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1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 12:11 pm

1027
Ônibus 174 (Bus 174- José Padilha & Felipe Lacerda, 2002)



A shocking, hypnotic look at a real-life disaster. In June 2000, an armed gunman hijacked a bus in downtown Rio de Janeiro. An angry, strung-out former street kid, he spent an afternoon threatening his hostages while the lurid drama was broadcast live over the national TV networks. The extensive newsreel footage from this terrible event forms the bulk of Bus 174, but director Jose Padilha takes time to fill in the background, too: the poverty-broken world of the gunmen is detailed, and so is the political situation that led to some ludicrous decision-making on the part of the authorities during the siege. The fact that most viewers outside Brazil don't know how the ordeal ended will add to the suspense, but either way this is a gripping experience. The sight of the crazed hijacker, self-consciously styling his weird version of action-movie villainy, will haunt you long after the film is over.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 12:14 pm

1028
Lost in translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)



Like a good dream, Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation envelops you with an aura of fantastic light, moody sound, head-turning love, and a feeling of déjà vu, even though you've probably never been to this neon-fused version of Tokyo. Certainly Bob Harris has not. The 50-ish actor has signed on for big money shooting whiskey ads instead of doing something good for his career or his long-distance family. Jetlagged, helplessly lost with his Japanese-speaking director, and out of sync with the metropolis, Harris (Bill Murray, never better) befriends the married but lovelorn 25-year-old Charlotte (played with heaps of poise by 18-year-old Scarlett Johansson). Even before her photographer husband all but abandons her, she is adrift like Harris but in a total entrapment of youth. How Charlotte and Bill discover they are soul mates will be cherished for years to come. Written and directed by Coppola (The Virgin Suicides), the film is far more atmospheric than plot-driven: we whiz through Tokyo parties, karaoke bars, and odd nightlife, always ending up in the impossibly posh hotel where the two are staying. The wisps of bittersweet loneliness of Bill and Charlotte are handled smartly and romantically, but unlike modern studio films, this isn't a May-November fling film. Surely and steadily, the film ends on a much-talked-about grace note, which may burn some, yet awards film lovers who "always had Paris" with another cinematic destination of the heart.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 12:18 pm

1029
Un long dimanche de fiançailles
(A very long engagement- Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2004)



Both epic and intimate, A Very Long Engagement reunites Audrey Tautou and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the star and director of the hugely popular Amelie. A young woman named Mathilde (Tautou, Happenstance)separated from her lover by World War I refuses to believe he's been killed and launches an investigation into his fate--an investigation that spins in all directions, creating dozens of miniature stories (including that of an Italian prostitute avenging the death of her own lover by elaborate means) that shift to and fro in time. The dazzling curlicues of narrative put brutality and tenderness back to back, shifting between crushing inevitabilities and miraculous rescues with deft storytelling skill and the lush visual style of the director of Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. Through it all, Tautou--fierce and luminous--anchors the movie effortlessly. She's among the most emotionally engaging actresses in cinema, with the kind of expressive beauty that transcends language. A gorgeous, far-reaching film; the huge cast also includes Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs), Gaspard Ulliel (Strayed), and Dominique Pinon (Alien: Resurrection).


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 12:20 pm

1030
Cache (Hidden- Michael Haneke, 2005)



Hidden throughout Caché is the sense that you should be watching every moment in this film closely, just as the protagonists are themselves being watched by someone unknown. Georges and Anne Laurent’s (Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche) enviable lives are terrorized by the sudden arrival on their doorstep of a videotaped recording of their Parisian townhouse. It’s nothing but a long, unedited shot of the façade of their house, but it’s disturbing nonetheless. Soon another arrives, this time of the farmhouse Georges grew up in, and then another of a car driving down a suburban street, and a walk down a hallway to a low-rent apartment. Again the videos are benign but unsettling. Then the mystery becomes more threatening when they receive gruesome postcards depicting child-like drawings of bloody, dead stick figures. Georges believes he knows who the culprit is, but for reasons all his own refuses to let his wife in on the secret. Clearly more is hidden here than just the identity of their stalker. In Caché, writer and director Michael Haneke skillfully, methodically pulls back multiple layers of deception, like new skin being pulled off an old wound. he masterfully fuses elements of his predecessors to create a film that is haunting and memorable. There is Bergman's fascination with the complexity of relationships, the suspense and lurking danger of Hitchcock, and the unique cinematic sensibility of Antonioni. In fact, the provocative final shot is practically a tribute to The Passenger--a lot of people will want to rewatch it many times to see what they can find in it (if, after watching it, you are still unsatisfied with the resolution, then watch the interview with Haneke in the DVD's special features for his insights). It's a film of great effect and intrigue. There are no easy resolutions, and the answers given in this mystery will only lead to more questions.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 1:21 pm

1031
The constant gardener (Fernando Meirelles, 2005)



The Constant Gardener is the kind of thriller that hasn't been seen since the 1970s: Smart, politically complex, cinematically adventurous, genuinely thrilling and even heartbreaking. Mild diplomat Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient, Schindler's List) has a loose cannon of a wife named Tessa (Rachel Weisz, The Shape of Things, The Mummy), who's digging into the dirty doings of a major pharmaceutical company in Kenya. Her brutal murder forces Justin to continue her investigation down some deadly avenues. This simple plot description doesn't capture the rich texture and slippery, sinuous movement of The Constant Gardener, superbly directed by Fernando Meirelles (Oscar-nominated for his first film, City of God). Shifting back and forth in time, the movie skillfully captures the engaging romance between Justin and Tessa (Fiennes shows considerably more chemistry with Weisz than he had with Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan) and builds a vivid, gripping, and all-too-justified paranoia. And on top of it all, the movie is beautiful, due to both its incredible shots of the African landscape (which at times is haunting and unearthly) and the gorgeous cinematography. Featuring an all-around excellent cast, including Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father), and Danny Huston (Silver City).


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 1:32 pm

1032
Bad ma ra khahad bord
(The wind will carry us- Abbas Kiasrostami, 1999)



The movies of Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami defy the expectations of anyone raised on Hollywood or even European films. The Wind Will Carry Us, for example, is about a filmmaker who comes to a small village where an old woman is dying, hoping to document a harsh ritual of mourning practiced by the villagers. Unfortunately for him, the invalid clings to life, and he spends most of his time driving up and down a mountainside because his cell phone only gets good reception at the top. But while he waits and frets, around him the life of the village continues, and this vitality--captured in moments that seem like a diversion from the movie's supposed storyline--is fundamentally what The Wind Will Carry Us is about. What seems dull one moment will suddenly become a rich and subtle expression of human behavior. A strikingly different cinematic experience.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 1:36 pm

1033
Nueve reinas (Nine Queens- Fabian Bielinsky, 2000)



Nine Queens joins a line of sly thrillers about master-pupil con artists and games within games within games that includes The Sting, House of Games, and Heist. In the first five minutes, we watch an overt scam--a young Argentinian named Juan (Gastón Pauls) running the two-10s-for-a-5 hornswoggle on a convenience store clerk--then find that we have been tricked along with the bystanders as another brand of deception kicks in. And so it goes as Juan, with both trepidation and excitement, drifts into partnership for a day with an older, more cosmopolitan conman, Marcos (Ricardo Darín). Knocking around Buenos Aires--from gritty downtown to cozy neighborhood side streets to a swank hotel where wealth murmurs behind every door--these damnably resourceful scoundrels try not to miss a bet, including an epic swindle involving the titular "Nine Queens," a set of ultrarare stamps. Writer-director Fabián Bielinsky keeps a taut rein on everything, including his own cleverness. The end result is an entertainment as bracingly disciplined as it is ingenious.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 1:47 pm

1034
La captive (The captive- Chantal Akerman, 2000)



Loosely based on the fifth volume of Proust’s monolithic À La recherche du temps perdu, La Captive is a dark study of obsessive love from Chantal Akerman, currently one of Belgian’s most highly rated film directors. The feel of the film is more a psychological thriller than a traditional romantic drama, with frequent references to Hitchcock’s Vertigo more than evident.
The most striking feature of the film is its austere cinematography. Most of the film is set at night or within darkened rooms (which no matter how large appear stiflingly claustrophobic), something which constantly emphasises the prisoner-gaoler relationship of the two young lovers. Add to that the restrained (yet effective) performances of the two lead actors and the result is a hauntingly existentialist work, a chilling black poem of a fairytale romance twisted and ultimately obliterated by perverse mental aberrations.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Vie Ene 22, 2010 1:53 pm

1035
Ali Zaoua, prince de la rue
(Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Streets- Nabil Ayouch, 2000)



Ali, Kwita, Omar, and Boukber are a group of street urchins living on the hard streets of Casablanca. Their everyday lives are filled with violence, begging, and indifference. In order to survive they create a bond of friendship and family between then. The bond is cut short when Ali is senselessly killed at the beginning of the film by a blow to the head; his life taken by a single act of a rival gang. Ali's friends decide not to report his death to the police, who would have the boy buried in a potter's field. Instead they decide to give him a worthy burial, to bury Ali on the private island he so often dreamed of. Ali Zaoua captures the power of dreams and presence of hope in the harshest of circumstances.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 12:12 pm

1036
Signs and wonders (Jonathan Nossiter, 2000)



Signs and Wonders is a 2000 psychological thriller directed by Jonathan Nossiter and co-written with British poet James Lasdun (also co-writer of Sunday) was inspired by the Polish surrealist novel, Kosmos of Witold Gombrowicz.
It stars Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling and Deborah Kara Unger. Produced by MK2 in Paris, with Nick Wechsler and Jed Alpert in the USA, it was one of the first larger budget films (reportedly $5,000,0000) to use digital cameras for eventual blowup to 35 MM. Nossiter worked with Tommaso Vergallo (also his chief image collaborator on Mondovino), one of the founders of blowup pioneer Swiss Effects, to create a textured, 1970s' grainy edge look in the transformation from digital to film.
Shot entirely on location in Athens and the northern province of Epirus in Greece as well as short sequences in Vermont and New York State, the film also marked the return to the big screen of Charlotte Rampling after several years' hiatus. The music is composed by Adrian Utley of the British group Portishead. Hailed by Cahiers du Cinema as one of the ten best films of the year, it premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in 2000 and was released in France the same year by MK2 and in the United States by Strand Releasing in 2001.
Adopting the serio-comic visual associations celebrated in Gombrowicz's novel, the film unfolds largely in Athens as an expatriate American businessman struggles to find coherence in his radical "pursuit of happiness". Alec Fenton (Skarsgård) is a happily married man with two children who nonetheless is maintaining a torrid affair with colleague Katherine (Unger). At the start of the film, impelled by signs clearly decipherable to him, he abruptly ends the liaison after voluntarily confessing its existence to his wife Marjorie (Rampling). But after he accidentally runs into Katherine six months later while on a family skiing vacation abroad, he decides to leave his wife and children and return to America with his fated lover. But on learning from Katherine that their meeting was not an accident but a product of her design, he abandons her a second time and rushes back to Athens to try to salvage his family relations. On his return however, he discovers that Marjorie, who works at the US embassy, has taken up with a Greek political activist, Andreas (Dimitri Katalifos), survivor of the US sponsored years of Greek military dictatorship.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 12:19 pm

1037
Ni na bian ji dian (What time is it there?- Tsai Ming-Liang, 2001)



A young Taipei watch vender reluctantly sells a pretty Paris-bound girl his own watch, then finds himself longing for her, so much so that he begins setting the clocks all over the city to Paris time. Meanwhile, his recently widowed mother is looking for signs that her dead husband has returned to her. The director Tsai Ming-liang's haunting meditation on loneliness and time is a lovely, mordant piece of moviemaking. His immobile camera compositions and bare-bones use of dialogue allow the performers to play out their complicated emotional lives with a dramatic stillness and a dotty humor that is, at times, breathtaking.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 1:23 pm

1038
Y tu mamá también (And your mother too- Alfonso Cuarón, 2001)



Plenty of juicy "s" words apply to And Your Mother Too: sexy, sweet, subtle, sad, surprising, superb... and did we say sexy? With enough male and female nudity to qualify as softcore porn--but deserving none of the stigma attached to that label--this vibrant coming-of-age road movie is guaranteed to jumpstart any viewer's libido. Frank treatment of its characters' burgeoning sexuality makes this unrated film a real eye-opener, but it's never prurient or juvenile. Rather, the three-way odyssey of two 17-year-old Mexican boys (Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna) and a 28-year-old Spanish beauty (Maribel Verdú) is energetic and affirmative, while acknowledging that relationships--and sexual adventures--rarely develop without a hitch or two (or three). Filmed in sequence by Alfonso Cuarón (Great Expectations), and shot with invigorating natural style, this refreshing comedy-drama employs an omniscient narrator to reflect upon precious stolen moments, weaving three lives into a memorable tapestry of fun, friendship, and fate.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 1:28 pm

1039
La stanza del figlio (The son's room- Nanni Moretti, 2001)



Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti's signature talent for the overheard, unexpected, and happened-upon detail lends The Son's Room, the story of a grieving middle-class family, the unnerving quality of an unwanted surprise. Giovanni (Moretti) is a successful psychoanalyst whose family life is remarkably placid and enviously intimate: his beautiful wife (Laura Morante) and two intelligent, attractive teenage children are unafraid of their emotions. When his son, Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice), drowns in a diving accident, Giovanni is driven to suspend his practice and unintentionally betray his patients as he is haunted by what small choice he might have made in order to avert his son's death. Moretti, more widely known for his comedies, masterfully recreates how seemingly trivial things can take on such importance in the aftermath of tragedy. The intricacies of remembering are traced with such a light touch that the cumulative impact of the film is far greater than its many well-chosen details. Winner of the Palme d'Or (highest honor) at the Cannes International Film Festival, The Son's Room, which refuses melodrama at every step, is a deeply affecting portrait of familial love and the ritual of grieving.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 1:34 pm

1040
Moonsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2001)



Monsoon Wedding is a return to form for Mira Nair, director of 1988's Salaam Bombay! Nair's gift for observation of the everyday and her love for her characters make for a delightful film, which spins a web of family relationships that knit and break during a wedding at a perfect pace. The excellent performances exceed the often stereotypical roles on offer (including the incomparable Nasiruddin Shah as the harassed father, Kulbhushan Kharbanda as the comic uncle, and Shefali Chaya as the orphaned cousin). Nair's sympathetic eye for the unnoticed and the harassed is at its best with the tender romance between the servant and Dube (Vijay Raaz), the marigold-munching, upwardly mobile wedding coordinator, who brings pathos and humor to the often unseen servant classes. The handheld camera gives a docudrama feel to this celebratory look at the upper-middle-class Hindu Punjabi joint family, while paying tribute to modern Indian public culture of music, television, and, of course, "Bollywood."


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 1:39 pm

1041
A ma soeur (Fat Girl- Catherine Breillat, 2001)



Fat Girl is a typically shocking, utterly discomfiting provocation from director Catherine Breillat, whose excursions into female psychology and movie sexuality are anything but clinical. (See 36 Fillette and Romance for further proof.) Two adolescent sisters journey to the seaside on vacation with their parents; the younger sister is overweight and brooding, the older girl a beauty who attracts the attention of a smooth-talking boy. Much of the film is built around two painstaking seduction scenes, characteristically shot by Breillat with both comic and horrific overtones and long, uncomfortable takes. The final section then tips into an outright descent into hell--you can never let your guard down with Breillat. So complicated were the seduction scenes that Breillat subsequently made a feature about the shooting of them, Sex Is Comedy. Fat Girl was released under an alternate title, A ma soeur!, but Fat Girl, in English, is Breillat's original and preferred title.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 1:45 pm

1042
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)



Pandora couldn't resist opening the forbidden box containing all the delusions of mankind, and let's just say David Lynch, in Mulholland Drive, indulges a similar impulse. Employing a familiar film noir atmosphere to unravel, as he coyly puts it, "a love story in the city of dreams," Lynch establishes a foreboding but playful narrative in the film's first half before subsuming all of Los Angeles and its corrupt ambitions into his voyeuristic universe of desire. Identities exchange, amnesia proliferates, and nightmare visions are induced, but not before we've become enthralled by the film's two main characters: the dazed and sullen femme fatale, Rita (Laura Elena Harring), and the pert blonde just-arrived from Ontario (played exquisitely by Naomi Watts) who decides to help Rita regain her memory. Triggered by a rapturous Spanish-language version of Roy Orbison's "Crying," Lynch's best film since Blue Velvet splits glowingly into two equally compelling parts.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 1:49 pm

1043
The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006)



The Prestige attempts a hat trick by combining a ridiculously good-looking cast, a highly regarded new director, and more than one sleight of hand. Does it pull it off? Sort of. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play rival magicians who were once friends before an on-stage tragedy drove a wedge between them. While Bale's Alfred Borden is a more skilled illusionist, Jackman's Rufus Angier is the better showman; much of the film's interesting first half is their attempts to sabotage--and simultaneously, top--each other's tricks. Even with the help of a prop inventor (Michael Caine) and a comely assistant (Scarlett Johansson), Angier can't match Borden's ultimate illusion: The Transporting Man. Angier's obsession with learning Borden's trick leads him to an encounter with an eccentric inventor (David Bowie) in a second half that gets bogged down in plot loops and theatrics. Director Christopher Nolan, reuniting with his Batman Begins star Bale, demonstrates the same dark touch that hued that film, but some plot elements--without giving anything away--seem out of place with the rest of the movie. It's better to sit back and let the sometimes-clunky turns steer themselves than try to draw back the black curtain. That said, The Prestige still manages to entertain long after the magician has left the stage--a feat in itself.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 2:01 pm

1044
United 93 (Paul Greengrass, 2006)



One of the most shocking events in modern American history gets a skilled and respectful treatment in United 93. The movie begins by following the four terrorists who hijacked the plane that never reached its target on 9/11/2001, tracking them as they enter the airport and wait for their flight, surrounded by the people who will die from their actions. From there, it cuts to and fro among air traffic controllers and the military as, gradually, it becomes clear that planes are being hijacked and crashed into buildings. As the focus turns to the captive United Flight 93, the passengers discover, due to cell phone connections with family, that they're on a suicide mission and--almost paralyzed by stress and anxiety--decide to fight back. Most movies create tension by implying what might happen, but with United 93 the audience knows exactly what happened: Every person on that plane died. As a result, the movie is more relentlessly gut-wrenching than suspenseful (though the dawning realization of the air traffic controllers has an effective creeping dread). But writer/director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) manages to keep the scale of the events human; there are no glamorous heroics, only terrifying confusion and desperate, hopeless bravery. One can only hope the movie brings some peace to the families of the passengers, as United 93 is the cinematic equivalent of a war memorial, commemorating lives lost in a moment of horrible, harrowing conflict.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Lun Ene 25, 2010 2:20 pm

1045
Children of men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)



Presenting a bleak, harrowing, and yet ultimately hopeful vision of humankind's not-too-distant future, Children of Men is a riveting cautionary tale of potential things to come. Set in the crisis-ravaged future of 2027, and based on the atypical 1993 novel by British mystery writer P.D. James, the anxiety-inducing, action-packed story is set in a dystopian England where humanity has become infertile (the last baby was born in 2009), immigration is a crime, refugees (or "fugees") are caged like animals, and the world has been torn apart by nuclear fallout, rampant terrorism, and political rebellion. In this seemingly hopeless landscape of hardscrabble survival, a jaded bureaucrat named Theo (Clive Owen) is drawn into a desperate struggle to deliver Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), the world's only pregnant woman, to a secret group called the Human Project that hopes to discover a cure for global infertility. As they carefully navigate between the battling forces of military police and a pro-immigration insurgency, Theo, Kee, and their secretive allies endure a death-defying ordeal of urban warfare, and director Alfonso Cuaron (with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki) capture the action with you-are-there intensity. There's just enough humor to balance the film's darker content (much of it coming from Michael Caine, as Theo's aging hippie cohort), and although Children of Men glosses over many of the specifics about its sociopolitical worst-case scenario (which includes Julianne Moore in a brief but pivotal role), it's still an immensely satisfying, pulse-pounding vision of a future that represents a frightening extrapolation of early 21st-century history.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Miér Ene 27, 2010 1:31 pm

1046
The last king of Scotland (Kevin MacDonald, 2006)



As the evil Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Forest Whitaker gives an unforgettable performance in The Last King of Scotland. Powerfully illustrating the terrible truth that absolute power corrupts absolutely, this fictionalized chronicle of Amin's rise and fall is based on the acclaimed novel by Giles Foden, in which Amin's despotic reign of terror is viewed through the eyes of Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), a Scottish doctor who arrives in Uganda in the early 1970s to serve as Amin's personal physician. His outsider's perspective causes him to be initially impressed by Amin's calculated rise to power, but as the story progresses--and as Whitaker's award-worthy performance grows increasingly monstrous--The Last King of Scotland turns into a pointed examination of how independent Uganda (a British colony until 1962) became a breeding ground for Amin's genocidal tyranny. As Whitaker plays him, Amin is both seductive and horribly destructive--sometimes in the same breath--and McAvoy effectively conveys the tragic cost of his character's naiveté, which grows increasingly prone to exploitation. As directed by Kevin Macdonald (who made the riveting semi-documentary Into the Void), this potent cautionary tale my prompt some viewers to check out Barbet Schroeder's equally revealing documentary General Idi Amin Dada, an essential source for much of this film's authentic detail.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Miér Ene 27, 2010 1:34 pm

1047
Babel (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2006)



Brilliantly conceived, superbly directed, and beautifully acted, Babel is inarguably one of the best films of 2006. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu and his co-writer, Guillermo Arriaga (the two also collaborated on Amores Perros and 21 Grams) weave together the disparate strands of their story into a finely hewn fabric by focusing on what appear to be several equally incongruent characters: an American (Brad Pitt) touring Morocco with his wife (Cate Blanchett) become the focus of an international incident also involving a hardscrabble Moroccan farmer (Mustapha Rachidi) struggling to keep his two young sons in line and his family together. A San Diego nanny (Adriana Barraza), her employers absent, makes the disastrous decision to take their kids with her to a wedding in Mexico. And a deaf-mute Japanese teen (the extraordinary Rinko Kikuchi) deals with a relationship with her father (Koji Yakusho) and the world in general that's been upended by the death of her mother. It is perhaps not surprising, or particularly original, that a gun is the device that ties these people together. Yet Babel isn't merely about violence and its tragic consequences. It's about communication, and especially the lack of it--both intercultural, raising issues like terrorism and immigration, and intracultural, as basic as husbands talking to their wives and parents understanding their children. Iñárritu's command of his medium, sound and visual alike, is extraordinary; the camera work is by turns kinetic and restrained, the music always well matched to the scenes, the editing deft but not confusing, and the film (which clocks in at a lengthy 143 minutes) is filled with indelible moments. Many of those moments are also pretty stark and grim, and no will claim that all of this leads to a "happy" ending, but there is a sense of reconciliation, perhaps even resolution. "If You Want to be Understood... Listen," goes the tagline. And if you want a movie that will leave you thinking, Babel is it.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Miér Ene 27, 2010 1:39 pm

1048
Volver (Coming Back- Pedro Almodóvar, 2006)



Spanish for "Coming Back," Volver is a return to the all-female format of All About My Mother. Unlike Pedro Almodóvar's previous two pictures, the story revolves around a group of women in Madrid and his native La Mancha. (The cast received a collective best actress award at Cannes.) Raimunda (a zaftig Penélope Cruz) is the engine powering this heartfelt, yet humorous vehicle. When husband Paco (Antonio de la Torre) is murdered, Raimunda makes like Mildred Pierce to deflect attention away from daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo). After telling everyone the lout has left, she struggles to conceal his body. The other women in her life all have secrets of their own. Her sister, Sole (Lola Dueñas), for instance, has taken in their mother, Irene (a sprightly Carmen Maura). Since Irene perished in a fire, is this person a ghost or simply a woman who looks like her? Then there's their childhood friend, Agustina (Blanca Portillo), who is desperate to find out why her mother disappeared after the blaze. Was she responsible? Almodóvar deftly blends the ghost story with the murder mystery in his tribute to the Italian neo-realist films of the 1950s. The resilient Raimunda is a throwback to the earthy heroines of Sophia Loren and Anna Magnani. The latter appears in Luchino Visconti's Bellissima, which shows up on Sole's television one night (thus confirming the link). If Almodóvar’s 16th feature lacks the emotional punch of the more audacious Talk to Her, it's less heavy-handed than Bad Education and Cruz is a revelation.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Miér Ene 27, 2010 1:45 pm

1049
Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen, 1997)



Woody Allen roared back at his detractors with Deconstructing Harry, a bitterly funny treatise about the creative process. Known to mine his often tumultuous personal life for his movies, the embattled writer-director-star didn't bother to make his alter ego likable in this movie: Harry Block (Allen) pops pills, frequents prostitutes, and cheats on the women in his life, then writes about their foibles in thinly disguised fiction. No wonder they're all furious with him. As Harry journeys to his alma mater with a hooker, ill pal, and kidnapped son, a series of flashbacks unravel, juxtaposing Harry's relationships with their "slightly exaggerated" fictional counterparts. There are amusing cameos throughout, including a humorous turn by Demi Moore as a fictitious ex-wife who "became Jewish with a vengeance," and Billy Crystal as the devil who found Hollywood too nasty for his liking. The humor is dark and caustic, but well worth it; Deconstructing Harry is a near-brilliant mediation on the sometimes queasy relationship between art, creator, and critic.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Jue Ene 28, 2010 1:55 pm

1050
Mat i syn (Mother and son- Alexander Sokurov, 1997)



In a remote house in the Russian countryside, Mother is on her deathbed and her adult son is taking care of her. When she asks to go for a walk, he carries her to a bench where she takes a nap, then he carries her to a few places out in nature before bringing her home. Then he goes by a walk himself, returning to his mother who is lying quietly in her bed. Doesn't sound like much, does it? Against this skeletal story, critically acclaimed director Alexander Sokurov manages to push the boundaries of cinema, all the while evoking the deep and sometimes troubled love between a mother and her son. He does this not through quick cuts and hyperkinetic camera moves but by doing just the opposite. More often than not, between lines of dialog the camera is locked down and film is allowed to run through it, while the soundtrack is filled with wind and distant thunder. Consequently, whenever the camera does move, whenever someone does speak, it's electrifying. Sokurov further abstracts his often stunningly beautiful images with odd filters and lenses. Once you get into the pace of the film, it's hard not to get swept away by it, and it's even better on a second viewing.


JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

Mensaje  JM el Jue Ene 28, 2010 2:00 pm

1051
Idioterne (The idiots- Lars Von Trier, 1998)



The Idiots (Danish: Idioterne) is a 1998 Danish film directed by Lars von Trier. It is his first film made in compliance with the Dogme '95 Manifesto, and is also known as Dogme #2. It is the second film in von Trier's Golden Heart Trilogy, which includes Breaking the Waves (1996) and Dancer in the Dark (2000).
The film is about a seemingly "anti-bourgeois" group of adults who spend their time seeking their "inner idiot" to release their inhibitions. They do so by behaving in public as if they were developmentally disabled. The members of the group refer to this behaviour as "spassing", a neologism derived from "spasser", the Danish equivalent of "spaz", which has the same connotations in Denmark as in the United Kingdom. (The Idiots is not concerned with actual disability, or with distinguishing between mental retardation and physical impairment.)
The "spassing" is a self-defeating attempt by the group to challenge the establishment through provocation. The self-styled idiots feel that the society-at-large treats their intelligence uncreatively and unchallengingly; thus, they seek the uninhibited self-expression that they imagine a romantic ideal of disability will allow.



JM

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Re: 1001 films you must see before you die Part XVII: Appendix

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