By Jeff Innabi
I like to consider myself an avid movie-goer and take pride in the quality of the films that I choose to watch. I decided to put together a top ten list of my favorite films that I have seen in my relatively short life (21 years). So without further ado, here we go:
10. The Blair Witch Project
This is one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen. The acting is incredible considering the circumstances and the camerawork is so realistic that many thought this film was actual footage when it started making the rounds in theaters in the late 90s. It is truly an unforgettable experience to watch this movie, preferably in the dark and alone.
9. 500 Days of Summer
On a lighter note, 500 Days of Summer is very heartfelt and sweet. This is the kind of flick that makes you feel good when its done despite the ups and downs of its main characters. The editing specifically is masterful in this film as its nonlinear plot flows throughout. Zooey Deschanel plays her part perfectly as the both lovable and impulsive Summer. If you’re into rom-com, this is as good as it gets.
8. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind
Keeping the feel-good vibe going is Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, although this one makes you feel good in a different, more weird, sort of way. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett are a couple who use a technological advancement to erase each other from their memories in this also nonlinear romance. Their chemistry is remarkable and this one provides plenty of laughs while also thinking outside of the box. The quirky cinematography and effects keep the interest at a very high level in this film. Its my favorite romance film and I HIGHLY recommend it.
7. No Country For Old Men
Ah, The Coen brothers…what can I say about these masterful filmmakers. No Country For Old Men, in my opinion, is the height of their film careers. This movie is able to describe to its audience an entire story and provide plenty of action with barely any dialogue from its two main characters. Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin are tense and menacing as their cat and mouse chase persists throughout the film. This is one not to miss if you appreciate smart scripting, directing and of course a proficient amount of gore. Bardem is truly frightening with that weird haircut and that blank stare. He alone is worth checking this film out.
6. Black Swan
Aronofsky caught my attention with The Wrestler, and then blew my mind with Black Swan. I would have never thought I would be giving a positive critique of a ballet movie in my lifetime, but that is exactly what this is. Natalie Portman gives the performance of her career in this psychological thriller. This movie is very unique in the fact that it can force the audience to question their own rationale when certain scenes are shown. At times viewers have the tendency to think one thing is going on, when in actuality the exact opposite is taking place. Aronofsky plays these mind games with us until the very end of this movie, and every second is extremely exhilarating.
5. The House of The Devil
Ti West crafts one of most tension filled and gruesomely menacing films I have ever seen in The House of The Devil. This is another one of those movies that builds tension throughout very slowly leading to an insane climax. Although nothing scary actually takes place until the very end, the idea of something lurking around every corner lingers in every scene, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats. Finally, when the scary comes it comes HARD, with the final scene being one of the greatest in horror movie history.
4. District 9
Everybody loves Sci-Fi! And this isn’t the last one on my list. District 9 is a once in a blue moon type of film. Rarely do you ever see a combination of creativity, sensitivity and brilliance forming to create an epic production. The CGI in this film are something that need to be seen to be believed. The alien creatures (prawns) are unbelievably detailed and their actions are so precise. The premise of the story is also extremely interesting, yet heartbreaking. The mockumentary style in which this film is shot in only adds to the creativity mentioned earlier. With fake on camera interviews and raw footage of incidents, this movie is crafted like something you would see on the Discovery or History channels, except it is much more fun.
3. The Godfather
There isn’t much to say about this one. The Godfather in most people’s eyes, is the greatest film to ever grace the big screen. I share this sentiment to a certain extent but I have resisted the urge to place it first just because of its length. However, there is no denying the fact that this is one of the greatest and most influential films of the 20th century and probably for many centuries to come.
2. Children of Men
Children of Men is a grand epic of Sci-Fi imagination that can only be seen to be appreciated. The directing in this film is top notch, utilizing the rare-cut method when shooting action scenes. In a world where mankind can no longer reproduce, Clive Owen finds himself having to transport the first pregnant woman in many years. With the fate of mankind in his hands he must keep her safe whether or not his life is preserved. This thriller goes above and beyond with fantastic visuals, heart-pounding chase scenes, realistic war action and truly phenomenal acting. This is one of those films that stays with you long after you have left the theater and that’s why I love it so much.
Drive is atop the list because of Nicolas Refn’s superior directorial skills, Ryan Goslings bone-chilling performance, and the amazing visual aspects on display in this film. Driver is a stuntman/getaway driver as well as a loner who rarely ever speaks much. When he does speak, you better pay attention. The chase scenes are involving, the gore is over-the-top when it needs to be, and the romance is perfectly balanced with that uneasy feeling. Since we know so little about the main character, we never know how he is going to react in the most tense of situations, maintaining a heart-racing and thrilling experience throughout the entire film. Graceful and gory, patient but persistent, methodical yet menacing; Drive is the best film I have ever seen.
How about some notable mentions? These films almost made my list, but are all great:
-Kill Bill Vol. 1& 2
-The Bourne Trilogy
-The Dark Knight
-The Spiderman Trilogy
Thanks for reading!