Top 100 Best Movies of the 2010s: 30-21

spider-verse-latimes

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

30. Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – This movie surprised the hell out of me! It’s the first movie to win Best Animated Feature after PIXAR has won so many. Into the Spider-Verse is an eye-popping feast that feels like a comic book coming to life. With humor, colorful action, and a massive voice cast including Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Shameik Moore, and Nicolas Cage, this is the best mash-up of different Spider-Mans from different universes that I would be interested in exploring in the future (I think a live-action Spider-Man Noir would be fantastic). The post-credits sequence? Priceless!

avengers-endgame-screengeek

(Source: Screen Geek)

29. Avengers: Endgame (2019) – This marks the end of an era for the MCU. Don’t get upset. There is plenty more in store for this ongoing franchise. Clocking in at three hours, Endgame goes by like a breeze. It has humor, heart, gut-wrenching emotion, action, and visual beauty. I couldn’t have asked for a better send-off for these characters.

captain-phillips-variety

(Source: Variety)

28. Captain Phillips (2013) – Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Captain Richard Phillips has been debated whether he is considered a hero or not. My theory is that he is–more or less–a normal everyday person doing his job. However, he sacrificed his entire life to help the crew get out of harm’s way when Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi, in an impressive acting debut) and his group of Somali pirates hijack the Maersk Alabama. The handheld camerawork can get a little distracting at first, but director Paul Greengrass knows a thing or two to keep the tension up. The fact that this movie is based on a true story makes it all the more incredible. The final act will leave you speechless.

guardians-nypost

(Source: New York Post)

27. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – A lot of you might be surprised to see this ranked higher than Avengers: Endgame. I can’t help but love this movie. Co-writer/director James Gunn brings the most unusual band of misfits to life, which became one of the year’s biggest sleeper hits. The razor-sharp dialogue, slick sense of humor, wall-to-wall action, amazing soundtrack, and excellent performances by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, and a scene-stealing Dave Bautista all overshadow the otherwise fantastic visuals. Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie I would have seen a hundred times, if it came out when I was ten-years-old.

separation-nytimes

(Source: The New York Times)

26. A Separation (2011) – Asghar Farhadi’s drama from his native Iran is a gripping outlook on the struggles of a middle-class family trying to do what’s right for their daughter. The acting feels incredibly real, Farhadi’s direction (through a series of long takes and behind windows) showcases the Iranian culture in the most subtle way. A lot of people might be thrown off by the film’s ambiguity, but it works for a movie like A Separation, one of the masterpieces in world cinema.

boyhood-letteboxd

(Source: Letterboxd)

25. Boyhood (2014) – Richard Linklater’s 12-year odyssey of a boy growing up into a young adult in Texas is a miraculous achievement. He uses the same cast including Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, different scenarios that are relatable and never feels manipulative, and self-referential. Clocking in at almost three hours, Boyhood goes by like a breeze.

ibsct-vox

(Source: Vox)

24. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) – Barry Jenkins adapts James Baldwin’s novel of the same name for his follow-up to Moonlight (which will appear later on the list). The result is a poetic, hard-hitting, and breathtaking movie where the characters’ expressions, at times, speak louder than words. Featuring a more diverse cast than his predecessor, everyone shines, no matter how brief their performances might be. Regina King steals the show as Tish’s (KiKi Layne) mother, who supports her daughter, although her lover is in jail for a crime he did not commit in 1970s NYC.

cold-war-stone

(Source: Rolling Stone)

23. Cold War (2018) – Best known for the award-winning film Ida, Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski dedicates his latest film, Cold War, to his parents. Filmed in gorgeous black-and-white, this love story set over the course of fifteen years in Europe during the Cold War is nothing short of extraordinary. It captures love in the most realistic way. Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig are never better as the star-crossed lovers Wiktor and Zula, where their love story travels from the Polish countryside to a Paris jazz club. Great stuff!

marriage-story-nbcnews

(Source: NBC News)

22. Marriage Story (2019) – In my entire life, I rarely cry in movies. Noah Baumbach’s latest film destroyed me, and I mean it in the best possible way. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play Nicole and Charlie Barber, a couple fighting custody for their child while filing for divorce. The supporting cast, with the likes of Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, and Wallace Shawn, is also memorable. There are plenty of scenes that should be studied in acting classes, especially the argument between Driver and Johannson. With a deadpan sense of humor, Randy Newman’s delightful score, and terrific editing, every bit of Marriage Story feels raw and relatable. This is the most mature movie Baumbach has ever made. I hope the Criterion Collection won’t overlook this one.

intouchables-nytimes

(Source: The New York Times)

21. The Intouchables (2012) – If a lot of you thought The Upside was a complete waste of time, watch the original French film that started it all. I have never seen a more beautiful friendship portrayed in film over the past ten years. Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy have such terrific chemistry as paraplegic Philippe and ex-con Driss, who embark on a journey on what it means to be alive. This funny, uplifting film became a smash hit worldwide, it became the first film to be recognized at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Well-deserved, to say the least!

 

100-91 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

Movie Review: Bridge of Spies

Jim Donavon (Tom Hanks) is on a mission to defend a Soviet spy in Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies"

Jim Donavon (Tom Hanks) is on a mission to defend a Soviet spy in Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies”

In the 1950s, the Cold War is in full swing. It wasn’t a war of battling with armed forces. It was of fear. Fear of a nuclear war between American and the Soviet Union. Schools around America did bomb drills after watching an educational video called Duck & Cover. In case of an atomic bomb, the school children must get under their desks for safety when a bright flash appears. This happens in one of the early scenes in Steven Spielberg’s latest, Bridge of Spies, which is not just about the fear of nuclear war. It’s about the espionage during these cold times.

The movie opens up with a remarkable 10-minute sequence (with very little dialogue) involving KGB agent Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance) finding a secret message at a Brooklyn park bench while painting a picture of the bridge. After he settles in his apartment, the FBI arrests him for being a Soviet spy.

Meanwhile, James Donavon (Tom Hanks), an insurance lawyer living with his loving wife Mary (Amy Ryan) and three children, is assigned to defend Abel in court by his boss Thomas Watters (Alan Alda). As Lt. Francis Gray Powers (Austin Stowell) and graduate student Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers) get detained, Donavon must travel to East Berlin (breathtaking cinematography by Janusz Kaminski) to exchange them for Abel.

Spielberg and Tom Hanks are two of the best people working in Hollywood today. They collaborated with each other with Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me if You Can, The Terminal, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific. They return to deliver yet another home run. Collaborating with screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen, Spielberg makes an exceptionally old-fashioned Cold War thriller that ranks among some of his best work.

With Donavon, performed brilliantly by Hanks, going on his mission to negotiate Abel builds tension through Thomas Newman’s astounding score and the brilliant dialogue (be prepared for a lot of it) as opposed to the overblown action scenes as everyone is used to seeing in movies nowadays. We all heard the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words”. That explains why Donavon is such a likable hero; bringing “justice for all” through his charm, sarcastic sense of humor, and straight-up enthusiasm with his bond with Abel. The two-and-a-half hours go by like a breeze. One of the year’s best.

4/4

My Most Anticipated Movies for 2015

Happy New Year, everybody. I hope you made your resolutions. Last year has been a strong year for movies. There were many great surprises and some great disappointments. I hope 2015 will have movies that will meet and exceed audience’s expectations like last year. With that said, here is my list of the ten most anticipated movies for this year.

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): Child 44 (April 17), Crimson Peak (October 16), Far From the Madding Crowd (May 1), The Good Dinosaur (November 25), The Hateful Eight (December 25), In the Heart of the Sea (December 11), Inside Out (June 19), Jupiter Ascending (February 6), The Last Five Years (February 13), Pan (July 24), Paper Towns (June 5), True Story (April 10)

10. Ant-Man (in theaters July 17; directed by Peyton Reed; starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, and Corey Stoll) – Before seeing footage for this, I haven’t heard a lot about Ant-Man. Paul Rudd is one of the funniest comedians working today. It’s interesting to see him in something unlike his other work. I have a feeling this would be pretty good. The effects reminded me Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

9. The Fantastic Four (in theaters August 7; directed by Josh Trank; starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell) – Even though a trailer has yet to be released, it’s about time for a reboot after that awful 2005 version starring Chris Evans and Jessica Alba. Gotta love that cast.

8. The Walk (in theaters October 2; directed by Robert Zemeckis; starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon) – I’m glad Zemeckis returned to live-action in 2012 with Flight. This movie tells the true story of Philippe Petit attempting to cross the World Trade Center on a high wire. I think the movie would look quite something in 3D. With Gordon-Levitt becoming one of my favorite actors, I have high hopes for this.

7. The Untitled Cold War Film (a.k.a. St. James Place) (in theaters October 16; directed by Steven Spielberg; starring Tom Hanks) – Following  American lawyer James Donovan recruited by the CIA to help rescue a pilot from being detained in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Steven Spielberg is my favorite filmmaker, and Tom Hanks is my favorite actor. I smell Oscar bait.

6. Tomorrowland (in theaters May 22; directed by Brad Bird; starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Britt Robertson) – Given that Brad Bird directed the best film in the Mission: Impossible series – Ghost Protocol – I think the movie looks amazing. Again, the cast is great!

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (in theaters May 15; directed by George Miller; starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and Rosie Huntington-Whitely) – I haven’t seen any of the Mad Max films. This movie looks absolutely insane and over-the-top fun. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron can do no wrong. The action looks breathtaking!

4. Jurassic World (in theaters June 12; directed by Colin Treverrow; starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, and Vincent D’Onofrio) – Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favorite films. It made me feel like a kid seeing something unlike anything I’ve seen before. This movie looks as tense as the first film was. I cannot wait to see Chris Pratt capture his charm and dinosaurs chasing him while riding his motorcycle.

3. Spectre (in theaters November 7; directed by Sam Mendes; starring Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, and Dave Bautista) – I love James Bond. I love the cast. I loved the last film. I CANNOT WAIT!

2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (in theaters December 18; directed by J.J. Abrams; starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, and Max von Sydow) – Why am I looking forward to this? Because It’s STAR WARS!!!!!

1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (directed by Joss Whedon; starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson) – Do I need to explain?? I loved the first Avengers, and I hope this will have the humor, the phenomenal action, and the awesomeness that made the first film a hit. I want May 1st to come quicker!

I hope you enjoyed my picks. Leave comments on what movie you are looking forward to see this year. Stay tuned for my lists of the best and worst movies of 2014 in the middle of January. Take care!