Saturday, April 18, 2009

55 Films You No Longer Need To See Before You Die

First Edition : 2003
Reprint :

Bookstore the other day, saw the new edition of Steven Jay Schneider's "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die." Got to thinking, This is the fifth edition? Still only 1001 films I have to see before I snuff it? So which ones have been deemed less-than-obligatory since the first edition, five years ago?

Second Edition : 2005

Turns out there are 55 flicks that made it into one or more of the previous volumes, but which are no longer required viewing in advance of your funeral. (That's a load off my mind!) And because I feel obliged to inflict my opinions whenever possible, I'll boldface the titles that would have stayed in there had I been in charge...


À ma soeur! (2001)
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
The Accidental Tourist (1988)
Adaptation (2002)
The Age of Innocence (1993)
Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Streets (2000)
Attack the Gas Station (1999)
The Aviator (2004)
Babel (2006)
The Barbarian Invasions (2003)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Bus 174 (2002)
Caché (2005)
Candyman (1992)
The Captive (2000)
Chicago (2002)
Children of Men (2006)
Collateral (2004)
The Constant Gardener (2005)
Deconstructing Harry (1997)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Far from Heaven (2002)
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (1997)
Gangs of New York (2002)
Gohatto (1999)
Hero (2002)
The Idiots (1998)
Kundun (1997)
The Last King of Scotland (2006)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Mother and Son (1997)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Nine Queens (2000)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
The Piano Teacher (2001)
The Pillow Book (1996)
The Prestige (2006)
Rosetta (1999)
Russian Ark (2002)
Signs and Wonders (2000)
Sombre (1998)
The Son's Room (2001)
Strange Days (1995)
Tetsuo (1998)
Time Regained (1999)
United 93 (2006)
A Very Long Engagement (2004)
Volver (2006)
What Time Is It There? (2001)
The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)
Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Third Edition : 2006

Curiously, there's also a handful of films that made it in at some point, then got cut, only to be reinstated. Lucky films! To those in bold I proffer my hearty shouts of assent.

Audition (1999)
City of God (2002) 
Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2003)
The Passion of the Christ (2004) 
Talk to Her (2002)

Fourth Edition : 2007

But now the time has come to get down to it. Our main theme. Our magnificent obsession. Our raisin d'eater, at this, our soulfoodmovies blog. So here they are - the slightly more than 100

(more or less - "more" being determined by me, indicated by boldface)
that Mr Schneider figures

Intolerance (1916)
Metropolis (1927)
Sunrise (1927)
La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928)
The Awful Truth (1937)
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
Sergeant York (1941)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Cat People (1942)
I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
Roma, città aperta (1945)
Paisà (1946)
Black Narcissus (1946)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Ikiru (1952)
Voyage in Italy (1953)
Shane (1953)
On the Waterfront (1954)
La Strada (1954)
Pather Panchali (1955)
Ordet (1955)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The Wrong Man (1956)
The Ten Commandments (1956)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Wild Strawberries (1957)
The Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Aparajito (1957)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Pickpocket (1959)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Through a Glass Darkly (1961)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Winter Light (1963)
The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
My Night at Maud's (1969)
Andrei Rublev (1969)
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)
The Sorrow and the Pity (1971)
Solaris (1972)
The Godfather (1972)
The Wicker Man (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)
Dersu Uzala (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
The Last Wave (1977)
The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)
Days of Heaven (1978)
Stalker (1979)
All That Jazz (1979)
Life of Brian (1979)
The Elephant Man (1980)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
Gandhi (1982)
The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982)
Koyaanisqatsi (1983)
Amadeus (1984)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Wings of Desire (1987)
Babette's Feast (1987)
The Decalogue (1988)
Alice (1988)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
The Killer (1989)
Jacob's Ladder (1990)
Close-Up (1990)
The Rapture (1991)
Unforgiven (1992)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Trois Couleurs: Bleu (1993)
Schindler's List (1993)
Trois Couleurs: Rouge (1994)
Forrest Gump (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Sátántangó (1994)
Clueless (1995)
Smoke (1995)
Breaking the Waves (1996)
Festen (1998)
Lola Rennt (1998)
Magnolia (1999)
Beau Travail (1999)
Fight Club (1999)
The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)
American Beauty (1999)
The Matrix (1999)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Gleaners and I (2000)
Kippur (2000)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Yi Yi (2000)
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)
The Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002 & 2003)
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Apocalypto (2006)
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Into the Wild (2007)
Atonement (2007)

Fifth Edition : 2008

This post is dedicated to Dave Smith
Who, as it turns out, is actually a Norman.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


David Denby:

In HUNGER, the British video artist Steve McQueen has made an imposing feature-length movie that attempts to equal the discipline and fanaticism of his real-world subjects - IRA fighters who, incarcerated in Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, went on a hunger strike in 1981.... The movie's preoccupations are as much religious, even sacerdotal, as political.... For much of the movie, an intense silence reigns, interrupted by outbursts of furious brutality against the naked prisoners....

HUNGER moves inexorably to the last stage of this Passion play: Bobby Sands, starving himself for sixty-six days and slowly dying as he lies spread out naked on a bed. Earlier, in a powerfully written conversation, Father Dominic Moran, a tough Catholic priest, accuses Sands of not loving life, of having lost touch with the world or any rational political purpose. Father Moran is exactly right, but the movie takes the opposite view - that the men are sacred in their anguish.

In the end...I was awed but not moved by HUNGEr. Sands is a violent man who dies in the service of a dubious cause and on a cross of his own choosing. He's a Christ without humanity, and McQueen's aestheticization of his suffering and death becomes borderline creepy.

The New Yorker, March 30, 2009

NOW PLAYING: Big Screens


One church to go to this Easter Weekend is the Imax at Canada Place: U23D, services nightly at 8pm (Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday only). Opening Good Friday, running through Apr 13 is LA DOLCE VITA (Cinematheque): "a three-hour masterpiece that shows one man's descent into the sweet life of debauchery... Sprinkled with religious images and gestures at salvation" (Cinemaclock). Carole and I savoured CHERRY BLOSSOMS (opens Easter weekend at VanCity): don't read any write-ups, better to experience this film as it comes to you: suffice it to say, a late-middle-aged couple, as distanced from their children as any in Ozu, as distanced from their lives as anyone in IKIRU, face death and, finally, travel to Japan. Stick around for the more-or-less Easter-themed late show at VanCity, Monty Python's LIFE OF BRIAN: "Always look on the bright side."

Langley's Twilight Drive-In might just be the perfect place to see Scott Derrickson's THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (remake of the 1951 sf classic), especially now that spring's sprung. DOUBT, GRAN TORINO and THE WRESTLER soldier on at Granville 7, with the first two also showing up at the Hollywood.


SUNSHINE CLEANING has opened at Tinseltown and the Park. Pettily, I resent the filmmakers' compulsion to remind us it's "from the folks who brought you LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE" - can a title be product placement? Still, a film I want to see: LMS with body bags.

CORALINE continues three dimensionally at Tinseltown, flat everywhere else. FROST/NIXON visit The Hollywood, GOMORRAH has opened at the Fifth, where THE READER carries on reading.

shall we kiss?

Nathan Lane:
There are two stories here, one framed inside the other - a very nineteenth-century device. In the outer on, a picture-framer (his profession is no accident) begs a woman he barely knows for "a kiss without consequences." In refusing, she tells him the cautionary tale of Nicolas, who, lacking affection, suggests to a married friend named Judith that she meet his needs. This being Paris, Judith concurs, and, as you might expect, the no-strings encounter turns out to be tied up in strings of every sort. ...what we learn, as the jokes fade from the movie in the second half, is that beneath Mouret's goofy ditherings is an unremitting moralist, gripped by the ethics of temptation. ... SHALL WE KISS? puts its viewers in a bind worthy of the lovers themselves: should we organize a Socratic symposium on the issues raised by the film, or hurl our popcorn violently at the screen?
New Yorker, April 6, 2009

Of course, one man's moralizing is another man's meat. Wonder how Nat feels about other Moral Tales? He may be right, of course, but his antipathy piques my curiosity.