1. 8 1/2 & Nights of Cabiria I watched a lot of Fellini for the first time and all of them, in their own way, are perfect. 8 1/2 could be one of the best films I've ever seen. The complicated, layered script wrestles with pretty much everything--religion, failure, artistic expression, relationships--in consistently surprising and arresting ways. In Nights of Cabiria, Giulietta Masina is a treasure. The lovely ending continues to haunt me.
2. The Crying Game I saw a lot of 90s films last year that I missed when they first came out. For those who haven't seen this in a while, I think it deserves a revisit. Highly original, fantastic script and acting (especially Jaye Davidson).
3. Contempt Bridget Bardot, that apartment scene, and that strand of music by Georges Delerue... where had they been all my life?
4. Night Moves This was a recommendation I found browsing Rupert Pupkin Speaks. Great, rambling '70s noir. Interesting score by Michael Small. Gene Hackman is perfect as detective Harry Moseby, emblematic of those powerless and lonely male protagonists of the Watergate era.
5. Barry Lyndon Anything by Kubrick is a work of art. Lavishly costumed, beautifully shot, great use of music and narration and featuring an underrated performance by Ryan O'Neal.
6. The Swimmer The only thing that mars this is an over-the-top finale, but otherwise a fascinating portrait, based upon John Cheever's famous short story, of a man (a brilliant, believable Burt Lancester) who swims through the pools of his well-to-do suburban neighborhood. The odd, varied reactions of the neighbors, all distant from one another, slowly reveal the mysteries of the swimmer's past. Unusual and memorable.
7. The Bride Wore Black Truffaut's stylish revenge thriller. Interestingly, Tarantino claims he's never seen it, though its influence on Kill Bill seems obvious.
8. Eyes Without a Face A surgeon and his assistant kidnap young women in hopes to remove their faces and replicate them on his disfigured daughter. Very spooky, atmospheric.
9. Saboteur One of Hitch's most economical pictures. A swift, "wrong man" story, with oddball characters, a patriotic slant, and a still-thrilling Statue of Liberty climax.
10. The Last Seduction Something about this film sticks with me. I love its leisurely pace, early 90s feel and Linda Fiorentino makes such an alluring (and cold-hearted!) femme fatale.
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