Monday, December 17, 2007

A YEAR IN MOVIES. I've watched a lot of movies in the past year. Many were old favourites but some were films I had never seen and watched for the first time. While some did not impress me that much, others have now joined the ranks of my faves. So here, at the end of the year, I thought I'd list the top 25 films I saw for the very first time this year -- and liked the most. I've listed them alphabetically (and you can click on each title to read more about them).
  1. BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945) - heartbreaking and quietly gut-wrenching
  2. DARK VICTORY (1939) - classic Bette Davis tearjerker
  3. DESTINATION MOON (1950) - very realistic riff on what space travel might be like circa 1950; some find it dry and slow but I found it surprisingly watchable
  4. DINNER AT EIGHT (1933) - one of the greatest ensemble casts
  5. DONOVAN'S REEF (1963) - simply an excuse for John Ford & John Wayne to have some fun; and I loved every minute of it
  6. FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1965) - the trashiest of cult movies; unbelieveable, wacky and pure Russ Meyer
  7. GRAND HOTEL (1932) - another of the greatest ensemble casts ever assembled; but nothing ever happens at the Grand Hotel
  8. HELL DRIVERS (1957) - who ever thought a British B&W movie about truck drivers could be so gripping?!?
  9. INTIMACY (2001) - sexually explicit and gut-wrenchingly tragic
  10. THE KILLING (1956) - I'm not a Kubrick fan but this early EARLY Kubrick heist film was very enjoyable to me
  11. THE LETTER (1940) - Bette Davis at her ice-cold nastiest. What's not to love?
  12. LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE aka THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE (1974) - outrageous color zombie film which pre-dates Romero's Dawn of the Dead; this one is stylish and very imaginative. An overlooked gem.
  13. THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND (1936) - John Ford's unhistorical but surprisingly gripping tale of Dr. Mudd and his imprisonment for mending the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth
  14. RAW DEAL (1948) - great, hard-hitting film noir; one of the best
  15. RED RIVER (1948) - Howard Hawks' classic western is one of the greatest
  16. THE RED SHOES (1948) - stylish, bizarre, haunting, tragic. I'm not ballet fan but the "Red Shoes ballet" sequence is breathtaking.
  17. SANTO & THE BLUE DEMON VS. THE MONSTERS (1970) - delirious entry in the "Mexican masked wrestlers fighting monsters" movie series
  18. THE SECRET GARDEN (1949) - I've been a big fan of the 90's remake but I like this one just as much; a classic children's tale brought to the screen
  19. SERGEANT RUTLEDGE (1960) - John Ford gives us the tale of an innocent black cavalry officer court-martialed for the rape and murder of a white woman
  20. SHANE (1953) - another classic (if odd) western
  21. STAGECOACH (1939) - I absolutely loved this classic John Ford western which features a dream cast interacting on a stagecoach journey west.
  22. THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE (1933) - Fritz Lang's hallucinatory half horror/half police procedural film of the omnipotent criminal mastermind
  23. WEST OF ZANZIBAR (1928) - this silent movie is chilling, shocking and brutal and surprisingly packs a wallop even after all these years. Wow!
  24. WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957) - classic Agatha Christie courtroom drama which is a lot of fun besides.
  25. ZODIAC (2007) - surprisingly factual and low key filming of the story of real-life serial killer Zodiac; can't wait till 2008 when they release the 2 disc special edition jam packed with documentaries about the case. Absorbing.

Well that's thems: the movies that I watched for the very first time this year and enjoyed the most. There were, of course, other great movies I saw for the first time this year which didn't quite make the cut of top 25: Action in the North Atlantic, Anatomy of a Murder, Broken Arrow, Casino, Cheyenne Autumn, Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, The Informer, Jezebel, Thomas In Love, Vampira the Movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Witchcraft and Once Upon a Time in China II. Here's to next year and another passle of great movies to watch and discover!

No comments: