Friday, August 1, 2008

My Movie Favorites

I’m slowly getting back into the grind of things. I have began reading again, but lately, films seemed more appealing to me as I needed a break from Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. It’s only my second Murakami, but truly, it’s not a wise book to read after one goes through a heartbreak. Go read a chapter. You’ll find out why.

Also, I realized I had copies gathering molds in my DVD album. So I’m trying to watch one movie every night, before my TV-remote-control-frenzy of hopping through my usual program favorites in Discovery Travel and Living, National Geographic, Lifestyle Network, Biography Channel, and Crime and Investigation. This is a habit that freaks the hell out of B. Oh, well.

Of late, I’ve watched new and old films including No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Love in the Time of Cholera, Music and Lyrics, No Reservations, Munich, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which has been my current favorite. I also re-watched these movies: Constantine, Somewhere in Time, The Notebook, The Bridges of Madison County, Notting Hill, Brokeback Mountain, and yes, Legally Blonde. Grin.

But like most people, I also have my list of favorites. Which is a lot. Grin. Grin. Grin. But for brevity, I’ll list my ten faves here and write something about each one of them.

10. Superman. This one will always bring me happy memories of my childhood and the days I spent at home with my brothers. When this was released in moviehouses, I was only five years old! Me and the boys watched it with our Aunt Susan. This movie is like ice cream or chocolate to me, comfort food anytime.

9. Somewhere in Time. Maybe this one's too far from the rest of the films in this group, but my list will never be complete without Elise and Richard. Who wouldn't fall for Richard's courage in seeking Elise? And who wouldn't fall for Elise's beauty? This film is perfect for date movies, because it is the perfect romantic film of all time. It showed that love will transcend everything, even time.

8. Gone With the Wind. Who will forget Scarlett O'Hara when she said "I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again." What a classic. Though a tad long for most of us, the film provides great insight about life in the American South during the Civil War.

7. Schindler’s List. I cried buckets of tears for two days because of this movie. I will always see that little girl in the red jacket as how Oskar Schindler saw her. I also learned a lot about life from this film. Courage, fearlessness, and selflessness.

6. In The Mood for Love. I love this Wong Kar Wai film for its sensuousness sans the usual sex scenes of illicit affairs. One could not help but symphatize with Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan as they sought solace from each other while their spouses enjoyed their own affair. The film is stylish, beautiful, and spoke of an elegance only the likes of Wong Kar Wai could ever create.

5. Hable Con Ella (Talk To Her). My copy of this film is entirely in Spanish, which is very good because it helped a lot when I was studying the language. Esta película de Almodovar era realmente una gran ayuda a mí como estudiante de la lengua española. Pedro Almodóvar's Benigno and Marco are both admirable in their loyalty and love for Alicia and Lydia, who are both in a state of coma due to different causes. He was also very successful (and unafraid) in showing the loneliness and longing of men for the women they love.

4. Chocolat. Again, who is perfect for Vianne but Juliette Binoche? I have never seen Juliette as beautiful as she is in this film. Well, it's another perfect film with an excellent storyline and a powerhouse cast. Judi Dench is perfect, Alfred Molina is perfect, even Carrie-Anne Moss is perfect! And when is Johnny Depp imperfect? And with all the chocolate and sweets shown in this film, one can't help but go to the nearest candystore after watching it. *Sigh.*

3. Se7en (Seven). This classic has all my favorites: suspense, thriller, David Fincher, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, and most of all, Morgan Freeman. Like Silence of the Lambs, this film revolves around a deranged and dangerous serial killer who uses the Seven Deadly Sins to kill one victim after another. In his signature style, Director David Fincher (also of Fight Club, Panic Room, and Zodiac) was successful in presenting the graphic tones of a thriller by using dark and subdued tones throughout the film.

2. Malèna. Another foreign language film on my list, and this time, Italian. This one is just so perfect. Excellent plot, excellent music, excellent actors. A coming of age movie, but one that also touched on innocence, courage, surrender, and love. I will always remember Monica Bellucci as Malèna Scordia, and no other actress would have fit the role. From being a young bride, to a young widow, to being the most desired woman in war torn Castelcuto, Sicily, Monica is the single force that carried the whole film into its entirety even if she only uttered a very few number of lines. But what endeared Malèna to me the most is not her sensual image of a young widow, but her faithful love and service to her deaf father who later on disowned her after learning about her illicit affairs.

1. The Godfather Part I.
Ah, the best part. And why not? A Mario Puzo novel and Francis Ford Copolla's direction is the best, the perfect movie of all time. Just like Seven, this film, aside from being a classic and a mainstay at the AFI's Top 100 Films, has my most favorite actor in it: Marlon Brando. He is the aging patriarch of a Mafia family, who is forced to give his position to his youngest son Michael after he was shot by members of a rival family. But what's good about this film is its soul, despite its theme of violence. This is highly evident in the part where Don Vito Corleone refused his friends' desire to sell drugs because he never believed in it, placing his business and family in jeopardy. Winning the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Actor for Marlon Brando, the film had spawned two more, but none of them has surpassed the first.

Not much, right? But these ten films are the ones that made their mark, really. I could watch them endlessly and repeatedly at any given time. What's yours?

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