Tuesday, 21 December 2010

My most memorable movie viewing experiences #6...

Graduate and Beyond:

The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005):
When – Summer 2005
Where – Home Video
Why – It was sunny outside, it was the middle of the day, and I was watching the flick on my computer on a relatively small screen – and yet despite the setting, Marshall’s ‘chicks with picks’ claustrophobic horror managed to creep me out and cause me to jump on several occasions. Even with further viewings on DVD it still manages to chill, which in the world of modern horror movies really a special achievement.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007):
When – 2008
Where – Home Video
Why – The titular sequence in Dominik’s luxurious western haunted me for days and days afterwards, but more than that, the entire film was a sumptuously shot slow-burn film with a superb soundtrack. A viewing just recently on DVD recaptured that same impression and I just absolutely loved it.

Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999):
When – January 2009
Where – Home Video
Why – I’d never watched Kubrick’s final film when it originally came out – at a time when I was busily devouring numerous titles from his back catalogue (repeatedly, in some cases) and indeed it took me a decade to finally get around to seeing this after getting the Director’s Series Stanley Kubrick 10-disc DVD box set. Kubrick’s films had long since become a once-in-a-blue-moon event, so it was nice to have this one that I still hadn’t seen – his final film no less – to devour and re-experience the uniqueness of Kubrick’s visions. It’s not perfect, and not his best, but the sense of occasion and the passionate attention to detail was something to behold in itself.

United 93 (Paul Greengrass, 2006):
When – Summer 2006
Where – Home Video
Why – Greengrass’ frenetic re-telling of the tragic fate which befell the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11th 2001 was a perfectly paced and horrifying affair. The tension and impending tragedy of the situation ratchets up with expert timing, until the final sequence in which the passengers storm the hijackers and attempt to regain control of the plane was nothing short of totally-and-physically arresting. Those last minutes of the film, right before the devastating cut-to-black was beyond an edge-of-my-seat experience, so much so that when the passengers first attacked the hijackers I literally leapt out of my chair, fist thrashing into the air, and exclaimed “get those bastards!” (or something to that effect). I can’t think of any film that I have ever seen that has had such a profound and physical effect upon me. Astonishing.

Martyrs (Pascal Laugier, 2008):
When – 2009
Where – Home Video
Why – It’s not a particularly common thing for a horror movie to properly creep me out – not just give me a shock jump – but to genuinely get inside my head and stay there like a nasty infestation. So decisive was the effect of watching this somewhat ‘existential torture’ horror flick, that I had trouble getting to sleep that night, and it remained lurking around in my mind for some time afterwards. Now and then a film will come along that will really get inside your head and trouble you and Martyrs was such a film.

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