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?
[Find out more]

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… King Kong (2005) #movie #review


So apparently there’s another King Kong movie.

Well WHAT A RELIEF! I mean, there was I breaking into a cold sweat wondering if the powers that be had run out of movie ideas or if they were going to be forced to remake ‘Spider Man’ for the umpteenth time… oh wait.

Anyway, it was whilst I was having this very conversation with a friend of mine that I was reminded that the last King Kong movie, in 2005, was really rather good – a point which I was unable to dispute because somehow I never saw it. So, I punched up my LoveFilm app and rented it right away, (first person to mention NetFlix gets a slap) – and a week or so later I was watching Jack Black lark about with an oversized monkey. Here’s what I thought of the movie (warning: this review contains some spoilers):

It’s too darn long.

Jeepers it’s long. Honestly, there are times when I wondered whether it was EVER going to end, and I think part of the reason it feels so drawn out (although this isn’t just a feeling, it is 3hrs+) is because at times King Kong is nothing more than a dull monster flick.

A common problem with films of today, in my humble opinion, is that they spend too long on fight sequences, car chases and special effects. It’s as if filmmakers find themselves struggling to spend the zillion pound budget they’ve acquired, and so they shoe horn in another explosion, or a few more more car crashes, or something else to go whizz bang pow. But the thing is, we’ve seen it before – 1,000 times! In 3D! And in Dolby Stereo! Even back in 2005! That stuff isn’t impressive any more! Get on with the bloody story!

In Kong’s case, there are long drawn out sequences where Peter Jackson (director) actually seems to have forgotten all about Kong and Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) preferring instead to concentrate on the other characters and yet another run in with more dinosaurs or overgrown bugs. Which would be absolutely fine if this were Jurrassic Park, because that’s the point of Jurassic Park, but this is King Kong! The clue is in the title.

In fact, now that we’ve mentioned Jurassic Park, there were moments when I caught myself thinking WWSD (What Would Spielberg Do). There’s a scene for instance when Carl Denham (Jack Black) drops his camera and loses all the footage he’s been filming. It’s a pivotal point in the story, and it’s over in a heart beat. Whoops – dropped my camera – bugger. Now, were Spielberg in the directors chair that camera would have rolled down a hill, fallen through a crack in the ground formed by an earthquake, and after being tossed in the air by a passing dinosaur, it would end up hanging on a flimsy branch by its shoulder strap, inches from Carl’s finger tips. But he can’t quite reach, and he’s forced to crawl his way along the branch, on his belly, 150 feet above a river of flowing lava, and just as his fingers touch the strap… well you get the idea.

One thing Spielberg wouldn’t have done is forget about the relationship between Ann and Kong, which is the WHOLE POINT of the story. But somehow, despite the film being over THREE HOURS LONG, we barely scratch the surface of what is, in essence, a story of the world’s most unlikely romance.

Two other things bugged me; Jack Black seems wrong for the role. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still excellent, but somehow not villainous enough. And that’s my second beef. The villain doesn’t get his come uppance! So he loses his monster on the opening night of his show. Big deal! WWSD? He’d have had Carl standing on the sidewalk, looking up, when the hairy one eventually falls from the Empire State building, and… squish.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s the best over-sized gorilla love-story remake of our generation, and the new one will feel like a half-hearted rip-off. Have your say in the comments below…

(Trailers for the 2005 film, AND the new 2017 film below)

And now compare with this year’s offering…