Sam Fuller’s background as a newspaper reporter is always evident in his films visual style. They always jump off the screen like the morning headlines. Fuller’s 1957 western begins exactly in that same fashion sucking you in right from its opening shot. A buckboard with three men, Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan) and his two brothers, suddenly hear the sound of a thundering herd of horses. Before they know it they are surrounded by the film title’s forty guns, led by Barbara Stanwyck’s Jessica Drummond, all dressed in blackm riding a white stallion. One of Fuller’s visually unique shots puts the camera’s POV under the buckboard as the horses thundering hooves pound on by. Continue reading
After what I considered a slow start, 2015 turned out to be a very good year for films. Subsequently, instead of doing a top ten I expanded it to twenty five films that I felt raised the level of cinema to art. Well, if not exactly art in all cases, at least raising the level of entertainment to a creative and intelligent level. Here we go…
1 – Spotlight
My best film of the year! A brilliant look at what investigative journalism should be. Spotlight is the best film detailing what it means to be a serious journalist since All the President’s Men. The film draws you in early on and keeps you locked in while managing not to exploit sensitive subject matter. Spotlight is intelligent filmmaking and a superb look at heroic journalism against powerful forces. Continue reading
I just want to announce that my first work of fiction, MURDER WITH A TWIST, consisting of two short stories, is now available at Amazon for only .99 cents. Just click on the following link. http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Twist-John-Greco-ebook/dp/B01AF2A2V4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
THE DANISH GIRL
Alicia Vikander gives a stunning performance as Gerta, a woman who as she reaches her artistic peak finds herself losing her husband in an unexpected way. Through it all she remains loyal, faithful and in love with a man who is no longer there. I know most will disagree with me, however, I felt Eddie Redmayne’s performance was too controlled and he never reached deep enough within himself to give any depth to his character. The film itself is photographically stunning.
A look back ot life’s highs and disappointments through the eyes of two long times friends as performed by two legendary actors. Beautifully and poetically filmed.
Will Ferrell use to be funny. Now he seems to think taking off his shirt (again) and revealing his flabby body is all that is needed. In Daddy’s Home, he’s just plain predictable and perversely dull, and he needed Mark Wahlberg to help him out with it. One of the worst films of 2015.
There’s a good story in the tale of Joy Mangano, unfortunately the film David O. Russell made is not it. I have liked most of Russell’s films, but other than some of the performances, Jennifer Lawrence, who may be the best young actress working in Hollywood today, and Robert De Niro this is disappointment.
THE BIG SHORT
Scathingly funny look at what led up to the 2008 financial collapse as warned by four outsiders. The director and screenwriters manage to break down and present the complicated tale in a way the layman could understand. Steve Carrell gives a powerful performance. One of the best of the year.
Classic films never really get old. Like a fine wine it’s more about how they age. Though I have watched so many films over the years I still find there is always something to new discover. There are lessons to be learned; how we lived, dressed as well as mistakes we as a society have made and hopefully can learn and not to repeat. Sadly, that last part does not always happen. This year’s group of first time viewings is no different.
While the definition of what constitutes a classic film is always open to interpretation, for purposes of this year’s list, I have included one film that is only two years old. Not my usual definition, but if I did not include this one film it would have slipped through the cracks, therefore, I included it. As usual though the list leans toward older films including one silent classic. Six of the ten films on the list are foreign. There are two from France, one each from England, Italy, Japan and Brazil. There is also one co-production from the U.S., U.K. and Switzerland. The remaining films are from the U.S. From a decades perspective there was no one decade that stood out. Two from the 1940’s, the 1960’s, the 1980’s and the 2000’s. If you are curious about the previous entries in this series, the easiest way is to go over to categories on the sidebar and select “Annual Ten Best Classic Films Watched…for the First Time.” I also included a ten honorable mentions. Continue reading
I want to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one. I also want to thank everyone for stopping by and taking a look at my ramblings and joining in the conversation. A few highlights included the chance to interview authors Jacqueline T. Lynch and Michelle Morgan during the publications of their respective biographies on actresses Ann Blyth and Thelma Todd. Both books rank up there on the best film bios of the year. I myself was interviewed, and quoted, by Chicago Tribune writer, Nina Metz, in an article she wrote about Chicago and the gangster film back in late April. For 2016, I have a few things in the works that hopefully come to fruition and will be sharing. Of course, the reviews and articles with continue. First up, my annual Top 10 List of Classic Films I Watched for the First Time which will appear here tomorrow.
I know these days there are a lot of blogs out there, much more than eight and half years ago when I began this little adventure. So once again I thank you.