When The Driver was originally released in 1978, it was unfortunately, to some derision, deemed as “ultraviolent trash” and said to be “advisable for film noir aficionados only.” Yet watching today, Walter Hill seems to have pumped The Driver full of his trademark style and action so much that it makes it not only a brilliant action […]
However many times I watch Quentin Tarantino’s irreverent masterpiece Pulp Fiction, it’s the second scene which remains my favourite. Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta and their remarkable hairdos ramble on about everything from the French name for a burger to the erotic significance of a foot massage on their way to a routine killing job. It’s a […]
It took three features for the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne to break out into international acclaim with La Promesse (The Promise), a film that distinctly bears the hallmarks, virtues and verité style that soon embody their future works, transforming the heretofore unknown documentarians into the arthouse filmmaking force they are known today. Here, […]
In the much-revered canon of coming-of-age films, Maurice Pialat’s L’enfance nue (Naked Childhood) takes a fascinating place among its contemporaries. Unlike many cinematic works made about the topic, Pialat’s debut film doesn’t wax lyrical about childhood nostalgia and absolutely refuses sentimentalism and aesthetic lyricism common to portraits of youth. Even music is strictly kept to […]
It’s all left to our imaginations what Charles Laughton would have accomplished in his career if his first foray into filmmaking with The Night of the Hunter was not critically derided upon its initial release. If you were Laughton, actor and one-time director, who gave your all to create this masterwork only to be lambasted […]
Ingmar Bergman’s Persona is not an easy film to digest. If literature has meta-fiction, then this plays on the form of meta-cinema, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy and always, persistently, reminding audience that this is an artform. The Swedish master, who directed Persona during the years when the self-conscious cinema of the French […]
In the pantheon of horror movies, Alfred Hitchcock’s Pyscho might be sitting pretty on the top of any film critic’s list, but it’s this Mephistophelian French horror Les Diaboliques that subliminally threatens to topple Psycho‘s beyond-famous status. Henri-Georges Clouzot’s sinister thriller still rings as shocking today as it was in the context of 1955, with its […]
One of the most terrible things in cinema happens when an ostensible masterpiece gets under-appreciated. Not that René Clément’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr Ripley has been left unacknowledged throughout the decades – it’s just not appreciated enough. Aside from Martin Scorcese, who championed a theatrical re-release in 1996, there’s barely anyone […]
Which – in your opinion – is the biggest bitch-fight in movie history? Meryl Streep versus Goldie Hawn in the bonkers that was Death Becomes Her? Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones battling it out in Chicago? Anne Hathaway against Kate Hudson in Bride Wars? These sisters-turn-arch-nemeses plots do not come as rabble-rousing, sadistically thrilling than […]
Roman Holiday must seem fresh and fabulous back in 1953, but unlike most timeless comedies, there aren’t much going for William Wyler’s Euro caper aside from largely two distinctive reasons, that a) it’s the first full-length Hollywood production shot outside of homeland America, and b) it heralded the cinematic birth of Audrey Hepburn, who also […]
This is, without a doubt, one of cinema’s most exquisite, profound and aching paeans to parenthood, marriage, ageing, demise and life itself. We are fortunate to have films like Tokyo Story, a work borne out of compassion and respect, that allows us to become better human beings – one of those rare celluloids that will make you weep buckets and then reach for the handset to call your parents and tell them you’re grateful for everything.
The Apartment has it all in spades – character, story, emotion, pathos and exquisite heartbreak – a film that still resonates until today. Wilder crafted a perceptive comedy and tentative romance, eschewing corn, schmaltz and bullshit. It is also very funny and very humane. This is one for the ages.
The cinematic equivalent of a knife in your gut. The Idiots is altogether a complex, maddening, devastating, kaleidoscopic one-of-a-kind viewing experience. Compared to its more triumphant film-brother Festen, this is an underrated Dogme 95 work that lobs a searing, scathing critique to society, Hollywood and sanitised audience expectations.
Like most challenging works of art, it divides people. But to claim Last Tango in Paris as a pile of puerile sexual nonsense is an act of antagonism against intellectualism. It is one of most emotionally and sexually frank films ever made, boldly confronting society’s preconceived notions about sex, relationships, conventions and censorship. Bertolucci orchestrates a sad, devastating masterpiece, drawing the last great performance from Brando, arguably the greatest film actor to grace the entire history of celluloid.
For the record, this is one of the greatest childhood films ever captured in celluloid. The film that launched the French New Wave, this one is timeless, truthful, seminal, passionate, heartbreaking and extraordinarily beautiful. That wonderful, aching feeling after watching this is cinema’s pure triumph.
Nichols holds no guilty punches in this astonishing cinematic debut, a film of no-holds-barred emotional and psychological honesty that draws a scathing dissection on marriage life. It’s a powerhouse performance-film, and Taylor is tremendous. Expect fireworks.
Never has a film about dying so beautifully photographed. This is also a sombre, melancholic mood-piece that daringly explores hefty subject matters such as the inevitability of death, unattainable perfection and cruelty of youth. Visconti’s vision of beauty and Great Art maybe flawed, but such is life.
One of the greatest testaments to the power of silent cinema. F. W. Murnau’s sublime wordless weepie transcends crowd-pleasing melodrama into high art, luminous poetry and a virtuous moral fable. This is, arguably, the Citizen Kane of the silent era.
Impressively crafted, handsomely acted (especially by Roth) and emotionally satisfying, Almodóvar’s All About My Mother assumes a zenith in the auteur’s fascinating oeuvre. Above all, this is a heartfelt paean to motherhood and human resilience.
Here is a film that wraps you up and never lets you go. Wings of Desire transcends conventional film form into a haunting, lyrical, elegiac, beautifully profound cinematic poetry about earthbound existence. For a film about angels, Wim Wenders provides a very humanist philosophy here, a deeply touching love-letter to the simple pleasures of human life. An enriching, stunning work of art.