Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Top 10 Favourite Films of All Time - Part 1

If there's one thing I love, its cinema.
So I thought i'd share my top 10 favourite films, i'm not suggesting that they are the "greatest films" ever made (that's for another time), however, these are my personal favourites, the kind I can go back and watch again and again.

Number 10. - Get Carter

Get Carter is a gem of a British gangster film. Michael Caine produces a gritty and cold performance as the antagonist, who's on a mission to find his brother's killer. Violent, dark and  yet sexy, this movie shows 1970's Newcastle as a scary and helpless place, which is a real refection of the attitudes of the time. I like this film because of the shear coolness of Carter, and the array of cult art that the film spawned. Also a small and yet memorable part for the gorgeous Britt Ekland is a must see.

Number 9. - Vertigo

Alfred Hitchcock is undoubtedly the king of suspense, and as thrillers go, this is the cream of the crop. James Stewart portrays John "Scottie" Ferguson, a detective who suffers from severe vertigo, and Kim Novak plays the femme fatale, (if she's hot enough for Sinatra who am I to argue?). Hitchcock leads viewers through a roller-coaster of a plot which has so many twists and turns I still find it exciting, even though I've seen it about 15 times :)

Number 8. - For a Few Dollars More (Per Qualche Dollaro in Piu)

Sergio Leone's "Dollars Trilogy" remains a cinema milestone. Epic, beautiful, captivating, and refreshingly violent for it's time, it was filmed in Italy (hence spaghetti western) and even it its day was a fairly cheap affair in comparison to pictures made in Hollywood. Clint Eastwood was uncertain whether to take on the role when the script for "A Fistful of Dollars" arrived on his desk, not wanting to go to Italy or work with Leone..... and yet, I myself am so thankful that he did, the film made both of them and they went on to have illustrious careers and a productive cinema partnership.
Anyway, of the three films starring Eastwood as "the man with no name" this one (the second) is by far my favourite. Anyone who knows me will tell you I think Eastwood is cinema gold, but its his on screen partnership with Lee Van Cleef that really makes this a brilliant film. Van Cleef gives the performance of his career in this brilliant western which was described brilliantly by film critic Roger Ebert as "Gloriously greasy, sweaty, hairy, bloody and violent". On top of this, the musical score by Ennio Morricone is utterly superb, and when coupled with the long drawn out shootouts which make this series so iconic, this film really becomes a must see.

Number 7. - The Shining

Although a lot of people really like the film, Stephen King who authored the book, detested what director Stanley Kubrick had done with it. Now in the spirit of fairness, I have both seen the film, and read the book, and if anything I found the book to be the less impressive. The use of stedycam, strange symmetrical set pieces and a chilling music score, set the scene for this brilliant horror, which becomes less about the fact that hotel is haunted and more about the mental deterioration of Jack Torrance which is captured beautifully by Jack Nicholson's masterful performance. 

Number 6. - Goodfellas

For me, Martin Scorsese is by far my favourite director, the blast of style that he injects into his films is something that I love, and as a result whenever he makes a new film, I make sure I'm first in line to see it. Goodfellas is his best film. Furthermore, the Godfather is always ranked the best gangster film of all time, and I can see why, it is very good....... but for me, Goodfellas is better. It's based on the real life mob exploits oh Henry Hill, played here by Ray Liotta. Liotta's performance is very good, but it's Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci's performances as his mob friends that really raise the bar. In a way, it could be argued that Scorsese's depiction of life in the Mafia somewhat glamorises its brutality and criminal aspects...... yet it's so damn cool!
The fact that this film lost out on the best picture and best director awards at the 1990 Oscars ceremony ( to dances with wolves) is one of the all time great Oscars travesties. Plus Dean Martin features several times on the soundtrack...... doesn't get any cooler than this!

PART 2 TO INCLUDE  5 - 1 :)

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