Naked – 1993 Leigh

This is Leigh’s fourth archiveable film but there’s little in his three previous (all very solid) efforts that would make you think he’s capable of this. This is a stylistic visual atom bomb on top of being a character study that could be compared to There Will Be Blood or Taxi Driver.  Mike Leigh’s Naked is blow-your-hair-back brilliant—a big, bold masterpiece and one of the best films of the 1990s Winner of best director and actor at Cannes It starts with a handheld tracking shot of David Thewlis’ Johnny having sex with a woman (who doesn’t look happy) in

Naked – 1993 Leigh2021-08-26T10:57:11+00:00

High Flying Bird – 2019 Soderbergh

Soderbergh will finish the 2010’s decade with 7 archiveable films—a decade in which he retired. I love how prolific he is and can’t wait to see what he does in 2020—but I don’t think any of those 7 films from the 2010’s will make the decade’s top 100 High Flying Bird starts with a nice tracking shot going from the street outside to a swank Manhattan restaurant with the gold ceiling as background. This film is largely in the archives because of how much attention Soderbergh pays to background. This isn’t Ocean’s Thirteen in that regard (go back and

High Flying Bird – 2019 Soderbergh2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

The 117th Best Director of All-Time: King Vidor

Vidor. King Vidor to be specific (not Charles Vidor who directed Gilda) is the #117 best director of all-time.  His strength is his depth of quality in his body of work- especially having 6 films that fall into the top 100 of their respective decade. That’s an accomplished career. As you can see here on the page, Vidor was known for big films-- superior visuals (or I’d have a bunch of film posters here as I have to resort to sometimes). His weakness is the zero films in the top 350 of all-time. Best film:  The Crowd. I’ve got

The 117th Best Director of All-Time: King Vidor2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

Us – 2019 Peele

Viewing 1.0 March 2019 A film that’s ambitious in ideas and script, but not overly ambitious in film as art or filmmaking if you willThere are a couple of really nice shots—one of them is late with Lupita walking into the funhouse, the other is of the young Adelaide character at night walking on the beach with the lit up roller coaster surrounding her in the deep background There are a couple of really nice shots—one of them is late with Lupita walking into the funhouse, the other is of the young Adelaide character at night walking on the

Us – 2019 Peele2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

The 116th Best Director of All-Time: James Whale

Whale. James Whale’s strength is he was a major auteur in the 1930’s. His output includes four films that land in the top 100 of that decade. His filmography ranks him out at #122 overall but it’s difficult to find auteurs at this point that both A) have a personal visual stamp (which he does with his gothic visuals and mise-en-scene) and B) have, again, four films that landed in their respective decades’ top 100. His weakness is the lack of depth here with only 5 total archiveable films and only one film in the top 500 of all-time

The 116th Best Director of All-Time: James Whale2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

Ford v. Ferrari – 2019 Mangold

Movies that are this easy to watch (this is 152 minutes that absolutely fly by) don’t come along every year. Ford v. Ferrari boasts master craft acting and writing of the highest caliber It’s not really auteur cinema—Mangold is a very fine director, a pro, and the in-race editing here is the closest thing to an aesthetic triumph – but he has fashioned an entire film that captures charm- and that needs to be applauded. Apollo 13 is like this-- The Martian had it actually too—another film that stars Damon- back in 2015. Tony Joe White's Polk Salad Annie

Ford v. Ferrari – 2019 Mangold2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

The 115th Best Director of All-Time: Peter Jackson

Jackson. Obviously Jackson isn’t on this list without The Lord of the Rings but the momentous achievement of that masterpiece cannot overlooked. I count The Lord of the Rings as one film in the same way I count Dekalog  or Kill bill as one film. However, I do put more weight in the size of this 10 hour masterpiece than I do with some masterpieces that I feel are even on the same level as  LOTR (which is tough to reason out logically but whatever). It’s been a rough stretch for Jackson since King Kong in 2005 and that’s the weakness. Still, King Kong is good

The 115th Best Director of All-Time: Peter Jackson2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

Silence – 2016 Scorsese

An intellectual deliberation on sin, doubt, yes- God’s silence, persecution and cruelty/evilIn one of the opening scenes with Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Ciarán Hinds there’s a very nice shot of an empty cathedral and the symmetry in the frame of the hall behind them So there’s the start of something very strong visual/formally here with the overhead “God’s eye view” shot. There’s one of the grey stairs (a stunner, here below) and another one later overhead of the boat going to Japan. It’s such a strong start. And then it drops off and the next one of these

Silence – 2016 Scorsese2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

Pain and Glory – 2019 Almodóvar

The visual style is, as always with Almodóvar, about the mise-en-scene filled with vibrant colors, costume design. There are at least 4-5 jaw-droppers here that may end up pushing this film even higher up in appreciation upon a repeat viewing. I’ve done the best I can to find them and these are all museum art-on-wall shots and compositions like the great auteurs who previously worked in melodrama- Fassbinder and Sirk-- Almodovar pays as much attention to the background as he does the foreground gob-smackingly beautiful-- painterly a quick sequence during a dialogue scene-- magnificently obstructed and textured mise-en-scene Almodovar

Pain and Glory – 2019 Almodóvar2021-04-08T20:47:23+00:00

Dames – 1934 Enright, Berkeley

Two directors and two films- Ray Enright and Busby Berkeley—only one (Berkeley) is the geniusThe first half is nearly all Enright (I can tell this by the body of work of the two differing directors)—it is a fine little drama, the wipe edits and transitions are a nice touch (one tearing a picture) and give it a brisk and fun paceThe narrative is cat-nip to these depression-era audiences. The idol and idiot rich. The bit with the man-servant is great. He’s always giving a crazy look or sleeping in the background. The brilliance of the film is all in

Dames – 1934 Enright, Berkeley2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

Life is Sweet – 1990 Leigh

Mike Leigh has his own voice, world and characters not unlike Fellini, Bergman or Woody Allen – his is the  blue collar (Broadbent sporting a can of beer in the first 5 minutes and you get the idea that Leigh prefers “Mike” to “Michael” for this reason) middle-lower class in Britain, family dramas, a talented stable of actors, catchy scores, and the semi-ironic titles middle-lower class in Britain, family dramas, a talented stable of actors, catchy scores, and the semi-ironic titles These characters are grasping at strawsThe ensemble includes Jim Broadbent, Stephen Rea, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis—really impressive The

Life is Sweet – 1990 Leigh2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00

The War Zone – 1999 Roth

Stark visually, bleak in tone, and heavy in subject matter --- Tim Roth (debut as a director, obviously a very talented and accomplished actor) follows in the proud British tradition of Davies, Loach and Mike Leigh—debut year – 1999—similar to Lynn Ramsay’s Ratcatcher (which is superior) as wellTwo first-time younger actors are anchored by Tilda Swinton and Ray Winstone. The daughter- Lara Belmont is good—but the Tom character- Freddie Cunliffe needs a better actor here Two first-time younger actors are anchored by Tilda Swinton and Ray Winstone. The daughter- Lara Belmont is good The boy, Tom, is a peeper

The War Zone – 1999 Roth2020-07-03T10:28:44+00:00
Go to Top