I like movies. I like watching them. I like talking about them. And, I like sharing them with friends. Recently, one of my best friends told me that I should create a list of my favourite movies online, since I am frequently asked for suggestions. So, here you go. In no particular order, with no rhyme or reason other than the fact that these are movies I love and think people should see (and for the pleasure of talking to them about it afterwards). I have pretty eclectic tastes, so hopefully there is something for everyone. I will keep on updating the list as I watch new movies, or remember old ones, so feel free to come back and check regularly. The only thing I ask is that if you came here and watched one of the movies from the list below, leave me a comment on what you thought about it!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
We finally finished reading the first Harry Potter book with Ella as her bedtime story this week, so Friday was a special movie night treat where she got to watch the movie for the first time. And my treat was to watch her watching it. She had the biggest smile on her face. I think this is going to be on heavy rotation in our house while we start to read the second volume every night…
This was such a fun movie. It is indeed “based on a true story”, and an important one, but it never feels preachy or heavy in any way. The main three actresses are all excellent (there should be a special oscar for Octavia Spencer‘s loving-but-disapproving side glance), and Kevin Costner does his best trademarked 50s-man-in-crisp-white-shirt role since JFK. It would make a great double bill with The Right Stuff…
If you are looking for something different, this is one of the best Anime films to come out in years. Its hand-drawn animation is stunningly beautiful, the main characters don’t feel like caricatures and the story is both funny and moving. This movie really felt like a breath of fresh air, and I can’t recommend it enough. Try and track it down, it is well worth it!
The Nice Guys
Oh Shane Black, I have missed you and your kick-ass action films with whip-smart dialog. Maybe this is not quite as fabulous as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but it is a damn great movie nonetheless. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are on fine form as the hilariously mismatched main duo, reminding me of Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours. Which is high praise indeed.
Hell or High Water
I haven’t talked about any western recently. Although technically, this is a contemporary movie, not a western. Nah… Bank robberies? Brother outlaws? A grizzled old sheriff in pursuit? Shootouts? Who are we kidding… This is a western. And a very good one at that.
I confess that I have been unfaithful to Pedro Almodovar recently. I really had no interest to watch his latest movie, and I still haven’t seen the previous one either. If sometimes Almodovar is a bit too “out there” for you, this is one of his less brash and more nuanced movies. A beautiful and touching slice of life, wonderfully told, with two superb central performances, this was one of the best movies of the year, without a doubt.
La La Land
We watched this last night, and I can’t get it off my head. From the director of Whiplash (who by the way, is 31 years old…) comes an all-singing, all-dancing hommage to the musicals of yesteryear. It is nostalgic, yet modern and fresh, romantic, but realistic, joyful and bittersweet at the same time. It is a masterpiece, and a tour de force from Emma Stone. This movie is going to win a ton of awards, and it will be all deserved.
At first, I was going to give this one a pass. And then, I started to hear good things about it. Great thing about it, even. So, I grew curious, and went… Wow, what a treat. This will be my second favourite Star Wars movie, I am sure. Take note, George Lucas. This is how you make a prequel. Oh, and those last few frames were just the perfect ending.
The Princess and the Frog
This has been on hard rotation in our house recently, and is becoming a real favourite of mine. Not very successful at the time, it is fair to say that it has now been reassessed and is widely credited as the turning point in Disney’s renaissance. With a strong independent female lead, great music, amazing Louisiana accents, I urge you to go and watch it!
What We Did on Our Holiday
That would make an interesting Rosamund Pike double bill with Gone Girl below… And maybe a nice relief if you are feeling like you need something to cheer you up this winter!
Yes, I know… Another David Fincher movie… What can I say? He is good. Even if you enjoyed the book and already know the story, Rosamund Pike gives an amazing chilly performance that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
First things first: Yes, I agree, this is not as good as Oldboy (but then again, how many things are?). However, this movie is still head and shoulders above most of Hollywood’s production. Disturbing, provocative, full of twists and turns, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
This made me laugh. A lot more than many so-called comedies. It obviously has something to say about today’s society, but never in a preachy way. The kids almost steal the show, but I really hope that Viggo Mortensen will (at least) get nominated for the Oscars!
The best movie of 2016. Don’t let yourself be discouraged even if you are not a fan of Science Fiction in general. This is about so much more than aliens. It’s not like anything you have seen before. It is touching, both tense and slow paced, a rare example of a big spectacle movie that will make you think long after the end credits roll. After Sicario and this, Denis Villeneuve is most definitely a director to watch for.
This was powerful… Disturbing (there is a gruelling 20 minutes scene near the beginning that I found quite hard to watch), but powerful. And superbly stylish, although I expect no less from Tom Ford. Will Amy Adams be her own competition when it comes to Oscars season? In any case, a masterclass in acting performance by all involved. Definitely one of my top 10 favorite movies of 2016.
I was listening to some David Bowie the other day, and it just reminded me of this great little movie. So many good tunes, so much good energy, a very sweet story, and a movie that really should have been seen by more people. So if you haven’t seen it yet, seek it out! and if you have, come back to it for the music, for the sun, for the memories and for the feelgood feelings.
This is not really a movie about Artificial Intelligence. It is more of a movie about what is Humanity. Intense, smart, scary, without a doubt one of the best movies of the year. Alicia Vikander is really becoming one of the finest actresses of her generation. Also features one of the creepiest dance scenes I have ever seen…
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
We watched that one yesterday and were pleasantly surprised! Amazing action sequences, and a genuinely badass strong female character.
Quite your typical feelgood Hollywood blockbuster this one… Okay, I am kidding, this is a bit of heavy topic. So, maybe, don’t save it for a Friday night after a long week at work, but please seek it out, it is really worth your time!
I realize that I haven’t posted here in quite a while, but it took a very special something to shake me up and bring me back here to share my love for a movie that has stuck with me, and that I still think about every day since I saw it three weeks ago… Filmed over twelve years with the same actors, this would be an amazing achievement in itself, but forget about the gimmick, this is not what makes Richard Linklater’s film special. It is all the small moments, the casual conversations, the stolen glances, the music, that all add up to a masterpiece. I didn’t want it to end. Try to catch it in cinemas, I doubt anything better will come out this year.
A Royal Affair
Another entry in my Oscars collection, this is a fantastic movie about Denmark’s “revolution” which really proves how much of a superb actor Mads Mikkelsen really is. After watching this, I am really looking forward to seeing The Hunt when the DVD is out in the UK this week.
Once again this year we went on an Oscars movie-watching binge, and this one may have flown under the radar but it is well worth seeking out. A fun comedy about the Chilean referendum against Pinochet’s regime (maybe I am not selling this very well), it might look like it was filmed with an 80s Betamax camera (because it was, so that the archive footage fits perfectly with the rest) but it punches well above its weight.
Your Sister’s Sister
What a great little surprise that was! I had absolutely no expectations and I hadn’t read much about it, but I really loved this small indie film. The cast is perfect and delivers the right balance of laughs and genuine heartfelt moments. Highly recommended.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me and my love for both old westerns and Tarantino movies, that I really thoroughly enjoyed this one. A lot of silliness and over-the-top spaghetti action (blood, lots of blood!), plus another phenomenal performance from Christoph Waltz, this is pure fun to watch.
Maybe the time traveler’s paradox doesn’t entirely make sense here, but it would be a mistake to discard this very good Science Fiction movie for it. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and clever romp, and I have a feeling this Bruce Willis chap is going to be big…