100 Films in a Year is five years old this week, and to mark the occasion I’m having five days of top fives from the past five years. On Monday I bemoaned the five worst films I’ve seen as part of this project, on Tuesday I slammed the five most overrated, on Wednesday I lamented the five most underrated, and yesterday I selected the five best.
For today’s final list, then, I’ve chosen…
A strong contender for “most underrated” — despite being championed by the likes of Roger Ebert, Dark City still seems to have slipped largely under the radar. It’s a dystopian sci-fi tale that thematically prefigures The Matrix trilogy, without getting as bogged down in its own self-importance as those sequels did.
The Dark Knight
I haven’t seen this since the cinema, so maybe there’s a degree of nostalgia in my love for it. Or maybe it’s just a great action-thriller that happens to star a man who dresses as a bat (not that Batman actually looks like a bat). At the time I asserted it was one of the greatest films ever made, and IMDb’s Top 250 continues to bear that out: it’s currently 8th.
Controversy dogged Kick-Ass‘ release, both for its foul-mouthed murderous pre-teen and geek hype not translating to box office dollars. Those who dismiss it underrate it (some high-profile critics were shockingly blind to its intentions) and only a US-centric view holds it a flop: it did OK Stateside, well worldwide, and was a huge hit on DVD & Blu-ray.
After placing this 8th on my 2010 favourites (behind six not included here) and seeing it again, I’ve realised I love it. Funny, exciting, with some of the best-directed examples of how it would feel to be Holmes. Plus it’s got a proper mystery with a proper solution. It may not be a traditional take on the character, but it’s surprisingly faithful and bloody good fun.
Zodiac: Director’s Cut
I love David Fincher’s work, and this was a toss up with The Social Network, but I think I prefer his methodical examination of the real-life hunt for a serial killer and how it affected the lives of the people hunting. With some top-flight performances and virtuoso directing, this might actually be Fincher’s best film. And that’s saying something.
Honourable Mention: Léon (Version Intégrale)
Léon is one of my favourite films. I’ve loved it since a friend lent me the VHS at some point in secondary school. And that’s why, though the extended Version Intégrale was different enough to merit inclusion on the main list (it’s some 23 minutes (21%) longer), I would feel uncomfortable including it in a list culled from new films I’ve seen in the past five years. But it’s still one of my all-time favourites.
I note that all but one of these (plus Léon) were new releases during 100 Films‘ existence. Is it a good or a bad thing that my tastes skew modern? I do like older films — I’ve given plenty five stars and regularly enjoy watching them, as I’m sure you’ve noticed — but I don’t tend to place many on my lists of favourites. I wonder why?
Five years, 545 new films (not to mention 28 new shorts and 25 other features I decided to review), and just 25 that stuck in the memory. And if you disagreed with any of my choices, particularly if you felt there was something else I’d reviewed that I should have included, then know that I had much longer shortlists for every category. I could do these lists over and quite easily choose another 25; and probably even over again after that; and for some of them, over a few times more beyond that.
But that’s the joy of films, and why we keep searching out new ones rather than only re-watching a few on loop, and why that’s the driving force behind my entire blog — because there’s so much good stuff out there.
Long may it continue.
OK, I’m not quite done. One final anniversary-y post tomorrow, then I’ll leave it be. It’s not some stats, but something else I thought appropriate.