01 July 2024

The 12-Hour Film Expert:
Everything You Need to Know about Movies

The 12-Hour Film Expert

The 12-Hour Film Expert: Everything You Need to Know about Movies, by brothers Noah and James Charney, has a reductivist title, but the book itself is a reasonably detailed history of American cinema. On the other hand, foreign-language films are squeezed into a single chapter, which the writers admit—and demonstrate—“is well-nigh impossible to do”.

The book is organised into twelve chapters, each of which begins with a list of a few key films, “the most important ones to watch.” An appendix, The Movie Playlist, lists further genres and subgenres, each with twelve recommended films. At the end of the Playlist, the “rule of twelve” gives way to a list of directors from various countries outside the US, each represented by their best-known films.

There’s a general emphasis on more recent films, and there are some odd omissions: numerous genres, such as war, gangster films, period dramas, documentaries, and animation, are excluded. Stanley Kubrick’s films are conspicuously absent from any of the book’s lists.

These are the twelve chapters and their key films:

The Invention of the Movies —
  • A Trip to the Moon
  • The Great Train Robbery
The Golden Age of Silent Movies —
  • The Gold Rush
  • Sunrise
Classic Hollywood —
  • Casablanca
  • Citizen Kane
The Western —
  • Stagecoach
  • The Searchers
  • Red River
Film Noir —
  • Double Indemnity
  • Out of the Past
  • Touch of Evil
  • Chinatown
Comedy —
  • Bringing up Baby
  • Airplane!
  • When Harry Met Sally
Musicals —
  • Top Hat
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Moulin Rouge!
Suspense —
  • The Wages of Fear
  • The Birds
  • The Italian Job
Horror —
  • Cat People
  • Halloween
  • The Babadook
Action —
  • The Bourne Identity
  • Nobody
  • Run Lola Run
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero Films —
  • X-Men
  • Star Wars IV–VI
  • The Lord of the Rings I–III
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
International Art House —
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Seven Samurai
  • Nostalghia

26 June 2024

The Movie Book (2nd edition)

The Movie Book

The Movie Book was first published in 2015 as a guide to the most influential films from cinema history: “The movies gathered here are those that the authors feel... to have had the most seismic impact on both cinema and the world.” The book was written by a team of authors (Louis Baxter, John Farndon, Kieran Grant, and Damon Wise), led by Danny Leigh.

116 films were included, cross-referenced and arranged chronologically, with entries ranging from a single page to six pages per film. There was also an appendix of eighty-eight extra films, “a selection of the movies that came close to being included in the main section, but did not quite make the final cut.”

The second edition appeared in 2022, with minimal changes. It included only one additional film, Parasite (기생충), making a new total of 117 main entries. Five films were deleted from the appendix, replaced by five new entries. The deletions from the appendix are Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler), The Jazz Singer, Rosemary’s Baby, Good Bye, Lenin!, and Times and Winds (Beş Vakit); the additions are The Exorcist, Twelve Years a Slave, Black Panther, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and Nomadland.

These are the 117 main entries in the second edition:
  • A Trip To The Moon
  • Intolerance
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • Sunrise
  • Metropolis
  • Steamboat Bill Jr
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • The Blue Angel
  • People on Sunday
  • City Lights
  • M
  • Duck Soup
  • King Kong
  • Zero for Conduct
  • The Bride of Frankenstein
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Rules of the Game
  • Gone with the Wind
  • His Girl Friday
  • Citizen Kane
  • Casablanca
  • To Be or Not to Be
  • Ossessione
  • Laura
  • Children of Paradise
  • La belle et la bête
  • A Matter of Life and Death
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets
  • The Third Man
  • Rashomon
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Tokyo Story
  • The Wages of Fear
  • Godzilla
  • All That Heaven Allows
  • Rebel Without a Cause
  • Pather Panchali
  • Kiss Me Deadly
  • The Searchers
  • The Seventh Seal
  • Vertigo
  • Ashes and Diamonds
  • Some Like It Hot
  • The 400 Blows
  • La Dolce Vita
  • Breathless
  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
  • Last Year at Marienbad
  • La jetée
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Black God, White Devil
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Battle of Algiers
  • The Chelsea Girls
  • Playtime
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The Wild Bunch
  • Easy Rider
  • Le boucher
  • The Godfather
  • Aguirre: The Wrath of God
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  • Don’t Look Now
  • The Spirit of the Beehive
  • Chinatown
  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
  • Jaws
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • Taxi Driver
  • Annie Hall
  • Star Wars IV: A New Hope
  • Alien
  • Stalker
  • Das Boot
  • Blade Runner
  • Blue Velvet
  • Wings of Desire
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  • sex, lies, and videotape
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Raise the Red Lantern
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Three Colours: Red
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Toy Story
  • La haine
  • Fargo
  • The Sweet Hereafter
  • Central Station
  • Festen
  • The Ring
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Spirited Away
  • Amelie
  • Lagaan
  • The Lord of The Rings I: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • City of God
  • Oldboy
  • The Lives of Others
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Man on Wire
  • The White Ribbon
  • Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  • Gravity
  • Boyhood
  • Parasite
These are the eighty-eight films in the appendix:
  • The Great Train Robbery
  • Nosferatu
  • Un chien andalou
  • Freaks
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Sullivan’s Travels
  • Meshes of the Afternoon
  • Double Indemnity
  • Brief Encounter
  • Murders Among Us
  • Out of the Past
  • The Red Shoes
  • All About Eve
  • Los Olvidados
  • The Big Heat
  • La strada
  • Seven Samurai
  • Rififi
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Touch of Evil
  • Elevator to the Gallows
  • Peeping Tom
  • Psycho
  • West Side Story
  • The Innocents
  • Jules et Jim
  • The Manchurian Candidate
  • Dry Summer
  • Jason and the Argonauts
  • Onibaba
  • I Am Cuba
  • Closely Observed Trains
  • Persona
  • The Graduate
  • Belle de jour
  • Salesman
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Kes
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Harold and Maude
  • Land of Silence and Darkness
  • Walkabout
  • The Harder They Come
  • The Exorcist
  • A Woman Under the Influence
  • Sholay
  • Xala
  • Eraserhead
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Days of Heaven
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Raging Bull
  • The Shining
  • ET: The Extra-Terrestrial
  • Scarface
  • Blood Simple
  • Paris, Texas
  • Come and See
  • Brazil
  • Down by Law
  • Jesus of Montreal
  • Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse
  • Hard Boiled
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Naked
  • Short Cuts
  • Heavenly Creatures
  • Drifting Clouds
  • Breaking the Waves
  • Taste of Cherry
  • Werckmeister Harmonies
  • Amores Perros
  • In the Mood for Love
  • Mulholland Drive
  • Tsotsi
  • Caché
  • Ten Canoes
  • There Will Be Blood
  • The Secret in Their Eyes
  • The Kid with a Bike
  • Holy Motors
  • Twelve Years a Slave
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Black Panther
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Nomadland
(Note that Some Like It Hot is the 1959 Billy Wilder classic, Scarface is the 1983 remake, and The Maltese Falcon is the 1941 remake.)

01 June 2024

My Favourite Movies

My Favourite Movies

No, not my favourite movies. Veteran Australian film critic David Stratton’s book My Favourite Movies, published in 2021, lists his 111 favourites in chronological order.

Stratton’s “personal pantheon” is restricted to a single film per director. It’s an excellent list, with a few pleasant surprises (including The Awful Truth, Kind Hearts and Coronets, and The Incredible Shrinking Man).

Stratton’s 111 favourite movies are as follows:
  • Metropolis
  • The General
  • Wings
  • The Last Command
  • City Lights
  • Love Me Tonight
  • Trouble in Paradise
  • It’s a Gift
  • A Night at the Opera
  • The Awful Truth
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • The Rules of the Game
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Public Enemy
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Lady Eve
  • Casablance
  • Went the Day Well?
  • Meet Me in St. Louis
  • Les enfants du paradis
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • The Big Sleep
  • Duel in the Sun
  • Great Expectations
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • A Matter of Life and Death
  • The Big Clock
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets
  • All About Eve
  • In a Lonely Place
  • The African Queen
  • Bend of the River
  • The Man in the White Suit
  • High Noon
  • Shane
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • M. Hulot’s Holiday
  • I vitelloni
  • Bad Day at Black Rock
  • Les diaboliques
  • On the Waterfront
  • Seven Samurai
  • A Star Is Born
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • Attack
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • The Brothers Rico
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man
  • 3:10 to Yuma
  • Twelve Angry Men
  • Wild Strawberries
  • Breathless
  • The 400 Blows
  • North by Northwest
  • The Apartment
  • Cléo from 5 to 7
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire
  • Viridiana
  • Advise and Consent
  • A Kind of Loving
  • The Manchurian Candidate
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • The Leopard
  • Charulata
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Andrei Rublev
  • Accident
  • The Unfaithful Wife
  • Z
  • Alice’s Restaurant
  • The Wild Bunch
  • The Conformist
  • The Last Picture Show
  • Taking Off
  • W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism
  • Don’t Look Now
  • Chinatown
  • The Conversation
  • Jaws
  • Nashville
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • Cría cuervos
  • Kings of the Road
  • Annie Hall
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
  • Coming Home
  • Newsfront
  • Farewell My Concubine
  • Alien
  • Breaker Morant
  • Manhunter
  • High Tide
  • Where Is the Friend’s House?
  • Distant Voices, Still Lives
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Sweetie
  • Lorenzo’s Oil
  • The Age of Innocence
  • Fargo
  • Drifting Clouds
  • Love Serenade
  • Jackie Brown
  • All About My Mother
  • Lantana
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • The Host
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Samson and Delilah
  • Nebraska
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • Roma
Dateline Bangkok has covered every ‘greatest film’ list published in the last two decades. But the book that My Favourite Movies most resembles is Barry Norman’s 100 Best Films of the Century from 1993.

10 February 2024

100 Greatest Films Ever

Weekend The Godfather

Daily Mail film critic Brian Viner has compiled a list of the 100 greatest films ever made, in a cover story for today’s issue of the newspaper’s Weekend magazine supplement. The list skews towards mainstream titles, as Viner readily acknowledges: “I’ve deliberately left out some of the mighty early silents, and there aren’t too many foreign-language films because this has to be an accessible collection.” Another stipulation is that all titles are available on streaming platforms, thus disqualifying some esoteric arthouse films. (The Mail published a previous list of Viner’s 100 favourite films in 2020.)

The 100 Greatest Films Ever are as follows:

100. Oliver!
99. Thelma and Louise
98. Raiders of the Lost Ark
97. Goldfinger
96. In the Heat of the Night
95. This Is Spinal Tap
94. To Kill a Mockingbird
93. The Sting
92. The Vanishing
91. When We Were Kings
90. Twelve Angry Men
89. It Happened One Night
88. Chariots of Fire
87. Shane
86. Kes
85. The Exorcist
84. High Noon
83. All the President’s Men
82. Parasite
81. Star Wars IV: A New Hope
80. Rear Window
79. The Night of the Hunter
78. Get Out
77. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
76. The Best Years of Our Lives
75. Gone with the Wind
74. City Lights
73. Sunset Boulevard
72. Zulu
71. Chinatown
70. The Shining
69. Henry V
68. His Girl Friday
67. Shakespeare in Love
66. The Third Man
65. West Side Story
64. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
63. The Lives of Others
62. Toy Story
61. Spartacus
60. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
59. Apollo 11
58. Deliverance
57. The Elephant Man
56. Tokyo Story
55. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
54. No Country for Old Men
53. The Producers
52. Schindler’s List
51. Boyhood
50. Dr Strangelove
49. The Conversation
48. The Searchers
47. Duck Soup
46. Rome, Open City
45. Nashville
44. On the Waterfront
43. Bicycle Thieves
42. Top Hat
41. All About Eve
40. Vertigo
39. Seven Samurai
38. 2001: A Space Odyssey
37. The Deer Hunter
36. Taxi Driver
35. There Will Be Blood
34. The Bridge on the River Kwai
33. The General
32. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
31. It’s a Wonderful Life
30. Pulp Fiction
29. Raging Bull
28. Annie Hall
27. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
26. Alien
25. The French Connection
24. The Maltese Falcon
23. The Silence of the Lambs
22. Kind Hearts and Coronets
21. The Sound of Music
20. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
19. The Banshees of Inisherin
18. Double Indemnity
17. Brief Encounter
16. Modern Times
15. Shoah
14. The Apartment
13. Singin’ in the Rain
12. Apocalypse Now
11. Bonnie and Clyde
10. Citizen Kane
9. The Graduate
8. Lawrence of Arabia
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
6. Casablanca
5. Some Like It Hot
4. Jaws
3. Psycho
2. The Wizard of Oz
1. The Godfather

(Note that Some Like It Hot is the 1959 comic masterpiece, not the unrelated 1939 comedy. The Maltese Falcon is the John Huston remake, rather than the 1931 original version.)

16 August 2023

The 100 Best Movies of the Past Ten Decades

The 100 Best Movies of the Past Ten Decades

The latest issue of Time magazine (vol. 202, no. 5), dated 14th August, features a list of the 100 greatest films of the past century. Stephanie Zacharek, one of Time’s film critics, compiled The 100 Best Movies of the Past Ten Decades: ten films from each decade, from the 1920s to the 2010s, in chronological order.

As Zacharek readily admits, the list is “marked by what some will see as glaring omissions,” such as Tokyo Story (東京物語), Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and The Godfather. Stanley Kubrick’s films are nowhere to be found. In fact, when compared to Dateline Bangkok’s list of the 100 greatest films, only a quarter of the entries are common to both lists.

Time published its first greatest-films list in 2005, compiled by Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel. From that selection of 100 titles, Corliss and Schickel chose Nine Great Movies from Nine Decades—none of which are included in Zacharek’s list.

20 June 2023

Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Aficionado

This month’s issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine (vol. 31, no. 4) is dedicated to classic movies, and includes a poll of readers’ favourite films. The magazine surveyed “a random group of readers”—presumably a small sample of subscribers—25% of whom voted for The Godfather. (The other films in the top ten list received less than 10% each.)

Cigar Aficionado has an older, male readership, and the magazine proclaimed The Godfather “the Greatest Film Ever Made” in a cover story last year, so the poll result was fairly predictable. Garrett Rutledge conducted the poll and, as he admits in the magazine, “we can’t say we’re all that surprised.”

Cigar Aficionado readers’ top ten films are as follows:

1. The Godfather
2. Casablanca
3. GoodFellas
4. The Shawshank Redemption / The Sting
6. Gladiator / Tombstone
8. The Godfather Part II / Heat / The Longest Day

07 March 2023

The Greatest Films of All Time

Sight and Sound

Last year, Sight and Sound published the results of its Greatest Films of All Time survey. Ever since 1952, the magazine has polled film critics around the world every ten years, to compile authoritative lists of the ten greatest films ever made. In 2012, for the first time, they expanded their list to include 100 titles, and their 2022 poll was also initially published as a list of 100 films. Now, last year’s list has been expanded further, to 250 films, printed as a checklist on pp. 50–53 of the new April issue (vol. 33, no. 3).

23 December 2022

500 Must-See Movies

500 Must-See Movies

Total Film magazine published a special issue in 2017 listing 500 Must-See Movies. This year, they have released a second edition with an updated list. There are only minor changes to the original edition, with the addition of recent films such as Get Out, 1917, A Quiet Place, Avengers: Infinity War, and Parasite (기생충). As in the first edition, only five genres are included: horror, science-fiction, thrillers, action movies, and comedies.

Empire and Us Weekly magazines have also published top-500 film lists, as did the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph newspapers. Empire later revised its list for its Australian edition, and published a collection of 500 five-star reviews. Dateline Bangkok also has its own list of 500 classic films.

Total Film’s previous greatest-film lists are: The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time from 2005, The Top 100 Movies of All Time from 2006, and 100 Greatest Movies from 2010. It also compiled a list of The Sixty-Seven Most Influential Films Ever Made in 2009.

22 December 2022

The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time


This week’s issue of Variety (vol. 358, no. 12), published yesterday, features The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time, as selected by thirty-two of the magazine’s writers. This is one of the very best greatest-film polls: an ideal combination of arthouse titles, classic Hollywood, world cinema, and popular movies.

Variety’s 100 greatest movies are as follows:

100. The Graduate
99. Twelve Angry Men
98. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
97. Alien
96. A Hard Day’s Night
95. Toy Story
94. Bridesmaids
93. Le samuraï
92. Pink Flamingos
91. Scenes from a Marriage
90. The Shining
89. Belle de jour
88. Malcolm X
87. The Sound of Music
86. Close-Up
85. Natural Born Killers
84. Pan’s Labyrinth
83. Kramer vs. Kramer
82. Parasite
81. The Dark Knight
80. Pixote
79. Waiting for Guffman
78. Jeanne Dielman
77. Goldfinger
76. The Tree of Life
75. Boogie Nights
74. My Neighbour Totoro
73. Intolerance
72. Breaking the Waves
71. My Best Friend’s Wedding
70. Twelve Years a Slave
69. Beau travail
68. King Kong
67. Bicycle Thieves
66. Paris Is Burning
65. A Man Escaped
64. Carrie
63. Bambi
62. Dazed and Confused
61. The Passion of Joan of Arc
60. Moulin Rouge!
59. Vagabond
58. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
57. Brokeback Mountain
56. Rosemary’s Baby
55. Pather Panchali
54. Mad Max II
53. In the Mood for Love
52. The General
51. Apocalypse Now
50. Breathless
49. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
48. The Piano
47. Mean Streets
46. Notorious
45. Titanic
44. L’avventura
43. Shoah
42. Moonlight
41. The Wild Bunch
40. Fargo
39. Some Like It Hot
38. Lawrence of Arabia
37. Annie Hall
36. On the Waterfront
35. The Silence of the Lambs
34. Stagecoach
32. Vertigo
31. Network
30. Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
29. Double Indemnity
28. City Lights
27. Bonnie and Clyde
26. The 400 Blows
25. Bringing up Baby
24. Tokyo Story
23. The Apartment
22. Chinatown
21. Gone with the Wind
20. Blue Velvet
19. The Godfather II
18. Persona
17. Nashville
16. Casablanca
15. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
14. Do the Right Thing
13. The Rules of the Game
12. GoodFellas
11. Singin’ in the Rain
10. Saving Private Ryan
9. All about Eve
8. It’s a Wonderful Life
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey
6. Seven Samurai
5. Pulp Fiction
4. Citizen Kane
3. The Godfather
2. The Wizard of Oz
1. Psycho

Note that Some Like It Hot is the 1959 comedy, and Titanic is the 1997 blockbuster. A third of Variety’s choices are also included in Dateline Bangkok’s 100 greatest films list. (That list is not ranked, though if it were, Psycho would also be at no. 1, as it is in Variety.)

21 December 2022

500 Best Movies of All Time

In 2018, Us Weekly magazine published a special 500 Best Movies of All Time issue (vol. 18, no. 47). The top twenty-five titles are listed first, and the others are classified by genre. The films are organised alphabetically within these categories, and are not ranked. The list features more than 500 titles, as some series—the Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises; The Naked Gun and Kill Bill and their sequels—are counted as single entries.

Us Weekly is a mainstream entertainment magazine, so the selection is weighted in favour of popular Hollywood movies; as the editors wrote in their introduction: “we tried to pay attention not just to what critics like, but to what audiences like as well.” There are a handful of foreign-language titles, including Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette, classified rather literally as a crime film), and just one silent film (Metropolis, listed under drama rather than science-fiction).

Us Weekly’s top twenty-five films are as follows:
  • Avatar
  • Black Panther
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Casablanca
  • Chinatown
  • Citizen Kane
  • E.T. the Extra-terrestrial
  • Get Out
  • The Godfather
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Harry Potter
  • Inception
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • National Lampoon’s Animal House
  • Psycho
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Raging Bull
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Rocky
  • Scarface
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Star Wars IV: A New Hope
  • Titanic
  • Toy Story
  • The Wizard of Oz
(Titanic is the 1997 blockbuster, Psycho is the 1960 masterpiece, and Scarface is the 1983 remake. Harry Potter refers to all eight films in the series.)

Empire and Total Film magazines have also published top-500 film lists, as did the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph newspapers. Empire later revised its list for its Australian edition, and also published a collection of 500 five-star reviews. Not to be outdone, Dateline Bangkok has its own list of 500 classic films.

02 December 2022

The Greatest Films of All Time

Sight and Sound

Sight and Sound magazine has announced the results of its 2022 critics’ and directors’ polls, The Greatest Films of All Time. There have been dozens of similar polls, based on votes by either critics or the public—Dateline Bangkok has featured every greatest-film list published since 2005—though Sight and Sound’s list is the first and most authoritative of them all. The magazine compiled its original list in 1952, with Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) being the inaugural winner. For fifty years, starting in 1962, Citizen Kane was in first place, until it was overtaken by Vertigo in 2012.

This year’s result is much more surprising, with Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles at the top of the new list. As Laura Mulvey writes in the magazine’s latest issue (vol. 33, no. 1), “Vertigo had been gradually closing in on Citizen Kane for decades; Jeanne Dielman has appeared from nowhere.” 2001: A Space Odyssey came first in the directors’ poll, replacing Tokyo Story (東京物語), and the full results of both polls are included in the new issue of the magazine.

Sight and Sound

The Sight and Sound critics’ top ten is as follows:

1. Jeanne Dielman
2. Vertigo
3. Citizen Kane
4. Tokyo Story
5. In the Mood for Love
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. Beau travail
8. Mulholland Drive
9. Man with a Movie Camera
10. Singin’ in the Rain

07 April 2022

The Greatest Movies of All Time

The Greatest Movies of All Time

The Greatest Movies of All Time, published in 2016, features a list of classic films selected by Lorri Lynn, Melody Bussey, and Peter Murray. The number of titles (eighty-eight) seems fairly arbitrary, and there are no foreign-language or silent films on the list. The introduction, which refers to “a lifetime all best movie designation” [sic], could have been written by AI software.

Each film has a double-page spread, with a single paragraph of rather simplistic text opposite a glossy full-page photograph. The photos are the book’s only redeeming feature, though their quality is variable: the stills and posters are well-reproduced, though many are merely DVD covers and one (The Unforgiven) is from the wrong film. The book is not recommended, and is included here only in the interests of completism, as Dateline Bangkok reviews every greatest-film list available in print.

28 October 2021

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

The 2021 edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die was published this month, with a revised list of recommended films. The first edition, edited by Steven Jay Schneider in 2003, was reprinted with minor revisions in 2004, and the book has been updated annually ever since (in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020).

Eleven new films have been added to year’s edition, representing only 1% of the total list. With a single exception, the new entries were all released in the last few years: Tenet, The Vast of Night, The Assistant, Rocks, Saint Maud, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Soul, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Lovers Rock, and Nomadland. Again, with one exception, the corresponding deletions are all from the past decade: Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers Endgame (combined into a single entry), Birdman, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, The Handmaiden (아가씨), 13th, Blade Runner 2049, The Favourite, Hereditary, Sorry to Bother You, and Monos.

The exceptions are Lamerica from 1994 and The Blue Kite (藍風箏) from 1993. In last year’s edition, The Blue Kite was mysteriously deleted and replaced by Lamerica. This year, that decision has been reversed: Lamerica is out, and The Blue Kite is back in. Ian Haydn Smith, editor of recent editions, notes in his preface that the coronavirus pandemic resulted in “a multitude of smaller titles from around the world” gaining releases on streaming platforms, though the new entries in this edition are all English-language films (with The Blue Kite again being the only anomaly).

24 July 2021

100 Greatest Films

100 Greatest Films

Dateline Bangkok’s 100 greatest films, in chronological order:
  • A Trip to the Moon (1902)
  • The Great Train Robbery (1903)
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
  • Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)
  • Nanook of the North (1922)
  • Battleship Potemkin (1925)
  • Metropolis (1927)
  • The Jazz Singer (1927)
  • Un chien andalou (1928)
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
  • Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • City Lights (1931)
  • The Public Enemy (1931)
  • 42nd Street (1933)
  • It Happened One Night (1934)
  • The Awful Truth (1937)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  • Port of Shadows (1938)
  • Gone with the Wind (1939)
  • The Rules of the Game (1939)
  • Stagecoach (1939)
  • Le jour se lève (1939)
  • His Girl Friday (1940)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • Casablanca (1942)
  • Double Indemnity (1944)
  • Rome, Open City (1945)
  • The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Notorious (1946)
  • Out of the Past (1947)
  • Bicycle Thieves (1948)
  • White Heat (1949)
  • Rashomon (1950)
  • Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  • Ikiru (1952)
  • Tokyo Story (1953)
  • On the Waterfront (1954)
  • Seven Samurai (1954)
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
  • Pather Panchali (1955)
  • Les diaboliques (1955)
  • The Searchers (1956)
  • The Seventh Seal (1957)
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  • Vertigo (1958)
  • Touch of Evil (1958)
  • Look Back in Anger (1959)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959)
  • The 400 Blows (1959)
  • Breathless (1960)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • Night and Fog in Japan (1960)
  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
  • Chronicle of a Summer (1961)
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • (1963)
  • A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
  • Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  • Black God, White Devil (1964)
  • Persona (1966)
  • Closely Observed Trains (1966)
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • Yesterday Girl (1966)
  • The Fireman’s Ball (1967)
  • The Graduate (1967)
  • Dont Look Back (1967)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • Bonnie and Clyde (1968)
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • Pink Flamingos (1972)
  • The Godfather (1972)
  • Chinatown (1974)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • Jeanne Dielman (1975)
  • Taxi Driver (1976)
  • Annie Hall (1977)
  • Alien (1979)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Raging Bull (1980)
  • Blade Runner (1982)
  • A Better Tomorrow (1986)
  • Akira (1988)
  • A City of Sadness (1989)
  • GoodFellas (1990)
  • Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
  • Farewell My Concubine (1993)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • La haine (1995)
  • Toy Story (1995)
  • Taste of Cherry (1997)
  • Memento (2000)
  • Yi Yi (2000)
  • Tears of the Black Tiger (2000)
  • Spirited Away (2001)
  • City of God (2002)
  • Hero (2002)
  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
Selected from a database of 500 titles. See also: 50 Essential Films.

16 July 2021

The Short Story of Film

The Short Story of Film

The Short Story of Film: A Pocket Guide to Key Genres, Films, Movements and Techniques, by Ian Haydn Smith, was published last year. As its subtitle suggests, it’s divided into four parts, though the ‘key films’ section occupies the bulk of the book. Fifty films are included (one per director), the selection is international in scope, and each film has a decent one-page review.

The one-page-per-entry format also applies to the other sections, and while a single page is sufficient to summarise an individual film, it’s not really enough to cover entire genres or movements. Consequently, these potted histories are sometimes quite general, and often have better coverage of a genre or movement’s origins than its subsequent evolution. The book features an impressively diverse range of subgenres, and these are summarised in more detail than the major genres.

Other lists of fifty greatest films have also been compiled by Vanity Fair, The Spectator, MovieMail, Film4 (and Dateline Bangkok). Ian Haydn Smith updated 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die for its tenth anniversary, and has edited each subsequent edition (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020).

30 April 2021

The Film Book

The Film Book
The second edition of Ronald Bergan’s The Film Book was published last month, ten years after the first edition, with a slightly tweaked subtitle (A Complete Guide to the World of Movies). The earlier edition included a list of 100 essential films (which first appeared in Bergan’s book Film), and the new edition adds an additional eight recent films to the list.

The extra titles in the “Must-See Movies” list are There Will Be Blood, White Material, Inception, Twelve Years a Slave, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Black Panther, and Parasite (기생충). Bergan also wrote Understanding Cinema and co-wrote 501 Must-See Movies (which has been updated in second, third, fourth, and fifth editions).

25 October 2020

1001 Movies
You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
The 2020 edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die was published earlier this month. Edited by Steven Jay Schneider, the first edition appeared in 2003, minor revisions were made in 2004, and it has been updated annually ever since (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019).

This year’s edition, revised by Ian Haydn Smith, features thirteen new titles. (It also includes a new introduction, the first since 2013.) All of the new entries, with one exception, were released in 2019: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Parasite (기생충), For Sama (من أجل سما‎), Little Women, The Farewell (别告诉她), Monos, Booksmart, The Lighthouse, Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu), Joker, Avengers: Endgame, and Toy Story IV. The exception is Lamerica, from 1994.

Although thirteen films were added, only eleven were deleted, because Avengers: Endgame was combined with Avengers: Infinity War as a single entry, and Toy Story IV was added to the single entry for all of the Toy Story films. The eleven deletions are: A Star Is Born (the Bradley Cooper remake); Vice; The Greatest Showman; Crazy Rich Asians; Mother!; The Shape of Water; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Wadjda (وجدة‎); American Beauty; Gangs of New York; and The Blue Kite (藍風箏).


31 July 2020

The Essentials (volume 2)

The Essentials 2
Jeremy Arnold’s book The Essentials, a guide to fifty-two classic films, was published in 2016. The second volume (52 More Must-See Movies and Why They Matter) will be released later this year. Volume two features another fifty-two classics; as in volume one, the films are listed chronologically, and there are no entries from the last thirty years.

The book rectifies some of the first volume’s significant omissions, with entries for Psycho and 2001. On the other hand, the list is too heavily skewed towards 1930s Hollywood and, from that period, relatively minor screwball comedies (Twentieth Century and Ball of Fire) are included whereas screwball classics (Bringing up Baby and His Girl Friday) are missing.

The 52 More Must-See Movies are as follows:
  • Sunrise
  • Steamboat Bill Jr
  • Freaks
  • Gold Diggers of 1933
  • Twentieth Century
  • Top Hat
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Dodsworth
  • The Awful Truth
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Stagecoach
  • The Women
  • The Great Dictator
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Ball of Fire
  • Sullivan’s Travels
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Cat People
  • Laura
  • Mildred Pierce
  • Brief Encounter
  • Notorious
  • The Ghost and Mrs Muir
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • The Asphalt Jungle
  • Rashomon
  • A Place in the Sun
  • An American in Paris
  • The Quiet Man
  • High Noon
  • Kiss Me Deadly
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • Pather Panchali
  • Rebel Without a Cause
  • A Face in the Crowd
  • Sweet Smell of Success
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • Vertigo
  • Pillow Talk
  • The Apartment
  • Psycho
  • Ride the High Country
  • The Battle of Algiers
  • The Producers
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The Sting
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Harlan County, USA
  • Network
  • Hannah and Her Sisters
  • Field of Dreams

29 May 2020

Daily Mail

Daily Mail

Daily Mail film critic Brian Viner has selected his 100 favourite English-language films, and the list is published in today’s newspaper (p. 47). The lack of foreign-language titles is unsurprising, as the Mail is a mainstream tabloid. More unusual is the omission of critically acclaimed films such as Citizen Kane and Vertigo, as Viner acknowledges: “I’m aware that I’ve left out lots of all-time classics.” The 100 titles are his personal favourites—he clearly enjoys comedies—rather than the greatest films of all time, which is a key distinction. Perhaps inevitably, the top spot goes to The Godfather.

25 October 2019

The New York Times Book of Movies

The New York Times Book of Movies
The New York Times Book of Movies: The Essential 1,000 Films to See is the third edition of a film guide that was first published in 1999 (not, as the new edition says, 1987). The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made was updated in 2004, and the retitled third edition appeared this month. The 1,000 films were selected by New York Times film critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis.

This is not the only guide to 1,000 classic films. Others include: Halliwell’s Top 1,000 by John Walker, Time Out’s 1,000 Films to Change Your Life, The Guardian’s 1,000 Films to See Before You Die, and Have You Seen...? by David Thomson.