RANKED: Alex Turner

Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Alex David Turner has been at the forefront of the most interesting and most successful British band of the last ten years. Not content with one era defining band, he is due to release his second album with The Last Shadow Puppets on 1st April as well.

Ranking the Arctics albums has always proven a difficult task amongst fans, throw in the LSP stuff and Turner’s wonderful soundtrack to Submarine and the final ranking probably changes from fan to fan, maybe even from day to day. Having said that my opinion on Alex Turner’s work has remained largely unchanged over the years. So here it is, all of Alex Turner’s albums and EP’s ranked.

8. Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys? (2006)

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RANKED: David Fincher

After ranking Quentin Tarantino‘s films, I have turned my attention to David Fincher. It is almost impossible to separate his work when you get to the business end of the list such is it’s quality but I have tried my very best.

10. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

‘Hold still. I’ve never done this before, and there will be blood.’

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Despite the huge success of the book upon which the film is based and also the critical acclaim it received, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo did nothing for me.

Sparse and colourless sets as well as a typically wooden performance from Daniel Craig combine for a grim and lifeless adaptation. A well made film it may be but I can’t imagine ever watching The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo again.

9. Panic Room (2002)

‘I spent the last 12 years of my life building rooms like this specifically to keep out people like us’

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Kristen Stewart staring blankly into space. Standard.

Probably the most neglected film in Fincher’s body of work, possibly because it followed the all conquering Fight Club, Panic Room is still a tense thriller and a mostly enjoyable film.

Notable for the first appearance of Kristen Stewart and her three facial expressions as well as an excellent lead performance from Jodie Foster, Panic Room is unlucky to be sandwiched between Fight Club and Zodiac.

8. Gone Girl (2014)

‘Everyone knows that ‘complicated’ is a code word for bitch.’

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Ben Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms.

Never has a film filled me with such mixed feelings before than Gone Girl. Amazingly acted and containing some great scenes, Gone Girl should be a classic but the normally focused direction of David Fincher jars with the sprawling, ethereal third act.

Gone Girl is David Fincher’s most recent film and one of his most successful and despite all it’s flaws (of which it does have many) it can’t be denied as a memorable piece of work.

7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

‘It’s funny how sometimes the people we remember the least make the greatest impression on us’

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Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name, Benjamin Button is sometimes dismissed by Fincher fans as his attempt to make a sappy Hollywood flick. Whilst there is some truth to that, Benjamin Button is still a touching and beautiful film and a more poignant update on the massively overrated Forrest Gump.

6. The Game (1997)

‘They fuck you and fuck you and fuck you, and just when you think it’s over, that’s when the real fucking begins!’

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The Game is a paranoid neo-noir thriller that sees Michael Douglas immersed into a live action video game. Years before it’s time and boasting a pair of excellent performances from Sean Penn and Michael Douglas, The Game is perhaps the most forgotten of all of Fincher’s work which is unfair for such a well realized film.

5. ALIEN3 (1992)

‘Why? Why are the innocent punished? Why the sacrifice? Why the pain? There aren’t any promises. Nothing’s certain.’

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David Fincher’s directorial début was roundly hated on release with underwhelming box office results and Aliens director James Cameron commenting ‘Hated it. Simple as that. I hated what they did…. I couldn’t stand ALIEN3′

To paraphrase the great Hunter S. Thompson it is time for an agonizing reappraisal of ALIEN3.  Fincher stated he didn’t want to rehash the first two wildly successful Alien films so he stamped his own inimitable film making style on the third Alien entry and when judged on it’s own merits and not against it’s predecessors, ALIEN3 stands up by itself as a brilliantly twisted sci fi film.

4. The Social Network (2010)

‘A guy who makes a nice chair doesn’t owe money to everyone who has ever built a chair.’

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The Social Network is not only the best thing that Aaron Sorkin has ever written but also Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timerblake’s finest hour. Stealing every scene though is Andrew Garfield who showed his potential to be the next Ed Norton with a vulnerable yet charismatic performance.

It may have played fast and loose with the facts at times but facts are boring. Facebook would be a whole lot more interesting if Mark Zuckerberk was closer to his on screen counterpart.

3. Se7en (1995)

‘Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder any more. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.’

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David Fincher recovered from the critical bashing of Alien3 to produce one of the most unforgettable films of the 90’s in Se7en. A grotesque twist on the buddy cop genre sees Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt nurture a wonderful chemistry and of course the conclusion is one of the most iconic film endings ever. Also who wouldn’t to spend two hours listening to Morgan Freeman quote poetry.

2. Fight Club (1999)

‘I am Jack’s… complete lack of surprise.’

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A film so emphatically superior to its source material that it forced Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk to comment:

Now that I see the movie… I was sort of embarrassed of the book, because the movie had streamlined the plot and made it so much more effective and made connections that I had never thought to make’.

Endlessly quotable and with another wonderful double act in Brad Pitt and Ed Norton, Fight Club is perhaps the biggest film of its generation and has been homaged and ripped off countless times since it’s release as the last great film of the 90’s.

1. Zodiac (2007)

‘I need to know who he is. I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye, and I need to know that it’s him.’

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As well as being possibly the most underrated film ever made, Zodiac also boasts an array of incredible performances from Jake Gyllenhaal’s obsessive Robert Graysmith to Robert Downey Jr’s enigmatic and drunken Paul Avery.

The jewel in the crown for Zodiac though (other than Fincher’s peerless direction and pacing) is Mark Ruffalo’s astonishing turn as David Toschi. I often try and swing conversation at parties to Zodiac just so I can talk endlessly about how good Ruffalo is in this film. I don’t get invited to parties too often…

Fascinating subject matter and endlessly watchable, Zodiac is about as good as acting and direction can possibly be. One of my all time favourite films.

 

 

 

 

RANKED: Quentin Tarantino

In a new feature I am going to attempt to rank the works of some of my favourite directors worst to best. On the eve of The Hateful Eight’s cinematic release there would appear to be no better starting point than QT.

11. Death Proof (2007)

‘Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn’t a lie. This car is 100% death proof.’

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Death Proof is the only Tarantino flick that I actively didn’t enjoy. Whilst the Grindhouse concept was a solid one, Robert Rodriguez’ entry Planet Terror worked much better than Death Proof which at it’s best had a stunning soundtrack but at it’s worst feels like a cheap Tarantino knock off.

10. My Best Friend’s Birthday (1987)

‘I don’t give a shit what unruly Julie plays on her show…’

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That’s Tarantino on the left.

My Best Friend’s Birthday is barely a film at all. Filmed in grainy black and white and incomplete due to the final reel being destroyed in a fire, My Best Friend’s Birthday still contains all the hallmarks of what would later make Quentin Tarantino a cinema legend – monologues about pop culture, violence, drugs and fucking brilliant music.

My Best Friend’s Birthday is rough around the edges but it is worth watching for Tarantino completists.

9. Four Rooms – The Man From Hollywood (1995)

‘A hatchet as sharp as the devil himself’

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Four Rooms was a project perhaps doomed from the start due to it’s ambition. Four very different directors each direct one segment based in a hotel room whilst Tim Roth’s bellboy Ted links the four stories together.

Aside from the forgettable opening segment (featuring Madonna), Four Rooms mostly works pretty well and Tarantino’s closing segment The Man From Hollywood is perhaps the highlight. Also notable for an uncredited cameo from Bruce Willis.

8. The Hateful Eight (2015)

‘A bastard’s work is never done…’

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Of all Tarantino’s lesser films, The Hateful Eight is perhaps the most frustrating. All the pieces are in place for a classic QT movie with a great cast, a smart script and some beautiful cinematography. Like with Django Unchained however, Tarantino struggles to keep things going to the end and The Hateful Eight also drags on far too long.

Every Tarantino film is still an event but his next project will perhaps not be quite as anticipated after the disappointment of The Hateful Eight. Also loses marks for crimes against guitars

Read my full review of The Hateful Eight here.

7. Django Unchained (2012)

‘D-J-A-N-G-O… The D is silent.’

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There is no doubting that Django Unchained was a massive success. Three great performances from Jamie Foxx, Di Caprio and Christoph Waltz drive a quite frankly, fucking crazy movie.

I enjoyed Django but I found the relentless violence to be a bit cartoony at times in a way that doesn’t really fit like it did in Kill Bill for example.

6. Jackie Brown (1997)

‘AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.’

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Jackie Brown often gets overlooked after following two of the best films of the 90’s in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction but judged on it’s own merits it is a brilliant piece of work. From Pam Grier’s kick ass turn in the titular role to Bobby De Niro’s hilarious performance and taking in Samuel L. Jackson’s ridiculous pony tail, it is ludicrous that a film as good as Jackie Brown doesn’t even crack Tarantino’s top 5.

5. Kill Bill: Vol 1 (2003)

‘That woman deserves her revenge and we deserve to die.’

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Kill Bill is a love letter to Tarantino’s many influences and is a full blown assault on the senses as it looks and sounds fucking phenomenal. The first entry sets the scene for the sequel but Kill Bill Vol.1 is a brilliant piece of work in it’s own right and of course it has an amazing  soundtrack. We all knew Uma Thurman was cool but wow! Just wow.

4. Kill Bill: Vol 2 (2004)

‘And what, pray tell, is the five-point-palm-exploding-heart technique?’

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It is almost impossible to choose between the Kill Bill films but Vol. 2 just edges it with more memorable scenes and the unforgettable ending.

Kill Bill Vol. 2 became more than the sum of it’s influences to become one of the most original and memorable films of the 21st century.

3. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

‘We got a German here who wants to die for his country! Oblige him!’

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Inglourious Basterds is the perfect storm of Tarantino at his most focused along with breakout performances from Christoph Waltz and Michael Fassbender as well Brad Pitt’s finest hour since Fight Club.

The obligatory excellent soundtrack is flanked by one of the most memorable opening scenes in movie history to form vintage Tarantino.

2. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

‘I don’t tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort, I’ll give them something a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, it’s for the birds…’

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The film that started it all. Reservoir Dogs is Tarantino’s first feature length film and a seminal work. An incredible cast, one of his finest soundtracks and perhaps Tarantino’s finest dialogue were the catalyst for everything else that would come later including…

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

‘And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.’

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Quite simply one of the most stylish, iconic and influential films ever made. There are certain films that are so good they are universally loved by everyone, Pulp Fiction sits alongside Shawshank Redemption, Jaws and Back To The Future as one of the greatest ever movies.

Like him or loathe him as a person, there is no denying that Quentin Tarantino has been responsible for some of the most important cinema ever produced.