8.21.2007

Top 50 - 26 through 30

26. Wonder Boys (Hanson, 2000)

A perfect film with a perfect soundtrack and some amazing performances, this is one of my comfort movies: I sit down and let myself go along with it, and I feel like everything will end up ok. ish. It might be the best stoner movie for grown-ups, if it weren't for my number 9. The book, by one of my favorite authors, Michael Chabon, is great too, and the film perfectly captures its lazy rhythm and its mood. It's nothing overly ambitious, it doesn't have a grand message or extravagant style, but who needs that when you've got so much warm humor and characters you'd love to spend a weekend with?

27. Sous Le Sable (Ozon, 2000)

Another dawn of the millenium film, this is possibly the best film ever made about grief, and oh so beautiful. Interesting, seeing how this was really kind of a loose, experimental project. Ozon first filmed the part where Charlotte Rampling goes on holiday with her husband, played by Bruno Cremer of Maigret fame. They go to the beach; he goes swimming; she falls asleep, and when she wakes up he's gone. The part where we find her again, months later, was in fact not only filmed but also written months later, and it dares to be both intriguing, involving, and oddly true. Worth it just for the scene with the red dress - watch the film, and you'll know what I mean. Ozon truly is one to watch, and this is the best film of his that I've seen so far.

28. Marnie (Hitchcock, 1964)

Not Hitchcock's most accomplished film by any means, but his most fascinating. Yes, the color red is infused clumsily, yes, the back-projection is much too obvious, but who cares when the main character is allowed to be so thoroughly messed up and fascinating? I'm grateful to Kim Morgan for pointing me towards this one, because it's generally not seen as great Hitchcock, far behind Vertigo, Psycho, Strangers on a Train and quite some others, and I might not have seen it otherwise. I don't think it's Hitchcock's best either, but it is my favorite.

29. Belle de Jour (Bunuel, 1967)

A nice double feature that would make: Belle de Jour and Marnie. Belle de Jour is better than Marnie because it doesn't seek to explain Severine's behavior: though there are short shots of her past, there is no neat psychological explanation here. Marnie, however, profits from the presence of a strong male character. But it's natural, in a way, that all men would pale next to the wonder of Catherine Deneuve, and ice princess with so much simmering under the veneer of sophistication -symbolized by those beautiful designer clothes - that she maintains. Bunuel trusts his audience to distinguish themselves between dream and reality, something that's still rare among directors today, and the result is a film that after these 40 years retains it's kinkiness without having to be explicit. We never learn what's in the Chinese box, nor what motivates Severine, and that's why the film still provokes.

30. All About Eve (Mankiewicz, 1950)

And so the trio, or maybe even foursome, of strong women continues. Who says there are no good parts for actresses? Bette Davis is awe-inspiring here, fierce, smart, but also vulnerable, and nobody else could have delivered the razor-sharp lines she gets so well. The film really should have been called "All About Margo". Also, what it says about the position of women is still relevant today. Luckily, while Margo is worthy of our pity in some respects, she never becomes pathetic, and that ought to give us some hope.

4 comments:

Real Talk said...

I like your reviews. Some movies I'm not familiar with but I do stop by your page regularly. So I'll check you out later...

Real Talk said...

oh yeah, thanks for stopping by!

Kamikaze Camel said...

I must say, I wasn't all there on Marnie, but that scene where half the screen is taken up with Marnie stealing the money and the other half with the cleaning lady getting closer and closer and then she forgets her shoes?

BLISS!

Lanchka said...

I feel my horizons expanding ;-)