There are a select few “one of a kind” movies left for viewers to find. Especially in Hollywood, where most successful formulas are quickly copied and watered down by a plethora of posers who hope they can make a quick buck. This is particularly true of the horror and comedy genres, where low budget films can make back their money quickly regardless of quality. Despite the vultures, there are still a few films that have a tone that’s all their own. One such film is An American Werewolf in London.
Since last fall’s revamping of Flickchart‘s global ranking system (see the official announcement about that here), many films have found themselves moved around on the global charts. But one thing remains consistent: the Directors Who Dominate continue to do so. Previously covered in this series, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino remain at the top of the charts (with their highest-ranked films at #1 and #4, respectively.) But the biggest change is that their newest efforts (Inception and Inglourious Basterds) have a much stronger presence on the chart, where they now appear at #2 and #13. And this brings us to another director who continually dominates, the man who is widely regarded (for good or ill) as the father of the modern blockbuster: Steven Spielberg.
My life as a film fan has been in a lot of ways like Forrest Gump. It started slow due to my small town setting, and I went through some spells where it seemed I’d never think straight (I saw Bird on A Wire on the big screen, and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it). I also was thrown into the serious stuff while still young and naive (It’s cool that I compare seeing Terminator 2 as a 10-11 year old as Unforgiven is to the Vietnam War, right?), and often couldn’t understand the nuances of many “normal” things (What’s the appeal of Hook again?). Like Forrest, I worked hard to get past my restraints: I guarantee that I’ve seen more foreign films than the rest of my hometown combined. But when I’d accomplished what I wanted to, I went back to my Jenny.
That Jenny is, and always will be, my love for genre cinema. I’ve specialized in horror films, but have also found far too much joy in science-fiction, action, and even western films. While this is more than enough to make my potentially simple mind happy, it does occasionally make things difficult for the part of me that’s a student of cinema.
His career as a director spanned seven decades, starting in the Forties with a small job on an early religious program and ending in 2000 with the action-mystery Reindeer Games. With such meager and lifeless bookends, one might question the abilities of director John Frankenheimer, who passed away shortly after his final film at the age of 93. But as poet laureate for Generation Z Miley Cyrus so eloquently sings, “It’s the climb,” and Frankenheimer’s climb was one populated with a tense body of expertly crafted films that brought action and suspense to breathless new heights. His last great work paired him with a tight script and three brilliant actors for some of the most dizzying and fun car chases this side of The French Connection. But in this week’s Reel Rumbles, Ronin has some fierce competition out of Michael Mann, another talented director, with a film that many consider to be his finest hour. A loose remake of his previous made-for-TV effort L.A. Takedown (1989), Heat won the praise of critics and audiences alike, and built a bridge between an overlooked cadre of masterpieces and a prominent career for the director that continues today. Study the blueprints, sync your watches, and get ready for the big score. It’s time for Heat vs. Ronin.