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Best Cinematography

[7] Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) makes a socio-political hero out of Herman J. Mankiewicz in this biopic that chronicles the boozy screenwriter’s tribulations writing Citizen Kane. Gary Oldman plays ‘Mank,’ who we first meet laid up in bed with a broken leg, tasked with writing Kane during sixty days of physical and alcoholic recovery. Flashbacks uncover the inspiration behind the script, based on …

[8] Socially-conscious filmmaker Stanley Kramer (Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg) made an impact early in his directing career with this dramatic chase story of two escaped convicts evading authorities while chained together at the wrists. The twist? One prisoner’s white and the other’s black. This poetic plot point allows The Defiant Ones to address racism in America while also delivering as a tense cat …

[5] Director Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival) takes a stab at delivering Frank Herbert’s dense, complicated science-fiction novel to the big screen. Dune centers around a teenaged royal named Paul Atreides (Call Me By Your Name‘s Timothée Chalamet) whose family is chosen by the galactic emperor to oversee production of the universe’s most valuable substance, the spice melange, on the desert planet Arrakis, nicknamed …

[8] Tension between rival New York City gangs the Jets and the Sharks is wound to a tragic snapping point after one young Jet falls head over heels for the sister of the Sharks’ leader. West Side Story is based on the landmark stage musical featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and exciting dance choreography by Jerome Robbins, who co-directs this film …

[8] An associate History professor (Richard Burton) and his wife, the university president’s daughter (Elizabeth Taylor), invite a new biology faculty member (George Segal) and his wife (Sandy Dennis) to their house for drinks. But the evening goes hellishly south when the older couple begin airing marital grievances, including the whereabouts of their son on the eve of his sixteenth birthday. By sunrise, nasty games …

[4] On the barren moors of Yorkshire, a young girl befriends an orphan boy her father brings home from a trip to Liverpool. The friendship turns romantic, but when the girl’s father dies, her nasty blood brother becomes master of the estate and forces her adopted brother into the role of stable boy. Eventually, the young woman marries a wealthy neighbor and the stable boy …

[8] Writer/director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns bring us back to the trenches of World War I with the harrowing journey of two British officers tasked with traversing enemy territory to deliver a message that will save 1,600 of their fellow soldiers from certain death — including one of the young men’s brothers. 1917 is compelling on two different levels, infusing …

[7] Some of the most enduring films from silent cinema were directed by F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu). One of those classics is Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, about a man (George O’Brien) who is coerced by a lascivious city girl to kill his neglected wife (Janet Gaynor) so they can be together. The man tries to follow through with the plan while sailing with his …

[8] Writer/director Steven Spielberg follows up his immensely successful Jaws with this tale of extra-terrestrials and government conspiracy. Richard Dreyfuss stars as a family man whose encounter with a UFO brings him into contact with a grieving mother (Melinda Dillon) whose young son has been kidnapped by aliens. Together, they are haunted by visions of a mountain. When they figure out their mysterious, shared vision …

[3] Elizabeth Taylor plays the powerful and sexy Egyptian queen who fends off Roman conquest while falling in love with its leaders — first Rex Harrison’s Caesar, and then Richard Burton’s Antony. First I’ll be nice to Cleopatra. The sets are sprawling, opulent, and sometime jaw-dropping. Richard Burton gives a powerful, remorseful monologue near the end, and Roddy McDowall gives one of the best performances …

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