Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Jeremy Kirk's favorite films seen for the 1st time in 2010 ""

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jeremy Kirk's favorite films seen for the 1st time in 2010

Friend of the blog's Mr. Jeremy Kirk (who writes for both Film School Rejects and FirstShowing.Net) has put together an excellent little top ten here for your reading enjoyment. A solid list of older gems that he saw for the 1st time in 2010(many of which I need to see myself). One that I have seen and certainly endorse is Billy Wilder's FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO. Jeremy is one of the hosts of the Golden Briefcase Podcast (along with Mr. Tim Buel) so you can catch him there every week!

1. A Bittersweet Life (2005) dir. Kim Ji-woon - Another incredible actioner from South Korea, another brilliant work of cinema from Kim Ji-woon. A Bittersweet Life is incredibly paced and in your face from the beginning all the way to its amazing, bullet-ridden finale. Not only is the narrative straight-forward and intense. The cinematography from Kim Ji-yong is colorful and moody, creating a tone like that of 80's era McTiernan. This is one anyone who is a fan of John Woo's Hong Kong films has to see for themselves.

2. Black Orpheus (1959) dir. Marcel Camus - Marcel Camus' vision of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set during Carnival in Rio is a work of beauty, a colorful pastiche of literary characters and events brought to breathtaking life by Jean Bourgoin's striking photography. This is the perfect kind of film to see in a HD transfer, as the colors leap out of your TV, but the story immerses the viewer with little effort noticed.

3. Le Cercle Rouge (1970) dir. Jean-Pierre Melville - There may not be a pairing that has done so much with only a few collaborated films than Melville and the immensely cool Alain Delon. With La Cercle Rouge, they take the crime film and inject as much style as they possibly can. The final moments of the film when the main heist of the story is taking place is an incredible piece of cinema, as Melville lets the events transpire without so much as a word of spoken dialogue coming into play.

4. Le Corbeau: The Raven (1943) dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot - Before 2009, I had only seen Diabolique out of Clouzot's filmography. After The Waves of Fear and now Le Corbeau, he has become a director's whose entire film catalog I must seek out and watch. Le Corbeau is a dark and brooding mystery about a small, French town who finds itself at war with itself when someone begins writing public letters about the residents' deepest and darkest secrets. Solidly crafted and executed, the film creates an incredible atmosphere of paranoia that builds until the closing moments.

5. Five Graves to Cairo (1943) dir. Billy Wilder - Billy Wilder's little seen war-time thriller stars Franchot Tone as a British Corporal who finds himself trapped in an Egyptian hotel with a corps of German soldiers led by Rommel himself. Erich von Stroheim plays Rommel with a sincere level of intensity. Five Graves to Cairo isn't Wilder's best, but the director does a fine job building the tension and creating a nice claustrophobic mood to the events that transpire.

6. Hausu (1977) dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi - I know. I know. How did I go this long without watching Obayashi's crazy Hausu? I've seen it now, and the results are no less whacked out than I would have imagined. Crazy, piano-trotting cats, disembodied heads, bananas. All of these elements create Obayashi's visual fever dream with an equally insane amount of fervor. Just about the perfect movie for anyone who thinks they've seen everything the medium of film has to offer.

7. Memories of Murder (2003) dir. Bong Joon-ho - Bong Joon-ho's second film, Memories of Murder, is a solid police procedural, a Zodiac-esque work of cinema before Zodiac even came into play. Nonetheless, Joon-ho has made in Memories of Murder what could arguably be the definitive film about real-life serial killers, but one that never shies away from terrifying its audience. It also makes a perfect double feature with his more recent Mother.

8. Police Story (1985) dir. Jackie Chan - Jackie Chan's original Police Story might be a little heavy on the comedy. That's a slight distraction we can easily overlook. It's made even easier from all the slick ass-kicking going on here. If for nothing else, this movie is worth checking out for the climactic battle through a multi-story mall. The final slide down a string of lights is a breathtaking stunt that solidified Chan's name in the world of stunt icons.

9. Repulsion (1965) dir. Roman Polanski - The first of Polanski's unofficial trilogy of films dealing with the horrors of living in an apartment (followed by '68's Rosemary's Baby and '76's The Tenant), Repulsion is a near-flawless look at one woman's journey into ultimate madness. The special effect Polanski utilizes in the breaking apart of the woman's apartment are incredible even by today's standards, and Catherine Deneuve as the maddened lead has never been better.

10. Someone's Watching Me (1978) dir. John Carpenter - As a John Carpenter completist, this was the last film of his I had yet to watch. With this film, Carpenter gives us his homage to Hitchcock's Rear Window. Made for TV and originally airing on NBC, it's a far cry from Carpenter's best, but it builds its atmosphere and Lauren Hutton gives a solid, lead performance.


btsjunkie said...

Great stuff Jeremy! Of the ones I haven't seen I'm particularly interested in LE CERCLE ROUGE. I need more Melville in my life!

Also, you can NEVER go wrong with Billy Wilder.

Matt-suzaka said...

I absolutely love A Bittersweet Life and actually had it on my best of the last decade list. It's a film that only gets better, and the meaning deeper, with every subsequent viewing.

I also saw Memories of Murder for the first time recently (it was a Christmas gift) and found it to be pretty fantastic. Song Kang-ho is, as always, phenomenal and the film itself unfolds in a way that truly pulls the viewer in.

R_U_Sure_It's_Mine? said...

Some solid movies you got on that list.. A Bittersweet life is definitely in your face action...

Graygrrrl said...

I can't believe "A Bittersweet Life" is not available on Netflix! It's off to the one remaining indie video store in town with my fingers crossed they have it!

Rupert Pupkin said...

I really need to see A BITTERSWEET LIFE!