Tag: Guillermo del Toro

Top 100 Films: The _5’s

I guess it makes sense that as we go along the movies will get better and better overall. I think this might be my favorite of the bunch so far. We have 6 horror films (well, at least semi-horror for two of them), 5 movies from before I was born, 3 movies that reference a location in their titles, 2 movies in black and white, 2 shots of girls with blood on them, and 1 movie where it was hard to find a shot that wasn’t full of naked people.

95. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Directed by Tobe Hooper. Starring Marilyn Burns and Edwin Neal

My family’s always been in meat.

As a kid I saw a few shots from this movie and they scared me so much that I vowed never to see it. Then I grew up and realized that I liked horror films. When I watched it a few Halloweens ago I was terrified. It’s one of the most visceral and immediate films I’ve ever seen. And the scene at the dinner table is truly horrifying.

85. The Fly (1986)

Directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis

How does Brundlefly eat? Well, he found out the hard and painful way that he eats very much the way a fly eats. His teeth are now useless, because although he can chew up solid food, he can’t digest them. Solid food hurts. So like a fly, Brundlefly breaks down solids with a corrosive enzyme, playfully called “vomit drop”. He regurgitates on his food, it liquefies, and then he sucks it back up. Ready for a demonstration, kids? Here goes…

The Brundlefly is one of the more tragic characters in movie history. A simple accident melds his DNA with a fly’s and then he begins to lose his humanness as bits of his body turn into a fly. It’s body horror of the truest and grossest sense. Goldblum manages to keep the humanity of the situation in the forefront for as long as he can, which is why the movie is on this list.

75. Manhattan (1979)

Directed by Woody Allen. Starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton

I had a mad impulse to throw you down on the lunar surface and commit interstellar perversion.

I only started to watch Woody Allen movies this year, starting with Midnight in Paris and ending, so far, with Manhattan, with nothing else in the middle. Manhattan is funny and smart and all that jazz, but nobody warned me how good it looked. Allen has a way with the frame, and working with Gordon Willis certainly helps.

65. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

I have seen one or two things in my life but never, never anything like this.

A dream of a movie. A surreal comedy about Tom Cruise’s inability to get laid. It’s unfortunate that this movie got caught up in the real life story between the two main actors and Kubrick’s death because it’s a really great film in its own right. Give it a chance.

55. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Starring Ron Pearlman and Doug Jones

Now, see, I love this song. And I can’t smile, or cry. I think I have no tear ducts.

A mix of del Toro’s two modes, Hellboy II is an artsy superhero film and an action filled art film. Clever and thoughtful, tragic and swashbuckling, this movie has everything going for it. And it’s better than that other superhero sequel from the same year.

45. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Directed by John Ford. Starring Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell

Well, maybe it’s like Casy says. A fellow ain’t got a soul of his own, just a little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody.

I’m not a huge fan of the book this film is based on, but the humanity brought by Fonda and Darwell in particular make this such a great film. As usual, John Ford directs an excellent film, but it’s these two performances that raise it above the rest.

35. Zodiac (2007)

Directed by David Fincher. Starring Jake Jyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr.

I… I need to know who he is. I… I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye and I need to know that it’s him.

The first in the second stage of Fincher’s career, Zodiac is much more understated than Fight Club or Panic Room. It follows the obsession of three men as they try to find the real identity of the Zodiac killer, though their quest is ultimately unsuccessful. It says a lot about Fincher that he can make such an unsatisfying conclusion seem like the only way the story could end.

25. Halloween (1978)

Directed by John Carpenter. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.

By today’s standards this is barely a horror movie. There’s only a tiny bit of blood at the beginning of the film and the rest is mostly tension building. But it does that mood so well you can’t help but be scared. When you have an audience jumping in their seats because your bad guy steps out from behind the bushes for a moment you’ve got a truly great film on your hands.

15. Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Starring Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney

All in all not a bad guy – if looks, brains, and personality don’t count.

One of the few mob-based films that doesn’t annoy the crap outta me, Miller’s Crossing is a genius movie. Gabriel Byrne’s central performance is so strong and he’s surrounded by such a great supporting cast and a great story told wonderfully. Truly the best gangster movie of all time.

5. There Will Be Blood (2007)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano

I see the worst in people. I don’t need to look past seeing them to get all I need. I’ve built my hatreds up over the years, little by little, Henry… to have you here gives me a second breath. I can’t keep doing this on my own with these… people.

What I like to call a character epic, TWBB is half a grandiose tale of oil and religion and half a character study. With an all-time-great performance by Daniel Day-Lewis and a better-than-he-gets-credit-for performance by Paul Dano, this movie needed only to be shot reasonably well to be great. But Paul Thomas Anderson brought all of his tricks with him and we got an amazing movie out of the deal. I have no hesitations calling this a masterpiece.

The other parts of the list:

The _0’s section

The _9’s section

The _8’s section

The _7’s section

The _6’s section

The _5’s section

The _4’s section

The _3’s section

The _2’s section

The _1’s section

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 22 – Your Favorite Horror Film

Day 22 – Your Favorite Horror Film

Guillermo del Toro is probably my favorite living director. It’s an absolute shame that he wasn’t able to continue on The Hobbit or At the Mountains of Madness. As demonstrated in Pan’s Labyrinth, the guy can direct the crap out of movies that require imagination and emotional intelligence. And he can make some of the scariest monsters you’ll ever see. The Pale Man scene is among the most terrifying scenes of all time. His herky jerky motion (all praises go to Doug Jones) and extremely creepy design just get to me. But he is not the greatest villain of the film. No, that honor belongs to Sergi López’s Captain Vidal. He’s a very real person and yet so evil that his facial disfigurement seems like an inevitability. Like many other great horror films, Pan’s Labyrinth features a young child as our hero, or, in this case, heroine. Ivana Baquero plays Ofelia with a mix of wonder and fear of the fantasy world and the real world that really makes this movie tick. In a movie where a homicidal man is your new stepfather and your only source of escape is an equally dangerous fantasy land the horror comes from all sides. 
Notes:

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 12 – A Film By Your Least Favorite Director

Day 12 – A Film By Your Least Favorite Director
Avatar (2009, Cameron)

Can I choose Aliens again? No? Ok, Avatar it is. Take all of the problems I outlined in Aliens and fix none of them and you get Avatar. I don’t even care that it’s not original because, for the most part, nothing is. If the dialogue was even remotely good I’d forgive the trite plot. The visuals are cool, yes, but they serve anything. I don’t need subtlety in my movies but I do require something that respects my intelligence. You want a good action film? Go to Die Hard or the Bourne films. Avatar has nothing outside looking cool (and even that isn’t really all that special. It’s fantasy plus neon.) and making a lot of money. It is so thoroughly mediocre for a movie that should be amazing. That’s the real problem. James Cameron can create cool looking things but he has trouble getting me to care about them. The Abyss is his only film that I can truly claim to enjoy without reservation since even T2 has the same annoying-child-actor-problem that hurts Aliens. For a guy that can do pretty much anything he wants he doesn’t seem to want to do anything of actual import. It’s a damn shame that people like Guillermo del Toro and Terry Gilliam can’t get the proper funding for their films but Cameron’s utterly boring films rake in the dough.

Notes:
  • It seems like Michael Bay would be an obvious choice here but I like a lot of his movies. The Rock is fantastic and The Island and Armageddon both have some things going for them. Also, I really like the looks of Transformers: Dark of the Moon or whatever it’s called.
  • James Cameron is probably better than most directors but it is his lack of ambition that gives him his spot here. I never expect a Paul W.S. Anderson movie or a Uwe Boll film to be anything but crap. Cameron could be so much better!