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These films are considered the best of the best, the pinnacle of cinema so there shouldn’t be any stinkers here. There have been some films in the top 50 which didn’t live up to their extremely high expectations such as Citizen Kane but I did admire certain aspects of the film despite finding it pretentious However through the top 250 I have found gems such as my new all time favourite movie Charles Chaplin’s City Lights which is considered to be the favourite movie of many directors on this list but isn’t really talked about as being a masterpiece of cinema like Citizen Kane in my humble opinion. I hope other users agree and make their own similar lists.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
A brilliant addition to a very hit or miss franchise. Dare I say better than "The Avengers"?
I always thought the X-Men were the real deal. When everyone was praising the brilliance of The Avengers I was more preoccupied in the compelling dynamic between the 2 leads, Xavier and Magneto in X-men First Class. Despite loving "Earths Mightiest Heroes" the story hasn't got a lot of grit to it and is rather zany. X-Men on the other hand I find to be a lot more compelling especially through it's sub-text of societies prejudice on minorities these are highlighted specifically well in First Class and X2.
By taking the principal characters from both these films and bringing them together into a desperate attempt to warn the past of the atrocities of the future in Days of Future Past is a work of genius. Days of Future Past is loaded full of exceptional performances James McAvoy is superb as a young Professor who has lost his way and has withdrawn from offering guidance. Michael Fassbender's performance is magnetic quite literally...but figuratively it is a fascinating portrayal of a man determined to get his way yet still showing respect for his old friend Charles Xavier. This dynamic that has carried on from First Class really fascinates me. Yes the action scenes with the mutant side characters like Blink and Storm are very impressive but the conflicting principals of these 2 characters is the big draw to me.
Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian's interpretation of these characters is a much welcome return adding an element of class to the rowdiness of there youthful selves. However I wanted to see more of the desperate survival within the post apocalyptic future. A whole movie could've been done on establishing the bleak future of a world ruled by Sentinels.
The big poster characters of these movies Wolverine and Mystique are also great. Wolverine is a bit of a bore in his solo outings. Having him function within a team is infinitely more compelling. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique has many poignant scenes with the story hinging on her actions entirely which really raise the stakes.
With such an expansive cast all having a chance to shine it is a massive shame that Bryan Singer didn't direct the major let down that was X-Men 3 and Origins. It's nice that the characters act like the events never happened but it's a shame that I can't. As a standalone entry to the series X-Men Days of Future Past has a thoughtful script that doesn't rely on mindless action sequences to keep your attention. Along with it's stellar cast, this is a truly amazing installment to a messy franchise that now has a chance to develop.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Upon the announcement of the Lego Movie I was hyped I always enjoyed the slapstick and inventive humour of the Lego games and of course like every other child, grew up with the toy that you spend more time building rather then actually playing with. What I didn't expect from the Lego Movie was the amount of imagination and the sheer fun that was in store. At first glance the film seems like a run of the mill adventure story of Emmet a likable everyday Lego figure who is mistaken for the special and is supposed to be a master builder of Lego bricks but is only a humble construction worker what follows is a madcap juvenile adventure with surprisingly a bit of social satire undercutting the story of our samey and conforming culture. The story becomes more and more original and creative as it speeds along with it's surreal humour.
The animation is simple yet groundbreaking in how CGI is used to replicate stop motion so much detail can be seen with the scratches and finger prints on some of the characters faces in close ups. The voice-work is also top notch I can't think of a character that didn't make me laugh they were all so wonderfully weird, and quirky.
The twist ending is also very thought provoking but was hinted at very early on so it was kind of a dead giveaway. I do admire the themes that were being addressed and has a great message for kids of all ages to never forget your sense of play.
An animated winter warmer
Full of heart and humour, Frozen is a delightful film. The heavy and dark subject matter sets it apart from the traditional Disney style along with subtle postmodern mockery to the old Disney formula. The relationship between the two sisters works very well and is very touching from the get go supplying the films drama and emotional moments.
The snowman Olaf supplies the comic relief and if it wasn't for him the film would be very depressing, when he livens up the characters he livens up the audience. One aspect of the story does resort to traditional Disney conventions which ruined it a little for me because of the radical new direction the film seemed to be taking. That being said the story is great but some of the songs just come out from no where with little warning and unlike Beauty and the Beast, aren't as memorable and have little variety with some sounding quite corny however some do show what the characters are going through. There are some genuine plot twists too that no one will see coming.
Overall a great film perhaps not as innovative as Wreck it Ralph but Frozen is way ahead of it's competitors at Dreamworks and offers a charming story with three dimensional characters and a great message for kids about true love. The animation is also stellar and is very creative in terms of it's character design.
This film maybe overlong but it ain't no King Kong.
Has some pacing issues and is perhaps too character cluttered but the second chapter of the Hobbit is a great romp. It starts with a bang with the chase still on from the previous film leading onto some trippyness and great action scenes in the forest, to the inclusion of Legolas and his lady friend Tauriel who's appearance isn't as forced as it could have been.
The film grinds to a halt once Bilbo and the gang enter laketown where not a lot of consequence occurs but the grand unveiling of Smaug makes plodding through these scenes worth it. Smaug the dragon is definitely one of the best CGI creations in a movie. The size and scale of this character is immense with Benedict Cabbagepatch lending his refined and silky voice to the vain unstoppable dragon.
An amazing score from Howard Shore, just heightens the tension and the atmosphere of these middle earth movies significantly. Although I think Tolkien must be rolling in his grave hearing Ed Sheeran's warbling.
The Hobbit part 2 is most memorable for it's inventive action set pieces such as the barrel sequence, the spider fight and Gandalf's showdown with some evil dude in a tower. All these scenes make the film very episodic like a Saturday matinée. Martin Freeman is also a delight to watch as Bilbo Baggins, he is a great physical comedian as well as verbal and all these qualities are very chaplinesque which adds great character to this unexpected hero.
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (2013)
23rd of November, an early Christmas for Dr Who fans
A great big treat for anyone who has at least loosely followed the show within it's 50 year history.
Moffat has met the incredibly difficult task of catering this story to the casual and the hardcore Dr Who fans with his brilliant and dynamic writing. I feel bad for doubting the man I always thought he was losing his touch with overly clever plots that were making him come across as smug but he nailed it here, with this celebratory milestone.
This may also be a contender for the funniest Dr Who episode with the humour mainly provided through the banter of Smith, Tennant and Hurt who have amazing chemistry together and deliver the right balance of humour and drama to this feature length romp. (Actually, thinking about it the 1979 story the City of Death cannot be beaten in the humour department but this is the funniest the revitalised series has ever been.)
Overall a great episode that will ensue Doctor Who will go on with it's startling and slightly controversial conclusion that may irritate some fans however the two surprise appearances one of a familiar face, another of a taste of what is to come is the icing on the timey wimey cake.
Good film but why is the hype OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!
A visual marvel depicting space as a place of great beauty yet great danger. The stunning camera work flows majestically and is bound to win some sort of Oscar it really takes your mind away from the simple narrative of hopping from one space station to another with the films grand visual beauty.
The small cast heightens the sense of isolation and leaves you engaged throughout the movie for the most part. The casting decisions for me are hit and miss, it is understandable that this movie needed the biggest stars possible to draw in audiences and keep them engaged, but on the other hand it is distracting seeing Bullock and Clooney two of the most recognisable actors in Hollywood playing astronauts so perhaps undiscovered talent would have been better off. I hate ripping into a film that looks aesthetically pleasing but in the script department it is rather underwhelming, why did George Clooney have to crack a joke about 10 million people losing their Facebook? Lucky for Bullock half of her dialogue consists of grunts and groans, must have been easy to learn those lines.
The 3D is also hit or miss sometimes it enhances the scene other times it just feels obnoxious such as the 3D tears coming towards your face.
The films most memorable scenes occur at the end I won't give away much but their are a few really great moments that provide genuine character depth more of this would have made it worthy of the hype this film has achieved.
Overall the film is extremely pretty much like Avatar it exceeds in visuals but provides little depth in characters and narrative, making it a must see one off viewing at the cinema, people are seriously missing out if they wait for the DVD or Blu-ray because the film will lose much of it's majesty on the small screen. The whole film kind off reminds me of a promotional demonstration for Imax cinemas which would showcase the great sound and visuals for Imax theatres.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Wreck it Ralph is on another level! It is so refreshing to see a film that is based on videogames to be actually not just good but amazing for once and really capture the feel of retro games. The script is full of heart and humour but also has a bit of drama and pathos but of course being a Disney movie everything is alright in the end. Wreck it Ralph uses ideas and concepts of other animated films, if you put Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Who Framed Roger Rabbit in a blender you would get Ralph's unique video game hopping story. The film is full of references to retro games but it won't put of casual viewers or even non-gamers (like my mum) from the story which focuses on Ralphs search for a medal and the colourful characters and captivating worlds he visits on the way however it is worth seeing the film a second time around to try to spot famous video game characters in the background. There is also a funny mention about modern games "since when did video games become so violent and scary" a legitimate question. Overall Wreck it Ralph is also the best Disney film (although the unique story and characters feel a lot like a Pixar film) and has a brilliant message for kids which is a about acceptance and changing your outlook on life.
Monsters University (2013)
Will Pixar ever let go of my childhood?
The first Monsters Inc film came out when I was 10 having this film come out in 2013 with me going to University feels so right and is proof that these films are made for adults as well as kids. The film itself is a great story of the friendship between the impeccable duo Mike and Sully when they weren't on good terms with each other although we know what the outcome is, the journey throughout the movie of these 2 characters is great to witness. Although the film never really captures what University life is like and never really relying on funny material from that scenario it instead creates a funny cast of memorable monsters. Although it isn't as good as the first film Monsters University is a great nostalgic throwback to my childhood. Just like Toy Story 3 and most likely the eagerly anticipated Finding Dory.
Should be called an Unappreciated Journey.
Tolkien's bed time story is revamped in a more epic fashion with Peter Jacksons return to the stunning world of Middle Earth in The Hobbit, a tale of a secluded, comfort loving Bilbo Baggins who prefers his comfort loving home to the perils of adventure with his whole world turning upside down when the wizard Gandalf nudges him into a quest to help a group of dwarfs reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug. The story involves the fish out of water character of the reluctant hero Bilbo Baggins trying to find courage he never knew he had. We start with a party before the perils before moving on to encountering the good, the bad and the ugly the world of middle earth has to offer with a slash and dash approach of fighting then running away.
However, The Hobbit should be called an Unappreciated Journey then an Unexpected Journey because of its critical reception. Most of the backlash is unfair, with criticism's involving comparisons to Lord of the Rings and the drawn out narrative that is a slender children's book being divided into 3 movies. Comparing Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit is unfair surely anyone who is aware of the source material would know that, The Lord of the Rings isn't in the same league in a narrative level to The Hobbit. The Hobbit is the younger brother compared to the bolder older brother being the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In fact I thought some of the efforts to connect these 2 stories together were rather distracting with the inclusion of Frodo in the prologue, with ElijahWood delivering his 2 lines of dialogue, collecting his pay check then leaving. It seemed rather self indulgent and pointless. The looming threat of the Necromancer is intriguing however, adding a darker element to a relatively light-hearted journey making the decision of making these 3 films justified if executed correctly. These negative reactions only come off as minor gripes and shouldn't put anyone off watching this film. Jackson has created a true gem of a movie, with its delightfully charming cast of characters delivering brilliantly quirky performances.
Once again Andy Serkis steals the show as the schizophrenic Gollum despite being a feral creature of his forma self there is a real sense of attachment to his character with elements of morbid comedy in Serkis's performance. The Riddles in the Dark scene is defiantly the stand out moment of the film I've never known a game of wits could be so intense! Martin Freeman brings the beloved character of Bilbo Baggins to life with his funny facial expressions and quaint movement. His performance is very relatable much more so the the slightly dreary Frodo in the Lord of the Rings. Sir Ian McKellan provides an enigmatic and a cunningly powerful performance as Gandalf the Grey (which is far more interesting then Gandalf the White in my opinion.) Richard Armitage plays a ruff battle,hardened dwarf determined to reclaim his home from the dragon Smaug(who we only get a teasing glimpse of.) All these performances are stellar apart from the fact that some Dwarfs get more screen time than others but giving every dwarf a chance to stand out is hard amongst this bunch of characters which best works as a rugged team of Dwarfs. One performance that stood out too me as flat out bizarre would be Radagast the Brown and his frantic frolics in the woods with his bunny sled, it made me wonder if someone put LSD in my pepsi. The whimsy, wonder and peril of Howard Shore's Soundtrack also show the sheer range of the films gravitas which resembles the soundtrack of the Rings trilogy.
It's definitely worth going there and back again to your local cinema to witness the wonders of Middle Earth on the big screen despite the strenuous running time.
Adele's song makes sense now!
50 years have definitely been kind to the Bond franchise the appeal of car chases, brutal action, snazzy suits, gadgets, larger than life villains and Bond babes is a spectacle that definitely endures to modern day audiences and has been implemented in other films and TV shows but Bond has had some catching up to do with the likes of plot and character heavy movies of today while maintaining its identity. The first 2 Daniel Craig Bonds haven't quite reached these expectations but Skyfall has definitely created something new yet retaining Bonds swarvness. Mendes is to be commended for his vision, style and flair and combining it with character richness making this probably the most character driven Bond film yet specially into the second act. Some Bond purists may be up in arms about making Bond more human and attached but it is only a small part of his character it is not delved into its only touched upon and shown and never explicitly told. The only grumble I have with this is that the film becomes slightly more complicated when the franchise is more about style than substance but I would much prefer to see a more vulnerable human being then just a womanising action man. Despite seeing a more vulnerable James Bond this is strictly meant in the psychological sense not the physical sense, the action scenes are as ludicrous as ever normally he would dodge the bullet and get out of sticky situations but even when he doesn't dodge the bullet he survives with hardly an explanation no bullet proof vest or nifty gadget he just shrugs it off, bones some chick and pretends to be dead for awhile (which is starting to become a cliché that is really pissing me off, main characters pretending to be dead with the audience for a brief moment believing are hero to be dead but revealing not to be and is integral to the plot e.g. The Dark Knight Rises, Sherlock, Dr Who) The story starts off with this recent cliché and starts off slow because of this we know Bond is alive and is going back to MI6 he is not just going to sit around in Istanbul or wherever he is since we have another 2 hours of film left. So it's a little hard to get into the first 30 or 40 minutes of the film because of this implausible even for James Bond standards opener however once the villain starts to come to the forefront of the film the film picks up brilliantly. Javier Bardem as Silva is quite simply the best Bond villain ever he is every great Bond Villain rolled into one he is maniacal, sinister and slightly camp with a really intriguing motive for revenge. I won't reveal what it is but he and Bond are sort of like the 2 sides of the same coin and both of them have their similarities. Through Bardem's performance the script writing really shines through. Silva's reveal brings excellent writing, excellent direction and excellent performances all at once to the screen. Once the momentum gets going the plot of Skyfall is brilliant normally the plot of a James Bond film will follow a formula of stopping the bad guy and his cronies while making smart quips and driving fast cars along the way but in Skyfall it felt like they done that in the first half and show of the locales then make the movie more character driven Bond is a wreck and is losing his skills because of old age the future of a nation isn't really at stake it's more about loyalty and a bit of self reflection. Overall Bond is well and truly back with the classic style the older films merging with a more credible and personal story creating something fresh yet familiar. The action set pieces are as excellent and as explosive as ever. It probably isn't the best Bond film but probably has one of its greatest Villains in the franchises 50 years of history.