In the age of the big CGI bullshit blockbuster, there have been some gems wading through the mud, like sexy synchronised swimmers in a sewer.
While it may have inspired a couple of le meme lolz back in 2012, this mind-bending Nolan thriller is undisputedly my favourite from the director, despite some strong competition from Memento and The Dark Knight. Firstly, the structure is there, a vital part of a movie like this that another director might’ve forgotten about. However, Christopher ain’t no stranger to a head-scratcher, and executed it brilliantly. Then we have some awesome action, and the most groundbreaking choreography since The Matrix; of course I’m talking about that corridor bit mate. Finally, LOOK AT THAT CASTTT — Nolan’s greatest hits are all here, and it’s just a Tenacious D cameo away from having all of my favourite people in it.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
And it’s Tom Hardy once again, this time filling the sand-dusted boots of everyone’s favourite leatherbound anti-semite, Mel Gibson. Don’t get me wrong, I love the original trilogy, I can even fuck with Thunderdome, but George Miller might as well have thrown them in a tire fire when this acid-tripping, pyrotechnical, kaleidoscope of violence came out. It’s not the deepest of cinematic endevours, but it doesn’t try to be. If you’re looking for all the mindless explosivity of an 80s action flick, you might be surprised to hear that the best of the bunch was made in 2015.
Deadpool (2016) – If we’re talking about perfect formulas, this somewhat groundbreaking superhero smash,
opening up the whole rated R comic books movies being popular I guess I think I dunno I mean Watchmen, Sin City and Blade existed beforehand like what’s up with that, is probably what comes to mind first. You’ve got proper, *proper* laughs, you’ve got some great action, you’ve got Ryan Reynolds actually being great, you’ve got T.J *redacted*, all wrapped up in that Marvel quality guarantee.
Avengers Assemble (2012) – Before Deadpool, this cinematic *event* was my favourite superhero film. I mean, this was a massive deal for me — an 11 year old comic book nerd –, seeing all these iconic characters sharing screentime (this was before every MCU film was basically an Avengers remember). Then, it turned out to be a brilliant flick, entertaining, explosive, everything I wanted. It’s just the ultimate fan film cus it just works.
Bernie (2011) – I think I have Reuben to thank for introducing me to this lil’ gem. Possibly the best mix of dark comedy I’ve seen in a long time, this Richard Linklater project, featuring Jables’ finest performance in my opinion, is a seriously engaging and, at times, hilarious watch, albeit one that might stay with you for a while.
The Nice Guys (2016)
A slightly odd choice maybe, but I fell in love with this film. The first 15-rated movie I saw in the cinema (absolutely crazy, I know), I enjoyed it a hell of a lot the first time and coined that it has “boobs, blood and comedy”, and thus “has it all” in my initial review. Indeed, it does have these aspects to fantastic degree, and after the first re-watch I just wanted to watch this film again, and again. Because, it’s just, so, watchable. Literally about a porno you’re supposed to watch for the plot, it’s full of goofy comedy (and tiddie) but, fronted by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe’s charismatic and nonchalant performances and with Shane Black’s astute direction, it’s got a relaxed, cool atmosphere and it’s smart, so it stands out from the overcrowded scene of buddy comedies and for me stands as one of the most just flat out enjoyable films I’ve seen in a long time.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)
Milo’s all-time favourite also makes an appearance for me. *fist-bump* Sorry if you threw up due to the lameness of that. Scott Pilgrim is just a damn good time. It’s quick-witted and fast-paced, slinging some of the funniest comedy writing and action I’ve seen on a screen for a couple of hours of non-stop slick, nerdy brilliance which is absolutely perfect for a romantic and stupid teenager like me.
Life Of Pi (2012)
I’m a sucker for a cinema spectacle. 2012’s Life of Pi, in my opinion, is one of the greatest ever, and left a huge impression on the 11-year-old me that went to see it in Vue, an experience I’ll never forget. The visuals are pure gold, with spadefulls of spectacular cinematography, special effects and colour exploding on the screen, whilst the story is beautiful and thought-provoking.
In terms of other films that stand out for me in this decade so far, I’d like to mention Guardians of the Galaxy, which is quite possibly the most pleasant surprise I’ve seen (I was kinda expecting it to suck) and may well be the best superhero movie ever made for its pure unaltered entertainment factor and 80s pizazz. I’d also like to give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 a mention, which was my favourite movie in general for a couple of years after I saw it: it’s a fitting and massive finale for one of my favourite film series, and you can imagine how much an 11-year-old Harry Potter fan would’ve enjoyed seeing this in the cinema – I still enjoy it hugely to this day.
Seriously, in a decade of some of the best science-fiction ever made, this blows everything else away. It’s Solaris, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Blade Runner and Contact all combined. Proper, big-idea SFX with amazing performances and a cold icy fear of the unknown wrapped around the human condition. I cried too.
Gravity (2013) – Sandra Bullock in one of the greatest science-fiction movies ever made? This is all I could have ever wanted from a NASA-based movie. We get the see on-board the ISS, we get George doing his best space cowboy and we get 3D (even when it’s 2D) worth the price of entry.
I, Daniel Blake (2016) – Just so it’s not all sci-fi — this is the polar opposite. Meanwhile in the real world, bad things are happening to good people right in your neighbourhood. That food bank scene alone should be able to stop a stampeding elephant of policy and have you think ‘Wait, we’re doing it all wrong’. Be more kind, look after each other yeah?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – When Lucas announced he was making a Star Wars prequel in the 1990s, this was the film I wanted. A generation later, we finally got a war movie among the stars. Felicity Jones is incredible as Jyn Erso, so too are Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Donnie Yen and Alan Tudyk. Heroes, villains, spectacle, action and not a boring old fart in robes or conversation about tax law in sight.
Get Out (2017) – The comedy sidekick and guy in the chair cutaways are welcome relief from the tension, as it ratchets itself up higher and higher to the point where all your suspicions are addressed. Those simple peeks behind the veil of normality, like a vocal tick or an unblinking stare, are way more effective than a bucket of CGI could ever be when it comes to laying on the scares. The sunken place scares me like very few other movie concepts.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)
A deeply thought-provoking story, We Need to Talk About Kevin bravely tells of a mother’s unspoken fears of being unable to love one’s child. Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton’s mother-son portrays a complex compelling to watch. In Lynne Ramsay’s striking vision that lingers, one can feel the violence of physical death in full force, as much as that of the harsh judgement by an unforgiving society.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
There’s been a lot of good films in this decade so far, and probably a few more to come, but this belated sequel to one of my favourite films of all time is so darn good it may be very hard to beat. The visuals and direction are obvious highlights – being both original and jaw-dropping but still referencing the first film in aesthetics. There’s also great action, great acting and some juicy sci-fi themes to get your brain into – we don’t deserve films this good.
Stay tuned for more Best Thangs of All Time!