Tuesday 19 May 2009

Top 50 Favourite Movies Ever - Part 3...

Read Part One here:
Read Part Two here:

Again, like in Part Two, I'll be covering this 'ten block' in alphabetical order.

Top 50: #31-40

* 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968):
I originally saw it when I was a teenager, I liked it and respected it, but perhaps it was a bit before my time. Then a while ago I got the Kubrick 10-disc DVD boxset, and spent quite some time enjoying an overdose of one of cinema's most engaging and awe-inspiring directors ever. Seeing it only for the second time, about a decade after first seeing it, I found myself transfixed, dumb-struck and fascinated all at the same time - suddenly, 2001 really clicked with me - like I said, I think it was a bit before my time when I first watched it. Technically the film is a marvel, visually it is stunning, and thematically it's deeply intriguing.

* Batteries Not Included
This is one of my early childhood classics and one of my fondest movie memories from more innocent times, and one which (like other childhood favourites) I would watch over-and-over again on my videotaped copy. What is not there for a kid to love? It's packed with cute robots getting up to all sorts ... plus I was captivated as a child by the architecture of the old, crumbling building (when I was a kid I wanted to be an Architect when I grew up) and indeed, the inferno which destroys the building was of particular fascination. As a keen drawer as a kid (and until filmmaking really took over my creative time) I would produce multiple drawings of that kind of building burning down ... perhaps that sounds a bit dodgy, but it was just a childhood fascination with things being destroyed, as well as the rustic look of the place itself. Indeed, the whole part where the building burns down - as an action set-piece you might say - fascinated me as a kid. The tense build up, the danger, the desperate need to escape, the spectacle of the raging inferno and then the Phoenix-from-the-ashes revival. These days whenever I see a clip on TV I'll quickly find myself become transfixed by it all over again, finding it hard to pull myself away - an overload of nostalgia.

* Brokeback Mountain
I may have only seen it once, but it left a definite impression on me - that final melancholly shot encapsulating perfectly how and why this film was so good. Mind you, I had to wait a while until I saw it, due to the sheer volume of hype and mockery surrounding it (heck, even I produced a Brokeback style trailer for Gary Ugarek's Deadlands: The Rising before seeing Ang Lee's film). The cinematography is incredible, the frame capturing paintings rather than images. The plot is enthralling and emotional, the direction poetic, the performances open, honest and naked. It's a wonderful love story - and the fact that it's about two cowboys has nothing to do with it - it's just a love story. File this entry under the softer side of my persona.

* The 'Burbs (1989):

Yet another childhood favourite, and yet another which endured countless viewings by my young self on videotape ... and yes, another favourite involving a spectacular inferno which lays waste dramatically to an architecturally engaging house. What's more, I could perhaps trace my love of the horror genre way back to this movie, which involves horror elements - and indeed I was stunned by the clip a chainsaw-wielding maniac bursting through a wall (I would much later, when I finally saw it, make the connection that it was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 - one of my favourite horror movies). The movie is filled with classic comedy lines (which I enjoy referencing with fellow 'Burbs-mad friends) and is simply so much fun to watch.

* Critters
During my early horror-viewing years (after years of taking sneaky peeks at the horror section in my local videoshop, drooling over the lurid cover art), I got to see this cheeky little horror comedy (which, yes, involves another impressive scene of house destruction). It was one of the earliest horror franchises I got into and, again, it's just a lot of fun to watch and has over the years become one of my nostalgic favourites.

* The Devil's Rejects
I've always been a Rob Zombie fan, and have thoroughly enjoyed all his movies, but it is this one which has most impressed me. Unlike many of the post-millennial pretenders, this flick really feels like a down and dirty, sleazy 1970s, balls-out, punch-in-the-face horror movie. A horror movie which is really horror. The opening siege is brilliantly put together, the cast of undesirable leads are blackly-comic and instantly iconic, the horror is gritty, nasty and serious and the DVD features the best and most in-depth 'making-of' I have ever seen (at the time of writing I am still yet to see the epic four-hour doc for Zombie's Halloween). Quite possibly the best post-2000 horror flick, and undeniably one of the best horror movies of all time.

* The Matrix (1999):
I remember going to my local independent cinema with my Dad, right in my mid-teens, to see this movie, which I had been getting increasingly excited about. That year, this was the movie you simply had to see, and it didn't disappoint. I fondly remember sitting in the theatre staring gob-smacked at the screen, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing at the time, and it is also one of the many times I went to the cinema, just my Dad and I, that I remember fondly. Watershed movie-making, regardless of the wobbly sequels (which, action-wise, still left me head-spun in the cinema a few years later).

* Escape From New York (1981):
Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken - one of his greatest roles, if not his greatest role - directed by John Carpenter when he was at the height of his game, and featuring a classic Carpenter score (like the equally superb scores for Halloween, The Fog, They Live, and Assault on Precinct 13). When I first saw it I wasn't especially impressed, but I didn't hate it ... but again, like with 2001, I guess it was just a bit before my time, and I quickly grew to love and admire this slice of expertly realised dystopian future adventure.

* Screamers
This was one of my favourites during my teenage years. It had "the dude from RoboCop", a dystopian future setting, and blood-seeking killer robots. I haven't watched it in a good while, but I saw a clip recently and it still holds great interest to me - and indeed now possesses the nostalgia factor. It's kind of hard to explain why I like it so much, but I do ... let's leave it there.

* Sin City
I love Rodriguez movies (well, not those kiddy ones he did), and Sin City is one of his which I love the most. Great source material, great style, great execution, and just a really wild, fun ride throughout. It's a little bit sleazy, a little bit tough, and bloody enjoyable.

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