Here are my top 20 film or film moments. Thats not to say they’re the best films. Just my personal favorites. Enjoy!
Wow, I mean wow. I went to the cinema to see this in IMAX because I was told there was no other way to see it and my god. We needed time after the film to recover it was that intense. It features astronauts Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (played by George Clooney) and their efforts to return to earth after some debris crashes into their station. But, the debris is coming round again, limiting the time they have before they’re again bombarded. What a thrilling ride! I’ve never been as impacted by a film in the cinema before and it really uses the full potential of modern cinema. Not only does it have great visuals, but its writing is good, including one or two touching moments of character backstory that got a tear or two out of me. I’m hoping it can be as impactful on small screen as it was on the big screen so it can hold up.
That Scene in Up
I’m a sucker for sadness, and the first part of Up sure tugs at the heartstrings. This part of the film shows character Carl Fredricksen and his wife growing old together. And that’s just it: life. It shows normal things that happen to normal people: marriage, getting a house, picnics in the park, working life, planning for a child. But it also has a gritty reality to it. The wife finds out she can’t have children, the couple get tied down with the finances of life and don’t follow their dream and the wife dies at the end leaving the guy alone. It’s so beautiful and down to earth and it is all told in five minutes. In FIVE MINUTES you feel more for this character than you do for others which have had whole movies of development. This film, as all Disney, is aimed at children but it treats them like adults. It doesn’t hide away; it doesn’t cover it in rainbows. It tells it like it is and captures our attention. It’s a shame the rest of the film wasn’t as powerful and it makes me dislike the film for how gimmicky the rest of it is. There are a couple good bits, but the film started out so powerfully the other hour just can’t beat it.
As I said, I’m a sucker for sadness, and post-apocalyptic scenarios are in my opinion one of the best for storytelling. This film shows a father and son (played by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee) literally just named ‘man’ and ‘boy’. While we never find out these characters names, we easily get attached to them: which is a difficult thing to do. This film doesn’t hold the punches as we’re introduced the ideas of cannibalism, looting, suicide and the general struggle for survival. The happiest moment is when the pair find themselves some food, which brings the viewer into the post-apocalyptic experience. It would be horrible, and the movie wants us to know it. The father desperately wants to teach his son how to survive because he knows that one day he’ll die and leave the kid to survive alone. Beautiful, powerful and depressing as hell.
Some scenes from Wall-E
This film was a slight disappointment. It wasn’t bad particularly; I just wasn’t amazed by it. But I was amazed by certain scenes and aspects. Firstly, the use of the songs ‘Put on your Sunday Clothes’ and ‘It only takes a moment’, originally from the film ‘Hello, Dolly!’. The first not only sets the tone and slides us into the period of the backstory, but it also makes the first scene of the desolated planet very eerie. It assists the visuals in making an impact and brings home the message of taking care of the environment. We know the morale and it’s not even shown us anything: just played a song over images of a dusty planet. The second piece of music is how Wall-E learns how to show his affections towards EVA and it’s just so cute. The whole ‘courting’ scene where Wall-E looks after Eva is both sad and funny at the same time. It’s just all so… sweet. Adding to this pile of sweetness is the later scene ‘Define Dancing’. It begins as Wall-E being in danger as he flies out into space with a fire extinguisher as his only hope of steerage. It then turns into a slightly whimsical scene of what can be described as two robots dancing in space. It’s so cute, it’s sickening. And that’s why they’re on my top 20.
Image from: http://pingmag.jp/2008/11/04/blindness/
Yet another depressing post-apocalyptic film in which the whole world goes blind from the effects of a virus. It stars Julianne Moore, who just happens to not be effected, and a group of the first sufferers as they are shipped off to a quarantine serve-yourself facility. Here they are forced to adapt to their sudden blindness with no help from the outside. This is a brutal film, featuring the ideas of the power-hungry aspect of human nature, rape and the struggle of survival. My only problem with it is it kind of puts blind people in a bad light, while also showing their struggle. The only person in the film to have originally been blind is a dick, who joins the ‘bad guys’ who are essentially raping women. It actually got some bad press from the National Federation of the Blind, and they have a point. But, the movie wasn’t aiming to say blind people were bad, just that if the whole world was blind some people would obviously try and get out on top in times of disorganisation. While depressing, it has a good ending, a great cast and takes you for a good ride.
I love dogs, so that may have leverage over my judgement, but I love Bolt. It shows a dog with the entitled name (voiced by John Travolta) that is owned by a TV company. The dog believes he is really in the world of the spy movie they make and never sees real life. As implausible this is… run with it! One day he escapes and is suddenly landed in the real world. Stripped of his powers, he must try and get back to his owner, and co-star, Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). On the way he meets a cat called Mittens (voiced by Susie Essmen), who is great, and a gerbil (Mark Walton), who is less so. The dog and cat of this movie are wonderful and the interactions between these two characters travel us through. It’s amusing and we feel like we are journeying with Bolt, as he learns what the life is a real dog is. As well as touching scenes, it has nice action and humour. I’m not too keen on the TV show scenes at the start, but they’re not the focus of the movie. While enjoyable for a scene, I was very glad when it broke away. Overall, just a nice movie that reminds us of the good part of Miley Cyrus’ career.
I loved the Jim Carrey films of the nineties and early two thousands, such as The Mask, Liar Liar, and Bruce Almighty. So I was so glad to have another great movie in 2008, Yes Man. Based on the book by Danny Wallace, Yes Man shows Carl (Jim Carrey) who is challenged to say ‘yes’ to everything. And I mean everything. He gives all his money to the homeless, sits through a Harry Potter marathon and even has sexual favours from an old woman. Why would anyone ever do this? Well it seems the so-called ‘positive attitude to life brings good things Carl’s way, encouraging him to keep doing it. This might be a little bit silly in its premise, but the combination of a clever story and Jim Carrey’s acting style makes it work. It’s my kind of comedy, and really grounds the out-there humour to the character’s reality. Its more or less a romance-comedy, but not in the ways of a chick-flick. Its witty, colourful and makes you think about life.
The Mist: Especially the Ending to the Mist
I love the Mist. Based on a Stephen King short, The Mist is about a collection of people that get stuck in a super market when the town is suddenly shrouded in a mist full of monsters. Stephen King movies tend to be quite bad, but this is one of my favourites. The monsters have a presence, but the story is largely about the breakdown of human society, as the townsfolk get more and more absorbed by the teachings of Mrs Carmody (played by Marcia Gay Harden). She is fantastic. You really learn to hate her. In fact, this film is full of amazing actors that just aren’t in enough movies. Or always have small parts. You’ve got Thomas Jane, Laurie Holden (from The Walking Dead), Andre Braugher, the classic Toby Jones, William Sadler and plenty more. I mean how much better can you get? I’m so glad they didn’t go for big names or we would have been landed with Johnny Depp. After a story of suspense, scares and action we get to the ending. I’ve heard many responses to this ending and most seem to be just “no way”. In the book, they just kind of drive off into the mist, but the film version just blows you away.
The fourth Disney on my list probably tells you I’m a fan of animation, and in a way that’s true. But I don’t like Disney for the playful parts. I like it for the powerful moving scenes and themes. I know kids films have to have some kiddy moments, but I usually prefer without. That being said, I love every bit about Cars. It shows a world where… well, Cars are people. I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, It’s completely ridiculous but this is one movie where I don’t think about the science. Anyhow, it follows the story of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his journey to Radiator Springs. We hear the story about how the town used to be high flying, but since a highway was built passing the town no-one drove through anymore. With the lack of trade, businesses went down and now the town can barely survive. This part is done so beautifully and the whole film has this feel about it. I suppose the target market of little boys weren’t too impressed with the heart, which led to an awful spy-film sequal in Cars 2. But it’s the heart and soul of the first movie that caught and captured my attention. I loved the atmosphere and the life of these town characters. It connected me to my home: and I live far from route 66 in America.
It’s true; when I first watched this movie I hated it. It was confusing and hard to get back into if you weren’t paying attention. I had to re-watch it and accept the style of the film before I could enjoy it. Once you accept that these penguins’ lives are centralised through singing to each other: the film becomes quite beautiful. The visuals of this film are amazing. The animators have really captured the scenery of the Antarctic. The whole look of the film truly takes my breath away, and mixed with some of the music makes for an experience. Like Wall-E, it has a pollution message which is pretty in your face, and the story is quite simple. I guess it’s more the impact of the visuals and the unique direction that gets this movie to my top 20.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Disney really grabbed the pirate genre and brought it to the modern market. This was such a good film. It was action packed, creepy and everything you’d want in a kid-friendly adventure film. Though he is now over-used, Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow was fresh and exciting when it first came out. Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly and Geoffrey Rush also made a great top-cast. The super-natural aspects really added a buzz to this film and it was brilliantly built up to. Even the humour was funny and the comedy relief characters were not too over the top. I can’t really think of any faults to it. It was great to be a kid and grow up with these movies and they still hold up today.
This was a great movie with a great cast. It’s a romantic comedy type film that covers the lives of a large collection of people in a montage of the effects of love in our lives. This ranges from a cheating husband, to newly found love, to the nerves of asking someone out, to learning to move on from a lost love. This film has an unbelievable cast. Seriously, it’s got: Bill Nighy, Gregor Fisher, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kris Marshall, Martin Freeman, Keira Knightly, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson and even presenters Ant and Dec. And for the massive cast, the plot doesn’t suffer. Each story is wonderful and some even tie in together in a nice way. Its sweet, it’s cutesy and its quite funny too. I think it’s a film for everyone as quite a few guys I know like it too. It’s different from the general chick flick and the many-story approach keeps the plot fresh. To quote the film: It shows us that love, really is, all around.
Scenes from Lilo and Stitch
I love parts of this film. The bits with the aliens are ok, and the sub-plot about the aliens re-capturing Stitch is enjoyable, but it’s the development parts with characters Lilo and Stitch that get this into my top 20. Firstly, I love the opening: the part where we see Lilo. The song He Mele No Lilo plays over Lilo as she swims through the Hawaiian sea and as she rushes to class. This whole scene is the perfect introduction to the Hawaiian setting and it really makes me fall in love with Lilo. The other two scenes I like are less upbeat. One part where Stitch leaves the family to go find his parents is heart-breaking and the part when Lilo and her sister are sitting on the hammock singing Aloha-Oe Is so touching. These are the parts of Disney films I adore.
The Truman Show
Image from: http://toptenfilms.net/top-10-feel-good-movies/
The Truman show shows another more serious side of Jim Carrey’s acting. It’s an amazing film that makes you think. It follows Truman (played by Jim Carrey) who is stuck in a world he thinks is real, but it’s actually a TV show. Huh… reminds me of Bolt (this came first…). Anyway, Truman slowly finds out about his world as he notices inconsistencies and eventually has to face his fears in order to find the truth. It’s an impressive story, with great acting and its amusing when it needs to be.
Jurassic Park is wonderful. It has a few flaws, I guess… but it’s still brilliant. Its effects are better than some new films due to the use of puppets rather than pure animation. It still holds up despite being ten years old. The plot is simple, but enjoyable. The kids are a little annoying, but the other characters are fun. You’ve got to love Jeff Goldblum , Richard Attenborough, Sam Neil and Laura Dern in this. It used to scare the shit out of me: I would fear there would be velociraptors in my cupboard and it’s still scary now. It’s full of suspense, action, has wonderful visuals. It was also good on a director’s level. Jurassic Park is definitely a classic of cinema.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
My only problem with this film is I never know when to watch it. It’s too Christmassy for Halloween and it’s too scary for the spirit of Christmas. But beside that, I adore it. Tim Burton’s style is wonderful for this world and the stop motion animation is beautiful. Everything in this film is beautifully stylised and you love every kooky, haunting and strange creature. The story is about Jack (voiced by Danny Elfman), king of Halloween land, as he discovers who he is by attempting to take over Christmas. The story is simple, but effective. I just love everything about this movie and I can’t find a fault. I guess some may not enjoy the songs, but I even love those and they really add to the story.
Thor 2: The Loki Trick sequence
This film in general was great, but I chose the trick sequence in particular because it literally had me on the edge of my seat. I’m talking about the scene where Thor and Loki are on that dusty planet Svartalfheim and Loki does several tricks where you’re completely confused as to whether he has betrayed Thor or not. I won’t ruin the scene, but it was amazing. I was sitting forward thinking he’d betrayed him, and then relaxed realising he hadn’t, and then I was leaning back forward, then relax. I was like a yoyo! I rarely have reactions like that in the cinema. And that’s why it makes my top 20.
Screw the new ones; I’m talking about the 1972 version. It’s a beautiful tale, based on the book by E. B. White. The animation probably doesn’t hold up, but I adore it. It’s a real nostalgia fuel-fest for me, from the character voice to the songs. It’s a fun tale for kids and it follows the life of Wilbur as he learns that pigs are killed for meat. He desperately turns to a spider, Charlotte, who tries to help him save his life. This film has a classic story, cute animation and good old fashioned storytelling.
I’m still waiting for a sequel or prequel to this film. It had a unique style, comparison to other films of that time, as it started with a documentary-effect. We saw alien-slum in the middle of Johannesberg, with aliens nick-named ‘prawns’. The people wanted the aliens to leave and our main character Wikus is part of the government branch that aims to move the alien residents to a different area. Until he comes into contact with an alien chemical that have life-changing effects. This was something fresh that had a great story, filled with action and cool aliens. My only problem is it left on a cliff-hanger… and I’m still waiting for them to do something about it. Still, it’s an entertaining adventure.
Image from: http://www.avatarnation.net/
This gets on the list, less for its story but for its experience. Avatar really showed us what cinema, at the time, could do. It was brilliantly coloured and dazzled us with its effects. So what if the plot was a re-hash of Pocahontas? So what if the ecosystem didn’t make any sense. It was beautiful and impressive. And it was an enjoyable story, even if it got a lot of negative feedback. With Avatar 2 and 3 coming soon, can they improve and keep up to date with modern cinema technology? We’ll see.