We’re coming towards the end of the decade. I’m going to miss it!.
29. Zack And Miri Make A Porno
Kevin Smith’s attempt to break away from his cult following and deliver a mass market comedy starring Seth Rogan who was box off ice gold at the time failed miserably and was a disastrous theatrically. His meltdown on his podcast the week of release is endlessly entertaining but it’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for him. In terms of the actual movie though it’s surprisingly sweet considering the marketing was all about raunch and titillation. Two friends are struggling to pay their bills and so try to jump on the back of the sex tape phenomenon.
Best bit-First shoot
28. The Ruins
This supernatural horror based on the Scott Smith novel of the same name is a thoughtful and underappreciated gem. It’s all about tension and putting yourself in the character’s shoes and it works well in a time where a lot of horror was trying to be as gory as possible. It’s bleak but not quite as dark as the novel which is maybe a good thing.
Best Bit-The phone
27. Eden Lake
Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly star as a couple on a countryside holiday when they are terrorized by a group of minky wee neds. This was during the era of British youths involved in the happy slapping phenomenon and the public backlash against hoodies so it tapped into that fear of teenagers that media outlets were all too happy to promote.
Best Bit-Cooper’s death
A fun, playful, gross body horror about a parasitic creature that turns it’s victims into broken porcupines. The film sees a group of people holed up in a petrol station trying to avoid becoming said porcupines. It’s really well done tongue in cheek horror.
Best Bit-Half cop half…..thing
25. Punisher:War Zone
This one’s for you Marco!. Lexi Alexander’s hyper violent ode to the comics and 80s over the top action movies has become a cult hit after initially being poorly received. It’s total carnage and just so cartoonish in it’s violence that it’s so much fun. Dominic West’s hilariously goofy portrayal of Jigsaw is also a highlight.
Best Bit-Face smash
24. Marley And Me
If a movie is to be judged on it’s intention to get a reaction then Marley And Me may be the most successful movie in the history of the world. You want to make me cry? You want to break me down into a blubbering mess inconsolable on the floor? Then make a movie where something bad happens to animals…..and build the movie up around how much his owners bond with him and show their personality before you kick me in the balls with something horrible happening. Sons of bitches!.
Best Bit- Nothing…nothing is the best bit I hate this stupid movie!
I only caught this Canadian zombie movie recently and what a cracker it is. A really fresh take on the genre with wit and intelligence. A lot of the movie is set in a dj studio where a shock jock is talking to the community during an outbreak.
22. Death Bell
A crazy South Korean horror that aims for the Saw crowd with it’s ridiculous but entertaining premise. I saw a lot of reviews about it being unrealistic and silly….I thought these kinds of movies were supposed to be escapism. Anyway it’s by no means a masterpiece and Korea has brought us much better horror but boy is it watchable.
21. The Incredible Hulk
Coming out the same year as Iron Man and The Dark Knight certainly didn’t help it’s legacy but this forgotten gem is an underappreciated character study of Bruce Banner with some cool Hulk scenes. Louis Leterrier directs and Ed Norton stars alongside Liv Tyler as Betty Ross.
Best Bit-Hulk takes Betty to the cave
This is Gus Van Sant’s biopic of gay rights activist and the first openly gay man to be elected into Californian public office. He’s played by Sean Penn and it follows his campaigning and the difficulties faced being such a public figure and promoting gay rights and ultimately leads to his assassination. Sad and powerful stuff.
19. Kung Fu Panda
Dreamworks’ loving tribute to Hong Kong martial arts movies sees Jack Black voice a clumsy but well meaning panda named Po who strives to become a kung fu master. An evil warrior is freed from jail and Po is sent to save the land from him. A brilliant feast of fun especially for fans of wuxia and old school martial arts.
Best Bit-Meeting the team
A horror movie based on enigmatic author Otsuichi’s novel of six connecting short stories (any horror fan should read it by the way, it’s excellent). It sees a couple of high school kids who are obsessed with death and murder. One of them hides his morbid fantasies by being a seemingly normal, friendly kid whilst the other is quite clearly troubled. They discover a serial killer in their town and try to find his victims corpses. It’s not scary but it’s visually very pretty and completely captivating.
Best Bit-Park bench
17. 20th Century Boys 1:Beginning Of The End
Based on a long running and extremely popular manga, this live action adaptation of boyhood friendships and a cult leader who wants to take over the world. It was released as a trilogy over the space of around a year. With so much source material to pull from the plot tends to get convoluted at times. A washed up musician hears of a new cult that’s members are going missing and notices that they are using the same symbol he and his pals used for their gang when they swore to protect the world. He gets the gang back together and they have to save the world before the turn of the millennium.
Best Bit-Meeting the gang
A big budget….sigh…..found footage movie but one that takes more influence from kaiju flicks than supernatural ghost stories. A giant monster awakens in the Atlantic Ocean and scared, attacks New York, completely devastating it We follow a group of kids having a house party when shit kicks off. I love that the characters genuinely had their own myspace pages an there were news sites created to report on things that happened before the movie starts. The mythology seems to be far from over as new movies are coming out that don’t seem to be connected but are.
Best Bit- Liberty’s head
Who the hell expected this to be as awesome as it was?!. Nobody that’s who so don’t pretend. After Stallone brought Rocky out of retirement and it was well received he decided that another of his well loved heroes to dust off the bandana. Insanely violent in the most morbidly pleasing way, Rambo slaughters his way through a Burmese militia who have captured a group of missionaries.
Best Bit-Turret fun
The most famous and infamous of the new French extremity movement films. It’s a movie of two halves really….maybe even three halves…..shut up. From supernatural creepiness to hardcore torture porn it juggles several styles of horror with aplomb and director Pascal Laugier should be praised for that. It’s not the all out masterpiece that some will have you believe (although their completely entitled to that opinion, I’m just giving mine) it is an incredibly brutal, shocking and powerful movie about religious extremism and the lengths some will go to learn about the afterlife.
Best Bit-The whisper
13. The Midnight Meat Train
An adaptation of an absurdly named short story from Clive Barker’s legendary Books Of Blood. It’s a splatterpunk horror starring…..Bradley Cooper of all people, (I mean he’s the first name I think of when I think of splatterpunk) and Vinnie Jones. People are going missing on the final train of the night in a subway and a photographer sets out to investigate but he finds way more than he bargained for. Ryuhei Kitamura directs.
Best Bit-First slaughter
12. Ip Man
A highly fictionalized movie about the master of Wing Chun and teacher of Bruce Lee. It stars the awesome Donnie Yen and has some high budget, brilliantly choreographed epic martial arts scenes. Sammo Hung was the choreographer so that makes sense.
Best Bit-The black belts
11. Tokyo Gore Police
Ok one for the acquired taste crew…..and I mean that in the most hardcore way. The Japanese certainly know how to go extreme and weird which this splatterpunk viscera fest proves. Eihi Shiina, the beautiful psycho from Takashi Miike’s Audition is a cop in a splinter group called the engineer hunters who hunt down genetically engineered mutants who sprout weapons from their injuries….yup. So much gory fun.
Best Bit-Gator girl
10. Iron Man
For better or worse this is the one that started the Marvel cinematic universe and I don’t think anybody thought it would be as fun as it was. Old shellhead was never the most popular Marvel character and even I as a massive comic book guy wasn’t really bothered about the movie at all. John Favreau turned it all around with a great mix of action and character development and of course Robert Downey Jr went from cult movie mainstay to mainstream box office monster with his charismatic performance.
Best Bit-Suiting up
My buddy and former bandmate is in a band out of Glasgow called Departures….wonder if they got it from here. Anyway check them out if you like screamy post hardcore. Anyway this witty drama won the Oscar for best foreign film and deals with a failed musician who stumbles into work as a ritual mortician known as a nokanshi. Yojira Takita directs this charming, humorous and emotional movie filled with great character interactions.
8. The Wrestler
You don’t need to be a fan of wrestling in Darren Aronofsky’s portrayal of fading stardom, aging and poor choices. It just so happens I am a fan so the little nuances and easter eggs landed with me and I know the all too familiar story told here all too well. A lot of people in the wrestling business were not fans of the movie because it portrayed old wrestlers as washed up losers etc but I don’t get that,,,,it shows the life of ONE wrestler who ended up washed up and it’s used for dramatic effect. It’s not a damnation of the business it’s a character study of a man who is down on his luck and let’s not pretend there aren’t thousands of ex wrestlers out there who can relate to this. It’s bleak, brutally sad but strangely hopeful.
Best Bit-Father daughter bonding
7. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas
Oh boy this one will break you. Set during the holocaust in a Jewish extermination camp, two young boys form a relationship. One is the son of the Nazi who runs the camp and the other is a child prisoner. You know where this is going from the moment you put it on but the journey there is expertly paced and formed. The Germans speaking with English accents confused the shit out of me though…what an odd choice.
Best Bit- Ending
6. Step Brothers
An utterly stupid but uproariously funny comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly who have some of the best comedy chemistry in the game. Two overgrown man babies who live at home with their respective single parents are brought together when their parents marry each other. The whole comedy comes from them acting like children would in the situation but they’re middle aged men….it’s just so so funny.
Best Bit-Best friends
5. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Guilermo Del Toro’s sequel to his wonderfully realised adaptation of the Dark Horse comic series is also a fantastic dark fantasy anti hero monster movie. Ron Pearlman is perfect as the loveable demon and Del Toro adds more fantasy elements this time forgoing the more gothic, dark nature of the first one which again shows his versatility. His monster design and visual flare is some of the best in movie history in my opinion and I can never talk highly enough of him.
4. Let The Right One In
A surprise Swedish hit that seemed to come out of nowhere based on the book of the same name. A beautiful, dream-like romantic horror vampire film about a bullied kid who befriends an ancient vampire masquerading as a child. Shocking at times, surreal at others and always beautiful.
Best Bit- Swimming pool
It was a brave move for Pixar to release this movie on the back of the likes of Finding Nemo because there is very little dialogue, particularly early on and nearly all the character moments are done through little nuances and bleeps and bloops. A trash compactor robot cleans up an abandoned planet planet when a probe is sent to scan. The adorable little robot falls in love with the probe. I love this movie so much it’s brilliantly realised and completely unique.
Best Bit-Space dance
2. Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea
Studio Ghibli is often called the Japanese Disney which infuriates Hayao Miyazaki to no end which is fair because other than both doing animated family movies they are nothing alike. Ponyo is the closest thing to a Ghibli Disney movie though and it’s an adorable story vaguely based on The Little Mermaid by Hans Christen Anderson. In this case a little goldfish befriends a small boy and wants to become a human girl. It’s insanely charming, funny and emotional. The English language dub is pretty good too with the likes of Tina Fay providing voices.
Best Bit-Taking Ponyo home
1 The Dark Knight
Batman Begins was a surprisingly down to earth, gritty and respectful take on a beloved comic character that showed huge promise going forward for Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. The follow up is a masterpiece with a lauded performance from Heath Ledger as the psychopathic Joker. From exhilarating action scenes, an intricate and involving plot and some incredible performances. This is the one long time fans had been waiting for.
Best Bit-Joker’s offer
Ok folks we’re nearly done for this decade but let me know how you’re liking the lists so far. Catch me @swing_kinker and cheers for looking in. x