Of the few I've seen, these are my top 10 faves:
10. Zatoichi - I had heard of this character, but never bothered looking up anything about him.
I stumbled on this DVD, & found myself enjoying it so much, I watched over again like 4 separate times.
9. La Femme Nikita - Point Of No Return, while not that bad of a film, does not compare with this original version.
8. Seven Samurai - Of course.
7. Run Lola Run - Run Lola! Run!!
6. Curse Of The Golden Flower - Some of the most breath-taking & just absolutely beautiful background sets designs ever in a film. So rich are the colors & exquisit details in this movie, that it requires multiple viewings just to be able to soak it all in. Once one can get passed that aspect of the film, it will become obvious that the sets are not a distraction, but an enhancement to the story. And enrichment that adds to the dialogue with an intesity that allows the ideas of what appears to be human pettiness behavior in a royal setting to be revealed as much grander in scope & concept.
And for a movie that make someone as simple minded as myself come to a conclusion like that, that's definitely a statement to power of it's artistry.
5. Pan's Labyrinth - Just an absolutely beautiful movie. This film's creativity & emotion are elegantly entwined in a manner that blurs the barrier between the "real" world & the fantasy dimension, almost beyond physical distinction.
4. City Of God - Watching this movie feels almost exactly like watching a documentary. The scene where the young kid gang member is asked to chooose getting shot in the hand or in the foot holds more power, depth & context than most movies contain in their entirety. An incredibly eye-opening & moving picture.
3. El Mariachi - Because of the financial restraints of this picture, the story is forced to be told thru the creativity of all-out action in it's purest, unadulterated form. There should be a law requiring that all action films be shot & directed with as much energy & fun as this one, before any of the million dollars of special effects are added on.
Action-adventure in it's all bared-boned glory.
2. Ran - Before movies like Crouching Tiger/ Hidden Dragon & Hero came along & added the artistically flair fantasy elements to these types of epic movies, there was Ran. Some of the most beautiful & grand visuals ever in an Akira Kurosawa film. The fact that his name was associated with this project guaranteed this film's sweeping quality. And, the added high budget seemed to compromise his vision not in the slightest. Instead, it seemed to open up the potentiality that Mr. Kurosawa had holding in his already abundant visionary dreams.
Definitely my favorite of his works.
1. House Of Flying Daggers- Growing up, it always frustrated me whenever the majority of big budget action flicks or martial arts movies of the time often seemed to sacrifice on story to make room for the bangs & the effects. It was generally said, that in these types of movies, you couldn't really have both. And I was one those kids who always asked "Why not?"
And then came the House Of Flying Daggers. And with it's beatufil story of love & intrigue, combined with lavish costumes, great performances & unique individually themed action sequences, it seemed to asked the very same question.