Thursday, August 11, 2016

412. My 18 Favorite Films

Recently, my brother Alan inititated a Facebook thread about our favorite films!

I took this list of 73 and whittled it down to 18! It took me several hours to do this. Some difficult decisions -- I felt like I was chopping off something precious. The Final Eighteen are marked with an asterisk.
  1. Grand Illusion 1938 RENOIR, Jean
  2. *Seven Samurai 1954 KUROSAWA, Akira
  3. Andrei Rublev 1966 TARKOVSKY, Andrei
  4. Nights of Cabiria 1957 FELLINI, Federico
  5. Brazil 1985 GILLIAM, Terry
  6. Yojimbo 1961 KUROSAWA, Akira
  7. The Unbearable Lightness of Being 1988 KAUFMAN, Philip
  8. Rashomon 1950 KUROSAWA, Akira
  9. 8-1/2 1963 FELLINI, Federico
  10. *Children of Paradise 1945 CARNÉ, Marcel
  11. Red Beard 1965 KUROSAWA, Akira
  12. *Ikiru 1952 KUROSAWA, Akira
  13. Floating Weeds 1959 OZU, Yasujiro
  14. Stray Dog 1949 KUROSAWA, Akira
  15. Smiles of a Summer Night 1955 BERGMAN, Ingmar
  16. Early Summer 1951 OZU, Yasujiro
  17. *Fanny & Alexander (312-minute
    TV version) 1982 BERGMAN, Ingmar
  18. Unfaithfully Yours 1948 STURGES, Preston
  19. Harakiri 1962 KOBAYASHI, Masaki
  20. *Ran 1985 KUROSAWA, Akira
  21. Late Spring 1949 OZU, Yasujiro
  22. Sansho the Bailiff 1954 MIZOGUCHI, Kenji
  23. Earrings of Madame de… 1953 OPHULS, Max
  24. An Autumn Afternoon 1962 OZU, Yasujiro
  25. The Exterminating Angel 1962 BUNUEL, Luis
  26. *The Human Condition 1959-61 KOBAYASHI, Masaki
  27. Shoah 1985 LANZMANN, Claude
  28. *The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964 DEMY, Jacques
  29. The Fisher King 1991 GILLIAM, Terry
  30. Run Lola Run 1998 TYKWER, Tom
  31. *Babel 2006 INARRITU, Alejandro
  32. North by Northwest 1959 HITCHCOCK, Alfred
  33. Boyhood 2014 LINKLATER, Richard
  34. *Irrational Man 2015 ALLEN, Woody
  35. Amélie 2001 JEUNET, Jean-Pierre
  36. Dil Chahta Hai 2001 AKHTAR, Farhan
  37. 127 Hours 2010 BOYLE, Danny
  38. *12 Monkeys 1995 GILLIAM, Terry
  39. 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 KUBRICK, Stanley
  40. Baby Snakes 1979 ZAPPA, Frank
  41. Audition 1999 MIIKE, Takashi
  42. The Artist 2011 HAZANAVICIUS, Michel
  43. *Birdman 2014 INARRITU, Alejandro
  44. *Cloud Atlas 2012 WACHOWSKI/TYKWER
  45. Eat Drink Man Woman 1994 LEE, Ang
  46. *Eroica 2003 JONES, Simon Cellan
  47. Eyes Wide Shut 1999 KUBRICK, Stanley
  48. Fantasia 1940 JACKSON/BEEBE
  49. Farewell My Concubine 1993 CHEN, Kaige
  50. Groundhog Day 1993 RAMIS, Harold
  51. Kill Bill I & II 2003-04 TARANTINO, Quentin
  52. Once Upon a Time in America 1984 LEONE, Sergio
  53. Lawrence of Arabia 1962 LEAN, David
  54. An Inconvenient Truth 2006 GUGGENHEIM, Davis
  55. *Napoleon 1927 GANCE, Abel
  56. Lust, Caution 2007 LEE, Ang
  57. Metropolis 1928 LANG, Fritz
  58. The Meaning of Life 1983 JONES, Terry
  59. Not One Less 1999 ZHANG, Yimou
  60. Open Your Eyes 1997 AMENABAR, Alejandro
  61. Parting Glances 1986 SHERWOOD, Bill
  62. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer 2006 TYKWER, Tom
  63. *The Princess and the Warrior 2000 TYKWER, Tom
  64. Schindler's List 1993 SPIELBERG, Steven
  65. *Artificial Intelligence: AI 2001 SPIELBERG, Steven
  66. *Tampopo 1985 ITAMI, Juzo
  67. Together 2002 KAIGE, Chen
  68. *Waking Life 2001 LINKLATER, Richard
  69. Wall-E 2008 STANTON, Andrew
  70. Being Two Isn't Easy 1962 ICHIKAWA, Kon
  71. Minbo 1994 ITAMI, Juzo
  72. Raise the Red Lantern 1991 ZHANG, Yimou
  73. Steambath 1973 BRINCKERHOFF, Burt & Bruce
Here are some general ramblings about the Final Eighteen:
  1. Seven Samurai 1954 KUROSAWA, Akira
    -- 207 glorious minutes depicting a sprawling human tableaux of 16th century feudal Japan, painted with masterful brushstrokes by the Emperor of Film...
  2. Children of Paradise 1945 CARNÉ, Marcel
    -- An awesome feat of filmmaking under unthinkable conditions (the German occupation). Jean-Louis Barrault (Baptiste) steals the show, but everyone is fantastic...
  3. Ikiru 1952 KUROSAWA, Akira
    -- Unique filmic storytelling from one of the very first films post-occupation...
  4. Fanny & Alexander (312-minute TV version) 1982 BERGMAN, Ingmar
    -- Do not watch the 2-hour "theatrical version" which left the best of Erland Josephson's performance as Isak Jacobi on the cutting room floor...
  5. Ran 1985 KUROSAWA, Akira
    -- The culmination of a career of greatness with AK's take on King Lear switching the daughters to sons. Absolutely magnificent, including an awesome score by Takemitsu. Watch for all the triple axial cuts!
  6. The Human Condition 1959-61 KOBAYASHI, Masaki
    -- 9-1/2 hours (3 films); but the best antiwar film ever made...
  7. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964 DEMY, Jacques
    -- I'm a sucker for a film that is entirely sung from beginning to end! Not only that, but the music (Michel Legrand) is amazing and unusual -- filled with vocal leaps of major sevenths and ninths! And the story is beautiful and heart-wrenching...
  8. Babel 2006 INARRITU, Alejandro
    -- A many-layered hard gaze into life at several different places around the globe. What happens in Morroco affects Mexico and Japan and Southern California, like a crazy butterfly flapping its wings in Central Park. Great acting and hardcore direction...
  9. Irrational Man 2015 ALLEN, Woody
    -- Woody again reprises the "get-away-with-murder" theme he'd previously explored in "Manhattan Murder Mystery" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors." This is the best of all of them!
  10. 12 Monkeys 1995 GILLIAM, Terry
    -- The best Bruce Willis! The best Brad Pitt! The best Madeleine Stowe! Repeat viewings are always rewarding...
  11. Birdman 2014 INARRITU, Alejandro
    -- Twelve cuts -- total -- in the entire film! Raymond Carver would have been proud of the acting...
  12. Cloud Atlas 2012 WACHOWSKI/TYKWER
-- Perhaps my favorite film of the new century. A mammoth production, put together by three brilliant directors...

  • Eroica 2003 JONES, Simon Cellan
    -- The imagining of the very first rehearsal of the Third Symphony. I'll bet this is probably not in your library. Rectify that immediately: Amazon.
  • Napoleon 1927 GANCE, Abel
    -- Unfortunately, you won't be able to see this film. At least, not in the way that I saw it several years ago at a movie palace in Oakland, California, where this 6-hour film was shown with three projectors and a live symphony orchestra! My blog post on that amazing event. [2018 update: they did it! But you have to have an all-regions DVD player: Gance: Napoleon]
  • The Princess and the Warrior 2000 TYKWER, Tom
    -- "Run Lola Run" would be #19 or #20 -- but having to choose between that masterpiece and this one, TPATW wins out by a hair. Watch the last shot and be amazed...
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI 2001 SPIELBERG, Steven
    -- Of course, it would have been amazing to see what Stanley might have done -- but I think Steven outdid himself with this wonderful film. If the final minute doesn't bring a tear to your eye, check to see if your species matches mine...
  • Tampopo 1985 ITAMI, Juzo
    -- or "I Dream of Ramen." Fabulous stuff by a director who left us way too soon...
  • Waking Life 2001 LINKLATER, Richard
    -- Not just for the amazing technical achievements, but the way all the talking heads ultimately melt into your consciousness until you let go of the car door handle.

  • Sunday, February 21, 2016

    411. Amazon Echo "Skills" as of 2/21/16

    Amazon Echo "Skills" as of 2/21/16:

    OPEN       BART Status
                     Email Assistant
                     Hey Dad and tell me a joke
    ASK         Powerball helper, for a good selection for powerball
                     Mindfulness for a minute meditation
    USE         APRS and locate kilo victor sixmike dash seven
    ASK         Basket if whole milk is on sale near Arlington, VA
                     Basic Fantasy to roll a Thief
    OPEN       Lyrical
    ASK         Aurora
                     Surfable about Ocean Beach Pier
                     Tube Status about the Victoria line
                     Magic 8-Ball if I am going to be rich
     Earthquakes what's shakin'
     My ghost what's Xur selling
     Area Code where is eight six zero
    OPEN Daily Affirmation
    ASK Stone Ridge Food what are they serving today
    Automatic where my car is
    TELL Moby link to turn my kitchen lights on
    OPEN Stopwatch and start
    ASK Teen Dating Violence
    OPEN The magic door
    ASK The L Train when it's coming?
    OPEN Izzy
    ASK RhymeZone what rhymes with banana?
    OPEN SciGuy
    Cat Facts
    ASK Scout to arm home mode
    OPEN Quick Events
    TELL The Listeners that I am filled with happiness
    Me the current Bitcoin price
    OPEN Starlanes
    ASK Thermostat to set the temperature to seventy one
    Toronto Transit when is the next streetcar 504
    Mom Jokes to tell me a joke
    ToughGuy to tell me a joke
    OPEN Conversation Starter
    TALK To Reflections
    OPEN Focus Word
    ASK Audio Goal for a goal
    OPEN Domino's
    Space Weather
    ASK MotoQuote for a Quote
    OPEN Metronome
    ASK Battery boot where to buy it?
    ASK DC Metro for the next train arriving at Columbia Heights
    OPEN Fortune Cookie
    ASK Haiku for a poem
    TELL SkyBell to turn on quiet mode
    OPEN ToughGuy
    Dino trivia
    ASK Lunch bot what's for lunch today
    OPEN ARK Guide
    ASK Hebcal when is Passover?
    Math Tutor for 3
    The Doctor
    Word Master to play a game
    OPEN BioRhythm
    The Name Game and use Alexa
    ASK TV Shows when is American Idol on?
    OPEN Subway
    ASK The bartender, what's in a Tom Collins?
    OPEN Lizard Spock
    ASK Magic eight ball will it rain today
    START Akinator
    TELL Garageio to close my door
    OPEN The Law
    ASK Uber to request a ride
    The dealer to deal the cards
    Pug Bomb for three pugs
    The Rabbi what time is Shabbos in New York?
    OPEN One two three
    START Trivia challenge
    ASK Yo Mama to make a joke
    The dog if we fed her?
    Currency Converter to convert twenty dollars to euros
    Founding Fathers for a quote
    OPEN InsultiBot
    ASK Math Mania to play
    Craft Helper what's the recipe for a saddle
    LAUNCH House band
    ASK NYC Transit what is the status of 7?
    LOAD Today's Astronomy Picture
    ASK Trove about Barack Obama
    Guitar Tuner to tune my guitar
    For a fart
    LAUNCH Guess The Number
    TELL Me a dog fact.
    OPEN Teacher
    The Scriptures
    Yo Mama Joke
    START Seven minute workout
    TELL Bean Jar to add ten points to Gryffindor
    ASK Santa where is he?
    HuffPost for headlines
    Cat raiser how is my cat
    Sassy persona to get the weather
    7 Sigma for my update
    TELL Mirror mirror
    OPEN BART Times
    Fact Core
    Baby Names
    ASK Hanker what's happening today
    Power ball for a quick pick
    START Presidential Trivia
    LAUNCH Booze Trivia
    OPEN Combat and hit the dragon with my sword
    TELL Dice Bag to roll for me
    ASK Game Dice to roll three ten siders
    START Big Game
    LAUNCH Cove Trivia
    START Dogecoin
    OPEN Football Trivia
    Laugh box
    ASK Mr. Junky Food what to eat today
    My Dermatologist what's the u.v. index
    LAUNCH Space Trivia
    ASK Daily Prayers for prayer times in Seattle
    OPEN Bitcoin Rate
    ASK Fantasy Football Nerd for headlines
    Movie info about the Magnificent Seven
    Powerball, what are the powerball numbers?
    Superpower for a conversation topic
    The Tube what's happening on the District
    PLAY Manchester City Trivia
    TELL Vivint to lock my doors
    START My Messages
    TELL HomeSeer to turn on the kitchen light
    OPEN The Bible
    High Low
    Phone Finder
    LAUNCH Happy Birthday
    ASK Apollo to tell me a fact
    TELL Me an Edgar fact
    START Animal Game
    ASK AnyMote to pause my Sonos
    FreeBusy to see if Paula is free Tuesday
    Techcrunch news for headlines
    Event Guide what's going on today in Boston
    Famous Quotes to tell me a quote
    START Eliza (pronounced “ih-L-AY-z-uh”)
    TELL Simple control to watch TV
    OPEN Daily Word
    ASK Campbell's Kitchen what's for dinner
    OPEN Bingo
    ASK Random Number for a number
    Woot what is the deal on electronics?
    Mojio where is my car
    OPEN Essential Trivia
    Pickup lines
    ASK Animal Sounds what a noise a lion says
    Grandmom for candy
    OPEN Demotivate
    Shower Thoughts
    Tweet Pollution
    PLAY Jeopardy!
    OPEN Stock Exchange
    ASK Horoscope what is the horoscope for Gemini?
    My Buddy to help me get started
    Glados to tell me something
    START Star Wars Quiz
    ASK Glympse where is Sylvia?
    OPEN Math Puzzles
    LAUNCH Quote Me
    ASK The Bible App to read John 3 verse 16
    TELL LIFX to turn my bedroom lights off
    ASK Agog Reader for Barack Obama
    LAUNCH Crystal Ball
    TELL Stringify to run movie night
    ASK StubHub what's happening this weekend
    LAUNCH Music quiz
    OPEN The wizard
    LAUNCH Drive Time
    OPEN Perfect Pitch
    ASK AOL for the top headlines
    Translator to say “it's raining” in Italian
    OPEN Trivia Talk
    ASK Zip Code what city is Zip Code 20120
    TELL The Dude to give me a quote
    ASK Baseball Archive about Willie Mays
    LAUNCH Beat Cylinder
    ASK The innkeeper to say hello to the image
    TELL Math Kata to start an easy addition game
    OPEN Memory Master
    START Force Trivia
    ASK Lotto Now for Powerball numbers
    Meteor showers what is happening tonight
    Angry Bard for a burn
    Age Calculator, how old is someone born on June 12, 2015?
    TELL Capital Quiz to start practicing
    My admirer to make me smile
    START Movie Quotes
    LOAD Call Sign and find november zero uniform sierra mike
    ASK Fidelity to get a quote for Amazon
    Pronunciations how to pronounce B.I.T.S.
    Daddy for a hug
    TELL Rachio to start zone one for six minutes
    OPEN Trivia Alex
    ASK Mirror Mirror On The Wall who is the fairest of them all?
    LAUNCH Impossible Baseball Quiz
    ASK Linkboard to search news about [a topic]
    LAUNCH “Spammy”
    USE Ooma to call 650-555-1234
    ASK Knock knock
    Kasa to turn the lights on
    START AccuWeather
    OPEN Thirteen
    ASK Tide Pooler to get tide information for major coastal cities
    TELL Christmas Caroler to spread holiday cheer
    LAUNCH Michigan Footabll Trivia
    OPEN Adventure and play dave of doom
    ASK Calculator for nine plus five [ALEXA DOES THIS BY DEFAULT!]
    START 21 Dayz
    ASK Trump how do you feel about China
    OPEN Elf Trivia
    ASK Hawk Bus about 7252
    LAUNCH Mystery Castle
    Hollywood Trivia
    OPEN Tip of Tongue's
    Women's underwear
    LAUNCH Beer Trivia
    OPEN Bitcoin Price Checker
    ASK Block World Trivia
    TELL Bulls Cows to start a game
    OPEN Cheer lights
    ASK Convrge, who's online
    Cookbook how to make a burger
    LAUNCH Cricket quiz
    Domain Name information
    ASK Esports Ticker for live matches
    START Five Card Draw
    ASK Loft Cinema what is playing now (Tucson, AZ)
    OPEN Fortune
    ASK Freedom Quotes for a quote
    Gold Bug what's the price of (gold/silver/oil)
    LAUNCH Gridiron Trivia
    OPEN Hacker News
    ASK Hacker News for top stories
    START Hacking History
    ASK Indian Guy to tell me an Indian fact
    Iris to holler at John
    OPEN ITIL Foundation Quiz
    LAUNCH JavaScript Quiz
    ASK KCRW what's playing
    OPEN Let's multiply
    Long Weekend
    ASK Market for news
    START Challenge memory
    OPEN Missouri football
    ASK My dee link to turn off bedroom light
    Powerball for the winning numbers
    OPEN Presidential Trivia
    LAUNCH Quick Check Quiz
    TELL Quoter to tell me quote
    ASK Qvine, when is the next quarterly meeting
    Randomizer for a random number
    LAUNCH Reindeer Games
    OPEN Resistor Decoder
    ASK Sage of elements to tell me about calcium
    TALK To Satoshi
    ASK Seattle Transit for directions from Ballard to Capitol Hill
    Tech Buzz to tell me something smart
    USE Keeper and start a singles match with red team's serve
    ASK The Tube if there any delays
    OPEN Product Hunt
    ASK Trainer Tips what's weak against Fireside
    LAUNCH Air Force Trivia
    ASK Trivia with friends for the free answer
    TELL Uncle Shakespeare to insult me!
    ASK USA Today to give me the news