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Paul Jensen

Silver Winners: 61-70

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WALTZ WITH BASHIR (2008) 4.5 stars

From Israel, this astonishing work of art, is told from a film director's perspective (Ari Folman himself) and recounts episodic memories of the Lebanon war. Did I mention that it's an animated film?  From refreshing moments of brotherhood, to horrific flashes of tragedy, this film captures a brilliant and honest depiction of life at war.  It is a hallucinogenic odyssey that startles from start to finish and leaves the viewer completely overwhelmed. It is also a visually stunning experience that is impossible to digest in one viewing. Finally, it's a major milestone in the history of animation - a testament that this medium is not just for kids.

 

Genre: Animation
Director: Ari Folman

 

BADLANDS (1973) 4.5 stars

Poetic, bold, haunting and profound. It's a combination of Bonnie and Clyde and Natural Born Killers but with far more elegance. Perfectly cast and impeccably written. And this was his first film! Malick excels in understatement.

 

Genre: Crime
Director: Terrance Malick

 

THE THING (1982) 4.5 stars

Carpenter's one truly GREAT movie. The ultimate monster movie. Bleak and brilliant effects. Very Hitchcockian suspense.

 

Genre: Horror
Director: John Carpenter

 

WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939) 4.5 stars

Another heart-wrenching love story. Very dramatic and at times almost operatic. The performances are stunning (Laurence Olivier commands attention) and Wyler's direction is assured and accomplished.

 

Genre: Drama
Director: William Wyler

 

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1935) 4.5 stars

Frank Capra's greatest and most romantic film. The quintessential road movie. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert were the definition of chemistry.

 

Genre: Comedy
Director: Frank Capra

 

MICKEY & NICKY (1976) 4.5 stars

The best Cassavetes film not made by Cassavetes. Elaine May directed this masterpiece film noir. Cassavetes stars (and co-wrote) along with Peter Falk. May is one of the most underrated filmmakers of the 70s. She wrote this script inspired by her Uncle who was a real-life gangster.

 

Genre: Crime
Director: Elaine May

 

WANDA (1970) 4.5 stars

The great Elia Kazan had a talented wife who made one movie. This masterpiece. Not only does it equal her husband's legendary work, it pushes the frontier of reality to a level Kazan only hinted at. Wanda is an astonishing character study that is one of cinema's best kept secrets. Not only did Barbara Loden write and direct this film, she stars in it. A true auteur. Cassavetes sighted this film as one of his all-time favorites. It's a revealing and difficult film that strives for honesty.

 

Genre: Drama
Director: Barbara Loden

 

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) 4.5 stars

A legendary film with a performance from Brando that still astonishes. He was like some unreal and sexual alien that burst onscreen. There was nobody else like him. Naturally, the writing is pitch-perfect and Vivian Leigh more than holds her own next to the beast of a genius that is Brando. Needless to say, the story is a masterpiece.

 

Genre: Drama
Director: Eli Kanza

 

NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (1957) 4.5 stars

This is a classic character study that is both touching and comedic. Sad, yet poignant. Giuletta Masina delivers a powerful performance as a prostitute. (She was Fellini's wife.)

 

Genre: Foreign
Director: Frederico Fellini

 

TWO ENGLISH GIRLS (1971) 4.5 stars

Elegant, touching, honest and as profound as some of the finest works of literature. Truffaut explores these characters lives with wisdom, affection and bittersweet melancholy.

 

Genre: Foreign
Director: Francois Truffaut

 

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