For a description of how I arrived at the list, please see part one of the series.
70. Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000)
This was one of my first exposures to Asian cinema and from the moment I saw it I was forever in its debt as it pushed me hard in the direction of films from that part of the world that has ultimately offered some of the finest I have ever seen. This is violent stuff, with more than a few scenes that would shock the average movie goer, but it also has a strange meaning and legitimacy behind it all. The iconic imagery, of particularly the innocent school kid uniforms, stays with you and this is has justly garnered a cult following. And consider me part of that.
69. Catch Me If You Can (Steven Spielberg, 2002)
Although certainly not Mr Spielberg's finest work, it is arguably my outright favourite of his. The combination of his ability to weave scenes together and to always make things seem fresh, and the performance of Leonardo DiCaprio make this is a thoroughly satisfying watch. And in general I am sucker for con movies; even when they aren't all that great I still get a kick out of seeing a con being pulled off with a nice little twist at the end. This is sophisticated stuff and it always manages to engross me every single time I watch it.
68. Saving Private Ryan (Steve Spielberg, 1998)
Unquestionably, undoubtedly, unequivocally the opening of this is the greatest war sequence in the history of film. That opening 20 minutes is one of the most harrowing, engrossing, and downright scary scenes I have ever witnessed. And granted after that opening sequence the film never quite reaches the same height, but so what? There are so many elements that make this worthy of being on any top 100 film list: the acting, the storytelling, the well-written characters, and the realistic portrayal of World War II in general. Am I wrong in thinking that Spielberg is indeed a master of his craft? I think not.
67. Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino, 2007)
Originally intended to be part of the Grindhouse experience, this is Tarantino's most misunderstood film. By critics this was fairly well received but with fans it was mostly hated with a passion. Personally I just can't see why. Just because it is a mostly female cast instead of male, and the dialogue centres around what a lot of women do talk about, people seemed to be actively hostile towards it. It has great dialogue, two fantastic car sequences, including an all-time great extended chase scene at the end, a fantastic soundtrack, and it has frickin' Kurt Russell as a psychopathic stuntman — what more do you want?
66. Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)
Director Christopher Nolan took this almost dead franchise and blew a breath of fresh air into it. It just flew in out of nowhere and blew everyone away as far as how much better it was than anyone thought a Batman film could be again. The choice to cast one of the best actors working today, Christian Bale, as the dark knight was pure genius and it doesn't hurt that we have the likes of Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, and Michael Caine supporting him. This will always be remembered as the film that effectively saved this much loved character's life.
65. Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
I can't believe it took me until the first quarter of 2008 to see this — one of the greatest achievements in film history. The characters, the action, the emotive qualities, the story, the pace, and the ambition is literally perfect. The only reason it isn't higher on my list is simply because I haven't had as much experience with it as I have with others but I think time will only push it further up my list of favourites.
64. Crash (Paul Haggis, 2005)
The winner of the Best Picture Oscar at the 2006 Academy Awards, this is a film I hold in extremely high regard. It's one of those very modern films that has an ensemble cast filled with fantastic performances and it tackles a red hot subject – rascism. The film walks a fine line, as many films that tackle this subject do, but manages to stay on the right side coming off as respectful rather than offensive. It's one of the films of recent years I have rewatched the most and it still hasn't lost its appeal.
63. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Guy Ritchie, 1998)
The first of Guy Ritchie's comedic/gangster one-two punches and although my least favourite of the two it still is a much loved film of mine nonetheless. Ritchie has such a knack for weaving the various storylines within his films and making the seemingly muddled threads come together almost perfectly. And his dialogue has gone unmatched by anyone else in this style of film.
62. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
Scorsese is one of those rare filmmakers who has quality running through pretty much every one of his films, whether it be the film in its totality or just aspects of it. Taxi Driver is not his out and out best but it's not far off it. De Niro did his best work while working with Scorsese and it could easily be argued that his performance as Travis Bickle is his best. It's a film that took me a few watches to "get" but once I did it's hard to see how I had trouble with it before. A masterpiece.
61. Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)
Like so many on this list – do I even need to give a reason why this is on here? It sees Bruce Willis in his finest role as the iconic unwilling action hero John McClane and the character is accompanied by some of the best damn action we've ever seen. And I don't think there's a better all round action film out there.Powered by Sidelines