Tag Archives: music

265. Great Openings – Part One

What makes for a great opening? Character? Conflict? Poetry? Hopefully, more than something we’re supposed to just look at.

264. if….

Despite being labelled fascist and an insult to Britain, if… won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1969. Almost half a century later, it still retains much of its power.

246. Dreams

If the dream sequence is a crutch for many dull thrillers, horrors and mysteries, what makes a good one? One that challenges and stretches cinematic language.

200. Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola’s radical adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novella is one of the most astonishing achievements in the entire history of cinema.

188. David Bowie

Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust or The Thin White Duke. Who was David Bowie is the wrong question to ask. Much better to ponder on what he made and why.

181. In the Mood for Love

Mixing social history, European art film and a British melodrama, Wong Kar-wai delivered a masterpiece of aching beauty.

169. Withnail and I

When a filmmaker enters the realm of autobiography, the result is all too often soaked in nostalgia. Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I is fermented in fine wine.

166. The Killing Fields

When it comes to America’s military intervention in South East Asia, David Puttnam’s Oscar winner is the anomaly. Less a war picture, it’s more a love story.

164. The Parallax View

Adapted from Loren Singer’s poorly reviewed best seller, Alan J. Pakula’s conspiracy thriller is a classic of assured pacing and paranoia.

160. Amy

Asif Kapadia’s extraordinary documentary makes for uncomfortable viewing, not least because he doesn’t only focus on the flaws of the tragic singer.

159. The Concert Film

With content pretty much always the same, what elevates one concert movie above others is not just the quality of the music, it is also the film’s form.

157. Jaws

For all the fun stories and anecdotes about how the shark didn’t work, none of them help explain how Steven Spielberg managed to deliver a masterpiece.

155. Jazz in Film

If jazz really is the authentic American art form, why are there so few great jazz movies? No matter, at least there are dozens of great jazz soundtracks.

143. The Adventures of Robin Hood

The legend has endured for 500 years and Hollywood has filmed it a dozen times. But Errol Flynn is still the only Robin Hood.

141. Once Upon a Time in the West

Sergio Leone’s masterpiece doesn’t only reference American westerns. He also drew inspiration from an English film.

American Trailers

This extended video-essay charts the development and possible future of the America movie trailer. Beginning in 1912, taking in the coming of television and suggesting where it might go in the age of the internet.

135. Whiplash

With 5 Oscar nominations, Damien Chazelle’s dynamic debut is about jazz, right? Think again. Think it is about an abusive teacher? Think again.

134. Foxcatcher

The publicity will tell you that Foxcatcher is about wrestling. But like all great directors, Bennett Miller uses his subject as a metaphor for something else.

129. Trainspotting

Released in 1996, Trainspotting was accused of promoting drug abuse. But really, it was a much needed shot in the arm for British cinema.

126. Raging Bull

In a career featuring several masterpieces, Raging Bull is considered Martin Scorsese’s greatest achievement. But what did he achieve in making it?

125. Out of Sight

Out of Sight is about second chances and it helped the three main players; Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez to relaunch their careers.

120. The Fabulous Baker Boys

It’s called The Fabulous Baker Boys, but it was Michelle Pfeiffer’s Oscar nominated performance that earned the film its adjective.

113. The Crying Game

Neil Jordan won an Oscar for his script, but only after every studio had turned him down saying his story was uncommercial, offensive and the characters unsympathetic.

104. The Grifters

Based on Jim Thompson’s grimey story about smalltime criminals, Stephen Frears’ film was robbed when it didn’t win a single Oscar from its four nominations.

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