This is the meme: What is your favourite movie for each year of your life?
Well, it’s tough enough to narrow each year down to a selection, let alone a single movie, but I felt like I ought to give it a go. Below then, I consider this question and come up with answers, some reasons for those answers, and some also rans, for each of my forty years. To be clear, I’m not making quality judgements; this is about my historical and ongoing enjoyment of the movie, not how good it is. Therefore I am only looking at films that I’ve seen, and believe me there are some shocking gaps in that subset. Even in that limited space I’m not saying these are the best movies, but they are the ones I’ve had most fun with, for one reason or another.
As before, a handsome prince is cursed for being a world-class jerk and transformed into a Beast (Stevens) until and unless he can find and share true love, while his staff are turned into furniture. The time frame is unspecific, but the curse also removes the castle and its inhabitants from the memory of the outside world, in particular of the little town that supports it, to which years later a girl named Belle (Watson) and her father Maurice (Kline) move after the loss of her mother.
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise Starring Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Jerry Orbach, Jo Anne Worley, Bradley Michael Pierce, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury
A spoiled prince disrespects a beggar woman, who reveals herself as a beautiful enchantress pulling shenanigans and turns him into a Beast, so to remain unless he can find and share true love before his twenty-first year. Ten years later, in a nearby provincial town that is entirely ignorant of the existence of said prince, his family and his castle, we meet Belle (O’Hara), a high-minded, intellectual dreamer who isn’t like all the other girls. She is pursued by local bravo Gaston (White), but uninterested in a life in the village, remaining largely to protect her ageing and eccentric father, Maurice (Everhart).
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly
1933’s King Kong was a black and white movie about a movie crew looking for a lost island, finding a giant ape which is in no way a grotesque caricature of a black man. The ape, Kong, falls in love with the starlet – on some level or other – and the crew catch him, then bring him back to New York, where he escapes and is shot from the top of the Empire State Building by biplanes. It was remade in a contemporary setting in 1976, and again in its original era in 2005 by Peter Jackson. In 1962 Kong was added to the Toho studios kaiju universe in Godzilla vs. King Kong.
The Latest Remake
During WWII, American and Japanese pilots crash land on an island where their attempts to kill one another are interrupted by the appearance of a giant gorilla. In 1974 the island is picked up on satellite imagery. Bill Randa (Goodman), biologist San Lin (Jing) and geologist Houston Brooks (Hawkins) of Monarch tag along with a Landsat survey team to look for monsters. They recruit a helicopter platoon on the way back from Vietnam, lead by Colonel Packard (Jackson) and professional tracker and ex-SAS badass Conrad (Hiddleston), while anti-war photographer Mason Wheeler (Larson) gets herself attached to the survey.
This may seem like a lot of characters, but wait; there’s more. Captain Chapman (Kebbell), a major heading home to his family; Landsat official, Nieves (Ortiz); and members of the platoon including Mills (Mitchell), Cole (Whigham), Slivko (Mann) and Reles (Eugene Cordero).
Written and Directed by Sean Hogan StarringBilly Clarke, Jack Gordon, Jonathan Hansler, Harry Miller and Mark Sealy
Two hit men are sent to do an assassination, for their boss Bruno. Pinner (Billy Clarke) is an experienced gun for hire and he is provided assistance by the young, inexperienced and skittish Cully (Jack Gordon). They arrive at the house of their target and settle in for Kist (Jonathan Hansler) to return from the Opera so they can murder him and go home.
Directed by Rob Cohen Starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, Marton Csokas and Michael Roof
After an NSA agent is killed while trying to James Bond his way through a Rammstein gig in pursuit of Russian ex-military crime syndicate Anarchy 99, maverick senior agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) is given carte blanche to recruit and deploy an asset drawn from the criminal world, without the tells of a professional agent or ex-soldier. Of those chosen, the only one to pass all of Gibbons’ tests is extreme sports athlete and political pre-YouTube video prankster Xander Cage (Diesel).
Directed by James Mangold Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen
As always, there will be spoilers in this review.
In the not-too-distant future, Logan (Jackman) is living on the (unwalled) Texas/Mexico border, working as a limo driver in order to support Charles Xavier (Stewart), who now suffers from an unspecified degenerative brain condition that causes him to suffer seizures with terrible effects on those around him. The mutant tracker Caliban (Merchant) acts as Charles’s nurse and struggles to be a conscience to Logan in a world where most mutants have been exterminated. This arrangement is upset when a nurse named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) finds Logan and asks him to transport her and a young girl, Laura (Keen) to Dakota.
Directed by Chad Stahelski StarringKeanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane
After the brutal events of John Wick, our titular antihero (Reeves) slaughters a taxi garage full of mob enforcers to retrieve his car, shares a drink with the brother (Peter Stormare) of our previous antagonist and heads home to bury his past once again. Unfortunately, now that he has resurfaced he is not to be allowed to go back out.
Directed by Adam Randall StarringBill Milner, Maisie Williams, Jordan Bolger, Charley Palmer Rothwell, Aymen Hamdouchi, Miranda Richardson, Rory Kinnear
Tom (Milner) is an ordinary kid, growing up on a high-rise estate under the care of his Gran (Richardson) and never quite finding the nerve to confess his feelings to lifelong friend Lucy (Williams). He’s an okay student, and keeps out of the gang business that has already sucked in classmates such as school bully Eugene (Rothwell) and Tom’s best mate Danny (Bolger). Then one night he goes to help Lucy with her revision and stumbles on a gang punishment assault. He runs and tries to call the police, but is shot, the bullet shattering his phone and imbedding pieces of it in his brain.
Directed by Robert Schwenke Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie Q, Bill Skarsgård, Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts
Having overthrown the fiendish academic oligarchy of Jeanine in Divergent and Insurgent, Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) find the city in the grip of a mania for frontier justice led by Four’s figuratively trigger-happy mother, Evelyn (Watts) and her literally trigger-happy goon Edgar (Jonny Weston), and opposed by almost-literal Earth mother Johanna (Spencer). Instead of signing on with the new order or attempting to moderate it, they opt to break out of the walled city of Chicago to accept the invitation left for them in the Divergent Box.