A View from Stanage Edge in the Peak District

My Favourite Films

(Published: 1 March 2006 / Updated: 14 October 2017)

Here's a list of my favourite films and why I rate them so highly.



Firstly, let me get a bit of pedantry out of the way - I prefer to use the term "film" rather than "movie". I don't quite know how I've arrived at that preference, but I think it's got something to do with associating "movies" with something 'main-stream' and 'throw-away', whereas, I seem to have a tendency to associate "Film" with something much more serious, thought-provoking and worthwhile. It's not really a hard and fast rule, but I do often find myself going back and correcting "movie" to "film" whenever I'm writing about films.

I'm not a film critic. I don't review films objectively and I don't go to see films where the subject matter is of no interest to me. I watch films about subjects that I like and rate them based on my feelings at the time of viewing and more often that not, I might re-evaluate my rating after subsequent viewings or if a similar film comes along that does a better job of exploring the subject.

It will quickly become apparent that my favourite genre is "Science Fiction" - this is mainly because I read a lot of science fiction as a child and I do like to watch films that require a certain amount of attention from the viewer and are also able to provide a certain amount of "food for thought".

Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy the big block-buster spectaculars, but I'm much more likely to forget about those the moment I leave the cinema, whereas a 'thought provoking' film can give me a lasting source of inspiration for new ideas.

I also have a bias towards films from the 1980's - I have fond memories of growing up and seeing certain films at certain times in my life, so watching them now is very much a nostalgia trip that I can indulge in.

I do seem to be in a minority with my film preferences - in the past, my film recommendations to friends have not gone down well, though positive feedback does improve as I get to know a friend's preferred film type.

I've also noticed that there's a definite trend when it comes to rating sequels - more often than not I tend to favour the first film of a successful series. This doesn't mean that I don't care for the sequels. I do. But, more often than not, I find the first film in a series does the most thorough examination of a new idea and then the follow-on films are just a variation of a theme set up in the first - these "cash cows" are then quickly turned around and milked relentlessly until the novelty of the idea has worn off and the inward flow of money has reduced to a trickle.

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My Ratings System

I often look at the user ratings on IMDB as an indicator of how good a film is. Unfortunately, a films rating is often at odds with my own because user ratings are more an indicator of popularity rather than a measure of 'how good' a film is. My '8' film is someone else's '6' film.

If you think about it, a film with the broadest appeal will attract the highest ratings - conversely a lower rated film might be a really good film, but only appealed to a narrow section of the audience because the rest just didn't 'get it'.

So, whereas the IMDB rating is a linear scale from 1 to 10, my rating scale is not:

  • 01 Rubbish
  • 02 Terrible
  • 03 Bad
  • 04 Disappointing
  • 05 Okay / Average
  • 06 Good
  • 07 Very Good- a film that I enjoyed, but probably won't see again
  • 08 Excellent- a film that I would happily watch again.
  • 09 Brilliant - a film that I would watch again several times - a bit like a favourite record.
  • 10 Exceptional- a film that has somehow 'gotten in my head'.

My scale isn't linear - the 'gaps' between rating values are not even. I've rated nearly 2,000 films and most of the ratings are between 4 and 6 - this might look like I'm under-rating films, but actually, this type of rating system makes more sense. Very few films should get a score of 8 and above, otherwise you wouldn't be able to recognise the best films.

The films on this page all have a rating of 8 to 10 on my scale. The only reason that I give a film a rating is so I can compare it with other films that I have rated - comparing my ratings with yours is probably going to be a meaningless exercise.

The plot summaries are from IMDB.

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Science Fiction Films

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Genres: Adventure / Mystery / Sci-Fi

IMDB - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Plot Summary:

The monoliths have been watching us. They gave us the "evolutionary kick in the pants" we needed to survive at the Dawn of Time. In 1999, we discovered a second monolith on the moon. Now, in the year 2001, the S.S. Discovery and its crew, Captains Dave Bowman and Frank Poole, and their on-board computer, HAL-9000, must discover what alien force is watching us...

My Comment:

Arthur C Clarke (the Author of 2001) once said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magic." So, did our ancestors really worship 'spiritual' gods or did they in fact come into contact with highly advanced beings who descended from 'heaven'?

A top Science fiction story exploring the origins and evolution of mankind and the future of our species. Baffles many, affects few.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Aliens (1986)

Genres: Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi

IMDB - Aliens (1986)

Plot Summary:

The only survivor of the Nostromo, Ripley is discovered in deep sleep half a century later by a salvage ship. When she is taken back to Earth, she learns that a human colony was founded on the same planet where the aliens were first found. After contact with the colony is lost, she finds herself sent back to the planet along with a team of warriors bent on destroying the alien menace forever, and saving any survivors -- if any remain.

My Comment:

This sequel bucks the trend for me - although Ridley Scott's original film is still a classic, I actually enjoyed this big-budget over-blown sequel more.

Action-packed and gung-ho. The best of the series.

My Rating: 9 out 10 - Brilliant.

Blade Runner (1982)

Genres: Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller

IMDB - Blade Runner (1982)

Plot Summary:

The year is 2019. The setting is Los Angeles, a huge, sprawling, urban jungle that is home to a diminishing population who must endure the radiation left over from the nuclear war. Their only hope of escape is a space shuttle ticket to the Off-World colonies, where most of the Earth's population have already fled.

Deckard is a Blade Runner, a police-sponsored Bounty Hunter of the future, who hunts down and terminates artificially created human beings, known as 'Replicants'.

He had already left the job through mental 'burn out', but is pulled back from retirement by his old boss Harry Bryant, when 4 "skin jobs" hijack an Off-world shuttle and return to Earth.

Deckard must hunt down and 'retire' the 'illegals' before the rest of the population figure out what's going on and take matters into their own hands.

My Comment:

With it's fantastic, incredibly detailed visuals, lavish musical score and thought provoking storyline, Blade Runner is simply the best film I ever seen.

Since it's release in 1982, Blade Runner has attracted a loyal following of dedicated fans who continue to discuss and analyse every last detail of this incredibly complex film.

This is not a Hollywood blockbuster action film - instead it questions what it is to be human and how do we differentiate ourselves from animals.

The film is jammed packed with all sorts of references and must be viewed several times - you'll notice something new every time and be amazed at what you missed in the previous viewings.

This is Harrison Ford's best film although Rutger Hauer does steal it from him at the end.

The music score by Vangelis must be the best movie soundtrack ever recorded - it's available on CD and is a must if you enjoy the film.

Although, this film is based on the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by Philip K Dick, it is not a direct translation and therefore is significantly different from the book.

There are 3 distinct versions of the film; a Work-Print version (preview screenings 1982), a Theatrical/Voice-Over version (cinema release 1982) and a Director's Cut version (cinema release 1992).

To mark the 25th anniversary of the original cinema release, a new 'Special Edition' DVD set is due out in 2007 containing the 3 versions mentioned plus a new Director's 'Final Cut' version. I recommend you see them all.

In my opinion, this is the best science fiction film yet made.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Genres: Mystery / Sci-Fi / Thriller

IMDB - Blade Runner 2049 (2049)

Plot Summary:

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

My Comment:

I'm writing these comments the day after my first viewing and have realised that I haven't really absorbed everything from that first run-through.

I never asked for a sequel and always feared the worst - in the end, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved.

I was worried that this sequel would go the way of so many others - the dreaded "reboot". But, even though Ridley Scott didn't direct this film, he was involved with it's production and with the help of Hampton Fancher, the screen writer who adapted Philip K Dick's book for the first film, Ridley has ensured that this sequel adheres to the look and feel of his original work.

Not only does this film manage to present a believable world 30 years on from the original story, but it also expands the scope of the themes and the number of unique locations for the characters to inhabit.

Some film-goers have expressed their displeasure at the length of the film - at nearly 3 hours, I can appreciate that if you're not enjoying it, then that is a long time to "not enjoy" something. But my experience was enjoyable and I never found myself looking at my watch to see how much longer I had to "endure".

Maybe it's too early to judge, but my first impressions of Hans Zimmer's soundtrack, is that it isn't as bold or as memorable as Vangelis' original score, though it does re-use some of the original themes.

After seeing the film for the first time, I decided to see how the users on Rotten Tomatoes rated it. Two weeks after the film release, there are nearly 40,000 user ratings on Rotten Tomatoes - 82% of those ratings gave the film 3.5 stars (out of 5) or better, with the average rating being 4.1 stars out of 5. This compares favourably with the IMDB user rating of 8.6 out of 10.

I scanned through the dozens of pages of reviews looking for the 1 star reviews and saw the same complaints over and over again - "Too long", "Boring", "Impossible to understand or follow" - I would suggest that these are all issues related to the viewer rather than the film. Oh and the users who "fell asleep several times" probably shouldn't go to the cinema when they are obviously tired - "bad" films do not induce sleep.

If you didn't like the original film, you're unlikely to enjoy the sequel. If you don't like films that ask the viewer questions, then you won't like this one. If you don't like films that give the viewer time to ponder on the ideas being presented, then you won't like this one.

For me, this was the best film that I've seen in a very long time and a worthy sequel to the original.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 (based on 1 viewing) - Brilliant.

Gattaca (1997)

Genres: Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller

IMDB - Gattaca (1997)

Plot Summary:

A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

My Comment:

This is what real science fiction should do - examine today's society and make a prediction about the future. This film explores the very real possibility that your DNA profile may be used to determine your place in society.

The overrall tone of the film is very low key, so don't expect much in the way of action.

My Rating: 8 out of 10 - Excellent.

Interstellar (2014)

Genres: Adventure / Drama / Sci-Fi

IMDB - Interstellar (2014)

Plot Summary:

A team of astronauts must find the human race a new home after Earth suffers worldwide food shortages due to numerous crop blights and dust storms. A mysterious worm-hole is discovered in the far reaches of our Solar System, opening up the possibility of interstellar travel and a new home for the Human race.

My Comment:

I think what I like most about this film is the cinematography, the soundtrack and the production values. Though the story did take me on an emotional roller-coaster, I was a little disappointed with the ending and the resolution of the mysterious elements.

The soundtrack is amazing, subtley staying in the background during the quieter moments and then swelling in volume to heighten the emotion during the tense sequences. I later found out that Hans Zimmer borrowed a lot from Philip Glass' Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack - but still, the soundtrack adds a lot of emotional weight.

Some have compared this film to Kubric's "2001: A Space Odyssey" - I can't see it myself. They're both great films, but I find Kubric's film handles the bigger questions better than this film.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 - Brilliant.

The Matrix (1999)

Genres: Action / Sci-Fi / Thriller

IMDB - The Matrix (1999)

Plot Summary:

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

My Comment:

What is real? At the time, I felt this was the best science fiction film I'd seen for a long time.

  • Amazing SFX - "bullet-time" wasn't new, but this is the first mainstream film to really show-case the technique
  • Consistent plot - lots of imaginative technological ideas inter-woven with themes about religion and reality
  • Menacing soundtrack

This film contains lots of motifs and ambiguous imagery - a perfect recipe for post-viewing research and investigation.

The follow-on films elaborated on the story and they were enjoyable to watch, but I think the first film had a bigger impact on me than the sequels which tended to feel like a ramping up of CGI just for the sake of it.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

The Terminator (1984)

Genres: Action / Sci-Fi / Thriller

IMDB - The Terminator (1984)

Plot Summary:

A human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg is sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor; Kyle Reese is sent to stop it.

My Comment:

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the Terminator series, but I just can't help thinking that the first film is still the best. Okay, it had a less-than-stellar budget, but it made good use of what resources it had and managed to create lots of tension and suspense. But, once they started throwing big money at the sequels, the films felt like they were being toned-down to cater for a more 'family-friendly' market.

The young John Connor in the second film came across as a rather annoying brat which made him difficult to care about and the 'bad' terminator in the third film just looked like a super-model who was cross because she'd broken a finger nail and couldn't find an emery board. The fourth film was an interesting departure, but didn't seem to have that much in common with the previous films.

The second film is also brilliant (a big budget well spent on SFX), but the first film just edges it for me.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 - Brilliant.

THX1138 (1971)

Genres: Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller

IMDB - THX1138 (1971)

Plot Summary:

Set in the 25th century, the story centres around a man and a woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society.

My Comment:

Stark. Futuristic. Minimalist. The enhanced DVD version really improves a classic.

I don't know anyone who likes this film - perhaps they just don't see it the way I do. I think too many people associate Science Fiction with action films.

George Lucas' best film to date.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

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Fantasy Films

Brazil (1985)

Genres: Comedy / Fantasy / Sci-Fi

IMDB - Brazil (1985)

Plot Summary:

Sam Lowry is a harried technocrat in a futuristic society that is needlessly convoluted and inefficient. He dreams of a life away from the technology and overpowering bureaucracy where he can spend the rest of eternity with the woman of his dreams.

While trying to rectify the wrongful arrest of one Harry Buttle, Lowry literally meets the woman of his dreams, Jill Layton.

Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has concluded that he is responsible for a rash of terrorist bombings, and both Sam and Jill are now deemed to be enemies of the state.

My Comment:

Work, consume and be happy, but watch out for your neighbours - they could be terrorists!

The Government owns you and don't you forget it!

The bureaucratic nightmare depicted here is scarily close to where we're heading today. Mass surveillance, fascist police, government through fear and a huge divide between the rich and the poor. The parallels are frightening.

There are some truly 'laugh out loud' moments and a few 'dream-like' sequences that may seem baffling at first - therefore repeated viewings are recommended to get the most out of this film!

This film has one of the catchiest theme songs you'll ever hear - you'll be humming it for weeks. Watch out for Robert De Niro in one of his most unusual cameo roles.

Avoid the heavily cut versions.

In Summary: This is 'Monty Python' meets 'Nineteen Eighty Four'. Prophetic. Fantastic. Brilliant.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Genres: Drama / Mystery / Sci-Fi

IMDB - Donnie Darko (2001)

Plot Summary:

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.

My Comment:

Quirky. Baffling. Emotional. Poignant. Brilliant. A favourite.

The first time I watched this film was with a friend - all the way through we're thinking "WTF is going on here?" It generated a lot of discussion while the story was unfolding and after it ended. I remember visiting the official website just to pick up any plot points that I may have missed.

I also liked the 80's soundtrack - I'm a sucker for nostalgia.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Genres: Comedy / Fantasy / Sci-Fi

IMDB - Ghostbusters (1984)

Plot Summary:

Three unemployed parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

My Comment:

I make no apologies for this one - it's a brilliant feel-good film from the 80's with a great sound track.

There's also great chemistry between the lead characters and plenty of memorable one-liners to savour later.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 - Brilliant.

Mr. Nobody (2009)

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

IMDB - Mr. Nobody (2009)

Plot Summary:

In a future where the human race has solved the problem of mortality, Nemo Nobody is the last mortal human being alive. Lying in a hospital bed, his time running out, the 118-year-old Nemo recalls important moments in his life and wonders how different his life could have been if he taken a different path.

My Comment:

This was another one of those films, full of striking imagery and baffling sequences, that leaves the viewer wondering just what the hell is going on - I felt the same way the first time I watched "Donnie Darko".

But after the first viewing, you get an inkling of what it's really about and an urge to watch it again immediately.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

Genres: Action / Adventure / Fantasy

IMDB Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

Plot Summary:

Luke Skywalker, a spirited farm boy, joins rebel forces to save Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader, and the galaxy from the Empire's planet-destroying Death Star.

The Star Wars series of films are firmly in the 'fantasy' genre. The new episodes do drift a little closer to Science Fiction but are still a long way from being true Sci-Fi.

I saw this film in 1977 when I was 6 years old and if you asked me at that point whether I thought Star Wars was science-fiction I would have said "yes, of course it is - it's got spaceships and robots!"

But since then I have read real science-fiction (Philip K Dick, Arthur C Clark etc) and seen real science-fiction films (Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey etc) and so I'm pretty sure I know the distinction. Therefore I'm quite happy to state that Star Wars is a FANTASY SPACE ADVENTURE and NOT science-fiction.

The second point that I want to make is that I think the 'original' trilogy is better the prequel trilogy.

A quick summary of the important differences between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy:

Original Trilogy:

  • Relatively unknown actors
  • Traditional filming techniques
  • Emphasis on the characters and the story

Prequel Trilogy:

  • Fairly well-known actors
  • CGI-based filming techniques
  • More emphasis on the visuals than the story

I think my main irritation with the prequel trilogy is the obsession with CGI techniques - I feel that while the technique of filming everything in front of a green screen gives the director a lot of flexibility in the editing phase, it takes a lot away from the actors who not only have to react to invisible computer-generated creatures but also invisible computer-generated sets. I just feel that the overall performance is lacking something.

Also, I feel the use of fairly well-known actors in the leading roles diminishes those characters. Maybe that's because as a 6-year-old I didn't know who Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher were but now, seeing the new films in my 20s and 30s, I do know most of the actors.

These are not really faults as such and maybe most of my 'bias' is to do with the fact that there's a 20-year gap between the two trilogies and that I've done a lot of growing up in that time.

The new sequel trilogy looks promising - at the time of writing, Episode VII has been out nearly two years, Rogue One has been out nearly a year and Episode VIII is due to be released in just over a month's time.

Sequel Trilogy

  • Follows on from the original trilogy
  • Brings characters forward from the original trilogy
  • Goes back to a more traditional way of creating the SFX

However, I do have to say that I was a little disappointed with the plot of Episode VII, which is basically a retelling of Episode IV. I actually enjoyed Rogue One more than Episode VII - with more of these side-projects in the pipeline, perhaps the better stories will come out of these offshoots from the main story arc.

Anyway, these films represent the good old-fashioned values of action adventure movies and you could watch either trilogy in isolation and still get a huge amount of enjoyment out of them.

But, in the end, the original film is still the best of the bunch.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional

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Other Film Genres

Amadeus (1984)

Genres: Drama / Music

IMDB - Amadeus (1984)

Plot Summary:

The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told in flashback mode by Antonio Salieri - now confined to an insane asylum.

My Comment:

The academics say that this film has very little to do with actual events - but it doesn't matter. This is a wonderful piece of escapism into the 18th century and just feels so complete in it's recreation of the period.

Of course the production values are of the highest order and the locations, costumes and music stimulate your senses and maintain your interest throughout the lengthy story.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Brassed Off (1996)

Genres: Comedy / Drama / Romance

IMDB - Brassed Off (1996)

Plot Summary:

The coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which would also mean the end of the miners' brass band.

My Comment:

There's excellent performances throughout with plenty of 'Northern' humour lifting the mood in between the sadder moments. You might even catch yourself tapping along to one of the many Brass Band 'classics' performed by the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band.

One of Pete Postlethwaite's best performances.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 - Brilliant.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Genres: Action / Drama / Western

IMDB - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Plot Summary:

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

My Comment:

As far as I'm concerned, this is the definitive Western. It's just amazing throughout - so full of atmosphere and plot twists around every corner. The acting, the style, the music, the dialogue and the cinematography are just superb. Okay, the voice over-dubbing is a little ropey at times, but it somehow doesn't matter as you're swept along with the story that's builds to the iconic finale.

Even if Westerns don't appeal to you as film genre, watch this film anyway.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Life of Brian (1979)

Genres: Comedy

IMDB - Life of Brian (1979)

Plot Summary:

Irreverent satire of Biblical films and religious intolerance focuses on Brian, a Jew in Roman-occupied Judea. After joining up with an anti-Roman political organization, Brian is mistaken for a prophet, and becomes a reluctant Messiah.

My Comment:

Religion is no laughing matter - except when the Python team decide to poke fun at it. Here's another film packed with memorable scenes and dialogue to repeat ad-nauseum in the direction of the people who "just don't get it".

My favourite Monty Python film by a long way (with the exception of "Brazil", which is half-python).

My Rating: 9 out of 10 - Brilliant.

Moonraker (1979)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

IMDB - Moonraker (1979)

Plot Summary:

James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.

My Comment:

Throughout the history of the Bond franchise, there's a clear difference in the approaches taken by the writers and directors of the different eras in their portrayal of James Bond.

Moonraker was made in the period of the franchise where the playful, campy, family-friendly approach was taken with the stories and the scripts. The Roger Moore films especially, were the type of films the whole family could watch and enjoy together, where the action, stories and characters were presented very much with tongue firmly in cheek.

By this point, the Bond franchise had definitely "jumped the shark" and the die-hard Bond fans were beginning to lose patience. But still, Moonraker was the best of those films and very intertaining in it's own right.

My Rating: 8 out of 10 - Excellent.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Genres: Comedy

IMDB - Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Plot Summary:

A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving, with an obnoxious slob of a shower ring salesman his only companion.

My Comment:

A buddy road film that works beautifully. Steve Martin and John Candy at their very best.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Genres: Action / Adventure

IMDB - Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Plot Summary:

Archeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

My Comment:

They don't make films like this any more. How many films nowadays have a globe-trotting, heroic lead character that you can cheer for? We all want Indie to succeed, especially when he's pitted against the World's most hated villains - the Nazis.

The 'old-school' effects and stunt-work still hold up, even today.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

Rocky (1976)

Genres: Drama / Short

IMDB - Rocky (1976)

Plot Summary:

A small time boxer gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the heavyweight champ in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

My Comment:

Uplifting, gritty drama supported by excellent acting all round. This film has a greater 'realism' than the sequels and a superb atmosphere bolstered by the iconic soundtrack.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 - Brilliant.

Skyfall (2016)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

IMDB - Skyfall (2012)

Plot Summary:

Bond's loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

My Comment:

To date, Daniel Craig has played Bond 4 times and before he became the latest Bond, I felt the whole franchise had hit a bit of a low point. Then along came Casino Royale and things were looking up again for the Bond fans.

Craig's Bond is a much more grittier, physical character than the previous incarnations - the new films are less about the old cliches of gadgets and super-villains and more about engaging plots and action sequences.

The mordernisation hasn't been all old good news, though - the "Jason Bourne" style quick-cut editing in the Quantum of Solace ruined that film for me, and some of that style can be found in the other films, though not nearly as much, thank goodness.

For me, Skyfall is best of the new batch so far, then Casino Royale (2006), then Spectre (2015) and finally Quantum of Solace (2008), which was butchered into a unwatchable mess in the editing.

My Rating: 8 out of 10 - Excellent.

The Thin Red Line (1998)

Genres: Action / Drama / War

IMDB - The Thin Red Line (1998)

Plot Summary:

In 1943, the first major U.S. offensive of World War II is drawing to a close on the South Pacific island of Guadalcanal. To put an end to this campaign, the United States Army arrives with a full division of troops and equipment, deployed to break the last resistence of the Japanese.

My Comment:

There is "Apocalypse Now" and "Saving Private Ryan" and they are both excellent films, but this one managed to get under my skin in a way that those two films didn't.

This is not a war film. This a film about war, nature, humanity, life and death, good and evil. It's an amazing, powerful film full of beautiful photography inter-woven with a stunning soundtrack. I've watched it several times and am deeply affected every time I watch it - I even get emotional thinking about it.

Trivia: The original cut was over 3 hours long (not 6, as some would have you believe). Several 'A-list' actors had scenes in that cut that never made it into the final film.

My Rating: 10 out of 10 - Exceptional.

The Untouchables (1987)

Genres: Crime / Drama / History

IMDB - The Untouchables (1987)

Plot Summary:

Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

My Comment:

Some excellent performances from all the cast. Very atmospheric. High production values. It's just a great story, well presented and executed.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 - Brilliant.

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Going Against the Grain

Finally, a list of critically-acclaimed films that I just can't rate as highly as the majority have.

This list will grow as and when I recall "the ones that got away"...

  • Arrival (2016) - IMDB Score 8.0 (Oct 2017)
    • It had an interesting take on the "Alien Invasion" trope, but not a remarkable film in my estimation
    • My rating: 6 out of 10 - Good
  • Inception (2010) - IMDB Score 8.6 (Oct 2017)
    • I've viewed it once and wasn't "blown away" by it
    • My rating: 5 out of 10 - Okay
    • Was this one of those films that had to be experienced on IMAX 3D?
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) - IMDB Score 8.8 (Oct 2017)
    • I've never read the books - I enjoyed the film for what it was
    • My rating: 6 out of 10 - Good
    • I gave a similar score to the rest of the trilogy

Perhaps I need to see some of these films again - certainly, for some of these, I might not have been in the right frame of mind for viewing or was distracted by something else.

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