FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| David Lean |||
David Lean

Honored with the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1990, Lean’s body of work (ranging from the intimate film to the grandiose epic) demonstrates an obsessive cultivation of craft and a fastidious concern with detail that has become the very definition of quality British cinema.

Adapted from Noel Coward’s one-act play, Lean takes a potentially boring story of middle-age flirtation and tenderly creates one of the most enduring and poignant romance films ever made. Brilliantly underplayed, two happily married strangers meet by chance in a railway station and fall desperately in love, but never physically express the undercurrent of passion that exists between them, even during their final gut wrenching separation – if your heart doesn’t ache, you’re just not human!

Demonstrating moments of intimacy through gigantic display, Lean sets up the greatness of Pip’s expectations with the magnitude of his frightful encounters; one with an escaped convict, whose emerge into the frame reminds us what it’s like to be a child in a world of oversized, menacing adults, and another with the meeting of mad Miss Havisham, in all her gothic splendor.

Peter O'Toole made an enigmatic and lasting impression in his debut role as British officer T.E. Lawrence, who helped Arab rebels fight the Turks in WWI, and Omar Sharif has perhaps the greatest cinematic intro of all time as he magically appears through the ghostly waves of the desert heat, achieving Lean’s compulsive drive to create the perfectly composed shot. Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jose Ferrer, and Claude Rains round out this incredibly talented and magnetically charged cast.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D

By EdwardHavens

October 20th, 2006

Re-imagining "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as a three dimensional film has taken Henry Selick's modern masterwork and turned it into a timeless classic. Although the new version is essentially the same as the one film fans fell in love with in the early 1990s, the update gives the film extra depth (no pun intended) and excitement, and brings to the silver screen the single best instance of three dimension cinema moviegoers have ever seen.

The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D

Compare the stereographics from “Nightmare” with the painful images from the three dimensional versions of other recent films utilizing the same processes. Perhaps this is because “Nightmare” was not conceived and produced as an all-CG animated project, giving the film a more natural look and feel due to its “live” action shooting process. One could conceive it to be more convenient to give depth to images that were created in a real-world environment and photographed on a live set. Whatever reason it may be, the clarity of the stereographic images here are astounding, far outpacing the best 3D movies of the past such as “House of Wax” and “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Throughout the film, one truly gets the sense of being in Halloween Town with Jack Skellington and his motley group of cretins.

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the film, this is genuinely a great gift. If you’ve never seen “Nightmare” before, I am honestly jealous. To be able to experience this film for the first time ever in 3D should become one of the greatest cinematic events you will ever get to enjoy. Having seen the film several dozen times since its release in 1993, including a few visits to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood (where Disney has shown the film every year during Halloween) and one pre-release test screening (where I believe I may have been the only person to have liked the film that night), I have found myself reconnecting with the film in ways I never did before, getting close to sheer giddiness during two of the film’s best set pieces: the film’s opening moments, where we meet the denizens of Halloween Town, when Santa is taunted by Oogie Boogie, and especially during the single greatest moment of the film: when Jack discovers Christmas Town. Like the Pumpkin King, I shared his excitement as he asked “What Is This?” This is brilliance taken to the next level.

The Nightmare Before Christmas” has aged well since its first release, and we can only hope Disney decides to make this a holiday perennial for all (not just those of us who live close to the company’s flagship movie theatre). If ever you needed an excuse to be reminded why we go to the movie theatre sometimes, this is it.

My rating: A+