The 10 Best ‘Old’ Movies of the Year

December 21, 2010 by Simon Kinnear in Opinion, Retro with 0 Comments
I tend to get commissioned to watch more ‘retro’ stuff than new movies (plus there are always cinematic golden-oldies I simply haven’t got around to watching before), so here’s are ten film classics from the archive I’ve discovered in 2010.

TEN. Loving Memory (Tony Scott, 1969)
Who’d have thunk that, before he went all flashly and high-concept, Tony Scott once made this austere oddity about siblings running over a pedestrian and taking home the corpse because he reminds them of their dead brother?
NINE. Rome Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945)
A stone-cold classic of Italian neo-realism, but one that survives its reputation, for the simple reason it’s tale of wartime rebellion and retribution remains shockingly pertinent.  The final half-hour is incredibly tense.

EIGHT. Dillinger (John Milius, 1973)
I loved Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, but must admit Milius’ splashy, lurid post-Bonnie and Clyde exploitation pic might be the more purely enjoyable John Dillinger flick.

SEVEN. Papillon (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1973)
I spent a happy month in April researching a (still unpublished) retrospective of Steve McQueen.  This is my pick of the movies I hadn’t seen before: a slow-burn prison flick that showcases possibly McQueen’s most committed performance.

SIX. Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981)
Searingly intense psychological thriller, notorious for its ‘tentacle sex’ body horror but more memorable for Isabelle Adjani’s frightening, beyond-the-call-of-duty portrayal of maternal madness. 
FIVE. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984)
The film that kickstarted Studio Ghibli got it so right that, arguably, all Miyazaki has had to do since is to refine its blend of beauty, adventure and wonder.
FOUR. Team America: World Police (Matt Stone/Trey Parker, 2004)
Quite how this one slipped me by I don’t know, but it’s still one hell of a party to gatecrash, even six years late.  I’m amazed Hollywood is still able to make action movies after this.
THREE. Witchfinder General (Matthew Hopkins, 1968)
I’d wanted to see this for years, but was unprepared for how intense it is – a bona-fide British Western, with enough sadism and social comment to sting the senses forty-plus years on.
TWO. Make Way For Tomorrow (Leo McCarey, 1937)
They don’t make ’em like this anymore.  Thankfully: if every modern weepie could match its emotional force and sincerity, the world would run out of tissues overnight.
ONE. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)
The blinkers are off.  Most films are operating, at best, at 50% capacity.  Tati’s sublime, surreal comedy is 100% cinema, using every inch of frame and every wave of sound to deliver new gags and insight.  Prediction: this one is going to end up in my all-time top 10.

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