I’ve just finished preparing penne carbonara. Yum yum. But Gawd, I’m exhausted. And I refuse to eat it with parmesan cheese since Dam-dam used the poor cheese as a metaphor for his dandruff. GROSS!
And there’s an epidemic affecting Film graduates in the blogosphere. First it was Ayn with her Top 70 Favorite Films. And then myself. And now, Dam-dam is starting to feature his Top 80. And Lei, Top 20. Come on, come on. Let’s compare afterwards. Hehehe.
Director: David Frankel
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway
Plot: A naive young woman comes to New York and scores a job as the assistant to one of the city’s biggest magazine editors, the ruthless and cynical Miranda Priestly.
Top Critics’ Average Mark: 82%
“A million girls would kill for this job.”
Opening this batch is the very unforgiving Miranda Priestley and her two assistants Emily and Emily Andy. I soooo love Meryl Streep in this movie. Not her best performance but still truly unforgettable. Although some people may find this movie typical, formulaic or another ugly duckling tale or whatever, no one can say anything bad about its witty dialogues, terrific acting performances, and the gorgeous costumes and the uber-hot women wearing them especially Emily Blunt. If I had to judge a film just for its entertainment value, I’d give this a 100. Really funny movie. That’s all.
29. Closer (2004)
Director: Mike Nichols
Starring: Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman
Plot: The relationships of two couples become complicated and deceitful when the man from one couple meets the woman of the other.
Top Critics’ Average Mark: 74%
“If you believe in love at first sight, you never stop looking.”
This is the only Julia Roberts-starrer in this list. Ehehehe. A cynical way of looking at relationships, Closer was publicized as the more realistic look at love. And true enough, it was very realistic. And by realistic, I mean “painful.” It’s all about lies. About cheating. About love. About longing. About confusion. About relationships. About Natalie Portman. She’s ravishing. Hehehehe.
Genre: Political Thriller
Director: Sydney Pollack
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn
Plot: Political intrigue and deception unfold inside the United Nations, where a US Secret Service agent is assigned to investigate an interpreter who overhears an assassination plot.
Top Critics’ Average Mark: 66% Aaaw
“Even the lowest whisper can be heard over armies, when it’s telling the truth.”
One word to describe this movie: intelligent. I didn’t like this film just because I’m a diplomat-wannabe or just because of Nicole Kidman. I just think that compared to most political thrillers, The Interpreter is waaay out of its league. And that’s a good thing. This one will make you think and make you realize what “peace,” “justice,” and “truth” really mean. And yeah, Nicole Kidman, even when there’s blood all over her face, she still looks like a goddess. How does she do it? Amazing. And Sean Penn‘s performance is superb, too. At one point, I realized that my tears were making its way down my cheeks. It was weird. For God’s sakes, I was watching a political thriller and I cried! Silly me.
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro
Plot: A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.
Top Critics’ Mark: 85%
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that… he is gone.”
I am a huge, huge X-Men fan, but my favorite Brian Singer movie is The Usual Suspects. And when you watch this film, your only goal will be to know Keyser Soze’s real identity. For a week after I watched it, I just found myself murmuring “Keyser Soze” every hour of every day. SERIOUSLY. I even planned to name one of my future kids after him. But who is Keyser Soze? Who is Keyser Soze? Watch the film and you’ll know. This is one fatally stylish crime drama. Who is Keyser Soze? Keyser Soze? Keyser Soze?!?!?!
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Drama
Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Plot: A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one romantic evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.
Top Critics’ Mark: 99% <<< ALMOST!
“Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”
Who is Keyser Soze? Oh, we’ve moved on? Hahaha. Aright, sorry about that. OK, let’s move on. One critic declared “Before Sunrise” as the “best pick-up movie ever.” He’s right. I was actually surprised that I looooved this flick. The premise just didn’t appeal to me. But a friend kept on urging me to watch it so I did and whoah, it’s here on my Top 50 list. I don’t know what else to say. Just picture this: two strangers meet in a strange place at a strange time. They had a perfect evening together but they know that come tomorrow, they will part ways. And then the sequel, “Before Sunset” is about what happens when they meet again nine years after that night. Basta, nakakakilig.
25. Crash (2004)
Director: Paul Haggis
Starring: Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock
Plot: Several stories interweave during two days in Los Angeles involving a collection of inter-related characters.
Top Critics’ Mark: 76%
“You think you know who you are. You have no idea.”
Everyone was rooting for Brokeback Mountain to win the Best Picture Oscar last year but I was sure that the winner would be Crash and coming close was Munich. I have to admit, though, that the only reason I watched this was Sandra Bullock Ryan Phillippe. Hehe. But after watching this, wow. I never expected Matt Dillon to pull off something like that. And the rest of the cast. And the film itself is just brilliant. It made me cry. It made me see racism from different points of view. And not to mention the very chilling theme song “In The Deep” by Bird York.
I was thinking of tying Steven Spielberg‘s “Munich” up with this film at #25 but I realized it won’t be fair coz I liked Crash a little more. And that little made that much of a difference. Crash is #25, Munich is out of the countdown. Hehe. See how stiff the competition is? Hahaha. Career ito.
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti
Plot: Two men share an odd friendship while they care for their girlfriends who are both in deep comas.
Top Critics’ Mark: 93%
“Nothing is simple.”
Exactly. This film’s tagline says it all “nothing is simple.” Ergo, everything about this film is complex: its characters, its plot, its twists-and-turns, its motivations, its treatment. But this is one quiet film. Why, you ask? To begin with, two of the major characters are in a coma. Hehehe. But it manages to keep its audiences with all its emotional geysers, its subtle comedic punches, its wondrous surprises. Complex. Poignant. Stylish. Intelligent. Excellent. All the descriptions of a great film.
23. (tied) Batoru Rowaiaru | Battle Royale (2000)
Genre: Action, Drama
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda
Plot: In future Japan, the government capture a class of ninth-grade students and force them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.
Top Critics’ Mark: 78%
“Life is a game. So fight for survival and see if you’re worth it.”
You think you had a bad high school life? Wait till you see Battle Royale. Set in futuristic Japan where juvenile delinquency rate is sky-high, a law is made to prevent this problem from growing and teach the youth an important lesson. How? They choose a random high-school class and put them on a deserted island. They MUST kill each other off and only one (the winner) must live/survive in the end, or the government will kill them all. Whew. And since it’s just one class, most are friends.
What’s funny about this is that the characters, since they are required to kill, desperately look for reasons to justify their killings. And of course in this kind of environment, most go crazy. You won’t let me copy your homework. BANG! You stole my crush. BANG! You called me a bitch. BANG! You scored better in our last exam. BANG. I simply don’t like you. BANG. I love you but you love someone else. BANG! Cool huh?
23. (tied) Elephant (2003)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Alex Frost, Eric Deulen
Plot: An ordinary high school day. Except that it’s not.
Top Critics’ Mark: 76%
“Most importantly, have fun.”
Another extremely violent high school film is Elephant. Reminiscent of the Columbine Massacre in the 90s, this film won the prestigious Palm D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival a few years back. It was our screenwriting mentor Joey Reyes (yep, Jose Javier Reyes, the film director) who introduced this to our class and everyone just fell in love with it. There’s nothing much to narrate because there’s not much of a story here but it’s still ONE EXTRAORDINARY FILM. And when I say that, don’t just trust me, see for yourself. And I bet ya, you’ll be thanking me for recommending this.
Genre: Family Drama
Director: Laurice Guillen
Starring: Gloria Romero, Hilda Koronel, Dina Bonnevie, Johnny Delgado, Marvin Agustin, Jericho Rosales, Carol Banawa
Plot: An old woman gets sick making her three children and their families come together and pick up the pieces of one shattered past.
The ultimate movie about the Filipino (extended) family, Tanging Yaman, with its powerhouse cast was one of the films that I never thought I would enjoy. For starters, back then, I wasn’t into local drama. But after winning most of the awards at Metro Manila Film Festival that year, I had no choice. And it wasn’t a waste of anything. Fantastic performances especially by Jericho Rosales, Hilda Koronel and Gloria Romero. I cried twice. Hehehe. Oooh, now, I love tear-jerkers.
Director: Mark Meily
Starring: Sharon Cuneta, Angel Aquino, Hilda Koronel, Eric Quizon
Plot: A whimsical comedy about three women who cry at funerals, professionally.
Top Critics’ Mark: 88%
Mark Meily‘s directorial debut, Crying Ladies was a HUGE surprise to me. I didn’t expect that it would be that good great. Everything about this movie is great. Although for a moment (or more), I felt like I was watching a weaved collection of TV commercials. Too much in-your-face product placements but of course, very forgiveable because we understand why producers have to do those stuff. Besides, it didn’t ruin the film. Hilda Koronel and her Darna and the Giants stint in this movie could single-handedly save this film from its knockers. But there was no need, nothing to save. OUTSTANDING COMEDY.
Wow. I can’t believe it, we’re getting closer and closer to my top films.
— a scary movie found somewhere in the woods
— a movie about love, actually
— a film about ordinary people
— a relatively true Japanese masterpiece
— and more. “Akala mo lang wala, pero meron, meron, MERON!”
Seriously and obviously, more to come. Bye for now. Have to devour my carbonara. Yum yum. Keyser Sozeeeeeeee. Keyser Sozzzzeeee. (Oh Yoshke, shut the f*ck up.)
Plot: imdb.com, Ayn
Posters: moceanworker.com, answers.com, suffolk.lib.ny.us, celebrityscreenshots.com, abusemagazine.com, themanitoban.com, msn.com, blockbuster.com, starrystarry.com
Screencaps: filmfestivaltoday.com, playbill.com, webwombat.com.au, movies.yahoo.com, reellifewisdom.com, rottentomatoes.com, chubut.org.ar, homedir-b.libsyn.com, seasite.niu.edu, filmfresh.com
Marks: Rotten Tomatoes Cream of the Crop Critics
*as of and originally posed on 14 September 2007