Since May 25, 2012, we’ve watched and reviewed hundreds of films here on BuzzHub (306 reviews, as a matter of fact). But, as we reach our fifth anniversary and prepare to transition to Luwd Media, what are the very best releases of our existence? Let’s reveal the Top 10…
Honourable Mentions: The Avengers (Whedon, 2012), Muppets Most Wanted (Bobin, 2014), Live Die Repeat (Liman, 2014), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015), I Daniel Blake (Loach, 2016), Moonlight (Jenkins, 2016)
10. Kingsman: The Secret Service
Matthew Vaughn’s gentleman spy adventure is a riveting action film: cool, political and just the right amount of nasty. Colin Firth gives the most impressive performance of his career, and- in Taron Egerton- a star is truly born.
9. The Dark Knight Rises
It’s not Chris Nolan’s finest work, but his 2012 threequel has aged surprisingly well, with Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman still the finest depiction of a female superhero in this era of comic-book movies. Tom Hardy’s Bane is a tiresome antagonist, but the epic structure suits repeat viewings. An important blockbuster, if a significantly flawed one.
Sam Mendes’ first go at Bond is the franchise’s greatest film– Skyfall is packed with thrills and, in Javier Bardem, a gloriously sinister villain. A fresh, darker take on an iconic series.
7. Steve Jobs
Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin recruit the finest actors of their generation- Michael Fassbender, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jeff Daniels, Seth Rogen- for a gripping character study of Apple founder Jobs. Sorkin’s masterful three-act script and Boyle’s bold direction make for one of the decade’s most impressive dramas.
6. Inside Out
Heartbreaking and life-affirming, Pixar’s visualisation of a child’s mind is one of the most profound, affecting animated films of all time. We’ll never forget you, Bing Bong!
Damien Chazelle’s second feature: a pulse-pounding thriller about a young drummer and his monstrous instructor. Miles Teller and Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons are an electric duo, while Chazelle’s direction affirms him as a talent to watch.
4. La La Land
Four years on, Chazelle steps up a gear with this dazzling, delightful musical romance: a love letter to cinema and music. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are enchanting. The songs are unforgettable.
Christopher Nolan’s Steinbeck/Tarkovsky/Kubrick-riffing outer-space mood poem may be half-an-hour too long (and contain 100% too much Matt Damon), but it’s a knockout of breathtaking emotional strength; a beautifully-crafted father-daughter relationship (played to perfection by Matthew McConaughey and Mackenzie Foy/Jessica Chastain/Ellen Burstyn) at its heart. For big-screen experience, this is no less a cinema milestone than Nolan’s very best work.
2. Moonrise Kingdom
This island-set romantic adventure starring two charming pre-teens, Jared Gilman and Karen Hayward, is one of Wes Anderson’s most emotionally-affecting works, telling (not unlike our No. 1 choice) a sweet and uncomplicated tale of childhood curiosity, but with Anderson’s typically-astounding visual palette as a plus. Bruce Willis and Edward Norton are at their very best; Frances McDormand and Bill Murray also star. Sadly overshadowed by his inferior Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom is a masterpiece from the acclaimed auteur.
A year or two ago, Moonrise Kingdom or Interstellar would have topped this list. But Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, an intimate epic filmed over 12 years; capturing Ellar Coltrane’s growth from child to man in real time, holds up as a classic more than either of those films. It’s a sincere and unfussy but dramatically-engaging portrait of a decade of childhood – by mere chance, the decade of my childhood. I’ve only recently started to appreciate the importance for me personally that a film like Boyhood was made as I was growing up. I may share relatively few experiences with Coltrane’s Mason – he lives in Texas, never leaves the state, goes through a variety of stepfathers – but he’s nonetheless a cinematic surrogate for my own Noughties nostalgia. From its stellar performances – Coltrane, Lorelai Linklater, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke – to the glorious soundtrack, Boyhood is simply (and it is a simple story) one of the finest cinema achievements of the 21st century.