Top 5

Top 5 Actors I just don’t get

Posted on July 16, 2011. Filed under: Top 5 | Tags: , , , , |

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! ūüôā

Howdy folks. I’m back from the East Coast where the weather is generally windy but the baby goats are cute.¬† I have a whole arsenal of posts in the early draft stages ready to head your way, so I thought I better get going.

This post is brought to you by a late night re-run of The Departed. You’ll see why.

There are some actors out there that as far as I’m concerned are way more succesful than they should be. It’s not exactly that they’re bad actors, I just don’t understand why they keep getting lead roles.¬† They are either what I call beige people, who just blend into the background and can’t convince me of any kind of hero-like status, or they’re just plain creepy.¬† So with that in mind, I give you my Top 5 Actors that I just don’t get.

5. Adam Sandler

I haven’t seen that many Sandler films.¬† Mainly because I don’t think I could be less interested in him if I tried.¬† I don’t know what it is. I don’t actively dislike him, unlike some other names to come, but I don’t like him either, so as a lead character I never sympathise. I’ve never really found him funny either. Yet there’s a significant proportion of, mainly American, people who think the sun shines where he walks.¬† Anyone care to explain what I’m missing?

4. Russell Crowe

It took me a while to work out that the reason I don’t like Gladiator is Russell Crowe.¬† Again, it’s nothing against him personally, I just don’t find him an engaging screen presence.¬† When I found out he would be starring in the latest Robin Hood offering I actively avoided it, and without Paul Bettany I doubt I would have made it all the way through Master and Commander. I think the problem is that I find him boring.¬† And because he tends to take on more serious subjects… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

3. Pierce Brosnan

Anyone who has read my review of Mamma Mia may have noticed I’m not a fan.¬† In fact, he is responsible for me actively avoiding all James Bond movies until Daniel Craig took over.¬† I have no idea what it is but for as long as I can remember Brosnan has literally made me shudder. He is the slimiest thing I’ve ever seen on screen and I simply can’t watch him.¬† There’s only one film with him in that I like, and that’s Mrs Doubtfire. Because he gets hit in the head with fruit and chokes on spicy fish.

2. Tom Cruise

The only man in the world creepier than Pierce Brosnan.¬† Not only is Cruise slimy he’s genuinely scary.¬† I mean seriously, I know you can’t believe everything you read in the tabloids but if even 10% of that is true the man is a¬† nutcase.¬† And I’m sorry but no matter how many times you try to convince me he’s a “heart-throb” his cheesy smile will always make me retch.

My active avoidance of his films is more of a boycott until he releases poor Katie Holmes.  Rain Man is his only saving grace because Dustin Hoffman is so good you can get through nearly the whole film without looking at him.

1. Matt Damon

And in at number one, the blandest actor in Hollywood, Matt Damon.¬† I don’t know what it is with him, he’s just so incredibly beige.¬† The only film that I’ve actually liked him in is Dogma and I think the chemistry between him and Affleck has everything to do with that.¬† Like Crowe, I’ve now found myself avoiding films just because he’s in them. Not because I particularly dislike him, but just because he bores me.¬† Even The Talented Mr Ripley, which I really like, tends to get passed by when I’m picking a film the minute I remember he’s in it and Jude Law doesn’t last long enough to carry him.

The Bourne trilogy should be up there with my favourite films.¬† It has all my favourite things; guns, explosions, ridiculous number of double crosses and twists, yet for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it.¬† I don’t know whether it’s that I don’t believe him as an action hero or what but something isn’t right there.¬† Re-watching The Departed the other night I remembered something I wrote in my review of Inception about not necessarily seeing Leo Di Caprio as an action hero but actually it’s Damon who struggles to convince while DiCaprio once again reminds me that I really should stop forgetting how good he is.¬† Apart from Damon’s rubbish wandering accent in that movie, he’s just unconvincing as any kind of hardcore gangster-come-cop. Or hardocre anything for that matter.¬† I spend the movie waiting for Wahlberg, Nicholson and DiCaprio to get back on screen.

So those are the guys who have the exact opposite to the desired effect when I see them on the posters.¬† I’m sure that I’m going to get some disagreement out of you so bring it on. And let me know who your big screen turn offs are.

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Top 5 (Non-Disney) Animations

Posted on February 20, 2011. Filed under: Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Following on from my post about childhood Disney memories, I thought I’d draw your attention to some non-Disney animations which are just as good, if not better, than some of the Disney standards.

5. Spirit

A film about a horse, with next to no dialogue besides a voice over by Matt Damon.¬† Not your standard movie pitch, but this somewhat unknown film actually has some great moments.¬† It’s entirely made by the music; a combination of Hans Zimmer’s dramatic orchestration and original music by Bryan Adams which serve to fill in for the missing dialogue.

It would have been so easy to tell this story with talking animals, just like nearly other animated feature out there, but the¬† fact that they didn’t makes Spirit just that little but different.

4.El Dorado

Another one by Dreamworks; this is just plain fun.¬† Voiced by Kevin Kline and¬† Kenneth Branagh, Spanish con artists Tulio and Miguel set out in search of the lost City of Gold and then have to decide what they value more, money or friendship.¬† It could be an incredibly schmaltzy story, but in fact it’s packed with laughs, more often for the grown ups than the kids, and with another knockout soundtrack.¬† This time Zimmer is joined by John Powell and the legendary Elton John, again letting the music tell the story in a way that feels more organic than having the characters bursting into song (although they do once).¬† Incidentally, this is one of the many outings of Zimmer’s “pirate theme,” which turns up in nearly every movie he’s worked on.

Dreamworks seem to have cornered the market in more “grown up” animations, which is probably why they dominate this list.

3. Happy Feet

This one tends to divide people, but at risk or repeating myself, it’s the music again that makes this one for me. John Powell has written a beautiful score, and I just love the way that various classic songs get mashed together.¬† The interplay of Mumble’s tap dancing with the music is also a brilliant touch.

But we’re sick of me gushing about music right, so what about the story? I will admit it slows down considerably in the middle where it teeters on the edge of getting that little bit too preachy about global warming, but I’m willing to forgive that on the basis that it’s a really original idea, with some loveable characters (stand up Robin Williams’ array of Adelie penguins) and a lot of heart.¬† The animation is also very well done, particularly in the rare glimpses of the human world, where, if you’re paying enough attention, you can spot a few famous names who helped with the mo-cap performances.

2. The Iron Giant

When this turned up on Ross McG’s list of films he watched over Christmas it made me smile, even if he did only catch 10 minutes of it. The Iron Giant is a fantastic film which far too few people have heard of.¬† Directed by Brad Bird, who went on to become one of the Pixar Gods, and with voices from Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston and Harry Connick Jr, this film contains lines that I still quote on a regular basis (“Sir, you’re in the road…”).¬† Set in a paranoid cold war America, the animation has a period feel to it, but the script is razor sharp and the story is heartwarming without being sickly.¬† If there’s one film on this list that I really want you to go out and watch, this is it.

1. Shrek

I tried to think of a less obvious number one. I really did. But you just can’t beat¬† Shrek. When it came out, everyone’s jaws dropped in unison…and then we started laughing.¬† Here is a move which takes everything Disney has been doing for the last 50 years and, as I once heard poetically put in an interview, “bitch slaps it.”¬† The Knight in shining armour is an Ogre, his side kick is an irritating Donkey who wont stop singing. The villain is knee height and voiced by John Lithgow. Every moment of the film was built for maximum laughs and hits the mark every time.¬† The first time I saw Shrek inflate a frog to make a balloon I nearly choked on my popcorn.

The thing I love most about Shrek though is the fact that it refuses to conform.¬† While every other film about someone who doesn’t quite fit in (Disney or otherwise) ends with the lead character becoming just like everybody else, in Shrek, our Princess finishes up the movie as an Ogre living in a swamp.¬† And that is exactly why it is one of the best animations to come out of any studio in the last decade.

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Top 5 Disney Movies

Posted on February 4, 2011. Filed under: Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

That’s right folks, it’s another Top 5.

With the release of Tangled, critics are going wild telling us that Disney is finally “back on form,” but what exactly is Disney’s “form?”¬† When you think about it, and discard the Pixar movies, it’s been a long time since anything worth getting excited about came from the world’s most famous animation studio.¬† A lot of fuss was made over The Princess and the Frog but it didn’t seem to come to much, and before that we had such shockers as Atlantis to contend with.¬† It seems in recent years, Disney has been left behind while other studios, namely Pixar and Dreamworks, tapped into the new world of animation, where there is just as much for the adults as there is for the kids.¬† It’s not something Disney haven’t managed before, but they seem to have lost their way somewhere.¬†¬† From what I’ve heard about Tangled (and hopefully I’ll be able to back it up soon) they’ve finally got themselves back on track.

If Disney has finally recaptured the magic, what are the movies we’re holding this latest offering up against?¬† Here are my Top 5 Disney animations, the best of the cartoons that captured mine and many thousands of other people’s childhoods.¬† Coming up with this list has actually been incredibly hard.¬† It’s animations only, so no Pirates, but it’s been harder than I thought picking just five films from the vast back catalogue.¬† The number one spot was easy, but narrowing down all my other childhood (and adulthood) favourites to just four spaces was tough.¬† Knowing me, I’ll probably want to change it tomorrow.

5. Lilo and Stitch

This is an incredibly underappreciated film, but it’s one of the best ones they’ve brought out in recent years.¬† The characters are surprisingly realistic (I’m not talking about the aliens, obviously!) and it takes on some pretty tough issues with the kind of honesty that kids have grown to love in Disney.¬† It also helps that it has a fun script and some great music, mixing Hawaiian tradition with Elvis classics.

4. Mulan

One of the school of Disney films that used a big name in comedy to inject some energy into the script.¬† Eddie Murphy’s Mushu is perhaps now overshadowed by his Donkey (which sounds weird…) but the former character provides some great laugh out loud moments that I still find myself quoting on a regular basis.¬† Music is another big factor in this movie, as it is in all of the Disney films since they are essentially animated musicals, with Donny Osmond lending his vocal chords to Shang (bet you didn’t know that did you?) Moments of intense drama are interspersed with show stopping musical numbers and comedy that the whole family can enjoy.

3.  Robin Hood

When I was little, my three Disney loves were Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp and Robin Hood. Trying to pick which one to include was torturous, but in the end I had to pick Robin Hood as it’s one of the first films I can remember watching over and over again and never getting bored.¬† Casting the famous legend amongst a group of woodland animals is brilliant in a way that you don’t even notice until you get older.¬† Robin as a fox is a natural, but I also love Little John as a bear (voiced by the equally legendary Phil Harris) and Prince John as an immature Lion, shown up by his full maned older brother.

More great music. More big laughs. Pure Disney magic.

2. Aladdin

This was in my top spot film for two years until the film below came along.¬† Robin Williams makes this movie.¬† The genie is an iconic character and the improvised script (also found at the beginning: “it will not break! It will not break……it broke) is full of comedy that both the kids and their parents can enjoy.¬† Aladdin has also given us one of the classic songs in the Disney songbook: A Whole New World and, along with Beauty and the Beast, was one of the first animations to use computer graphics in some scenes.

1. The Lion King

There really is no better Disney animation than The Lion King. They really hit on a masterpiece here.¬† The story is compelling and full of heart, the animation is beautiful (the opening sequence is one of the best bits of animation I’ve seen) and the music is just stunning.¬† Everything about The Lion King works.¬† Seeing it for the first time in the cinema is one of my clearest early memories, and I love it just as much today.¬† It’s not just my favourite DIsney film, but it’s one of my favourite films of all time, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

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Top 5 Original Movie Scores

Posted on September 16, 2010. Filed under: Ramblings, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Way back when this blog was just a baby I wrote a post about the importance of movie music and how I thought we should hold the film composers up against the classical masters.

Continuing on that idea I thought I’d write a post about my 5 all time¬† favourite pieces of movie music.¬† I’m restricting myself to individual movements rather than whole scores, all of these being instrumental pieces that I think are simply fantastic.¬† Narrowing down to just five was very tricky, so I’ve tried to pick a variety of music and composers.¬† I doubt any of my choices will shock you, but I’m interested to read your comments and find out which bits of movie music do it for you.

The best way I could think of to get the music onto the blog was to provide links to the Spotify tracks, since that shouldn’t upset any copyright laws as the music is freely available.¬† So hit the links to have the music playing while you read.

**I’m trying not to put spoilers in this, but it’s hard, so if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to know then maybe skip that section.**

5. Father Kolbe’s Preaching-Burkhard Dallwitz-The Truman Show

Play

I’ll forgive you for not having heard of this guy, ‘cos even I hadn’t.¬† This particular piece of music plays right at the end of the film and is a perfect fit to what is happening on screen.¬† The simple piano and strings are tragic but at the same time seem to have a kind of optimism and the slow processing rhythm is a great match for the semi-biblical dialogue going on between Truman and Kolbe.

4. Star Wars theme-John Williams-Star Wars

Play

This man is the God of movie music.¬† I have no idea how he does it. Everything he writes is an iconic masterpiece, but I think if I had to pick just one track to sum up the genius that is John Williams it would have to be the Star Wars theme.¬† Every time that first brass note leaps from the screen I jump, even though I’ve seen Star Wars more times than I can count.¬† It’s such a triumphant march, giving way to the more fluid strings of Han and Leia’s theme, which take on a fantastically ethereal quality as the flutes echo the main theme in the background.¬† There are so many layers in that one piece of music it’s incredible.¬† And I dare you to find me a single person on the planet who can’t hum it.

3. He’s a Pirate-Klaus Badelt-Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Play

I’ve never wanted to stand up and cheer at the end of a movie more, (in fact, me and my friends did the second time) and a big part of that is this awesome piece of music.¬† It just has pirate stamped all over it.¬† It works better when played through from the previous piece (One Last Shot) as the sudden drums and pace are an impressive contrast to the sweeping strings from before.¬† It’s a great example of a piece of music being custom-made to fit a scene.¬† In my head, the music always starts with the words, “Drink up me hearties Yo HO!”

2. Freedom/The Execution/Bannockburn-James Horner-Braveheart

Play

I know I’ve been on about this piece of music a lot recently but it really is magical.¬† The deep drum beat is symbolistic of death, and the strings are quintessentially tragic, but interweaved with the celtic pipes (I think it’s a chanter, it’s definitely not full bagpipes) we have a score which is both moving and able to transport you to a time and place in order to make the film seem more real.¬† The fact that one movement takes us through three key moments in the films finale shows how each event influenced the next, and the tone of the music adapts accordingly.¬† I particularly love the solo flute towards the end, and how it dissolves into what is essentially a roaring cheer in instrumental form.

One of only two pieces of music that will make me stop what I’m doing and just listen if it happens to come up on shuffle.¬† The other is my next choice.

1. The Breaking of The Fellowship-Howard Shore-The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Infuriatingly the real version of this isn’t on Spotify so I’m forced to use a YouTube link.

I know nobody is shocked by this choice but this was the moment I fell in love with LOTR.¬† I absolutely love this score.¬† Howard Shore has this amazing ability to tell a story with music, which in a film like this is so important.¬† You can listen to the score and know what’s going on without needing to see the images that go with.

For me, this is the perfect orchestral capturing of Hope.¬† James Galway’s flute (I am a sucker for those things) is gorgeous and the understated horns are a great backdrop for the sadness after the loss of Boromir, but at the same time support the dialogue between the remaining Fellowhip members as they promise to stay true to eachother.

The piece moves from an achingly beautiful solo string to the dramatic revival of the Fellowship theme and then back to the restrained strings and flute as we watch the two hobbits picking their way across Emyn Muil.¬† Ben Del Maestro’s vocal kicks in just as the credits begin to roll, using lyrics from Tolkien’s own hand.¬† It’s both an ending and a beginning as we know that there is a whole lot more to come for the characters we have just been introduced to.

Honorable Mentions:

Here are some of the pieces that didn’t quite make it to the top 5, but I strongly suggest you check out.

Craig Armstrong: Love Actually

Alan Silvestri: Forrest Gump

Hans Zimmer: Gladiator

Gustavo Santaolalla: Brokeback Mountain

Stephen Warbeck: Shakespeare in Love

OK, I’m done with being artsy now. Your turn.

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Top 5 Tear-jerkers

Posted on August 1, 2010. Filed under: Ramblings, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Carrying on with my Top 5 posts (an idea not even slightly nicked from Ross vs Ross) let’s look at those lump-in-the-throat moments we for some reason can’t get enough of.

I am absolutely useless when it comes to crying at movies.  In the right (wrong?) mood I will end up crying at the most pathetically not sad things.  Despite this distressingly girly quality it is ironically quite often boyish movies that get me going.  So without further ado, here are my Top 5 tear-jerker moments. *Sniff*

**Beware Spoilers and thanks again to all the YouTubers**

5. Mufasa dies

I think everyone of my generation has this scene burned into their consciousness.¬† It was our “Bambi’s Mum,” except this time, and for the first time in Disney history, there was a dead body on screen.¬† Scary stuff for little kids.¬† Add to that Hans Zimmer’s score and you have a really moving scene.¬† Don’t worry though kids, he’s up in the clouds keeping an eye on things.

4. Billy gets into Ballet School

Even though you can sort of guess where it’s heading, the tension is so high by this point that when that letter appears on the table we are right there with his family waiting to hear what happened.¬† There is almost no dialogue and a very sparse piano accompaniment to go with some great acting from the young Jamie Bell.¬† This scene is also the first time we see Billy’s family really getting behind him, as they all are obviously desperate for him to succeed.¬† The fact that Jackie’s joy is so short lived brings us smack back down to Earth, emphasising what Billy is escaping, and how lucky he is to get out.

(It’s the first 5 minutes you want.)

3. Armageddon Goodbye

I think this might have been the first film to really make me cry.¬† I know that it tops the list of films tha make most men cry too, and I bet I don’t even have to tell you what scene I’m talking about.

I can flick to this film while I’m watching anything else on TV and the effect will be almost instant.¬† From here to the end of the movie is a cry fest for me.¬† I’ve only managed to get through it dry eyed once, thanks to two friends (you know who you are) continually checking to see if I was crying yet.

I always think Ben Affleck has had a bit of a rough deal when it comes to criticism, but he’s pretty good in this movie.

2. “You died on a Saturday morning.”

Everything that happens in Forrest Gump is about him trying to get back to Jenny, which makes the ending all the more heartbreaking.  Tom Hanks is fantastic as ever, and the dialogue is simple but effective.  I love the final scene where he sits on the stump watching the school bus leave, because we know he is probably going to sit there all day waiting for Little Forrest to come back home.

(Start from 2:15)

1. “They fought like Scotsmen, and won their freedom.”

As I’ve said before, I can honestly only watch Braveheart once a year.¬† I know that there are huge embellishments in this movie, but it is still essentially a true story.¬† I’ve been to Bannockburn and I’ve been to the Wallace memorial; they are both incredible places.¬† The part of this scene that always gets me is Robert the Bruce’s voiceover telling what happened to Wallace’s body, because that part at least is true, and shows just how ruthless the monarchy used to be when it came to so-called traitors.

Despite being hugely outnumbered, with no resources and having just watched their leader being brutally tortured, the remains of his army still stood against the English.¬† God I wish I was Scottish!¬† James Horner’s score is absolutely magical.¬† It holds all of the power of this scene.

Hope I didn’t depress you all! I promise my next post will be more upbeat.¬† Meanwhile if you want to share you’re favourite weepies please do.

Interestingly, 3 of these movies made it into my Desert Island Discs picks.  Guess we all need a good cry to keep us going.

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Top 5 Magical Movie Moments

Posted on June 6, 2010. Filed under: Ramblings, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yet another post inspired by channel hopping to films on TV.¬† Back in October I told you about my Top 5 fight scenes, but today I want to get you thinking more generally about those moments that are just great pieces of cinema.¬† The ones where the direction, the acting, the score, the cinematography, everything just comes together for a scene that makes you think “wow.”¬† When I was thinking about what I’d put down, I realised that for a lot of these scenes, it’s the combination of the action and the music that really makes it a perfect scene for me.¬† I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a great score can really make a movie.

Although I’ve called it Top 5, these aren’t necessarily in ascending order.¬† It’s more 5 great moments.

1.Where does my allegiance lie if not here?

This is the scene that got me thinking.  Now, we all know that I can rave about LOTR until the Orcs come home, but before you start rolling your eyes hear me out.  This scene really is pure magic.

Howard Shore’s score is so perfectly matched it’s scary, building the drama and then breaking away for Billy Boyd’s (self-penned) haunting melody.¬† What I think really makes this scene though is the foley work.¬† As the score takes over, we lose some of the sound.¬† The commands of the men and Orcs are silent screams, but the creaking of the bows remains, really hammering home the suicidal misson that faces the brave riders. It’s just epic.¬† Add to that the juxtaposition of Denethor almost frantically eating while he tries to ignore what’s happening, with blood running down his chin, and you end up with an awesome movie moment that is just melodramatic enough without over doing it.

2. At the Moulin Rouge you’ll have fun!

I have written about this scene before but I just couldn’t exclude it when talking about my favourite cinematic moments.

Energy and colour are what Baz Luhrmann does best, so when it comes to Moulin Rouge that first scene when you’re taken on a rollercoaster ride through the dance hall is just mindblowing!¬† In one 3 minute scene we get a mash up of no less than 6 songs culminating in a supercharged Can-Can.¬† The best thing about the scene is that we’re seeing it from the same position as Christian, so we too are bewildered and enthralled by all the flashing colours (and flashing flesh!)

3. Welcome to Port Royal Mr Smith

Best. Entrance. Ever.

Before he even says one word we know eveything we need to know about Captian Jack Sparrow from his incredible entrance to Port Royal. Who else would stand so proudly on the top mast of a ship which was more than three quarters sunk?¬† The best part is it doesn’t even seem to faze him.

As soon as he set foot on that board walk I knew I was going to love this film

4. He is The One.

Another great moment for movie music.¬† This scene is slightly marred by all the crazy superman stuff we see Neo do in the two Matrix sequels, but when he first stands up and stops those bullets I always want to jump up and cheer!¬† I love how effortless it all becomes for him, he just turns and says “No.” He even fights with one hand behind his back!¬† It’s a great turn around having just watched him have the crap kicked out of him.¬† The music is perfect here too, that great strings slide that runs through the film really captures the idea of being in a dream while still sounding artificial, but the addition of a choir brings back the human element, mirroring what’s going on on screen.

5. Oh Captain my Captain

I know it is incredibly cheesy. And I know that it is orchestrated to be a heart wrenching moment. But cynicism aside it’s still a great scene.¬† Ethan Hawke makes it for me.¬† It’s not so much the getting up on the desks that has the magic but the obvious guilt and pain of Hawke as everything he has been taught not to believe in is once more forced down his throat.¬† And Robin Williams is a better actor than he lets on…(may have to come back to a post on that later)

Those are mine, what are your stand out moments of cinema?

**Disclaimer: thank you to all the YouTubers whose clips I’m borrowing.**

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Top 5 Movie Fight Scenes

Posted on October 18, 2009. Filed under: Ramblings, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Catching the final showdown of a soon to be named action movie on TV a little while ago got me thinking about the best fight choreography to hit the big screen.  The following debate with my sister made me realise that a blog post was in order, so here are my favourite movie punch ups.

Just so you know, I’m not counting full on battles here, more one on ones (or one on manys).¬† Coming up with a top 5 was really tricky, and there are lots of great films that aren’t on the list (Die Hard, Fight Club, Spiderman, Star Wars…) so try not to get too angry if you’re favourite isn’t there. And please, remind me of the awesome punch ups I’m bound to have forgotten.

5. Daredevil

Maybe a controversial one here, since I seem to be pretty alone in liking this film, but I reckon that the first meeting between Matt and Elektra in the playground is a great movie moment.¬† It’s a tie between that playground fight, and the showdown in the bar with some cocky criminals for best fight in the movie.¬† What makes the latter so great is the point of view stuff, showing what Daredevil “sees” and making the fight a lot more interesting.

4. Bridget Jones’ Diary

It’s the ultimate anti-fight.¬† Two posh public school boys try to knock the stuffing out of each other without getting their expensive suits dirty.¬† Outcome? Definitely one of the best on screen fights ever.¬† I think what makes it so good is the fact that it seems perfectly likely that if Hugh Grant and Colin Firth ever do get into a fight, this is exactly what it would look like.¬† The best part is when they sing happy birthday.

How not to fight

3. X2: Wolverine’s Revenge

When I’ve watched Origins again, this may well get replaced by one of the Wolverine/Sabre fights, but when I first saw X2 and the set up starts for the battle between Wolverine and his female counterpart Lady Deathstrike I knew it was gonna be good.¬† It’s a dual of the immortals and the fact that the pair are so evenly matched is what makes the fight so awesome.¬† And the way he wins, you’ve gotta admit, is pretty inventive.

2. Equilibrium

Gun Kata. All hail the guy who came up with that one.¬† It’s not quite Martial Arts, it’s not exactly a shoot out, it sure is awesome to watch!¬† The whole film is filled with wicked fight moments, but I think for obvious reasons the ultimate fight sequence of the movie has got to be Preston’s final show down with “Father”. Damn that was good.

1. And the winner is….The Marix Trilogy

The film I was watching when this idea came to me was Matrix Revolutions, and despite the flaws in that film, I still think the so called “super-burly brawl” at the end is the best bit of fight choreography yet to be committed to celluloid. I mean, their punches stop the rain for god’s sake!¬† The effort that went into the visuals of that scene is just staggering, the row upon row of Agent Smiths that appear even in the windows of the skyscrapers for example must have taken hours of post production.¬† Of course, the focus on visuals rather than plot is probably what killed the two sequels, but you’ve got to hand it to the Wachowski brothers, they know how to stage a punch up.¬† In Reloaded we have the (not quite as super) burly brawl where Neo and a metal pole take on the legions in yet another stunning combination of wire work, kung fu and bullet time.¬† If you’re not into the sequels, the sequence which follows: “What do you need?” “Guns. Lots of guns,” in the original is just epic.¬† And since it’s pretty clear that fights liked this spawned our number two spot, it gets extra credit.

I could go on about Matrix fight scenes for a long time.¬† The thing about The Matrix is, the films changed our expectations of movie fights; with the invention of bullet time one of the major landmarks in visual effects history.¬† Thanks to them, fight choreography isn’t just about one guy swinging at another, it’s an art form in itself.¬† Which keeps action junkies like me very happy. ūüôā

He's beginning to believe

Honorable Mention:

“Come back and I’ll bite your legs off!” The Black Knight always triumphs.

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