35. The Number 23
This Joel Schummacher psychological thriller is an odd one and I can totally understand people not liking it but it’s in that old category I like to talk about….the “I would watch it on late night tv with my dad back in the day” category. It has Jim Carrey Going all sexy emo for some reason as he plays a man obsessed with the number 23. It got savaged by a lot of critics but meh….I quite enjoyed it.
Hideo Nakata of Ringu fame has had an inconsistent career it’s safe to say and matching his seminal horror classic has been a tough act to replicate. This period horror saw him return to the genre after a while off and mixes samurai era drama with ghosts which was a genre that Japan’s original horror boom in the 60s perfected. This is relatively effective but unspectacular horror with a few good scares.
A solid wee thriller about an obsessive stalker who kidnaps a woman in an underground car park where he works. Funny how these creepy stalkers have Hollywood movie star looks, . Anyway it’s Christmas eve and she’s tied up and forced to have dinner with her captor. It becomes a tense game of cat and mouse.
Best Bit-Waking up
32. Apartment 1303
This Japanese horror took a bit of a critical slagging as a paint by numbers bore but I got some enjoyment out of it and although there are far far better (even on this list) in the genre but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there to like it was just that people were burnt out on the long haired Asian vengeful ghosts. A bunch of suspicious suicides are happening in the same apartment and a young women decides to investigate. There was a stinking American 3d version a couple of years back.
Best Bit-Mum pushed me
…and here we have a similar premise!. I like John Cusack but boy is he terrible in this adaptation of the 1999 Stephen King short story. It’s a really enjoyable movie but Cusack hamming it up does hold it back from being better than it could have been. A skeptic paranormal investigator goes to supposedly haunted houses and writes about them, when he gets to apartment 1408 shit goes down bruv.
Best Bit-Express checkout
Any regular readers of this column will know that I have an unhealthy love of the turtles but when this first came out I wasn’t keen. It wasn’t as full of fan service as I’d hoped but I’ve come to kind of respect that. A cgi movie with the voice talents of Chris Evans, Sara Michelle Gellar, Zhang Aiyi, Patrick Stewart and more.
Best Bit- Raph vs Leo
29. Blades Of Glory
Another Will Ferrell sports comedy and this one sees him team up with John Heder to parody the world of figure skating as two enemies have to come together to reclaim their place at the top of the pile. It’s childish fun.
Best Bit-Balls in face
“From the director of Hitman”….not a great selling point really. Part of the super violent French horror boom of the mid 00s this brutal exploitation flick sees a group of French arabs holed up in an inn run by neo nazis during riots caused by an election. There’s a lot of body horror that was popular at the time but this one has a lot more intelligence than most. Could have done without the shaky cam.
Best Bit- Mineshaft
A cartoonishly masculine adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel directed by Zack Snyder. As with most of Snyder’s work it’s ludicrously stylish and has it’s own unique aesthetic that brilliantly brings the comic to life. What it lacks in character development and plot it makes up for with fight scenes and style so it’s very watchable but it’s not the most intelligent movie ever. Gerard Butler struggling to hide his Scottish accent always makes me laugh too. Based on the real life story of The Battle Of Thermopylae……although I doubt it looked like this.
Best Bit-Cliff diving
26. White Noise 2:The Light
This surprising low budget horror sequel that we never knew we wanted featured on my top horror sequels list. It deals with existentialism and interfering with fate, like a more serious Final Destination. Nathan Fillion stars.
Best Bit- Dinner scene
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s love letter to the old double feature exploitation shows that theatres would put on. Planet Terror and Death Proof were both released on their own as well as in the grindhouse package so I’m lumping them in together. Death Proof by Tarantino sees Kurt Russell as an insane stuntman who murders young women and Planet Terror, directed by Rodriguez sees Rose McGowan and a rebel group during a zombie outbreak.
Best Bit-Death Proof
24.The Bucket List
A manipulative bastard of a movie from Rob Reiner about two terminally ill elderly men played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson who decide to carry out the activities on their bucket list before they can’t. It’s set up to make you a bubbling mess and does it’s job pretty damn well.
23. The Simpsons Movie
The guys and gals behind this movie were on to a losing fight because the series was way past it’s prime, it had been planned for a decade and fans were confused as to what they wanted from it. Most fans wanted big screens renditions of classic moments but also wanted something fresh…..so when it came out fans were predictably flat on it but it’s grown more of a following over the years since the hype has died down and it’s been given a more fair shot. There are some great moments in here.
Best Bit-Lynch mob
Jason Rietman directs this coming of age teen pregnancy comedy drama written by Diablo Cody. It was a smash hit and although it was a little bit too hipster for me there is a lot to like here. The performances of Ellen Page, J.K Simmons and Michael Cera are great and it’s a twee look at an issue effecting many young uns.
Best Bit-Heart to heart with dad
21. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
A parody of the musical artist biopic from Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan and starring the brilliant John C. Reilly. Reilly plays a musician that is clearly based on Johnny Cash but there are loads of references to the lives of other musicians and it’s a feast for fans of music.
20. 28 Weeks Later
I’m quite annoyed at myself for not putting this in my top horror sequels list (I might amend that) because it’s on a par with the original British outbreak fan favourite. This time it’s directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and sees two siblings desperate to find their mother who, in the process end up infecting a safe zone leading to pandemonium.
19. Bridge To Terabithia
Based on the book of the same name, this fantasy adventure sees two young friends who create their own made up world and spend their time adventuring. Ok let’s get to it….want to cry lots and spend your next few days curled up in the fetal position wondering why the hell you watched something?. Well have I got the movie for you!?.
Best Bit-Leslie dies (that’s a weird “best”)
18. American Gangster
Ridley Scott’s film loosely based on the Harlem based drug smuggler Frank Lucas who operated a huge heroin scheme at the end of the Vietnam war is highlighted by excellent performances from Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington. It’s cool, well shot and well acted.
Best Bit- Money jar
17. Eastern Promises
David Cronenberg’s disturbing look at human trafficking in the Russian mob starring Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen. A midwife delivers a baby born to a drug addicted sex slave who dies during childbirth. The mob try to silence the midwife from telling the police about their trafficking operation. Grim stuff.
Best Bit- Becoming who I am
16. Funny Games
A remake of an Austrian movie that has already appeared on the 1997 list. it’s directed by the same fella and is essentially shot for shot the same so you’re really not getting anything new. Objectively looking at it though it’s a fantastic home invasion movie.
Another disturbing French horror movie that sees a pregnant woman stalked and attacked by a crazed lady who wants to take her unborn baby from her by any means necessary. It’s genuinely scary, it’s brutal and it’s subject matter is horrifying. One of the best movies to come from the French boom with a great atmosphere and buckets of blood.
Best Bit-Watching her sleep
14. 30 Days Of Night
A fast paced, gory and violent adaptation of the excellent Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith comic series by English director David Slade. It’s what happens when you pay tribute to and respect the source material while adding your own style to things instead of shoehorning in needless elements to make it “your story”. It was a hit with me for sure.
Best Bit-Meeting Marlow
13. Paranormal Activity
It’s all about opinions obviously but it definitely became the cool and hip thing to shit on this movie and the franchise in general but when this first came out and was watched in a suitable environment it was excellent. Found footage was played out by this point and this started another bunch of terrible copycats but I let myself get sucked into the experience and found t expertly steeped in tense atmosphere.
Best Bit- Watching her sleep
12. I Am Legend
Based on the brilliant post apocalyptic novel by Richard Matheson, Will Smith stars as supposedly the last man on Earth with his wee doggy. As they travel looking for other possible survivors they find out that they are not alone and it’s a terrifying discovery. The ending doesn’t have the punch of the book which badly hurts it and there’s some questionable cgi but that aside it’s a very good and emotional, thought provoking film.
Best Bit- Bye bye doggy
11. Trick ‘R Treat
This little gem seemingly came out of nowhere to become a cult hit. An anthology horror with connecting stories and a creepy sack wearing kid who turns up when people don’t adhere to Halloween traditions and messes them up. A tongue in cheek and hugely entertaining ode to Halloween.
Best Bit-Check your sweets
10. The Mist
An emotional horror based on the Stephen King novella of the same name and directed by the great Frank Darabont. It’s one of the few King adaptation he really likes and he especially respected the fact that they changed the ending for the better….very rare. A strange mist descends on a small town and brings monster with it as half the town are holed up in a supermarket.
Best Bit- The ending
9. There Will Be Blood
Oh good, a leading role for smug bellend Daniel Day Lewis….let him tell us how he became a black child prostitute to get into the role or something and the awards will be flying at him. He stars as an oil salesman with ruthless methods of gaining more and more wealth. It’s obviously good but…..f##k Daniel Day Lewis.
Best Bit-I hate most people
Danny Boyle’s sci fi horror is similar in it’s spaceship horror to Event Horizon but with more crisp direction and better acting….and I like Event Horizon by the way that’s not a diss. It’s like it doesn’t know entirely what it wants to be as one minute the group are sent to reignite the dying sun with a bomb and by the end it turns into a supernatural slasher. That said it’s still intense and captivating with a beautiful score from John Murphy and Underworld.
Best Bit-Kaneda’s sacrifice
I loved the chemistry and banter between Michael Cera and Jonah Hill in this comedy from Greg Mottola. It’s your typical high school coming of age sex comedy and these things always rely on the strength of the delivery and chemistry between characters and that’s where it shines. Obviously there are the jokes that became media sensations like McLovin but most of the best parts come from fun little one liners and arguments. An incredibly likeable turn from Emma Stone helps the character dynamic.
Best Bit -Training pitch chat
A Spanish found footage horror that breathed new life into the genre as well as the outbreak genre. It’s insanely intense as a group of firefighters enter a quarantined block of flats followed by a reporter and her cameraman. The inhabitants of the flats have been infected with something that is sending them into a zombified rage and it becomes a claustrophobic nightmare.
Best Bit- Ending
5. Hot Fuzz
From the team that brought us Spaced and Shaun Of The Dead, this hilarious buddy cop comedy sees a city cop sent to a quiet rural town where seemingly nothing happens. He’s teamed up with a dumb, movie obsessed slob and hates his situation but the village slowly starts to reveal it’s dark secrets. So many funny moments but when I saw it at the cinema with my buddy Paul I had just been jumped by three guys in an alley and had to fight my way to the cinema….then when I sat down i burst my skittles bag and they went everywhere. Good night!.
Best Bit-Supermarket fight
Brad Bird and Pixar are at it again with another funny, charming and heart warming movie, this time about a talented culinary rat and a human garbage boy who befriends him. The rat helps him pretend he’s a super chef by cooking for him and hiding when anyone is in sight. It’s fun stuff and has the voice talents of Pattno Oswalt, Peter O’ Toole, Lou Romano and more.
3. No Country For Old Men
A neo noir nihilistic and bleak thriller from the Coen brothers based on the novel of the same name by author Cormac McCarthy. Realistic reactions to consequences that make it seem like it’s not a Hollywood movie, it’s just a brutally honest and disturbing story with one of the most effective protagonists in years played by Javier Bardem. A Vietnam vet finds a bunch of money and flees with it but is hunted down by a hitman.
Best Bit- Coin toss
2. The Orphanage
An incredibly effective Spanish supernatural horror film from J. A. Bayona. A couple’s adopted son goes missing as they are turning their childhood orphanage into a home for disabled children. It’s utterly drenched in creepy atmosphere and gothic pathos but the scares are there too making for a horror movie that stands above most of the stuff that’s pumped out in the genre.
David Fincher directs this look at the 60s/70s serial killer known as the Zodiac who would leave clues and eccentric calling card at crime scenes. It remains an unsolved case and he was never caught. It’s brilliantly directed, well acted and has a gritty realism that drives home that this stuff went on and he got away with it.
Best Bit-The basement scene
Another one down and onto the next one we go. As always catch me @swing_kinker and cheers for looking in. x