Monday, November 22, 2010

Top 100 Films

I had all but decided to abandon this particular blog of mine, when something someone said struck a chord. I was asked to name my favorite 'old movies' and this reminded me that I had actually constructed a 'Top 100' list a while ago and had never really posted it here. Therefore, I've decided to resurrect this blog, since movies are an age-old passion of mine.

I'm very proud of my list. It consists almost entirely of older films, movies made before the disintegration of 'proper' society-or times when things were pure, innocent, classic. Occasionally, a film is released in the present day that sticks with me and makes me reconsider this list. And then, after sleeplessness and much concentration- I alter THE LIST. It's a traumatic time, but I get through it.

I have been doing a few movie reviews on my fashion/ style website but am sticking to classic films for that blog. So this is a place to vent and discuss movies from other time periods or genres. Over the next few months, I'll be posting mini reviews of the following films, so feel free to check back if you are interested.

Top 100 Movin' Pitchers
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. You Can't Take It With You
3. Mr Smith Goes to Washington
4. A Room With a View
5. All About Eve
6. The Manchurian Candidate
7. Life Is Beautiful
8. The Great Escape
9. Gigi
10. On The Waterfront
11. Goodby Mr Chips
12. Singin' In the Rain
13. Giant
14. The Big Country
15. Mr Deeds Goes to Town
16. The Women
17. Sense and sensibility
18. Roman Holiday
19. Dead Poets Society
20. Sleeping Beauty
21. The Philadelphia Story
22. Rebecca
23. Jaws
24. Chariots Of Fire
25. The Bridge on the River Kwai
26. It's a Wonderful Life
27. The Sound of Music
28. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
29. Ben Hur
30. O Brother Where Art Thou?
31. Spartacus
32. The West Side Story
33.The Coal Miner's Daughter
34. The Shawshank Redemption
35. Gone With the Wind
36. The Best Years of Our Lives
37. The Quiet Man
38. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
39. Funny Girl
40. The Emprie Strikes Back
41. Star Wars-A New Hope
42. An American In Paris
43. The Sting
44. Much Ado About Nothing
45. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
46. Sayonara
47. Hello Dolly
48. Empire of the Sun
49. The Miracle Worker
50. The Three Faces of Eve
51. Barefoot in the Park
52. The Red Shoes
53. The Black Stallion
54. My Fair Lady
55. Amadeus
56. Rear Window
57. Les Diaboliques
58. Moonstruck
59. Places in the Heart
60. The Year of Living Dangerously
61. Henry V
62. Babette's Feast
63. Citizen kane
64. Dr Zhivago
65. Oliver!
66. Tengoku to jigoku (High and Low)
67. Howard's End
68. Cool Hand Luke
69. The Incredibles
70. Arsenic and Old Lace
71. Psycho
72. High Society
73. The Truman Show
74. 12 Angry Men
75. Witness
76. The Wizard of Oz
77. Harvey
78. Schindler's List
79. The Last of the Mohicans
80. The Picture of Dorian Gray
81. Dr Strangelove
82. A Man for All Seasons
83. THe Road Home
84. High Noon
85. Becket
86. The African Queen
87. Office Space
88. The Apartment
89. Bringing Up Baby
90. Chicago
91. Charade
92. The Fugitive
93. Arthur!
94. Emma
95. Born Yesterday
96. Breaker Morant
97. Good Morning Vietnam!
98. Searching for Bobby Fisher
99. The Freshman
100. Green Card

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
Starring: Myrna Loy, William Powell, and Donna Reed
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke

Once again, the flimsy story involving racetrack related murders, as well as the predictable outcome-are not what makes the film enjoyable. The chemistry between Loy and Powell is even more evident in this one, especially w/ their perky four year old son providing additional opportunities for that chemistry to develop. Without even knowing the story, without taking into account how lovely Donna Reed was at the start of her career, and even without appreciating the witty dialogue that these films are famous for...that endearing way that the two leads play off of each other is enough, on its own, to warrant giving this an easy

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blow Up (1966)
Mini Review
Directed By: Michelangelo Antonioni
Starring: Vanessa Redgrave and David Hemmings

Without a doubt, for the fashion conscious movie-goer, this film has a lot to offer. It is a stylish, elegant, intriguing look into the hi fashion world of late-sixties London, that is laughingly billed as a 'thriller'. Though the story is not without its air of mystery (London fashion photographer unwittingly captures a murder in one of his random shots), the real draw of this film was its stunning style sense. The opening sequence is exquisite, taking us through a few chaotic hours in the life of this highly sought after photographer, as he attempts to helm two shoots back to back while simultaneously being accosted by aspiring models, co-workers, and a very dull wife. Vanessa Redgrave turns in a memorable performance as a nameless woman that is likewise photographed, but against her will. Large portions of the film are in silence and some scenes are purposefully abstract, the latter fact of which makes the end of the film inevitable, if not entirely crowd-pleasing.

My rating: 8/10

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mini Review: Another Thin Man (1939)
Directed By: W.S Van Dyke
Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Ruth Hussey

The third installment of the Thin Man series brings the element of parenthood into the party-going, boozing lives of Nick and Nora Charles. Seeing Nick as a father was delightful, even if the fact that he was mostly inebriated throughout the film was just a little disturbing. Interestingly, this was the first film for Powell in two years. He had taken a leave of absence to cope w/ the loss of his fiance', Jean Harlow', in 1937. He steps back into the gumshoes with ease, while also making time to trade sarcastic barbs w/ Nora and cast mildly fawning looks at his new son. The mystery is not especially memorable-another murder, another predictable killer. But even though the story reads like a newspaper or magazine serial of the time, it still provides plenty of entertainment along the way. The principal reason for that lies w/ the great performances of the two leads as well as the welcomed edition of Ruth Hussey (what a great voice she had!) to the cast. All in all, it is at least as good as the 2nd entry to the series, though perhaps not quite as good as the first. I think I did laugh a little more at this one, and for that I give it a solid:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

After the Thin Man (1936)
Directed by : W.S. Van Dyke
Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, and James Stewart

This second edition of the series reads more like an exciting serial from some old magazine, as opposed to an actual cinematic 'thriller'. Still, it is successful in most respects. James Stewart is an able supporting player, even at this early point in his career, and the wonderful chemistry between the two leads is even more palbaple in this edition. I especially enjoyed the witty banter between Nick and Nora concerning her serious and straightlaced family. That said, the plot, as I mentioned before, is a bit predictable and comes across as more of a vehicle to get the two leads back together than an earnest effort to keep the audience riveted. James Stewart had not quite come into his 'gollies' yet and was attempting to pull off overly melodramtic roles that weren't yet his area of expertise. His final scene is a perfect example of this striving for effect and I didnt really 'feel it' as much as I just enjoyed giggling at it. All in all, there were parts of this film that I appreciated even more than the original, but those did not amount to enough to give it more than a

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Mini Review:
The Thin Man (1934)
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
Starring:Myrna Loy and William Powell

This 'THin Man Series' aired on TCM last week and I recorded all of them because up until now, I have only seen this first edition. I thought I'd supply a mini review of each one as I see it. It's an exciting little journey!

This original film introduces us to Nick and Nora Charles, played expertly by one of the monumental 'screen teams', William Powell and Myrna Loy. Nick is a former P.I. who has walked into a wealthy marriage and has chosen to give up his old job in order to manage his wife's estate. But all that changes when a murder is committed that links Nick to the case in more ways than one. Initially, Nick refuses to get involved but finds a surprising shot of ecouragement from an unexpected source-his wife. Nora has a head for problem solving it seems, and over the course of this twistng, martini shaking 'whodunit', she proves to be Nick's biggest ally. The 'mystery' doesnt play out as intriguingly as other films of the genre, but the sheer delight in watching Nick and Nora interract more than makes up for that. By the end of the film, I was anxious to see more...and an even bigger fan of Myrna Loy's darling self.

My rating: 9/10

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mini Review:
Down Argentine Way
Starring: Don Ameche and Betty Grable
Directed By:Irving Cummings

Standard movie musicals of the late 30's involved fluffy stories with pretty locales and forgettable songs. This one has two things going for it that prevent it from falling into that category. One is the electric presence of Carmen Miranda during a few key numbers and the other is the brilliant dance number by the Nicholas Brothers. They were a phenomenon indeed, and this movie highlights their performance with beautiful technicolor and a lovely stage setting. Otherwise, the movie doesnt hold up to superior films of the genre. Betty Grable's dancing has always been a bit clumsy, in my eyes, and Don Ameche, although a credible male presence, was not much of an actor at this time. Still, the movie should be seen for the strong points and provides a pleasant diversion, in general.

My rating:6/10