CineFix is back with another great list looking at one of my favorite movie genres: the thriller. As always, CineFix does such a fantastic job with their lists (which you can find an archive of at their YouTube channel if you click here). Their top 10 lists aren’t so much just straightforward lists, but a breakdown of the different elements that make up their topic, then picking one outstanding example of each element to put together their 10 selections. For example: with the thriller there are films that rely on tension, physical danger, comedic suspense, film noir, etc. As always, they usually pick as one of their considerations what I would have chosen as the actual number, but they do such an educational job of moving through film-not just recent movies but the entire history of cinema-that I always learn something or find a film I need to add to my watch list by perusing their picks. If your first experience with Martin McDonagh’s particular brand of dark humor was Three Bridges Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, then you really need to go back and watch Seven Psychopaths and on of CineFix’s picks: In Bruges. What did you find missing, not just from the honorable mentions, but from the list entirely? As his Annihilation opens today, I thought the exclusion of Alex Garland’s Ex Machina was particularly glaring, but what stood out to you?
WhatCulture delivers an intriguing list: Top 10 Awful Movies With Awesome Openings. I have to slap a GRAPHIC VIOLENCE warning on this one, as-shockingly-a lot of these disappointing films happen to be horror movies. Shocking indeed. This is a great idea for a list as moviegoers have all experienced films that start out surprisingly well for what they believed they were getting into only to have the film then do a graceful swan dive right into the ground so viscerally that you can actually hear the studio laughing in your head that they got your money. I’ve seen most of the films on this list and have no problems with any inclusions other than Super Troopers, which I think is uneven after it’s superb opening rather than an awful film. The rest: yes, undoubtedly.
What movies started off well for you and then exploded in front of your eyes?
Christopher Nolan is, to my mind, the best director working today, and the best of this generation. I’ve written before about the power of his ending scenes, but today WatchMojo has put together a pretty solid pre-Dunkirk list of the best scenes from Nolan’s first nine films. There’s no word yet on what the next project from the genius will be, but most directors go through their whole careers without putting together a series of moments that Nolan has in his first 10 features. What’s criminal is that he’s never even been nominated for a Best Director Oscar, something that hopefully the Academy rectifies when nominations are announced for the 2018 Oscars tomorrow morning.
One of the most common complaints of film fans is that everything is a remake or a franchise these days, and that film has lost all originality. It’s true, to a certain extent, that the market for original films has never been thinner (Get Out and Wind River being two notable 2017 exceptions), but as CineFix points out in their list, remaking films is nothing new. The Wizard of Oz and Ben-Hur (the second one) are both remakes. Hollywood has always cannibalized its own material and always will. Even films like The Lion King are remakes (loosely in that case of Hamlet). Studios have never been more obvious about it than they are today, but take a look at CineFix’s different categories of remake, and learn a little about how Hollywood has been munching on its own tail since its inception.
CineFix lists are a staple now on Killing Time. I love the way they continually crank out amazing lists exploring the breadth of the history of cinema, and how each rung on the ladder is a different aspect of the subject they’re examining. Here, we’re talking props. Iconic movie items. The lightsaber. Indy’s bullwhip. Inception’s top (an honorable mention on their list but I would have definitely put it up there. Props even become characters. Their selection, and I can’t argue, Wilson from Cast Away. Tom Hanks got me to cry when a volleyball floated away. Every time. Because HE WAS WILSON!!! Inanimate objects are tools of the actors and take on lives of their own. They’re an integral part of film and this was a fantastic idea for a list. Bravo to my favorite channel on YouTube.