My Top Five Movies (2010-2020)

If, like me, you’ve spent much of the last twelve months in front of the television (because, just how many ‘walks’ can one person have in a day?) you might be getting to the point where you’re seriously wondering if there’s anything left to watch.

I know I am.

Then just the other day a Facebook friend of mine challenged me (and a host of other Facebook film buff pals) to come up with a list of Top Five Movies. The only fly in the ointment being they had to be films made in the last decade.

Coming up with my top five wasn’t easy… until I started to think about all those films that I’d watched once, and then watched again the very next day. Once I’d established that as a criteria I had a good selection, and only had to boil it down to just five.

So here it is. And who knows, if you’re in need of viewing inspiration, perhaps you’ll find something in this list to pique your interest. Feel free to share your ‘top five’ in the comments, at the bottom of this page.

OF THE LAST DECADE (2010-2020)

Number 5: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Yeah I know. I was surprised too. But if you ever used to enjoy Spider Man / Marvel comics (as a kid), then I promise you, it’s a flippin’ amazing movie. Somehow existing outside the MCU / Avengers Universe (what a relief), it’s a fun (animated) film that both explains every version of Spider Man that’s ever existed… and then redefines him… again.

Narrowly beaten to my number five slot was Anna. I’m a big fan of Luc Beeson, although he almost screwed up with Lucy (starring Scarlett Johansson) by forgetting to have a plot! He totally makes up for that with Anna.


Number 4: Arrival

Whilst compiling this list I was surprised at home many Sci-Fi films made it into the final selection. And when I say “Sci-Fi” I mean, proper Science Fiction – movies that basically start with the premise “What if…” – rather than some meaningless bug-hunt, shoot-em-up, in space. Arrival is one such “what if” movie. What if… technically superior Aliens arrive on earth, but their “language” is so utterly different from anything we’ve ever encountered before, that merely unravelling that language has unexpected consequences.

It’s classy, clever, fabulous, edge of your seat stuff, and I guarantee you’ll never look at a coffee mug stain in quite the same way again.

Cloud Atlas

Number 3: Cloud Atlas

Now obviously everyone has a film or two that they like to watch again and again, but it’s a rare thing to find a film that somehow gets better the more you watch it. “Cloud Atlas” is one such film.

It’s a fiercely complicated movie. Mostly because it’s not just one story, but six. Each story is linked in some way (though it’s not always obvious how). Each story is set in a different period in history – two of the stories are even set in the future. Even more amazingly, each story is told using a different cinematic genre, and to top it all, each of the main cast (which includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon and Jim Broadbent) play multiple roles, sometimes even playing against their own sex or ethnic background. Not surprising then that the film clocks in at almost three hours. But, all that said, when you finally get to the end – brow beaten and slightly bewildered, perhaps with a nagging feeling that maybe you missed something crucial – there’s still a good chance that you’d really like to see it again. And soon.

My only criticism (if I have any) is that with a film like this you’d have thought there was be hours and hours of DVD extras to pore over, or a “Director’s cut”. But there isn’t, more’s the pity.

The Martian

Number 2: The Martian

The Martian is one of those films that I put on when I need cheering up (so, in the last year I’ve watched it at least half a dozen times!) It’s also one of those films I watch when I need a little inspiration. After all, what can be more inspiring than watching a modern day Robinson Crusoe, except that in this re-telling of the famous story the stakes are far higher. In the words of the protagonist:  “if the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab beaches, I’ll just kind of implode. If none of those things happen. I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.” And yet the protagonist approaches each of these sobering problems with surprisingly good cheer and optimism. And this is the genius of the story telling, because as the film progresses it becomes less and less about Mars, or “space”, or the science thereof (although it is a total geek fest), and more about one man’s considerable strength of spirit and personal life philosophy. “At some point,” so says our hero, “everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

This was one of those films that drove me to read the book. To my considerably astonishment, the book is even better – and it remains the only book that has ever made me weep.


Number 1: Passengers

I absolutely love this movie. It was one of those movies that looked like it might be quite good from the poster, then the trailer sucked me in still further, and when I eventually got to see the film, it managed to surpass all the extremely high expectations I had for it.

One of the reasons I like this movie so much is because it uses several different cinematic genres to tell the story. It basically starts as “Robinson Crusoe in Space” (just like The Martian), flirts for a few moments with Disney (“Sleeping Beauty in Space”) morphs into a Romance, (a kind of reverse “You’ve Got Mail… in Space”),  turning suddenly into a Horror (“The Shining?… in Space”), and then ending as an Action packed Thriller (similar perhaps to “The Core”. In Space. But don’t let that put you off). 

But best of all, this is one of those movies that whilst extremely entertaining, manages to leave you thinking for days.

If you want to know more, tap here to read a blog post I wrote about it back in 2017. (Ahhh, 2017. Remember those carefree days?)

Fed up with movies and TV? Fancy a fun read (with absolutely no mention of lockdown)?

My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex Boyfriend – A Laugh-Out-Loud Rom-Com
Meet Adrian Turner; Mountaineer, Secret Agent, Fireman… Ade would dearly like to be any of these things, though he’d trade them all to win the heart of Paige, who despite being Ade’s girlfriend for the past eighteen months, still seems to have one foot out of the door, and hasn’t quite committed to leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom. Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian…
[Find out more]

The Truth About This Charming Man – A Crime Comedy
Meet William Lewis. All Will’s ever wanted in life, is to be an actor. That is, until he met Rachel – Beautiful. Beguiling. And married. To cut-throat venture capitalist Michael Richmond. So that’s the end of that. Or is it?
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The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl – A Very Funny Love Story
Jason Smith, 29, self-confessed ‘good guy’, is single. Finally. But now that he is, all the girls he’d happily give up one side of his bed for – like, for instance, his old school crush Melanie Jackson – are married, crazy, or in love with the office heart-throb. And then Jason stumbles on a fool-proof way to meet the kind of exciting, fun woman he’s always dreamed about…
[Find out more]

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What I thought of…. Passengers #movie #review

So I finally got to see Passengers.

I originally wanted to see this movie at the cinema because, from the trailer at least, it looked like my kind of flick combining two of my favourite subjects in fiction; science & technology, and romantic relationships.

But then the reviews started rolling in and every one I dared to glance at suggested that the film, whilst good, was also a disappointment – specifically ‘the ending’. And the last thing you want to feel as you walk out of the cinema is ‘disappointed’.

So I bumped Passengers to my ‘when it comes out on DVD’ list, and yesterday, finally, it made it to the the top. And can I just say… what film were those reviewers watching!??

Firstly, it’s not quite the lovey-dovey, explodey-wodey, romance-in-space slash adventure-popcorn-fest that I thought it would be. It’s quite a lot smarter than that. It starts funny, moves to heartwarming, but half way through the film I found myself nervously biting my nails and genuinely wondering if the so-called unsatisfactory ending was going to be a lot darker and more sinister than I would have liked. It’s a movie that doesn’t want to fit comfortably in one genre.

I won’t spoil it for you, but here’s the back-of-the-box blurb (or at least, how I would have written it) because the trailer, whilst good, is REALLY misleading: Jim Preston (played by Chris Pratt) is one of 5000 passengers on a 120 year one-way trip to Earth’s newest, and most distant, colony. But when the ship (on auto pilot) encounters unexpected problems, a computer malfunction results in Jim – and just Jim – being brought out of hyper sleep 90 years too early. After a year of going steadily out of his mind trying everything he can to either wake the crew, or figure out how to get back in his pod, he comes to the conclusion that there are only two remaining options: Jettison himself out of the airlock without a spacesuit, or wake someone to be his companion, thereby condemning someone else to a similar fate.

It’s brilliant: Cracking performances throughout, fabulous special effects, completely believable and most importantly of all… a fantastic plot. INCLUDING the ending, which in my mind was just perfect. Honestly, I don’t see how it could have been better.

But maybe you disagree. Post your thoughts in the comments below – including perhaps the ending you would have liked to have seen.

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If you’re a fan of romantic comedies that are a little different from the norm then you may be interested to know that my Rom-Crim-Com (Romantic Crime Comedy) Novel, The Truth About This Charming Man, is a mere 99p. Download it NOW for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle… but hurry, the price goes up in a day or two.

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