Hugo is a masterful feat of beautiful visual effects blended with heart-warming storytelling, interesting characters and a backdrop of film history. One of cinema’s first masters, Georges Méliès, is a main character in the story, and much of the film details his career as a filmmaker and artist.
Hugo is all about the movie magic, as well as being a resonant plea for film preservation. One of Martin Scorsese’s best late period works, Hugo is magical, beautiful to the eye and a must-see for any film lover.
6. Sullivan’s Travels
Sullivan’s Travels is the story of a method director. John Sullivan is a filmmaker trying to make a movie about poverty and homelessness, but feels that he can’t tackle the subject appropriately unless he has a taste of that life himself. So he sets out, pursued by the studio, and in trying to do his research, ends up learning a lot more than he expected.
A hilarious comedy with meaningful themes, and a great story about the process of making movies.
5. Singin’ in the Rain
Singin’ in the Rain is one of the greatest musicals ever made, and like The Artist, tells a crowd-pleasing story about the transition from silent films to talkies. The musical numbers are classic, and the narrative gives a genuine look at this time for movies. Some of the actors were just fine making the adjustment, and some weren’t at all – and Singin’ in the Rain shows exactly why.
A funny comedy, a romantic love story and an interesting look at Hollywood, Singin’ in the Rain is certainly a timeless classic and one of the greatest movies about movies.
4. Cinema Paradiso
Cinema Paradiso is the pinnacle of love letters to the cinema. This Italian film by Giuseppe Tornatore will enthrall and move any movie lover, as its deep affection for the cinema is practically the premise of the film. Cinema Paradiso follows a young Italian boy named Salvatore as he grows up in a small town and falls in love with the movies, and forms a friendship with the projectionist that works at the local theater.
This movie sums up the cinematic experience in the best way possible, with no shortage of emotion and genuine feeling. The friendship at the center of the story is memorable and moving, and the real love story here – between Salvatore and the movies – is as beautiful as any romance you’ll find elsewhere.
Federico Fellini’s 8½ is the best film ever made about filmmaking. No movie has ever so perfectly and artfully summed the experience of being a film artist, and it’s likely that no film ever will. 8½ takes us directly into the mind of Fellini, and there is no shortage of surreal delights and artistic heights.
The gorgeous design of the film is all nothing short of perfection, and what really makes this film a magnum opus of Fellini’s career is that it’s rich with personal meaning to the director. It’s no coincidence that Marcello Mastroianni’s Guido looks quite a lot like Fellini here – it’s clearly about Il Maestro himself. A portrait of a brilliant director’s psyche, this masterpiece has stood the test of time and has endured in popularity as a paradigm art film and a meditation on filmmaking.
2. Mulholland Drive
David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive is a masterful Hollywood tale. It’s a thriller set in the city of dreams, and though it takes many viewing to begin to understand it, the story and characters are so compelling that even for first-timers, it’s an amazing experience.
Naomi Watts and Laura Herring are perfect opposite one another, and the statements and comments the film Lynch makes about Hollywood and about the film industry ring with personal experience and a true artist’s insight. The music and cinematography are also huge assets in this deliciously complex, darkly erotic and artistic noir.
1. Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard is a very tragic film, and one that does not portray Hollywood or the film industry as a place of dreams, but instead as a place where dreams die. It’s not anti-film or anything, Billy Wilder loved and directed renowned many movies, but his masterpiece is a disturbing and illusion-shattering work of dark brilliance.
Sunset Boulevard gets darker as it progresses, and as a story of a once-famous, once-loved star who retreats further into her own mental illness and disillusionment. Both sad and entertaining, Sunset Boulevard makes serious statements about how fame can ruin a person, and it’s the definitive Hollywood story.
Bio: Gavin Miller is a cinephile who keeps up his blog cinefreakdude.tumblr.com as well as a YouTube channel – both dedicated to film criticism and discussion. He is an ardent Blu-ray collector as well as the director of two short films – “A Chupacabra Afternoon” and “Coffea arabica”. Gavin models his lifestyle after The Dude from The Big Lebowski.