If one thing is going to make you question where the last ten years went, this is it.
Now that 2016 is well underway, what better time to look back at twenty of the best films that we were sure first hit UK big screens just last week, but in fact, first filled our peepers a whole decade ago? Yeah, makes you feel ancient, doesn’t it. But this gallery isn’t designed to make you want to rush out and pre-order an OAP bus pass. Nuh huh. This is a celebration of the gunslingers, the monsters, the criminal masterminds, the magicians, the racing drivers and the dancing penguins that made our ten year-younger selves leave the cinema with a grin from ear to ear...
Children of Men
UK release: 22 September
What is it? The year is 2027, and Baby Diego, the youngest person in a world where women can no longer have babies, has been murdered. Miraculously though, one female has somehow fallen pregnant, and it’s up to a former activist to get her to safety, for the good of mankind.
Who’s in it? A better-than-ever Clive Owen, and a captivating Michael Caine, who has a penchant for fart gags.
Why watch it? That opening tracking shot of Theo leaving a coffee shop and the *spoiler removed* pretty much sums up the entiriety of this edge-of-your-seat movie.
Best one-liner: “Pull my finger!”
Little Miss Sunshine
UK release: 8 September
What is it? A totally dysfunctional family are determined to get their daughter to the finals of a beauty pageant, driving across America in their bright yellow Veedub bus.
Who’s in it? Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Toni Collette and the grossly underreated Paul Dano as the son that’s taken a vow of silence.
Why watch it? It’s a real heart-warmer, everyone can relate to the insane family politics on screen, and Alan Arkin is blisteringly good as the renegade OAP with a heroin addiction, so much so that he won an Oscar for the supporting role.
Best one-liner: “Oh my God, I’m getting pulled over. Everyone, just…pretend to be normal.”
UK release: 6 October
What is it? While a gutsy young Boston cop undertakes a mission to infiltrate the mob, a criminal undertakes a mission to infiltrate the police department to report back the mob’s big bad boss, Frank Costello. When it becomes clear there’s a rat in both corners, stuff gets a little…shooty.
Who’s in it? It’s a big’un, with Matt Damon, Marky Mark Walhlberg, and Ray Winston all throwing their weight around, and Jack Nicholson owning every scene he’s a part of.
Why watch it? It’s a Scorsese. There, now run along.
Best one-liner: “One of us had to die. With me, it tends to be the other guy.”
UK release: 14 November
What is it? Daniel Craig’s premiere outing as 007 sees him go right back to where it all began for Bond, earning his license to kill before even the pre-credits roll and hunting down a weapons dealer for a poker game that has global security at stake.
Who’s in it? Craig, Daniel Craig. And Mads Mikkelsen as the milky-eyed Le Chiffre.
Why watch it? Once you get through that beach scene with the blue trunks (yeah yeah, he’s sooo dreamy, *yawn*) it’s totally up there in the top, say, twenty per cent of Bond films.
Best one-liner: “I’m sorry. That last hand… nearly killed me.”
UK release: 24 November
What is it? Set in mid-forties Spain, the book-obsessed daughter of a vicious army captain is led to a mystical, often creepy, fantasy world by a fairy. There, she discovers she must undertake three quests to prove her secret identity.
Who’s in it? A whole cast of foreign actors we’ve never heard of, let alone can pronounce the names of. You’ll know the director though: Guillermo del Toro.
Why watch it? For a film with fairies and fauns, it does get properly spine-tingling in places. Be sure to check out the two pretty similar movies by del Toro that predate this one: Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone. Both get two thumbs up from us.
Best one-liner: “I'm not some old man! Or a wounded prisoner! Motherfucker, don't you dare touch the girl. You won't be the first pig I've gutted!”
UK release: 8 December
What is it? Dancing penguins. Lots, and lots, of dancing penguins. Big penguins. Small penguins. Funny penguins. Moody penguins. Lots of dancing penguins.
Who’s in it? Penguins…voiced by Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Brittany Murphy and oversized New York ‘What’s Luv’ rapper Fat Joe, obvs.
Why watch it? Because it’ll melt your cold dead heart of stone.
Best one-liner: “It’s just like…singing…with your body.”
UK release: 1 September
What is it? Utterly bonkers is what it is. Professional killer Chev Chellios has been injected with the lethal ‘Beijing Cocktail’, which will kill him if his heart rate gets too low. Obviously, he stays alive by rushing around like his life depends on it, doing cool stunts, publically bonking, and killing all the baddies.
Who’s in it? Nobody else matters other than Jason Statham. Apart from, perhaps, a nice little cameo from Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington.
Why watch it? Because it should be the worst film ever, and yet, it’s a solid five-star smash.
Best one-liner: “Don’t pop a blood vessel, you little penis.”
Night at the Museum
UK release: 26 December
What is it? A down-on-his-luck dad gets a job as a night security guard at the Museum of Natural History. Little does he know some ancient mumbo jumbo awakens the exhibits after every sunset.
Who’s in it? Huge Hollywood comics such as Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais, but it’s Steve Coogan as a mini Roman general that does it for us.
Why watch it? Again, by all means, it should be rubbish. The premise is proper Disney, but the mega cast and actually-half-decent script claw it back. Also, the beef between Coogan and Owen Wilson is a nice little sub-plot.
Best one-liner: “This is not worth $11.50 an hour.”
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
UK release: 15 September
What is it? Baby-signing, barn-dancing Champion NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby’s skills and patience are put to the test when a spunky French F1 driver arrives on the scene and challenges his top spot.
Who’s in it? Step Brother’s duo Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, with Sacha Baron Cohen skidding in as the antagonist whose dream it is to create a currency that cats and dogs can use.
Why watch it? It has the holy trinity of modern American comedy on the credits: Will Ferrell on the screen, Anchorman director Adam McKay in the big chair, and Superbad producer Judd Apatow on hand, too. The scenes around the family table are the best of the lot, in our opinion.
Best one-liner: “Help me Jesus! Help me Jewish God! Help me Allah! Argh! Help me Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft on me to get the fire off me!”
Borat: Cultural Learnings of American for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
UK release: 2 November
What is it? The Kazakh government sends reporter Borat Sagdiyev to the USA to learn the ways of the American. Pamela Anderson ends up in a sack. A black bear ends up in an ice cream van. Human faeces ends up at the foot of Trump Tower.
Who’s in it? Sacha Baron Cohen and the unsuspecting population of America.
Why watch it? If your grandmother’s in the room, you absolutely shouldn’t.
Best one-liner: “Wawaweewa!”
The Hills Have Eyes
UK release: 10 March
What is it? Late horror legend Wes Craven directs this remake of the 1977 classic, in which the Carters, a perfect American family, take a wrong turn on a road trip that lands them in a nuclear testing ground, and, worst still, right into the laps of the horrifying things that live there.
Who’s in it? No big names - the cannibalistic mutated freaks are the stars of the shows here.
Why watch it? The wheezing, singing mutant in the wheel chair, with a giant brain, has been etched on our slightly more normal-sized brain ever since.
Best one-liner: “It’s breakfast time!”
UK release: 21 April
What is it? Somewhere in the eerie and foggy town/parallel world of Silent Hill, a woman searches for her missing daughter. Things get really scary. Like, sleep-with-the-light-on scary.
Who’s in it? National treasure Sean Bean.
Why watch it? You’ll never fantasise about nurses ever again. Ever.
Best one-liner: “Look at me. I’m burning.”
UK release: 8 December
What is it? The film you see on ITV2 every Christmas and your other half blubs at.
Who’s in it? Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black, the saviour of every man who’s made to sit through this festive rom-com.
Why watch it? Because she’s forced you to? Nah, really, it’s not so bad. Jude Law might be irritatingly handsome, but that crush you developed on Cameron Diaz reignites, and Jack Black provides some half-decent comic relief. So it could be worse…it could be…The Notebook.
Best one-liner: “Call me old fashioned, but one doesn’t have sex with women who are unconscious.”
The Devil Wears Prada
UK release: 5 October
What is it? Corr, like, we wouldn’t even know, cos, like, we’re real proper men, innit, and it’s such a girl’s movie (it’s a fabulous look inside the inner workings of the fashion magazine industry in which a young impressionable graduate is thrown in at the deep end and must work under a totally mean editor-in-chief). *Cough* Who fancies a bloody pint?
Who’s in it? Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Emily Blunt.
Why watch it? Because it’s not The Notebook.
Best one-liner: “Is there some reason that my coffee isn’t here? Has she died or something?”
UK release: 10 November
What is it? Two nineteenth century magicians, once buddies and now arch rivals, are dead-set on learning each other’s finest tricks in order to create the best stage magic show ever.
Who’s in it? Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Andy Serki-hold up, David Bowie? Eh?
Why watch it? For many reasons, of which Christian Bale’s really cringy ‘pwoppa brittish’ accent is not one of them.
Best one-liner: “Are you watching closely?”
The Da Vinci Code
UK release: 19 May
What is it? A two thousand year old Christian mystery could finally be solved, if Professor Robert Langdon can decipher what the clues in the Da Vinci paintings and the corpse in The Louvre all mean.
Who’s in it? Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Sir Ian McKellen and, given it’s set in France, the epic Jean Reno of course.
Why watch it? It made a fat load of dosh at the cinema. Like, a stinking amount of moolah. It’ll save you reading the book, too.
Best one-liner: “So long as there has been one true God, there has been killing in his name.”
UK release: 28 July
What is it? A winning sports car gets waylaid in the backwater town of Radiator Springs, where the rust-bucket motors there teach him a thing or two about friendship, and that winning isn’t all about podiums and gold medals. Ah, morals.
Who’s in it? Owen Wilson, Michael Keaton, Jeremy Piven, Jay Leno and hot food enthusiast Jeremy Clarkson.
Why watch it? It was the last film legendary actor and salad dressing creator Paul Newman appeared in, albeit as a voice, as he died two years later at the age of 83.
Best one-liner: “Float like a Cadillac, sting like a Beemer.”
Snakes on a Plane
UK release: 18 August
What is it? FBI agent Neville Flynn’s passenger plane from Honolulu to LA has been overrun by venomous snakes. Exactly what the American aviation industry needed in the early to mid 2000s.
Who’s in it? Samuel L. Jackson, mother effer!
Why watch it? We’re actually not sure. Sorry.
Best one-liner: Hmmm, nope, nothing absolutely blindingly obvious springs to mind…
The Wicker Man
UK release: 1 September
What is it? Oh boy, what is it. What. Is. It. That is the question. It should be the subject of someone’s lifelong research paper. A team of crack scientists should be locked away for years to finally discover what It is. All we’ll say is, it’s a classic horror that’s been dunked into a big, steaming bucket of Nic Cage at his most loony.
Who’s in it? Nic Cage, a swarm of bees in a helmet.
Why watch it? Because the Internet’s finest memes will finally make sense? Because you’ll never see Nic Cage wearing a bear costume and punching an unarmed woman in the face ever again? Because nothing makes sense anymore?
Best one-liner: “Oh, no! No! Not the bees! Not the bees! Ahhhh! They’re in my eyes! My eyes! Ahhh! Ahhh!”
UK release: 11 August
What is it? Wrestling, Mexican monk style.
Who’s in it? Jack Black’s nipples.
Why watch it? It’s from the same guy that descended from heaven to deliver the world Napoleon Dynamite. Also, it’ll teach you to love the extra Christmas weight you’re still carrying.
Best one-liner: “Precious Father, why have you given me the desire to wrestle and then made me such a stinky warrior?”