The Fifth Element
Luc Besson crafts a singular vision of the future with this action-adventure film, in which Bruce Willis' New York cabbie is caught up in a scheme to battle an ancient evil.
Besson wrote the outline for The Fifth Element when he was a teenager, and it shows – the universe can only be saved by our hero copping off with Milla Jovovich's babbling alien Messiah. But the plot's really just a vehicle on which to hang the spectacular visuals. Drawing from French sci-fi comic books, it takes in sweeping cityscapes, ancient monoliths and starliners populated by extras swanning around in Jean-Paul Gaultier's finest finery.
Plus you get to see Gary Oldman wearing a bit of plastic on his head and waving a massive sci-fi gun around. What's not to like?
There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson's modern American epic is stark and relentless; the first we see of protagonist Daniel Plainview is a 20-minute sequence in which Daniel Day-Lewis scrabbles wordlessly in the dirt for silver. From there, Plainview graduates to oil drilling; he's consumed by a relentless pursuit for the black gold, dispensing homespun charm to townsfolk as he tries to gull them out of their oil rights, using his adopted son as a prop to create an image of a family man.
The only one who sees through him is Eli Sunday, and that's because he's equally corrupt; an evangelist who sees Plainview as a threat to the supremacy of his church. The stage is set for a grand clash between religion and capitalism, and it's played out in operatic fashion against the oil wells.
More after the break...
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
As Arnie dons the leather jacket and shades for another turn as the T-800, it's worth looking back at what many consider to be the highlight of the sci-fi franchise.
A decade after the original movie, Sarah Connor is no longer the target for rogue AI Skynet; it's her delinquent son John who's marked for termination. Skynet sends an assassin back in time – but the human resistance of the future have sent back their own protector for the young John Connor. With a huge increase in budget over its predecessor, T-2 abandons the original movie's grindhouse/slasher film feel in favour of slick action setpieces.
James Cameron's script moves like a well-oiled machine; his ability to craft an action movie that weaves together spectacle, emotion and character is vastly underrated. It's a shame that all the promotional material gave away the film's big twist – which of the two time-travellers is the villain – because it's handled masterfully.
The best TV show ever? That’s arguable, but Breaking Bad certainly belongs in the top ten: it’s an utterly, utterly compelling six-season masterpiece that’ll shock you again and again with its twists, its turns and its fantastically drawn characters.
Walter White, played to perfection by Bryan Cranston, is without a doubt one of television’s greatest characters, by turns vulnerable and menacing, pathetic and triumphant. As a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who turns to methamphetamine production in order to pay his medical bills and safeguard his family’s future, you’ll be cheering him every step of the way… until suddenly you’re not anymore.
– Sam Kieldsen
In The Loop
Before he was the twelfth Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi was the fantasically foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker, government spin-doctor extraordinaire. In this feature film – spun off from the BBC series The Thick of It – Tucker is part of a delegation sent to Washington to deal with rising tensions in the Middle East.
Writer Armando Iannucci's take on the build-up to the Iraq War is at once farcical and bleak, as backstabbing politicos massage the evidence to create a case for intervention, and scrabble to exclude each other from committees and action groups. Capaldi's baroque swearing is the undoubted highlight; James Gandolfini's turn as an Army general is a close second.
READ MORE: The 25 best space movies ever