The Big 10: No Easy A’s

Out of the dozens of reviews we’ve done since we started this blog, we’ve had only 10 A’s.  For a movie to deserve a perfect rating here, it doesn’t have to be perfect: it needs to be different.  It has to bring something new to the movie table, or do something old so well that it feels new.  Here are our 10 ‘A’ reviews, as diverse as an obese teenager’s quest for societal independence or a man avenging his father’s death in 19th century America.  (Side-note:  though we rarely hand out straight A’s, we’ve also only awarded one F… to a movie ironically called The A-Team.)

Amélie

Being John Malkovich

Casino Royale

District 9

Gangs of New York

A History of Violence

In the Loop

Precious: Based On the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire

Up in the Air

Where the Wild Things Are

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Amélie

Amélie
Directed by: Jean Pierre-Jeunet
Written by: Guillaume Laurant & Jean Pierre-Jeunet
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Serge Merlin, and Clotilde Mollet

Deep despair, insightful narcissism, impossibly cultured people- these are all things associated with French cinema.  Though our overseas friends gave us the new wave, these things rode the surf as well.  American cinema has tried since the birth of the French new wave to implement it as carelessly as such French staples as Breathless and The 400 Blows.  What a strange, wonderful phenomenon it is that French filmmaker Jean Pierre-Jeunet turns French cinema on its head yet again with Amélie.

Amélie is as free-spirited, uplifting, and gracious as the protagonist its title speaks of (Audrey Tautou).  Rarely does a movie tackle optimism as straightforwardly as this, and it’s something new for the often dark and brooding films associated with French cinema.  During its more than two hour run time, Pierre-Jeunet’s film manages to make a mundane, normal life seem enthralling thanks to a hilarious, charming and original screenplay and some of the best visuals the cinema has ever seen.

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