1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club

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  • user warning: Can't open file: 'cache.MYI' (errno: 145) query: UPDATE cache SET data = '<p>\n<div align=\"center\"><img class=\"image preview\" src=\"/guts/files/images/blog%20Club%20banner%20Large.JPG\" border=\"0\" width=\"378\" height=\"127\" /></div>\n<p>\n<div align=\"center\"><strong><font size=\"3\">Thursday, December 11th, 2014</font></strong></div>\n<div align=\"center\"> </div>\n<div align=\"center\">--------</div>\n<div align=\"center\">&#39;Tis the season, and as always, people are exeptionally busy. Happy Holidays! </div>\n<div align=\"center\"> </div>\n<div align=\"center\"><strong>This week we review:<br /></strong><br />\n<div align=\"center\"><img class=\"image preview\" src=\" in /guts/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 120.
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Thursday, December 11th, 2014
 
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'Tis the season, and as always, people are exeptionally busy. Happy Holidays!
 
This week we review:

#821. Die Hard (1988)


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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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#821. Die Hard (1988)

#821. Die Hard (1988)

Why It's In The Book: "Before Die Hard, Bruce Willis was just an actor with one hit TV show (‘Moonlighting’) and a flop movie (Blind Date) to his name, but following the movie’s huge success, he deservedly became one of Hollywood’s hottest stars…

John McTiernan – who previously helmed the Arnold Schwarzenegger alien action movie Predator… packs his skyscraper adventure with explosions, fights, and relentless action… McTiernan, along with writer Jeb Stuart and Steve DeSouza (adapting a Roderick Thorpe novel), effectively redefines the action movie as one-man-army… Superbly acted by Willis… a true rollercoaster ride of a movie." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Movie Guy Steve - 10/10
"There’s not a frame of this film that isn’t fun to watch."
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Chip Lary - 9/10
"The theater was only about 1/3 full on opening night, so a lot of people other than my friend probably also thought it wasn’t going to be that good.  Well, it turned out to be one of the best, if not the best, action films ever made.  It’s number 1 on my list of the best non-traditional Christmas movies."
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Michaël Parent - 9/10
"Die Hard is one hell of a fun ride..."
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"If you’re in the mood for an action film, go right to the source; this has been influencing the genre ever since it arrived, and deserves a look, or second viewing."
READ MORE

Squish - 7/10
"Oh 80s, you were like a beautiful big red flag to us all about National Security. You so coy."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 8.6/10

 

#1035. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

#1035. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Why It's In The Book: "Clearly inspired by back issues of The New Yorker magazine, with a streak of arch whimsy running through it, Wes Anderson's ensemble piece The Royal Tenenbaums did not disappoint fans of his two previous films, Bottle Rocket (1996) and Rushmore (1998). Decorated with Edward Gorey-like drawings and narrated by a deadpan Alec Baldwin, this oddball fantasy hangs on the mannered performances of a stellar cast. With a script that's laden with visual gags… and nifty, oblique quips, the straightforward emotional content is virtually nil. Despite its flaws, Anderson has yet again come up with a fresh take on the dysfunctional-family-as-comedy genre. Based on a nonexistent book, the script earned Academy Award nominations for Anderson and his co-writer Owen Wilson
Ultimately The Royal Tenenbaums is  also an extremely satisfying hybrid this is far too funny to be wholly tragic and far too glib to be profound."
-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Movie Guy Steve - 9/10
"I tend to like Wes Anderson, but I don’t like his other films nearly as much as I like this one."
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"If you’re receptive to the type of film Wes Anderson crafts, it’ll be easy to like The Royal Tenenbaums; of course, for many reasons it will also be easy to dislike it."
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Squish - 8/10
"The Royal Tenenbaums is... not a balls-out horn-honking wonky screwball goof-fest, but a subtler, more elite highborn humour of the strange that will have you softly tittering in your kerchief, perhaps even giving a polite golf-clap as the wittier moments unfold."
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Thomas Ostrowski - 6/10
"I want to live in the Tenenbaum house, not necessarily with them."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 7.8/10

 

#1109. WALL-E (2008)

#1109. WALL-E (2008)

Why It's In The Book: "Subtle and lighthearted, Pixar's story - based on director Andrew Stanton's idea of what would happen if everyone left Earth and forgot to switch off the last robot - was one of 2008's biggest hits. A love story between two robots that evokes Tracy and Hepburn and a commentary on humankind's inertia and dubious future - along with a strong environmental message and an open criticism of consumerism - made WALL-E a movie that parents could take their children to and children could take their parents to with great success for both...
"Ben Burtt's sound design for WALL-E featured universal intonation, allowing the robots to communincate without language. Over 2,500 sounds were recorded for this film, twice more than Burtt's work for Star Wars. Pushing the animation barrier beyond what was thought viable, Pixar's success with WALL-E proves that intelligence within animation need not be preachy - it also proved that science fiction need not be silly, stupid, or scary."
-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Adolytsi - 10/10
"Simply put, Wall-E is the best animated film of all time."
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Movie Guy Steve - 8/10
"In short, WALL-E is good, maybe even great, but Pixar has been better."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"everything helps build the total »reality«"
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Thomas Ostrowski - 7/10
"At least it’s comforting to know that VHS tapes will still work seven hundred years into the future."
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Overall Rating: 8.3/10

 

#642. Star Wars (1977)

#642. Star Wars (1977)

Why It's In The Book: "Writer-director George Lucas’s film was not expected to be a success. A 'sci-fi western' with a virtually unknown principal cast (Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher), studio bosses were so convinced the movie would flop that they happily gave Lucas the merchandising rights to any Star Wars products for free. They obviously did not realize the film’s huge potential, and never expected that it would lead to two sequels, three prequels, an Ewok spin-off, cartoons, computer games, toys, soundtracks, books, huge video and DVD sales, sweets, clothes, bed linen, and even food.

On paper, the movie that cost $11 million, and went on to make over $460 million, probably didn’t sound like a potential blockbuster, let alone one of the most successful films ever made.

A couple of decades before computer-generated images could be used to create fantastical worlds and distant planets, Lucas, using incredibly detailed models, clever photography, and well-chosen locations...

Lucas also created a mythology that has been embraced by young and old alike. As well as creating various creatures from his galaxy far, far away, his good-versus-evil storyline introduces us to people and objects that have since become part of the English language: the Millennium Falcon... light sabers... Imperial Stormtroopers, and, of course, the Jedi Knights (so much a part of our collective consciousness now that an internet campaign suggesting that people enter ‘Jedi’ under the religion question of a United Kingdom census form proved hugely successful).

In giving the world Star Wars, Lucas succeeded in making much more than just a movie (one that would eventually get its own exhibit at the Smithsonian, no less); he made a world, a new style of cinema, and an unforgettable outer space opera that has been many times imitated but never bettered. And you never can see the strings." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

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."
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Movie Guy Steve - 10/10
"What Star Wars does really, really well is create a completely believable universe for what it is."
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Squish - 9.5/10
"Shame on you, Lucas for disallowing Han the right to be straight-up mercenary without the Moral ambiguity that we all knew he was."
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Sunny D - 9.5/10
"All of the most important people in my life, my parents, my siblings, my wife, my buddies, the one thing they all have in common is that they’ve all had long conversations with me about Star Wars at some point or another."
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Chip Lary - 9/10
"I was 12 years old when Star Wars opened in May of 1977, but turned 13 before I saw it.  One of the things I’d like to do is dispel the rumor that it immediately took the country by storm, with everyone raving about the movie."
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Lindsey - 9/10
"This is truly a fairytale set in space."
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marie_dressler - 8/10
"... an entertaining adventure story with some before-their-time special effects."
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Nicolas Krizan - 7.5/10
"30 years ago I probably wouldn’t have had any doubts"
READ MORE  

Overall Rating: 9.1/10

 

#734. Local Hero (1983) 

#734. Local Hero (1983)

Why It's In The Book: "A gentle Scottish-set culture-clash comedy the the tradition of Whisky Galore! (1949) and The Maggie (1954)... Forsyth's near-mystical sense of place and his affection for all his characters... play into his low-key, quirky humor." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Nicolas Krizan - 8.5/10
"change, choices – and a rabbit"
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"Local Hero isn’t a straight out comedy, and nor is it a straight out drama; it happily walks the fine line between the two, and I’d really not have it any other way."
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Movie Guy Steve - 8/10
"The truth of Local Hero is that it’s nothing particularly special or unique. It’s simply very, very good."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 8/10

 

#469. Come Drink With Me [Da Zui Xia] (1966)

#469. Come Drink With Me [Da Zui Xia] (1966)

Why It's In The Book: "Long before there was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) there was the great King Hu, a master director who, beginning with his Come Drink With Me, helped revolutionise the martial arts costume drama by introducing a femal lead. The film is a visual tour de force, each sequence meticulously designed by King Hu into a feast of color, movement and high-flying action." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Nicolas Krizan - 7.5/10
"quality fighting plus enough story and character"
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Adolytsi - 6/10
"While this was quite nice, and very stylish (which made for fairly entertaining viewing), it definitely showed the lack of skill and finesse that Hu had at this point in his career."
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Movie Guy Steve - 6/10
"Da Zui Xia is not going to make anyone who isn’t a fan of chop-socky films into one."
READ MORE

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

 

#153. The Wolf Man (1941)

#153. The Wolf Man (1941)

Why It's In The Book: "The Wolf Man, directed by George Waggner... still remains the most recognizable and cherished version of the myth… Makeup king Jack Pierce devised an elaborate yak-hair costume for [Lon Chaney Jr.] that would come to serve as the template for countless Halloween masks… The success of Waggner's picture led to four more Chaney-driven Wolf Man films in the 1940s alone. Dozens of imitators, updates, take-offs, spoofs have since followed." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Sunny D - 9/10
"He's a regular guy, trying to find his way and maybe win the lady's love. He has no idea that his own story is going to become a tragedy."
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Adolytsi - 7/10
"Aside from the fantastic makeup effects and good horror sense, this doesn’t have much else extra going for it."
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Marie_Dressler - 7/10
"If only they could have found another actor to play the Wolf Man..."
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Nicolas Krizan - 7/10
"the weakest of the classic Universal horror movies"
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TSorensen - 4/10
"Apparently werewolves are only dangerous to women and old men"
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Overall Rating: 6/10

 
#73. Freaks (1932)

#73. Freaks (1932)

Why It's In The Book: "From its beginning as a horror exceeding all expectations... to its revival as an avant-garde film in the tradition of Luis Bunuel and Alain Robbe-Grillet, Tod Browning's Freaks has been classified as everything from horror to art house to documentary (because of the movie's use of 'real freaks'). Nevertheless, despite its originality of conception and design, and its startling ability to both move and frighten audiences, Freaks has remained to this day an underappreciated film.

...Alarming yet profound movie, which truly must be seen to be believed. It is a supreme oddity (freak?) of world cinema considered by many to be the most remarkable film in the career of a director whose credits include the original version of Dracula (1931)" -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

TSorensen - 9/10
"To me this film is a gem and a humanistic master piece. It is food for thought that just a year later Hitler came into power on a program to eradicate exactly this kind of people."
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marie_dressler - 8/10
"Is it exploitation or art? Probably both."
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Movie Guy Steve - 8/10
"This film is so creepy and wrong, so horribly twisted, that it plays out like a train wreck. It’s awful to see, but you can’t look away from it."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"unsuspicious love and dark treachery"
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Squish - 6.5/10
"The worst of it is the constant failing attempt at comedy, the best is the immersive look at the clique of freaks"
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Chip Lary - 6/10
"The question of whether these performers were being exploited by Browning, or given a good chance by him, is one of the reasons to watch this film."
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Adolytsi - 5/10
"This is a novelty film pure and simple; watching the cast of oddballs go through the same tribulations and worries that we all do is quite the experience, but it’s not a great film by any standard."
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Overall Rating: 7.3/10

 

#419. Hud (1963)

#419. Hud (1963)

Why It's In The Book: "This modern Western directed by Martin Ritt is set in the featureless landscape of West Texas...It's a brilliantly acted film that catch as much of the feel for the dusty locale of Larry McMurtry's original novel Horseman Pass By." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

marie_dressler - 9/10
"From the spare, stunning black-and-white photography to the pitch-perfect performances, it is hard to imagine how Hud could possibly be improved."
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Movie Guy Steve - 8/10
"Hud breaks some genre stereotypes and is all the better because of it."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"fatal happenings breeds brutal recklessness"
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Adolytsi - 7/10
"It’s the interactions between Hud and the various characters, family and likewise, that makes up most of the entertainment value in this one, what of it there is to be had."
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Overall Rating: 8/10

 

#552. The French Connection (1971)

#552. The French Connection (1971)

Why It's In The Book: "With Bullitt (1968) and Dirty Harry (1971), The French Connection spearheaded the cop-movie revival that took place around 1970… The French Connection remains a tremendously exciting and powerful movie, primarily because of its vigorous editing style [and] epic vision of urban decay… The editing – it’s rough-edged energy enhanced by jagged, truncated scene transitions – conveys both off-balance disorientation and reckless forward propulsion." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Squish - 10/10
"I walked into The French Connection knowing that it would be typical drug dealer / cop chase flic. I left wondering why I hadn't heard more loudly-touted acclaim for what instantly became one of my Top 10 favourite movies of all time."
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Adolytsi - 9/10
"...A gritty, in-your-face cop film directed by William Friedkin, who does a bang-up job with this material. It’s smart, effective, and it leads you by the nose the whole way, which few films dared to do."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8.5/10
"Fast and furious"
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Jay Cluitt - 8/10
"The chase against a criminal-carrying overground train is both the highlight of the film and possibly the greatest car chase in movie history."
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Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"I see why The French Connection is a good film. What I don’t see is why it’s a great film."
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Lindsey - 6/10
"decent overall with an awesome car chase"
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Overall Rating: 8/10

 

#1002. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

#1002. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Why It's In The Book: "Eyes Wide Shut is the perfect postscript to the oeuvre of Stanley Kubrick, who died within days of completing the film, in that it is signature Kubrick: intriguing, intellectual, intent, fastidiously crafted, and commanding to direct. It is also arguably portentous, remote, and labored. It enjoyed a big opening, thanks in part to sexy trailers of the reigning 'world's most glamorous couple' and costars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman... Cruise's performance was overshadowed by Kidman's smaller but more emotionally outspoken role, but his presence in virtually every scene gives the film an essential humanity. His palpably wounded male pride, pain, vulnerability, and bewilderment provide a sympathetic connection to what otherwise is a cold and cynical observation of relationships.  But, as ever, Kubrick's uncomfortable personal vision is conveyed with distinctive and stunning style." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Thomas Ostrowski - 9/10
"...it's akin to a fine wine, only enjoyable in sips instead of gulps."
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Nicolas Krizan - 7.5/10
"Kubrick tries too hard"
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Adolytsi - 7/10
"At over two-and-a-half hours, this will be a sizable investment on your part. I never thought I’d say this about a Kubrick film, but… I’m not sure if the return is worth your investment."
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Movie Guy Steve - 7/10
"Interesting and weird, but not my favorite Kubrick."
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Overall Rating: 8/10

 

#783. Tampopo (1986)

#783. Tampopo (1986)

Why It's In The Book: "The late Juzo Itami called his second comedy a ‘ramen Western’… it represents a quantum leap from his impressive first comedy, the 1984 The Funeral. Without abandoning his flair for social satire shown in that film, and in subsequent work, Itami expands his scope in Tampopo, to encompass the kind of free-form narrative play we associate with the late work of Luis Buñuel. His subjects are food, sex, and death, his ostensible focal point for the opening of a noodle restaurant. He takes us on a wild spree through an obsession, winding his way through various digressions with a dark, philosophical wit that is both hilarious and disturbing…

As in The Funeral, Itami’s ultimate interest appears to be exploring as well as ridiculing some of the paradoxes of Japanese society, including those involving class and etiquette, and he carries this off with energy and inventiveness." - 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die 

Member Ratings

Movie Guy Steve - 10/10
"I have watched this film over and over, and it never becomes old. It also never fails to make me ravenously hungry, particularly the rice omelet and the little pancake scene."
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marie_dressler - 9/10
"In this very funny film, good food is connected to birth, death, sex, work, and pleasure in a mouth-watering way."
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Sunny D - 9/10
"You could enjoy the meal of a lifetime one magical night, and savor the memory the rest of your days, but in the morning your body is going to need to be fed again, and again, and again. Life goes on. Tampopo, the film, captures that essence, through a wide-array of mostly-charming vignettes around one central tale, showing almost as many emotional flavors of existence as there are spices in a gourmet kitchen."
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"It takes a little bit to get into the meat of the film, rather than just dropping in on it, but once you’re there, this becomes quite the delightful little comedy."
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Chip Lary - 8/10
"I think people that are familiar both with Westerns and Japanese films will get more out of Tampopo than those who don’t, but even those who have seen neither can still easily be entertained by it."
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Lindsay - 8/10
"This is one of the most enjoyable films focusing on food there is."
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Nicolas Krizan - 8/10
"several clever and vaguely connected storylines interweave"
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Overall Rating: 8.6/10

 

#1152. Skyfall (2012)

#1152. Skyfall (2012)

Why It's In The Book: "Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson pulled out all the stops for the film that marked the fiftieth anniversary of 007. With an Oscar-winnnig director behind the camera, plus a few winners in front of it, Skyfall is a prestige picture passing itself off as a blockbuster. The spextacle remains, but the film boldly delves into previously uncharted emotional territory... Sam Mendes's skillful direction is matched by Roger Deakins's rich cinematography. A silhouetted fight sequence, unfolding against the backdrop of Shanghai's neon-soaked skyline, is one of many memorable moments. And with Daniel Craig firmly in control, this is one franchise that looks set to continue for many years to come." -1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Member Ratings

Jay Cluitt - 9/10
"Exotic animals are back in Bond films! Yay!"
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Movie Guy Steve - 9/10
"Skyfall is less a return to form for the James Bond franchise and more a well-designed and coherent redirection of a franchise that needed a shift to stay both relevant and interesting."
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Adolytsi - 8/10
"Simultaneously a love letter to the years of Bond gone by and an evolution of the Bond film into a new era of filmmaking, Skyfall succeeds in damn near every possible way."
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Sunny D - 8/10
"My wife and I were looking for some semi-mindless popcorn movie fun [...] and we got what we were looking for, with a little extra helping of 'huh, that's interesting' on top of the requisite exotic locales and dramatic explosions."
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Nicolas Krizan - 7.5/10
"a nice try to both honor and let go of some heritage"
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Chip Lary - 7/10
"The best part of the film, for me, is that we got to learn quite a bit about Bond’s past."
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Kim Wilson - 7/10
"Overall, Skyfall was your usual action film. Boom, bang, and pow happened. Things exploded, people got shot and stabbed, and the good guy won."
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Overall Rating: 8/10

Upcoming Member-Assigned Reviews:

Thursday December 25th

#692. Raging Bull (1980)

Thursday January 1st

#944. Fargo (1996)

Thursday January 8th

#1071. Crash (2004)

Thursday January 15th

#446. Mary Poppins (1964)


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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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