Top Ten Animated Movies

Before beginning a list, I always have an idea of what a direction a list will go and I was hesitant to start this one because I thought the list would just be too full of PIxar movies and I already have a list of Top Ten Pixar Movies. I was wrong. I mean of course you’ll find some Pixar movies on this list, but I never quite understood how much some of these movies meant to me until I put them up against each other. Naturally, nostalgia plays a part in the creation of these lists, but even more so with this list. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know which of your favorites didn’t make the cut…

10. A Bug’s Life

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Before making this list, I never would’ve imagined making this list without A Bug’s Life. It saddens me that it had to be placed in the tenth slot, but the list couldn’t have been made any other way. In the world of Pixar, long before a fish searched for his son and a robot fell in love, there was a story of bugs standing up for what’s right against other bugs. I may have seen A Bug’s Life more than any other Pixar movie. It never gets old.

9. Treasure Planet

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I loved disney movies growing up from Mulan to Hercules and even more so, classics like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Treasure Planet is actually one of the biggest box-office bombs, but I was in that theater when it came out and few animated movies have touched me the way Treasure Planet has. I wonder if it would’ve been as powerful to me had I known the story of Treasure Island prior to my first viewing.

8. Ponyo

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I have just begun my excursion in the gorgeous world of Studio Ghibli. Ponyo isn’t my favorite Studio Ghibli film, but it is the most visually beautiful. Hayao Miyazaki astounds with the worlds he creates and the stories he tells. I was in disbelief at just how magical of a movie I was watching while appreciating Ponyo, a simple story about the love between a boy and a fish.

7. Up

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Up is a Pixar movie that speaks for itself, I mean just watch the first fifteen minutes. Love is a theme that has and will always be delved into, but how often does the relationship at the heart of a story begin and end in the first sequence of a film? Not that Up’s unique structure is the reason it’s so great, watch the rest of the escapades of Carl Fredricksen and his new found friends, you’ll see.

6. Howl’s Moving Castle

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Not only is Howl’s Moving Castle one of the most unbelievably breathtaking animated movies, it’s one of the greatest fantasy films I’ve had the pleasure to be swept away by. Hayao Miyazaki is a revolutionary storyteller and you just never know what to expect with each passing frame of Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s one hell of a ride getting there, but it’s not until the end when it can be realized just how beautiful of a movie Howl’s Moving Castle is.

5. Toy Story Trilogy

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Pixar is responsible for some of the greatest and most well-known animated features ever. Arguably, their greatest feat were the Toy Story films. Toy Story was the first Pixar film and it’s hard not to be leveled by the characters and the creativity behind it all. The trilogy as a whole is another story with the fabulous sequel and the best film in the series, Toy Story 3. I’ve heard talk of another Toy Story and I couldn’t be more disappointed. The trilogy is perfect as it is.

4. The Lion King

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The Lion King is such a large part of my childhood and in fact the first movie I ever saw in theaters. I could completely understand anyone putting The Lion King at slot number 1, but this is where it had to fall for me. From beginning to end, The Lion King is dazzling every time. Watch the beginning, let Circle of Life flow through me, then when that title explodes on the screen you’ll be craving the majesty that is the rest of the movie.

3. WALL-E

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WALL-E tells the story of one lonely robot’s search for love. I said early that you could argue that the Toy Story trilogy is Pixar’s greatest feat, well you could argue anything. WALL-E is far and away my favorite PIxar film and one of the greatest animated features that will ever be made. Even though it’s a science-fiction film that takes place hundreds of years in the future, there’s still this palpable reality to the film, WALL-E is unbelievably human, its impossible not to fall for him. WALL-E is one of the greatest films about the power of undying love ever created.

2. The Iron Giant

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The Iron Giant is actually the movie that inspired the creation of this list. I had seen it a long time ago and it never really stuck with me, I didn’t remember it at all and seeing it again recently opened my eyes. For The Iron Giant is one of the more moving films ever made. Never have a seen such a glorious depiction of life and death in a children’s film. It’s inspiring, it’s funny, it’s beautifully crafted and it’s an understated masterpiece. I can’t wait to watch it a million more times. The story of young Hogarth and his Iron Giant is a film I can’t wait to watch with my own children one day.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas

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There is no film that I have viewed more times than The Nightmare Before Christmas and I’ll keep going back to it because I love it to this day. It’s the first film I truly loved and I will continue to love to it. As a child I would dance around my house and sing Jack’s Lament and What’s This?, etc. I would watch the film daily. Film is a form of escape, and the world of The Nightmare Before Christmas is the world I wanted to escape to over and over again.

So, why? Well, maybe there was something appealing about ghosts and monsters under the bed, about a skeleton who could “take off his head” as the hero. There was something different to this world and these creatures, a twisted beauty to the idea that a werewolf or a skeleton could have his own character traits, could be sad, could feel, could love. To this day, it’s one of the most magical movies I’ll ever see. The Nightmare Before Christmas is the animated masterpiece.

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Top Ten Movie Fights

Alright, I think it’s finally time I made this list. A while back I made a list of my Top Ten Movie Gun Fights, but now it’s time for my list of the greatest fights in film. By fights I mean anything other than guns, whether that be swords, bats, rocks, or yes, fists. For most of the fights I tried to keep it to mano a mano, but I made some exceptions I felt I needed to. I also tried to keep it so a film could only make the list once even though things would slightly change otherwise. I wanted to make a definitive list that shows exactly how I feel about fights in film. These are the ones I love…

10. Oh Dae-Suh vs. Henchmen (Oldboy)

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In a work of tour de-force filmmaking, Chan-wook Park crafts one of the greatest fights in film. Our protagonist on a gritty journey of vengeance is trapped in a tight hallway with a number of heavily armed henchmen whom he does battle with single handedly. The camera never takes it’s eye off the action and never changes it’s shot as we venture down the hall through all the carnage. It quenches blood thirst and showcases truly great filmmaking.

9. Jake LaMotta vs. Sugar Ray Robinson (Raging Bull)

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Raging Bull is Martin Scorsese’s raw and brutal masterpiece of man, a boxer no less. Where his violent tendencies are helpful in the ring, the same can’t be said about his life outside of what he was born to do. The greatest scene in the film takes place between the protagonist Jake LaMotta and his boxing rival Sugar Ray Robinson. In their final fight Robinson may be announced the winner, but after seeing this brilliant scene, I leave it up to you. Who really won?

8. Rick Deckard vs. Roy Batty (Blade Runner)

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Rick Deckard is a Blade Runner who loses his gun and falls prey to the powerful and philosophical replicant, Roy Batty. Roy toys wit him the whole time before showing him the value of life. Who is Deckard to take it away? What makes a human a human? Roy delves into this after proving his worth over Deckard’s. Their final meeting in the rain on the rooftops is what makes Blade Runner the glorious and profound masterpiece that it is.

7. Maximus vs. Commodus (Gladiator)

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Gladiator takes it’s viewers on one of the most epic and satisfying journeys ever filmed. We follow Roman General Maximus as he falls into slavery eventually making his way into the Colosseum as gladiator. The climax of Maximus’ beautiful quest comes in form of a sword fight between the heroic gladiator, Maximus and the pretentious scum that is the Emperor of Rome, Commodus. It’s impossible not to love Maximus and hate Commodus. To see them finally clash swords is breathtaking.

6. King Kong vs. T-Rex (King Kong)

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In order to protect Ann Darrow, the mighty Kong does battle with a troupe of ferocious T-Rex. This is just a beautiful realization of the magic of movies. We feel for this giant ape and his character, he’s a protector here and we root for this mighty beast to conquer over these flesh-craving fiends. The scene is just awesome. It grabs hold of you and puts you in that theater again as a kid, a kid just sitting back and taking it all in. Peter Jackson’s King Kong is an unspoken epic and this moment is a testament to its excellence.

5. Arthur vs. Projections (Inception)

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Inception is one of the most memorable and fascinating movies ever made. You’d be hard pressed to find a moment in the film as memorable as the now classic hallway scene. Arthur is left to fend for himself in the second level of dreams and he’s very able to hold his own against Fisher’s trained projections. Fighting becomes an interesting task when you’re not only fighting on the ground, but on the ceiling, the walls and in the air. Christopher Nolan holds no punches in his reality-bending, science fiction masterpiece.

4. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)

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The Star Wars saga doesn’t particularly hold a special place in my heart. I enjoy Star Wars and I always will, but I’ll always be more of a Lord of the Rings man myself. My favorite Star Wars movie is actually Revenge of the Sith and the reason is this scene. This is far and away the greatest lightsaber fight ever filmed. Not only is it an extravagant action scene that thrills with every passing second, it also has the emotional gravity. This is a master and an apprentice fighting for their lives. It was all leading to this and the spectacular scene makes Revenge of the Sith the only redeeming quality of the atrocious new trilogy.

3. Batman vs. Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman Begins)

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Like slot number four, this scene also follows a fight between a master and an apprentice, but it’s far more beautiful here. Ra’s Al Ghul is personally responsible for the training of the warrior that would become Batman. Ghul believes in a less merciful brand of justice than Batman does and their differences lead them to a train and the greatest scene in Batman Begins. Ra’s Al Ghul is a fantastic character and the relationship between him and Batman is established flawlessly. It all culminates to their final confrontation and it is miraculous.

2. The Bride vs. Bill (Kill Bill)

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Kill Bill is Quentin Tarantino’s perfectly epic, blood-soaked and gorgeous tale of revenge. There is one thing that our protagonist needs and it’s in the title of the movie. A bloodlust drives our deadly hero and she will stop at nothing to accomplish her goal. As I said before I didn’t want to use two different fights from the same movie and take up two spots. If I had I certainly would’ve had the Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves on this list, but it’s basically just tied for the second slot of the greatest fights in film with the fight the entirety of the four-hour epic is leading to, The Bride’s confrontation with Bill. Like all brilliant Tarantino scenes, tension is built through dialogue and the payoff is extraordinary.

1. Batman vs. Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)

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There are two fights between Batman and Bane in The Dark Knight Rises that exemplify the war that is waged between these two titans throughout the entire movie. The two fights themselves represent the two greatest fights in film. If I had to pick one, I’d lean towards the beautiful war in the snow in which the stakes are made clear and hope triumphs over despair. Don’t get me wrong however, the scene in which Bane breaks the Bat far surpasses any movie fight I’ve seen, but as I said I would I choose one. Their first encounter is drawn out and brutal as Bane inflicts as much pain and damage on Batman as he can before literally breaking him (physically and mentally). When Batman conquers over Bane in the end, Batman doesn’t have that time. It’s a battle of efficiency and realism. Batman has faced this monster of a man before, he’s gone through a journey since and it’s the result of this fight that decides the fate of Gotham. It’s the greatest fight in all of film.

Top Ten Quentin Tarantino Scenes

Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest filmmakers to have ever graced the silver screen with art. He is arguably the greatest writer of film ever and he writes and envisions perfect scenes which he executes with prowess. Making this list was like making a list of short films because that’s what a great scene is. It tells a story. It has a beginning and it has an ending. They ways Tarantino gets to those endings are always breathtaking. This is my list of the greatest scenes Tarantino has constructed.

10. Django’s Revenge (Django Unchained)

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It’s a solemn image that begins the scene. Silhouettes of a group of people walk away from a funeral, they finally make it to Candyland where they find Django. He offers them their comeuppance. The scene offers a perfect end to a perfect movie. After all the blood and carnage, it’s a happy ending, an ending where bad people are triumphed over and love prevails. It’s fun, it’s cool and it is glorious.

9. Stuntman Mike Meets His Match (Death Proof)

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When you watch Death Proof, what you’re watching is a slasher movie. The killer at it’s heart doesn’t use a knife, a chainsaw or an axe however, he uses his car. The film just builds and builds to its explosive ending, arguably the greatest car chase in film. Quentin Tarantino has a way with villains and Stuntman Mike is one hell of a villain. He gets quite the unexpected surprise when he chooses his latest victims.

8. Sicilians (True Romance)

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True Romance wasn’t directed by Quentin Tarantino, but he did write it. The movie as a whole, and especially this particular scene, have Quentin’s brilliant dialogue written all over it. Tarantino has a way of creating these almost one-act dramas with some of his scenes. In this scene, the tension rises at perfect pace as it always does and the characters take hold. Both Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper perform off of each other flawlessly.

7. Showdown at House of Blue Leaves (Kill Bill)

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Kill Bill is one movie and story told in two volumes. Volume 1 has quite the satisfying conclusion in House of Blue Leaves. This is where she’ll find the first name on her Death List, Oren Ishii. The samurai sword fight between the two of them is epic but it’s the lead up to their fight that makes this scene amazing. Alone and vicious, The Bride cuts her way through Oren’s personal army, The Crazy 88s. The scene is one of Tarantino’s most incredible undertakings and one you can’t take your eyes off.

6. Dinner in Candyland (Django Unchained)

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Prior to this scene, Django Unchained is about the loving plight of Django and his friend Dr. King Schultz. This scene is Calvin J. Candie’s show and what a show he puts on. Like all psychotic and sadistic villains, Candie can switch on a dime and that’s just what he does here along with the scene. Everything seems to be going swimmingly for Django until Calvin pulls out a skull and begins to muse about his dead slave, “Old Ben”. We then begin to understand just how despicable this man truly is.

5. La Louisiane (Inglourious Basterds)

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The classic  drama that plays out in the tavern, La Louisiane, is a miracle of a scene. The first three chapters of Inglourious Basterds introduce its the characters that will play their parts in the cataclysmic fifth chapter. The fourth chapter introduces another character, Lt. Archie Hicox. There are a few scenes in this fourth chapter involving Hicox but it’s the scene in La Louisiane that takes the cake. Quentin Tarantino knows tension and as a result, scenes like this are relentless in their excellence.

4. Killing Bill (Kill Bill)

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With a title like Kill Bill, it stands to reason there’s going to be quite the scene involving someone killing Bill. In entirety of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, that just so happens to be the greatest scene in the blood-soaked revenge masterpiece. The relationship between Beatrix Kiddo and Bill is one of love and bloodlust. It’s got the music, it’s got the dialogue and it’s got the emotional baggage. This is the scene with the greatest death in film. The movie builds to this single moment and it’s one of the most satisfying moments in film.

3. Candyland Massacre (Django Unchained)

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As Dr. King Schultz and Calvin J. Candie verbally square off, Django quietly sits on the side lines waiting to burst. This is just another one of Tarantino’s classic tension oozing scenes. It’s a scene dedicated to the three best characters in the movie. Calvin Candie once again proves what scum he is, while Schultz once again proves himself to be a good man, a hero. The scene then escalates into the phenomenal gun fight this masterpiece deserved. It’s the greatest scene in Django Unchained and one of the greatest scenes in film.

2. Diner (Pulp Fiction)

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In Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino literally defines pulp before your eyes and then gives you the fiction and it’s fiction of the literary variety. The final scene in the movie takes place in a diner and it’s easily one of the greatest scenes in film. Jules Winnfield is the best character in the film and the final diner scene utilizes him to exemplify the very idea of a bad man turning good. There’s never a dull moment in this masterpiece, but this is far and away the greatest scene in the film. This final diner scene is what makes Pulp Fiction the movie it is. It may be a cliché, but this is one of the most perfect examples of a story being brought full circle.

1. Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied France (Inglourious Basterds)

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Watch Inglourious Basterds and witness Quentin Tarantino’s greatest feat, Inglourious Basterds. The first chapter is a single scene and it’s simple enough, a one-act drama if you will, that consists of a Colonel in Hitler’s Third Reich and his conversation with a cow farmer who may or may not be hiding enemies of the state in his house. This scene unveils one of the greatest characters and villains in cinema, Col. Hans Landa.

The first chapter of Inglourious Basterds is just an example of perfect writing. A central character to the real drama that’s unfolding is introduced and developed as the scene tells a story in and of itself. Denis Ménochet is able to play off a masterful actor in magnificent ways. Christoph Waltz gives a flawless portrayal of a flawlessly written character, Tarantino’s best. The scene exemplifies Tarantino movies as a whole. A beautiful piece of art and always a good time at the movies.

Top Ten Movies of 2012

When it comes to movies, 2012 is the kind of year other years should aspire to be. This was a year full of life changing films, films that resonate in their excellence and astound in their innovation. I loved 2012 and would go as far as to call it my favorite year in film. Subsequently, this was a list I could not wait to make. It’s a list that celebrates my favorite year in film, how could I not be excited to write it? Well, let’s get into it.

10. Prometheus

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Prometheus tells a sort of Greek tragedy in the form of a bleak and beautiful science-fiction odyssey. This is Ridley Scott’s greatest film since Gladiator and it’s a wonder that it happens to be in a genre he helped define back in 1979 and 1982. He redefines it here with a glorious tale of searching for the answers to life’s biggest questions and the cataclysmic events that ensue when curiosity gets the better of us. To tell his tale, he also crafts a character study of a human and a robot. Michael Fassbender enthralls in his portrayal of David.

9. Lincoln

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Lincoln is without a doubt one of the best biopics I’ve seen. Everything just works. Steven Spielberg obviously knows how to make a great film and when he has the greatest living actor working hard to play the main character of his film, you’re essentially guaranteed one hell of a movie. Every supporting actor does a great job, but Tommy Lee Jones deserves a lot of recognition for his scenery chewing performance. Daniel Day-Lewis is the real star here though and his performance is breathtaking.

8. Silver Linings Playbook

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David O. Russell takes boy meets girl genre conventions and flips them on their head. Silver Linings Playbook tells a tale as touching and engrossing as it is inspirational. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro all give knockout performances with their human characters. We follow Pat on a road to self-discovery after his stint at a mental institution. Evey living person is different and this is a superb film about people and the relationships inspired by ones own defining characteristics.

7. Looper

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This is Rian Johnson’s third film and once again he hits it out of park because I loved Brick and The Brothers Bloom, but Looper is his best film yet. Looper may very well be the greatest film involving time travel that I’ve seen and that’s because Looper isn’t about time travel, it subtly uses the idea of time travel to tell an imaginative tale of life, death and the choices that can change everything. Joseph-Gordon Levitt is brilliant in his role of the younger Joe (a hard hitting Bruce Willis) and the movie as a whole is a fascinating drama with delightful tricks up its sleeve.

6. Seven Psychopaths

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Seven Psychopaths is an oddity of a film about film, stories and the people that inspire those stories. Martin McDonagh blew me away with In Bruges and he takes it up a few notches with this masterpiece of reflexivity, nut cases and inspiration. Everyone does their part justice, but the real magic comes from Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken as Billy and Hans. Though they’ve gotten protagonist Marty involved in a dog-napping scheme, Billy and Hans want to help Marty finish his latest screenplay at whatever the cost.

5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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When all is said and done, like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit trilogy may make for one of the greatest stories ever told. The masterpiece that is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey does after all begin the story flawlessly.  Much to Bilbo Baggins’ resistance, he is thrust into an adventure that will change his life and middle-earth forever. The film is just an amazing time from start to finish, every single moment was fun and glorious. My mouth is watering with anticipation for the rest of the story.

4. The Master

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Four years after his magnum opus Paul Thomas Anderson proves that all he knows how to make anymore is masterpieces. There is just miraculous beauty to any Paul Thomas Anderson film. Everything he puts in front of the camera is made gorgeous by perfect camera work and direction. The Master examines Freddie Quell, a drifter lost and looking for his way after WWII. He soon stumbles upon an enigmatic and powerful man, Lancaster Dodd. There is a mysterious nature in the way this tale delves in with so much substance, but does so with the examination of a single friendship. The relationship between these two men envelops an extraordinary story of obedience and control.

3. Django Unchained

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Django Unchained was the gorgeous piece of art it was meant to be. In a year this perfect, it would only make sense that Quentin Tarantino would unveil his most recent masterpiece. As his new friend and mentor, Dr. King Schultz, unchains him from his shackles, Django instantaneously falls into his role as a heroic and vengeful freed slave. He’s a total badass and together with his wise new partner they epitomize a force to be reckoned with against the harsh and brutal atrocity that is slavery. The film is relentless in its intensity and constantly a blast.

2. Skyfall

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If I had been told that my second favorite movie of 2012 was going to be a 007 movie, I just would not have believed it. I loved Casino Royale the first time I saw it and I continue to enjoy it this day. I am a firm believer that Casino Royale is a perfect Bond movie, while Skyfall is a perfect movie. Skyfall utilizes and pays homage to conventions from what has become a full-fledged and changing genre, Bond film. Through this icon, it also manages to tell an extraordinary story about the past and how it may shape the future it doesn’t define it.

In order to tell a magnificent story sometimes you need a magnificent villain. With Silva (Javier Bardem), Skyfall offers nothing short of the perfect Bond villain. This is a story about Bond and Silva and it’s a story about M. James Bond is country man and a reactionary hero who will stop at nothing to see the job done and in Skyfall his job is makes its grand and slithery entrance in the form of Silva, a savage and sadistic mastermind, a betrayer who too will stop at nothing to see to it he’s done what he was always meant to do. Skyfall evokes a gorgeous tale of the ways of the old and making way for the new. There’s a kinetic justice in the narrative and every moment of the film is flawless.

1. The Dark Knight Rises

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The Dark Knight Rises is a gargantuan epic and a masterpiece of the highest caliber. It’s almost magic, the way Nolan makes every image and moment of the film absolutely pivotal. Christopher Nolan is a visionary, the greatest director working today. I am blown away at every turn. This is a continuation of a great hero’s journey, the greatest. This is a man who fights for good and justice and does so because it’s the right thing to do. There’s been many friends and foes along the way and The Dark Knight Rises is filled to the brim with engrossing characters.

Christian Bale gives his best performance yet and the same can be said about every actor stepping back into their character’s shoes again as well as the newcomers, whether they be the mysterious Selina Kyle, the courageous Detective Blake, the kind-hearted Miranda Tate or the malevolent villain. In The Dark Knight Rises Batman faces off against the tactical and ruthless brute force that is Bane. Tom Hardy does wonders with a role in which he can only rely on his eyes to tell the story. And what a spectacular story it is. The Dark Knight Rises is the third installment in a series of films, yet with grace and a clear tone it delivers with fresh and glorious territory.

It’s almost 2013 and 2012 will have come and gone. This is a year that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time because this was the year that my favorite story came to an end. In 2005 Bruce Wayne took his hero’s journey and became Batman. In 2008 Batman faced off against his nemesis, The Joker. What was realized was the perfect tale of good, evil and balance. In The Dark Knight Rises Batman becomes the hope to counter the despair that faces his city. If The Dark Knight Legend (or The Dark Knight Trilogy if that tastes better going down) is about one thing, it’s about hope and when it came to The Dark Knight Rises I hoped it would be a masterpiece, but little did I know, the entirety of The Dark Knight Rises is the perfect ending to the greatest story ever told.

My Best Friend’s Top 25 Movies

Recently, my best friend took some time, thought for a while, and eventually performed the liberating task of making a list of his top 25 favorite movies. I made one a while ago, Top 25 Movies. It’s quite the experience to establish to yourself exactly what movies you love and just how much you love them. My friend made his list and I thought it would be fun to post his list of favorite movies just to show a differing opinion. Part of the fun of movies is discussing them and what they mean and it’s all subjective so why not look into someone else’s cinematic opinion?

25. The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs is a modern classic. It’s a dark and thrilling movie about murder and the mind. The Silence of the Lambs tells the tale of an ambitious FBI in training as she tracks the whereabouts of a psychotic killer. However, the killer you become more fascinated by is the intelligent, charming, and sinister, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In order to catch her killer, Clarice Sterling gets into the mind of a one through Anthony Hopkins’ chilling Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.

24. The Shining

The Shining is a masterpiece of a horror movie and an epic as only Stanley Kubrick could make. It’s a fascinating haunted house story that makes you feel as isolated and uneasy as its main characters. As the evil that is The Overlook Hotel subtly consumes a family, you can’t help but be enthralled by the madness and the drama. The Shining offers an unreal and completely memorable experience that makes for arguably the greatest horror movie ever made.

23. Schindler’s List

It’s a hard task to deny that Steven Spielberg is an incredible director. There may be movies he’s made that you don’t enjoy, but the man has made many movies. Schindler’s List is “the beard’s” greatest feat. It’s a dark and poignant masterpiece that tells a story as inspiring as they come while enveloping a definitive story of the darkest point in history. It’s some how able to be realistic and operatic. It’s a flawless and prominent film that was crafted by a man who knows how to make good movies.

22. Amadeus

Amadeus is just one of those classic art house films. It has all the makings a masterpiece in it’s beautifully epic tale of rivalry, obsession and artistry. Structured to perfection, an old, bitter rival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart recounts the “murder” of Mozart himself. It’s a vast excursion into music through mystery. It’s also about a devotion to one’s craft. Behind this dark drama of murder, there’s quite the witty side to Amadeus, but more importantly a thrilling side. You really become consumed by the magic of it all.

21. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of the most inspirational pieces of cinema ever crafted. The futile, yet necessary battle between the free spirited R.P. McMurphy and the tyrannical Nurse Ratched is a thrilling one. It is very much a story about freedom and a fighting the want to simply conform. Randle McMurphy is quite the fish out of water when it comes to the tight shift the Mildred Ratched runs. He sure as hell isn’t going to stand idly by and let the man get him down and change him or his new friends from the fun-loving people they are.

20. Skyfall

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Skyfall is tells the greatest story that will ever be told about one of the most iconic characters in all of fiction, James Bond. This is, in part, due to the fact that Skyfall touches on so much more than just a story about 007. Skyfall tells a beautiful constructed tale of duty and betrayal, past mistakes and future consequences, the old and the new, but in its simplest form Skyfall is a movie about a hero and a villain. Daniel Craig’s raw and perfect turn as a grizzled Bond proving his worth even after so many missions really meets his match against the slithery and savage, Silva (Javier Bardem in another flawless portrayal as a villain).

19. Kill Bill

Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill is one the most memorable epics ever filmed. It’s a blood-soaked masterpiece about love and revenge. Any chance he gets as he tells his most epic tale of all, Tarantino pays homage to the samurai, kung-fu and even spaghetti western movies that he loves and respects to no end. Kill Bill is exciting and poetic. It’s a simple enough tale of vengeance and it’s told to perfection. We are brought on a very hectic journey and we know where it will lead but it’s hard not to enjoy the ride until you get there and when you do get there, there aren’t that many movies that are as satisfying.

18. Gladiator

Ridley Scott is often associated with the science fiction genre. He has defined and redefined the genre with some of the masterpieces he’s made. Scott’s sword and sandal epic, Gladiator, is arguably his greatest feat. The general who became a slave, the slave who became a gladiator and the gladiator who defied an empire is quite the striking story. Maximus is the kind of hero you want to watch prevail while his nemesis, Commudus is the kind of villain you want dead. Gladiator is a through and through a story of not just revenge, but justice.

17. Boogie Nights

Through a timeless tale of rise and fall, Paul Thomas Anderson explores the porn industry (70s through 80s) and its own rise and fall. It was with Boogie Nights that Paul Thomas Anderson began his reign of masterpieces. Boogie Nights was the first of five flawless, and very different, films. Boogie Nights is filled to the brim with vivid characters and memorable moments. It’s a colorful, yet dark film that’s hard not to be consumed by. Paul Thomas Anderson is just a man who knows how to make extraordinary movies and Boogie Nights is a perfect example of his expertise.

16. Inception

Inception is a masterpiece through and through. With a fantastic cast on his side, the brilliant Christopher Nolan tells a beautiful story of grief and redemption all while crafting an exhilarating science fiction setting where true reality is always in question. The setting for Inception is that of dreams and this world that Nolan has confidently explored is one that’s hard not to visit and revisit over and over again. Inception is a beautiful drama filled with vibrant characters and perfectly executed action sequences. It’s a compelling film that both entertains and makes you think from beginning to end.

15. The Social Network

2010 was an incredible year in film and arguably the greatest movie to come out of that year was The Social Network. Using the story of Facebook, David Fincher delves into broad themes of morality and betrayal what is easily one of the greatest films ever made. The Social Network tells a compelling human story that’s unmissable. Fincher defines a generation of technology and punks. It’s a film that manages to establish itself as a classic before it even passes the test of time. There’s no question I’ll be watching this movie in years to come. The Social Network is masterpiece in every way.

14. The Godfather (Part I +II)

The character arcs of the father and son that make up for the masterpiece that is The Godfather (Part I + II) are two of the greatest in film. The Godfather just tells this perfect story about family, while The Godfather Part II is more about character and the tragedy of Michael Corleone is fully realized. It utilizes the gangster genre, yet it’s so much more. Francis Ford Coppola was just ahead of his time in terms of how good he could make a movie, he proves that with this dark and operatic drama. The story is a powerful one and worthy of every bit of praise.

13. The Departed

Martin Scorsese is simply one of the greatest filmmakers to have graced this planet. He’s made countless masterpieces and The Departed is his greatest feat. The Departed tells a flawless intertwining tale of cops and criminals. It’s completely gritty, it’s relentlessly enjoyable and poetic. Leonardo DiCaprio gives an extraordinary performance while Jack Nicholson chews through every scene he’s in. Martin Scorsese has told many stories of crime, but never did he tell one so masterfully. The Departed is an unforgettable masterpiece through and through.

12. Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic is the greatest film he’s ever made. Captain Benjamin Willard is a sent to kill Walter E. Kurtz, a rogue Colonel who has fancied himself a god among the aborigines in Cambodia. We’re brought down the river with Willard and we learn more and more about Kurtz along the way, the anticipation to his first appearance is palpable as we go deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness. Apocalypse Now is a masterpiece about life’s journey and madness.

11. There Will Be Blood

The dark, emotive and gorgeous There Will Be Blood just barely misses his top ten movies of all time. There Will Be Blood was created by a movie mastermind. Paul Thomas Anderson hasn’t made that many movies, but every time he does he manages to make completely captivating masterpieces. He also manages to get the best performances out of his actors which is quite the accomplishment when your main character in this case is played by the great Daniel Day-Lewis. There Will Be Blood is a beautiful and archaic excursion into greed and the american nightmare as it studies the ruthless and despicable oilman, Daniel Plainview.

10. American Beauty

Kevin Spacey expertly portrays Lester Burnham, the father and center-piece of American Beauty. As he goes through a midlife crisis he slowly begins to realize how beautiful life is and how it deserves to be appreciated. Lester is just one in an assortment of characters that make up for a fantastic story of the lives of others. The film opens and you learn that Lester will die by the end, but it’s the journey that matters. The film got a well-deserved Best Picture Oscar back in 1999 and it lives on still as one of the greatest films in history. American Beauty asks you to look closer and what you find is something quite beautiful indeed.

9. Pulp Fiction

Told through vignettes, Pulp Fiction offers a mosaic of the lifestyle of criminals. Genius in its execution, Quentin Tarantino offers up the greatest gangster movie ever made. Whether you’re watch diner thieves, hitmen, a prized boxer or a crime boss’ coveted wife, it’s hard not to find endless enjoyment in the oddity of it all. Tarantino has crafted a puzzle piece of a movie filled with imagination and innovation. Many have attempted what he did, but nothing ever came close to Quentin’s vastly original and gorgeous masterpiece.

8. Fight Club

Fight Club defines a bored generation and the insanity that can result from that boredom. Our narrator needs something more out of life. He can’t just go through the motions anymore, he’s lifeless and he can’t take it anymore. Thus begins Fight Club and a chance meeting with the charismatic Tyler Durden. Tyler Durden is chaos incarnate. What begins as brawling to release angst eventually leads to rising anarchy. There’s a Tyler Durden in all of us and to attempt to hide that fact is futile and only serves to drive yourself crazy. Fight Club is cerebral, pertinent and entirely fascinating.

7. Django Unchained

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Quentin Tarantino can do no wrong. With his seventh directorial outing he makes what he was always meant to make, a spaghetti western. Django Unchained also happens to be a rollicking and epic excursion through the south when slavery was still at large. The film follows a freed slave on a journey to rescue the woman he loves, now tell me that’s not a story everyone can get behind. Props also goes out to Leonardo DiCaprio for his first and riveting performance as a villain, a sadistic and slimy plantation owner. With Django and his new friend, Dr. King Schultz, Tarantino has crafted a pair of heroes of mythical status. We’re just left to enjoy the ride as in their wake the bodies pile up, villains who represent clear symbols for exactly what was horribly wrong with that point in American history.

6. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is the ultimate in fantasy. It has dragons, wizards, goblins, magic, a giant flaming eye on a tower and an evil ring that can only be destroyed in the dark fires of Mt. Doom where it was forged. The epic journey that unfolds and the vivid characters you meet along the way leave you awe-struck and breathless. There’s just so much to the film to appreciate; the friendships, the battles, the countless inspirational moments, the creatures, the monologues, etc. The Lord of the Rings is simply one of the greatest stories ever told and it’s told masterfully and with grace.

5. Inglourious Basterds

With Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino takes the darkest period in history and tells an epic fantasy filled with blood and bullets. Every moment is so important to the story as a whole, while each scene just commands your attention. We get to know three very different characters before their adventures culminate in a glorious final chapter that solidifies Inglourious Basterds as one of the greatest movies ever made. It’s a movie made by a man who knows what a movie can be and what a movie can be is whatever the director wants it to be. It’s a story that deserved to be told and it was told to perfection. Inglourious Basterds is just as much a piece of art as it is one of the greatest times you’ll ever have at the movies.

4. Barton Fink

Barton Fink is the unspoken Coen Brother masterpiece. Most think of Fargo, No Country for Old Men or The Big Lebowski, but Barton Fink deserves to be held right up there as one of their masterpieces. As Barton’s writers block consumes him in the Hotel Earle a friendship begins to take shape between Fink and his next door neighbor. Charlie Meadows offers a little distraction in the form of innocent conversation. This is that everyman that Barton tries to capture in his writing. Little does Barton know that there’s more going on than he initially thought. Barton Fink is a thought-provoking masterpiece.

3. No Country for Old Men

A man finds drug money, while another man pursues him. It’s a simple story of cat and mouse that used to touch on important ideas of violence and malevolence. Llewellyn Moss attempts to get away with the money, while the cunning and emotionless killer, Anton Chigurh, is hot on his trail. Wise, old Sheriff Ed Tom Bell feels helpless on the sidelines as he watches this onslaught of blood unfold. No Country for Old Men is the Coen Brothers’ magnum opus. It is directed flawlessly, every choice made with such purpose. Nothing is out of place; each shot, line, performance, scene, etc. All of them are simply perfect. No Country for Old Men is a masterpiece in every sense of the word.

2. Drive

Drive is proof that the way you tell your story is just as important as the story itself. It’s just this perfect clash style and substance. It’s honest, it can be brutal and it’s consistently satisfying. Our nameless and quiet protagonist progresses along in stylishly sleek and cool tale. Drive is a spectacular film about what it means to be a hero and about what drives a man to do the things he does. Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks steal the show, but everyone is on their A-games and the includes off screen. Nicolas Winding Refn hasn’t done much, but he could’ve only made Drive and it would be hard not to consider him an extraordinary director. Drive is a masterpiece and one of the highest caliber.

1. The Dark Knight Legend

The Dark Knight Legend (or The Dark Knight Trilogy if that tastes better going down) is the greatest movie ever made. It’s filled to the brim with characters of the elemental variety to tell a vibrant, exciting and deep tale about heroism, villainy, legends, good, evil, despair, but above all else, hope. If I had to describe this single story in one word, that’s what it would be; hope. At the end of both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight there is still much work to be done, but there is hope for a better tomorrow. In The Dark Knight Rises, hope in the form of the greatest hero in existence, triumphs in the face of despair.

In Batman Begins, you get the perfect hero’s journey with a tale of how Batman became Batman. In The Dark Knight, you get the perfect story of good (Batman) and evil (The Joker (Heath Ledger gives the greatest performance in the history of film)). Then the trilogy is defined flawlessly in its last chapter as, like I said before, hope triumphs over despair. This icon is utilized to perfection to tell a real story with so much meaning and emotion. What Christopher Nolan and friends have crafted isn’t just the greatest movie in existence, but the greatest story ever told.

Top Six Star Wars Movies

The Star Wars Saga is a staple in not only the the science-fiction genre, but the movie industry as a whole. Back in 1977, audiences were taken on a vast and mythical journey and I imagine were blown away by something so fresh, little did they know the true journey that had just begun. Rumor is that Star Wars Episode VII is to be released in 2015 by Disney who just purchased the franchise for over 4 billion dollars and I’m very excited to see what will be done with it. I whole heartedly believe there’s no way anyone could possibly make worse Star Wars movies than Episode I and II. I won’t lie and say I’m even that huge of a Star Wars fan, but I think the saga is a substantial piece of filmmaking and very enjoyable to boot. Here’s an ordered list of the films thus far.

6. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Attack of the Clones is horrible, that’s all there is to it. I consider it to be one of my least favorite films if only for sheer disappointment value. Even after the disappointment that was Episode I, I thought there was no way he could make a worse Star Wars movie so I was excited for the sequel. I was wrong, Attack of the Clones is worse, much worse. Attack of the Clones is just the perfect example of spectacle taking the forefront. It didn’t matter how bad the movie was, it had enough battles and explosions.

5. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The Phantom Menace was the Star Wars movie everybody wanted to see. Star Wars had acquired its gargantuan fan base with the original trilogy, so upon the announcement of a new Star Wars movie how could anyone who witnessed the original Star Wars story not succumb to a bit of excitement. Then, unfortunately, everyone actually saw the movie. Yes, The Phantom Menace was a disappointment, but I will always argue that it is not the worst one. Sure Jar Jar Binks sucks, but at least Episode I had the pod race, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul.

4. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

With Return of the Jedi, the Star Wars saga is brought to a supremely entertaining and satisfying conclusion. Luke Skywalker fulfills his destiny of becoming a legendary Jedi worthy of honor and glory, while the redemption of Darth Vader is simply breathtaking. This is all while adorable Ewoks help prevail over the evil Empire on Endor. Return of the Jedi was tasked with a lot and though it wasn’t as groundbreaking as A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, it tells a great ending to a great story.

3. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

A princess, a wise jedi, an iconic villain, a rising hero, two quirky droids, a fuzzball and Han Solo; these are the chess pieces that make up the game that is the first extraordinary excursion into the galactic epic that is, Star Wars. There’s a sense of adventure around every corner and on every new planet you see. The characters you meet are memorable and vital to the telling of quite the tale of the forces of good and evil. A New Hope was the story that started it all and it is a spectacular one. It’s truly a classic movie that will forever remain in the pages of history and the minds of the fans inspired by its excellence.

2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

In terms of progression of story, if A New Hope is a thrilling adventure than The Empire Strikes Back is a poetic drama. While hope was indeed instilled back into the galaxy with the arrival of a Rebel Alliance in A New Hope, that hope is all but vanquished when the empire strikes back. There are different worlds, new faces, thrilling set pieces, action, inspiration, betrayals and a few surprises. “No. I am your father,” the sith lord, Darth Vader, reveals to his fallen son in arguably the most pivotal scene in all of Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back is one of the most astounding sequels ever created. I thought A New Hope was amazing, but it was all leading to this.

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the greatest of the six Star Wars films. It’s my favorite and it has been since I first viewed it back in 2006, so sue me for loving one of the prequels better than the original trilogy. Darth Vader is my favorite character in the Star Wars saga (Hayden Christensen’s performance is definitely lacking, he did some maturing since his awful performance in Attack of the Clones) and in Revenge of the Sith we witness the birth of this powerful villain. It’s a dark and very fascinating story in its prominence and its not without some extravagant spectacle.

The film is just chock full of evildoers from Count Dooku to General Grievous, and of course the malevolent Emperor Palpatine. The arc and villain at the heart of the film is Vader and there’s never a point when I’m not having a good time watching Episode III. It’s hard not to root for the wise and good-hearted Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The film culminates in an epic battle between master and apprentice on the eruptive planet, Mustafar. It’s the greatest moment in Star Wars and just one scene that helps make up for the greatest Star Wars movie that is ever likely to be made.