Bugsy Malone – 1976 Parker

Alan Parker’s debut and it is a crazy concept- a gangster film with one big twist—all actors under 16, most of them younger- Jodie Foster here at 13 and already a seasoned pro Tongue-in-cheek for sure, again a wild idea. Scott Baio as the titular characterA really well-done studio backlot gangster set. Clearly Parker has esteem for the period and genreThe music is strong—lip-synched dubbed voices of adults, Academy Award nom for the musicUse of freeze framesSmart choice by Parker to have the actors do their performances as straight as possible. It’s already funny- we don’t need them trying

Bugsy Malone – 1976 Parker2020-04-30T22:43:23+00:00

The Mercenary – 1968 Corbucci

Clearly meant to challenge (or capitalize) on Leone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from 1966. Corbucci’s film isn’t as strong (few films are) but it features a great Morricone score (parts seem just ripped from the 1966 masterpiece), three characters (one good, one bad, and one in-between) who square off in a great set-piece duel near the end (instead of a graveyard it’s a rodeo arena)Corbucci’s films typically explore an even darker side of human nature than Leone (which is hard to imagine)Franco Nero is the “Pollock”—Eastwood figure, blonde, blue eyes, beard. He’s out for himself and

The Mercenary – 1968 Corbucci2020-07-03T10:28:14+00:00

The Matrix Reloaded – 2003 Wachowski

There are two films here really broken up by about the first hour of the movie vs. the second hour--  one is an uninteresting slog (the first half), the other is spectacularStarts with the emerald-infused Warners logo— the color scheme production design dedication even in the logo- love it! The schlocky “oh—upgrades” sequel language that often happens in bad comedies or action sequels It isn’t the rip-roaring creativity-infused narrative juggernaut the first film is—this sprawls out, more characters, building out the universe—fatty—mostly not goodGratuitous scenes like the orgy dance, the fighting of the 1000 Agent Smith Hugo Weavings'. It’s

The Matrix Reloaded – 2003 Wachowski2020-07-03T10:28:14+00:00

The 175th Best Director of All-Time: Ang Lee

Ang Lee. Lee can deftly jump from genre to genre and can make art from any scale or budget. He began with films in Taiwan and quickly turned into one of the major studio directors of the late 1990’s and early part of the 21st century. His strengths for the purposes of this list is his resume- two very solid top 100 of the decade list films (Crouching Tiger and Brokeback) and if an adaption as successful as Sense and Sensibility is your fourth best film—you are far from being a one-hit wonder (and at #175 on this list

The 175th Best Director of All-Time: Ang Lee2021-04-18T10:50:43+00:00

Extraction – 2020 Hargrave

Certainly wasn’t expecting Extraction to be the first archiveable film from 2020 I won’t wait to get into the main reason the film is in the archives-- to the stunning 11 minute tracking shot. It happens around the 35 minute mark. It’s a simulated oner—like Birdman or 1917, but it’s still dazzling- The complicated blocking and moving in and out of the car reminded me of Cuaron’s Children of Men. The camera follows Hemsworth in a car (have to think of The French Connection a little), on foot, up and down stairs, hand to hand stunt choreography, car accidents

Extraction – 2020 Hargrave2021-12-12T13:29:48+00:00

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence – 2014 Andersson

The final film of Roy Andersson’s “Living trilogy”—one of the great feats of cinema in the 21st century—the compositions are among the greatest in cinema history—it is on that level Winner of the Golden Lion in VeniceAndersson proclaims it as part of a trilogy in the titlesinspired by the painting The Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel the Elder—Andersson sites The Bicycle Thieves as inspiration but I think that’s just a work of art that stirs himStarts with Andersson’s trademark slow-moving (almost Romero-like) heavy-makeup pale zombie-like characters in a museum then goes into a with a series of

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence – 2014 Andersson2020-07-03T10:28:14+00:00

Willow – 1988 Howard

It’s achievement is neither Star Wars that proceeded it a little more than a decade before or Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings that followed a little more than a decade after, far from it- but Willow is just good enough to be worthy of the archivesJames Horner’s score is certainly one of the main reasons to praise Willow- Horner too often gets ignored as one of the all-time greats and this is one of his finestGeorge Lucas may be the real author here (he gets producer and story credit), not Ron Howard, the Lucas LTD logo lets

Willow – 1988 Howard2020-04-25T20:35:12+00:00

The Awful Truth – 1937 McCarey

The greatest artistic achievement here is from Cary Grant—this is like his 30th feature (and 6th archiveable film) but until The Awful Truth he had mostly been playing the handsome beefcake-type roles (he is always pretty stiff in them until this film) next to Marlene Dietrich or Mae West (always second billing at best). This role best showcases not only his good looks, but his comedic talents- both with the witty one-liners and his physical comedyIrene Dunne pairs well with Grant, and Ralph Bellamy is sublime as the “home on the range”-singing square from Oklahoma. Bellamy would be so

The Awful Truth – 1937 McCarey2020-04-24T19:46:05+00:00

The Matrix – 1999 Wachowski

Don’t hold the other brilliant films from 1999 against The Matrix- just because it isn’t the best film of the year doesn’t mean it isn’t a magnificent cinematic achievement An inarguable triumph of special effect and stunt work--- but that’s not all-- also narrative (the story is extremely engaging) and visual style (it is meticulously designed with color) An inarguable triumph of special effect and stunt work--- but that’s not all-- also narrative (the story is extremely engaging) and visual style (it is meticulously designed with color) It is hard to believe this is Wachowski’s second film (Bound in

The Matrix – 1999 Wachowski2020-07-03T10:28:14+00:00

It – 1927 Badger

A 1920’s variation on Pygmalion—or the rich man and poor girl seen through the ages in films like My Fair Lady and Pretty WomenThe main reason to archive the film is the performance of Clara Bow—endlessly charming—a great screen presence. There’s an inarguable universality to the narrative as well that’s appealing-timeless The driving force and name of the story is the Elinor Glyn “It” book (and the story here is unrelated) though it references it often and she even appears in the film. “It” means many things- but mostly sex appeal.Gary Cooper is in there somewhere as an extra

It – 1927 Badger2020-04-22T17:04:55+00:00

Parasite – 2019 Bong Joon Ho

  Bong’s strongest achievement to date—a razor sharp script, engaging narrative, funny, sociopolitical A brilliant opening shot from the basement of the Kim’s semi-sunk apartment (with drying socks as their chandelier). It ends on the same note -- spectacular formal bookends (for a second I thought we were going with an unearned Spielbergian Minority Report-like ending (Bong's penultimate shot which is another stunner just before the final shot) but thank god Bong didn’t go for that). That shot is a dream, lighting coming in, and then we end with the second shot below here- the cold winter through their

Parasite – 2019 Bong Joon Ho2021-06-11T15:32:44+00:00

The Nanny – 1965 Holt

A Hammer film and a 1960’s Bette Davis film so you might think it was going to be wild, with violence, darkness and over-the-top-ness from Bette Davis but it’s not—Davis is pretty reserved and the film spends the bulk of its running time building up the family dynamicThe boy fakes his suicide hanging like Harold in Harold and Maude six years laterThe young boy is out of control, the mom a bag of tears, the father a jerk and absent--- and Davis as the titular character, menacingly stoic, troubled, measured Marry Poppins in the text (this is the year

The Nanny – 1965 Holt2020-04-22T13:55:18+00:00
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