My constantly evolving list of favorite films, in no particular order:

  • Aje aje bara aje (Come, Come, Come Upwards) by Im Kwon-taek

This Buddhist classic, starring Kang Su Yeon and Jin Yong Mi, follows the divergent paths of two young nuns. Both leave the temple and weather the challenges of an earthly world that tests their faith. When the two women finally return to the temple, their fates could not be more different. (Yesasia)

  • Swimming Pool by Francois Ozon

Charlotte Rampling plays Sarah Morton, a prim and proper British author who has written a successful series of mystery-crime novels. However, when she visits her London publisher (Charles Dance) in a dour mood, wearing a depressive pout, and complains that she's no longer his favorite, he invites her to use his vacation home in the south of France as a tranquil escape to try her hand at writing something different. Once there, Sarah receives an unexpected and highly unwelcome visit from his bold, sexy, confrontational teenage daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). The two are instantly at odds with each other, as Julie drinks, smokes, and slinks around the pool topless. Her loose sexual mores and mysterious late nights infuriate Sarah, whose puritanical unease is only exacerbated in Julie's presence. Wonderful scenes of Sarah writing at her computer, her lips twitching wickedly with twisted inspiration, indicate that the story is about to take a turn for the weird. And that it does, quickly, as booze-clouded activities by the swimming pool become dark and seedy. (Yesasia)

  • Camille by George Cukor

Life in 1847 Paris is as spirited as champagne and as unforgiving as the gray morning after. In gambling dens and lavish soirees men of means exert their wills and women turned courtesans exult in pleasure. One such woman is Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo), the Camille of this sumptuous romance tale based on the enduring Alexandre Dumas story. Garbo's aloof mystique and alabaster beauty illuminate this George Cukor-directed film featuring what many call her finest performance. Her Camille is a movie paragon of true love found (in suitor Armand Duval memorably played by Robert Taylor) then sacrificed for a greater good. (Amazon)

  • Ringu (Ring) by Nakata Hideo

Exactly one week after staying at a remote cabin, a group of Japanese teenagers all meet sudden inexplicable deaths. A cousin of one of the victims, reporter Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima), begins an investigation that leads to the discovery of a videotape containing hauntingly bizarre footage. Upon viewing the tape, Reiko receives a phone call stating that she, too, will die in one week. As the clock ticks away, Reiko enlists the help of her estranged husband, Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada), who possesses limited psychic abilities. Together they attempt to discover the meaning behind the cryptic film and break the supernatural curse. (Yesasia)

  • The Craft by Andrew Fleming

Four teenage girls, outsiders in their clique-ridden religious school, find an outlet for their pent-up hostilities when they form a supernatural coven. Armed with the power of "the craft," these novice witches gleefully take vengeance on their enemies, but ultimately their indiscriminate use of power catches up to them. (Yesasia)

  • Ooritsu uchuugun: Oneamisu no tsubasa (Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise) by Yamaga Hiroyuki

Directed by Yamaga Hiroyuki, the film is set in an alternate world, similar to our mid-20th century, in which the nations are locked in a cold war. The story follows the complicated coming-of-age journey of a would-be astronaut amidst a multicultural landscape of disillusioned citizens, tangled politics, and constant threats of war.

With his grades not good enough for the navy, aimless youth Shiro Lhadatt ends up joining the Royal Space Force. Underfunded and overlooked, the RSF is a ragtag dumping ground for unmotivated young recruits and graying engineers who have been trying for years to build a rocket. Their goal is to launch a man into space, but progress has been slow. Like just about everyone else, Shiro doesn't think too much of the RSF, but he begins to change his mind after meeting Leiqunni Nondelaiko, a strongly religious young woman who inspires Shiro to have greater faith and determination. Finally coming together as a team, the RSF move closer and closer to their goal, just as their nation moves closer and closer to war. (Yesasia)

  • Mildred Pierce by Michael Curtiz

What Veda wants her mother Mildred Pierce provides. Even if Mildred must end her middle-class marriage, climb atop the male-dominated business world and marry a wealthy man she doesn't love. "I'll do anything" Mildred says in explaining her love for her daughter. But does anything include murder? (Amazon)

  • Dancer in the Dark by Lars von Trier

The story concerns Selma (Björk), a Czech immigrant living in 1964 Washington State with her 12-year-old son, Gene (Vladan Kostic). On the verge of blindness, Selma spends her days working in a factory, as well as performing other odd jobs, in order to save up enough money to pay for an operation that will cure Gene of the same disease. To pass the time, Selma fantasizes that her own life is a musical, one in which her friends join her in sweeping song-and-dance routines. After her neighbor Bill (David Morse) discovers Selma's hidden savings and steals them from her, she is forced to perform an act of salvation that will condemn her forever. (Yesasia)

  • True Crime by Pat Verducci

A teenage girl who's hooked on "True Crime" magazines tries to solve the grisly murder of one of her classmates, enlisting the help of a police cadet. Uncovering a string of serial murders, she may be closer to the killer than she knows. (Yesasia)

  • The Legend of Lylah Clare by Robert Aldrich

An unknown actress (Kim Novak) resembles Lylah Clare, a flamboyant star of the thirties, who died mysteriously and tragically on her wedding night. She gets a chance to play her in a biographical film directed by Lylah's real-life husband (Peter Finch). When shooting starts, she seems to become possessed by the spirit of the dead actress. (IMDB)

  • The Unknown by Tod Browning

Alonzo the Armless (Lon Chaney) is a circus freak who, while armless, uses his feet in place of arms. This includes tossing knives in the circus show. Alonzo, however, is an impostor and fugitive. He still secretly has both of his arms, but keeps them bound to his torso to keep his real identity secret.

While at the circus, he falls for Nanon (Joan Crawford), the daughter of the circus owner. The local circus strongman is also attracted to Nanon, but she cannot stand being touched by a man, and shuns him. She keeps a friendship with Alonzo, whom she believes to be armless and therefore unable to touch her. (Wikipedia)

  • Brokeback Mountain by Ang Lee

Brokeback Mountain is a sweeping epic that explores the lives of two young men, a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy, who meet in the summer of 1963 and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection. The complications, joys and heartbreak they experience provide a testament to the endurance and power of love. (Amazon)

  • Mulholland Dr. by David Lynch

A mysterious dark-haired woman (Laura Elena Harring) emerges from an accident with a purse full of cash and a head full of amnesia. Meanwhile, Betty Elms (Naomi Watts), a wide-eyed gal from Deep River, Ontario, has just landed in Los Angeles with dreams of movie super stardom. When Betty finds the nameless beauty in her aunt's apartment, she is deeply intrigued by the situation and offers to help her. This sends the two women on a bizarre search for the truth through the macabre, sun-soaked streets of the City of Angels, where the mob, a young film director (Justin Theroux), a studio executive with a tiny head, and an enigmatic figure named the Cowboy all float into the picture, then out again, until there is no longer any distinction between what is dream and what is reality. (Yesasia)

apr 21 2008 ∞
jan 20 2009 +