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Paul Jensen

Gold Winners: 51-60

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BLOW UP (1966) 5 stars

Antonioni's most accessible, yet enigmatic masterpiece. Perfectly capturing swinging London of the 60s. The theme of individuality versus the masses has rarely been explored so brilliantly. Every frame is worthy of being hung in a museum. This is the film that changed Hollywood forever. By being an "art film" that actually made a huge profit, Hollywood studios began to look towards the artists for answers. (The success of the film was also helped that Blow Up had full-frontal female nudity as well as Jimmy Page rockin' out). The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider followed but it was Antonioni that began that water slide. For the next 15 years, the artist ruled in Hollywood.

 

Genre: Drama
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni

 

THE SILENCE (1963) 5 stars

One of Bergman's most hypnotic and intriguing cinematic works. The third part of the outstanding trilogy on the absence of God. Broke new ground in film history. Very controversial and strangely moving. The two female characters and little child are so captivating that every time you see it, you can’t help but feel you’ve learned something new about them.

 

Genre: Foreign
Director: Ingmar Bergman

 

GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1992) 5 stars

This isn't just a movie about men swearing at each other and trying to sell real estate. There is so much subtext in every line of dialogue. First and foremost, it's about power. In fact, you could change the setting to medieval times and the salesmen could be warlords or kings fighting over land instead of selling property. There's also an absence of women in the film, yet their presence is constantly felt. It's as if the feminine nature inherent in men is considered a weakness among these characters. Both women and children represent feelings and compassion, both of which have no place in this particular dog eat dog world. Masculinity is the dominant force which is both powerfully seductive and tragically pathetic. Ultimately, this is Mamet's finest work and the actors are impeccably cast with their verbal fireworks complimented with cinematic flair from Foley. It is the ultimate actor's film and a penultimate adaptation from stage to screen.

 

Genre: Drama
Director: James Foley

 

THE AGE OF INNOCENCE (1993) 5 stars

Proof that Scorsese has range. Outstanding adaptation with fantastic casting. The form compliments content perfectly. The huge amounts of subtext help elevate this film and its easy to miss the incredible subtleties. It’s painfully romantic and tragic. The score by Elmer Bernstein is the work of a master and the more you see the film, the more rewarding it gets

 

Genre: Drama
Director: Martin Scorsese

 

LOVE STREAMS (1984) 5 stars

Cassavetes' final masterpiece. A culmination of his life's work. Filmmaking like this is as rare as a three-eyed cat.

 

Genre: Drama
Director: John Cassavetes

 

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS (1989) 5 stars

Allen's most mature and accomplished work. Turns all our ideals upside down. At times dark, occasionally hilarious, always intelligent. If you only get to see one Allen film, then it has to be this one..

 

Genre: Drama
Director: Woody Allen

 

THE NEW WORLD (2005) 5 stars

Malick does it again. Not just a beautiful love story, but a film about "how to live." Poetic, emotionally devastating, visually sumptuous and exquisitely written..

 

Genre: Drama
Director: Terrence Malick

 

NAKED (1994) 5 stars

A dark character study that dares you to empathize with the monster that stands at the heart of this masterpiece. The music perfectly captures the relentless energy of Johnny - he may be smart but it's his loathing of humanity that literally cripples him in the end. The image that does in fact show a bit of tenderness, somehow suits the story and its characters to a tee; Johnny on the floor, sick to his stomach with his ex around his arms. They crouch by the toilet, trying to mend their own shitty relationship (the cleaner sits on the lid) and a cheap wine glass rests, filled with dirty tap water. How romantic! A brilliant image for a brilliant film.

 

Genre: Drama
Director: Mike Leigh

 

BREATHLESS (1960) 5 stars

French New Wave explodes on screen with this exhilarating and fresh revolution. Godard breaks the rules along with his protagonist in what is definitive cinema verite. The improvisational feel is captured in both the restlessness of the anti-hero (not to mention the jump-cuts), as well as the hip Jazz score. The influence of American pop culture is evident in our Hero's love interest as well as the constant film references. It's Bogart re-invented and applauded at the same time. This crazy film shines strongest in its daring 25 minute bedroom conversation. We are drawn in and cinema was never the same again. It's funny, hip, clever, sexy and revolutionary. Not bad for a first-time filmmaker. Simply put: it's French cinema at its finest..

 

Genre: Foreign
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

 

PARIS, TEXAS (1984) 5 stars

Both emotionally and intellectually captivating. The finest road movie I've come across. This is Wenders' finest hour and it has a poetic and heart-wrenching script from Sam Shephard. The moment where Dean Stanton watches the home video footage with his son is among the most touching scenes in movies. Side note: If you've ever heard Eminem's controversial song, Kim, then you'll know a little bit about the back story of this gem of a picture. Also worth mentioning, Muller's cinematography is hugely influential and stunningly beautiful in a very simplistic manner. The colors alone keep the viewer entranced; but what amazes me the most about this very understated film is how it's completely free from cliche's. What is it about the German's fascination of Americana? The open freeway, the truck stop diners, the neon light motels. Bottom line: If you're a fan of existentialism, then this is the film for you.

 

Genre: Crime
Director: Wim Wenders

 

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