1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

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This week we review:
#1050. Irreversible (2002)

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#1050. Irreversible (2002)

#1050. Irreversible (2002)

Why It's In The Book: "Gaspar Noé pushes the cinematic envelope with Irréversible, his universal tale of the highest and lowest forms of humanity. marshalling the most sophisticated cinematic and narrative techniques to tell a simple story of pervrse intensity and violence, Noé... creates a film which has been hailed as a masterpiece and reviled as the lowest form of cinematic garbage.
Told in reverse chronological order...the film's remarkable sophistication was lost on many who refused to see past the squalor, violence, and degradation presented. For Noé, though, this was much to the point. He went out of his way to present these painful acts as disturbingly as possible...
Centering on a justifiably infamous single take...the film became a cause celebre with critics and audiences worldwide. Many felt that enjoying or even appreciating Noé's achievement was tantamount to endorsing such brutality, while others see Irréversible as the finest movie of 2002. Obviously not for the faint of heart, the film is a shocker and clearly the work of a visionary cinematic master. Whether what he presents is to one's liking, his achievement and commitment to his ideas and ideals are unmistakable." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 9/10
"This is a film designed in every conceivable way to disorient you, to make you feel uncomfortable, and it couldn’t have succeeded any better."
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Michaël Parent - 9/10
"It looks so true that at some point, we believe it is happening in front of our eyes."
READ MORE

Movie Guy Steve - 8/10
"Is it torture porn? Does it exist simply for the sake of existing, to give the audience a perverted thrill ride,  the sort of shock to the cortex of a snuff film without it being real? I’m not so sure. From what I gather,  that’s the whole point of the torture porn genre, and there seems to be something more here than just  sadistic voyeurism."
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Squish - 8/10
"The story, I warn you, has burned itself in my mind to such a degree that I will never recommend this to anyone mildly sensitive."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

 

#162. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

#162. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Why It's In The Book: "The unprecendented deal with RKO pictures that Orson Welles signed in 1940 for two films allowed total creative freedom, but within strict budgets. The Magnificent Ambersons is the second movie made under that contract, undertaken after the completion of Citizen Kane (1941) but  before the wrath of William Randolph Hearst and Welles's own unreliable genius 'wrecked' his career as a Hollywood filmmaker. Welles's desire to bring Booth Tarkington's novel The Ambersons to the big sctreen was a more personal project for him than Kane: He had already completed an adaption of the novel with the Mercury Theater, which was broadcast on radio...
The first seventy minutes are a revelation of creative genius, more than equaling Kane... Working with cinematographer Stanley Cortez rather than Gregg Toland, Welles crafts a film that is as visually striking as Kane, but that also manages a warmer, melancholy nostalgia...
While Citizen Kane is all set pieces, The Magnificent Ambersons is seamless... It's a tragedy that Welles's original cut was taken away (admittedly, while he was enjoying himself in Brazil and not returning calls) and cut down... Alfonso Arau's 2002 remake, which sticks to Welles's original scripted ending, found little favor: The magic was obviously unrepeatable." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Michaël Parent - 10/10
"This Orson Welles film should have been the director's masterpiece and become even greater than his own Citizen Kane made only one year earlier."
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Adolytsi - 9/10
"Orson Welles’ follow-up to Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons is widely regarded as just as fabulous a film as its predecessor."
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Marie_Dressler - 9/10
"Even in its studio-edited state, The Magnificent Ambersons is a worthy follow-up to Citizen Kane."
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Movie Guy Steve - 9/10
"As truncated as this film is, it’s still one of the best of its decade."
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nicolas krizan - 8/10
"The remains are still magnificent enough"
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Sunny D - 8/10
"Never let it be said that Welles was not a gifted filmmaker."
READ MORE

Kim Wilson - 7.5/10
"Overall, The Magnificent Ambersons is a study in conflicting styles. Its would-be greatness is dramatically diminished by haphazard editing—you just can’t cut 131 minutes down to 88 minutes and expect it to work. Still, there are glimmers of cinematic brilliance in the production design, and these alone save the film from complete infamy."
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TSorensen - 7/10
"Giving a director free hands is chancy at best, especially when the director has an ego to match his skills. You may get a master piece or you may get a disaster and The Magnificent Ambersons is a bit of both."
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Thomas Ostrowski - 4/10
"'The following film has been modified from its original version.' HA!"
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 8/10

#696. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 

#696. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

 

Why It's In The Book: "A homage to rather than a spoof of the Saturday matinee serials of the 1930s, Raiders of the Lost Ark brought producer George Lucas (hot from Star Wars) together with director Steven Spielberg, for a movie combining excitement, special effects, and adventure, all played with a wry sense of humor. Harrison Ford, in the role that suited him best in all his career, stars…  impressive set pieces... Raiders works on many levels, not only thanks to Ford’s superb performance and Spielberg’s skill at piling on the action and excitement, but also because Lawrence Kasdan (working from an outline by Lucas) delivers a script that is more than just an old-fashioned adventure… Raiders is a perfect package of adventure, humor, effects, escapism, and terrific performances that has been imitated (but never equaled) in films like The Mummy (1999). It was followed by two sequels in the 80’s, and, after a lengthy development period, a third in 2008." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Jay Cluitt - 10/10
"This is a film that doesn’t necessarily stand up to an abundance of criticism when it comes to the realism of its plot, but it makes up for that with its sense of adventure and fun."
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Movie Guy Steve - 10/10
"I was 13 when I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark (I refuse to call it by its reissued name) in the theater. This is  still one of the greatest theater experiences I have ever had, and likely ever will have."
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Adolytsi - 9/10
"Raiders is the modern day swashbuckler adventure film, one that reinvents its genre as much as it defines it."
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Michaël Parent - 9/10
"I cannot say enough how I like this film and overly praising it would not be fair to anyone who hasn't seen it yet."
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nicolas krizan - 8/10
"what a nostalgic ride!"
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 9.3/10

#638. 1900 (1976)

#638. 1900 (1976)

Why It's In The Book: "One of the first, and certainly one of the longest, political metaphor movies released in the 1970s, what was Bernardo Bertolucci’s labor of love was made possible only after the astonishing success of his Last Tango In Paris. Spanning forty-five years of social history, this two part, five-hour film is not meant to be entertaining. . A visually rewarding if heavy-handed polemic… It is the exceptional international cast of Italian, French, and American actors which now makes this politically tub-thumping experience a sensational cinematic experience. Bertolucci’s may have liked this film to be listed among the great political films, but its belabored message forces the viewer to seek pleasure elsewhere, particularly in the performance of De Niro and Depardieu." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 9/10
"This is what a labor of love should end up being; passionate, engrossing, and epic in scope, while still being entertaining."
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nicolas krizan - 8/10
"Too much of everything, but still in my book"
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Kim Wilson - 7/10
"The production values of 1900 are top-notch. As usual Ennio Morricone creates a memorable score and soundtrack, and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro exquisitely captures the Italian countryside."
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Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"Bertolucci could have saved us all a little time and cut this down to a manageable size."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 7.7/10

 

#972. Run Lola Run (1998)

#972. Run Lola Run [Lola Rennt] (1998)

Why It's In The Book: "A visually inventive, kinetically exciting movie, Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run is an exercise in surprises, beginning right from the opening credits… it’s the way young German director Tykwer shows us Lola’s mission that is different and inventive… Tykwer uses animation, camera tricks, color and black-and-white film, music video effects, and instant replays to tell each adventure as lola runs, Manni runs, and the film becomes a human obstacle course…
Potente
… provides a striking cinematic image… but she also delivers a warm, more in-depth performance….

An interesting, unusual filmmaking experiment that has humor, breathless excitement, and a tremendous energy, all thightly packaged into an MTV-generation movie by the fresh talent of its writer-director."
-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die 

Member Ratings

Lindsey - 10/10
"part fantasy, part video game, all with a fast paced soundtrack."
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Adolytsi - 9/10
"There is pretty much no reason to not be entertained by this film, even if you’re a subtitle snob; it’s just so eclectic and hyperdriven that you can’t help but have your blood start pumping."
READ MORE

Movie Guy Steve - 9/10
"Any more would be unnecessary and completely overwhelming."
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nicolas krizan - 9/10
"Three chances – and then?"
READ MORE

Jay Cluitt - 8/10
"The film moves at such a breakneck speed yet remains easy to follow and only occasionally exasperating."
READ MORE

Thomas Ostrowski - 7/10
"It’s a roller coaster that does take time to breathe inbetween runs."
READ MORE

Marie_Dressler - 6/10
"I really don’t  like this feature-length music video."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 8.6/10

#195. Paisan (1946)

#195. Paisan [Paisà] (1946)

Why It's In The Book: "Anyone approaching Paisan without foreknowledge of its status as a Neorealist masterpiece could be forgiven for giving up early on...It is only by the end of the first of six self-contained episodes that Roberto Rossellini's off-hand style has begun to weave its stark magic... Rossellini develops a structure to match this succession of events... Paisan located the telling traces of prersonal life within the nightmare of war's history." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Marie_Dressler - 8/10
"At the time the film was made, it was important to reintegrate Italy, an Axis enemy for much of the war, into the international community.  I can’t think of a more masterful way of doing so."
READ MORE

Adolytsi - 7/10
"Some people will be a little miffed at the fluctuating storyline, having to drop one story when the next one comes along, but me being the antithesis of a fan of neorealism, it was a useful narrative device to keep me involved in the film."
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Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"That it’s depressing is a function of the subject matter, not Rossellini’s deft work behind the camera."
READ MORE

nicolas krizan - 7/10
"somehow infuses everything with a clumsy, heartwarming authenticity"
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TSorensen - 6/10
"I do not know if I liked Paisa. It was hard to follow for me and strangely disjointed."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 7/10

#36. The Unknown (1927)

#36. The Unknown (1927)

Why It's In The Book: "Best known for directing Bela Lugosi in the 1931 Universal horror classic Dracula (1931), and most notorious for his 1932 oddity Freaks, circus performer-turned-filmmaker Tod Browning’s all-around greatest film is The Unknown. The film is an under-appreciated silent-era gem starring the writer-director’s favorite (and most famous) actor, the so-called “Man of a Thousand Faces,” Lon Chaney.
Well known and greatly admired for the physical pain he would regularly endure playing physically disabled antagonists or antiheroes, Chaney here outdoes himself as Alonzo…

Drawing a remarkable and haunting performance from Chaney and filling the plot with striking twists and unforgettable characters, Browning here creates a chilling masterpiece of psychological (and psychosexual) drama. As Michael Koller writes, ‘The Unknown is a truly horrifying film that takes us into the darkest recesses of the human psyche.’ "
- 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die 

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 8/10
"This was an enjoyable tale, made stronger thanks to Lon Chaney’s impressive performance. And at under an hour, you’ve got nothing to lose watching this one."
READ MORE

Marie_Dressler - 8/10
"Tod Browning gets in some practice for Freaks and directs another touching performance by Lon Chaney."
READ MORE

Michaël Parent - 8/10
"One of the earliest master of Horror, Tod Browning and his Cinema have put the pattern of American studios Horror flicks."
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Squish - 8/10
"It's a film that, although forces the plot into a singular theme sharpened to a nigh-fanatical point, is strange enough and beautiful enough to really leave a lasting impression. I would dare say after copious hours of film consumption, it's still the most bizarre love story I've ever seen on film."
READ MORE

Sunny D - 8/10
"It’s as if Tod Browning took very seriously the challenge to start with a creep who throws knives with his feet, and then top that. And he succeeded."
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TSorensen - 8/10
"The story in The Unknown is bizarre, sort of "Twilight Zone" like, except there is neither occult themes nor any aliens here. No need for that with Lon Chaney and Tod Browning around."
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nicloas krizan - 7.5/10
"almost made plausible by the on-screen power and presence"
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Kim Wilson - 7/10
"If you’re a fan of Tod Browning or Lon Chaney and you like pseudo-sexual-psychological dramas, you will enjoy this film. If you’re a creepy stalker, take heed."
READ MORE

Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"Put simply, Lon Chaney is the reason to see this film and the reason this film exists."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 7.8/10

#302. The Mad Masters (1955)

#302. The Mad Masters [Les maîtres fous] (1955)

 

Why It's In The Book: "Though only 36 minutes long, the imagery in Les Maitres Fous (a.k.a. The Mad Masters) is striking and frequently alarming... One of the masterpieces of ethnographic cinema." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

nicolas krizan - 7/10
"to honor, ridicule, or gain power?"
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Adolytsi - 6/10
"This is not a film to be watched for entertainment value; it is a study of a particular culture, meant to spark discussion and instigate theoretical rumination."
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Movie Guy Steve - 4/10
"It’s hard to tell if the racism is simply there or intentional."
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Lindsey - 3/10
"I still don't understand the purpose of this film."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 5/10

 

#861. La Belle Noiseuse (1991)

#861. La Belle Noiseuse [La Belle Noiseuse] (1991)

Why It's In The Book: "Films about artists are risky...Jacques Rivette accepts the challenge gleefully in La Belle Noiseuse...Rivette and his writers, Pascal Bonitzer and Christine Laurent, juggle many themes skillfully.... At the film's core, Rivette studies, with a minute attention to detail and duration, the dancelike rapport between an artist... and his mostly naked model...it is hard not to see this melancholy hero as the director's own self-portrait." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Lindsey - 9/10
"...so relaxing."
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Adolytsi - 7/10
"I’ve readily admitted that I was not all that willing to sit through a four-hour film about a guy making a painting, but as I’ve also said, once I was able to get myself in the right mindset about the film, I actually found myself enjoying it at times."
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nicvolas krizan - 7/10
"dependence and control, success and failure, possession and release"
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Movie Guy Steve - 4/10
"It’s not unlike an episode of 'The Joy of Painting' with Bob Ross, only without the constant commentary. There are also no happy little trees and a lot more of Marianne’s crotch."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 6.7/10

#1023. Spirited Away (2001)

#1023. Spirited Away (2001)

Why It's In The Book: “With every film that he makes, Hayao Miyazaki sets the standard for animated features higher and higher. Yet he possesses such a singular vision that it’s hard to tell just where to place him on the pantheon. He isn’t a throwback to the past, because no one in the past made movies quite like Miyazaki’s. And he certainly isn’t a precursor of things to come, because it’s hard to imagine anybody but Miyazaki doing what he does. He is one of a kind, and as such his films hold a special place in the heart of movie lovers.
This is especially true in his native Japan, where each of his features exceeds the box office tally of its predecessor, with many of them eclipsing the take of even the most prominent Hollywood blockbusters. This is because Miyazaki creates fantastic worlds somehow free from cloying characters and patronizing tone of so many mainstream animated features. Not Surprisingly, his unfailingly intelligent films appeal to both children and adults, simple enough for the former to enjoy yet complex enough for the latter to appreciate on a different level…

Spirited Away
is in many ways Miyazaki’s Alice in Wonderland. The writer/director’s hand-drawn scenes but with energy and invention, and Miyazaki takes full advantage of the fantastical story to devise dozens of unique spirits and creatures that roam this world of utterly inscrutable rules and impregnable logic.”
-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die 

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 10/10
"If you haven’t seen Spirited Away, you are doing yourself a disservice every day that goes by that you do not."
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Sunny D - 8.5/10
"Given the dearth of fairy tale stories out there with female protagonists who aren’t princesses and aren’t trying to find their true love, it’s an unqualified good thing that Spirited Away exists at all."
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Movie Guy Steve - 8/10
"I may not understand this world I’ve been thrust into for a few hours, but there is real enjoyment in looking at it."
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nicolas krizan - 8/10
"a strange and wondrous world, impossible to fully grasp"
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Michaël Parent - 6/10
"I can see that many people appreciate this kind of beautiful entertainment, but for me it is a nice vehicule but the content isn’t concerning me."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 8.1/10

Upcoming Member-Assigned Reviews:

Thursday August 7th

The Adventures of Prince Achmed [Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed] (1926)
Thursday August 14th

#471. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Thursday August 21st

#255. Europa '51 (1952)
Thursday August 28th

#605: The Mirror [Zerkalo] (1974)

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Past Assignment Archives

You can now find all the Past Assignments the 1001 Club has reviewed on its very own page.

Yes, I agree that it's long overdue.



 

1001 MUST SEE MOVIES CLUB
Complete Members List

(in order of contributions)

AdolytsiMovie Guy SteveSquishNicolas KrizanSiochembioKlaus MingMichaël Parent   KimWilsonAlysonJay CluittChipSunny DTSorensenLindseymarie_dressler Doug TilleyJaime GrijalbaBrian Vs. Movies •  BrandenOilarHaricharanDarwinTim BurrowbpdreviewUnivarnThe Mad Hatter  •  Shubhajit Lahiri •  ChrisLejarzar Robert • Simon Columb •  Jeff CotéChris Edwards • OilarKevyn KnoxK.J BroylesKurosawa_Lover  •  alfindeol  •  FeyjohnlgilpatrickThis Guy Over HereThe Movie Mistress  • WhitneyAndrew Robinson • Danny KingThomas GattoBlakeCastorHeatherMy Floating Red CouchTom CliftEl GringogenevieveRipleyRonanTravis McCollumCMrok93C.M. Dobson

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Remember kiddies, Archive posts are welcome. Whether you were a club member since its inception in 2009 or just joining us now, if you have a review you are proud of, I will gladly add it to the archives list.
 
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