And further into the heart of darkness do these soldiers go: Martin Sheen goes on a hallucinatory journey into the jungle to assassinate the mad Colonel Kurtz, played by a method-acting Marlon Brando. Although a flawed, sprawling masterpiece, Apocalypse Now still remains one of the most intense, visceral experiences of recent film.
I've always wanted to know where, and how, Susan Sontag pronounced Begotten as one of "the most important films of modern times." It is not an easy film to describe primarily because one is not sure what it's about; one is not even sure what one is seeing. A masked epileptic creature slashes at himself inside an abandoned house and gives birth to another creature; creature number two is sacrificed by a group of robed, druidic villagers. Or something like that. Every image is shot, sometimes in extreme close-up, on extremely grainy, speckled film. There is no dialogue; all one hears is the amplified sound of stifled breathing, rustling grasses and a razor blade entering flesh. Suffice it to say that it is an extremely disturbing, and rewarding, movie experience.
Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway (and a great John Huston) in a tale of sun-washed corruption and deceit. A neo-noir classic.
A genuine two-hanky weeper, Tornatore pulls out all the stops (a bittersweet Ennio Morricone score, an insufferably cute little boy) in this film about nostalgia, loss and watching movies.
An English couple, mourning the recent loss of their daughter, is in Vienna, unprepared for who -- or what -- they will meet there. Julie Christie is gorgeous, and Donald Sutherland (his hair is one of the scarier things in this movie) has never been better. Suffused with dread, Roeg's lush examination of memory and loss is his best film (with Walkabout a close second).
A criminally overlooked film from Woo's body of work, Hard Target combines Woo's trademark high-octane action with completely over-the-top melodrama -- most of it coming from the hammy acting of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Even though it's yet another update of "The Most Dangerous Game," the film throws everything in its arsenal at the audience -- exploding oil barrels, flaming motorcycles, hissing rattlesnakes, a seething Lance Henriksen. Just sit back and enjoy.
A film about a doomed affair, seen as half-remembered memory. The best movie of the last ten years.
Part ode to masculinity, part maudlin melodrama, and almost all of it unrelenting, beautiful bloodshed, The Killer is the Alpha and Omega of the action film. And Chow Yun-Fat looks great in that white suit.
Though it teeters close to an almost patronizing tone, Life Is Sweet is still a gem of a film about the travails of a working-class family in the suburbs of London. Testifying to Leigh's unique filmmaking method (he and the cast collaborate on character and plot) each actor inhabits her or his role effortlessly, and the results are astonishing.
Wonderfully claustrophobic horror flick. A classic. See it with someone you love.
Mixing neo-noir, blaxploitation and postmodern wit, Tarantino gained much critical praise for his film about small-time criminals in Southern California. Don't you love it when you come back from the bathroom and find your food all waiting for you?
Watching this film about boxer Jake LaMotta can be somewhat of an ordeal (black and white! violent fights! Robert DeNiro loses weight, and gains weight!), but it has a sweep and intimacy that none of his other gangster epics have. It's my favorite Scorsese film.
Ushering in a return to the grand Hollywood tradition of unblinking violence and men being men, Tarantino's dazzling film debut about a heist gone wrong was an instant classic.
Scathing, twisted satire about a Hollywood gone to seed -- or, to be precise, actress Norma Desmond (played amazingly by Gloria Swanson). From the first to the last shot, Wilder spins a hypnotic tale of decrepitude and the vagaries of stardom.
A friend once said that watching 2001 made one "almost breathe slower." Kubrick's meditation on humankind, science and destiny can be dismissed as philosophical gibberish (the ending, for one, has inspired endless debate), but Kubrick's hypnotic, alien ballet must be experienced.
Long before the epic sweep of The English Patient, Minghella made this small, incredibly romantic film that is at once about the pain of loss and the joys of movie watching. Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson are perfect as the couple with a love beyond death.
Hartley has been called the Godard of Long Island, and here he displays all those French New Wave influences: enigmatic characters, elliptical dialogue, misunderstood pouty people with no place to go. But Trust is actually a genuinely witty, heartwarming movie about the odd romance between a pregnant cheerleader and a disgruntled grenade-toting television repairman.
Hitchcock's classic and labyrinthine tale of memory and obsession.
last updated: 1/05/01