Friday, November 8, 2013

My 100 Favourite Films

Part 1 (#100-51)
After recently watching my 2000th movie, I felt the need to mark this landmark occasion.  I therefore have taken the time to list and briefly explain my favourite 100 movies. These are MY favourites films, not the best, but the ones I most enjoy. Ideally, I like to think that my tastes in entertainment coincide with quality regardless. You may disagree with some/most of the choices, but we all have different tastes. Although I took time to arrange the order, it is not set in stone. Just because something is ranked #75, does not make it definitively better than #76. It was just a way for me to generally organize my feelings. Besides, this top 100 only represents 5% of the films I've seen. There are hundreds of other classics you should see. For instance just outside of these 100 are other favourites of mine like Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Dumb and Dumber and Shaun of the Dead. Enjoy!

100. War of the Worlds (2005)
"Lightning never strikes the same place twice."
An underrated Spielberg film due to Tom Cruise's personal shenanigans. This is a nonstop set-piece after set-piece alien invasion that serves but one purpose: chaos. This film shows the mayhem and travesty that ensues when we are presented with a disaster; there are obvious 9/11 parallels to be drawn from this. Spielberg's frantic camerawork continuously amps up the energy, making this one of his greater recent works, despite the ending.

99. Spider-man 2 (2004)
"I'm Peter Parker, and I too have a job."
A perfect comic book movie.  Framed and shot just like a comic book, this film falls right into director Sam Raimi’s sensibilities. He brings his horror-comedy chops to a super-hero action movie and delivers some outstanding action scenes and really fun direction. The train set-piece is a sequence to marvel at. The story stays fun and never gets too dour. On the other hand, it never gets too cheesy like it’s predecessor and sequel. Like Iron Man, it also knows to make the main character interesting whether he is wearing the mask or not. 

98. Pleasantville (1998)
"The first thing we have to do is separate out the things that are pleasant from the things that are unpleasant."
If ever I could edit a movie, I would trim off the nonsense about time-travel and Don Knotts that bookends this little film. Nevertheless, I still love this not-so-subtle movie about prejudice. Using black and white cinematography juxtaposed with colour may seem like a ploy or gimmick, but the point of the film is that sometimes to make a point, subtlety won’t cut it.  It’s a charming movie and surprisingly light hearted given the subject matter.

97. Raging Bull (1980)
"You didn't get me down Ray!"
If you watch DeNiro’s current career, you may ask yourself how he was ever considered one of the greatest actors. Raging Bull is the only answer you’ll need. His transformative powerhouse performance as a boxer who’s ambition takes him to the top, only to have his rage and jealousy drag him right back down is magnificent. Couple that with director Scorsese and cinematographer Chapman’s gorgeous imagery shot in black and white, and you have a masterpiece. For a story about an animalistic brute of a character, this is a beautiful film to watch.

96. Apocalypse Now (1979)
"I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream; that’s my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor...and surviving."
A masterpiece about the madness of war that drags you down into the heart of darkness, and is depressingly memorable in every way. The equivalent of a lengthy Wagnerian tone poem; hence the use of his now famous ‘Ride of the Valkyries’.

95. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
"You don’t need proof when you have instinct."
A heist movie where you never see the heist.  This film is novel for eschewing the climax of the overdone genre and instead, focussing on the lives of the criminals. Told out of order and loaded with profanity, we get to know these bad guys through interwoven flashbacks.  Like a fun little R-rated jigsaw puzzle! Profanity notwithstanding, the main draw is the dialogue. This is the movie that introduced us Tarantino’s fun and crackling scripts. He has fun with these despicable characters and brings them down to Earth. Part of the anti-Hollywood 90s movement, this film never gets old; especially the ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ scene.

94. Titanic (1997)
"Music to drown by. Now I know I’m in first class."
Many people choose not to acknowledge the greatness of this movie.  They are afraid to embrace the old-school Hollywood feel, the egregious production values, the simple script and the swooning, classically cheesy romance. Yet, I find all these amount to a nostalgic, old-fashioned epic that sweeps me up every time I watch it. You can never go wrong with a James Cameron movie. His stories are refreshingly simple and undeniably entertaining.

93. 12 Angry Men (1957)
"Prejudice always obscures the truth."
Like a fly on the wall, you observe how one man tries to persuade his fellow jurors to use logic over prejudice in this single room drama. A fantastic study of various personalities coming to different conclusions. This film is proof of the awesome potential and rights that we have as a cognitive species.

92. Vertigo (1958)
"Here I was born, and there I died. It was only a moment for you; you took no notice."
A film that deserves multiple viewings to appreciate all the layers woven together in this psychological mystery. Vertigo is immaculately yet subtly framed in terms of both story and cinematography. With one of the most hauntingly gorgeous scores that reflects this spiraling story of love and perception. 

91. King Kong (2005)
"And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty, and beauty stayed his hand. And from that day forward, he was as one dead."
Yes, that’s right, the 2005 version; even though I do love the original. It’s easy to discredit this film for being overlong and silly at points, but I love it. Particularly the Extended Edition at 3hrs & 20mins. With the exception of the brontosaurus stampede, every action set-piece is a triumph of direction.  The CG is superbly done, namely in the Kong vs. 3 T-Rexes fight scene. But that’s not enough to make it an amazing movie, for me, it’s the quiet moments. The motion-capture and character work by Andy Serkis is top-notch, and I really feel for that big ol’ ape in every scene. Sure, I shed some tears every time I watch the ending.

90. Seven Samurai (1954)
"This is the nature of war: by protecting others, you save yourselves."
Epic in every sense. This Japanese landmark is 3.5 hours long and is worth every minute. What I always find so remarkable is how well this holds up today.  The dialogue is surprisingly fun and spry, the action is gritty and intense, and it never feels dated or corny like other ‘epics’ of its time (Ben-Hur). Essentially the plot of A Bug’s Life, the story of seven unique samurai banding together to protect a defenseless village of peasants, has a lot to say about honour, redemption and purpose.

89. Brazil (1985)
"Mistakes? We don’t make mistakes."
A fantastical tale of a dystopian future, told by the visually imaginative Terry Gilliam. The set design and art production tells the story more than the dialogue. We follow one man’s fight for love and freedom against a tightly-wound bureaucratic city in this comical satire you will never forget.

88. Unbreakable (2000)
"It’s hard for many people to believe that there are extraordinary things inside themselves, as well as others."
Back when Shyamalan made good films, he made this quietly subtle superhero film.  Not based on any actual hero, the film asks the question: what would it be like if someone realized they had super strength? The film is a slow burn and takes a refreshingly realistic approach to it’s topic.  This is first and foremost a Director’s film: every shot has a purpose and is obsessively framed and designed. There is very little dialogue and much is told through the lens. We can all just ignore the final minute that was tagged on by the studio.

87. United 93 (2006)
"They are not gonna land this plane."
The events of September 11th told in handheld docudrama style. There have been many movies and documentaries made on this subject, but this one stands out because it does not glamorize anything.  The film follows only the events of the one plane that was diverted towards Washington. Taking a procedural approach, the filmmaker knows to stay out of the story, and let the events guide us through. It uses no celebrities, and even has people like the traffic controllers play themselves. A devastating film that merely presents the facts and lets you bring your emotions and thoughts to it.

86. Hot Fuzz (2007)
"I’m a slasher!...A slasher of prices!"
The British comedy of a big-time cop who is forced out of London to a small hamlet because he makes the other officers look bad; only to find that there is a sinister plot being carried out in this sleepy village. I find this film hilarious since plenty of the jokes derive from small town idioms (it hits close to home for me...pun intended). The other half of this film’s genius is that it is a pitch perfect homage/spoof of 90s action movies. The director manages to achieve farce through his editing and you wind up thinking of how cheesy other action movies are, while at the same time appreciating how enjoyable they are. 

85. Being John Malkovich (1999)
"Don’t stand in the way of my actualization as a man!"
The first of 4 screenplays on this list by my favourite writer, Charlie Kauffman. Once again paired with director Spike Jonze, this is a truly odd film. When a puppeteer takes a second job as a file organizer at a quirky little office, he discovers a portal hidden in one of the walls. As it turns out, this portal leads the traveller directly into the mind of actor John Malkovich (joyfully playing a warped version of himself). From here the film only begins taking weird turns (onto the New jersey turnpike for one), and becomes a darkly comic exploration of identity. Certainly the best movie Charlie Sheen was ever in.

84. Cabin in the Woods (2012)
"If they don't transgress, they can't be punished."
The less you know about this comedy-horror gem, the better. Needless to say, it is a comedic version of a slasher in the woods horror movie.  That is until when that plot ends, you realize you are only halfway through the running time. At which point, there is a twist that takes this witty movie in a completely new direction, not to discredit the first half, but to compliment it. Having watched it a handful of times in the last year or so, I can say that it definitely holds up even with knowledge of how it works out. A gleefully enjoyable and comical horror movie that turns the stale genre on its head.

83. Gladiator (2000)
"Are you not entertained?"
A throwback to the old Hollywood epics and redone with a brooding tone.  It was a huge hit 13 years ago, and is still fantastic now.  Every aspect is top notch: the subtle visual effects, acting, gritty cinematography, direction and one of my favourite scores.  Unlike most blockbusters that followed, it knew to keep it’s story very simple: a primal tale of revenge.

82. The 40-Year Old Virgin (2005)
"I have a very fulfilling life!"
It was a long time coming to have a rude comedy that would be perfectly mixed with maturity and brains. This movie had all that, and the kicker was that it is truly funny. The perfect casting of Steve Carrell turned this pathetic character into a lovable schmuck. Plus, the improvised script is fun and not obnoxious like the films these guys would later make.

81. Collateral (2004)
"Take comfort in knowing you never had a choice."
The first film to be shot wholly on digital cameras, this is a visually unique experience.  Taking place entirely at night in the streets of LA, the director and cinematographer bring out colours and landscapes that form an atmosphere all their own. Plus, it’s a blast to watch Tom Cruise play a villain in his best role.

80. Psycho (1960)
"We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?"
It has the famous twists, turns and shocks.  Stark black and white photography. Hitchcock's ever-present creeping camera. That memorable score. And one of cinema's most sinister yet captivating creation: Norman Bates.

79. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
"Don’t point that gun at him, he’s an unpaid intern."
Wes Anderson's films aren't for everyone.  His meticulous perfectionism in over-designing and staging his characters can be too much for some and it tends to lose grasp of reality and hard to take seriously. But I love it. This zany film is an absolute joy to watch, and Bill Murray's endearing performance holds it all together before it ever goes off the rails.

78. The Thin Red Line (1998)
"War doesn’t ennoble men, it turns them into dogs."
Conceivably odd, this a slow meditative art film about war.  Taking place in the South Pacific during WWII, we follow several different soldiers and their points of view on war and human nature. With constant philosophical voiceovers, a naturalistic floating camera and beautifully serene images, this is a wonderfully introspective film that has time to breathe and lets you soak in its beauty.

77. Citizen Kane (1941)
"I don’t think there’s one word that can describe a man’s life."
Often cited as the greatest film of all time, and rightfully so. I tend to find it more of a landmark than entertaining, hence why it’s not higher. It is a classic tale of a man getting caught up in power and losing sight of what should be important in his life.  Every scene is carefully planned and shot, to the point that the staging itself tells a layer of the story. Also novel for it’s stark cinematography, inventive shots, unconventional structure and of course written, directed and starring the great Orson Welles.

76. The Wages of Fear (1953)
"When someone else is driving, I’m scared."
A classic French film about a group of poor men in a small South American village who have no option left to make money, except to drive two truck loads of nitro-glycerin across treacherous terrain to put out an oil fire by an American company (the irony is ever present).  Putting their lives at risk, the trucks could explode at any second as obstacles are constantly thrown in their way.  Once the voyage gets going, this in an incredibly intense film that has you questioning what greed can do to a man’s life.

75. Men in Black (1997)
"Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow."
A creative story blended with fun visuals and charismatic leads. This is such a fun movie to watch and I feel confident placing it above Citizen Kane. It blends action with comedy against a sci-fi backdrop with ease. Smith has never been so much fun, and Jones anchors the whole film perfectly.  It’s a movie to this day that I can always re-watch and it always feels so fresh (prince of bel-air).

74. Minority Report (2002)
"Is it now?"
Based on the science fiction writing of the great Philip Dick, this is an superbly tightly-wound thriller that takes place in a future where murders can be predicted by the police. Like any great sci-fi story it deals with several moral issues pertaining to it’s concept and gives you many ideas to consider.  But this film is also a fantastic action movie as well. Spielberg’s flair for memorable visuals is coupled with his great cinematographer Kaminsky, and these two turn in a great one-of-a-kind looking film. And don’t forget a great frantic score by Johnny Williams.

73. Grizzly Man (2005)
"I will die for these animals. I will die for these animals."
Timothy Treadwell was a man who fled society every summer for a number of years to get away from humans and live with grizzly bears in the wild. Although he used ‘cautious’ methods and was fairly knowledgable about the dangers and lifestyles of the bears, it was inevitable that something would go wrong. This documentary uses his own footage, and interviews with those who were close to him, to not so much act as a depressing lament or eulogy, but to take a look at what made him tick.  The always insightful filmmaker Werner Herzog manages to both respectfully scorn and appreciate his subject in this not-too depressing film.

72. The Godfather (1972)
"That’s my family Kay, that’s not me."
A classic among every film fan.  A grandiose story about family within the Italian mob.  There are many great things about this film, but for me it’s the screenplay. The story is surprisingly epic and large scale while never losing sight of it’s core familial relationships.  Michael Corleone’s character arc is astonishingly powerful and primal.  Every scene and plot point is integral and in service of the characters.  Each moment has become memorable in celluloid history and most especially for me, the last 10 minutes.

71. Forrest Gump (1994)
"-Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you’re gonna be?
-Aren’t I gonna be me?"
I’m one the few people these days who is glad this won Best Picture over Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption. The unconventional story structure sprawls out like a series of tangents strung together. It could have been a set of disjunct sketches, but Master Hanks‘ charming Gump holds it all together.  His honesty is so endearing and shows us how to be genuine. The film is also memorable for the great soundtrack and great score. This simple movie will always have a place in my heart. 

70. Alien / Aliens (1979 / 1986)
"Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?"
The first is more atmospheric and spooky and the sequel is more fun and action based, but both of these films are top notch.  The sets and aliens are meticulously designed, and hold up remarkably well.  Both are fraught with tension and intensity all in service of delivering the thrills and escapism we seek when going to the movies. 

69. Adaptation (2002)
"Any idiot can write a voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character! That’s flaccid, sloppy writing."
A difficult film to describe without confusion. A real-life author (Susan Orlean, played by Meryl Streep) writes an article about orchid smuggling. Then, real-life screenwriter Charlie Kauffman (who is the actual screenwriter of this film) is tasked with taking her article and turning it into a movie (essentially this movie, Adaptation - giving the title one of several meanings). The plot thereafter is him having writer’s block while his fictional twin (dual roles played magnificently by Cage) has success with a hackneyed Hollywood script.  This is a look at Kauffman’s struggle to fit in and creatively survive in Hollywood, while we watch several layers of stories unfold at once. It’s a story about a lack of story, and is as ‘meta’ as a film can get.

68. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
"Gentleman, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room."
As the title may suggest, this is not a conventional film. Originally conceived as a serious warning of how the Cold War could escalate, genius filmmaker Stanley Kubrick grew cynical and after deciding how preposterous the human race can be, changed his film into a comical satire. This film comically yet scarily shows how easy it is for a nuclear holocaust to occur at that time. We are shown how our technologies, weapons and procedures are beyond us; even those in charge are powerless to do anything. That being said, there are fantastic moments of absurdity and comedy throughout with Peter Sellers playing 3 roles and George C. Scott’s bumbling Buck Turgidson.

67. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
"We’ll show them what the British solider is capable of doing!"
I love all the classic WWII men-on-a-mission films (The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen, The Guns of Navarone).  However, aside from the homage Inglourious Basterds (which you will see near the top of this list), my favourite of these is easily Kwai. A group of prisoners in a Japanese POW camp decide to aid their captors in constructing a bridge out of spite and honour. A complex tale of dignity led by the great Sir Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson. The film goes from delightful moments of levity to dramatic morally pensive scenes. It all climaxes in one of the greatest build ups (and downs) in cinema history.

66. The Jungle Book (1967)
"This will take brains, not brawn."
Walt Disney’s final film is one of his most lovable. Based on the Rudyard Kipling novel, it perfectly combines the book’s mature tale of nature vs. nurture with the fun and musical Disney sensibilities. The lessons learnt about parenting and growing up are very simple yet effective. While the music (some of the Sherman Brothers’ best) is an absolute joy, and is perfectly delivered by a cast of the very best voice actors; including the show-stopping Louis Prima. What’s more is it was made in the era of the oddly appealing rough animation style which the studio went through in the 70s: wherein the final cells weren’t polished of the sketch marks, and the backgrounds are given extra detail. 

65. Speed (1994)
"Pop quiz, hotshot."
One of the best straight-up action movies. Not one of the best movies with character development or plot, but certainly one of the best action movies. It kicks off with a bomb on an elevator, then moves to a bomb on a bus, then a runaway subway.  Action and intensity are continually ramped up in each scene as the stakes keep changing. This is a fast 2 hour ride and it certainly holds up almost 20 years later. 

64. The Incredibles (2004)
"No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again." 
Just incredible. Watch it. Enjoy it. Watch it several more times. An amazing action-adventure, family, super-hero film.

63. No Country For Old Men (2007)
"What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?"
A gorgeously shot bleak film about fate, chance and every other determinant of your future. A man stumbles upon a load of cash from some criminals who then send a hit-man out to retrieve their money.  Virtually devoid of music, the film creeps in and out of quietly burning intensity and ramped up chase scenes thanks to the always reliable Coen Brothers’ direction. Amongst the mayhem, we also have Tommy Lee Jones’ (Old Man) sheriff trying to piece it all together and acting as the sensible heart of the film.

62. City Lights (1931)
There are many great silent movies (Modern Times, The General, Sherlock Jr., Safety Last) and you have no excuse not to have seen them; they are all in public domain and on YouTube. For me, my go to is always City Lights. Written, directed and starring the endearing Charlie Chaplin, this is the story of a poor man falling in love with a blind flower girl. Yes, it is romantic and sweet, and it also has some satire on the rich, but this is still a Chaplin film and you can certainly expect classic physical comedy and memorable stunts. If you’ve never seen a silent film, this is a great place to start. 

61. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
 "This means something. This is important."
A masterful early Spielberg film that shows off every aspect of his filmmaking. A sci-fi film about coming into contact and accepting another species, but in Spielbergian fashion it is of course more importantly about family dynamics and finding your true purpose. He creates awe and majesty out of these eerie alien encounters.  He creates tense and realistic family drama. He indulges in one man’s descent into madness only to have him discover his destiny. A perfect blend of intimate (if depressing) family drama with a majestic sci-fi adventure.

60. Groundhog Day (1993)
"I am a god. I’m not THE God...I don’t think so."
An odd little film that is like no other. It is a light Bill Murray comedy, based on a gimmicky idea, that also turns out to be surprisingly philosophical and existential. Our cynical main character Phil, has the worst day of his life, and finds out the next morning (and every morning after that), that he must now repeat this day over and over for the rest of his life. The script knows never to explain why this is happening. Aside from the concept, the plot takes a backseat to the characters.  Watching Phil’s growth into a mature human being is inspiring and makes for an incredibly re-watchable film, despite it’s literal repetitiveness.

59. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
"Instead of talking, he plays. And when he better play, he talks."
The pinnacle of the revisionist westerns by the entertaining Sergio Leone.  This is one of the most grandiose films you’ll ever see.  It is a nearly 3 hour melodrama steeped in western tropes and idioms. The operatic score is one of my all-time favourites. Like Star Wars and Wagner operas, the characters are merely caricatures that represent larger ideas, and each have their own musical theme. The plot itself is a traditional Western tale: there is a good cowboy and a bad cowboy, and they are feuding whilst caught up in the takeover of a small town by the Railroad company. A story about the end of western small town ideals, coming from a film which itself was the last great Western film for nearly 40 years to come. 

58. The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2010)
"People must know that they’re going to die, and yet they live as though they never will."
Blatantly, a remake of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, this under-seen Korean film is a blast. It maintains the same plot of three rebellious cowboys who are out searching and fighting for a buried treasure.  Plus, this remake honours the original through various costume nods, music cues and even replicating famous shots. But what’s new, is the action.  The director never wants to rest, and launches us through this fun-filled, kinetic, action-comedy. This is a film that certainly delivers entertainment.

57. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
"How grand it must be, to be the chosen one."
The Harry Potter series is a marvel in itself: the studio created 9 movies of a single series over 10 years, that maintain (mostly) consistent actors, that is faithful and complimentary to it’s original source and all of which can be viewed as a nearly singular vision. Most folk would pick the third entry as the best (and it is my 2nd favourite), but the Half-Blood Prince remains my go-to. It does have the least amount of plot, and this makes room for plenty of character development, back-stories and artsy set-pieces. It has some of my all-time favourite cinematography and colour-timing (editing), which wrongfully lost the cinematography oscar to Avatar

56. Kill Bill (2003)
"The truth lies at the heart of the art of combat."
Many of the older kung-fu genre movies can be fun, but rarely, are they any good in terms of quality (in the classic film sense). Tarantino takes his love of these movies and channels the best parts into this rollicking homage to the martial arts. A beautifully simplified tale of revenge sets the stage for several creative set-pieces and fight scenes; from a japanese anime to a bloodbath showdown in black & white. Allegedly, almost every shot/sound/costume/etc is lifted from a previous martial arts film.  With the beautiful camera work, high production values, zany violence and masterful choreography, this makes for an extremely entertaining ‘live-action cartoon.’ [note: the 2nd volume is also amazing]

55. Man on the Moon (1999)
"Who are you trying to entertain: the audience or yourself?"
I don’t typically enjoy biopics. Only when the film itself reflects the subject, rather than displays the facts about its subject, does it appeal to me.  If not, I’d rather read an article on the person. Here, director Milos Forman (of Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus fame) gives us the story of comedian Andy Kaufman. According to the film, Andy was an often misunderstood comedic genius who always wanted to act outside the box and be different. His goal was to pull long-term pranks on his audience. The film itself pulls these pranks on us and we are continually surprised. In the end, it is a good lesson in how important it is to entertain and bring joy to those around you.

54. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
"Put that thing back where it came from or so help me!"
Visually, Pixar evolves with every film.  This was the one where they were able to handle characters with fur and hair, as well as create a wholly original world from scratch.  Right from the start, Pixar always knew how to tell a good story. This entry is their most creative and has the most fascinating world.  So much joy comes from simply discovering their world of monsters. Crystal and Disney-go-to Goodman, create some of the most memorable and funny characters in the Disney canon. It’s a perfect matching of personalities and when we add the character Boo to the mix, the interplay and bickering gets even better.  The final line will always give me a single tear at the end!

53. The Lion King (1994)
"We are all connected in the great Circle of Life."
The pinnacle of the Disney Renaissance, this is deservedly their crowning achievement, post-Walt. Straying away from the typical fairytale/princess angle, Disney chose to instead use a story from South-African folklore combined with Macbeth. This refreshing contrast combined with one of the all-time greatest scores (by Zimmer) makes for a powerful piece of art.  The animation is still stunning, the Elton John tunes are memorably catchy, the typically zany Disney sidekicks are pushed only just far enough into the spotlight, the villain would be their last great baddie (Count Frollo is close), the voice actors are all-stars but also necessary and of course the masterwork of filmmaking that is the ‘stampede scene.’

52. Cast Away (2000)
"Who knows what the tide could bring?"
Where I’m biased towards hating biopics, I’m also biased to loving survival stories. Giving the performance of his current career, and for once not winning the Oscar, Tom Hanks is the man we live through vicariously on a desert island.  Nearly devoid of music, except when we need it as poor Wilson leaves us, we are transported to this tropical island through an amazing soundscape. From the adrenaline fueled plane crash to the serene wading of waves against a rock, this film is an experience. It is not a very deep film, requiring you to analyze the symbolism and re-evaluate your life, rather it is a journey of survival and determination that I can watch any day of the week.

51. Bambi (1942)
"It is Man. He is here again."
Often remembered as that deer movie where the mother gets shot and we all cry. I however, remember it for the outstanding animation and simple story. Over time, the Disney animation studio grew less concerned with putting every detail on screen and became more concerned with the rising costs of animation. If I can use a music metaphor, Bambi was like the Baroque Era wherein everything is ornately designed. Every cell needed to be rich in colour depth and finely crafted.  The theme is streamlined to be simple and cyclical in nature (pun intended). Later movies like Peter Pan might be part of the Classical Era where they are intended for the public, and finely crafted art might be put aside in favour of more developed plots. Watching Bambi again recently, I can truly appreciate the beauty and majesty of this primal ‘art for the sake of art.’ 

1 comment: