A few years ago, I realized that my knowledge of film history was very limited. My timeline of film began with Back to the Future, and I could tell you more about the films of Pauly Shore than those of Marlon Brando. So, with the acknowledgement that I was missing decades of great films, I decided to start way back at the beginning of film and work my way to the present, learning as much about film and watching as many movies as I could in the quest for cinematic enlightenment. Through this endeavor, I found some of the greatest films ever made, as well as learned an incredible amount about the history of film. I would like to share what I have learned so far in a chronological look at film I like to call “Flickchart Film School”.
Read on for this week’s new DVD, Blu-ray, and Netflix Instant Watch titles.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – (DVD & Blu-ray)
The latest from Terry Gilliam, and the last performance we’ll see from Heath Ledger (until his 10 Things I Hate About You song and dance routine shows up via CGI in a vacuum commercial in 50 years like Fred Astaire). Aside from that (and the inventive/interesting plot), the main reason to watch this movie is Christopher Plummer. At 80 years old, he’s probably not going to get the chance to do many more roles like this, and it’s always nice to watch a true legend at work.
One was from a relatively young writer and director just hitting his stride. The other came from a seasoned pro, who had already given us some of the best films of all time. Drawing on a rich history of the real life mafioso’s exploits, these two films brought the stories, the characters, and the culture to life in a way that we had never seen before. The first had dazzling scope and a romanticized edge that almost glorified the ugliness despite its startlingly realistic violence. It captured the essence of some real-life mobsters, while adding a touch of glamour to the family business. The second stripped down that image and showed a raw, intense portrayal of street thug losers, who longed for the big time and would resort to ruthless, savage tactics to get there. In reality, their world was an unapologetically ugly one, but no less captivating. Talk to any film aficionado, and he or she will count both among the all-time greatest. But how do they fare against one another in the Reel Rumbles ring? It’s time to find out. So grab another cannoli, snuggle up to the fishes, and prepare to get whacked, it’s time for The Godfather vs. Goodfellas.
Terry Malloy “coulda” been a contender. He “coulda” been somebody. Luke Jackson lived according to his own code, never making plans and never looking back. Only trouble: for both men, neither was enough. Together, they took on insurmountable odds, each claiming victory in their own ways. In this week’s Reel Rumbles, only one walks away victorious as On the Waterfront and Cool Hand Luke go head-to-head in a battle of two modern heroes bucking against their oppressive worlds.