Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ranking All Superhero Movies – Movies Spotlight – March 2015

Empire Magazine put out a feature article called The Greatest Superhero Movies of All Time, which got me thinking – how many superhero movies have I seen? The answer is ninety-five. Here is my ranking from worst to best (broken down into five tiers).

Tier 1: Painfully Bad

These are the superhero films to never see… ever.

95.)        Catwoman (2004), directed by Pitof
94.)        Batman & Robin (1997), directed by Joel Schumacher
93.)        Steel (1997), directed by Kenneth Johnson
92.)        Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), directed by Sidney J. Furie
91.)        Supergirl, (1984), directed by Jeannot Szwarc
90.)        Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011), directed by Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
89.)        Captain America (1990), directed by Albert Pyun
88.)        Elektra (2005), directed by Rob Bowman
87.)        The Phantom (1996), directed by Simon Wincer
86.)        Ghost Rider (2007), directed by Mark Steven Johnson

Tier 2: Really, Really Bad

These films are also just bad, but diehard fans may find some redeeming qualities.

85.)        My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), directed by Ivan Reitman
84.)        Zoom (2006), directed by Peter Hewitt
83.)        The Shadow (1994), directed by Russell Mulcahy
82.)        The Meteor Man (1993), directed by Robert Townsend
81.)        Blade: Trinity (2004), directed by David S. Goyer
80.)        Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995), directed by Bryan Spicer
79.)        Blankman (1993), directed by Mike Binder
78.)        Superman III (1983), directed by Richard Lester
77.)        Sky High (2005), directed by Mike Mitchell
76.)        Spawn (1997), directed by Mark A.Z. Dippe
75.)        The Toxic Avenger (1984), directed by Michael Herz & Lloyd Kaufman
74.)        The Specials (2000), directed by Craig Mazin
73.)        Daredevil (2003), directed by Mark Steven Johnson
72.)        The Spirit (2008), directed by Frank Miller
71.)        Jonah Hex (2010), directed by Jimmy Hayward
70.)        The Punisher (1989), directed by Mark Goldblatt
69.)        Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), directed by Jonathan Liebesman
68.)        Mystery Men (1999), directed by Kinka Usher
67.)        Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), directed by Tim Story
66.)        Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), directed by Michael Pressman
65.)        X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), directed by Gavin Hood
64.)        Hulk (2003), directed by Ang Lee

Tier 3: Fun and Entertaining, but Nothing Special

These are the superhero films you kind of like (maybe even secretly love), but they are just not that great.

63.)        X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), directed by Brett Ratner
62.)        Batman Forever (1995), directed by Joel Schumacher
61.)        Green Lantern (2011), directed by Martin Campbell
60.)        The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), directed by Marc Webb
59.)        Fantastic Four (2005), directed by Tim Story
58.)        Hancock (2008), directed by Peter Berg
57.)        The Crow (1994), directed by Alex Proyas
56.)        Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), directed by Stuart Gillard
55.)        Tank Girl (1995), directed by Rachel Talalay
54.)        The Punisher (2004), directed by Jonathan Hensleigh
53.)        Zebraman (2004), directed by Takashi Miike
52.)        Batman: The Movie (1966), directed by Leslie H. Martinson
51.)        Orgazmo (1997), directed by Trey Parker
50.)        Superman Returns (2006), directed by Bryan Singer
49.)        The Green Hornet (2011), directed by Michel Gondry
48.)        Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), directed by Guillermo del Toro
47.)        TMNT (2007), directed by Kevin Munroe
46.)        Iron Man 2 (2010), directed by Jon Favreau
45.)        The Incredible Hulk (2008), directed by Louis Leterrier
44.)        Spider-Man 3 (2007), directed by Sam Raimi
43.)        Blade II (2002), directed by Guillermo del Toro
42.)        Punisher: War Zone (2008), directed by Lexi Alexander
41.)        Push (2009), directed by Paul McGuigan
40.)        Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (1990), directed by Steve Barron
39.)        Hellboy (2004), directed by Guillermo del Toro
38.)        Darkman (1990), directed by Sam Raimi
37.)        Defendor (2009), directed by Peter Stebbings
36.)        The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), directed by Mark Webb
35.)        Megamind (2010), directed by Tom McGrath
34.)        Kick-Ass 2 (2013), directed by Jeff Wadlow
33.)        Constantine (2005), directed by Francis Lawrence
32.)        The Wolverine (2013), directed by James Mangold
31.)        Superman II (1980), directed by Richard Donner & Richard Lester
30.)        The Rocketeer (1991), directed Joe Johnston
29.)        Unbreakable (2000), directed by M. Night Shyamalan
28.)        Batman Returns (1992), directed by Tim Burton
27.)        Big Hero 6 (2014), directed by Don Hall & Chris Williams

Tier 2: Very Good Superhero Films

These are the superhero films you love.

26.)        X-Men (2000), directed by Bryan Singer
25.)        Thor (2011), directed by Kenneth Branagh
24.)        Blade (1998), directed by Stephen Norrington
23.)        Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), directed by Joe Johnston
22.)        Man of Steel (2013), directed by Zack Snyder
21.)        Kick-Ass (2010), directed by Matthew Vaughn
20.)        X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), directed by Bryan Singer
19.)        Thor: The Dark World (2013), directed by Alan Taylor
18.)        X-Men 2 (2003), directed by Bryan Singer
17.)        Watchmen (2009), directed by Zack Snyder
16.)        Batman (1989), directed by Tim Burton
15.)        Superman (1978), directed by Richard Donner
14.)        Iron Man (2008), directed by Jon Favreau
13.)        Chronicle (2012), directed by Josh Trank
12.)        X-Men: First Class (2011), directed by Matthew Vaughn
11.)        Spider-Man (2002), directed by Sam Raimi

10.)        Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
With Phase II of their MCU, Marvel has taken their films to a new level of quality, fun and entertainment. Marvel also positioned their solo-hero films to fit character specific genres (Iron Man 3’s 80s/90s style action movie, Thor: The Dark World’s adventure fantasy feel and Guardians of the Galaxy’s space opera vibe). Captain America: The Winter Soldier wonderfully works as an action spy/thriller, feeling just gritty enough while still holding onto the MCU’s overall lighter tone.

9.)           Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), directed by Eric Radomski & Bruce Timm
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the feature film incarnation of Batman: The Animated Series. It is just brilliant, bring fans what is probably the best versions of Batman, the Joker and a Batman movie (until Christopher Nolan made his Dark Knight Trilogy).

8.)           Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), directed by James Gunn
First there was Star Wars; next there was Firefly; now there is Guardians of the Galaxy. The film is just plain fun, mixing great sci-fi elements with awesome action, funny writing, maybe the year’s best soundtrack, and a stellar group of characters (and our latest Han Solo/Malcolm Reynold in Star Lord).

7.)           The Incredibes (2004), directed by Brad Bird
Brad Bird’s first Pixar film showcases a family of superheroes in a world of superheroes, but the genius of the film is that he takes these extraordinary characters and makes them first exist in the mundane tediousness of normal, everyday life.

6.)           Iron Man 3 (2013), directed by Shane Black
 Shan Black is known for writing some of Hollywood’s best action films in the 80s and 90s (most famously Lethal Weapon). With Iron Man 3, he gives the Tony Stark adventure the same vibe, while also giving Robert Downey Jr. some of his best dialog to date (recapturing the magic of their Kiss Kiss Bang Bang collaboration).

Tier 1: Simply the Best

These are the films that changed the rules, making superhero films the massive critical and commercial successes they are today.

5.)           The Avengers (2012), directed by Joss Whedon
The first half to two-thirds of The Avengers is a little rocky, but once things finally kick off in New York the film is nothing but pure gleeful joy.

4.)           Batman Begins (2005), directed by Christopher Nolan
Origin stories are the hardest to tell, as so much story is devoted to the how and why. Christopher Nolan, however, set the new standard with Batman Begins, one that has not yet been eclipsed.

3.)           The Dark Knight Rises (2012), directed by Christopher Nolan
Epic is a simple and short way to describe the last chapter of the Dark Knight Trilogy. Nolan’s film feels massive in scale, but everything is rooted in character and emotion.

2.)           Spider-Man 2 (2004), directed by Sam Raimi
Spider-Man 2 is the perfect mix of Sam Raimi’s campy style and great storytelling, creating the best comic book feeling superhero film. It is infinitely watchable, and always enjoyable.

1.)         1.)           The Dark Knight (2008), directed by Christopher Nolan
            Brilliantly capturing the essence of Michael Mann, Nolan creates a superhero film that completely transcends the genre (forcing the Oscars to change their rules so they do not look like fool again after they snubbed it in 2009), rewriting the rules of what a superhero film could aspire to be. It is a magnificent piece of entertainment and art (and let us not forget Heath Ledger’s chilling portrayal of the Joker – it is breathtaking).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Top 10 Film Scores, Shot Films and Designed Films of the Decade So Far (2010-2014) – March 2015

Here is LeapBackBlog’s list of the Top 10 Film Scores (or: the Hans Zimmer Award), the 10 Best Shot Films and the 10 Best Designed Films of the 2010s so far. I have put an “*” next to my favorite in each category.

Top 10 Films Scores:
Alexandre Desplat, Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Harry Escott, Shame (2011)
Dario Marianelli, Jane Eyre (2011)
Rachel Porter, Never Let Me Go (2010)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Hans Zimmer, Inception (2010)*
Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Hans Zimmer, 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar (2014)

Top 10 Shot Films:
Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Manuel Alberto Claro, Melancholia (2011)*
Hoyte Van Hoytema, Interstellar (2014)
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life (2011)
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman (2014)
Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi (2012)
Wally Pfister, Inception (2010)
Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Top 10 Designed Films:
K.K. Barrett, Her (2013)
Donald Graham Burt, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Guy Hendrix Dyas, Inception (2010)
Stuart Craig, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010-2011)*
Nathan Crowley, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Sarah Greenwood, Anna Karenina (2012)
Adam Stockhausen, Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Adam Stockhausen, 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Adam Stockhausen, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Top 25 Performances of the Decade So Far (2010-2014) – March 2015

Picking the 50 best films of the decade so far was incredibly hard, but this was far more difficult. Every year there is a ton of very strong work to choose from – some performances are just incredible, and those are the easy ones to pick, but for the most part there are a lot of performances that just as easily could have made this list. I have put an “*” next to my favorite performance from each year. Anyway, here are my picks:

Christian Bale, a supporting role in The Fighter*
Claire Danes, a leading role in Temple Grandin
Tom Hardy, a supporting performance in Inception
Natalie Portman, a leading Role in Black Swan

Kirsten Dunst, a leading performance in Melancholia
Michael Fassbender, a leading performance in Shame
Rooney Mara, a leading performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo*
Carey Mulligan, a supporting performance in Shame

Jessica Chastain, a leading performance in Zero Dark Thirty
Daniel Day-Lewis, a leading performance in Lincoln
Jennifer Lawrence, a leading performance in Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, a leading performance in The Master*

Cate Blanchett, a leading performance in Blue Jasmine*
Leonardo DiCaprio, a leading performance in The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, a leading performance in 12 Years a Slave
Adele Exarchopoulos, a leading performance in Blue is the Warmest Color
Michael Fassbender, a supporting performance in 12 Years a Slave
Brie Larson, a leading performance in Short Term 12
Mads Mikkelsen, a leading performance in The Hunt
Lupita Nyong’o, a supporting performance in 12 Years a Slave

Ralph Fiennes, a leading performance in The Grand Budapest Hotel
Edward Norton, a supporting performance in Birdman
Rosamnd Pike, a leading performance in Gone Girl*
Eddie Redmayne, a leading performance in The Theory of Everything
Mark Ruffalo, a supporting performance in Foxcatcher