FilmJerk Favorites

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

||| Francis Ford Coppola |||
Francis Ford Coppola

Coppola is an amazing talent whose inspiration and influence spans many generations. Virtually the link between the studio system of yesteryear and the independent minded filmmaker of the modern age, Coppola became the first major film director to emerge from a university degree program in filmmaking, thus legitimizing a now common route for many future filmmakers.

This Academy Award winner continues to enjoy an enormous critical and popular success due in large part to Coppola’s ability to break down an epic saga of crime and the struggle for power into the basic story of a father and his sons, punctuating the prevalent theme throughout Coppola’s oeuvre: the importance of family in today’s world. His personal portrait mixed tender moments with harsh brutality and redefined the genre of gangster films.

This intense, yet unassuming thriller has an impact that touches the viewer on a personal level and raises the question of privacy and security in a world of technology – thirty years ago! Coppola’s then virtually unknown cast is a roster of inevitable superstars, including Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, and Robert Duvall. This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Sound lost out to Coppola’s other great effort of the year, The Godfather: Part II.

Coppola's masterful Vietnam War-updating of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" was the first major motion picture about the infamous “conflict”. This colossal epic was shot on location in the Philippines over the course of more than a year and contains some of the most extraordinary combat footage ever filmed. Unforgettable battle sequences and sterling performances from every cast member (including Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, Scott Glenn, and Martin Sheen) mark this Academy Award-winning drama as a must-see for any true film fanatic.

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+