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Top 20 Films (as of 06/01/2013)

I found it surprisingly difficult to put this list together; particularly the ordering. Any of the top 5 could easily be my number 1.

20. Black Swan (2010)

The number 20 spot was hotly contested. I nearly went with 'The Skin I Live In', just because it's so hugely affecting and I find myself thinking about it quite often. However I've only watched it the once and I think part of its brilliance is the shocking reveal of what's going on, which is something you wouldn't get on repeated watchings, so it lost out to 'Black Swan' which I've watched a couple of times. It's dark, a bit strange and has ballet dancing! These things are all positive film qualities for me.

19. Serenity (2005)

I found it particularly difficult to rank the feature films of TV shows I love, as although they should probably be seen as films in their own right, how can you just ignore all the depth and background that the TV episodes provide? 'Serenity' is the film sequel to the TV show 'Firefly'. You can see if and where 'Firefly' has charted on my Top 10 TV Drama / Sci-Fi chart here. 'Serenity' is one of those films that I just feel the need to watch every now and again - I've definitely watched it far more times than I've watched any of the TV episodes. I'm not even sure I can really explain why - there's just something immensely watchable about it - it's like the film version of comfort food; except it's comfort food that can kick your ass.

18. Across The Universe (2007)

A film that I came across slightly randomly when my Dad was visiting me in Cardiff and we went for a stroll around the city centre. We browsed a few shops, including HMV, where we found this film on DVD. It was amongst some sale items and the title attracted my Dad to pick it up. He read the back and discovered it was a musical using songs by The Beatles and had Eddie Izzard in it! Based purely on that (well, also the cheap price), he bought it and we watched it that evening. I loved it and have since bought my own copy. The appearance of Eddie Izzard is fairly brief, plus, to balance it out, you do also have to put up with an appearance by Bono, but it's worth it, honest. I like the versions of the songs, plus there are some great visuals in it (American soldiers carrying the Statue Of Liberty into Vietnam as 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' plays is particularly memorable).

17. Party Monster (2003)

Based on the true story of Michael Alig, this film features Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green as drug-addled, eccentric, flamboyant club kids. It's got a fun, camp and glittery side, but also a very very dark side. Plus Marilyn Manson.

16. Me And You And Everyone We Know (2005)

A quirky, funny and interesting film from Miranda July. Yes, that's all I'm going to say about it - it's a difficult one to describe.

15. House Of D (2004)

Written and directed by David Duchovny (he's in it too, but only fairly briefly). As a big fan of David's, I kept up-to-date with the production of this film through the blogs and podcasts he posted online at the time. Feeling invested in the film already, I had to see it when it came out, and thankfully it didn't disappoint. It's a humourous and touching coming-of-age story, with a great performance from Robin Williams as the mentally challenged janitor Pappas.

14. Donnie Darko (2001)

I nearly forgot about this film when I was putting this chart together, but it definitely deserves a placing. It's strange and dark, but with a sense of humour, plus it requires a bit of thought and contemplation, which is always a nice bonus.

13. Chicago (2002)

I do enjoy a musical and I really love the direction in this. I've watched it quite a bit and it always flies by. I do feel a bit bad that I've not included any older musicals in this chart though. 'Calamity Jane' is a particular favourite that should maybe have made it in somewhere, but there are so many great films!

12. Micmacs (2009)

I won tickets to see this at Chapter in Cardiff and totally loved it. It's by the same writers and director as 'Amelie' and it has a similar quirky feel and story and cinematic style. It's about a man who gets a bullet embedded in his brain and sets about destroying the two big weapons manufacturers, aided by a band of misfits. So much fun.

11. Blue Velvet (1986)

I became a fan of David Lynch's through watching 'Twin Peaks'. I think this was the first film of his I watched, with the possible exception of 'Fire Walk With Me'. Like a lot of my favourite films, it's quite dark, disturbing and strange, but there are elements of humour in there too. Plus Kyle MacLachlan's just awesome.

10. The X-Files Movies: 'Fight The Future' (1998) and 'I Want To Believe' (2008)

Yes I've totally cheated and ranked both of these together. As a big X-Files fan I couldn't miss them out, but I also didn't want them to take up 2 placings. They're slightly strange bedfellows though as they're very different films. The first film (known as 'Fight The Future') is a pretty traditional Summer blockbuster; lots of action, big explosions and special effects. However, the second film ('I Want To Believe') is much slower, introspective and devoid of theatrics. I think a lot of people were disappointed in it for that reason, but I like that it's a totally different type of film. Plus you get Billy Connolly as a paedophile priest! Ok, maybe I shouldn't so pleased by that, but he plays it really well - ok, that sounds even worse, I'm shutting up now.

9. Playing By Heart (1998)

An ensemble piece where you jump between different characters' storylines. It's got a pretty impressive cast, including Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Gena Rowlands, Gillian Anderson and Jon Stewart!

8. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Yes it's another David Lynch film. 'Blue Velvet' is pretty straightforward for a David Lynch film, but this one's firmly in the strange and in-need-of-deciphering camp. However, even if you don't fully understand what's going on at certain points, it's a stylish, compelling and rather sexy film. Plus you can then look up theories on the internet afterwards - hoorah!

7. American Beauty (1999)

I saw this at the cinema when I was at university and just thought it was brilliant. Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening put in particularly brilliant performances.

6. Labyrinth (1986)

The only family type film on my list. It features singing, puppets and David Bowie in tight trousers! What more could you ask for really?

5. Fight Club (1999)

Based purely on the title and the trailers, I really didn't think this would be my type of film. A load of guys set up a club where they punch each other? Oh, great. I only saw it because it was shown at a mass slumber party type thing at the halls of residence I was living in. Pretty quickly it became clear that it wasn't just a film about guys punching each other and was actually rather brilliant. I got it on DVD not too long afterwards.

4. Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004)

Yes I've cheated and combined 2 films again. They're both fairly short though, so you could watch them in tandem as one film that spans 9 years! They're the kind of films that aren't suited to everyone as they're heavily dialogue based and very little actually happens, it's all about the dialogue and the relationship between the 2 characters. Personally I love that though. The films are incredibly romantic but not in a schmaltzy or overly sentimental way.

3. Memento (2000)

This is another film that I first saw when I was at university. Someone had rented it from Blockbuster (on VHS no less - Google it if you're too young!) and we all crowded into their bedroom to watch it. I'd not even heard of it before and had no notion of what to expect, so it was a nice surprise to enjoy it so much that it's still one of my favourite films. If you're not familiar with it, it takes place backwards so you get a sense of what it's like to be the lead character who has no short-term memory. This means you have to gradually piece together what's going on and why things have led to the outcome you see at the start of the film. It played in my mind for days after first watching it.

2. Amélie (2001)

I was quite a latecomer to this film; not watching it until 2009! I have my boyfriend to thank for showing me the error of my ways (even though he wasn't actually my boyfriend quite yet). It's quirky, funny, heartwarming and has a lead character who reminds me quite a bit of myself, albeit much more mischievous and, er, French.

1. 2 Days In Paris (2007)

Like I said at the top of this page, any one of my top 5 could be my number 1, so why exactly did I choose this one? Well, it's very funny, it has a refreshingly realistic sense of romance about it and it just makes me feel happy to watch it. I'm not sure that I want to watch the sequel though - the reviews haven't been good and I fear it will only disappoint.

Oh, there's a happy note to end this chart on - potential disappointment! Yay!

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