5. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
The sense of euphoria surrounding those heady teenage days that would seem to last forever and allow you the opportunity to do anything, be anyone, are perfectly encapsulated in an opening credits sequence showing the nighttime sky, from the back of an open-top car, and a tunnel lit for night, with those yellowey orange hues reminding you of those times you'd look out on a long car trip home from an awesome day, that tiredness meets excitement. It's utterly simple, but bathed in memories of the audience member, and with a pleasant piece of music running through it and unimposing credits, it is a wonderful, memorable sequence.
4. The Cabin In The Woods
Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins are just chatting crap during a coffee break. Brad's wife has baby-proofed his house before they're even pregnant, and it's causing him severe annoyance. Jenkins is the foil to the conversation, letting out questions and comments to heighten humour as they discuss the issue. Amy Acker brings up a potential issue regarding another department, but is it their problem? Like hell it is.
Wait, isn't this the film about a group of teens isolated in a cabin and picked off one by one? You'd not think so with this opening, until the title appears and give you a fright. Funny, interesting and completely odd, it keeps you wondering what the hell that was about as the film goes on, bringing mystery into the film before the opening titles. No mean feat, and easy to mess up, but with a great script, brilliant actors and a measured sense of balancing out that plot with the main one, it seals the opening as one of the most important parts of one of the best films of the year. And utterly bafflingly original, despite seeming so innocuous and everyday.
Two men are speeding through Paris at night, it's intense, and the police are after them. They pull over, and one man gets out to explain their rush. You see, he's a carer and the passenger is a paraplegic, and having an attack. If they don't get to the hospital soon, he'll die. The passenger is foaming at the mouth and looking horrific. After a short conversation, the police give them an escort, and speed through town until they reach the hospital. The police disappear, and the driver and passenger have a jolly good laugh, lighting up a cigarette. If this opening didn't make you laugh and feel good already, the addition of Earth, Wind & Fire's September on the soundtrack, and the two dancing in the car to it as the credits go past, only serves to bring a larger smile to your face. Utterly charming, whimsical and hysterical, it sets up a good tone and is tons of fun. A great way to open a film.
Bond is back, and boy did this opening get it right. No more continuous plots from the last film, no more artistic struggles. This time, it's a Bond mission, we know what he's doing, where he is and who he is after. Context is everything, and with the well shot action to boot, the almost 15 minute opening action scene gets the right mix of thrills, comedy and action, with set-piece after set-piece, a set-piece-de-resistance (I am so so sorry), ending with the now infamous line of dialogue "Take the bloody shot". Whilst the subsequent credits sequence is as confused tonally and plot-wise as the rest of the film, the opening makes a case for modern Bond to be as thrilling and fun as older, more fantastical Bonds, but within the realm of plausibility. Sure some things are convenient and work out just so, but the enjoyment factor in a Bond opening should be from scale, shooting and Bond doing Bondy things. We haven't seen Bond doing Bondy things at the start of a movie since The World Is Not Enough, and it's good to have him back. Albeit not for much more than the opening sequence.
1. Magic Mike
"Can you touch this?" Matthew McConaughey points to his buttocks, through a tight leather pair of trousers, "No no no no no. The law says you cannot touch. But I see a lotta law breakers here tonight."
Simple yet sublime, in two minutes Magic Mike expresses a fun party atmosphere with a series of killer lines seductively said by Mr. McConaughey. Standing on stage before a packed house of screaming women, he is but a piece of meat, yet he holds their attention and delivers that dialogue in a way that he knows will become something more than words on paper, something more, something iconic. It's entertaining, hysterical and so so good. Much like the film, yes, but to open the movie you don't get much better, and in a short duration, Magic Mike makes its mark on the cinematic year.
And the worst:
Ho boy, this film was a doozy, but what a start. Stupid, inane chatter about aliens out there and possibly communicating with them, then Taylor Kitsch lazing around the sofa, being told to do something, on his birthday, so he chats up Brooklyn Decker, breaks into a closed supermarket, parodying a youtube video of security footage, gets a burrito for her, then tased. Our hero. Slam to the title font, as we know this was but a taster of the inane mishmash of BS sci-fi, bad sub-Transformers joke scenarios and really bad directing by usually stable Peter Berg. It's a microcosm of the film, but man what a stinker of an opening, even if the film improved, this would leave a scar on the rest of it anyway.