Moulin Rouge!

Baz Luhrmann blew minds in 2001 with the bombastic production design of Moulin Rouge!, an open-hearted ode to bohemian romance and pop music. It breathed fresh air into the musical film genre - one that was well dead - and looked to be setting the stage for its comeback. That comeback didn't eventuate however, as nothing since has matched Moulin Rouge! for style or verve.


Once Upon a Time in the West

Sergio Leone’s body of work contains many gems, but Once Upon a Time in the West elevated the derisively-named Spaghetti Western genre to new heights. Long and slowly-paced overall, the nearly three-hour epic also delighted in drawing out the tension preceding action sequences. Teasing audiences onto the edge of their seats before sudden explosions of violence, this stylistic decision is immediately obvious in the film’s opening scene, just one of the ways Leone subverted the genre.



“What’s in the booooox?” Brad Pitt demands to know in the closing scene of Se7en. By this stage we’ve been on a journey with him through six of the seven deadly sins in David Fincher’s troubling film, defining the visual aesthetic of 90s cinematography. Despite the clichéd jaded cop/idealistic cop pairing of Pitt and Morgan Freeman, the duo brought their A-game to proceedings, though the film belongs to the infernal tableaus of the mostly-unseen villain Kevin Spacey.



Jean-Pierre Jeunet's gorgeous fable wins over audiences with visual flair, a heart of gold, and the bright-eyed wonder of star Audrey Tatou. Paris' eccentric Montemartre is the setting for lonely Amélie's odyssey, in which she devotes herself to bringing happiness to those around her.


Apocalypse Now

Perhaps more directors should go completely nutty and drug-addled while making movies (unless they are Fantastic Four, right Josh Trank?). Mirroring the mental disintegration of its lead character as well as the creeping insanity of US strategy during the Vietnam War, the increasingly unhinged Francis Ford Coppola and his similarly affected cast and crew turned in a masterpiece, fueled in no small part by the excesses of its creation.


A Clockwork Orange

A bit of the old ultraviolence, rape, permissive attitudes to pornography and a totalitarian dystopia conspire to create controversy in Stanley Kubrick’s satire. Offering more than the sum of its offensive parts, A Clockwork Orange makes the viewer partially, but not completely, complicit in the actions of Alex and his band of droogs, begging the question if it’s just to titillate. Such analysis comes later though, anchored by a fantastic performance by Malcolm McDowell, this is captivating throughout.


Dirty Dancing

What goes better with romance than dancing? Dirty dancing? Yes, sexy dancing. This ’80s classic pairs straight-laced Baby (Jennifer Grey) with dance instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze). As fate would have it, Johnny’s dance partner is unable to perform and Baby must step up to the challenge; undergoing a transformation from a shy, two-left-footed, rhythmically challenged girl into this.