Friday, January 17, 2014

My All Time Top Twenty Films

Because ten, is just not enough
20. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The end of the 80's. Dark, gritty, violent and very grown up. No more parties for the kids, but it is also a great adaptation of a silly book (which was dark and violent). It perfectly balances humor and action in a way that is both fun for kids, but very grown up.
19. Ghost. A classic tale about how love doesn't end in death. Ghost is both a great story of true love and of betrayal. One of the most entertaining movies I have ever seen, and, like Chinatown, it has something for everybody.
18. X-Men. The most mature entry in the Superhero genre. X-Men pretends to be an action movie, while it is really a drama with some big action set pieces. It's a pretty modest film, considering the time. It is probably the riskiest Superhero property, because of what it has to juggle. Not only is it juggling so many characters, but it does it with, virtually, no name actors. X-Men is, arguably, the most influential action film of the last 50 years, considering what it launched.
17. James Bond Films. The point is that 007 is such an important part of my life that most of the films in this series could fill up this list, so I just gave the series this spot. The greatest spy of all time, and the greatest franchise of all time.
16. Mississippi Burning. I love Alan Parker. That is a man that really knows how to capture emotions on film. Mississippi burning is not great because of the story that is being told, but rather how the story is told. Brad Douriff is one of the greatest actors, and to see him at the mercy of Gene Hackman, is truly powerful. And the only thing more uncomfortable than the south, is the south during the civil rights movement
15. Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. playing himself in a robot suit, combined with Jeff Bridges as a villain, perfect film. I don't even want to go into detail about this one, other than, while not as deep as other films in the genre, but what it lacks in depth, it more than makes up for in fun charismatic performances, and untold replay value.
14. Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Expanding on the formula that made the original so great and terrifying. Freddy Krueger is reinvented as a darker, sleeker, and much more menacing boogyman. One of the greatest and best excuses for a sequel in horror films.
13. Alien. As far as I'm concerned, the greatest thing that Star Wars ever did, was force Hollywood to make space films. And the greatest thing to come off that fallout is Alien. Alien is one of the coolest looking movies, and it was done on a tiny budget. It's dark, smokey, claustrophobic, and there is LOGIC IN A HORROR FILM. When you are on a space ship with a creature that you know nothing about, what are you going to do? You can't leave the ship. It's not Star Fleet. And the Alien (Xenomorph) is probably the greatest monster ever put on film.
12. Mortal Kombat. The only decent adaptation of a video game, but it also faithfully adapts the source material (for a PG-13 audience) even down to Reptile being a secret character. By no means is this a great film, but it is watchable, and I just happen to be a huge fan of the Mortal Kombat series, and I always get a kick out of the splits ball punch.
11. Boogie Nights. Both an amazing coming of age story about a boy who was trying to find his way, and a horrifying tragedy about the golden years of the porn industry. Paul T. Anderson makes whatever the fuck he wants and however the fuck he wants, and the end result is always golden. Anderson is easily one of the top directors working today, and this is his masterpiece. I love California in the 70's and I am absolutely enthralled by the behind the scenes of the porn industry. The movie is just as polished and shiney as the decade it takes place in.
10. Freddy Vs. Jason. Although Freddy already appeared on this list, I had to include this because of how much of a perfect fan service this film was. It's never boring, and, surprisingly, it is very well shot and made. Sure it's schlock, but it is the best damn schlock ever made
9. JFK. Who can you trust? JFK dares to ask questions that may never be answered, but what earns this film this spot on the list is the calibur of the film making. Perfect direction, editing, cinematography and acting. A true cinematic achievement
8. True Romance. A match made in heaven: The slick direction of Tony Scott, and the super cool/quirky/witty writing of Quentin Tarantino. It lives up to its name, wonderfully, and the time not spent building character development is spent with some super tight and stylish action sequences that bridges everything together, all the while encompassed by an amazing score by Hans Zimmer
7. L.A. Confidential. A great satire disguised as a mystery. The film is in itself a metaphor for the 50's (like I said in a previous review). Just read my review if you aren't satisfied
6. Shame. Not for the feint of heart, at all. This is the only film here that I wouldn't recommend to anyone because it is such a depressing film. But, apart from being depressing (which it is the whole way through) it is actually wonderfully shot, and features one of the greatest performances I have ever seen, set masterfully against a New York backdrop which perfectly captures the dark, gritty and (no pun intended) shameful feeling of the film.
5. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset. It is so hard to rank these in individual spots because, not only, is it one story about these characters but both films are just different enough that one could be better than the other. The first film is such a magical and wondrous tale about two people meeting and spending a night together, and the second film is a more mature tale of the same two people a few years later, with some more impressive and tighter film making.
4. Full Metal Jacket. There was no way Kubrick would be left out of this list. Stanley Kubrick is the greatest director of all time, and Full Metal Jacket is his masterpiece. This is a perfect example that shows the horrors of war and how people deal with everything in between combat. it is really 2 brilliant movies in one, and has one of the most iconic and hilarious (unintentionally) performances of all time. It moves at a great pace and features a lot of great shots that are a staple of Kubrick films, all the while just showing some average Joe's fighting in one of America's biggest mistakes.
3. The Usual Suspects. Not only is this a perfect example of film making, but it has one of the greatest endings in all cinema. Mystery is my favorite genre, and The Usual Suspects is a film that retains its magic after the ending is revealed.
2. Take Shelter. A cinematic masterpiece. Take Shelter is the closest a film has ever come to being called a perfect movie, in my eyes. It's a great original film, with some brutal moments, a monumental performance from Michael Shannon,
1. Less Than Zero. Probably the most gorgeously shot film I have ever seen, Less Than Zero is the only film that perfectly captures both the youth and the decadence of the 80's. It shows that behind all the glitz and glamour is terrible tragedy, and non stop debauchery. It also shows the evils of cocaine, without pandering, or being too heavy handed with it. The performances are top notch, especially from Spader and RDJ, and it included the sexiest sex scene I have ever seen. No nudity is shown, but rather, it relies on genuine passion, and it shows love for what it sometimes is; innocent, but superficial. LA was the place to be for the youth of America, but sadly, there was no place for the youth of America in the 1980's.
If you haven't seen any of these, you may like them, and I say give the ones you don't know a shot, because a lot of these didn't have a lot of media attention, but I am biased towards some of these because I respect them for what they are, but the other ones are pure cinematic genius.
   -L.K
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