1974

best film:  The Godfather: Part II from Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather: Part II is a miracle of structural editing and narrative storytelling that surpasses the original in terms of size, scope and ambition (if not originality)—and that’s not half of it. It features brilliant lighting, montage editing (including another fantastic closing killing montage) and individual sequences (the Fredo kiss scene, the roof stalking scene and the tremendously heartbreaking final scene) that rank amongst the best in cinema history. Below the best actors part of the 1974 page (from either sex) I picked five from The Godfather Pari II

19742021-07-14T17:57:59+00:00

1973

best film:  Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid from Sam Peckinpah barely edges out the five other masterpieces from 1973 for the top slot. This sort of quietly gives Peckinpah the best film of the year for the second time in five years. Peckinpah’s second masterpiece is a stylistic treatise that is shockingly close to The Wild Bunch  in overall quality. The Bob Dylan music, death scene of Slim Pickens’ character, the masterful opening credit sequence are all artistic highlights. a haunting shot from Peckinpah's masterpiece... ... a film that can go toe to toe with

19732021-04-29T17:36:09+00:00

1972

best film:  The Godfather from Francis Ford Coppola It’s certainly not hard to find aspects to praise even after ten viewings of the film The opening long take is an absolute stunner and certainly not something I appreciated when I first started getting into cinema I think I may have referred to Fincher as “the master of darkness” on past posts but of course Godon Willis- the DP here- is that (he was NOT nominated for an Oscar here). Pakula films, Woody Allen films- but nothing better than this this collaborations with Coppola. So many dissolves in

19722021-04-21T13:06:07+00:00

1971

best film:  A Clockwork Orange from Stanley Kubrick Kubrick's masterpiece starts with a bang- an opening reverse tracking shot of the milk bar. Cinematography and set design/mise-en-scene perfection The wideangle lens in the tunnel with the singing lush and silhouette work is a highlight—Kubrick goes wide all over the place actually- Kubrick wants you to see every detail Wendy/Walter Carlos’ genius synthesizer work (would collaborate again with Kubrick in The Shining) Kubrick really isn’t overly influenced by anyone here—it’s a rarity in cinema history- especially as far along as 1971 McDowell not nominated for an Oscar-

19712021-04-14T14:16:26+00:00

1970

best film:  The Conformist from Bernardo Bertolucci. The Conformist is a visual showcase of set pieces, lighting, and overall mise-en-scene. It features unending sequences of jaw-dropping architectural design. It is a feat of costume design as well. It is Bertolucci’s best film, and quite easily the best film of 1970. a common choice by many cinephiles as the most beautiful film ever made... ...with plenty of evidence to support It is astonishing is that even at this grand of scale, such detail and elegance, Bertolucci actulally had two archiveable films in 1970

19702021-04-10T14:06:22+00:00

1969

best film:  The Wild Bunch from Sam Peckinpah doggedly nihilistic, crisply photographed (Lucien Ballard as DP) and flawlessly performed by the talented ensemble of veteran actors The transcendent trait though, and what makes it a top 100 all-time film, is the editing—yes- the freeze frame washed out titles in the opening (gorgeous)—but the slow-motion action editing sequences are Peckinpah’s grand achievement Peckinpah adores Kurosawa – both content and style. Peckinpah copies Kurosawa's band of outlaws/warriors here, we have the dog eat dog pessimism – literally here we have a swarm of ants attacking scorpions. This has such

19692021-04-11T14:33:08+00:00

1968

best film:  2001: A Space Odyssey from Stanley Kubrick. A supreme visual and aural achievement—when combined with the utmost formal exactitude— it leaves us with one of the best three films of all-time If you still need more evidence of Kubrick’s genius— how about his post-production decisions on the soundtrack and casting for HAL. He changed it from a more Spartacus– like- adventure-like Alex North score to Strauss—brilliant. (North is great by the way- he did Spartacus as I mentioned- but also A Streetcar Named Desire, Cleopatra, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?—it just doesn’t fit here)– Kubrick had Martin Balsam doing the voice

19682021-03-28T12:50:15+00:00

1967

best film:  The Graduate from Mike Nichols is the sole 1967 film on my top 100 of all-time. I’m often asked if I have a bias against comedies (I’m lower on Chaplin, Wilder, Duck Soup relative to their positions on the TSPDT) and if it isn’t Wes Anderson- it is The Graduate that I often bring up as a counterpoint. It is simply one of the most ambitiously directed comedies of all-time.  It opens on the famous long take in the airport (even Tarantino pays homage in his opening of Jackie Brown), some of the editing sequences are spectacular

19672021-08-12T23:56:01+00:00

1966

best film:  Persona. Persona is Bergman’s most avant-garde film. It is also his finest. It is cinematographer Sven Nykvist’s best work as well (that may be redundant- his best work was all with Bergman). The opaque narrative and doppelgängers have influenced everyone from Polanski, to Rivette, (Duelle) to Bunuel (That Obscure Object of Desire) to De Palma and Lynch (Mulholland Drive). The performances of Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann are superb, but it is Bergman, and his use of blocking/staging and lighting that make this an experimental and challenging masterpiece. Bergman does in close-up here what Kurosawa had been

19662021-03-14T12:36:23+00:00

1965

best film:  Pierrot le Fou from Godard. Godard’s most innovative work to date in 1965 and the one most likely to give pause when selecting Breathless as his single finest film. It is self-conscious, self-mocking and a brilliant deconstruction of the artform and gangster genre. It’s more than that though because, unlike later Godard (post-Weekend), it is visually stunning. Yes, it’s narrative anarchy, but it’s eye-poppingly vivid and watchable. bold color splashes from Godard rebellion from Godard-- from their debuts on, you can actually see Truffaut getting more conservative as Godard is breaking away

19652021-03-06T13:14:22+00:00

1964

best film:  I Am Cuba or Soy Cuba from Mikhail Kalatozov.  It took me a long time to get to Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba. I didn’t get to it until 2016 and when I did, I saw it again the next night I was so blown away. It is a landmark work of art in terms of camera movement. Its roots can be found in Murnau, Renoir and Ophuls—yet this is different—even more muscular-- less about invisibility.  The film has had a long lasting influence- you can see it in contemporary cinema-- directors like Iñárritu (specifically Birdman and The

19642021-06-02T15:18:56+00:00

1963

best film:  Fellini’s 8 ½ stands above the rest in 1963 but it isn’t by a wide margin. Kurosawa’s High and Low is right there as is The Leopard from Visconti. Kurosawa’s use of the full widescreen (Tohoscope) 2.35 : 1 aspect ratio is astonishing. Deep focus black and white compositions have never been stronger. Welles may not be superior to Kurosawa in this regard. As for Visconti’s work, it features a dogmatic dedication to background set design, décor, costumes, wallpaper as art- hundreds of candles in the lighting- clearly a precursor to Barry Lyndon. 1963 is Fellini

19632021-02-22T13:20:40+00:00
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