100 Favourites II — Statistics

I couldn’t do a list like that without publishing some statistics at the end, could I? No, no I could not. By my standards this will be a relatively brisk post, though, because I didn’t thoroughly log everything I could have. Nonetheless, I had some observations…

One thing I was particularly interested to compare was the age of my picks. I know my tastes skew recent — I like “old films”, but I do watch more new(er) stuff and (as demonstrated in my 10th anniversary statistics) I tend to place newer films higher in my year-end lists too. My first 100 Favourites list certainly bore that out as well, as you can see on this graph. Have the last ten years changed that at all? Well, no. Not in the slightest. If anything, it’s worse.

That’s 49% of my selections — almost literally half — from the 2010s, a decade which at the time of writing only includes seven years. And if you add in the 2000s as well, the last 17 years account for 72%, just under three-quarters of the list. I guess if I tried this again in another ten years some of the more recent films would fall out while the older classics would endure. I must say, I’m not alone in this — it’s something I’ve observed on other public-voted great lists, like the IMDb Top 250 (well-liked new films are always jumping in and then slowly dropping out), or Empire magazine’s 500 Greatest and 300 Greatest polls. The opposite seems to happen with critics’ lists, like Sight & Sound’s famed poll, which Citizen Kane topped for, what, 50 or 60 years, and the rest of the top ten is pretty stable too. But maybe that also changes a lot further down, I don’t know.

Talking of top tens, precisely 70% of the films on this list were previously featured in one of my year-end top tens. The worst affected were 2007, 2009, and 2012, each of which lost six films. Luckiest was 2016, with all ten top-tenners making the list. 2013, 2014, and 2015 only lost one each. That’s partly thanks to a change of perspective, of course (as you may have noticed, many of the films have shifted around in their ranking), but it’s also simply the case that some years had more films I liked than others. In terms of total numbers in this 100, the worst hit were 2009 and 2012, which only feature four films each. If you want to rank them thoroughly, 2009 definitely fared worse: only one of its films is in the top 50, while 2012 has three in the top 50, including two in the top 20, and one of those in the top 10.

Conversely, the most successful years were the last four (the ones with the most top-tenners that made it, unsurprisingly). Highest of all was 2015 with 18. I suppose that’s helped by the fact I watched 200 films that year, though 2014 is second with 16 and I ‘only’ watched 136 then. Indeed, rendered as a percentage, 2014 fares best of all, with 11.76% of the films I watched that year making my top 100. Second is shared by 2011 and 2013, each with exactly 10%, while 2015 only comes fourth, with exactly 9%. At the bottom end, the fact 2009 and 2012 were my least successful years in numerical terms (the only two times I failed to make 100) doesn’t help them at all, coming out at 4.26% and 4.12% respectively.

Here’s a pair of graphs, comparing the years in flat numerical terms and as a percentage of their own year’s total.

Compared to their previous positions in my year-end top tens, the biggest riser was The Story of Film: An Odyssey, shooting up 13 places from being 2015’s 21st to its 8th now. (I know #21 is not in the top ten, but I did a top 20 that year and noted The Story of Film was 21st, so…) The biggest faller within the chart was Stoker, also from my 2015 viewing, which dropped seven places from 7th to 14th. The worst-affected film not on the list was 2010’s #3, Inception, which isn’t among the nine 2010 films on the list. The #3 films from 2007 (Mean Creek) and 2012 (Master and Commander) also aren’t here, but (as we’ve seen) their respective years don’t feature as many films on the list so they’ve theoretically dropped less far.

Lastly, directors. There were 82 of them across the 100 films, of which 13 had two or more entries on the list. Top of the pile with four was, of all people, Matthew Vaughn. His films ranged from Kick-Ass in 8th up to Kingsman in 83rd, via X-Men: First Class at #16 and Stardust at #41. Sharing second place, each with three films, were David Fincher (Zodiac at #3, The Social Network at #11, Gone Girl at #66), George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead at #62, Dawn of the Dead at #63, Land of the Dead at #89), and Steven Spielberg (The Adventures of Tintin at #9, War Horse at #86, Lincoln at #95). Finally, the remaining nine directors with two films apiece were Wes Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, George Miller, Hayao Miyazaki, Chan-wook Park, Zack Snyder, Quentin Tarantino, and Denis Villeneuve.

And now I’m done.

Should you wish to revisit the excitement, all 200 of my 100 favourites can be found linked from their dedicated page here.

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100 Favourites II — The Top 10

And so I reach the pinnacle of my list — my most favourite films I’ve seen for the first time in the past ten years. (Well, if we’re being precise, in the past ten years and three months, but not counting anything from the last three months. But that’s less snappy.)

Over three previous posts I’ve counted down #100 to #11, but here’s the perfectly rounded number everyone loves for a list: the top ten.

#10
Dark City


4th from 2008
(previously 3rd | original review)

Before The Matrix there was Dark City, which tackles some of the same philosophical issues as the Wachowskis’ trilogy, only in a less opaque and verbose fashion — and, as I said, did so first. Of course, it lacks the groundbreaking action sequences that made The Matrix such a hit, but as a thoughtful piece of stylish sci-fi noir it probably bests its better-known thematic cousins. I also reckon it’s still a bit underrated… including by me, really, because it’s nine years since I first watched it and I still haven’t got round to seeing the Director’s Cut. (Note to self: fix that.)

#9
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn


1st from 2014
(previously 2nd | original review)

Calling on the same skill set that produced the Indiana Jones movies, Steven Spielberg created an adventure movie that perfectly balances plot, action, and humour. Despite the freedom afforded by crafting the entire thing in CGI (rendered with stunning realism by Weta), Spielberg knows when to hold back and maintain a level of realism, only to cut loose when warranted. The top end of this list definitely skews blockbustery-y — well, it is “favourite” rather than some kind of “objective best” (not that that’d be strictly possible anyway) — but, nonetheless, I think Tintin is a very fine and underrated example of the form.

#8
Kick-Ass


1st from 2010
(previously 1st | original review)

As Watchmen was to superhero comics, so Kick-Ass is to superhero films: taking familiar building blocks from other films and TV series, it deconstructs the genre through a “what if someone tried to be a superhero for real” storyline, asking questions about the glorification of violence and the sexualisation of its characters — all while being a funny and exciting action-comedy. Perhaps it’s having its cake and eating it, and that leads some people to miss the point (some by enjoying it a bit too much, some by thinking it has nothing to say), but I don’t think that stops it being one of the best and most thoughtful superhero movies yet made.

#7
Let the Right One In


1st from 2011
(previously 3rd | original review)

It’s felt like you can’t escape vampires in film and TV for the last couple of decades, but trust a European movie to give them a unique spin, right? So it’s both a coming-of-age-y arthouse-y movie about two 12-year-olds and first love, and a scary horror movie about violent supernatural creatures. It works by not shortchanging either aspect, instead combining them to transcend genre boundaries. So it’s a genuinely touching, emotional and relatable drama, as well as a creepy and horrific fantasy thriller.

#6
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation


1st from 2015
(previously 1st | original review)

There’s always been a bit of a ‘wannabe’ air to the Mission: Impossible films, like maybe someone thought it could fill the void left by Bond disappearing post-Dalton, only it took so long to make it to the screen that Bond himself got there first in the shape of Pierce Brosnan. Nonetheless, the series has trundled along… though I don’t want to sound like I’m doing it down too much because I’ve always enjoyed it — the second one made my first 100 Favourites list, even. But Rogue Nation is where M:I finally out-Bonds Bond. Mixing action thrills and a genuine sense of jeopardy with just-ahead-of-reality gadgets, a knowing sense of humour, and a cast full of likeable characters, it’s superb blockbuster entertainment.

#5
Seven Samurai


1st from 2013
(previously 1st | original review)

A phrase like “three-and-a-half-hour subtitled black-and-white movie” is going to conjure up a certain experience in the minds of most viewers. That experience is most probably nothing like Seven Samurai — although it is, of course, a three-and-a-half-hour subtitled black-and-white movie. On the surface it’s about a bunch of warriors protecting a small impoverished village that can’t defend itself, and it has a lengthy action-packed climax to deliver on such promise, but it rises above that thanks to its reflective attitude towards its characters and their very existence. No, wait, I said it’s not your typical three-and-a-half-hour subtitled black-and-white movie!

#4
Rashomon


3rd from 2008
(previously 5th | original review)

I’d wager most would rank Seven Samurai higher in the Akira Kurosawa canon, but I give Rashomon the edge because the form of its storytelling appeals to me. It retells the events surrounding a murder from the subjective viewpoint of each of the characters who were there, and of course their accounts differ. Its title has become a byword for such narratives, but there’s more here than just trendsetting plot construction — it’s a fantastically made film, exquisitely shot and magnificently performed.

#3
Zodiac


2nd from 2008
(previously 2nd | original review)

David Fincher’s meticulous true crime thriller may be his best movie — and when we’re talking about the man who made Se7en and Fight Club, that’s certainly saying a lot. It may look like it’s a murder thriller — it is about the hunt for a serial killer, after all — but in many respects it’s more about obsession and addiction, and how such things can come to take over your life. But if you don’t want to ponder that kind of thing, there’s always chills like the basement scene to keep you viscerally engaged. (The slightly-different Director’s Cut is the better version of the film and, if we’re being specific, would be my pick here; but I watched that a couple of years later, so it was the theatrical cut that figured in 2008’s top ten.)

#2
Skyfall


1st from 2012
(previously 1st | original review)

The James Bond films have always been action blockbusters, and more often than not immensely popular and successful ones. Skyfall changed the game though: by hiring Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes it was instantly booted into Prestige Picture territory — and still managed to deliver the most financially successful film in the series’ long history, the first billion-dollar Bond. But box office success is not why Skyfall is #2 on my list. It’s the beautiful cinematography; the way it adds thematic weight to the character without breaking the formula; the sense of Bond’s history without over-explicit reverence — and the way those aspects makes it both familiar and fresh at the same time. Plus it delivers on the action, larger-than-life villain, and one-liners just like a Bond film should. Its artistic success may be a case of the stars aligning and lightning striking (the lacking-by-comparison follow-up Spectre proved that), but Bond has rarely been better.

#1
The Dark Knight


1st from 2008
(previously 1st | original review)

Eight years and three months ago, when I named The Dark Knight my #1 film of 2008, I wrote that “I’m unashamedly one of those who believe The Dark Knight isn’t just one of the best films of 2008, it’s one of the best films ever.” It’s nice to be able to stand by such a brazen assertion. And, having thought long and hard about what I would declare as my most favouritest movie from the 1,283 new ones that I’ve seen in the last decade, I clearly do stand by it. I love superhero movies, I love crime thrillers, and I love epics, so it’s no surprise that a movie which combines all three — and does them all well — would top a list of my favourite movies.

Now: what’s a good list without some statistics?

100 Favourites II — The Penultimate 20

Week 3 of this list (the first two parts are here and here) sees us hurtling towards the top of the chart — the films that are among my very most favouritest that I’ve seen in the last decade.

I will say, there are more superhero movies than I expected…

#30
Deadpool

2nd from 2016 (previously 8th)
I feel like I should’ve matured out of finding Deadpool so entertaining, but it definitely appealed to my inner adolescent. It’s a riot. More…
#29
Super

5th from 2011 (previously 5th)
More superhero comedy, but Super’s low-budget grittiness and James Gunn-imbued barminess gives it an edge, even as its action climax is viscerally satisfying. More…
#28
Before Sunrise

4th from 2007 (previously unranked)
Richard Linklater distills the essence of twentysomething life and relationships into one night in the first (and best) of his decades-spanning Before trilogy. More…
#27
Citizen Kane

3rd from 2007 (previously 7th)
A film now overshadowed by its reputation, if you try to shed the baggage then Orson Welles’ debut still stands up very well in its own right. More…
#26
Watchmen: Director’s Cut

1st from 2009 (previously 3rd)
The most acclaimed superhero narrative ever penned became a film that is equally as complex and flawed, but also brilliant. More…
#25
Gravity

4th from 2014 (previously 1st)
Sandra Bullock is stranded in space and we’re right there alongside her in Alfonso Cuarón’s gripping and technically astonishing survival thriller. More…
#24
Sherlock Holmes

4th from 2010 (previously 8th)
Exciting, funny, with exceptional evocations of how it would feel to be the Great Detective. Not a traditional depiction, but surprisingly faithful. Plus: a proper mystery with a proper solution. More…
#23
Toy Story 3

3rd from 2010 (previously 2nd)
Lightning strikes thrice for Pixar’s studio-defining trilogy. Funny and moving, it tackles big emotional themes while still providing a kid-friendly adventure-comedy. More…
#22
United 93

2nd from 2007 (previously 1st)
Paul Greengrass’ 9/11 film almost feels like a documentary, with its naturalistic performances and handheld camerawork. That it was endorsed by the families is another stamp of approval. More…
#21
12 Angry Men

3rd from 2014 (previously 5th)
Twelve men talk to each other for an hour-and-a-half in this tense, gripping courtroom (without the courtroom) thriller. A directing masterclass from a debuting Sidney Lumet. More…
#20
Supermen of Malegaon

3rd from 2015 (previously 4th)
This little-seen documentary is an inspirational film about living your dreams even when the world won’t let you. Genuinely, I think it’s an absolute must-see for any lover of film. More…
#19
Requiem for a Dream

2nd from 2014 (previously 8th)
Darren Aronofsky’s addiction drama may ultimately be grim and without hope, but the verve of the filmmaking transcends expectations. More…
#18
Anatomy of a Murder

2nd from 2010 (previously 4th)
A precision-engineered procedural crime drama that refuses to deviate from the methodology of the case, but still finds room to deepen its array of characters. More…
#17
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

2nd from 2012 (previously 4th)
Boasting an original variation on Batman’s backstory, plus a fine turn from Mark Hamill’s arguably-definitive Joker, this animation is among the very best Bat-films. More…
#16
X-Men: First Class

4th from 2011 (previously 2nd)
The X-Men begin in this origin story that shows us another side to familiar characters, with a unique feel thanks to its ’60s setting and plot that riffs off Cold War spy-fi. More…
#15
The Raid 2

1st from 2016 (previously 2nd)
Bigger and grander than its predecessor, this is a sprawling crime epic that still has time for huge, elaborate fight sequences. One of the greatest action movies ever made. More…
#14
My Neighbour Totoro

3rd from 2011 (previously 7th)
Gorgeously animated with a beautiful soundtrack, Hayao Miyazaki lures you in to a world and tells you a thoroughly nice story with no enforced peril. Refreshingly lovely. More…
#13
The Guest

2nd from 2015 (previously 3rd)
This ’80s-inspired thriller (with a horror-influenced edge) offers a witty screenplay, engaging characters, stylish visuals, and a fab score. Dan Stevens can definitely be my guest. More…
#12
Brief Encounter

1st from 2007 (previously 6th)
A romantic affair of cups of tea, discussions of the weather, tea, trips to the cinema, tea, guilt, indecision, and more tea. All the repressed emotions make it truly British. That and the tea. More…
#11
The Social Network

2nd from 2011 (previously 1st)
Unlikeable brats sit at computers, writing websites and arguing, but with dialogue by Aaron Sorkin and direction from David Fincher that becomes engrossing and exciting. More…

Next Sunday: the top 10.

100 Favourites II — The Next 30

Last week, my ranking of 100 favourite movies I’ve seen in the last decade began with 40 films that ranged from screwball comedies to spectacle-fuelled blockbusters, from gritty crime thrillers to artistic animations, from gory horrors to melodramatic epics…

This week, my typically eclectic selection continues with the next 30 picks.

#60
The Nice Guys

8th from 2016 (previously 11th)
Convoluted criminality is rendered hilarious in Shane Black’s spiritual sequel to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. More…
#59
Arrival

7th from 2016 (previously 6th)
An intelligent, adult drama about humanity, which also happens to be a science-fiction mystery. More…
#58
His Girl Friday

6th from 2010 (previously 7th)
Sharp, fast, intelligent, hilariously funny — they don’t make films like this anymore. More…
#57
The Story of Film: An Odyssey

8th from 2015 (previously 21st)
Mark Cousins’ history of the movies wasn’t to all tastes, but I found all 15 hours to be fascinating and enlightening. More…
#56
The Night of the Hunter

7th from 2013 (previously 7th)
Charles Laughton’s only film as director is a masterpiece of dread, fear, cruelty, and near-peerless beauty. More…
#55
M

5th from 2010 (previously unranked)
Fritz Lang’s proto-noir serial killer procedural still has the power to thrill and chill. More…
#54
Inglourious Basterds

3rd from 2009 (previously 1st)
Killin’ Natzis, Tarantino style. History re-rendered in terms of pure cinema. More…
#53
In Bruges

2nd from 2009 (previously 2nd)
“There’s never been a classic movie made in Bruges, until now.” More…
#52
Byzantium

7th from 2015 (previously 5th)
These vampires aren’t glamorous or sparkly, but damaged and discarded in a seedy seaside town of tarnished charms. More…
#51
How to Train Your Dragon

8th from 2011 (previously unranked)
Glorious animation, with soaring flight sequences and an emotive connection to its characters, both human and dragon. More…
#50
Dredd

6th from 2013 (previously 6th)
Sharp, efficient sci-fi action with impressive gun battles, dry humour, and Karl Urban nailing the title character. More…
#49
Steve Jobs

6th from 2016 (previously 3rd)
A gripping character drama with a surprising corporate thriller vibe, magnificently written by Aaron Sorkin. More…
#48
Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro

7th from 2011 (previously 4th)
Described by no less than Steven Spielberg as “one of the greatest adventure movies of all time”. More…
#47
The Shining

8th from 2014 (previously 3rd)
Eliciting dread and almost-primal fear, it’s the most excruciatingly and exquisitely unsettling film I’ve ever seen. More…
#46
X-Men: Days of Future Past

7th from 2014 (previously 9th)
Surprisingly deep characterisation rubs shoulders with witty and inventive action in this all-eras X-Men team-up. More…
#45
Predestination

5th from 2016 (previously 5th)
Thought-provoking science-fiction in this time travel mystery that tackles issues of gender and identity — how timely. More…
#44
The Revenant

4th from 2016 (previously 4th)
Starring Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography, this gruelling survival Western is primarily told with visuals and so becomes a work of pure cinema. More…
#43
Oldboy

6th from 2014 (previously 7th)
Mixing a straightforward revenge thriller with weird, almost surrealistic touches, Oldboy is kinda crazy, kinda disturbed, but kinda brilliant because of it. More…
#42
Hanna

5th from 2013 (previously 5th)
A teen coming-of-age movie… with hard-hitting action sequences, surreal imagery, long single takes, beautiful cinematography, and a pulsating Chemical Brothers soundtrack. More…
#41
Stardust

5th from 2008 (previously 4th)
A truly magical film, packed with wit, action, delicious villains, a star-studded cast, a stirring score, and genuinely special effects. More…
#40
North by Northwest

4th from 2013 (previously 4th)
Almost everything you could want from a movie: pure tension, action, humour; a mystery, a thriller; a dash of romance. Unadulterated entertainment. More…
#39
The Three Musketeers

6th from 2011 (previously unranked)
Sword fights galore in this riot of swashbuckling fun, with a lightness of touch that makes for pure entertainment. More…
#38
The Grand Budapest Hotel

6th from 2015 (previously 10th)
A film full of delights, from the hilarious performances, to the clever dialogue, to the inventive design, to the controlled camerawork. More…
#37
Mad Max 2

5th from 2015 (previously 2nd)
Post-apocalyptic Australian Western that climaxes with a balls-to-the-wall multi-vehicle chase, one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed. More…
#36
Sicario

3rd from 2016 (previously 1st)
A dark and morally questionable thriller, incredibly shot by Roger Deakins, artfully helmed by perhaps the best director currently working, Denis Villeneuve. More…
#35
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

3rd from 2012 (previously 7th)
An intelligent science-inspired drama that just happens to link up to a big studio sci-fi/action series. More…
#34
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

5th from 2014 (previously 4th)
The sequel to the prequel to the Planet of the Apes presents a fully-realised ape society and a story of interspecies relations that reflects our own times. More…
#33
Django Unchained

3rd from 2013 (previously 2nd)
Tarantino’s Spaghetti Western homage is an entertaining, occasionally thought-provoking, rewarding, and thoroughly cinematic experience. More…
#32
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
2nd from 2013 (previously 3rd)
One of the most underrated films of the ’00s, Andrew Dominik’s historically accurate movie is a considered, immersive, complex, intimate, epic Western. More…
#31
Mad Max: Fury Road

4th from 2015 (previously 6th)
Action filmmaking elevated to a genuine art form, but alongside the mind-boggling stunts there’s a surprising richness of theme and character. More…

Next Sunday: the penultimate 20.

100 Favourites II — The First 40

Regular readers will remember that I spent last year listing my 100 favourite films, but with one key stipulation: they were all films I’d seen before 100 Films began. Now, the somewhat inevitable sequel, in which I list my favourites from 100 Films.

Last time I listed the 100 alphabetically, but this time I’ve attempted to rank them. In many respects the result is pretty arbitrary — I mean, how are you meant to compare the relative merits of, say, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Notorious, Enchanted, and Jurassic World? I love them all, but in very different ways. So it’s a bit rough in places, though things should get more precise in later posts, as we reach the top end — you’ve gotta be more sure to say stuff is the “best of the best”, haven’t you? I think I could’ve fiddled with the ranking endlessly, one merit or another boosting films up and down whole chunks of the list, but at some point you have to let it go (fundamentally it doesn’t matter, does it?), and this is how it was when I let it go.

However, one thing I definitely did was select and rank this list from scratch, with minimal reference to my existing year-end top tens. That means films from the same year now appear in a different order, and stuff that didn’t even make my top ten at the time is now present. Even the films I ranked less than two months ago have been rearranged with the change of perspective. Nonetheless, on each entry I’ve noted where it now ranks relative to other films from its year, as well as where it used to rank (if it even did). Of course, as I was just saying, if I recompiled this list next month I might rank them completely differently again.

There are also plenty of films I liked a lot that didn’t quite make it in, but I’m not going to list them because that would be cheating. Some films probably benefit from being fresher in my memory, but that seems to be a common affliction of many a list such as this.

Anyway, that’s plenty of ado. So, we begin today with numbers 100 to 61…

#100
The Lego Movie

16th from 2014 (previously unranked)
Everything is awesome in this surprisingly clever and witty animation. More…
#99
Gambit

10th from 2011 (previously 10th)
“Go ahead, tell the end… but please don’t tell the beginning!” More…
#98
After the Thin Man

15th from 2014 (previously unranked)
Murder, screwball comedy, and a romantic subplot involving the dog. More…
#97
Fantastic Mr. Fox

14th from 2014 (previously unranked)
Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson style. More…
#96
Monsters

9th from 2011 (previously 6th)
What’s that coming over the hill? Is it an exciting new director? More…
#95
Lincoln

14th from 2016 (previously 13th)
Abraham Lincoln pretends to be Daniel Day-Lewis playing Abraham Lincoln. More…
#94
Cold in July

13th from 2016 (previously 9th)
Regularly surprising neo-noir thriller. More…
#93
The Limey

12th from 2016 (previously 7th)
Revenge as flashback… or flash-forward… or a dream… or a fantasy… or…? More…
#92
Shutter Island

18th from 2015 (previously 16th)
Gothic psychological mystery thriller. More…
#91
The Green Hornet

13th from 2014 (previously unranked)
A superhero movie made by Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry, which sums it up pretty well. More…
#90
In Your Eyes

12th from 2014 (previously unranked)
Gently fantastical romantic drama. More…
#89
Land of the Dead

11th from 2013 (previously unranked)
Zombies switch eating brains for developing them. More…
#88
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

17th from 2015 (previously 19th)
Spy action of the highest calibre. More…
#87
Zootropolis

11th from 2016 (previously 15th)
A neo-noir crime thriller about racism featuring nudism and drug abuse… from Disney! More…
#86
War Horse

4th from 2012 (previously 2nd)
A beautifully old-fashioned melodramatic war epic. More…
#85
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Deluxe Edition

10th from 2013 (previously 9th)
Batman vs. Superman, Mk.I More…
#84
The New World

6th from 2007 (previously unranked)
When I get round to watching the extended cut I have a suspicion this may find itself even higher. More…
#83
Kingsman: The Secret Service

16th from 2015 (previously 13th)
Irreverent spy-fi in this classic-Bond-inspired action comedy. More…
#82
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

15th from 2015 (previously 9th)
The cinematic equivalent of a greatest-hits cover album, but the hits are great. More…
#81
The Secret of Kells

11th from 2014 (previously unranked)
A magical story with gorgeous animation. More…
#80
Hot Fuzz

5th from 2007 (previously 2nd)
They’re bad boys. They’re die hards. They’re lethal weapons. More…
#79
Stoker

14th from 2015 (previously 7th)
A beguiling, sensuous, classically Gothic thriller. More…
#78
Road Games

10th from 2016 (previously 12th)
Rear Windscreen meets Duel Down Under in a superb Ozploitation thriller. More…
#77
Enchanted

8th from 2008 (previously unranked)
Disney spoofs Disney in this brilliant live-action fairytale/real-world mash-up. More…
#76
Jurassic World

13th from 2015 (previously 12th)
The plot may be familiar, but genuine Spielbergian awe and wonder goes a long way. More…
#75
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

10th from 2014 (previously unranked)
An entertaining and intelligent blockbuster, with a fantastic use of IMAX. More…
#74
The Babadook

12th from 2015 (previously unranked)
If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook. More…
#73
Chronicle

9th from 2014 (previously 6th)
Combining found-footage and superheroes was inevitable, but the result being so good was not. More…
#72
Hairspray

7th from 2008 (previously 6th)
You can’t stop the beat. More…
#71
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition

9th from 2016 (previously 10th)
Clearly not the movie a lot of people think they need, but maybe it’s the one they deserve right now. More…
#70
Coraline

9th from 2010 (previously 6th)
Dark and scary children’s animation. More…
#69
Son of Rambow

4th from 2009 (previously 4th)
Beautifully written, directed and performed, amusing and moving in equal measure. More…
#68
Speed Racer

8th from 2010 (previously unranked)
A candy-coloured masterpiece. More…
#67
The Spiral Staircase

7th from 2010 (previously unranked)
The perfect filmic evocation of a dark and stormy night. More…
#66
Gone Girl

11th from 2015 (previously unranked)
A twist-laden dramatic thriller that deconstructs modern relationships. More…
#65
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

10th from 2015 (previously 17th)
Idiosyncratic thriller perfectly balanced between indie drama and crime actioner. More…
#64
The Passion of Joan of Arc

9th from 2015 (previously 14th)
Surprisingly accessible to modern eyes. An exceptionally affecting experience. More…
#63
Dawn of the Dead

9th from 2013 (previously unranked)
Zombie gore, yes, but more important are the humour, characterisation, and social critique. More…
#62
Night of the Living Dead

8th from 2013 (previously 8th)
The film that created the zombie genre has endured remarkably well. More…
#61
Notorious

6th from 2008 (previously 7th)
Hitchcock’s romantic spy thriller. More…

Next Sunday: the next 30.

All Your Film Are Belong To Blog: 1,337 Films in a Decade

Today is 100 Films in a Year’s 10th birthday.

Back when this started it was just a challenge to myself, inspired by “50 books in a year” efforts that other people were doing. I covered it on my DeviantArt blog because that’s where I’d seen the idea (look, it’s still there!) After that first year went rather well I decided to continue the challenge, but moved my coverage to a dedicated blog on Blogger (look, it’s still there!) That didn’t last long: less than two months later I moved on to the film blogging community at FilmJournal (look, it’s still there!) After several happy years, the FilmJournal community began to die off as the site fell into a kind of disrepair (if you follow that link you can see what a mess the formatting became), prompting a final move to WordPress in 2012 (look, I’m still here!)

When I started this whole shebang the world was a different place: Tony Blair was still Prime Minister and George W. Bush was still President. Apple had only just announced the iPhone; the iPad and the tablet revolution were still several years away. Facebook had only been open to everyone for five months. The hashtag hadn’t been invented yet. The final Harry Potter book hadn’t been published, most people hadn’t heard of Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t even exist. Britain’s Got Talent hadn’t aired, never mind spawned the ubiquitous Got Talent franchise. The format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD was still raging.

I suspect the “all your base are belong to us” meme had already had its day by then too, but I’m using it now nonetheless.

On a personal level, I was still an undergraduate, had never owned a dog (it was a couple of years before we’d meet Rory at a rescue — I wonder what he was up to then?), and still had all those dreams and ambitions of youth that end up going unrealised. But hey, at least I’ve still got my blog!

During the past decade said blog has certainly grown, from writing a couple of sentences about each film in updates posted every few weeks, to the almost-daily and often-far-too-long dedicated reviews I post nowadays, along with my monthly updates and TV reviews. The number of people reading my ramblings seems to have continually increased as well, which is rewarding in its way — I guess I’m doing something right; have something interesting to say.


Two months in, 2017 is already over halfway to 2013’s total.

Commensurately, the blog has taken up an increasing amount of my time: it feels like when I’m not watching films and TV I’m writing about them; especially last year, when adding my 100 Favourites series into the mix took up far more time than I’d anticipated. Sometimes it feels like I’m making a rod for my own back, doing all this, but at the end of the day it’s enjoyable — why else keep doing it? But after the monomaniacal focus I’ve given this thing for the past couple of years, I do need to find more time to broaden my activities.

Not just yet, though! For two reasons: starting on Thursday (after tomorrow’s February monthly update) I’ll be diving into 100 Favourites II! No, not another 52-week marathon project — it’ll all be over by Sunday. More on that then.

For now, the thing everyone loves (right?): statistics!

As the title of this post reveals, in the past decade I’ve watched 1,337 films expressly for this blog — which, as anyone familiar with internet-y slang will know, is code for “elite”, as in “very good”. Probably a bit old fashioned to use nowadays (or it should be), which is connected to why I revived the whole “all your base” thing. See, there’s method to my madness.

Those 1,337 films include all the alternate cuts and other films I reviewed. The actual total of brand-new films I’ve seen is 1,283 (which is a less entertaining number, hence why it’s not inspired the theme of this post). The total running time of that many movies was 136,154 minutes, and if you factor in everything else I’ve watched and reviewed it comes to 144,118 minutes — back to back, that’s 3 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, 1 hour, and 58 minutes of solid viewing. Phew!

Regular readers of my annual statistics posts may have noticed that the graph of each year’s running time always shows “no data” for 2007. That’s because when I first posted my 2007 reviews I didn’t include that information, so I couldn’t tally them up for my stats that year either. However, when I re-posted all those reviews to one of my new blogs I added the times… but still didn’t bother to total them up — it is a lot of films, after all. But this is a special occasion, so I’ve finally gone back over the lot and done it. So here, for the first time, is a complete running time graph:

If you’re curious, that makes the average running time of a film 106 minutes. I don’t think that really signifies anything, but there it is.

Down the years I’ve regularly noted my predilection for newer films — more recent decades always come out on top year-by-year, and my 100 Favourites showed a definite bias towards the past couple of decades (there are stats on that here). Naturally, that’s borne out when I look back at the last ten years in totality. The only possible element of ‘tension’ is: what will come out on top between the 2000s and the 2010s? On the one hand, about 70% of my blog’s life has been in the latter decade; on the other, that means there are more years (and therefore more films) for the former. Drama!

As it is, things go as you might expect: the 2010s come out on top with 458 films, which is 34.3% of the 1,337; and then of course the 2000s are second, with 388 (29%). The only other decade to make triple figures was the ’90s, its total of 114 representing a mere 8.5%. In order of size, the next decade is the ’80s with 91 (6.8%), followed by the ’40s with 79 (5.9%) — all those classic detective series add up. The countdown continues as follows: the ’60s with 57 (4.3%), the ’50s right behind with 56 (4.2%), the ’70s with 50 (3.7%), the ’30s with 21 (1.6%), the 1920s with 15 (1.1%), and finally the 1910s with 8 (0.6%). And the 1900s are actually represented too, by a single short.

As we’re talking about my tastes skewing newer, I thought I’d take a look at something I’ve never considered before. Every year I post a list of my top ten films selected from my personal viewing that year, meaning that films from any time period are eligible. Despite that, I’m aware I still have a tendency to declare newer stuff my #1 of the year. Just how new? Well, this graph shows the ages (in years) of my #1 picks at the time I picked them…

The average age of a #1 (ignoring the outlier) is just over 9 months old. Sticking out is, of course, Seven Samurai, which was 716 months old when it became 2013’s #1. The second oldest was United 93 at a piddling 18 months, while the youngest of all was Skyfall at just 2 months. So, yeah, pretty new.

Similar to running times, I’ve not kept track of all my stats for all ten years — I can’t list languages, or countries of production, or a couple of other things I cover at the end of each year nowadays. It would’ve been interesting, but there you go. There are a couple more things I can pick out, though.

Firstly, the formats I’ve watched all these movies on. This is an interesting one (well, it is to me) because these have regularly fluctuated down the years. Back in 2007 DVD was at the height of its dominance and was the clear frontrunner, but since then it’s slipped far back. Blu-ray has taken its place to an extent (maybe not in the wider population, but in the hearts of people like me), but in terms of my own viewing I know that watching films on TV topped the pile for a number of years. Recently, however, streaming has taken charge, with Now TV making Sky Movies Cinema more affordable and the increasing rise of Netflix, not to mention Amazon’s wannabe-competition. But what comes out best from the decade as a whole?

A little to my surprise, the winner is television, with 367 films (27.4%). I know it was once the #1 format for my viewing, but it’s been slipping for four years now. I guess it’s because it’s been a constant, whereas DVD has faded, streaming has only recently risen, and I’ve never watched as many of my Blu-rays as I should. That said, Blu-ray is second, gradually amassing 318 films (23.8%) over the past nine of the ten years. DVD has clung on in third, with 291 (21.8%). I guess that’s a slow accumulation — it’s one of only three formats to be represented in all ten years (along with television and another that we’ll come to in a bit). New champion streaming (it’s been #1 the past two years) ends up fourth with 243 (18.2%). Considering its numbers over the last couple of years, if I re-ran this all-time chart this time next year it’d likely be second, with the number one spot in its sights not long after. Unless I finally buck up my ideas and get better stuck in to my DVD and Blu-ray collection, anyway.

There’s a big drop to the rest of the figures, which are rounded out by the third and final format to crop up in all ten years, downloads, on 68 (5.1%); my poor record of trips to the cinema on 42 (3.14% — so it’s both the answer to life, the universe and everything and pi); good old VHS on 7 (0.5%); and a lonely little film watched in-flight, that 1 being just 0.07%. Sadly, it wasn’t a Bond film. Even more sadly, it was the risible Superhero Movie.

Finally, as always, a word on quality, or at least my perception thereof. In the past ten years I’ve handed out 223 5-star ratings. That’s 16.7% of the films I’ve watched, which also happens to be one-sixth. I guess that’d sound neater if it was one-fifth, but then I’d be an even more generous marker than I already am. This is definitely borne out by the 615 4-star ratings, which at 46% is not that far off half. (Well, I’d have to have given out 53½ more of them to make it actually half, but still.) Sitting between those two in quantity were the 350 3-stars, which at 26.2% is only a little over a quarter (certainly closer to a quarter than 46% was to half). That leaves the two ‘bad’ ratings to share just 11.1% of films between them — which is just over a tenth, of course. That splits as 130 2-star ratings (9.7%), leaving just 19 films (1.4%) in the highly exclusive 1-star club.

From all that, we can deduce that the average rating earnt by these 1,337 films is 3.6679, which as a percentage would be 73.358%.

And that, I’m afraid, is the end of that.

Tomorrow: putting my birthday celebrations aside for a moment, the February update.

On Wednesday… 100 Favourites II: Eclectic Boogaloo.

100 Films’ 100 Favourites

As you may or may not have noticed, this is the 10th year that I’ll be doing 100 Films in a Year (the blog’s 10th birthday is in February 2017). I also (whisper it) turn 30 this year. Argh, the big three-oh! (“Oh, shut it,” says anyone over the age of 31.) To mark this confluence of momentousness, throughout 2016 I’ll be running a new series of posts covering my 100 favourite films.

Taking one film at a time, the series will run all year, hopefully biweekly (as in twice a week, not fortnightly), meaning I can just squeeze all 100 in by December 31st. The plan is to post every Wednesday and Sunday, regular as clockwork (fingers crossed…) All the posts will be collated on this page (not this page, that page).

I will say at the outset, these are not the 100 films I consider to be the greatest ever made (whatever that actually means). Far from it, actually. These are my personal favourites. I suppose to some people that’s one and the same, and of course there’s some overlap, but this list also includes the guilty pleasures (if you believe in such a thing); the films which you know aren’t ‘great’ but you love anyway; or even just films that aren’t as objectively fantastic as something else, but I personally prefer.

Now, there are some caveats to this announcement. (Of course there are — it’s me.) If you really don’t care about The Rules, or some of my thoughts on the selection process, or a few hints about what’s to come, then I’ll see you on Sunday for #1. Otherwise, read on…

I say “The Rules”, but there’s only one major caveat to the whole shebang: the only films eligible for inclusion were ones I’d watched before I started 100 Films. Is it cheating to flat-out exclude anything I’ve watched in the past nine years? Well, here’s the thing: all of those films have already been reviewed here, and while some would benefit from a deeper going-over, others have been thoroughly covered as it is — if I were to review The Dark Knight again, it would be the fourth time I’d covered it. So from a pure list-making perspective, yes, it’s a bit of a cheat; but in terms of what adds more interest and value to this blog and its archive, and therefore to you, my dear readers (well, hopefully), it’s this method.

Further to that, there are still some repeats, because down the years I’ve reviewed a handful of previously-seen titles — indeed, at least one that I’ve reviewed would’ve been a dead cert for this list, were it not for that very re-watch having an impact on my opinion (that’s Sin City, by-the-by). For anyone interested in a guessing game (or just generally curious), I’ve already reviewed 18 of my 100 picks. On the bright side, the posts in this favourites series won’t just be straight-up reviews, as you’ll see soon enough.

As anyone who’s ever tried to compile a list of their favourite movies will know, it’s hard. Doing a list this long relieves some of the pressure — my list of “absolutely must include”s was indeed long, but not close to filling all 100 places. Because of the length, there are films that would be genuine contenders for my all-time top ten best movies I’ve ever seen, and others that I liked very much but are ‘making up the numbers’. Which is a little harsh — it’s less that they’re padding the list, more that I’d know where to start cutting if I had to make room. Besides, that’s probably where the more unusual and surprising choices will be found.

Throughout the selection process, value judgements have to be made — some films lose out on the day that might’ve made it on another. The biggest losers (as it were) were a handful of films I remember loving but have never got round to re-watching. As I’d only seen them once, and over a decade ago at that, I didn’t feel qualified to include them instead of films I was more certain of my opinion on. So pity Battle Royale, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, A History of Violence, JFK, The Mark of Zorro, Munich, Philadelphia, Where the Truth Lies, and several more — if I’d made the time for their re-viewing (and I did do some, just not enough), things might have been different.

Nonetheless, eight films that I’ve only seen once did still make the list. Now I feel like I’ve made some silly choices…

What kind of films made the cut? Well, to be perfectly honest, there’s a lot of really obvious stuff on here. My even longer long-list contained a few more oddities, but the well-known classics (and modern classics) have that status for a reason, and they ultimately won out… most of the time. There will be a few surprising omissions, I’m sure, and hopefully a few surprises littered about too. If you’re wondering about specific inclusions/omissions, the films will be in alphabetical order, so you might spot omissions before the end… unless they begin with, y’know, Z. (Hint: there are no films beginning with Z.)

A certain kind of film makes up the majority of the list. “Juvenile” would be too strong a word; “mainstream” would not be far from the truth. Remember, this is a list compiled from films I first saw up to the age of about 20 (albeit selected from the perspective of being nearly 30). It was only at the very tail end of this time that my experience of cinema really began to broaden beyond what one might semi-pretentiously call the Anglospheric mainstream. That period of widening horizons overlapped with this blog’s birth, as you might observe from some of the films featured in my very earliest days. So films from those first tentative, sometimes faltering, steps into a greater appreciation of Cinema don’t really find a place on this particular list.

That said, don’t imagine things will be limited to Disney musicals and Spielbergian action-adventures. Indeed, some people would look at this list and think it fairly represents the breadth of cinema. Certainly, it could be worse. But I shan’t spoil anything by suggesting how many of them should be viewed with subtitles, or how many were produced before the year of my birth, or how high the percentage of American movies is — though I think we all know that such statistics will inevitably be trotted out when I reach the end.

A list of favourite movies is always a work in progress — there are always more classics to discover, or hidden gems that most people don’t adore but you do, not to mention all the new films they can’t stop making. You might argue most of the latter are dross, but there’s always something worth seeing, and every once in a while a genuine classic comes along.

The work-in-progress factor is even true of this list: it may be locked to films I first saw 10+ years ago, but re-watches and the shifting opinions of age can always bring change. By the end of this project (or the middle, or even the start), I might think I should’ve made some different choices. Even still, over the next year you’ll see an at-least-passable version of my 100 favourite films.

100 Films in a Year’s 1,000th film is…

Basic maths tells us that, in theory, 100 films in a year should result in 1,000 films in a decade. Patently, this is not the case: after eight years, seven months and sixteen days of my self-imposed titular challenge, I have viewed my 1,000th film.

And it is Mark Cousin’s 15-hour documentary, The Story of Film: An Odyssey.

Normally I’d leave such an announcement for my monthly update, but the next one’s a fortnight away and this is a special occasion. Also, I wanted to take a moment to address a few issues this choice might kick up, which also pads out this otherwise rather slight post.*

Firstly, for anyone who might have forgotten/never bothered to read the ‘rules’ (I don’t blame you), this is my 1,000th official/counted/main list film. That only includes films I’d never seen before, or alternative cuts that are significantly modified from the version I’d previously seen. This is why there are over 1,000 reviews on this blog but I’ve only now reached #1000, because I’ve also reviewed every not-that-different alternate cut I’ve seen in that time, as well as covering a handful of other movies.

Secondly, you may well be thinking, “but that’s a TV series, you cheeky so-and-so!” Well, yes and no. It’s true that it premiered on UK TV, and so that’s the form most people will have experienced it in, whether when it aired on More4 here or on TCM in the US or on another local broadcaster. But, ever since the time of its UK debut it’s been screened at various film festivals around the world (look, several pieces of evidence), and it’s in this form that it’s presented on its DVD release: not as 15 episodic chunks, but as a 15-hours-and-15-minutes whole (which has to be split across five discs). So yes, it is a TV series; but also, it’s a film. And it’s enough of a film for me to count it.

(See also today’s archive repost, a piece I wrote in 2008 titled “What makes a film a film?”)

So there we have it: long before I reach a decade of this malarkey, I’m 1,000 films done. Well, I haven’t actually finished it yet (c’mon, it’s 15 hours! I’ve made a start), but my point near enough stands. Yay me!

The full countdown to #1000 can be revisited here.
The Story of Film: An Odyssey will be reviewed in due course.

* Do the explanations exist to fill out the post, or does the post exist as a home for the explanations? Deep thoughts, man. ^

2010 In Retrospect

2010 has been kinder to 100 Films after the last two years, where I first barely scraped to 100 and then failed to reach it (not that I’ve gone on about it). This year, I made it to 100 in September before going on to a grand total of 122 — which, if you’re interested, makes it my second best year, behind the first by seven films.

But now 2010 is over — well, obviously, it finished a week ago — but I mean that 100 Films’ 2010 is over, this being the final post related to those 122 films… other than the half-dozen reviews I’ve yet to post, that is (and that too is an improvement on last year, when I had 20 left over). This final look back has my usual mix of features: a ‘Bottom Five’, a ‘Top Ten’, some ‘Also Ran’s, and ‘Didn’t Run’s too.

I’m sure you don’t need reminding at this point (but just in case) that this is all a review of my 2010 — the films I saw for the first time, not those that hit cinemas for the first time. If you’d like a list of the 122 titles that had a chance of reaching either of these lists, please look here.

Sitting comfortably? Good. Then how about:


The Five Worst Films I Saw in 2010

Max Payne
This year’s only single-star film nearly didn’t sink to such depths, but it was ultimately deserved. It’s an action movie without much action; a thriller without any thrills; a fantasy movie that isn’t meant to be one. It’s also a load of rubbish and you should avoid it. Play the game instead.

Righteous Kill
De Niro and Pacino, together, for a whole film! Cor! Except it’s more bore (see what I did there?) in Jon Avnet’s needlessly complex thriller, with filmdom’s most guessable twist — there’s a good chance you’ll’ve got it from the trailer. Watch their one shared scene in Heat on loop instead.

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
Another British children’s fantasy book series reaches the big screen, but unlike uber-success Harry Potter or the Narnia series, this is ruined the traditional way: Americanisation. Though set in Britain with a largely British cast, ruinous changes abound. A few good moments can’t redeem it.

Elektra
If you thought Daredevil was bad, don’t even consider going anywhere near its spin-off. I liked Daredevil, but I could find little to enjoy in this sloppy, ill-considered fantasy/action flick. It’s this kind of incohesive tosh that kills whole genres. How do such risible screenplays even get made?

The Emperor’s New Groove
I could’ve put something like Iron Eagle as my last choice, but I just don’t care enough about it to hate it. Emperor’s New Groove, on the other hand, is a Disney animated film — I always want to like Disney’s animated films (I guess it’s a childhood thing) and this one is rubbish. Boo.


The Ten Best Films I Saw For the First Time in 2010

This year’s top ten seems inordinately coloured by comedy — perhaps, more than ever, it’s not so much the “best films I’ve seen” as “my favourite films I’ve seen”. Look out for a few more serious honourable mentions at the end.

10) Clue
I think it’s safe to say Clue isn’t the greatest film ever — indeed, I’ve ranked nine above it (ho ho), and there are certainly Better films I’ve left off this list — but I enjoyed it immensely, now that I’ve finally seen it. I can’t help but think its lowly-to-non-existent reputation means a lot of others who’d enjoy it haven’t seen it either.

9) Is Anybody There?
Comedy-drama — or “dramedy”, if you’re American — often comes in for stick for being neither funny enough to be a comedy nor dramatic enough to be drama. And, sometimes, this is rightly so. When pitched right, however, it’s like real life, and that’s the tone Is Anybody There? hits. An affecting exploration of loneliness, regret, hope, and more.

8) Sherlock Holmes
The Guy Ritchie-directed reinvention of Sherlock Holmes could — perhaps should — have been a blockbusterised disaster. Instead, he’s still the genius detective we know and love, only now with added ass-kicking abilities. No, it’s not the definitive Holmes, but it is a jolly good and surprisingly inventive take on the character.

7) His Girl Friday
Sharp, fast, intelligent, hilariously funny — they don’t make films like this any more. Quite literally. Instead, we have the risible …Movie series pumped out at us every year. Something to do with the lowest common denominator Hollywood world we live in, I’m sure, though that’s an explanation rather than an excuse.

6) Coraline
Last year two documentaries formed the centre point of my top ten, this year it’s two children’s films — but both are ready to be enjoyed by adults too. In fact, Coraline’s so dark and scary in places one might argue it’s more aimed at a slightly older audience. Plus Eamonn Holmes hates it. What more recommendation do you need?

5) Nanny McPhee
More childish than Coraline, perhaps, but there’s an awful lot to enjoy nonetheless. Far more than the Mary Poppins rip-off it looks like from the outside, Nanny McPhee rattles along through a colourful but grounded tale that imparts moral messages without battering you round the head. It’s properly magical.

4) Anatomy of a Murder
Procedural crime dramas relentlessly fill our TV schedules these days, but few can hold a candle to Otto Preminger’s masterpiece. The precision-engineered storytelling masterfully refuses to deviate from the case at hand, and who but James Stewart could be a lawyer defending a murderer and still have us cheering for him to win?

3) Inception
Christopher Nolan’s latest managed the rare feat these days of being a genuine blockbuster with an original story, and converting that into high praise and box office too (and without the ticket-selling boost of 3D). More impressively, it did this while baffling much of its audience. Remains to be seen if it benefits or suffers from repeat viewings.

2) Toy Story 3
Returning to a beloved franchise over a decade later would be a mistake in the hands of most filmmakers, but this is Pixar. Toy Story 3 is a worthy successor to its ’90s predecessors; a funny and moving tale that tackles big, emotional themes while still providing a kid-friendly adventure-comedy. It may well be the best film of 2010.

1) Kick-Ass
I’ve not had so much debate over my #1 film before (though 2008’s 2 & 3 kept me busy for a while). Despite provoking outrage in some quarters, Kick-Ass is an arresting deconstruction of the superhero myth, both as “what if someone really did it?” and how the genre has been presented on our screens. Funny, exciting, it really does… yeah, you can add the pun.


Special Mentions

As usual, I just want to highlight a few other films, for various reasons.

I normally mention the 5-star films first, but this year I found it tougher than usual (or, at least, tougher than last year) to settle on the final few slots in my top ten. The films that consequently just missed out by a sliver of fate — and the way my opinions wavered on that particular day — were The Hurt Locker, M and Speed Racer. A few others survived almost as long, but those are the ones I really struggled with.

Secondly, then, I must mention the 16 films that earned themselves 5-star ratings this year. A very respectable seven of them made it into the top ten, namely Anatomy of a Murder, Coraline, His Girl Friday, Inception, Kick-Ass, Nanny McPhee and Toy Story 3. It always seems silly to include 4-star films over some of those that achieved full marks, but that’s life. Two more are among those ‘almost’s — The Hurt Locker and M — while the other seven main listers I left out were The Damned United, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Miracle on 34th Street, Die Puppe, Slumdog Millionaire and The Spiral Staircase. Finally, from outside the main list, was The Special Edition of Beauty and the Beast — or Beauty and the Beast SE to you and I.

Penultimately, a quick mention for a few noir-ish oldies. None of them quite managed to squeeze into my top ten, but this year I’ve really enjoyed the likes of Ministry of Fear, The Outrage, Odd Man Out and, of course, The Spiral Staircase. Plus, the cake-centric intro to my Ministry of Fear review is still one of my favourite things I’ve written for this blog.

And finally, while I’m on older pictures, a quick nod to the rest of the Ernst Lubitsch silents I watched in a rather intensive week back in January. Die Puppe was my favourite, but it was great all round to indulge in a chronological run of one filmmaker’s early work. I find silent movies to be a rather rich flavour of film — there’s much to appreciate, but too many too close together and it gets a bit sickly. I rather gorged on them that week, hence why there’s been no repeat (as yet) of my Silent Week concept. Hey-ho.


The Films I Didn’t See

As ever, allow me to remind you that this hasn’t been a Top 10 of 2010 (only my 2010), but as new films do feature it’s worth considering that there were, as always, a number of notable releases this year that I’ve yet to see. Unsurprisingly — I mean, I only made three trips to the cinema and only saw seven 2010 films in total.

In my annual tradition, then, here’s an alphabetical list of 50 films — chosen for a variety of reasons, from box office success to critical acclaim via simple notoriety — that are listed as 2010 on IMDb and that I’ve not seen.

This year, I considered changing my remit to cover films released in the UK in 2010, for a more accurate account of what I might actually have seen. Using IMDb’s dates means various films fall through the cracks — foreign films that take time to get here usually, but also productions like Season of the Witch, which was made in 2009 but not released ’til early 2011. But I hate it when you see all of [X Year]’s Best Picture nominees turn up in an [X+1 Year]’s list of best films simply because over here they were released a couple of days into January instead a couple of days before it. IMDb’s year of production is, one might argue, as arbitrary a way of dividing them up as UK release date, but it does last longer in the consciousness — and it stops The Best Picture Of [X Year] turning up in a My Favourite Films Of [X+1 Year] list. I suppose I’m at a slight advantage though: by definition I don’t have to have seen these films, whereas a magazine / website / film review programme / blogger has to have had the chance to see something (and, obviously, to have used that chance) to put it in their year-end Top 10.

But hark at me, I’ve waffled on for an age about something fundamentally unimportant. Here’s the damn list.

127 Hours
4.3.2.1
The A-Team
Black Swan
Buried
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Clash of the Titans
Despicable Me
Easy A
Eat Pray Love
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The Expendables
The Fighter
Four Lions
The Ghost
(aka The Ghost Writer)
Green Zone
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Hot Tub Time Machine
How to Train Your Dragon
Iron Man 2
Jonah Hex
The Karate Kid
The King’s Speech
Knight and Day
The Last Airbender
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Let Me In
Machete
Monsters
Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
Piranha 3D
Predators
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Red
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Salt
Saw 3D
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Shrek Forever After
Shutter Island
The Social Network
Tangled
The Town
Tron: Legacy
True Grit
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Unstoppable
Vampires Suck
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Winter’s Bone


Still here?

That’s the end, then. And if you read it all, you encountered somewhere in the region of 78 films (slightly more if you followed the Lubitsch link). That was worth coming all the way down here for, wasn’t it?

Right, I’m off to watch some more films. I’ve got another 100 to get through you know.

And that’s the end of my repostathon, too!
The blog’s archive is now as up-to-date as it’s ever likely to be.