The DVD Forums Top 100 Films 2007 Part 01: 100-91

Welcome to The DVD Forums Top100, the list that aims to somehow represent the filmgoing tastes and foibles of the many, many, members of our sister site: The DVD Forums. It was just over 6 months ago that DVDTimes commander-in-chief Colin Polonowski ran this poll back in July 2007, asking each member to list their 10 favourite films in a point-based order of preference. He then took the results and ran them through a series of complex mathematical algorithms and sacrificial voodoo rituals to come up with a ranked list of 100 films.

Now, I know what you all might be thinking: The IMDB along with every film publication, guild, and their cousins have posted their own official “top” film list, what is this one going to show that they can’t? Well, it may not reveal any new insights into which titles are widely considered to be the greatest of all time, but if there’s one thing the members of any film discussion board love to do it’s pick apart the results of published film polls – so who better to be polled than these very people! Surely they will come up with a list of titles that can keep both enthusiasts and casual fans happy? They can at least do a better job than, say: Empire magazine, right? Well, let’s find out:

Over the next five days we will be posting the results in batches of ten, twice daily, so be sure to check the DVDTimes homepage for new updates!!

American History X (1998, Tony Kaye)
Tony Kaye unsuccessfully asked for his name to be taken out of the credits following Edward Norton's own editing of the film, but despite the troubled production, American History X is still a successful and challenging film. Derek Vinyard (Norton) is a reformed Neo-Nazi thanks to a long stay in prison. During his time in custody, his brother Danny (Edward Furlong) has followed in his footsteps much to Derek’s dismay. The film tackles the brothers’ relationship and Derek’s attempts to lead his brother away from the mistakes he made himself. Unfortunately, while the film works on many levels, the reformation of Norton’s character is underwritten and not entirely convincing. This is a central tenet of the film, but thankfully the flaw isn’t a huge detriment to the film. - Colin Polonowski

R1 DVD Review (Reko Nokkanen)

Carlito's Way (1993, Brian De Palma)
After the critical and commercial disaster of "Bonfire of the Vanities" and the deliberately iconoclastic "Raising Cain", Brian De Palma stormed back into the mainstream with "Carlito's Way", a sinuous, elegant thriller with some characteristically brilliant set-pieces and an impressive pair of central performances. It's the old story of an ex-con trying to go straight but blocked in his attempts to build an idyllic future for himself by his criminal past. This could be a clichéd embarrassment but Al Pacino takes the stereotype and runs with it, creating a memorable portrait of embattled hope against the odds. His downfall is a debt of gratitude owed to his appalling coke-snorting lawyer played with an irresistible comic spin by Sean Penn. De Palma, working from a clever screenplay by David Koepp, begins the film with Carlito's shooting and then flashes back to explain how this happened; but despite the inevitability of failure, De Palma keeps us hoping against hope that we might have been deceived by building up a climactic set-piece of against-the-clock tension that is one of the best things he's ever done. Add some remarkable editing, atmospheric cinematography and a poignant score by Patrick Doyle and you've got one of the best films of the 1990s. - Mike Sutton

R1 UE DVD Review (Mike Sutton)

True Romance (1993, Tony Scott)
Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette play two lovers who end up getting deeper and deeper into trouble. It all starts when Clarence (Slater) decides to pay a visit to Alabama's (Arquette) ex-pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman). The visit ends in violence with Clarence managing to survive against all odds, taking with him a suitcase he thinks contains all of Alabama's belongings. It turns out to be a case full of cocaine, and it seems like a good idea for them to flee town with the drugs and find a buyer in Hollywood. Part road movie, part love story and part thriller, True Romance is full of twists and you're never quite sure what is going to happen next. While the story is undeniably Tarantino, the direction is undeniably Tony Scott. There is plenty here to remind you of his other work which includes Top Gun and Enemy of the State, and the latter borrows quite heavily in terms of camera work. - Colin Polonowski

R2 DVD Review (Colin Polonowski)

Airplane! (1980, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)
"This woman has to be gotten to a hospital!" - "A hospital? What is it?" - "It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now!" So very obvious and yet so funny, Airplane! plays out every gag without ever suggesting the cast is in on the joke. Lightning strikes, jet engines purr with the sound of non-existent propellers and the pilot of Flight 209 has an unhealthy interest in Turkish prisons and movies about gladiators. But come a bout of food poisoning, the survival of everyone on board depends on finding someone on board who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner. Step forward Ted Stryker. Guilt ridden after leading seven men to their deaths, he now has to land the plane. As nerves become shredded, Johnny unplugs the landing lights, Steve McCroskey picked the wrong week to give up drinking, smoking, amphetamines and sniffing glue and the press say, "Let 'em crash!" Deserving a place on this list, Airplane! remains one of the very finest comedies, continuing to jab and duck with its gags to the very end. "Surely you can't be serious?" I am serious...and, oh, go on! - Eamonn McCusker

R1 DVD Review (Raphael Pour-Hashemi) | R1 SE DVD Review (Eamonn McCusker)

Infernal Affairs (2002, Andrew Lau Wai Keung, Alan Mak Siu Fai)
Hong Kong action films are on a beating for merely raising their heads above the parapet as there have been so few in recent years to rival the work of John Woo and Ringo Lam. Infernal Affairs proved that the country was still capable of great tense films which please the eyes, tickle the intellect and move the heart. A tale of a triad who is actually a policeman and a policeman who is actually a gangster and neither of the two leads are entirely sure which role they prefer. Led by two fine performances from Andy Lau and Tony Leung, the whole cast is excellent with Anthony Wong as a charismatic cop, and former funnyman Eric Tsang is a revelation as the gang boss. Two fine sequels continued and deepened the story and Scorsese tried to squeeze all three into his remake, The Departed, but Infernal Affairs deserves to be praised for its style and originality above the work of everyone's favourite shortarse. Taut, humane, sleek and surprising, Infernal Affairs proved that the modern action thriller could still be dramatically involving whilst providing thrills and spills. - John White

Cinema Review (Kevin O'Reilly) | R0UK DVD Review (Anthony Nield)

Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman)
The eight Oscars awarded to Milos Foreman’s 1984 adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s immaculately staged and constructed play are testament to the ambition of the film and its achievement. Compressing the life and work of a composer like Mozart into three-hour film with any kind of historical accuracy is an impossible endeavour and Amadeus doesn’t even try. Rather than take the standard and stilted biopic route, the film instead creates a highly entertaining and largely fictitious dramatic situation of a rivalry between Mozart and Salieri and uses it to examine the legacies of history, the inequities of life, family bonds and the spark that inspires and fires creative genius. With a judicious use of the whole range of Mozart’s compositions skilfully interwoven into comic and highly dramatic situations, some brave casting and marvellous performances - Jeffrey Jones as Emperor Joseph II and F Murray Abraham as Salieri are outstanding – Foreman manages to say much more about Mozart and the forces that inspire the creation of works of art than it should be possible to achieve in such a delirious entertainment. - Noel Megahey

R1 DVD Review (Patrick Connolly) | R1 DC DVD Review (Noel Megahey)

Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright)
Ask any horror film fan worth his salt about Zombies films and they will tell you that George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead are the seminal entries to the genre. The key to their appeal is that aside from the usual horror/thriller trappings, Night of the Living dead is a tense, intimate character drama; while Dawn of the Dead is a darkly comic satire, which combined with Tom Savini’s grand-guignol effects made for a very fun film. Many directors have since tried to emulate the formulas of these two films, and the few that succeeded have really only done so by either upping the gore or relying on outlandish comedy. This trend was broken in 2004 when the creators of film-spoof comedy Spaced: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, took their referential formula onto the big screen with Shaun of the Dead, and effectively combined the best elements of both Romero’s early classics. It tells the story of affable but unmotivated Shaun, whose insensitivity and loyalty to his best friend; the incorrigible oaf Ed, has resulted in long-suffering girlfriend Liz giving him the boot for good. So torn up by the setback, Shaun has been completely oblivious to the fact that London is being torn apart by a plague of Zombies rising up all around him, but when Shaun and Ed wake up one morning to discover a female Zombie in their back garden, the stage is set for Shaun to finally live up to his potential and protect his friends, family and Liz from the flesh-eating hordes. As an homage and expansion of the work of George Romero Shaun of the Dead is a resounding success, while the mixture of extremely inventive comedy and social observations, interspersed by tense horror set pieces makes this an unequivocal crowd-pleaser. Simon Pegg and Nick frost have never been funnier or more poignant in the central roles of Shaun and Ed, while Edgar Wright uses all his stylistic box of tricks from Spaced to demonstrate a fine eye for composition and brilliantly quirky cinematic vision. - Matt Shingleton

Cinema Review (Iain Boulton) | R2 DVD Review (Matt Day)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam)
What happens when you take some of England’s best known mythical figures and have them chase after the holiest of chalices? You get a crazy adventure filled with knights, maidens, philosophical debates, multi-eyed demons, shrubbery obsessed forest dwellers, coconuts and killer rabbits. And the madness doesn’t even stop there. Add alternative story telling with the likes of Odysseus’s Trojan horse becoming a giant rickety rabbit and a whole host of other inspired moments and this becomes a maddening series of events that guarantee to keep the laughs coming. I can only imagine what it must have been like for audiences going to see this at the cinema back in ‘75, only to be introduced to Bob Monkhouse’s Dentist on the Job. The film ends as bizarrely as it begins, but its that kind of no holds barred, rule breaking stuff that Monty Python are best known for. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is another surreal tale in the cap of the much-loved British troupe, made famous during their 60’s television series. - Kevin Gilvear

R1 SE DVD Review (Alexander Larman) | R2 DVD Review (Raphael Pour-Hashemi)

Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
Stanley Kubrick's breakthrough fourth film, Paths of Glory remains devastatingly fresh and modern fifty years since its release. Set in France during World War I, the story of Colonel Dax (absolutely embodied by Kirk Douglas) and his futile objections to both a suicide mission and the resulting courts-martial was loosely based on true events and adapted from Humphrey Cobb's novel. It only seems to gain in power as the decades go by, retaining an unfortunate relevance for every war and conflict that divides the world. The battle scenes still keep us riveted, the corruption in power still angers us, and the ending still reminds the audience how inevitable war has become. For anyone who thinks Full Metal Jacket is Kubrick's war movie, Paths of Glory is waiting to upset you. The French were so incensed that they banned it until 1975. This is eighty-seven minutes of taut failure, unmasked by a legendary director hitting his stride through film history. - clydefro jones

R1 DVD Review (Michael Brooke) | R2 DVD Review (Raphael Pour-Hashemi)

Superman: The Movie (1978, Richard Donner)
Despite the many subsequent pretenders to its crown, Richard Donner’s Superman is still the closest Hollywood has come to making the Perfect Superhero Film. Treating his subject matter with a dignity hitherto unseen for a simple comic book, Donner did as much as anyone to elevate the genre from its pulpy origins to modern-day mythology, with one stroke changing his audiences’ perceptions regarding what those silly stories about men in tights could be about. Armed with a classy, literate script he attracted a host of heavyweights, but despite the presence of Brando, Hackman et al it was the unknown Christopher Reeve who would steal the show, not so much playing the Man of Steel as embodying him - put simply no other actor, not even his namesake George Reeves, has really come close, and even if the film had been a turkey he would have still have made it worth watching. Fortunately for him it wasn’t, and it’s telling that while in this somewhat populist Top 100 there is no room for such modern box-office heavyweights as the X-Men and Spider-Man trilogies Superman appears, the only superhero to so do. This is a testament to the movie’s lasting appeal, for, while the effects might look somewhat dated now, this is a movie which will live on long after most of the more recent entries into the genre have gone the way of Krypton. - James Gray

R1 DVD Review (Steve Wilkinson) | R2 SE DVD Review (James Gray)

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