The Thursday List: Gangster Edition (International)
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
This movie isn't simply a good story well told. This is my favorite martial arts film ever. It's well paced, with plenty of action, lots of laughs, and just the right amount of drama and suspense, and the special effects are all in service of the story, not simply there to look cool. On top of that it looks like the cast and crew really enjoyed making it, which is a plus in my book. It's a genuinely fun, enjoyable film. Highly recommended.
A comedy of errors and omissions between a bunch of villains, ranging from truly bad men and men who desperately want to be truly bad but really aren't. It's a roller coaster, rapidly paced and a bit of a jigsaw. And funny. People get threatened and beat up and killed, but... yeah, it's a gritty crime comedy, with a marvelous cast, including Jason Statham, Benicio del Toro, Dennis Farina, and Stephen Graham. Alan Ford delivers a truly stand-out performance as Brick Top, the main villain and undeniably the film's Most Very Bad Man. This is one of my Top 10 Crime/Caper Films. Highly recommended.
Jackie Brown (1997)
Some may consider it heretical, but I consider this Quentin Tarantino's best film to date, not that his others have been exactly poor by any stretch of the imagination... except for maybe "Death Proof". It's got the trademark Tarantino pacing and dialogue, but the characters are by and large the most relatable and interesting of his works. It helps of course that the cast is stellar, particularly Robert Forrester, Pam Grier, Robert DeNiro, and Samuel L. Jackson, and they're working from a near-perfect script. High marks all around. Highly recommended.