We all have lists of things we want to do, people we’d love to meet, places we’d die to travel to and, of course, movies that we must see. There’s only so much time in the day. Last year I admit I didn’t have as much time for movies as I’d have liked (not that it was a good year for film,) but I admit I missed them anyway. So for 2014 I really want to make seeing movies a priority. How, when, where, what? Let’s form a plan…
Every blogger in the blogosphere wrote a post about the waning year and plans for a bigger, better new year. Ruth at FlixChatter is no different and in reading her plans my own movie plans came together. Introducing me to Ryan over at The Matinee I found out about his movie blogathon the Blind Spot series. In the interest of watching down our “Movies To See” list, we choose one movie a month to specifically seek out and highlight on our blogs.
Some bloggers decided to focus on classics, some on foreign films and quite a few on a mixture of both. I have hundreds of movies I’d love to see and some of them I didn’t even know about yet. I started out wanting to hit a nice mixture of classics and foreign but ended up adding Asian and modern misses as sub categories. By focusing on one movie a month we can savor the great lessons to be found in movies that still delight audiences today even if only one or two people at a time.
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general.
Of Note: Japanese
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Actor: Toshiro Mifune
I love Kurosawa films, but I absolutely adore Toshiro Mifune. He is my absolute favorite actor of all time. Yep I said it! Of. All. Time. George Lucas was also influenced by this film when creating R2-D2 and C-3P0 from Star Wars.
My Life As A Dog (1985)
A boy and his brother don’t get along well. In order to let her ill mother rest, they’re separated and sent each one with their relatives.
Of Note: Swedish
Director: Lasse Hallström
Genre: Coming of Age
I love coming of age films and the title is simply amazing. It calls to mind so much imagery and I hope the story lives up to it. As my first International choice I’m looking forward to delving into another culture.
City Lights (1931)
The first silent film that Charlie Chaplin directed after he established himself with sound accompanied films. The film is about a penniless man who falls in love with a flower girl. The film was a great success and today is deemed a cult classic.
Of Note: Classic
Director: Charles Chaplin
AFI: #1 Romantic Comedy
Charlie Chaplin is one of people’s favorite early film stars with quite a few of his movies making ‘best of’ lists. Since I’ve never seen one (that I recall) I decided to delve right in with the all time best Romantic Comedy according to the American Film Institute’s Top Ten Classic Genres list.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Following a truck hijack in New York, 5 conmen are arrested for questioning. As none of them is guilty, they plan a revenge operation against the police. It goes well, but it becomes clear that each one of them has wronged mastermind criminal, Keyser Söze, at some point and must pay back now.
Of Note: Modern
Director: Bryan Singer
Most Recommended Movie
It’s actually the film that inspired me to add modern classics as a subcategory this year. I had a friend narrate this movie to me she became so excited at the fact I’d never seen it. It’s hard to believe but that was back in the late 90’s and I still haven’t seen it!
A revenge drama based on a Manga comic it depicts the suffering path of a man who must deal with the never-ending torment of having unknowingly made someone his enemy.
Of Note: Korean
Director: Park Chan-wook
America Remake in 2013
I read up a lot about this movie and as a lover of many things Korean I decided I had to see it.
Revolving around an eccentric family of women from a wind-swept region south of Madrid, Raimunda is a working-class woman forced to go to great lengths to protect her 14-year-old daughter Paula.
Of Note: Spanish
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Actor: Penelope Cruz
I read a lot about this film when it came out but fell asleep watching it in the theater! My writing partner still raves about it today and I kick myself for seeing it after pulling an all nighter.
Now, Voyager (1942)
The love story of Charlotte Vale, a middle-aged spinster who suffers a nervous breakdown because of her domineering mother and is finally freed after a brief love affair with Jerry, a man she meets while on a cruise after spending time in a sanitarium.
Of Note: Classic
Actor: Bette Davis
Nominated 1942 Oscar
I adore Bette Davis and this is one I haven’t seen yet. She makes you care about characters who seem irredeemable, it’s her best quality.
Suffering short-term memory loss after a head injury, Leonard Shelby embarks on a grim quest to find the lowlife who murdered his wife in this gritty, complex thriller that packs more knots than a hangman’s noose.
Of Note: Modern
Director: Christopher Nolan
Actor: Guy Pearce
I missed this one and have always regretted it. It’s on thousands of top ten lists, probably yours as well! The backwards storyline is very intriguing too. I also adore Guy Pearce so enough said.
Spirited Away (2001)
A ten-year old girl wanders away from her parents along a path that leads to a world ruled by strange and unusual monster-like animals. Her parents have been changed into pigs along with others inside a bathhouse full of these creatures.
Of Note: Japanese
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Oscar Winning Anime
The highest grossing film in Japan previous to Titanic is an amazing fact and testament to Miyazaki’s writing ability. Plus the story sounds amazing.
Le Samouraï (1967)
Hitman Jef Costello is a perfectionist who always carefully plans his murders and who never gets caught…
Of Note: French
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
I love how this title is a Japanese idea for a French film. It’s on other Blind Spot blogger’s lists and reading about it won me over.
The Lady Eve (1941)
Rich but unsophisticated Charles Pike meets con-artist Jean Harrington on a ship. They fall in love, but split on bad terms. To get back at him, Jean disguises herself as an English lady, and comes back to tease and torment him.
Of Note: Classic
Director: Preston Sturges
Actor: Henry Fonda
When I think of Henry Fonda I thing of 12 Angry Men so I love that this is a bumbling and foolish character. Plus Barbara Stanwyck is not to be sneered at as a leading lady. And the story is one of those wonderful 1940’s type of stories we just don’t make as well nowadays.
Painfully shy Amelie accidentally discovers a gift for helping others. Soon she’s a matchmaker, guardian angel, and all-around do-gooder. But when she bumps into a handsome stranger, will she find the courage to become the star of her very own love story?
Of Note: Modern and French!
Actor: Audrey Tatou
Nominated 2001 Oscars
I was sorry to have missed this when it came out as it’s such a great romantic comedy. I’ve heard great things about it and love that it’s modern and International.
Come back every month to read about my perspective on these foreign, classic, modern films that everyone should see!