Must-See Movies: Le Samouraï (1967)

Le Samouraï (1967)

Jean-Pierre Melville‘s French-noir masterpiece is one of my personal favorite films and one I consider to be criminally underrated. Its influence on the modern-noir genre and, in particular, hit-man films is immense. Oft copied, no film since has been able to work brilliantly on so many levels. Every aspect of the film has been meticulously crafted by Melville; from the occasionally sparse use of dialogue, the engrossingly tense atmosphere, to the almost monochrome color scheme, all of which results in a truly unique cinematic experience.

Le Samouraï opens with a superbly filmed 10 minute, dialogue-free sequence which introduces professional hit-man Jef Costello (Alain Delon.) Residing in a barren apartment and never cracking a smile, Jef only lives for one thing, doing what he’s paid to do. Although Jef is an intrinsically unlikable character (murderer,) Delon’s performance exudes coolness, demanding your attention and reverence. His cold and calculating demeanor is in stark contrast to his eyes, brimming with intensity and sentiment. Read more of this post

Must-See Movies: Intro

New look & new series

I am finally beginning a new long-term series entitled “Must-See Movies.” My plan is to (hopefully) watch 100+ of my all time favorite films, plus some ‘classics’ I have yet to see, and write reviews/articles for each along the way. My goal is to complete at least 1-2 per week, possibly more, if I don’t get too lazy.

The list will proceed in no particular order, aside from which movie I feel like watching that day. The overall film choice will be relatively eclectic and cover all genres: titles ranging from popular classics (Taxi Driver, Rear Window), foreign masterpieces (Le Samouraï, La Dolce Vita), to cult-classics (The Big Lebowski, Evil Dead) and everything in between.

I will also keep a running link-list of the movies (below), updating as I go along.

Must-See Movie List:

#1  –  Le Samouraï (1967)

#2  –  tba

Movie Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

Memories of Murder [Salinui Chueok] (2003)

Based on the real-life series of murders which occurred in South Korea, Memories of Murder is a fictional account of the investigations proceedings. Although suspenseful and sometimes creepy, it is not a slasher or horror movie. The serial killer takes second-stage to the detectives and their many struggles; including a lack of proper training, incompetence, and infighting. Director Joon-ho Bong continually changes the films tone throughout by masterfully intertwining offbeat, dark comedy with the grisly murders. This unorthodox injection of humor within such a morose story is remarkably effective without ever appearing forced or inappropriate. He also does well in avoiding prevalent serial killer movie clichés; like creating convoluted explanations for the killer’s action and having the killer send messages to taunt the police. Read more of this post

Shutter Island (2010) review

Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island is the fourth collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese and although it’s not their best film together (The Departed), it is a very powerful and absorbing thriller. With a constantly twisting and turning story, nothing is what it appears to be, taking the audience along for a dark and wild ride. While the films premise is relatively simple, its journey and conclusion are anything but straightforward. Read more of this post

The Wolfman (2010) review

The Wolfman (2010)

The first question I ask myself when watching a remake/reboot is “what’s the purpose?” Does it approach the story in a way different than the original, improve any glaring faults or shortcomings, or change the setting to something more modern? Unfortunately The Wolfman not only accomplishes none of these, it’s also devoid of the original’s excellent atmosphere and suspense. Instead, adding only an obscene amount of gore and disappointingly mediocre CGI/makeup (considering its $85M budget). Read more of this post