Not gone quite to plan, but I’ll still write a top ten list, it’ll include the films that I have wrote about, plus one that I haven’t written about – although I have stopped the list, I thought it would make sense to end the year with a top ten.
Without any further delay, here are my top ten films – let me know what you think of the list.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Studio: JoAnne Sellar Productions, Ghoulardi Film Company, Annapurna Pictures
Release Date: 2012
Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’, follows a naval war veteran suffering from PTSD as he is taken in by an enigmatic cult leader, Lancaster Dodd. An incredible performance within the incredible career of the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Dodd is the creator of “The Cause” a religious movement that spreads its teachings far and wide, with Joaquin Phoenix’s Freddie Quell becoming a dedicated follower. The film’s exploration into the relationship between Lancaster and Dodd is a complex affair as it changes from friend to doctor and patient and even somewhat of a mentoring figure between damaged people, but the untamed, animalistic nature of Quell is something that keeps Dodd attracted to him on an ideological level as he spreads his teachings. A complex and subtle film, which is a technical marvel, which is par for the course with Anderson as he delivers another film, which stands tall years after its release
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Studio: FilmFour, Kanzaman S.A., Recorded Picture Company, Jeremy Thomas Productions
Release Date: 2001
Jonathan Glazer’s directorial debut sees a retired criminal visited by his old boss as he attempts to persuade him to come out of retirement for one last heist. Ben Kingsley is incredible his acid tongue and violent temperament starts to break down the life that Ray Winstone’s “Gal” has created for himself, which leads to some incredible sequences which take turn after turn as the pressure is ramped up for the final heist. Glazer’s film are far and few in between, but they are always an event – from Sexy Beast to Under the Skin, all of which present different themes and execution to show an all together new vision for the every changing landscape of cinema.
Director: Robert Eggers
Studio: Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Pulse Films, Special Projects
Release Date: 2015
Robert Eggers’ atmospheric, nail-biting period horror sees a puritan family exiled from their homes – as they set up a new home they are met with supernatural forces in the woods that surround them. The dialogue is accurate to the period and is performed incredibly by the ensemble cast, as they suspect their eldest daughter being a witch drives the family apart and leads to some spectacular moments, which are equally shocking and enthralling.
Director: Joel Coen
Studio: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films
Release Date: 1996
The Coen Brother’s masterful black comedy sees a pregnant police chief investigating a roadside murder after a car salesman hires two people to kidnap his wife to extort a hefty ransom. The film is extremely violent, yet extremely funny as we see the two bumbling criminals limp from one disaster to the next, while Marge Gunderson, played by Frances McDormand commands the screen in one of the most brilliant performances in recent memory. The film has extreme importance in cinematic history as it has been preserved in the United States National Film Registry and has even a spin-off series, which much like the film has been lauded.
Director: Philip Barantini
Studio: Ascendant Films, Burton Fox Films
Release Date: 2021
Phillip Barantini’s feature adaptation of his short film of the same name, sees Stephen Graham reprise his role as a head chef in a high end restaurant on one of the most important nights of his life. All done within one shot the film has a tempo which feeds into the stress, claustrophobia and pressure of the moment as restaurant crumbles. The ensemble cast is incredible and Stephen Graham is also incredible, as his teeters on the edge of implosion and explosion as multiple situations unravel. The film is not only a technical success, but a narrative one too as the all the threads come to one in a brilliant ending.
5. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Studio: Logan Pictures, SpectreVision
Release Date: 2014
The first ever Iranian Vampire film, perhaps a genre and culture blend you wouldn’t see everyday, but neither is the film. Ana Lily Amirpour’s brilliant western inspired film explores so many themes of the treatment of women in Iran, while also simultaneously not being about that too as the film is a love story in essence between a vampire and a young man. The themes of sexuality and how the film subverts the title of the film casts an aura around the film that grips you from the first frame to the last as the interconnecting acts culminate to a conclusion that keeps in line with the aura it is shrouded in.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Studio: Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Inc
Release Date: 1980
One of Martin Scorsese’s and Robert De Niro’s greatest collaborations, Raging Bull is a film that centres around Jake LaMotta and his rise into title winning boxer to his eventual downfall as he alienates his loved ones. The film is breathtaking and at a mere 42 years old, the boxing sequences are thunderous as all the hallmarks of a great Scorsese collaborative picture are on show from Thelma Schoonmaker incredible editing to he performances from both De Niro and Pesci. The real genius of the film is how the electric boxing sequences don’t overshadow the riveting family conversations, which ramps in tension as LaMotta starts to lose his grasp on his life. This film constantly earns its place as one of cinema’s greatest films and it’s easy to see why.
Director: Céline Sciamma
Studio: Hold Up Films, Lilies Films, Arte France Cinéma
Release Date: 2014
Céline Sciamma is one of the greatest living directors, and ‘Girlhood’ (the precursor to ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’) is just more proof to support the statement. Sciamma wrote and directed this coming of age tale of a teenage girl from the poor outskirts of Paris – she has few career prospects and rough home life, but as she falls in with a group of girls, she finds herself belonging for the first time in her life. The film is beautiful and understated as it tells a compelling story that challenges race, gender in class in an honest and raw way – paving the way for so many incredible sequences, most notably when they sing Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ as an ensemble.
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Studio:Zentropa, Film i Väst, Topkapi Films, Danish Film Institute, TV2 Danmark, Eurimages, Netherlands Film Fund, Swedish Film Institute
Release Date: 2020
Thomas Vinterburg’s black comedy sees a group of middle age teacher, all of which are beaten down, tired and lacking the spark the once had. They decide that to reignite that, that they should look into Skårderud’s theory of constant deficiency of blood alcohol in human body, from there they all decide to keep the percentage at 0.05%, which leads to dramatic changes, which affect all four of the friends forever. The concept of the film is enough to sell it, but what happens from there is something to behold as the high and lows of the film are both life affirming and devasting as Mads Mikkelsen gives a career best performance. The film is a rare masterpiece that needs to be seen to fully grasp, but all together the film is a reminder of humanity in difference sense, which leads to an all time great ending sequence that is mystical and emotional.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Studio: Stanley Kubrick Productions
Release Date: 1968
The last film I watched but never got a chance to write about. One of greatest films ever made, whole watching third I was stunned by how the film still holds up even after 50 years – the techniques employed in the film are still just as impactful and awe inspiring. The story follows a team of scientists investigating a mysterious monolith which is believed to have kickstarted human evolution. The film is a technical and narrative achievement firmly cementing it’s place as one of if not the greatest sci-fi of all time and it’s fingerprints are all over the genre as it has evolved from 1968. Truly a masterpiece
Certainly not what I expected, but it feels good to bring the list challenge to an end and pursue other creative endeavours using the seemingly endless visual library I have to call on from doing this for 15 months.
Over that time I have watched over 150 films, which is a mind boggling number, but a very enriching experience as well.
In my next post, I’ll show you what I’ve done with my time away.
Stills courtesy of FILMGRAB / Kiss Them Goodbye / Bluscreens.net / anothermag.com / Elevation Pictures / Movieclips Classic Trailers / movienco.co.uk / screenmusings.com / Screen Goblin /commonsensemedia.org / NME / Joe’s Movie Blog / cultandexploitation.blogspot.com / fancaps.net / ingloriousbaguettes.com / starwarsscreencaps.com / boardchairman / animationscreencaps / forum.pixarpost.com / shattereddteacup / MyCenterMovie / disney.fandom.com / talkbass.com / indyweek.com / theguardian.com / echoartists