ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
10. THE MALTESE FALCON
What’s great about “The Maltese Falcon” is that, despite its age, it doesn’t feel dry or obtuse as some black and white films have the capacity to be. Its inner workings are riveting to watch unfold, and John Huston was a master, even then. For anyone who wants to know who John Huston is, renting this movie is a pretty safe, entertaining, unproblematic way to start.
9. UP IN THE AIR
Jason Reitman was on a hot streak when he initially started his film-making career. The son of “Ghostbusters” (1984) director Ivan Reitman made “Thank You for Smoking,” which was great; and “Juno,” which was great. He then followed those up with “Up in the Air,” which was also great. It blesses its star George Clooney with a lot of ‘movie character’ qualities (it would be very hard to make a person like that looks like a regular guy), but it doesn’t necessarily grant him the perfect ending a lesser movie might offer. It’s an adult movie that engages with its audiences.
One of the greatest road movies of all time. One thing that’s great about Omaha-native Alexander Payne (this is probably because of his natural talent as a cinematic humanist) is that, in most of his movies, the locations feel lived in. It feels like you’re actually traveling there, and it has been duly noted that this sounds like something that is common in most films, but with Payne it’s just…different. It has to be seen for itself.
The acting is great as well. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church offer wonderful comedic performances.
7. LOST IN TRANSLATION
The true definition of love is often lost on people in life, and rarely explored in cinema, except for films like “Lost in Translation.” “Lost in Translation” chronicles an intimate love affair where neither of its two characters have sex. It’s a rewarding film to watch upon repeat viewings.
One other thing that’s great about “Lost in Translation” is how developed the environment is. Shooting on location is certainly harder, but the film benefits in the long run.
6. ANNIE HALL
This portrayal of the obsessively romantic, white male is hilarious, regrettably accurate and considering Allen’s personal life, tragically revealing. Don’t let the politics surrounding Allen’s bad behavior deter you from this film, which is really quite an achievement.
5. SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Sometimes, a film just needs to be seen. “Shaun of the Dead” is a hilarious comedy, and perhaps the greatest objective zombie film ever made. See it again, or see it for the first time.
4. THE TERMINATOR
The best of the two “Terminator” films (yes, there are only two). It is a tight thriller with a great premise and great performances (not least of all from the ‘Governator,’ who is scarier than memory serves). Director James Cameron has a knack for milking tension out of a scene. Rediscover it; it’s great and pulpy.
3. THE WIND RISES
Director Hayao Miyazaki knows how to find beauty in his premises, and this is undoubtedly the most adult of his subject matter. All of his films display a certain maturity to them, despite being kid’s movies, but here it becomes the most present it has ever been. This is one that definitely slipped through the radar, so people that have liked Studio Ghibli films in the past need to get on this.
2. TAXI DRIVER
This is actually the author’s favorite movie. It offers an accurate portrait into the psychology of the misanthropic white male, scarily so. Tragically so.
1. ANYTHING ON THE CRITERION COLLECTION
They have worthy standards, and will almost certainly improve one’s cinematic palette. Any film belonging to Criterion is an almost guaranteed winner.