Like everybody else, I have some movies I love and can watch over and over again. Now I will inflict you with my opinions about them!
- V for Vendetta: This movie is basically the perfect storm of my favorite elements in a movie. There is badass fighting, beautiful cinematography, characters with backstories, breathtaking charismatic writing, and a little romance. Then there are some great aspects that reflect my interests outside of movies. The distopian setting of an almost post-apocalyptic London, with loads of sociopolitical commentary, censorship, government oversight, etc, gives me lots to think about every time. The mystery and pacing that V constantly brings to the story wows me pretty much every time he appears on screen. I like the more minor characters too, as they manage to be quite complexly portrayed on their own, whether or not the writing actually speaks of their backstories. The fight scenes in the movie are the really awesome part: when I play an RPG character in a fight, I imagine them being as cool as V. The artistry of the choreography, the grace combined with the brutality and badassery, the quippy lines – it just seems to come together into something too awesome for words! The line near the end about coincidence gets me every time.
- The Illusionist: I think that Edward Norton and Jessica Biel are the main reason I love this movie so much, but the enduring love story is such a sweet fantasy that I love watching them come together and find each other every time. I also like that they are coming back together, unlike the typical romantic movies I’ve seen where two very different people fall in love with each other and then shenanigans happen. The movie is also visually beautiful imo, with its late 1800s style and gentle shallow depth-of-field shots. I find all the main actors very compelling, the costumes are very pretty, and so is Vienna. This is my sweet, feel-good go-to movie.
- What Dreams May Come: This is another movie that is beautiful – in a literally artistic way, seeing as there are scenes whose design reference plenty of stuff from my Art History classes. Another romantic story – in fact one of the most romantic ones I can think of – but told in a totally unique way, since it’s about what’s beyond death. I also really love the metaphysical aspect of it, contemplating heaven, death, hell, suicide, family, etc… It’s a very appealing spiritual answer to what is beyond death, without being overly religious. The colors and actively artistic treatment, the sense of awe it brings also give me a sense of peace and wonderment. And of course Robin Williams makes an amazing actor in serious movies, bringing a refreshing touch of humor and tenderness to very serious situations.
- Das Leben Der Anderen: Another thought-provoking movie, with the same slightly sad thread that runs through my other favorite movies. This one doesn’t have striking cinematography, but I still feel it is of high quality – set behind the Wall in East Germany, it would be wrong to have striking visuals, and so it makes do with highlighting the gray and brown world that the main characters live in. Everything is dull visually, but not to the point of obviousness or distraction. The dynamics of power, sexuality, and loneliness between the characters is also fascinating to watch every time. The main actor in particular gives a very moving portrayal of his character as well, a man of few words but who nonetheless conveys a personality or attitude very clearly.
- Le Pacte Des Loups: I’m not quite as passionate about this movie as about those above, but it’s still a pretty awesome movie. Again, it’s a pretty movie. It has interesting discussion of power and rank and is set in 18th century France, so again the costumes are very pretty. So are the French people. There are some logic holes, but that is made up for by the Frenchman who decides to be a ninja, and the awesome Asian-style fight scenes, which are particularly nicely filmed.
- Notting Hill: This is a classic that’s starting to wear a bit thin as I get older and see it enough times, but of typical romantic comedies, it’s my favorite. I really can almost never stand romantic movies told from the point of view of the woman, because those seem to only feature men that are so absurdly perfect that I can’t relate. As the lead character, Hugh Grant is sweetly awkward and earnest, and the movie has some great lines. I guess the dynamic of them living on opposite sides of the ocean appeals, and the hotheaded woman needing a patient and dedicated guy to stick with her when she has too much of a temper or impatience. The song “She” which opens the movie is so melodic and romantic, it tends to get me feeling emotional right from the start – in fact, I love the soundtrack in general, each song seems a perfect accompaniment to the emotion on the screen.
Of course, there are lots of other movies I quite like, but these are my favorites.