100. The Hateful Eight (2015) Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 176 mins.
Set some years after the American Civil War, the film follows eight travellers who seek refuge from a blizzard in a stagecoach stopover but are greeted by four strangers and realise that they may not reach their destination of Red Rock, Wyoming. Due to some uneven parts it’s perhaps a lesser work from Tarantino, but there is still much to admire about its aesthetic and narrative.
99. Arrival (2016) Dir. Denis Villeneuve, 116 mins.
There were few doubts that Villeneuve was the right man to helm the sequel to Blade Runner thanks to the success of his previous sci-fi effort. Some may find Arrival slow and lacking in action but others will find it intelligent, sophisticated and by the end emotionally affecting. Amy Adams delivers maybe her best performance yet as the linguist trying to communicate with aliens. Watch
98. Black Swan (2010) Dir. Darren Aronofsky, 103 mins.
Psychological horror film that revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake by a prestigious New York City ballet company. Natalie Portman plays the ballerina who is consumed by a love of dance but loses her grip on reality when she faces competition for the main part from a new arrival. Overly melodramatic but gripping none the less, Black Swan is a technical marvel and has some wonderful performances. Watch
97. The Master (2012) Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 144 mins.
It tells the story of Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), a World War II veteran struggling to adjust to a post-war society, who meets Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a leader of a religious movement known as “The Cause”. Dodd sees something in Quell and accepts him into the movement. Freddie takes a liking to “The Cause” and begins travelling with Dodd along the East Coast to spread the teachings. Some terrific performances from the two leads but it’s arguable that the end of the film doesn’t match up to the fascinating build up.
96. Mustang (2015) Dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 97 mins.
The film is set in a remote Turkish village and depicts the lives of five young orphaned sisters and challenges they face growing up as girls in a conservative society.
95. Mysteries of Lisbon (2010) Dir. Raúl Ruiz, 272 mins.
It follows a jealous countess, a wealthy businessman, and a young orphaned boy across Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil where they connect with a variety of mysterious individuals.
94. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, 105 mins.
Set in 1961, the film follows one week in the life of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac in his breakthrough role), a folk singer struggling to achieve musical success while keeping his life in order.
93. The Wind Rises (2013) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 126 mins.
The Wind Rises is a fictionalised biopic of Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), designer of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter aircraft and its successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, used by the Empire of Japan during World War II. Buy
92. Manchester by the Sea (2016) Dir. Kenneth Lonergan, 135 mins.
The film’s plot follows a man’s relationship with his teenage nephew as he cares for him after his brother, the boy’s father, dies.
91. La La Land (2016) Dir. Damien Chazelle, 128 mins.
Famously losing out to Moonlight for the Best Picture Oscar, La La Land stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist and Emma Stone as an aspiring actress, who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles while pursuing their dreams. Watch
90. The Social Network (2010) Dir. David Fincher, 120 mins.
Adapted from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, the film portrays the founding of social networking website Facebook and the resulting lawsuits.
89. The Artist (2011) Dir. Michel Hazanavicius, 100 mins.
The story takes place in Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932, and focuses on the relationship of an older silent film star and a rising young actress as silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by the “talkies”.
88. A Hidden Life (2019) Dir. Terrence Malick, 174 mins.
The film depicts the life of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer and devout Catholic who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II.
87. The Favourite (2018) Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, 120 mins.
Set in the early 18th century, the story examines the relationship between two cousins vying to be court favourites of British monarch, Queen Anne.
86. Joker (2019) Dir. Todd Phillips, 122 mins.
The film, based on DC Comics characters, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker and provides an alternative origin story for the character. Set in 1981, it follows Arthur Fleck, a failed clown and stand-up comedian whose descent into insanity and nihilism inspires a violent counter-cultural revolution against the wealthy in a decaying Gotham City.
85. The King’s Speech (2010) Dir. Tom Hooper, 118 mins.
Colin Firth plays the future King George VI who, to cope with a stammer, sees Lionel Logue, an Australian speech and language therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. The men become friends as they work together, and after his brother abdicates the throne, the new king relies on Logue to help him make his first wartime radio broadcast on Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in 1939. Watch
84. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019) Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 161 mins.
Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the film follows a fading character actor and his stunt double as they navigate the rapidly changing film industry, with the looming threat of the Tate-LaBianca Murders hanging overhead.
83. 13 Assassins (2010) Dir. Takashi Miike, 126 mins.
Loosely based on historical events, the film is set in 1844 toward the end of the medieval Edo period. In the story, a group of thirteen assassins, composed of twelve samurai and a hunter, secretly plot to assassinate the savage leader of the Akashi clan, Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu, before his appointment to the powerful Shogunate Council.
82. Before Midnight (2013) Dir. Richard Linklater, 108 mins.
Co-written by Linklater and lead actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, the film is the third of the director’s trilogy featuring their two characters. It picks up the story nine years after the events of the second film Before Sunset, where Jesse (Hawke) and Céline (Delpy) spend a summer vacation together in Greece.
81. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Dir. Christopher Nolan, 164 mins.
Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, merciless revolutionary Bane (Tom Hardy) forces an older Bruce Wayne to resume his role as Batman and save Gotham City from nuclear destruction. A disappointingly uneven effort when compared with the heights reached in the previous film, but there’s still some great action and compelling performances.