1) Ghostbusters I & II – at pole position for its near perfection. Music, comedy, special effects that have aged well, likeable characters and excellent script. It’s a film I’ve watched periodically throughout my life, and I’ve understood it more/appreciated it each time. This goes for both films, actually.
2) Lost in Translation - some might label this film “boring,” but to do so misses the point. Another tour de force for Bill Murray, it’s a highly poignant film, with some fun elements of comedy. A great insight into living in Japan, but more so into the main protagonists.
3) Pulp Fiction - This is one of those films that just grabs you and refuses to let you go until it’s finished its pronouncement. Effortlessly cool, Tarantino manages to weave a shifting storyline which both comments on America and fits into postmodernism..
4) The Departed - Credit to Scorsese for managing to nip past the caped crusader and zoom into fourth position. I’m writing an essay on this at the moment and the questions it raises are so intriguing. But even if you never thought about it, the dual protagonist thriller is a gangster film as powerful as Goodfellas.
5) The Dark Knight – Finally, a superhero film that everyone went to see, not just DC and Marvel fanatics. Heath Ledger’s Joker steals the show, though Eckhart’s Dent more than holds his own. And Christian Bale is the most convincing Batman besides Michael Keaton, who I have a certain fondness for. The tension, I think, is what makes this film.
6) Inception - One of the more complex (but significant) films of recent years, Inception is Nolan left to run wild with his imagination and budget. The characters lack depth and there isn’t much chemistry there, but nonetheless one of the best films I’ve ever seen. Has to be seen to be believed-the concept and execution are nigh-on perfect.
7) Inglourious Basterds - This one isn’t for everybody; it’s rather visceral and makes use of subtitles for much of its length (actually fairly small on a DVD player). However, the acting is superb and has the most breathtaking style. The tension here, once again, is incredible.
Casino Royale – A Bond film had to be included here somewhere, and there is no better choice than this Craig debut. The development of Bond’s character; his significant relationship with Vesper; the card-game which drives the film forward; Bond in the twenty-first century and all the better for it. Craig is my favourite Bond.
9) Little Miss Sunshine - This film makes the ranks simply for being so… nice. As a family make their way across the country for their little girl’s beauty contest, they learn so much about each other and become much closer than ever before. Funny and touching in exactly the right amounts.
10) Goodfellas/ Michael Clayton - Yes, it’s a cop-out. As much as I love Goodfellas and certainly cite it as one of my favourite films, it remains to be seen whether it can win over Michael Clayton, a film which impressed me dramatically upon first watching. I must see it once more to be sure.