I apologize in advance for my top ten. While I love them to death, I would imagine that every single person will be disappointed with at least my number one choice. Without further ado, I present to you my top ten.
10. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
Makoto Shinkai. Most of you are probably unfamiliar with this name. He has released three projects of note. They are Voices of a Distant Star (a beautiful, teary-eyed short,) The Place Promised in Our Early Days (a very good feature-length,) and 5 Centimeters Per Second. This film is only 63 minutes long, but I still consider it to be a movie. It is, in my opinion, Shinkai's best work, as well as one of the best animated films in history. The animation is second to none. It is an absolutely gorgeous movie. It is also a heartwrenching tale about the deterioration of friendhip brought on by physical distance and time. If you have a heart, I recommend breaking it by watching this movie. I cry througout almost the entire thing. It's just that moving. I'm hoping that he is working on another project as I feel that he is one of the best new filmmakers of the last decade.
9. Aliens (1986) (Director's Cut)
The original Alien is a sci-fi/horror masterpiece. Aliens is one of those few magical sequels which surpasses the original. While keeping its sci-fi/horror roots, it adds in action/drama to a large extent. The first film has its dramatic moments, of course, but the second movie just adds so much more. The existence/death of Ripley's daughter revealed at the beginning and her eventual mothering of Newt are very touching. She also becomes one of the most iconic movie heroines in the history of cinema by the end of her adventure. Another great subplot is the overcoming of racism on her part, as she has to learn to trust the android, Bishop. There are also shots at corporate greed in the film. The marines are hilarious in this movie. They have great banter amongst one another and you come to care about quite a few of them. Surely there were rough marines in films before this, but I can't recall any of them being this badass/profane and funny at the same time. IMO we have this movie to thank for all of the awesome marine games out this generation, such as Killzone 2, Army of Two and the Gears of War series. They wouldn't be as fun without these character types.
8. The Thing (1982)
I love this movie to death. First off, Kurt Russel is one of my favourite actors, ever. I love the guy, and this is one of his sweetest roles. Also, one of the sweetest beards. This is, imo, one of the last truly scary films ever made. The creepy special effects, the tension of where/what/who the Thing is and the isolated location just come together perfectly to keep you on the edge of your seat between scares and being knocked back into them (or onto the floor depending on which way you scare) when the scares come. Watch this film today and you'll still love it. F*** CGI. This is how you do sci-fi/horror. I usually hate remakes on principal, but the original film was really old and campy, and they put maximum effort into this gem. It's the most acceptable remake of all time, bar none.
7. Daibosatsu Touge (1966) (US title is The Sword of Doom. Title is literally Great Buddha Pass or something.)
I love samurai flicks. I love high body counts. I love following bad guys. This movie receives a lot of love from me. It's beautifully shot and the main character Tatsuya Nakadai gives an outstanding performance. You may know him better as the crazy bastard with the gun in Yojimbo. I highly recommend just watching this movie about an evil samurai without knowing anything else about it. However, if you hate cliffhangers, you may be disappointed. The ending is amazing, but leaves off for two sequels which were never filmed. :'(
6. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) (Director's Cut)
What a great action movie. The sci-fi stuff is sweet too, but the action scenes are some of my all-time favourites. Some people complain about T-100 having emotions. I love the first movie and badass Arnie too, but this is a different unit, they wrote in a reason for it, and it offers non-stop hilarity throughout the picture. This is also one of the few movies with a kid on screen so often without the film deteriorating into crap. No, he's not a great actor or anything, but he did fine. Plus, I mean, Robert Patrick. Come on. It rules. The film is tense, funny, action-packed, touching at moments... what else does it need? It's not art. It's not worth as much as most of the movies on my list, but it's damned entertaining.
10/10 (Suck it, haters. :P)
5. Gojira (1954) (Godzilla. Original version. Not the American bastardization with Raymond Burr.)
Right now, some of you may be squinting at your screen and those three wonderful little words (wtf) are percolating from your mouth-hole. Shut it. This movie is a hauntingly beautiful reaction to the horrors of nuclear warfare, made by citizens of a country which was nuked twice nine years prior. Yes, the monster looks ridiculous now, but he's not onscreen all that often. The characters are interesting (Serizawa is a bamf) and the story is good. It is beautifully shot if you can forgive the sfx of the monster/city, which isn't all that hard. You may even shed some tears by the end if you have a shred of human decency. It's really that great. I love cheesy Godzilla movies, but this isn't one of them.
4. Yojimbo (1961)
Akira Kurosawa knew how it was done, and it was done with Toshiro Mifune. Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, and Sanjuro are the creme de la creme of samurai flicks. This is my personal favourite samurai movie (ronin technically) though the others are certainly close behind. This c.lassic flick follows an aging samurai who plays two rival gangs against eachother in a small village to get rid of them. You may have heard of a subpar remake called A Fistful of Dollars. Don't bother (though its sequels are another story.) This is far superior. Tatsuya Nakadai stars as a crazy bastard with a gun (which I mentioned earlier) and he's really awesome. Check it out. You can get it for a decent price packaged with the wonderful comedic prequel Sanjuro.
3. 3-Iron (2004)
Now we get to my favourite recent director, though I've only seen a few of his movies. His name is Kim Ki-Duk and he also did a disturbing film called The Bow. This film is absolutely gorgeous. This is how you do drama and romance. The film is from South Korea, yet you don't need to speak a word to understand it. Watch it without subtitles if you want, because it won't matter. The entire film is told visually. The two main characters don't even speak. It just goes to show that love can thrive without verbal communication. The movie follows a house-squatter who squats at a house he believes to be empty. An abused housewife is home, however, and they take an interest in eachother. I won't say what happens by the end, suffice to say that it's worth a watch.
2. My Man Godfrey (1936)
Screwball comedies from back in the day are almost all better than modern comedies, and this is one of the best. One of my favourite actors of all time, William Powell, portrays a "forgotten man" who meets an airheaded rich girl on a scavenger hunt. She needs him to win. He agrees to help her and she asks him to come home with her to her family's house and be their butler. Godfrey encounters many wacky situations in their household as the young girl tries to win his affections. Every minute of this movie is top-notch comedy right up til the end. I left out about half of the plot so that nothing will be spoiled for you if you haven't seen it. Check it out when you have time.
1. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
Disappointed? I thought so. This is my favourite movie of all time. The dialogue is great and absolutely hilarious and the acting is nearly impeccable. This film doesn't fall for the rom-com trap of "they fall in love over a week" as it takes place over years and years. The only reason I can fathom for people who hate this movie is that they are afraid to admit they can enjoy a chick flick, they don't find Meg Ryan adorable (hosers) or they find Billy Crystal to be abrasive. I understand disliking Billy from some of his worse roles, but he seems like a wonderful person, and I love most of his movies. The City Slickers movies were ok, but childhood favourites of mine and Analyze This. I also love his role as the gay son in the soap opera parody SOAP from the '70s. He's a funny guy to me. I suppose he's a love 'im/hate 'im type actor like Woody Allen.
Well, sorry for that :P, and thanks for reading!