Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top 100 Films of the 20th Century – Part 21: 5-1

Rank: 5
Title: Sunrise
Release Year: 1927
Genre: Romance
Director: F.W. Murnau
Plot Summary: A married farmer falls under the spell of a sultry city woman who tries to convince him to drown his wife so that he can be with her.
What Makes It Special: Sunrise is stunningly beautiful. Its cinematography is groundbreaking and incredibly dynamic. In addition to being a visual marvel, it has a wonderfully deep emotional narrative as well. Love is at the center of the story, as German Expressionist filmmaker F.W. Murnau leaves behind some of his overbearing symbolism and politics to focus more acutely on the narrative of a man torn between the allure of the city and his simple life on the farm. The film is extraordinary in every way, with superb performances, directing, and unforgettable visuals.
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray

Rank: 4
Release Year: 1968
Genre: Sci-Fi Drama
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Plot Summary: After humanity finds a mysterious object buried beneath the lunar surface, believing it is of alien origin, they set off on a quest to discover new life, bringing along the ultra-intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000.
What Makes It Special: Stanley Kubrick forever changed sci-fi cinema with 2001: A Space Odyssey, dramatically influencing everything to come after it. The film epitomizes our modern aesthetic for Space. Tonally, the film is also a masterpiece of suspense, tension, and atmosphere – the use of silence and darkness are as terrifying as any film monster (along with H.A.L.’s glowing red eye). 2001: A Space Odyssey marks the height of Kubrick’s style and directing prowess.  
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

Rank: 3
Title: Citizen Kane
Release Year: 1941
Genre: Mystery/Drama
Director: Orson Welles
Plot Summary: With his final words, publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane uttered “Rose Bud”. Intent on discovering the meaning, newsman Jedediah Leland goes on an investigative assignment.
What Makes It Special: Coming from theatre, Orson Welles brought a whole new style and aesthetic to cinema, challenging everything. Citizen Kane remains today a profound work of art, Welles and his collaborators setting out to do everything different and more interesting. The result is a majestic film, both artistically and narratively. The film is loosely based on William Randolph Hearst, but the brilliance of the narrative comes from its story of a man who had everything except the one thing he really wanted, something that he lost long ago to his grand ambition. Citizen Kane is not just an influential film; it is the film that rewrote the language of artistic cinema. It is a touchstone of today’s movies – it is essential.
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

Rank: 2
Title: Vertigo
Release Year: 1958
Genre: Mystery
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Plot Summary: Retired police detective, Scottie Ferguson, who now suffers from acrophobia due to an accident involving the death of an officer as well as almost his own death, is hired by a wealthy old friend to follow his wife around San Francisco. She is behaving peculiarly, but as Scottie follows her around he begins to become obsessed with her.
What Makes It Special: Vertigo was a complete critical and commercial failure upon its release. The film is incredibly dark, as Scottie’s obsession with Madeleine Elster is just plan creepy. Yet, Alfred Hitchcock’s film is profoundly compelling as well. Hitchcock has the audience on Scottie’s side completely, even though his behavior is disturbing. The film peers into our own souls, revealing something a bit ghoulish in us all. In addition to the film’s magnificent aesthetics, music, performances, writing, and directing, Hitchcock also offers one of cinema’s most fearless endings. It may have been a failure in 1958, but today it shines as the embodiment of cinematic narrative, character, and emotional mastery.
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

Rank: 1
Release Year: 1962
Genre: Adventure/War Drama/Biography
Director: David Lean
Plot Summary: British officer T.E. Lawrence achieves wonders during his service in the Middle East during WWI.
What Makes It Special: David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia fulfills the promise of cinema in every way. It is a grand epic, featuring many of film’s most iconic and spectacular scenes. It is visually breathtaking, with startlingly beautiful photography and Lean’s flare for employing an ambitious and striking camera. Its music is absorbing and rousing. Peter O’Toole gives possibly the greatest film performance, and the supporting cast is excellent throughout. It is a film that challenges its viewer with its themes and ideas, while wholly entertaining and thrilling with its adventure, action, comedy, drama, and glorious locations. It is simply the finest film the medium has to offer.
Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

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