Posts Tagged ‘lists’

5 Books I Love to Read over and over again

Montag, Mai 18th, 2009

It may not always be obvious, but long before I became a film fanatic, I was an avid reader. From my childhood days onwards, there was hardly a day which I didn’t spend with my nose in a book. For a long time, I read almost everything I could find – luckily, my parents had a knack for picking out great books, so that probably helped further my love for the written word. My formative years were spent in the company of Astrid Lindgren, Michael Ende and Erich Kästner and to these day I am convinced that they are the three greatest authors of children’s literature ever.

None of them are represented on this list, however, for as much as I love their books, I also feel I have outgrown them slightly. Occasionally, I pick one of them up and remember the good old days when reading was the greatest thing imaginable. Nowadays, I read much less and very erratically. There are periods – months sometimes, in which I do not turn a single page. And then there are times where I read five books a week and seem to be doing little else.

The five books (or “written works”, rather) I am going to talk about in this article are ones I treasure above all others. Not because I believe they are the best ever written or even my favourite ones, but because they are a sort of comfort food for the mind for me. Whenever I’m feeling down, I love to pick them back up and read them again. They, quite simply, cheer me up. So don’t expect great Russian literature of the 18th century after the jump, but a declaration of love for books many people would consider – maybe even rightfully so – trite.

(weiterlesen …)

My Favourite TV Shows

Mittwoch, April 1st, 2009

After listing my favourite contemporary actors, I thought it would be a good idea to do another Top Ten list quickly, before interest fades (…). I thought about it long and hard and finally decided earlier today that it would be a nice idea to talk about something besides movies for once, so a list of my favourite TV shows seemed like a good idea. However, try as I might, I couldn’t come up with ten shows that could be justifiably included in such a list. So there will be only five. But you can be certain that those are truly great!

I have excluded game shows, reality TV, sketch comedy and everything else that is not a regular scripted television show not just because I don’t really consider those good entertainment, but also because I simply don’t watch them.

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My Favourite Contemporary Actors

Freitag, März 27th, 2009

As I said before, everybody loves Top Ten Lists. Especially me. So I thought I’d start a new, sort of regular, feature here, where I make Top Ten Lists of things I like. Now, the usual way to go about that would be to make lists like “The Ten Best Actors Working Today”, but even I don’t consider my opinion so important as to call it objective. So I will make lists like “My Favourite Ten Actors Working Today”, even if that title is a little longer. And so, without further ado, here are the ten actors whose body of work I enjoy so much, that just their participation in a film means that I want to see it, in reverse order. If you know all ten of them, congratulate yourself on having good taste. (weiterlesen …)

The Ten Best Movies of 2008

Mittwoch, Januar 7th, 2009

Everybody loves Top Ten Lists, right? You can never get enough of them, correct? If you read one to the end, you want nothing more than start looking at the next one, or am I wrong? In any case, I like Top Ten (or basically any other number) Lists. I know they are silly and arbitrary and highly subjective, but they are still fun – even if one just reads them to poke fun at the author(s). So to start my own habitual list-making off, I hereby offer you the TEN BEST MOVIES OF 2008!

(weiterlesen …)

My Top Movies of 2007

Mittwoch, Januar 9th, 2008

For a long time, I have been a reader of the website of the A.V. Club. As far as popular culture is concerned, there is no site on the great world wide interweb that I like more. And now for the third year running, they have asked readers to submit their Top Five Movies of the past year, which I of course dutifully did. I also wrote some short comments about those movies and since I feel disinclined to just let them get lost in the internetz and I also like reusing things to make it appear that I am creative or something like that, they are now also posted here. So here are my personal favourite movies of 2007:

1. Atonement

In a wonderful adaptation of a brilliant novel, Joe Wright almost manages to tell a better story than Ian McEwan. Beautifully shot and excellently acted (especially by Saoirse Ronan), the movie is a true gem. Combined with the great story and the surprisingly fitting soundtrack/score, this is easily the best film I’ve seen in 2007.

2. Gone Baby Gone

Ben Affleck should never have tried acting. He belongs behind the camera and he demonstrates it with his directorial debut. A good movie is made great by the twist at the end that makes a typical thriller into a morality tale, which makes you wonder what you would have done.

3. The Simpsons Movie

After 18 years, the Simpsons moved to the big screen and they did so in a fashion that surprised everybody. For 90 minutes, this movie is just pure brilliant entertainment. Maybe there were more meaningful movies in 2007, but there wasn’t a funnier one.

4. The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson makes another movie that is so typically Wes Anderson that after 10 minutes you start to wonder whether he can only make one kind of movie. But you’ll soon stop, because the typically melodramatic comedy of Anderson, combined with beautiful imagery, great acting and music leaves you wanting more. It’s not The Royal Tenenbaums, but it’s still a brilliant movie.

5. Juno

I haven’t actually seen Juno, because it hasn’t yet been released in the backwater country where I live (it’s called Germany). But what I’ve heard is so great, that I’m sure I will love this movie. People might say that it was Ellen Page’s breakthrough performance, but everybody who has seen her in Hard Candy knows that she knows what she is doing.

I’d love to say something about how great a year 2007 was, but due to the fact that studios insist on releasing movies months later in Germany, I haven’t yet seen many hyped movies, such as There Will Be Blood or No Country for Old Men. But considering that I can’t remember the last time I was looking forward to movies that are released here in February, 2007 must have been a great year.

It’s a perfect 10!

Donnerstag, November 8th, 2007

The always great IMDB (Internet Movie Database) offers registered users the chance to rate movies on a scale from 1 to 10. As somebody with a lot of time and even more interest in movies, I have done so (as of November 8th 2007) 342 times. Out of the 342 movies, I rated 12 as 10. Here is, in alphabetical order, the list with short explanations. Please note that I am aware that some of these movies are far from perfect. I nevertheless enjoyed them immensely. It would also be inadvisable to compare these movies to each other – my ratings are more based on what I felt about the film than on objective facts. That is why they are my ratings.

About Schmidt

I see this movie as Jack Nicholson’s best. And considering his life’s work, that is saying something (Chinatown anyone?). It is a nice story of a senior in the United States that is lost after losing his job. Don’t expect great action sequences or special effects from this movie – just a nice story with incredible acting and some extremely funny passages.

Die Brücke

The only German movie on this list and at the same time the oldest. Die Brücke (The Bridge) is an anti-war story of several boys who are charged with defending a bridge at the end of World War II. Never before and never again has a movie so brutally showcased the senselessness of war in general and of the Third Reich in particular.

Brokeback Mountain

To say that Brokeback Mountain is simply the story of two gay cowboys is not enough. The movie is a masterpiece in almost every aspect: A moving, extremely realistic story, superb acting from everyone involved and just beautifully shot. Despite the subject, the movie never gets sappy, preachy or homophobic.

A Clockwork Orange

I watched this movie after I read the book, which is a masterpiece in its own right, and was surprised at just how much better it is. I see this as Stanley Kubrick’s best movie, easily surpassing the usual favourite “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Caution: This is by far the “darkest” movie on this list.

Down by Law

And now we come to one of my favourite filmmakers, the great Jim Jarmusch. As much as I love all of his work, with the possible exception of “Stranger than Paradise”, Down by Law is his best movie. Who could ever forget “I scream, you scream, we all scream – for ice cream.” Possibly the funniest line in movie history.

Fucking Åmål

The second (and last) non-English movie on this list. This Swedish film is a touching love story as well as a nice coming-of-age story. The titular city, Åmål, is small and not exactly exciting for teenagers, so most just want to leave. The twist: the love story is of two girls.

Lost in Translation

My second favourite movie ever. A love story of sorts between a young American philosopher and an aging movie star who are stranded in Tokyo. Slow, character-driven and sometimes extremely (intentionally) awkward, but overall just great. Bill Murray has never acted better and Sofia Coppola proves with this movie, after her promising debut “The Virgin Suicides”, that she has inherited her father’s talent.

Love Actually

Probably the “lightest” movie here. Just a straightforward romantic comedy (British!), with not one but a dozen love stories. It’s funny and always good for Christmas, which is of course all around. The star-studded cast makes this movie even better.

The Matrix

Yes, I still think the Matrix is a great movie. You just have to ignore the two sequels. I think everybody has seen this one, so there really isn’t much to say. It’s a great science fiction story, well made and though-provoking. What else could you ask for?

Million Dollar Baby

Two-thirds in I wondered what the big deal was. Up to that point, Million Dollar Baby is just a usual feel-good sports story which has you cheering for the underdog. It’s nice, with brilliant acting and so on, but nothing special. But the ending changes everything and makes this movie truly unique. It’s the movie I’m most unsure about including in this “elite” company (and incidentally also the latest addition), but the ending deserves it.

The Royal Tenenbaums

This is my favourite movie. It’s a Wes Anderson movie and I like all of his work. But The Royal Tenenbaums is easily the best among them. The story is typical Anderson (and Owen Wilson, his usual co-writer), a unique blend of humour and melancholy. Royal, the father of three brilliant kids, wants to come back to his family after living in a hotel for decades. At first he justs wants to come back because he is broke, but slowly he begins to care for his family and the other members of the family begin to care for each other. If the fact that this is my favourite movie is no reason for you to watch it, just take a look at the cast list: Gene Hackmann, Bill Murray, Owen and Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Houston, …

V for Vendetta

Finally, an action movie on this list (apart from Matrix)! Well, true, but also so much more. This comic book adaption, incidentally from the Matrix creators (the movie, not the comic, that’s from Alan Moore), is even better than its source material. In a Britain where a new tyranny is reigning, a single “terrorist” sets out to make things right. The story is very well versed, with many great actors (Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, Natalie Portman among others), just the right amount of humour and action sequences to spice up the political story.