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Movie Hall of Fame-Class of 2020!

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List by-Jarrett Leahy

As we approach Oscar night, it is time to reveal the 7th annual AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame class of 2020. This year’s class of honored films includes one 1st ballot film (movies from 2010 became eligible for selection this year), two National Film Registry selections, three Best Picture nominees, three foreign films, a musical drama, a romantic comedy, and the first animated inductee. These six films bring our Hall of Fame total to 48.

AMATEURCINEPHILE.COM 2020 HALL OF FAME CLASS

The Social Network (2010) An eight-time Oscar nominated film, The Social Network won three Academy awards including Best Adapted Screenplay. This year’s only first-ballot film, The Social Network was selected to 78 critics’ Top 10 lists back in 2010, including 22 #1 spots as well as the National Board of Review Best Film of 2010.  This tense drama perfectly encapsulates the time when the new guard abruptly pushed aside the corporate ruling class and presciently foreshadows social media’s cultural revolution. The Social Network becomes the first film from the 2010’s to be inducted into the AmateurCinephile.com Hall of fame.
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Cabaret (1972) Directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli in her seminal role as nightclub singer, Sally Bowles, Cabaret was the National Board of Review Best Film of 1972. A 1995 National Film Registry selection, Cabaret holds the distinction of being the film awarded the most Academy awards (eight) without winning the Oscar for Best Picture (losing to Class of 2014 honoree, The Godfather). Cabaret is the sixth 1970’s Hall of Fame film.
Cabaret pic

In the Mood for Love (2000) A sultry and hypnotic story of betrayal, In the Mood for Love was ranked the 24th greatest movie of all-time in the 2012 BFI Sight & Sound poll, making it the highest-rated movie of the 21st century. In The Mood for Love becomes the fourteenth film from the 2000’s and the 2nd movie from the year 2000 to be inducted, joining inaugural Class of 2014 honoree Almost Famous.
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Metropolis (1927) Arguably the most influential early science fiction film, Metropolis was voted as the 35th greatest film in the 2012 BFI Sight & Sound poll. Directed by famed Austrian filmmaker, Fritz Lang, Metropolis is the second silent film to be inducted, joining Class of 2018 City Lights, and the first Hall of Famer to represent the decade of the 1920’s.
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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) The breakout film of legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a post-apocalyptic drama based on a Miyazaki-created manga of the same name. Praised for its anti-war and environmental subject matter, Nausicaa’s reputation as one of the greatest animated films only grows as its themes and style continue to influence the anime genre today. Nausicaa is the first animated film to be inducted in the AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame and the fifth film from the 1980’s.
nausicaa-valley-of-the-wind-img

The Philadelphia Story (1940) One of the most beloved screwball comedies of the 1940’s, The Philadelphia Story was nominated for six Academy awards, winning two for Best Actor (James Stewart) and Best Screenplay. A 1995 National Film Registry selection, The Philadelphia Story’s critical and financial success helped resurrect screen legend Katharine Hepburn’s floundering career as a string of flops had her labeled as “box office poison.” The Philadelphia Story becomes the fifth 1940’s inductee and the third film starring Cary Grant joining Bringing Up Baby and Notorious.
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So there you have it, the AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Make sure you come back next Oscar weekend when another six films are chosen for inclusion.-JL

Edited by-Michelle Zenor

AMATEURCINEPHILE.COM HALL OF FAME BREAK DOWN BY DECADE:

-1920’s (1):
Metropolis, 1927
(Class of 2020)

-1930’s (3):
Bringing Up Baby, 1938
(Class of 2018)
City Lights, 1931 (Class of 2018)
Wizard of Oz, 1939 (Class of 2014)

-1940’s (5):
The Philadelphia Story, 1940
(Class of 2020)
Casablanca, 1942 (Class of 2014)
Notorious, 1946 (Class of 2015)
The Red Shoes, 1948 (Class of 2019)
The Third Man, 1949 (Class of 2015)

-1950’s (2):
Anatomy of a Murder, 1959
(Class of 2014)
Singin’ in the Rain, 1952 (Class of 2019)

-1960’s (3):
Belle de Jour, 1967
(Class of 2017)
The Leopard, 1963 (Class of 2016)
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968 (Class of 2014)

-1970’s (6):
Cabaret, 1972
(Class of 2020)
Chinatown, 1974 (Class of 2015)
The Deer Hunter, 1978 (Class of 2017)
The Godfather, 1972 (Class of 2014)
The Godfather Part 2, 1974 (Class of 2014)
Harold and Maude, 1971 (Class of 2019)

-1980’s (5):
A Christmas Story, 1983 (Class of 2017)
Field of Dreams, 1989 (Class of 2018)
Hannah and her Sisters, 1986 (Class of 2014)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, 1984 (Class of 2020)
Tender Mercies, 1983 (Class of 2015)

-1990’s (8):
Before Sunrise, 1995 (Class of 2014)
Boogie Nights, 1997 (Class of 2015)
Casino, 1995 (Class of 2015)
Dazed & Confused, 1993 (Class of 2016)
Goodfellas, 1990 (Class of 2016)
Heat, 1995 (Class of 2018)
Pulp Fiction, 1994 (Class of 2014)
Rushmore, 1998 (Class of 2017)

-2000’s (14):
Almost Famous, 2000 (Class of 2014)
Before Sunset, 2004 (Class of 2014)
Brokeback Mountain, 2005 (Class of 2016
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004 (Class of 2015)
(500) Days of Summer, 2009 (Class of 2019)
In The Mood For Love, 2000 (Class of 2020)
Inglourious Basterds, 2009 (Class of 2019)
Lost in Translation, 2003 (Class of 2014)
No Country For Old Men, 2007 (Class of 2017)
Rachel Getting Married, 2008 (Class of 2018)
Road to Perdition, 2002 (Class of 2018)
Sideways, 2004 (Class of 2016)
There Will Be Blood, 2007 (Class of 2017)
Up in the Air, 2009 (Class of 2019)

-2010’s (1):
The Social Network, 2010 (Class of 2020)

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2018 Top 10 Films

FotoJet

Like a fingerprint or snowflake, every end-of-year Top 10 list is as unique as the cinephile who conceives it. Rules for list creation vary greatly as well. Some choose to reward films based on pure technical merits, others select strictly on emotional connection, still others like to highlight lesser known achievements that deserve the much needed notoriety. AmateurCinephile.com tries to use a little of all three to generate its annual record of Top 10 films. As with every year, the pains of decision are made worse by the knowledge that not every film from the previous year was viewed. But this comes with the territory of being an amateur and not a professional. So without further ado, here are the films from 2018 that have the “honor” of being selected to the AmateurCinephile.com Top 10 Films of 2018.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Having only ten slots can be a difficult proposition for those who enjoy making lists like this. Every year, deserving movies get left on the cutting room floor as the list of candidates gets whittled down to the final ten. So please indulge me as I offer a quick list of a few films that were left just outside my Top 10 in the hopes they may inspire you to seek them out if you haven’t done so already.

-Minding the Gap: This documentary explores the effect childhood traumas have on three young skateboarders as they mature into adults.

-Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a wondrous look at the singular career of Fred Rogers and his groundbreaking children’s show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

-A Star is Born-The forth adaptation of this beloved story about the joys and pitfalls of stardom shows just how talented Bradley Cooper is as an actor and filmmaker.

-Basketball: A Love Story: A ten-part, twenty-hour documentary about the history of Basketball that rivals Ken Burns’ Baseball in terms of sheer knowledge and adoration for the sport it highlights.

-Searching: A missing-person mystery told exclusively through the perspective of the technology used by the frantic father as he attempts to track down his missing daughter. John Cho is fantastic.

-Crazy Rich Asians: An extravagantly over-the-top romantic comedy that I must confess I am a complete sucker for. The onscreen chemistry between Constance Wu and Henry Golding is truly palpable.

AMATEURCINEPHILE.COM TOP 10 FILMS OF 2018

10. Hearts Beat Loud (Brett Haley): A vintage record store owner whose business is on the rocks convinces his musically gifted daughter to form a band with him before she heads off to college. A humorous and delightful comedy, Hearts Beat Loud delivers a breakout performance from Kiersey Clemons while Nick Offerman brings a vulnerability and emotional depth that sits just below the surface of his wise-cracking wannabe hipster persona. The term feel-good-story gets thrown around an awful lot these days, but nothing fits Hearts Beat Loud more perfectly. Good luck not smiling at the end of this one.hearts-beat-loud-sundance

9. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham): A shy teenage girl attempts to come out of her shell in the hopes that it will help ease her impending transition to high school. Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade’s breakout star, delivers a truly inspiring performance, expertly balancing the awkward timidity of an introvert with the right level of hopeful innocence. Veteran actor Josh Hamilton’s heartfelt portrayal of single father Mark also adds to the film’s charm. The writing and directorial debut of comedian Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade can feel painfully awkward and voyeuristic at times, but overall the film is an endearing exploration of the pressures and expectations faced by today’s youth living in a technology crazed landscape. “Gucci!”Screen-Shot-2018-07-17-at-6.44.01-PM.png

8. Annihilation (Alex Garland): A group of scientists are charged with investigating an inexplicable quarantined zone after a previous mission goes awry. A perfect blend of horror and sci-fi, this mind-bending thriller leaves you with more questions than answers. Annihilation is the type of intellectual science fiction film that harkens back to the days of Tarkovsky’s Stalker. With his much anticipated followup to Ex Machina (my number one film of 2015), writer/director Alex Garland has established himself as one of the preeminent voices in modern sci-fi.anh-00407r_copy_-_h_2018

7. A Quiet Place (John Krasinski): A family struggles to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by a species of creatures with highly sensitive hearing. Another 2018 critically acclaimed directorial debut, this time from The Office star John Kransinski, who stars with his real-life wife Emily Blunt in this taut and tension-filled horror drama that spotlights the bonds that tie a family together even under the most trying of circumstances.a_quiet_place_still_1

6. Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson): Created using stop-motion animation, Isle of Dogs is a story of a young boy who sets out to find his beloved dog after an outbreak of dog flu leads to the banishment of all canines to Trash Island. Influenced by the work of legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, Isle of Dogs is the second animated feature from auteur Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and is blessed with a who’s who of voice-over talent including Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Scarlett Johansson. Seen by some as a subtle warning against the dangers of unchecked power and groupthink, Isle of Dogs is a charming adventure and a heartwarming ode to the love shared between a boy and his dog._100637164_dogs_fox

5. First Man (Damien Chazelle): First Man examines the life of famed astronaut Neil Armstrong during the time surrounding his renowned mission to become the first man on the moon. The third film from rising star Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash), First Man is blessed with a myriad of heart-stopping flight scenes. Where it differs from many other NASA-based dramas however is in Chazelle and screenwriter Josh Singer’s choice to concentrate more on the man than the myth, highlighting the little known tragedy that befell the Armstrong family and how that grief fueled Neil’s desire to succeed as an astronaut. Working closely with the family, Armstrong’s sons Mark and Rick have been quoted as saying this was the most accurate portrayal of their father and mother. Every year great films, for a multitude of reasons, slip through the cracks only to be rediscovered as time passes. I foresee this fate for First Man; it’s too good a film not to.first-man-2

4. Roma (Alfonso Cuaron): Roma tells the story of a young housemaid working for a middle-class family in Mexico City during the heightened civil unrest of the early 1970’s. Filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron has produced an impressively diverse resume of critically acclaimed cinematic creations including Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men, and Gravity. Roma is undoubtedly Cuaron’s most personal and intimate story, as he based the film on his family’s servant and has said that ninety percent of the scenes represented in the film are taken out of his own childhood memories. With impeccable black & white cinematography, some have found the Spanish-language film’s subject matter and pacing to be a bit outside their taste range. But for those who appreciate great world cinema, Roma is clearly one of the best examples 2018 has to offer.5c473bda52414700923655a3-750-563

3. The Rider (Chloe Zhao): A saddle bronc rodeo rider must make a life-altering decision on whether or not to return to the sport he loves, and risk further injury, after experiencing a near fatal head injury. Originally born in China, writer/director Chloe Zhao loosely based The Rider on real rodeo cowboy Brady Jandreau and the difficulties he faced after his own rodeo accident. Zhao cast Jandreau, his father, and his sister to play the fictionalized versions of themselves, giving The Rider almost a documentary feel to it. The Rider is a modern western with magnificent cinematography that expertly captures the fatal attraction rodeo cowboys have to their beloved sport and the lifestyle that comes with it.RiderChloeZhao

2. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik): A veteran and his teenage daughter try to acclimate to real world living after authorities discover them living off the grid amongst the dense forest of a public park in Portland, OR. Writer/director Debra Granik made a name for herself back in 2011 with her masterful Ozark drama, Winter’s Bone, a film that introduced us to superstar Jennifer Lawrence. Granik is back again with another young talent in Thomasin McKenzie. The father-daughter chemistry between Ben Foster and McKenzie makes this tale all the more heart-wrenching. Leave No Trace tastefully examines the difficult subject matter of P.T.S.D. and the extreme consequences it can have for the military veterans’ families.leave-no-trace-movie

1. Private Life (Tamara Jenkins): Richard and Rachel, a middle-aged couple struggling to have a child later in life begin exploring alternative options, including the unpleasant idea of third-party reproduction. A comedic drama that examines the financial and emotional burdens that come with the complicated world of assisted reproduction and adoption, writer/director Tamara Jenkins’ impeccable script offers Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn a perfect vessel to show off their unique blend of humor and anguish. Surprisingly one of the funniest movies I saw in 2018 considering the film’s dramatic subject matter, Private Life is a true cinematic gem and my #1 film of the year.lead_720_405

Edited by-Michelle Zenor
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Movie Hall of Fame-Class of 2019!

Hall of Fame 2019

List by-Jarrett Leahy

Happy Oscar Night Eve! As the tradition continues, it is time to announce the 6th annual AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame class of 2019. This year’s class of illustrious films includes three first-ballot films (movies from 2009 became eligible for selection this year), three Best Picture nominees, two National Film Registry selections, four comedies, a deliciously fictitious WWII drama, and arguably the greatest musical of all time wrapped up into six wonderful films. If you haven’t seen any of these films, please take the time to seek them out, and feel free to share your thoughts…

AMATEURCINEPHILE.COM 2019 HALL OF FAME CLASS

(500) Days of Summer (2009): (500) Days of Summer is the first of three films from 2009 to be inducted into the AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame as a first-ballot honoree. Nominated for two Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy, (500) Days of Summer was named to fifteen national Top-10 film lists including being chosen the best film of 2009 by the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, this 2019 Hall of Fame film is an endearing and delightfully charming creation that, in my humble opinion, is the best romantic comedy since Annie Hall.500-days

Inglourious Basterds (2009): Nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Inglourious Basterds is the second first-ballot honoree from 2009. Written and directed by famed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds is blessed with a stellar cast that includes Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender. This fictional re-imagining of a WWII plot to assassinate Nazi leaders is best known however for introducing the cinematic world to Christoph Waltz, an Austrian-German virtuoso who would go on to win the first of his two Best Supporting Actor Oscars for his sinfully devilish portrayal of villain Col. Hans “The Jew-Hunter” Landa. Tension-filled and irreverently violent, Inglourious Basterds becomes the second Hall of Fame film for Tarantino joining Class of 2014 inductee Pulp Fiction.basterd_670

Up in the Air (2009): A corporate downsizing specialist (someone who is paid to fire people) finds his own beloved livelihood at risk of being made obsolete by a new young colleague with grandiose plans to implement cost-saving technology. Based on a Walter Kirn novel, Up in the Air was the much anticipated followup to director Jason Reitman’s 2007 critically adored coming-of-age comedy Juno. Nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Up in the Air offers the perfect mix of poignant reality and comic relief.  This film is a deftly created time capsule, exploring the aftermath of corporate downsizing that plagued the beginning of the 21st century.MCDUPIN EC021

Harold and Maude (1971): A cult classic if there ever was one, Hal Ashby’s eccentric dark comedy tells the unconventional love story between a death-obsessed young man and a free-spirited nonconformist septuagenarian. Blessed with an ethereal soundtrack from 70’s headliner Cat Stevens, the film’s improbable stars, Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort, each received Golden Globe nominations for their sublimely exceptional portrayals. Irreverently macabre and delightfully charming, Harold and Maude has grown in stature and acclaim since its initial release, as evidenced by its 1997 selection into the National Film Registry.68049bc3b53a6d7fd723d4d5414ec3b64b3dc61e

The Red Shoes (1948): Based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name, this year’s 1940’s inductee becomes the fourth film from the decade to be selected for Hall of Fame inclusion. One of the finest examples of the Technicolor filming process, The Red Shoes earned five Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture, winning two Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Art Direction. Considered the finest achievement of the acclaimed Powell and Pressburger collaboration, the British Film Institute named The Red Shoes the ninth greatest British film of all time while a 2017 Time Out magazine poll ranked it fifth.red-shoes_2470711k

Singin’ in the Rain (1952): What new can be said about Singin’ in the Rain that hasn’t already been covered over the last sixty-plus years? Arguably the greatest musical of all time, surprisingly, Singin’ in the Rain was nominated for only two Academy Awards in 1953. Since this obvious oversight by the Academy, this 1989 National Film Registry selection has been awarded a slew of honors and accolades including being named the fifth greatest American motion picture of all time by AFI in 2007, the number 20 film on Sight and Sound’s 2017 list of the 50 Greatest Films of All-Time, and AFI’s Greatest Movie Musical. Now it has the honor of also being an AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Famer.singin-in-rain

So there you have it, the AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame Class of 2019! Make sure you come back next Oscar’s eve when another six films are chosen for inclusion.-JL

Edited by-Michelle Zenor

AMATEURCINEPHILE.COM HALL OF FAME BREAK DOWN BY DECADE:

-1930’s (3):
Bringing Up Baby, 1938 (Class of 2018)
City Lights, 1931 (Class of 2018)
Wizard of Oz, 1939 (Class of 2014)

-1940’s (4):
Casablanca, 1942 (Class of 2014)
Notorious, 1946 (Class of 2015)
The Red Shoes, 1948 (Class of 2019)
The Third Man, 1949 (Class of 2015)

-1950’s (2):
Anatomy of a Murder, 1959 (Class of 2014)
Singin’ in the Rain, 1952 (Class of 2019)

-1960’s (3):
Belle de Jour, 1967 (Class of 2017)
The Leopard, 1963 (Class of 2016)
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968 (Class of 2014)

-1970’s (5):
Chinatown, 1972 (Class of 2015)
The Deer Hunter, 1978 (Class of 2017)
The Godfather, 1972 (Class of 2014)
The Godfather Part 2, 1974 (Class of 2014)
Harold and Maude, 1971 (Class of 2019)

-1980’s (4):
A Christmas Story, 1983 (Class of 2017)
Field of Dreams, 1989 (Class of 2018)
Hannah and her Sisters, 1986 (Class of 2014)
Tender Mercies, 1983 (Class of 2015)

-1990’s (8):
Before Sunrise, 1995 (Class of 2014)
Boogie Nights, 1997 (Class of 2015)
Casino, 1995 (Class of 2015)
Dazed & Confused, 1993 (Class of 2016)
Goodfellas, 1990 (Class of 2016)
Heat, 1995 (Class of 2018)
Pulp Fiction, 1994 (Class of 2014)
Rushmore, 1998 (Class of 2017)

-2000’s (13):
Almost Famous, 2000 (Class of 2014)
Before Sunset, 2004 (Class of 2014)
Brokeback Mountain, 2005 (Class of 2016)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004 (Class of 2015)
(500) Days of Summer, 2009 (Class of 2019)
Inglourious Basterds, 2009 (Class of 2019)
Lost in Translation, 2003 (Class of 2014)
No Country For Old Men, 2007 (Class of 2017)
Rachel Getting Married, 2008 (Class of 2018)
Road to Perdition, 2002 (Class of 2018)
Sideways, 2004 (Class of 2016)
There Will Be Blood, 2007 (Class of 2017)
Up in the Air, 2009 (Class of 2019)

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2017 Top 10 Films

Top 10 of 2017

List by-Jarrett Leahy

As the 2018 Academy Awards near, it’s time yet again for AmateurCinephile.com to release the site’s Top 10 list for the 2017 movie year. Every year, there are always films that unfortunately go unseen before the Top 10 posting.  This year is no different, but, overall, I’m fairly comfortable with these selections, and I hope you’ll give a few of them a watch if given the chance.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Baby Driver (Edgar Wright)
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo)
Get Out (Jordan Peele)
Mudbound (Dee Rees)
Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater)
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan)
Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins)

AMATEURCINEPHILE.COM TOP 10 FILMS OF 2017

  1. Columbus (Kogonada): He is stuck in Columbus, Indiana, tending to his ailing, estranged father.  She selflessly remains in Columbus, Indiana, to look after her recovering mother. Written and directed by Korean-born filmmaker, Kogonada and starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, Columbus is a contemplative and emotionally therapeutic examination of responsibilities the child must endure when it comes to taking care of ailing parents. A showcase of the heralded modern architecture that populates the town it is set in, Columbus is a hidden gem worth seeking out. (A-)
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  1. Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan): The harrowing true story of the evacuation of the Allied army from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, as the German forces surround and close in on their location. Told using three intertwined storylines, each with its own timeline, auteur filmmaker Christopher Nolan expertly recounts this momentous event in world history with meticulous detail and accuracy. Rivetingly immersive, Dunkirk proves yet again Nolan remains at the top of his game. (A)
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  1. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson): A distinguished 1950’s London dressmaker finds his meticulously controlled life upset by a headstrong young woman who becomes his muse and romantic interest. The final performance for three-time Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread is an elegant and sumptuous period drama filled with stunning costume design (he’s a world-renowned dressmaker after all). But all this pageantry masks a dark, little secret.  This film is a bit naughty. Clandestine power struggles ensue between this famed artist, used to getting his way, and his new creative influence he does not want to alienate, and we the viewer get to sit back and enjoy the lovingly underhanded and subversive actions that emanate. (A)
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  1. Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino): Set amongst the beautiful 1980’s Italian countryside, a burgeoning relationship blossoms between a 17-year-old young man and an older college student who is hired to be the research assistant for his father. Nostalgic and romantic, Luca Guadagnino’s tale of infatuation and sexual discovery never over-sensationalizes or turns tawdry.  Rather, it remains honest and adoringly engaging as we experience the euphoric highs and afflicting lows of an unconventional first love. (A)
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  1. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve): After the uncovering of a long-repressed secret that could plunge a society already in disarray into anarchy, LAPD blade runner, Officer K, is tasked with covertly identifying and eliminating this threat and seeks out the assistance of former blade Runner, Rick Deckard, who has been in hiding for over thirty years. The choice to make a sequel to a cult-classic science fiction masterpiece twenty-five years after its initial release was a perilous decision to say the least. But if anyone could pull it off it would be Canadian auteur, Denis Villeneuve, and boy did he. Starring Ryan Gosling as Officer K, Blade Runner 2049 not only expertly compliments the narrative laid down by the original film, but skillfully expands on it to create its own existential questions involving artificial intelligence and what exactly are our responsibilities as the creator. A true masterwork of the science fiction genre, let the endless debate begin as to which film is better. (A)
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  1. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig): This deliciously quirky coming-of-age story follows a peculiarly charismatic 17-year-old girl trying to find herself in the mundane suburbs of Sacramento, CA circa 2002. Written and directed by actor/filmmaker Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha, Jackie, Mistress America) Lady Bird is a fictitious homage to her own unconventional upbringing in Sacramento, CA. Starring now three-time Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn, Atonement), Lady Bird cunningly captures the angst-ridden world of this precocious young woman as she tries to find her way in life. Filled with amusing Catholic school anecdotes and a period-accurate soundtrack, Lady Bird shows that Gerwig will remain a creative force to be reckoned with for years to come. (A)
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  1. The Big Sick (Michael Showalter): Kumail, a Pakistani-born comedian living in Chicago, struggles with the idea of possibly alienating his family after he meets and falls for Emily, a non-Pakistani grad student. These feelings become even more convoluted when Emily becomes critically ill. Written by real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon based on their own covert courtship, The Big Sick is an immigrant story, medical drama, and behind-the-scenes look at the life of a stand-up comedian wrapped up into a wonderfully sentimental and diverting romantic comedy. A film that gets better with each viewing (I’ve seen it three times), The Big Sick joins Lady Bird as two first-rate pieces of comedic cinema destined to be modern comedy classics. (A)
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  1. A Ghost Story (David Lowery): The ghost of a man who suffered a sudden, tragic death returns to his bucolic house to be with his grieving wife. Writer/director David Lowery creates an uncommonly peculiar and exceptional ghost story, exploring the idea of the afterlife with a poignant eeriness, as you sympathize with the ghost’s frustration about not being able to communicate or even comfort the woman he loves. Lowery’s decision to utilize the childish ghost-in-a-sheet motif was an intrepid choice, bringing a level of existential realism to a character that could have easily been construed as campy or nonsensical. Achingly hypnotic and mesmerizing at times, this film may not be for everyone, but if you’re into more experimental cinema, A Ghost Story is by far one the best. (A)
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  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson): As the Resistance prepares to battle the First Order, Rey remains on Ahch-To, hoping to persuade exiled Jedi-Master Luke Skywalker to train her how to harness and control her new-found abilities. The second installment of the third Star Wars trilogy has caused quite the controversy amongst some of the so-called Star Wars purists, as many have taken umbrage with the Luke Skywalker story arc that writer/director Rian Johnson created for the iconic character. After witnessing Johnson’s masterful extension of the Galaxy, far, far away, the only controversy I can see is whether or not The Last Jedi has surpassed The Empire Strikes Back for the title of the best Star Wars installment. It has for me, and I suspect that, if you are a fan of the franchise and go into your viewing without any preconceived expectations, you will find this film to be one of the best of 2017. (A)
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  1. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky): A couple’s secluded tranquility is up-ended when unsolicited visitors unexpectedly show up on their doorstep, straining their peaceful way of living. Choosing this film for my #1 film of 2017 comes with a bit of trepidation, for many moviegoers have expressed a general dislike (or downright hatred) for Darren Aronofsky’s latest cinematic creation. However, for me, there was no film more daring or original to come out in 2017 than Mother! and I honestly believe it will find its rightful critical praise as time passes. A biblical allegory disguised as a psychological horror film, at the time of the movie’s theatrical release, there was a big debate about whether the film’s allegorical aspects should be known beforehand, basically “spoiling” any major surprises it offered. It is my recommendation that you should spoil the plot for the sake of understanding and/or possibly enjoying the film’s abstract narrative involving humankind’s infatuation with God and mistreatment of mother nature. Terrifying, intoxicating, avant-garde, Mother! will be hated by many. There’s a good chance you will or already do, and that’s perfectly alright. But for me, no film from 2017 challenged me more or left me downright giddy with appreciative enthusiasm. I truly hope you’ll give it a chance. (A)
    mother.0

Edited by-Michelle Zenor
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Movie Hall of Fame-Class of 2018!

Hall of Fame 2018

List by-Jarrett Leahy

Being Oscar night eve, it’s time again to announce the 5th annual AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame class of 2018. This year’s cinematic inductees include one first-ballot film (movies from 2008 became eligible for selection this year), a Best Picture Oscar nominee, three National Film Registry selections, two crime dramas, two comedies, a beloved sports fantasy, arguably the greatest silent film of all time, and a Robert De Niro film for a fifth straight year (I think that’s some kind of record!) all wrapped up into six extremely worthy candidates. If you have not seen any of these amazing films, please take the time to go seek them out, and feel free to share your thoughts…

AMATEURCINEPHILE.COM 2018 HALL OF FAME CLASS

Rachel Getting Married (2008): Rachel Getting Married is the one inductee this year being selected in its first year of eligibility. I foresee some out there questioning this film’s worthiness of 1st ballot status over a caped-crusading 2008 entry, but allow me to point out that Rachel Getting Married was listed on over twenty critics’ end-of-year Top 10 lists back in 2008, including five #1 selections.  Additionally, Anne Hathaway received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her poignantly spellbinding performance as the recovering addict sister Kym. Directed by the late, great Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia), Rachel Getting Married deftly melds a beautiful storyline that encompasses real-life subject matter including addiction, rehab and recovery, grief, forgiveness, sister dynamics, and the blending of two families, all exquisitely presented in a wonderfully vibrant wedding setting filled with the effervescent sounds of the various musicians that make up much of the wedding party. Some may have written this film off, but ten years later, Rachel Getting Married remains the one of finest dramas of the 21st century and very much worthy of Hall of Fame inclusion.
rachelgettingmarried1

Bringing Up Baby (1938): A single-minded paleontologist finds his bid to procure a $1 million dollar donation repeatedly thwarted by a zany woman of means and her pet leopard, Baby. Starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant (our editor’s favorite debonair heartthrob), Bringing Up Baby has overcome its initial reputation of a box office bomb (director Howard Hawks was fired from his next film at RKO after its abysmal failure) to become one of the most celebrated slapstick comedies of all-time. Selected for inclusion into the National Film Registry back in 1990, Bringing Up Baby is one of two films from the 1930’s being inducted into AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame this year…
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City Lights (1931):…with City Lights being the other 1930’s inductee. Endearingly sweet and endlessly comical, Chaplin’s masterpiece tells the story of his cherished character, the Tramp, who has fallen for a blind, ethereal young woman who is struggling to make ends meet. Hoping to win her heart, the Tramp sets out to help with the financial difficulties that have befallen the young lady and her beloved grandmother. A 1991 National Film Registry inductee and arguably the finest work from Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin, City Lights now holds the honor as the first silent film to be inducted into the AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame.
City-Lights

Field of Dreams (1989): “If you build it, he will come.” This iconic movie line is just one of many reasons for Field of Dreams’ entry into the Hall of Fame. The fourth film from the 1980’s to be inducted, Field of Dreams is on the short list of candidates for the title of the greatest sports film of all-time. (Just try to remain stoic at the ultimate manly tear-jerker, “Hey Dad, you wanna have a catch?”). Starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, and Burt Lancaster in his final performance, Field of Dreams was Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, as well as being chosen last year for inclusion into the National Film Registry for its status as “a culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant film.” Its induction into the AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame is a testament to its ability to deliver a timeless baseball fantasy that never fails to inspire reverie and wonderment.
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Heat (1995): This year’s 1990’s representative becomes the third movie from the decade’s most celebrated year in film, 1995, to be inducted, joining inaugural Class of 2014 member Before Sunrise and Casino, which was part of the Class of 2015. Auteur filmmaker Michael Mann has made his fair share of great films (Collateral, Last of the Mohicans, Manhunter), but Heat is unquestionably his magnum opus. The last truly masterful film from acting legends Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more intense, or louder, scene than the aftermath of the bank robbery that spills out into the downtown Los Angeles streets. Heat may have been “criminally” overlooked back in 1995 by the Academy, but today this fiercely compelling crime drama is now an AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Famer.
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Road to Perdition (2002): Nominated for six Academy awards including a win for Best Cinematography, Road to Perdition was the exquisitely crafted followup to director Sam Mendes’ Best Picture winner, American Beauty. Starring Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, and Paul Newman in his last on-screen performance, Road to Perdition tells the story of a mafia hit man who is forced to go on the lam to protect his son after he witnesses a mob killing. Known for playing more wholesome roles, Tom Hanks adroitly embraces the enigmatic and immoral aspects of this character’s profession while still bringing a level of earnestness and compassion that helps ground his performance in reality. Now that director Sam Mendes has escaped the responsibilities of the James Bond franchise, I hope he returns to making more creative films like Road to Perdition, the final 2018 AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Famer.
road to perdition

So there you have it, the AmateurCinephile.com Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Make sure you come back next Oscar’s eve when six more films are chosen for inclusion.-JL

Edited by-Michelle Zenor

AMATEURCINEPHILE.COM HALL OF FAME BREAK DOWN BY DECADE:

-1930’s (3):
Bringing Up Baby, 1938
(Class of 2018)
City Lights, 1931 (Class of 2018)
Wizard of Oz, 1939 (Class of 2014)

-1940’s (3):
Casablanca, 1942
(Class of 2014)
Notorious, 1946 (Class of 2015)
The Third Man, 1949 (Class of 2015)

-1950’s (1):
Anatomy of a Murder, 1959
(Class of 2014)

-1960’s (3):
Belle de Jour, 1967
(Class of 2017)
The Leopard, 1963 (Class of 2016)
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968 (Class of 2014)

-1970’s (4):
Chinatown, 1972
(Class of 2015)
The Deer Hunter, 1978 (Class of 2017)
The Godfather, 1972 (Class of 2014)
The Godfather Part 2, 1974 (Class of 2014)

-1980’s (4):
A Christmas Story, 1983
(Class of 2017)
Field of Dreams, 1989 (Class of 2018)
Hannah and her Sisters, 1986 (Class of 2014)
Tender Mercies, 1983 (Class of 2015)

-1990’s (8):
Before Sunrise, 1995 (Class of 2014)
Boogie Nights, 1997 (Class of 2015)
Casino, 1995 (Class of 2015)
Dazed & Confused, 1993 (Class of 2016)
Goodfellas, 1990 (Class of 2016)
Heat, 1995 (Class of 2018)
Pulp Fiction, 1994 (Class of 2014)
Rushmore, 1998 (Class of 2017)

-2000’s (10):
Almost Famous, 2000
(Class of 2014)
Before Sunset, 2004 (Class of 2014)
Brokeback Mountain, 2005 (Class of 2016)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004 (Class of 2015)
Lost in Translation, 2003 (Class of 2014)
No Country For Old Men, 2007 (Class of 2017)
Rachel Getting Married, 2008 (Class of 2018)
Road to Perdition, 2002 (Class of 2018)
Sideways, 2004 (Class of 2016)
There Will Be Blood, 2007 (Class of 2017)