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  • Cian Hamilton

Best Movies Of The Last Decade By Genre

Every year we get to experience a few extraordinarily brilliant films. Sometimes it's even tough to narrow them down to a top ten. So, needless to say, choosing my favourite films from an entire decade is damn near impossible and, to be honest, I might look back at this blog and ask myself "what were you thinking?" But I can't let that stop me so let's get into it.


Here's how it's going to work. I'm going to break down the list into twelve major film genres and them I'm going to choose which is my favourite film in that genre produced in the last decade. Then I'll give you a great bonus film which you may not have seen or even heard of.


Disclosure: Categorising films by genre is tougher than you think. You may think a film is in the wrong genre but it's my list so...


*Sigh* Here we go.


Sci-Fi


Science fiction is one of my favourite genres, which is strange because I'm often very disappointed with sci-fi films. That being said, there were a number of incredible sci-fi films made in the last ten years. Opening the decade with a strong contender, we had Inception. I mean, a lot of people could have gambled on that being the winner there and then. But then came films like Ex Machina, Looper, Edge of Tomorrow, Annihilation, Gravity and (yes I'm going to say it) Dawn of and War for the Planet of the Apes. I'm sure by now you've noticed that I haven't mentioned two very obvious films and that's because they are my top two. And while I absolutely loved Arrival, my favourite sci-fi film of the decade has to be Blade Runner 2049. Both are obviously directed by Denis Villeneuve and I'm sure every film of his will feature in this blog. Blade Runner 2049 not only lives up to its predecessor, but (dangerous opinion) I think it surpasses it. From the incredible production design to the unique story, from the phenomenal acting to the top class cinematography (congrats on the 1st Oscar, Roger) Blade Runner 2049 takes the cake for best sci-fi film.


For your bonus film, check out Melacholia. It's a bizarre but enchanting film from 2011 by Lars von Trier and you'll probably either love it or hate it. I loved it.



Mystery


Another of my favourite genres here and tough choice but I'll do my best. I'm not going down the supernatural route here, that comes later. But in this category we have Gone Girl, Knives Out, Searching, Three Billboards, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo... I mean come on. But then it gets worse because we have Winters Bone and the every award winning Parasite (which, by the way isn't my favourite Bong Joon-Ho film. That goes to Memories of Murder. Check it out.) But how could I choose a winner here? Well, would you believe, my number one is none of the above. I'm sure some of you have noticed a missing film here and as I mentioned before, Denis Villeneuve is going to feature a lot in this list because my favourite crime/mystery film is Prisoners. It's incredibly tense in all the right ways, it's gripping, intriguing and sure of itself. If you haven't seen it, you can stop reading this right now and get on it.


Your bonus film in this category is the 2017 indie film by Kevin Philips called Super Dark Times. As the title suggests, it's super dark but brilliantly executed with originality and style.



Drama


I'm including romance in this category because I think romance is drama. Should I even bother? I actually think some of the best dramas of all time were made in the last decade. We're talking Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Moonlight, Her (I know it's also sci-fi but it's going here), Boyhood, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Lady Bird, Roma, Spotlight, Drive, Call Me By Your Name (this should be studied in film school) and the list goes on. Seriously, I'm going to kick myself for missing some of the greats. But I've set myself this challenge and I'm happy with my final choice. It's great every single time you watch it and it just a masterful movie full of drama, suspense and tension, as well as passion, beauty and magic. And that movie is called Whiplash.


Your bonus in this category is one of my favourite films of all time. It's a movie that reminds me what filmmaking is all about. It's story telling at its finest and proof that a simple story is just as powerful as a complex one. The film is called Short Term 12 by Destin Daniel Cretton. I can't recommend it enough.



Action


I'm not going to include war movies in this one because that'll be a category of its own. Now action movies are famous for being gimmicky Hollywood money makers with an overuse of CGI and poor plot lines. But, oh, there are some serious exceptions to this. I'm talking Skyfall, Mad Max: Fury Road, Baby Driver, Sicario, Creed, The Raid, The Raid 2, Dredd, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocall, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Mission Impossible: Fallout. There are more but you get my point. But for all the great action movies out there, the best in my opinion has to be one of the John Wick movies. No you can toss a three sided coin for this one and you'd never get a wrong answer but because I need to give you one, I'll go for John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum simply because those dogs are incredible.


Great bonus movie for you here. A little gruesome at times but really interesting and very different. I really enjoyed the whole thing so give it a go. It's called You Were Never Really Here.



Adventure


So adventure movies are hard to categorise but I struggle to put them in another genre so here we go. We've got some greats like Django Unchained, Lion, Tracks, The Revenant, The Jungle Book, Annihilation (sci-fi I know but it's an adventure too), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (outrageously underrated), the new Jurassic Park movies were pretty good, The Hobbit movies weren't bad either but I think you should know what film is going to win this category... and that is Life of Pi. It's beautiful, it's a great story, well acted, great CGI for its time, and just utterly enjoyable to watch.


For your bonus film, I'm going to suggest Wild with Reese Witherspoon. I thought it was really great and made even better considering it is a true story.




Superhero


Ok, I'm just going to get this category out of the way. I have nothing against superhero movies, in fact I rather enjoy them. But a few of them do a really great job of stepping away from the superhero movie stereotype and/or embracing it and showing them for what they can really be. These films include The Dark Knight Rises, Logan, Thor: Ragnarok, Deadpool, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Big Hero 6, Incredibles 2, Kick Ass, X Men: Days of Future Past, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (sorry but I have to include it somewhere). But my personal favourite superhero movie of the decade has to be Black Panther... lol just kidding, I honestly did not understand the hype on that one. The winner for me is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It's new, original and fun. Sure it has it's flaws but what film doesn't? And it is also aimed at a younger audience so that's to be expected. Imagine some R-rated films made in this style. I'd be first in line and the cinema.


For your bonus one, I remember loving this film when it first came out so I hope it still lives up. The film is Josh Trank's Chronicle. Give it a go. It proves that a lot can be done with a relatively small budget.



War


When it comes to war movies, I'm very fussy. I'm talking Saving Private Ryan and Apocalypse Now kind of fussy. But interestingly enough, we have had some greats in the last 10 years. Films like Dunkirk, 1917 (for sheer cinematic achievement), Hacksaw Ridge, Eye in the Sky and Incendies. But at the end of the day, I'd be remiss to not award best war film of the decade to Zero Dark Thirty. Like her previous war film, The Hurt Locker, Katheryn Bigelow does a masterful job of providing us with a unique perspective on war and strategy while giving her characters depth and authenticity. It's everything I want in a modern day war film.


If you have the stomach for my bonus film, I highly recommend Beasts Of No Nation.




Indie


I know I've already included a few indie movies above and apologies if I repeat myself here but I have to include an indie film section because the independent movies being produced at the moment are top class and only getting better. These will be some of the lesser known ones. Some of my favourites include, Before Midnight (Drama), Me Earl and the Dying Girl (Coming of Age), American Honey (Adventure, Coming of Age), Green Room (Thriller), Sing Street (Music, Coming of Age), Eighth Grade (Coming of Age) and more recently The Peanut Butter Falcon which I thought was excellent! But I have to put my favourite as one I've already mentioned and that is Short Term 12 because I really think everyone should just watch it.


And for your bonus movie, I'd have to recommend the bizarrely charming and slightly heartbreaking Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter.



Horror/Scary


Who knew scary films could be so great? I did because I really like scary films. But let's be honest, sometimes they can be more funny than scary. In this list, I'm only including the films that make you afraid to turn off the light for a week. They also have to be, what I consider, excellent films even without the scare factor. i.e. Well written, filmed, directed, edited and scored. Spoiler alert: There are a lot. We've got It Follows, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Get Out, The Conjuring, The Witch, The Invisible Man, The Babadook, Lights Out, A Quiet Place, It, Midsommar, Goodnight Mommy, Us and I'm sure there are more. But I think a lot of people will agree with my winner... Hereditary. It's bone chilling in all the best ways. Bravo Ari Aster.



For my bonus film, check out The Invitation. Very interesting film that constantly makes you question whether your paranoia is justified or not.



Overall


If I haven't included a film that you think should be in my list, either I just forgot it or I don't think it belongs here. But I'm sure there are a lot of films that just slipped my mind so please don't be too mad at me.


Right, here it is. The winner of the winners, which will it be? To be honest, I don't know. It's just too hard to make that kind of decision. But at the time of writing this blog, I'm going to give the award to Whiplash. Will I change my mind on that? Maybe, but it's one of my all time favourites so it'll do for now.


I hope you discovered some films on this list that you haven't seen and can add to your watchlist. But for now, I shall say farewell and see you in the next post.


Peace!!


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