Story (Phil Karlson, 1955)

16. Storm Fear (Cornel Wilde, 1952)

17. Raw Deal (Anthony Mann, 1948)

18. Night and the City (Jules Dassin, 1950)

19. Betrayed a.k.a. When Strangers Marry (William Castle, 1944)

20. The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949)

21. Secret Beyond the Door (Fritz Lang, 1948)

22. Cry of the City (Robert Siodmak, 1948)

23. Human Desire (Fritz Lang, 1954)

24. Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1948)

25. Ride the Pink Horse (Robert Montgomery, 1947)

26. Thieves’ Highway (Jules Dassin, 1949)

27. Pickup on South Street (Sam Fuller, 1953)

28. Plunder Road (Hubert Cornfield, 1957)

29. The Set-Up (Robert Wise, 1949)

30. One Way Street (Hugo Fregonese, 1950)

31. Cape Fear (J. Lee Thompson, 1961)

32. They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray, 1948)

33. Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)

34. The Hitch-Hiker (Ida Lupino, 1953)

35. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)

36. Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak, 1949)

37. Where the Sidewalk Ends (Otto Preminger, 1950)

38. Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944)

39. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946)

40. The Threat (Felix Feist, 1949)

41. Quicksand (Irving Pichel, 1950)

42. Female on the Beach (Joseph Pevney, 1955)

43. Cry Vengeance (Mark Stevens, 1954)

44. Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947)

45. Leave Her to Heaven (John M. Stahl, 1945)

46. The Gangster (Gordon Wiles, 1947)

47. The Crimson Kimono (Sam Fuller, 1959)

48. Journey Into Fear (Norman Foster, 1942)

49. Edge of Doom (Mark Robson, 1950)

50. No Way Out (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950)

51. Without Warning! (Arnold Laven, 1952)

52. The Big Night (Joseph Losey, 1951)

53. Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky, 1948)

54. Shield for Murder (Howard W. Koch & Edmond O’Brien, 1954)

55. Act of Violence (Fred Zinnemann, 1948)

56. The Two Mrs. Carrolls (Peter Godfrey, 1947)

57. The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)

58. 99 River Street (Phil Karlson, 1953)

59. Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946)

60. Fallen Angel (Otto Preminger, 1945)

61. The Breaking Point (Michael Curtiz, 1950)

62. Kansas City Confidential (Phil Karlson, 1952)

63. Sleep, My Love (Douglas Sirk, 1948)

64. Too Late for Tears (Byron Haskin, 1949)

65. Side Street (Anthony Mann, 1950)

66. Scandal Sheet (Phil Karlson, 1952)

67. Split Second (Dick Powell, 1953)

68. The Red House (Delmer Daves, 1947)

69. Border Incident (Anthony Mann, 1949)

70. Time Table (Mark Stevens, 1956)

71. Mystery Street (John Sturges, 1950)

72. High Wall (Curtis Bernhardt, 1947)

73. T-Men (Anthony Mann, 1947)

74. The Scar a.k.a. Hollow Triumph (Steve Sekely, 1948)

75. The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis, 1955)

76. The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock, 1956)

77. Another Man’s Poison (Irving Rapper, 1951)

78. The Devil Thumbs a Ride (Felix Feist, 1947)

79. The Underworld Story (Cy Endfield, 1950)

80. Union Station (Rudolph Maté, 1950)

81. Dark Waters (Andre De Toth, 1944)

82. The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941)

83. The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1948)

84. The Lodger (John Brahm, 1944)

85. The Narrow Margin (Richard Fleischer, 1952)

86. Woman on the Run (Norman Foster, 1950)

87. Stranger on the Third Floor (Boris Ingster, 1940)

88. Hangover Square (John Brahm, 1945)

89. Dead Reckoning (John Cromwell, 1947)

90. The Desperate Hours (William Wyler, 1955)

91. The 13th Letter (Otto Preminger, 1951)

92. The Guilty (John Reinhardt, 1947)

93. Detour (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1945)

94. Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1949)

95. The Chase (Arthur Ripley, 1946)

96. I Walk Alone (Byron Haskin, 1947)

97. Crashout (Lewis R. Foster, 1955)

98. Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, 1950)

99. Don’t Bother to Knock (Roy Ward Baker, 1952)

100. Chicago Calling (John Reinhardt, 1951)

Posted in My Lists | 8 Comments »

Top 100

Posted by martinteller on August 20, 2012

Here is it, at long last.  Notes and comments at the end of this post….

1. Scenes From a Marriage (1973, Ingmar Bergman)

2. Mahanagar (1963, Satyajit Ray)

3. Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)

4. The Hole (1998, Ming-liang Tsai)

5. A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)

6. Fanny and Alexander (1982, Ingmar Bergman)

7. Time of the Gypsies (1988, Emir Kusturica)

8. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)

9. Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)

10. Charulata (1964, Satyajit Ray)

11. Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)

12. Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)

13. Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)

14. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog)

15. The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)

16. Jules and Jim (1962, Francois Truffaut)

17. Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder)

18. Revenge of a Kabuki Actor (1963, Kon Ichikawa)

19. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg)

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)

21. All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)

22. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, Bela Tarr)

23. The Seventh Seal (1957, Ingmar Bergman)

24. Network (1976, Sidney Lumet)

25. What Time Is It There? (2001, Ming-liang Tsai)

26. The Trial (1962, Orson Welles)

27. The Blues Brothers (1980, John Landis)

28. The Exterminating Angel (1962, Luis Bunuel)

29. Nights of Cabiria (1957, Federico Fellini)

30. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Sergio Leone)

31. Stop Making Sense (1984, Jonathan Demme)

32. Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)

33. Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)

34. House (1977, Nobuhiko Obayashi)

35. Play Time (1967, Jacques Tati)

36. 8½ (1963, Federico Fellini)

37. An Angel at My Table (1990, Jane Campion)

38. El Norte (1983, Gregory Nava)

39. The Scent of Green Papaya (1993, Anh Hung Tran)

40. Innocence (2004, Lucile Hadzihalilovic)

41. The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)

42. Airplane! (1980, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)

43. Drugstore Cowboy (1989, Gus Van Sant)

44. The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy)

45. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)

46. Winter Light (1962, Ingmar Bergman)

47. Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)

48. The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000, Anh Hung Tran)

49. High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa)

50. Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch)

51. Yojimbo (1961, Akira Kurosawa)

52. Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)

53. The Turin Horse (2011, Bela Tarr)

54. Safe (1995, Todd Haynes)

55. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)

56. Underground (1995, Emir Kusturica)

57. The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)

58. Woman in the Dunes (1964, Hiroshi Teshigahara)

59. The Long Day Closes (1992, Terence Davies)

60. American Movie (1999, Chris Smith)

61. Red Beard (1965, Akira Kurosawa)

62. The Wayward Cloud (2005, Ming-liang Tsai)

63. Songs from the Second Floor (2000, Roy Andersson)

64. Syndromes and a Century (2006, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

65. Secrets & Lies (1996, Mike Leigh)

66. Amélie (2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

67. All About My Mother (1999, Pedro Almodovar)

68. I Fidanzati (1963, Ermanno Olmi)

69. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)

70. Devils on the Doorstep (2000, Wen Jiang)

71. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)

72. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, Mike Nichols)

73. The Dead (1987, John Huston)

74. Visage (2009, Ming-liang Tsai)

75. The Story of Qiu Ju (1992, Zhang Yimou)

76. Devi (1960, Satyajit Ray)

77. Sita Sings the Blues (2008, Nina Paley)

78. A Moment of Innocence (1996, Mohsen Makhmalbaf)

79. Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970, Werner Herzog)

80. The Lineup (1958, Don Siegel)

81. Love and Death (1975, Woody Allen)

82. Linda Linda Linda (2005, Nobuhiro Yamashita)

83. The New World (2005, Terrence Malick)

84. Three Colors: Blue (1993, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

85. In the Loop (2009, Armando Iannucci)

86. The Burglar (1957, Paul Wendkos)

87. Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982, Alan Parker)

88. Pratidwandi (1972, Satyajit Ray)

89. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Wes Anderson)

90. Sátántangó (1994, Bela Tarr)

91. The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols)

92. Shame (1968, Ingmar Bergman)

93. Cairo Station (1958, Youssef Chahine)

94. Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)

95. Drowning by Numbers (1988, Peter Greenaway)

96. A Page of Madness (1926, Teinosuke Kinugasa)

97. The Wizard of Oz (1939, Victor Fleming)

98. The Cloud-Capped Star (1960, Ritwik Ghatak)

99. Thirst for Love (1966, Koreyoshi Kurahara)

100. The Beautiful Washing Machine (2004, James Lee)

Okay, let’s talk methodology first.  I used my list from last year as a starting point (that list is not on this blog, but you can find it at the Filmspotting Forum, a fine group of movie-minded folk).  Over the past few weeks I’ve been rewatching “borderline” movies… ones that I thought could be either added or eliminated.  When I had my final list of 100, it was time to start ranking.  This process is extremely arbitrary, and more and more I’m of the mind that putting numbers on movies is a ridiculous thing to do.  But I also love doing it, so I guess I’m a hypocrite or conflicted or something.  But I didn’t take these numbers too seriously.  I went through my list and thought “Which ten do I care about the least?” and made those my 91 through 100, then repeated that process in groups of ten until there were 20 left.  I thought about the top 20 a little more carefully, but honestly… it’s all really arbitrary.  I think any movie in my top 20 could be my #1.

You may notice that some films on this list I have rated/scored lower than other films which did not make the list.  Again, this speaks to the foolishness of putting numbers on movies.  It’s the old “best vs. favorite” argument.  And there are movies I really loved but am not particularly interested in seeing again.  I just tried to make this a list of the films that are most precious to me.

There are 15 new entries on my list, meaning that 15 also dropped out.  The Bride Wore Black dropped so far out that it didn’t even make my top 250 (though I still think it’s a very fine movie).  The two highest-ranked new entries are also the two newest: The Turin Horse and The Tree of Life.

The biggest drop while still remaining on the list: Shame (down 66 places).  The biggest leap: Drugstore Cowboy (up 31 places).

Satantango is the only film on the list that I have not seen at least twice.  I really wanted to rewatch it, but I also wanted to get this list done and it’s hard to carve out a 7.5 hour chunk of time (especially when you haven’t been in the mood to watch movies).  I also have to say it’s hard to work up enthusiasm to watch such a shoddy DVD release.

As a self-proclaimed film noir buff, it’s probably odd that I have only six noirs on the list (and a couple of those are debatable).  Only one in the top 40.  I don’t know really how to explain this, except that perhaps I love the genre as a whole more than individual films.  Or maybe I judge them a little harsher.  At any rate, there is a substantial number of noirs I adore (I also have a top 100 film noir list at the Filmspotting forum) and more of them may make the list after future rewatches.

Directors appearing the most: Bergman and Ray with 5 each, Kurosawa and Tsai with 4 each, Tarr and Lynch with 3 each.  Scorsese and Kubrick each only have two, but all are in the top 20.

Directors who I consider “favorites” and yet do not appear on the list at all: Bresson, Kaurismaki, Mizoguchi, Coens, Brakhage, Dardennes.

Breakdown by decade:

1920’s – 1
1930’s – 1
1940’s – 2
1950’s – 11
1960’s – 23
1970’s – 14
1980’s – 15
1990’s – 14
2000’s – 17
2010’s – 2

What’s surprising to me here is that I have so many more from the 60’s than the 50’s, and so many from the 21st century.  Some may consider it shameful that I only have two from before the 40’s, but it doesn’t bother me.  It’s not like I’m totally ignorant about the era (I could see more, of course) there just aren’t many films from that period that have worked their way into my heart.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now.  Again, please don’t overanalyze the exact rankings… all of these films are special to me.  Thanks for letting me ramble, and thanks for reading!

Posted in My Lists | 28 Comments »

My Top 101-250

Posted by martinteller on August 17, 2012

Here’s 150 movies that were either cut from my previous top 100 list, movies that almost made it, or movies that are just really special to me in some way.

The 400 Blows (1959, Francois Truffaut)
Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)
All That Heaven Allows (1955, Douglas Sirk)
Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman)
Amélie (2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
The Americanization of Emily (1964, Arthur Hiller)
Annie Hall (1977, Woody Allen)
Aparajito (1956, Satyajit Ray)
The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder)
The Asphalt Jungle (1950, John Huston)
Autumn Sonata (1978, Ingmar Bergman)
Band of Outsiders (1964, Jean-Luc Godard)
The Beautiful Washing Machine (2004, James Lee)
Betrayed/When Strangers Marry (1944, William Castle)
Beyond the Forest (1949, King Vidor)
The Black Stallion (1979, Carroll Ballard)
Blast of Silence (1961, Allen Baron)
Boogie Nights (1997, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Brazil (1985, Terry Gilliam)
The Browning Version (1951, Anthony Asquith)
Carmen (1983, Carlos Saura)
Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, Steven Spielberg)
Close-Up (1990, Abbas Kiarostami)
The Conformist (1970, Bernardo Bertolucci)
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989, Peter Greenaway)
The Cranes Are Flying (1957, Mikhail Kalatozov)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989, Woody Allen)
Cruel Gun Story (1964, Takumi Furukawa)
Cry of the City (1948, Robert Siodmak)
Days of Heaven (1978, Terrence Malick)
The Decalogue (1989, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Dial M for Murder (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)
Dillinger Is Dead (1969, Marco Ferreri)
Le Doulos (1962, Jean-Pierre Melville)
Drowning By Numbers (1988, Peter Greenaway)
Dying at Grace (2003, Allan King)
El (1953, Luis Buñuel)
Elevator to the Gallows (1958, Louis Malle)
The Exorcist (1973, William Friedkin)
F for Fake (1973, Orson Welles)
The Face of Another (1966, Hiroshi Teshigahara)
Faces (1968, John Cassavetes)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, Wes Anderson)
Fargo (1996, Joel and Ethan Coen)
Force of Evil (1948, Abraham Polonsky)
Funeral Parade of Roses (1969, Toshio Matsumoto)
The Furies (1950, Anthony Mann)
Gaslight (1944, George Cukor)
Gimme the Loot (2012, Adam Leon)
The Girl Can’t Help It (1956, Frank Tashlin)
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, James Foley)
The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)
Goodbye Solo (2008, Ramin Bahrani)
The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols)
Grizzly Man (2005, Werner Herzog)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, Alfonso Cuaron)
The Heiress (1949, William Wyler)
Holiday (1938, George Cukor)
Un homme qui dort (1974, Bernard Queysanne)
Hoop Dreams (1994, Steve James)
House Party (1990, Reginald Hudlin)
I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006, Ming-liang Tsai)
I Stand Alone (1998, Gaspar Noe)
Inland Empire (2006, David Lynch)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra)
Jalsaghar (1958, Satyajit Ray)
Jana Aranya (1976, Satyajit Ray)
Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1959, Bert Stern)
Jellyfish (2007, Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret)
Kanal (1957, Andrzej Wajda)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989, Hayao Miyazaki)
Kill Bill (2003, Quentin Tarantino)
The Killing (1956, Stanley Kubrick)
The Lady Vanishes (1938, Alfred Hitchcock)
Lady Vengeance (2005, Chan-wook Park)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989, Akl Kaurismaki)
The Letter Never Sent (1959, Mikhail Kalatozov)
Limite (1931, Mario Peixoto)
Lola (1961, Jacques Demy)
Love and Death (1975, Woody Allen)
Love Streams (1984, John Cassavetes)
The Man With A Movie Camera (1929, Dziga Vertov)
A Matter of Life and Death (1946, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
Metropolis (1927, Fritz Lang)
Midnight Run (1988, Martin Brest)
Murder By Contract (1958, Irving Lerner)
Mysteries of Lisbon (2010, Raoul Ruiz)
Naked (1993, Mike Leigh)
Napoleon (1927, Abel Gance)
Network (1976, Sidney Lumet)
Night and the City (1950, Jules Dassin)
Nightmare Alley (1947, Edmund Goulding)
Not One Less (1999, Zhang Yimou)
Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)
O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000, Joel and Ethan Coen)
Odds Against Tomorrow (1959, Robert Wise)
Offside (2006, Jafar Panahi)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, Milos Forman)
Orlando (1992, Sally Potter)
Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
Peacock (2005, Changwei Gu)
The Phenix City Story (1955, Phil Karlson)
Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982, Alan Parker)
Play Time (1967, Jacques Tati)
Pratidwandi (1972, Satyajit Ray)
Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock)
Ran (1985, Akira Kurosawa)
Remember the Night (1940, Mitchell Leisen)
Rio Bravo (1959, Howard Hawks)
Sansho the Bailiff (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Saraband (2003, Ingmar Bergman)
Sátántangó (1994, Bela Tarr)
Sawdust and Tinsel (1953, Ingmar Bergman)
Sepet (2004, Yasmin Ahmad)

Serenity (2005, Joss Whedon)
The Set-Up (1949, Robert Wise)
Silent Hill (2006, Christophe Gans)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen)
Sita Sings the Blues (2008, Nina Paley)
The Skin I Live In (2011, Pedro Almodovar)
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, Victor Erice)
Storm Fear (1955, Cornel Wilde)
Subarnarekha (1965, Ritwik Ghatak)
Sudden Fear (1952, David Miller)
A Tale of the Wind (1988, Joris Ivens)
Talk to Her (2002, Pedro Almodovar)
They Made Me a Fugitive (1947, Alberto Cavalcanti)
Thief (1981, Michael Mann)
Thieves’ Highway (1949, Jules Dassin)
The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed)
Three Colors: Red (1994, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Through a Glass Darkly (1961, Ingmar Bergman)
Touki Bouki (1973, Djibril Dip Mambety)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Underground (1995, Emir Kusturica)
Viridiana (1961, Luis Buñuel)
Visage (2009, Ming-liang Tsai)
Waiting for Happiness (2002, Abderrahmane Sissako)
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, Nick Park)
War and Peace (1966, Sergey Bondarchuk)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962, Robert Aldrich)
Who’s Camus Anyway? (2005, Mitsuo Yanagimachi)
Wild Strawberries (1957, Ingmar Bergman)
The Wizard of Oz (1939, Victor Fleming)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988, Pedro Almodovar)
Yojimbo (1961, Akira Kurosawa)
You, the Living (2007, Roy Andersson)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, Jacques Demy)

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