Thursday, 23 November 2017

Creative Life - My Top 10 Visually Stunning Films

This list was meant to be a 'Top 5', however after some research, I couldn't possibly narrow it down, so there you go, its a top 10 instead! This is a list of my personal favourite 'stunning' films based on their cinematography, rather than based on the plot, acting, score etc. Basically it's films that are unique and brilliant to look at so much so that you could watch them with no sound and they would still be amazing. I would love to know what your personal favourites would be so please leave a comment down below!

I have decided to put them in alphabetical order as I just cant bear to make a decision on which is the most stunning!

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth

2001: A Space Odyssey is an epic, mysterious & visually striking science fiction film with a cult following. In 1968 it was pioneering in its use of special effects, which it gained a well-deserved Acadamy Award for. It's difficult to describe exactly what makes this film so visually beautiful, only when you watch this film will you really be able to get a grasp on the hypnotic effect it has.

Amelie (2001)
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel

Amelie is one of my all-time favourite films and one of the reasons for that is because it's so stunning! The rich, jewel-tone colours, and the unconventional camera angles make this film so brilliantly unique & intriguing. It seems to me that this visual style reflects perfectly the quirky & unique characters, plot and score.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Directed by Wes Anderson
Cinematography by Robert D. Yeoman

Like Amelie, The Grand Budapest Hotel uses a brilliant and individual colour palette all of its own. Wes Anderson is king of satisfyingly symmetrical compositions, his distinctive style stands out a mile from the crowd, and to watch one of his films is a lot like being inside of one of those weird and wonderful deep sleep dreams that sticks with you all day. 

Into The Wild (2007)
Directed by Sean Penn
Cinematography by Eric Gautier

Into The Wild is one of those films that makes you gain perspective on how small you are on this vast earth. The stunning wide shots of the vast wilderness contrast strongly with the harsh, overwhelming & stifling scenes in the city. I love the way that this film portrays nature as epic & powerful, yet beautiful & soothing all at once.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Cinematography by Donald McAlpine

The musical film Moulin Rouge! is an extravagant visual spectacle that will have your heart racing. The costumes & settings used in this film are unbelievably intricate and distinctive, adding to the theatrical aesthetic. If you are a fan of over-the-top colour, lavish patterns & dramatic lighting, then this is the one for you. 

O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)
Directed by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Cinematography by Roger Deakins

Almost the polar opposite to the previous film, O Brother Where Art Thou has a simple, yet refined aesthetic. Set in rural Mississippi in 1937, the film uses an interesting sepia colour palette that really makes you feel like you are there with the characters. The cinematographer Roger Deakins stated "(Ethan and Joel) wanted it to look like an old hand-tinted picture, with the intensity of colours dictated by the scene and natural skin tones that were all shades of the rainbow".

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Directed by Edgar Wright
Cinematography by Bill Pope

The best way I can describe the visual aesthetic of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is surprising and damn cool. It was based on the comic book Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley, and the influence of comic books and video games is clearly evident and brings a distinctive identity to the film. It also features some amazing animated elements as well as epic visually stunning fight scenes.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013)
Directed by Ben Stiller
Cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh

I only recently discovered this film and was so surprised at how stunning it was! The striking use of typography in the title sequence had me hooked from the beginning, and the scenes set in Iceland were truly breathtaking, making it feel like you were discovering these places with the main character (Walter).

The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Cinematography by John Alcott

The unique visual aesthetic of The Shining just adds to the uncomfortable feeling you get as you watch the horror of the story of the Torrance family unfold. Similar to The Grand Budapest Hotel, it often uses symmetry, however it uses it to very different effect. When mixed with harsh & unusual camera angles, as well as the often dreary colour palette, the symmetry can become as nauseating as the story & the terrifying character Jack himself. I'm making this film sound like an awful experience but the reality is that it makes you feel so awful that its kind of incredible. This is a must-see.

There Will Be Blood (2007)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Cinematography by Robert Elswit

Another tricky one to describe (but I'll give it a good try), There Will Be Blood has a dark, gritty feel that echoes the main character, the brutally ruthless oilman Daniel Plainview. The film features an interesting use of colour, making the whole film feel like its been affected by the dirt and oil from the oil mines. 

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