The Last Temptation Of Christ (Martin Scorsese)
This with Raging Bull is my favourite Scorsese film. The humanistic portrayal of Jesus with all his faults and not being the perfect son of God, the fact that it’s based on The Last Temptation Of Christ book rather than the bible gives this film an edge over others because of it’s updated themes. The defining feature of this film is Willem Dafoe’s performance as Jesus Christ, it’s perfect and also quite believable. Another great feature of this film is the very unique Cinematography it’s very unconventional compared to other Scorsese works. The film is overshadowed by Goodfellas, Hugo and Taxi Driver.
The Prestige (Christopher Nolan)
This is Nolan’s best film in my opinion. Perfectly balanced characters and a runtime that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, this film is his strongest and most consistent throughout. Praised by critics but quickly forgotten by audiences because of his later works. The real surprise standout in this film is not Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale or even Andy Serkis, It’s David Bowie as Nikola Tesla who steals every scene he is involved in. The film is overshadowed by The Batman Trilogy and also Inception who seemed to captivate audiences in the long run. Hopefully when people look by on Nolan’s filmography they will notice films such as The Prestige and Memento.
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
Again a film that is well reviewed by critics but no where near as accessible as his other work. Mainly due to the fact of the pacing of the film and also the use of subtitles is a lot more prominent in this film. The obvious standout in this film is Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, but this also happens to be Tarantino’s most well shot film and also to a less extent his most original in style. It’s real defining feature is definitely the first scene of the film with Landa and a Farmer having a delightful conversation in french. It is overshadowed by Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill whose pop culture references and more down to earth plot and scenes help keep people interested and related to some of the characters.
The World’s End (Edgar Wright)
Out of all of Edgar Wright’s films I believe this one benefits the most from a repeat viewing, not to see all the little hidden touches but to actual like and enjoy the film more. The humor in this film is different from all of Wright’s other works, the humor is more dry and doesn’t rely on pop culture as much. At first I thought this film was okay but not to the standard of his other work, but after a repeat viewing and you accept the different style of writing it becomes much more enjoyable, much like Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me, you have to get over your original expectations for it, to really enjoy it. This film is really overshadowed by all of Wright’s other work such as Shaun of The Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Also the soundtrack is killer to listen to inside and out of watching the film.
Shame (Steve McQueen)
Shame is a special breed of film that really changes your mind on the subject matter at hand, in this case Sex Addiction. Two of the best things this film does are the cinematography which is close and tight to the characters but can expand depending on emotion it’s slick and beautiful work which has really been applied to his later work. Secondly is Michael Fassbender’s Oscar Worthy Performance as Brandon, it’s astounding how much you can tell what the character is feeling through only looking at his face with no dialogue. Most mainstream audiences took notice of McQueen with his 2013 release 12 Years A Slave (Which is rather good), the subject matter is difficult and awkward but has been done before much like his first film Hunger which is about an IRA prison hunger strike, again difficult but has been done before. Shame has a subject matter not a lot of people are familiar which makes for a very intense and interesting look into that world. Hopefully audiences will look back on McQueen’s career and really give the praise that Shame deserves.
Zodiac (David Fincher)
One of Fincher’s most underappreciated films is actually my favourite. Based on the true story of Serial Killer ‘The Zodiac’, we see a tense and interesting look into the world Fincher has constructed. Not as dark or controversial as his other work like Seven and Fight Club, Zodiac puts subtle into the mix with it’s display of the mystery upto and pass the end. It’s feels old school much like Chinatown with not a lot actually happening but keep audience members enthralled in it’s story. It has a hearty runtime of 157 minutes but much like other his other work never feels that long and leaves you craving more. Stuck between his stages of becoming a more accesible director (Panic Room to Benjamin Button) this leaves a lasting impression, much more than any of the work he has made in the last 5 years.
The Elephant Man (David Lynch)
Often forgotten among some of Lynch’s other classics such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man leaves more of an emotional after thought than one of weirdness and confusion. Much like The straight story the film has heart rather than brains, there is no symbolic plot to make the viewer think. It’s just a true story about a disfigured man who has to try to live in Victorian England. Again much like Shame there are two standouts. The stark black and white cinematography which really is really justified in the setting of the film, I couldn’t see ever wanting to watch this film in colour. Secondly John Hurt’s performance as John Merrick, it’s extraordinary simplistic yet has such depth below it. He manages to create a lingering sadness for the character from start to finish without it seeming like he is pandering to the audience. The elephant man is a true classic often forgotten that Lynch actually directed it.