- Once (2006)
- All the President's Men (1976)
- Being John Malkovich (1999)
- In the Year of the Pig (1968)
- In The Mood For Love (2000)
- Hole, The (1960)
- Tokyo Story (1953)
- Ocean’s Eleven Blu-Ray Review
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- Gilda (1946)
- Rounders (1998)
- Masque of the Red Death, The (1964)
- Django Unchained (2012)
- Fat City (1972)
- Amélie (2001)
- All That Jazz (1979)
- Night of the Hunter, The (1955)
- King of Comedy, The (1983)
- Manhattan (1979)
- Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
- Sullivan's Travels (1941)
- Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The (1994)
- Hecklefest Four-Word Film Reviews! August '12 - Week 4
- Playtime (1967)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
- Haunted Castle, The (1921)
- Last Wave, The (1977)
- Naked Lunch (1991) * Weird and Wacky *
- Phantom Carriage, The (1921)
- Lolita (1962)
Days like today...
...where difficult 3-hour epics bring us together to study film, to gain a greater understanding of Capital C-inema's history, to delve where 'guys who like movies' don't go, to travel only where the self-proclaimed cinephile, the film snob and the critic go: to the study.
Welcome to the portal page!
We are a community of bloggers who share a common interest in cinema past and present, using the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die' book as our guide to exploring this vast realm of study.
The 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club is a forum for bloggers to share in their passion and engage in group study, one classic film at a time. For our readers, it is a portal of cinematic opinions from a wide assortment of blog critics, one film per week, 52 weeks per year.
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Below you will find links to Community Pages, reviews, editorials and insight of our weekly-assigned films.
Under that is a list of past club assignment archives, contributor credits, and upcoming assignments
#5. Intolerance (1916)
Why It's In The Book: "Perhaps in part a retort to those who found fault with the racial politics in The Birth of a Nation (1915), D.W. Griffith was equally concerned to argue against film censorship. This was addressed more directly in the pamphlet issued at the time of Intolerance’s exhibition, The Rise and Fall of Free Speech in America. Griffith’s design for this film…is to juxtapose four storied from different periods of history… Griffith…often introduces suspenseful crosscutting with the stories as well. This revolutionary structure proved too difficult for most filmgoers at the time, who may also have been put off by Intolerance’s length (more than three hours). Griffith may have invested as much as $2 million in the project, but the film never came close to making back its costs, even when recut and rereleased as two separate features, The Fall of Babylon and The Mother and the Law.
No expense was spared in the impressive historical recreations. The enormous sets for the Babylon story, which long after remained a Hollywood landmark, were dressed with 3,000 extras. These production values were equaled by the sumptuous costumes and elaborate crowd scenes of the French story…
As in The Birth of a Nation, Griffith uses the structure of Victorian melodrama to make his political points… Intolerance is a monument to Griffith’s talent for screenwriting, directing actors, designing shots, and editing – a one of a kind masterpiece on a scope and scale that has never been equaled. Meant to persuade, this film exerted more influence on the Soviet revolutionary cinema of Sergei Eisenstein and others than on Griffith’s American contemporaries." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Chris Edwards - 8/10
"Given Griffith’s overall body of work, it’s ironic that Babylon—a venal sin-pit—receives the best of his attention. In the scene leading to the great battle, you’ll see a different D.W.; one willing to film erotic footage of writhing priestesses amid other opulencies. Some parts of Babylon are downright steamy and it’s too bad he didn’t film more of this adult (in the best sense of the word) material. He might have stayed on top a while longer."
Kim Wilson - 8/10
"I personally like the film and fully understand its importance in the development of the world of film, but I also understand why some might not find it as enjoyable as I do."
Lindsey - 8/10
"The word 'epic' was actually created to describe this film."
Adolytsi - 7/10
"Film historians and students of the cinema will gain a great appreciation for Griffith and what he accomplishes with this one, but this isn’t one I’d tell the layman moviegoer to see."
Squish - 6/10
"Uh, let's just say 'Appropriate Title', shall we?"
marie_dressler - 5/10
"My definition of a movie I’m glad I don’t have to see again before I die: any 3+ hour D.W. Griffith silent epic."
Movie Guy Steve - 5/10
"... it’s a few hours of preaching, bad behavior, and overacting."
Siochembio - 4/10
"Somehow D.W. Griffith is much more amusing to me if I picture him as a ghetto thug."
TSorensen - 3/10
"My mind just went into stupid mode long before the resolution of the stories. All I could think of was: What a hypocrite ass!"
Overall Rating: 6/10
#663. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Why It's In The Book: "The best picture in George Lucas’s touchstone of modern cinema, the original Star Wars trilogy, this knockout sequel to the 1977 blockbuster and cultural phenomenon caps the first with more Oscar-winning special effects. Episode V has more personality…strong new characters appear (like Billy Dee Williams’s dashing scoundrel Lando Calrissian), all of them safely in the sure hands of studio workhorse Irvin Kershner. The action rages… the battle drives on to the cliffhanging climax… mystic master Yoda – a wizened puppet sage performed with startling expressiveness and exasperation by Muppeteer Frank “Miss Piggy” Oz.
Like its predecessor, The Empire Strikes back incorporates all the hectic thrills of 1930s Saturday serials. The cracking screeplay by Leigh Brackett – noted for her collaborations with Howard Hawks and who died before the film went into production – and impressive newcomer Lawrence Kasdan, hurtles along with a spirited sense of romantic fun. One-liners became catchphrases – “I have a baaad feeling about this.” Charming comic interplay for the scene-stealing androids C-3PO and R2-D2, and ever weirder alien creatures wowed audiences the world over. Restored by Lucas in 1997 with digitally-enhanced effects and an additional three minutes, this rollicking popcorn adventure is arguably even slicker and just as entertaining today.” -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Adolytsi - 10/10
"This is another difficult one to try and review critically, both for its popularity and status in history, and it is another one that I feel like I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said about it."
Movie Guy Steve - 10/10
"Empire is the best of the trilogy for any number of reasons."
Siochembio - 10/10
"It's fucking Star Wars!"
Kim Wilson - 8.5/10
"The true test of how good this movie is the fact that I get the same feeling today that I did 30+ years ago when I sat in the front row and watched it."
Chip - 8/10
"What can be said about the movie The Empire Strikes Back that has not already been written a dozen times? Rather than do a “normal” review where I have a short summary of the movie and point out a few things of interest, I thought I would do something different. I’m going to share with you what it was like to be a teenager when the whole Star Wars phenomenon was starting, and when no one knew what was going to happen next."
Lindsey - 8/10
"This movie does not simply take us through outer space. We get to experience the harsh winter of Hoth, the swamp jungle of the Dagobah system, and even journey to a city in the clouds."
marie_dressler - 8/10
"I watched it, I was entertained, and somehow I am stumped for anything else to say."
Overall Rating: 9.2/10
#961. Being John Malkovich (1999)
Why It's In The Book: "Acclaimed video director, Spike Jonze… turned filmmaker successfully turns one of the oddest concepts for a movie (as perceived by writer Charlie Kaufman) into one of the most inventive Hollywood films in recent history…
Kaufman cleverly weaves an intricate plot… Jonze dazzles at every turn as he tells this smart, subversive, and darkly comic tale, and he has assembled a cast – Cusack and Diaz especially – who beautifully translate his skewed vision to the screen. Of course, Being John Malkovich wouldn’t have worked at all without the eponymous actor himself, who parodies his public image brilliantly…
Wonderfully hip, utterly marvelous." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Kim Wilson - 9.5/10
"While I am not known for my unadorned adoration of 'art' films, I do regard Being John Malkovich as one of the best films of the 1990s. From the inspired and riveting opening scene until the wickedly bizarre ending, I was thoroughly engrossed in this unique film."
Lindsey - 9/10
"I could go on and on asking questions about this movie, and I think that's why it's so meaningful to this list of 1001 movies. If a movie raises questions and sparks discussions, it proves that it's not just a medium of art, it's on a whole different level."
Nicolas Krizan - 9/10
"Amazingly inventive, painfully smart, wryly funny."
Siochembio - 9/10
"Manages to be weird without ever completely disorienting the audience."
Squish - 8.5/10
"There's elements of darkness and madness and passion that make this a little bit more profound, that make it memorable, that make it terrific from beginning to end. But what I believe will keep this movie timeless and unique is the work of puppeteer Phillip Huber. His marionettes combined with his skill are a wonder to behold."
Sunny D - 8.5/10
"Being John Malkovich [is] a perfect storm of a movie in terms of bringing multiple wonderfully weird talents and visions together."
Adolytsi - 8/10
"While there may be directors other than Jonze, and writers other than Kaufman, the two are truly unique among the crowd, and combined together, make for one heady amusement park ride."
Chip Lary - 8/10
"Being John Malkovich was my first exposure to the writing of Charlie Kaufman. It would be an understatement to say that his mind works in ways that are different from most other people. The result is some really unique movies. This one is no exception."
Alyson - 7/10
"Being John Malkovich is so smart and out there, not one thing in this film is normal. Yet, we accept it all and want more."
marie_dressler - 7/10
"This was a well made picture but it just wasn’t for me."
Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"I dislike the characters intensely, which prevents me from really loving this film the way I want to."
Overall Rating: 8.2/10
#448. Blow-Up (1966)
Why It's In The Book: "Michelangelo Antonioni became an international filmmaker with this 1966 picture… Turning his outsider’s eye on a London that was just beginning to swing, Antonioni captures precisely a time and a place that seemed culturally significant. As with Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, a film intended as a satirical attack on a certain type of modern sophistication and emptiness emerges almost as a celebration of the fashions, mores, music, sexuality, and strangeness of a world it would like to disapprove of…
Despite its thriller-style hook (often hommaged in straighter suspense films like Coppola’s The Conversation or De Palma’s Blow Out), this is less a mystery than a portrait of swinging alienation… this is a film about an alien world…" -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Adolytsi - 9/10
" This is a film that has a lot to say, and that viewers and critics alike can have a lot to say about it. It ignites and enlivens discussions, especially about the film’s enigmatic ending."
marie_dressler - 9/10
"While Blow-Up can hardly be called entertaining, it is a sometimes frustrating but intellectually stimulating and visually exciting examination of an artist’s unsuccessful struggle to bring order out of chaos and the emptiness of the materialism at the heart of swinging London."
Movie Guy Steve - 8/10
"Ultimately, I think I’d like a little less artistic oomph and a little more story earlier on."
Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"Clever, camp, and irritating depiction of the life of a cynical bastard"
Squish - 8/10
"It's in our nature [to ask] "What's this about?" ... but in the case of Blow-Up, asking that question is missing the point. "
Siochembio - 7.5/10
"Of all the Antonioni films I've seen, Blow-Up is the most accessible, but that's not saying much."
Kim Wilson - 4/10
"Somehow this 1966 film from famed Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni earned two Academy Award nominations: Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Obviously drug abuse was a huge problem for Academy voters in the mid-60s, because Blow-Up is a really bad art film gone horribly wrong."
Overall Rating: 7.6/10
#1096. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Why It's In The Book: "The modulated pacing and precise direction ably run the fine line between boring and flattering to deceive, giving center stage to the topnotch British cast and impeccable production design. Although firmly rooted in the period with which the original miniseries enjoyed contemporariness, Alfredson skillfully manages to modernize the themes and aesthetic... Visually, the palette of dour browns and yellows is sketched across a rich anamorphic canvas.
In order to condense le Carre's novel into two hours, Alfredson trusts his audience to follow him closely. The array of characters is vast, the information diseminated voluminous, yet he nimbly covers the necessary ground. If he succeeds in conveying the ethos at the cost of some pathos... Alfredson has at least constructed a subtle and intelligent espionage drama that quietly stands out against the brash backdrop of Bournes and Bonds and 24." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Klaus Ming - 9/10
"this unglamorous slowly paced film has an authentic 1970s era look and feel"
Jay Cluitt - 8/10
"Though the performances are all impeccable and the atmosphere is both what was aimed for and what it should be, I cannot recommend this film on the basis that I didn't enjoy it, and I'm still not sure what it was about."
marie_dressler - 8/10
"On further reflection, the pieces of the disjointed plot kept coming together and I’ve come to the conclusion that the film worked better than it first appeared."
Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"Restraint, suspicion, silence."
Adolytsi - 7/10
"This is one of the most methodical films I’ve been a privy to; it shows the craftsmanship of a master filmmaker, but seems to eschew outright entertainment in order to do so."
Kim Wilson - 7/10
"Overall, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was an exercise in patience for me. The plot was difficult to follow and I often found myself irked by Alfredson’s overuse of flashbacks."
Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"...this is a film in which our protagonist and his nemesis sit around and talk a lot and think cinematically until the Gordian Knot of the film’s plot resolves itself."
Siochembio - 7/10
"Too dense and too meandering, to the ultimate detriment of itself."
Lindsey - 3/10
"Everything in the movie is made of dull greys and browns. The acting is muted, quiet-like. It is boring to look at. It is boring to listen to."
Overall Rating: 7/10
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