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Actors Directors Film Gary Oldman Jean Reno Natalie Portman photography Predators Psychopaths

LΓ©on, the Professional {1994}.

LΓ©on, the Professional, is a brilliantly twisted and complex film focusing on the relationship between a good-hearted yet ruthless hitman, the young girl who comes under his guidance after her family is massacred, and the sociopathic DEA agent Stansfield, who performed said massacring. A certain houseplant also plays a significant role. Jean Reno and Natalie Portman are both exceptional, and Gary Oldman renders forth a truly iconic performance as the depraved, mercurial, cunning, pill-popping Stansfield. Each character has their own internally consistent moral code. Luc Besson directed this fascinating, haunting, offbeat, darkly comical film.

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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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Fargo {1996}.

The 1996 film Fargo, a Coen Brothers masterwork, presents the story and precipitous moral/psychological decline of Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), the misadventures of the bungling kidnappers (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) whose “help” he enlists, and the dogged attempts of Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) to make sense of it all. Macy’s performance is mind-boggling, Buscemi and Stormare are brilliant, and McDormand carried away an Oscar for her finely-nuanced portrayal. Carter Burwell composed the memorable theme.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Film Marlon Brando photography Predators Psychopaths serial killers

The Missouri Breaks {1976}.

This offbeat, rather twisted Western presents the intertwined stories of Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson) and his good-hearted, somewhat hapless rustling gang, and Lee Clayton (Marlon Brando), a so-called “regulator” (hired killer) whose job it is to identify and curtail the activities of Logan, et al. As the film progresses, an ever-increasing sense of dread and disquiet permeate the proceedings, as it becomes clearer all the time that the eccentric Clayton is a ruthless, sadistic sociopath, who relishes his deadly machinations and depraved exploits. The bounty hunter’s bewildering array of accents and disguises also merits mentioning.

Arthur Penn directed this cult masterpiece, and allowed the actors, especially Brando, to find their own way with the characters, including improvising much of the dialogue. Idiosyncratically paced, this oddball absurdist comedy/western thriller deconstructs the genre to beautiful effect, and Marlon Brando’s incomprehensibly stunning performance ultimately defines and lifts the film to the very heights.

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Actors Film photography Predators Psychopaths serial killers videos

Martin Vanger, Two Ways {2009, 2011}.

The serial predator and killer Martin Vanger appears in both the American and Swedish iterations of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. He is equally disquieting in both. Peter Haber portrays Vanger in the 2009 Swedish release, and Stellan SkarsgΓ₯rd does the honors for the 2011 American film. Both performances are brilliant, and chilling. Haber’s portrayal is more earnest and volatile, while SkarsgΓ₯rd is more haughty, detached. Both work perfectly.

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Actors Actors of Greatness cult films Film Film Music photography

The Wicker Man {1973}.

The Wicker Man, an extraordinary, curious, classic cult film, debuted in 1973 and has only gained in popularity since. The movie stars Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, and a host of locals from the small Scottish towns where it was filmed. So many memorable moments.

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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, focuses often on the similarities between hunter and hunted, and resonates powerfully to this day.

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composers Film Film Music Music photography Soundtracks

The Soundtracks, and Film Music.

A select gathering of film composers, and their compositions. Bernard Herrmann, Eric Serra, Daniel Licht, David Shire, and Carter Burwell.