THE 100 GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME – 19: SE7EN

by Dan Suddes

Se7en (1995) Directed By: David Fincher  Written By: Andrew Kevin Walker  Starring: Brad Pitt Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, R Lee Ermey, Kevin Spacey  Oscar Count: 0 (Nominated for Best Film Editing)

Se7en was the Chinatown of the nineties. It managed to deconstruct what had become the standard police drama while building so many careers in the process. Actors Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow owe their success to this film, as does director David Fincher. But so many thrillers made in the last decade have borrowed from this film that the original value almost becomes lost. Se7en still remains the quintessential thriller of the last two decades for what it was willing to even try. The fact that it succeeded in its goals makes it that much more of an important film. Continue reading

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THE 100 GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME – 20: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

by Laurent Kelly


The Shawshank Redemption (1994)Director and Adapted Screenplay: Frank Darabont  Starring:    Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman , Bob Gunton  OSCAR COUNT (0) – 7 nominations including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Lead Actor (Freeman)

The Shawshank Redemption remains such a popular modern classic because it prevailed as that rare thing; an unashamed Hollywood sentimental picture which became genuinely moving despite its overwhelming and transparent themes of optimism. Perhaps it shouldn’t have worked, After all the film lacks the subtle ambiguity of Robert Bresson’s slow moving but astoundingly well crafted prison drama A Man Escaped. It has a stirring voiceover used to pull on the heartstrings on the audience and it shies away from showing the real nitty gritty of life behind bars. On paper it doesn’t sound like much and the title certainly doesn’t give much hope that it is going to be worthwhile.

But not all movies have to be complex to be rewarding nor subtle to be powerful and The Shawshank Redemption is a true example of simple but perfect storytelling. Continue reading

100 GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME – 21: MULHOLLAND DRIVE

by Daniel Suddes

Mulholland Dr (2001 ) Written and Directed by David Lynch Produced by: John Wentworth, Mary Sweeney, Alain Sarde, Michael Polaire, Tony Krantz, Joyce Eliason, Neal Edelstein, Pierre Edelmann Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Robert Forster, Ann Miller, Billy Ray Cyrus Oscar Count: 0 (Nominated for Best Director)

David Lynch, despite world-wide respect, has been an inconsistent director at best. Like the little girl with the spit curl, when he’s good, he’s very, very good (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Inland Empire, The Straight Story) and when he’s bad he’s horrid (Lost Highway, Dune, The Elephant Man…yes, The Elephant Man). InMulholland Dr, Lynch is at his best. His bizarre dream worlds are used for a meaningful and logical end, and the film is the most hypnotic thriller ever filmed.

There is no story to this film in the traditional sense. It is about a woman who invents a conspiracy to explain her failure as an actress. But Like Lynch’s other work, it is made up of images, feelings, and ideas. People do not really speak in this film, as what they are feeling cannot be put into words. They are almost like marionettes – highly suspicious that they know of their nature but cannot find the man pulling the strings.  This makes the bizarre images seem more poignant. They are what is beneath our own conscious but are usually ignored.  Lynch’s bizarre images sometimes do not mean anything. But they are meant to be disconcerting and make people uncomfortable. Why? Because these images of violence and sadism exist in our every-day life. There really are derelicts behind the local diner with frightening faces. Does it mean anything to you? Continue reading

THE 100 GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME – 22: ALIEN

by Daniel Suddes

Alien (1979)  Directed By:  Ridley Scott  Written By:  Dan O’Bannon –   Based on the Story By O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett.  Produced by: Gordon Carroll, David Giler, and Walter Hill  Starring:  Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Veronica Cartwright, Ian Hold, and John Hurt.

“You still don’t know what you are dealing with.”

While the aforementioned quote is used in the film to describe the titular xenomorph, it still works as an explanation for those who have heard about the film but dismiss it as a mawkish horror piece that is not worthy of re-examination. Rarely has a film been able to critique itself or even imagine the impact it will have on future filmmakers. Sure, the sequels (including, yes, James Cameron’s Aliens) have tainted it somewhat. Most just think of it as a standard horror film with some great production design.

But Alien was successful in capturing the paranoia and nihilism of a society that had been scared by Watergate and recessions. Something that is meant to be the pinnacle of imagination for our future (the enormous Nostromo) is reduced to the stuff of nightmares. Business is not just something impersonal that can cause ruin when it fails but can be responsible for deaths when things go wrong. Continue reading

TOP TEN REM SONGS

by Laurent Kelly

REM were the pioneers of the alternative rock movement engaging listeners with their versatile music style and enduring lyrical power for close to three decades. Given their recent split I thought I’d pay tribute with what I feel are the ten greatest tracks from one of my all time favourite bands. Continue reading