TOP 100 FILMS - 76 - 80

In A Single Man (2009), Tom Ford mixes melancholy and grief in a film of visual excesses one can approximate it with Fellini's works. However, this film's visual input is graceful and taut at some point, one might say: "Is this film a gay film at all?" Composition-wise, the film is a vortex of floating imagery. Its narrative is independent of causal links; its structure relies on flashbacks and distended and subjective perceptions of each character. Its rhythm is integral to its mise-en-scene. Its cinematography is pulsing with life. With sweeping camera movements, its accords to the pulchritude of Ford's vision of the book. Colin Firth's performance is visually tingling he exudes the mood and absurdities of the 1960s gay, he absorbs the tapestry to which he belongs, a problematic venture to most period film actors of today's.

A Trip to the Moon (1902) is the oldest film in this year's Top 100 films. The film, being the first ever science fiction film in the history of cinema, is a bombshell. It probes the most primitive cinematic techniques, which at that time, proves to be daunting and arguably difficult, unless George Melies is the director. A hundred years ago, cinema, still a young chap looking for direction, there were two trends that emerged from these primitive world: the real and unreal cinema. The former, headed by the Lumiere brothers, and the later headed by George Melies. The former would become the documetaries and cinema verite-styled films of today while the later would become the fantasy, illusionist type of cinema involving magic, suspense and unrealistic mise-en-scene. This luminous film is a box office hit in 1902 equivalent to Avatar (2009) in terms of its wows and puns. Shot with a staging almost similar to theater in the past, and with no visible cinematography (since the camera that time is simple), and using only its mise-en-scene, this is the very time that special effects was invented.

Shutter Island (2010) is one of the most underrated films of this year. The film is Martin Scorsese's most bewildering work. It stands between regressive film-making and mastery of the craft only a few directors and critics fully understood. One can simply put that Martin Scorsese has been experimenting with the ephemeral connection of reality and the mind and that Shutter Island is his starting concept, a bridge towards a more elusive film project which he might show us in the future. The film can be sadly labeled as an illusionist film and that is where the problem of many critics starts. Shutter Island emulates a world similar to that of Tarkovsky exploring the fine lines between dream, reality and human nature, a take beyond the illusionist cinema which Hollywood have mastered since its birth. Shutter Island is an overlooked masterpiece that many years from now it will gain its appropriate credence from film critics and academicians.

Pink Halo-Halo (2010) is Jay Altarejos' most restraint film and possibly his masterpiece. What I love about this film is its indicative use of celluloid aesthetics rendered in digital medium. Its cinema verite style, common now in digital films, provides a loose structure of the film and its nuanced shots, shots wherein the character's actions are of the most banal quality, accumulates with realism and wit, it can be placed as one of the prime example of digital realist cinema of today. The use of wide-angle lens offers depth and Altarejo's authorial presence, being a semi-autobiographical film about his childhood, remarkably lit up the impressionist look of the film, its piquantly reminds me of Assays and Hansen-Love.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) is my first ever Milos Forman film. The breathtaking performance of Jack Nicholson and Louis Fletcher gave acting flair to this forever evolving film, a film of universal appeal it touches accord to emotional overtones of high intensity it impacts you full throttle . Theme of isolation and oppression front-lines the battle between sane and insane, absurdity versus banality, life and death. The mental asylum, a veritable mise-en-scene for the disturbed, ensconces existentialist and philosophical functions that harbors larger weights building up until the end. Its ending is one of the best closure I have ever seen in my entire life.