Big Things Have Small Beginnings

Come to here to get an idea of what plans Charles Dunphey has in store for the world with his newfound company "Dunphey Industries".

Book Signing Updates and Schedules

Find out if Charles Dunphey will be in your area and where you can find him.

Art Gallery

Check out the Art Gallery here for all concept art and product art used in our company.

Check out the Vlogs here!

Here you can catch all the latest news as seen in the vlogs released by Charles Dunphey.

Associated Links

Find our social network profiles around the web all right here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Top 10 Films of 2014

  TOP 10 FILMS OF 2014

  Hello, everyone.  Once again, this list is coming out 6+ months after the year ended.  I just had to wait and see all of the films before I made an accurate list for 2014.  Sadly, I was severely disappointed with 2014 when it came to film.  Usually, I'm on board with all of the critics and their tastes in good films, as was seen in 2013, but this year I was not.  I feel like 2014 was a very lackluster year for film but there were a few golden gems hidden in between the filler and slosh.  As always, this is my personal opinion, so don't take it as me pretending it's factual.  Hope you guys enjoy.  Let me know if you have any questions or recommendations and thanks for stopping by.  

10. The Wind Rises (2013)

  IMDB Synopsis:  A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

  Director: Hayao Miyazaki

  Stars:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt and Martin Short

  I know this film came out in 2013, technically.  Yet it didn't hit the states until early 2014.  So for me, it is a 2014 film.  I am a huge Hayao Miyazaki fan and this being his final effort, his magnum opus, I was nothing but impressed.  Being impressed is the status quo with Miyazaki.  In The Wind Rises, we saw a harrowing and emotional tale of a young man achieving his destiny and finding love.  I won't lie, I teared up a bit in this film.  The score is beautiful, sound effects unique (having plane sounds be oral noises made by voice actors is pretty unique), the story is engaging regardless of the slow pace the film steadily takes.  The love factor of this film was beautiful and engaging for audiences and it will leave you clenching the tissues trying not to cry in front of your friends.  If you are a Miyazaki fan or even a film fan in general, go out and watch this.  Get some feels in.  

9. Under the Skin (2013)

  IMDB Synopsis:  A mysterious woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. Events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

  Director:  Jonathan Glazer

  Stars:  Scarlett Johansson 


  You will see a trend in this list of films that were made in 2013 but were released in 2014 and Under the Skin is one of them.  At first, I didn't like this film in all honesty.  Much like the previous year's Only God Forgives, this film grew on me and within no time I realized its glory and the things that make it a masterpiece.  The film is hard to watch and very strange but it hosts Johansson's greatest role of her career and a lot of interesting scenes with techniques I have never seen.  This film took years to make and small details, like the fact that the hitchhikers are REAL hitchhikers filmed with hidden cameras, make this film a special piece that is rarely seen in cinema.  Every shot is meticulous and beautiful in nature and the performances all feel real.  If you can get past the difficult-to-watch scenes, I think you will find yourself appreciating this film, even if not immediately.

8. Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

  IMDB Synopsis:  The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

  Director:  Wes Anderson

  Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum, and Jude Law


  One of the only big Oscar films that I really enjoyed this year, Grand Budapest Hotel was quite a fascinating work of art.  It achieved good drama with a blend of humor and mysticism.  The cinematography in the film is beautiful and strange in so many good ways, reaching perfection with its score neatly unifying the storytelling.  There is no shortage of A-list actors in Grand Budapest Hotel, Ralph Fiennes giving his best performance since Schindler's List.  From start to finish there is no shortage of laughs and great scenic details and it stands easily as Wes Anderson's best film, marking his well-deserved Oscar attention (about time).  If you are looking for a good laugh laced in with fantastical storytelling, look no further.    

7. The Babadook (2014)

  IMDB Synopsis:  A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

  Director:  Jennifer Kent

  Stars:  Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman and Daniel Henshall


  Let my bitching about Oscar snubs begin.  This was up there with Gyllenhaal being snubbed for Nightcrawler.  Essie Davis gave one of the best performances I have ever seen and I am not saying that just to be dramatic.  She was phenomenal.  It seems that every year there is a horror film that just stands out from all of the others.  2010 was Insidious, 2011 was The Inkeepers, 2012 was Cabin in the Woods, and 2013 was The Conjuring.  2014 is The Babadook.  The levels that this movie attacks psychological breakdowns and the slow, agonizing journey towards insanity while leaving you questioning whether or not you understand the film shows how amazing and perfectly The Babadook is put together.  From start to finish, this film is disturbing on so many levels and truly leaves the audience sickened and clenching the ends of their seats, white knuckled and all.  The main complaints I have heard of this film are from people who do not understand it.  If you need an explanation, look up fan theories.  The director has not clarified the true meaning of the film, but there is enough evidence through the run time of a certain theory likely being true.  This is by far the best horror film of 2014 and maybe even the best psychological thriller of the decade so far.  Be open-minded and make sure to watch this when you have company.   

6. Wild (2014)

  IMDB Synopsis:  A chronicle of one woman's 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.

  Director:   Jean-Marc Vallée

  Stars:  Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Gabby Hoffman


  I am always a sucker for good feminist films.  Mix that propensity with my love for 2013's Dallas Buyers Club, and how could I not absolutely love this film?  Director Jean-Marc Vallée's interpretation of the novel written by real-life Cheryl Strayed is a beautiful and intense tale of a woman who became lost and had to go upon a journey to find the parts of herself she lost.  The trauma she goes through is so believable and every scene with her and her mother (played by Laura Dern) is touching and captivating.  Not one moment of this film came off as unbelievable.  It truly explores the concept of second chances and the personal journey one must take after a life-altering event.  There were scenes in this film that left me absolutely speechless and frozen in my seat.  The power behind the filmmaking and performances are amazing to say the least.  It is easily one of the best biographical films in years.  

5. Enemy (2013)

  IMDB Synopsis:  A man seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie.

  Director:  Denis Villeneuve

  Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon


    In 2013, my favorite film was Villeneuve's Prisoners.  That is also my favorite film of all time.  This director is a god in what he does.  Never have I seen someone so meticulous with every shot they take, like they stood for hours trying to get the perfect angle or expression.  Now, Enemy is a very hard film to get into and more over to understand.  The film is an allegory and metaphor for so many things.  Yet again, I would highly recommend watching Stuckmann's Explained Review, inserted below the trailer for this film.  Gyllenhaal is amazing as always and it never disappoints when it comes to this man.  I feel as though this film is one of those that not a lot of people appreciated, but years down the road people will study this film and try to use it as a template.  It is an incredibly interesting film and I can't delve too much into the plot without having to spoil things.  Guys, give this a try and watch Stuckmann's review AFTERWARDS.  Oh yeah, if you don't like spiders this film may not be the one for you.

Stuckmann's Explained Review:

4. Frank (2014)

IMDB Synopsis: Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.

Director:  Lenny Abrahamson

Stars:  Michael Fassbender, Domhall Gleeson, and Maggie Gyllenhaal


  This film was a wonderful experience that I never expected and didn't see coming from a mile away.  Where to begin, well, the music in this film was great ("I Love You All" gets stuck in my head all of the time), the acting is great from all of the cast, the script is a perfect balance of awkward hilarity and downright sad moments from the characters.  There is serious chemistry here.  Not the good kind either.  This entire film is filled with awkward tension and hilarious moments that left me laughing aloud.  I hate comedies for the most part, so trust me when I say this is good.  I hate that it didn't get the coverage it should have, nor the exposure.  Fassbender and Gleeson were perfect for these roles and the film never lost my attention.  It's weird, spunky, funny, intense, inspiring and uplifting all at the same time.  I'm serious, if you haven't seen this movie, go watch it now.  It's on Netflix, the DVD or Blu ray isn't too expensive.  Don't let a film like this get completely overlooked.

3. Foxcatcher (2014)

IMDB Synopsis:  The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul - a union that leads to unlikely circumstances.

Director:  Bennett Miller

Stars:  Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo


  When I first saw the trailer for this film, I knew . . . this was going to be something I hadn't seen before.  The haunting character of John du Pont played by Steve Carell swooped in and took my attention the moment I saw his face and heard his voice.  It instantly became my most anticipated film of 2014.  It did not disappoint.  All three of the actors in this film were astounding.  It single-handedly changed my views of Channing Tatum as an actor.  The fact that he didn't get nominated for an Oscar blew my mind.  Carell was terrifying in this film and his resemblance to the real du Pont in his expressions and body language is uncanny.  Ruffalo was great as a man who is torn between choices and is reluctant to follow his brother into the endeavors that ensue.  The entire film feels like a bomb is about to go off.  Carell's du Pont is unpredictable and disturbing.  When I first started researching the film and its true basis, I looked for hours online at actual documents of the incident that took place (won't spoil it), and I watched videos of the real du Pont.  It was all so nightmarish but fascinating.  This film gave me chills and was really a phenomenal success on Miller's part.  It received many Oscar nominations and was hailed at film festivals with high regard.  This movie is hard to stomach at points, but I highly recommend it.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

IMDB Synopsis:  A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe.

Director:  James Gunn

Stars:  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel


  When Marvel announced this film, people were skeptical.  They didn't think an off brand superhero team would be well received and all of the fans and executives alike, found it risky.  Especially with Gunn coming off the godawful Movie 43 (yeah, hard to think it is the same director, right?).  But lo and behold, this film took the world by surprise.  It is, in my opinion, the greatest Marvel film ever made, and in my full review (link at the bottom), I call it the "Next Star Wars".  Bold statement?  Maybe to some, but I feel it is well-deserved.  This film floored me!  I couldn't believe how good it was.  I didn't know what to expect and boy was I surprised.  Every performance in this film was perfect, the CGI was the some of the best I've ever seen, the soundtrack was perfect, there was nothing wrong with this movie!  When I had lost faith in Marvel, they released this.  Though after Age of Ultron, my faith has diminished more, Guardians still stands as a testament to Marvel's ability to create characters we will love and cherish forever.  This film was the definition of a success.  The fact that the soundtrack won a Grammy shows just how successful it was.  If you have not seen this, what is wrong with you?!  This film is the best superhero film Marvel has put out.  Go see it, now.

1. Interstellar (2014)

  IMDB Synopsis:  A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.
  Director:  Christopher Nolan

  Stars:  Matthew McConaughey, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathway, Casey Affleck, and John Lithgow


  Where to begin.  Nothing this year took me on as much of a journey as Interstellar.  I was completely captivated by this film from start to finish.  I was skeptical going in but when the credits rolled, I literally sat for fifteen minutes speechless.  I couldn't even move, I was so astonished.  This film was beautiful in every shot, epic in scope, filled to the brim with Oscar worthy performances (let's not talk about McConaughey's snub here . . . or Nolan's for that matter), and the direction and visual effects left my chin on the floor.  The fact that almost all of the effects in this film were not CGI or green screen says enough.  I actually did a full review for this film after I saw it if you want to read more on my opinions of it, the link will be below.  Nonetheless, there was not an aspect of this film that I didn't like.  It was flawless in design and I hadn't seen a Science Fiction film in a few years that held this type of weight on me as a viewer.  The three hour run time felt like one hour.  There were scenes where I wanted to cry my eyes out.  No emotion was left unturned throughout the duration of Interstellar.  Nolan once again proved why he is perhaps the greatest director of our generation.  This film, like many greats, was completely snubbed during the awards season.  If you doubt my feelings of the Oscars and how they treat Nolan, consider this: he has never been nominated for Best Director and Inception is his only film to get nominated for Best Picture.  That's right, Memento, The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, Inception Insomnia, The Prestige and not a single Best Director nomination and only one Best Picture nomination.  Favoritism yes?  Regardless of the politics involved, Interstellar is one of the greatest Science Fiction films ever made and is an amazing drama simultaneously.  McConaughey was outstanding as always and this film has not lost its quality as I experience it again and again.  Interstellar was an easy pick for the best film of 2014.  In a year drowned with Oscar-bait films and art house pet projects, there were a few great films.  This is by far the best of those few.

  As always, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my opinions.  Every view means the world to me and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.  If you don't agree with the list, let me know why.  I am always open to learning new things and seeing things in a different light.  I know this list is quite late, but nonetheless, I hope you enjoy.  Until next time!

Guardians of the Galaxy Review:

Interstellar Review:

Saturday, November 15, 2014


    Miles Doleac (Sleepy Hollow, Jake's Road, American Horror Story) is a very, very admirable man.  It's rare that someone follows their passions so furiously and does so with so many things on their plate.  Finishing projects is one thing, but finishing projects with quality is an entirely different ball game.  The Historian proves this phenomena to be true.
    An introspective look into higher education and the academia life, The Historian provides the audience with angles only someone deep within the educational institutes could supply.  Miles Doleac being a college professor, this becomes a very personal examination of higher ed. 
    William Sadler and John Cullum anchor the film with powerhouse performances.  The acting for the most part is flawless and the characters keep you entertained throughout the film's duration with their vulnerability and believable flaws.  The Historian before being a drama, is a story of being human.  Mistakes are made, situations complicate, but the human nature to always try and persevere is ever present.
    Miles Doleac triumphs as a first time director, screenwriter and also impresses with his acting.  The screenplay is close to Doleac's heart and shines with obvious personal experience.  The dualism between the two main characters, Ben Rhodes (Miles Doleac) and Valerian Hadley (William Sadler), is smooth and transitions with ease, never becoming boring whilst being perhaps the most important aspect of the film. 
    The ending of the film is satisfying and uplifting.  Overall, Miles Doleac has stunned with his debut film and I feel he will continue to beat expectations throughout the rest of his career. 
  I give The Historian a:

Friday, November 14, 2014


  Christopher Nolan has astounded audiences with his films since the beginning.  With pieces like Memento (2002), The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012), The Prestige (2006), Inception (2010) and now Interstellar (2014), Nolan has proven himself to be one of the greatest directors ever.  Not one of his films has disappointed me and each has in fact surpassed my expectations.  Inception is one of my favorite films ever and it offered an original idea; the first I had seen on film in a very long time.  Even with all of these great films, nothing prepared me for Nolan's Interstellar.
  As I said in my Top 25 Film list (see the link below), when Interstellar ended, I sat through the entire credits sequence in complete and total awe.  I was speechless and didn't want the experience to end.  This film will put you on a journey and you won't even realize you're watching a film.
  The acting was top notch as the McConaissance continues.  McConaughey was perhaps at his all-time best with Interstellar.  The emotion in this movie is just off the charts.  The acting blends so well with Hans Zimmer's score that there are moments where I literally wanted to ball my eyes out.  I don't think I've ever gotten the trembling chin sensation so many times in a film before.
  The story is genuinely enthralling from start to finish and so many ideas are original and expand your mind with their intricacies and mystery.  Nolan had real-life scientists and physicists helping with this film.  Even Neil deGrasse Tyson (Cosmos) has vouched for the film and its realistic nature.  Nolan didn't even use green screen in Interstellar.  This alone shows the prowess and unbelievable nature of this movie. 
  The cinematography is beautiful and alluring and from start to finish, you embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey.  There is no shortness of greatness in Interstellar.  Every aspect of this film is on the ball and between Zimmer's score, Nolan's direction and McConaughey's acting, there is nothing I can say bad about Interstellar.  It is quite simply a masterpiece.
  There are still many great films to come out this year but thus far, Interstellar is the best film of the year without a doubt.
  I give Interstellar a:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Top 25 Films of all Time (UPDATED 11/13/2014)



        2014 offered many opportunities for me to branch out and find new films I had not yet seen.  This being said, several films have remained on this list.  I published the first version of this list
about a year and a month ago, roughly.  Like before, I have attempted to avoid old classics because I feel they are outdated.  Many of those films are considered great for their impact at the time and no longer for the content of the film.  All in all, these are the films I feel have the most replay value and are the most timeless to me, as a film critic and loyal moviegoer.  The list is in NO chronological order, since it would be hard to do so with my favorite films.  This is all based on my opinion so many of you may disagree.  I am always open to suggestions; nonetheless I hope you enjoy.

    One last thing, many great films are about to come out in the next two months.  This list will change next year for sure, but this is before any of those films were released.  I have seen Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar (the best ones I can name) so far this year.  Foxcatcher, Whiplash, Birdman and many others have yet to come out.  So keep that in mind.  Enjoy!

    For my Top 10 Films of 2013, go here:


  IMDB SYNOPSIS:  Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.
  Director: Nicolas Winding-Refn
  Stars: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Gordon Brown 
  Only God Forgives was the most split film between critics and moviegoers of 2013.  You either hated it or loved it.  After my first viewing, I hated it.  Once I re-watched the film, it instantly became one of my all time favorites.  Every single scene in this film is breathtaking and Nicolas Winding-Refn does an astounding job of telling a story with little-to-no dialogue.  Vithaya Pansringarm played the most terrifying cop villain since Gary Oldman in Leon: The Professional (also on this list).  Only God Forgives offers the best cinematography I have ever seen and is surely to be considered a classic in years to come.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: A group of space criminals must work together to stop the fanatical villain Ronan the Accuser from destroying the galaxy.
  Director: James Gunn
  Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana
  Three words perfectly describe this film: BOX OFFICE SUCCESS.  GOTG is what I consider the next Star Wars.  The film is nonstop fun from beginning to end and every performance was spot on.  Many didn't know what to expect with Guardians but everyone was pleasantly surprised.  By far the best movie to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, GOTG has amazing action, hilarious humor, and the best CGI I have ever seen.  The film not only led the box office for months, but also had its soundtrack reach #1 on the Billboard Top 100.  That my friends, is a box office success.  Every aspect of this film was successful and it offered a great atmosphere and new characters to fall in love with.  Check out my full review on the film in the link below.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS:  In Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.
  Director: Steven Spielberg
  Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall
  I had heard so much of this film before finally watching it.  My expectations were high and I suffered not even an ounce of disappointment.  Schindler's List is the greatest WWII movie I have ever seen.  Every aspect of this film was dreadfully realistic and it truly shed light on the horrors of the Holocaust.  I was absolutely taken away by this film and had never seen anything quite like it.  The lead actors had once-in-a-lifetime performances.  Ralph Fiennes was completely snubbed for an Oscar, considering how haunting his depiction of real-life Nazi Amon Goeth was.  Definitely Spielberg's crowning achievement, I recommend this film to anyone who loves a good period piece.

ELYSIUM (2013)
  IMDB SYNOPSIS: In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
  Director: Neill Blomkamp
  Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga
  I know many people probably wonder why I love this film so much, considering its not-so-favorable reviews on IMDB.  I loved every minute of Elysium.  The cinematography was beautiful, the plot interesting and the performances were excellent.  Matt Damon gave a heartfelt performance while Sharlto Copley was terrifying as Agent Kruger.  The film also introduced techniques in the action sequences I had never seen before.  All in all, Elysium is a fun, action-packed film with little flaw in its quality or production aspects.

OLDBOY (2003)
  IMDB SYNOPSIS: After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.
  Director: Chan-wook Park
  Stars:  Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji
  Where to even start?  Oldboy is a movie that takes me on a journey every viewing.  There is good reason behind it being considered the greatest film to ever come out of Korea.  Some plot elements are a bit much for average moviegoers but if you are a film buff and appreciate art, then go watch Oldboy right now.  The dreadful 2013 remake by Spike Jonze was an utter disappointment.  But then again, this is a film that I see impossible to remake with justice to the source material.  Min-sik Choi completely blew me away with his performance as Oh Dae-Su.  Every second of this film is beautiful and the score is the best I have ever heard.  Overall, Oldboy is easily in my top two films of all time and I recommend it to anyone who wants to embark on a cinematic journey.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.
  Director: Peter Jackson
  Stars: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom
  Okay, I think being the first sci-fi/fantasy film to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars says enough about the finale of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  The film even won a total of eleven Oscars altogether.  I grew up with these films and when I saw this one, I couldn't believe the culmination of the plot and the transformation of the characters since Fellowship came out in 2001.  I've read the original work by Tolkein and in my honest opinion, I thoroughly enjoyed the films more.  Return of the King is one of the greatest films of all time and will always be remembered as a cinematic triumph.  Every moment is gorgeous and the acting is on spot.  No points in this film feel off and it ends the Trilogy in a beautiful and deserving way.  If you have a weekend free, get the extended editions of each film and watch them all.  12 hours later, let me know what you think!

  IMDB SYNOPSIS:  On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.
  Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  Stars: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka, Billy Crudup


  Hayao Miyazaki has never put out a bad film.  Mononoke has a special place in my heart.  The first time I saw it was when I was a child and it has not dulled even a small bit over the years.  There's no other film quite like it.  Mononoke is a dark fantasy with elements disturbing and beautiful.  Miyazaki has had amazing films from the start of his career.  It's really something when almost every film in your arsenal is on the Top 250 of IMDB.  The legendary director retired after his most recent film, The Wind Rises, which I highly recommend.  His work will be greatly missed.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten-year-old son, John, from a more advanced cyborg, made out of liquid metal.
  Director: James Cameron
  Stars:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick


  One of the first R-rated movies I ever saw was T2.  The movie still to this day is incomparable in its pure enjoyment.  James Cameron followed up with this film after the equally enjoyable Aliens (also on this list).  There are moments in T2 that are heartfelt and others that are terrifying and brutal.  1986-1991 was Cameron's prime and he beat the stereotype that sequels were never as good as the original by making two films that (in my opinion) surpassed the originals by a long shot.  With a gripping and unforgettable performance by Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor anchoring the film, T2 offers many moments that will stick with me for the rest of my days.

ALIENS (1986)
  IMDB SYNOPSIS: The planet from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?
  Director: James Cameron
  Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser


  The first time I saw Aliens, my mother said about seven times: "this is a famous scene" or "this is a famous line".  It's one of the only films that's ever been able to do that.  Cameron's talent for direction and unique, individualistic characters shined brightest with this film.  With more quotable lines than a moviegoer could muster, Aliens is the kind of film you sit down and watch with a big bag of popcorn and a nice recliner.  If you haven't seen this, I highly recommend it.  It is one of the most enjoyable films I have ever seen.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one loses a daughter.
  Director: Clint Eastwood
  Stars:  Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Emmy Rossum 


  Have you ever watched a film and forgotten that it was actors you were watching?  If not, watch Mystic River.  Tim Robbins and Sean Penn are a tour de force.  Like Dallas Buyers Club, this film won Oscars for both Lead Actor and Supporting Actor.  Mystic River has twists and turns and unforgettable performances that leave you in a state of awe.  Clint Eastwood helmed this film, based on Dennis Lehane's famous novel.  Fun fact of the day: Eastwood also composed the score, which is haunting and beautiful.  Mystic River is dark, brooding and above all, human.

   IMDB SYNOPSIS: When Keller Dover's daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?
  Director: Denis Villeneuve
  Stars:  Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo


  If you didn't know already, this film was my number one on the top ten list for 2013 (see the link at the top).  Still to this day, I am in love with Prisoners.  This list isn't in a chronological order, but if it was, I honestly believe Prisoners would be my number one favorite film of all time.  It is the perfect blend of noir, crime, revenge, thrills, horror, suspense and mystery.  Gyllenhaal gave the performance of his career (yes, I have seen Nightcrawler).  Detective Loki is one of those characters that stays with you for a long time and that you can never forget.  Every tiny detail that paints the canvas for his personality transforms him into something brilliant.  I rarely say this, and I only ever have for a handful of films, but I honestly think Prisoners is a perfect film.  I've only ever said that about maybe two other films.  This movie blew me away and was unlike anything I had ever seen.  The cinematography was gorgeous, the score brooding, and the plot intriguing.  If you haven't seen this, watch it right now!

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity.
  Director: Christopher Nolan
  Stars:  Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain


  This film is why the list was delayed.  I saw Interstellar last night and all I have to say is "wow".  I literally sat through the entire credits sequence in complete silence.  This film took me on a journey unlike any I have ever experienced and honestly left me breathless several times.  The emotion in this film is passionate and so many scenes made me want to break out crying.  Christopher Nolan proved yet again to be perhaps the greatest filmmaker in the past twenty-five years.  If you get a chance, look at the did-you-know facts about this movie.  The technical aspects of Interstellar will blow you away by themselves.  The fact that Nolan never used a green screen for this entire film is enough.  Three hours felt like thirty minutes during the run time of Interstellar.  From the plot to the amazing performances to the cinematography, Interstellar was a masterpiece and is undoubtedly the best film of the year thus far.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.
  Director: Tony Kaye
  Stars: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien


  American History X is the kind of film that really makes you think about our culture and the crime that poisons minds across the country.  It shows a horrifying reality of the power of influence and how that alone can turn someone into a monster.  Hate is a powerful weapon and American History X is quite possibly the best film to depict how powerful of a weapon it can be.  Edward Norton gave the performance of his career as neo-nazi Derek Vinyard.  Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking films ever made, American History X is a realistic portrait of gang life and how it can completely brainwash people and affect everyone around them equally.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.
  Director: Richard Kelly
  Stars:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne


  If you love mind-bending, trippy films, Donnie Darko will be your new favorite.  Little understood but widely loved, this film is a hallmark of psychological drama.  As disturbing as it is interesting, Darko will keep you wondering for answers even after the credits roll.  It is an experience unlike any other.  You'll cry, you'll laugh, you'll bite your nails.  There is no shortage of entertainment in Darko.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
  Director: Ridley Scott
  Stars: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron


  When the trailer was first released, I was thrilled.  Prometheus looked like the sci-fi/horror film I had been yearning for.  Despite most people hating it, I got everything I wanted and more.  It has since become one of my all time favorites.  The screenplay is written by Damon Lindelof (LOST), so it is only expected that a lot of people were confused and didn't quite understand what happened in the course of the film.  The thing about anything by Lindelof, is that it won't be spoon-fed to you.  You have to really think about the plot and get in depth to truly understand it.  Ridley Scott proved himself to still be the king of science fiction horror with Prometheus.  His directing skills have not dimmed over the years and the cinematography and score only add to the dark atmosphere this film presents.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the caped crusader must come to terms with one of the greatest psychological tests of his ability to fight injustice.
  Director: Christopher Nolan
  Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine


  When discussing Prisoners, I stated that it was one of possibly three films I would consider perfect.  The Dark Knight is one of those others.  I saw this film three times in theaters and still to this day can watch it and never get bored.  Undoubtedly the greatest superhero film ever made, The Dark Knight blew everyone, filmgoers and critics alike, away.  Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker is simply iconic.  The scenarios in this film are ingenious and leave you gripping the edge of your seat.  Not a dull moment exists in this film and it earned its spot at #4 on IMDB in the Top 250.  Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy is one of the greatest trilogies ever made and if you haven't seen them, check them out soon.  Abandon stereotypes of superheroes and enter Nolan's dark interpretation of a classic character.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, who is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.
  Director: Luc Besson
  Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello


  Ever see a film and it just feels like a classic?  That's what The Professional does for me.  I saw it at a very young age and it instantly became one of my all time favorites.  It is a heartwarming film with a layer of tragedy holding it intact.  The never-boring Gary Oldman gave possibly his best performance to date as the corrupt police officer Norman Stansfield.  Leon has thrilling and smart action scenes coupled with characters who feel real.  The movie has a unique atmosphere provided by the great Luc Besson.  I highly recommend this movie to anyone who hasn't seen it.

FRAILTY (2001)
  IMDB SYNOPSIS: A man confesses to an FBI agent his family's story of how his religious fanatic father's visions lead to a series of murders to destroy supposed "demons."
  Director: Bill Paxton
  Stars: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe             


  Before the McConaissance started, the relevant actor had several performances sprinkled throughout his career that showed signs of possible greatness.  Frailty was the biggest sign of all.  A little-known film, Frailty shocked me at its power.  Considering Bill Paxton wrote and directed the film (game over, man!), I didn't know what to expect.  But what I really didn't expect was a film as great as this one.  A psychological thriller mixed with some horror and religious aspects, Frailty is a diamond in the rough.  You can't get much better than this film when it comes to unforeseen twists.


  IMDB SYNOPSIS: An insomniac office worker looking for a way to change his life crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker and they form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more...
  Director: David Fincher
  Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf


  It often puzzles me to think that most people didn't like Fight Club when it first came out in 1999.  It has since become a phenomenon and is now considered one of the greatest movies of all time (#10 on IMDB's Top 250).  It's one of those films that takes you on a journey and is one helluva fun ride from start to finish.  The philosophical aspects of Fight Club are enough to blow your mind and to also inspire you.  Fincher's directing puts a strong statement on our society, using Chuck Palahniuk's classic source material.  Fight Club is an introspective look at America's consumerism lifestyle and the cultural desire to want things we don't need.  There's nothing quite like Fight Club and . . . I don't think I should be talking about it.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS:  In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.
  Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
  Stars:  Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Steve Zahn


  The McConaissance is upon us.  Dallas Buyers Club is an emotional tour de force with unforgettable performances by McConaughey and Jared Leto, both winning Oscars for their roles.  As far as acting goes, you don't get much better than this.  The story, though widely disputed on its validity and consistency, is inspired by true events.  But regardless of the validity of the characters when compared to the real life individuals, the fact remains that the FDA were incredibly nefarious in their actions towards the AIDS epidemic in the mid 1980s.  Dallas Buyers Club offers many goosebump-driven moments with its sharp acting and also inspires with its determination and cause.  Definitely one of the best films of 2013. 

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
  Director: David O. Russell
  Stars:  Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver


  Silver Linings Playbook has a special place in my heart.  I was diagnosed with bipolar at a young age and have struggled with it all of my life.  And beating every other film I've ever seen with a manic depressive character, Silver Linings Playbook is easily the most realistic depiction of the disease I have ever seen on film.  The performances were all amazing and the movie itself is heartwarming.  Great drama with some comedy and romance splashed in.  Check this film out if you want something that's uplifting and undeniably sweet at the same time.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.
  Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson


  One of the only films in recent memory that without a doubt deserved its Best Picture Oscar in my opinion, No Country for Old Men is a minted American classic.  Based on Cormac McCarthy's timeless novel, this film is astounding in its delivery and gives me chills every time I watch it.  Universally regarded as a masterpiece, the Coen brothers finally earned some recognition with this gem.  One of the most intriguing things about No Country for Old Men is that it has no soundtrack or score.  The only time there is any kind of score is in moments where the sound comes from mechanical whirring and humming.  Javier Bardem gives his best performance as the terrifying Anton Chigurh, winning himself an Oscar during the 2008 Awards Season.  No Country for Old Men is going to be remembered and cherished for a very long time.


SE7EN (1995)
  IMDB SYNOPSIS: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.
  Director: David Fincher
  Stars:  Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker


  You can't get much more noir than Se7en.  Davd Fincher first struck gold with this film and has only went on to make more amazing films as his career continues to flourish.  My first viewing of Se7en was filled with an upset stomach, biting my nails, and shock and awe at the twist in the ending.  This is a film that can really gross you out with suggestions alone.  Not depicting too much actual gore, the film plants ideas in your head that will stick with you forever.  Largely considered the primary inspiration for Saw, Se7en is a classic crime thriller that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.
  Director: Guillermo del Toro
  Stars:  Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú


  Guillermo del Toro really started his career in the big time film business with his 2001 film The Devil's Backbone.  That horror film is a classic and it was great to see del Toro return to that niche with Pan's Labyrinth.  This film was nominated for several Oscars and won three, deservedly so.  As far as pure fantasy films go, Pan's Labyrinth is at the top of my list, excluding LOTR.  The movie is mesmerizing and beautiful.  It is easily one of my favorite foreign films of all time.  The score alone will put you in a dream-like state.

  IMDB SYNOPSIS: A thief who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.
  Director: Christopher Nolan
  Stars:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe


  It is very rare that an original idea is displayed in a film.  Nolan's Inception did just that and sent an entire film community into awe.  The spectacle of this movie may be a bit much for average moviegoers but for people who wanted a breath of fresh air and something to challenge them mentally and psychologically, Inception did just that.  You can't get much more original than this film.  The cinematography makes the viewer feel so small but powerful at once.  The ideas alone in this movie are enough to put it on this list; the execution of those ideas only makes it that much sweeter.