101 Films to Watch Over and Over Again – Part 5

With part 5, we have reached the halfway mark in this series. I’m still one film over my 101 limit, but have yet to remove it since, as I have mentioned before, titles could be added or subtracted. We shall see, Anyway, here is the next installment…

 The Godfather Part II

MCDGOTW EC001You wouldn’t think it was possible, but Francis Ford Coppola managed make an even better film with The Godfather 2. The filmmaker just didn’t take Paramount’s money and dish out a piece second rate movie making. It’s breathtaking in its scope with its dual storyline and in dep.th characters. Being a third generation Italian-American, I found the Ellis Island scenes fascinating. My grandparents came through Ellis Island and I always imagine them going thru a similar process as young Vito. And I know people whose last name was changed because the Ellis Island ‘reception committee’ could not understand these “foreigners.” There were Italian immigrants who, believe it or not, ended up with German sounding last names or something else as strange for their background. I found most fascinating to watch the contrast between De Niro’s young meditative young Vito and the more power hungry, unsympathic Michael. A study in power gone corrupt. Continue reading

My Best Films of 2014

It’s mid-February, the Oscars are less than a week away, and here I am finally coming out with my best list. The main reason why is due the theatrical patterns here where I live. For example, Still Alice, with Julianne Moore’s superb performance, only opened up here on February 13th. A Most Violent Year opened just one week earlier. If I keep waiting to see every film that should be considered, among them, The Babadook, Inherent Vice, it would be October. That said, here are my top 10, as well as, some honorable mentions.

10. LIFE ITSELF

Life Itself

9. NIGHTCRAWLER

Nightcrawler

8. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

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7. WHIPLASH

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6. THE IMMIGRANT

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5. BIRDMAN

birdman-be-the-first-superhero-movie-nominated-for-best-picture

4. IDA

IDa

3. SELMA

Selma

2. BOYHOOD

boyhood-poster

1. THE IMITATION GAME

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Honorable Mentions

(in alphabetical order)

A Most Violent Year

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Big Eyes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Finding Vivian Maier

Gone Girl

Mr. Turner

The Normal Heart

The Skeleton Twins

The Theory of Everything

Top Five

Venus in Fur

5 Shades of Classic Films Sexier Than…

Here are five films that are sexier, steamier than anything 50 Shades of Grey will expose. Due to the Production Code’s innate rules Hollywood’s films of yesteryear had to find ways to express sexually within rules that would not allow nudity, long kisses or even married couples in bed together. Here are five films from the heyday of Hollywood that are sexier than 50 Shades of Grey. Continue reading

Andre

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Andre, a Siamese mix, is one of my five cats. Just the other day, I found him sleeping under this quilt my wife made. That in itself is not odd. Generally, he is completely under the quilt. On this particular day, I found him sleeping like this. I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped off a few photos.

Week-end Marriage (1932) Thornton Freeland

Week-End-Marriage-1Week-End Marriage is a “cautionary tale” tale about women attempting to manage both a job and a home life. Based on the 1931 novel by Faith Baldwin, the film pushes all the buttons on the dangers a woman faces by attempting to balance life in and out of the home; a unhappy marriage, an unkempt home, no children and infidelity by the husband. Today, with so many double income families trying to survive, the film seems chauvinistic, narrow-minded and quaint. Continue reading

101 Films to Watch Over and Over Again – Part 4

The fourth installment brings up the question what to do when there are films I forgot to include in my list and which film would I take remove? I have been tweaking along the way, but it continues to become more difficult. Getting into the D’s, I realized Dr. Strangelove was missing! I settled on a film to remove though I felt bad. It’s certainly not a better film that Strangelove, but that does not make it any easier. One thing I was sure of, Kubrick’s cold war satire had to be on the list. It’s brilliant filmmaking and one of the darkest and intelligently funniest films ever made. Right now, I am at 102 films. Like many of those loser reality shows, someone has to go. We shall see. Film noir dominates this installment with three films.We also have some Coppola, Keaton and much more. Continue reading

The Story of Temple Drake (1933) Stephen Roberts

temple-drake-titleOne of the spiciest of pre-code movies ever made was The Story of Temple Drake. It was based on William Faulkner’s decadent novel, “Sanctuary,” which was considered a scorcher for its time. Published in 1931, the novel dealt with rape, bondage and murder, and can probably be compared to today’s Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy in its notoriety. By the standard of the studios and the production code it was considered to be one of those books, like The Postman Always Rings Twice some 15 years later, a work that was too hot for the screen and could not be made into a movie. Yet, just two years after its publication, Paramount purchased the rights and it arrived on the screen, though not without some fine major tuning and modifications. The Hays Office refused to allow the studio to name the novel in any way on screen. Subsequently, during the opening credits it reads from a “novel by William Faulkner.” Still, the film remained and remains one of the most controversial and wicked of pre-code films. Faulkner, it is said, based his novel on a true story and wrote it expressly as a commercial venture to sell books with no consideration of artistic intent. Continue reading