With a world full of cinematic treasures, ranging from the silent expressionism of Robert Wiene in the 1920’s to J.J. Abrams’ current vision for science fiction, deciding on a top 30 films of all time is no easy task. After much time and plenty of thought however, here it is for the world to see.
Plot summaries from IMDB
Reviews by Jordan
30. Resident Evil
2002 – Directed by Paul W. S Anderson
A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.
Paul W. S. Anderson’s Resident Evil is more than just an illogical/insensible viral outbreak movie, or a translation of one of the most beloved game series of all time; it is a highly enjoyable, speedily paced horror gem responsible for bringing Zombies back into mainstream cinema.
When a team of Umbrella Corporation commandos are sent deep into ‘The Hive,’ an experimental weapons research facility, to uncover why the sinister super-computer ‘the Red Queen’ killed all the workers, they are confronted with a cop out of his depth, a mysterious stranger and Alice (Milla Jovovich – a sexy amnesic who is perhaps the key to solving the disaster that becomes bluntly apparent), as well as the hordes of flesh eating undead and revolting T-Virus creations.
As you can attain; not a lot goes right.
Resident Evil may not rate a mention in many other films lists (apart from ‘worst of’ lists perhaps), but I unashamedly promote it for the loud, violent and chaotic movie pleasure it is.
2009 – Directed by Zack Snyder
In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.
One of Time Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Novels of All Time,’ Alan Moore’s Watchmen is a true masterwork of the graphic-novel medium; a stunning example of superior story telling populated with characters and situations of such complexity a second reading is almost made essential… it is now, thanks to Zack Snyder, also one of the best films of the last 10 years; complete with outstanding cinematography, acting and plotting and a music track list as iconic as that in Pulp Fiction.
1973 – Directed by Terrence Malick
Based on the Starkweather-Fugate killing spree of the 1958, in which a fifteen-year-old girl and her twenty-five-year-old boyfriend slaughtered her entire family and several others in the Dakota Badlands.
Terrence Malick is by far the most enigmatic director currently working. His output, starting with his debut Badlands in 1973 through to his recent sumptuous visual treats The Tree of Life and To the Wonder (2011, 2013) has inspired fierce critical dissection and subsequent appreciation, and while such reception would likely result in egotistical tendencies being formed, Malick remains as humble and media-evasive as ever.
Badlands, a based-on-a-true-story film about two young lovers on the run from the law and murdering anyone who would stand in their way is an undeniably important film which helped continue a trend of violence in mainstream films, pioneered by the likes of Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Pretty Poison (1968 – in which a mentally disturbed young man convinces a high school girl that he’s a secret agent, and craving excitement, the two embark on a killing spree). Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek provide instantly iconic performances in Kit and Holly, whose irresponsible love for each other dooms those who would dare intercede.
Between Badlands and The Tree of Life Malick directed a sparse three movies; Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998) and The New World (2005), indicating his desire to work solely on ideal scripts at the perfect time… he is one of very few directors to never have a misstep, and is lucky enough to work his craft with complete creative control. Badlands in my opinion remains his best film, not just because watching it is witnessing the start of an amazing chapter in modern film history, but because as a stand-alone narrative it is told with absolute clarity, backed by a beautiful, effective score and features subtle but mesmerizingly effective performances from its two perfectly cast leads.
27. True Romance
1993 – Directed by Tony Scott
Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it.
Review written 19/2/2013
Prompted by Valentine’s Day (the date, not the movie), I recently started considering the romance film, and more importantly, if there were any I loved enough to write a review on.
Chasing Amy has always been a favourite of mine, but the volatility of the relationship between the mains eventually renders it more of an anti-romance; and while Let the Right one in does have its share of touching moments between the troubled Oscar and his new girlfriend, ultimately she is a vampire, and the grim sense of impending doom that hovers over their situation displays that it really is a horror movie, and a disturbing one at that.
Eventually, after nearly conceding that the genre just isn’t for me, I remembered the title of my 27th favourite movie and realised a truth that I’ve possibly been avoiding since first watching it. Yes, True Romance is full of action and undiluted machismo, but above all it’s about the ever-enduring love of its two protagonists in the face of unimaginable obstacles, and the lengths they go to in order share a ‘happily ever after.’
Based on a script by young upstart Quentin Tarantino (which lends heavily from Terrence Malick’s 1973 classic Badlands), and directed by maverick filmmaker Tony Scott (Top Gun, The Last Boy Scout), True Romance tells the story of Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette) who after meeting in less than ideal circumstances fall in love and decide to do whatever it takes to not only stay together, but stay alive, with an array of both low life criminals and powerful mob figures hot on their heels. Slater and Arquette combine to create an explosive couple of immense likability, and the rest of the incredible cast including: Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, James Gandolfini and Brad Pitt relish their roles with equal abandon. A conversational standoff between Hopper’s Clifford Worley (father of Clarence) and Walken’s Vincenzo Coccotti is one of the most intelligently spine-tingling scenes of the ‘90’s.
So, if you’re in the mood for a bit of romance, but also want to see Samuel L. Jackson playing a character called ‘Big Don’ then True Romance is the movie for you. I can guarantee you that whatever it lacks in Channing Tatum and Kate Hudson it more than makes up for in gun fights, Elvis mentors and a couple you actually care about.
1999 – Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
An epic mosaic of several interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.
Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours. Paul Thomas Anderson (not to be confused with Paul W.S. Anderson) perfectly captures this sentiment in what remains his most accomplished film; the immaculately constructed Magnolia.
Tracing a day in the lives of several broken-hearted and conflicted souls, including a guilt stricken wife (Julianne Moore), depressed former boy genius (William H. Macy), well-meaning police officer (John C. Reilly), masochistic self-help guru (Tom Cruise), middle-aged nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Self-loathing estranged daughter (Melora Walters) as well as others, Anderson’s three-hour epic regarding the turmoil of modern living is an essential drama, inspired by the works of melancholic singer/songwriter Aimee Mann, that challenges it audience right through to the audacious and much-hyped finale.
Perhaps the film’s most outstanding sequence; a moment of reflection occurs in the dark of night while each character is at their most venerable, and as they draw close to reaching the crux of their respective narratives they memorably sing along with Mann herself; ‘It’s not what you thought when you first began it, you got what you want, now you can hardly stand it though, by now you know, It’s not going to stop, ‘till you wise up.’