My all-time top 10 favorites in no particular order: Blade Runner; Goodfellas; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; The Big Lebowski; The Shining; Apocalypse Now; Traffic; There Will Be Blood.
One of the most misunderstood, complex, intelligent and profound films ever made, The Room is Tommy Wiseau's timeless masterwork that people for some reason find hard to take seriously. It is a spellbinding, multi-layered cinematic triumph with fantastic dialogue, masterful acting and ambiguous metaphors (the football, the drug dealer, the chicken imitation). Tommy Wiseau's performance is stunning, he dives deep into his character's psyche in a way that would make even Daniel Day-Lewis jealous, and his breakdown in the ending of the film is so heartbreaking that it is sure to bring tears to your eyes. Greg Sestero delivers Oscar-worthy supporting work as Wiseau's best friend, and Philip Haldiman steals all his scenes completely. The Room is a challenging, visually stunning and emotionally powerful film that requires and deserves multiple viewings, and an achievement that even the great artists of cinema, like Kubrick, Hitchcock, Kurosawa and Tarkovsky would have been jealous of. Anyone who says the film is incompetently made and "so bad it's good" is a complete jerk.
Of course I'm joking. The Room is unspeakably terrible, but a film that has you continually vacillating between hysterical laughter, apoplexy and the will to shoot yourself in the head with a nuclear missile still deserves to be seen not just by every film buff, but every living human being on Earth.
Snowpiercer is an exhilarating surprise amidst all the loud, big-budget, special-effects-driven summer junk. Bong Joon-ho's first English-language film is a dark, gritty and violent dystopian sc-fi actioner with a lot in its mind about societal, environmental and moral issues. The film uses its premise about the remaining humans living in a perpetually moving train after a new ice age breaks out as an allegory for modern society, and though this parable isn't exactly subtle and is sometimes frustratingly underlined, the film still gives the audience much more to think about than most summer movies. The plot is engaging and offers plenty of surprises, the visuals are gorgeous and the performances of the cast very good. Joon-ho also freshly combines art house and blockbuster filmmaking, making the film often bizarre but also strangely mesmerizing. Chris Evans proves he's capable of more than just playing an upright hero (Captain America), and Song Kang-ho, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, a barmy Tilda Swinton and the always likable Jamie Bell are all fine as well. In the end, Snowpiercer may not be as intellectually rewarding as Inception, which remains the ultimate summer blockbuster, but is still very much worthwhile.
While I have been well aware of The Hunt, the new film by Thomas Vinterberg, for quite some time now, I haven't bothered to actually watch it yet. And I'm only too happy that I finally did, because it is one of the best films I've seen in quite some time. How this remarkable drama thriller could lose the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film is beyond me; Vinterberg's harrowing depiction of a decent everyday man being falsely accused of child abuse is much more interesting, thought-provoking and rewarding than Paolo Sorrentino's dull and indulgent art house mess. The film asks some really tough questions about difficult subject matters, such as children and their environment, dereliction, the fucntionality of a small community, family relationships, and is the word of children always trustworthy. And unlike many American films, Vinterberg and screenwriter Tobias Lindholm don't run away from these themes after throwing them in the air, but deal with them fearlessly and realistically. The screenplay is marvelous, intelligent and even-handed, Mads Mikkelsen delivers a magnificent performance, and Vinterberg's direction is impeccable. Like his previous film, Submarino, The Hunt is often grim and a heavy film to watch, but it is so well-crafted and exciting that it is impossible to look away, and above all, it evokes real emotions. The Hunt is one of the best films of 2013, and nothing short of essential viewing.