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The Top 10 Films of the Year.
It’s not a conventional list by any means, in fact quite a few of these films won’t meet your approval at all. However that’s exactly what I’m here to do. Spark debate. So while plenty of you are certain to tell me what a moron I am...sorry this is the internet what was I thinking.... while plenty of you are certain to tell me what a faggot I am. This is my pick for the year. Discussion and comments are encouraged, but please keep it friendly!
10. The Sports Movie...
Why It’s The Best: Generic, trite and little homoerotic! I kid, but ‘Warrior’ makes a virtue of its clichés and comes out triumphant. The characters, the emotion, the wit; but most of all the heart. ‘Warrior’ is a film that is far better than the sum of its parts. Delivering constant tension, brilliant dialogue and some top notch direction that all culminates in a K.O. of an ending! This is the pleasant surprise I’ve been waiting for, a sporting film that revels in the genre tropes and because of it, beats all other contenders. In short, I love this frickin movie!
Defining Moment: The build up to the climactic battle between underdogs!
9. The Final Chapter...
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2:
Why It’s The Best: It took a lot of confidence to take on the final piece of the most successful franchise of our time but director David Yates faced the mobs sharpening their pitch forks at the first sign of trouble. Deathly Hallows pt 2 may not be the most character driven episode in the series but boy is it a rollercoaster. The actors all come of age, the direction is crisp and the pacing is deathly tight. It’s such an achievement that I overlook most of my gripes about certain character deaths. This is a fitting end to an amazing series....and don’t forget to bring tissues.
Defining Moment: Snape’s back-story. Which is guaranteed to get the water works flowing.
8. The Arthouse Actioner...
Why It’s The Best: A daring, darkly comic and downright brutal experiment for Joe Wright that’s paid off a hundredfold. An absurd-sounding concept rendered wholly believable and thrilling by a fearless young actress and a director at the top of his game. ‘Hanna’ is the movie they show in film school, being compared to Zach Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’ on a ‘how to and how not to’ on female empowerment films. It’s elegant, emotive and kicks all kinds of ass. Even if the moustache twirling villains provide some unnecessary sniggers. This is a tour de force on multiple levels...
Defining Moment: When Hanna escapes from the high security facility.
The Tree Of Life:
Why It’s The Best: Call it pretentious, messy and self indulgent some minds are worth indulging. Malick’s is one of them as he paints an elaborate, complex and consuming journey through the eons - all tightly wrapped around a compelling heart. As a film it's nothing if not bold - and the second half is the work of Malick The Genius -, The Tree of Life is more like a tapestry of ideas that, while never perfectly executed, remains poignantly epic and staggering to watch - regardless of your theological views or viewpoint. As an atheist I found beauty in the artistry, less the message. This film is undoubtedly a piece of art, as much so as a Picasso painting -- one that invites viewers to immerse themselves, scratch their heads and consider it.
Defining Moment: The way it all ends, a journey work taking to see the outcome and become filled as an audience member with questions to ponder. Malick gives you this throughout every frame but the sucker punch of an ending.
6. The Indie Flick...
Why It's The Best: It looks like it was made on a shoe string budget, with practically an unknown cast and a stunningly simple premise. It’s the heart that gets to you, the ideas that first time director Mike Cahill plays with would be empty if it wasn’t for stunning characterisation, playful scenes of genuine humour and intrigue, and a leading actress who steals the show. It’s a perfectly average sci-fi flick with soul up until the final shot. Then it turns into the most engaging and poignant indi experience of the year. Its goal, to leave you thinking and talking about it for days after you leave the cinema. Mission accomplished.
Defining Moment: A small but wholesome moment where our leads play Wii Boxing. Its subtle but the subtext is rife in that particular scene.
5. The Nostalgia Ticket...
Why It’s The Best: Vibrant, colourful and a time capsule to the past. Scorsese’s latest is a masterpiece of visual artistry, simplistic storytelling and evidence that true love for the golden age of film is not dead. While younger audience members may feel the deliberate pace a bit cumbersome. Adults and film buffs will feel right at home is this stunning tribute to cinema and don’t be surprised if you end up shedding a tear or two for our protagonists as they travel through the colour drenched streets of Scorsese’s Paris. Hugo is a tale that will invigorate adults and captivate the very able children.
Defining Moment: The tonal shift of a third act in which we get to see the splendour of the works of Georges Méliès.
4. The Bloody Masterpiece...
I Saw The Devil:
Why It’s The Best: In most of the Western world, shockingly deplorable violence and emotive messages are generally exclusive. Over in the East novice director Ji-woon Kim gives veteran Chan Wook-Park a run for his money by delivering the best vengeance flick since Park’s ‘Oldboy’. ‘I Saw the Devil is just as gross as it is engrossing with scenes of staggering violence complimented by scenes of real substance. Wonderfully fresh direction, a visually exhilarating style and two staggering lead performances only make this morally grey tale that much better. ‘I Saw the Devil’, isn’t an easy film to watch, but for those who can sit through the bloodshed it’s a wholly rewarding experience into the macabre.
Defining Moment: A, literally, jaw dropping scene in which our “protagonist” visits one of the hospitalised serial killers in order to finds out some information. Not getting the response he wants, our “hero” places his hands on both his top and his bottom jaw and gets to work one what’s likely the most disturbing scene of the year. As I said, jaw dropping.
3. The New Hitchcock
Why It’s The Best: Duncan Jones' swiftly paced and engaging sci-fi thriller is a Groundhog Day for a post- 9/11 world. With buckets of emotion and character to boot. What’s refreshing is that Jones has crafted a film about humanity, and the question? How far will our humanity take us? In doing so the film is every bit about these people as it is about this bomb ; even more so perhaps - Screenwriting teachers will tell you that if you don't hook your audience in the first 10 minutes, you've lost them for the full two hours. Director Duncan Jones and writer Ben Ripley have crafted a thriller that does it in only eight.
Defining Moment: The heartbreaking moment were our hero gets in contact with his greiving father.
2. The Blockbuster...
The Rise of the Planet of the Apes:
Why It’s The Best: A rare summer film with both incredible style and remarkable substance, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a marvel in both motion capture and in the sense that it’s the best ‘Apes’ film we’ve had since ’68! Wyatt’s film takes the summer hands down, obliterating every other film in its path by producing an intelligent, witty and wholly consuming experience. The films biggest strength is a performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar that is one of the most remarkable in cinematic history. . . if this isn't award-winning work, then the definition of "award-winning" needs to be re-thought. Wyatt's put himself solidly on the map with this prequel so successfully he leaves us wanting more. The Planet of the Apes has indeed risen.
Defining Moment: The entire second act of the film that sees Caesar leading the great ape escape. The subtle nuances in Andy Serkis’ performances shines brighter than eve in this sequence that’s virtually dialogue-less only make it that much more riveting. All hail Caesar!
1. The Best Movie of the Year...
Midnight In Paris:
Why It’s The Best: At its core, Allen’s film is a stunningly simplistic parable about living in the now, learning to face your biggest fear and most of all romanticism and nostalgia. Scratch the surface and you’ll find a deeply intimate love letter from Allen to himself, its monumentally personal in the ways it annals his career and his plans for the future. You can see the love, compassion and enjoyment that went into writing and filming this movie, and unlike most projects of passions ‘Midnight in Paris’ is superbly realised. What’s most prevalent is the pure pleasure and bliss this film gives off, I left the theatre with the hugest grin on my face happy in the knowledge that I’ve seen what I can easy categorise as the best film of the year. This isn't a good Woody Allen movie. No, this is one of the great Woody Allen films.
Defining Moment: The moment our hero comes to terms with living in the now; and the allegorical undertones that is Woody Allen’s Career. Its beautifully subdued and equally as poignant. It’s so perfect, in fact, that if Allen we’re to quit filmmaking altogether - this would be the perfect film to go out on.
X-Men: First Class
The Adventures of Tin Tin
The Ides of March
Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil