Numbers Thirty To Twenty:
30). Ant Man (2015)
Paul Rudd bulked up and surprised us all with how brilliant he was as wise-arse cat burgular turned micro-scopic super hero in Peyton Reed’s hilariously inventive Marvel film. Also the only film where you’ll see a man turned into a blob of jam before being flushed down the bog.
29). Triple 9
John Hillcoat’s searing all-star urban thriller about an ‘officer down’ / heist plot that goes disastrously awry. Well worth watching even just for Kate Winslet playing marvellously against type as a sadistic Russia-Jewish mobster (food bag full of teeth included).
28). John Wick: Chapter Two (2017)
Keanu dons his magnificently tailored suit again to play the monochromatic hitman supremo, wiping out legions of goons in this magnificently orchestrated bullet ballet. Roll on Chapter Three…
27). The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007)
It only took me ten years to get round to watching Andrew Dominik’s beautifully poetic and elegiac ode to the West’s legendary (and complicated) outlaw. Wonderful narration, magnificent cinematography and a never-better Brad Pitt make this 155 minute epic an absolute masterpiece.
26). The Last Stand (2013)
Arnie comes out of retirement from making films to gamely send himself up as a world-weary Sheriff in Jee Won-Kim’s absolute scream of an action-comedy film. Tense, funny and surprisingly violent, this was a welcome return to form for The Austrian Oak.
25). Baby Driver (2017)
I reeeeaaalllyyy wanted to like this film much more than I did and maybe it will improve upon repeat viewings but personally I found Baby’s character smug, dull and arrogant. Oh, and really quite irritating and contrived too. Still, the film is well worth watching for the excellent supporting cast, sublime soundtrack, marvellous choreography and cinematography, editing and undeniably rollicking car chases.
24). La La Land (2017)
Yes, it scooped all the awards imaginable (including one major one it hadn’t even won!) and it was as charming and wonderful as it was heart-wrenching and depressing, a unique musical / non-musical experience which deserves full marks for effort from Gosling, Stone, director Damien Chazelle and of course song-writing powerhouse du jour Pasek & Paul. Worth watching for the opening ten minute freeway sequence and ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’ alone.
23). Detroit (2017)
It was very long, slow, serious and thrilling, and it had a very serious point to make in a never-more-topical America. With immaculate production design, flawless acting, superb editing, pacing, script and a whole cast of characters the viewers really do get to care about, this was an absolute masterpiece. With arguably the longest single scene in cinematic history and a frankly jaw-dropping performance from Will Poulter, this was an amazing watch.
22). Green Room (2015)
Patrick Stewart played marvellously against type as the softly-spoken patriach of a gang of Neo-Nazi scumbag rednecks in this lean, mean, brutal and heart-breaking swan-song to the late Anton Yelchin. As agonisingly violent as it was remorseless, this is a stunning, low-budget Indie thriller.
21). Split (2017)
James McAvoy gives the ‘Haters’ (including myself) a career-best performance as the multiple-personality disorder suffering kidnapper with no less than 24 personalities jostling for the cranial limelight in M. Night Shyamalan’s (what else?) deviously tricksy psycholgical thriller with a stunning, rug-pulling final tease.
20). Alien: Covenant (2017)
The long-awaited and long-running franchise finally got back on track (though, personally, I love ‘Prometheus’) with a devilishly clever evolution of the Xenomorph’s species, leading to some extraordinarily brutal death scenes in some genuinely tense and nerve-jangling set-pieces. Ridley Scott’s brilliantly calculated and fitfully humourless sci-fi horror hit new highs (or rather lows) of despair and the gut-punching final scene didn’t help matters much either. A superb sci-fi thriller.