With a world full of cinematic treasures, ranging from the silent expressionism of Robert Wiene in the 1920′s to J.J Abrams’ current vision for science fiction, deciding on a top 30 films of all time is no easy task. After much time and plenty of thought however, here it is for the world to see.
Plot summaries from IMDB
Reviews by Jordan
Click here for 15 – 11! https://jordanandeddie.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/jordans-top-30-movies-of-all-time-15-11/
10. American Splendor
2003 – Directed by Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
An original mix of fiction and reality illuminates the life of comic book hero everyman Harvey Pekar.
“Ordinary life it pretty complex stuff,” moans the disillusioned, listless and inwardly fuming Harvey Pekar (played with tremendous realism and commitment by a never-better Paul Giamatti) to a young Robert Crumb (Urbaniak) when explaining how the comic series based on his lifeless, depressing existence is to read and appear, and considering the way in which Pekar handles and reacts to both undesirable and desirable events in his life, complex it certainly appears.
Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s HBO produced film captures this “ordinary life” with such precision and with such wonderful comic timing it is truly a joy to behold, and is further strengthened by intermittent interviews with Pekar himself (as well as others portrayed in the film) as he records the voice-over and guzzles a provided supply of orange-flavoured soft drink (the far better alternative to water when clearing the throat). Beginning with a sad example of trick or treating from Pekar’s childhood, and thrusting forward to the latter stages of his disastrous second marriage (at which point his doctor informs him that too much yelling has resulted in major damage to his vocal cords and we won’t be able to achieve more than a faint, coarse whisper for over a month) before charting his surprising success stemming from a chance encounter at a garage sale and haunting experience with illness, American Splendor stands as a flawless example of a character study; exquisitely formed with outstandingly accurate performances and a heartfelt script.
9. The Searchers
1956 – Directed by John Ford
As a Civil War veteran spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians, his motivation becomes increasingly questionable.
Despite passing away 12 years before I was born, my hero growing up was always the unflappable and stoic John Wayne. I would sit glued to the television with my plastic cowboy and Indian toys sprawled out in battle formation all around me, watching every VHS mum had bought to nurture my interest. While various titles such as Angel and the Badman, 3 Godfathers (a terrific movie) and The Sea Chase stuck with me throughout the years, none had an effect as lasting or profound as the undisputed western great, The Searchers.
Made by the great John Ford in 1956, The Searchers changed not only the face of the American Western, but the themes underlining American cinema itself. While as an 8 year old I enjoyed it mainly for the presence of Wayne as Ethan Edwards and the dastardly villain Scar (while still realising there was something askew), it is now obvious to see just how profoundly complex the nature of Edwards is. He is a man blinded by racism and prejudice, possibly lusting after his brother’s wife, and on a quest to retrieve a niece that he may in fact kill upon rescuing. The film ends with him framed in a doorway by himself, accessing a world that he no longer sees a place for himself in.
As the title song goes: ‘A man will search his heart and soul. Go searching way out there. His peace of mind he knows he’ll find. But where, O Lord where?’
1977 – Directed by Dario Argento
A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of witches bent on chaos and destruction.
A STUNNINGLY VIOLENT AND UNDENIABLY BEAUTIFUL JUXTAPOSITION OF HORRIFIC BRUTALITY AND EYE-WIDENING SCENIC SYMMETRY, SUSPIRIA IS A WORK OF GOTHIC ART PAINTED BY ITALY’S RENOWNED MASTER OF THE MACABRE AND AN EXPERIENCE IN MURDER AND WITCHCRAFT UNPRECEDENTED AND UNRIVALED.
An exhausted and terrified girl stands in the bathroom of her friend’s apartment after having been chased through the surrounding woods by an unseen force. She stares through the window into the darkness outside, and after hearing a noise, lifts a lamp up to shine some light. Two eyes appear, hovering in the mist on the balcony outside. The girl looks closer, and as she does, a hand smashes through the glass window, grabs the back of her head and forces it forward. She tries to scream but her voice is muted by the glass, and the loud orchestral jabs of the experimental post rock soundtrack. Eventually the window gives way and her head bursts through, into the arena of the still hidden killer outside.
She stands screaming in the harsh wind, writhing in fear, before the hand strikes again, tragically stabbing her in the heart. This motion is repeated, and repeated until no hope is left, and the girl, along with the viewer, succumbs to the motives of the unidentifiable murderer.
A rope is wrapped around her neck and she is hoisted over a glass mosaic above the apartment’s foyer, her heart open to the elements. The glass gives way and her lifeless body falls, the noose tightening as she does and leaving her hanging; a girl who obviously knew too much about something those watching are still oblivious to. It is when she is hanging, and the soundtrack is finally subduing, that we realise her friend has also met the same fate, lying dead with a pane of glass embedded in her head and torso.
Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of this scene is that it takes place a mere 15 minutes into Argento’s macabre masterpiece, leaving the viewer terrified with an anticipation of what is yet to come. This, along with the unprecedented and beautiful lighting, and intense score by frequent Argento collaborators GOBLIN (Deep Red) set a new standard for supernatural horror films, and the influence of this one moment alone is still felt to this day.
The fact that as an audience we haven’t yet had the chance to understand or relate to these two female characters, yet we still watch in fevered bemusement as the forceful and unimaginable events transpire is testament to the power of the brightly lit images on screen (and perhaps also testament to Argento’s theory that beautiful woman are far more interesting to have killed). The films heroin, Susan, enters the fray shortly after the scene fades out; if only she knew what she is in for…
Suspiria represents the pinnacle of Italian horror, besting other grandiose classics such as Fulci’s The Beyond and Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace, and its immortal tagline: “The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of this film are the first 92” is very accurate.
7. The Evil Dead
1981 – Directed by Sam Raimi
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.
I am an unapologetic Bruce Campbell fan. I have watched every movie and TV show he’s starred in, been a supporting actor in, and even those he’s been in for all of 30 seconds. I have recommended Bubba Ho-Tep to just about everyone I know, watched every episode of The Adventures of Brisco County Jnr at least 3 times and even endured Serving Sarah because of my devotion to this man.
This isn’t because he’s the greatest actor of his generation, but because he’s the one who performs the art with the most charisma (albeit often phoney), enthusiasm and outright recklessness… and The Evil Dead is the prime example of this.
Pitting a group of friends against an ancient evil they’ve released in a cabin deep in the woods, and directed by Campbell’s best bud Sam Raimi, The Evil Dead remains just as unapologetically bonkers now as it was in 1981; the gallons of blood, extreme gore and frenetic camera movements continuing to capture the imagination of those lucky enough to still be able to see it for the first time.
6. Dawn of the Dead
1978 – Directed by George A. Romero
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
‘When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.’
Armed with that tagline (arguably the best in film history), access to a large shopping mall, the special makeup effects talents of Tom Savini and a fistful of anger aimed at America’s relentless consumerism, legendary filmmaker George A. Romero would make a masterpiece, and unquestionably one of the greatest horror films of all time.
Telling the story of a small group of survivors who take refuge in an abandoned shopping mall while the world crumbles around them, Dawn of the Dead not only paints the ever-hungry zombies as the villains, but also American culture itself. The bloodthirsty lore of Cowboys VS Indians plays out in the third act as our settled heroes go to war with a band of invading bikies, with the ghouls almost seen as part of the mall’s interior during this most western of battles.
Night of the Living Dead is a wholly deserving classic, and arguably marked the commencement of the genre as it exists today, and Martin is one of the most unique and personal vampire films we have; but as you would expect from a production involving other horror stalwarts such as Savini, Ken Foree and Dario Argento, Dawn of the Dead marks the finest chapter in Romero’s glistening career, and is quite simply an astonishing achievement.