#6. Ted

In case you haven’t read my Ted 2 review, find it here: http://wp.me/p43Tw9-e6. Before watching the sequel, I figured I should revisit the original. First of all, I love Ted. It is one of those movies that makes me laugh every time. Though I have had issues with the pacing in the final act (see my review for Ted 2), it is still just a great movie to watch and unwind to. Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg had something special going on when they made it.

Sure, there are a lot more cutaways and unnecessarily bizarre moments, and sometimes it feels forced, but they are mostly all hilarious.The montage of John getting to the party with Sam Jones gets me every time, and so does the Thunder Buddies’ song. Mila Kunis is fun too, but her character seems at times too non-understanding of John and Ted’s relationship, which is basically the plot of the film, so I understand why it is natural that they divorced for the second film.

As funny as Ted is, it’ll only please fans of Family Guy or programs of equally “stupid” humor. If you go in trying to think it’ll be a serious comedy, you’re just gonna hate it.

#7. Sansho the Bailiff

There’s a certain kind of sadness in Sansho the Bailiff that is only relieved by its final moments. The two hours before show the struggle of two kids separated from their family and sent to live in slavery. Mizoguchi is one of the Japanese Golden Era directors who is usually overshadowed by Ozu and Kurosawa, but he directed some of the most important works to come out in the 50s. In an often heart-wrenching film, Mizoguchi somehow shows the way of the human spirit shining through the dark, oppressive nature that is still apparent in society. It is a film for all times, with absolutely stunning cinematography that will haunt you as much as its themes of survival and abiding by moral standards despite the hardships of life.

#9. The Wolf of Wall Street

Back when The Wolf of Wall Street, I called it a “masterpiece,” and said that it was like “a line of cocaine for Scorsese, where some directors lose their touch of vivaciousness as they grow older, The Wolf of Wall Street exudes the type of aura that makes one think this was made by a much younger director.” I have watched it once after that, in attempt to show a friend how great it was, and then to my surprise she hated it.

It is a pretty fair assertion that the film leans heavily towards a sense of humor more appreciated by males while also using women mainly in the film as sexual objects. While this is entirely accurate, taking it at that value and judging it for that is completely what the film does not want you to do. It is about a drugged up, sexed-up entrepreneur who rises to the top of the social ladder with millions of dollars, just to have him fall hard back to earth.. Yes, his actions are despicable, vile, and sexist, but that is the point. We are not supposed to like Jordan, but we must find humor in his actions. Part of the humor is that all of this (supposedly) happened. If you judge the character for his vileness you will not find the comedy in it, ultimately reducing your appreciation of this film.

Leo probably should have won an Oscar for his role, it is one of his best ever. He is electrifying, horrendous, and still so vibrant and real. He steals the show, giving an incredible performance that will hopefully be equaled in his upcoming works. The quaalude scene still makes me laugh hysterically, which is something special for a repeat viewing. If you haven’t already seen Wolf of Wall Street and can handle 3 hours of sexist, drugged up humor, then you might find yourself loving this comedic masterpiece.

#10. Guardians of the Galaxy

Last summer, GotG pretty much stole the show (other than Boyhood, which is an entirely different story), when it proved that you should never count the underdog out. It injected the Marvel universe with a shot of space-travel, anti-heroes, and a whole new cast of bizarre, lovable characters. It also marked the first big rise in Chris Pratt’s stardom, and that has yet to stop growing.

Perhaps the success lies in its total acceptance in what its trying to be. A cool, fresh “superhero” movie with a killer soundtrack, different locales, and a cast that isn’t your usual Iron Man or Captain America. The only bad things about GotG are its rather bland villain and the fact that we have to wait several years in order to see the next one when we really just wanna keep hanging with Star Lord, Rocket, Groot, Drax, and Gamora.

#11. The Sacrifice

The final film of Tarkovsky (a film I originally watched last summer) seems to complete a circle that he started in his very first film. Throughout his career, Tarkovsky built up a small, but masterful library of films with a total of 7. They are all unique, personal films that ask you to pay attention, rewatch, and pay attention some more.

The Sacrifice is the culmination of these, almost like Tarkovsky knew it would be his last, and it is a magnificent and haunting film. Alexander, played by Erland Josephson (a Bergman favorite), is rattled by the news that WWIII is imminent and there is absolutely nothing to do to stop it. But, nonetheless, he tries to find a way. The film is dense with long-takes, with the film being over 140 minutes there are only 115 or so cuts compared to the near 1000 in most other films. One of these long-takes is one of the most impressive scenes in memory as an entire house burns down in front of our eyes in a single take. By no means is this an easy film to comprehend, but that’s Tarkovsky for you. It’s almost been 20 years and it still has the power to confound and question.

#12. Kingsman: The Secret Service

Released earlier this year, Kingsman, in my review, represented a “spy movie for the next generation.” It certainly feels this way upon second viewing, and it included enough ingredients for it to grow as a series. Colin Firth gives a wonderfully fun performance as the well-mannered yet ruthlessly vicious Agent Galahad (Harry Hart), who is one of the coolest and most suave spies in years. Is Colin Firth too old to play Bond? Eh?

His new protege, Eggsy (played by Taron Egerton,) is fresh-faced, ass-kicking, and a fun actor to have on screen. Though he is a little overshadowed as the newbie, he manages to make a name for himself and to get us excited for a sequel. Speaking of which, there hasn’t really been a word on that, but if the first one is any indicator of a need for a sequel, they better get on it soon.