#6: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

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Image via IMDb

Image via IMDb

I’m a sucker for vampires in film and TV (pun intended). “Vampire Diaries,” Interview with the Vampire, “True Blood,” Only Lovers Left Alive, and OK, yes I did watch the entire Twilight Saga. This movie was in its own category entirely. Check out the trailer here:

Ana Lily Amirpour’s film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night takes place in the seemingly abandoned Iranian town of Bad City where a young vampire stalks the nighttime streets, interacting with various characters – including handsome Arash.

I’m always a fan for modern-day black and white films. There’s something about declining the use of color that forces some cinematographic creativity in each and every frame: something this film does incredibly. Another wonderful trait of this movie is its use of music, playing out full songs in their entirety and letting scenes play out within the frame of the song.

This was something I had forgotten about foreign films: how much they take their time. It requires a certain amount of patience for someone like me, someone used to the glossy, quick cuts of Hollywood flicks. But instead of finding myself impatient and itching for something, anything to happen, I found myself enjoying the shots, relishing in the movement of images on camera, cherishing this art of filmmaking playing out before my eyes.

Watch this movie. It’s subtle, very cool, and incredibly satisfying.

#92: Trainspotting

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Image via IMDb

Image via IMDb

Not a new flick, but that’s not what my List is all about. And it was a bit refreshing to see young Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller out and about. If you haven’t seen it, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting follows Renton and his friends Spud, Sick Boy, Tommy and Begbie on their many adventures through life. Oh and yeah, they’re heroin addicts. Here’s the trailer:

This movie was an experience to say the least. Unflinchingly disgusting, fittingly trippy, moments of hilarity pointed with grim, terrifying reality and bent reality. There were many things that pleased me about this film: from it’s honest and unabashed look at a type of person most people (myself included) explain away and forget, this movie also gave me a wealth of brilliantly interesting supporting characters, surprising and poignant writing as well as a thoughtful use of color, shadows, and interesting, unpredictable yet simple shots.

Obviously, I’m a fan.

Will I watch it again? Who knows. This film did something that I love about certain films: it was absolutely agonizing to watch. I watched this movie on my laptop the way you’d see it in a theater: with no options to press pause, fast forward, or rewind. I had to take in the consistently wonderful shots, quick dialogue, and effective (non-excessive) references along with the film’s own ebb and flow. Hard film to watch, but an important one to see.

#97: Band of Robbers

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As a true lit lover myself, I’m all for filmic adaptions of my favorite stories. So, when I learned of this whimsical and strange adaption of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn – two books that introduced my young self to a world of adventure and wonder – I was all in.

Written by and directed by Adam and Aaron Nee, Band of Robbers features Kyle Gallner as Huck, Adam Nee as Tom, along with Matthew Gray Gubler (aka Dr. Reid for those Criminal Minds fans out there), Hannibal Buress, and Melissa Benoist.

In this film, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn bring the gang together for an adventure in search for buried treasure while the dangerous Injun Joe is after the same prize. The boys are the same: steeped in adventure, mischief, and a desire to somehow escape from the bleak life around them, but now the stakes are higher, the danger ever more real. Check out the trailer here:

The title cards that break up the various chapters of the film maintain the literary integrity of the original source. The characters are lovely and fleshed out in such an organic and true progression from the children of Twain’s stories. The music is pointed, perfect, and adds a touch of whimsy, drama, and bravado when called for. It’s a marvelously childlike and odd adventure that plays out in such a dull, generic town, further marked by odd, fun dialogue and a plot with some pleasant surprises. The slavery and race issue of the original text is re-imagined now to deal with the issue of immigration, something that at times feels like a good tie between the original stories and our current state, but at other times feels off and a bit out of place.

Overall, it shows us that the wide ambitions and imaginations of Huck and Tom don’t really fit in the world they exist in – our world, but even as the ever narcissistic, imaginative Tom understands this, he admits that all he wants is to bring some magic into his life. And in our current societal state of often dark and uncertain subjects, this film does just that: bring a bit of magic into our lives. You can stream Band of Robbers now on Netflix.

Featured image via The Hollywood Reporter.

The List

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I’ve come to realize that there are a million and one movies and TV shows I have yet to glimpse. Everyone has their cherished film and I am mildly tired of the guffaws and the “OH MY GOD, you haven’t SEEN that?”

There is also the massive number of films that I want to make it a point to see.

So, here it is: The List. I won’t be working through it in chronological order, but I’ll be working through it nonetheless, watching one movie after another until I get through it completely.

THE FILM LIST

  1. Drive (2011, Nicolas Winding Refn)

2. Stoker (2013, Chan-wook Park)

3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009, Niels Arden Oplev)

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011, David Fincher)

5. M (1931, Fritz Lang)

6. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014, Ana Lily Amirpour)

7. Tangerine (2015, Sean Baker)

8. Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock)

9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)

10. Rebel Without a Cause (1955, Nicholas Ray)

11. The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)

12. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939, Frank Capra)

13. Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese)

14. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966, Sergio Leone)

15. Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)

16. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, Stanley Kubrick)

17. The Gold Rush (1925, Charles Chaplin)

18. On the Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan)

19. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)

20. The Big Short (2015, Adam McKay)

21. The Godfather: Part II (1974, Francis Ford Coppola)

22. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)

23. 12 Angry Men (1957, Sidney Lumet)

24. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, Milos Forman)

25. Schindler’s List (1993, Steven Spielberg)

26. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)

27. Aliens (1986, James Cameron)

28. North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock)

29. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)

30. Die Hard (1988, John McTiernan)

31. Annie Hall (1977, Woody Allen)

32. Henry V (1989, Kenneth Branagh)

33. The Lady Eve (1941, Preston Sturges)

34. Mean Streets (1973, Martin Scorcese)

35. The Usual Suspects (1995, Bryan Singer)

36. White Heat (1949, Raoul Walsh)

37. Nosferatu (1922, F.W. Murnau)

38. Do The Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)

39. Sunrise (1927, F.W. Murnau)

40. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981, George Miller)

41. The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme)

42. L’Age d’Or (1930, Luis Bunuel)

43. Rocky (1976, John G. Avildsen)

44. The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont)

45. Forrest Gump (1994, Robert Zemeckis)

46. Zero Dark Thirty (2012, Kathryn Bigelow)

47. Argo (2012, Ben Affleck)

48. Gone Girl (2012, David Fincher)

49. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011, Tomas Alfredson)

50. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012, Behn Zeitlin)

51. Million Dollar Baby (2004, Clint Eastwood)

52. Driving Miss Daisy (1989, Bruce Beresford)

53. Coraline (2009, Henry Selick)

54. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989, Hayao Miyazaki)

55. Ocean’s Eleven (2001, Steven Soderbergh)

56. Girl, Interrupted (1999, James Mangold)

57. 8 Mile (2002, Curtis Hanson)

58. Prisoners (2013, Denis Villeneuve)

59. Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)

60. American Gangster (2007, Ridley Scott)

61. Her (2013, Spike Jonze)

62. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013, Martin Scorsese)

63. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Coen Brothers)

64. Winter’s Bone (2010, Debra Granik)

65. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011, Lynne Ramsay)

66. Inside Out (2015, Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen)

67. Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)

68. Shutter Island (2010, Martin Scorsese)

69. Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman)

70. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979, Robert Benton)

71. An American in Paris (1951, Vincente Minnelli)

72. Frank (2014, Lenny Abrahamson)

73. Memento (2000, Christopher Nolan)

74. Reservoir Dogs (1992, Quentin Tarantino)

75. Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)

76. Radio Days (1987, Woody Allen)

77. The Dark Knight (2008, Christopher Nolan)

78. Creed (2015, Ryan Coogler)

79. Brooklyn (2015, John Crowley)

80. Midnight Special (2016, Jeff Nichols)

81. Black Mass (2015, Scott Cooper)

82. Room (2015, Lenny Abrahamson)

83. Malcolm X (1992, Spike Lee)

84. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Sergio Leone)

85. The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)

86. Oldboy (2003, Chan-wook Park)

87. Requiem for a Dream (2000, Darren Aronofsky)

88. Metropolis (1928, Fritz Lang)

89. A Beautiful Mind (2001, Ron Howard)

90. The Big Lebowski (1998, Coen Brothers)

91. Rebecca (1940, Alfred Hitchcock)

92. Trainspotting (1996, Danny Boyle)

93. Cool Hand Luke (1967, Stuart Rosenberg)

94. Into the Wild (2007, Sean Penn)

95. Rush (2013, Ron Howard)

96. The Grand Illusion (1999, Jean Renoir)

97. Band of Robbers (2015, Aaron Nee, Adam Nee)

98. There Will Be Blood (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson)

99. Ida (2013, Pawel Pawlikowski)

100. Middle of Nowhere (2012, Ava DuVernay)

101. Dior and I (2014, Frederic Tcheng)

102. Ballet 422 (2014, Jody Lee Lipes)

103. Advantageous (2015, Jennifer Phang)

104. Tsotsi (2005, Gavin Hood)

105. We Are the Best! (2013, Lukas Moodysson)

106. Russian Ark (2002, Aleksandr Sokurov)

107. In the Heat of the Night (1967, Norman Jewison)