Am a big time hoarder and keep copies of the films I like ‘just in case’ (which has led to a 350-DVD album and a monstrous 200+ VHS collection from my younger years that I still have not ditched despite two transatlantic moves and the Milan-Rome transfer). After a discussion with an LJ friend (thanx Ace!), I went through said treasures to make a favourites list. So here goes, in my best attempt at chronological order story-wise for history films and an attempt at a thematic listing for the rest (some belong in more than one category, so I picked one arbitrarily).
HISTORY in all shapes and sizes
have seen 50+ times, have three DVD editions, and still largely know by heart
average movie, but gorgeous Clive Owen and great soundtrack
1982, originally TV series but issued as a film. Do not bother with the 1990s version, ever.
The Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe version. Perhaps not stellar but solid and enjoyable.
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
Should not be here, I know. Cheeeesier than a Cheddar factory, but Alan Rickman is the highlight
A Knight’s Tale
cheesy, yes, but I like Rufus Sewell as the baddie
young and gorgeous Kenneth Branagh, who also directed, and his then-fiancée Emma Thompson
Much Ado About Nothing
still Kenneth Branagh. Still gorgeous, in his pre-HP days, still with Thompson, and still directing. Seriously good and shot in a 15th-century Tuscan villa that I made a point of staying at.
a bona fide Cinderella story set in 16th-century France, with good talent such as Anjelica Houston and Drew Barrymore, and beautifully shot
16th-century Venice. Filmed on location (but some bits in Rome). Very nice and with Rufus Sewell at his best.
the first one is a great film. The second one disappoints despite Cate Blanchett’s huge talent, Mr Owen’s good looks, and some impressive architecture.
a rare pirate film that was actually done really well, but is B&W as came out in 1945
1990 TV series, have not seen the 2000 version. Young Sean Bean as the baddie and young Clive Owen as the hero *swoons*… plus the incomparable Polly Walker.
based on Les Liaisons Dangereux and starring Colin Firth
Pride and Prejudice
both the Colin Firth BBC series and the 2005 film
the Gwyneth Paltrow/Jeremy Northam movie, not the TV version – beware, both came out in 1996. Not super gripping but sweet.
Sense and Sensibility
the film is slow but Alan Rickman is to die for
Master and Commander
a bit boring, frankly, but I’d watch Russell Crowe in anything
The Mark of Zorro
Mark, NOT Mask! Perhaps the only historically themed US-based film I really love. Is B&W but charming.
guilty pleasure. Then again, Angelina Jolie is actually a talented actress, not just a beautiful lady.
Sharpe, the series
Sean Bean at his drop-dead-gorgeous best playing the dashing hero, for once. Action, romance, quality writing, great production values, an overall timeless classic and huge personal favourite. Sharpe’s Challenge has Toby Stephens as a bonus. Sharpe’s Peril is to be avoided.
Am not a huge fan but is worth watching, if only for young Jamie Bamber in navy uniform
The best-kept secret among historical romance films. Which is a shame considering how good it is.
Both the 1983 and 2006 4-part versions. Timothy Dalton is the better-looking Rochester but Toby Stephens is the better actor.
Young Sean Bean playing Mellors in extreme states of undress. Drool-worthiness defined.
an unconventionally charismatic Edward Norton, Rufus Sewell as a baddie again, and a cute Paul Giamatti. Very loosely based on historical events in Austria.
The Phantom of the Opera
only musical I really like
Jeeves & Wooster, the series
young Hugh Laurie was a riot!
An Ideal Husband
lots of fun, and a top-notch cast
A Good Woman
also based on Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere’s Fan) and shot on location on the Amalfi Coast
A Month by the Lake
not hugely exciting but shot on location at the most beautiful place on Earth, Lake Como. Starring still-presentable Vanessa Redgrave and young Uma Thurman.
SCI-FI, broadly defined
Star Wars Episodes II-VI
Seen Empire almost as many times as Gladiator. Ep II ultimately led to me moving to Italy ;) Like the spoof, Spaceballs, as well.
Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009)
Serious and sometimes depressing, but the quality of this show, in terms of actors, writing, and production values, is amazing. A unique example of the creator (Ron Moore) closely listening to his fans a lot of the time.
The Terminator I and II
Love it. Also like The Sarah Connor Chronicles by association.
Crazy, escapist action sci-fi starring Arnie. Young Sharon Stone is hilarious in it.
Solid sci-fi. Leave your IQ at the door, and forget the mediocre sequels.
90% thriller, 10% sci-fi. Very artistically shot.
The first one is classic. The other two do not exist.
Men in Black I and II
Pure New-York-based fun, especially the first one. Tommy Lee Jones’ deadpan delivery is sublime.
A nice sci-fi comedy that is palpably 80s but sweet
Am not a Whedon fangirl but is enjoyable
Batman (new series)
Mammoth blockbusters, yes, but more serious and engaging than previous incarnations
Spider-Man I and II
Blockbusters par excellence. Alas, third one sucked.
Instant classic, complex, tense, and utterly gripping
ACTION/ADVENTURE, with a touch of comedy
Superb, with Arnie making fun of himself and James Bond in one fell swoop
The Italian Job
Guilty as charged, but love the 2002 remake much more than the 60’s classic
Quirky and fun, but little appreciated (except by me ;) ) Bruce Willis, Cate Blanchett, and Billy Bob Thornton make a great accidental threesome-on-the-run.
...before Craig. Am not a fan of Roger Moore either, but like The Spy who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only. Love Brosnan in his first two films and, yes, Dalton in both of his, and respect Connery a lot.
Indiana Jones I and III
Raiders and The Last Crusade, that is. The only films ever where I am OK with inexplicable ‘magical’ elements.
Fast and Furious I, IV, V
Yes, I know I have a teenage, adrenaline-craving brain. So what? Vin Diesel and Paul Walker make a brilliant bromance couple!
Guilty pleasure, Indiana Jones/Da Vinci Code lite, with my darling Sean Bean as an enterprising baddie
The Thomas Crown Affair
Again, liked remake better than original. Must be Mr Brosnan’s charisma and NYC setting.
Nice crime caper. Second one has glimpses of Lake Como but does not measure up.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Seems like a comic book transferred to film. Hate Jude Law but he does not irritate in this one. Angelina Jolie is beautiful as ever.
Romancing the Stone
Escapist adventure fun at its best. The sequel is stupid.
Beautiful political thriller, well scripted and marvellously acted, despite Matt Damon in the cast
While Harrison Ford was still young-ish and dashing. This one introduced me to the sexy Sean Bean on my 20th birthday – oops, dated myself here...
Clear and Present Danger
Sans Sean Bean, but still good
Still-young Harrison Ford on a thrilling Parisian adventure by Polanski
Young Sean Bean and a few other first-class actors that the plot does not deserve. Enjoyable in spite of itself.
Classic. Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant light up the screen.
Beautiful male-bonding story, tremendous acting by Russell Crowe, rock solid plot. Genius.
3:15 to Yuma
Russell Crowe again, as a charismatic baddie. Christian Bale makes a suitable good-guy foil.
Russell Crowe as a good guy this time. An excellent film.
State of Play
Another Russell Crowe masterpiece. Has a good deal of modern-day DC politics but a very human core.
(ETA) The Next Three Days
Is there a Russell Crowe film I do not like? A non-stop adrenaline ride but also intellectually engaging, and blessed with a gem of a soundtrack.
Harrison Ford vs Tommy Lee Jones, in a masterful tale of bitter adversaries learning to respect each other
Only gangster film I love, an early and arguably the best Cohen brothers venture. Amazing story.
OK, another gangster film I like. Great cast despite Costner starring.
The Bourne Identity
...before it was ruined by Mr Janitor aka Matt Damon, there was the Richard Chamberlain version
No Way Out
Costner cannot act, but the plot is watertight and the pace is heart-stopping
COMEDY (non-rom com)
Thank you for Smoking
The smartest black comedy in a long time
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Classic, and side-splitting hilarious
Back to School
Lovely, feel-good belated-teenage-wish-fulfilment comedy with the cute goofball Rodney Dangerfield
OK, I have a teenage brain. At least I did not list the sequels!
A Fish Called Wanda
Classic comedy about inept criminals and an even-more-inept lawyer who outwits them
The Full Monty
Guys getting naked, but that is not why I love it. A very human comedy.
Crazy but fun
Only Tom Cruise film that is enjoyable in a teenager-on-the-rampage Ferris-Buelleresque sort of way
The Banger Sisters
Two old girls in their forties wreak mayhem as they reconnect. Fun to watch.
Quirky but nice
MODERN ROMANCE & RELATIONSHIP STUFF, with SOME ROMANTIC COMEDY
A Good Year
Russell Crowe, directed by Ridley Scott, for once not fighting but making wine in Provence. Set in a paradise spot and with an ending I’d dream of in real life.
Ironic-but-uplifting comedy by Robert Altman, with a stellar cast
Wine, middle age, and sowing one’s wild oats in one week. Mayhem ensues ;)
A Woman’s Guide to Adultery
Sean Bean at his handsome bare-a$$ed best. Little known but lovely, and true to life.
Well-done mystical thriller with Kenneth Branagh and then-wife Emma Thompson
An Affair to Remember
Cary Grant is to die for. Shamelessly romantic.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape
Has hardly any sex in it but is nonetheless engrossing
Teenage version of Les Liaisons Dangereux set in the Upper East Side. Kitschy but enjoyable.
Something’s Got to Give
Only Jack Nicholson film I like, perhaps because he is playing himself. A rare good Keanu Reeves role.
A Walk in the Clouds
Keanu Reeves again, in an engaging, romantic story of a winemaking family
No comments on my taste here. Cinde-fucking-rella, the guiltiest-pleasure film of all time.
Bridget Jones’ Diary (first only)
Fluff, but good fluff. Second one sucks.
Down with Love
Even fluffier, but nicely stylized
Interesting premise: how can an accidental event change a girl’s life? Shows both scenarios.
Harrison Ford as a lawyer with a heart of gold and Melanie Griffith as a secretary with nerves of steel
My Fair Lady
The other musical I like. Fluffy, but made good by the great cast.
Up Close and Personal
Heartbreaking but powerful modern love story with Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer
Heaven and Earth
Interesting psychological drama/angsty romance showcasing Tommy Lee Jones’ talent
Sad but well-acted story of a doomed relationship starring a young Russell Crowe
Costner is no actor, but I like the story and love the songs
They say it is a remake of Casablanca. If so, I like it better than the original.
Lost in Translation
Lovely if a bit sad. A great snapshot of Tokyo from a Westerner’s PoV.
A very human film about space and rockets, all set in rural USA
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Never liked Jim Carrey, but he is good there, and the story is thought-provoking
ANIMATED & KIDDIE STUFF
Wallace and Gromit (all of them)
Utterly charming, one of the best feel-good tales
Toy Story (both 1 and especially 2)
...for the five-year-old in me
Back to the Future (all)
...for the six-year-old in me
Again, a kiddie film, but very human
Team America: World Police
Nothing kiddie-friendly about this one. Iconoclastic and hilarious, and as full of dirty jokes and bad language as it gets.
And finally, in the DOCUMENTARY realm,
Mythbusters!!! Endless fun!