Movies of the Year

Well, as it approaches the end of the year it's the time when all us sad movie geeks feel obliged to make lists of what we feel, in our own self-righteous opinions, were the best movies of the year.

Admittedly some of these movies were released last year, but as I saw them this year they're included.

The Top 5

5. Cloverfield
A fantastic piece of deconstructivist cinema. For someone who grew up with Godzilla and various other kaiju stomping over cities, this was a great new take on an old formula that very dramatically played into contemporary post 9/11 fears.

4. Hansel and Gretel
I'm a huge fan of East Asian horror. But unfortunately, the last couple of years have seen Japan and Korea stuck in a formulaic post Ringu/Ju-On rut. Initially, some of these were fantastic but it invariably leads to overkill - how many more long-haired vengeful spirits do we need?! This Korean movie steps aside from those cliches.

Hansel and Gretel features some really beautiful and eerie cinematography. As good a fairytale-horror as Pan's Labyrinth? - Quite possibly.

3. Zeitgeist
There are many documentaries that point out the corporate lies and governmental cover-ups as our society increasingly moves toward the New World Order but this particular documentary is a definite eye-opener without too much unfounded preaching (as can sometimes be the case with other movies such as the work of Alex Jones). This is a must-watch, check out the official free download site. Wake up, challenge everything, acceptance is complicity.

2. [Rec]
More handheld camera as a documentary team shoots a night-in-the-life of a firecrew. But this is a night like no other!! Be prepared for one creepy, claustrophobic journey to the darkside. Remade shot-for-shot as Quarantine for stupid people who can't cope with subtitles! Stick with the spanish original. Spain and France are currently the world leaders in creating cutting edge horror.

1. Let the Right One In
And then the Swedes come along with this work of sparse, and very dark, beauty. Last year 30 Days of Night put paid to the flouncy goth vampire cliches and this movie takes the vampire concept down another path entirely. It is a tender, and bloody, coming-of-age story, at times it made me think of Martin, whilst at the same time it is a melancholic study of isolation and the burden of eternity. Beautifully shot with some startling set-pieces - the swimming pool scene - wow! The obligatory Hollywood remake is on the way - we already know how crap that will be!

And also worth a mention:

À l'intérieur
This very bloody French classic very nearly made the top 5 - if you want a movie that pushes the limits look no further.

Liam Neeson in relentless pursuit of the human traffickers who have his daughter - he doesn't take any prisoners, oh no!

The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale - say no more. The best superhero movie of the year without a doubt, the Imax experience was pretty damn good too.

The other side of the superhero coin in many respects. An alcoholic-bum-superhero - Yeah!

Highly stylised, big, fun and dumb and suitably over the top.

The Signal
A dark study in paranoia, 3 segments of the same story by 3 directors. Like many experiments of this kind it's flawed but nevertheless a great movie experience.

In Bruges
Funniest film of the year, oh and it's quite brutal too.

If you're looking for big dumb action with an unbelievably high bodycount you've come to the right place. Sly makes his political statement about the situation in Burma with the one-dimensional, evil Burmese comicbook soldier villains - and then kills them all!!!

Giant crocodile movies don't come any better than this.

The Strangers
The Hollywood interpretation of the superior french film Ils with hints of Funny Games. But for all of its unoriginality - it does work pretty well.

Eden Lake
Talking of unoriginality - a British twist on Ils and Funny Games. Only this time featuring the very British phenomena of Chavs running amuck! Never in the history of horror movie watching have I wanted the killers to get their comeuppance quite as much as when I watched this.

Jennifer Lynch directs a great thriller with a fantastic twist that I actually didn't see coming.

A great little Spanish gem that deals with the complexities and paradoxes of time travel in a somewhat bloody way!

What happens when you hit a pedestrian who then gets stuck in the windscreen - apparently you just ignore it and hope it goes away!!!!!!! Actually based on a true story.

The Chaser
A great Korean thriller, it's not quite up there with Memories of Murder and it does drag a little in the middle. But it's shocking, brutal and beautifully shot.

What we do is Secret
The story of Darby Crash and The Germs. The pretend documentary format works well and it generally does do the scene justice - although there are some painfully cringeworthy moments - the Dick Van Dyke-esque interpretation of The Damned in particular!!!

A stark and bleak tale which explores how close we really are to animals when society and so-called civilisation crumbles as the whole world mysteriously goes blind.