Tag Archives: drama

The best movies of the 2010s so far!

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So for some reason it’s time to take stock of the movies made in the 2010s so far. Well, it would be remiss of me not to have my own Top 10 movies of the decade. Here’s a big disclaimer, though: these are just the movies I’ve seen. Some very recent movies (including a couple of Academy Award winners) are not among them. Anyway, here goes…

10. Thor

Why: Because it made the surfer look cool again. And it also gave us Tom Hiddleston. Kenneth Branagh’s rip-roaring take on the thunder god was just what Marvel needed. A genuinely fun romp, brilliantly executed.

9. Inception

Why: It’s Chinese Puzzle of a plot proved that audiences are more intelligent than they are given credit for. Some jaw-dropping SFX helped too. But mainly it was Christopher Nolan’s refusal to spoon-feed the viewer with easy answers that won me over.

8. Tron Legacy 

Why: Because it made synthesizer music trendy again. A killer soundtrack and incredible SFX made this underrated blockbuster a must-see. As well as being faithful to the original movie, it included such breakthroughs as a 30-years-younger Jeff Bridges fighting with himself. Oh, and Olivia Wilde. A visually stunning and practically perfect action movie.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy

Why: It made “I Am Groot” part of popular culture. A very funny old-school action/comedy that just happens to be set in the Marvel universe. It also has some of the most memorable characters I’ve seen on screen for a long time – especially one psychopathic raccoon and a very literal-minded alien. Writer/director James Gunn never allows the excellent SFX to dictate the story and doesn’t fall into the trap of logically impossible action scenes.

6. The Conjuring

Why: A terrifying movie-going experience, right from the opening titles. This is horror on steroids. The plot is old-fashioned, but the movie is executed in one bravura set piece to the next. Classic horror.

5. Seven Psychopaths

Why: Postmodern, irreverent, full of grindhouse-style violence. But for me, Chis Walken and Sam Rockwell’s acting steals the show. The violence is played for laughs, but there’s also a real heart to the story that makes us question all that movie bloodshed we see so much of nowadays.

4. The Way Way Back

Why: A movie that perfectly captures adolescence. This is the kind of family comedy they made in the Eighties, but with a modern sensibility. Steve Carell is truly loathsome as the passive–aggressive antagonist. While Sam Rockwell turns in another masterful performance. Thirty years ago, Bill Murray would have done the same thing.

3. The Master

Why: The terrific acting holds together this rather quirky “institutionalized” drama. Joaquin Pheonix is a smouldering presence, inviting us to figure out what’s bugging him. It’s a pleasure to try to unravel the characters’ psyches while we watch them onscreen.

2. The King’s Speech

Why: A masterful talking-heads picture with some terrific low-key drama. There are no explosions or spaceships here, just stuffy drawing rooms and restrained performances. But it’s a movie that knows what it’s about and does it superbly, hitting all the right emotional notes.

1. The Artist

Why: What’s not to like about this movie? It’s a silent, black and white film made over 80 years after the first talking picture. But it’s not just a spoof or an homage. It uses silent film as a genre, almost as a metaphor. When sound does intrude upon the action, it’s a truly memorable moment. Some great performances with no dialogue underline this masterpiece of cinematic art. And it features one of the greatest dogs in movie history!

So there you have it. My top movies of the decade so far. These are, of course, based on my own personal tastes, although I’ve tried to include something for everyone. Feel free to tell me I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. But for me, these were the real standouts.

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12 days of the greatest, not-so-obvious Christmas movies

Seeing as it’s the season to be jolly, I thought I would give you a rather offbeat holiday treat. Here are 12 movies, one for each day of the season, that may not be as closely associated with Christmas as others, but which deserve a look. So if you’re bored with endless reruns of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, check out these gems…

12. The Bishop’s Wife

Cary Grant and David Niven star in this entertanining fantasy comedy about an angel helping out us mortals that plays fast and loose with religion.

11. Rare Exports

Has to be seen to be believed. Finnish production where Santa is in fact a demonic being who punishes children. What’s more bizarre is that it’s a really good movie!

10. One Magic Christmas

Mary Steenbergen has a terrible, terrible Christmas, loses her faith, and is helped out by guardian angel Harry Dean Stanton. Undoubtedly features the coolest angel in the movies, ever.

9. Trancers

Tongue-in-cheek sci-fi actioner that is most definitely set at Christmas in L.A. Tim Thomerson plays Jack Deth, a cop from the future intent on hunting down the murderous zombie slaves of his time-travelling opponent!

8. Lethal Weapon

The daddy of modern action films still packs a punch. Slick and fast-paced with enough laughs and thrills to keep anyone entertained at Christmas.

7. Black Christmas

Margo Kidder stars in this excellent and genuinely unsettling 70s slasher movie set in a girl’s sorority house. Somebody is making crank calls. The twist is that the calls are coming from inside the house!

6. An Affair to Remember

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr are the star-crossed lovers who wait a little too long. Famously became the central plot idea in “Sleepless in Seattle”. Guaranteed to bring a tear to even the grumpiest grandparent’s eye.

5. Batman Returns

Tim Burton does Christmas in Gotham with Christopher Walken, evil clowns, and Michelle Pfeiffer in latex. What’s not to like?

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4. Gremlins

This was stupidly given a “15” rating in the UK, so a generation of kids never got to experience “Gremlin Mega-Madness” until it came out on VHS. The final shot of a snow-covered town is just gorgeous.

3. Trading Places

Superb comic caper starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd at the peak of their talents. Co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis, in a rather memorable scene involving a curly wig and little else. How can you not like a movie that has not one, but two gorillas?

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2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

I had to include this all-time funniest Christmas movie. Worth watching time after time just for the “squirrel attack” scene.

1. Stalag 17

Only Billy Wilder could pull off a comedy set in a German POW camp in WWII. William Holden is fantastic in a movie that never sacrifices realism for laughs, but still manages to be funny.

So there you have it, a few non-traditional Christmas movies to spend the season with. Happy Holidays!