47. My Summer of Love

Mona, a poor tomboy who lives with her violent born-again christian brother, meets Tamsin, a rich girl from a distant family who is seeking adventure, and they embark on a summer-long relationship.

What Tierna thinks: “I wasn’t very captivated by this one. It’s a bit controversial in parts yet despite this, the story didn’t get a grip of me. Two girls lived a pretty miserable existence before they met & found ‘solace’ in each other for the duration of a summer.  Their relationship & the relationships around them all turn out to be a bit of a farce.  It’s watchable but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it (unless you like a good ol’ lesbian story). I will rate this a six out of ten. I really wasn’t fussed!

What Tom thinks: “I actually didn’t mind this film.  Bit surprised it made it onto any kind of list like this – it’s not really strong enough in any department to warrant being ranked one of the best films of the last decade although perhaps it’s included because it’s British – but it’s not a bad film.  I’d probably normally give this the same score as Tierna, but I’ll add on an extra mark and give it a seven out of ten as it has lesbians 🙂 ”

Up next: Traffic

48. Little Miss Sunshine

A dysfunctional family embark on a road trip together to make sure their youngest child can take part in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

What Tierna thinks: “Loved this. It follows an unlikely beauty pageant candidate & her dysfunctional family on their quest to fulfil some dreams. The many hurdles & shortcomings along the road make for an hilarious yet sometimes emotional story that I’m happy to have watched. If you’re sceptical, just give it a go as at the very least, it should make you smile. I’ll give this a nine out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “I knew Tierna would like this film.  I saw it in the cinema on its release and its a good film.  It’s a feel good kinda film… which I usually don’t like as I’m such a miserable sod… but it works.  The strong cast is part of the reason for this (it’s good to see Steve Carrell giving an understated performance for once).  It’s not going to change your life or re-invent the genre, but it’s a good film and I’ll give it an eight out of ten.

Up next: My Summer of Love

49. Knocked Up

In Judd Apatow’s second feature film as a director, unemployed stoner Ben (Seth Rogan) has a one night stand with career-girl Alison (Katherine Heigl) and both have to cope with the resulting pregnancy.

What Tierna thinks:  “It’s like a modern day twist on a rom-com except much funnier. It cracked me up in parts. An amusing insight into a pretty unfortunate situation: fathering the love child of a man you do not know, who appears to live his life surrounded by idiots. A good, fun movie which we watched on a lazy Saturday evening with a glass of wine (or two!) in hand. I’ll give this a nine out of ten. One of the most amusing comedy films I’ve seen in my 20-something years.”

What Tom thinks: “I have to say I’m a big fan of Judd Apatow’s work.  Freaks and Geeks was a great TV series and The 40 Year Old Virgin is hilarious.  I would say this is the pinnacle of his films (as a writer / director) as it really gets the right tone between being very funny but having something to say about relationships and the differences between men and women (not just for the two leads but also Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann).  And what a cast too!  I’ll give it an eight out of ten.”

Up next: Little Miss Sunshine

50. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

In the conclusion to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo and Sam approach Mount Doom to destroy the ring whilst Gandalf et al try to fight off Sauron’s army.

What Tierna thinks: “I’ll be honest, I celebrated when ‘The End’ came up on the screen. I just couldn’t relate to this film in any way and therefore found it very hard to enjoy it. The cinematography is excellent in parts and I can appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into it. When it comes down to it though… sorry folks,  this one isn’t for me.  I’ll give it a four out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “Tierna has just said ‘I love Grease’ which is on TV at the moment and probably gives a good idea of why she doesn’t like LOTR!  I’ve seen all three films in the cinema, which is really the best way to watch them, although I have to admit I’m not a big fan of fantasy films.  On the plus side, the effects are great, the battles are epic and it looks fantastic.  However, it’s bloody long and the final half hour is quite unnecessary.  On the basis of how much I like this I’d give it a seven, but just to annoy Tierna I’ll give it an eight out of ten.”

Up next: Knocked Up

Update: 60-51

Update: 60-51

Highest rated films so far: City of God (9.5 ave) – Pan’s Labyrinth, Memento (9.0) – Control, Shaun of the Dead, The Constant Gardner (8.5)

Lowest rated films so far: Morvern Callar (3.5 ave) – Time and Winds, Yi Yi (4.5) – Spirited Away (5.0)

Tom’s thoughts: “It’s taken a while to get through the 50s but we’ve reached the half way point!  Yay!!  The 50s have actually been a really strong group of films with no poor ones.  Shawn of the Dead is one of my favourite films so always good to watch.  Bad Santa and Chopper are both very entertaining.  And The Constant Gardner is a good thriller that has crept into our top films as well.  There’s some good films to come in the 40s as well.”

Tierna’s thoughts: “I really enjoyed watching this batch of films, even if we did take our time over them! I have awarded many eight out of ten scores in this batch, perhaps we’ll hit a ten in the near future. I’ve already recommended ‘The Squid & The Whale’ to lots of friends and I’ll be adding ‘The Son’s Room’ to my DVD collection in the near future. No complaints this time around so bring on the 40’s!”

51. The Son’s Room

51. The Son's Room

Giovanni, an Italian psychoanalyst who has to listen to the rambles of his patients every day, struggles to come to terms with the death of his young son in a diving accident.

What Tierna thinks: “I’d definitely recommend watching this; we had put it off a few times as you really need to concentrate more on subtitled films (Lazy? Perhaps!) but I’m glad we finally found time.  The acting is very believable in this and the family interact naturally with each other, making the son’s death more poignant. The letter that arrives after the death of Andrea seems to bring some sort of comfort to the family and it ultimately has an uplifting ending. A well deserved eight out of ten from me.”

What Tom thinks: “So its been a while since our last film and our first of 2012 was… alright.  It has to be said it’s fairly depressing and, particularly given that its subtitled, not a film I’d be particularly wanting to watch again.  But a fairly good film with a believable reaction from the family after Andrea’s death which shows how difficult death can be.  A six from me.”

Up next: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

52. The Constant Gardener

52. The Constant Gardener

Thankfully Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock are nowhere to be seen in Fernando Meireles’ follow up to City of God, an African-set thriller starring Ralph Fiennes as a British diplomat trying to find the motives behind the death of his wife Rachel Weisz.

What Tierna thinks: “I’m glad this wasn’t based on a true story although I suspect it’s based on a lot of realities. The two main characters are people we can believe in; the film follows their romance yet there’s a strong focus on the corruption and conspiracies surrounding their lives. I’ll give this a nine out of ten. I really liked this one.”

What Tom thinks: “City of God is the highest rated film on our list (so far) and so you would expect Fernando Meireles’ follow up to be good… and it kinda is although not in the same league.  Have to admit I didn’t really think of seeing this when it came out purely because of its name, silly but true.  It’s a bit slow at times but an all-round intelligent film and well shot.  I’ll give it an eight out of ten.”

Up next: The Son’s Room (La Stanza del Figlio)

53. Milk

53. Milk

Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of animals.  Oh wait, damned Wikipedia brought up the wrong milk!  Milk is the true story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office in California who was assassinated in 1978.

What Tierna thinks: “The story follows a successful, openly gay politician who lives what becomes a pretty tragic and lonely life. Yet, he’s someone a lot of people live up to. It’s not a groundbreaking film but it’s a good watch. I’ll give this one a seven out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “Yeah pretty good film this.  Have to say I’m not overly familiar with 1970s San Francisco politics so I didn’t really know what was going to happen… certainly the end was a surprise and I couldn’t believe it was true until I read the actual story online.  Too much sugar indeed!  I’ll also give it a seven out of ten.”

Up next: The Constant Gardner

54. Bad Santa

54. Bad Santa

What makes a Santa bad?  When he’s a miserable alcoholic who curses non-stop, pisses himself whilst at work, has a penchant for plus-size ladies and robs department stores every Christmas with his black dwarf accomplice.

What Tierna thinks: “I really enjoyed this one. The kid actor was absolutely hilarious and in my opinion, he made the film that extra bit funny.  “Want me to fix you some sandwiches?!”  Bad Santa was a horrible individual, yet slightly endearing towards the end. Great film, made me laugh and although I’m making a habit of this I’ll give it an eight out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “Always good to get into the Christmas spirit… in September!  Bad Santa is my kind of Xmas film, good dark humour and enough heart without being schmaltzy.  The recent ‘Bad Teacher’ showed just how hard it can be to get this kind of comedy right and Billy-Bob Thornton is perfect in the lead role.  It’s always hard to rate these films, its not a classic film per se but is a very entertaining film.  Hmm, I’ll give it an eight out of ten.”

Up next: Milk

55. Chopper

55. Chopper

The true-life story of Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, a notorious Australian gangster turned best-selling author, following his time both in and out of prison from the 1970s to 1990s.

What Tierna thinks: “This was generally quite grotesque and more than a little bit psychotic. It was a good film though, putting my issues with blood aside I actually found it amusing in parts. It’s a scary thought that it’s based on a true story and it was interesting to see the real chopper on the commentary! While it’s not something I’ll ever want to watch again I can see that it’s a good film and it was pretty entertaining so I’ll give this an eight out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “Really glad to see Chopper on the list, it’s a film I had seen a good few times before (and own on DVD!) and love.  Eric Bana is amazing as Mark Read… just check out the real Chopper on the DVD extras and the performance is uncanny.  He’s the kind of guy you’d love to share a pint with but you would be waiting for him just to pull his shotgun on you for asking him to repeat himself or something!  Really good film, well worth an eight out of ten.”

Up next: Bad Santa