Now some of you may see this post as a cheat, and you’d be absolutely correct. It is just all of the 52 films I watched for the first time last year in one list, but I have a full time job and sometimes I just need to recycle stuff.
Anyway, here with additional witty comments, is the directors cut of my list.
52 – Raiders of the Lost Shark
Quick Verdict: Don’t let the cover fool you.
This has to be the most exciting poster for a shark film in a long time. Let’s see, we have a jet ski, a woman being towed with a stick of dynamite, 2 helicopters and an exploding seaplane. Well I’m sorry to disappoint you but none of that is in the film. What you are subject to is a student made, badly acted, badly shot, badly written mess of a film. I can forgive the terrible effects due to budget constraints, but if you’re going to call your film Raiders of the Lost Shark, at least give us something that you can sink your teeth into. Pun intended!
I do think people should check this out to see how bad it is. It has a flying fucking shark in it!
51. Ibiza Undead (Zombie Spring Breakers)
Quick Verdict: Kevin and Perry and Zombies (but less fun)
I wanted this film to be The Inbetweeners meets Shaun of the Dead. Yes I was aiming that high. Needless to say, I was disappointed. The stereotypical characters were mostly annoying and I really didn’t care when some met there end. Emily Atack is the best actor of the bunch of holiday makers, but is underused and Matt King (Super Han’s) is doing the best he can with what is an underwhelming plot.
Only plus I can think is the make up team did a great job on the zombies.
It really should have been better, but I was rooting for the zombies.
50. Fifty Shades Freed
Quick Verdict: I can’t believe she married him
The tag line is ‘Don’t miss the climax’. Will I bloody did. Anyway, enough silly puns. Let’s play ‘Fifty Shades Bingo’.
1. Creepy starring ✔️
2. Christian having sex with his trousers (pants) still on. Let me see that bum ✔️
3. Christian being an unreasonable asshole ✔️
4. Extensive shots of clamping ✔️
5. Anastasia has her breasts out during a serious conversation ✔️
Okay, he’s creepy and controlling and an asshole, right? Just checking. So I did enjoy the game of bingo and the out loud laughing at the plot, but it is terrible.
I really am ashamed to have sat through all three of these awful films.
49. Mom and Dad
Quick Verdict: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
I started writing this countdown back in November thinking I wouldn’t watch a film as bad as my bottom ten. How wrong was I? This film is bad, so bad I’ve had to shoe horn it into number 49 on the list. It really doesn’t know what it wants to be and because of this, for me, it really doesn’t work.
It starts with a cool credit sequence and that’s possibly the best part. The credits, however, are a red-herring, and give you an expectation of the film that never comes to fruition. The film itself doesn’t know if it’s a comedy gore or a serious horror. Unfortunately, it’s stuck in the middle of both and becomes an awkward, uncomfortable watch. They were unsure of the theme to the extent they wouldn’t show the murder of children, under a certain age, but didn’t then fall back to a more suspense horror theme that would have at least put you on the edge of your seat. I was on the edge of my seat, but that was just waiting for the end credits, so I could get up and leave. The film was quite short, thankfully, and still manages to have several pointless flashback scenes. How cares that Nic Cage got angry when he wasted his money on a pool table, it adds nothing.
The nicest thing I can say about this film is that Nic Cage going full crazy was fun, but nothing you haven’t seen before. This film comes under the category – Just because you can make a film, doesn’t mean you should.
I stand by my last line here. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Quick Verdict: I really wanted to like it
I love Michael Pena and I really like Dax Shepard, but something just didn’t click for me. Now I know I’m not too old for dick jokes, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood when I watched it.
Gives the food chips a bad name.
47. Alien: Covenant
Quick Verdict: It’s as bad as they say
It’s hard to believe that we have five films in this list before Alien Covenant, but it happened. That just shows how bad the others are. Mark Kermode was very upset about this film and how close it comes to ruining the original for everyone. He is spot on.
I was a big fan of Prometheus and was keen to see how Dr Shaw and David would develop but I just wish I hadn’t seen it. If someone could erase this film from my memory, please get in contact.
Just no, really really, no.
46. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (Dead Men Tell No Tales)
Quick Verdict: Not the worst, but that doesn’t say much
This is the fifth entry the very very very long running Pirates saga, and like the third and fourth one, the only positive I can say, is it’s not as bad as the second one. Don’t get me started on that spinning wheel scene. Anyway, that’s still not a recommendation. Wait, I have found another positive. It’s got the shortest running time of the franchise.
So, it’s very much like any previous entry. We’re treated to some backstory, in the form of some creepy looking young Johnny Depp. They’ve replaced Keira and Orlando with younger and just as boring characters, Johnny Depp is his usual zany self, somethings missing, or they’re looking for something, I’m not sure. They sail, they blow up things and everyone lives happily ever after until the next time they need a bit of cash.
Captain Jack should have retired after the first film.
45. Killing Hasselhoff
Quick Verdict: Hollywood, we’re out of ideas
This film is crazy. We have some great comedic stars doing what then can, the Hoff is his usual grand persona, but it is just crazy and just a mess.
It’s a shame and I do sometimes think I’m a bit harsh on films like this, and the budget and restraints that film studios put on films wouldn’t have help. Unfortunately, it just didn’t land for me.
Killing Hasselhoff, boring me.
44. The Man From U.N.C.L.E
Quick Verdict: Get the TV boxset ready
It took four viewings to get through this film. My wife gave up after the first break, the dialogue was making her angry. I struggled through and to be fair enjoyed the odd part, but let’s face it, that isn’t a recommendation. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are two great actors who are just bad. Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki are by far the better characters but due to the film title are majorly underused. With this and the dreadful King Arthur, can Guy Ritche make good films anymore? I am worried for Aladdin.
The Man From oh dear.
43. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Quick Verdict: It’s no Secret of the Ooze
If I’m honest I had to read up on the film to remember what happened. I watched it about eleven months ago and should have done a write up straight away. The only review I can write is that it is mostly forgettable explosions, running, jumping, sliding and nonsense dialogue. The main villain is around for five minutes and has no time to make an impact, Megan Fox proves once again she can’t act, and to be honest I didn’t expect anything better than this from Michael Bay’s production company.
Turtles jump and spin a lot.
42. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Quick Verdict: Louder, but not better
Okay I have big issues with this film, but I’ll start with the positives. Elton John was good.
Right, that’s the positives done. Just what is going on? Mark Kermode said it best about this sequel when he remarked ‘all the things that bothered me in the first film were amplified, and the things that I liked about the first film just seemed to have disappeared into the ether.’ So, I’ll steer away from the ramped up vulgar stuff and focus on plot, casting and the ridiculous action.
I think the plot has the first film to blame. The first film had such a grand plot, with such epic development and consequences, that they needed to go bigger. This was a bit of an alarm bell before I watched it, and in terms of the ridiculous action I had already thought they would just go into the realms of insane. The film starts with a taxi ride, Taron and villain jumping in and out of a speeding car with no sense of jeopardy or thought that they might injure themselves. This is a theme throughout the film, no one looks like they are in any danger, as they are simply in some choregraphed dance routine that happens to involve a bit of fighting. Yes, it worked in the first film on those couple of occasions, but that doesn’t mean we need to see it every five minutes and ramped up to eleven.
Now my biggest problem with the film is Colin Firth. He was a great character in the first film and everyone was shocked that he was killed off, but that doesn’t mean you need to bring him back from the dead with some stupid technology that null and voids any death from now on. Story wise, Taron had already got a work partner in the Sophie Cookson, oh wait, no she’s blown up five minutes in. Why kill off a potential female lead who had already been established, and who was a rarity in the female film characters by not being attracted to the male lead and replace her with a crap version of a character people liked in the last film. He doesn’t know who he is for most of the film, and even when he does return, it then becomes, oh well we’ve seen all this before. Yes, but this time it’s ramped up to eleven!
An inferior film to the original in every single way.
Quick Verdict: Look Mike Myers is dressed up, that’s funny
It’s hard to know where to start with this film. Well I only just realised the film was advertised as a revenge. Serves me right for not looking at the film poster beforehand. I just spent a lot of time watching this thinking, I have no idea what is going on and where is this leading. It wants to be a cross between Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sin City and Super Mario Bros: The Movie. Okay, maybe not the last one, but it does have that look. We’re treated to long monologues that don’t seem natural, big coincidences and characters who turn out to be pointless. Now I don’t mind the pointless character if it helps move the story along, but it just held it up, the film really could have been over in ten minutes. Then the final nail in this film is the two characters holding people up, I was convinced that was going to lead somewhere, even in the final shot I thought this is it, then the credits roll. Oh, what a waste of Neville Longbottom and Shaun.
40. Fast and Furious 8 (The Fate of the Furious)
Quick Verdict: It’s bigger, but let’s face it, we knew that was going to be the case.
I have many issues with this film franchise, but none are enough to stop me watching the latest instalment. We have explosions, Vin grumbling, The Rock being The Rock, Statham being Statham and some new villain who will no doubt become part of the gang in the next film. It’s the usual stuff with everything being just slightly bigger than before.
I can’t decide my favourite ridiculous part of this film. It’s between hundreds of cars being driven out of 10 storey buildings or The Rock changing the direction of a missile by simply pushing it. Genius!
Anyway, I’m looking forward to Statham and The Rock vs Idris in 2019.
Hobbs and Shaw trailer has now been released and it looks amazing. Not a grumbling Vin in sight.
39. XXX: Return of Xander Cage
Quick Verdict: EXTREME!
It’s a grumbling Vin double-bill. This one is slightly higher as he seems to know not to take this one so seriously, and is more enjoyable for it. Which is also quite strange as they try their hardest to turn this into a Fast and Furious franchise by getting together a team who I’m pretty sure are referred to as ‘a family’ by the end of the film. Ruby Rose and Tony Jaa are by far the best additions to the cast and in general, just like the Fast and Furious, the supporting cast are more interesting than our lead protagonist, grumbling Vin. We have plenty of explosions, a ridiculous plot and a cameo from Neymar Jr, what more could you want?
‘This is my new family,’ said grumbling Vin after seeing the reactions to the Hobbs and Shaw film were so positive.
38. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Quick Verdict: Do we need to find them?
This takes us to the Wizarding World before the days of Harry Potter or even Voldemort, and I must ask, why? I just didn’t have the same excitement as I would have if we revisited any of the original characters. I know the next instalment has Dumbledore in, but I’m still not sure that would be enough.
Unfortunately for me, the film is quite flat, and I have a couple of theories as to why. Harry Potter’s later, darker films were the result of previous more family friendly films. This is also where we got to love and care for these characters. Fantastic Beasts, however, sticks us into the same darker style of the later films and gives us no time to care for these new characters, before the serious stuff happens. The other reason is because we all know what we are going to get. J K Rowling has now taken on screenplay duties and David Yates (director of Harry Potter 5-8) is still directing. My answer is to let someone else in. Maybe have Rowling collaborate with someone, and I’m sorry, David Yates needs to go. Do you remember how excited we were when the Prisoner of Azkaban came out? It was fresh and original, that’s what this franchise needs, new blood.
Fantastic beasts, su-par plot.
Quick Verdict: You never forget your first Geostorm
Is Gerard Butler convincing as the creator of a global climate control system consisting of an elaborate network of satellites known as ‘Dutch Boy’? I think the only part of that which is slightly believable is that he named the system.
This is your typical disaster film with the usual, I’m going to run away from this earthquake, lightning and whatever else you can run away from. Gerard growls when he talks, unlike Vin grumbling, I think he may still have some residual bourbon and bad choices leftover from London has Fallen. The plot is as ridiculous as you might expect, and if you switch your brain off, there’s enough going on to enjoy the film.
Gerard saves the day with weather.
36. The Hurricane Heist
Quick Verdict: The Hurricane and the Furious
Those of you who have seen the 1998 film Hard Rain may see some similarities. Both have a natural disaster happening around a heist. For me Hard Rain is the better film, but The Hurricane Heist has its moments.
Maggie Grace is good, and it’s nice to see a female lead stand on her own with a male co-star who isn’t a love interest. It’s not ground-breaking but an enjoyable 1h45.
Maggie saves the day in bad weather.
Quick Verdict: Alien 7
Life is nothing new. Done!
Okay a little more detail. It’s like Alien, Event Horizon and Prometheus mixed into one, just not as good.
Ryan Reynolds plays Ryan Reynolds.
34. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Quick Verdict: An underwhelming story
A Star Wars story that most people didn’t really want, and with good reason. Hopefully after this less than exciting instalment, Disney will think twice before making another Star Wars story about a much-beloved character.
Unfortunately this film falls flat with it’s story. It’s fine, but when you are dealing with one of the worlds most famous fictional characters, it has to be much better than fine. It also makes the mistake of taking a already underwhelming film and then trying to fit in some kind of set up for future films. No Disney! I’m not a mad Star Wars fanatic that can’t cope with the fact Star Wars is continuing on and it’s not how I want it. It would be a boring world if a film came out and it was exactly what you thought it would be. They just need to take their time and come up with decent stories worth telling. Better luck next time.
Solo begins to look like a bad idea.
33. Dear Dictator
Quick Verdict: 10 things I hate about dictators
Michael Caine, the man who won’t turn down a role, becomes a dictator pen-pal with an angry American teen.
Taking inspiration from Mean Girls, Clueless and Easy A, this is a film that has a slightly different twist on the teen movie genre. It’s an easy watch, but I did start to feel a bit old as Katie Holmes is playing the mum. How did that happen? Well I suppose she was nearly thirty when Dawson’s Creek finished!
After all these years she’s still Joey from the Creek.
Quick Verdict: Not what you expect
I really like George Clooney as a director. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was really good. This however just didn’t really work and was frustrating, as the neighbour sub plot was more interesting and would have made a much better film.
Matt Damon and Julianne Moore did a great job but their characters were terrible. Oscar Isaac is well underused and it just ended up feeling like a poor version of Fargo.
Hey everyone, there’s a better film going on over the fence.
31. The Lego Batman Movie
Quick Verdict: Too much Batman
Remember when Friends ended and they made a Joey spin-off and it was just too much Joey? Remember when The Rock was in The Mummy as The Scorpion King (and was an awful CGI scorpion. I mean really bad) and they decided to make a spin-off called The Scorpion King and it sucked? Well now they’ve made a spin-off from The Lego Movie based on the Batman character, and guess what? It sucks.
That is quite a harsh review considering I put it high up in the ranking of 2 star films. I think I was just annoyed with the Batman character. The supporting characters are great. Robin made me laugh several times and Zach Galifianakis did a great job in the iconic Joker role.
Any chance of less Batman in this film?
30. Final Score
Quick Verdict: Bautista’s a bloody good striker
So who’s up for Die Hard at the football stadium? Well that’s what you’ll get if you watch Final Score. Set at Upton Park, where they filmed after West Ham left the stadium for the Olympic Stadium, Dave Bautista is your John McClane character who gets entangled in the middle of a hunt for a thought dead Dictator, played by Pierce Brosnan. This all takes place during the UEFA semi final.
We have hand-to-hand combat, graphic deaths, explosions, gun fights and death defying jumps. What more could you want? I’ve said this a lot in this countdown, but switch your brain off and enjoy the ride.
I did find it funny how they had a full on gun fight and a motorbike driving along the roof of the stadium and not one spectator noticed. Brilliant!
I can’t tell you what the final score is.
29. Kong: Skull Island
Quick Verdict: Kong goes to Nam
King Skull Island, what to say about this? King Kong’s on his Island, he has lots of beasts to fight, and someone has taken a Vietnam inspired film crew to capture this film. That’s what I took from it.
It’s okay, I didn’t hate it, and I just went along with it. John C. Reilly does however feel like he’s in a different film. I get the comic relief character, he just seemed to be the only one who knew you could laugh.
Visually it does look great and I did enjoy the style of the film, my main gripe was the little nods to a bigger universe. Something that bugs me with lots of films. It can be part of something bigger, but you don’t have to shove it down our throats. Please wait for the post credits scene people.
At home with Kong, a new TV show.
28. The Monster Squad
Quick Verdict: The Monster Goonibusters
This was the first film I watched in 2018 and what a fun start. My friend loved this film growing up and this has been one he had told me to watch for some time. The problem I have with recommendations like this is the fact that they were aged 10 when they saw it for the first time, and this love comes from a certain amount of sentimental and nostalgic fondness. The previous year was the first time I watched Labyrinth, I liked it, but was convinced that if I’d seen it as a child I would have loved it, and still had that love as a grown up.
So, The Monster Squad is best described as The Goonies meets The Lost Boys on a slightly lower budget. Wow, I think my friend will disown me for that sentence. Obviously The Lost Boys came out in the same year as The Monster Squad, so I’ll put that down to a coincidence, but it definitely takes a lot from The Goonies. It’s a fun film that builds on the young gang of kids saving the day routine, and adds a bit of edginess to stand it apart from the rest.
The Goonie Squad, no, The Monster Goons, no, Monster Goonies never say die.
27. Nanny McPhee
Quick Verdict: Mary McPoppin
Sometimes you just want to sit in front of the TV on a Saturday afternoon and watch the film that’s on the telly. That’s what happened with Nanny McPhee. It’s an absolutely charming family film, with magic and fun that will melt even the hardest of hearts.
It’s also got that kid from Love Actually in it, but this time he’s Colin Firth’s child. He is lot less annoying in this, which is ironic as his characters main trait is annoying all the nannies.
Hulk Hogan wasn’t available
26. Super Troopers 2
Quick Verdict: Meow it’s quite good
Meow this probably isn’t many people’s cup of tea. My wife hated the first one, and unless you liked the original, you probably wouldn’t seek this out.
Super Troopers 2 is more of the same from the Broken Lizard gang. A crowd funded sequel that has sex, drugs, general fucking around and a surprising amount of cameos.
If you’ve watched Super Troopers, Beerfest, Club Dread or The Slammin’ Salmon and liked any of them, give this a go. If not move on to the next film.
Anyone seen Fred Savage after this film? Only asking.
25. Central Intelligence
Quick Verdict: Fun at the CIA
The next film is the beginning of a Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson double-bill. Teaming up with the high school jock, played by Kevin Hart, The Rock is a C.I.A. operative who’s crazy as fuck and loves to play spy.
This is another one of those ‘switch off and go along for the ride’ films. They did seem to entertain me last year. It doesn’t take itself seriously, the plot doesn’t really matter and all you really want is to see The Rock do some crazy shit and look cool doing it. If that’s what you want, this film is a must.
It’s a ridiculous film, but funny.
Quick Verdict: Life’s a beach
The second of The Rock films is the hilarious and ridiculous Baywatch. Loosely based on the TV series. Actually that’s unfair, it’s closely based on the TV series, it’s just an extra level of stupid and has swearing and more skin on show. I know, how is that possible? It is however, done as a joke in itself and takes fun of the TV series slow-mo running to comical effect.
I went into this with really really low expectations. The reviews had been mixed and with having recently watched CHIPS at this point last year, I thought it would follow that trend. Thankfully I was mistaken and thoroughly enjoyed it.
It’s a ridiculous film, but funny. I’ve heard that before.
23. The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Quick Verdict: Deadpool’s day job
And I will always love Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Mother Fucking Jackson. Sorry, I went a bit Whitney there.
A bodyguard hired to watch over a hitman. Simple! It’s two hours of switching off your brain and laughing at two great actors. I think it was a risk to put two such big personalities together and at points it was close to becoming too much, but on the whole they worked great together. For me Salma Hayek steals the show. She’s great and someone I definitely wouldn’t mess with.
So if want a bit of fun, this is for you. Unless you find Ryan annoying. It’s a lot of Ryan if you’re not a fan.
I do love the poster.
Quick Verdict: An important film
Next is quite a change of pace. Denial is the true story of a holocaust denier, who attempts to sue Deborah Lipstadt for libel. She then has to prove in court that the holocaust did happen.
This is a really interesting and engaging film, and amazing that this actually happened. It is also a fascinating look into the British justice system.
Not a film to watch for something to cheer you up, but a really important film and one that needed to be be told. It was nominated for Outstanding British film at the BAFTAs but lost out to I. Daniel Blake in 2017. In a different year I think it would have won it.
Not sure a witty comment is appropriate.
21. The Mummy
Quick Verdict: A Mummy surprise
Brendan Fraser has left the building, please step forward Tom Cruise. What could go wrong with this new take / maybe connected version of The Mummy? Well a lot of people didn’t like it, they thought it was boring. I thought it was absolutely fine.
This does do the thing I’ve moaned about a lot, setting up for the future, but I thought they did a great job moving the genre into the 21st century. The action was good, Jake Johnson was a worthy sidekick and I actually liked seeing Tom Cruise as a bit of a dick and not the 100% American hero we usually get.
As I mentioned just above, it did the setting up for the future. I think if they hadn’t spent so much time on that, they could put more into the story and it might have gone down better with audiences. Now we know the universe is pretty much dead and buried and we’ll never see what happens next.
One last time. HOLLYWOOD, STOP SETTING UP UNIVERSES AND CONCENTRATE ON JUST PUTTING A GOOD FILM OUT. THEN LOOK AT ADDING TO THE FRANCHISE IF IT IS SUCCESSFUL. Was that loud enough?
I’ll be waiting for that sequel. Might be a while.
20. The Lady in the Van
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.
The timeless tale. Lady parks van, annoys neighbours, one takes her in but on her drive, and they all live happily ever after.
19. The Bodyguard
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.
I think I could be a bodyguard.
18. The Greatest Showman
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.
I’m pretty sure I know all the songs word for word now.
17. Thor: Ragnarok
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!
I’d happily let this be the last Marvel film I watch. I can’t imagine they could be better than this.
16. Darkest Hour
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.
Oh no no no no no no no.
15. The Disaster Artist
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.
‘Oh, hi Mark.’
14. I Kill Giants
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.
Bridge to Terabithia meets A Monster Calls. Bit cheerier though.
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.
Like an independent Godzilla.
12. The Death Of Stalin
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.
It’s good to see things have changed!
11. Isle of Dogs
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.
I’d like to live on an Isle of Dogs.
10. Kubo and the Two Strings
Quick Verdict: A magical mystery tour
This is another film I watched at the beginning of last year, but I absolutely loved it. Starring Art Parkinson (Rickon zig-zag Stark) as Kubo, a child in search of an armoured suit to defeat some evil witches.
It’s a great animated delight, that’s a bit different from the usual Disney style films. It’s visually stunning and delivers a great story with amazing action and development.
Art Parkinson is also joined by a great cast of Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew McConaughey, George Takei and Rooney Mara. The film didn’t do massively well upon release, which is a shame as it’s such a joy to watch. It would be good to have films like this do well, to help push away from the norm that is churned out.
What an adventure.
Quick Verdict: The creepy Goonies
I had heard good things about IT, but originally I wasn’t going to bother watching it. I had seen the original TV movie with Tim Curry and I loved it, and thought, there was no way this would even come close. Well I was wrong. This surpassed the original and by some way.
The kids were great, but Bill Skarsgård steals the show as the fucking creepy Pennywise. His first scene put me on edge, an edge I didn’t lose till the end credits rolled. I take that as a good sign in a horror, and that’s what this is. It’s not a gore feast, it’s a truly on edge horror film.
I’m also surprised that the eighties nostalgia hasn’t ended through saturation, but it keeps going. I shall be looking forward to IT Chapter 2, out later this year.
Have you seen IT? I’ve seen IT. IT’s great.
8. Hidden Figures
Quick Verdict: Amazing
This is a true story I didn’t know about, and I really love stumbling upon them. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae as African-American mathematician women, who work at NASA during the race to beat Russia into space.
The film is beautifully shot, which is a weird thing to say. But sometimes with films set in the past, you get really closed in shots as not to show something that shouldn’t be there, with this it all feels natural. The story is well told, and really focuses on what can be done instead of what can’t. It’s about facing adversity and pushing past it. Whether it’s regarding race, gender or work.
It was also interesting to see a different side to Jim Parsons. I know he’s still playing a scientist, but his character is really different to Sheldon. The three main stars are just that. The story blends nicely between the three of them and they all put in knockout performances.
It’s a really interesting film about something I knew very little about, and as I’ve said before, films like this are important. Even if they are not entirely factual, if it makes people talk about history and maybe investigate for themselves, that can only be a good thing.
You will go to space.
7. Apollo 13
Quick Verdict: Reach for the skies
The Film Flash, we have a problem. So this was the other 90s film I was ashamed to say I hadn’t seen, and this is a whooper. Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon stuck on a spaceship with no way home. Back on land we have Ed Harris and Gary Sinise trying to help them.
Directed by the talented Ron Howard, who, by this stage in his career has a massive back catalogue of directing credits, including Splash, Backdraft and Far and Away. My favourites of his being the amazing Willow and Parenthood. He would have to wait another five years before he’s nominated for a best director Oscar for A Beautiful Mind.
As much as I loved this film, I don’t have an awful lot to say about it. Everything just fits together nicely. The camerawork, the acting, the sets, directing, it all just works and creates a great film. Well worth the twenty-two year wait.
Houston we have a many problems.
6. Captain Fantastic
Quick Verdict: Fantastic Seven
Viggo Mortensen is the father of six children who live in the wilds of northwest America. When the children’s mother dies, the family must come together and venture out into the population in order to stop the funeral that was against her wishes.
This is a tragic story of loss, but wrapped around a tale of discovery for every character. It could have easily have just been a film about Viggo’s character and have the children be merely their as baggage, but it doesn’t. They all have a story arc, they all bring something to the film and they are all brilliant. It’s a film that asks the question of normality and how people react to someone who challenges this. I loved it.
Yes this is a shot from the film. If you’re wondering what is under the black circle, just google it. I saw plenty without the black circle when I got this picture. Alternatively, watch the film. It’ll make you cry, smile, laugh and feel happy and sad. That’s a lot to take in one film, but it’s worth it.
Captain Fantastic has a penis.
5. The Red Turtle
Quick Verdict: A dazzling joy
I don’t even know why I decided to watch this. My wife was at work late and I decided to stick this on in my office whilst I waited for her. Well that turned out to be a very wise decision indeed.
A man stranded on a desert island, has his attempts to escape on a raft thwarted each time. A meeting with a red turtle changes everything.
This is a beautiful film. Beautifully crafted and designed. For a film that is has no speaking, it is really powerful.
It’s a hard film to explain and describe. It’s such a lovely film and a real joy to watch. The animation is simple and effective, the sounds of the ocean and the wind are so beautifully done, you feel really immersed in the world that director Michael Dudok de Wit has created.
It’s amazing I got all of that from watching it sat at my desk at work waiting for my wife to finish. Well, it beats working.
The animated island of adventure.
4. A Star is Born
Quick Verdict: Music magic
I hadn’t seen any version of A Star Is Born before going to watch this. So had a blank canvas, no expectations, and no idea of where the story was going to go.
Bradley Cooper plays Jack, an ageing rockstar, who enjoys a drink. Lady Gaga plays Ally, a waitress and singer. When Jack bumps into Ally at a bar where she is playing, they spark up a relationship, and with Jacks help, Ally hits the big time.
It’s a timeless story that’s been told several times, but here it’s been updated and adjusted. Whereas previously the male protagonist’s career had been declining, in line with how rockstars generally go on and on these days, his is still going strong.
Bradley and Lady Gaga make a great couple with amazing chemistry, and I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Lady Gaga deserves that best actress Oscar. She is absolutely phenomenal in this. For a star who is so extreme and so high profile, it’s great to see how adaptable and down to earth she can become. I do hope this is the beginning of a great career in acting for her. I know she’s done other stuff, but this is something else.
Unfortunately I think the buzz around A Star Is Born has faded somewhat, and it probably won’t do as well at the Oscars as some initially thought. For me, as long as Gaga gets the actress Oscar, I’ll be happy. Although Glenn Close seems to be getting all the praise at the minute.
Gaga goes to the Oscars.
3. Paddington 2
Quick Verdict: A Marmalade Medley
Paddington was a full on magical delight. Ben Whishaw was a superb choice for the voice of Paddington. I can’t imagine a world where he was voiced by Colin Firth. I’m sure there must be footage of it somewhere. It just wouldn’t be right. Ben has the perfect soft tone, with sincerity and warmth. Just brilliant.
So how can they perfect perfection? Well by just carrying on. This isn’t better than the original, and it’s not worse. It’s just as charming and funny and lovely as the first film.
Paddington 2 sees our star settling in nicely on the street. He’s now a welcome member of the community and spends his time doing odd jobs. The money from which, he is saving up too buy Aunt Lucy a special gift for her one hundredth birthday. When the gift is stolen before he can buy it, Paddington becomes the prime suspect.
If Ben Whishaw was the stand out performance of the first film, the award has to go to Hugh Grant this time. He is so good as the master of disguise villain, Phoenix Buchanan, and puts in probably a career best performance. I know being a general family film means he won’t get any award recognition, but I’m sure this’ll be one of those films in years to come where people will remember it for his performance.
Every supporting character has equally charming traits. Sally Hawkins as the quirky mother, Brendan Gleeson as Knuckles McGinty the mad prison chef, and all the countless British talent who pop up all over the place, too many to name them all.
As I said, it’s just as charming as the first and had me in tears by the end. If you haven’t seen either of them, what have you been doing with your life?
Melt the hearts of the emotionless.
2. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle
Quick Verdict: Adventure Perfection
Now this may surprise a lot of you that it is so high on the list. If I’m honest, at one point I had it in the top spot. What can I say, I absolutely bloody loved every second of it.
That’s right Dwayne, I loved it.
Set some twenty years after the events of the original Jumanji, the game has now evolved into a computer console. When four kids stumble upon the game in the basement of their school during detention, they are sucked into the game, literally, and are forced to play it through to their final life.
This builds on the original film, but in a way that doesn’t belittle what came before. It has a couple of nice nods to the past, but doesn’t become a film that’s so full of Easter eggs you forget you’re watching something new. Which certain franchise have been guilty of.
I had so much fun watching this film. I was like a child discovering The Goonies or Star Wars for the first time. It made me smile, it made me laugh and the adventure was compelling and interesting. I also described it to a friend like the first time we watched the 1999 The Mummy. It was a great adventure. I hope the effects of this film will hold up better than The Mummy Returns (The Scorpion Dwayne The Rock Johnson CGI King)
I’m a bit uncertain about the sequel. Here’s hoping for another rip roaring adventure.
1. Blade Runner 2049
Quick Verdict: Replicants Forever
I do feel a little bit unoriginal picking this as my number one film, but then I thought, ‘I don’t really give a shit,’ and put it in the top spot anyway.
First things first, it is a visual delight. Denis Villeneuve captures the feel of the original and expands the world. It feels like the same world and that it is thirty years later. With all that in place, I was still utterly surprised that the film was so good. The original is so iconic and has such a following it was going to be hard to create a sequel that would be accepted. Well I am one of those fans of the original and this is a fitting sequel.
I won’t reveal the story of this, but it is one that is a worthy sequel. I really like Ridley Scott but with his recent track record of great, followed by not great, followed by really not great, followed by great. He’s too unpredictable to be left in charge of this and I’m sure having Denis in charge was a good call.
Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks and Ryan Gosling are great, but for me, Ana de Armas is the best character as Jol, Which considering she’s a computer program is pretty impressive.
This is a brilliant film, well worth watching if you’re a fan of the original. Might even be worth a watch if you’re not or haven’t even seen the original.
So that’s my list. As I said above, feel free to comment, discuss my list, or even rip it to shreds if you wish. Comment below, on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks for reading. I’ll be back with my countdown list of the films I watched for the first time in 2019 next January.
Thanks to those who have now gone through my list twice. My challenge this year is to watch 100 films for the first time. Not off to a bad start. We’ll see how I get on.