TOP TEN



~1

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

1997

DIRECTOR: Curtis Hanson

A masterpiece, if not THE masterpiece of modern cinema.

A film which understands exactly what it is, what it’s doing and what it’s about and plays out with pace to resolve what is certainly on of the most complex detective stories the multiplex’s have seen in a long while.

The story is built in solid layers, exposing its audience to every clue, with time to digest them, without falling back on the cack-handed cliché of holding back that vital clue to end in order to maintain its twist. This movie had taken its plot, cut it up the pieces and shuffled them about as to confuse the eye, but in the end, it’s all there for the taking. Well acted, directed and supported by a perfectly balanced score by the late Jerry Goldsmith, along with first-rate editing, sound design and cinematography, this is a pleasure to watch, every time.

This is a true classic, that is bathed in the noir which in it is set, pretending at nothing, feeling not like a period piece nor modern, this is timeless in recreation of the 1950′s. Even its gruesome elements don’t feel overplayed, and I’m still always surprised to this day when I think that it is an 18.

All in all, this is the benchmark of modern film making, ticking every box perfectly. A fantastic film, with a first-rate native to drive it. Every filmmaker should see this and learn…

 


~2

 JURASSIC PARK

1993

DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg

This is a template for how make a great action/adventure movie. Clocking in, at for what these days, a film of its type would seem to be a modest 121 mins, it divides itself into two solid halves. The first hour debates the science, the sociology and evolutionary issues of both cloning and of course, dinosaurs, whilst skillfully setting up and yet side tracking the audience into not realising who the real villains of the movie are going to be.

From the opening scene, the Velosaraptors are clearly formidable, but the film feeds on the overwhelming desire from the audience to see the T-Rex to the point of distraction. And it works, allowing a still awe-inspiring and music-less might I add, T-Rex sequence, and then giving the fourth act over the Raptors.

This film uses every minute brilliantly, maintaining a sense of pace throughout whist not bombarding us with pointless action. I do think that this film has lost some of its standing with a general audience these days, but for no other reason than the fact that is now almost 19 years old!

But even at 19, besides holding together as tight screenplay, it still has the power to bring out that sense of wonder. The moment that the group are introduced to the Brachiosaurs for the first time is still powerful today. Just the idea of being shown a living, breathing dinosaur is just amazing and Spielberg has effectively bottled that feeling of wonder.

Well worth rediscovering…

 

~3

 THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY

(This is the first time that I have opted to group a franchise together as ONE entry and have only done so because they are all of equal quality. Each film is listed here in order, rated from my highest to lowest but all are rated higher than ~4)

(~3) ~1

THE DARK KNIGHT

2008

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

Batman Begins‘ ending was a brilliant nod towards the things that were to come, as Gary Oldman’s, newly promoted Lieutenant Jim Gordon flashes The Joker’s calling card, Batman’s revival had now well and truly begun. A film with lesser known villains was about to retread more familiar ground with the introduction of The Joker and Harvey Dent/Two Face.

But this was Christopher Nolan’s more grounded take on the superhero, and his villains needed to be much more than the hammy caricatures that we’d seen before. The late Heath Ledger made the role of The Joker his own in ways that no-one could have imagined. This was a dark, evil and terrifying take on the character with an evil sense if humour but he is in keeping with the villain that we know so well.

The origins of the Dark Knight were covered expertly in the first film, and now it is time to take that story one step further, so consequently this is now more about crime in Gotham City. The criminal underworld is now in turmoil as Batman, Gordon and the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent are leaning on them, but when things turn ugly, they turn ugly!

The beauty of this film is that it takes off pretty much from where the first left off, but the tone has changed a bit. This owes a lot to Michael Mann’s, Heat, and focuses much more on Wayne/Batman’s attempts to rid the city of crime, whilst his opposite and nemesis, The Joker, is proving himself to be nothing less than a pure anarchist, unreasonable and nonnegotiable.

Is this better than Batman Begins? Yes, but only fractionally. It’s slightly tighter and more complex, with every set piece seamlessly moving on to the next complex sequence, where the grand plan is rarely what it appears to be. The film’s narrative is deceptive, playing with its characters and the audience alike. This is film-making at it’s very best. The perfect blend of grand direction, passionate character development and performance and writing, with a narrative and structure designed to engage and enthrall the viewer without patronising or insulting their intelligence.

I believe that this film is a masterpiece and genuinely the best movie of this genre ever made. There are so many examples of how to do a comic adaptation and many great examples to boot, but I feel that this blends them all so well. It’s a franchise film without falling into the trap of being part of franchise. Each film is a real film its own right, with a plot, arch and tone.

The narrative continues, but the feel evolves to suit the film, and though Begins and Knight seamlessly work together, either could also be taken as a film by themselves, each with the integrity to hold their own. But as a franchise movie, it is still littered with nods to the future, or in some cases, more subtle entries into the lore.

Take Mr. Reese for example. This was a name used by The Riddler and many suspected at the time that it was linked to the third film, but so far, there’s no talk of The Riddler’s involvement, in fact there has been an outright denial. But I believe that in effect, he has already appeared, though in a much muted manner. Mr. Coleman Reese, or Mister-REES (mysteries anyone?), threatens to out Wayne as Batman but is stopped by The Joker, but maybe the fact that he worked for a consultancy employed by Wayne Enterprises and threatened Wayne with blackmail etc… was  a mild acknowledgment of The Riddler’s character.

This is what we’re talking about when we look at Nolan’s work. He spares nothing, but delivers the film in ways that doesn’t always conform to your expectations. And don’t forget th line about the Cats line either…

Overall, The Dark Knight is the epitome of the reboot genre, taking so much from the original source without copying, but bringing a genuinely deep, thoughtful and emotional take on a comic book character who dresses like a bat and solves crime… May the genius of Christopher Nolan and his team carry on for years to come, but I do fear that he’s heading for a fall, purely on the basis that no-one can produce films of this outstanding quality for ever… can they?

 

 

 

 

(~3) ~2

BATMAN BEGINS

2005


DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

CONTAINS SPOILERS

Batman has always seemed to make great viewing and with the darker takes on him of the past to decades, great movies. This was a real treat though. It’s almost a rational take on an irrational super hero. Christopher Nolan has managed to give Batman a human face and the world he inhabits a sense of scale and realism. But that’s not to say that it is lacking in the sense of the theatrical.

Back in 2005, the hype for this film was building, with a new take on the old comic hero taking shape. Though I must admit that the design of the new Batmobile didn’t look cool to me, but I loved the concept of rooting him in a real world. The other questionable point was that lack of the big hitters in terms of the villains. The Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwomen were dumped in favour of The Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul, with only one that I, as the un-indoctrinated in comic book lore, that I had heard of being The Scarecrow.

But this was not to be a typical Batman film in any sense of the word. In June 2005, Batman was reborn and not only had the career of an independently styled filmmaker, Christopher Nolan blown into the big leagues but Blockbusters had just been redefined, an event not dis-similar in effect t those of Jaws and Star Wars in the 1970’s.

Batman, a Warner Bros. cash cow for decades, was about to cross all the main lines within the industry and a blockbuster with art house sensibilities and real intelligence was about to born. It’s not the first, but it opened the door for Nolan and his like to change the way we think about movies of this kind. It doesn’t seem to be that long ago that Marvel was dominating cinemas was some first-rate adaptations such as X-Men, Spider-man and the underrated Hulk, which in many ways may be classed as a prototype for this, with art house direction from Ang Lee.

The plot of Batman Begins isn’t really that important though that’s not to sell it short. It’s a highly developed and conceived story, packed from the opening frame to the 140th minute, but it’s simply the perfect blend of the evolution of Bruce Wayne into Batman, and the usual diabolical plans of the super-villain, only it doesn’t feel like that when you’re watching it. It feels like a well judged story about a traumatised young man, struggling to come terms with his parents murder, and his place in the world.

Luckily for him, his family are billionaires and his butler is Alfred, or more importantly, Michael Caine! There are of course a whole host of contrivances to explain how Batman’s image was forged, how the Batcave was created and where the Batmobile came from, but no-one’s suggesting that this a documentary. This is a more grounded and psychological approach to the story of a nutcase who dressed up like a bat and fights crime without a single superpower to his aid.

But it’s how Nolan brings all this together that works so well. He addresses things so subtly that you can end up missing them if you blink, or at least fail to see them coming. Wayne is turned into a flamboyant excentric to maintain a distance from his friends, if he even has any. The Batcave never ends up looking how we’d expect either, but it is full of bats if that helps and he does park his car there.

It is not until The Dark Knight that we see a Batcave of sorts and that isn’t even in the grounds of Wayne Manor. So, the direction, conception and writing are great, what about the casting? Christian Bale is Wayne/Batman for me, though the animatistic tone to his voice maybe a little overdone, but I do get it. Katie Holmes is the weakest link and am glad that she was recast for the sequel. The rest of the players are first-rate and this may well be on of the best casts ever assembled for a single film in my opinion.

Gary Oldman, so understated as Lt. Gordon, Caine as Alfred is perfect; Liam Neeson is on top form, which he isn’t always, let’s face it and Morgan Freeman, like Oldman and Caine can seemingly do no wrong. Then there’s Hans Zimmer‘s collaboration with James Newton Howard for the score which is one of Zimmer’s best. Howard is an able composer and he clearly provided many of the excellent emotional riffs, but it was Zimmer who brought this together with his dominant, strident style, colossal beats and pacing.

The look and sound of this film sets it apart from so many of its brethren. Batman Begins is a truly original, relentless and groundbreaking movie that is the best of the comic book movies by a mile, but not necessarily the best comic book adaptation. Spider-man or Watchmen for example, may qualify for the fact that they more literally reflect their respective sources but Nolan’s masterpiece is a blueprint as to how film should tackle such adaptations.

And yes, that’s right; Batman Begins is a masterpiece if ever there was one, though a slightly lesser one in comparison to its own sequel, The Dark Knight which may have completely rewritten the handbook.


(~3) ~3

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

2012

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

CINEMA REVIEW

Contains Spoilers!

After four years, since The Dark Knight ended, leaving us wanting more and seven years since Christopher Nolan reinvented the comic book adaptation with Batman Begins, The final chapter of The Dark Knight Trilogy has arrived.

With this much hype, would it possible live up to potentially bloated expectations? The first reviews hit last monday, with 4 to 5 stars being the consensus. Well, it did! The Dark Knight returns one last time, after eight years have passed since the events of The Dark Knight and Batman had retreated into the rebuilt Wayne Manor as Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), maintaining the lie that Harvey Dent was Gotham’s The White Knight, and not the maniacal Two-Face, had managed to clean up Gotham City.

Batman was no longer needed but in the meantime, Bane has arrived in the city with grand plans for its destruction. I won’t go much further into the plot that this, though I will probably write a more spoiler heavy review for the Blu-ray later in the year. But for now, I will try to maintain the film’s integrity.

When we first meet Bruce Wayne after almost a decade of seclusion, he is a broken man, both physically and mentally following the murder of his childhood sweetheart, Rachel Dawes in the previous film and the toll of nightly combat. So the first port of call is to bring Batman back to the streets of Gotham. The sense of excitement is palpable and very much a part of what makes Nolan’s films tick.

He draws his audience into the narrative as if we are part of the events and the universe as it unfolds, leaving us not just wanting Batman to return for the sake of the action but for Gotham’s sake as well.  Bane, played so excellently by Tom Hardy, was a little difficult to understand from behind his mask, but still conveyed an enormous amount of presence and power, as he lays siege to the city but not as Terrorist per say, but as a freedom fighter or revolutionary, with many visual references to the French Revolution to keep us going.

Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, though not named as anyone other than Selina Kyle, was a credit to her character as well as the actress. Dark, sultry, seductive and agile, her feline credibly was intact, whilst still being a very human character. Her duplicity was bread from desperation rather than evil and her motives convincingly drive her in both good and more dubious endeavours.

*** MAJOR SPOILER***

The less said about Talia Al Ghul the better, but the for those aware of her role, it was well-played, though her final scene was the hammiest in the film, possibly the entire trilogy.

***SPOILER END***

Then there’s the supporting cast, such as Mathew Modene, who does a great job as Dept. Commissioner Foley and Cillian Murphy’s back again, as the subtly unrecognisable Scarecrow, who besides some frayed shoulder’s on his jacket, could have been anyone,and that’s the beauty of Nolan’s Batman universe. It’s fluid and you can’t count on anything on anyone for too long.

But this franchise would be nothing without Hans Zimmer percussive score, pounding as much as it was gentle, it works well among with Nolan’s direction to craft the near perfect conclusion to the Trilogy. Both riff on earlier films and supe it up accordingly whilst maintaining the film’s integrity.

In the end, my expectations were met and exceeded. Nolan has crowned his trilogy with a film which is of the same calabar as the two which preceded it, filling in many of the blanks, choosing the right characters to take on and doing so a variety of ways, touching this time on the flamboyant Bain, though scrapping the “Venom” plot from the comics, creating an intriguing Catwoman and building another major character in the form of R. John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Lovett).

The ending of the film is just perfect, not only for this but for the entire Trilogy. With nods to Inception though I believe that it is just a nod and not as similar as some would protest, but this is epic in the way that The Dark Knight never tried to be and Batman Begins didn’t need to be. The threat is apocalyptic, in keeping with the genre, but believable in keeping with Nolan.

The same can be said for the action, though I must admit, the sentimentalist in me wanted to see the Batmoble/Tumber back, though it was there in triplicate, as Bane steels three prototype Tumbers from Wayne Enterprises, for his private army, but the Bat (Batwing) was stunning, and the Batpod made a reappearance. The Final showdown will leave you breathless, the perfect blend of direction, Zimmer’s score and some of the most intense and meaningful action you’ll see on the big screen.

The only real faults with The Dark Knight Rises stem from its scale and change in direction. It’s more about Batman’s evolution from crime fighter to savour. Less intense on a personal level, but much grander in its ideals and horror as Gotham is destroyed on scale never seen in a film of this type. But it’s not as far-fetched as one may think, as it grounds itself with historical references, such as the French Revolution, which was hardly far-fetched, though it was hard-hitting and is well translated here.

Bruce Wayne completes his journey from the boy who witnessed his parents murder, to a young man who could not grow beyond it, to a man who lost himself in a journey to understand the criminal mind. Finally returning as Batman, who defied his mentor to protect his beloved city, to a master detective. But here, he returns to his roots.

The billionaire who never cared about his wealth as much as he cared for the people of Gotham, he ends up exactly where he needed to be. Decide for yourself, whether it’s a happy ending, sad or satisfying, but either way, it was not only the best way to advance the saga, but the best way to end the series as a whole. Thanks to Nolan and his crew, we now have the most definitively brilliant Batman series EVER committed to celluloid, (or digital), and no matter what is to follow, whether it is to be the Justice League mash-up or another reboot, I suspect that it will be a long, long time before anyone can beat these.

N.B. Our thoughts are with the families of though who lost their lives in Colorado last Friday (20/07/12)

~4

BLACK HAWK DOWN

2001

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott

Black Hawk Down is to me, the number one best war film that I have seen. Intense and relentless, it conveys the horror and tactics of modern warfare, and more to point, like all great and classic war movies, demonstrates the dedication, skill and spirit that warfare can manifest when all hell breaks loose, or the proverbial hits the fan.

Well cast, directed, edited, with an effective Hans Zimmer score and some of the best sound design I’ve ever heard, the engrossing horror of the situation was conveyed brilliantly. But there’s something that I find somewhat disturbing a lot this film, and it may well be a failure but it does demonstrate the effectiveness of the medium; The Somalians or the “Indigenous Personal” as they were so aptly referred to in the film, came across as heartless, rage filled amoral murderers, and while in many respects that may well be true, I found myself, and I doubt that I was alone, being filled with sense of glee every time one of these bastards was blown to pieces or filled with a hail of Uncle Sam’s bullets! Also the scene where a child accidentally guns down his own father after a U.S. troop slips, is so very telling of the militia culture in that country at that time.

Are we supposed to feel sorry for the Man? The Child? Or see it a poetic justice? Or just be relived that our “Peace Keeping” U.S. soldier got away with his life? In many ways, I think that the ambivalence if that scene, sums up what was so brilliant about this film. Whilst on one hand, it’s hard to deny that we are supposed to feel for, respect and support our American hero’s who will go to extreme lengths to “Leave No One Behind”, we are asked to look at why the Somalians have taken up arms?

But in the end it’s a huge sociological issue and this film does not dwell too much on that. It touches on the fact that there are always two sides to any conflict, but like Zulu forty years before it, it chose its side, and that was the normally powerful under dog, and we saw them survive what many of us would have struggled to do. This is truly a war film for war film fans, and a MUST SEE for everyone.

 

~5

JAWS

1975

DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg

The movie which heralded the summer blockbuster has never looked so good. At 37, this is a well but gently paced slow-burn thriller, with a mix of easy on eye thrills and gritty human discourse. Robert Shaw may well have made this his film, but he was far from alone. Almost all the lead cast were more than worthy, and it was Spielberg’s young direction along with John William’s iconic score which propelled this from just another thriller into a timeless tale.

Though in many ways it looks dated, it doesn’t feel it. It has a very general sense of a seaside resort, without the gratuitous Baywatch glamour, nor the dinge of the horror genre. The people and locations feel very real and even though the shark itself is a bit of a let down, it is not a total loss and has taken nothing away from the film.

But for my money, the defining moment is the ‘Indianapolis’ anecdote as told be Shaw. The entire scene is played and shot so well and its placement within the film is perfect. This was a real story about an almost fantastical threat, but like he would go onto do later with Jurassic Park, taking you out of every day life without taking you into space is what Spielberg does best.

This is a must see and always will be. This is one of the best films of the 70’s and beyond…

 


~6

PULP FICTION

1994

DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino

A masterpiece of modern cinema. Just as brilliant now as it was 18 years ago. A timeless classic, with some of the best dialogue and delivery imaginable.

Well cast and consistently well performed, with an indie feel but endowed with main stream sensibilities. This is a MUST SEE!

 

~7

UNITED 93

2006

DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass

This is simply an incredible movie. Certainly one of the most moving and intense that I have seen in many years.

Now, exactly a decade on, this film’s poignancy is still as relevant today as it ever was. Casting relative unknowns was the key to this frightening realistic portrayal of September 11. Though, due to the casting real people in many roles, the dialogue’s delivery does suffer from time to time, but it is also those faults that make this so believable.

The sense of shock at the second plane hitting the South Tower was so well portrayed, edited and directed that it sends shivers down my spine, though in many ways because I saw this day unfold live myself. This is a gripping drama, which has the courage of its convictions, staying the path of its internal truths and never drifting to theatricality often attributed to movie of this time. Simply put; The story is dramatic enough and needs little if any real embellishment.

This is truly one of the greats, dealing with a historical event in such a mature way that it should stand as a historical document for decades to come.

 

 

~8

JFK (Director’s Cut)

1991/1993

DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone

A gripping and highly complex drama/thriller based around the true and supposed events surrounding the assassination of JFK. This film passionately presents in argument that he was assassinated by members of his own government, and whist on paper Oliver Stone is saying such, the film spins a complex web of theories and conclusions that suggest and dismiss and reignite themselves, leaving a whole host of culprits.

But second shooter, Bell Helicopter, or Johnson’s coup or not, this film demonstrates the power politics meeting celluloid, dazzling its audience with such a plausible argument, and presenting it with such zeal that by the time you take a breath, you’re not sure what to believe, and often opt for the easy choice, taking on board the smoke and mirrors.

But when all is said and done, this is just a movie, and like the books it is based upon, not fact, just theory. But as a film, this is powerful and persuasive stuff…

 

~9

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE

2004

DIRECTOR: Trey Parker

AMERICA! F**K YEAH! The theme’s lyrics sum up this movie as well as any could have. Made in the midst of the War On Terror in 2004, a satire was needed and who better to provide one than the satirical genius’ Trey Parker and Matt Stone, best known for South Park. On the surface, this looks like a straight forward bawdy adult puppet parody, taking the mickey out of Bruckheimer’s blockbusters, Thunderbirds and the reputation being acquired by the U.S. over the past 30 years but reaching boiling point over the last decade, certainly in a post 9/11 world.But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This is looking into every major aspect of the above, such as chauvinism, the political interference and undue, and sometimes dangerous influence of celebrities, summed up here with the Film Actor’s Guild (or F.A.G.) with a host of major film stars ripped off, notably upsetting Sean Penn.

The infamous puppet sex scene, which is nothing more than a poke, pardon the pun, at the puppetry employed in the film.But there’s so much more such as the excellent selection of bespoke songs, such as “Only A Woman” for the sex scene, “End Of An Act” as our hero leaves the group to wallow in self-pity to the song with features verse after verse nothing more than slagging off Michael Bay’s, Pearl Harbor and Ben Afleck! But for a film with criticises these blockbusters, it understands them too well to be truly nasty about them.

The entire film IS a well made Bruckheimer film, even recruiting one of his regular composers, Harry Gregson-Williams, to be in at the last-minute, to compose a great score, but why do this if they hated it so much? They don’t; they love these films and the affection for the genre is clear, making their digs enjoyable and not hurtful… There’s even a contradiction with the political tract as one hand this would seem to be an anti-American tome where Team America blow up every city and landmark imaginable in order to protect the world from the destruction of the Terrorists… Get it?

On the other, the song entitled “Freedom Isn’t Free” would seem to suggest that we should all do our part, even though this number ends with the line, “Freedom cost a buck o’five…” But then after all the political and social satire, and the spoofing of Hollywood’s gung-ho films, it’s just a fun film.When the terrorist’s come from Derka Derkastan, the tone is clear. This is like a pair of boys playing “War On Terror” with a collection of action figures.

They’re clearly laughing hysterically as they write, produce and direct this film like two teenagers, as they create the highly insensitive language of the terrorists, use elements from films such as Star Wars and James Bond, certainly as for Kim Jong-il, is nobody safe, well not after offending the North Korean leader, but in all fairness, this is really just Eric Cartman from South Park.But in the end, this is the perfect satire, with a blend of real world political and social commentary, great spoofing but when all’s said and done, this has a great sense if humour, though at times, somewhat bawdy. This is brilliant and one of, if not the best comedy of the past decade, and one of the greatest satires of all time. And, no, I don’t believe that I’m over stating that…

 

~10

TRANSFORMERS

2007

DIRECTOR: Michael Bay

It came as a complete shock to me that I LOVED this movie! Granted, I would consider myself to be a Michael Bay fan, but certainly not a Transformers fan. Yes, I played with toys as a kid and the concept is good, but I never really bought into the TV shoes etc… But there’s very little wrong with this film.

Great script, dialogue, action, music and pacing. I now some may scoff at my great dialogue line, but the core to this films’ success is the fact that it knows exactly what it is. It’s an action blockbuster about living alien robots that transform in to various vehicles … How seriously can you take this concept??? But it manages to take it seriously enough to draw in the audience and keep our attention for almost 2 and half hours.

My only two quibbles with this movie are Jon Voight, always a problem in my opinion, and that Australian chick and the fat black guy. The most irritating comic relief ever…? Possibly…

 

TOP TEN FEATURED DIRECTORS

  1. Steven Spielberg x2
  2. Christopher Nolan x1 (x3)
  3. Curtis Hanson x1
  4. Ridley Scott  x1
  5. Quentin Tarantino x1
  6. Paul Greengrass x1
  7. Oliver Stone x1
  8. Trey Parker x1
  9. Michael Bay x1

TOP TEN FEATURED COMPOSERS

  1. Hans Zimmer x4
  2. John Williams x3
  3. Jerry Goldsmith x1
  4. John Powell x1
  5. Steve Jablonsky x1
  6. Harry Gregson-Williams x1
  7. Various x1

TOP TEN FEATURED DECADES

  1. 2000’s x6
  2. 1990’s x4
  3. 2010’s x1
  4. 1970’s x1

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TOP TEN 2015

Finally, after 10 years, United 93 has earned its place at the top. Number 7 on my Top Ten list. Titanic has gone. Still a hug e film but one whcih is dating more and more. United 93, following the events of 9/11, is one of the most effective films that I have ever seen, getting better on every viewing.

  1. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL1997
  2. JURASSIC PARK1993
  3. THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY, 2005/2008/2012
  4. BLACK HAWK DOWN2001
  5. JAWS, 1975
  6. PULP FICTION, 1994
  7. TITANIC1997
  8. JFK (Director’s Cut)1991/1993
  9. TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE, 2004
  10. TRANSFORMERS, 2007

 

TOP TEN 2011

The only change so far this year, has been the addition of Pulp Fiction at number 7, which has replaced Spatacus, knocking it out of the Top 10. This is in no way a negative reflection on the near perfect Kubrick epic, but rarher my recognition of Pulp Fiction as a personal favourite and a genuine classic in its own right. When all is said an done, it’s my top ten, not critically, but of films that I love to watch again and again.

  1. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL1997
  2. JURASSIC PARK1993
  3. THE DARK KNIGHT2008
  4. BATMAN BEGINS2005
  5. BLACK HAWK DOWN2001
  6. JAWS, 1975
  7. SPARTACUS (Restored Version), 1960
  8. TITANIC1997
  9. JFK (Director’s Cut)1991/1993
  10. TRANSFORMERS, 2007

TOP TEN 2010

The 2011 list has only one significant change, with The Empire Strikes Back falling out to make way for Jaws at #6, a choice that should have been there all along. Transformers fell to #10, but again, that’s not a reflection of the film. It’s still in the top ten!

  1. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, 1997
  2. JURASSIC PARK, 1993
  3. THE DARK KNIGHT, 2008
  4. BATMAN BEGINS, 2005
  5. BLACK HAWK DOWN, 2001
  6. TRANSFORMERS, 2007
  7. SPARTACUS (Restored Version), 1960/1991
  8. TITANIC, 1997
  9. JFK (Director’s Cut), 1991/1993
  10. STAR WARS: EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, 1980

TOP TEN 2009

This was first official Top Ten list posted online back when I started this blog in November 2009. The Top 5 have remained steady, with the only real change from the 2010 list being Armageddon (Director’s Cut), which was dropped in favour of Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

  1. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, 1997
  2. JURASSIC PARK, 1993
  3. THE DARK KNIGHT, 2008
  4. BATMAN BEGINS, 2005
  5. BLACK HAWK DOWN, 2001
  6. TRANSFORMERS, 2007
  7. TITANIC, 1997
  8. ARMAGEDDON, (Director’s Cut), 1998
  9. SPARTACUS (Restored Version), 1960/1991
  10. JFK (Director’s Cut), 1991/1993

TOP TEN 1998

This list is not an as accurate as the previous three. I have constructed this from memory as best that I could to reflect my tastes of the time. I was 19 going on 20 at the time, and my tastes were still evolving. The first thing that I would notice is the fact that so many films which appear here were released in 1997/1998, and that all but two had been released with the past seven years, though Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was a re-issue of a 1980’s film.

But having said that, it was clearly the Special Edition which had my attention, a decision that I would not make now, favouring the now scarce orignal cuts over the tampered versions. Titanic had a great impact, not just on me, but on the movie going public full stop that year, hence it’s prominence at the top.

Starship Troopers is a strange one. I loved that film at the time and I still do, but I wouldn’t place it so high on a list anymore, as I feel that so many others meet my criteria.

By the time we get to 3 and 4, were back on steady footing, but L.A. Confidential was still a new film at this point and though it had endeared itself, if would take some time to prove its longevity, and it most certainly has.

JFK (Director’s Cut) is still floating around, but the rest have fallen a bit but that’s not to say that they’re not any good, it’s just that Christopher Nolan had yet to make a film at this point…

  1. TITANIC, 1997
  2. STARSHIP TROOPERS, 1997
  3. JURASSIC PARK, 1993
  4. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL1997
  5. STAR WARS: EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (Special Edition), 1980/1997
  6. BACKDRAFT, 1991
  7. JFK (Director’s Cut), 1991/1993
  8. APOLLO 13, 1995
  9. CASABLANCA, 1942
  10. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, 1956

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