(1995) APOLLO 13
Films about historical events don't get more faithful than this, yet Ron Howard manages to maintain, uncertainty, thrills, fear, excitement, drama. A roller coaster ride of emotions, from the awe of being in space, the pain of not reaching such an ambitious target, to resolution, to elation. Always inspiring in the end, no matter how many times it was played. No other film has managed this thus far.
(1996) INDEPENDENCE DAY
Highly destructive film, this one launched me into film mania, and can explain why I love films with scenes of epic scale destruction. Storyline was pretty engaging. Large cast but all of them fit. A fun film, though I never saw it that way. The sequence of the cities being destroyed is classic - watched it over 100 times.
Robert Zemeckis is a master at blending Hollywood un-reality and the randomness of real-world reality. Fascinates by inviting the audience to be fascinated by the world of science and maths, of Occam's Razor and prime numbers - and how these can actually apply for real when an alien message arrives. Feels real.
The best example of perfect filmmaking. Every element of film production came together to create a sumptuous (yet never distracting) feast for the eyes and ears and heart. The romance is not everything, nor is it the point of the film. The first half of the film brings to life early 20th century high society life, while the second half sucks in the audience as they live through the weirdest experience to ever happen during the entire 20th century. That was the point.
(1999) FORCES OF NATURE
Rom-coms aren't usually remembered. This one is, due to brilliant direction from Bronwen Hughes, as obscure as she is. There is great chemistry between pre-Armageddon Ben Affleck and the always bubbly Sandra Bullock. As unreal as these characters are, they are liked. Score was surprisingly emotional - and the ending was simply unpredictable yet inevitable.
Mesmerising. Completely sucked into the world of the Roman Empire. At the same time, the story is extremely well written, the direction was masterful, the actors all up to the job, the score was powerful and soulful, the fight sequences great. Favourite film for a long time.
(2001) BLACK HAWK DOWN
Extremely intense portrayal of urban warfare. Gritty, visceral - common adjectives used to describe the film. It's not a film about entertainment, it's not about good action scenes. It's about living in a war, in an extraordinary situation - and not having to die at the end of it.
One of the most joyous, fun, cheeky, sly films. Songs are great - deliciously black and sexy. Casting was incredible. The dance moves were mesmerising - can't stop watching the Cell Block Tango sequence. Best musical film made thus far. Rob Marshall is a genius.
(2002) THE PIANIST
Due to tight focus on Szpilman's point of view, we see what he sees, this is more effective than Schindler's List in forcing the audience to experience what the Holocaust was like. The horrors, the fear, the paranoia - everything feels real. You almost live and die with the character.
(2003) THE LAST SAMURAI
All historical epics should be like this. Tom Cruise perfectly personifies the story of a character that undergoes psychological and emotional and cultural changes. For once, Eastern values are valued higher than Western values. Edward Zwick is now in my favourite directors list. Maintains a tight, effective balance between plot and action. Great storytelling.
(2004) THE BOURNE SUPREMACY
All action thrillers should be like this. (Except that they aren't.) The story is compelling, the twist in the beginning is heart-wrenching, the jerky cam surprisingly apt, the action consequently intense, the hero's motivations plausible, and the score is just mindblowingly awesome.
(2005) WAR OF THE WORLDS
Grabs your attention and sustains it throughout by its almost tunnel vision focus on one person's point of view of an all-out alien annihilation. The year isn't over but I suspect I won't see a better film than this ..
(2005) CINDERELLA MAN
... and I was so wrong. I really don't know how Ron Howard does it, but he has done it again. Russell Crowe is once again great here. I couldn't stop thinking about the movie, and the music. I couldn't. Damn the Academy for not recognising this.
(2005) THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
And surprisingly, I had to include this one. I was really trying to eliminate one of the three (three best movies in a year seems indulgent), but I just can't. The story, the film, is just so well-made. There's spectacle, there's sibling love, there's adventure, and so on, and everything just fits. Couldn't be more endearing, poignant and memorable even if it tried.
21 hours ago