91. Atlantic City (US 1980)

Ageing gangster ruminates on the nature of his existence in Atlantic City.

Not much to say about this, really. The word 'elegiac' comes to mind. And Suzanne Sarandon's in it. But she doesn't get them out.

If you can't stand Burt Lancaster, this is is the film for you. Apart from 'The Swimmer', that is. And 'The Gypsy Moths'. Oh and 'Zulu Dawn' as well.

 

92. Paths of Glory (US 1958)

Three French soldiers are scapegoated and executed after a disastrous WW1 battle.

A brilliant film. Good action scenes with outstanding mobile camera work from George Krause. Kubrick's most accessible film and Kirk Douglas's best performance (although he is upstaged by vindictive French general, Adolph Menjou).

The final scene of the young German singer quieting the rowdy French troops with her universal song of yearning should melt even the hardest heart.

93. Reservoir Dogs (US 1991)

Just like Bob Mortimer's Chinese accent inflected club manager, I have serious reservations about this film. As a wordy, European art house influenced, character driven (nearly there) post heist movie, it's fine, but its celebration of violence and the (reservoir) yard dogs who revel in it, reminds me of the outpourings of a disturbed teenage lad rather than a grown man.

Script 'guru' Robert McKee says that the more controversial scenes (particularly the torture of the kidnapped cop) exemplify "an audience's experience of looking into the eyes of pure evil". What utter bollocks. If Tarantino had wanted to do this, he should have gone for the 'Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer' line, rather than choosing a good looking actor in a cool suit, dancing to a non-diegetic soundtrack. 

It's the worst part of the film (along with Tim Roth's accent and his impression (when he's dying in the back of Harvey Keitel's car) of Grover from Sesame Street.

Acting honours to Steve Buscemi and Chris Penn.

94. Casablanca (US 1942)

Not much to say about this one, really (2), apart from the fact that seeing it in a packed cinema with an appreciative audience brought the funny lines to life in a way that can't be experienced watching it on the telly on your Billy.

The 'rousing' Marseillaise sequence is terrible, though.

95. Wild at Heart (US 1990)

Slightly more accessible Lynch (in comparison to 'Lost Highway'), but filled with his trademark, atmosphere enhancing but essentially visual non sequitirs such as Isabella Adjani's car crash and Dianne Ladd's face painting.

Nicholas Cage and Laura Dern make a vivacious if somewhat twatty couple ( for example: at the start of the film, why is Dern standing at the top of the stairs thrusting the mane of her hair behind her head with her arm at a 45 degree angle, and looking as if she's just shit herself,  when really she's just talking to her 'mom'? )  

Bizarrely, Lynch decided to 'ugly up' the teeth of Willem Dafoe for the role of uber villain Bobby Peru.

Shouldn't have bothered, really.

Laura Dern (off screen): leave your fucking hair alone!

96. Trainspotting (GB 1995)

As good as The Acid House is bad. Although the film's visual and musical influences are a mish mash of the retro and the vaguely contemporary, director Danny Boyle (like Tarantino) creates a post modern original to be (badly) emulated by those following in his wake.

Particularly good is Sick Boy's thesis of 'having it' one minute, and being 'shite' the next, which uses (amongst others) the career of Lou Reed to validate its argument.

A film that made Scott Gemmill's dad blush when he saw it at the cinema.

97. Les Valseuses  (Fr 1974)

Quite a reprehensible, amoral little film, but (generally) very enjoyable. Gerard Depardieu and France's King of the Meffs Patrick Dewaere coerce small town ingenue Miou Miou into joining their amoral Rake's Progress in France's nether regions.

It being a Bertrand Blier film (see Tenue de Soiree), there are scenes which are unpleasant and unfunny, but it's better than any mid 70s British equivalent (cue Robin Askwith, although we are talking billions of light years in this respect).

98. Chinatown (US 1974)

Often referred to as 'modern film noir', Polanski's vision of corruption in 1930s Los Angeles uses the qualities of bright light and is too effused with water imagery to pigeon holed in such restrictive terms.

Occasional bouts of fairly graphic violence (Polanski himself as a nostril slitting razor merchant) intrude on what is essentially an examination of how greed, selfishness and melancholia blight the human condition.

A low key but charismatic performance from Jack Nicholson in a brilliant, genuinely adult film.

99. The Conversation (US 1974)

An acoustics technician becomes obsessed with a fragment of recorded conversation.

Gene Hackmann has made many terrible films (Prime Cut, Uncommon Valour, Unforgiven; don't fall for the received wisdom: it's bollocks) but the one constant is that he rarely makes a show of himself (Prime Cut excepted) and is often the only reason for watching a film in the first place.

In The Conversation, he plays the aloof, secretive and symbolically monickered Harry Caul. Like much of the work of novelist Paul Auster, the main theme of the film is how easily it is to degenerate into madness once certain emotional mainstays are removed.

Francis Ford Coppola made this film. He also made Jack.

Sick Boy's theory is spot on.

100. Lust For Life (US 1956)

'The man with three arseholes' is a little chunky to be playing the less than beefy Vincent Van 'Go', but Kirk brings an appropriate intensity to match the vivid (if occasionally not terribly authentic) colours of director Vincente Minelli's's 'palette'.

A good introduction to the  works of both Vincents, and best appreciated on the big screen (yeah, like there's going to be a Minelli retrospective in Worksop).