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Old 30th Apr 2003, 13:53   #1
amner
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Default Films, then

Once again, not 10, and not in any order either.

1. It's a Wonderful Life
Unbeatable chrimbo fayre, really, but with a heart of darkness most modern thrillers wouldn't even contemplate. Everyone remembers the brilliant ending, but it's the journey to get to that point I find more interesting. George falls a very long way...

2. Great Expectations
The David Lean one (you didn't think I meant the Gwyneth Paltrow one, surely?). Unforgettable first ten minutes.

3. Psycho
Good old Ed Gein. What a remarkable influence he's had on movie making. I love Psycho, from the very first frame to the last, it has more atmosphere and class than any other thriller in the last 40-odd years.

4. Night of the Demon
more B+W, I'm afraid. As atmospheric as sitting blindfold on an upturned bucket underneath a creaking gallows pole at midnight on Hallowe'en. Any movie that features Mr Barraclough from Porridge as a murderer has got to be worth seeing. May even be my favourite film.

5. Oliver!
No, honestly, I think it's great. The film responsible for my fascination with London.

6. The Big Sleep
Back to the B+W and some classic Chandler/Bogey/Bacall doublespeak ("I don't mind if you don't like my manners. I don't like them myself. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings"). Full of style (Howard Hawks famously said that it didn't make sense but that he didn't care) and verve. A masterpiece.

7. Seven & Fight Club
David Fincher, cruelly slagged off for the not-at-all-bad third Alien movie, really knows how to do dark and brooding. It's a pity he likes Brad so much, mind. Oh, and I won't mention The Game or Panic Room. Still, he bunged Morgan Freeman and Edward Norton in there to help out. "What's in the box? Aw! What's in the box?!"

8. Equus
Take a bizarre scenario (naked boy blinds six horses) and then work backwards with a self-doubting psychiatrist (Richard Burton, never better) to break down a very dark facet of the human condition. Result; startling, claustrophobic and intense. Gus van Sant probably owns this movie, he certainly seems to enjoy remaking it. Poorly.

9. Mona Lisa
Bit of a Neil Jordan fan, me. This is his best. Bob Hoskins is terrific, full of that pent-up frustrated violence that he always seems to carry around with him. Great Michael Caine cameo as a man (as Time Out put it) 'who must sweat horribly into his pyjamas'.

10. The Long Good Friday
Amazing amazing film. Before Brit cinema fell too much in love with the gangsta genre this led the way. Hoskins again, and the role he was born to play ("I'll have his carcass dripping blood by midnight"). Outstanding.

11. The Shawshank Redemption
yes yes yes, I know.

12. LA Confidential
Finally, a modern movie with the nerve to treat it's audience with respect. The goal posts keep changing and it's up to you to keep up. A magnificent film.

13. Leon & Nikita
Before Luc Besson decided to become kak, he made beautiful balletic thrillers with heart and soul. Nikita is my favourite, but Leon is probably more accessible.

14. Dead of Night
So often immitated as to be laughable, but still the best British horror movie since the war.

15. Braindead
Peter Jackson's life before LOTR. The word 'visceral' doesn't really cover it. Did wonders for lawnmower sales in New Zealand, you know.

16. The Godfather, 1 and 2
"Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you, but don't ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever." Well, he does, Michael, doesn't he? And look what happens then.

17. Vertigo
Do you think Hitchcock put in his pitch "it's about this bloke who's a necrophiliac..."? No, of course not, but it is. After Vertigo he made North by Northwest and then Psycho. Er, hello? Genius!

18. Apocalypse Now
Christ on bike, this is all very dark, isn't it? I'll try and think of summat lighter, hang on...

19. Passport to Pimlico
There you go, a blob of classic Ealing. And it's got Stanley Holloway in it. What more could you ask for?

20. The League of Gentlemen
The first ever 'team heist' movie, and done with considerably more charm, humour and style than any other since. Ocean's 11? My arse!


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Old 30th Apr 2003, 14:36   #2
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I saw Psycho for the first time a couple of months ago and loved it. It's so well told, shot and acted, I just got carried along in the thrilling magic of it. The only other Hitchcok I've seen is Rear Window, which, though still gripping, is nowhere near as tense as Psycho. I just love the way both are passionate films that seem to take an age to unfold - two incongruous factors that work so brilliantly together. Hope that makes sense!
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Old 30th Apr 2003, 14:47   #3
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Default Re: Films, then

Quote:
Originally Posted by amner
Good old Ed Gein
A sentiment with which I wholeheartedly concur. If only for his classic saying:

"When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things. One part wants me to be real nice and sweet and treat her right. The other part of me thinks what her head would look like on a stick."

The man was a genius. As well as a bit of a sicko.
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Old 30th Apr 2003, 15:04   #4
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Yes, that quote is a killer, though I always forget who said it.

LA Confidential - I forgot this one when I was compiling. It's such a mature composite piece (and has Kevin Spacey...).
And Equus - crikey, Peter Firth naked on a horse with a spike in his hand - eek! There was obviously a Shaffer season on when I saw this about 20 years ago, since I can also recall 'The Royal Hunt of the Sun' with Christopher Plummer, which I found intensely moving.
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Old 30th Apr 2003, 15:40   #5
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LA Confidential must be my favourite film. I'm no cinema buff, to say the least, but I did get an awful lot out of watching it. It also pointed me towards James Ellroy, for which i will always be grateful. It's one of those films where all the performances are just perfect. Who had the idea of casting the farmer from Babe as Dudley Smith? Brilliant!
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Old 1st May 2003, 14:38   #6
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Hate to say it, but I don't think I've ever seen it - tell me more.
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Old 1st May 2003, 15:15   #7
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It's a cop movie. Set in the LAPD in the 50s, the story is that one night before christmas, a robbery in a cafe results in many deaths, including that of a cop. Meantime, a riot in the cells of the LAPD station results in the deaths of some mexican felons at the hands of some policemen.

The story follows three men's investigation into these crimes, all from different angles. The result is that they uncover layer upon layer of corruption within the force, and struggle to overcome it.

It's brilliant - acted superbly (the leads are Kevin Spacey, Russel Crowe and Guy Pearce), directed brilliantly, and is sympathetically adated from the fiendishly complicated (yet also amazing) original novel.

Go and buy it. It's been on telly, so you are bound to be able to get it for a fiver.

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Old 1st May 2003, 15:35   #8
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It also has Kim Basinger as a stunning Veronica Lake lookalike.

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Old 1st May 2003, 15:45   #9
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...plus one of the greatest ever jokes in a thriller. A high-class pimp has been performing plastic surgery to get his girls to look like stars; two of the cops corner a suspect in a diner and - making a bit of a scene - start questioning him. The glamorous girl he's with interjects and the cop fires back what he thinks is a great insult

Girl: Get away from our table.
Cop no.1: Shut up! A hooker cut to look like Lana Turner is still a hooker.
Suspect: Hey!
Cop no.1: She just looks like Lana Turner.
Cop no.2: She is Lana Turner.
Cop no.1: What?
Cop no.2: She is Lana Turner.


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Old 2nd May 2003, 23:44   #10
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It would be really tough for me to figure out which film I've seen more - The Sound of Music or Oliver. My dad had a passion for both these films and I was subjecetd to them countless times. But Oliver has something going for it. Nancy, Fagin, Artful Dodger (and especially old sexy old alchol soaked Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes) are all brilliantly portrayed. Dickens would be proud. Just that I always wanted to give Oliver a good slap. He was way too wimpy.
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