As my co-critic and friend Nicholas Seles suggested, it is important for the readers of The Avro Post to get know ourselves better.
To help with that endeavour, I have followed suit with his idea and created my own top 10 list of my personal favourite films. (Keep in mind that the placement of the listed films are only indicative of how much I have personally enjoyed them.)
10. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
Indeed, this a recent movie, so perhaps time will tell wether or not it stays here. Maybe it’s because the bar is so low for video game movies in general, or maybe its because it’s legitimately well crafted, putting in care and attention to detail into every nook and cranny into the world the filmmakers have created. The lead performances by Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith are exemplary, serving a story thats as bonkers as a Pokémon movie should be, with just enough edginess and truly great jokes in the script for a truly all ages product that should entertain people of all ages, regardless if they are a Pokémon fan, like yours truly.
9. Captain Blood
A classic swashbuckler of the 30’s, Captain Blood truly is the quintessential pirate movie: adventure, romance, dastardly villains, ship battles and flashy sword fights. The charisma of the lead star Errol Flynn, is the stuff of legend, with a performance that he would carry throughout his career. The entire cast in fact, deserves praise, with great performances up and down the board. Add a sharp script with very memorable moments, excellent direction and impeccable craft on the model ships, and you have a pirate film that easily puts Disney’s own series of films to shame.
8. War for the Planet of the Apes
The entire trilogy (thus far) of the reboot Planet of the Apes series is a fantastic menagerie of filmmaking, but the pinnacle of it truly is the stellar War for the Planet of the Apes. Matt Reeves heads the production once more with a gravitas style and feel, lending a sense of realism that drips from every scene. His vision for the film carries it to new heights, with just enough awareness to not get too carried away. What truly makes the movie is of course, Andy Serkis’s Oscar worthy performance as Caesar, who’s lack of said Oscar is truly mystifying. Without him, the trilogy wouldn’t be half of what it is today and I am truly thankful to have seen his arc completed to its fullest.
7. Mad Max: Fury Road
If you want to find out what an action movie can truly be at its peak, then look no further than Mad Max Fury Road, A beautiful operatic masterpiece of violence that shows how it’s done. Veteran director/writer George Miller returns to his franchise with vigor, with modern techniques to assist him that shows how he is a master of the craft. With gorgeous cinematography, great performances by Charlize Theron as Furiosa and Tom Hardy (replacing Mel Gibson) as Max, an organic feeling script and truly spectacular stunt work, Mad Max Fury Road shows what can be accomplished with a genre that some deride as juvenile or without nuance.
Pixar puts out classic after classic (most of the time) and this one is a work of art. Pixar’s animation is always a sight to behold, wether the film is good or not, but theres an attention to detail in Ratatouille that truly makes it beautiful. The warm colour palette, memorable characters, great direction by Brad Bird and an intelligent story about change, artistry and truly caring for what you put your passion into, created an animated film that puts all the ingredients together (no pun intended) to create an instant classic.
5. Pacific Rim
Guillermo Del Toro does monsters like no one else in the film industry, so it would only be natural that he would create one about the giant variety. With the Japanese inspiration apparent throughout, this movie unleashes a storm of glorious popcorn entertainment that only Del Toro can bring. The characters are as simple or complex as they need to be, with major highlights going to Mako Mori played by actress Rinko Kikuchi. Each Kaiju (giant monster in Japanese) and giant robot are realized with the best that visual effects have to offer, designed with resorting to the realism that can plague films like this. Sometimes, it’s alright to be cartoony in live action.
A film that celebrates filmmaking itself, Hugo is one of the few book to screen adaptations that is superior to the work it is based on. Every character is given more depth and nuance, and that is not hyperbole. Even the villain, who was a simple cruel man in book, is given layers and a backstory, making him more of a character, adding much needed depth. Performances by every actor within are fantastic, especially Ben Kingsley, who plays the legendary Georges Méliès near perfectly. Scorsese once again shows his experience in the art, by making it all look almost effortless with his direction.
The true grandaddy of all Giant monster movies, Gojira shows why Godzilla truly is the king of the monsters. Above all of the destruction, performed on Toho Studios’ meticulously made city sets, is a grim and somber tone that reflects Japans relationship with nuclear energy in a way they can only express. For a film of the genre, it’s very subtle, building up the titular kaiju for a good portion of the film until his full reveal. Director Ishiro Honda understands these creatures are both forces of nature and characters in and of themselves. With an appropriately restrained story (though not without its “of the time” quirks) and great direction, Gojira is absolutely phenomenal.
2. Shin Godzilla
If Gojira is master, then Shin Godzilla is a worthy successor. An allegorical movie about the Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and nuclear meltdown, Shin Godzilla takes the main star back to his roots in way that truly captures his frightening essence from his first cinematic appearance. This time however, added to the mix by writer and co-director Hideki Anno, known for his Neon Genesis Evangelion anime, is a healthy does of political satire. Showing how strict adherence to protocol and rules prevented any real work from being done. Realized in a terrifying visage not seen for years, Godzilla himself is realized in perhaps his most appropriately bizarre manner yet as he changes and shifts form, the scene that reveals his “atmoic breath” power being a particular stand out moment that cannot be missed.
1. Mary & Max
Despite my love for the fantastical in most features, it’s this seemingly mundane yet thoroughly captivating animated tale about sending letters that is my absolute favourite film. This stop motion animated classic by Adam Elliot has some of the best character writing in an animated film. It’s able to get the character of man with certain disabilities in way that made the movie extremely personal. Narrated in the style of a childrens book, this movie is not made for children at all. It is dark in both the comedic sense and the more somber sense. Appropriately stylized, well animated and well written with a stellar performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary & Max is my favourite film of all time (so far).
Honourable mentions: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Robocop, Star Trek Beyond, Disney Pixar’s Up, Toy Story 3