|The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover
|Without You I'm Nothing
|All That Jazz
|Fear Eats the Soul
|Rainer Werner Fassbinder
The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover
Greenaway creates the most enviable frames in the art form. He is cinema’s master painter, the only Rembrandt we’ve known. With iconic costumes by Gaultier and the most lush/deranged production design by Ben Van Os and Jan Roelfs, plus a forever epic score by Michael Nyman, this film is absolute transcendence.
Without You I'm Nothing
The single greatest performance film of all time. Nothing is funnier, stranger, wilder, more charming and alluring than what Sandra has created here. The final number is doubtlessly one of the best endings any filmmaker could conjure.
A peek inside the life of a true filmmaking genius, loved for his earlier funnier work. Complex, personal, surreal, and deeply misunderstood in its own time. An ode to the artist that strays away from bullshit wonder and awe, and gets at something more honest - compulsion and casual obsession.
All That Jazz
The greatest ever dance film, not only because of the choreography - which is breathtaking and worthy of a jumping ovation, but because it’s shot and edited with the spirit of a dancer. Demented, tragic, spiritual, sexy, gutting. The width of this film, all that it encompasses visually and emotionally, is stunning.
Fear Eats the Soul
Touching and lonely, romantic and estranged. I think often about the casting in this film, how deeply un-Hollywood the story is in every way, and how special it feels to portray any kind of love affair that every kind of exec would cringe at. When fassbinder sees himself as a heartbroken, aching woman, he’s at his best.
There is no chic’er moment for Al Pacino than this performance - he’s virile, intense, sickening, and so magnetic that it’s often impossible to look at his reaction shots for fear of fainting. The leather bar scenes are jaw-dropping art, and his placement within them - as thee Great Pacino - is pure iconography.
An unrivalled 'hysterical woman' performance by Julianne Moore, who holds this tremendously upsetting film together with the grace and fragility of an angel. If every film had a final shot even as remotely as affecting as Safe, we’d have a better art form, period.
Hollywood satire is dead and The Player is its marble tombstone. Nothing since has touched the humour and dread and absolute ding-dong dumbness of a major American industry. The death scene outside the Rialto is one both creatives and execs have relived over and over in their minds - the screenwriter who gets to obliterate the suit for being tasteless and crass, and the producer who gets to murder the artist for saying so.
Verhoeven is the sex-camp maestro, and this is his unrivalled masterpiece of lust, schlock, sensationalism. Two brilliant performances - endlessly watchable in both their vulnerability and manipulation. There’s movies with sex scenes and then there’s Basic Instinct, the epitome of softcore cool. Every film should trade in its tired, boring firearm for something as sensual and evocative as Verhoeven's ice-pick.
Giving you just enough, holding you so close, yet leaving you confounded and curious - that should be a screenwriter’s ultimate desire, especially in the landscape of the thriller, where we tend to be hit over the head until we’re brain damaged. Haneke has created his own kind of European steeliness, the cruelty of a bourgeois class that’s so banal you can only feel complicit. Plus a perfect middle finger to everyone who wants an easy wrap-up.