Seeing as it is The Film Dump’s first ever birthday today I thought I’d put together two fun little top fives. The first will be a top 5 of my favourite films that I have watched over the last year. The other will be the absolute worst films I have watched over this last year. I’ll be honest, thanks to my love of a good ran I’ve probably seen more bad films over this last year than I normally would have. Obviously it’s all in the pursuit of providing some form of entertainment for anyone that happens to stumble across this blog whilst searching for pictures of Chris Evans with his shirt off. So, click the link for the best & worst of The Film Dump’s first year!
The Top 5 List!
This is going to be the hardest to compile due to just how good some of the films I have watched over the last year were. The bottom 5 by comparison should be quite simple because the worst of the worst really do stand out. The best of the best though, apart from being an Eric Roberts martial arts film I have never seen, is a much tighter category. This is just the films I have watched over the course of the last year so that will be why Drive and Shame do not appear, because I am still yet to see them. So, in reverse order…
One of the first films I reviewed on this here blog and one of the most well put together dramas in recent years. Shot beautifully and directed with skill. It is by no means perfect but An Education tells a story that has been told before but in a way that sticks with you more than you’d expect it to. Quite rightly made a star out of Carey Mulligan too.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was pretty much robbed of many of the Oscars it should have been either nominated for or won. Best Actor should have gone to Oldman. It should have been nominated for Best Costume Design, Directing and Cinematography amongst others. A lot of people I have spoke to after seeing this said they had trouble following the story, so that is why I dropped it down a spot. I had no issues but it is clearly an issue if so many people do. One of my friends actually came out of it thinking George Smiley was the double agent. I have no idea how either. If you can follow this though you’ll find an intricately crafted old fashioned spy thriller from Tomas Alfredson who’s gradually becoming one of my favourite directors.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
This was an excellently put together piece of Fincher flavoured thriller. You kind of have to expect a pretty solid film from Fincher but there’s enough moments in this film that push what you’ve come to expect from modern cinema that I had to put it in this list. It had balls the size of Sweden. It was powerful, dark and unflinching. It also had some of the best sound design and score work I have seen in some time. Again, a film that was robbed of plenty of nominations and awards at this years overly feel good Oscars. It seems they don’t want to reward any film that dares to be challenging any more. It’s not even like this was a really challenging film. If you’re a fan of world cinema you see films like this quite often. Films that aren’t afraid to go down a dark path with a stark level of frankness. This years Academy Awards reminded me of when I was learning about the decline of US cinema shortly before the abolition of the Hayes Production code. US cinema goers were becoming disenfranchised by the sterile, out of touch face of US cinema whilst the rest of the world was creating adult and powerful pieces of art. Thankfully the Hayes Production Code went and in a few short years US cinema gave us Rosemary’s Baby, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest and Easy Rider. Hopefully something similar is on it’s way to US cinema. I hope it starts with the demolishing of the MPAA.
OK, I might be cheating here. The reason I place both these films here is because I can’t decide between them. I knew I wanted both in my top 5. I really didn’t want to have two separate spots taken up by Coen Brothers films and I really believe these are equally excellent. on top of that, obviously, The Big Lebowski is not a film I saw for the first time this year and so it kind of had an unfair edge over the others as I already loved it to pieces. Fact is both films are amazing despite being polar opposites on the Coen’s filmic spectrum. I’m classing them as equals and that’s the way it is. I promise to never do that again.
Surprised? If you’ve seen it you won’t be. Honestly this film left the most of a mark on me over the last year. It’s so astoundingly put together and of the 6 films in my top 5… sorry… it is the one that delivers the most powerful and blunt message. it manages to house a main character that, despite going to some brutal extremes, remains a character anyone can relate to and feel sympathy for by the films end. The final act is one of the strongest and most powerful ones I have seen in films over the last year. James Gunn’s direction here shows that this guy isn’t just a hack pumping out random shock trash to Hollywood but a genuine auteur who is definitely one to keep an eye on over the coming years. he’s been around for a while but I really feel as though he’s made one hell of a mark with Super and in a few years I expect people to be referencing this film alongside his future works. No pressure James!
As if he’ll read this. … James?
The Bottom 5 List!
So now it’s time for the bottom 5 worst films I have seen over the first year of The Film Dumps Life. To note these are the films to avoid like the plague so despite troll 2 and Ninja terminator being terribly made films they are just to good damned enjoyable to not see. This list is a list of grade A pure cinematic shit.
Utter tripe. that is literally what this film is. it fails to engage on any level without the slightest hint of a well written script and or character anywhere to be found. The special effects may look quite nice but when every character in the film is a pain in the arse to spend any amount of time listening to then you really won’t give a rats arse just how nice that spaceship looked. Because you’ll be trying to cut out your eyes. A film only blithering idiots could enjoy.
Mortal Kombat Annihilation
Word is that when the studios and bosses at Midway were shown the first Mortal Kombat film they described it as being “a piece of shit”. I would really like to know just what they thought of this film. It is an absolute horror. A mess of terrible dialogue, acting and some of the most horribly shot action scenes ever produced by Hollywood. The story is full of plot holes and events that seem to only exist to shoehorn in another piece of amateurish cosplay. Nothing in this film works on any level what so ever.
This film has to be seen to be believed. For those of you unaware of Tiptoes I’ll just describe the basic premise and you decide for yourself if you believe it is real. Matthew McConaughey’s character Steven has recently found out that he is to be a father, only problem is that he hasn’t told his girlfriend that his entire family (other than himself) are midgets. One day his midget twin brother Rolfe (played by Academy Award Nominee Gary Oldman on his knees) turns up and soon Steven realises he can’t hide the truth about his family anymore. Still don’t believe that this film exists? Go here and come back to me. Yeah. It is exactly the car wreck you think it’s going to be. The worst part of the film is that they have Peter Dinklage, who’s an excellent actor, who is wasted in a side character who has little to no impact on the storyline whilst Gary Oldman is walking around on his knees with his arms tucked back!
This film has nothing. Nothing at all. It is one of the most forgettably pointless pieces of film ever made. It has an incoherent mess of what resembles a plot and not one frame of the film looks like it has anything remotely real in it. Every frame is covered in some bizarre photoshop smoothing filter and nothing works at all. I still cannot remember exactly what happened in the plot. Something about a cure for vampirism for vampires that don’t do anything remotely vampirish. A mess.
What else could it possibly be. I remarked in my review for the 1998 film The Avengers today that barely a scene goes by without something being wrong. Titanic 2 takes that description and replaces the word “scene” with “minute”. The film is a non-stop parade of poor scripting, poor plotting, cut corners and some of the most obvious errors ever committed to film since the days of Ed Wood. At least Ed Wood had charm though. This is a charmless exercise in the burgeoning art of the shameless cash in. Designed solely to catch idiots out that really think there is a sequel to the James Cameron film titanic. Written, directed and even starring Shane Van Dyke is really all you need to know. you should also know that it is a big steaming pile of shite.
So that is my top and bottom 5 films of the last year. Bet you were expecting The Phantom Menace in there right? That would have been too easy. Plus those other films are genuinely worse. There’s plenty of good films I saw this last year that you should take the time to watch that didn’t make it to my list though. I Saw The Devil and The Skin I Live in for world cinema fans along with Ninja Terminator and Troll 2 for cult movie fans. if you just want a burst of fun times then I really do suggest seeing Scott Pilgrim Vs the World which is an absolute delight and only just missed the top 5. This Friday I will be seeing the real Avengers film, which is moronically called Avengers Assemble here in the UK, and I hope to have a review up that same evening. I’m hearing plenty of good things so far so hopefully the next year of reviews on The Film Dump will be off to a good start. Laters yo!