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Actors Actors of Greatness Coen Brothers Directors existentialism Film Javier Bardem photography Producers

No Country for Old Men {2007}.

No Country for Old Men, a 2007 existential noir western thriller by Joel and Ethan Coen, examines the dilemma of Llewelyn Moss {Josh Brolin}, who somewhat inadvertently ends up in the crosshairs of, among others, sociopathic assassin/operative Anton Chigurh {Javier Bardem}, a most singular character with a ruthless code and nihilism to spare. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell {Tommy Lee Jones} wants to help Moss, but, though plenty smart and resourceful, he realizes with the likes of Chigurh, whom he wryly and despairingly describes as a ghost, he’s in over his head; he’s dealing with a new kind of human. New, yet as old and implacable as the unforgiving landscape.

It is the uncanny accomplishment of the Coens to have rendered an extraordinarily nuanced environment where everything means something, yet nothing means anything. The interface of chance and inevitability is front and center.

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Actors cult films Directors Film Horror/Cult Films photography Steven Spielberg

Jaws {1975}.

Directed by a 28 year old Steven Spielberg, Jaws is a gripping, multi-faceted masterwork. This thriller/cult classic features resonant, memorable work by Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss, and a mesmerizing, iconic performance by Robert Shaw. Also involved is a 20+ (25!) foot-long shark. One of the most perfectly realized films of the 20th century.

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Actors Directors Film photography videos

Withnail and I {1987}.

The 1987 film Withnail and I, written and directed by Bruce Robinson, and starring Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, and Richard Griffiths, has come to be recognized as one of the great achievements of British film-making. Originally considered a “cult” movie, this poignant and amazingly humorous film is so very memorable. This happened to be Grant’s first film, as well, putting him firmly on the map of such things.

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Actors of Greatness Auteurs Directors Film Film Music Michael Mann photography Psychopaths serial killers Tom Noonan

Manhunter {1986}, Directed by Michael Mann.

This Big Hush: Shriekback.
Coelacanth.

The extraordinary film Manhunter, filmed in 1986, features auteur-like vision by director Michael Mann, and memorable performances by Tom Noonan, Brian Cox, and William Petersen. Based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Manhunter possesses an eerie noir-ness, and resonates powerfully to this day.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Alfred Hitchcock Directors epoch-defining Film Geniuses Horror/Cult Films Predators Psycho serial killers videos

Hitchcock’s Psycho {1960}.

The plot of Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, pivots on the fulcrum of a red herring. Janet Leigh’s character fears that she is in imminent legal danger, and suffers from a troubled conscience, when in fact something far, far worse, something having absolutely nothing even remotely to do with events up to that point, awaits her.

When he dines initially with Leigh, the reaction/mood of Norman Bates {portrayed iconically by Anthony Perkins} changes rather drastically, from chipper, to utterly incredulous, to overtly hostile, to a resigned world-weariness, to a last attempt at joviality. He appears to be friendly and caring, if a bit troubled and mercurial.

When the dogged, unswerving Milton Arbogast {Martin Balsam} calmly dissembles the slowly dissolving structural integrity of Norman’s version of events, he opts to do nothing less than trot out the heavy artillery, proclaiming “If it doesn’t gel, it isn’t aspic; and this ain’t gelling.” Stunned silence proceeds to take over the entire universe, and Bates is duly provoked.

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Actors Andy Kaufman comedy Commercials Directors Orson Welles Welles and Kaufman

Welles and Kaufman.

Mark Rudolph portrays the great Orson Welles in the above videos; the audio is an authentic tape of a Welles commercial rehearsal, however. Andy Kaufman *is* Andy Kaufman in the subsequent clips, which revolve around the comic performance artist’s involvement with wrestler Jerry Lawler.