I have decided to do my top movies list a little differently this year. In the past I have done a straight up top ten, I have done a top ten with a secondary top ten of alternate films, and I have done a top ten and a second top ten of my favorites (as opposed to the best). This year my list is comprised of all the four- and five-star rated films in my log. It just so happens there are 22 of them. Now, my top ten is still my top ten, regardless of how the supporting players are chosen. Now, since that is a rather unwieldy number, the list has been broken in two. What follows are numbers 12 through 22 on the my list, followed by a couple of the year's disappointments. I figure they belong here more than on a "worst of" list.
Well, enough stalling, let's get to the movies!
12. Knowing. This movie seemed to create a big division among audiences. There do not seem to be many Nicolas Cage fans left (considering some of his recent work, can you blame them?). Now, this is not exactly great Cage acting, but it is here because of the film and not one man. There is a delicious slow burn quality permeating each frame. You are only given what you need to know, and even then it is barely enough. Knowing forces you to engage, to become involved, but it does so in such a way that you may not even be aware of it at first. The film asks a lot of question and requires you to think about what is going on, and then the end happens. I would like to tell you more, but it is probably best to just watch it.
13. Drag Me to Hell. Sam Raimi made a triumphant return to his roots. Following three Spider-Man films, he came back to the style that got him attention in the first place. This movie is a downright blast. It will give you chills, make you jump, make you laugh, and just deliver a good time. You will bear witness to a knock-down, drag out fight taking place entirely in a car, as well as another appearance of Raimi's famous 1973 Buick. This is an energetic jolt to the horror genre and I hope to see Raimi continue to employ this style of filmmaking. The story is fun — you may see where it's going, but it still holds some surprises. What it comes down to is the style and reckless abandon with which Raimi throws himself into the film. If you like horror and comedy, this is for you.
14. Precious - Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire. You know, I figured this would have been a bit higher on the list. Funny how things work out when you stop and look at your choices. It also shows how star ratings do not equate directly with one another. There is no denying this is a great film with some great performances. In any case, this is a movie you will want to see as it is powerfully written and performed; however, it is also emotionally draining and you are not likely going to want to watch it over and over. Gabourey Sidibe gives an incredible performance as the title character, matched by a nearly unrecognizable Mo'nique as her abusive mother. This is an all-around powerful film. It is a formula we have seen before, but it is imbued with an amazingly gritty reality that feels very true to life.