Andy Patterson's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Adieu au langage (Goodbye to Language)

Godard's experimental sensory overload is quite frankly boring and has nothing to say; serving no real purpose other than for the film maker to play around with 3D and shower us with painful pretences. It is quite visually sumptuous, which perhaps makes it worth something.


Kudos to Lelio for making a film about a woman in middle age, who are often neglected in cinema and to Garcia for bringing her to life, but the script just isn't all that interesting and towards the end of the film it becomes very clear that this Gloria is not very likeable at all, but a rather reckless and selfish creature indeed.


The sweetness and whimsical charm of this warm family comedy ultimately wins over the formulaic plot, silly star casting and daft jokes, but only just.

The Skeleton Twins

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig (Hader is particularly excellent) give brilliant duo performances as twins in this bleak yet touchingly sentimental and sweet seriocomedy that tests the blood is thicker than water cliché, but ultimately proves it to be true.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

The brisk editing, intimate photography and Abramovic's own seductive personality elevate the film and make it somewhat watchable for me, despite not understanding what all the fuss is about regarding her famous, bizarre performance art. Still, I found it impenetrable, bizarre and sometimes unintentionally hilarious, as ignorant as that might make me sound to the modern art crowd.

Punch-Drunk Love

Surprisingly, the casting of Adam Sandler is probably the best thing about PTA's stab at the romantic comedy. It's a very slight film when compared with the rest of his filmography and doesn't seem to have much of a point, but Sandler lends an awkward, endearing charm that adds a layer of poignancy and humour to affairs.

L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo (The Bird With the Crystal Plumage)

Uncommonly violent for its time, Argento's spaghetti slasher thriller shocked and left audiences in awe at the time, but today it feels a lot safer. That being said, even without that element of shock, it's more than serviceable horror fare.

Mr. Turner
Mr. Turner(2014)

An intimately detailed and picturesque portrait of a man, this J M W Turner biopic is superbly performed by an excellent Timothy Spall and a cast comprised of Mike Leigh regulars, while the director punctuates his late career masterpiece with stunning cinematography, such as the landscape shots that capture the essence of Turner's paintings.

High Hopes
High Hopes(1988)

Mike Leigh's High Hopes is endearingly odd and satirical portrait of post-Thatcher Britain and a collection of memorable and quirky characters.


Gus Van Sant, no longer the daring indie film maker he once was, settles for a fairly standard biopic template but thankfully a stellar script and excellent central performance gives its fascinating and tragic subject justice and emotional power.

Downfall (Der Untergang)

Bruno Ganz plays a pathetic and broken yet still delusional and monstrous Hitler in his final days with chilling authenticity, portraying the infamous historical with note for note perfection. This makes for a very impressive biopic which provides a sobering view on the barbaric monster's downfall as seen by those around him.


While Bennett Miller's cold yet well constructed biopic may only scratch the surface of Truman Capote's psyche, Phillip Seymour Hoffman guides it to become something rather fascinating, nuanced and insightful of the sacrifice to his emotional wellbeing and self respect that was required for the author to write his final masterwork.


Shane Carruth's ingenious low budget debut is a better piece of time travel science fiction than any I can ever recall seeing. It's a cerebral ride, a thrilling and technical film for the savant and thinking man audience that isn't dumbed down for anyone's sake and is never less than convincing, or utterly perplexing.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Sly but not as smart as it thinks, amusing but still derivative, Kingsman is a mixed bag but for the most part is an enjoyable send up with enough winks and nods on the way to just about forgive it for stretching it's tongue in cheek premise beyond the point of excusable silliness. Perhaps fans of comic book action movies tired of the capes and alien threats to humankind will find a refreshing fun to be had here.

Wings of Desire

Wim Wender's fantasy about the beauty of life is patiently paced and poetic, life affirming and sweet. The cinematography is ravishing and atmospheric while Bruno Ganz and Peter Falk delight. One of the best contemporary German films and a profound, languid meditation on life that makes for one of the best cinematic works with such a message.

The Road (La Strada)

One of the most poignant and unforgettable road movies of all time, Fellini's La Strada is landmark film made all the more better by the presence of the marvelous character of Gelsomina.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

Sadly Wilder opts for a standard Holmes adventure format and the storytelling is slight, but his irreverent and witty take on the character is evocative of the famous strand magazine and Robert Stephens helps give him new dimension and depth.

The Magnificent Seven

Ineffectual at the side of Kurasawa's far superior masterpiece and despite a well assembled cast it suffers from the occasional bit of hammy acting and slow pacing, but John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven is an entertaining Western that particularly benefits from the presence of Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

This Hammer production of the classic Holmes tale is one of the most entertaining screen adaptations of the iconic detective to date, with a marvellous turn by Peter Cushing and a terrific gothic style that carries great atmosphere and spooky tension throughout.

The Guest
The Guest(2014)

Begins with enough menace and mystery to provide thrills, but this hyper stylised horror-lite genre thriller ultimately suffers from sloppy execution and devolution into pure silliness that destroys any tension it had. Nonetheless, it's never any less than entertaining and Dan Stephens plays his part perfectly, demanding our attention and curiosity whenever he is on screen.


Amy is at once heartfelt and heart wrenching, a tragic and eye opening portrait of a truly gifted and troubled soul's exposure to the tumultous celebrity lifestyle and destructive spiral of addiction that benefits from the director's refusal to paint it's subject in a strictly positive or negative light.

Lilja 4-ever
Lilja 4-ever(2003)

Lukas Moodysson's social realist drama is a relentlessly grim and hard to stomach depiction of teen prostitution in eastern Europe that's worth enduring thanks in no small part to Akinsjina's heart wrenching, scarily real turn as Lilya. Her plight is the plight of child sex workers all around the world and you'd have a heart of stone if you were left unaffected by it. Yet in the midst of all this misery lies a strangely life affirming message.

Jackass: Number Two

Annoying, infatuous and much grimmer than the first movie. Jackass always aimed for the lowest denominator but here they aimed even lower still.


Moodysson satirises young, idealistic socialists here with this charming, bittersweet comedy of manners which ends in a surprisingly uplifting way.

Slow West
Slow West(2015)

John Maclean's exciting debut film is an offbeat, inventive and blackly comic Western that demonstrates he is a talent to be watched and serves as a refreshing treat for fans of traditional genre offerings.

Jackass - The Movie

It's low brow, vulgar and completely ridiculous but the title promises nothing else. If this is your thing, Jackass: the movie is hysterical.

Mad Max: Fury Road

The narrative power comes not from the main plot or the dialogue but through a unique and exciting brand of visual storytelling seldom seen since the days of silent cinema, teamed with the kind of eccentric, anything goes action you expect from the franchise.


Few movies have ever made me felt quite so alive, so invigorated, so uplifted and so compassionate for the characters as Xavier Dolan's affectingly human masterpiece Mommy. I'll never forget Steve, or Diane, or Kyla, nor will I ever stop caring about their lives and that speaks volumes about the emotional power and intensity on show here.

The Aviator's Wife (La femme de l'aviateur)

Rohmer's films are pragmatic works of anthropology that examine the complexity of human love with quiet wit and personal affection. The Aviator's Wife is one of these films, and while his passive direction and thinly written script may not strike everyone as appealing, it's undoubtedly a clever study in jealousy and what it does to us.

Two Days, One Night

A compassionate and deeply affecting film which astutely criticises the predatory dog eat dog capitalism and gives Cotillard another impressive performance to add to her resume.

The Place Beyond The Pines

Derek Cianfrance's latest film is very ambitious in scope and definitely pays off despite it's storytelling flaws: he has crafted a thematically complex and dramatically rich movie with fantastic performances from its star studded cast. This is a movie that makes you think and feel equally, it is at times thrilling, heart wrenching and breath taking.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Despite deeper exploration of the themes introduced in the original and uniformly strong performances, it is heroine Katniss Everdeen who is the YA adaptation's greatest strength. She has become a cinematic icon for young teenage girls and a powerful role model; her character is remarkably resilient, courageous and human.

The Hunger Games

The brilliantly conceived science fiction and painstaking detail of the set and costume design make this grim yet exciting vision of a dystopian future in which kids partake in last man standing death-matches Battle Royale style very believable and immersive, and Jennifer Lawrence is outstanding.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is a rollicking facetious space opera full of heart and humour, with a touching message about the healing power of friendship and a guilty pleasure-loaded soundtrack that perfectly conveys the emotional power of 70's radio hits. The film marks a successful first cinematic foray into the cosmic side of the comic universe which is best described as a post-Tarantino Star Wars. A pre-credits message assures us that the ragtag crew of misfit heroes will return, and I can't wait.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

What makes the star spangled hero's second solo outing so appealing and a cut above the rest is the edgier and more complex plot which holds a mirror to modern American politics; civil liberties issues, President Obama's terror suspect kill list and preemptive technology, making for a topical political thriller with as much intrigue as breath-taking action spectacle. It's a blockbuster with brains essentially, and the best sequel Marvel have produced so far.

Marvel's The Avengers

Whedon's focus on characterization and locker room banter between the Avengers is easily his biggest strength. He takes what would otherwise be a largely unimpressive, overblown box office behemoth and fills it with interesting characters who play off each other brilliantly thanks to the witty, sharp script that the actors have to work with.

The Family
The Family(2013)

Tired jokes about French culture and manners, tired mafia stereotypes and more tired Robert De Niro are the main ingredients in Luc Bresson's silly action comedy. It's mostly harmless and inoffensive, but is also charmless, witless, overly familiar and completely unimaginative.


One of the most fascinating music documentaries I've seen, DiG! Is an unflinching, sometimes funny and insightful chronicle of the tumultuous relationship between The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, as well as a dissection of the turbulent American rock band lifestyle. Think of a darker, real life spinal tap for the 90s music scene.

Jurassic World

There are no stock characters, no blockbuster tropes left unturned in this cynical, self-congratulating bore of a movie. Computer generated dinosaurs I can forgive, but computer generated scripts are where I draw the line and it seems as though that's the process they used for this one.

Little Man
Little Man(2006)

This impossibly fatuous, crass and obnoxiously unfunny joke of a movie is quite possibly the worst I've ever made myself sit through. The lazy, infantile writing is truly abhorrent (let's not forget to mention that sexual assault and harassment are played for laughs), the performers should all be sentenced for crimes against the acting profession and the Wayan brothers, plague that they are to mainstream comedy cinema, should be forever blacklisted from Hollywood. I've never been so offended or insulted by the existence of a movie as I have this piece of vomit inducing rubbish.

Sid and Nancy

It's hard to feel empathy for people as useless and devoid of character as Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen and there are times when even Cox seems disinterested in them, but there are shines of vivacious energy and poignant moments (particularly in scenes depicting the childish tenderness they often displayed to one another) to this portrait of drug addiction and doomed love that, dare I say, leaves you feeling a little sad for the junkie losers the film depicts and there are two sequences, the visceral my way stage performance and that truly haunting ending, that were revealing of the tragic, nihilistic character who Gary Oldman plays uncannily.

Pauline At The Beach

Rohmer's profound and charming comedy of romantic manners is soaked in irony and wit. It plays like an acutely observed slice of life, with Pauline serving as the moral compass for the self obsessed, bourgeoisie cast of characters as they deceive themselves and manipulate each other. The film's performers are naturalistic yet effervescent, their acting style as unique and distinctive as the screenplay.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring

Kim Ki-duk channels Kurosawa and Bergman in this quiet and contemplative fable, which is a work of stunning, tranquil beauty and profound humanity.

Audition (Ôdishon)

Miike's grisly female revenge thriller is one of the most excruciatingly unsettling films I've ever seen, yet there is something about the way he transforms banal situations into the macabre and wicked that shows a true auteur's vision, and it is an enthralling, if disturbing one. Hard to watch, but harder to look away.

Fanny & Alexander

Bergman's dreamy family epic is his most accessible movie. It breaks away from the moody, brooding tone that characterized his early psychodramas. It is still dark, allegorical and illuminating of the dark side of human nature, but it is also life affirming and almost fairy tale like. Not just a cinematic achievement but a literary one too, for watching this long, carefully paced Dickensian tale feels like watching the pages of a classic novel come to life.

Three Colors: Blue (Trois Couleurs: Bleu)

Kieslowski's sharp eye and unerring feel for the fleeting emotions and minute details that comprise human nature gives this tragic mood piece it's emotional power. Juliette Binoche gives a towering performance as a broken spirit trying to mend herself, her exceptional acting hinges on the subtle physical nuances.

Before Midnight

The third movie in the Before trilogy massively contrasts with the more romantic and idealistic films that preceded it, offering a vastly intelligent, insightful and organic look at marriage, lifelong love and human relationships. The fluidity and naturalism Delpy and Hawke deliver is, however, still present. The best American romantic drama in years.

Imitation of Life

The soapy, melodramatic style is not to the film's detriment: Douglas Sirk's classic tear-jerker has a subversive and impactful allegorical message that has been blunted by time, but was astonishingly progressive and intelligent for its era.

Before Sunset

The screenplay is as natural, witty and full of idealism as it was in the original and the beguiling chemistry the leads shared still remains, though this time the romanticism comes with a sense of poignant regret as we learn what's become of them since their chance meeting in Vienna. Enthralling, intimate and terrifically performance, Before Sunset is a perfect companion to it's predecessor in the sense that it offers just as engaging, cinematic and relatable a snapshot of life.

Before Sunrise

Linklater's contemporary Brief Encounter is an intelligent and deeply romantic look at modern love that perfectly encapsulates the beauty and joy of falling for someone. Profoundly touching, tender and sweet, Before Sunrise is perfect.

Le Sang des bêtes (Blood of the Beasts)

A stark, unflinching look at how a slaughterhouse operates. It's affecting and filled with harrowing images of cruelty that will burn into the viewer's mind for long after the short running time and may even have the power to turn some vegan.

L'Âge d'Or (Age of Gold) (The Golden Age)

Here in his neglected masterpiece, Bunuel effectively combines the conventions of the documentary, of silent and sound, realist and surrealist to demonstrate his disdain for religion and bourgeois society, and his erotic, disturbing film still has the potency to shock that it did on release.

Day for Night

Truffaut's tribute to the communal insanity of film-making is made with affection for the practicalities and pitfalls of his trade. It's cinephilic celebration at it's finest, a love letter to the chaos and creativity of making a movie and a meditation on the connection between cinema and life.


Fellini's warmly nostalgic, carnivalesque memory piece is an extravagantly funny and dreamlike evocation of childhood memories in the form of a ribald and sweet series of colourful vignettes full of memorable, larger than life characters and visual splendor.


It's difficult to count the number of ways in which Stagecoach directly influenced American cinema. It revitalised a flailing genre and established it's most famous conventions. It made a star of the ruggedly handsome John Wayne and it was the first important milestone in a directorial career that would have John Ford recognised as one of America's most important film makers. Stagecoach is a landmark Western with one of Wayne's finest roles, a three dimensional ensemble cast and virtues that hold up today.

The Iron Giant

A funny, affecting and wonderful animation that gives children a touching ET-like tale while serving adults with surprising human allegory and emotional depth.

Efter repetitionen (After the Rehearsal)

Efter Repetitionen is a haunting film ridden with guilt, Bergman's guilt; of many lives, including his own, sacrificed for the sake of his art. It's a worthy low key conclusion to the main film making period of one of cinema's greats, a mea culpa of sorts.

Jules and Jim

Jules and Jim signaled a more adult and middle-of-the-road effort than Truffaut's previous two films without losing any of the young and disruptive energy of the revolution he and his accomplices had just launched in world cinema; the result is an emotionally haunting, cerebral and very funny film that stands as one of the crowning achievements of the French New Wave.

Au Hasard Balthazar

Bresson invests Au Hasard Balthazar with a remarkable intensity that is only enhanced by the stark and austere visual style. It's a tremendously powerful allegory on human cruelty and suffering and a study in saintliness, with the eponymous donkey used as a symbol of virtue and salvation. It's one of the most transcendent art house films of the 20th century.

Days of Being Wild (A Fei zheng chuan)

Wong Kar Wai's second feature is a moody piece imbued with hypnotic rhythm, eroticism and beauty. It's a tale of different people struggling with the pain of one way love and the longing for intimacy, and a film that sees an auteur finding his groove.

Horror of Dracula

Christopher Lee's icy, imperious count makes for a grander, more horrifying and more cinematic villain than Bella Lugosi's, and Hammer's boundary stepping production is more horrifying, unabashedly lurid and unmistakably sexy than the Universal classic.

The Magician
The Magician(1958)

Preceding his famous trilogy of faith, The Magician is Bergman's tale of an enigmatic illusionist and a rational scientist engaged in a battle of wits that serves as an examination on the art of illusion and ultimately cinema itself. He infuses the film with horror conventions that he employs to virtuoso effect and bawdy comedy that works surprisingly well, making for a truly under rated gem from a transitional and creative period in his career.

De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone)

There is power in Adiard's unflinching honesty and certainly in the performances, but the film meanders for too much of its running time and he is reliant too much on artificial elements: the soundtrack, the slow motion sequences, not necessary.

Phantom Of The Opera

The film creaks at every turn but enshrines one of the most iconic and masterly silent movie performances: That of Lon Chaney as the titular ghoulish villain. It's this great bit of acting that overcomes the rickety structure and plodding direction to allow the picture to stand the test of time.

Being John Malkovich

This high concept fantasy is a sex driven head trip with a entrancing, boldly original story and one of the most memorable instances of an actor playing themselves on film.

La Nana (The Maid)

Catalina Saavedra is quietly devastating in her subtle, natural lead performance and Silva's empathetic touch gives the social commentary a brilliantly caustic edge.

The Celebration (Festen)

Thomas Vinterberg cleverly hops between genres with his naturalistic film, often throwing in cheeky undercurrents of farcical comedy to play against the uncomfortable family drama. His establishment of the Dogme 95 rules could be seen as self promotion, but following guidelines that do away with artificial film making elements, forcing the film maker to rely on the strength of his actors, gives the viewer a sense of wonderment and cinephilic glee.


Andrei Zyagintsev's intensely heartrending tale of human tragedy and political corruption is a masterpiece of slow, visceral storytelling, sumptuous cinematography with beautiful landscape shots of the remote Russian setting and a scathing critique on the state of the country.


Birdman is a fascinatingly multi layered tragicomedy which delves into the human psychology and our constant need for love, admiration and relevance. It also serves as an incredible comeback for Michael Keaton, whose turn as a fictionalised version of himself is a definite career high point.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Amirpoor is a confident first time director with a flair for original, moody style. She borrows conventional elements from many different genres and combines them into something strikingly unique. This makes A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night an intriguing calling card debut and a visually sumptuous showcase of surreal, hipster stylisation that works best when the story goes off on a mad tangent.

One Froggy Evening

This classic Merrie Melodies short can be seen for what it is on the surface: a very amusing animation about a talented top hat sporting frog who sings rag-time era hits and dances with a cane or, more interestingly, we could look at the supernatural singing amphibian as a sort of lesson on greed. The two human characters try to exploit the creature's talent for profits which leads only to misfortune and frustration. Asides from the moral profundities, One Froggy Evening boasts a memorable, toe tapping soundtrack and indelible animation.

What's Opera, Doc?

What's Opera, Doc?, Often considered Chuck Jones' magnum opus, lovingly lampoons Disney's Fantasia and Wagner's Ring Cycle while also re-imagines what was by then a very cliched Bug and Elmer conflict formula with stylistic expressionist backdrops, tragic romance and jokes aimed at Wagner's ponderous, operatic style.

Duck Amuck
Duck Amuck(1953)

in one of Warner's most notable animations, Daffy Duck is tormented by an initially unseen animator who leads him to an existential crisis of sorts by repeatedly changing his appearance and allows the creator Chuck Jones to cleverly demonstrate that animated characters can have their own recognisable personalities independent of their personal appearance. Sure the self referential, fourth wall breaking humour has immense comedic value but the lesson in the possibilities of the cartoon short format is where it's real importance lies.

Cold in July
Cold in July(2014)

It's cold in Jim Mickle's standard genre piece, which feels like two halves of two very tonally different films and never comes together as a very satisfying or engaging whole.

White Dog
White Dog(1982)

Fuller's fable about the dangers and stupidity of prejudice suffers from corny TV movie style production, but is redeemed by a well handled theme and exciting pace.

Hobo With a Shotgun

This homage to the exploitation genre is a redundant exercise in adolescent nastiness, a purile and charmless piece of designer trash. In that way, it's the perfect film for friends to watch, ironically of course.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

This poorly animated and lackluster addition to the DC animated canon is effectively a collection of bland and mechanical fight scenes, strung together by a thinly written plot loaded with cringe inducing dialogue.

House Of Cards Trilogy Iii: The Final Cut

The Final Cut suffers slightly from the lack of a substantial antagonist and a plot that doesn't really come together as a whole even by the ending, which feels rushed and predictable. That being said, even without a foil to rise against, Richardson's iconic performance is still as charming and compelling as it is frightening. The most weakly constructed part of the trilogy, this is nonetheless a thrilling conclusion that serves as a fitting end for a fantastic series.

To Play the King

While the first part of the miniseries followed the Machiavellian rise to power of an iron-fisted British PM, To Play The King concerns a tightly scripted and intriguing battle of wits between the scheming Conservative and a proactively socialist king.

House of Cards

House of Cards is high brow political drama of the finest sort, a caustic satire that boasts a towering performance from Ian Richardson that is wry, commanding and terrifying all at once.


This soapy bro melodrama is a predictable and overlong affair. The caliber of acting on display cannot save what is an unconvincing, contrived sports movie with a laughably cliché ridden script and a frightfully dull tournament movie set up.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Since the hugely successful first cinematic team up, the genre has grown up immensely, and now Whedon's formula shows wear. While the bantering and beat downs will be enough to satisfy most, others may feel let down by this rote, more of the same sequel that doesn't build on the original in any way other than by expanding the cast.

The Kid with a Bike

The Dardenne Brothers channel Ken Loach and Vittorio De Sica with what feels like Kes with nods to Bicycle Thieves. The Kid With a Bike may not be the equal of those towering classics, but it's a film that depicts a side to growing up rarely portrayed as honestly.

Oslo, August 31st

Oslo, August 31st is a painful depiction of drug addiction and a troubled man battling his personal demons that feels like something Truffaut would have made. It's emotional heft and gripping authenticity is bolstered by the emotive and honest Anders Danielsen Lie's tremendous lead performance.

Force Majeure

Force Majeure is a bit of a slog, but a worthwhile watch thanks to a uncomfortably gripping look at a seemingly perfect marriage falling at the seems, and some beautiful shots of the French alps as a bonus visual treat.

Broken Blossoms

A romantic and painful tale of interracial love that was far beyond its time and a huge deviation from the abhorently racist message found in Griffith's pioneering Birth of a Nation.

Jesus Camp
Jesus Camp(2006)

It's not a particularly eye opening or revealing film, the evangelical church is notoriously insane. However, it's a disturbing, and fascinating film that gives a frightening inside view of the religious brainwashing of American youths.

Up in Smoke
Up in Smoke(1978)

For a film seen as a touchstone for stoner culture, Up In Smoke is a tepid affair with stale humour that doesn't get any better with being under the influence.

In the Mood for Love

In The Mood For Love bares more than a few resemblances to David Lean's Brief Encounters, but Wong Kar Wai and his cinematographer Christopher Doyle punctuate the moody romance with style, grace and rhythm. The result is a lushly photographed and very cinematic yet oddly reserved tale of resisted love with quiet emotional power.

Pickup on South Street

An ahead-of-its-time anti-communist political thriller which outshines it's cold war era peers, Samuel Fuller's Pickup On South Street is a remarkably tough and gritty film with a sense of intimacy and urgency provided by the aggressive close ups and the actors, all of whom have never worked better than in this.

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang

Despite it's age, the grandfather of prison movies is as hard hitting as it ever was thanks to some surprisingly brutal and unrelenting drama and Paul Muni's powerful lead performance.


Despite running at a mere 79 minutes, Persona is probably Bergman's most technically and thematically accomplished work of art. It's a cinematic Rorschach test, a surreal, psychological horror and an exploration of the human condition much more profound and complex than Through A Glass, Darkly.

Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly)

Immaculately wrought and virtually unmatched by any of Bergman's other films in sheer intensity, Sasom I En Spegel is a tremendously powerful work that examines human fragility in ways few other films can fathom.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2

Operatic, thrilling, dark and full of suspense and jaw dropping action set pieces, most notably the violent showdowns with the Joker and Superman. Part two does the seminal Frank Miller graphic novel wonderful justice and sets a dizzying new standard for animated superhero films.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1

Jay Oliva's opening half of the animated adaptation is a methodically paced first parter which is respectful to the Frank Miller comic. Peter Weller's voice lends perfectly to Batman and the grown up dialogue is a breath of fresh air from the stilted writing of many other direct to video offerings.


Jenuet's film clearly inspired by Terry Gilliam with its surrealist dystopian world, serves as a bizarre allegory on meat eaters but the potency of the sardonic message is diluted in the annoying whimsical stylisation.

Next Goal Wins

This real life underdog story is a predictable crowd pleaser, but it's hard not to feel some warmth and happiness for these spirited, hopeful people who refuse to accept defeat. A bit more attention to the individual characters would have made what feels rote and at times artificial something more touching and human.

The Idiots (Idioterne) (Dogma 95)

Von Trier's controversial avant-garde film is clearly tailored to shock and provoke with scenes like the "spasser gang bang" but some scenes seems to effectively depict the struggles of genuinely disabled people met with misunderstanding and hostility. This may or may not have been the director's goal, but it provokes serious thought all the same.

Man Bites Dog

Like a twisted, offbeat and unpredictable mix of This is Spinal Tap and Henry: Portrait of a serial killer, Man Bites Dog is a biting satire on media violence that is hard to stomach and hard to turn away from in equal measure.

The Most Dangerous Game

This pre code horror classic, despite being a little hokey and melodramatic is an effectively chilling and suspenseful film.

Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai)

Kurusawa's immortal period action epic is a tale of courage and heroism that seamlessly interweaves philosophy and entertainment to powerful effect. There's no wonder Seven Samurai is one of the most reworked and remade films of all time, with it's rich, novelesque structure and grand, evocative battle scenes.

Jungfrukällan (The Virgin Spring)

Jungfrukallan is a harrowing and starkly brutal yet somehow beautiful and poetic film about revenge, compassion and the silence of God, one of Bergman's most prominent themes.

Dead Alive
Dead Alive(1993)

Peter Jackson's splatter-fest classic is a goofy gore extravaganza with endless appeal in it's sheer lunacy. Non-squeamish viewers are treated to wonderfully tasteless gore effects, delightfully camp performances and a dark, quirky brand of violent slapstick comedy.

As Tears Go By

Romantic Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai delivered a modest debut with this standard gangster melodrama, but one with that giddy, kinetic energy and style of a growing film maker with lots of potential.

Wild Strawberries

Emotionally honest but avoiding sentimentality, Bergman's warm, humanist drama charts the spiritual odyssey of an emotionally arid old man recollecting his youth while inspiring luminous reflection on life. Simply put, it's one of the most universally reaching dramas ever put to celluloid.

The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde inseglet)

Bergman's existential masterpiece is a medieval morality play rooted in dark, profound themes and full of hauntingly striking visuals yet it's also very playful and often amusing. This makes for a film not only transcendentally powerful but also remarkably entertaining and accessible even for those with little patience for arthouse cinema. The images of Max Von Sydow playing chess with Death have become as ingrained in the public consciousness as King Kong atop the Empire State Building, which speaks volumes about it's lasting impact on world cinema.

A History of Violence

Following a successful career based on gleeful and liberal gore, Cronenberg makes a dark film more grounded in reality that serves as a reflection on our relationship with violence and it's Mortensen's quiet, subdued performance that gives that message it's power.

The Devils (Los Demonios)

Whatever message Ken Russell hoped to convey about religious fanaticism is blurred by the senseless depravity on show, but much like Salo, the scenes of twisted sexuality and violence are as striking and unforgettable as they are unsettling.

It Follows
It Follows(2015)

Utterly transfixing and outright terrifying in equal measure, It Follows offers first rate horror chills unrivalled by any other American horror movie in recent years.

The Adventures of Robin Hood

Every now and again it's nice to revisit a pure, old fashioned swashbuckling adventure without the post-modernist winks and nudges you can expect today, and this campy, technicolour adaptation of the popular folklore is certainly a stellar example as to why. Innocent and bustling with charm and joy thanks to the amiable Errol Flynn, The Adventures of Robin Hood is harmless fun.


The production values, as expected of the franchise are irresistibly handsome, the high point of this stellar fourth entry that sees Connery sustain the seductive charm and effortless charisma of his iconic super spy.


It's delirious, deliciously dark and menacingly funny with a splendidly sordid lead character played tremendously by McAvoy, who makes watching auto-erotic asphyxiation, psychotic drug binges and perverted prank calling a surprising treat. Like a sillier and less artful Bad Lieutenant.

Jackie Chan's Project A2 ('A' gai wak juk jap) (Project A, Part II)

Being more plot heavy was ultimately detrimental to this sequel; we come to Jackie Chan for reckless yet brilliant stunts and riotous physical comedy. However, there is still enough of that to keep Project A 2 from being lackluster.

Dr. No
Dr. No(1962)

Dr No is a remarkably competent, low key mystery thriller that set the foundation for the beloved superspy franchise for Goldfinger to later build on it. Terrence Young is completely unrestrained by the low budget; he makes the most of his exotic Caribbean locales, his suave leading man, titillating Bond girl and enigmatic villain to wonderful effect.

The Odd Couple

It's the mature themes and awkward comedy situations enlivened by Lemmon and Matthau's terrific interplay that made The Odd Couple the enduring buddy comedy hit that it is.

Marathon Man
Marathon Man(1976)

A sometimes turgid, often transparent thriller carried by an immediate pace and a handful of chilling scenes with Laurence Olivier's memorable villain.

Koroshiya 1 (Ichi the Killer)

Miike's lurid, gore laden yakuza yarn is a senseless orgy of revolting misogyny, tiresome torture sequences and sadomasochistic violence galore. It is also a very well put together genre piece with memorable characters however, and is enough to please fans with a penchant for stylised gore.


With a twisted, pitch black sense of humour and the deliberate blurring of fact and fiction to portray the subject as the often exaggerated storyteller he was, Chopper is like a send up/deconstruction of the criminal biopic while being a stellar example of the genre thanks to a scarily good Eric Bana.

Warm Bodies
Warm Bodies(2013)

The bizarre concept is fresh, it's message about the power of human connection warm and the comedy intermittently funny, but a lazily predictable plot and cheeseball acting make for a muddled, yet amusing and worthwhile genre mash up.


One might liken Thirteen to Larry Clark's infamous Kids with its frank and hard to stomach depiction of the dangers of adolescence, but with a blistering pair of performances from Evan Rachel Wood and Holly Hunter as troubled mother and daughter, Thirteen ranks in the upper echelons of American teenage cinema.


Nightcrawler is a scathing condemnation of the American media and a dark character study of an ambitious psychopath powered by a manic star performance from Gyllenhaal and unrelenting old school thrills.

Ex Machina
Ex Machina(2015)

Alex Garland's debut is a smart, cerebral and seductive science fiction thriller with a look at an eerily real future of artificial intelligence and a trio of scintillating performances. This is heady, thought provoking stuff that plays on our fear of technology one day outsmarting mankind incredibly well.

The Parallax View

Superb paranoid thriller from an era when Hollywood really churned them out, with visually striking cinematography from Gordon Willis and an intriguing conspiracy plot.

Jackie Chan's Project A ('A' gai wak) (Pirate Patrol)

Jackie Chan, at the peak of his tremendous talents as a physical comedian and martial arts superstar works terrifically well with Sammo Hung. The two provide laughs and awe inspiring stunts aplenty in this endlessly entertaining comedy adventure, with plenty of guffaw inducing slapstick moments and memorable action set pieces.


Stanley Tong's exhilarating actioner is like a James Bond movie produced in Hong Kong and starring Kung Fu virtuoso Jackie Chan, whose human and humorous fallibility in his characters is one of his most endearing traits and one of the main reasons (the other being his phenomenal stunt work) he is so beloved by fans.


A simple yet poignant character study of a lonely middle aged man played wonderfully by Ernest Borgnine in a role much different from the menacing, sadistic villains he was known for.

Brighton Rock

Though some of the histrionic acting may blunt the impact this dark British noir tale has today, Attenborough's chilling performance as a sinister, psychopathic thug is still effective and unforgettable.

Big Hero 6
Big Hero 6(2014)

Fast paced, colourful and gorgeously animated, Big Hero 6 is certainly a great amount of fun but more notably, it's touchingly human.

Dark Days
Dark Days(2000)

Depictions of such cruel circumstances that befall people naturally have a gloomy, haunting quality but the humanity we are shown is overpowering and in the end we aren't depressed, we are uplifted.


Miles Teller's triumphant lead performance lends an intensity and authenticity to Whiplash that could be rivalled by few actors working today. It's an remarkable achievement for him, his hypnotic, frightening costar JK Simmons and director Damien Chazelle.


Payne's satirical high school comedy is dark, though mischievously rather than mercilessly and while this tone lends itself to some playful laughs, a bit more bite wouldn't have gone amiss. That being said, Election is funny, sharp and fresh.

The Interview

All the controversy and frightening tension between the USA and North Korea was because of this. A series of dick jokes, tired party montages and gross out gags. Tepid, lame and completely devoid of the satire one would expect, the only merit the film can boast is the camaraderie between Franco and Rogen which translates well to the screen.

Scarlet Street

A dark, potent American noir masterpiece from German expressionism pioneer Fritz Lang with melodramatic yet affecting and somewhat sinister performances, particularly from the superb Edward G. Robinson.

Whip It
Whip It(2009)

Drew Barrymore's first directorial effort is a very competent one, the film, though entirely unoriginal is impressively well handled and fairly entertaining.

Les Douze travaux d'Astérix (The Twelve Tasks of Asterix)

Les Douze Travaux D'Asterix is hardly groundbreaking animation, but the adventures of Rene Goscinny's loveable Gauls have never been funnier.


Smashed has an undeniably warm spirit at it's core that refuses to judge or condemn it's characters, but is also unafraid of exploring the dark side of alcoholism with it's frank and human drama.


The story is essentially Dances With Wolves as told by Disney but despite this, Pocahontas is dark, haunting and ethereal in it's subtle, elegant beauty and this saves it when the well intentioned plot sometimes lags.


Joe Carnahan's wacky, off kilter LA noir comedy may be rough around the edges, but the sheer amount of fun lunacy packed into it's short running time makes it a bumpy, but riotous ride.

Big Eyes
Big Eyes(2014)

Christoph Waltz is horribly miscast and Amy Adams' terrific acting chops are wasted in a tepid, through the motions telling of the events by Tim Burton, who seems only interested in recounting the story as it probably appears on a Wikipedia Web page. There is no depth, insight or characterisation to be found in what is ultimately a lifeless picture.

Big Night
Big Night(1996)

Tucci's triumphant little film is a sweet, good natured comedy with delectable performances all round.


There's a lot of style that threatens to dominate the picture and overshadow the interesting themes, but the heart on sleeve performances and touching drama overcome the slightly overbearing twee.

The Trip To Italy

The film, even with all it's celebrity impersonations played for laughs and shots of lush Italian scenery and cuisine, has a tinge of melancholy and existentialism in it's casual discussions concerning mid-life and the inevitability of death and it's this that makes it that bit much more than just several fictionalised conversations over dinner.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Amazingly for a film so crude, cheap and vulgar, you actually grow to care about the relationship at the center of the film and this is what saves it from the stale, blatantly staged prank gags that will amuse only the most ardent fans of low brow comedy.

There Will Be Blood

Paul Thomas Anderson's vastly cinematic and darkly personal tale of an oil baron is an excoriating study of capitalism and greed. It's painfully resonant, epic in scope and indelibly performed by Daniel Day Lewis. One of the most towering achievements of American cinema.

The Princess and the Frog

A return to traditional animation style is welcome with the eye popping, colourful visuals but besides that we have a so-so story that feels much like a retread, with familiar characters, a by the numbers plot and some really bland songs.

Muppets Most Wanted

we're treated to a sensational Tina Fey as a Broadway loving gulag guard, Ty Burrell as a French detective/hilarious send up of European culture and Christophe Waltz doing the waltz. These are just a handful of the many inspired, off kilter delights laden throughout this star studded and riotously funny Muppets sequel which proves to be just as much pure good fun as the last.

Toy Story That Time Forgot

A decent short entry in the canon that reaffirms the endless appeal of Toy Story, and doesn't skimp on the humour or warm sincerity that makes it so endearing.


A simple tale of an unlikely friendship directed with an even hand and graced with a pair of subtle performances that skilfully avoid the sentimental clichés that other films would fall into.

Mou gaan dou (Infernal Affairs)

One of the very best police thrillers ever put to film, Infernal Affairs is a masterpiece of nail biting tension, heart racing suspense and smart, twisty plotting.

Radio Days
Radio Days(1987)

A wonderful slice of life kind of tale told in vignettes, one that celebrates and illuminates a certain period of time when radio was king.

Bad Santa
Bad Santa(2003)

Bad Santa is as warm and full of festive spirit as it is gleefully lewd and offensive, and ultimately it's the fuzzy warmth of the redemptive tale that wins over the somewhat stale, one joke comedic premise.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

John Hughes road trip comedy is fluffy in all the right ways and truly heartfelt; Steve Martin and John Candy's interplay is amusing, their developing friendship heart warming, their chemistry superb and eminently watchable.

Black Sunday
Black Sunday(1960)

Mario Brava's debut is a gothic chiller of the kind that Universal mastered with their monster horrors of the 1930s and 40s, but with an eery and atmospheric style which uses lighting and shadow spectacularly well for spooky effect.

Trading Places

The social satire is heavy handed and preachy and a lot of the material hit and miss, but overall Trading Places is a fun comedy with one of Eddie Murphy's better performances.

Marie Antoinette

A cross between a cheesy early noughties music video and some sort of period set live action barbie movie, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette biopic is insufferably dull and lacking in substance of any sort. One of the most atrocious artistic misfires I've suffered to date.

Man on Wire
Man on Wire(2008)

Man on Wire is enthralling and magical; it carries suspense, mischievous thrills and unexpected emotional weight in its inspiring climax. It's as engaging and beautiful a documentary could ever be.

Seven Psychopaths

Not as smart or ingeniously funny as In Bruges, but Seven Psychopath nonetheless thrills with its heavy dose of oddly liberating violence and satisfyingly devious twists.

The Host
The Host(2007)

This whacky South Korean monster movie doesn't reinvent the genre or transcend it's tropes, but with its blend of traditional b-movie genre thrills and zany family comedy, it certainly feels fresh enough.

Galaxy Quest
Galaxy Quest(1999)

Smarter and more affectionate than your average Hollywood spoof, Galaxy Quest may grow on you despite sometimes being a little too safe and featuring Tim Allen.

In Bruges
In Bruges(2008)

An unexpected blend of dark comedy and crime thriller elements that make up a refreshing and solidly entertaining debut from McDonagh.

It's Such a Beautiful Day

It's such a beautiful day is a unique, sometimes funny and profoundly touching look into the mind of a dementia sufferer. It's truly affecting, a film you're not likely to forget.


Sharp, perceptive and believable, but never more than slightly amusing and it often suffers from its boringly languid pacing. Still, a confident swaggering style and realistic, accurately observed performances keep things eminently watchable.

Paths of Glory

Trenchant film-making from Kubrick in his early career in this heart wrenching anti-war drama that boasts Kirk Douglas' most human performance and complex themes.

Rain Man
Rain Man(1988)

Rain Man is a little restrained thus not as emotionally affecting or involving as a film with this premise should probably be, but the Hoffman and Cruise give convincing performances.

High Noon
High Noon(1952)

The threat of impending violence and the mood cast by it is reflected immaculately in the performances and rich, crisp black and white photography. It's a towering Western classic, unusually dark and complex in it's ethical themes than most of it's peers at the time.

For Your Eyes Only

How boring is this stripped down, more grounded, sober Bond outing? Well the contest for most exciting element is contested by a tepid chase in a Citroen CV2 and the hilarity of Bibi Dahl chasing the ageing Roger Moore, so draw what you will from that.


Woody Allen's zany, futurist comedy is one of his funniest and most purely entertaining films, full of riotous slapstick gags and laugh a minute dialogue.

Love and Death

Love and Death has Allen's screwball silliness, trademark witticisms and the brilliant Diane Keaton in top form, making for a successful satire of all things Russian with very funny mock-serious philosophy, snappy one-liners and wonderful homage to everything from the Marx brothers to Tolstoy.

The Purple Rose of Cairo

Bittersweet and enchanting, The Purple Rose of Cairo is a rapturous and inventive comedy which celebrates movie escapism but also a reflection of the unpleasant realities which cinema makes us forget. Perfectly cast, wonderfully written and truly sublime in it's complete destruction of the fourth wall.

The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton is deadly and suave but lacks the standout charisma of his predecessors. Nonetheless, his debut as the British super spy takes a bold, more serious direction to amend the unabashed goofiness of the later Moore films and features a surprisingly involving romance subplot and a Bond girl with at least some character.


It might not exactly breeze by despite its short running time and the last act loses steam, but Bananas is a stellar entry in Woody Allen's filmography full of giddy energy and inventively silly sight gags.


It's an austere minimalist picture from Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, infused with a peculiar warmth that makes it such a heartfelt journey as well as a thoughtful and complex examination of it's deeply emotional themes.

Blue Ruin
Blue Ruin(2014)

Blue Ruin, with it's haunting lead and smart, bloody thrills gives the revenge thriller genre credibility it hasn't had for a long time, proving that deft storytelling, strong performances and effective cinematography can elevate a genre film above its status.


May take a while to grow on you, but Zelig is an intelligently crafted and fascinating mock-doc with impressive special effects and while not full of riotous jokes like This Is Spinal Tap (released one year later), it boasts a sustained smirk inducing comedic tone throughout, perfectly representative of Woody Allen's playful sense of humour.

Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It

Don't Legalize it has a very dramatic, contemplative and political tone this time around, a drastic change for fans of the irreverent, oddball stoner comedy that preceded. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it's hard to tell whether the writer has a stance on the topical subject of legalisation or whether they were milking it for irony,

Almost Famous

Cameron Crowe's quasi-autobiographical dramedy is often amusing and is graced by a talented ensemble of performers, but would have benefited from a less restrained reflection, illuminating the darker sides more clearly and giving it the edge and excitement it needs.


Though older viewers will likely think Mulan to be heavy handed and it's story very familiar, they'll nonetheless appreciate the splendid animation and the abundance of humour, and the exploration of family duty and gender inequality is educational for children.

The Fisher King

Terry Gilliam's fanciful style teamed with Robin William's neurotic and affecting performance is a delightful match made in whimsical, urban fantasy heaven.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask

Absurdly childish, embrassingly unfunny and not half as risqué as it thinks it is, Woody Allen's feature length series of sex vignettes isn't so much full of good jokes as much as it is one.


Sidney Lumet's cynical treatise on the moral and ethical decline of television is a bitingly smart satirical masterpiece which hasn't lost any of its relevance or sardonic edge.

Stories We Tell

A very affectionate investigative documentary with an intriguing narrative that unfolds organically thanks to Sarah Polley's remarkably tactful film-making, which manages to overcome the cliches of the genre.

Bloody Sunday

Paul Greengrass' searing account of the infamous Derry massacre is an angry, hard hitting and stunningly realistic recreation of an unforgettable piece of history powered by masterful, documentary like direction and a low key but emotionally telling performance from James Nesbitt.

Batman: The Movie

One of the best scenes in the film has Batman frantically dashing around the pier to get rid of a comically oversized bomb ticking in his hand. Adam West's caped crusader is wildly different to the brooding Dark Knight in Christopher Nolan's seminal trilogy and many will argue that it's unabashedly camp style and tongue in cheek humour pales in comparison to the more mature, modern take on the pop culture icon. I, however, find this witty, stylish and silly romp to be one of the highlights of Batman's silver screen legacy.

Venus in Fur
Venus in Fur(2014)

Deliciously provocative, bitingly funny and delightfully well played by its two splendid leads, Venus in Fur is sublime.

Dead Man Walking

Balanced in it's respect for both viewpoints and undeniably well acted, but ultimately a very soapy melodrama with the same frustrating Christian sensibilities as films like Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile.

To Catch a Thief

Dull, flat and brought down by lackluster performances from its leads and a predictable twist, To Catch a Thief is lower tier Hitchcock.


While not his best, Haneke's Amour is a sensitive yet unflinching and harrowing depiction of the inevitable end we all fear. It is surely more affecting the closer to mortality you are, but the heart wrenching performances will prove devastating e anyone who watches it.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle

A gritty, low key crime thriller from a period when Hollywood did gritty, low key crime thrillers best which benefits from it's Boston setting and a strong Robert Mitchum performance.

Lat sau san taam (Hard-Boiled)

John Woo's blood-soaked, bullet-riddled, cinematic actioner is a masterpiece of action cinema, the defining shoot em up movie of the 90s with a hard as nails hero, tense, bloody shootouts and a distinctly Hong Kong style which is visually striking and suitably moody in tone. He takes us from one adrenaline fuelled set piece to the next without letting up the momentum and as a result there is never a minute in the 2 hour running time we aren't left in awe.

We Are the Best!

We are the best is a punky blast of youthful energy and amiable charm, capturing the bittersweet tumult of adolescence more perfectly than any coming of age film in recent memory.


There are times when Misery is far too fluffy and jokey in tone for its scares to be truly effective and the often talked about hobbling scene doesn't shock as one would expect, but Kathy Bates is effectively frightening in her memorable role as the sadistic nurturer/jailer of James Caan's incapacitated author.

Rififi (Du Rififi Chez les Hommes)

Rififi is a masterful French crime caper with a gorgeous noir style, engaging players and a wordless heist sequence that to this day delivers unparallelled tension and beautiful realism, beating the more glamorous, action heavy set pieces of its Hollywood peers with raw simplicity.


Re-animator is campy 80s horror of the highest calibre, the kind of tongue in cheek, gore loaded trash that ranks alongside such gruesome greats as Peter Jackson's brain dead.

The Drop
The Drop(2014)

The Drop is a straight forward crime thriller elevated by a tightly woven script from Dennis LeHane, a well assembled cast turning in great performances and, uncommonly for the genre, attention to character detail.

Ghost World
Ghost World(2001)

Zwigoff's smart, deadpan adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name is funny, endearingly odd and bolstered by a pair of strong, likeable performances from Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi.


Nolan's science fiction opus is an intellectually stimulating and challenging film that tackles weighty philosophical themes and mind boggling science as well as sentimental family drama and heroic save the world adventure. Basically a thinking man's Armaggedon, and much better than a film summed up with that tagline deserves to be.

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

Former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara doesn't strike me as a very interesting subject and failed to hold my attention but perhaps he does for people with an interest in military history, and Errol Morris has delivered an even handed and brilliantly presented special interest documentary that showcases his formidable skills in the field.


when the thrilling cat and mouse chase begins, Headhunters becomes twisty, absurdly comic and gripping.

Steve Coogan Live: As Alan Partridge And Other Less Successful Characters

Once again Steve Coogan is live and most certainly lewd, but not even half as wittily hilarious as he was in the "Live 'n' Lewd" tour of 1994, despite returning characters.


Sam Mendes has taken the enduring pop culture icon and infused him with even more humanity and fallibility than Campbell did with Casino Royale but the film, as artfully photographed the stunning locales are and as impeccably choreographed the pulse pounding action is, has enough winks and nods to make this both grown up entertainment and a faithful tribute and continuation of the franchise. As a result, Skyfall is one of the best Bonds to date.


Yann Demange's film debut is a taut and visceral action thriller full of raw, palpable and nerve shredding tension which benefits from a devastatingly realistic depiction of Belfast during the troubles and a powerful lead performance from rising star Jack O'Connell.


There's a beating heart of the center of all the web swinging and it is Tobey Maguire playing the role of Peter Parker with pathos and humanity that keeps it pumping. Raimi has a flair for delicious camp, sweet romance and spectacular comic book action making this a defining childhood favourite of a generation.

Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso)

In the esteemed traditions of Neorealism and Italian comedy, Cinema Paradiso finds an excellent balance between humor and nostalgia to become an endearing love letter to cinema. Though the melodrama can be excessively sugary and sentimental, there is pathos and poignancy in the relationship between Alfredo (played impeccably by Philippe Noiret) and young Salvatore.

Bad Lieutenant

Abel Ferrara's seedy, pulpy parable is a decidedly odd and disturbing film thanks to Keitel's visceral and hard to stomach performance as a sinful, drug addicted police man. It's a sordid portrait of addiction and sin with a powerful, redemptive ending.

Withnail and I

Encapsulates the best of British comedy film-making, it is often hilarious, smug, witty. A bittersweet joy that is disarmingly funny and downbeat at the same time.


Cameron's action heavy sci fi sequel is a relentless, furiously intense thrill ride which replaces the gothic horror motif with that of a war tone, and adds emotional dimensions to Sigourney Weaver's badass heroine. It's also a work of impeccable science fiction design, distinct feminist subtext and visceral awe.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Much worse, much tackier and much more laughable than even a videogame adaptation deserves to be, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation would have been better had it just been a recording of someone playing through arcade mode as various different characters, at least that has sick amusement in the form of the infamously gory fatalities.


Essentially the same kind of brainless action fare you can get straight to dvd usually starring Steven Seagal, but dressed up with a bigger budget and Liam Neeson.

Lethal Weapon 2

Lethal Weapon 2 becomes undone when it loses it's playful tone in favour of a po-faced second half, but for a retread of the buddy cop formula it builds on the sweet and amusing chemistry of it's two leads, making for a sometimes amiable if dull end product.


It's a crude sex comedy with its heart in the right place, making for the perfect balance of consistently funny vulgar humour and sincere drama.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

In the realm of videogame Adaptations this might as well be Citizen Kane, with it's lushly realised Arabian setting but with talent such as Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina wasted on forgettable, cliched roles and a bland plot that contends with Roland Emmerich for the ability to send you straight to sleep, this is hardly top tier Summer popcorn fare.

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)

Fincher's mystery drama is bitingly sardonic. While the mystery drama unravels majestically and follows the framework to a tee, it does so with as many sick, stealthily comedic twists as it can and wittily examines and dissects modern marriage and media frenzy with a darkly satiric tone.

Indie Game: The Movie

Despite it's focus on a sub-sect of independent game developers, you don't need to know your Metroids from your Marios to become involved in the tension and emotional drama of these passionate, likeable and hard working people trying to express themselves in the most modern art form.

Fight Club
Fight Club(1999)

While millions of teenage fans with a penchant for quoting Brad Pitt's character may cite Fight Club as a subversive masterpiece, Fincher's movie is for the most part a sadomasochistic, pesudo-intellectual bore with a laughably absurd twist ending and a rather ironic anti-consumerist message (it's based on a best-selling book and filmed on a budget of over 60 million dollars with stars like Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter) aimed at the kind of nihilists you try to avoid.


Danny Boyle's triumph is a bleakly humorous and sometimes quite scary look at a gang of drug addicted losers as their lives fizzle away to nothing, the experience bolstered by Boyle's refusal to take a moral stance and his imagination which powers some unforgettable imagery.

The Trailer Park Boys Christmas Special

The Christmas special is an unnecessary prequel that doesn't do anything interesting or even funny with the characters' back stories.


It's an ultra violent imitation, but one so fast paced and filled with carnage that those seeking high octane thrills may find pleasures.

Down Terrace
Down Terrace(2010)

It's like a darkly comic, distinctly British kitchen sink flavoured version of David Michod's Animal Kingdom with the same dysfunctional crime family dynamics and every bit as deliciously absurd as such a description would have you believe.


Joon-Ho Bong's science fiction epic is the perfect antidote to the big, brash conservative blockbuster event movies of Hollywood: It is constantly subverting audience expectations with thrillingly imaginative ideas almost flawlessly executed, and serves up a deliciously devastating and thought provoking allegory for humanity. Just like the train in which the film takes place, Snowpiercer hurtles forward at crazy speeds, never slowing down until reaching the jaw dropping climax.

Under the Skin

Johansson is sexy and scintillating, transfixing and mysterious. She has an absorbing screen presence that lends an astonishing watchability to the sometimes hard to decipher, artsy imagery and helps make it more palatable to the non-arthouse crowd. While Glazer's oddity defies explanation, it is a beautiful work of cinematic art that will last on the mind for long after the final scene fades.


it's a one man show with a hefty responsibility for the lead to make a series of phone calls as he drives down the motorway entertaining but Tom Hardy, the acting powerhouse he has time and time again proven to be, has absolutely no problem with this. he is utterly transfixing as Ivan Locke, lending intense dramatic and emotional power to the film.


Villeneuve's second film is another mind bender, but a far less conventional, more adventurous and more perplexing enigma of a film that requires patient viewing, though paying close attention is no chore thanks to Gyllenhaal's captivating double performance. The final image will no doubt divide audiences, but one thing for certain is it will leave a lasting impression on the mind for a long time after seeing it.

The Double
The Double(2014)

Richard Ayoade's second feature has echoes of David Lynch, Terry Gilliam's Brazil and silent German Expressionist cinema all wrapped up in a smart and compelling package of striking visuals, quirky humor and thought provoking storytelling. It is a perfect reminder of the filmmaking passion and prowess he demonstrated with Submarine, only more subdued and expertly crafted.

Starred Up
Starred Up(2014)

It walks a fine line between exploitation and thoughtful drama but Mackenzie's brutal prison film manages to be sympathetic without relying on sentimental cliches of the drama. There are no revelatory, breakthrough moments in therapy or with a fellow inmate, just hard hitting, brutal honesty delivered by a terrific pair of performances from O'Connell and Mendelsohn.

Night Moves
Night Moves(2014)

Reichardt's Night Moves is a character driven thriller which takes a probing look at the motivations and personal feelings of its subjects, rewarding keenly attentive viewers, and Dakota Fanning gives a strong performance to make up for Eisenberg's blasé lead turn.

The Rover
The Rover(2014)

Michôd's bleak second feature doesn't feature the palpable tension of his impressive debut and the story is thinly written, half baked and full of narrative faults, however despite this it breezes through its runtime thanks to engaging performances and plenty of intense, bloody violence.

Batman: Assault on Arkham

While a Batman movie where Batman takes the backseat to a group of C-list rogues consisting of such characters as King Shark and Killer Frost may not sound like a winning formula, Assault on Arkham is a thrilling, well paced and often funny addition to DC's animated canon infused with attitude and engaging character dynamics usually missing as well as a few neat plot twists to keep things less predictable than the typically conservative and formulaic offering.


Strange and endearing but also astoundingly heartrending; Fassbender is sublime in his most emotionally telling, nuanced and unusual performance yet and is the heart and soul at the center of the film, allowing Lenny Abrahamson's fascinating feature to transcend the status of mere quirky novelty and become a thought provoking examination on creativity and mental illness that will linger in the mind as long as the image of Frank's large fake head.

Office Space
Office Space(1999)

It isn't nearly as fiercely funny or incisively smart in it's second half concerned with a money laundering plot as it is in it's inspired first, but Office Space is still a witty and relatable lampooning of corporate culture with a great ensemble cast.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Essentially a rom-com trapped inside a superhero movie overstuffed with too many villains, a more apt title would be the amazingly bloated, unfocused and risible Spider-man 2.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Though such a description would fit Sharknado 2, it's hard to critique it as awful simply because the film is so dedicated to delivering self aware schlock that being awful is what Anthony C. Ferrante and co were presumably aiming for. Still, it's hard to admire the self parody when it's as obvious and in your face as, well, a tornado carrying sharks.

Con Air
Con Air(1997)

It's hard to tell whether or not Con Air takes itself completely seriously but that's irrelevant; it is so steeped in cliche-ridden, over the top action and cringe worthy schmaltz that it defines guilty pleasure.

What Richard Did

A devastating study of life shattering guilt that can be forgiven for it's slight meandering at times thanks to a tremendous lead performance from newcomer Jack Reynor.

Man of Steel
Man of Steel(2013)

Snyder takes the hefty task of condensing all that is exciting and relevant about Superman into one movie and fails miserably, instead giving us the most generic, humourless and outlandishly awful comic book blockbuster in years.


James Gunn here seems to think that dark comedy is simply setting a dark tone with an evident readiness to amuse and the blackness just escalates in a jarringly gruesome finale.

The Big Lebowski

The Coen Brothers' remarkable ability to create wickedly funny, eccentric characters and fill them with actors who can make them something truly iconic is showcased here and is the movie's biggest strength, followed by their trademark sharp dialogue.

High Fidelity

High Fidelity combines the youthful energy of indie 90s comedies like Kevin Smith's Clerks with the romantic comedy of the defining generation X romance Say Anything (Another of John Cusack's best performances) to splendid effect, and the soundtrack hits all the right notes.


Nicolas Winding Refn's impressive film debut is unrelentingly fierce and gritty; it's almost cinema verite style in service to gripping story bolstered by Kim Bodnia's lead turn.

All the President's Men

Despite being based on political scandal with a well known conclusion, All the President's men is a deft and compelling thriller with the ability to keep it's viewers on the edge of their seats thanks to taut direction and solid performances from it's two well matched leads.

Fantastic Four

Horribly miscast, dreadfully plotted and hopelessly garish, This attempt at bringing Marvel's first family is a fantastic failure.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a case of brilliant, inspired visuals marred by dull, uninspired storytelling.

See No Evil
See No Evil(2006)

A skuzzy and predictable mess of a film, this blandly gruesome slasher film is bereft of tension and competent actors.

Lee Daniels' The Butler

It's a fairly handsome period melodrama with some strong performances from it's star studded cast, but it suffers from a very predictable and convenient narrative.


It's a peculiarly amusing true crime movie from Richard Linklater and Jack Black delivers an unexpectedly strong lead performance as the sympathetic lead.

Sunshine on Leith

The music of the Proclaimers is hit and miss, some songs work and are actually quite catchy, while others translate not so well. Ultimately, Sunshine on Leith WILL grow on you with its jubilant energy and soppy-sweet handling of important life themes, even if it takes a while.

The Green Hornet

I'm certain that Seth Rogen is objectively loveable, so it's a bewildering surprise that a facetious pulp superhero comedy starring yours truly and directed by Michel Gondry is only intermittently funny and entertaining, mostly just succumbing to the cliches you'd think it would try to avoid.

Be Kind Rewind

It's schmaltz of the highest order, earned by heart, a message about community and the endearing presence of Jack Black and Mos Def.

Anatomy of a Murder

This trenchant dissection of the American justice system takes a sophisticated approach to storytelling that makes it a thought provoking and powerful courtroom classic.

The Inbetweeners Movie 2

The problem with The Inbetweeners 2 isn't that it's merely unfunny. No, this witless and peurile new low for the boys begs to be described as anti-comedy; the infantile, hopelessly crude and obnoxiously sexist school-boy humour littered throughout this torturous exercise in shock leaves one longing for a sincere apology from everyone involved with it's creation.


Speed is an expertly paced, excitingly staged and explosive piece of 90s action cheese with serviceable performances and terrific suspense.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Excruciatingly fluffy and superficial, Under the Tuscan Sun is made even more unbearable by a horrible performance from Diane Lane.

Red River
Red River(1948)

Wayne, brilliantly playing older than his real age with authentic crustiness is interestingly matched against the photogenic Montgomery Clift, the lead up to their inevitable showdown grandly operatic, staggeringly emotional and endearingly macho.

Dances With Wolves

The film's eloquence and evocative beauty is arresting and hard to resist, even if the well intentioned sentimental melodrama is exhausting at times.


Altman's mosaic has a wide and richly drawn variety of memorable characters that seemingly collide chaotically but despite the very loose narrative and overlapping dialogue, this clever film which equates the folly of politics with the sleaze and dishonesty of the entertainment industry feels so brilliantly, acutely and perfectly structured.

Extreme Measures

Apted's thriller begins efficiently enough, but falters when he makes a play for morality, becoming quite preposterous in it's final act.

The World Is Not Enough

One thing James Bond should be is boring, but Michael Apted's listless and formulaic effort full of generic, recycled action, a less than stellar turn from Brosnan and a dull plot, villain and Bond girl is exactly that.


An abundance of Bond kitsch and a gloriously cheesy, typically 90s tone bolster this is a fun modern revitalisation of the franchise which embraces the camp while also humanising 007 by bringing his ethics into question, and Brosnan does a find job channeling his predecessors.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Though a preposterous ending threatens to undo the film, it proves that there is still life in the fedora sporting archeologist; Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is unashamedly over the top, often hilariously self aware and rousingly old fashioned in it's handsomely mounted set pieces. Indy doesn't quite belong in a museum just yet.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The tone is a lot more playful than it's predecessor and the film, as a result, has the same giddy charm as Raiders and while there are as many memorable action set pieces (as thrilling and spectacular as one would reasonably expect from Spielberg) the terrific chemistry between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery is just as iconic and just as much fun.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indy's second film is littered with jarring and disturbing violence which conflicts with the warm family friendly nature of the film, but despite this it is still a rousing adventure with humour and heady, action packed thrills.

The Queen of Versailles

It's sickly but intriguing schadenfreude premise overcomes the Meet The Kardashians vibes the doc sometimes gives off when following the vapid Jackie Siegel, and witnessing the collapse of the American dream in a real life riches to rags story offers an entertaining perspective of the economic crisis.

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

Severe pacing issues and an ending involving cuddly teddy bears fighting storm troopers that screams merchandising opportunities are evened out by the glorious set pieces spread throughout the film; Jabba's palace and the subsequent battle over the Sarlaac Pit, Luke's inevitable showdown with Darth Vader.

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Viewers could be forgiven for thinking that everyone besides the irritating Jar Jar Binks were the clones that the hopelessly corny title is referring to; they are stiff and bland and their dialogue formulaic and uninteresting, merely there to advance the plot. The action sequences are for the most part, as a result of cgi overload, equally as bland.


A wickedly subversive black comedy that satirises high school politics with much more bite than it's lighter and far less funny modern update Mean Girls.

The Secret of Kells

If only the story was as enchanting and inspired as the beautifully drawn animation.

The Crying Game

A perfectly executed and original psychological thriller that serves as a frequently melodramatic essay on the unfathomable laws of desire and looseness of identity with a layered tale of sexual intrigue.


Annoyingly whimsical but technically impressive in it's animal puppetry, Babe is a mixed bag, but ultimately a bacon sandwich would be a more welcome treat.


Katsuhiro Otomo's genius lies in linking the apocalypse with the rage of disaffected teenagers, the story is fueled by society's fear of its youth. In this respect, it can be seen as a teensploitation homage of sorts in the vein of The Lost Boys as well as the pinnacle of animated science fiction.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Matt Reeves infuses Dawn with gravitas and emotional heft, making for a breathtakingly powerful war epic/Greek tragedy. Combined with visually stunning action spectacle and mind blowing special effects, this makes for one of the best blockbusters of recent years and worthy competition with the Charlton Heston original for best Apes movie.

Assault on Precinct 13

It's a little above your typical cheesy b-movie affair: Think Rio Bravo with stilted dialogue, stodgy performances, excessive bloodshed and a catchy electronic theme.

Alice (Neco z Alenky)

A creepy rather than enchanting loose adaptation of Lewis Carrol's children classic, in which disposable products of domestic life become raw material for surreal, gothic splendor.

The Big Chill

The Big Chill is a both sharply witty and achingly moving ensemble comedy that captures the idealistic feelings and disappointments of a 60s generation stuck in the materialistic 80s without ever lapsing into sentimentality or upsetting the perfect combination of sadness and humour.

Vernon, Florida

Errol Morris' second documentary feature is an interesting curiosity that gives the spotlight to a disparate bunch of quirky, perhaps eccentric, endearing and ultimately very memorable residents of Vernon.

The Thin Blue Line

It's freeing a wrongly convicted murderer from prison that makes The Thin Blue Line as important and accomplished as it is, but the talking-head interview technique and film noir-esque crime recreation scenes influenced almost every modern crime documentary on television, serving as further proof along with his previous features that Morris is a brilliant and effective film-maker with a remarkable flair for juxtaposition and editing.


Sonatine is a brilliantly unconventional take on the Japanese Yakuza crime genre which at some point takes a trademark Kitano turn and plays out like a strikingly odd gangster holiday movie, complete with games of frisbee, Summer romance and sudden bursts of bloody violence.

Blue Is The Warmest Color

There are elements of Fassbinder and Bertolucci at work here; striking visual symbolism, commentary on class exploitation, sexy and raw eroticism and a powerfully honest performance from Adèle Exarchopoulos which allows us to grow particularly fond and sympathetic for her character as we follow her on an emotional journey of curiosity, ecstasy, love and ultimately, sadness.

Bowling for Columbine

Michael Moore's incendiary examination/attack on America's gun culture is one of the best mainstream documentaries ever made; Moore is a terrific film-maker who combines accessibility, gallows humour, thought provoking questions and political debate that will continue to arouse discussion as long as America's firearms problem exists.


With his latest profound masterpiece, Spike Jonze provides wise insight into modern relationships and what people seek from them, while having a wryly funny dig at how genuine human communication has become stifled in the age of technology and social networking.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Mere Summer family movie sequel this is not, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a breathtaking adventure with peerless animation, staggering imagination and a story that, rare for the children's cinema offerings of late, has an exciting sense of urgency and danger along with humour and genuine emotion. I was left wide eyed and pumped to see more of Hiccup and his dragons as soon as the credits rolled.


Technically epic yet the unpolished, minimalist feel lends a remarkable authenticity to this astonishingly ambitious and fully formed portrait of coming of age, which is perhaps Linklater's masterpiece, destined to become the defining film of a generation.


Dredd benefits largely from it's "day in the life plot", avoiding the cliched origin story trappings of most comic book adaptations, jumping straight into an eventful working day of the fascist super-cop. It's a stylistic and bombastic blast of violent, irreverent John Carpenter-esque fun and whets the appetite for a hopeful sequel.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Michael Bay, the turkey that he is wouldn't know subtlety if it exploded in his face (despite his obvious mania for explosions): watching robots of overblown, grotesque design engage in battles of overblown, grotesque design strung together by a lazily written story complete with an implausible and frankly dreadful romance subplot and plenty of racist jokes makes for an experience best described as anti-art.


Hyper-stylised imagery over a substantial script for sure, but what's lacking dramatically is more than made up for with it's blend of striking cinematography, electrifying music and jarring ultra-violence.

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

Describing Edge of Tomorrow as a Groundhog Day/Full Metal Jacket/Starship Troopers hybrid would almost be justified were it as purely exhilarating, freshly funny and it's gimmicky sci-fi premise as smartly executed in the latter half of the film as it was in the former. Perhaps with a trimmed running time, stronger characterisation and a less predictable climax, Doug Liman's action heavy blockbuster could have reached the lofty heights it teased in the beginning.

Man With a Movie Camera

Dziga Vertov makes his case for the revolutionary potential of cinema, exploiting almost every device of filming and editing-slow motion, animation, multiple images, split-screen, zooms, blurring focus and freeze-frames-to create a textbook of film technique as well as a glorious tribute to everything movie-making can be.

StreetDance 3D

Corny trash, but that's alright, its intended audience, likely females in their early teens won't be as critical as I am, they will just enjoy the pretty people dancing. Dull, poorly acted and a hackneyed story.


Brilliantly neurotic yet achingly human, Charlie Kaufman's multi-layered and strikingly original screenplay is a sublime meta-fiction masterpiece.

Lost In Translation

Sofia Coppola's second film is a profoundly and beautifully melancholic work with subtly fantastic performances from both its leads and striking cinematography; not a shot is wasted on this stunning tour of Tokyo's streets, bars and arcades.

Best Worst Movie

Best Worst Movie is an amusing and involving documentary which offers interesting insight into the minds of the people involved with the making of Troll 2. It benefits from Michael Stephenson's very personal direction; he essentially treats his examination of the cult movie phenomenon as a catch-up with his co-stars and it works well.

His Girl Friday

Howard Hawks' fast-talking battle of the sexes is a classic for the scintillating Rosalind Russell, it's superb comic timing, theatrical style and snappy repartee.


Hugo is Martin Scorsese's visually ravishing and technologically astounding love letter to the magic and art of cinema that will ignite the passion of film lovers of any and all ages.

The Muppet Movie

The off the wall lunacy of The Muppet Movie is hit and miss; their are moments of inspired silliness and the characters are as whacky and lovable as ever but the movie uses an abundance of tiresome star cameos and boring musical numbers to distract from the sometimes lacking script. After all, were Jim Henson's creations swapped with a human cast, it would just be a typical road movie affair.

Mean Girls
Mean Girls(2004)

Tina Fey's script is intermittently funny but is ultimately as vapid and sometimes cruel as the teenage populars it satirises, despite a well-intentioned if preachy message.

Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown(1997)

Jackie Brown swaps the lauded quirks that made Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction so beloved with a mellower, slow burn brilliance. It is intense, suspenseful and finally unnerving and Pam Grier, in a terrific comeback role plays the title lead with sexy gusto. It is the director's most mature and most overlooked work.


It's a familiar dish, but a resonant message, some smart laughs mined from social media and delectably simple performances make it a flavoursome feel good treat.

You Only Live Twice

While Connery's discontent at playing the suave super spy may be evident, the production value- exotic locales, impressive special effects and stunningly rendered set pieces- don't show any sign of letting up. Exciting, eminently stylish and with flashes of humour, You Only Live Twice is a rousing Bond adventure that boasts a belting theme sung by Nancy Sinatra and a gleefully silly plot that is wildly implausible, but thrilling nonetheless, even if the uninspired action of the formulaic volcano lair climax gets carried away.

From Russia With Love

The movie itself is oddly austere, even downbeat: less extravagant, less kitch and less tongue-in-cheek than the films that followed, but the mystery, the exoticism, eroticism, danger and adult sophistication are all present and the exchanges between Connery's Bond and Robert Shaw's Red Grant are almost Hitchcockian.

Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die is a bizarre departure from the Bond formula; Where megalomaniac super-villains and gloriously produced set pieces occupied the previous films, here blaxploitation movie archetypes and cliches such as black gangsters, racial epithets like "honky" and talk of pimp-mobiles are the focus. It might not be the most memorable or idiosyncratic of the Bond movies as a result, but it has enough style, action and camp humour to be a decently fun entry on it's own terms.

Quantum of Solace

This less than stellar follow up to the superb Casino Royale has a clear case of Bourne-envy; the film is loaded with loud and gritty action sequences directed without flair by Marc Foster, and perhaps the most dull and forgettable plot of a Bond film yet to string them together.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

A socially minded science fiction classic with a chilling anti-war message and clever visual effects, The Day the Earth Stood Still also somewhat humorously portrays the hysteria and stupidity of the media and boasts a pair of delectable performances from Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal. Rennie's angular face and calm demeanor lend a gentle superiority that makes his interstellar emissary Klaatu memorable.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters serves as a wonderful testimonial to Spielberg's gift for wonder and inspiration of awe, but strip it of it's spectacular special effects sound and light show and what remains is a compassionate human story of an ordinary every-man in extraordinary circumstances. Never before has the line between blockbusting event movie and cinematic art been so brilliantly blurred.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

A hugely ambitious movie which serves as a heart-wrenching yet uplifting tribute to a much loved man, and a cry for justice, Dear Zachary is a work of profound emotional weight and a skilfully made portrait of both the greatest good and most sickeningly evil.

The Heat
The Heat(2013)

The excruciatingly unfunny Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock have absolutely no chemistry as bickering partners, which makes all the needless vulgarities used for cheap laughs all the more painful.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Here Monroe is as magnetic as ever, however it is the raunchiness and practicality of Russell's persona that commands the screen, particularly during her musical numbers.

Casino Royale

Daniel Craig's Bond retains the style and charm of the role formerly occupied by Connery, Moore and co, but removes the silliness and reinvents him as a fallible, haunted human being with feeling and by God it works; the masterful Casino Royale is the best we've seen of the super agent since Goldfinger.

Shrek the Third

Shrek, once hip, irreverent and splendidly designed with humour and charm is, in this second sequel reduced to a laughable corporate product; a cash grab gimmick, a soulless franchise wrapped in a deceivingly pretty package.

Shrek 2
Shrek 2(2004)

Shrek 2 is a sequel that manages to live up to it's predecessor thanks to fresh, topical humour that has an abundance of funny pop culture digs, exciting action and genuine heart.


Shrek is a rollicking and subversive deconstruction of the traditional fairytale which pokes fun at them with witty in-jokes for adults and yet embraces their structure and idiosyncrasies just enough so that it doesn't strain to show off it's hipness or become too cynical for children to enjoy as a straight up fantasy with wonderful computer-animation and an exciting tale elevated by a colorful cast of character.

White Chicks
White Chicks(2004)

Absolutely abysmal, outright atrociously stupid comedy. The jokes and performances are as daft and devoid of any intelligence as the awful plot. I would gladly opt to be skinned alive rather than have the excruciating experience of even watching a clip of this wretched mess of a movie again.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover is decadent, lavish, depraved, erotic and viscerally provocative.

Winter's Bone

The performances offer an engaging sense of realism and social consciousness of poverty that doesn't feel cheap and voyeuristic but rather socially conscious, particularly Lawrence's incredible lead turn.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

With Bryan Singer back at the helm, Days of Future Past delivers uncommonly smart thrills much like it's outstanding predecessor First Class, as well as tying together all the films with a surprisingly coherent time travel plot.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The Wrath of Khan boasts an excellent and memorable villain in the titular Khan played by Ricardo Montalban and an exciting adventure plot that retains the geeky and melodramatic spirit of the popular series that spawned it, making for one of the most successful big-screen translations of a television show to date.

Cannibal Holocaust

Any artistic merits that this film may have are clouded by the fact Deodato, the remorseless, uncaring and sadistically cruel man he is ordered cast members to kill real live animals on camera.

Battle Royale

A sublime and deliciously twisted masterpiece of Japanese cinema which is stylistically bold and immensely thrilling. If adolescents using a vast array of weaponry to gruesomely kill each other to a classical soundtrack isn't exciting enough, the satisfying teenage melodrama and social satire gives it even more bite.

White Zombie
White Zombie(1932)

An operatic and eerily scary low budget zombie horror that predates Romero's Night of the Living Dead by more than 30 years.

The Wolverine

Visually, Logan's solo outing in Japan is sumptuous and while Jackman gets many opportunities to flex his abs of steel during some unremarkable but efficient action scenes, he also finally gets a chance to give the character some humanity and feeling, even amid a rather pedestrian plot. It's just a shame the film devolves into a cartoonish ending which is an uninspired climactic battle with a terribly translated villain from the comic book.

Sweet Sixteen

It's a heartbreaking tale from social realist master Ken Loach, thanks to his assured direction and a powerful lead performance from Martin Compston.


Mike Barnett's humorous documentary is biased, but the way we're introduced to these people as somewhat silly to leave them with the impression that under their costumes they are just compassionate people wanting to make a difference is truly uplifting.

22 Jump Street

the blatant self awareness gets old fast and a lot of the jokes are misses this time around, but Hill and Tatum once again prove to be a well-matched amiable duo, a kind of laurel and hardy for R-rated comedy fans.

The Piano
The Piano(1993)

It is a handsome production, but for a film about passion, The Piano feels oddly cold and detached, with little feeling coming from anything other than Holly Hunter's intense performance.

Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day

Surprisingly, Countdown to Liquor is not only a riotous good time for fans of the show's unique brand of irreverent humour, but it also has geniune heartfelt drama revolving around friendship and fate.

Metallica Through the Never

Fans of the heavy metal band are done justice with the spectacular showmanship exhibited by both Metallica themselves and the director. The story sequences are visually striking, making up in style what they certainly lack in a cohesive and interesting narrative.

Steamboat Bill Jr.

As much as a fantastic comedian Buster Keaton was, Steamboat Jr was as much a showcase for his directorial talents: the climactic typhoon sequence is full of meticulously staged action, superbly paced suspense and virtuoso stunts performed by the funnyman himself.

Olympus Has Fallen

Watching Olympus has fallen is like watching someone play through the campaign of Call of Duty, with its absurd jingoism and mindless, uninspired action. At least there's Gerard Butler's appalling attempt at an American accent to have a chuckle at.


A tongue in cheek deconstruction of the slasher horror genre (fittingly made by its master) that turns the genre on its head while providing thrilling scares right from its intense prologue to its blood splattered climax.

Tsotsi (Thug)

The brutality and squalor of Johannesburg's urban slums is powerfully conveyed through Presley Chweneyagae's remarkable and emotionally telling performance, but a strong belief in the human spirit is present too.

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead is a deeply flawed follow up to the two movies that defined the genre; it is full of uninteresting characters and lacks the unsettling horror and sharp satire of its predecessors. Nevertheless, it is still a worthwhile experience for the gory fun and social commentary we've come to expect of the zombie king Romero.

Duck Soup
Duck Soup(1933)

The physical sketches, as inventive as they are, don't quite stand up today for the most part and irritate more than they amuse, (with the exception of such sequences as the often imitated mirror routine) but the snide asides and stand up-esque one liners are as fresh and funny as they were in 1933, full of witty dialogue and keen observation.

La Dolce Vita

Fellini's decadent epic is a portrait of a place and time that perfectly captures the style and attitudes of Rome's upper class party culture, all the while condemning them and attacking a world whose excesses are beyond satire. Mastroianni defined a generation of cool and the film is full of spectacularly stylish cinematography.

A Touch of Sin

Though for two thirds of the film it is excessively violent and dramatically hollow, A Touch of Sin has an impeccable level of visual sophistication; it is one of the most graceful stylistic films of recent times and packs a serious punch with it's brutal action choreography and striking cinematography.

Drug War
Drug War(2013)

Johnny To's cerebral thriller is a remarkably efficient and exhilarating movie with brutal action set pieces and a taut, exciting plot.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

A biopic that could have been grim and melodramatic but is anything but; Le Scaphandre et le Papillon is a gorgeous, lush kaleidoscope of images and terrific acting, a masterfully directed tour de force of point of view and fall from grace.

Trailer Park Boys: The Movie

With a bigger budget to work with, Mike Clattenburg ditches the candid, amateurish style of the series. As a result it loses some of its natural charm, but the irreverent and tasteless humour is still as appealing and the characters as amiable.

The Grapes of Wrath

The leftist message, the anguish and panic of the poverty stricken migrants not knowing when or where there next meal is coming from. John Ford's adaptation of the Steinbeck novel is a powerfully affecting classic and one that is still relevant today.


Linklater doesn't give us anything resembling a continuous plot, what he does give us is surprisingly breezy and often quite funny series of vignettes that serve as surreal slices of life as part of the dropout culture of Austin, Texas and a glimpse into the talents of this key film-maker who became such a vital voice of generation X and American independent cinema.

Dogtooth (Kynodontas)

I admired the startling originality and sadistic satire of Lanthimos' smart absurdist look at human relationships, which is as good an argument against home schooling as there ever was.

20 Feet From Stardom

Morgan Neville's impassioned spotlight on backup singers is an irresistible doc that pays heartfelt tribute to the sadly unrecognised artists while offering rich insight into their lives in the shadow of fame, intimate interviews with legends such as Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen and a peerless, toe-tapping soundtrack.

Robot & Frank

A meditation on aging that is poignant and thoughtful; the original premise is executed wonderfully by deft hands and is bolstered tremendously by Langella's brilliant lead turn.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Where to start with a film so perfectly pitched, so well-written and so brilliantly performed as the charming, heartfelt and appealingly hip Safety Not Guaranteed? Well here's as good a start as any: It's one of the best films of 2012 and a reminder that the indie film scene is still bursting with fresh ideas and talent.

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

There were so many crass attempts at wringing laughs from each scene that every now and again, I was caught off guard and had to smirk, eventually succumbing to the charms of it's goofy and unashamedly tasteless humour.


The fact that the stars, most notably veteran actors Peter Graves and Leslie Nielson play their parts as if starring in the most serious of drama just adds to the wonderfully funny absurdity of it all.


The stage play set pieces are a treat, as is Schwartzman's unabashedly confident and quirky lead performance.

Midnight Run
Midnight Run(1988)

Stars De Niro and Grodin share such a fun antagonistic chemistry that it's hard not to find at least some pleasure in Martin Brest's odd couple road movie.

Beverly Hills Cop

A fast paced, fish out of water action comedy that takes a few sharp digs at the all style no substance LA lifestyle and makes the most out of it's charismatic star, who has never been better.

Ghostbusters (1984 Original)

Ghostbusters is an immensely peasing interweaving of big-budget special effects and comedy with a performance from Murray, oozing sleazy charm and cockiness that has the ability to steal the scene even when he shares it with a gigantic, stampeding marshmallow man, which is no mean feat.

The Blair Witch Project

Credit to the innovative creators for giving birth to a sub-genre and smartly manipulating our fears of the dark, the unknown and strange sounds while keeping the titular villain a mystery, but to me the scares were largely ineffective until the closing minutes of the film.

Dirty Pretty Things

Functions as a smart and thrilling urban thriller, and a dark, nuanced drama about the lives and exploitation of illegal immigrants in the UK, with a pair of fantastic performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou in her English language debut, proving as capable in a serious role as in endearingly quirky ones (such as she played in Amelie).

Fish Tank
Fish Tank(2010)

The immensely talented Kate Jarvis' naturalistic performance is incredible; there is a sympathetic believability to her character that allows Andrea Arnold's drama the passion, realism and fluidity seen in the finest work of social realist master Kenneth Loach.

Run Lola Run
Run Lola Run(1999)

Tom Tykwer's kinetic thriller is visually inventive, but three variations on the same simple 20 minute story feels like a redundant gimmick.

A Field in England

A Field in England is a compellingly psychedelic experience, that leaves an impression that's hard to shake off thanks to Wheatley's daring film-making experimentation.

Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)

Schreck plays the eponymous vampire with an almost savage simplicity, and teamed with Murnau's striking and frightful visual storytelling created some of cinema's most lasting and haunting imagery. While not out and out terrifying, Nosferatu is eerily spooky and chilling.

Children of Men

Cuaron's sci-fi masterpiece is one of the most important films of the 21st century, a work of sorrowful beauty and undeniable power with exhilarating and often breath-taking lengthy single shot sequences.


Pixar's Ratatouille doesn't have a groundbreaking new recipe, rather, like comfort food, it simply pleases with it's stunning animation.

Life of a King

A committed performance from Cuba Gooding Jr is not enough to save what is ultimately a painfully formulaic film.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

It is Riz Ahmed who keeps things watchable, even when the film loses its footing.


Aladdin has an abundance of charm and humor, a lot of which comes from Robin williams' Genie, which distracts from how by the numbers this addition to the Disney pantheon really is.

Demolition Man

A cornily brilliant action shoot-em-up with Sly Stalone playing type, an obvious yet quite funny satirical undercurrent, Wesley Snipes as a manically entertaining baddie and a young Sandra Bullock in spandex. Perfect for drunk saturday night viewing, then.

Tokyo Story (Tôkyô monogatari)

Ozu's Tokyo Story is wholy naturalistic, it typifies the mood of becalmed acceptance that distinguishes his work from other social critic directors. The photography, performances and script are all massively understated which makes for a film very demanding of it's viewers' patience. Only one shot in the film moves and even that is one that tracks with inconspicuous slowness, but while this may not be the most dramatic or even entertaining picture to come from 1950s Japan, it is certainly one of the most incisive, carrying great emotional and philosophical weight.

The Sixth Sense

It's achingly poignant in the emotional character moments and sometimes chillingly tense, mostly thanks to Haley Joel Osment who carries the film with his performance.

Battleship Potemkin

It's structure, it's symbolism, Eisenstein's influential and astonishing aestheticism, the baby carriage on the steps. Battleship Potemkin is one of the medium's crowning achievements and along with D.W Griffith's Birth of a Nation, is one of the propagandist movies of cinema's early days with questionable ideologies but film-making which invented new cinematic forms and rhythms still prevalent in movies today.

All Quiet on the Western Front

The heartrending effects of this tragic anti-war classic have been undiminished by time. It's vivid depiction of WWI from the POV of a German soldier, it's technically astounding, spectacular battle scenes, amazingly poignant images and it's damning of fanatical nationalism make it a landmark.


After a bumpy but promising start, Neighbors devolves into a messy and needlessly crude exercise in excessive tastelessness hoping to distract viewers into involuntary laughter. Still, a frenetic pace and an amiable lead in the ever lovable Seth Rogen help to keep things at least bearable and occasionally even fun.


The movie is exciting whenever Godzilla is wreaking havoc on humans, crushing ships and villages in his wake, but despite the grim political allegory, it's a tedious bore when he's not on screen thanks to b-movie acting and a lame script.

My Own Private Idaho

Gus Vant Sant doesn't stifle his artistic, avant-garde impulses for the sake of accessibility in this profound and moving take on Shakespeare's Henry IV, which is made all the more special by brilliant performances from Reeves and Phoenix, Reeves' natural melancholy perfectly suited to the anachronistic bard-speak he delivers in certain scenes. The picture is a perfect blend of humor and pathos, and a touching tale of friendship and love.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Despite the vast canvas upon which Jackson was painting, with truly epic battles and a world populated by orcs and elves and dwarves, at its heart his film is about people, their relationships, and the decisions they make. Friendship and self-sacrifice figure strongly, as does a pervading sense of mortality; the final scenes make it clear that victory can be noble, and yet still come at too deep a personal cost and it is for these reasons that Return of the King, and the trilogy as a whole, is one of cinema's most beautifully moving and exciting adventures.

Heaven Can Wait

Like Beatty's body-swapping lead character, Heaven Can Wait is amiable. It's light entertainment but of the highest order, with a very familiar concept elevated by some hilarious comic relief from the capable cast.

Freaky Friday

The two leads, Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, are what gives this teen fantasy comedy remake it's spark. They make for a funny and charming pair, enlivening the script at every turn.


With an incendiary satirical style which blends that of classic surrealists and the Monty Python troupe and a subversive, rigorous attack on the British public school system, Lindsay Anderson's film is still as daring and unpredictable as it was upon release decades ago.


In a time when Walt Disney's animation turned to traditional fairytales for inspiration, the relatively low-profile book that Dumbo was derived from freed the animators from the standard issue romanticism. The result is a film that may be awash with sentimentality and a telegraphed plot about triumph over adversity, but also one with superb, timeless animation (the pink elephant hallucination and the chaotic, marvelously rendered circus sequences are particular highlights) and a genuine, heart-warming emotional arc.

Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry(1971)

A canny mix of the simple and sophisticated, Dirty Harry is a gritty, taut and brilliantly well constructed police thriller with a fascistic anti-hero and super-psychotic villain who are vivid, hyperbolic cartoons who gain definition not through nuanced character development but through their interaction with the film's richly articulated environments, which are no mere back drop for the film thanks to Don Siegel's brilliant exploitation of San Francisco locations.

Rise of the Footsoldier

Rise of the Footsoldier is ugly, sadistic, machismo nonsense, devoid of any entertainment value and completely without merits.


the pretty and talented young cast do their best to salvage the script, Alfie Allen shines in his dastardly role, but ultimately the movie is a terribly constructed rip off of the Lock, Stock formula with the production value of a third rate television miniseries.

Chariots of Fire

An epic, inspiring Vangelis score that has since become synonymous with sporting excellence and handsome production design are what truly drives this crowd-pleasing sports drama.

Great Expectations

Taking on the literary masterpiece as a cinematic task in every sense of the word, Lean explores and exploits the broad emotional horizon of the story and makes it a sweeping, mesmeric visual journey. The result is a delightful, heartwarming and often amusing film, and one of the best in British cinema.

Saving Private Ryan

The battles are technically astonishing, harrowing and relentless; they provide a visceral, violent intensity that gives the movie it's emotional weight, making up for Spielberg's unabashed sentimentality and patriotism.

The Producers

Less vulgar, but more shocking and dangerous then Mel Brooks' later films, The Producers is classic farce with gasp-inducing irony, a hilarious "Springtime with Hitler" dance number that gives new meaning to the term show-stopper and a pair of delectable performances from Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder that compliment the beautifully staged lunacy perfectly.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

It's a literate, grand and spectacularly action packed fantasy epic full of sumptuous and awe inspiring visual effects, but Peter Jackson, knowing that special effects alone cannot make a good movie, fills the picture with performers who lend humanity to their characters, no matter whether they be an elf or a hobbit. The end result is The Godfather part II of blockbuster cinema.

Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh)

In a day where demotions and layoffs happen daily, the tragedy in Emil Jannings' superb and emotionally telling performance is perhaps even more potent than it has ever been, his facial expressions commanding the movie so well that the absence of title cards never leaves us wondering as to what is going on.

Rosemary's Baby

Time has done nothing to diminish the taut, focused, building sense of dread and familiarity with the movie only keeps one that much more in awe of Polanski's masterful detail, his rhythm and pacing and skill with actors. He manipulates existential fears to incredibly disturbing effect, making for one of the most well crafted, if not scariest horrors of all time.

Mean Creek
Mean Creek(2004)

Jacbob Aaron Estes' pretentious indie drama is what would likely have been the result if Stand By me was put in a blender with Deliverance and made as an after-school-special. Still, riveting performances from the youthful cast of relative unknowns help the film overcome the shortcomings of the screenplay.

Terms of Endearment

James L Brooks' directorial debut is a tragicomedy that dances around sickly sentimentality but never crossing the line, thanks to smart writing and subtly fantastic performances, especially from MacLaine and Nicholson who threaten to steal the show every scene they are in.


Calvary is bitingly funny yet bleak, profound and existential at the same time. The film explores morality and religion without pulling any punches or resorting to easy answers, and McDonagh's assured direction teamed with Gleeson's best performance yet makes sure that the picture doesn't collapse under the weight of it all. Simply put, the film is a masterpiece.

Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô)

Sanjuro is a very straightforward and linear action film and plods a little. It's wonderfully well made in typical Kurosawa fashion, however, and it's hard not to admire the craftmanship.

Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3(2007)

Though a clutter of villains and plot strands ultimately overwhelms the picture, Spiderman 3 is an improvement over it's dull, melodramatic predecessor in the entertainment department.

Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 2(2004)

It's laborious to watch the endless, talky melodrama revisit the same cheesy plot points of the first movie. When you go to see a film about a web slinging, wall crawling superhero, it's kind of disappointing and when the action finally does kick in, it's bombastic, noisy and poorly constructed with the exception of a handful of exciting melees between Spidey and Dock Ock.

The Conformist

Bertolucci's striking marriage of European arthouse and Hollywood neo-noir is eye candy of the highest order, with striking imagery detailed magnificently with good use of color and camera angles that often seem subservient to is actually going on, yet it is also an astounding portrait of the psychological need to conform and fit in. Quite simply, II conformista is one of the finest pieces of cinema of all time.


Warren Beatty's epic biopic is at once a heart-rending epic love story and an effective presentation of politics and ideological conflict.

Bonnie and Clyde

The film's groundbreaking treatment of sex, and graphic violence are what make it the landmark picture that it is, along with its powerfully ambiguous statement about the place of violence in American society.


In many ways, Videodrome is Cronenberg's most audacious working of his characteristic themes, one that is very disturbing, provocative and thought provoking.

Throne of Blood

Kurosawa's artfully chilling and faithful adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth is one of world cinema's greatest delights. The plot and psychology of the play translate perfectly to feudal Japan and Mifune is wonderful, his brilliantly staged death scene, transfixed in a hail of arrows, is at once tragic and beautiful.


Well intentioned but ultimately ineffective due to Demme's glossy and sanitised look at AIDS, saved in part by Tom Hank's turn.


Hud is essentially an anti-American Western, commenting on the ills of modern capitalism and the pitfalls of blindly admiring an individual without really knowing their character through Newman's searing performance as the unscrupulous, raffish anti-hero. The agonisingly beautiful widescreen, black and white photography, painting a pretty yet bleak picture of the featureless dustbowl setting was fully deserving of the oscar it won for James Wong Howe.

Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity is the archetypal film noir, a tale of murder and violent betrayal that pays off extraordinarily, not just with the confession of murder but also of the love between two men.


With smart, almost Hitchcock-ian sleights of hand, Spielberg made audiences think twice before dipping their big toes in the sea, and invented the Summer blockbuster with this terrifying and suspenseful adaptation of the Peter Benchley novel which cleverly and gleefully plays with our fear of the unknown.

The Dark Knight Rises

A masterful epic, an absolutely spectacular conclusion to Nolan's tremendous bat trilogy. Like it's predecessor, DKR goes above and beyond what has come to be expected from the superhero blockbuster; it is an operatic tale of a tortured savior which is socially conscious and relevant for the times with it's cleverly written subtext.

The Dark Knight

While it can be argued that Christopher Nolan's more grounded vision of Batman strips away some of the comic book essence, The Dark Knight is the most arresting superhero movie, and the most richest in character and emotion. It's an intricate and emotionally complicated film that asks the question that the character and many other superheroes like him have battled with: Can a vigilante be ethically sound?

Batman Begins

Nolan's origin tale of the Dark Knight is a thrilling and very efficient superhero movie, which is suitably dark and brooding in the style of the iconic Frank Miller comics that changed the Caped Crusader's image in the 1980s. He shows a deep understanding of the character that Schumacher and Burton simply did not have.

The Right Stuff

Despite a fair few memorable and thrilling set-pieces, the admiring but good-humoured and realistic, warts-and-all portrayals of the pilots set against a distinctly satiric view of the space race is what gives Phillip Kaufman's melodramatic adventure epic it's biggest strengths, especially Sam Shepherd as the rugged, individualistic fly-boy Chuck Yeager.


Alfonso Cuaron's latest masterpiece is breathtaking, beautiful and full of terrifying, nerve shredding suspense, however it is a movie that will captivate you in the moment, but leave you with little to dwell on or remember afterwards and it is sadly handicapped by the unnecessary fleshing out of its characters with backstory, when the movie would have benefited from a more minimalist feel.

Stand by Me
Stand by Me(1986)

Above all, Stand By Me serves as a beautifully moving ode to boyhood friendships with warmth and humour.


With a messily crafted old-as-the hills plot, annoyingly kitsch performances and false nostalgic tribute to a mythologised 1950s, Grease is redeemed only by a few catchy musical numbers, which are almost butchered by tone-deaf 30 year olds playing high school kids.

Jurassic Park

Spielberg's Jurassic Park is an entertaining blockbuster dino disaster adventure, but the real appeal is the technically groundbreaking special effects, that still to this day inspire awe.


Looking past the lack of story logic, Trance's semi-coherent plot is a hypnotic and consistently gripping one, right to the satisfactory pay off, and is told with the stylistic bravura we've come to expect from Danny Boyle.

Blazing Saddles

With a mixture of surrealism, slapstick and then groundbreaking (and still quite shocking) vulgarity, Mel Brooks playfully sends up the movie western in an effective mixture of spoof and race/sex comedy that, with a liberal use of the "N" word and jokes mocking white prejudice makes the absurdity of racism plain.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is a good film, a great film even, with a handful of terrific performances and emotionally satisfying melodrama. But it is bogged down in Christian symbolism while lacking in any real depth beyond that, and at times the sentimentality becomes over-bearing.

As Good as It Gets

One cannot help but feel weary as a result of the film's excessive length in the last half hour or so, but James L Brooks' Romantic Comedy is a smart and very funny affair with perfect performances from Nicholson, Hunt and Kinnear and sentimentality that doesn't bog down the film, but rather give it an endearing charm.

Die Hard
Die Hard(1988)

John McTiernan packs his skyscraper adventure with taut thrills, explosions, and relentless action as new comer star Willis quips his way through a series of clever setups and payoffs. It's many sequels and imitators hardly even come close to the heady thrills this grandly conceived blast of pure cinematic joy produces by the minute.

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian

It's a formulaic sequel with more comedic misfires than you can keep count of, yet there's something watchable about the affair, whether it's the infectiously fun performances such as Hank Azaria's villainous pharaoh, the funny pairing of Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson as a miniature Roman and cowboy respectively or the dazzling special effects.

Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing(1982)

unashamedly cheesy for the most part but suitably styled in the fashion of the dark Alan Moore comic, Swamp Thing is a gloriously fun monster movie with a sexy damsel in distress performance from Adrienne Barbeau to add charm.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street would be another passable entry in the lackluster slasher horror genre were it not for Wes Craven's horrifying creation, Freddy Krueger: a vicious, wise-cracking evil trickster who with charm, sense of humor, and flair for the dramatic, proves to be an interesting and likable villain that still sends chills up the spine to this day.

The Quiet Earth

While the film's subject matter places it squarely within the sci-fi genre, The Quiet Earth does not appeal with ostentatious special effects-instead it is an intellectually stimulating, character-driven look into the human condition with superb solo performance from Bruno Lawrence for the first 36 minutes and some fantastic ideas.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a gem of the otherwise disreputable sex comedy genre thanks to nuanced characters all played brilliantly by a uniformly excellent cast (with a particularly enjoyable performance from Sean Penn) and a terrific script from Cameron Crowe full of accurately observed and fiercely funny jokes.

Monsters University

This needless prequel is not frustratingly bad, rather it's frustratingly bland and unnecessary; the whole film is completely uninspired and every single gag is a misfire, while the boring plot is a revisit of the same story you've seen in at least 50 other children movies


PTA's massively ambitious and epically structured film is a sprawling story of family and the secrets, heartaches and disappointments contained within that is filled with fascinating biblical allusions and the successful grappling of large themes such as the meaning of life. Incredibly, the film doesn't fall apart thanks to Anderson's ability to portray the themes by staying focused on the minute details of his characters, and to maintain an unwavering empathy with them.


Wanted thinks it's an edgy and original movie but it is so reliant on action movie tropes and cliches that I watched it with complete disinterest in the plot or any of the dull characters.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith is a spectacular conclusion to an otherwise lackluster prequel trilogy with thrilling and awe-inspiring battle sequences powered by jaw dropping digital effects and an exciting story epic in scale and scope that fleshes out the mythology of Star Wars. Hayden Christensen's histrionic performance as the Vader-to-be Anakin does, however, ruin the film's more melodramatic character moments.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Altman's cynical anti-Western is an elegiac tale of the Old West with a sense of palpable sadness throughout, an ethereal perfomance from Julie Christie, gloomy folk music perfectly suiting the somber tone and striking widescreen imagery.


Christopher Nolan is a mastermind film architect and Inception is perhaps his most astonishing feat of complicated construction. It's an entirely fresh and original idea that manages to be not only a smart action thriller and a poignant, grief-filled drama but an examination of the deeply hidden recesses of our minds with a cerebral plot that may wash over viewers until a second or third viewing. The superficial and visceral beauty, the quality performances and the breath-taking, technically astounding action sequences reinforce the movie's potency as part popcorn action adventure and part intellectual science fiction epic with twisted mind-game undercurrents.

Heavenly Creatures

At once a gleefully free interpretation of the sinister murder and a study on the adult bourgeois sexual hysteria of the 1950s, Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures is a wildly imaginative and kinetic film with extraordinary lead performances from Lynskey and Winslet that frequently dances on a thin line between drama and comedy. It's a sublime and chilling piece of cinema, one that confirms Jackson's status as an auteur.

The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups)

In scenes such as the amusement park centrifuge sequence, Truffaut doesn't hesitate to stray from the story for moments of poignant emotional detail, and the young Jean-Pierre Léaud, in an intense performance helps convey them astoundingly. The final freeze frame, a portrait of existential angst is one of the most powerful moments in new wave cinema.

Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins(1964)

Mary Poppins is the rare example of a piece of children's cinema bursting with whimsical joy enough to win over even the most hard and cynical moviegoers, and will no doubt transfix children for generations to come with it's visually splendid effects and catchy tunes.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Powell and Pressburger's remarkably modern war epic is a peculiarly acted comedy of manners and satire of British traditionalism which delicately reveals the horrible truth of modern warfare with grace and humor. It amounts to one of the greatest achievements not only in the director and screenwriter duo's careers, but in British cinema.

Raging Bull
Raging Bull(1980)

Martin Scorsese's most touching and autobiographical film is, at it's core a study on masculine insecurity and the violent nature of men with a searing performance from Robert De Niro and some of the most beautiful black and white cinematography my eyes have ever and most likely will ever behold.

Sherlock Jr.
Sherlock Jr.(1924)

Buster Keaton was a film-maker of boundless talent and imagination, performing unbelievable stunts and devising ingenious sight gags that carry the film along at a fever pitch.

A Photographic Contortion (The Big Swallow)

The Big Swallow' was arguably the first meta-movie, presenting the camera as not just a means of chronicling life, but as a character and a tangible element of a film's construction.

L'Arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (The Arrival of the Mail Train)

The sheer wonderment audiences must have felt when they saw this simple, single shot of a train passing through a station back then is fascinating to think about.

The Third Man

As technically accomplished as the best of classic Hollywood and meticulously constructed for the utmost suspense and atmospheric thrills, The Third Man is an outstanding, perfectly acted political thriller with beautiful black and white cinematography.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders is an exquisite adventure epic, a perfect package of exciting adventure, wry humour, pure cinematic escapism and awe inspiring set pieces.

Some Like It Hot

Often considered the prototypical high concept comedy and regarded as one of the funniest films of all time, Some Like it Hot is very much a product of its own time in all the worst possible ways. Now, it's hard to laugh at two over-acting men in drag for 120 minutes or so delivering cringe-worthily horrendous comedic misfires.

Serial Mom
Serial Mom(1994)

Kathleen Turner's gusto performance is Serial Mom's most recommendable feature, and there are a few honest laughs here in John Waters' dark high concept comedy.

Hold Me While I'm Naked

Kuchar's technical and creative skills are put to great use in this melodramatic, tragic yet oddly hilarious short film: his stunning title and production design; his ingenious inventory of odd and unflattering camera angles; and his insatiable talent at adapting the glamorous concerns and emotional extremes of Hollywood flicks to the realistic and banal proportions of his neighborhood friends.

North by Northwest

Working from one of the all-time great scripts by Ernest Lehman, and featuring several of cinema's greatest action sequences-the crop duster attack, the chase across the face(s) of Mount Rushmore-Hitchcock ended his golden period on the highest of notes with North by Northwest. Even the title sequences, designed by Saul Bass, are memorable, and Bernard Herrmann's score is equal to his iconic themes from Psycho and Vertigo.

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is the keystone of a strain of bizarre, fantastical cinema that flourished in Germany in the 1920s; It plays as an art movie to the high class crowds who appreciate its innovations, but it's also a horror movie with a gimmick. With its sideshow ambiance, hypnotic mad scientist villain, and leotard-clad, heroine-abducting monster, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a major early entry in the horror genre, introducing images, themes, characters, and expressions that became fundamental to the likes of Tod Browning's Dracula and James Whale's Frankenstein.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Shot in beautiful black and white on a sound stage to avoid the lyricism of Ford's Monument Valley epics, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is like very much like Ford's own My Darling Clementine with it's cleaning up the town theme. Wayne, like Stewart perhaps old for his role but nevertheless perfect, represents the cowboy heroism and integrity that Stewart's lawyer-teacher-congressman will whittle away as he comes to run the West. It's typical Ford with a hint of pessimism and tragedy, perhaps his finest film.

The Trouble with Harry

Often overlooked, Hitchcock's under-appreciated black comedy is a suspense-less experiment in surrealism and perfectly constructed artifice.

The Red Shoes

Wrapped up with gorgeous sparkly color, off the beaten track classical music selections and a graceful yet sinister edge that perfectly catches the ambiguity of traditional fairytales, this is a luminous and truly balletic masterpiece which is rich and strange and magical all at once, one of the most visually sumptuous and artistically accomplished pieces of British cinema.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest hotel begins with promise: we get an exceptionally good out of type performance from Ralph Fiennes, style that evokes German expressionism (particularly Fritz Lang) and Hitchcock and remarkable precision in every scene, every spoken word and every character movement that feel as constructed as if it were animation. However the latter half of the film is punctuated with characters serving only to justify cameos and pad out the film's length, needless gore that stifles the giddy, whimsical charm and juvenile humour drawn from profanities being spoken in posh accents.

The French Connection

Now that the novelty of the grainy, sordid realism has worn off, The French Connection seems to have become a very unremarkable, yet admittedly efficient, fast-paced and sometimes thrilling police drama with a saving anti-hero performance from Gene Hackman and some strikingly shot action scenes.

Uwasa no onna (The Crucified Woman)(The Woman in the Rumor)(The Woman of Rumour)

A powerful, multi-layered performance from Kinuyo Yanaka in this tale of an ageing Geisha in a rivalry with her smart pianist daughter over the love of a man is this movie's greatest strength; almost all of its emotional impact and dramatic intensity comes from her.

Chikamatsu monogatari (The Crucified Lovers)

This well acted melodramatic tale of star crossed lovers is splendidly photographed by Kazuo Miyagawa and features Mizoguchi's glorious sequence shot aesthetic, recalling the scroll paintings and woodcuts of 17th century Japan.

Forbidden Planet

Spectacularly impressive set design and special effects aside, Forbidden Planet is a mostly dull and ineffectual adaption of Shakespeare's The Tempest that is lacking in the engaging drama and characters department.

The 39 Steps
The 39 Steps(1935)

The espionage plot plays out in a rush, a non stop string of action sequences and chase scenes punctuated by witty dialogue and riveting suspense, however it is almost peripheral to the flirtatious interplay between Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll (literally chained together in a teasing mockery of marriage) which morphs the thriller into an unlikely and endearing love story.

My Left Foot
My Left Foot(1989)

Despite the potential for maudlin depression, first time director Jim Sheridan's true life drama emerged as a surprisingly earthly, funny and uplifting celebration of Christy Brown, who is played by a riveting Daniel Day Lewis in one of the most affecting performances in movie history.

A Geisha (Gion bayashi)

Not as engaging as Mizoguchi's masterworks and certainly a step back from the cinematic Ugetsu Monogatari but a decent social critique on changing attitudes towards women in post-war Japan nonetheless with the director on relentless, scathing form.

Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô dayû)

Handsomely told, richly layered and truly heart-rending, Sansho Dayu is one of Mizoguchi's most dramatically satisfying films with incredibly poignant performances and beautifully staged scenes.


All of the vintage 007 ingredients are shaken not stirred here: a belting John Barry theme tune delivered by Shirley Bassey, the iconic Aston Martin with the passenger-side ejector seat and of course Bond himself at his kitschy best with his famous one liners ("positively shocking") and silly high tech gadgets.

Ride Along
Ride Along(2014)

Its a painfully by the numbers buddy cop "comedy" with 0 laughs and a pair of horrible performances from an unbearable Kevin Bridges and a self-parodying Ice Cube to further stifle what was already a dreadful viewing experience.

My Darling Clementine

This old, ballad-like take on the old tale is the definitive telling and one of Ford's greatest Westerns, it is heart-rending in its emotionally showing performances, thrilling in the action presented in the elaborate shoot out finale and sumptuous in its dark and moody cinematography.

Barry Lyndon
Barry Lyndon(1975)

Barry Lyndon is self consciously a museum piece, a ravishing, sprawling epic with perfect sets and costumes, painterly cinematography and characters whose rises and falls are at once deeply tragic and absurdly comical. Kubrick is often accused of being cold and unemotional but here his restraint is all the more affecting; the inner turmoil of the seemingly frozen characters represented magnificently in such scenes as the climactic farcical duel.

Funny Face
Funny Face(1957)

The wondrous charm of Hepburn and the dazzling, amiable presence of Astaire make this old fashioned romance musical entertaining enough.

The Phantom
The Phantom(1996)

It's a pulpy action adventure that could be called Batman and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it has every bit of the appeal that title suggests. Billy Zane has fun in the role of the first superhero and while the script may be thinly written, there's enough to satisfy.

The Believer
The Believer(2002)

A frighteningly believable performance from a young Ryan Gosling is telling of true talent, he commands the screen with his raw intensity.

What's Up, Doc?

Bogdanovich's screwball farce has a frenetic, madcap pace and a terrific Bugs Bunny-esque performance from Barba Streisand that gives it an immense charm, and the wit is golden.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Kubrick's science fiction masterpiece has enjoyed an enduring reputation for being unfathomable; it is coolly detached, obsessional, pretentious and contentious, massively influential but still unique and forever fascinating. It's faults-it's overblown abstraction and sketchy narrative are more than compensated for by its unforgettable imagery, rich, experimental choral music and pioneering special effects.


There's a theory that larger than life music must flow from larger than life personality, and Hulce's wild, over the top performance as the giggling enfant terrible rhymes with it; he cavorts and parades around as if acknowledging the silliness of his frilly frocks and coloured wigs, while an appropriately sour F Murray Abraham plays against him as envy-ridden rival Salieri whose bitterness along with Mozart's foolish ways drive the plot to its tragic conclusion. With a thunderous score, brisk pace and handsome production, Milos Forman's contemporisation of the life and accomplishments of one of history's greatest fonts of genius is one of the greatest epic biopics made.


The physical features inherited from Kingsley's Indian father lend well to physical similitude and his screen presence here is nothing short of astonishing, this film standing as the greatest testament to his acting ability. Though a conventional biopic through and through, Richard Attenborough's Gandhi is handsome and enlivening, and triumphantly disproves the general tenet that films long in the making usually fall short of their ambition.

Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot(2000)

Though young Jamie Bell, energetic and showing of talent, does his best in the lead role, its ultimately not enough to save this sickly sweet, manipulative and rote working class drama.

The LEGO Movie

Bursting with relentless chaotic energy and irreverence, the gags come thick and fast, with a sweet message about individualism that while may be a bit too sentimental for adults, younger viewers could learn a lesson from, and after all this is a movie aimed at youngsters, but with enough to pleasantly surprise people who put away their lego many years ago.

Captain Phillips

Greengrass' nail biting tension thriller's main strengths are Tom Hanks' incredible performance and the depiction of the Somali pirates who hijacked the ship: They aren't treated as one dimensional Hollywood villains, but rather as actual human characters who we at once detest because of the heinous crimes they commit, yet sympathise with through Barkhad Abdi's remarkable turn as real-life pirate Muse.

East of Eden
East of Eden(1955)

It takes a director like Elia Kazan to draw such a a histrionic and emotionally intense performance from his lead, (just as he did with Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront.) and to capture the expanse and mood of the California setting so perfectly, the ironic contrasts between the beautiful backdrops and the troubled people mirroring the written work of John Steinbeck superbly.

The Legend of Drunken Master (Jui kuen II) (Drunken Fist II)

The greatest of all Jackie Chan vehicles and one of the most spectacularly choreographed martial arts films of all time, the terrific star, here at his peak combines the physical comedy of such silent film legends as Buster Keaton and phenomenal stunt work to rival and perhaps top Bruce Lee.

A Streetcar Named Desire

The power of this theatrical movie emanates from the performances, particularly the absorbing duel between the ethereal Vivien Leigh and the explosive Brando, whose uncouth, sweaty animal magnetism opposite Leigh's frailty commanded the screen and remains one of the most electrifying performances in classic Hollywood cinema.

Good Bye, Lenin!

If you can forgive the plot contrivances and the fact it might be a bit over long, you'll find a warm and often quite amusing film with some serious social critique behind the family sentiments.

Army of Darkness

With the Evil Dead and it's semi-sequel, Sam Raimi's tongue was firmly in cheek however here it is wagging briskly. The inspired lunacy has been reduced to an onslaught of comedic misfires and the perfunctory swords and sorcery plot wouldn't feel out of place in a generic children's fantasy. Were it not for Bruce Campbell's amiably cool screen presence the movie would have basically no merits whatsoever.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

A retroactive continuity sequel of sorts, Evil Dead 2's greatest strength is its wild inventiveness; we are constantly hit by a barrage of slapstick gore effects, rapid-fire editing and the same hyper-kinetic camera style of the first teamed with an even more sympathetically cartoonish and bad-ass performance from Bruce Campbell. Groovy, indeed.

The Evil Dead

Raimi took the gore of Italian horror movies and mixed it with a proudly juvenile sense of humour, making the the heroes of the movie so vapidly wholesome that we cannot wait until hell unleashed upon them, (This kind of self-consciousness in horror movies went on to dominate the genre). Flagrantly amateurish in many of its effects but powered by a full on soundtrack and rapid point of view shots, The Evil Dead is a deserved classic.

Kill Bill: Volume 2

This satisfying conclusion to the two part revenge story is a lot less action oriented than the first part, focusing on the playful wordiness that makes Tarantino's better films.

Kill Bill: Volume 1

It's all very adolescent and gratuitously violent in typical Tarantino fashion but without any of the smarts or funny dialogue that made his previous work successful. It's a very basic revenge flick albeit an entertaining and well constructed one, perhaps more enjoyable for gluttons for gore.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

The underwater sequences, as terrifying as they are, induce the same fear of deep waters as Jaws and the tone is perfectly pitched, making for the one of the greatest b-movie creature features of the 1950s.

The Wolf Man
The Wolf Man(1941)

Timelessly astounding makeup affects and a tragic turn by Lon Chaney Jr complimented by a handsome cast of Universal horror regulars such as Claude Rains and Bela Lugosi make The Wolf Man a a satisfyingly well told spooky tale, if one a bit disappointingly short of appearances from the impressive eponymous monster.


Erotically charged and beautifully surreal, Hitchcock's Vertigo is perhaps his best film if only because the melodrama doesn't fall short of the mystery, the two are marvelously combined to create a thrilling and suspenseful mystery and a haunting meditation on love and evocation of the unearthly.

The Return of the Living Dead

Return of the Living Dead is a punky, chaotic parody-cum-sequel spin-off from George Romero's Night of the Living Dead with anarchic tongue in cheek humour and genuine chills, one of the greatest of the sub genre.

Death Proof
Death Proof(2007)

He is so intent on providing homage to the exploitation classics of cult favourites like Russ Meyer, that QT ultimately serves up a rote motion picture karaoke rather than a movie that can stand on its own.

Slumdog Millionaire

As it begins, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire shows promise, it evokes City of God only with the stylistically bold visual style of Trainspotting. Yet, as the script becomes more and more implausible, the film devolves into a predictable and crowd-pleasing fairy tale, taking away the gritty realism that helped it get off to a strong start. Still, it's a fantastically well acted film, the relatively unknown Dev Patel plays the lead role with astonishing emotional depth.

Bad Day at Black Rock

John Sturges' sociopolitical drama has nail-biting moments of suspense and dialogue so exciting and ridden with tension it could be cut with a knife.

Spy Kids
Spy Kids(2001)

Spy Kids is a giddy and often very funny kid's movie with gleeful and inspired silliness and a warm message about family values that makes one draw comparisons to the Addams Family.

Dallas Buyers Club

For the most part, Jean-Marc Vallée tactfully avoids resorting to crowd-pleasing tear jerker sentimentality that a lot of real life dramas from Hollywood succumb to, and McConaughey's towering performance is painfully and staggeringly human.

My Neighbor Totoro

It's cute and enchanting; Miyazaki's wonderfully imagined fantasy is beautifully realised, as is the sweet yet not too sentimental story, though it could have more meat on it's bones for older viewers.

The Truman Show

I was utterly captivated by the true ingenuity of the commentary on pervasive media manipulation and the near-perfect execution of the concept which in less capable hands could have easily fell short of its ambition. Jim Carrey proves to be an amiable and funny lead, complimenting the sci-fi with some tenderness and laughs.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

Eastwood's fifth directorial effort is a vastly over-rated revenge western that carefully glosses over most of the racism but annoyingly preserves all the right-wing paranoia and revisionist history of Confederate sympathizers. Still, the mood is perfectly pitched and the action, particularly the violent climactic shootout is quite exciting and certainly a visual feast, the ending is one of the most satisfying payoffs to a Western ever.

The Selfish Giant

Clio Barnard owes a lot to social realist auteur Ken Loach, (her second feature film draws many comparisons to the seminal Kes) but proves to be a formidable director of her own, telling a heart-wrenching tale of friendship and coaxing wonderful naturalistic performances from the young leads and filling the film with quietly saddening shots of the ugly landscape which the characters call home.

Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen Brothers' latest is an earnest, profound and oddly affecting film full of colourful and genuine characters, all wonderfully performed by the actors portraying them, with a particularly outstanding turn from lead Oscar Isaac.

Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction(1994)

Opening Pulp Fiction with - you guessed it - a lengthy diatribe, this one about the relative safety of robbing banks over liquor stores, two petty thieves eventually kick off the action by pulling out their guns and yelling: "Everybody be cool!" The rest of the movie duly complies.


Cache is a quiet and terrifying masterpiece of uneasy tension and commanding direction from Haneke, who manipulates his audience to put forward his message about guilt, reconciliation and conscience. It's a very rewarding film for those with patience and a keen eye for psychological subtext.

The Spectacular Now

Thanks to the naturalism of the performances, this coming of age drama has a refreshing realness to it, but it does move awfully slow, with very little plot or interesting character development to carry it forward.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes)

Herzog's historical epic is a disturbing parable that encapsulates his flair for allegory, metaphor and the grotesque; his interest in obsession and his sense of the landscape taking on awful, human aspects. It's as hallucinatory, maddening and and hypnotic as Apocalypse now, perhaps even more so with Kinski's fascinating presence and the uncompromising vision that brought the film to life.


Aronofsky's unsettling paranoid thriller is strikingly shot in high contrast black and white with various novel and visceral camera techniques, but its a very confounding and frustrating film, one seemingly directed by a first timer so desperate to be seen as the next David Lynch he forgot to construct a coherent and accessible plot.

Drugstore Cowboy

While Gus Van Sant's cult classic is darkly funny, the fragile nature of relationships within the gang of dope fiends and the doomed love of Bob and Dianne has real tragedy to it and the film's denouement with William Burroughs is sublime.

Good Will Hunting

The predictability of the narrative course is easily forgiven due to the dramatic richness the film carries with its uniformly outstanding performances and warm, sometimes humorous script.

Behind the Candelabra

Phenomenally acted by Douglas and Damon, Behind the Candelabra is a surprising blend of affection and uncompromising honesty, making for a very rewarding drama that shows the glossy, extravagant style of Liberace with flamboyant style and the tempestuous affair he had with Scott Thorson behind closed doors with suitably uncomfortable detail.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Soderbergh's sly, sexy and intelligent look at modern-day relationships and sexual repression and liberation enticed mainstream audiences to see small-scale indie films and it's not hard to see why, with superb acting, unexpected depth and sensitivity.


Jean-Luc Godard's masterful yet modest film debut almost defies genre classification; there is a semblance of a crime thriller plot, a modern love story which appeals to contemporary audiences with its beat-culture, post-war cool antiheroes who treat love as a game and reject the traditional values they are stranded between. All this complimented by a lovely noir jazz score, a hip aray of high and low culture references usually attributed with Tarantino and an on-the-fly shooting style with produced remarkable innovations.

American History X

One of the most accomplished films on the subject of racism: a truthful and thought provoking portrait of the destructive effects of it and an enthralling drama with fantastic, emotionally charged performance from Norton and Furlong.

West Is West
West Is West(2011)

Director Andy DeEmmony, when not on autopilot seems to take pleasure in violently slapping you around the face with cross-culture cliches and sentimentality overload, giving you a movie whose only plausible audience is secondary school religious education students.

In a World...

Lake Bell's directorial and screenwriting debut is a whip-smart tale of female empowerment, male egos, sexual farce and screwball satire with razor sharp humor and a delectable lead performance that whets the appetite for whatever this very talented woman is going to bring to the table next.

The Cabin in the Woods

Whedon's screenplay is astonishing; it both subverts and embraces horror movie cliches in sharply funny style, and completely deconstructs the genre and explores why we enjoy it.

Much Ado About Nothing

The contemporary spin on Shakespeare's classic comedy does nothing but hinder the script by teaming the dialogue with incongruous performances thus making what was at first difficult almost unintelligible to me and no doubt countless others who aren't intimate with the bard's plays.

The Wolf of Wall Street

It's easy to create an indictment or celebration of excess, but much like his film-making in Goodfellas, Scorsese simply allows the characters to partake in their immoral behavior (in this case Bacchanalian orgies fuelled by cocaine, Methaqualone and high end prostitutes) left completely unadulterated by conventional preachiness so that the moviegoer can, after getting off this dizzyingly frenetic ride, draw their own conclusions on Belfort and his merry band of brokers after having the most riotous fun at the movies all year.

All Is Lost
All Is Lost(2013)

That director J.C. Chandor nobly tries to overcome the constraints of the picture is admirable and Redford proves to be a formidable screen presence even at 77, but ultimately a barely-there script sinks the ship.

Enough Said
Enough Said(2013)

The late, great Gandolfini is the soul of the picture; he is charming and honest in his easy going performance and the movie while adopting the template of a fairly typical romance comedy is actually very fresh, funny and insightful in its sophisticated writing.


It's a compelling and horrifying expose on the savage enslavement and abuse of killer whales at the hands of Seaworld with insight from former trainers and shocking footage of attacks.


A genuinely spooky, often funny, fresh and smartly written movie with terrific animation and an exciting and thoughtful story.

Dazed and Confused

Linklater takes the template for American Graffiti and encapsulates the youth culture of the 1970s just as effectively as George Lucas did with the 50s, as well as providing some decent humour and likable performances from the young cast.

Short Term 12

Directed with a sensitive and compassionate hand, Short Term 12 is incredibly touching, sad and sometimes funny, never overstepping into sentimentality or falling to cliches for the emotional high notes and the acting is uniformly pitch perfect.

The Great Beauty

Toni Servillo is exceptional here, he delivers a stupendous performance that is among the year's very best and makes it hard to not forgive Sorrentino when his film-making sometimes wanders into indulgent and pretentious territory.

The Conversation

As sad as it is cynical, Francis Ford Coppola's paranoia masterpiece is somewhat eerily prescient, arriving shortly before the watergate scandal, when surveillance and dishonesty rose to the fore of public consciousness. It's a perfectly constructed thriller with a remarkably reserved performance from Gene Hackman.

Only God Forgives

Refn's absolute trainwreck of a film is a travesty, yet fascinating and recommendable for being one of the worst movies you might ever see, and enjoy primarily for the possibility of you leaving the experience either completely in love with the movie, bored to tears by it or confounded by it. I, for one was a mixture of the latter two, I chuckled, sighed and shook my head at the astounding lack of depth in either the narrative, characters or dialogue; the range of acting was limited to long vacant stares and the somber delivery of the excruciating dialogue.

Don Jon
Don Jon(2013)

When the film eventually succumbs to romance cliches (the very kind it parodies early on) it loses some of its appeal, but JGL's directorial debut often feels fresh, hilariously honest and despite being delivered with a heavy hand, the message resonates with today's porn obsessed generation of men and the harmful effect it has on their perception of women.

Fruitvale Station

This heartbreaking true story is brought to life in a remarkably impassioned debut from Ryan Coogler, whose angry condemnation of the death and uplifting celebration of the tragically short life of Oscar Grant is given its visceral power by Michael B Jordan's fantastic portrayal of the troubled character who was, above all a devoted father with a good heart.

The Last Temptation of Christ

Scorsese here accomplishes so much with his adaptation of the Kazantzakis novel of the same name. He humanises Jesus Christ in a way that beckons back to Mean Streets: Here is a man plagued by spritial and self-doubt, guilt and passion, finally giving us a vision of the prophet that both Christians and atheists alike can resonate with.

Spring Breakers

With the repetitious dialogue playing as narration, the casting of former Disney stars as offensively sexualised protagonists and the calculated shocks, Harmony Korine seems quite convinced he's making an important and vocal piece of art but nothing could be further from the truth: Spring Breakers is a shallow, senseless and boring piece of softcore pornography.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

This enduring cult hit is a brazen and camp celebration of sexuality with easy to remember songs, outlandish costume design, tongue in cheek humour and catchy musical numbers.

Oyû-sama (Lady Ôyu) (Miss Oyu)

Forbidden love, suppresion of women's personal freedoms, impossibility of true happiness. These are the themes which Mizoguchi's pretty and well acted romance drama touch upon, as he had done many times before Miss Oyu. Still, while thematically this may not be a wholly original film, there are undeniable pleasures here.

Do the Right Thing

Incendiary and insightful: Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing channels the issues of racism, pride, class struggle and the grinds of everyday urban life. Like the powerful Public Enemy rap number that opens the film, Do The Right Thing is radical, subversive and proudly revolutionary.

Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari)

Ugetsu is a ghost story like no other. Mizoguchi mixes the real and supernatural to explore issues of love, honor and responsibility, all themes explored throughout his career but never with the same greatness. It's a perplexing and beautiful film, one of Japanese cinema's very best.

How the West Was Won

With it's star-studded cast and sumptuous visuals, this hugely ambitious picture is one of the biggest and best movie Westerns, and one of the last great epics to come from MGM.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The iconic teaming of Redford and Newman was so magical that this offbeat action comedy in Western trappings has become a touchstone for bickering buddy comedies ever since, and the final freeze framed image is one of the most famous endings in Hollywood movies.

Schindler's List

Each emotional register is generally accompanied by a different style of rich black and white cinematography from Janusz Kaminski, and Spielberg pulls no punches in milking the maximal intensity out of the existential terror and pathos in the harrowing story of the Polish Jews.

12 Years a Slave

It's harrowing and heart-wrenching to watch, as it should be. Steve McQueen and his extraordinarily brilliant cast have made what may be the most essential American movie in years, a historical drama that does for slavery what Schindler's list did for the holocaust.

Frances Ha
Frances Ha(2013)

It's a warm-hearted and energetic comedy lifted immensely by a spirited and honest performance from Greta Gerwig, whose character, Frances perfectly captures what its like to be young, free and lost, and if she isn't one of the most likable and colorful characters to come out of 2013 then I don't know who is.

The War Game
The War Game(1966)

The stark documentary realism of the film makes it effectively scary and unsettling even today, the retina burning images of despairing children in the aftermath of nuclear war will stay at the front of your mind for a long time.

The Lost Boys

It's no vampire classic, but Joel Schumacher's teensploitation horror comedy feels like a potent blend of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter, making for a fun, worthwhile experience.

The Lost Weekend

It's an intelligent and unsparing look at the grim degradation of alcoholism from a time when drunkards in Hollywood movies were figures of farce. It's thundering impact is a result of Wilder pulling us along with Don Birnam, a career defining role for Ray Milland on his horrific downward trajectory, rather than allowing us to watch with detached compassion.

The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc)

Jeanne (portrayed by stage actress Renee Falconetti) and her interlocutors are filmed almost exclusively in close ups, and thus the film relies on the raw commanding intensity of the performances to give it its power, which they do triumphantly.

48 HRS
48 HRS(1982)

This buddy cop comedy thriller is brought to life by gritty, frenetic action and a great dynamic between the two leads, an impressive debut from Eddie Murphy.

Doctor Zhivago

David Lean's sprawling romance epic has cinematography that evokes the expansiveness and raw beauty of the Russian landscape and effectively poignant performances from its expertly handled international cast, making for a riveting and awe inspiring piece of cinema.

The Searchers

The photography of John Ford's landmark Western is a beauty to behold; the setting shot so sumptuously that the landscape could be the real star of the movie. The simplicity of the story is met with complex themes of racial difference in America that resonates to this day, conveyed perfectly by John Wayne's most complex and morally ambiguous character.

Out of Africa

It's well photographed, it's well performed, it's well intentioned, but in the end it's well under-done, over long and drawn out, resulting in an excruciatingly tedious romance drama with very little going for it and not a lot to remember.


This mammoth biblical epic starts to feel a little bloated just before the half way point, but there is no denying the allure found in the scale and scope of the production, and the chariot race is one of the most thrilling and spectacular action set pieces in cinema to date.

Upstream Color

Carruth paints a pretty and abstract picture, which is both pleasant to look at thanks to a simplistic and haunting acting style and pacey editing, and stimulating to unravel as a piece of existential and transcendental science fiction cinema.

The Birth of a Nation

It's ugly, abhorrently racist message fails to cloud the artistic and technical merits of the picture, which paved the way for motion picture due to it's groundbreaking production with impressively staged action scenes, melodramatic performances and innovative, pioneering camera techniques that are still utilised by film-makers today.

A Clockwork Orange

Stanley Kubrick's darkly comic, uncompromising and profoundly disturbing deconstruction of violence is a surreal and psychological mysterpiece, a unique and essential cinema experience filled with nightmarish and lusciously photographed imagery that will leave an imprint on your mind for the rest of your life.

The Aviator
The Aviator(2004)

A remarkable portrait of a remarkable man, Martin Scorsese's epic Howard Hughes' biopic soars thanks to incredible attention to period detail, stunning production and one of Leonardo Di Caprio's strongest, most devoted performances to date, backed by a uniformly exceptional cast.

My Sister's Keeper

Heavy handed and manipulative handling of the heavy themes stunts the film's effect, and I couldn't help but think how almost every aspect of it could have been done with more subtlety, but it has moments of tenderness and genuine poignancy that elevate it just that little bit.

Five Women Around Utamaro

Mizoguchi uses this period piece, perhaps his most autobiographical work, to tell a tale of artistic confinement that reflected the tensions of the time, working under the constant threat of censorship during post-war Japan.

American Psycho

Not as incisive or dark as the novel, but boasts a terrifyingly psychotic performance from Bale and a blend of macabra humor and chilling horror with strong appeal.

John Carpenter's Vampires

John Carpenter's Vampires is the kind of horror cheese you're likely to find on late night horror movie channels, the kind that can only keep you entertained with a sustainable amount of alcohol and a few friends.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Style drips from each gloriously shot frame like the sweat pouring down the stars' faces, Leone carefully composes each widescreen image like he's painting a great landscape and propels the story forward with radical editing techniques, often cut to the rhythms of Morricone's iconic score. This epic length western is the work of a master rewriting the rules of the Western.

For a Few Dollars More (Per Qualche Dollaro in Più)

Sergio Leone's oddly paced exercise in indulgent film-making borders on self-parody.

A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari)

Filmed beautifully with assuredly cool cinematic flair, Sergio Leone's seminal Western is a breath-taking masterpiece of iconic stylishness and hard hitting violence.

American Hustle

David Russell channels Soderbergh and Scorsese with his stylishly directed and enchanting drama, with characters as catching and strange as their outfits and perms and a cleverly plotted story that takes you for a ride, as though you were a con victim yourself, although you won't mind one bit.

The Bicycle Thief

This simplistic neo-realistic drama is perhaps the greatest and most important communist art ever made, but the political message can be unconsciously forgotten and swept aside by the sweet depiction of the father and son relationship at the heart of the movie, full of subtle and evolving changes between the two characters in terms of respect and trust. It's fantastically heartbreaking and somewhat Chaplinesque (very reminiscent of The Kid, especially in the restaurant scene with the contrasting behaviours of the two children while eating lunch). At the time of its release, it wasn't perceived as a communist film and was given a best foreign language oscar before that category was even introduced.

The Eagle Has Landed

Like the nazi plot, the movie, which begins as dull but not particularly awful falls apart at its preposterously contrived middle.


Boring, underwritten and over-reliant on silly special effects to fuel its flat slapstick comedy.

Kevin & Perry Go Large

The so called comedy high points of this film involve spots being popped into a mirror, awkward erections and a floating turd and if that sounds like your idea of a fun movie, you deserve to be subjected to this.

The Raid: Redemption

You won't strain a single brain cell in the movie's entire running time, you'll simply adore the spectacularly brutal martial arts choreography and be blown away by it.

This Is the End

Crammed full with jokes about rape, drugs and every bodily fluid you can think of, This is The End is as crass, puerile and witless as it gets. It's also a hell of a good time, and of the most riotously funny movies I have ever seen.

How to Train Your Dragon

It's a heartwarming fantasy with emotional depth and stunning visuals; if the dragon riding sequences don't leave you in awe then not much will.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

George Lucas basically established the blockbuster format with his enduring myth-making fantasy film loaded with iconic heroes and villains that have made their way into collective public consciousness.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

The second entry in the original Star Wars trilogy is much darker than A New Hope, and also much more superior in its jaw dropping visuals and a shocking plot twist that became perhaps one of the most iconic movie moments of all time. One of the finest examples of fantasy escapism cinema has to offer.

Zangiku monogatari (The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums)

It is clear that Mizoguchi's storytelling abilities were developing with this deeply tragic and beautifully photgraphed romance, which is more emotionally involving and dramatically rewarding then his previous work, if not as richly thematic.

Sisters of the Gion (Gion no shimai)

While Sisters of the Gion may not be as dramatically satisfying as one hoped, there is no denying the power of Mizoguchi's vehement assault on traditional Japanese culture as misogynistic and cruel.

Osaka Elegy (Woman of Osaka) (Naniwa erejî)

The scathing social message behind Mizoguchi's Osaka Elegy, about society's ill treatment of women and double standards was ahead of its time and still relevant to a certain extent today.

Peeping Tom
Peeping Tom(1960)

Michael Powell's last film is essential cinema; the film's implication that the viewer, a voyeur just like Mark, is somehow complicit in his murderous deeds, riveted by his perverse atrocities and to some degree enabling them is profoundly fascinating and eerily disturbing at the same time.

Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz(2007)

If Lethal Weapon was made in 21st Century England and set in the countryside, this would be the end result: a terrifically funny and exciting action comedy with the same brilliant dynamic between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as in Shaun of the Dead.

Monsters, Inc.

It's a fantastically animated and exciting children's tale with an ambitious and inventive concept disguising a thoughtful message about love over fear of the unknown, but its the sophistication found in the dialogue that adds a layer of humour suitable for adults that really makes its appeal so enduring.

Joy Division
Joy Division(2007)

An insightful and revealing documentary that charts the rise of the band and the heartbreaking story of Ian Curtis, enhanced greatly by honest accounts from his fellow band members.


The musical set pieces can be dated and silly, a lot of the visual humour and dance choreography is cringe worthy. Still, the pantomimic performance of Ron Moody as the villainous Fagin is always a delight.


Tangled has a witty and fresh-feeling approach to the familiar trappings of Disney fairy tale storytelling, sumptuous animation and very lovable characters.

The Crow
The Crow(1994)

Brandon Lee's moody and commanding performance sets a dark and exciting tone, almost saving this preposterously scripted and hackneyed action flick

Made in Britain

A purposeless made for television "drama" which follows the exploits of a detestable racist thug, admittedly played with raw intensity by TIm Roth in his debut.


Alexander Payne's Nebraska may be his masterpiece; its believable characters performed superbly with all their nuances, the sharp writing, the crisp black and white photography and the simplicity of its sentimental message that manages to be sweet without overstepping into cliche territory.

About Schmidt

It's a deeply moving, life-affirming picture with humour and heart, and in typical style of Alexander Payne it is thoughtful and sonorous, its appeal made even greater by Jack Nicholson's astonishing lead performance, one of his late career highlights.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

This far superior sequel has the feel of a Sergio Leone Western set in a post-apocalyptic Australian Outback, with high octane vehicular combat in place of old fashioned shootouts, and the grizzled, mysterious Mad Max in place of the man with no name.


Can be seen as a companion piece to Goodfellas in the fact that it tells a story of the same kind of tough-talking blue collar gangsters depicted in that movie, after reaching the pinnacle of wealth and power. It is trademark Scorsese film-making at its sexiest, most ferocious, and most fascinating.


It's rich with vibrant and dazzling colours, but Hero is ineffectually dull due to a bare bones story and preposterous martial arts action that suffers from over-use of silly special effects and repetitive, uninspired choreography that seems to draw too much from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

In the Heat of the Night

The crime elements and atmosphere, enhanced by a memorable Quincy Jones score are strong indeed, but the film's enduring impact results from the film's exploration of racism, (which was, in its time an under-explored theme) and the fascinating relationship that develops between Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, whose performances are right are point in terms of strength and subtlety.


It is not just the unforgettably histrionic performance from Al Pacino which makes Brian De Palma's post-modern gangster epic such a delight; it is the grand old style narrative which tells a story of the obsession with territorial control and the inexorable loss of this power in excessive, bloody and outrageous style.


Martin Scorsese's epic is much more matter of fact in its insider chattiness and observations of of the manners and fashions of the mob world than the mythological The Godfather. It manages to convey the dead end horrors of a life outside the law as well as the allure with fascinating and assured style, under-laid by a constant barrage of cunningly selected pop hits suiting each scene perfectly.

The Godfather, Part II

This operatic sequel is darker, more profound and arguably even more compelling for its elaboration of power's corruption into complete moral decay. Scenes, patterns and motifs deliberately mirror the original, but it's complex interweaving of time periods and its parallels and contrasts between the two Corleone dons make it far grander in scale.

The Godfather

It is a masterful and flawless work fully deserving of it's immortal reputation. Coppola laid much of the groundwork of 1970s cinema with his commanding technique, and the poetic dialogue, complex and tragic characters and the audacious and visceral set pieces have entered the collective consciousness of filmgoers.

The King's Speech

It's fantastically well acted, with British thesp Colin Firth giving an immaculate performance that elevates the movie beyond it's predictable trappings.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

An inspiring, deeply visceral and wildly imaginative gem of a film with a beating heart and an extraordinary lead in the adorable Quvenzhane Wallis, who is truly remarkable.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Inspired and calculated silliness is reduced to just out and out silliness for this tepid sequel, every opportunity is taken to fire some inane dialogue or visual humour that mostly falls flat. Still, the cast, while sometimes over-acting are as likeable as they were in the original, and lend some charm to proceedings that make it amiably watchable. Also the soundtrack is genius.

Un Chien Andalou

Luis Bunuel was, in his own words "Seduced by that passion for the irrational" and his surrealist film An Andalusian Dog has such striking and dream-like images that as a viewer, so was I.

Gone With the Wind

The soapy second half concerning the postbellum ups and downs of the marriage of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh's characters is far less compelling than the war-time romances that brought them together in the first, which is mostly commendable for its tremendous and extravagant set pieces; the pull-away from Vivien Leigh to show a field full of wounded soldiers, and the dashing through the blazes of a burning Atlanta. Nonetheless, as a whole, this grand production still stands as one of the most enduring films of the era despite the overt racism (happy devoted slaves, the Confederates depicted as heroic and their cause noble).

The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on The River Kwai is second only to David Lean's own Lawrence of Arabia in terms of war epics, with sumptuous photography, an impressively literate and tragically ironic plot, and riveting, career defining performances from Alec Guinness, William Holden and Sessue Hayakawa as three very different men unknowingly stuck in an exciting cross-Atlantic battle of wills which culminates in an unforgettable climax.

Zatôichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi)

The beautifully smooth choreography of the fight scenes offer awe-inspiring action and visual humour aplenty, and the offbeat feel and art style of the film is striking.


The nuanced performances and period detail are what makes this dark thriller really exciting, as the mystery is a little lacking in the suspense department.

Days of Heaven

There is great beauty in Terrence Malick's poetic masterpiece, which, visually and thematically is about as close to perfect as a movie can be.

Dodgeball - A True Underdog Story

Yes its shockingly crude and stupid, but the consistent jokes and a funny performance from Ben Stiller makes watching people get hit in the balls funny.

The 40 Year Old Virgin

It's a one joke movie and if that wasn't bad enough, the joke happens to be unfunny the first time it's told.


Zack Snyder's adaptation of the seemingly unfilmable classic graphic novel is a spectacular triumph; at once a striking superhero movie, dark and complex political thriller and a darkly humorous character piece.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Tim Burton's quirky sensibilities and Johnny Depp's oddball acting style lend extremely well to the film, which feels like a much more accomplished and respectful adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic tale.

The Incredibles

Tremendous animation that stands as one of Pixar's crowning achievements, alongside the Toy Story trilogy, thanks to beautiful visuals, a sharp and witty script and an exciting, adventure filled plot.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Because of its outrageously juvenile and shamelessly offensive nature, the high-brow crowd won't find joy in it, but Kevin Smith delivers a rapid onslaught of crude and offensive gags throughout the film that mostly hit their target, and the cast is comprised of memorable and often hilarious characters.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Noomi Rapace has an arresting screen presence that aids the film massively, especially in some of the slower moments leading up to the richly satisfying finale.


It's a movie that delivers spine tingling thrills and and an eerily spooky and memorable performance from Judith Anderson, and a suspenseful and masterfully constructed plot but its not one you'll likely revisit.

The Crazies
The Crazies(2010)

I was bored almost to tears by this safe and predictable horror remake which had very little in the way of scares or entertaining plot.


Whip-smart writing makes for plenty of little laughs, and Bogart oozes enough charm to carry the whole piece, even dwarfing the dreamy Hepburn in that department.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Though the movie would have been leagues better without the terribly offensive Mr Yunioshi character, (an embarrassing and casually racist ethnic caricature played by Mickey Rooney in yellow face) Breakfast at Tiffany's is still an enduring and sweet romance which immortalised Audrey Hepburn.

Despicable Me 2

Infantile and unfunny to the point of frustration, Despicable Me 2 is an over-hyper animation aimed at attention deficit kids and the parents who'll go out and buy the merchandise which would inevitably be spawned from the unbearably annoying minions.

The Kids Are All Right

For a movie proud of its fresh, forward-thinking progressiveness (an aspect of the movie I do admire) a lot of it does feel awfully predictable and familiar. However, the script is bitingly funny and the dedicated cast turn out great performances, making it an entertaining and emotionally moving comedy drama at least.

Empire of the Sun

The young Christian Bale had a spell-binding screen presence, and helped elevate Spielberg's beautiful and woefully under-appreciated war epic to something truly wonderful.

Miracle on 34th Street

It's become a staple of Christmas tradition along with Its a Wonderful Life for a lot of families, and the warm sentimentality is one of its most endearing charms.

Jack and Jill

The worst dual performance comedy since Norbit, Jack and Jill is inexplicably dreadful. Adam Sandler and Dennis Dugan must each pay me a large sum of money to make me sit through another one of their excruciating so called "comedies". Al Pacino, you broke my heart.

Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy

One of the silliest, but most riotously funny movies I've ever seen and perhaps the most immensely quotable of all time. You WILL have a blast watching this movie, provided this kind of humor is your thing.

Killing Them Softly

It's a frustrating watch because a talented cast is wasted on a lousy script full of uninteresting dialogue, tacky stylised violence and political commentary overload.

Dear John
Dear John(2010)

Nobody involved in the making of this dull and cliche-ridden tear-jerker romance gave a damn, and as a result neither did I.

Batman Returns

Every bit as inconsistent with the source material as Burton's 1989 original, and the movie fails to find a tonal balance with the silliness and dark violence.


Has Burton ever read a Batman comic?

The Act Of Killing

Joshua Oppenheimer's sublime and extremely thoughtful documentary is a movie of extraordinarily power, and without a doubt essential viewing. At once a riveting history lesson, a devastatingly vehement meditation on killing and a deep examination of the psychology of murderers and the uncomfortable truth that they are, below the surface, as human as anyone.


not just the best animated film of the year thanks to genuinely funny and smart writing, a wonderful fairytale plot and visually splendid animation, but also a strong contender for the best Disney princess movie yet.


Lincoln feels like a stage production, with most of the film revolving around conversations in interiors therefore it relies entirely on it's performances. Fortunately, Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't portray Abraham Lincoln, more accurately he becomes the iconic president and the supporting cast are brilliant.

The Long Goodbye

Altman ingeniously deconstructs the film noir, and as a result crafts a very worthy entry in the genre.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

There is a gut-wrenching honesty to the performances that Ken Loach seems to get from the cast of every movie he directs, and Paul Laverty's script has the right blend of human and political drama.

Arthur Christmas

Sacrifices a lot of festive charm in its militarization of Santa and the elves in a move that Aardman no doubt believed to be smart and inventive, and the story is awfully familiar.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

2 hours of drinking and incessant shouting can be expected from this severely over-rated stage play adaptation.


Nicolas Roeg's classic adventure drama is sublime and mysterious; open to many interpretations and encourages serious after-thought. The contrast between urban civilization and and the natural world is explored beautifully in powerful imagery of almost hallucinogenic intensity, particularly memorable is the striking scene in which Gulpilil's spearing and bludgeoning of animals inter-cut with shots of the stunning Jenny Agutter swimming naked. An under-appreciated masterpiece.

Seduced And Abandoned

An insightful, funny and honest documentary about the difficulties of securing movie finances that cinephiles and those interested in the business side of film should appreciate.

Johnny Guitar

Boldly baroque in its use of strong colors and bravura acting style, Crawford is particularly brilliant in a spell-binding, convention-reversal performance that could very well be interpreted as pro-feminism and those who make a stand on principle.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

There is no point whatsoever in this so called "reimagining" of the 1951 classic, replacing the social minded message with bland and over-produced special effects.


The first in Alfred Hitchcock's "limited setting" movies, Lifeboat is a minor entry in Hitchcock's film canon but is a very competent melodrama with well-written characters played brilliantly.


Sideways, with its excellent, smart writing and uniformly brilliant performances manages to do what all comedy dramas should aspire: Make you laugh, think and feel all in equal measure.

Mad Max
Mad Max(1979)

What makes the jaw-dropping car stunts and crashes more impressive is the extremely tight budget in which the film was made.

Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow casts aside politics in her emotionally-detached suspense drama which should be commended for her refusal to celebrate the hunt and killing of Bin Laden, rather she decides to play it as authentically as possible.

The Breakfast Club

Once you dissolve the stereotypes which segregate youths, aren't all teenagers as vulnerable and alienated as one another? John Hughes understands kids better than most, and here creates a touching study of how youngsters are divided by the search for identity and conformity. Yes it is dated and at times cringe-worthy, but its also smart, funny and endearing.


A bleak, uncompromising and ultimately very depressing social drama which may be hard to stomach, but even harder to turn away from.

Saving Mr. Banks

Director John Lee Hancock added lot more than a spoonful of sugar to proceedings in his syrupy sweet drama and between the seemingly omnipresent piano score and the sentimentality, he could be accused of being a tad manipulative. However, Saving Mr Banks is one of the most pleasant and dramatically satisfying films I've seen all year bolstered by an endearing and very funny performance from Emma Thompson.

Three Kings
Three Kings(1999)

searing anti war film that employs fast edits and dizzying camera work combined with leftist politics, a snappy script and taut performances from the leads. It takes deft hands to make such an ambitious movie not fall apart at the seams (part heist thriller, part war story) and David Russell juggles the genre and tonal shifts with assured style.

The Invisible Man

Perhaps better than any of the Universal horror movies of this period, The Invisible Man has aged impeccably well thanks to timelessly impressive special effects and an eerily spooky performance from the commanding Claude Rains.

Das Boot
Das Boot(1981)

A remarkably authentic and riveting account of life in a German U-boat, with a great sense of claustrophobia and nerve-shattering realism.


Dave is a breezy and charming political comedy with lots of smart laughs and a brilliant lead performance from Kline.

Rear Window
Rear Window(1954)

Terribly over-rated, but nevertheless Rear Window is a brilliant suspense thriller and study of obsession and voyeurism which is constructed every but as thoroughly as its elaborate set; arguably the perfect setting for a film. Each window in the tenement building provides a glimpse into a different story, and watching it feels like watching a living, breathing ecosystem with a delicious murder mystery thrown in for good measure.


The titular character, played by Alan Ladd is the quintessential Western hero: enigmatic, brave and quick on the draw. A splendid, mythological classic with a simple but meaningful story.

First Blood
First Blood(1982)

Before the sequels gave Rambo a reputation as a dumb, mindless action franchise, First Blood was a dark and powerful drama about a haunted Vietnam veteran struggling to find a place back among society, as well as one hell of a survival thriller with exciting action.

Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes blends exciting adventure drama with smart and though-provoking social commentary about the humanity's greatest flaws, and how they ruin us. Timeless science fiction classic with unforgettable lines and a very important historical impact.

The Pianist
The Pianist(2002)

Polanski's historical drama based on the true story of a Jewish musician living during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, is a harrowing and heart-breaking masterpiece.


With all its vaudeville-inspired dazzle, Chicago can never be accused of being a bore. Director Rob Marshall, seemingly desperate to keep his audience's full attention, puts out all the stops; dizzying musical numbers litter the production and have you tapping your toes and staring in awe.

Five Easy Pieces

Nicholson's first important role is one that cemented his reputation as a brilliant actor, and rightly so.

The African Queen

The chemistry between Bogart and Hepburn is remarkable and inspired. It is a delight to watch the pairing inevitably fall in love, and to stare in awe at the East Africa backdrop which is stunningly photographed.


Big, which rises above the rest of the age-switch fantasies thanks to a funny and endearing Tom Hanks, oozes undeniable charm and has a sweet message about growing up that everyone can learn from.

High Plains Drifter

A dark revenge Western that feels fresh for the the unabashed nastiness of its hero and the stylistic eccentricities that inhabit the picture.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Smart, cool and very stylish, but lacking in substance. Still, there is plenty of fun on the surface to stop you from caring.


It's inventive, cleverly-plotted with mind-blowing twists and is made with stylish flair; There are so many scenes in this movie, such as the one take corridor fight scene, which will stay with you forever.


A suspenseful and frightening alien horror movie that proves Shyamalan can be a good film-maker, when he wants to be.


Everyone can have fun with Devito's screen version of Roald Dahl's tale, which is dark in a playful and amiable way and full of endearing performances.


This grand and sweeping epic, running for a mammoth 190 minutes does the Texas landscape justice with its pleasing cinematography, and has amazing performances all round. The handling of class and race differences was fresh for its time was unusual for its time and deserves high praise.

The Hustler
The Hustler(1961)

A cynical and bitter examination of human nature with excellent performances (particularly from George C Scott as the cold, vulture-like Bert) and spectacular black and white wide screen shots of the pool halls in which the film is predominantly set.


Should be praised for the ahead of its time subversiveness, but the lack of structure makes it feel like an uneven dark comedy sketch show, only with a lot more emphasis on dark than comedy.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

No, a movie in which a baby get's wired off of cocaine to make the audience laugh is never going to win any oscars, but A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas does offer a lot of admittedly shallow (but nevertheless very, very funny) low-brow comedy that never over-stays its welcome.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

While inferior to its predecessor, it never feels stale, and though it may only be funny in fits and starts, Escape from Guantanamo Bay has a lot to say about race relations in the US.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

Ethnic stereotypes are played on to full effect here, but while distasteful, they never grate. Instead they induce all the gut busting laughs you could ask for from this cut above the rest stoner comedy, starring two amiable and very loveable leads.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

replacing characters with muppets, however loveable they may be, is not a good enough reason to endure yet another retelling of this over told tale.

Cape Fear
Cape Fear(1962)

One of the most tense and terrifying suspense thrillers ever made, bolstered by a fearsome and monstrous performance from Robert Mitchum.

Escape from New York

Sadly, Escape from New York is an almost forgotten cult classic that deserves to be remembered, mostly for its iconic one-eyed hero played coolly by Kurt Russell.


The strengths of this film lies with the skillful handling of its themes, which vary from oppression and repression to the spontaneity of life.


Annoying, pretentious, dull, charmless and and loaded with silly gimmicks, its a wonder how Amelie garnered the adoration and acclaim of so many.

Enter the Dragon

A stylish and excited martial arts action thriller which serves as a showcase for the extraordinary talents of Bruce Lee, who provides immense visual awe with his incredible stunts.

The Tale of Despereaux

The stellar animation and cute hero will appeal to young children, but anyone else will find a tiresomely familiar story.


This weird genre mash up is vastly entertaining with its smart, sinister comedy and gruesome violence.

I Am Legend
I Am Legend(2007)

The dull computer generated zombies are not at all frightening, and that's all the film has.

Million Dollar Baby

I was left massively underwhelmed by Eastwood's conventional and predictable sports drama, which did boast a fine performance from Hilary Swank, but not a lot else.

New York, New York

Scorsese's risky and ambitious musical is uneven, over-long and somewhat lacking in coherence, however it is littered with moments of ingenuity and the manic intensity of De Niro's performance provides endless joy.

The Hunt
The Hunt(2013)

This tense and uncompromising drama pulls no punches when it comes to portraying the difficult subject matter, and Mads Mikkelsen provides a terrific, gut-wrenching performance.

Toy Story of Terror!

A more than worthwhile addition to the much loved Toy Story universe with all the charm, laughs and loveable characters that have become a staple of it.

La Femme Nikita (Nikita)

Aimless, dull, short on story and very, very stupid. Luc Besson's violent and generic action thriller deserves none of the praise it is given.


Loach's second film is a very important and strikingly authentic look at the life of a working class boy with a powerful and tragic message. The bird is a clever symbol for the hope that Billy, with no real opportunities or guidance will one day develop and like the kestrel, learn to fly against the wind.

Captain America: The First Avenger

It is disposable blockbuster entertainment, but of a high standard and Chris Evans was the perfect casting choice as the star spangled super soldier.

Thor: The Dark World

Generic CGI-overloaded action sequences, pitiful and grating attempts at humor, a weak, forgettable and one-dimensional villain and the same story we've seen in countless other sub-par blockbuster movies all make for the worst thing to come from Marvel Studios since Iron Man 2, and perhaps worse than that still. The high points of this movie come from a quite hilarious cameo from a fellow Avenger and an exciting post-credits scene which teases the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2(2010)

An over-stuffed story with a hugely disappointing climactic showdown that ends, basically with a super-hero high five.

Annie Hall
Annie Hall(1977)

Woody Allen gives a brilliantly neurotic performance in what is perhaps the most personal, most poignant and wittiest movie from his long and masterful career.

Attack the Block

Not as witty, frightening or unconventional and fresh as it likes to think, Attack the Block is neither funny nor scary, as the dialect jokes wear frustratingly thin, as do the silly action scenes.

An American Werewolf in London

The story is very thinly written, but what is lacking in plot is more than made up for in the gruesomely entertaining and memorable set pieces showcasing the astounding make-up effects of Rick Baker which range from darkly funny to outright terrifying.


Judi Dench's endearing and heart-wrenching performance could draw tears and laughter from a stone, in Stephen Frears' spectacularly realised drama based on the touching and incredible true story of Philomena Lee.

Bulletproof Monk

Choppy editing of action sequences and poor juvenile humor does not a good kung fu movie make.

Napoleon Dynamite

Take the best of John Hughes and Wes Anderson, and you'd have this charming and quirky indie hit with a simply brilliant lead performance by Jon Heder and some very memorable and laugh out loud moments of silly ingenuity.

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)

Exciting, visually dazzling and wonderful tribute to the original, Tron Legacy is a worthy sequel.

The Way Way Back

Its the touching and often humorous friendship between Duncan and Owen (played fantastically and with infectious energy by Sam Rockwell) at the center of the story that helps the movie overcome the familiar coming of age trappings.

Half Nelson
Half Nelson(2006)

While Gosling and Epps both deliver outstanding performances, the film itself offers very little in way of reward and I found it to be a very hollow and slow moving exercise in typically indie negativity.


Director Larry Clark and Screenwriter Harmony Korine can't seem to decide whether they want to create a cautionary tale of adolescent promiscuity and recklessness, or a seedy exploitation of it. As a result, the movie gets lost and becomes directionless, left to be seen as immoral and disturbing nonsense.

Shutter Island

Not even comparable to top class Scorsese, Shutter Island is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his masterful abilities, but nonetheless its an effective, twisty and spooky mystery thriller.

Dawn of the Dead

The corniness of the dialogue ranges from laughable to unbearable, and the complete lack of character development is frustrating. Only the most indiscriminate zombie horror fans will find merit to this soulless remake.

My Blueberry Nights

Wong Kar-Wai's first English language film has undeniable charm in its poignancy and poetic, if not cheesy romanticism conveyed through beautiful voice-over dialogue.

Billy Liar
Billy Liar(1963)

A funny and relatable tale of a young man suffocating in the confines of social expectations and conformity in blue collar Britain with an endearing performance from Tom Courtenay and some humorous and inventive visualizations of Billy's wildest imaginings.

Midnight in Paris

A breezy, sentimental and light-hearted rom-com fairy-tale with a charming performance from Owen Wilson and typically witty writing from Woody Allen.

A Hijacking
A Hijacking(2013)

Lindholm has opted for subtle psychological drama over straight up thriller, for which he can be both praised and criticized. On one hand, this allows for a fascinating look at two vastly different groups men trying to hold it together, but on the other one may be hoping for some feeling of suspense, or perhaps some action to keep them at the edge of their seats.

The Angels' Share

Loach balances his knack for naturalism and honesty with sincerity and sweetness, which teamed with realistic and endearing performances makes for a redemption tale that avoids being too sentimental and leaves a warmth in the heart, a tear in the eye and a few genuine laughs.


Gripping and very entertaining thanks to Refn's outstanding direction and a fantastic performance from Tom Hardy as Britain's most notorious prisoner that is both frightening and very hard to look away from.

La Haine
La Haine(1996)

Hate ranks beside Do The Right Thing and Mean Streets as one of the most brilliant and unforgettable pieces of urban cinema, boasting visually splendid cinematography and strong, effective performances.

My Brother The Devil

a melodramatic, clichÃÂ (C)d and contrived urban tale, which is a shame, since the people on screen show raw talent and devotion, while the people behind do nothing particularly interesting.


I left the cinema completely speechless and shell-shocked. Denis Villeneuve has meticulously crafted the most emotionally powerful and disturbing piece of mainstream cinema I have seen in a long time, with absorbing and completely devoted performances all round, particularly from Jackman in an astounding career best. Not to be missed by anyone.

Straw Dogs
Straw Dogs(1971)

Peckinpah masterfully creates a disturbing, uneasy feeling of tension throughout the whole film, and directs one of the most powerful rape scenes in cinema. A compelling meditation on the rage and monstrosity that is hidden in many men, waiting to be unleashed.

Smokin' Aces
Smokin' Aces(2007)

slick, shooty and stylishly edited, this splendidly violent crime actioner is fun and entertaining, if not a little vapid.

Blue Jasmine
Blue Jasmine(2013)

the smart, sophisticated and fiercely observant brand of writing Woody Allen is known for is here, teamed with tremendous performances all round, particularly from Blanchett, who's pathetic character I both sympathised with and detested with equal measure.

This Must Be The Place

It's frustrating and puzzling, but put the pieces of this subtle and quirky drama together and you find an emotionally pleasing movie with a devoted performance from Sean Penn.

A Serious Man

A Serious Man should be appreciated as a return to true greatness for the Coen brothers, in what is a darkly funny and very well acted comedy drama.


while one would benefit from going into the movie not knowing the exciting true story, Rush is still an immaculate, action packed drama with solid performances, particularly from Daniel Bruhl who impresses as Lauda.

Say Anything...

I couldn't help but feel cynical with regards to the romance between Lloyd and Diane and I was much more intrigued by the father/daughter dynamic, but this a sweet and endearing romantic comedy bolstered by a quirky and iconic lead performance from John Cusack.

Meet the Robinsons

Clearly intended for kids with small attention spans, Meet the Robinsons boasts impressive animation (although stunted by questionable character and location designs) but has nothing to warrant a recommendation to anyone older than 10.

Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)

Ace in the Hole is at times witty and laugh out loud funny, at others thrilling and dark but one thing is constant throughout: Billy Wilder's screenplay is a biting satire with unforgettable and endlessly sharp dialogue, and a magnificent self-loathing performance by Kirk Douglas. One of the all time greatest among the many films that revolve around the exploitation and the cynicism of the media.

Night of the Living Dead

It's taboo breaking and convention defying style transcends the era, as does the smart script and terrifying atmospheric scares. One of the most important horror films of all times given its influence on what is now a phenomenally popular sub-genre and in the fact that it is a masterclass in how to do so much with so little.

Dawn of the Dead

Gruesome and terrifying zombie horror combined with sharp, incisive social commentary makes for one of the best horror movies of all time, and certainly one of the most influential.


gleeful slapstick gore reigns supreme in this electric creature feature comedy.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

A glossy, witless and boring film revolving around a bunch of unlike-able promiscuous idiots who act like sex obsessed kids.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde's smart, witty and sophisticated play is brought to life with eminently love-able performances from the two male leads.

28 Weeks Later...

A needless and quite generic sequel, albeit one that is scary, tense and very exciting.

Rumble in the Bronx

Jackie Chan's hugely entertaining screen presence and awe inspiring stunts are more than enough to carry this movie, and make it a decent martial arts romp.


Pointless short spin off of Wall-E with the same impressive animation, but nothing else going for it.

The Master
The Master(2012)

A truly riveting and remarkable film, one that is so intelligent, so striking and so challenging that it defies expectations for modern drama; this doesn't try to make itself accessible to casual audiences, rather it caters to serious viewers willing to think.

Lawrence of Arabia

An epic in every sense of the word, this is a majestic and sumptuous movie which will astound with its remarkably beautiful photography and Peter O'Toole's incredible lead performance.

Angst Essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul)

Ali deftly explores human selfishness and racial and social prejudice, it's thematic relevance still strong to this day.

The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man boasts atmospheric and haunting black and white cinematography, touchingly human performances and compassionate treatment on its subject with a surrealistic touch by David Lynch

Hannah Montana: The Movie

Of course its sentimental and cliched and lazily crafted. But will you see the Disney Channel fanbase complain? Nope, they'll sing along to the memorable music numbers and be reduced to tears at the ending.

The Kid
The Kid(1921)

Ingeniously humorous and sweetly sentimental, the comedy and heartfelt drama never detract from each other but work in perfect harmony; much like the two eminently likeable leads: Charlie Chaplin who delights with his endlessly entertaining screen presence and Jackie Coogan as the kid whose cute charm and youthful energy is impossible not to love.

The Limey
The Limey(1999)

Fantastic neo-noir revenge drama with electrifying stylistic direction from Soderbergh and a gripping performance from Terence Stamp.

Kramer vs. Kramer

Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep are on top form as two parents going through a divorce, and their battle for custody of their child. Both Heart breaking and heart warming in equal measure, this is a thoughtful and intelligent melodrama.

Just, Melvin: Just Evil

A very disturbing and often hard to watch film documenting the evils of a despicable and repulsive man inflicted on a family and the pain felt as a result. Powerful stuff.


By no means is this a great movie, but although very uneven and almost completely uneventful, Harvey is an endearingly pleasant movie with an amiable lead performance from Stewart and an intermittently funny script.

Piranha 3DD
Piranha 3DD(2012)

More naked women, more outrageous and gory violence, plenty of offensive writing and cheesy celebrity cameos. This is what it takes to make a good movie now?

Morrissey 25: Live

Lacks the cinematic flair to justify its theatrical release; the uninspired direction offers a similar experience as a fan recording on Youtube.

School of Rock

Jack Black leads this delightful, funny and amiable crowd pleaser with a performance that oozes with energy and charm.


There is no hope, no profound message just the cruel reality of the two main characters' bleak and hopeless lives, who are exceptionally well played.

The Descendants

It's a heartfelt comedy drama that works thanks to warm, endearing performances and a graceful script.

Alan Partridge

Partridgians rejoice: Alan's big screen adventure guarantees a ruddy good time for fans of his signature comedy, as the laughs come thick and fast. It did, however, leave me wanting for more; a sequel sometime in the near future would not go amiss.

Hotel Transylvania

For anyone old enough to know better, the giddiness and obnoxious animation will grow old and irritable fast.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action

The live action actors seem embarrassed at what they are being made to do in this outrageously silly and hyper-active movie, but the cartoon characters are a typical joy just as they were in the classic cartoons.


It's amiable and child-pleasing, but very forgettable and the animation style mimics that of Tim Burton's to the point of redundancy.

Kung Fu Hustle

Silly and whimsical in all the right ways, Kung Fu Hustle is a gem of world cinema with laugh out loud looney toons style gags flying as fast as the fists and feet.

The Trip
The Trip(2011)

It's not an important film but it's a rather pleasant one with delights to be found in dueling impersonations of Michael Caine and some heartfelt insight into mid-life.

Apocalypse Now

A uneven but spectacular and fascinating meditation on madness that is as much a surrealistic horror epic as it is a war movie. The cinematography is mind blowing and the powerful imagery conveyed throughout is truly unforgettable. This is essential, eye opening viewing.

Apocalypse Now Redux

The additional footage makes this surreal war horror epic a richer, more textured and even more intriguing film experience with new sub plots and more focus on the political anti-war standpoint, this is rightfully the definitive version of perhaps the most fascinating war movie ever made.

Kick-Ass 2
Kick-Ass 2(2013)

Destined to become a cult punk movie with its gleeful anarchic violence, insanely distasteful comedy and corny plot. It has a lot of misfires, (some cheap dialogue, poorly handled high school comedy and contradictions in the themes) but you can consider my ass officially kicked.

Sound City
Sound City(2013)

Not very engaging or insightful as a documentary, but as a tribute to rock music it's affectionate and sometimes funny. Dave Grohl's passion and appreciation for the subject is on clear display and is quite infectious.

The Secret World of Arrietty

A simple, sweet and soulful animation with plenty of charm and wondrous visuals.


It's often quite funny, charming and is complimented by splendid animation that make Disney's colourful take on the princess fairy tale and endearing classic.

A Cinderella Story

sadly loved by many young girls who don't know any better, this is a lazy and unbelievably naff update of a fairy tale that deserves better.

Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider(2007)

one of Marvel's darkest and most mature characters is given an unsuitably corny and formulaic adaptation with terrible over the top performances and a script that would be skewered by even the least demanding audiences.


Never underestimate the entertainment value of a foul mouthed pre-teen maniac slaughtering bad guys while delivering profane one liners. Gleeful ultra violence reigns supreme in this stylized comic book adaptation.

Horrible Bosses

Tasteless puerile garbage milking every tired gross-out gag and sex joke we've seen recently in the same ilk with dreadful movies such as The Hangover and Bridesmaids, only twice as uncomfortably vulgar and needlessly obnoxious.


Coming to America, only starring a Norse thunder God with a deliciously evil step brother (played brilliantly by Hiddleston) and a self aware, often humorous script.

The Conjuring

The strengths lie not in the familiar exorcism story-line but in the terrifying old school scares and refusal to resort to over reliance on cheap jump scares or special effect laden gore, making this haunted house shocker the surprise horror hit of the year.

Ghost in the Shell

Although the complex story lost me throughout the film, I always felt engaged and intrigued by what was going on; watching a beautifully animated heroine hopping and gun fighting around a dazzling cyberpunk city-scape is delightful to feast your eyes on and the moody tone and philosophy is a treat for mature anime fans.

Spirited Away

Captivating and spellbinding, Spirited away is a fantastically animated tale that is sure to enchant viewers, hardcore anime fans or not, with it's breathtakingly gorgeous visuals.

Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm

Second only to Christopher Nolan's operatic Dark Knight trilogy, Mask of the Phantasm is a dark, sophisticated and mature take on Batman and provides fascinating character study, delving deep into the psyche of the masked vigilante. The noir art-deco backgrounds are striking and the action feels real rather than mechanical is can often be the case.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

The inventive, outlandish plot devices and cartoonish violence are heavily contrasted by a dark tone that sets the bar for maturity even higher than the original Batman animated series and the direct-to-video features it spawned.

Pitch Perfect

It's formulaic, cheesy and so poorly written it's cringe worthy. It feels like the whole thing was made by a 15 year old girl whose film knowledge consists of a handful of other dumb teenage movies. The result: a charmless and disastrous mash-up of High School Musical and Bridesmaids full of distasteful, offensive humor and nauseating characters.

Batman: Year One

Doesn't capture all the excitement and emotion of the acclaimed graphic novel, but this is a worthy adaptation that does the Batman's origin tale justice with splendid anime style visuals and a brilliant fast pace.

Roman Holiday

The romance is one that you can truly invest in thanks to an endlessly cute shared chemistry between charismatic leads Hepburn and Peck and we get some beautiful shots of Rome that deserve to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero

While the plot may be predictable and uninspired, this feature length spin-off succeeds for the same reasons as the brilliant animated series: beautifully drawn gothic animation, fantastic voice acting headed by Kevin Conroy and a dark, mature and sophisticated script that refuses to speak down to it's younger audiences in a condescending manner, making it suitable good fun for Bat fans of all ages.

The Great Train Robbery

Essential viewing for it's historical importance and part in developing narrative cinema, rather than for its entertainment value. This hasn't aged nearly as well as other early landmark pictures such as Trip To The Moon but spotting the camera techniques the silent short pioneered is fascinating.

HULK VS.(2009)

The Wolverine half of the movie is much superior, but tons of excitement and fun action are crammed into the short running length of the double feature, which is made great by impressive animation, bringing the beautiful anime style drawings to life.

Batman: Under the Red Hood

A rousing animated feature with impressive voice acting talent, lively animation and a suitably dark story (adapted from the graphic novel of the same name) that culminates in an exciting and violent showdown.

Batman & Robin

I'm confused whether Schumacher's mockery of the popular superhero is supposed to be a parody or not.

Layer Cake
Layer Cake(2005)

Stylish, smart and thrilling but empty and ultimately too detached from realism to feel like a satisfying crime drama.

X-Men: First Class

An excellent comic book movie that sort of transcends the genre to become a stylish period action drama/sci-fi thriller thanks to a tight script, great performances all round and an exciting plot.

Green Lantern

Superhero movies outgrew this stage a decade ago. Overproduction, awfully thin, cliche ridden script nonsense and unintentionally laughable performances make this one of the worst comic-book movie adaptations ever.

The Simpsons Movie

A hearty celebration of the longest running animated series of all time, this movie is consistently hilarious and has incredible animation that is a delight to look at.

Groundhog Day

A fantastic movie that is humorous, sweet and affectionate in equal measure. Bill Murray delivers a charismatic and almost riotous deadpan performance; it is clear he is enjoying himself in the one of his finest roles.

Midnight Cowboy

Hoffman and Voight both give incredible performances and make one of the best pairings in cinematic history in this gritty and bleak look at life in the big city.

The Graduate
The Graduate(1967)

"You're trying to seduce me Mrs. Robinson" is just one of the iconic lines to come from this influential landmark sex comedy/coming of age melodrama. Anne Bancroft is superb and Dustin Hoffman gives a likeable lead performance, even despite the fact the character makes some questionable choices and is a bit of an idiot.


Terrifying and atmospheric, Rec is probably the best of the found footage genre and one of the most effective horrors of recent years.


The story is as mechanical as its characters, severely lacking in depth and originality but it is wonderfully realised by spectacular animation that is a delight to behold.

Back to the Future

A blockbuster movie with genuine heart, a well developed, smart sci-fi premise and fun performances all round.

Young Frankenstein

Part worship and part parody of the 1930s Universal movies, it never finds its footing as either: it merely flatters the James Whale classics and the humour is witless and dull.

Superman II
Superman II(1981)

A terrific sequel with the same campy humour that embraces the lightness and silliness of the golden age of comics, with a brilliant baddie courtesy of Terrence Stamp.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

This high concept sci-fi thriller is smart and gripping, but what really makes it special is the layer of human emotion, usually missing from other movies of it's kind.

Cape Fear
Cape Fear(1991)

Why Scorsese chose to remake the Robert Mitchum classic is unknown to me, but it's a suspenseful and terrifying movie thanks mostly to Robert De Niro, who is chilling as Max Cady.

Amores Perros

Alejandro González Iñárritu deserves high praise for such an ambitious debut, which is at times ferociously brutal and intensely gripping.


It shouldn't be possible for the sequel to The Silence of The Lambs to be this painfully boring, but it is.

American Graffiti

There is barely a plot or any character development, instead we are treated to a rocking ride through the early 1960s complete with a stunningly real aesthetic, foot tapping soundtrack and charming characters.

A Fish Called Wanda

The comedy is distinctly British: Outrageous, crude yet tasteful and sometimes quite smart. There are some hilarious gags and charming performances and the farce is always entertaining thanks to a tight script.

500 Days of Summer

Takes a blunt, honest look at the harsh reality of breakups, something the cliche-ridden rom-coms never dare try. This refreshing take on love is exactly the jolt of revitalization the genre needed, and teamed with offbeat comedy and a great performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, makes for a superb film.

Disney's A Christmas Carol

It's a pretty dull affair, with tiring special effects getting in the way of any real story-telling, which admittedly doesn't really matter because have we not seen this story enough?

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

B movie sensibilities (downright ludicrous plot and even Bruce Campbell) teamed with glorious animation and great voice acting makes for a very fun animated movie.

The Great Gatsby

ambitious to a fault, Baz Luhrmann's adaptation is visually spectacular and dramatically rich. It's a very rewarding and fascinating movie experience.

The Wizard of Oz

It looks magnificent, even today it is awe inspiring to marvel at the land of Oz and its endearing denizens which is why it stands the test of time so well and holds up on repeat viewing. An essential movie for all children from every generation.

United 93
United 93(2006)

This commemorative movie does a lot of things right. It has a somber, realistic tone, tense direction from Paul Greengrass and a great cast of mostly unknown actors who portray the extraordinarily brave passengers of the ill fated United 93. Perhaps one of it's greatest strengths is it's refusal to resort to sentimentalism or gooey patriotism, instead it effectively conveys the gut-wrenching terror which was 9/11 with sincerity and respect.

Death Race
Death Race(2008)

Cars, explosions, scantily clad women and mindless violence. What more could you want? Oh yes, an actually enjoyable action movie with substance.

Cidade de Deus (City of God)

An incisive and gripping crime drama based on the true story of a budding photographer struggling to get out of the crime riddled slums of Rio De Janeiro. It's a bleak and uncompromising look at the lives of youngsters with no way out, and we can't help but pity them.

The World's End

A fitting conclusion to the trilogy, this is an exhilarating science fiction adventure comedy full of gut busting laughs and a resonant message about friendship.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

Breakneck pacing and terrific and memorable set pieces (Tom Cruise scaling the Burj Khalifa in particular) are very exciting. For an action sequel, this is refreshingly original and inventive.


Gordon Willis' photography masterfully captures the spirit of New York with wonderful shots of the great city, and Woody Allen's witty script and slightly pessimistic take on romance is a delight to behold when brought to life by charismatic and honest performances.

The Full Monty

Cheesy, but ultimately very sweet, charming and endearing. It's hard not to love it thanks to fun performances depicting unemployed steel workers convincingly and with heart.

Another Year
Another Year(2010)

A sweet and charming little film by Mike Leigh bolstered by exceptional performances all round and a bleak, yet resonant message about life.

The Blues Brothers

soulful and humorous musical comedy with brilliant car chases and immensely loveable performances from Belushi and Aykroyd.

The Campaign
The Campaign(2012)

The real laughs are few and far between and one will be sorely disappointed if they go into this movie expecting smart political satire, but there are so genuinely clever moments: Will Ferrell's congressman Brady being accused of holding communist beliefs by his rival (Galifianakis) due to a story he wrote when he was a child is genius.

I Love You Phillip Morris

Jim Carrey has never been as charismatic or endearing, in this oddly brilliant portrayal of a real life con man and the man he loved.

Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys)

A baffling plot is a minor shortcoming in what is am exciting and decidedly odd time travel movie with a great performance from Brad Pitt. Smart, goofy and often darkly funny, in typical Gilliam fashion.


An overlooked wartime tragedy is given commemoration in this remarkable history drama. It's not hard to realise this is a deeply person film for Andrej Wajda, whose concise and very touchingly humanist approach makes this movie suitably harrowing and fascinating.


Ben Gazzara made a convincing Al Capone, unfortunately the film itself doesn't deserve the same praise.

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim(2013)

Del Toro is a fantasy director with a poet's soul but you wouldn't know that from watching Pacific Rim. This is a dumb, brash and cheesy robots vs monsters showdown movie and it's quite content to simply be a guilty pleasure belonging to a genre that pretty much died around 15 years ago.

Hang 'em High

Carries the protestant ethos of the traditional American Westerns of the 1950s, but with a hint of darker cynicism in the form of Clint Eastwood and a plot concerning morality and the true meaning of justice.

Drag Me to Hell

It's a very engaging horror movie because it has the power to make you gasp and jump one minute, then laugh and shake your head the next. It's gleefully campy and eerily frightening and one of the best horrors in recent years.

Django Unchained

Probably Tarantino's most audience friendly, commercial film (thanks partly to his seemingly new-found discovery of editing) and his biggest, boldest and bloodiest. Like most of his movies, it is tightly scripted and darkly funny in the lead up to an inevitably ultra violent climax, but also deals with the issue of slavery, a chapter of American history rarely touched upon in cinema despite the era being visited numerous times.

Fallen Angels

A successor to Chungking Express, Kar Wai Wong's Fallen Angels is perhaps even more breathtaking, with effortless style and challenging visuals. We are taken on a tour of the vibrant streets of Hong Kong, and the tumultuous, often beautiful human heart.

Let the Right One In

Fans of Stephen King will love this fantastic adaptation of author John Ajvide Lindqvist's vampire novel, which thanks to it's blend of grisly realism and spooky atmospheric storytelling, is a welcome hit of fresh blood to a tired genre.

Sexy Beast
Sexy Beast(2000)

What an incredible and fearsome performance from Ben Kingsley and a fantastic script, with great care taken with developing the characters.

Repo Man
Repo Man(1984)

I am almost lost for words when trying to describe this film, a gloriously messy mix of science fiction, straight up comedy and punk rock music, Repo Man is a brilliant cult classic that has something for almost everyone, and to me the talky humour and darkly funny violence was a precursor to Tarantino.


Will likely repel the easily offended, and cause side splitting laughter for others thanks to its outlandishly crude jokes.

[Rec] 2
[Rec] 2(2010)

Rec was full of atmospheric scares, it's sequel lacks that and underwhelms.

Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon)

As one of the earliest examples of movie storytelling, the plot is incoherent and and nonsensical, but its endearingly fantastical and a joy to watch as Melies practically pioneers the movie narrative. Simple yet effective special effects are made use of wonderfully, and the intricately painted sets are awe-inspiring for its time.


A very long film, but Stone makes good use of the running length and a brilliant cast, bringing up tons of interesting theories in the process.

Dick Tracy
Dick Tracy(1990)

The sooner I forget about Al Pacino and Madonna as Big Boy Caprice and Breathless respectively, the better.

Mesrine: Part 1 (Killer Instinct) and Part 2 (Public Enemy #1)

As a whole experience, Mesrine is a fantastic thrill-ride. No attempts at saying anything insightful, or delving into the psyche of the legendary crook are made but perhaps it is all the more better for it. Audacious, brutal and truly gripping, Mesrine's two parts are some of the most impressive gangster cinema in recent times.

Mesrine: Public Enemy #1

Fittingly, the second installment is a lot more audacious and action packed; it plays out almost like a spy thriller, and a really well made one at that. Cassel once again delivers a superb turn as the bank robbing, jail-breaking hood, which might be lacking in characterisation or insight, but is more than made up for with it's scary realism.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (L'instinct de mort)

A tense, thrilling and utterly gripping dramatic account of real life gangster Jacques Mesrine, with a phenomenal performance from Cassel and tight, focused direction that makes for a truly rollicking experience.

The Punisher
The Punisher(1989)

Some of the most atrocious acting to grace (disgrace?) action movies, and that's even up against the worst of the worst in 80s action cinema. Not one aspect of this film does any justice to the popular vigilante comic book character.

Punisher: War Zone

Third time lucky? Not exactly. Ray Stevenson plays a more convincing Frank Castle than Dolph Lundgren, but this is essentially a kids movie (over the top pantomime villain, cheesy action sequences) dressed up with gore and dismemberment.

Batman - Mystery of the Batwoman

Plays like an extended length episode of the fantastic animated series with the mature writing, action and intrigue and a terrific soundtrack. The voice acting is also top notch, as is the wonderful animation.


It's probably more enjoyable for fans of the Star Wars franchise, but this is nonetheless a funny and high spirited road trip comedy movie with some cool cameos, and self deprecating humour.

Big Daddy
Big Daddy(1999)

The schmaltzy custodial battle at the end is a real test of endurance. If you can get through the over-cooked sentimentalist dross after being assaulted with Sandler's signature gross out gags for over an hour without being mentally exhausted, well you can get through just about anything.

Funny People
Funny People(2009)

As if by some miraculous force of nature, Adam Sandler has delivered an (only just) bearable performance in an emotionally resonant movie that drags on a little too long, in typical Judd Apatow fashion.

Mr. Woodcock
Mr. Woodcock(2007)

One of those movies that squanders an interesting concept to such a degree that it causes frustration, then you just forget it exists.

Year One
Year One(2009)

Like it's setting, the level of intelligence in this movie is stone age.

Banlieue 13 - Ultimatum (District 13: Ultimatum)

A worthy sequel, with equally awe-inspiring action that is way more than enough to distract from a lesser script.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

It's not a terrible animated feature, but a very redundant one with little purpose to exist. It doesn't help matters with the mediocre animation.

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (The Baader Meinhof Complex)

The strength of this historic epic lies in its authenticity; the director makes no attempt to dilute the brutality of what happened, rather he shows every gritty and horrifying detail in this remarkably interesting piece of social history.

The Wild Bunch

A ferocious, loud and extremely bloody revision of the American Western, and of the great films of the era.