Thursday, January 16, 2014

Top 10 Lists: 2003

2003 was not the best of years, most of the stuff I liked was either popcorn entertainment.  Still, there was enough for me to come up with a decent list.

10. High Tension

Despite the awful last fifteen minutes, this is still one of the better horror films to come along in the last ten years or so.,  Director Alexandre Aja does a fine job of stringing the audience along as his apparent heroes flee from a deranged psychopath.  The end twist detracts a bit from it but still, the first 75 minutes are maybe some of the best horror filmmaking I've seen in a while.  Probably the main thing I take from the film is that if you are going to have a twist about your killer, you probably should make sure the key person in your twist isn't built like a waif.

9. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Surprisingly enough, the third film in the series holds up relatively well.  There are some ill-advised bits of humor here and there but for the most part, Terminator 3 is a fast-paced action flick with some awesome scenes and a nicely dark ending.  Give it a second look.  If nothing else, it's better than Terminator: Salvation.

8. The Rundown

Pro wrestler The Rock is a blast in his second starring role.  The Rundown ends up being a nice throwback to the fun 80's action films I grew up with.  Great cast (Christopher Walken is fun as the bad guy) and a great climax.  Good stuff.

7. Identity

Fun, twisty little thriller with a good cast and some nice atmosphere.  It still pisses me off that I chose to see the second Matrix film in the theater instead of this.

6. Freddy vs. Jason

This ultimate clash of horror villains is reasonably good for the most part but it really kicks into high gear the last half hour.  Really, the last fight between the two got it on this list.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Nobody thought a movie based on a theme park ride would be worth a damn bit this ended up being one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.,  Good action and a great set of performances from Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush.

4. Kill Bill Volume 1

Quentin Tarantino begins his epic love letter to kung-fu revenge films and spaghetti westerns with this fun, lively flick that has one of the best long action scenes in a while, good performances and the typical great soundtrack.  It's not as hard-hitting as some of his other films but it's still damn good.

3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The epic trilogy comes to an end with a satisfying, though rather ass-numbing finale.  All the good stuff that can be said about the first two apply here.

2. Basic

This is a wild, over the top murder mystery with a wonderfully over the top John Travolta performance, good work from the Samuel L. Jackson and the rest of the cast (even Giovanni Ribisi who I usually can't stand) and may be the most hilariously convoluted climax in film history.  It's not high art  but it is quite funny,.  Not sure that was the intent but it's certainly memorable.

1. Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Robert Rodriguez ends a trilogy of his own with this wildly over the top action flick that ends the  Mariachi series on a high note.  Great work from Johnny Depp and the entire cast, good action, the only problem is not enough Salma Hayek.  Any other year it would be an honorable mention but for this year?  It just didn't get better than this for me in terms of pure cinematic joy.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.