Hopefully you’ll start to see some decent films on the list today. Before that, I have the countdown so-far.

52. Raiders of the Lost Shark 51. Ibiza Undead 50. Fifty Shades Freed 49. Mom and Dad 48. CHIPS 47. Alien Covenant 46. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge 45. Killing Hasselhoff 44. The Man from U.N.C.L.E 43. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 42. Kingsman: The Golden Circle 41. Terminal 40. Fast and Furious 8 39. XXX: Return of Xander Cage 38. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 37. Geostorm 36. The Hurricane Heist 35. Life 34. Solo: A Star Wars Story 33. Dear Dictator 32. Suburbicon 31. The Lego Batman Movie 30. Final Score 29. Kong: Skull Island 28. The Monster Squad 27. Nanny McPhee 26. Super Troopers 2 25. Central Intelligence 24. Baywatch 23. The Hitman’s Bodyguard 22. Denial 21. The Mummy (2018)

We are now getting to the serious end of the countdown. I’m sure you’ll all be excited to see what has made it in to the top twenty. So read on and enjoy.

20. The Lady in the Van

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: Professor McGonagall slums it

I do love Maggie Smith and she is amazing in this, but equally, Alex Jennings is great as Alan Bennett. Both put in top quality performances, and the relationship between the two characters is lovely.

The film is exactly as it says above, about a lady in a van. Parked in Alan Bennett’s drive, the two form an unlikely friendship. A lovely film to watch and I would have no hesitation in recommending it.

19. The Bodyguard

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: Oh Frank, come and save me

Yes, I know I’ve been living under a rock for twenty five years. It’s just one of those films I never got round to seeing. Anyway, if you think that’s bad, wait till the top ten.

My wife has always gone on about The Bodyguard and I have just let it pass me by. Until one cold winters day last year, I spotted it whilst rummaging through the collection of DVDs. I figured it was about time.

Well Frank, played by Kevin Costner is amazing. He can be my bodyguard if I ever need one. Best part of the film, the part when they go to recruit him for the job, you are shown how qualified he is, by him throwing a couple of knives into a piece of wood. That’s it, your hired!

Overall a great film, real intensity, and the scene in the woods is amazing. Good quality 90s film.

18. The Greatest Showman

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: As subtle as a brick, but great

This film has become an unstoppable machine. The soundtrack spent 11 consecutive weeks at number 1 in the UK, they’ve now released a reimagined version with different artists singing the songs, and I have to admit, they are bloody good songs.

The film itself has been slightly divisive, with it maybe now being cool to dislike it. I did find it quite in your face, but that was the point. It doesn’t hold back and it doesn’t bring you down. Anytime it seems it might be getting too serious, hey let’s stick in another musical number. It’s a feel good film and if they had made a film based on people’s criticisms it would have been a disaster.

The film is historically inaccurate, but I’m glad about that. Barnum was an awful person, but the film would have been quite different if he was shouting at the performers to do their fucking job during one of the dance numbers. Also, Zac Efron’s character doesn’t exist, but who cares. There are times to be critical about historical inaccuracies, but this musical delight is not one those times.

17. Thor: Ragnarok

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: The Hunt for the Asgardpeople

This was the only Marvel film I watched last year. So those of you wondering where Avengers Infinity War is in my list can stop looking, I ain’t seen it.

Thor Ragnarok had my attention for one simple reason, Taika Waititi. The Man is a genius. What We Do In The Shadows and The Hunt For The Wilderpeople are amazing, Eagle vs Shark is good from memory, but unfortunately I haven’t seen Boy yet. He is a unique and fresh director and I was keen to see what he could do with a Marvel film. Well, a lot.

It’s funny, refreshing and exciting. There were parts I wasn’t entirely sure about due to having missed a lot of previous Marvel films, but it didn’t matter and it didn’t make you feel like an outsider.

Taika’s style is all over this and his new characters are brilliant. Jeff Goldblum steals the show as usual as the Grandmaster of the planet they’re on, only to be equalled by Taikas own character, the made of rock, Korg.

It does have the same generic Marvel storyline however, but hey, nobody’s perfect!

16. Darkest Hour

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: That nodding dog can give a speech

When I heard they were making a film about Churchill I thought great, that poor little nodding dog deserves his big break. Too much? Oh well.

I mentioned during The Greatest Showman about historical inaccuracies. Darkest Hour for the most part is pretty spot on, except for one minor detail. Lily James character Elizabeth Layton didn’t actually become Churchill’s secretary till a year after Dunkirk and the events of this film. I know it shouldn’t bother me, but it does.

Anyway, I thought the film was great. The relationship between Churchill and Layton was really interesting and probably very accurate for when they actually met. Okay I’ll let it go now.

Gary Oldman deservedly won the best actor Oscar and I can see why some people have said his performance was better than the film. I don’t necessarily agree. I was hooked on the film and it wasn’t just because of Oldman. I could have happily sat through a film that continued on through the entire war. Very engaging.

15. The Disaster Artist

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: Based on The Room, not Room. Very different films, with very different acting

This is by far the best film about making a film that I have never seen. I’ve seen clips of it and the Honest Trailer, which is enough to see how bad the film is.

So The Disaster Artist is the film about the making of The Room, a film written and directed by the mysterious Tommy Wiseau. This film however, is directed and starring James Franco. It’s a really interesting film and also quite funny. I’d thought about watching The Room and it’s become quite a cult classic with cinemas showing it at special screenings every year, but it was one of those films I never got round to watching. I have to say, now I’ve watched The Disaster Artist, I probably wouldn’t bother. I’m sure this is much better.

14. I Kill Giants

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: Please keep making films like this

This is a lovely film about Barbara, played by the talented Madison Wolfe, a troubled young girl who spends her spare time defending her town from an imminent invasion of giants.

It is a great film showing how people deal with difficult times in their lives. The film really caught me and had me in tears for a bit. These sort of films are sometimes hard to watch, especially when they can be so relatable. I absolutely loved it and I think it’s important that these sorts of films keep being made. It has come in under the radar, but I would recommend this to anyone who, for whatever reason, likes to escape into their own imagination.

13. Colossal

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: Godzilla couldn’t take this Monster

There are certain films I watch the trailer for or read about and I know instantly, ‘this is going to be my kind of film’, and Colossal comes under that bracket. This is an independent, sci-fi film that takes a well-known film scenario, in this case a monster attacking Seoul, and gives it an alternative twist.

I have a lot of love for this film. The film is funny, but deals with some serious issues, and is a fantasy film, but isn’t afraid to go dark. The relationship between the two main stars is complex and gripping, and not the kind of development you get to see in a lot of films these days. Full credit to Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis who were both great.

If you like this film, I’d also recommend Safety Not Guaranteed.

12. The Death Of Stalin

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: Ah, Russia

Armando Iannuci is the master writer and director of this amazingly funny take on the death of Stalin and the scramble to replace him.

I was impressed with how funny you can make such a scenario, but what really stunned me was how at one point in the film, it stops being a comedy for at least five minutes, which considering what’s happening at that point is well placed and quite brave.

This is a film that has made me look into the history of Russia at that time. It’s fantastic, it has a stellar cast and Jason Isaacs steals the film. Tinkety tonk old fruit, and down with the nazis.

11. Isle of Dogs

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Stars

Quick Verdict: What have they done to my birthplace

I watched Isle of Dogs at the brilliant Picturehouse cinema in Cambridge. For many years my wife has joked that I was born on the Isle Of Dogs. I was in fact born on the Isle of Sheppy but we have this going on. Wes Anderson is also a household favourite. The Life Aquatic is her favourite film and The Grand Budapest Hotel has to be in my top ten films. So it was a no brainier that we’d see this.

This is such a gorgeously shot film. You can really see the love and devotion that has gone into making it. It is full of the usual Wes Anderson style and dialogue, maybe not as mainstream as Fantastic Mr. Fox, but Wes doesn’t make films for the masses.

It’s the top 10 next week, but like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, I’m splitting the finale into 2 parts. 10-6 on Tuesday 29th Jan and 5-1 on Thursday 31st Jan. I’m ending the month the way I started it. Spoiler, we have more than one ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star film.

To be continued……

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