My Top 20 favorite movies of all time.
My top twenty movies: not an easy thing to list. It's rather difficult up until about the tenth, then suddenly there's a flood of titles and too many! In no particular order, here's my favourites:
Remo, Unarmed and Dangerous
Originally a pilot for a TV series, this one was called 'Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins' in the US. It's about a guy who is forcibly hired as an assassin for the government, pushed into training with a Korean who's completely bonkers and ends up taking on corrupt military types. Lots of action and a marvellous sense of humour set it apart from a lot of other films.
The Princess Bride
What needs to be said? If you haven't seen this tongue-in-cheek fairy tale, go and rent it immediately! Superb acting, brilliantly sharp script, action, adventure, sports, fighting, true love... it's wonderful.
Rarely has a kids' film been executed with such style, in my opinion. Funny for people of all ages and infinitely watchable, time and again. The second one was also very good, but the first still stands as a remarkable piece of animation work.
The Sixth Sense
Unfortunately a film that's only really watchable once or twice due to the nature of the surprise ending, but still excellent. The author's other work is less startling (though I rather liked Signs). Both leads are outstanding and the film is absolutely gripping the first time through.
The Wicker Man
The original, rather than the awful remake, still stands as an excellent piece of film-making. Made famous by Britt Eckland's nude dancing scene more than anything else, the story is, however, excellent. A most unexpected turn of events at the end completes the work perfectly.
The Lord Of The Rings
Ever since the animated version was attempted and abandoned half-way through, LOTR fans have been hoping for a full version. This three-film epic is one of the few of such length that stands up to being watched time and again. Unmissable for fantasy fans.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
It was a toss-up between this and Die Hard for inclusion, but Indy won out for two reasons: the rebirth of good George Lucas films, long-awaited by Star Wars fans and the huge wave of copycat movies. Humorous, chock-full of action and adventure, with great acting and stunts. Brilliant stuff to take your imagination off in new directions.
The Day The Earth Stood Still
Again, the original rather than the awful remake. A quiet, thoughtful film, this one has a real message to deliver and does so with such class that few can equal it. Topnotch acting from the original Klaatu and the female lead, who stepped away from the useless, screaming stereotype of sci-fi women in the period and turned in a stupendous performance.
The Armour Of God
Jackie Chan at his lunatic best. This one was a part of the flood of Indiana Jones-style films inspired by Raiders and, although the story leaves a little to be desired, the action is second to none. The fight scene with the monks in their dining room is jaw-droppingly well choreographed and Chan's humour translates really well onto the screen.
AKA 'The Professional' in the US. Jean Reno, an extremely talented actor, and Natalie Portman turning in an incredible debut performance make this action flick essential viewing. Great story, plenty of gunfights, some tear-jerking moments and wonderful direction. Rent it right now.
Still pretty much the best telling of the Arthur legend available on film, Excalibur doesn't pull any punches. It's pretty brutal in its depiction of mediaeval England, uses music to great effect and has masterful performances from Morgana and Merlin. A superb piece of work.
The Outlaw Josey Wales
One of the best westerns ever made and certainly Eastwood's best. This story of revenge and eventual peace for the eponymous hero looks very long on paper, but is so well directed and has such a great script that the time flies by. Eastwood plays his ornery cowboy role with his usual style and the supporting cast are virtually flawless.
Les Rois Mages
Badly received at the box office, this French film by Les Inconnus (the three leads) is, in my opinion, horribly underrated. Clever humour, a decent story of the Three Wise Men in Paris at the turn of the year 2000 and lovable characters make for a very entertaining movie.
Shall We Dansu?
A third title that has had a recent remake when it didn't need one. The original Japanese version is virtually perfect in every way: the story, the endearing lead roles, the crazy secondary characters and the direction all make for an absolutely beautiful piece of story-telling. Another one to add to the essential viewing list.
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
A study of the different lives of three daughters and their father, a master chef who has lost his sense of taste. Quiet and calm, with scenes of cooking that are worthy of inclusion in an art gallery, the story pulls the viewer in and doesn't let go until the very surprising ending. It'll make you laugh, it'll bring a tear to your eye - and it'll probably make you hungry, too!
Few directors can stand shoulder to shoulder with Kurosawa and this, probably his best-known film, shows why. Remade several times (as The Magnificent Seven and Battle Beyond The Stars to name but two), the story of a poor village being defended by a group of seven very different warriors is gripping. Toshiro Mifune is outstanding as the farmer's boy who wants to be a samurai. It's a long film, but definitely worth the time.
Apparently, Sigourney Weaver thought this was going to be a shoddy B-movie with some kind of alien blob chasing people around a spaceship. How wrong she was. One of the best suspense/horror/sci-fi movies ever made, Alien is riveting, terrifying and unforgettable. The follow-ups were of a different style and their worth debatable, but the original stands out.
The Return Of The Jedi
The best of the original three Star Wars movies, with the characters matured and more interesting, tons of action and a well-constructed story. The major down-side was the inclusion of the Ewoks, but most male fans are willing to accept such an awful decision since there's the whole Leia-in-a-bikini thing.
He'll be back. A great piece of work, especially considering that it wasn't very high-budget. The story's interesting, it has plenty of action and suspense, Arnie is brilliant as the robot who just dowright refuses to die and - for once - it's a film that doesn't have a perfectly happy ending. The follow-up films are also excellent, but the original is still gritty and thrilling.
Alright, so the story is a bit basic and predictable, but this Christian Bale movie stands above the crowd for the incredible fight scenes. He's gone on to much bigger and better things, but this one holds a special place for me as his talents were put to such great use. It won't really make you think too much, but it'll give you a very enjoyable evening's entertainment.
This one gets a special mention. Not only is it a beautiful story, extremely well-acted and very funny, but it's also the film that brought my partner and me together. Oh, and she asked if it was in the list, which made me suddenly think "Oops!"...