The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003) Dir. Peter Jackson.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us
Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. How did it come to this?
Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!
My all time favourite films. When this first came out, I had no idea what Lord of the Rings was and I was dragged to the cinema by my Dad, who had been a fan of the books, to see it. From the moment I sat down in the cinema until the lights came up in the screen, I was hooked. Something about this film grabbed me and it hasn’t let go to this day. Not knowing much about the trilogy, when Fellowship finished, I was so disappointed that the story didn’t finish but then I realised that we still had two more films to go.
If I have to pick a favourite one of the trilogy, I always say Fellowship. All the films have something special about them. In Two Towers, there is the epic battle at Helm’s Deep and the Entmoot attacking Isengard. In Return of the King, there is the Battle of Pelenoor Fields as well as the finale of the story. Fellowship of the Ring has the Mines of Moria which is one of the best sequences in all the trilogy. The battle in Balin’s Tomb is the first time we see the Fellowship fight together and some of the camaraderie between them. As well as this, there’s the Gandalf the Grey vs the Balrog of Morgoth fight which is amazing.
One of the things I love most about this trilogy is Howard Shore’s amazing score. It fits so well into the world of film and each place has there own sound. My favourite is the music that goes with Rohan and the Shire. Both pieces of music fit the world so perfectly that every time I hear them, I am transported to Middle-Earth
These films are also so perfectly cast, even the smallest of roles, everyone from Aragorn and Gandalf to Merry and Denethor. There isn’t one role that feels like it has been miscast.
I could go on forever talking about these films. There are simply my favourite films. I love sitting down and marathoning them in all in one day.
Jaws (1975) Dir. Steven Spielberg
Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down the pond chasin’ bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow you whole. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that’ll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin’ basis. But it’s not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I’ll find him for three, but I’ll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you’ve gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many captains on this island. $10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.
As I said in my post about Jurassic Park, Spielberg is the master of the slow reveal. This is a film about a shark that terrorises a sea-side town and the audience see this killer shark attacking people during the first half of the film, however, we never actually see the whole shark until three quarters of way through the film. This adds so much terror to film and Brody’s face when both he and the audience see it for the first time, you can see how terrified he is.
For all intents and purposes, this fim should not be nearly as good as it, but somehow, Spielberg somehow manages to elevate this story above the basic plot.
Not enough can be said about the three leads. Brody is the straight man, trying to make sure everything gets done, Hooper is the scientist who, despite being a nice guy, is only really there for scientific purposes, and then their is Quint who is the badass ship captain who just wants to capture the shark. Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw famously didn’t get on well on set but they work well together on the screen. The scene where they compare scars and Quint tells us what happens on the U.S.S. Indianapolis is one of the greatest scenes ever.
Jurassic Park (1993) Dir. Steven Spielberg
Dr. Grant, my dear Dr. Sattler. Welcome to Jurassic Park
For such a long time, this was my favourite film. I cannot remember how many times I watched and re-watched this when I was growing up. To this day I am still blown away by this film. One of the thing that Spielberg does best is hide the monster of the film, or at the least, delay the reveal of them. I think it’s something like 30-45 minutes before the amazing reveal of the dinosaurs and that moment goes down in movie history as one of the greatest moments ever. The slow reveal with John Williams wonderful score playing in the background is, simply, amazing.
There are so many iconic moments in tis film. To name a few, there’s the shot of the water cup shaking, the T-Rex chase, Nedry trying to escape and so so many more. Easily one of Spielberg’s greatest ever films.
Another one of my personal favourite moments is when they all leave the car and the discover the sick Triceratops. That is such a great sequence and the triceratops instantly became my favourite dinosaur. The look on wonder on Alan Grant’s face completely sells what is happening.
Back To The Future (1985) Dir. Robert Zemeckis
Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?
This is another film where there is so much to love about it. An amazing time travel story, a mad scientist (“1.21 Jigawatts!”) and, in Marty Mcfly, the film has one of the most likeable heroes in all of film. And Doc Brown is steals every scene he is in, Christopher Lloyd has never had a better role. I love all the, to quote Doctor Who, all the timey-wimey-ness of it all. The fact that Marty’s mother ends falling for him and he has to try and get his parents together while they are still High School lends itself greatly to some comedic moments.
Ghostbusters (1984) Dir. Ivan Reitman
We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!
My favourite ever comedy. Me and my friend will constantly quote this film to each other. Despite the, bad special effects, the films still holds up to this day which is mostly thanks to the immense talents of Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. The cast all have amazing chemistry together, particular Murray and Ackroyd, which adds to the comedy of the film.
The Usual Suspects (1995) Dir. Bryan Singer
Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.
There’s not much I can about this film without spoiling it entirely so I’ll keep it brief. It’s amazing. Kevin Spacey’s best performance in my opinion. The way the narrative is constructed demands that you re-watch this film over and over again to catch all the little things that hint at what is to come.
Drive (2011) Dir. Nicholas Winding Refn
There’s a hundred-thousand streets in this city. You don’t need to know the route. You give me a time and a place, I give you a five minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything happens a minute either side of that and you’re on your own. Do you understand?
The best film of 2011, hands down. Ryan Gosling gives such an amazing, understated performance here that he comes across as such an enigma, the audience isn’t sure what he’s going to do next. As well as Gosling’s amazing performance, Nicholas Winding Refn’s is sublime here and he brings to life some the most breathtaking scenes in recent history, the car chase after the botched heist and the elevator scene are both stunning. The cast is rounded out wonderfully by Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman and are accompanied by an amazing soundtrack.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) Dir. Edgar Wright
We are Sex Bob-Omb and we are here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff.
What is there not to love about this film? I went to see this three times when it first came out and I loved it every single time. From opening Universal 8-Bit theme (which is my ringtone) to final frames of the film, I love every second. The film has such a wonderful cast of characters, every one from Wallace (especially Wallace to Young Neil) get their moments to shine. Also, despite not getting that much screen time, all the evil-exes leave memorable mark on the film, my personal favourite being, of course, Todd Ingram. I can’t finish this without saying a few words on the soundtrack/score which is amazing. The soundtrack has some amazing music and bands on there, even Sex Bob-Omb’s stuff is on there. As for the score, Nigel Goldrich did an amazing job capturing the video game-y feel of the film.
The Lion King (1994) Dirs. Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Asante sana Squash banana, Wiwi nugu Mi mi apana!…It means you’re a baboon… and I’m not.
My favourite Disney film. The thing that I love most about this film, despite the beautiful African landscapes, the wonderful songs and the great characters is the fact that this film is loosely based on Hamlet. Obviously, when I was a kid I had no idea that it was based on a Shakespeare film at all but after studying Shakespeare, the film somehow became elevated to another level of storytelling. Aside from the amazing story the film tells, The Lion King also has some of the best and most memorable Disney songs of all time, my personal favourite of the bunch being Circle of Life.
High Fidelity (2000) Dir. Stephen Frears
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
The first time I watched this film, I expected it to be nothing more than your standard rom-com fair. How wrong was I? This immediately shot into my favourite films, mainly thanks to the performance from John Cusack. Despite being a bit of a dick in the film, Cusack himself is so likeable that you want to see him succeed with his job and relationships. I love how Cusack’s character is constantly breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience and give his random Top 5 lists. I recently read the book for this and that too has become one of my favourite books.