I promise to keep this briefer than the last one!
On that note, let’s dive straight in:
Sci-Fi, Dystopias, Fantasy and Fudged-Up Shizz (13)
Honorable mentions: Fast Color, Colossal, Starfish, Annihilation, Ex Machina, Source Code, Melancholia, The Adjustment Bureau, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Dave Made a Maze, Prometheus, Z For Zachariah, 10 Cloverfield Lane, High Life, Her, Okja, Sorry to Bother You, Midnight Special, Equals, Realive, Advantageous, Chronicle, Border, Diamantino, Toni Erdmann
Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek, 2010)
Based on an amazing book with an ingenious premise, extremely well cast and add in Rachel Portman’s score. This film is utterly heart-breaking, in the best way.
Twilight: Eclipse (David Slade, 2010)
Leah Clearwater 4 Life.
HP: The Deathly Hallows Parts I & II (David Yates, 2010-2011)
Enemy (Denis Villeneuve, 2013)
Villeneuve’s best film by a long way. A PAIR of bearded Jake Gyllenhaals. If this doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.
Snowpiercer (Bong Joon Ho, 2013)
Chris Evans’ best performance. A cast rounded out by Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris and Parasite‘s Song Kang Ho. Add in incredible production design and ultra-violence makes for an all-time favourite film.
Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
The One I Love (Charlie McDowell, 2014)
Slight Black Mirror vibes to this truly unique film. Don’t want to give anything away. Just give it a try.
Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011)
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
The Wild Boys (Bertrand Mandico, 2017)
Black and white, French – this has every arthouse film cliche going. It’s also amazing. A re-imagining of Lord of the Flies, with young women playing a gang of rebellious criminal teenage boys who are stranded on a mysterious and magical island.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams, 2015) and The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017)
Been my favourite genre of film and TV since I was a teenager. Can’t get enough of those historical costumes (especially if they’re mid-20th century).
Honorable Mentions: Jackie, I/Tonya, Christine, Mary Shelley, Selma, A Dangerous Method, Colette, The Aftermath, Denial, Tinker/Tailor, Brooklyn, On Chesil Beach, The Seagull, The Dressmaker, Hail Caesar!, Macbeth, Coriolanus, King Lear, 12 Years a Slave, The Adventures of Tintin, Dunkirk, Tom of Finland, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Sophie & the Rising Sun, Sunset Song, Testament of Youth, The Social Network, Steve Jobs, The Big Short, Kill Your Darlings, On the Road, The Look of Love, Legend, Pride, Suffragette.
Cemetery Junction (Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant, 2010)
Yes, it pains me to have Gervais on the list. But I can’t help but love this 70s-set British film about a gang of young men desperate to leave their parents and Reading. Tom Hughes (who should be a bigger star) gives a great performance and support comes from Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson and Felicity Jones.
The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)
Amazing performances from the always-phenomenal Rachel Weisz, as well as Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale.
Hugo (Martin Scorcese, 2011)
Best Scorsese of the decade? Glad you agree.
Anna Karenina (Joe Wright, 2012)
Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon, 2012)
This shouldn’t really be amongst the period pieces because it’s a modern re-telling, but hey – it’s Shakes! Whedon + many of his regulars + this particular Shakes play is very much FiFi nip.
Belle (Amma Asante, 2013)
Awards-worthy performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, telling an important untold story.
Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg, 2015)
Best score of the decade (Hollow in the Ferns, my God). Stunning costume design. As someone who loves the 60s Terry-and-Julie version, it has taken a lot for me to admit that I love this one too. Carey is sublime, as per.
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig, 2016)
Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin are wonderful in this gentle World War Two film about filmmaking, from one of our best directors. For similar knitwear and tweed-based romance, also check out The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (Angela Robinson, 2017)
A poly-amorous superhero origin story with 1950s costuming? Sign me all the way up. This film should have got WAY more attention, being released off the back of the huge success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman. Be sure to check out this film, it’s sexy as hell.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Paul McGuigan, 2017)
Speaking of sexy – Annette Bening and Jamie Bell have wonderful chemistry in this innovative telling of a faded Hollywood movie star’s final days in Liverpool (of all places). The way it inter-cuts the flashbacks to the romantic parts of the film is really well done.
Journey’s End (Saul Dibb, 2017)
Hopefully, with the release (and probably huge success) of 1917 this year, Journey’s End will get some attention as well. An excellent World War One film, this film completely transformed my opinion of Sam Claflin, who has transitioned from franchises and rom-coms into being a truly great actor in recent years (see also: The Nightingale, Their Finest, My Cousin Rachel, The Riot Club). Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham also extraordinarily good.
Loving Vincent (Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, 2017)
Mary Queen of Scots (Josie Rourke, 2018)
Exceptionally well directed, with a great supporting performance by Jack Lowden. This Ronan-and-Robbie film shouldda been showered with awards.
Wild Nights with Emily (Madeleine Olnek, 2018)
Hopefully the success of Apple TV’s Dickinson show will get people to check out this wonderful film that is the definition of a “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” experience. Molly Shannon should have been Oscar-nominated.
I definitely need to catch up on more docs. But here are the ones I have enjoyed from the decade (taking recommendations for more!)
Honorable Mentions: Cameraperson, Maiden, American Factory, Apollo 11, Minding the Gap, All These Sleepless Nights, Raiders: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
The Arbor (Clio Barnard, 2010)
Dreams of a Life (Carol Morley, 2011)
Discovering the life behind a young woman who died alone in her flat in London in 2003 and was left undiscovered for three years. Brought to life by Zawe Ashton and with testimonies from those who knew her.
Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012)
Tower (Keith Maitland, 2016)
Using the same rotoscope technique as the extraordinary Waltz with Bashir, Tower brings to life one of the first mass shootings on a school or university campus in America. Combines actors recreating the scene with talking heads of the people who were actually there.
Team Hurricane (Annika Berg, 2017)
McQueen (Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui, 2018)
Definitely the film that prompted the biggest, most visceral reaction from me of 2018. The Nyman score combined with the stunning images from Alexander McQueen’s shows made me sob my heart out.
Shirkers (Sandi Tan, 2018)
Love, Antosha (Garret Price, 2019)
It took me a whole day to recover from seeing this at Sundance in 2019. Completely and utterly devastating and heart-breaking, yes, but also incredibly powerful, uplifting and life-affirming. You need to see this film.
Heroes and Heists (13)
Honorable Mentions: Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Ash is Purest White, American Animals, Nocturama
Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn, 2010)
Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Edgar Wright, 2010)
Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnston, 2011)
Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola, 2013)
The Man from UNCLE (Guy Ritchie, 2015)
Ghostbusters (Paul Feig, 2016)
Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi, 2017)
Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh, 2017)
Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017)
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright, 2017)
MI: Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie, 2018)
Featuring the moustache that broke the DCEU.
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)
Animation and Family (6)
If you became a parent within the last decade, you are now an expert on which family films are re-watchable.
Honorable Mentions: HTTYD Trilogy, Anomalisa, Kubo/Boxtrolls, The Red Turtle, Tangled, When Marnie was There, Moana, Zootopia, The Peanuts Movie, Captain Underpants, The Lego Movie/Lego Batman Movie, The House with the Clock in its Walls, The Kid Who Would Be King, A Wrinkle in Time, The Muppets (2011), Frozen
Big Hero 6 (Don Hall and Chris Williams, 2014)
The “rewatchability” factor has been thoroughly tested with this one and it passes with flying colours.
The Book of Life (Jorge R. Gutierrez, 2014)
Your Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
Absolutely stunning. Brought me to tears just through sheer beauty.
Liz and the Blue Bird (Naoko Yamada, 2016)
Paddington 2 (Paul King, 2017)
Suck it, Dave.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Persichetti, Ramsay & Rothman, 2018)
My most-watched films are in this section. I’ve watched some of these films 10-20 or more times. They are my comfort and joy.
Honorable Mentions: Crazy Stupid Love, The Lucky One, 5 to 7, Not Another Happy Ending, Love & Other Drugs, Dare to be Wild, Leap Year, Burning Man, This Means War, No Strings Attached, 10 Years, What’s Your Number?, Playing it Cool, Before we Go, Love, Rosie, A Boy, A Girl, A Dream, Only You, Newness, Love/Simon, Water for Elephants
Like Crazy (Drake Doremus, 2011)
Weekend (Andrew Haigh, 2011)
Take this Waltz (Sarah Polley, 2011)
What If (Michael Dowse, 2013)
Love this film which stars Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis (joking – Dan Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan are great too).
Laggies (Lynn Shelton, 2014)
Fifty Shades of Grey (Sam Taylor-Johnson, 2015)
The cultural phenomenon that the decade would like to forget. The first film is pretty good! Fight me!
And another franchise – like Twilight – that let a woman direct the first one before jettisoning her (but I might write that essay one day).
The Rest – we can’t be defined by genre, man (11)
Honorable Mentions: Sorry to Bother You, Frances Ha, This is Where I Leave You, Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town, I/Daniel Blake, BPM, And Then We Danced, The Drop, Obvious Child/Landline, 45 Years, Moonrise Kingdom, A Bigger Splash, Young Adult/Tully, The Guard/Calvary, Blue Valentine/Place Beyond the Pines, The Escape, Shame, Clouds of Sils Maria, 99 Homes, The Intern, Hello My Name is Doris, 21/22 Jump Street, Support the Girls, Private Life, Enough Said, End of Watch, Wildlife, Filth, Ingrid Goes West, The Little Hours
Ruby Sparks (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2012)
Deliberately didn’t put this in the romance section, because this is a brilliant deconstruction of the rom-com.
Exhibition (Joanna Hogg, 2013)
Hogg is simply one of the all-time great British writer-directors.
Appropriate Behaviour (Desiree Akhavan, 2014)
Hide & Seek (Joanna Coates, 2014)
Probably the most obscure film in the whole of my top “100”. It’s also known as Amorous, if you’re looking for it. Reminiscent of Hogg’s work. Ultra-naturalistic acting that seems improvisational. Two young men and two young women drop out of society to form a poly-amorous pod in a secluded cottage in the country.
The Riot Club (Lone Scherfig, 2014)
One of the most important British films of the decade, especially when paired with something like I, Daniel Blake.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015)
Brilliant German “one-take” film starring Laia Costa as a woman who becomes embroiled with a criminal gang across one long night in Berlin.
Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs, 2015)
Jada Pinkett-Smith was robbed of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. This film is so wholesome, I could endlessly watch these benevolent bros bonding on their beachy adventures.
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)
A brilliant film, especially if you’ve ever been a drama student or involved with theatre. The camerawork is dazzling and Helena Howard should be a huge star by now, based on this performance.
Blindspotting (Carlos Lopez Estrada, 2018)
Right – don’t count those numbers up too carefully because there’s definitely more than 50.
I swear I tried to keep this shorter than the last one – thanks for sticking with me.
Please discover something new from my choices and recommendations here and give it a try – would love to hear how you get on with it.