HAMMY’S TOP 10…BEST SEQUELS

Last week, I wrote a list of My Top 10 Worst sequels (click here to check out my list). To balance it out, I thought I’d do a list of My Top 10 Best Sequels! After watching Kingsman: The Golden Circle, I hoped that I’d never see a sequel again. However, Blade Runner 2049 rekindled my hopes and dreams. Yes, it’s as good as the critics say. It would be on this list, but I need to watch it again to fully critique it (my review will be coming up soon, just need time to digest the film!). There are some sequels that improve on the original in significant ways, and some sequels that are just as good as the original. Of course, these sequels are few and far between, as the majority of sequels are mediocre. However, all of the sequels on this list should be watched by Hollywood big wigs when attempting to produce a sequel. It’s not rocket science, is it? Continue reading

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HAMMY’S TOP 10…FILMS I’VE WATCHED MORE THAN FIVE TIMES

I’m a frequent reader of Den of Geek. Last Friday they posted an article entitled ‘The Top 25 Films (People Have Watched More Than Five Times). Would a Top 10 List of films I’ve watched more than five times be any different than a Top 10 Films of All Time? Well, yes, it probably would be. There are films that would be in my general Top 10 that I’ve only managed to watch once or twice. I’m thinking of the first two Godfather films, Doctor Zhivago, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner, Taxi Driver, or Schindler’s List. There are films that are just too overwhelming to watch regularly, due to their duration or subject matter. 12 Years a Slave was a powerful movie, but one I haven’t watched since I saw it at the cinema.

A great film, no doubt about that, but not one I’d want to watch on a regular basis

But there are those films I return to time and time again, acknowledging and perhaps welcoming the flaws that become apparent on repeat viewing. Or, conversely, there may be films on my general Top 10 List of Films that I have watched more than five times, but that very first time watching them has remained indelibly etched on my brain (the original Spider-Man film is not a great film, but that first experience watching it makes it one of my all-time favourites). There are those films that I put on in a drunken state, that I watch on a rainy day, or that I want to show a new acquaintance who hasn’t seen the film before. Of course, the older the film is, the more chance I’ve had of watching it multiple times. But there are a few recent films on this list as well…

  1. The Avengers

This would not make my Top 10 List of Films. It’s not a film for the ages, but it’s one of the most fun superhero films of all time. Yes, the MCU films are generally full of fun, but this first union of Marvel’s B List superheroes ramps up the fun and fantasy to sublime levels. There are periods that drag, and the plot’s flimsiness is more apparent on every viewing, but the characters, the wit and the action more than make up for the flaws. Loki’s the number one MCU villain and he’s at his best here. And that scene of seeing the superheroes united still gives me goosebumps. A joyous, fist-pumping slice of cinema.

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Hot Fuzz

Out of the Cornetto trilogy, I’d rank Shaun of the Dead as the best, but Hot Fuzz is the one I frequently return to viewing. It’s overly long and the finale draws a fine line between parody/silliness, but there’s always something new to discover on each viewing, be it a pun, a joke, or just a little easter egg in the background. The jokes are rapid, and hit home more than they miss the target, which is surprising considering the number of them. I may prefer Shaun of the Dead, but Hot Fuzz is the one I frequently quote.

(Click here for my review!)

  1. The Empire Strikes Back

I’d include all three of the original trilogy here, as I’ve watched them countless times (and always together!). But it’s undoubtedly The Empire Strikes Back which is the cream of the crop. It’s funnier than the others, but at the same time darker and more mature. There’s not much else I can say about one of the greatest films of all time.

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Robocop

This is a film which I often put on in a drunken stupor after a night out. Not because it’s sci fi trash, but because it’s a comfort. I’ve seen it so many times since I was young that it’s a part of my history (like some of the other films on this list). It’s a science fiction, satire, and flowing with OTT violence. It may be a Jesus Christ allegory, but I’m sure Jesus Christ never murdered people (even if they were criminals). Clarence Boddicker’s villainy becomes sweeter on every viewing. It’s perhaps Paul Verhoeven’s finest moment.

(Click here for my review)

  1. Back to the Future

Who couldn’t watch this film just the once? It’s a film that begs to be rewatched. Is it the best film about time travel? Maybe, but it’s definitely the most entertaining. It’s through and through an 80s film, which increases its likeability. But the characters make the film, as much as the story or the special effects. Seeing two different time periods of Hill Valley is enough to rewatch the film and compare and contrast, but it’s the characters who I always go back to the film to watch.

  1. The Wrestler

One of the more recent films on this list, it was tough to choose between this Aronofsky masterpiece or his other one, Black Swan. The latter is a stunning film on all levels. But The Wrestler feels like a more honest film in some way. I’ve watched them each more than five times, but it’s always The Wrestler that springs to mind when I think of Aronofsky. From the raw performance by Mickey Rourke, to the grounded camera work, to the bittersweet tale of a man stuck in the past, it’s a brutal but powerful film.

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The original may be the superior film, but I’ve watched T2 so many times that every sound effect, every beat is a part of my consciousness. It’s a big budget repeat of the original, but it turns the original on its head by making (SPOILER ALERT) Arnie’s Terminator the good buy. Robert Patrick as the bad guy, the T-1000, is just as terrifying as Arnie was in the original. It’s loud, it’s perhaps overly long, but it’s one of the all time great big budget, blockbuster films. Yes, it does lots of CGI, but it doesn’t drown out the story or the characters. And if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, then may be we can too…

(Click here for my review!)

  1. Aliens

Alien may be the more streamlined and frightening experience, but for sheer enjoyment and rewatchability Aliens is clearly the better film. This time its war, and a small group of marines (plus Ellen Ripley from the first film) take on a horde of aliens. It’s light on scares, but piles on the tension and action scenes. It’s a nailbiting experience, one that doesn’t lose its tension on repeat viewing. It’s quotable (most coming from the late, great Bill Paxton). It’s star Weaver as the ultimate female bad ass. It also has Ripley inside a mechanical suit taking on the Alien Queen. ‘Get away from her you bitch!’

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Drive

If I’d have watched ‘The Neon Demon’ a few more times, that might take Drive’s place on this list. But Drive never fails to impress me whenever I slot the disc into my PS3. I didn’t expect much of it on my first viewing, but it blew me away. It’s light on dialogue, but heavy on style, gore and character. You don’t need Ryan Gosling’s The Driver to speak; his actions (and facial expressions) speak louder than words. The brilliant soundtrack propels events along. The car chase scenes may not be as loud or CGI filled as those from other films, but they are raw and feel real. It’s another triumph of style over substance for Nicolas Winding Refn, but it’s a triumph that can be rewatched time and time again.

(Click here for my full review!)

  1. Gladiator

The only epic that I’ve watched more than five times, and probably would make the number 1 slot on my general Top 10 Films of All Time. Me and my friend originally went to the cinema to watch the cool sounding Angel’s Ashes. However, the newspaper had misprinted the title. It was actually Angela’s Ashes, and to our teenage minds, it looked boring. Luckily enough, Gladiator was the only other option. And what an option it turned out to be. A truly grand story or a soldier becoming a slave, who became a gladiator who defied a Roman Emperor. Everything in this film is close to perfect, from the script, the action scenes and the story. And each and every main character is memorable. Russell Crowe deserved the Best Actor Oscar, conveying everything with his face more than words. And who can forget his epic speech, ‘My name is…’?

Honourable Mentions

Jurassic Park

The Terminator

Battle Royale

Black Swan

The Dark Knight

Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?

Review: Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

the empire strikes back

“Laugh it up fuzzball!”

How can I review a film that I’ve watched countless times since opening the ‘Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition’ on Christmas Day, 1997? Yes, that’s how I began my review for Star Wars, and that’s how I’ll begin by review for Return of the Jedi! Let me just say, here and now, that The Empire Strikes Back is one of my Top 10 Films. Funnily enough, it’s the one I liked the least when I first watched the Star Wars Trilogy, but I needed maturity to fully understand and appreciate Episode V. Now, when I go back to re-watch the Star Wars (Original) Trilogy, it’s the one I most look forward to watching. It’s dark, emotional, inspiring (just listen to Yoda!), gut-wrenching, and very, very funny. Epic set-pieces push forward the story, emotions and characters in a way that is very rarely seen in cinema. Not only that, but it has one of the greatest endings/cliffhangers in cinema history. And, of course, it’s the greatest Star Wars film yet… Continue reading