December 28, 2009

these are a few of my favorite things........movies........Part I

Best movies of the decade.

I have been looking through various lists from various critics and decided to just go through the year by year releases and pick the ones that I liked, that left a lasting impression and in my opinion, were game changers on various levels. Sometimes as a whole work of cinematic awesomeness, or for the director or the actors involved, or simply for the effect the films made on me. So its very personal.

What amazes me is the staggering amount of films released each year worldwide (between 500 and over 1000) and how few were truly good. Sure, there are many I haven't seen yet nor even heard of. So my choice is subjective. Thats why I am inviting anyone reading this to add their favs because I will definitely check them out. Please please do! So, here it goes: my recommendations for add to your library of "cinema history".

The Year 2000

O Brother Where Art Thou (do I need to say anything to convince anyone of the merits of this movie? Soggy Bottom Boys.......nope. Didn't think so. )

Vatel (a french movie starring Gerard Depardieu as Vatel, valet to the king, who loves so much what he does, that he is destroyed. A treat for all the senses. Uma Thurman as the King's mistress finds dignity and true honor in a humble place. Roland Joffe directed)

Gladiator (yeah, I know, Ridley Scott, blockbuster. But definitely a game changer. Sandal films can make money. And solidified Russell Crowe as one of the A-list actors of this decade. They didn't spoof him for nothing in Tropic Thunder.)

The Year 2001

3000 Miles to Graceland (didn't see this on anyone's list. Kevin Costner was the bad guy. And an excellent bad guy. Enjoyable to the last. A game changer for him. Even though he still made some turds after this. But shows he has got some talent)

Amores Perros (a game changer. Definitely. A small non-US film that attracted a lot of attention and rightly so. Love. Betrayal. Death. Shortcuts Mexican style. Awesome. Gael Garcia Bernal .......appearing for the first time on the world stage. Director Inarritu a name to remember despite the difficulty pronouncing it.)

Bridget Jones Diary (one of the first chick flicks of the decade. Made a splash. Relatability. That was the key to success. Renee Zellweger proved all the naysayers to her choice of casting wrong. She did a brilliant job)

Sexy Beast (the first feature film by Jonathan Glazer, up till then a superstar in the promo and ad industry. A gangsta movie in the Guy Ritchie mode, but much smarter. Ben Kingsley's portrayal of gangster Don Logan is one of the most memorable mobsters in filmdom. )

Legally Blonde (will probably get a collective groan from most critics. But I don't care. Reese Witherspoon was awesome. The whole movie fun. The fact thats its watchable again and again and still managing to laugh induces me to add this to the list)

Amelie (the world falls in love with Audrey Tatou. With good reason. One of the most magical movies ever made. With that frenchness that smashes the Hollywood sop and soap. True love knows no bounds. Sublime.)

Oceans Eleven (with this stellar cast managing to make a fun buddy movie that worked......Soderbergh made it look like a cake walk. )

The Year 2002

Road to Perdition( Sam Mendes, Paul Newman, Tom Hanks. A beautiful movie, both visually and in performance. Its a movie you must see. )

Bowling for Colombine ( I know Michael Moore did documentaries before this. But the event itself and his documentary was a game changer for documentaries. Making them palatable for a wider audience, social and political issues, the state of the US cracked open)

White Oleander (a complex story of the relationship between a powerless girl and a loveless mother. Michelle Pfeiffer, Alsion Lohman are superb. )

Russian Ark ( "Told in one fluid shot, a tale which floats like a dreamlike journey through the majestic spaces of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, engaging real and imagined characters from Russian and European history" 90 minutes. One shot. remarkable film. An amazing technical feat, lyrical, beautiful. Never been done before. Never been done since)

Two Weeks Notice (I know, a rom com, but one of the best in my opinion. Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock made it look easy. Sure, kitsch, predictable. But lots of fun, and a good script)

Chicago (brought the musical back into town, with a sophistication and the aura of a new century without forgetting what we learned in the last one. Its a wonderful town. )

36 Quai Des Orfevres ( This is like the French version of Michael Mann's "Heat." Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu. Watch it before they do a remake)

Bend it Like Beckham (brought Keira Knightly to the spotlight (for better or worse) Charming, fun and smart. )

Spun (directed by music video ace Jonas Akerlund, this film put Brittney Murphy on my map. "snort, hiss, fizzle, snap" a brutally frank film about drugs. )

The Year 2003

28 Days Later (Danny Boyle and the rage virus. Not solely a horror flick in the traditional sense. This reflects the horrifics of so-called humans. Blood and guts with a political message. Loved it. )

Lost in Translation (certainly a game changer for Sophia Coppola, proving herself worthy and exceptional within the Coppola Dynasty. Clearly, Scarlet Johannson's big break and Bill Murray reminding us once again.........soulfully funny)

The Station Agent (poignant, touching, sweet and human. The story of a little guy who finds friends who accept him as he is)

21 Grams (A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician (Penn), a grieving mother (Watts) and a born-again ex-con (Del Toro. Remember Inarritu? yeah, him again. )

Master and Commander
( half swashbuckling action movie, half detailed examination of life in the 19th-century British navy, and all entertaining. Director Peter Weir has created an intriguing film that balances fierce battle sequences with intimate scenes.)

House of Fog and Sand (one of the saddest movies I have ever seen. Yet, strangely, I can watch it again and again. Desperation, loss, love, humanity. Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Connelly excel as does the entire cast)

tomorrow, more of the decade's best.

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