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Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond Movies Ranked

James Bond Pierce Brosnan

After the release No Time to Die, I decided to watch through the James Bond movies in reverse Bond actor order. I also decided to rank each actor’s Bond films, excluding Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby of course given that they made 2 movies max.

Pierce Brosnan was the James Bond actor right before Daniel Craig, and had a 4 movie run as Bond in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. In some ways, Brosnan’s run as James Bond is a little disappointing. He was a perfect fit for the role, he has the charisma and smoothness, he can deliver the one liners, he is believable in the action, and he is convincing as a cold blooded assassin. However, the movies were a little mixed and some of the movies underserved Bond and Brosnan’s performances. It certainly didn’t help that Brosnan’s run was at an unfortunate point where the Bond series needed to reinvent itself.

With that being said, I do find stuff to enjoy in all of them, and even though the non-GoldenEye films don’t have the best of reputations from most people, generally I enjoy them all.

4. Die Another Day

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Unsurprisingly, Die Another Day makes it at the bottom of the list. It’s definitely known as one of the worst Bond movies, and for good reason. The plot is absurd and goes to new ridiculous heights, even by Bond standards. Essentially the premise of DAD is about Bond going up against Graves, who’s really a Korean colonel who changed himself into a white British billionaire, from using his diamond encrusted satellite which shoots out a solar laser beam. That sounds like it has a lot of potential to be cheesy fun from beginning to end. However the most disappointing part is how dull the movie feels on the whole. It does have some cheesy one liners and dumb moments like the previous films, but there’s something that’s so lazy and low effort in this. The acting is also mostly not the best, mostly ranging from disappointing (Halle Berry) to bad (Toby Stephens). Even Pierce Brosnan suffers from it, he does have his moments but he’s not got the best material to work with, especially when compared to the previous three movies. So much of the direction is poor, with 2000s editing with an overuse of slow-motion and bad CGI which haven’t aged well. Throughout the film is just full of bad decisions.

With that being said, I won’t lie and say I dislike the movie. As bad as Die Another Day is, there’s still some enjoyment to be had with it. The opening is good with a much darker tone  and a good idea, even if the rest of the film doesn’t take advantage of it. Most of the acting isn’t that good but there’s a few performers that work, Judi Dench is once again great as M, John Cleese makes a decent Q in his 1-2 film appearances, and Rosamund Pike and Rick Yune made for decent supporting villains. As messily directed as many of the action sequences are, you can’t deny that they are memorable and entertaining in a way. The battle over ice with cars with weapons, the hand to hand fight dodging lasers spinning around, the sword fight at the duelling club, the action in the other worst Bond films aren’t this memorable. The silliness can be entertaining, even if it’s at the film’s expense. The poor decisions, the goofiness of the villain and plot can have some enjoyment in it. Again though, I get the issues. It is entertaining in parts but not on the whole. It is disappointing that this is essentially the film that stopped Brosnan from reaching his ideal Bond film.

My review of Die Another Day

3. The World is Not Enough

The World Is Not Enough

The World is Not Enough is definitely not the worst of the 4 Pierce Brosnan movies, but it is the most frustrating. It really had a lot of potential to be one of the best Bond films, let alone Brosnan’s best. Despite all that, by the end it just ends up being a formulaic action flick, with a MacGuffin in the form of a nuclear weapon. It’s also quite forgettable compared to the other movies, from the plot, to some of the characters, to the action. Despite its attempts at a darker story for this version of James Bond, the movie feels over the top and silly, and as a result it felt very tonally inconsistent. The particularly bad one liners, the aspect of the villain being strong and impervious to pain because of a bullet lodged into his brain, they all feel very out of place within the story. And yes, Denise Richards plays the least convincing nuclear physicist as Christmas Jones but she’s not the reason why the movie underwhelms.

With all that being said, I still think that The World is Not Enough is decent on the whole. Aside from some one-liners and bad attempts at humour (and yes, Christmas Jones), there aren’t many outright bad things about the film. The plot had me intrigued for at least the first half, I liked some of the ideas they had, and I was always entertained in some way. Sophia Macreau as Elektra King was also not only the most interesting character in this movie, but also one of the most interesting characters of the 4 Brosnan movies. While the movie doesn’t utilise the character the best, it’s a good performance and character which definitely elevated the film. While most of the action scenes aren’t as memorable compared to the other 3 movies, they are still generally well filmed and were entertaining. Also I think that this is probably Pierce Brosnan’s best performance as James Bond, if only because he’s given the most emotional material to work with here. I would not call The World is Not Enough one of the best Bond films by any means, but it’s not one of the worst either, there’s still some good stuff here.

My review of The World is Not Enough

2. GoldenEye

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The most controversial opinion in this list is that I don’t consider GoldenEye to be Pierce Brosnan’s best Bond film, nor do I consider it one of the all-time best Bond films. For a while I hadn’t been able to pinpoint why but I think I figured it out with my most recent viewing. The plot is simple enough, but I don’t find it to be that great or interesting really, which might be the biggest problem for me. Outside of the action scenes, I don’t find myself very invested with what’s happening with the story or characters. Even GoldenEye seems to suffer from tonal inconsistency, a problem that most of Brosnan’s movies seem to suffer from (more on that later). For context, it was in the awkward phase of moving Bond from the Cold War of the 80s into the 90s. The film tries to have some of the grittiness of the Timothy Dalton Bond films but isn’t grounded enough to do that, and it also tries to be on the more over the top silly side (leaning towards Roger Moore Bond) at points but is too serious to achieve that. Not that it isn’t possible to find a happy medium between the two, but the end result in this film feels a little messy.

With all that being said, I do understand a lot of the praise that GoldenEye receives. The biggest strength for me was the direction by Martin Campbell, specifically with the action. From the opening sequence in the 80s, the tank battle, to the third act climax, the action is filmed and put together really well. That’s something that GoldenEye has over the other Brosnan Bond films, all the action is great. The actors are also quite good in their parts, Sean Bean and Famke Janssen make for memorable villains, Judi Dench made her first appearance as M here, and although Pierce Brosnan would have better performances as James Bond, he is solid here. While I don’t consider GoldenEye to be amongst the best Bond films, it is good overall.

My review of GoldenEye

1. Tomorrow Never Dies

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Tomorrow Never Dies is often regarded as the second best of Pierce Brosnan’s Bond movies, but it’s my favourite of his. I do understand the criticisms for sure. It is very goofy and over the top at times, and it does lose itself in its overblown climax. They also could’ve done much more with its unique central concept with the media, they don’t execute it in the best way. Parts of the direction do feel a little lacklustre, especially after Martin Campbell’s direction of GoldenEye.

With all that being said, I couldn’t help but thoroughly enjoy this movie from beginning to end, despite its faults. One of the biggest praises I have is the tone, rather how consistent it is. Instead of wavering between silly and gritty like GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies leans in with the 90s action cheese and makes for a thoroughly entertaining film. The aforementioned plot concept involving the media is also quite unique, and while the film doesn’t make use of this idea fully, it still makes for a memorable film. Pierce Brosnan had a better showing as Bond compared to GoldenEye, Michelle Yeoh was a scene stealer and overshadows Brosnan at points, and Jonathan Pryce is scene chewingly enjoyable as the villain. The action is overblown but thoroughly entertaining. While there are certainly better movies in the franchise, Tomorrow Never Dies is one of the most entertaining Bond movies for me.

My review of Tomorrow Never Dies

What do you think of Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond? What did you think of his movies?

Halloween Movies Ranked

Halloween ranked

The long running Halloween franchise has just reached its 12th instalment with Halloween Kills. The series had humble beginnings with the low budget John Carpenter directed original film, focusing on a silent killer escaping from a mental institution returning to his hometown to kill once again. It was a massive hit upon its release, but also had a tremendous effect on the horror genre on the whole, leading to countless imitators.

It would also lead to the creation of one of the biggest horror franchises, with a series full of sequels, reboots and remakes. With the release of Halloween Kills, I wanted to rank these movies from worst to best.

12. Halloween: Resurrection

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Halloween: Resurrection is generally known universally as the worst Halloween movie, and for very good reason. Halloween H20: 20 Years Ago brought back the Halloween series with a reboot of sorts, but it seemed to have been in vain given what Resurrection did right afterwards. The bad signs already started when the film kills off the lead character of Laurie Strode right at the beginning, and it just felt like a lazy way of dealing with that loose end and so they could have Michael Myers killing random teenagers in the main plot. The film’s problems don’t end with that opening, with the rest of the movie being a 70 minute reality TV movie that felt like a parody without being a parody. The story choices are misguided at best, and having the plot be a reality show set inside the Myers house where college students are sent in and Michael Myers kills them just didn’t make for a particularly good plot. It feels incredibly dated, it has aged poorly especially with the found footage camera gimmicks, as well as the typical horror tropes and cliches. The characters are really dumb and impossible to care about, even the bad dialogue is worse than usual for the series. By the end you are rooting for Michael Myers, which would be fine if that was the intent of the movie but it’s very much not the case.

One good thing about Halloween Resurrection is that it is entertaining at least. There are ridiculous moments, including Busta Rhymes in a Michael Myers costume and mask verbally tearing into the real Myers to his face, and Busta Rhymes defeating Michael Myers with kung fu and some electricity to the crotch. There are even some surprisingly decent technical aspects, with the production design of the main house being appropriately worn down and gritty, it’s generally well shot, and the attempts of suspense at least work better than Halloween H20. Even the score here is among the better Halloween scores in the series. Unfortunately, these few alright aspects aren’t enough to make up for the rest of the movie, and the completely silly choices aren’t enough to make it a “so bad it’s good” movie. These ridiculous moments are sprinkled throughout, but for the most part it’s a dull, occasionally annoying and just all-around bad horror movie. Even as someone who generally enjoys these movies, I can really only recommend this movie to Halloween completionists and very curious people.

My review of Halloween: Resurrection

11. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

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Halloween: Resurrection may be worse than Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, but at least Resurrection had some entertainment factor to it, on the whole I dislike watching 5 more. Its previous movie Halloween 4 wasn’t that good but it ended well with some potential for the sequel. Halloween 5 however doesn’t take advantage of that potential, and it’s also bad by its own standards. The cliff-hanger of 4 is retconned in some ludicrous way and instead introduces some weird psychic connection between Michael Myers and lead character Jamie Lloyd, a connection which isn’t really explained at all. Not only that, Halloween 5 is pretty much just a worse version of the previous movie, and is just a generic slasher movie. The story isn’t interesting at all, not helped by the rather slow pace. The characters mostly range from dull to obnoxious, and unfortunately the film focuses way too much attention on the annoying horror movie characters that are already positioned to be killed off, getting twice the screentime that they would normally receive. The direction of the movie wasn’t that good either, the kill scenes are fine but not memorable, it’s not very scary, and the attempts at being atmospheric don’t work.

There are only a few parts I liked, and even some of those aspects are flawed. The acting is good from the leads, Danielle Harris is once again good as Jamie Lloyd but in this movie is reduced to being mute, having convulsions, and having visions about Michael Myers. Donald Pleasence is good as always but his character of Dr. Loomis in this movie is a raving madman most of the time he’s on screen, and he’s hard to like. Aside from that, there is a scene involving a laundry chute in the last act, which is genuinely good and tense, and was the highlight of the whole film. Sadly the small bright spots can’t make up for the rest of the movie. By the end, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers just feels like a 90-minute long trailer for Halloween 6. Definitely one of the worst movies in the series and the one that I would least like to revisit, and that’s saying a lot.

My review of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

10. Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (Producer’s Cut)

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Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers is often regarded as one of the worst movies in the series, and while it’s certainly on the lower end of the franchise, I don’t dislike it nearly as much as some other people do. I watched the Producer’s Cut, and while I heard this and the Theatrical Cut differ, I don’t think I would like one much more than the other. It clearly went through issues during filming, with reshoots, rewrites and changes, and with no one on the same page. Those certainly comes across in the final movie, it really does feel like a mess throughout. This is the movie that culminates everything that was set up throughout Halloween 5 with the hints of the Cult of Thorn that play a major part in this 6th movie. The plot starts out somewhat interesting as it’s a bit different than what we are expecting, but it’s a mess by the end. There are plenty of exposition dumps and the more you think about the overall story, the less it makes sense. It’s a very weird movie from the use of runes and telepathy, to the fact that there’s a cult with a connection to Michael Myers, and more. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite get into so weird it’s entertaining territory, nor was it able to be weird enough to sustain my interest all the way to the end like Rob Zombie’s Halloween II was for me. While I wouldn’t say it was boring, I wasn’t that invested.

Not that there aren’t some good elements in the movie. For one, despite Michael Myers being reworked into a killing instrument by the cult (at least in this cut of the movie), I liked his portrayal here, especially when compared to some the previous movies. He feels like such a massive threat and presence whenever he’s on screen, and even when he’s not. Donald Pleasence returns as Dr. Loomis for the last time. His performance was good and the worn down portrayal of the character actually works quite well, although it does make it a little bittersweet. Some of the direction is pretty good, once again Michael Myers is shown to be a menacing threat, there are some bloody and memorable kills with great special effects, and the score was quite effective. With all that being said, I still understand why The Curse of Michael Myers is known as one of the worst Halloween movies. While it’s at least better than The Revenge of Michael Myers, all the build-up for the following movie was seemingly pointless given the resulting movie is just mediocre at best. You can see why the Halloween franchise retconned this movie and decided to reboot.

My review of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

9. Halloween 4: The Return of Micchael Myers

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Halloween 4 was intended to return Michael Myers to the big screen after Halloween 3 tried to do something new and the audience really not liking that approach. It ended up being better than expected but wasn’t exactly that good. Much of it was a mixed bag, with a bland story, and rather bland direction. It’s not bad but it felt rather on autopilot. The kills at times can be gloriously over the top and silly but most of the time they weren’t particularly memorable. Outside of a couple scenes, the tension and atmosphere just weren’t there. The plot is pretty predictable, and the third act is mostly underwhelming. Even Michael Myers is not intimidating at all here. Bad costume and mask aside, he just doesn’t have that menace that he had in some of his other movie appearances. Even the attempts at returning Michael Myers back into the storyline after the end of Halloween II was pretty clunky, especially with the explanations of how he and Dr Loomis are still alive. Honestly though the most disappointing aspect of Halloween 4 was all the wasted potential. While it was interesting seeing a Myers that is returning to kill again and seeing how the town reacts to it, the story is mostly going through the motions. There was a chance for them to change things up with the formula, even for Michael Myers. However, the first thing that Myers does when he escapes is to go back and gets the exact same costume and mask he worse in the first two films, and that if anything should signify that no change would be happening with him for a while.

Generally, it’s just an okay slasher movie but not a bad one at that. It wasn’t very engaging, but I was willing to watch the story play out. The lead character of Jamie Lloyd is introduced in this movie, she’s played well by Danielle Harris, giving a different sort of dynamic against Myers as she’s a child not an adult like Laurie Strode in the original film. Donald Pleasance is always nice to see back as Dr Loomis, especially in the film’s final moments. Speaking of which, the ending is great and one of the best parts of the movie, leaving it open for a great lead on for the sequel which Halloween 5 absolutely did not take advantage of. Overall, Halloween 4 was not the glorious return to form that it was intended to be, but it could’ve been a lot worse all things considering.

My review of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

8. Halloween (2007)

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The Rob Zombie Halloween movies have gathered a mixed response from critics and audiences alike. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t think his first Halloween movie was that good. It’s got some good stuff but also things that don’t work for me. It is a film of two halves, the first being the Michael Myers origin story, and the second half basically the remake of the original Halloween. I don’t have an issue with the idea of an origin story for Michael Myers, but the origin story wasn’t that good. He’s basically just a kid who grew up in a broken home, with a cartoonishly horrible childhood. In this segment there are some moments of nuance, and it was interesting seeing Zombie’s take on it, but much of that is just overshadowed by so many poorly done moments and writing. The second half is just a remake of the original film. While it’s much less messy and more focused than the first half, it is literally just Rob Zombie remaking Halloween 1 with some slight changes to the plot. It doesn’t fit in with the serial killer origin story that the first half consisted of. I think the worst part about the movie is that it feels like Rob Zombie is very restricted here. The origin stuff is very mixed and messy, and the remake stuff is okay but not that interesting and more on repeat. The actual horror and tension are not there, and Zombie pays homage to the original a little too much with the way moments are played out.

With that said I don’t dislike the movie. Even if it was pretty much a repeat of the original, I enjoyed the remake half of the movie. There were some scenes that genuinely worked, and again some of the Michael Myers origin stuff is played more nuanced than I expected. Although the acting is a mixed bag, some of the performances from actors like Malcolm McDowell and Brad Dourif are quite good. Rob Zombie’s style is very much present throughout and while it does hinder the movie in some ways, it at least makes it distinct as his movie. I love how he made Michael Myers an absolute force to be reckoned with, with aggressive and loud attacks and brutal kills (even if it makes some moments unintentionally funny). Overall though, Rob Zombie’s Halloween really is a mixed bag. For those who watched the original it might be interesting to check out but that’s it. While it’s not without its issues, I enjoyed his follow up more (but more on that later).

My review of Halloween (2007)

7. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

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Halloween H20 is another Halloween movie that ignores some of the previous movies, in this case only acknowledging the first two and being a direct sequel to Halloween II set 20 years later, forgetting the movies from 4-6. As far as the Halloween movies go, it’s not quite as successful. Despite some interesting aspects of the story, it’s dragged down by the very slow pacing where we are just watching characters interacting in an unengaging way. Setting the scene in the first act is one thing but the second act is like that too, in fact it’s a whole hour into the movie before Michael Myers even begins killing. The annoying influence of Scream is felt throughout, with all the references to other horror movies making it feel out of place, and the movie feels so 90s that it actually dates the movie. The plot feels loose, which isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose and the movie meanders for at least the first half. Even the direction isn’t exactly the best, looking more like an episode of Dawson’s Creek instead of a horror movie or a Halloween movie. It never takes advantage of the setting and never feels claustrophobic or tense throughout. Putting aside the 4 very different versions of the same mask that he wears across the movie, Michael Myers doesn’t feel scary at all, and all the kills are forgettable. Even the score does not fit the movie at all, distractingly so.

Despite what I just said, I don’t dislike H20, in fact I think it’s okay, and I liked some of the decisions. While I feel like it doesn’t take advantage of the setting enough, the new location and setting at a school does give it a distinct feel from the other Halloween movies (along with making sense plotwise). Ultimately there are two main things that raise the film to above average for me. First of all is Jamie Lee Curtis who returns as Laurie Strode, and she is great here. We see the effect that the events of the first two movies had on Laurie. It explores the PTSD she had from it and it was one of the strongest aspects of the film. The other standout was the entire third act, where the Michael Myers aspect is not only the most prominent and features direct fights between him and Laurie, but the movie also ends on a note that would’ve been a fitting end to conclude the whole series (until they changed it). Overall Halloween H20 is a mixed bag of a movie that should’ve been way better. I liked some of the changes, disliked some of the other changes. However Jamie Lee Curtis and the climax is what ultimately allows me to say with confidence that I liked the movie.

My review of Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

6. Halloween Kills

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The most recent entry in the Halloween franchise makes it at about the halfway point in the ranking. I can’t deny that I found it rather disappointing. After the ending of Halloween (2018), the conclusion was drawn out into two movies with Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends. Unfortunately Kills doesn’t do enough to really justify its existence, with not a lot actually happening. The Strode family are sidelined in favour of a plot about mob mentality which doesn’t exactly work. The attempt at social commentary is admirable but ultimately misguided. Even the emphasis on Michael Myers killing somehow loses its impact. None of these elements work together well, and we’re left with a very dull plot and it only entertains in parts. It just can’t decide whether it wants to be campy and silly with the jokes and bloody violence, or if it wants to be serious. Halloween Kills is a movie that’s on autopilot mode yet is full of baffling decisions. Even as a simple slasher movie it doesn’t succeed fully, it has the brutality and the gore but no atmosphere or suspense.

However I still do enjoy the movie and it still has some parts that I like. Although he’s comically unstoppable here, Michael Myers is strong here in one of his most ruthless portrayals. Some of the ideas are interesting like the possibility that Michael Myers is turning people into monsters with his presence (even if the movie doesn’t commit to it). While his direction isn’t as strong as in Halloween (2018), David Gordon Green’s direction is solid, visually gorgeous and with some good sequences, and John Carpenter’s score again impresses. Despite the issues with the movie, I am still interested to see how Halloween Ends concludes this storyline, and I hope they take the right lessons from Halloween Kills.

My review of Halloween Kills

5. Halloween II (1981)

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Halloween II is a natural continuation of what happened in the original Halloween, which really does feel like it was only made because the original was successful. It is a very by the numbers slasher flick that doesn’t work quite as well as the first movie. It is over the top, less serious and not as creepy or atmospheric. There are some leaps in logic in the plot, nothing too absurd but enough that makes it noticeably different from the first movie. Aside from Laurie and Loomis, all the characters are just bodies for Michael Myers to stab through, as if it turned into a Friday the 13th movie. Speaking of which, Halloween II ramped up the level of violence to being bloody and gory which was popular in the 80s, in contrast to the late 70s original which kept blood to a minimum. It just feels like an okay slasher movie.

However for what its worth, some of the entries in the series are basically just okay slasher flicks, and Halloween II is better than most of those. It does have some good aspects that I liked. For example, the setting of the hospital is a classic horror slasher setting which was quite a good place for Michael Myers to stalk. Despite some of the visible changes in direction with regard to the violence for instance, it does try to stay true to the John Carpenter original with the way it’s directed, even if it’s not on the same level. It is very well shot, with great tracking shots, colour and lighting. Some of the kills are memorable and towards the third act it does get entertaining and thrilling. On top of that, credit to Carpenter and co. for actually trying to conclude the Michael Myers story with the ending of the movie (before it was revived again). Overall the movie is not bad, it is relatively decent and once again it works as an immediate continuation of the previous movie. It’s a standard slasher with issues relating to the story, characters and direction. However it has some good moments and deserves some credit.

My review of Halloween II (1981)

4. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

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Halloween II killed off Michael Myers in its ending in an attempt to conclude that storyline, and John Carpenter and co. then wanted to move on with different stories. The idea was to turn the Halloween franchise into an anthology series, with each instalment being completely different and unrelated to the others. This attempt was started with Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which really didn’t stick with people as audiences wanted Michael Myers back, so the anthology idea didn’t last beyond that. With all that being said, Season of the Witch has been receiving a bit of a cult following over the past decades and for good reason. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of the best horror movies (even for the 80s) by any means, but at the very least it was an entertaining watch.

Season of the Witch was different for the Halloween series, along with being unconnected to the Michael Myers movies, it plays more as a mystery thriller than a horror movie at times. The movie is also campy and has a B movie feel to it, with classic 80s horror tropes including robots that look like humans and Bond-like villains. The cheesiness and camp make the movie even more entertaining and it is rather creative. Despite the cheesiness, it still has a good amount of horror, suspense and dread throughout, as well as some particularly gory and grotesque scenes that are quite memorable. Even the score is distinctly unique from John Carpenter compared to his composed work on the Halloween series, still synth but one that’s much darker and slower and fitting the vibe of the movie. Despite some issues including some uneven pacing at times, it is quite good. If it was just titled Season of the Witch and was a standalone movie, it would’ve got a lot more love back when it released. Give it a chance, even if you haven’t seen any of the other Halloween movies, you can just jump right into it. However, if you’re wanting to see Michael Myers in this or only interested in the movies he appears in, you won’t be interested in this one.

My review of Halloween III: Season of the Witch

3. Halloween (2018)

Halloween 2018 was a direct sequel to Halloween, ignoring all the sequels and only acknowledging the original film as canon. Out of all the retcons and reboots (Halloween 4 and Halloween H20), Halloween 2018 was the most successful. It is set 40 years later after the original movie, while it does on paper seem very similar to Halloween H20 (especially with the focus on Laurie’s trauma from the events of the first film), it manages to feel fresh enough. There are definitely some issues with the movie. For one, while the added humour feels very out of place in the movie and doesn’t work. The movie does fall into some typical horror and slasher cliches, and it was annoying to see those occasionally appear. Plotwise, there is a subplot and reveal involving a doctor character which comes out of nowhere and doesn’t add anything to the movie and instead distracts quite a bit. Finally, Halloween 2018 didn’t scare me at all, and despite the attempts, the movie wasn’t that creepy or tense. I wouldn’t put that down as a major criticism considering that the original wasn’t that scary to me, but I still was expecting something more from this one.

On the whole though, I was quite satisfied with the movie. It was a straightforward story with Michael Myers returning to kill again but I liked how it played out. Jamie Lee Curtis is once again great as Laurie Strode, with this version being hardened, strong and capable, yet vulnerable. David Gordon Green’s direction was also top notch, with it being shot similar to the first movie, and having some particularly well handled sequences. Michael Myers feels once again like a force of nature, as if it was the original Michael Myers from the first film but just slightly more violent. Even the score is fantastic and I might even say on part with the score of the original. Halloween 2018 was a great follow up to the original movie, some aspects could’ve been handled better for sure but on the whole it turned out to be one of the best movies in the series.

My review of Halloween (2018)

2. Halloween II (2009)

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It took me a very long time to realise that Rob Zombie’s Halloween II was my favourite Halloween movie aside from the original. It is by far the most divisive movie in the entire franchise and it’s not hard to see why, it is an incredibly weird movie. This time the shackles are off, and Rob Zombie is doing his own movie without thinking too much about the original film from the 70s, which will work for some people and will really not work for others. It’s the least Halloween-like movie of the series, despite a hospital scene which turns out to be a nightmare sequence, it uses nothing from the original Halloween II. Some choices are weird and strange, such as having Michael Myers having visions about his mother and a white horse, which doesn’t quite mix with the grounded nature of the rest of the movie. It’s also quite an unpleasant movie, some of the over-the-top harsh dialogue is here from the first movie, and it’s an incredibly brutal and dark movie even by Halloween standards. So it’s not a very easy movie to get into.

With that said, I was incredibly intrigued throughout this movie, especially with many of the choices that were made, and that’s not something I can say about any of the other Halloween movies. As I said earlier, Zombie going all in with his vision will work for some, and I am one of those people. Halloween II is basically the aftermath of the previous Rob Zombie Halloween movie, following Laurie who is traumatised, Loomis capitalising on the events with a book, and Michael Myers having visions and wandering around. Much of the movie is just following these three characters doing their own things until the climax happened, and somehow this worked for me. I was surprisingly invested, more than I thought I would be. The movie is not subtle at all with its themes and can get a little pretentious (for lack of a better word), but some moments are surprisingly nuanced. Rob Zombie doesn’t hold back at all, and it feels even more his movie than the last one did. There is such a grainy and gritty look to it which pairs well with the bleak and nihilistic story, and the violence and gore is ramped up to new heights. In fact this bleakness and feeling of dread is what makes the movie stand out above all the others, making the scenes of violence hit even harder. If nothing else, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II is the most unique entry in the Halloween franchise with what it tries to do.

My review of Halloween II (2009)

1. Halloween (1978)

Unsurprisingly, the original classic is still my favourite of the series. It’s hard to talk about this movie because everything that can be said about this movie has already been said. It was revolutionary for cinema, especially for lower budget horror films, and its impact is immeasurable. In some ways it does contain many of the tropes and cliches, but to a degree many of those tropes and cliches exist because of this movie. So that, the occasionally bad dialogue and the simplicity makes it work in a throwback 70s way. Yet it’s still impressive in its simplicity, largely because of its marvellous execution.

The premise is simple, the killer is straightforward, the movie makes use of limited locations, and the film utilised them all incredibly well. John Carpenter’s direction is a big reason why it works as well as it does. Despite the lower budget, he does so much with it, and the smaller scale adds so much to the feel of the movie. The cinematography is masterful, especially with the use of wide shots. The score is simple yet absolutely iconic, and probably one of the most recognisable themes ever, especially in horror movies. All of these come together to form a fantastic and well built horror atmosphere. Another simple yet iconic aspect of the movie was the use of a William Shatner mask and jumpsuit for Michael Myers, and it was so effective that none of the sequels decided to every change that design and continually tried to replicate it. Speaking of Myers, Carpenter and co. manages to make him feel like a presence throughout the whole movie, even when he’s not on screen. Overall, the original Halloween still remains a timeless horror classic to this day.

My review of Halloween (1978)

What is your thoughts on the Halloween franchise? How would you rank them?

Denis Villeneuve Films Ranked

Denis Villenueve Ranked

With the release of Dune: Part One, I wanted to share my list ranking the films of director Denis Villeneuve.

Ever since I watched Prisoners, I’ve been interested in Denis Villeneuve as a director. Over the past decade, he quickly established himself as one of the most acclaimed, visionary and sought-after directors. He has a fantastic body of work and has excelled at any genre he attempted from gritty crime thrillers to grand sci-fi epics.

With a few exceptions, most of Villeneuve’s films are truly excellent and as such, ranking his work is not easy. Here’s my best attempt at it.

10. August 32nd on Earth

August 32nd on Earth is a very obscure and hard to find movie, and one that even most fans of Denis Villeneuve probably haven’t heard of. Even though I’m glad I watched it, it’s by far his worst movie. It isn’t riveting and it takes a while for things to happen. It is Villeneuve’s first movie, and the direction definitely feels like it’s from someone making their filmmaking debut. It is rough with the editing, music and cinematography and isn’t exactly what you would call polished, with not much of a style.

With all that being said, August 32nd on Earth is a competently made movie, and it is solid as a directorial debut. It’s a decent romance dramedy that’s written well, especially with the dialogue between the two leads. Pascale Bussières and Alexis Martin are good as the main characters, and they share some great chemistry which drives and carries the movie, which is just as well since the movie relies on them so much. Without them, it wouldn’t have worked as well. Overall, it’s directed, written and acted well enough to make it entertaining to watch. With that said, it’s not anything special, and I wouldn’t recommend it to many people outside the most curious of Villeneuve fans.

My review of August 32nd on Earth

9. Maelström

If August 32nd on Earth was a standard movie for a directorial debut, Maelstrom is Denis Villeneuve getting experimental and creative. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t, but overall, I think it’s an admirable early effort from him.  There’s a lot going for Maelstrom with it being a dark character study of the troubled lead character, and the movie tackling the themes of guilt, grief and regret. Some of its aspects are strong, Marie-Josée Croze acts very well as this complicated protagonist, and Villeneuve’s direction certainly helps the film. It’s not as polished as his later work and he’s still crafting his own distinct style, but the technical aspects like the cinematography and editing fit the movie quite well. You can even detect aspects of his filmmaking style here which would make its way into his future movies.

Although there are some interesting elements to it, the film is held back by its shortcomings. The film is very slow moving and unfortunately doesn’t really keep your attention all the way through despite the strong character focus (not helped by the unsatisfying ending). I appreciate the movie for a lot of its ideas, though not all of them work. The narration of the film is delivered from a talking fish as it’s being chopped up by a butcher over the course of the film. It’s certainly memorable and probably meant to be symbolic given that fish play a symbolic part of the film but distracts more than anything, and is just one example of decisions in the film not really landing. Despite its issues, Maelstrom is still a solid and intriguing enough movie, and it does have some interesting aspects to make it worth a watch even if not all of it works.

My review of Maelström 

8. Polytechnique

It’s a huge step up in quality from this point in the list going forward. Polytechnique is definitely Denis Villeneuve’s least rewatchable movie, this drama focuses on a very difficult subject, that being a real life tragic shooting. It is a harrowing and haunting experience of a film, yet is beautifully shot, acted, and written, and respectful to the victims of the tragedy. The runtime is less than an hour and 20 minutes, but Denis put so much into it and does so much with it.

At this point with his third movie, Denis Villeneuve has honed his skills and has become a very capable filmmaker. The black and white cinematography complements the raw brutality of the scenes, giving it an eerie feeling. At the same time, these brutal sequences never feel glorified. Along with the excellent direction, the film is also helped by the acting, which felt authentic and real. Again, Polytechnique is not an easy movie to watch at all, but it is a great and important film.

My review of Polytechnique

7. Enemy

Enemy is one of Denis’s more confusing and experimental movies. A hypnotic, brilliant and thought-provoking psychological thriller, it definitely requires more than one viewing to really appreciate it. I know that personally as soon as it ended, I looked into online theories and videos to see what everyone else thought and interpreted from the movie. The premise is initially simple, and you are pulled into this intriguing doppelganger story. Throughout there’s an eerie and unnerving feeling that grips you. Enemy is incredibly complex and layered with so much to look into and think about as it plays with perceptions of reality.

Elevating the movie are the incredible dual performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, he really delving deep into the personalities of these two roles and again does some outstanding work. Another critical part of the film is of course Villeneuve’s direction, which is amazing as always. It’s an absolutely stunning looking movie, distinct with the yellow-ish tint and with moments of scary and unforgettable imagery. There’s also a general vibe of strangeness and wrongness, helped even further by the unsettling score. Even though it’s not a horror movie, this is probably the closest that Villeneuve has made to one. There are some unnerving scenes with some great tension building, keeping you on edge from beginning to end. As I said before, Enemy is very confusing at first, but its more satisfying on repeat viewings. It’s really an unforgettable experience that is well worth checking out if you have the patience for it.

My review of Enemy

6. Sicario

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Sicario is a captivating, intense, dark and gritty crime thriller, it takes it time with its pacing and plot and is nonstop suspenseful. It has a very dark tone and feels appropriately unpleasant and uneasy throughout. There’s always an undercurrent feeling of tension and danger, you never really feel that the characters are completely safe. There’s also some stellar performances from the likes of Josh Brolin and Daniel Kaluuya, but it’s both Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro who are the standouts, delivering strong and powerful acting work in their parts.

Denis’s direction is fantastic as expected, and this film is outstanding on a technical level. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is phenomenal as usual, framed and lit perfectly and capturing the tension. Johann Johannsson’s haunting and ominous score is a presence throughout the entire film and helps maintain this unnerving and uncomfortable feeling for the movie. Overall Sicario is a tightly directed, bleak and memorable thriller that accomplishes just about everything it sets out to do.

My review of Sicario

5. Incendies

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I remember hearing about Incendies being one of Villeneuve’s earlier movies. I went in fairly blind, and I was not prepared for what I would be watching. Incendies is a brutal, harrowing and uncompromising film. The storytelling is fantastic, a mystery with a plot containing a lot of twists and turns focusing on twins fulfilling their dying mother’s last request. You are locked in from start to finish as the plot unfolds. There are some truly devastating moments and reveals, and it’s very bleak even by Villeneuve standards.

The acting is great from everyone, from the twins played by Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette, to Lubna Azabal as the mother. Everyone acts their role well, but it really is Azabal’s film, and she carries the movie excellently. Denis Villeneuve’s direction is fantastic as usual, it’s a stunning looking movie with so many memorable and emotional impactful images that are burned into your memory. Much of the movie is quiet and subtle, only making everything feel all the more real and raw, and there is a tense feeling throughout. Incendies is an unforgettable and truly remarkable film. It’s constantly engaging, greatly acted and packs an effective emotional punch when it needs to be. Not an easy watch by any means but nonetheless really worth checking out.

My review of Incendies

4. Arrival

Amy Adams as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

Arrival was the first Denis Villeneuve movie I was able to watch in the cinema, and it was an unbelievable experience. It is a thoroughly griping, intelligent, and thought-provoking science-fiction film that deserves multiple viewings, and is worth going into not knowing anything about it. I was satisfied with all the twists and turns, and the story by the end felt complete. While it is on the surface level a first contact/alien invasion movie with worldwide stakes at play, it is still a very human and soulful movie, presenting some interesting and thought-provoking ideas.

The performances are great, but it really comes down to Amy Adams in the lead role, giving one of her all-time best performances. She is spectacular here, this really is her film. Villeneuve’s direction is also outstanding. There is some spectacular cinematography from Bradford Young with the use of gorgeous wide shots, and the CGI is fantastic and never looked overused or fake. The score from Johann Johansson is euphoric too, eerie, suspenseful and ominous, yet very beautiful and it really added to the tone of the film. Overall Arrival is one of the best science fiction films from the past 10 years and is one that gets better the more you think about it and revisit it.

My original review of Arrival

3. Dune: Part One

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The most recently released film from Denis Villeneuve, Dune: Part One is currently his most ambitious film, especially considering that its adapting one of the most iconic piece of science fiction literature ever. While we have only half of the adaptation to judge at this point, needless to say his work on this one movie was fantastic. The world of Dune is very detailed, and he conveyed it incredibly well with outstanding world-building. I grasped the story and lore surprisingly well and I really wanted to know more about it. While Part One is essentially used as a way of delivering exposition about the world, characters and lore, it felt incredibly natural and worked seamlessly with the unfolding story. It is a slow movie with a steady pace, but this helped to tell the story effectively, and still felt reasonably accessible to most audiences. Villeneuve does a fantastic job at conveying the high stakes of the story, while still having a strong focus on the lead character’s journey and internal struggle.

There are some outstanding performances from the excellent cast as these memorable characters, especially with Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and Stellan Skarsgard. Unsurprisingly, Denis Villeneuve’s direction is magnificent, and Dune is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen, you really feel the sense of scale throughout. The cinematography from Greig Fraser is amazing, the production design, set pieces and wardrobe are unique and detailed, and the score is operatic and outstanding. Dune: Part One is an immersive experience and spectacle of a film and while it definitely needs Part 2 for me to judge Villeneuve’s adaptation on the whole, I have high hopes for it. Part 2 just can’t come soon enough.

My review of Dune: Part One

2. Prisoners

Film Review Prisoners

Prisoners was the first movie I watched from Denis Villeneuve, and it’s his first English language movie. 8 years on, it remains a tense, well crafted and relentlessly grim thriller. Mystery thrillers following a kidnapping have been pretty common but this is incredibly well executed. You are completely invested in this the whole time, and despite the many disturbing twists and turns you can’t turn your attention away from it. It’s helped by its engaging characters and thought provoking questions that it poses.

The spectacular performances from the cast also are a big reason why it works so well. Hugh Jackman gives his best performance as a father desperate to find the missing children, Jake Gyllenhaal is phenomenal as a detective searching for the children, and Paul Dano sticks in your head the entire time as a possible suspect. Other performances from Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo were amazing and add so much to it. The direction from Denis Villeneuve is amazing as expected. Roger Deakins’s cinematography was incredible, really appropriate for the dark atmosphere and constantly feeling dark and damp. There is an effective sense of dread throughout, helped by the mesmerising score from Johann Johannsson. Prisoners still remains an outstanding mystery thriller film, and is still one of my favourite movies from Villeneuve.

My review of Prisoners

1. Blade Runner 2049

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Potentially a very predictable pick for number 1, but my favourite of Villeneuve’s films nonetheless. Blade Runner 2049 is a grand sci-fi spectacle and one of the best science fiction movie of recent years. Living up to the Ridley Scott directed original Blade Runner, 2049 isn’t just a continuation that remains true and faithful to the original, it also expands upon its world and crafts its own unique story that improves upon it. The fantastic script tells an intimate story for the lead character played by Ryan Gosling, and his compelling journey over the course of the film. It is a long movie and moves at a steady pace but not a single second felt wasted.

The performances were fantastic from everyone. Ryan Gosling is perfectly cast as the lead role of K, effectively carrying the whole film really well. Harrison Ford reprises his role of Deckard from the first Blade Runner and is incredible in his screentime, and Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks are very memorable in their parts. Denis Villeneuve’s work on 2049 is spectacular, with so much attention to detail. The cinematography from Roger Deakins is nothing short of breathtakingly spectacular. The world is incredibly well realised with the visual effects, physical sets and the production design working together incredibly well. Blade Runner 2049 remains one of the most impressive films I’ve seen, and is currently my favourite film from Denis Villeneuve.

My review of Blade Runner 2049

What is your ranking of Zack Snyder’s movies?

Daniel Craig’s James Bond Movies Ranked

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With No Time to Die out in cinemas now, I decided to rank the 5 movies in Daniel Craig’s 15 year run as James Bond.

I will admit that although I like most of the movies, I’m not a massive fan of James Bond. My favourite version of Bond however was always Daniel Craig’s. While there’s only three of the five movies that I love, I just really liked this version of Bond, both the approach to the character and Craig’s performance.

This list is going to contain some minor spoilers, since these movies link into each other.

5. Quantum of Solace

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For the longest time I was trying to decide which I considered to be worse, Quantum of Solace or Spectre. They are both flawed for incredibly different reasons, but I gave Quantum the edge, if only for its messiness. With that said, I surprisingly liked the movie noticeably more upon recent rewatch of it in the lead up to No Time to Die. It’s quite a different James Bond movie, with it acting as the first direct sequel to the last Bond movie, and does try to be more of a political thriller taking inspiration from real world events. Its known at this point that this movie was made during the writer’s strike and was heavily affected by it, and you can really feel it. The writing felt like it needed more work and fleshing out. With that said, I did like the attempt at grounding itself even more in reality, and although the story is lacklustre compared to Casino Royale’s, I was interested in where it was going. I especially liked the portrayal of James Bond being a ruthless loose cannon, as he’s searching for revenge. The villain in Dominic Greene is underwhelming and doesn’t feel like a real threat compared to many of the other Bond villains, but I think he worked well enough for this story, and the performance was good. The action is also a mixed bag. Aside from a scene involving a plane, all the action has a lot of quick cut editing, making some of them hard to follow. For whatever reason I also enjoyed these more on the more recent viewing. I definitely feel like they could’ve laid off the quick cuts, but I like how gritty and brutal the action was.

I thought the acting was all quite solid. Daniel Craig again puts everything into the role of Bond, and he’s especially great here. The supporting cast, both returning (Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright) and new (Olga Kurylenko) did solid jobs in their part too. I also liked the direction of the movie on the whole, there are some genuinely great moments, such as a sequence taking place at an opera. Overall, I wouldn’t call this one of the best Bond movies by any means. However there’s something about this chaotic, brutal and angry mess of a movie that I genuinely enjoy. At the very least, there’s a lot of this movie I appreciate and admire, even if it’s by no means anywhere to being close to the level of its predecessor.

My review of Quantum of Solace

4. Spectre

Spectre might not be the worst of the Daniel Craig Bond films, but it is the most frustrating of the 5. Director Sam Mendes and co. did such incredible work with Skyfall that it’s quite disappointing to see that their follow up didn’t come anywhere close to being as good. With that said, my more recent rewatch did put things in perspective for me. For the most part, Spectre is a solid film that just happens to not work as well as Skyfall. Skyfall did such a good job at paying tribute to the older Bond films, while making it work on its own. Spectre on the other hand was all over the place with what it wanted to do. It tried to tie together all the other Craig Bond films and trying to go into Bond’s past, while also trying to throw back to the classic Bond films, with over the top scenes, and ‘classic’ Bond moments. The two tones just didn’t work together at all. The plot is intriguing and solid, though it’s a little predictable and could’ve been better. Despite the long runtime, a lot of the plot and characters could’ve been fleshed out more. The cast are decent, especially with the returning actors like Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw, and some of the newer additions like Lea Seydoux. However, some actors like Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott and Christoph Waltz don’t really get to do much in their parts. The action is generally well filmed and entertaining, although missing a level of intensity that was present in the previous 3 movies. However, the opening action sequence and the fight between Bond and Dave Bautista’s henchman on a train were genuinely great. In fact, the film is quite good on a technical level, visually stunning, well edited, and greatly put together.

Where the film starts to go downhill is when it enters into its third act, specifically once it gets to Christoph Waltz’s second onscreen appearance. While the prospect of Waltz as a Bond villain sounded exciting, his character and his writing just didn’t work all that well for the story. Had it not been for Waltz’s appearance in No Time to Die, I think that even Dominic Greene from Quantum of Solace would’ve been better. Not only that, but trying to tie all the previous Bond movies together in Spectre just felt misguided. Then it moves into its rather baffling and underwhelming climax. It manages to be silly yet boring at the same time. From the Sony email leaks it seems that the filmmakers didn’t know what to do for the end, and it certainly showed on screen. It is borderline terrible and definitely brought the movie down for me significantly. Spectre is good for the most part, but there’s also a lot here that doesn’t work. I do rank Spectre higher than Quantum of Solace if only for consistency in quality for the first two acts, before it collapses in the last act.

My review of Spectre

My retrospective review of Spectre

These next three are very close together and are interchangeable.

3. No Time to Die

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The most recent film on this list, No Time to Die is the latest James Bond film and the conclusion of Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond. At a whopping 2 hours and 45 minutes there was a lot to take in with this film, especially from the one viewing I had of it. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. The story itself is the closest to a classic Bond movie with some of the tropes and aspects you’d expect, an over-the-top villain with a plan that affects the whole world, gadgets, cheesy one liners, you name it. It was quite an entertaining ride and despite the length, it never really dragged for me. It also has an emotional core, and worked in tying up all the characters and storylines, better than Spectre did at least. It even made some of the elements from Spectre work better retroactively. Cary Fukunaga’s direction was great, delivering an energetic, well-paced, and vibrant film. The action was great and memorable, very well shot, and definitely rivals the best action scenes from the previous 4 films.

Everyone in this ensemble cast is great, from the returning actors like Lea Seydoux and Ralph Fiennes, to newer actors including Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas and Rami Malek. However, it all comes down to Daniel Craig, and while he’s great in all of these movies, this is his best work as James Bond. He delivers the one-liners and the action, but also gives his most emotional performance as the character. Despite the global stakes involving a dangerous weapon, No Time to Die’s main story is Bond’s story and above all else, it gives him a great sendoff. Again, the film was a lot to take in, so I will need to watch it again. However at the moment, I’m prepared to say that I loved it.

My review of No Time to Die

2. Casino Royale

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The James Bond franchise rebooted yet again after 2002’s Die Another Day, with GoldenEye director Martin Campbell releasing Casino Royale in 2006. This is where Daniel Craig’s James Bond was introduced, focussing on a Bond who just became a double 0 agent. By James Bond standards, it stays relatively grounded, with the lead character never relying on gadgets. It’s a comparatively refined and mature Bond film, and everything from the intriguing story to the well-developed characters are all on point. It’s quite something watching Casino Royale again 15 years after its release, it still holds up really well.

Daniel Craig gave his own take on Bond, with his incarnation being the best version of the character to date. Both his performance and the writing provided to him is very strong and for made for him being more human and a more interesting character. The supporting cast is also strong, with the likes of Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench and others playing their parts greatly. Martin Campbell’s work as a director is also excellent and helped the film succeed as well as it did, especially when it comes to the outstanding action sequences. Nearly a decade and a half later, Casino Royale still holds up very well as a James Bond movie, an action movie, and a movie in general.

My review of Casino Royale

1. Skyfall

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It was pretty hard deciding between Skyfall and Casino Royale as my favourite Craig-era Bond film, ultimately I gave Skyfall the edge. After the first two movies being more grounded and Bourne-esque, Skyfall brings it closer to more what people picture when they think of Bond, while also delivering a personal and emotional story for the character. Both elements are balanced incredibly well, delivering an intriguing and riveting film. Despite it being closer to classic Bond than the previous 2 movies, whether it be a hacker villain, gadgets, larger action scenes and the like, the stakes are smaller and personal. The climax is particularly strong on both an entertainment and emotional level, and one that’s very different for a Bond film. While the first half is definitely strong, it’s the second half which really solidified it as my favourite of Craig’s run.

The characters and acting were also great, Daniel Craig delivers as Bond as always, but it was many of the supporting actors that stood out. The new interpretations of Q and Moneypenny with Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris, along with the eventual next M in Ralph Fiennes, were all welcome additions. Javier Bardem ranks among the best Bond villains, with a very memorable performance and character. And of course, there’s Judi Dench’s last performance as M, who gets to shine the most here out of all her Bond film appearances. Sam Mendes directs Skyfall, and his work here is fantastic. From the fantastic cinematography from Roger Deakins, to the phenomenal score from Thomas Newman, and the outstanding action, its so great on a technical level. Skyfall has held up incredibly well over the past near decade it’s been released, and still remains my favourite Daniel Craig James Bond film.

My review of Skyfall

How would you rank Daniel Craig’s James Bond films?

Zack Snyder Films Ranked

Zack Snyder films

With his latest movie Army of the Dead out now, as well as his Justice League released earlier this year, it’s time to rank director Zack Snyder’s filmography.

Zack Snyder is one of the most divisive and polarising directors working at the moment, some people love his films, and other people absolutely despise him. For me, he’s actually one of my favourite directors, and I’m a fan of his movies. He has such a distinct style across all of his movies that some like and some don’t. Looking at his filmography as a whole, he has done so much over the past 20 years, from adaptations of comic book characters and iconic graphic novels, to zombie movies and even animated movies about owls. I’m always interested to see what he does next.

Also for the record, the Justice League movie that was released in 2017 isn’t on this list, even if Snyder’s name is on it.

9. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

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Legends of the Guardians is an often overlooked animated movie. I remember seeing when it came out in cinemas, having read the books that its based on. While the story was a little different from the books (from what I can remember), it was quite a decent movie, and should’ve gotten more attention than it received.

One thing that I think everyone can agree on is that Legend of the Guardians is a very well directed and technically strong movie, even with it being an animated kids movie, you can definitely tell that it’s a Zack Snyder movie. This is a stunning movie and there are some beautiful looking sequences. I had read the books years prior to the movie and while the story in the movie really wasn’t that great, it does stand out from some other animated movies. It is also quite dark in terms of its visuals and story, which is always refreshing for a kids movie and made it stand out. I would actually like to see Snyder take on another animated movie, he’s definitely showed himself as being very capable at making one with this movie.

My review of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

8. 300

Zack Snyder had already directed his first feature film with Dawn of the Dead, but his next film 300 is what really put him on the map as a director to really pay attention to. With the larger than life visuals, and the grand and epic scale, 300 really made an impression on audiences and critics alike and was incredible influential on other movies following it.

300 is quite an enthralling film to watch. The actors played their parts well, the story is straightforward and good enough for what it is (and does have a little more to it than just exposed men stabbing each other), but most of all, it’s Snyder’s visual storytelling that’s the highlight. The action is stylised, gratifying and entertaining, and a lot of the shots and sequences are a feast for the eyes and look straight out of a graphic novel and comic book (appropriate given the source material). Some aspects of the direction can get a little too over the top, especially with the slow-motion and some of the digital effects not holding up 1.5 decades later (especially with the green screen and blue screen). Otherwise, 300 still holds up today as a bloody, epic and entertaining watch.

My review of 300

7. Dawn of the Dead

Remakes of classic films are generally a worry, especially when it comes to horror movies, specifically in this case George A. Romero’s horror classic Dawn of the Dead. However, Zack Snyder actually did a great job with his first feature movie, a fast and intense zombie film which is still pretty good today.

James Gunn’s writing paired with Snyder’s direction was a great combination and overall, it’s quite a fun movie to watch. The plot is moving constantly and never allows you a chance to be bored. The film is short but manages to add a lot of emotion, humour and more in that time. The characters are pretty standard and aren’t special, but generally have more characterisation than most zombie movie characters, and are played well by the cast. It does lack the social commentary from George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, but in a way, there was no way of imitating what Romero did with the original, so in some way it was better keeping the straightforward zombie movie approach. It is a good-looking movie, definitely more grimy looking compared to Snyder’s later movies, which fits in with the tone. The action is fast paced and brutal, the zombies are fast, nightmarish and dangerous, and the makeup and practical effects are great. All of these come together to provide some very memorable and creative moments. Full of exhilarating energy, Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead is one of my favourite zombie movies.

My review of Dawn of the Dead

6. Sucker Punch: Extended Cut

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If there’s a movie that really started the hate for Zack Snyder as a director, it’s Sucker Punch, which got quite the negative response upon its release. It’s quite possibly his most polarising movie, which is saying a lot. There are some people who love the movie, and others who absolutely hate it. I’m actually one of the people who really liked it for what it was.

This is one of the only two films from Zack Snyder that’s not based on an existing source material. I wouldn’t say its one of Snyder’s best work by any means, but it is certainly ambitious. The narrative is far from straightforward and doesn’t spoon feed you what’s happening, which I have to respect. The narrative isn’t always coherent but I wouldn’t trade for one that was perfectly clear cut. Sucker Punch is also in some ways a female empowerment film, as well as commentary and examination of trauma, misogyny and abuse. Even if it doesn’t fully succeed, I admire the attempt at really trying to say something. The characterisation isn’t great and most of the characters are underdeveloped and underwritten, but the strong cast consisting of Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Oscar Isaac and more make up for that. As typical of Snyder, this is distinctly one of his movies from his direction alone. From the beginning of the movie with the incredible opening sequence to the very end, the visuals are stunning. As I’ve said in other reviews in the past, style is substance, and Sucker Punch has a lot of style. The action scenes are entertaining, and while knowing the context of the larger-than-life sequences being in the lead character’s head does take away from them to a degree, I still enjoy them quite a lot. Not all of the movie works and there’s some messiness to it, but a lot of Sucker Punch does work for me.

My review of Sucker Punch

5. Army of the Dead

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With his latest movie, Zack Snyder goes back to his zombie roots, while showing that he’s progressed quite a lot since that movie. While it’s not completely original with it being a zombie movie and the plot is relatively familiar, it does still make itself distinct as a zombie movie. It’s really no surprise that Netflix sees so much potential in this being a major franchise for them.

Army of the Dead is entertaining throughout, quite comedic (definitely Snyder’s most comedic film), while being quite dark, and despite the premise of a zombie heist movie in Las Vegas, it’s not necessarily a ‘dumb zombie flick’. There’s a lot of great worldbuilding as it sets up the characters and setting. The characters are great and portrayed very well by the ensemble cast. And of course, the direction from Zack Snyder is enthralling to watch. It is visually stunning (shot by Snyder as DOP this time), with some strong CGI and practical effects. Then there’s the action sequences, which very well shot and choreographed. So far, Army of the Dead is one of my favourite movies of 2021, and I can’t wait to see the spin offs, sequels and prequels that are to come from this.

My review of Army of the Dead

4. Man of Steel

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When I first saw Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel back in 2013, I thought it was pretty good, but I wasn’t quite loving it at that point. I saw it as a solid, visually stunning and entertaining superhero movie with Superman in it. After many rewatches of this, I can say with confidence that it is the best (solo) Superman movie. It did something that no other live action versions of Superman couldn’t do, get me to take Superman seriously as a character and actually get me to care about him.

Zack Snyder took Superman to places that previous live action versions hadn’t yet. The Christopher Reeve Superman is still great but more modern interpretations of the character trying to harken back to that era didn’t quite work (2017’s Justice League being an example). Snyder however makes Superman work today, both in displaying his power and abilities, as well as him as a character. Having the narrative of the first half of the story jumping between the past and present as it shows Clark’s origin story, before then having Zod and the Kryptonians showing up in the second half worked quite well for a superhero origin story. I thought that overall, the story was quite well paced, and outside of some odd dialogue, I really liked the writing. The talented cast also did great jobs, Henry Cavill is still my favourite live action Superman to date, and a cast that includes Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe and more did exceedingly well. Zack Snyder directs Man of Steel spectacularly as expected. It’s a great looking movie, from the cinematography, to the visual effects, and to the production design and costumes. Additionally, Superman’s power is portrayed very well here for a more modern era. It’s also paired with a score which is among one of my favourite soundtracks of all time. Any issues I have with Man of Steel lessen the more times I watch it. In my mind it’s the best live action Superman film (solo at least) and one of my favourite superhero movies. It gets better the more I think about it and I’m glad to see that in the past 8 years, more and more people have slowly begun to start appreciating it more for what it is.

My original review of Man of Steel

My retrospective review of Man of Steel

3. Zack Snyder’s Justice League

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The other 2021 Zack Snyder film made it into the top 5 of the list too. Without getting too into that movie, the Justice League movie that released in 2017 was a crushing disappointment. Fans of Snyder and his DCEU movies didn’t like it and were beyond disappointed, and even audiences and critics didn’t like it all that much. Since the movie’s release, there was a campaign to see Snyder’s full vision. Despite all the campaigning for the movie, it seemed that it would never come. In 2020 however, it was announced that it would be happening after all, and it did not disappoint.

With the 4 hour runtime, Snyder gets to flesh things out, with the story, the characters, and the film’s universe. The characters are great, the returning characters of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are represented much better here, and the same goes for the new additions to the League with Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash. However out of all of them, it’s Ray Fisher’s Cyborg who gets the spotlight here, who really is the heart of the movie and whose story arc receives a much needed redemption in this cut. Even the side cast and characters get to shine more here. This includes the widely panned (at least in the 2017 version) villain Steppenwolf, who in this version gets to do much more here, with a massively improved design, general threat and presence, as well as being an actual character with some depth. Snyder’s Justice League is also flat out DC’s Lord of the Rings. It truly feels like an epic from the runtime, to the chapters, as well as the atmosphere and high stakes. Despite the length it didn’t feel too bloated, when you see the complexity of the story, it makes sense. It doesn’t rush into the teaming up of the League as expected, instead taking its time to build up the story with its characters and the backstories. Despite a lot of people’s perceptions of Snyder, his Justice League movie really is heartfelt and hopeful, and offers quieter and powerful moments between characters (especially in some scenes involving Cyborg). It also does offer moments of levity and humour, but in ways that fit the movie and doesn’t feel out of place. On a technical level it delivers unsurprisingly. The action scenes are fantastic and thrilling, and Junkie XL’s score accompanying them excellently. It’s shot wonderfully, and even the choice aspect ratio for actually ends up working for the film. While it seems that Snyder’s vision unfortunately won’t be continued in the rest of the DCEU, I am glad that we at least got to see this one movie. As someone who was anticipating this movie since 2017, I’m more than satisfied with what we got. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is not only a triumphant comic book epic and a better version of the movie from 2017, but also a vindication for Snyder and everyone else who worked on the movie.

My review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League

2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition

When I watched Batman v Superman in the cinemas, it actually ended up blowing me away. I was anticipating it greatly, but it ended up being better than I expected. The Ultimate Edition was even better, fixing most of the issues that the theatrical cut had (it should’ve been the version that was released). Whichever version is being judged, BvS proved to be somehow even more divisive than Man of Steel, and I’m glad that I’m in the group of people who love it.

BvS was denser than what I expected, there was a lot of plotlines going on considering it was a comic book movie, and was more than just a straight up Batman vs Superman movie (the title certainly didn’t fit the film). I can always watch this movie and be fully invested in the story from start to finish. I love the world that Snyder and writer Chris Terrio had set these characters in it, as well as the atmosphere. This film takes some risks with what they do with the characters, and I thought they paid off. Ben Affleck’s Batman is darker than the character’s past live action appearances, he’s damaged, traumatised, unstable, and yes, a killer. I loved his arc in the movie, as well as his action scenes, with this more physical and brutal take on him. The arc of Henry Cavill’s Superman is great too, with the Ultimate Edition restoring some key scenes for him that were needed. Man of Steel was his first day on the job, BvS goes into how we would react to Superman, and this movie only further cements Cavill as my favourite version of the character. The rest of the cast are great including a surprising Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, with a younger and more complex version than some other interpretations of the character. Snyder’s direction is great again, from the visual effects, to the cinematography, the action scenes and the score. There are some complaints I have, for example as a result of being of it being a direct Man of Steel sequel and with nothing in between, we don’t really get to see a contrast between the public loving and then hating Superman. There’s also some little plot points which aren’t handled perfectly, and you can tell WB definitely got Snyder to combine some elements together to create and set up a cinematic universe. It does have issues, but I still love it. It is one of the boldest comic book movies I’ve seen, with a unique story that is fresh for these characters. Batman v Superman will probably go along the lines of Watchmen, a divisive comic book movie which has a strong following behind it making it a cult classic, both directed by Zack Snyder. Speaking of Watchmen…

My review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

My review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition

My retrospective review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

1. Watchmen

A direct adaptation of Watchmen was considered to be unfilmable, yet Snyder managed to deliver on that in 2009, and in many ways it was ahead of its time given that it was released before the comic book movie boom in the 2010s. Over a decade later it works much better nowadays and is still is a great movie.

Watchmen is not a conventional comic book movie, and like the graphic novel, displays the flaws in the superhero. Overall, I thought it adapted the graphic novel quite well. Having read it, a lot of the changes I felt were appropriate and helped it work better as a live action film. I found the story to be incredibly riveting (especially the director’s cut), containing interesting characters that were intriguing to watch, helped by the great cast especially in Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Billy Crudup. Zack Snyder’s direction proved to be quite a good fit for the material. The visuals are great with the colours and shadows being beautifully utilised, and it’s like the scenes were ripped straight out of the graphic novel. The CGI is great, particularly with the effects involving the character of Dr Manhattan, and there are some fantastic sequences throughout. I’m not sure if this is a very unpopular opinion (it probably is), but Watchmen is my favourite comic book movie yet.

My review of Watchmen

What is your ranking of Zack Snyder’s movies?

Saw Movies Ranked

Saw Movies Ranked

With the latest instalment in the long running Saw franchise with Spiral: From the Book of Saw, I thought I should review all 9 movies in the series.

The original Saw was a lower budget horror movie which proved to be incredibly successful, going on to have 8 sequels, 6 in the main series, and 2 ‘soft reboots’. It was very influential, and the series would be instrumental in the forming of the infamous horror sub-genre ‘torture porn’ (even though I think that title really only belongs to just one of the movies in the franchise).

Earlier this year I watched through the franchise in preparation for Spiral and I found myself surprisingly enjoying the experience. Despite some of the silliness and very present issues in each instalment, I kept wanting to watch the next movie in the series.

Without further ado, here’s my ranking.

Minor spoiler warning for most of the movies, as many of the plots of the movies link in with each other.

9. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

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It’s actually incredibly difficult to note down everything wrong in this movie in just one list entry, my review of the movie barely covered most of the points. From its opening trap that took place in public focussing on two guys having to fight over a girl who cheated on both of them, that’s where the movie lost me. The best thing I could say about the opening scene was that it was an indication that it was going to be a very different Saw movie, and not necessarily for the better. It feels so far removed from the previous instalments, tonally it was sillier and hard to take seriously despite not having quite an overt comedic approach to it. Even aspects of the direction were quite different despite being directed the director of the previous film. Instead of the typical grungy and grimy look in the past 6 movies, Saw 3D is so brightly lit that it looks awful and doesn’t fit with the series at all, it makes it looks like a direct to DVD Saw film. The filmed-for-3D approach also heavily affected the movie too, with random things flying at the camera, and the blood being brightly coloured pink. This is the only Saw film I’d actually call torture porn, with a further emphasis on the traps (they even add a dream sequence just to include another trap scene) and the inclusion of 3D, the latter of which is to have gore and body parts flying at the screen. They even add a dream sequence just to include another scene of gore. At the same time, it’s really the least scary of the series.

The writing itself is astoundingly bad, and this is coming from someone who’s pretty lenient on the series considering that the writing across the series is generally very flawed to say the least. The actual story had some potential and interesting ideas but that’s it. The idea of someone who lied being a Jigsaw survivor and being tested for real sounds interesting, but they don’t really do much with it, and the lead character Bobby isn’t particularly compelling. Even the ongoing plot which continued from Saw VI with characters Mark Hoffman and Jill Tuck just isn’t made that thrilling. There are other little moments and ideas which don’t reach their fullest potential. The Jigsaw survivor group sounds interesting, but that’s only used in one scene. The character of Lawrence Gordon being back in the Saw movies so long after his last appearance sounds exciting, but he’s creepy in the one scene and then he has a rushed montage at the end to wrap up the plot, he’s basically just an extended cameo. On that note, while I liked the note it ended on with its last scene, the way that it tries to create a finale is very unsatisfying, in fact raising more questions than providing answers. That’s not to say that the movie doesn’t have some enjoyable parts. A few of the traps are alright if incredibly overblown. There’s a lot of comedy to come from the bad writing, dialogue, performances and even the story choices. I’m aware of all the behind-the-scenes issues, with a last minute director change, condensing the movie from two to one and more. However I’m not quite sure how it still managed to be this bad. I can’t say that I dislike this movie, not just because this wasn’t the final chapter as originally planned, but also because it’s so silly that it ends up being somewhat entertaining.

My review of Saw 3D: From the Book of Saw

8. Saw V

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Now the jump from Saw 3D to Saw V is from a terrible movie to something rather average and mixed. Saw V is much better than 3D, but it’s probably the most boring of the Saw movies. It’s also the most frustrating of the series because there was a lot of potential here. The main game was about a group of selfish people needing to work together and that sounds interesting. However the game ends up being one of the weakest of the series, with some characters that are hard to like or really care about. With that and how disconnected it felt from the rest of the plot, it really just feels like it’s there just because it’s a Saw movie and it needed a game. The traps themselves were a little mixed, with the pendulum, water box, blood pint and glass coffins being quite good and standouts among the series, but the rest were rather forgettable and even boring.

The cat and mouse game between FBI Agent Strahm, and secret Jigsaw apprentice Hoffman also had some potential, unfortunately they don’t exactly handle that in the best way either. For one, Strahm’s ‘investigation’ comes across as redundant when it’s known to the entire audience that Hoffman is the apprentice. Not to mention, he spends pretty much the whole movie basically serving as a source of exposition to the audience about Hoffman. Speaking of which, much of Saw V is trying to establish Hoffman as the new Jigsaw, and the movie generally fails to get people on board with that. While I like that Hoffman is distinctly different from John Kramer’s Jigsaw, he’s just not that interesting of a character. The plot moves so slow and sluggish that it felt like a chore at times. There weren’t necessarily choices that I hated, but there’s also not a lot that grabbed me. For all my issues with the movie, there were some solid scenes. Any time that Tobin Bell shows up as Jigsaw of course it really picks up immensely. However, it is by far the worst Saw movie outside of 3D, I’m less inclined to come back to this one.

My review of Saw V

7. Jigsaw

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7 years after the series ended terribly with The Final Chapter, Lionsgate ended up making a reboot of sorts. It had potential, there were some great directors on board, and the plot has a mystery as to whether John Kramer is back as Jigsaw. However what Jigsaw ultimately boiled down to was another Saw movie, just done in modern day. As it was, it was quite enjoyable to watch. The traps ranged from great to rather forgettable, but it was a decent game. It’s well shot, and features some of the best direction of the entire series. The writing is very mixed, with some lackluster characters. Some of the writing is far fetched, where characters make some pretty unbelievable decisions. However for the most part there’s really not much to say about the movie.

Then there’s the ending twist, which is where most of my issues lie. Not only is it very convoluted and doesn’t make sense, but it also breaks the Saw timeline in some ways. It even makes me look back on the rest of the movie in a less positive way overall. My issues with the eventual reveal aside, I would be interested to see story and characters at the end of Jigsaw reappear and continued in the future Saw movies. In a way, Jigsaw’s level of quality really depends on if it continues to have relevance in the next movies, especially in a post-Spiral world where that film wasn’t a continuation of the previous movie. If it doesn’t get a follow up, I’d be wondering what the point of this movie would be aside from just being another Saw movie.

My review of Jigsaw

6. Saw IV

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Saw IV is one of those Saw movies that I do appreciate the more I think about it, even with its many faults. Saw IV does feel like it’s on autopilot, while managing to feel like there’s too much going on. There’s a new Jigsaw game, we also follow an investigation from the FBI, and there’s a storyline focusing on flashbacks of John Kramer becoming Jigsaw, and it just feels bloated. There are so many characters, between bringing back past characters in prominent storylines, and then introducing at least 4 new major characters. Almost every Saw movie is 90 minutes long and out of all of them, this is the one that definitely needed a lot more time given to it. The game at the forefront is better when compared to a lot of the sequels but the backbone behind it doesn’t quite work for me.

With that being said, there are story moments and reveals that are quite interesting and strong. There’s some nice twists, especially with how the movie ties to Saw III. There’s also some very impressive and memorable traps. However it’s still very much a mess on many levels. The most interesting aspect was John Kramer, and if anything I wish the whole movie was focusing on Tobin Bell’s John Kramer and his origin story. It’s one I do want to go back to, as some moments ring better for me the more I think about them, but all in all, it’s another Saw movie that I’m quite mixed on.

My review of Saw IV

5. Saw III

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It was this movie where I noticed a shift, even when I saw it for the first time before my watchthrough of all the Saw movies. I liked it noticeably less than the first two movies and even on my rewatch I still had a lot of.  I noticed the slight jump in budget and the jump in the amount of gore, as well as the amount of reliance on it. Starting off with the positives though, I do like a lot of many of the ideas on display. There are some memorable and truly brutal traps with some fantastic practical effects. The plotline with the characters of John Kramer, Amanda and Lynn was actually great, with some solid dynamic between the three. The movie does try to actually add an emotional dimension to the movie and while it doesn’t completely work, I kind of respect it. The movie also makes some firm decisions, some of them work, some of them don’t work, and some of them were quite bold (for better or for worse). The ending also did end up writing the series into a bit of a corner, but I respect it to a degree.

However there’s plenty of problems. This movie really did have an overreliance of flashbacks (something that much of the series would have as well), revealing things that we really didn’t need to see. You don’t like a lot of the characters and you’re generally not that interested in them, so emotional investment is quite difficult already. Of course Tobin Bell is fantastic as Jigsaw, Lynn is not that interesting but good in her scenes with John, and I have mixed feelings about Amanda in this particular movie. Then there’s lead game character Jeff, who ends up being one of the major issues of Saw III. Probably my least favourite lead Saw character, Jeff is just frustrating to watch, with him making some annoying choices, and us having to watch him take a long time to slowly go from one trap to another. Despite an interesting setup, it was not nearly as interesting as some of the other games in the series. It really does say something that the storyline that doesn’t involve a lot of traps was more interesting than the one that did. It is also the longest of the movies at nearly 2 hours long and while I do feel like some of the other Saw movies could’ve been a little longer, you really do feel like this movie drags. Not to be that person, but its not that fun to watch, and if I had the choice to watch any of the Saw movies from here or the 5 movies below it on this list, I’m not entirely sure that I would pick III. With that all being said, it is definitely one of the better Saw movies.

My review of Saw III

4. Spiral: From the Book of Saw

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This is where the list goes from mixed/okay movies to actually pretty good movies. Spiral is the latest Saw movie, and it is definitely the most different film in the series. It’s also the first Saw movie I watched in the cinema and I really enjoyed it, even if there are some issues especially on reflection. To a degree I wish there was a little more to this movie and was expecting more. I feel like even 5 extra minutes would’ve benefited it in some way, to add some more depth or explain some things. Like some have said already, some aspects of the plot and reveals were rather predictable. Additionally while I liked the themes and commentary surrounding corrupt police, I feel like it could’ve explored it just a little more and really committed to it instead of it almost feeling like a setup for the plot. The movie has some other writing issues and it can be messy. It does fall into some familiar tropes from Saw and detective/cop movies in general, and the dialogue doesn’t always work. However by Saw standards, I don’t have a huge amount of problems with the movie.

Spiral is quite a different film for the series, with it instead being more of a detective movie. It has a distinct tone, and is all around quite standalone. It removed itself from the rest of the movies, all the while still existing in the same world and being a Saw movie. While most of the traps aren’t as memorable, some of them are great, and above all else, they actually fit into the plot. The traps have reasons and meanings behind them outside of just serving for the gore (though it’s no slouch in that department either). It’s also one of the best directed Saw movies, bringing back longtime Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman turned out to be a great choice. As said earlier, the killer’s identiy was predictable, but the rest of the mystery surrounding this person(s) was more interesting than the identity, and I found myself interested in that. I was quite on board with the plot generally. The performances are good, with Chris Rock, Max Minghella and Samuel L. Jackson being delivering in their roles, definitely some of the stronger acting in the series. I am definitely interested to see where this story and these characters go after the ending of this movie, and I would love to see a sequel.

My review of Spiral: From the Book of Saw

These next three are interchangeable for me.

3. Saw VI

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Looking at its first 5 movies, the Saw series had gradually been getting worse. By the time it got to IV and V, it was pretty disappointing and ranged from messy to dull. VI was the surprise instalment that really added new life back into the series. Saw VI starts out strong from the beginning and stays strong throughout. The story is reasonably straightforward in contrast to the past movies, and the pacing is much better. Unlike the last movie, while there are some lore and backstory revealed in flashbacks, they don’t feel forced and they work naturally for the characters and story, especially as they showing important moments between John Kramer and other major characters. The game itself is great and one of the best in the series. The movie is is surprisingly political, taking on health insurance in the USA, proving to be quite topical considering it came out in 2009. This approach proved to be quite fresh and fits perfectly as it would be something that Jigsaw would focus on. There are moral dilemmas that health insurance executive and lead Saw VI game character William Easton faces throughout and he has to make some hard choices. Easton as a character is the most morally bankrupt of all the Saw protagonists but with a mix of the situations he’s put into and Peter Outerbridge’s solid performance, it makes you sympathise with him and willing to follow him throughout. The traps also overall are the best in the series since Saw II. They are creative, from one based on oxygen, to one featuring a carousel, the latter of which ranks among the all time best traps. It helps that there’s a lot of meaning behind the traps and why they are like that (outside of the gore), and can even be psychological.

Even the rest of the story following the characters of Hoffman and Jill Tuck are actually quite good, especially as the former tries to deal with an FBI investigation. Hoffman who was underwhelming in Saw V despite it intended to make us actually like him as Jigsaw, really is at his best in this movie and he has some great moments. The voice lab and the ending especially sticks out as one of the best moments in the series. In terms of flaws, it does have some of the familiar issues with the rest of the series. The editing is still unnecessarily frantic and fast paced but it is reigned in and utilised a lot better here compared to many of the past movies. Saw VI is still over the top and unbelievably ridiculous, both with the story and characters and some bits with the writing. Also even though there are some stronger main performances from the likes of Tobin Bell, Peter Outerbridge and Costas Mandylor, a lot of the smaller performances can still be pretty bad. Some of the writing issues in this movie are present in the other Saw movies, and have been a lot worse there. So at this point it’s very easy to look past them. Also the over the top nature of the story and traps is easy to go along with when you see at what point the series had gotten to. Maybe it might’ve just been the previous couple of Saw movies that were disappointing, but I enjoyed VI thoroughly and didn’t have too many large complaints with it. Out of the Saw movies, this and Saw II would probably be the ones I’d be most willing to rewatch.

My review of Saw VI

2. Saw II

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Saw II was the immediately greenlit sequel after the surprise that was James Wan’s Saw back in 2004. It’s quite interesting that this is based off director Darren Lynn Bousman’s script for a different movie, which was turned into the script for the Saw sequel. Not to mention that Saw II ended up playing a big part in the shaping of the series. As a sequel it is very reminiscent of the first film but made some changes. Instead of just repeating the first movie, there are two storylines at the same time, one is with people trapped in a Jigsaw game, and the other focusing on police with Jigsaw as they see the game continuing. It also expanded the scale of the game. The first film had a bathroom and relatively small traps in flashbacks. Saw II had a game in a small house and had a group of people instead of just 2. At the same time, it still felt contained and even plausible at times. It also added a lot more traps, and they are quite creative and also resulted in a lot more gore.

One thing that Saw II has over the first movie is a lot more Jigsaw. Tobin Bell made a brief appearance in the first Saw but it’s here where he really gets to shine, and has an onscreen presence throughout the whole movie. The scenes between him and Donnie Wahlberg are particularly great. This is also a movie that expanded Jigsaw’s philosophy and puts it more in the forefront, even if it’s a little conflicting (i.e. Jigsaw’s “I never killed anyone” line is a little hard to take seriously at this point). There are even some twists that are effective, that rival even the end twist of the first Saw. Overall I liked Darren Lynn Bousman’s direction but some of the technical elements are brought over from the first movie, including frantic editing and the visual style, aren’t exactly the best. In the first movie, some of the technical elements are there because the filmmakers needed to do them, but including it in Saw II made them staples of the franchise, for better or for worse. The writing is also not the best especially with the dialogue, but the story does well enough to hold your attention throughout. All in all, Saw II is one of the most enjoyable movies in the series.

My review of Saw II

1. Saw

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There’s not much to say about Saw that hasn’t been said already. It had a lot working against it, the budget was really small, the filmmakers weren’t allowed many takes, and the amount of time to film was short. Despite all the odds, they pulled it off. Saw became an instant hit, and a sequel was immediately greenlit. Influenced by films like Se7en, Saw at its core was a psychological thriller about a serial killer. It’s well constructed and keeps you invested from beginning to end, focussing mainly on mystery and tension more than outright scares or even gore. The majority of the film was two men in a bathroom trying to figure out what’s going on, with a very simplistic approach to the story. The traps are known in the Saw movies but most of them in Saw I are just shown in flashbacks. They can be gruesome but are shown briefly and are more believable than those in the sequels. It is a bloody movie, but it uses these moments effectively and doesn’t feel overly reliant on them.

For a debut film, James Wan did succeed quite well despite all the problems that he and writer Leigh Whannell experienced when making this movie. Now it definitely has its issues. The acting is a mixed bag, it is quite dated, a lot of the dialogue and writing can be quite flawed. On the technical aspects too, the frantic editing was definitely done in a way to help deal with the restrictions they had. However many of its issues and rough edges adds a charm and distinct style to it, and considering everything, it’s impressive that the final movie was as good as it was. It also laid the groundwork for things that would feature in many of the sequels from the grimy and green look, the music video-esque fast paced editing, the overblown twists and the ending reveals (accompanied by an iconic score from Charlie Clouser). About a decade and a half later it still remains an incredibly iconic and influential horror film that has paved the way for other horror movies, even beyond the torture porn genre. If you read this list and you haven’t seen any of the Saw movies but you like horror movies, I do recommend watching the first film at the very least. I really understand why it remains a cult classic for many people.

My review of Saw

What are your ranking of the Saw series, and what do you think of the movies?

Ranking the 2021 Best Picture Nominees

Ranking 2021 nominees

This is the third year that I shall be ranking the Best Picture Nominees for the Academy Awards. This year I’m not quite as invested in the film awards given that it’s taken me this long to actually release it, but I thought that I might as well give my thoughts on the nominees.

Considering the past year’s weird year for movies with plenty of pushbacks of release dates, this year’s lineup of nominees was actually great. Not only did I like them all, almost all of them are great, there’s just one film that’s out of place here, but I even liked that movie. Out of the three years where I’ve ranked the Best Picture nominees, this has to be the strongest lineup yet.

The ranking of the nominees is all based off my personal preference and how much I liked them.

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7

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The Trial of the Chicago 7 was one of the frontrunners for Best Picture, but at this point it seems to have become firmly the least liked best picture nominee by many. I understand a lot of the criticisms, and even agree with a lot of them. Upon further thought, some of writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s “sorkinisms” can get a little annoying, specifically with how he decided to portray certain events and people from the real life story. It is certainly a movie that I like a lot less now compared to when I first saw it. Still, a year where The Trial of the Chicago 7 is the worst Best Picture nominee is a pretty good year for the Oscars. Ultimately, it’s the script and performances that still has me liking the movie a considerable amount, it’s a fairly engaging and energetic courtroom thriller. The script keeps you locked in from beginning to end with a fast pace, and it has some great dialogue. There’s also some solid acting from the massive cast here, with the highlights being Sacha Baron Cohen, Yayha Abdul-Mateen II and Mark Rylance. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is worth watching, but it still very much the weakest of the nominees.

My review of The Trial of the Chicago 7

7. Minari

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The much talked about Minari rightfully makes its presence known at the Oscars with a well deserved Best Picture nomination. It’s a real portrait of the immigrant experience of a Korean-American family in search of the American Dream, and as it’s based off director Lee Isaac Chung’s childhood, that makes it even more personal and special. It isn’t a plot driven movie, instead focusing on many moments, both little and notable, which only add to the naturalness of the story. These characters’ story is tender, heartfelt, emotional, funny and above all else, genuine and human. On top of the compelling story as well as the beautiful direction and look of the movie, the performances from everyone are natural and outstanding, with Steven Yeun, Alan Kim and Youn Yuh-jung being the standouts. Minari is a great and personal family drama, and it absolutely deserved its nominations at this year’s Oscars.

My review of Minari

6. Judas and the Black Messiah

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Despite being quite a late release in Oscar season, Judas and the Black Messiah was quite a standout movie among the nominees. It could’ve been a by the numbers biopic based on significant true events, however it is captivating from beginning to end, tightly scripted and compelling, with a strong energy and intense atmosphere throughout. It also isn’t a typical biopic, it felt more like a historical drama thriller, and in some ways that actually helps the movie more. This movie is timely, meaningful and impactful to today’s society with the topics it covers, and it really lingers in the mind long after watching. The movie is definitely hard to watch at times, it’s a powerhouse tragedy of a drama that is more truthful and unapologetic than you would expect a big budget awards movie having. This riveting and greatly delivered story is paired with a great supporting cast including Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback and Ashton Sanders, as well as excellent lead performances from Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stansfield (both of whom are very much deserving of their acting nominations). Judas and the Black Messiah is a bold and fantastic film that deserves its praise and accolades. It may be a late release, but definitely check it out when you get the chance to if you haven’t already.

My review of Judas and the Black Messiah

5. Nomadland

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Nomadland seems to be very much the frontrunner of the nominees, and it’s not difficult to see why. While it’s not at the top of my list, it very much deserves all the love and acclaim. Essentially, it is a poetic, quiet and contemplative character study, and an intimate look at loss and grief. The movie is fairly plotless and there isn’t much driving the story, but given the nature of the actual plot and characters, that is actually quite fitting. You get lost in the lead character’s journey as you are quite invested with what is happening with her story. The acting from everyone was great but it really is the story of Frances McDormand’s lead character. McDormand is subtle and understated yet incredibly powerful in this role, and she gives quite possibly her best performance yet. The standout aspect in this whole movie however is the work from director Chloe Zhao. Her direction is phenomenal on so many levels, perfect on a technical level for sure. It is clearly crafted with so much love and care, and she’s more than capable of telling a story with even just the movement of the camera alone. The cinematography is natural yet gorgeous, everything looks beautiful whether the focus of the shots are stunning landscapes, or relatively mundane places or objects. I perfectly understand if a lot of people don’t like this movie, it is quite slow, and you really have to get invested in the story and the lead character’s journey to really have it work for you. However, I still think it is one of the best films from the past year.

My review of Nomadland

4. Sound of Metal

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Sound of Metal was in some awards discussions, but I didn’t think that it would get much attention from the Oscars outside of a couple nominations. However, it got nominated a total of 6 times, including Best Picture, and I’m so happy that it got this attention. The story of a drummer who suddenly has to adjust to his new circumstances after he begins to lose his hearing may go on a narrative arc familiar to many other stories, but it has this genuine, thoughtful and rawness throughout that hooks you in emotionally. It refrains from large moments of drama and instead focuses on quiet and powerful character interactions and moments that have you constantly engaged. By the end of the movie, it is a truly heartbreaking yet uplifting story all at once. The acting is also phenomenal. Olivia Cooke and Paul Raci are strong and powerful supporting players, while Riz Ahmed gives some of the best acting work of the year in the lead role with a believable, naturalistic and truly human performance. Even the technical choices and directions were incredibly effective, especially with how it plays with sound and what we (or the lead character) hear or don’t hear. It doesn’t seem like Sound of Metal is one of the leading contenders for Best Picture but I’m just glad that it’s getting recognised at the very least.

My review of Sound of Metal

3. Promising Young Woman

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Promising Young Woman is one of the most controversial, polarising and much talked about movies from 2020, and everyone who saw it had a pretty strong opinion on it. There are some people who love it, and some people who hated it, and I’m thankfully in the former camp. Despite the initial look of the movie from the trailers and other marketing, it is more than I expected it to be. It is a revenge movie as advertised, but was also a character study, jumped between multiple tones seamlessly, and was a lot more nuanced than expected, while having a subversive, thrilling, and unpredictable plot. Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut is confident, bold and impressive here, it is meritoriously crafted on all fronts, visually stunning and with a strong style. Then of course one of the key elements to this movie: Carey Mulligan, who gives an outstanding and complex performance, and one of the highlights from the past year. At the very least, this film is a great showcase for her excellent acting talents. Promising Young Woman was already one of the most standout films from 2020, but it is great to see it get recognised at the Oscars, regardless of whether it wins anything or not.

My review of Promising Young Woman

2. Mank

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Mank is probably one of the least popular of the nominees. Even if it doesn’t seem to be this year’s Best Picture ‘enemy’ (The Trial of the Chicago 7), it really has a very niche audience. It’s a movie about the writing of Citizen Kane, set in the 30s and 40s, and made to look like it was made from that era. While I wouldn’t try to claim that it’s one of director David Fincher’s most accessible work, I am one of the few people who actually do love this film and think it’s great. The story of Mank may essentially be about the writing of one of the greatest movies of all time (as proclaimed by certain people at least), but it is mainly about the screenwriter himself, and what inspired him to do this. It’s also about Hollywood in the 30s and 40s, the politics at the time, and the Hollywood system and its many flaws. I found that quite interesting to watch, even if not everyone did. The whole cast were great, with the likes of Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lilly Collins, Charles Dance and more delivering some great work, with Oldman particularly giving the best performance I’ve seen from him. On a technical level it is perfect, Fincher has directed this movie excellently. It does well at recreating the looks of film from the 40s with black and white, film grain and the sound mixing, it is a stunning movie, and it really immerses you in that era. While many could understandably write it off as just another movie about Hollywood, it still actually feels like there was passion behind it. Mank is not going to win the Best Picture award but if it did somehow did, I think it would deserve it.

My review of Mank

1. The Father

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Probably an unexpected pick for the favourite nominee out of the 8. The Father looked like textbook Oscar bait, excellent award winning actors starring in a movie based off a play about someone who is getting old, and the marketing didn’t do much to help change that perception. I went into it expecting something good, however it was truly phenomenal on so many levels. There have been plenty of movies focusing on people on dementia but its never been portrayed like this. The Father plays more like a slow moving nightmare or horror movie despite being a drama essentially. The unreliable perspective is used incredibly well as we are in the lead character’s confused point of view, conveyed excellently through the writing and plotting, as well as writer and director Florian Zeller’s outstanding technical work. And I can’t talk about this movie before touching upon the performances, mainly the two nominated with Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. Colman is incredibly believable as someone who is grappling with watching her father slowly declining, one of her best acting work. But it is Hopkins’s movie, and this is truly his all time best performance in his long and fantastic acting career. He is absolutely phenomenal, breath-taking and heartwrenching in the lead role. He’s pitch perfect from beginning to end, and it is quite possibly one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. It’s not a movie that I want to watch again, not just because of the subject matter, but also because it’s such an emotional and rough experience of a movie. However out of all these 8 movies, it had the longest lasting impact on me. A truly outstanding film that unfortunately doesn’t have a strong chance at winning, but is at the very least recognised by being one of the nominees.

My review of The Father

What are your ranking of this year’s Best Picture Nominees, and what do you think of the nominees?

Top 20 Best Films of 2020

Best of 2020

2020 was a very weird year for film. There was a pushback of plenty of movies, so a lot of the movies I was looking forward to that year was pushed back a year or even more. I also watched a lot less movies from 2020 year compared to past years, having only seen 55 movies from this year. Still, there were good films that came out in 2020 that are worth praising.

I should mention that films like The Father and Judas and the Black Messiah, which would otherwise be higher up on this list, are 2021 movies and so won’t be on this list.

Honourable Mentions:

The Nest

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The Nest was a smaller movie that didn’t seem to get a lot of attention from many people, but those who had seen it had very positive things to say about it. I’m glad I checked it out, it’s definitely worth seeing.

It’s a slow moving drama and it does take a while to figure out what it is about. However at its core, The Nest is a family drama portraying a slow but catastrophic disintegration of a marriage, and a deconstruction of the nuclear family, with themes about family, wealth, and what it means to be successful. It made for a slow descent into chaos that really creeps up on you. It was uneasy, uncomfortable and stressful to watch, with a sinister and moody atmosphere throughout, akin to a horror movie. The acting is also strong, with Jude Law being really good in his part and Carrie Coon being the outstanding stand out among the cast. It’s not for everyone and will be too slow for some, but I do think that it is worth checking out.

My review of The Nest

Weathering with You

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I had a feeling that I would really like Weathering with You from the moment I heard that it was from the filmmaker of Your Name, which is one of my favourite anime films of all time. While his latest movie doesn’t quite top his previous movie, I still think that it’s great.

Many of the great elements from Your Name are here. It blends multiple elements and genres including romance, drama, fantasy and coming of age together for its personal and smaller scaled story. The characters are well established and likable, and I liked following them. The direction from Makoto Shinkai as usual is outstanding, with his distinct and hyper-realistic animation style. The visuals are amazing, from the character movements, to the locations and settings. Empathetic and emotional, and under a beautiful direction throughout, I found Weathering with You to be enthralling.

My review of Weathering with You

20. One Night in Miami

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One Night in Miami was up there in the movie awards conversation, and for very good reason. It’s very strong on all fronts, acting, directing and writing, it’s a very powerful movie, and it’s a great film overall.

One Night in Miami does take a while to get going, but by the time the four main characters meet up, you’re invested in the characters and the plot. It’s a relatively simple movie, mostly taking place in one location. However it dives into many thought provoking and relevant conversations and keeps your attention all the way through. It is very well written, with some brilliant dialogue that’s incredibly well written and compelling (which it would need to be given that it’s dialogue focused and based off a play). The performances from the main four leads in Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr are excellent in their parts, and they play off each other very well. Regina King’s debut here as a filmmaker is fantastic, making the movie feel very cinematic despite it being based off a play. One Night in Miami is a very impressive movie that I was invested in from beginning to end.

My review of One Night in Miami

19. The Gentlemen

This was actually the first 2020 movie that I watched. Initially I liked it quite a lot, it was very entertaining and was for sure one of Guy Ritchie’s best movies. However, upon a rewatch it held up for me, and I liked it even more. I really wasn’t expecting it to still be in my top 20 of 2020 over a year later.

The Gentlemen is very entertaining, with some strong writing throughout. It’s sharp, memorable, and really funny. Like with Snatch, there are multiple characters and storylines crossing over and intertwining. It may be known as an action comedy, but really the great dialogue is the action of The Gentlemen. The cast are all fantastic on their parts, with Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, and Colin Farrell being my favourites of the performances. Guy Ritchie is at home directing in this genre. His style in this movie is his substance, it’s polished to perfection and it works to great effect. The Gentlemen is a return to form for Guy Ritchie, more so than RockNRolla, which was released over 10 years earlier. It’s darkly hilarious, constantly entertaining, and I really enjoyed watching it.

My review of The Gentlemen

18. Emma

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This is another movie that I wasn’t expecting to be in my top 20 by the end of the year. Until Emma, I hadn’t watched a single Jane Austen adaptation, but Emma proved to be a delightful experience of a movie that had me entertained from beginning to end.

Emma is great, hilarious, very witty, and snappy, with some rich characters and some great dialogue. Anya Taylor-Joy is pitch perfect in the title role, while the large supporting cast that consists of Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner and performed well on their parts. AAdditionally, Autumn de Wilde’s work as director is incredible. It is visually stunning and gorgeous, and all edited together incredibly well, along with having great production values. Much of the movie is very stylish, but it is done in a way that suits the material. I’ll admit that ultimately it took me a second viewing to understand and really ‘get’ this movie, but from that point, I found Emma to be such a fun and well made movie, and one of the movie highlights from 2020.

My review of Emma.

17. Black Bear

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Black Bear was quite an unexpected movie, one that definitely benefits from not knowing too much going into it. While it does make it a hard movie to describe or sell to people, I can assure you that it is well worth the watch.

I must emphasise that it’s a movie worth going into blind, especially with its significant turn some way into the movie. While it’s not perfect and does detach you from the narrative a bit, it does add something interesting to the film. What I can say is that it leaves a lot of room for interpretation and analysis. The writing itself is great, the dialogue is chaotic, sharp and very memorable. The acting work from everyone is great, with Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon being solid in major supporting roles. However it’s Aubrey Plaza who gets the most recognition from this movie and for very good reason, she’s fantastic here. Plaza is captivating and intense, some of the best acting work I’ve seen from her, and truly one of the highlight performances from the past year. It’s directed well too, beautiful to look at, and its intense camerawork gives the film a dynamic and real feeling. Sound design is great and sharp, and that paired with the bleakness of the cinematography and its haunting score helps creating a foreboding sense of dread. Black Bear is a mindbending, unexpected and well directed dramatic thriller, with effective tension throughout. To a degree it’s not for everyone, but I do think that it’s worth a watch.

My review of Black Bear

16. The Trial of the Chicago 7

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As a major awards season contender, The Trial of the Chicago 7 seems to have become firmly the least liked best picture nominee (which usually ends up happening to at least one nominee every year). I really do understand a lot of the criticisms, in fact some of my praise on this movie has decreased a little bit upon further thought even though I really liked it when I first saw it. But looking back on it, I still like it quite a lot.

The script was all the things you’d expect from Aaron Sorkin, with snappy and captivating dialogue, a fast pace, and some memorable moments. It locks you in with what’s happening from beginning to end. There’s also a massive ensemble cast for this movie, everyone is great including Sacha Baron Cohen, Yahya Abduel-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne, John Caroll Lynch, Jeremy Strong, and Frank Langella. Unfortunately, it does have some notable aspects which do take away from the movie, even in retrospect. It definitely has some Sorkinisms with some of the dialogue choices, how he chose to represent certain events and people on screen, and especially the ending. I would’ve liked to have seen a darker and more accurate representation of the real life events for sure. With all that said, I still think it was a good movie and I do think that it’s worth watching if you haven’t seen it already.

My review of The Trial of the Chicago 7

15. Mangrove

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Mangrove is the first entry in the Small Axe anthology, all of which are directed by Steve McQueen. I haven’t seen all 5 movies yet, but at the moment in time, I don’t see the rest of them topping this one. It’s solid in every aspect, and I was engaged from beginning to end.

Steve McQueen gives a great examination of the themes and subject matters in the forefront as he sheds light on an incredible true story. It’s smaller scale, yet very compelling story of a community together, fighting for their human rights. It’s quite a powerful movie, and I was invested throughout. It takes a while to get to the trial, but the first half of the movie is necessary as we are introduced to the people and the Mangrove itself. Then when it gets to the courtroom drama, it is riveting and well written. The cast are all great, with the highlights being Shaun Parkes, Letitia Wright and Darcus Howe. McQueen’s direction here is strong, his work here is more subdued and restrained compared to his other work but it’s very effective here. All in all, it’s a well crafted and passionate historical drama. While I can’t speak for the quality of the entirety of Small Axe, I do think Mangrove is worth checking out at the very least.

My review of Small Axe: Mangrove

14. Never Rarely Sometimes Always

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Never Rarely Sometimes Always was one of the most surprising movies from 2020. It’s a very small indie movie that got a lot of traction, and then acclaim, and it definitely deserved all the attention it has been receiving.

What was immediately noticeable about Never Rarely Sometimes Always was its approach to storytelling. It’s not so focused on dialogue and it makes a lot of use out of silence, speaking volumes by saying a little. It tells a story through subtext and silence, from the character’s actions, the performances and the direction, making the movie feel all the more real. It resists going all in on unwelcome melodrama or larger ‘dramatic’ and overtly emotional moments, instead focusing the attention on being more natural. It’s empathetic and honest too, and by the end is very powerful. The acting is impressive from Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder in the lead roles, both performances are subtle, genuine and powerful and share great chemistry together. The whole movie feels authentic from the sets, to the sound, and to the cinematography and camerawork, especially with what they focus and linger on. I did want more character development, but it is the sort of movie where you aren’t given the full context of everything, or know why certain people do what they do, and I think that really works for the film. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a raw, nuanced and powerful movie, and one that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already.

My review of Never Rarely Sometimes Always

13. I’m Thinking of Ending Things

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Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things was definitely one of the most polarising movies of 2020. It’s really not for everyone, however I’m glad that I’m one of the people who liked this movie quite a lot.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things isn’t a horror movie in the conventional sense, but it is quite bleak, melancholic and depressing, yet very well written from Kaufman, with many layers and much to talk about. I was invested, even if much of the movie consisted of long conversations, I was fascinated with what was happening. The acting from everyone is great, with Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette and David Thewlis all performing greatly. However, it’s Jessie Buckley who’s the standout here, delivering one of the best performances from 2020. Kaufman’s direction shines a lot here too, from its stunning (and 4:3 ratio) cinematography, to the great and off kilter editing that indicates that something is really off throughout. There’s not much clear cut explanations about much of what the film is trying to say, and I admit that I don’t exactly understand everything. For me it’s quite possible that a rewatch could improve or break the movie for me. For now, I’ll just say that I had a really good experience watching it. It’s a strange and confusing film that will frustrate many, but I thought it was great.

My review of I’m Thinking of Ending Things

12. Saint Maud

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Saint Maud had been one of the most anticipated horror movies from 2020, and while some people were disappointed with the film after all the hype, I thought it was great. It’s a short and simple, yet effective and intimate psychological horror film.

Saint Maud is less intense horror and scares than creepy, disturbing and unsettling, with a creeping sense of dread throughout. It was a slow burn of a character study, that I was invested in throughout. This movie is a look at religious fanaticism, mental illness, loneliness and isolation. Morfydd Clark is amazing, mesmerising, and captivating in the lead role, one of the highlights of the film for sure. Rose Glass directs this movie incredibly well, I really want to see what she makes next. The movie is visually stunning with gloomy cinematography and memorable imagery, and features some great sound mixing and music, all of which combine together to build suspense and tension as well as a chilling atmosphere. It could’ve benefited by being a bit longer to flesh out its ideas and themes, but all in all, Saint Maud was a great horror film.

My review of Saint Maud

11. The Invisible Man

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The Invisible Man was one of the earlier movies from 2020 that still managed to get released before cinemas closed and movies started to be delayed. It still remained a very memorable movie even amongst all the other newer releases, and one that I’m still incredibly impressed by.

This is a modern adaptation of the original story, and that certainly seemed difficult to make, definitely hard to make an invisible man actually scary. However, director/writer Leigh Whannell and co. pulled it off, and the tweaks to modernise the story worked to great effect. The story is essentially about domestic abuse and gaslighting, and explores the traumas in an abusive relationship. That was more unsettling than the actual idea of a man being invisible. The movie is unnerving, and you feel as paranoid as the protagonist. While some of the concepts and ideas on paper might sound silly, it actually works here. As great as the rest of the movie around her is, Elisabeth Moss was key to making it succeed as well as it did, she gave an incredible performance on her part. Whannell directed this movie so well, this and Upgrade shows him as a great horror filmmaker and I’m looking forward to seeing what he makes next. The use of lingering camera shots and movements are so effective, making you unnerved at what you’re seeing, or not fully seeing. Combining that with the great visual effects and the powerful sound design and score, and it really escalates the already tense atmosphere. If you’re a fan of horror, I highly recommend checking out The Invisible Man.

My review of The Invisible Man

10. Possessor

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There have been some great horror movies from 2020, but Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor is my favourite of them all. A disturbing, unsettling and incredibly well-made psychological horror film, it made for a very memorable experience.

Possessor is a very creative, ambitious and unapologetic movie, packed with so many ideas. It doesn’t hold your hand, requiring you to put the pieces together of what’s happening in the story. It’s deliberately paced yet I was very intrigued throughout. The futuristic setting is bleak, and much of the movie is unsettling even before it gets to the brutality and shocking images. The cast are all great, especially Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott as the leads. Brandon Cronenberg directs this film incredibly well. It’s a visually and aesthetically stunning movie with a great colour pallet, and some outstanding hypnotic, surreal and nightmarish sequences. It’s an assault on the sense from the very first scene all the way to the end. Possessor is very much not for everyone, the gore at the very least will turn people off, and some might not be as into the story. But it was one of the most riveting and intense experiences I’ve had watching a horror movie recently.

My review of Possessor (2020)

9. Soul

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I went into Soul not being quite sure of what to expect. I just saw one of the trailers and knew that it was a Pixar movie from the people who made Inside Out. I didn’t expect it to be as great as it turned out to be.

If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend going into Soul without not knowing much about it. It was a lot deeper than expected, with it being a journey that really makes you think about life. It’s a beautifully told and very human story that’s full of sincerity, honesty and heart about what it means to be alive, as well as the purpose of life. It’s Pixar’s most mature movie by far, in fact I see older audiences getting much more out of the movie. At the same time, it is entertaining and there’s some good humour here too. The characters are great, even the brief characters who only have a few minutes of screentime are memorable, and they are voiced by a great cast including Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton and Rachel House. The movie is also directed well by Pete Doctor, beautifully and stylishly animated with its stylised photorealism approach to the locations and characters (at least when the movie takes place in the real world). It’s only enhanced further by the outstanding score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Soul is one of Pixar’s most clever, poignant and honest films, and one of their best.

My review of Soul

8. Minari

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There had been a lot of hype and anticipation for Minari based off the early reactions, and they were absolutely justified. It’s fantastically made on every level, and was all around an incredible experience.

Minari is a heartfelt and empathetic portrait of the immigrant experience from the perspective of a Korean-American family in the search of the American Dream, showing the hardships they go through. Their story is tender, genuine, funny and heartwarming. Director Lee Isaac Chung translates his own personal childhood story to the big screen in such a beautiful way. The cast all deliver truly great performances, especially Steven Yeun, Alan Kim and Youn Yuh-jung. Minari is a great and truly personal family drama. Watch this as soon as you can.

My review of Minari

7. Nomadland

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Nomadland is one of the most acclaimed movies from 2020 and it’s for very good reason. It’s a poetic, quiet and contemplative character study, and an intimate look at grief and loss. It’s great on pretty much every front.

Nomadland is plotless yet character driven as we follow the main character become a nomad over the course of the movie. It really is a story about real people and real stories, full of many memorable and heartfelt side characters who leave their mark on the film in an effective way. Despite it not really having a driving force throughout, we get lost and invested we follow the main character on her spiritual journey. The acting from everyone is great. Along with the performances from the real life nomads in the supporting cast, Frances McDormand here gives quite possible her best performance yet. Chloe Zhao’s direction is nothing short of extraordinary, and on a technical level the movie is pretty much perfect. The cinematography is natural, personal and gorgeous. Whether its be capturing beautiful landscapes or mundane areas, Zhao makes everything look beautiful. I do understand if people don’t like the movie, but I do think that it’s worth a watch at the very least.

My review of Nomadland

6. Another Round

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Released later in the year, Another Round quickly became one of my favourite movies of 2020. A dark comedy about drinking, life and more, it is energetic, hilarious yet heartbreaking and compelling.

The plot is about drinking but instead of just focusing on the negative effects, the film shows both the positives and negatives, while looking at serious subject matters including alcoholism, discontent lives, midlife crises, and marriage. It’s honest in a way that’s not sappy, it feels genuine. There’s a lighthearted tone throughout, so it’s easy to watch and is entertaining, but it also has emotional moments and darker aspects that stick with you. The cast are great especially the main 4 actors in Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe and Magnus Millang, with Mikkelsen giving one of his all-time best performances. Another Round is a humane, warm and cathartic dramedy that shows the benefits and drawbacks of alcohol, and is a very reflective and entertaining movie about life, friendship and day drinking. Check it out if you haven’t already.

My review of Another Round

5. Sound of Metal

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Sound of Metal really crept up on me, an impactful and genuine drama that’s incredibly thoughtful, powerful and well made. I’m so glad that it’s receiving all the acclaim and awards recognition, because it absolutely deserves them.

While Sound of Metal might be structured in a predictable way in that it’s about someone who has something happen to them that changes their life, and then they have to grow to accept their new circumstances, it doesn’t play out how you’d expect. It feels real and you are invested with what happens. It’s thoughtful, sensitive, and impactful, never once getting to the point where it feels heavy handed. It’s an insightful look into the experiences of people that we can only imagine ourselves. It focuses on quiet and powerful character interactions and moments over larger dramatic moments. This is only also helped further by the impressive direction from Darius Marder, especially with the incredible use of sound mixing. Then there’s the outstanding acting, Olivia Cooke and Paul Raci giving memorable supporting performances, and Riz Ahmed’s powerfully affecting performance is his career best. Definitely worth checking out as soon as possible if you haven’t already.

My review of Sound of Metal

4. Promising Young Woman

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Promising Young Woman was one of the most talked about movies from 2020, leaving quite an impact on critics and audiences. Stylish, provocative and excellently made, it was one of the past year’s most memorable movies.

The writing is strong, subversive and unpredictable. It is tonally all over the place, jumping between dark drama and thriller to comedy, it’s a movie that’s rather hard to categorise. It is a little more than what I expected it to be, while it is sort of a revenge movie as advertised, it’s also a character study, and the film was surprisingly nuanced. The performances from everyone are all great, but it’s the career best performance from Carey Mulligan that stands out most of all. At the very least, this movie is an excellent showcase for her excellent acting talents. Emerald Fennell’s directorial feature film debut is great, sporting an intoxicating visual style with the cinematography, costumes and production design. Unpredictable, well crafted, shocking and timely, Promising Young Woman is a movie where everyone is going to have a strong opinion on it. If you haven’t already, watch it for yourself.

My review of Promising Young Woman

3. Da 5 Bloods

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Da 5 Bloods showcases all of Spike Lee’s greatest talents and is amongst his best movies. Ambitious, urgent and impactful, it’s very well crafted and all around incredible.

Da 5 Bloods really is an epic war movie from Spike Lee. It’s very well written with a balanced tone, featuring dark comedy as well as emotional and character driven moments, with multi-dimensional and complex characters. It’s a truly emotional journey that works on so many levels, with so much depth here. There’s some hard-hitting commentary about race in America, PTSD, the ramifications of war and more, and it’s done in an intelligent and relevant way. It’s deeply empathetic, and through and through feels like a passion project. The acting is fantastic from everyone including Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, the late Chadwick Boseman, and especially Delroy Lindo. On a technical level it’s great, from the stunning cinematography to the well-tuned editing and more. Da 5 Bloods is one of the best films about the Vietnam War, and one of the most powerful war films I’ve seen. I feel like it’s been forgotten as more movies came out in 2020 but I really do think it’s one of that year’s best.

My review of Da 5 Bloods

2. Mank

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One of the more divisive awards movies, Mank definitely didn’t work for everyone really, it’s a rather niche movie. It’s not one of David Fincher’s more rewatchable movies by any means. However, I’m one of the few people who loved this film, and I do think it’s great for what it is.

While as it was pitched and seemingly marketed as a movie about the writing of the classic film Citizen Kane, it’s more about the main character of Mank, and the events and people which inspire him to write the movie. It’s a film about Hollywood during the 30s and 40s, the politics at that time and the flaws of the Hollywood system. While it took me a while to figure out what the movie is about, I thought it succeeded in just about every single way imaginable. The whole cast is great, with the likes of Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried and Lilly Collins delivering some great works, with Oldman particularly giving the best performance I’ve seen from him. It’s also perfect on a technical level, David Fincher directs this excellently. There’s a lot of attention to detail to recreate the look of film in the 40s with the black and white, film grain, and sound mixing, and there’s tributes to Citizen Kane as to be expected. While it could easily be seen as just another typical Hollywood biopic, Mank really does feel like there’s passion behind it. As I said earlier, it is one of the more divisive movies from 2020 and very much isn’t for everyone. But I do think that it is worth a watch.

My review of Mank

1. Tenet

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Tenet was one of my all time most anticipated movies of 2020, Christopher Nolan’s name already sold me on it and the film itself looked spectacular from the trailers. I managed to watch Tenet in cinemas twice, and I loved it. While I expected another 2020 movie to come along and take the top spot on this list, nothing really had come close to topping Tenet as my favourite movie of the past year.

Tenet is at its core is a large-scale espionage and spy movie, which just happens to have a sci-fi time aspect to it. There are plenty of twists and turns, and the story itself could be complex and challenging. While it’s confusing on a first viewing, on repeat viewings it makes so much more sense, and you can see how well put together it is. Even if you can find issues in the movie like how some of the characterisations aren’t as strong as they could be, it’s nonetheless one rollercoaster of a ride. It’s ambitious, thrilling and such a fantastic experience from beginning to end. The cast including John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, and Kenenth Branagh all perform their parts greatly. However of course much of the film’s success comes down to the direction from Christopher Nolan, on a technical level it is pretty much perfect. It’s very well shot and has some incredible action sequences, in fact I’d say that this movie has some of the best action that Nolan has done. From the opening opera house sequence to the climactic action scene, it’s exhilarating and overwhelming. The practical effects and sound design are outstanding too, and that’s even before you get to Ludwig Goransson’s excellent score, which fits the rest of the movie perfectly. It’s one of my favourite Christopher Nolan movies, it’s among my very long list of favourite movies, and it’s my favourite film of 2020.

My review of Tenet

What are you favourite movies from 2020?

Top 40 Anticipated Movies of 2021

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2020 was a weird year for film, mostly because much of the movies with release dates set for that year were pushed back through to 2021. In fact, a great number of the movies I had on my anticipated movies of 2020 list were pushed back at least a year.

2021 will very likely have the same issue with pushbacks, a number of these movies probably won’t come out this year. In any case, there’s a lot of exciting movies set for release in 2021 and I hope they deliver (provided they actually release this year).

40. Black Widow

After Avengers: Endgame, people are starting to drop off out of interest of the MCU, and I’ll admit myself as being one of these people. There have been talks for under a decade of a Black Widow movie ever since her on screen debut in 2010 with Iron Man 2. However, despite appearing frequently in the MCU movies, she’s never gotten her movie, until now that is.

A film about Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.

There’s an undercurrent of feeling that this movie feels years too late, and it’s particularly frustrating that it takes place after Captain America: Civil War, because this just means that it should’ve been made 3/4 years ago (however I suppose it’s better than being yet another origin story). What makes matters worse is the fact that Black Widow in the MCU is now dead, so it almost feels in vain. The trailers look pretty good, rather standard Marvel movie stuff, but has enough intriguing bits to make me interested. I generally like Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in the movies, but I really do feel like she hadn’t been used to her fullest potential in her previous appearances. While I still don’t feel like the character would be used to her fullest potential here, at least this time she’ll be front and center, and not just a co-lead at most. Additionally, Black Widow has a solid supporting cast with Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz and Ray Winstone. I don’t necessarily know if it’ll be much better than the standard MCU level quality (the trailer certainly makes it look like it’s not much more than that), I can’t deny that I’ll watch it day one.

39. Untitled Spider-Man 3

Even though I liked the first two movies, my anticipation for the third Spider-Man movie in the MCU is relatively above average. With that said, some of the details about it that have been released recently, does have me somewhat interested.

While no plot details have been revealed, it will no doubt follow up on the ending of the last Spider-Man movie, in which Spider-Man’s identity is revealed and he is framed for murder. While it is building off from a cliffhanger, I’m not sure how much the third movie will actually pay off on that. You’ve got the actors from the previous Spider-Man returning with Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, and Marisa Tomei. What really has me interested however are some of the other confirmed casting. First there’s Benedict Cumberbatch who’ll return as Doctor Strange, and his involvement opens many possibilities as to what is going to happen in this movie. And then there’s the announced casting of Jamie Foxx as Electro (who played the role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and, Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus (who played the role in Spider-Man 2). With them, and possibly even more actors from the past versions of Spider-Man, things are seemingly leading towards a live action version of the Spider-Verse. I feel like it’ll either succeed really well, or be quite a mess, hopefully it’ll be the former. Either way, I’m at least interested.

38. The Suicide Squad

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The Suicide Squad is a follow up to 2016 Suicide Squad, though it does seem to be more of a soft reboot than an actual sequel. There are parts of it that I’m interested in, and there are other parts that I’m not interested in.

Imprisoned convicts from Task Force X are sent on a new, sentence-easing mission to the South American island of Corto Maltese to destroy Jotunheim, a Nazi-era prison and laboratory which held political prisoners and conducted experimentations.

Reprising their roles from the previous Suicide Squad are Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, and Viola Davis. They were quite good in that first movie, I hope they also get a lot to do in this coming movie too. Additionally, there’s quite a number of great additions to the cast with Idris Elba, John Cena, Peter Capaldi, Sylvester Stallone, Pete Davidson, David Dastmalchian, Michael Rooker, Taika Waititi, and Nathan Fillion. One of the biggest selling points is James Gunn, mostly known for his recent work with the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, who’ll be the writer and director of the movie. His involvement is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. From the glimpses of behind the scenes and released footage, there are some parts of the looks that I like, and there are other parts I don’t like. The plot itself is a little more fitting for these characters, as at least from the initial description it doesn’t appear to have a world ending plot, which was a problem with the 2016 Suicide Squad. I also like how it is embracing an R rating fully, which will make sure it differentiates itself from the Gunn’s other comic book movies. I do like the GOTG movies but I’m not a massive fan of them or the style, so I’m only really mildly interested in the movie as opposed to highly anticipating it. I am rather mixed on some of what’s here, but I am interested enough to check it out in cinemas.

37. Prisoners of the Ghostland

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I know of Prisoners of the Ghostland as being a movie with Nicolas Cage, and from the premise and some of the things I’ve heard of it, it has me quite interested.

A notorious criminal, Hero (Nicolas Cage), is sent to rescue the governor’s daughter, who has disappeared into a dark supernatural universe. To escape the nightmare world, Hero must break the evil curse controlling the mysterious Ghostland.

The cast list includes Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, and Ed Skrein, which is a pretty good lineup. I’ve not really seen any of director’s Sion Sono’s films, but from what I’ve heard he’s an incredibly unique filmmaker, with a lot of crazy movies. I think there’s something worth noting, and this ultimately is what sold me on the movie so much. Nicolas Cage has said that this is the wildest movie he’s done. Considering all the movies that he made, for him to say that, it’s something. Keeping that in mind as well as the director and the given premise, I think this will be one of the craziest and memorable movies of the year.

36. Sherlock Holmes 3

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The last Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. was released back in 2011. Its ending hinted at a coming sequel, but despite it being in development for quite some time, it seemed like it would not happen. However, as it turns out, the third movie is going to happen, with Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprising their roles of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

Not much is known about this movie as this time, except the returning leads as well as the director. With the third movie, it will be Dexter Fletcher who directs instead of Guy Ritchie, who made the past two movies. Ritchie’s work in the past movies was very distinct and stylistic, and I’m not sure other directors could really replicate that. With that said, I’ve seen Fletcher’s past movies with Eddie the Eagle and Rocketman, and his work on those have been good. So despite the long wait, I’m very much looking forward to check it out.

35. Occhiali neri

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I’ve seen two of Dario Argento’s movies, Suspiria and Deep Red, but those two are enough for me to know him as a great director. The last movie he made was Dracula 3D all the way back in 2012, but now he’s making his directorial return with Occhiali neri. This alone has me quite interested in it.

Diana (Stacy Martin), a young woman who lost her sight, finds a guide in a Chinese boy named In. Together they will track down a dangerous killer through the darkness of Italy.

Suspiria and Deep Red are fantastically directed movies, and there’s plenty other of Dario Argento’s work I really want to see. With that said, I’ve not seen Argento’s more recent movies, and his later works with Dracula 3D and the like haven’t received the best critical response. Nonetheless I am curious to see him do another movie. Along with Argento directing, there’s also Stacy Martin in the lead role, Martin has delivered great performances in films like Nymphomaniac and Vox Lux. I’m looking forward to seeing the two working together. Beyond the lead and the director and the premise, there’s not a whole lot of information about the movie, the premise sounds decent enough. It’s enough to make me curious and pay attention to the movie.

34. A Quiet Place Part 2

A Quiet Place was one of the biggest surprises of 2018, a very effective horror movie, and it worked well for what it was. Because it was so successful, a sequel was greenlit with the same crew. While a sequel doesn’t seem necessary, I’m open to seeing what ideas they have in mind for the follow up.

The Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realise that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

John Krasinski returns to direct the sequel, which is good because he did a good job with the first movie. Along with the returning main characters with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as the family at the centre, you have the additions of Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou, both are very talented actors and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in this  movie. I don’t think A Quiet Place needed a sequel, it was fine as it is, but I’m hoping Part 2 proves me wrong and does something special.

33. The King’s Man

I’m a big fan of Kingsman: The Secret Service, it was something fresh and entertaining. I even liked The Golden Circle, even though it has its issues and wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. Now director Matthew Vaughn isn’t going straight into the third movie in that series, but instead directing a prequel about how the Kingsman came to be, and that’s actually something I’m willing to see.

As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man (Ralph Fiennes) and his protégé (Harris Dickinson) must race against time to stop them.

After some mixed reactions to The Golden Circle (even from those who liked the first movie), the idea of making a prequel was probably the best next move for the series. It’s definitely embracing the time period and seems different from the first two movies, yet you can clearly tell that it’s a Kingsman movie, and that it’s directed by Matthew Vaughn. The cast is large and great, with Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arteton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Daniel Bruhl, Djimon Hounsou, Charles Dance, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Stanley Tucci involved. I am actually more confident in this movie than The Golden Circle, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t end up being fun at the very least.

32. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

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This is one of the most meta movies ever, if the prospect of Nicolas Cage playing himself in a movie sounds just as appealing to you as it does to me, this should be on your anticipated list too.

A cash-strapped Nicolas Cage (Nicolas Cage) agrees to make a paid appearance at a billionaire super fan’s birthday party, but is really an informant for the CIA since the billionaire fan is a drug kingpin and gets cast in a Tarantino movie.

I think it’s pretty clear why I’m interested in this movie so much. Nicolas Cage is straight up playing a version of Nicolas Cage with his own name attached to the character. Cage (the real life Cage) has made a very insane and impressive legacy and career for himself, and the movie seems to be a homage to his very colourful history. It will also no doubt present him plenty of opportunities for him to really let loose (as he’s known for doing). Additionally, Pedro Pascal and Neil Patrick Harris are involved with the cast, both of whom I like. Now understand that the whole premise is what has me so looking forward to the movie, I’m not sure if it’s going to be any good or not. The director Tom Gormician has previously directed That Awkward Moment, which I’ve not seen but the reception of that movie seems to be a bit mixed. Whatever the case, I can’t see a situation where I don’t enjoy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent on any level.

31. After Yang

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Columbus is a great and fantastically made movie that’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. That was the first movie from director Kogonada, and I was interested in seeing what he would next make. His next project happens to be a sci-fi movie, and I’m interested in it from his past work in Columbus alone.

In a world where robotic children are purchased as live-in babysitters, a father and daughter attempt to save the life of their robotic family member, Yang, who has become unresponsive.

Columbus was a visually stunning looking movie, with an incredible atmosphere from beginning to end. While based off the plot summary After Yang is going to be a different kind of movie, I’m interested to see how Kogonada will bring those elements from his first movie here. The cast involved are also good, including Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Haley Lu Richardson being part of it. I’m curious to see how After Yang is.

30. The Power of the Dog

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I’m mainly interested in The Power of the Dog for the cast and the director. With that and the premise, I think it has some potential.

A pair of brothers who own a large ranch in Montana are pitted against each other when one of them gets married.

I’ve not watched anything from director Jane Campion but I heard that she had made some great work including Top of the Lake and The Piano. Additionally, the cast are good, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Thomasin McKenzie, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Adam Beach. I don’t have much more to say about the movie, there’s just a lot of talented people involved that I have to see how it turns out.

29. Don’t Look Up

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I’ve generally liked the movies of Adam McKay’s that I’ve seen, but it’s his more recent films with the turn towards drama that captured my attention really, with one movie being about the financial crisis of 2007-2008, and the other being a biopic of Dick Cheney. He has a new movie coming out, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

A pair of astronomers try to warn everyone on Earth that a giant meteorite will destroy the planet in six months.

First of all, the cast is absurdly large, it’s kind of ridiculous. As of right now, Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Timothee Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Himesh Patel, Kid Cudi, Matthew Perry, Tyler Perry, Ron Perlman and Chris Evans are part of the cast. It really does feel like some of these would have to be cameos or something. Adam McKay writes and directs this, and with it being a political satire disaster film, it seems like it’s right in his wheelhouse. As previously said, I’m a fan of McKay’s more recent work in The Big Short and Vice even though I know a lot of people aren’t really fans of them. Despite Vice being a biopic, it definitely leaned into some political satire in some ways, so it’ll be great to see McKay go all out with that with Don’t Look Up.

28. Pinocchio

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This is not the only movie from Guillermo del Toro on this list. I don’t think a lot of people are aware of his second 2021 movie from him, that being a Pinocchio movie of all things. Normally I wouldn’t be interested, but his name alone being attached to this project has me intrigued.

A darker version of the classic children’s fairy tale of a wooden puppet that transforms into a real living boy.

To clarify, Guillermo del Toro is co-directing with Mark Gustafson (who’s work I’m not familiar with), but del Toro being attached to it has me very interested. I haven’t seen any version of Pinocchio in movies (unless the one from Shrek counts). From what I understand though, the original story always has been a dark story, but it seems that the movie will be very dark, in the Del Toro way. With the likes of Hellboy movies, Pan’s Labyrinth and more, he’s definitely familiar with the dark fantasy genre. Pinocchio 2021 will also be stop motion animated, so I’m expecting that it will look quite unique and fantastic. There is indeed a voice cast that includes Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Ron Perlman, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, John Turturro and Burn Gorman. All things considering though, it’s Del Toro directing that has me interested most of all.

27. Bullet Train

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With the director and the cast involved, it sounds like Bullet Train could be quite good, and one of the highlight action movies of the year.

Five assassins find themselves on a Japanese bullet train, realizing that their individual assignments are not unrelated to the others.

David Leitch is a pretty good action director, with his work from directing Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, and Hobbs and Shaw, as well as co-directing John Wick. He’s definitely familiar with the genre, and with this premise I think that there’s a lot of potential. It’s not just that, Bullet Train has one of the best casts of 2021 with Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Logan Lerman, Michael Shannon, Zazie Beetz, Lady Gaga, Brian Tyree Henry, Karen Fukuhara and more. Plotwise I’m not really sure what to expect, but I think we are going to get an entertaining and well made action movie.

26. The Last Duel

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Despite a lot of his movies being relatively hit or miss, I’m always interested to see what movies Ridley Scott is directing. One of his two 2021 movies is a historical drama thriller set in medieval times, which Scott is definitely familiar with. With him as director, and a great cast lined up, The Last Duel has a lot of potential.

In 14th-century France, best friends Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) are ordered to fight to the death after Carrouges accuses Le Gris of raping his wife.

Ridley Scott as a director has been a little all over the place in recent years, in the past 8 years he directed The Martian, Alien: Covenant and All the Money in the World, but he has also directed Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Counsellor. I have no idea which category The Last Duel will fit into, but I’m sure he’ll direct the movie well enough to make it worth watching at the very least. Then you also have a pretty solid cast with Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck. Additionally, along with Nicole Holofcener (who wrote the underrated Can You Ever Forgive Me?) writing the script, Affleck and Damon will be on board writing as well, making this their first writing collaboration since Good Will Hunting. Much of the movie looks great, the one problem is the premise, which is a bit iffy to say the least. To repeat, what causes the titular last duel is one main character raping the other main character’s wife. With the movie essentially having rape as a plot device, I can see how that would turn a lot of people off, even if it’s based on fact. Aside from that, everything else about the movie looks great and has the potential to be something good.

25. Halloween Kills

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I liked 2018’s Halloween, it was a good follow up to the original movie. I also thought it was a good conclusion for the series and characters. Unfortunately, they decided that this movie would be the first in a trilogy, with Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends acting as the second and third movies. Even though they should’ve stopped the series at this point, I can’t deny that I’m at least somewhat interested in seeing what they have in store for the next instalments.

The saga of Michael Myers (Nick Castle) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) continues in the next thrilling chapter of the Halloween series.

David Gordon Green did a really good job at directing the last movie, it wasn’t that scary to me, but it was handled so well on the whole, so I’m glad that he’s returning for this movie. Additionally, you have the main cast from the previous movie returning, with Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak and Nick Castle reprising their roles. Despite my disappointment that the last movie didn’t conclude the whole series after all, there is one thing I’m confident about, and that’s the fact that they actually planned out 2 movies, with the last literally being titled Halloween Ends. This means they actually have a plan for the story arc, it’s much more contained, and aren’t going to just release more sequels (until they inevitably reboot yet again in the future). While I can certainly see how things could go wrong, I have enough confidence in the people involved to deliver another solid movie.

24. Spiral: From the Book of Saw

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While I am still catching up on watching all the Saw movies, it seems many of the movies in the series were on repeat, even if they do have a continuing and twisting plot throughout. A lot of elaborative traps, disposable 1-2 dimensional characters, and a whole lot of gore, all are to be expected from each Saw movie. With Spiral: From the Book of Saw however, it seems to be quite different, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner William Schenk (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly trapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.

For some context, Spiral came about when Chris Rock (who’s a fan of the Saw movies) pitched an idea to Lionsgate. This movie is the outcome of that, with him being an executive producer and story writer. Director Darren Lynn Bousman made Saw 2-4, someone who’s clearly familiar with the series, however from the trailer at least it seems to be quite a different movie. The trailer shows hints of the plot, no hints of Jigsaw, not a big emphasis on traps or gore. It seems more like a murder mystery then… well a Saw movie, and at this point I think that’s a good thing, with it being a refreshing instalment to the long running series. I’m interested in seeing how this movie will tie into the other Saw movies as well.

23. Candyman

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The original Candyman from the early 90s is a horror classic for sure. It did receive a couple of sequels which I hadn’t watched myself, but from what I heard wasn’t quite at the level of the first movie. I am very curious about this new Candyman movie just entitled Candyman, which is meant to be a direct ‘spiritual’ sequel to the first movie. It’s looking pretty great so far.

A “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 horror film ‘Candyman’ that returns to the now-gentrified Chicago neighborhood where the legend began.

Again, the fact that this new Candyman movie will be a spiritual sequel to the original is good, it is at least a step above being a remake. Nonetheless, not sure what the movie will be about just yet. The lead will be played by Yahya Abudul-Mateen II, and we also have Tony Todd returning, and I assume that he’s reprising his role as the Candyman. If he is, then that’s great, because he’s fantastic in that role. The trailer makes the movies look good, especially on a visual level. I’m really interested in checking it out.

22. No Sudden Move

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I’ve not seen most of Steven Soderbergh’s movies, but I generally like them, and I’m paying attention to whatever he makes next. His new movie No Sudden Move will indeed be another heist movie, but it’s not Oceans Fourteen, and looks like it will be quite an enjoyable movie.

Set in 1955 in Detroit, No Sudden Move centers on a group of small-time criminals who are hired to steal what they think is a simple document. When their plan goes horribly wrong, their search for who hired them – and for what ultimate purpose – weaves them through all echelons of the race-torn, rapidly changing city.

Steven Soderbergh is a very good director, among the highlights of the work I’ve seen from him include Traffic, Unsane, Side Effects and Contagion. I’ve heard that some of his other work is not great, but the premise of No Sudden Move sounds like something that Soderbergh would excel at. It’s not just that, the ensemble cast that Soderbergh is working with is incredibly impressive. This cast includes Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Ray Liotta, Kieran Culkin, Noah Jupe, Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, and Julia Fox, that’s an impressive lineup. Them, and the director come together to form a potentially really good movie.

21. Godzilla vs. Kong

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I liked the MonsterVerse movies, with the two recent Godzilla movies and Kong: Skull Island. Now their incarnations of Godzilla and King Kong will be clashing after years of build-up. There are some concerns that I have, but no doubt it’s something that I’m really looking forward to seeing on the big screen.

In a new world where man and monster now coexist, Monarch must lead the way to a prosperous future alongside the Titans, keeping humanity in check. However, rival factions that want to manipulate the Titans for war begin to rise under the guise of a nefarious conspiracy, threatening to wipe out all life on the planet. Meanwhile on Skull Island, strange seismic activity draws the attention of Godzilla and Kong alike.

I’ve seen some of the older King Kong and Godzilla movies (outside of Peter Jackson’s King Kong), including one of the movies where the two have fought each other. I can’t wait to see these modern incarnations of these titans clashing, especially with the fantastic visuals today. In addition to Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler returning from Godzilla: King of the Monsters, you have Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Eiza Gonzalez, Jessica Henwick and Demian Bichir being added to the cast list. I’m aware that the human characters aren’t particularly anything special in the MonsterVerse movies, but that’s nonetheless a pretty good cast. This movie is directed by Adam Wingard, who made You’re Next, The Guest, and Death Note (the latter of which wasn’t all that good), and I’m interested in seeing what he has planned for this movie. Despite the concerning amount of delays (even before the covid delay in 2020), I’m sure it will at least be something spectacular to see on the big screen.

20. The Matrix 4

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The Matrix was a massive hit upon its release and made a huge impact on film and pop culture on the whole. It was so successful it received two sequels in 2003 with Reloaded and Revolutions, making a trilogy. There have been talks of a sequel for a while, however it seemed unlikely that it would actually happen. As it turns out, there will be a 4th instalment to the series under a couple of decades since the last entry. While I admit I’m not a massive fan of the trilogy (though I do like them), I am curious to see what will happen next in the story.

As of this time, nothing about The Matrix 4’s story has been revealed, but I am curious about what direction it will go in. Lana Wachowski returns to direct, after co-writing and co-directing the previous Matrix movies with her sister Lilly. I’m glad at least one of the sisters will be directing, I can’t imagine any of the Matrix movies being made by anyone else. Of the cast from the original movies, Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne-Moss and Jada Pinkett Smith will be returning and will be great to see back (though the lack of Laurence Fishburne is noticeable). Also, newer additions to the cast include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, all of whom are also really good performers and will no doubt be good additions to the cast. I’m really not sure what to expect from The Matrix 4, but I’m interested in it for sure.

19. Eternals

As I said when talking about Black Widow, I’ve been growing less interested in the MCU. While I’m going to watch all of their upcoming movies, it will take some new places and characters to make me particularly interested in their newer instalments. Thankfully, it looks like The Eternals is going to be one of the MCU movies I’m actively looking forward to.

In a story spanning over 7000 years, the Eternals, an immortal alien race created by the Celestials, protect humanity from their evil counterparts the Deviants.

I don’t really know anything about the Eternals from the comics, what little I know is that they are a powerful race of cosmic beings who’ve been around for millions of years. Most of the MCU protagonists are human, or at least start as such, so to immediately start off and take place in this kind of world, it sounds exciting. You also have a great cast, with the likes of Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Barry Keoghan, Gemma Chan and Kit Harington. The director is Chloe Zhao, and while I haven’t seen The Rider, her work on Nomadland is nothing short of spectacular. If she really was given as much creative freedom as she said, then this has the potential to be something incredible. Most MCU movies are decent at least, and I’m sure that the Eternals will be good too, but I also think it has the opportunity to be one of the most unique entries in the series.

18. Soggy Bottom

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Paul Thomas Anderson is a great director, his movies range from being good to absolutely masterful. So, I’m naturally interested in whatever he makes, no matter what the premise is. Not quite sure what to expect from his next movie Soggy Bottom (if PTA is really going to stick with this title), but I know that I’m going to watch it day one.

Paul Thomas Anderson has directed some incredible movies, including There Will Be Blood, Phantom Thread and Magnolia. So we already that it will be very well shot and made, and pretty much perfect on a technical level. There’s also a good cast involved, including Bradley Cooper and Benny Safdie. The lead is even played by the son of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Cooper Hoffman. From early reports, Soggy seems to be about a high school student (played by Cooper Hoffman) who becomes a famous child actor in the 1970s. That idea sounds decent, if a little underwhelming, given that it’s the next movie from PTA. Then again, I remember being particularly uninterested going into his last movie Phantom Thread based off the premise, and it ended up being one of my favourite movies of that year. So I’m open to see how the film turns out when it releases.

17. Those Who Wish Me Dead

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Taylor Sheridan showed himself to be a good writer, and then director with Wind River, so I’m generally interested in what he does next. His next film certainly sounds like it could be another solid film from Sheridan, and there’s a lot of talented people involved.

A female-driven neo-Western set against a wildfire in the Montana wilderness. A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert (Angelina Jolie) tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.

Again, Taylor Sheridan is a big reason why I’m so interested in this movie. This is not the only neo-Western that Sheridan has written with Hell or High Water and Wind River, the latter of which he directed. He’s great at this sort of sub genre, and so I’m pretty confident that the writing and directing side will be top notch. On top of that it has a talented cast with Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Tyler Perry, Jon Bernthal, and Aiden Gillen. My excitement is all just based off the talent involved, and I hope it all pays off well.

16. Gucci

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Like what I said with my bit on The Last Duel, I’m always paying attention to what Ridley Scott is making, even if he can be hit or miss with much of his movies. Gucci has a pretty good premise at it is, and if done right could be among Scott’s best recent movies.

The story of how Patrizia Reggian (Lady Gaga)i, the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), plotted to kill her husband, the grandson of renown fashion designer Guccio Gucci.

I know pretty much nothing about Gucci, however just the premise alone has me quite interested, it could be something quite great. Ridley Scott is a great director, and this is one of his most interesting projects that he’s signed onto, definitely more so than The Last Duel at the very least. Additionally the cast in this is quite talented with Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jeremy Irons and potentially Al Pacino and Jack Huston. The premise and talent involve have me paying attention to this movie.

15. The Lost Daughter

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The Lost Daughter will be Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut. That, the premise and the cast involved has me quite interested.

A woman (Olivia Colman), while on a summer holiday, finds herself becoming obsessed with another woman and her daughter, prompting memories of her own early motherhood to come back and unravel her.

The Lost Daughter is based on a book of the same name, which I’m not familiar with. The premise does sound interesting, enough to get me on board with it to watch. Also, I’m interested to see how Gyllenhaal does as a director. Another large reason I’m interested in the movie is the cast, which is massively talented consisting of the likes of Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Olivia Jackson-Cohen and Ed Harris. The premise and talent involved alone has me on board to check it out.

14. Don’t Worry Darling

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Don’t Worry Darling has me mainly interested with the people involved with it, both with the director and actors. Additionally with it being a horror and psychological thriller with a premise with potential, it does interest me quite a bit.

An unhappy housewife (Florence Pugh) in the 1950s is discovering a disturbing truth, while her loving husband (Harry Styles) hides a dark secret.

I will say that I was unfortunately one of the only people who didn’t like Booksmart, but I thought that Olivia Wilde’s direction in it was good, and was looking forward to seeing what she did next. The prospect of her directing a psychological thriller has me very interested in seeing what he does with that. Then there’s the actors involved. First of all you have Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in the lead roles, Pugh has been on fire with plenty of great performances recently, and while I haven’t seen a lot from Styles, his performance in Dunkirk does show him to be a solid actor. The rest of the cast also includes Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne and Wilde herself, and they’ll no doubt provide a good supporting cast for the movie. There seems to be a lot of secrecy surrounding the movie, and with that and the talent involved, I am very curious about this movie.

13. The French Dispatch

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I had been catching up on Wes Anderson’s whole filmography recently. While I’m not sure I’d call him one of my favourite directors, I really do like his movies and I love The Grand Budapest Hotel. I definitely appreciate him as a filmmaker, and I’ll for sure check out any future movies he puts out. I’m not exactly sure what The French Dispatch is supposed to be at this time, but I’m getting the feeling that it’ll really surprise me.

A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in “The French Dispatch” magazine.

Whether you love, hate or are indifferent to Wes Anderson, you can’t deny that he makes movies like no other director. I’m not really sure what to expect with the given premise but I’m interested to see what he does, especially with his distinct style. As per typical of Anderson, he has a phenomenal cast, and it’s actually overwhelming how large it is. Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Timothee Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, Benicio del Toro, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Kate Winslet, Elisabeth Moss, Willem Dafoe, Christoph Waltz, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman are just some of the names involved in the cast of this movie. With that cast and Wes Anderson directing, I’m looking forward to watching The French Dispatch whenever it comes out.

12. Decision to Leave

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While I haven’t watched as many Chan-wook Park as I would like, he’s definitely a great director, whose work I’m interested in checking out. Decision to Leave will be his first movie since The Handmaiden, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s doing next.

A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains meets the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing.

From what I can tell, Decision to Leave will be a romantic murder mystery, and I’m interested in seeing Chan-wook Park’s take on this. From watching Oldboy, The Handmaiden, Thirst and I’m a Cyborg but That’s Ok, it’s clear that he’s a masterful filmmaker, and his involvement alone has me looking forward to his latest film.

11. Blonde

While biopics can be very typical and usually end up being just a display of some good acting at best (at worst its failed Oscar bait), the upcoming film about Marilyn Monroe sounds like it’ll be very interesting. The talent involved is difficult to ignore, and the story and movie on the whole seems like it’ll be anything but conventional.

A fictionalized take on the life of Marilyn Monroe (Ana de Armas).

Andrew Dominick is quite a talented filmmaker, with Chopper and Killing Them Softly, but of course he’s known for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which was masterful. For him to take on this story, I’m definitely intrigued. Ana de Armas has been a rising star these past years, with the likes of War Dogs, Blade Runner 2049 and more recently Knives Out. Now she’s in the lead role as Marilyn Monroe, and just from the set pictures, she at least looks the part, and I have no doubt that she’ll also bring it on the acting side too. You also have Adrien Brody, and Bobby Cannavale in supporting roles. A great director and cast could still result in a typical biopic, however, the source material its based off is quite unique. Blonde is based off the historical novel of the same name, and according to the author, it’s a work of fiction that shouldn’t be regarded as a direct biography of Monroe’s life. I haven’t read the book myself, but it does sound like there’s potential there for an interesting movie. Also, according to Dominik (who wrote the script in addition to directing) “the script contains little dialogue and he has described the film as being an avalanche of images and events”. I’m all for unconventional biopics, and Blonde could end up being a complete surprise.

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth

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The story of Macbeth has been told so many times, and that also means plenty of adaptations on the big screen. The last major on-screen adaptation I’m aware of was 5 years ago, and so naturally the idea of yet another Macbeth movie sounds rather tired. However, there’s something special with the latest adaptation, that being the involvement of the Coen Brothers (or rather one Coen Brother), that alone has me incredibly looking forward to it.

After being convinced by three witches, a Scottish Lord sets out to become the King of Scotland.

The Tragedy of Macbeth will be the first film directed by just one Coen Brother, in this case Joel Coen. The writing and direction by the Coens are great and truly unique, and the idea of Joel Coen taking on the classic story of Macbeth does interest me quite a bit. Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand will play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth respectively, both of them are powerhouse performers who will no doubt be great in their parts. Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Harry Melling and Ralph Ineson are also part of the cast, they are good actors too who will no doubt deliver too. I’m not expecting the story to change that much, but I’m nonetheless interested to see how it is done by Coen.

9. Old

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M. Night Shyamalan’s comeback has been really great to see. After returning to his roots with The Visit, and continuing strong with Split and Glass (the latter two being amongst his best work), it’s pretty clear he’s still got it as a director. Very little is known about his next movie titled Old at this time, but I’m already on board with it.

While we don’t know anything about the plot of Old itself, we do know that it will be a thriller, and that it will be based off a graphic novel named Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy. Apparently “The events are set in motion when a group of people find a dead body on a beach and slowly realize there is something unnatural happening on that beach.” The story has been described as an existential horror story about the inevitability of death, and I’m interested in seeing how Shyamalan handles that. Old however apparently won’t be a straight adaptation, which is why it’s merely inspired by Sandcastle rather than being based on it outright, nonetheless it does have me intrigued. On top of the director and premise, there’s also a great cast in Eliza Scanlen, Rufus Sewell, Thomasin McKenzie, Alex Wolff, Vicky Krieps and Abbey Lee. With all of these factors being considered, I’m really interested in how Old will turn out.

8. Mission Impossible 7

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The Mission Impossible series has been continuously improving with every instalment (with the exception of Mission Impossible 2). Even then, Mission Impossible: Fallout released back in 2018 caught me off guard by how great it was. It was an engaging action movie, with incredibly practical action sequences, for sure one of the best action movies released in recent years. With the same team returning for the 7th instalment, I am looking forward to immensely.

I remember being a little disappointed that Fallout would be directed once again by Christopher McQuarrie after making Rogue Nation, breaking the conventions of a different director for each entry in the series. However after Fallout, I’m on board with him doing plenty more movies in the series. We are already know the stunts are going to be great, with every instalment featuring some particularly impressive practical stunt. Fallout was full of them, and I’m looking forward to the exciting set pieces that the 7th film will have. We’ve also got Mission Impossible cast members returning in Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby and Angela Bassett. Additionally there’s Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham and Esai Morales who have been added to the cast, I’m looking forward to seeing their parts in the story too. It’s really hard to imagine the 7th film topping Fallout, but if it’s anyone where that level at all, I can’t wait for it.

7. Army of the Dead

Zombie movies don’t excite me immensely, there’s only a select number of them that I particularly like a lot. One of those is Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead, and with Army of the Dead he’ll be returning to that genre, and with it being a zombie heist film, I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with that.

Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

Zack Snyder’s debut film Dawn of the Dead really stood out among modern zombie movies and it was mostly to do with his direction. 17 years later, I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll bring to his next zombie movie. It seems that Netflix are all in with this movie too, given that they have already planned some spin-offs. It was announced that a prequel film and anime television series are in development to expand the franchise. That shows the level of confidence that Netflix have in it, they clearly figured that they have a hit on their hands and that has me even more excited. I’m not expecting it to be groundbreaking, but I get the feeling that it’ll be something fun at the very least.

6. The Green Knight

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I’ve liked the movies I’ve seen from director David Lowery, with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon and especially A Ghost Story. So I’m open to seeing any new movies from him, and his latest movie with The Green Knight looks like it could be one of his best movies, certainly one of the most exciting films of 2021.

A fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) and the Green Knight.

David Lowery is a very talented director as shown in his previous movies, so he’s definitely got a good handle of this movie. The Green Knight also has a pretty good cast, with Dev Patel, Barry Keoghan, Ralph Ineson, Alicia Vikander, Kate Dickie, and Sean Harris involved. The story is apparently based of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which is apparently a classic tale, but I’m not familiar with that. I was originally just interested in the movie because of the talent involved. However with the brief trailer that was released, I’m really loving the vibes and look of the movie, and I get the feeling I’m going to love this movie.

5. No Time to Die

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No Time to Die will be the final film with Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond (who is by far my favourite version of the character), so it’s quite a big movie. Add on top of that the talent involved, and it seems like it could be something special.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain (Rami Malek) armed with dangerous new technology.

There is a lot of talent involved with this movie. Along with Daniel Craig, you have returning Bond actors with Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Rory Kinnear and even Christoph Waltz reprising their roles from the past movies. The new cast are also good, with Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas, Billy Magnussen and Rami Malek, the latter of whom will be playing the main villain. However that’s not all that excites me, the director of this is Cary Fukunaga, I have seen his work on Maniac. While I haven’t seen his work on True Detective Season 1, Beasts of No Nation or Jane Eyre, I’m aware that he’s a very talented filmmaker. For him to take on a James Bond film, I can only imagine how incredible it’ll be. The trailer itself certainly indicates that the movie has a lot of promise. I remember having some issues with Spectre, mainly for the mix of old and new Bond. However it seems like No Time to Die has the right level, having the right amount of Bondisms, as well as having a dark, character driven and genuinely great story. From the talent involved to the looks that we had of the movie, it looks great and I can’t wait to see how it turns out, despite all the delays.

4. Last Night in Soho

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I generally like Edgar Wright, I love his Cornetto trilogy and I liked Scott Pilgrim and Baby Driver a fair bit. However there’s something about the brief descriptions about Last Night in Soho which has me particularly excited for it. From the talent involved and the premise, it looks like it could be something truly special, and potentially Wright’s best film.

A young girl (Thomasin McKenzie), passionate in fashion design, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer (Anya Taylor-Joy). But 1960s London is not what it seems, and time seems to fall apart with shady consequences.

First of all, you have a great cast involved. Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie are in the lead roles, both of whom are some of the most exciting actors working today, and I can’t wait to see their work here. The supporting cast including Matt Smith, Terrence Stamp and Diana Riggs are also good. Edgar Wright has proven to be a very talented filmmaker, known for his very snappy and sharp style that works well. Last Night in Soho would be something new from him however, a psychological horror, and it’s said to be inspired by other horror films like Don’t Look Now and Repulsion. That excites and intrigues me immensely, and I can’t wait to see it.

3. Nightmare Alley

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I’m a fan of Guillermo del Toro’s, and naturally I’m interested in whatever he’s working on. His next movie, since the Oscar winning Shape of Water, sounds very intriguing, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with this.

An ambitious carny (Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is.

No trailer or footage has been released so far, but the set pictures and the premise does have me very interested. The cast is great with Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Richard Jenkins, Toni Collette and many more, I’m interested to see their work. Guillermo del Toro’s direction is great in all his movies, and while Nightmare Alley won’t be a horror movie, it will be a psychological thriller, and I’m looking forward to his take on that. I’m expecting another great film from Del Toro.

2. Zack Snyder’s Justice League

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The Justice League movie released back in 2017 was one of the most disappointing movies I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty clear what happened behind the scenes, Joss Whedon took over for Zack Snyder as director and completely changed everything, with bad reshoots and editing. Even before the director’s change though, there was pressure on Snyder from WB to change certain elements. Ever since the movie’s theatrical release, people have been calling for the Snyder Cut to be released. It seemed like it would be one of those things that would never happen beyond a documentary about what could’ve been. However in March it actually was confirmed that it would come, and I am incredibly excited for it.

Following the death of Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Batman and Wonder Woman recruit the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to form the Justice League and protect the world from Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons, who seek the three Mother Boxes.

It’s known that Zack Snyder’s directors’ cuts are much better than the theatrical cuts. However, this new cut is not just a new cut, but a completely different movie in itself. It’s a large scale epic, with a huge amount of world building, character development and the like. This means that Zack is able to go back and change things to how he wants, and complete his uncompromised vision. This even means being able to revert the villain Steppenwolf’s design back to the original design, changing Superman’s suit to black (like he wanted to), and being able to release not a 3 hour cut, but a 4 hour cut. I can’t wait to see what Snyder has in store for his Justice League.

1. Dune

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Dune was my most anticipated movie of 2020 and was unfortunately one of the movies that were pushed back. I’m not familiar with the source material, I only know Dune from watching David Lynch’s own attempt at adapting the source material. But from the trailer, combined with the fact that Denis Villeneuve is directing it, I couldn’t be more excited for it.

A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

You’ve got a truly excellent cast involved, with the likes of Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Stellen Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, David Dastmalchian and more involved. And let’s not forget that Villeneuve is directing this, he’s one of the best filmmakers working today. He already took on the daunting task of directing a sequel to Blade Runner, one of the most iconic sci-fi movies of all time. Now he is taking on adapting a highly significant and influential sci-fi novel. From the trailer that was released, it looks great and on such a large scale. This movie will cover roughly the first half of the Dune story, which is good as this means that the story gets to be spread across two movies, but will be a problem if this movie doesn’t do well enough to get a follow up. I do sincerely fear that this movie won’t do well with audiences, as most people don’t even know what Dune is. Whatever the case, the prospect of a Denis Villeneuve directed Dune just sounds overwhelmingly amazing, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.

What are your most anticipated movies of 2021?

David Fincher Films Ranked

David Fincher Ranked

With Mank out now, I decided to have a look back at director David Fincher’s past movies and rank them.

David Fincher is one of my favourite directors of all time. Fincher is known as being a perfectionist, with his meticulous attention to detail when it comes to the visual style and performances on displays. He has established himself as one of the most distinct, known and revered filmmakers of modern film. Most of his films explore the dark impulses of humanity; things such as jealousy, perversion, and compulsion. They aren’t particularly upbeat by any means, but I love watching them.

I’d consider all of his movies to be really good at worst, and excellent at best. Even the movies lower on this list have a lot of great stuff in it.

11. Panic Room

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Most people would have another Fincher film in the last place, but for this I’ll have Panic Room. A home invasion thriller, while it’s a fairly standard entry in the genre, it is made distinct and unique by how incredibly directed it is.

It’s a pretty familiar and conventional home invasion movie, but the script despite some faults is reasonably strong, and the movie is quite entertaining and tense throughout. The cast are all good in their parts from Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart through to Forrest Whitaker and Jared Leto. However it’s Fincher’s direction which makes it stand out so much. Stylish, dark, claustrophobic and tense, it really locks you into this one house that the movie largely takes place in from beginning to end. There’s not much about the movie that is bad, or anything concrete that firmly places it in the last place in his filmography, it’s just not quite at the level of his other movies.

My review of Panic Room

10. Alien 3: Assembly Cut

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Alien 3 is widely known as David Fincher’s worst movie by most, and even he disowned the movie, mainly because it is known as one of the most infamous cases of studio interference in a movie. However, I do like Alien 3 a lot more than most, specifically the Assembly Cut, which has been gaining something of a cult following. It’s definitely flawed but it has some great aspects to it too that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Instead of taking the easy path and following in line with the previous movie in the franchise with Aliens, Alien 3 not only moves closer in line to the original Alien, but it establishes itself as its own movie with its own unique style, and is considerably bleaker and more nihilistic. That naturally alienated some fans but I was on board with the new direction. One of Alien 3’s greatest strengths is that it is directed incredibly well by David Fincher. The creative filming, the stunning cinematography and the horror scenes, his work here was great. Along with some good supporting performances in the cast in Charles Dance and Charles S. Dutton, Sigourney Weaver gives her best performance as Ellen Ripley here. That’s not to say that there aren’t some issues with the movie. The CGI moments of the xenomorph have not aged well, and you can still tell that the movie has been greatly interfered with. Overall though, I thought it was a fitting conclusion to the Ellen Ripley Alien trilogy. If you haven’t already seen Alien 3, watch the Assembly Cut, it’s well worth your time.

My review of Alien 3: Assembly Cut

9. The Game

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The Game isn’t one of Fincher’s stronger movies but I’d say that it is one of his more underrated work. Suspenseful, unique and weird, it’s a pretty good thriller overall, even if you have to suspend your disbelief quite a lot.

David Fincher spins an incredibly entertaining and unpredictable thriller, which escalates as the story continues and becomes crazier and crazier. There are twists and turns and keeps you interested right to the very end. Fincher’s direction is great, slick and stylised, with an intoxicating atmosphere through great cinematography and camerawork. While his character wasn’t that interesting of a protagonist, Michael Douglas’s performance made him really work, and he conveyed all the emotion that was required. The third act and the reveal in that final act is for sure far fetched, and it raises a ton of unanswered questions which really hurts the movie. It’s understandable that it’s the biggest criticism for most people, however I went along with it alright. The Game was worth going into not knowing much, it was a nice surprise when I first saw it and I even enjoyed it more on a second viewing.

My review of The Game

8. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of Fincher’s lesser liked movies. It’s one of his most ‘award’s baity’ movies and it doesn’t even seem like one of his movies. It was the last movie I had yet to watch from him and it turned out to be quite great, even if it’s the film in his filmography I’m least likely to revisit.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is David Fincher’s Forrest Gump, a period piece movie following an individual over the course of their unusual and extraordinary life. It just so happens that the individual is an old Brad Pitt aging backwards. I won’t deny that it is a pretty odd movie for Fincher to take on, but I think there’s a lot of merit to it. It’s by far Fincher’s most emotional movie, as it examines life from an unconventional angle. The cast are great with Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton and others giving really solid performances, even if they aren’t the highlight of the movie. It doesn’t look like a Fincher movie, but he nonetheless directs it incredibly well. Beautifully shot and with incredible special effects (particularly to make Brad Pitt able to portray Benjamin Button at different stages of his life), it holds up fairly well today. If you haven’t seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button already, I do highly recommend watching it and seeing it for yourself. It is emotional yet somewhat uplifting, and well worth your time.

My review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

7. Mank

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Mank is the latest film from David Fincher, and it just so happens to be his most different and his least accessible movie for audiences, requiring a knowledge or interest in old Hollywood and/or Citizen Kane. It wasn’t quite what I expected really and so far the response from most people has been a bit polarised, but I thought that it turned out to be quite great.

Mank is once again another very well made movie from David Fincher, and while I really wasn’t expecting much from it considering it’s about the writing of Citizen Kane, it surprised me. The movie wasn’t just about Citizen Kane, it was about the life of protagonist Herman J. Mankiewicz and Hollywood in the 30s and 40s, as well as politics at that time, which helped influence some of the elements in Mank’s screenplay for Citizen Kane. It is also one of the most scathing critiques of Hollywood I’ve seen. The script from Fincher’s late father Jack is great, and I was quite intrigued during the movie, at least once I figured out what it was really about. The performances all across the board were fantastic; Gary Oldman gives a career best performance as Mank, Amanda Seyfried is fantastic, Lily Collins is really good, and Charles Dance also really stands out in his limited screentime. The direction from Fincher is also a shining point, much like with Benjamin Button, you wouldn’t recognise that he directed it if you didn’t know that going in. Such great measures are taken to set it and make it look like it is on film, impressive considering that it was filmed on digital. Everything from the black and white cinematography, lighting, editing and the score comes together to form a film that’s just about technically perfect. Even though this is likely one of Fincher’s least rewatchable movies, I still consider it to be quite great, and one of the best films of 2020.

My review of Mank

6. Gone Girl

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On paper, Gone Girl seems very much in Fincher’s wheelhouse and looks like something he could make in his sleep, but what starts out as a pulpy possible murder mystery turns out to be a lot more than just that. Gone Girl is great, and on repeat viewings it’s even better, as you see how incredibly well crafted it is. Among his greatest films

I won’t get too into why this movie is so good because that would involve touching upon some significant spoilers. However I will say that all around this movie is very well made and put together. The script from Gillian Flynn, who adapted her own novel of the same name exceptionally, is fantastic. It subverts the usually straight faced murder mystery and is an effective satire and commentary about marriage and media politics. On first time viewings, it keeps the audience guessing and guessing how it would all end, with plenty of twists, turns and reveals. The performances are all great. Ben Affleck gives a believable and effective performance on his part, and Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry and more all do great work in the supporting cast. However, it’s Rosamund Pike. who gives a pitch perfect performance as the complex character of Amy Dunne, who stands out among them all, taking this movie to a whole other level. David Fincher’s work as a director is once again amazing. Gone Girl is incredibly well crafted, stunningly shot, and does very well at making you feel uneasy and unsettled, from the editing to the score. One of the more disturbing films in Fincher’s filmography (mostly on a psychological level), Gone Girl is truly great. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend going into it knowing next to nothing, it’s quite an experience.

My review of Gone Girl

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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As we all know, David Fincher directs thrillers very well, and so he was the perfect person to direct the American adaptation of hit Swedish book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’ve not seen the Swedish movies so I can’t say for certain which I consider better, but I consider the 2011 movie on its own to be fantastic. While it’s generally well received, I actually do love this movie more than most people.

Despite it being an American and Hollywood production, when you imagine an American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, what would initially come to mind certainly isn’t this. It’s committed to being quite bleak and dark mystery thriller, with a long runtime and a complex and incredibly engaging story. The cast all give tremendous performances, Daniel Craig gives an understated and truly effective performance but it’s of course Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander who shines the most, with such a phenomenal presence and being both imposing and empathetic when on screen. Fincher’s direction might actually be the star of the whole film, it’s so well put together, and has this bleak feeling that really works in the film’s favour. It’s edited to perfection, keeping you constantly locked in and goes quite a long way to keep you constantly invested and on board with everything that happens. It’s also a stunning looking movie, it is so atmospheric and understated that the visuals draws you into this world and setting immediately, and the chilling score elevates the tension and fear. It’s a shame that Fincher and co. weren’t able to complete the rest of the trilogy. Some people may consider it one of Fincher’s weaker work, but I consider it to be one of his best.

My review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

These next 4 movies are very close, and I’d say that they are interchangeable.

4. Fight Club

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Fight Club was very controversial and divisive upon its release. However from the point it released on home media, it grew a cult following and now it is widely regarded as an all time classic. Angry, stylised, satirical and entertaining from beginning to end, it’s well deserving of all its acclaim. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should watch it as soon as you can knowing as little as possible.

Despite all the misinterpretations and some of its bad reputation, Fight Club is unironically an intelligent and well-made movie, it really was ahead of its time, with its commentary about capitalism, mental health and masculinity. It’s highly influential and had a massive impact (for better and ford worse). Also rewatching it recently it was much funnier than I remembered, with pitch black humour injected into the movie throughout. The story and characters are incredibly twisted but had me on board and entertained from beginning to end. Fincher’s direction was great, very stylised, and really puts you in the head of the main character. The cast all do great work, mainly Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter, with the first two giving some of their all time best performances. It used to be my favourite of Fincher’s movies, and it still remains one of his best movies for sure.

My review of Fight Club

3. The Social Network

The Social Network is quite possibly David Fincher’s most acclaimed movie of his entire career. The story of Facebook doesn’t sound interesting on paper, but Fincher, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and co. took this story and made it into a riveting and phenomenal movie, which I would class as a modern classic.

The Social Network is amazing on pretty much every level. Aaron Sorkin’s script and has you kept interested, entertained and invested throughout the whole story. It’s very fast paced, snappy, and the dialogue is perfect, drawing you into absolutely everything that’s happening. The acting all around was great, Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, Justin Timberlake and more give incredible performances in their parts. This script is already fantastic, but it’s also paired with David Fincher’s perfect direction, which takes it to another level and puts it on the screen in the best way possible. The scenes are filled with such intensity, style and are very sleek. The whole movie is edited fantastically, there really was no fat left over, and conveys so many information within 2 hours. It cuts between multiple points in time and yet you can follow everything very well. It’s one of those movies that every time I revisit it, I’m blown away at just how amazingly made it was. All around, The Social Network is an incredible movie, and again, is a classic.

My review of The Social Network

2. Se7en

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Se7en is David Fincher’s first movie after his difficult experience with making Alien 3, it really showed everyone his strongest talents and that he’s a fantastic director. It’s an incredible well made piece of filmmaking that still holds up 25 years later.

Se7en is one of the best neo noir films for sure. The story is far from predictable, with a well thought out script with plenty of twists and turns that keeps you invested. It’s very intriguing and entertaining as we are looking into this mystery along with the main characters. It takes you to an incredibly impactful memorable finale, and while there’s plenty of jokes surrounding it mainly around a now iconic line, it’s a genuine haunting and affecting ending to an already dark story. The performances are fantastic from everyone especially Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, who make for a great dynamic. Fincher directed Se7en greatly with such a dark and stunning visual style and effective disturbing imagery that heightened the tension, showing enough to unsettle you but not too much that it feels like it’s trying too hard. Among one of my favourite films of all time and essential viewing for sure.

My review of Se7en

1. Zodiac

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Zodiac is David Fincher’s most complex movie to date, an excellently made and intriguing mystery thriller based on true events. With this film, Fincher is at the top of his game, and it is a masterpiece for sure.

Zodiac works excellently on every single level. The script is perfect, it engages the viewer with its great dialogue, and the screenplay is packed with witty dialogue and interesting characters. There was a lot of attention to detail, from the writing to the direction. We are discovering the mystery alongside the main characters, and the time really flies by as you become just as obsessed as they are. It keeps you engaged and interested in every twist and turn, and never loses you. The cast are great, especially the three main leads in Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. Of course, Fincher directs incredibly well. It’s perfect on a technical level, very well shot and accurately recreates a vision of 1970s’s San Francisco. It may not be as dark as Se7en or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but the fact that Zodiac is based on true story, and a case that wasn’t really solved, makes it even more unsettling and haunting. The moments of tension and suspense were nervewrecking, from the Zodiac killing scenes to the iconic basement scene. Above all else, Zodiac is Fincher’s most complete movie, along with The Social Network. I’ve seen it so many times and like all of Fincher’s films, it gets better with every viewing.

My review of Zodiac

How would you rank David Fincher’s filmography?