Tag Archives: best of list

Reminiscing about the best & worst of 2014

Robin Williams

It’s been nearly a week since 2015 has begun to test our mettle. 2014 is now in the past and with it, a year filled with personal success that did not translate well into a lot of film watching and reviewing. It was, for me, an excellent year nonetheless, in which I was able to purchase my first property, finish my first marathon, visit Paris for the first time, and receive approval for a work visa to stay in the United States.

My blog suffered greatly in 2014 in part due to all of these activities and important “distractions”. I managed to post only 15 times in 12 months, and I watched 94 films that, when compared to 2013’s sum of 143 films, leaves a lot to be desired. With that in mind and with the resolve to improve greatly on these numbers, I look back at some of the best and worstย experiences with film in the past year (following post to focus on TV and videogames). The following is not meant as a post about the “best films of 2014” (that will come in a later post when I begin to catch up), but rather as a summary of my own experiences with new and old releases.

Continue reading Reminiscing about the best & worst of 2014

Top 10 favorite male performances of the last 5 years

It has been over two weeks without a post from yours truly and I figured I needed to close the year in proper blogging fashion. Being that I will NOT be posting a best films of 2013 list before the end of the solar year, I thought I would gather my thoughts to share my favorite acting performances of the last five years.

First, I will give you my favorite 10 male performances in alphabetical order followed, in a couple of days, by my 10 favorite female roles of the half-decade from 2009 to 2013 (warning: blind spots in 2013 abound!)

As usual, I expect discerning tastes, and I would love to hear some recommendations as to whom should have made my list.

Continue reading Top 10 favorite male performances of the last 5 years

The Best Films of 2011 (updated)

It comes 10 months into 2012 but, for the first time, I am confident enough to make my own list of the “best” films of 2011.

Imagine how important it was for me to wait until now to publish this list, that the film that eventually ends up at the top is one that I only managed to watch 3 weeks ago. Without it, this list would have been a crime against my own taste.

Instead of giving you a top 10 or a top 20, I simply give you a run-down of all of the films that received, at the very least, a 4/5 (very good) in my rating system. The result is that there are 17 films out of the almost 100 films from 2011 that I managed to watch, 11 of which received a 4/5, five films received a 4.5/5 and only one received the very rare 5/5.

Despite still missing some highly praised films released the previous solar year (it is impossible to cover them all), I now give you my favorite films of 2011 (and why they are) when we are already in October 2012:

Continue reading The Best Films of 2011 (updated)

The Best Moments in Film History

With today’s post I start yet another series in this blog of mine. My attempt will be to talk about, as briefly and concisely as I can, about what I consider to be the most memorable moments in the history of film. This new series will have its own sub-category under the umbrella of FILM (please refer to the categories tab).

In this series I will be focusing on specific scenes or sequences that left the biggest impression on me. Some will be violent, others will be surprising, a few will be charming, and there will be some that are highly emotional. Some will be extremely famous phrases or scenes that are known by most of the populace, but I am certain some will be a little more obscure. There are many great films that do not have one particular moment that sticks out and, for that reason, I will stay away from trying to come up with one.

For now, I will give you a preview of my favorite moments in film by revealing the first 50 I could come up with off the top of my head. I expect to be touching upon these over the next few months, probably covering anywhere from 1 to 3 moments per post.

If you haven’t seen some of these films, I suggest you thread carefully for there may be some SPOILERS.

1. Se7en – John Doe’s reveals the last piece of his murder series

2. Apocalypse Now – Colonel Kurtz talks about horror

3. The Godfather – Michael Corleone murders the drug lord and the chief of police

4. Taxi Driver – Travis and the mirror

5. Ikiru – Mr. Watanabe sings while sitting on a swing

6. Braveheart – William Wallace calls for “freedom!” just before he is executed

7. Alexander – The Battle of Hydaspes

8. The Great Dictator – Chaplin breaks the silence to call for world peace

9. City Lights – The girl recognizes the Tramp

10. The Shining – “Heeeere’s Johnny !”

11. Schindler’s List – The Girl in the Red Dress

12. Milk – Dan White goes on a killing spree

13. Unforgiven – William Munny steps in the whorehouse to seek for revenge

14. The Departed – The cellphone rings

15. Alien – The birth of a monster

16. Children of Men – War pauses as a baby cries

 

17. Little Miss Sunshine – The family dances

18. Lost in Translation – Bob Harris whispers in Charlotte’s ear

19. The Shawshank Redemption – The Hole in the Wall

20. Toy Story – To Infinity and Beyond !

21. Amelie – He is still standing by your door

22. Groundhog Day – Phil tries not to fall asleep

23. Silence of the Lambs – Dr. Lecter’s first appearance

24. Pulp Fiction – Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace dance to a Chuck Berry tune

25. Big Fish – A dying father is laid to rest at the sea

26. Singing in the Rain – Gene Kelly sings in the rain

27. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – “Luke, I am your father”

28. Saving Private Ryan – D-day landing

29. Battleship Potempkin – The Odessa steps

30. Life is Beautiful – The allied tank

31. The Sixth Sense – “I see dead people”

32. 2001: Space Odissey: HAL-9000

33. Goodfellas – “You think Im funny?”

34. The Godfather II – The Kiss of Death

35. A Streetcar Named Desire – “Stella!”

36. Network – “Im mad as hell!”

37. Big – The giant piano at F.A.O Schwarz

38. Citizen Kane – Rosebud

39. The Wrestler – The final fight

40. The Godfather III – Michael’s mute scream on the steps of the Opera House

41. Full Metal Jacket – Suicide at the barracks

42. Patton – The speech

43. Inception – The zero-gravity fight

44. Beauty and The Beast – The dance

45. Aladdin – “A Whole New World”

46. The Matrix – Dodging bullets

47. Up – The opening sequence

48. M – Citizen’s arrest

49. Inglorious Basterds – Colonel Landa interrogates a French dairy farmer

50. Capote – Truman weeps before Perry is hanged

Niels

The 250 best films of IMDB

Continuing the theme of my previous (and first) film-related post, I have set myself a goal for the next 2 years: I will watch all of the movies that I haven’t seen that are ranked among the TOP 250 films of all-time according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

The site is the largest and most comprehensive online encyclopedia of film. Much like Wikipedia, the site depends partly on the endless work of staffers that keep it up to date, and also by the countless contributions of film fans around the world that take the time to sign up for the site, grade films based on a scale of 0 to 10 and perhaps offer reviews of films they have watched for other users to read.

The IMDB TOP 250 has become one of the most quoted guides to find the absolute best films of all time. The recognition has come because it is suggested that most of the users that take the trouble to sign up to the site and give their opinions on films must have a reliable-enough appreciation and knowledge of the art of film. One of the most powerful pieces of evidence behind this assertion is that most of the movies that constitute the current TOP 250 at IMDB are widely considered by professionals of the medium as the best that have been made in the century-long history of cinema.

Now back to the task at hand.

I give myself a deadline of 2 years to explore the 125 films (exactly half !) that I have not seen in their entirety since there are several instances in which I have only partially seen a film.

Every time I watch one of the movies I will refer back to this post and offer a review of it. I am sure there will be instances in which I will completely disagree with what the broad majority considers as great, and there I will find half of the fun that comes with this mission, the other half being the actual viewing of some of the most incredible pieces of film ever produced.

I will not keep any order in how I go about watching the films. I will just randomly pick one at a time.

Bear in mind that some new films may be introduced to the list, and some might leave, which forces me to set all of the films that are there TODAY as the ones that will be part of my goal, not one more, not one less.

DEADLINE: March 22nd, 2013.

Niels

Best movies of 2010 sans The King’s Speech

It is, like every random list you might find in the web, subject to personal taste. It is also a list that is impaired by the absence of some of the films that were considered among the best in the last full calendar year of movies among which are titles like The King’s Speech (Oscar winner for Best Picture) and True Grit. However, I can assure you that my analysis is based on a passionate interest in film, having spent an infinite amount of hours watching countless amounts of movies, reading film criticism, listening to interviews made to some of the best exponents of the medium, and having spent enough time to interpret and dissect what I had the pleasure (or displeasure) of watching.

My rating system will be based on a scale of 0 to 5. The higher the number, the better the movie.

A score of 5 will be extremely rare as it is reserved to those movies that I consider “fantastic” and pretty much “flawless”. Less rare but still very difficult to come by will be those with a score of 4.5 which would be just a step bellow, in the realm of “masterpiece”. The great and really good movies will mostly fall under a score of 4 to 3.5. Scores falling between 3 and 2.5 will be considered acceptable and average respectively. Once we hit 2 and 1.5 we are talking about movies with very few redeemable qualities that are poor in various aspects. Anything bellow that, well, it’s simply horrible.

Here are my picks for the ten best pictures of 2010 and a brief summary of what made them so great:

1. Inception (4.5) : a highly complex story that surprises, entertains and stimulates all of your senses. It is not only highly original material, but it’s a blockbuster that does not over-rely in the usual niches of action/thrillers. The film moves with amazing pace. It’s restless, emotional, intense and incredibly smart. The product could have been awful, but instead it was the finest work Christopher Nolan has ever produced.

2. Toy Story 3 (4.5): the very emotional end to the saga that defined and created the most consistent studio of the last 15 years: Pixar. It is a fit ending for a trilogy that connected with audiences of all ages because its message relates to everyone who has ever experienced friendship and camaraderie.

3. The Social Network (4): a fascinating story about the rise and fall of the minds behind the biggest social networking site in the world: Facebook. The script moves ahead with audacity and intensity. The casting was bold and inspired. Most importantly though, the movie resonated with moviegoers and critics alike for its raw and sometimes tragic portrait of a generation so consumed by technology that it has started to forget what makes us human.

4. Black Swan (4): despite being a very predictable story, this film delivers constant thrills. Visually, the movie has a stunning mysterious and tragic aura that greatly enhances the effect of the story. The acting was, without question, sensational, elevating the film with every gesture and every detail.

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (3.5): Hilarious. Visually rich and extremely original.

6. Salt (3.5): explosive, incredibly intense and with enough twists and turns to keep you at the edge of your seat. Angeline Jolie once again shows her unmatched ability to play an action heroine in a role that thrills and engages.

7. The Fighter (3.5): great acting, very emotional and moving story. Christian Bale steals the show.

8. Let me In (3.5): a remake that does not feel like a remake. A quiet, slow-paced but incredibly suspenseful film that shows that vampire movies can be of great quality when done right.

9. Date Night (3.5): it is predictable in its formula, but Tina Fey and Steve Carrel have a comedic ease and chemistry that elevates the movie to hilarious levels. In its ridiculousness and over-the-top antics, the movie still manages to portray a believable couple trapped in the middle of an unbelievable series of events.

10. 127 Hours (3.5): an acting tour-de-force by James Franco. The movie is almost 90 minutes of agonizing desperation, tragedy, nostalgia and physical pain, but the crafty and talented directing together with the amazing acting give the movie a power that inspires.

Honorable Mention – Kick-Ass (3.5): it received mixed-reviews when it premiered and is, perhaps the only film in this list that has not received the acclaim of the rest I have touched upon. However, there is an absurdity and outrageous quality to this film that makes it interesting, entertaining and excitingly controversial.

Final thoughts:

It wasn’t a particularly good year for movies I believe. There have certainly been better years in recent memory such as 2007 when we got classics like There Will be Blood and No Country of Old Men (two of the best movies ever made) in the same year.

No movie, in my opinion, deserved to receive a flawless or perfect score for I believe they were all flawed in some way or another. Inception could have been well-served with a more twisted and less linear quality to the “dreams”, while Toy Story 3 could have relied a little less on typically grandiose Hollywood scenes.

I promise to review the other notable exclusions in the near future when I have the opportunity to see them.

Niels