Thursday, April 05, 2007

Top Ten Films

That I've seen in the last few months, either in the cinema or on DVD.

10. Pan's Labrynth
9. Letters from Iwo Jima
8. The Prestige
7. Man on the Moon (1999)
6. The Queen
5. Trois Couleurs: Bleu (1993)
4. Millennium Actress (2001)
3. The Last King of Scotland
2. The Lives of Others
1. Casablanca (1942)


nico said...

i didn't see pan's labyrinth becaise i heard it was shockingly and grotesquely violent. would you recommend it (as opposed to just rating it in the top 10)?

byron smith said...

Hey nic!
Not sure I'd called it 'shockingly and grotequely violent'. There was violence (it is set during the Spanish civil war), but less than in many Hollywood films (which isn't saying much). There was one point of violence which did shock me, though that was not violence against a human.

Jess agrees - it was not 'shockingly and grotesquely' violent.

So, yes, I would recommend it (at #10 of recent months' viewing, though - out of maybe 20 or 30 films I've seen in the last few months).

Anthony Douglas said...

"Top ten films" isn't so much a list for me as a New Year's Resolution - ministry + kids means I'm lucky to watch a movie on TV even.

But out of the maybe ten films I've seen, the Prestige rates highly, as one of my all-time favourites. Chris Nolan is a very clever man, and the acting is impressive too. Except David Bowie, whose only success was in appearing so odd that you spent all your time wondering what his character was doing in existence, rather than thinking 'oh, that's David Bowie'. I don't think that's what disappearing into your character is meant to be about!

The Prestige has just been released for sale on DVD, by the way. Ad now ends.

'Lifeboat' (Hitchcock's) was also good. Clunky in places, but a haven for philosophers. Who would have thought the flickering light on the wall in the cave was a movie playing?

byron smith said...

Being sick has meant I've seen far more films than I usually would. I guess there are some perks...

Anonymous said...

Personal Preference: Pans Labyrinth ranked higher than The Prestige...possibly in the top 5.

As for it being shockingly and grotesquely violent. I am not sure I would call it that. But the movie is deeply disturbing, and rightfully so. Both the historical context and the fantastic narrative which interpenetrates it are harrowing. But it is not so much due to violence as such (though there are a few difficult scenes of violence).

But, i would recommend the film to anyone. The disturbing nature of its scenes are integral to the drama of its narrative. They are by no means "over the top" or ad absurdum as Byron rightly notes in most Hollywood films.

I suggest seeing the film, and if any of the scenes prove too much to stomach, close your eyes. you wont miss much and it is well worth it.

Michael Westmoreland-White, Ph.D. said...

Letters from Iwo Jima is another in a series of demonstrations that, as a director, Clint Eastwood is, at least partially, dismantling the "myth of redemptive violence" (Walter Wink) that helped perpetuate in films from the spaghetti Westerns to Dirty Harry. Here, Eastwood does something no one in Hollywood has ever attempted--to tell a portion of WWII from the pov of the Japanese and to portray them sympathetically. To humanize "the enemy" (including the enemy in what most of the U.S. considers the "last good war") is a bold act of subversion--and by the director of Flags of Our Fathers!

Eastwood had begun this undermining of the myth of redemptive violence in Unforgiven, which is an anti-Western. However, he still sees violence as necessary and people trapped within violence with no way out. He lacks the Good News.

So, Eastwood is somewhat onto the diagnosis without the cure.

Martin Kemp said...

With all this anti-redemptive violence perhaps Clint Eastwood trying to redeem his Dirty Harry days.
Or maybe just Space Cowboys. What a shocker!!!

Lara said...

I was concerned about seeing Pan's Labyrinth because I had heard that it was grotesque and quite violent. There were only a few particularly violent scenes, and they weren't as bad as I expected, though I did need to close my eyes a couple of times. I thought it was an excellent movie, but I'm not sure I actually liked it...

Philip Britton said...

In a timely response to Byron's 'Top Ten', empire magazine has released its top ten of all time. Check it out at -

I did enjoy The Prestige, but I thought the twist was a little too transparent.

byron smith said...

Thanks for the link Phil. Good to hear from you. I like your new blog.

byron smith said...

I thought it was an excellent movie, but I'm not sure I actually liked it...
Lara, I thought this was an interesting comment. Can a film be excellent and yet not likable?