Favourite Movies

Favourite Movies - Favourite Directors

 

Favourite Movies

The following are my all-time favourite movies. The titles link to the movies' pages on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

1. Dangerous Liasons (USA UK 1988, Stephen Frears)

Deceit, intrigues, superb dialogues and great acting by John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman. Malkovich is the 18th century playboy who sets himself the challenge of seducing the ultra-virtuous Pfeiffer.

2. Festen (Denmark 1998, Thomas Vinterberg)

A family gathering to celebrate a rich man's birthday turns into a nightmare as his son surprises the family with one shocking revelation after another. The plot of this Danish movie, the first in the Dogma series, blew me off my socks.

3. Pulp Fiction (USA 1994, Quentin Tarantino)

Three intriguing, hilarious stories about big gangsters and small criminals. Witty dialogues and great acting from an incredible cast (check the picture), with classic scenes like John Travolta and Uma Thurman dancing in a twist contest.

4. Starship Troopers (USA 1997, Paul Verhoeven):

Verhoeven's cynical adaptation of Heinlein's war novel ridiculises everything the book promoted (patriotism, militarism, ...) and is full of hidden humour. Casting posterboys and superbabes as soldiers made it even more hilarious.

5. Trois Couleurs - Bleu (France Poland 1993, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Poetic movie about the wife of a composer who tries to start a new life after his death but ends up completing her husband's final work. Great acting by Juliette Binoche and superb music by Zbigniew Preizner.

6. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italy 1966, Sergio Leone)

The ultimate spaghetti western, in which three gun men set out to find a hidden treasure in the desert and repeatedly cross each other's paths while the madness of the Civil War rages around them. Classic score by Ennio Morricone.

7. 2001 - A Space Odyssey (UK USA 1968, Stanley Kubrick)

Visual tour de force that you can't really understand unless you've read the accompanying novel by SF master Arthur C. Clarke, but just watching the magnificent scenes unfold is a magic experience.

8. Fight Club (USA 1999, David Fincher)

Edward Norton is an insomniac with a boring office job whose life is turned around when he meets Brad Pitt. Together they start a fight club that evolves into a militia as Norton gradually loses control of events.

9. Reservoir Dogs (USA 1992, Quentin Tarantino)

Tarantino's debut movie. A group of gangsters meet up after a bank robbery that went bad, and through a series of back flashes we learn what went wrong and who's responsible. Great cast, great dialogues, great scenes.

10. Remains of the day (USA UK 1993, James Ivory)

Fascinating view into the household of a British lord in the Interbellum, with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in their best roles ever. A sad story about servitude, loyalty, and human interaction restricted by formal behaviour.

11. C'est arrivé près de chez vous (Belgium 1992, Belvaux, Bonzel, Poelvoorde)

A camera crew follows a serial killer, who increasingly involves them in his crimes. Shocking yet hilarious low-budget parody on human interest docus, with great acting by the directors and their families who all play themselves.

12. Mulholland Drive (USA 2001, David Lynch)

A young actress arrives in Hollywood, meets an amnesiac woman who survived an assassination attempt and helps her reconstruct her past. Hallucinatory scenes, mysterious characters, illusional story lines - classic Lynch.

13. Rumble Fish (USA 1983, Francis Ford Coppola)

Highly esthetic movie in which young gang leader Matt Dillon tries to give his life meaning with street fights against competing gangs, all in a vain attempt to follow in the footsteps of his legendary brother, a disillusioned Mickey Rourke.

14. Flesh and Blood (USA 1985, Paul Verhoeven)

Verhoeven's cynical view on the middle ages. Rutger Hauer interprets divine signs to his own advantage to lead a band of scoundrels through plague-ridden Europe. They kidnap a maiden, raid a castle and generally have a lot of murderous fun.

15. Cannibal Holocaust (Italy 1979, Ruggero Deodato)

Four youngsters enter the Amazon jungle to make a documentary about a tribe of cannibals. Their film rolls are found by a rescue team and we get to see the horror they encountered. Blair Witch Project was a blatant rip-off of this classic.

16. My Name is Nobody (Italy 1973, Sergio Leone)

Humouristic spaghetti western in which young gun slinger Terence Hill forces his hero Henry Fonda out of retirement. Since nobody can beat his hero, he calls himself Nobody. This was my favourite movie as a kid.

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Favourite Directors

My favourite directors, ranked alphabetically, with the movies they've made that I like most. The directors' names link to their pages on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

  • Pedro Almodóvar (Spain 1951): Todo sobre mi madre (1999), Hable con ella (2002). Poetic, intimate movies with surrealistic characters.
  • Joel and Ethan Coen (USA 1954 and 1957): Barton Fink (1991), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
  • Krzysztof Kieslowski (Poland 1941-1996): Dekalog (1988), La Double vie de Véronique (1991), Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993), Trois couleurs: Rouge (1994).
  • Stanley Kubrick (USA 1928-1999): Spartacus (1960), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
  • Spike Lee (USA 1957): Malcolm X (1992), Clockers (1995), Summer of Sam (1999).
  • Sergio Leone (Italy 1929-1989): For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), My Name Is Nobody (1973), Once Upon a Time in America (1984).
  • David Lynch (USA 1946): The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984), Wild At Heart (1990), Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001).
  • Kevin Smith (USA 1970): Clerks (1994), Chasing Amy (1997). Maker of independent movies with a lot of intelligent dialogue and childish humour in which the same actors always reappear (e.g. Ben Affleck), often in the same roles (e.g. Kevin Smith himself as Silent Bob).
  • Oliver Stone (USA 1946): Platoon (1986), Wall Street (1987), Talk Radio (1988), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), JFK (1991), Natural Born Killers (1994), Nixon (1995).
  • Quentin Tarantino (USA 1963): Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Four Rooms (1995, 4th part), Jackie Brown (1997). A new one (Kill Bill) is coming this year, can't wait!
  • Paul Verhoeven (USA 1938): Flesh & Blood (1985), RoboCop (1987), Basic Instinct (1992), Starship Troopers (1997). Basic Instinct is the odd one out here, the others are all about Verhoeven's cynical humour and social criticism.

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