Monday, October 28, 2013

The Movie Guru's Top 50 films- #50-41

In a brand new, end of the month feature on The Movie Guru's Blog, I'll be talking about some of my favorite films of all time. That's right: my temporarily definitive list will now be released (I know that the phrase "temporarily definitive" is a contradiction; just go with it). The list is an mixture of classics and new films and contains a wide variety of genres such as action films, animated movies, crime noirs, and even some romance films. Here are my top 50 films of all time, starting with #50.


The superhero extravaganza that we were all waiting for, this 2012 film was an absolute blast of fun from Marvel. It had action, comedy, suspense, drama; The Avengers was practically everything you could wish for in a fun summer blockbuster. The action scenes were big, the characters were witty, and the visual effects were top notch. Although I've had the problem of watching this film too many times, The Avengers will always remain a classic of action cinema. The ultimate superhero film. 


Humphrey Bogart is a flat out fantastic actor and this film contains what is his best performances, but not necessarily his best film. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre takes Bogart's traditional character and twists him into something even more frightening. For a film from the 1940's, this is intense stuff as Bogart and his band of treasure seekers face off against several threats, even themselves at some point. Like I said, this is Bogart's show and he leads it and all the scenes in it. It works as an entertaining action piece in this day and age, and it's a great, almost archetypal film that set up a lot of different stories in future years. A true Hollywood classic. 


The single greatest film trilogy of all time begins with a film that is grossly underrated. People get swept up in the epic scope of The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, when this 2005 origin story from director Christopher Nolan is almost as good. This film establishes all of the elements for the success of The Dark Knight and it's sequel. The fantastic performance by Christian Bale, the dark tone, the origin of the Batcave and the Tumbler; it's all set up here. People call this film's plot silly at times, but it's far from it. This is a dark and gritty superhero film that plays out like a real Batman comic would. It's an excellent superhero gangster drama and it sets up all the right elements for the superior achievements of Nolan's sequels. Plus, this film establishes themes that come right back around in the sequels. What's not to love about that?


The World's End only came out this year, but it is an instant classic of mine. This is just a flat out great movie filled with humor and containing a unique blend of sci-fi, horror and comedy. But mostly comedy. Once I see this thing a few more times, I'm going to be quoting it like crazy. Simon Pegg is terrific, Nick Frost is terrific, but Edgar Wright, the director, really steals the show. His direction is flat out great, and I will surely campaign him for some awards attention at the end of the year. This is a great movie and one that I will cherish for years to come. 


It's really hard to pick one of these films over the other, so I'll just throw them all together into one film. Honestly, the Austin Powers films work as a whole. They're short enough that you could marathon all three and not be tired afterward. Anyways, Austin Powers will always remain a personal favorite of mine simply because it is ingenious comedy. The jokes are almost always sexual and inappropriate, but that's part of the charm. It's just flat out hilarious, constantly. In addition, you will get much more out of these films if you watch the Bond series as well. They work as companion pieces at times. Austin Powers may seem like low-brow humor to some, but it's the best lowbrow humor ever done, and it's a great spoof. I'm still holding out for a fourth one.  

#45- RUSH

Talk about an instant classic. I practically just saw this movie a month ago and I already know that it is going to be on my list for a while. Rush is a practically flawless film and it is a great one because it's so dynamic. Rush works as a classic, entertaining drama. Rush works as a sports movie. Rush even works as an action movie. It is full of rich period details and it is also full of great performances. Rush is incredibly fast paced, exceptionally directed and an overall fantastic film led by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl. Rush is one of the unforgettable cinematic experiences of 2013 and one that should be experienced by everyone. 


Another trilogy makes my list and it's another three films where you simply cannot pick one over the other. The Lord of the Rings is a film series that I resisted for the longest of times. I never really had any interest in it. And now, I'm putting it on my list of all time favorite films. The Lord of the Rings are simply great pieces of filmmaking from Peter Jackson. They have interesting characters, there are epic battles and there is a feeling of size and scope that few other films can attain, along with a great sense of adventure. The Lord of the Rings are true action classics. 


One of Billy Wilder's best movies is his 1944 film noir Double Indemnity. It would be his best, if not for a little Hollywood drama starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson. Anyways, Double Indemnity proves that Wilder was a masterclass director. He simply knew how to make a great movie. This film stars Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck as two people who conspire to commit murder and the after-effects of that. Double Indemnity is pure noir and the ultimate example of the genre in Hollywood. This film is so artfully crafted, with two fantastic performances and a great, dialogue-driven plot, that you have to be crazy not to love it. 


Proof that good action movies can be made without excessive CGI, MI4 broke the mold in 2011 and showed audiences what an old school action flick looked and felt like. This is a great film, a diamond in the rough of the Mission Impossible series. Tom Cruise is great in the lead role, Simon Pegg provides great comic relief and the settings are stunning. Plus, the action always delivers. MI4 is proof that A) good action movies can still be made without CGI and B) Bad Robot is the best production studio around. Pure action film goodness. 


I haven't seen James Dean's other films, but based on how much I love this one, I probably should. For me, the 50's have little to offer in terms of great cinema beyond a few gems. Rebel without a Cause is one of them. The film is almost my bible when it comes to high school and growing up and life. Maybe that's why high school has felt so weird to me. I don't know, but this movie is fantastic. It's a true tragedy that Dean was taken so young because his performance in this film is stellar. The film is built around tough choices and hard subject matter, but it has this 1950's charm to it that makes you fall in love with it. It's a well-oiled, thoughtful teen drama and I always love every second of it. Hollywood at its finest. 

All right everybody that's it for #'s 50-41, but come back tomorrow for 40-31. 

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