Thursday, 12 January 2012

All Time Top 20 Films

Any list like this will never be perfect or final, but here's an attempt at my possible top 20 films. I've tried to go with films that are close to my heart, films that I've grown up with and the ones that blew me away at the time.

I have a bad habit of saying a film is a top 100, or 'a top 10 of this genre', and people always say 'there must be hundreds of films in your top 10'. So, I decided to give it a go and put them down on paper (or blog space). This is quite a 'geeky' list...

20. Toy Story

The original feature length, fully CG animated film and in my opinion it's still the best! Pixar at their very best, funny, touching and inspiring. I could watch this every week.

19. Stand By Me

I think it captures childhood and friendship in a lovingly told tale, kinda like a darker more serious companion piece to 'The Goonies'.

18. Labyrinth

Don't judge me! I grew up on this film; I love the tunes, I love Bowie, I love the puppet work and sets. As soon as I hear the music at the start of the film, along with that badly computer generated owl I'm hooked in.

17. Akira

I have Akira on my list because it was one of the first animated films to truly disturb me in a way I didn't think possible with animation. Cerebral and weird, it’s like the 2001 of anime. It also was the film that properly got me into Anime.

16. The Lost Boys

Yeah, ‘Lost Boys’ is in my top 20. I think this film actually looks great, yeah it‘s pretty cheesy, but it works and it‘s got that certain something that makes it timeless. But, I mostly hold this film so close because I grew up with it.

15. Ghostbusters

A great cast, loads of fun and laughs. Great writing, and Bill Murray at his best!

14. Amelie

Amelie is a brilliant feel good movie, that I find pretty magical and stunning to look at.

13. Back To The Future

80's were the best years in film for me. Adventures don't get much better really.

12. Survive Style 5

Quirky, colourful, surreal, dreamy and utterly bonkers.

11. Pulp Fiction

I’d go as far to say that this is probably the best written film of all time, the dialog is fresh, sharp and clever. Tarantino also gets great things from all of his cast, he directs with effortless style and energy. Pulp Fiction is one of my favourite films because for me, it was definitely a life-changing experience.

10. House of Flying Daggers

I'm a big Martial Arts movie fan, it was hard picking my favourite. HOFD is visually stunning, the story is solid and the action is breathtaking.

9. Spirited Away

Ghibli’s masterpiece is beautiful, weird and wonderful. Breathtaking animation, a magical story and incredible attention to detail. A great achievement.

8. 2001

A work of timeless art, 2001 is an audio/visual masterpiece and mind pummelling trippy. You don't exactly 'enjoy' it, it's more like an experience. It’s all in the painstaking attention to detail and photography with Kubrick, on a technical level the best director of all time imo. 

7. The Thing

John Carpenter’s atmospheric masterpiece makes my top 10 list because it’s psychological enough to please intellectual fans of the genre and splashes sufficient gore around to satisfy the rest. The traditional special effects are still amazing today and Carpenter's trademark music compliments the themes of isolation.

6. Leon

Leon works on many levels; there’s moments of intimate, tender drama, thrilling action, playful humour and gritty suspense. Reno is subtle and emotive in the lead, Portman shows fantastic talent for her years and Oldman’s over-the-top, scene stealing villain sets the screen on fire. A near perfect movie.

5. Goonies

I love an adventure, this sums up being a kid for me really. I watch The Goonies when I feel down, I watch it when I'm feeling nostalgic, I watch it at Christmas, and I might go watch it now...

4. Alien

A slow-burning, skillful and atmospheric tension builder. Subtle acting from the entire cast, and spectacular set design make the science-fiction believable. Genre defining and the best of its type.

3. Empire strikes back

I love Star Wars, I grew up on it. Empire is by far the best film in the series; a timeless masterpiece that surpasses the original in every way. It's a benchmark in visual and audio effects and it has some of the most iconic scenes in cinema history! I only have to hear that first bar of music from the theme and I'm a little kid again. Oh, and Luke training with Yoda on Dagobah is one of the greatest moments in film for me.

2. Oldboy

Korean revenge film 'Oldboy is a visceral and unforgettable experience that drags you into its dark world. An intriguing and twisting story, with superbly dynamic acting from Min-sik Choi. It looks outstanding, with excellent photography, flawless direction and brutally stunning choreography. Needs to be seen really.

1. Blade Runner

A visionary dystopian future, Blade Runner has actually got better with age! Skillfully paced, grand set and costume design, excellent music and truly great acting from Hauer and Ford. On a technical and artistic level Ridley Scott's film is arguably only surpassed by the best of Kubrick's work. But this bags my top spot!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Geek Parenting #1: Toy Story

Every parent of a toddler knows that most pre-school toys are rubbish; they're noisy and annoying, and you can never find the off button when you accidentally set them off! We will stand on AWOL toy shrapnel with our bare feet when going for a midnight zombie-walk to the toilet on a weekly can be a war zone!

Anyway, my little girl recently got two MASSIVE tubs of Duplo bricks from her grandparents (for anyone that doesn't know what Duplo is, it's basically big Lego), she literally got enough to make Duplo world! Finally, cool kiddie toys! So, like any respectable father I decided to test exactly how much Duplo we had and I built a tower in the living-room. I made it wide enough to fit several of her dolls inside, and it touched the ceiling in height. I was ready to take it outside and keep going, we had a lot of wife made me take it down before it fell over and killed the cat.

Lydia's idea of playing with her tubs of Duplo is to simply tip them all over the floor, both tubs, everywhere! I needed to guide my young padawan, teach her the art of the Duplo. But how? Well, she always points at my G1 Optimus Prime and goes 'Chooo chooo!', she thinks it's a train (awww), and she wants to play with him (not happening!). She's managed to pick it up just once, before I freaked out and quickly saved him from this mini Terminator. Knowing she loved my Autobot so much I decided we would make a giant Transformer with the Duplo bricks!

We used almost all of the red and blue Duplo to construct Optimus, and he took two attempts to build. The first attempt was smashed into several parts by Lydia playing Godzilla with a cushion, laughing her evil laugh as she watched me in slow motion; "NOOOOOOOOOOO!"...WHACK!

Lydia still pours the bricks everywhere. She started pointing at my R2D2 plush and saying; 'TOO DEE TOO!", did we make him with the duplo? No, I just give him to her;