Friday, 21 June 2013

Charlie Albuery's Top Ten Films: Numbers 5 to 1

by Charlie Albuery

Firstly, just so everyone is aware, I have written this article in hope that you guys would read it, purely because a great man once told me, ‘If you write it, they will come’ (or something like that).
Now, for those of you who haven’t read the first half of this article I strongly recommend you head over here and read that first, because I want to be able to wormhole them over into this article to show you, but, firstly (and primarily): more page views for me (hehehe) and secondly, DAMMIT JIM I’M A BLOGGER NOT A PHYSICIST.

Now, before I begin in earnest, we should take a moment to remember the many excellent films that sadly could not make this list. I genuinely wish that I could have talked about many more wonderful films, but, for my (and more importantly your) sanity, I had to draw the line here, NO FARTHER, so here’s my honourable mentions list which, bizarrely, despite my extremely convoluted references above, does not contain any Star Trek Films.
Honourable mentionsThe Social Network (required viewing), The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble, or whatever they decided to call it in the end), Aliens (not Alien, Aliens), Predator (not sure putting this one next to the aliens was sensible), Literally everything featuring Hugh Jackman, Logan’s Run, The Butterfly Effect, The Descent, Drag Me To Hell, all of Cristopher Nolan’s work, Despicable Me, Fight Club.

A special mention must also go to who I genuinely believe to be the best actor of all time: NICOLAS CAGE. I had to discount Nicolas Cage films in my ranking because allowing them would have left me with virtually nothing else gracing my top 20. Actually, you know what, light bulb: I am going to do a whole separate article about the wonder that is Nicolas Cage, so tune back into this blog soon to see a full report on the best actor, no, the best MAN, ever to walk the earth, and, while you may think my ego’s writing cheques my body can’t cash, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. I will do this. This will happen.
So you want to know the list now? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE LIST!

Just kidding, here’s the list.
5Die Hard

Die Hard is the quintessential 80’s action film in which Bruce Willis must take down an elite team of thieves, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).
Real talk, Die Hard is the best action film of all time, seriously, it actually incorporates elements of real films; it even has set-up and pay-off, and subplots, and Bruce Willis has hair! What this film does so well is it gives you an excellent sense of geography. I am aware that sounds really lame, but this is a fast-paced action film that takes place in an enclosed space, the Nakatomi Plaza, and in any moment of the film you know exactly where Bruce Willis is in relation to his enemies, the hostages, any available weapons etcetera. In this way, excellent action is delivered without ever making the viewer feel out of their depth (like Tom Cruise in a foot spa), a constant tension is kept as there is never a moment where Willis can feel safe, and, above all, there is a real sense of accomplishment each time Willis takes out one of the baddies.
As if to prove the excellence of this film, virtually all successful action films over the next decade and a half can be described as Die Hard on/in/with/near a …..

You don’t believe me? Ok.

CliffhangerDie Hard on a mountain

Toy SoldiersDie Hard in a school

No ContestDie Hard near a beauty pageant

SpeedDie Hard with a bus

Passenger 57Die Hard on a plane

Oh, and also, Alan Rickman is absolutely brilliant in it.
SO, until I get to talk about Die Hard again, that thing… y’know that thing that Bruce Willis says at the end, that I absolutely cannot say on a school website under any circumstances. Yeah, that.

 4 – Back to the Future
Back to the Future is the classic story of boy meets creepy old man, saves his life from Libyans, discovers creepy old man knows how to time travel, travels back in time, makes his mother fall in love with him, thus rendering him non-existent in the first place, gives a random waiter political aspirations, throws a bully into poo, makes his dad punch out the bully, thus making his mother again fall in love with his father, invents rock music (I’m serious, Google it), manages to travel ‘Back, to the FUTURE!’ (I love it when they say the name of the film in the film).

3 – Kick Ass
Ok, I know I said no Nick Cage films but I don’t really view this as a Nicolas Cage film; in fact, it speaks to the tremendous quality of this film that Nicolas Cage doesn’t stand out particularly. Anyway, this film is the classic superhero origin story, set against the backdrop of our real world, and I don’t mean the Nolan-verse’s pseudo reality, I mean actual reality, the first time the ‘hero’ attempts to fight crime he ends up hospitalized, following which he meets two established costumed vigilantes, Big Daddy played by Nicolas Cage and Hit-Girl (excellently) played by Chloe-Grace Moretz.

The true stand out of this film is Chloe Moretz; her character is excellently written, excellently choreographed and excellently scored throughout the entire film, I’ll give you an example. In a scene nearing the film’s climax, Hit Girl must infiltrate the villain’s headquarters. The scene opens with her dressed as a regular schoolgirl; we see Moretz change in an instant from innocent, lost little girl to gun-toting crusader for justice. She then proceeds to battle her way down a corridor in full superhero outfit, her beautiful and entrancing yet brutal somersaulting and kicking is brilliantly contrasted by the poppy froth played over it, the Bannana Splits tunefully yet seemingly mindlessly repeating LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA.
AS well as being the best possible love letter to comic-book cinema (homaging everything from Spider-Man to The Punisher) this is one of the rare superhero films that actually has something to say. That is, if we can really call it a superhero film at all…

2 – Star Wars

In the fashion of modern cinema I have sold out for this portion of the article, I won’t make you spend extra to read this passage in 3D but I will say that I have addressed and discussed Star Wars fully in the upcoming ‘Fight Club’ issue of the Portsmouth Point magazine, and I must suggest you read my thoughts there.
However, I will, say THIS IS THE BEST SCIENCE-FICTION FILM OF ALL TIME; but even better, the thing about Star Wars is, it appeals to even non-Sci-Fi fans, anyone from small children to the most fervent critics of anything occurring in space can, and will, love Star Wars.
1 – The Prestige

The Prestige is a Christopher Nolan film that portrays the lives of two magicians living in the 19th century, played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, as they try to ruin each other’s careers and lives following a disastrous ‘accident’ involving Jackman’s life. Now, I have avoided giving you these characters names deliberately because even these characters names would spoil ‘The Prestige’ for you. I am not going to have any spoilers here and I cannot suggest strongly enough that you go and watch this film, Google an explanation because, no matter how much you think you understand, you may well have missed some key elements, then watch the film again, and soak up all the amazing hints and foreshadowing that you can’t possibly have understood beforehand.
I will be honest, I was always going to love this film, I love magic, I’m a huge fan of watching Wolverine and Batman share the screen, I also love the supporting cast, both Michael Caine and Scarlett Johanssen (the future Mrs Charlie Albuery) play excellent secondary roles with David Bowie himself rounding out the stellar cast.
Despite my disposition to love this film I genuinely believe to be an excellent filmic experience that must not be missed, so, my friends, if you do one thing this week, watch the prestige, google the prestige, and watch the prestige again.
I think the truly great thing about The Prestige is how much debate it inspires, I implore you, please get in touch with any questions/theories you have, I would love to discuss it. A few questions just to start you off.
What knot did Bale tie?
How much did Michael Caine know?
Which of the machines actually worked?

Also, this film has more layers than Inception; it’s amazing. The opening monologue of the film goes like this.
Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige"."
This monologue, as well as just being excellent, addresses every magic trick within the film, the film itself and most of the characters, and I know I said no spoilers, but I will give you one tip to begin to decipher the film: watch the birds.

This film also features an excellent line I quote regularly, which I genuinely believe to be the best line regarding magic of all times - ‘Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.’
So, beloved readers, until next time; don’t ask me about my business, don’t feed the gremlins after midnight, and may the force be with you.
Read Charlie Albuery's Top Films (numbers 6-10) here.

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