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see my 2003 viewing log

FILMS SEEN IN 2004 (rated out of 10)

 

January

 

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) Dir: Orson Welles [9]

 

[Though it may not have been as grand as Citizen Kane, this film is magnificent indeed. Some truly excellent cinematography [technically the film is superlative] plus thoroughly brilliant acting and direction make this one of the finest from the '40s.]


 

The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers - EE (2002) Dir: Peter Jackson [9]

 

[Superior to the theatrical version, the film proves to be much richer and ambitious in every field, with its extra or extended scenes managing to satisfy Tolkien lovers who missed some moments from the book (like Flotsam and Jetsam). Its pace is slowed down, but for the better; the tempo of the picture this time round flows more swiftly and with more grace, thus giving the film another texture, and a better one at that. Helm's Deep still impresses with its sheer magnitude and technical audacity, as does Gollum, brillianly portrayed by Serkis.]

 


 

City Lights (1931) Dir: Charlie Chaplin [9]

 

[Better than Modern Times and one of Chaplin's very best works, City Lights tells one of the most beautiful [yet simplest] love stories. There is no doubt that Chaplin was a genius, as it can be felt all the way throughout the film; the usage of music is superb, as are the gags and the slapstick comedy; the boxing match is brilliantly realised, the acting, fine, and the very ending scene is one of the most touching ad affecting I've ever come to witness. Chaplin's ability to tell a story both visually and aurally [but not vocally] never ceases to amaze; the film flows with a very fine tempo and some of its subtle critiques are sublime. Close to perfection this film is.]

 


 

Lost in Translation (2003) Dir: Sofia Coppola [9]

 

[This film was so... different. Ever-involving, observing and densely atmospheric, I have to say that it is one of the best of 2003. Johansonn is as lovely as she's sublime. Click on link above for my review.]

 


 Shoot the Piano Player (1960) Dir: Francois Truffaut [9]


 
Il Postino (1994) Dir: Michael Radford [10]

 

[A poetic film about poetry itself, Il Postino is a film with plenty of visual and internal beauty. Not only was I pleasantly surprised by it, but it has now made its way onto my favourites of all time list. A moving, funny and excellently executed masterpiece. Review coming soon.]

 


Big Fish (2003) Dir: Tim Burton [9]
 
[Tim Burton's best film and my no. 2 of 2003. More thoughts later.]
 

Psycho (1998) Dir: Gus Van Sant [5]
 
[It's not appalling as some have claimed, but rather redundant and unnecessary. Why Van Sant decided to film a shot-for-shot remake of Hitch's masterpiece is beyond me, as its point is nowhere to be found in the film. Though watchable, the film pales in comparison to the original. Anne Heche does not possess that kind of sexual appeal that Leigh had in abundance and Vince Vaughn is simply wrong for the role of Norman Bates. He's 6 foot something, corpulent and lacks the playfulness and confusion that Perkins had [although it is true that nobody will ever reach the level that Perkins reached -- so unique was his performance]. The masturbation scene is wholly irrelevant and unnecessary -- it is clear that Bates is sexually attratced to Marion, but we don't want it to be shown with such obviousness. Subtlety is needed. The shower scene is interesting and somewhat different, but you can sort of see Mother's face and it's not as technically superlative as that of the original's. The actors can't compare to those of Hitchcock; only William H Macy is appropriate in the role of Detective Arbogast. Not an atrocious film, but a failure nonetheless.]
 

 
Dark Water (2003) Dir: Hideo Nakata [6]

 

[I wish I'd liked it so much more. The Eye is superior, in my opinion. Ah well; click on link for my review.]

 


FEBRUARY

 

Touch of Evil (1958) Dir: Orson Welles [10]

 

[Wow. I was in constant awe while viewing Orson Welles's timeless masterpiece; right from the mindblowing very first shot [the longest ever!] I was submerged into its dazzling storyline, filled with memorable performances [look out for Joseph Cotten's cameo] including Welles as the corrupt "captain", Henston, Janet Leigh, et al. Its tempo flows with great ease, twists and turns keep coming every minute, the cinematography is outstanding [one of the finest ever, truly -- Welles' ability to often narrate scenes with images is fantastic and his use of odd angles even more so]. This film really is a masterpiece. I don't know, but I loved it. I love film noir, and this is one of the greatest examples of it. Another classic from master Welles.]

 


The Conversation (1974) Dir: Francis Ford Coppola [9]

 

[A thoroughly insightful exploration of paranoia and isolation, this film contains the wit of a Brian de Palma flick and the unexpectedness of a Hitchcock one. Taut, intelligent and gripping, this little seen gem is one of the best thrillers I've ever seen. Gene Hackman is terrific, as is the score, and the sordid settings only serve to emphasise the state of Hackman's soul. A masterpiece, without a doubt.]

 


Buffalo '66 (1998) Dir: Vincent Gallo [9]

 

[While some may describe this films as pretentious [it certainly is, but for that mere reason it works], I have to say that I loved it. Visually refreshing, the film is very well acted [Ricci is so lovely and Angelica Houston as the football-obssessed mother is excellent] and Gallo's direction is superb. While grim and somewhat sordid, the film, in the end, has a lot to say, and its mixture of drama and comedy is rather effective, Great film, above all -- I'll probably write a review on it soon.]

 


The Elephant Man (1980) Dir: David Lynch [9]

 

[Out of all the Lynch films I've seen so far [this, The Straight Story and Mulholland Dr.], The Elephant Man is my least favourite of them all, though that does not mean much as I still think that it's a masterpiece. Sincere, dreamlike and tragic, the film is a marvel to behold; the directing is top notch and the performances are all excellent, with Hopkins giving a truly brilliant one. Lynch's carefully weaved atmosphere is perfect. Click on the link above for my review.]


The 25th Hour (2002) Dir: Spike Lee [8]

[This is virtuoso filmmaking by Spike Lee. One of the finest films of 2002, The 25th Hour is a film both powerful and honest; it contains excellent acting, thoroughly assured directing, and its message, along with some of its memorable scenes [the 'fuck you' one is simply put, terrific] make it a great piece of filmmaking. Superb!]

 

Copyright                                                               Pablo Hernandez, 2004