10. American Beauty
1999, Conrad L. Hall [pic]
Lester and Carolyn Burnham are on the outside, a perfect husband and wife, in a perfect house, in a perfect neighborhood. But inside, Lester is slipping deeper and deeper into a hopeless depression. He finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughters friends. Meanwhile, his daughter Jane is developing a happy friendshipwith a shy boy-next-door named Ricky who lives with a homophobic father.
9. Memoirs of a Geisha
2005, Dion Beebe [pic]
In 1929 an impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo from a fishing village is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto’s Gion district and subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha Hatsumomo. Her stunning beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy ofHatsumomo, until she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo’s bitter rival, Mameha. Under Mameha’s mentorship, Chiyo becomes the geisha named Sayuri, trained in all the artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society. As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II looms Japan and the geisha’s worldare forever changed by the onslaught of history.
8. The Godfather
1972, Gordon Willis [pic]
Vito Corleone is the aging don (head) of the Corleone Mafia Family. His youngest son Michael has returned from WWII just in time to see the wedding of Connie Corleone (Michael’s sister) to Carlo Rizzi. All of Michael’s family is involved with the Mafia, but Michael just wants to live anormal life. Drug dealer Virgil Sollozzo is looking for Mafia Families to offer him protection in exchange for a profit of the drug money. He approaches Don Corleone about it, but, much against the advice of the Don’s lawyer Tom Hagen, the Don is morally against the use of drugs, and turns down the offer. This does not please Sollozzo, who has the Don shot down by some of his hit men. The Don barelysurvives, which leads his son Michael to begin a violent mob war against Sollozzo and tears the Corleone family apart.
7. Morte a Venezia
1971, Pasqualino De Santis [pic]
In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, Death in Venice, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period ofartistic and personal stress. But he finds no peace there, for he soon develops a troubling attraction to an adolescent boy, Tadzio, on vacation with his family. The boy embodies an ideal of beauty that Aschenbach has long sought and he becomes infatuated. However, the onset of a deadly pestilence threatens them both physically and represents the corruption that compromises and threatens all ideals.The closing scene is, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most tragic caught on film.
6. Barry Lyndon
1975, John Alcott [pic]
Barry Lyndon, directed by Stanley Kubrick, recounts the exploits of an unscrupulous 18th century Irish adventurer (Barry Lyndon né Redmond Barry), particularly his rise and fall within English society. Ryan O’Neal stars as the title character. ThePhotographer, Alcott, used three f/0.70 lenses developed by Zeiss for NASA for use in the Apollo moon landings, which Kubrick discovered in his search for a lens that could film in low-light situations. The super-fast lens allowed him to shoot scenes lit with actual candlelight with an average lighting volume of only three candlepower. In fact, the film features the largest lens aperture in film history.Alcott won an oscar for his work on this film.
1959, Robert Surtees [pic]
When Prince Judah Ben-Hur hears that his childhood friend Messala has been named to command the Roman garrison of Jerusalem, he is thrilled. He soon finds however that his friend has changed and has become an arrogant conqueror, full of the grandeur of Rome. When Judah refuses to divulge the...
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