[06] Top 30 Personal Favorite Films [2013 - 2015]

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Well, I don't know how I managed it, but we have reached our 100th article and in conjunction finally finished my Top 30 Personal Favorite Films list! I know it took me almost an eternity, but it has been quite a difficulty narrowing down the films I loved the most in recent memory. We finally have reached the last few years with two of my personal favorite directors actualy making the list. So, before I bore you anymore, here are the last five films of my personal best!

Inside Llewyn Davis
As I never grew up for very long in the United States, I never truly got to experience volk music, but I was quite a fan of Mumford and Sons since I heard “Lover of the Light” for the first time. I also consider myself quite a fan of the Coen brothers, who have made some truly remarkable films over the past few years, such as The Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country For Old Men and many more. Having these fantastic directors work together with one of my personal favorite bands is a wish come true in the film focusing on a washed up star shortly after his brother, and partner, killed himself.

Yet with already such an amazing array of films why did Inside Llewyn Davis win? It was a close call between this film and The Big Lebowski, but Inside Llewyn Davis won because of one simple fact, it is a character piece about something we all fear, failing. Many people have artistic aspirations, I count myself as someone who does as well, so following the story of a man, who simply never managed to make his dreams come true, is dark and scary.

The film feels like an experience that never truly peaks, there is no third act where everything comes together to save Llewyn Davis, he simply is trapped in a life he isn’t proud of. I also cannot deny that him carrying around a cat that somehow does not try to claw his eyes out is what originally caught my interest. I thought the film would be about a travelling singer, who constantly has his cat with him, but it turned into an interesting sub-plot that goes through the movie. Still, the film is an experience of probably the greatest fear anyone faces, the fear of failing and loss.

I wonder if this is another one of those, I really love this film because it tells the story of an Austrian F1 race car driver, but even wondering that I come to realize what fascinates me about this film is that I have actually seen Nikki Lauda in real life. Any Austrian can spot him walking around at the airport, as he has his office there and sometimes drops downstairs to get himself a cup of coffee. Knowing what had happened to him, it is amazing to see Rush go that length. It isn’t really about him in particular, but more a tribute to a long-standing rivalry between Hunt and Lauda, who are both excellently portrayed by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.

What sticks with me is that as beautiful it is to see them race each other, it is those small personal moments of them talking and their lives that sells the film for me. The concept is bizarre enough if you consider that a film focused on the rivalry of two F1 racers, is actually more interested in telling the story behind them, the parallels that occur throughout their lives and how different it all seems. Somehow their rivalry becomes more than just about who can win the race with the most points, but more about how we as people either work our way up, or are simply lucky to be at the right place at the right time. Furthermore, it shows that even talent cannot save you from everything in this world.

This could potentially be a controversial choice, but as much as I love the original Godzilla series from Toho Entertainment, I absolutely adore the 2014 remake for trying something interesting. This is the first time in a Godzilla film that I felt there was a lot of weight to the character, he was large and the camera knew exactly how to portray him so that you felt his size and weight. Even if Godzilla isn’t in it for long, the build-up is fantastic with small teases of what is heading our direction here and there until we get the satisfying Kaiju match-up between Godzilla and the MUTOS, which are also very interesting creatures with well explained powers.

What I love the most about it, something that probably made the last choice to be a part of this list as well, is the fact that we are given a history to Godzilla. It is not an allegory to the Hiroshima bomb anymore, but more to the dangers our world still has beneath. He is a tidal wave, an earthquake, a pure force of nature that has no choice, but to fight for creatures he could easily step on. The choice to have these monsters be as tall as they are is brilliant, as most buildings are much larger in scale nowadays, so the characters could battle it out from various angles.

While some complained that the main character, who is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson is bladn, I cannot deny his likeability. All he is trying to do is find a way home to his family while trying to outrun monsters that completely outweigh him, while also trying to do something so that there is a tomorrow for human beings. A small moment has Godzilla resting after a brief encounter with the MUTOs while our protagonist is also on his knees, the look they share is a fantastic little moment that already says a lot about them both. They are trying to do the right thing, it just is tearing them apart and they are getting restless.

Gone Girl
While I adore the Coen brothers’ sense of storytelling, it probably is David Fincher who I look up to when it comes to film technique. Being the director of fantastic films such as Zodiac, Seven, Fight Club and many more, it was a difficult battle figuring out what film I would put on this list. For a while it was actually Seven due to the interesting nature of the case and its allegories to the seven deadly sins. Yet, one night I decided to finally give Gone Girl a watch and I have to say that this film creeps me more out than the dead bloated man in Seven. Yes, a film about the disappearance of a housewive and her unwilling husband disturbs me more than a bloated dead body. You might be wondering why did this film affect me that much?

While I stated earlier that (500) Days of Summer is one of the most uplifting films I have seen and gives me hope that maybe one day I will indeed meet a new love even after my break-up, this film scares me to even commit to a relationship. Rosamund Pike is amazing as probably the most manipulative woman in any media and Ben Affleck portrays his character in such a bizarre way that you don’t know if you should route for him or not, and he is the protagonist!

While the way it showcases relationships scares me, it actually made me fear the mass media in the United States. The way the story is handled by the media and every little detail of Affleck’s character is taken into account and held against him, it makes you fear the day you get on the media’s bad side due to their incredible influence. Once you slowly uncover everything that has happened, this aspect still doesn’t go away as it puts our protagonist into an even tougher spot than before. The ending is perfectly on point putting our protagonist in a situation he might not get out of.

Mad Max: Fury Road
Well, this year there were quiet some impressive and sadly not so impressive films, but I have to say that Mad Max: Fury Road found itself on this list for two reasons. First of all, this film truly proves that George Miller has fine-tuned his skills over all the years and seeing the director behind the original Mad Max trilogy helm this one, it truly feels like a continuation of the franchise rather than a reboot. The second reason this film is on the list is that it is probably one of the most impressive action films I have seen, may it be due to the incredible usage of character and motivation. While I do think some of the recent action films are great and a lot of fun, this film probably had the strongest world building that was perfectly combined with the action sequences.

It also had some fantastic characters in it, Max didn’t say much, but Tom Hardy gives his performance a lot of nuance through simple motions and actions. Charlize Theron surprises as Furiosa, who tries her best to hope in a apocalyptic wasteland. Every performance is on point and while it is a there and back again style story, it is still quite effective in what it does. We learn the most important aspects of the world in just the first few minutes and with the camera showing us what is important we as an audience can view the action in all of its glory.