Personal Favourites

Ten (+2) movies that I can watch infinite number of times: The personal favourites.
*Qualification: 2011 and before.

I. Solomon Kane (2009)
Genre: Supernatural Action
Director: Michael J. Bassett
Cast: James Purefoy, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Max von Sydow
Solomon Kane does not qualify as full-fledged action movie. It is a bildungsroman story, a journey of one mercenery to his knowledge of sin, his need for penance and the quest to save his soul from the devil’s reaper. In his attempt to save himself from hell, he has to choose between violence and indifference as part of his battle to win back his soul from eternal damnation. James Purefoy’s uncomparable depiction of the redemption-seeking murderer and the movie’s environment which seems to breed supernatural forces among the devastation that surrounds the man in despair, contributes vastly to an experience beyond the normal limitations of a movie. This journey to salvation is written in the name of the protagonist itself, and his journey is not different from another Pilgrim’s Progress, even as there is less allegories and less religion involved in it.

II. Constantine (2005)
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Director: Michael J. Bassett
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz and Shia LaBeouf
Seeking the salvation of soul on the route to eternal damnation is the hope of another man, John Constantine. As he lives between half-angels and half-demons, dealing with those who try to destroy the balance, he attempts to earn the favour of heaven, but seems to be making vain attempts, as his chain smoking is slowly pulling him towards death, and his earlier suicide attempt towards inferno. At the same time, he has a suicide case to solve, and also stop Lucifer’s son Mammon to stop from crossing over to Earth. I have found this one as Keanu Reeves’ best performance in an action role, and the depiction of hell and the other supernatural elements with the reigning Christian symbolism are all quite praiseworthy. This movie needs a sequel, and so does the movie which comes at the first spot. Denying its place as the successful supernatural action-thriller that it is, might be a sin of high degree.

III. The Book of Eli (2010)
Genre: Action Drama
Directors: The Hughes brothers,
Cast: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman
In a post-apocalyptic world of no order, this story follows the journey of one man who possesses the world’s last Bible and would do anything to protect it during his journey towards the west. He is lead by faith alone, and during that journey, there would be attempts on his life as well as his most valued possession. It is quite a simple plot when one takes a quick look at it, but the strength of the whole thing is exceptional. It is another Pilgrim’s Progress, a journey towards a possible Celestial City which is yet to be discovered. Denzel Washington weaves magic around him, and Mila Kunis is the simplest and yet the prettiest in this movie. The narrative style and the reliance on the peak of simplicity makes this a work which is not only thought-provoking, but also faith-creating. The central point remains the book from the beginning to the end, and everything reveals as part of that mystery of the book.

IV. Bedazzled (2000)
Genre: Supernatural Comedy
Director: Harold Ramis
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley and Frances O’Connor
Elizabeth Hurley makes an entrance as the Prince of Darkness, and makes a deal with our protagonist with seven wishes in return for his soul which she calls his appendix. With each wish, there is something that keeps him away from his actual wish, which is to get the love of his co-worker. The movie re-tells the Faust legend with its comic magnificience not as a remake, but as a creation of the present world. Elizabeth Hurley’s devil and Brendan Fraser’s new-age Faustus are nothing less than admirable. Right from the appearance of the female devil, the movie gives the viewers what is to expect from a wonderful comedy movie which not only creates the moments of laughter, but also gives a message in morality. When Doctor Faustus comes back in the form of modern man, there is one lady both as the devil and also as the Helen of Troy.

V. Inception (2010)
Genre: Sci-fi Thriller
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page
In the world of dreams and subconscious stealing, this plot takes a deep dig. The result is that most of the viewers never really understood what was going on, a feeling which goes back to The Matrix when it was released. Well, the protagonist is given the mission to plant an idea this time, rather than steal it as he usually does. Plagued by the memories about his own wife which interferes with his ability to do his job right, he still assembles a team of his choice and moves on to his mission. The rest is a layered structures of dreams within dreams which creates a magnificient world of unreality supported by some wonderful acting and great special effects. There is a lot going on in the movie for watching it just once – it is worth going for again and again. There is absolutely no loss of interest in watching this masterpiece many times, as each occasion ignites a different spark in our minds, and answers come naturally.

VI. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Genre: Gothic Drama
Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst
From Anne Rice’s 1976 novel of the same name, comes this movie which would set a standard for the vampire movies which were to follow, even as the movies of Twilight series strayed away from that intellectual path. It is the story of those philosophical vampires who strive to balance their life between life and death, and ask question about their own immortality, good and evil, truth and lies during an age which was plagued by the loss of faith following the French Revolution. Set in the New World full of surprises, in the Spanish Louisiana in 1791, these questions are re-asserted, and further powered with a number of journeys through Europe finally reaching the land of French Revolution where some answers are found. The problem of the dark gift takes a much needed turn here, and with the three veteran actors Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas playing three major vampires, there is not much of a fault to be pointed out in this movie.

VII. Event Horizon (1997)
Genre: Sc-fi Horror
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill and Joely Richardson
In the future, when a rescue vessel Lewis and Clark is sent as an answer to the distress signal sent by a supposed-to-be-lost spaceship named Event Horizon, there are secrets to be found and mysteries to be unveiled, none of them safe enough for the living beings on Earth. It is only later that they realize that the ship had gone outside the known universe of scientific reality into another dimension which is of pure evil and chaos, something which resembles the definitions of hell. This evil presence of unknown nature seems to have possessed not only the ship, but also its crew. The rescue vessel is now stranded and strange occurences seem to happen. All these are not depicted directly, as the viewers become more and more aware of this evil entity in a slow, controlled manner along with the crew themselves. The fascinating presence of this rising evil is the kind of horror which is less explored these days.

VIII. Pandorum (2009)
Genre: Sc-fi Horror
Director: Christian Alvart
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster and Antje Traue
Here is one movie which had gone neglected, and most of the common movie watchers never even knew about this one. Here, with Earth’s overpopulation crisis and the scarcity of resources, there is a new Noah’s Ark called Elysium which would carry a number of humans to colonize a planet called Tanis which resembles Earth. When two of the crew awakens from hyper-sleep in the middle of the journey, the ship seems abandoned, and they later comes across a group of cannibalistic humanoids who have appeared out of nowhere, with a predatory nature, always searching for flesh even from corpses of their own kind. There is no way to get to the control area of the ship and they stand stranded as more survivors come to light. There is a great build-up throughout the story, and it is only by the end that the whole thing is brought to light in a flash, even as a few bits are thrown now and then. Pandorum is an extraordinarily beautiful dark world which thrills.

IX. Hellboy (2004)
Genre: Supernatural Action
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Ron Perlman, John Hurt and Selma Blair
The story of the infant demon who comes through a portal from another dimension is nothing less than interesting, and when that demon turns out to the saviour of humanity, it gains further strength. He is that outsider for the humans, but still the redeemer. Ron Perlman makes the Hellboy a great human demon child, and with Guillermo del Toro’s vision, this movie is a clear choice when facing so many superhero movies. In that case, not to forget Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which has a lighter shade in a dark world which continues to grow. There is the strength of intellect behind these two movies, and the way in which the supernatural are blended into the movies from the myths has to be highly applauded. It will be among the greatest comic book movies of all time, and there are not enough movies which that much strength to take this one out of the top ten of the comic book inspired films.

X. Megamind (2010)
Genre: Animated Action
Director: Tom McGrath
Cast: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt and Tina Fey
The story of Megamind might belong to the best of the animated movies so far, and yes – even better than Kungfu Panda and Finding Nemo. This movie explores not just the life of a supervillain, as it is a story of the transformation of a villain created by circumstances, who has to save the day at a point when the usual hero is nowhere to be found. It reigns over Despicable Me which has a similar theme, but lays emphasis more on the world of circumstances which creates the villain and the hero out of someone. It re-iterates the possiblity of a return for the sinner, and the lack of thickness of the line which separates the hero and the villain. Megamind is a winner from all angles, but not many of the common movie viewers have watched the same. But that takes nothing away from this awesome animated movie.

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    ❅ Special Mention (Non-English)

✠ El laberinto del fauno
(Language: Spanish | English title: Pan’s Labyrinth {2006})

Genre: Dark Fantasy
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Ivana Baquero, Sergi López and Maribel Verdú
I would consider this movie as one of the most complete movies ever made. It has a little bit of everything, and its merging of the fairy tale elements and history proves to be the most significant factor. The tale of Princess Moanna of the underworld and the life of young Ofelia’s post-Civil War world in Spain are so well intertwined that there is little difference between the two, connected by one mythical figure, a mysterious faun creature often referred to using its Greek godly figure’s name, Pan. The elements of fantasy are combined with those of horror and darkness in such a way that there is a clear mastery of the art, which someone other than Guillermo del Toro would have failed to accomplish. The only question remains, why Rotten Tomatoes score of 96% based on 200 reviews? Why can’t it be a hundred percent? One has to wonder what more can one expect from a movie.

✠La piel que habito
(Language: Spanish | English title: The Skin I Live In {2011})

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and Marisa Paredes
Based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel Mygale, this is one of the most “mildly” shocking movies of 2011 if not of the century. Even as too much information on this pure thriller might prove allergic as spoilers, this is the story of a surgeon who keeps a young woman captive in a room which is always watched over by the cameras. She wears an artificially created skin on her body as clothes, and talks and acts strange. Meanwhile, the surgeon is on the process of creating an artificial skin resistant to burns and insect bites. The whole thing keeps one glued to the screen and asking questions until a criminal drops in and changes the situation, still keeping the suspense alive. The success of the movie lies in its huge number of possibilities which generates an equally huge number of predictions, and a revelation which makes them all ineffective.

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4 thoughts on “Personal Favourites

  1. I have heard about that Interveiw with a vampire… do you know that movie is writen by a author who lost her young daughter I think. In the movie that little girl who brad pitt turned into vampire was inspired by the authors daughter… I hate vampires other than the twilight vampire Edward(in the book not movie), they all seem like damned creatures. But here in movies there are good vampires with feeling and ones who are totally dark, there is one scene where vampire eat the lady alive in theather and audience watch it thinking it is a drama!!!… what imagination… I have not seen the movie):, it is quite terrible…I not seen any likable vampire movies other than twilight but the movie sucks to the book again…when I was young like a snake I could have a raw egg, now I would find that idea quite not nice, I can have raw mushrooms though, mushroom vampire, I would like a mushroom vampire…anyway… can you make a list on the movies that have lots of gory scenes I am sure that Interveiw with vampire will come on top list…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interview with the Vampire has no gore at all; it shows no blood, they just surround that lady in the theatre and we know that she is dead, thats all.

      Vampires are supposed to be dark; I don’t like Twilight at all – vampires are meant to be creatures of the dark and different from the humans; Twilight makes them just random humans and the defined properties are all wrong; not fitting with the classic vampire mythology. I get bored of that story too.

      Liked by 1 person

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