The famous espionage story we’ve already come to know done to the very best of its ability. An innocent man getting himself tangled into a case of mistaken identity, and the quest to clear their own name – something that we can only expect Alfred Hitchcock to make the very best from, and with North by Northwest, he has done exactly that and formed what is without a doubt one of his very best films. But of course one can only count on Alfred Hitchcock to have made some of the most exciting thrillers of Hollywood’s classic era, and nowadays they still wouldn’t lose a touch of what made them exciting to watch during their time. But the case with Hitchcock is that his thrillers haven’t only been the very best of their own genre, for films like North by Northwest only show why he was among the most clever of filmmakers working in Hollywood, he was one of the very best in general.
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It still amazes me that after thirty years of being butchered from studio interference and having been ignored during its original theatrical run, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner still feels refreshing as if it were something that had only recently came out. Like the best science fiction films it isn’t one whose wonder lies within the excitement created by its distinctive visual style but how it presents itself – not as a showcase for hypnotic set pieces but as a meditation on life, pushing towards what we are afraid to ask. Even today the genre subversions still feel present and on rewatches I only find myself appreciating it all the more, after having already been left fascinated with a first watch. But it wasn’t until more revisits mere fascination grew into adoration, and soon the resonant effect of Blade Runner only made itself clear.
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The mere idea of a sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was always going to be troubling to me because the original is one of my favourite science fiction films, let alone one of my all-time favourite films. Seeing what Denis Villeneuve had done for the science fiction genre with his recent Arrival had only left me raising my hopes, and to say they were met is an understatement when talking about Blade Runner 2049. For not only is Blade Runner 2049 a sequel that expands beautifully upon the creativity that was shown in its predecessor but one built with the same thought and care which made the original as remarkable as it is. It isn’t a sequel that merely retreads a path that people are familiar with, but one that expands upon the ideas its predecessor had established forming not only a worthy sequel after a long period of time, yet also one destined to become a landmark of its generation in the same way the original film is.
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As human beings, we all carry some sort of fascination with celebrity culture and it’s natural to wonder what the sort of lifestyle must be like. If any film managed to sum up what it’s like to carry that sort of fascination to the point we end up living it, then Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich would be the first film I point to. The bizarre concept to which it carries is already one factor as to why it stands out on its very own, but even more impressive comes from how it was the feature film debut of director Spike Jonze, who had directed many music videos prior, and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. But knowing how such films are outright impossible to repeat in this day and age, it’s among more reason I still find myself in awe of a film like Being John Malkovich, for it goes beyond its own quirks to become one of the very best films of its time, let alone one of the best debut efforts of all time.
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There’s a feeling that comes into my head when I’m trying to write something that I end up thinking it’s only going to come off as unbelievably self-indulgent, which I suppose might be the best way to go on with talking about a film like Spike Jonze’s Adaptation. Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman’s most indulgent script, and yet by a mile it is also one of his most fascinating experiments to date. But maybe it’s because I always watch this and look back at what it is that I’m doing, and after having achieved so much success, I know I don’t want to disappoint. I know I don’t want to disappoint numerous people who have followed along me, so I come to the point I stint my own writing for long periods of time. But for a man like Charlie Kaufman, it’s already hard enough from what I can imagine to follow up a film like Being John Malkovich for as bizarre and as clever as its own concept is, and it’s that sense of honesty that allows me to admire Adaptation all the more.
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This whole experience almost feels like having walked through an art gallery, trying to deconstruct art that we observe – for we still listen to someone explaining the context. Raúl Ruiz’s The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting is an experience to say the least, but it’s the question that it brings to what we see in the art medium that ultimately defines what we are to estimate out of life in the very end. Maybe that was the mystery that was being posed through The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting, because it’s a film that begs us the question about what it is that we truly call “art” for are we being deceived into thinking something may fall under such category, or maybe not. I’m not even sure how exactly did Raúl Ruiz form anything like this because the only thing that was on my mind after this hour-long art gallery trip had ended was how he managed to conceptualize something like this in his head.
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After Starlet and Tangerine, Sean Baker has only shown himself to be one of the most intriguing voices of his own generation. Knowing virtually nothing about The Florida Project other than the fact he was directing it, along with the casting of Willem Dafoe only got me all the more excited to see it and quickly enough I was swept away by the experience. But to say the least, The Florida Project was a film that hit home more than I would have expected, blending the childhood wonder with the harsh nature of the adult world – creating a beautiful portrait of an Americana lifestyle. But within how small it is it still speaks much greater volumes, something that Sean Baker has already proven with his previous directorial efforts.
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It still amazes me how within so little, Sidney Lumet has managed to create something nearly as mind blowing as 12 Angry Men – because what Lumet was able to do in a single room many other filmmakers can’t seem to capture within an entire city. But among many more things that one can come to say about 12 Angry Men, the most obvious comes to mind: it’s one of the best American films of the 1950’s, let alone all time. Because there’s a great sense of tension that can be felt just from being inside of a room because of how tight it remains all throughout, for it only leaves a feeling of being drained, even the smaller actions feel so big. Among many reasons that 12 Angry Men is one of the best films of the 1950’s, let alone all time – they only begin to shine from there. But many of these reasons are already covered in many better ways, and maybe at most all I can ever do is repeat them.
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I think it was only most fitting that Bob Fosse of all people was the man who went behind making a film about Lenny Bruce. But how exactly would a biopic be able to capture a sense of what the man was truly all about? Maybe it was the fact that Bob Fosse was already working himself up to the point he’s captured a sense of what the man was like on the inside, for he was editing this at the same time he was choreographing Chicago, something he went ahead and fictionalized eventually in All That Jazz, his own invitation to a glimpse at the creative process of an artist. And that’s only a fraction of what made me love Bob Fosse as much as I do, because like All That Jazz which came later, he didn’t want to take someone else’s story and turn it into any other disposable biopic. I’ve known the name of Lenny Bruce for a while already, and I’ve already found a newfound respect for him thanks to what Bob Fosse had painted of him in Lenny.
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I’m an especially reclusive individual. I don’t even know if I’ve ever managed to have a social life the way I wanted because, to say the least, I’ve lived my life as a hermit. I think this is a fairly known fact about me, and it isn’t surprising about the sort of person that I am, I’ve been living a lonely person. I’ve never been a particularly good communicator. I’m already nearing my 19th birthday as I’m writing this and I’m only getting unhappier about it by the minute because I’m about to start college later this year and I don’t even know if I’m ready for it. To say the least, if any other film ever managed to get down to the bone of what that experience was like for myself, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment has always been a perfect go-to. On one end, we see the comedies that remind us of the happiness of our lives, and what it looks like on a shallow surface. But what’s made The Apartment the pinnacle of Billy Wilder’s directorial career goes beyond what it looks like, because it’s already left me a mess thinking about how I live my own life.
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