Sunday, January 10, 2010

Best of 00s: Best Movies

Unlike ranking albums, I don't have the confidence of ranking movies, considering that I am a film major and my other friends are generally more aggressive to me than your average person. So here are 25 films that I enjoyed most out of this decade.

Amelie (2001)
Call me a "fag" or "homo" if you will, for liking the cutesy French film Amelie. I can't help it. It's wonderfully shot, a very entertaining film to watch and has a wonderful performance from Miss Audrey Tatou.

Amores Perros (2000)
Made around the same time as Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, Amores Perros has that same "hyperlink" style that has made the rounds in some films this decade. The title translates to "loves a bitch", as the three stories in this film show how love essentially caused a car crash. Okay, I made that sound bad, but it's a damn good film nonetheless.

City of God (2002)
When I first saw City of God, I was blown away. By it's colors, by it's camera work and by the surprisingly good acting from the non-actors in the film. A great story matched by it's great characters, from the insane Li'l Zé, the chill Benny and the good guy turned bad, Knockout Ned.

Children of Men (2006)
A film that keeps getting better with every passing year, Children of Men is an artistic triumph. The story is brilliant, and Clive Owen is perfect as the detached Theo. But the real star of the film is director Alfonso Cuaron, whose long takes will surely be talked about for years to come.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
A film with this kind of topic could come off a schmaltzfest, but director Julian Schnabel pulls it off as he turns the film about the true life story of an fashion magazine editor rendered paralyzed, and turns it into a film about an artist struggling to experience life again.

Good Night and Good Luck (2005)
Confession: I actually like George Clooney. He seems like a nice guy and his performances convey a sense of classic cool. Also, he can make a good movie by himself too. Good Night and Good Luck is the tense retelling of the war between journalist extraordinaire Edward R. Murrow (brilliantly played by David Strathairn) and Communist hunter Joseph McCarthy. A beautifully shot film, Good Night and Good Luck doesn't come off as preachy despite it's intent to parallel the McCarthy hearings to the present day Bush era.

Grizzly Man (2005)
Some people might call Timothy Treadwell, the man who spent 13 summers with Grizzly Bears in Alaska, insane. Werner Herzog sees Treadwell as a dreamer, someone who wants to become a grizzly bear. Herzog pulls this theme off perfectly in this excellent documentary.

The Hurt Locker (2009)
Obviously my favorite film of 09, the Hurt Locker is probably the first great movie about the Iraq War (The Men who Stare At Goats is a great too, but Iraq is more of a MacGuffin there). A pulse pounding film, the Hurt Locker follow the everyday lives of soldiers in a bomb squad, staring at death every day. It's a harrowing experience.

Kill Bill (2003/2004)
I kind of disliked Inglorious Basterds. I normally use the phrase "arrogant" to describe it. My friends usually retort that Kill Bill, Tarantino's two part homage to kung-fu and spaghetti westerns, is more arrogant. I disagree. Kill Bill's alleged arrogance is actually post-modern cool, as Tarantino takes some of the genre most loved images and he makes it his own here. Also, Uma Thurman is just awesome as the vengeful Bride, out for the blood of Bill (a never better David Carradine).

The Lives of Others (2006)
East Germany during the 80s is the setting of this terrific German film. An extraordinary portrait of a Stasi agent who quietly helps save the life of a dissenting playwright he's spying on, subtly portrayed by the late Ulrich Mühe. The film is shot skillfully and beautifully, as director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck turns the drab appearance of East Germany and makes it grand and strangely beautiful.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
"Komar, get that artsy fartsy penis out of your mouth and enjoy life for once." - Ken Hanley
This is why the blog is called Your Opinion Doesn't Matter.
Sean Astin was robbed from the Oscars, I tells ya.

Memento (2000)
Still brilliant after 10 years, Christopher Nolan's breakthrough film Memento is a twisted thriller. What makes it so memorable is not Guy Pearce's performance of Nolan's directing, but it's highly original script, presented backwards, forwards and even sideways (yuk, yuk). This film challenges our notions on memory and it's the few films that made want to wear a hard hat 24/7.

Mulholland Drive (2001)
I have an irrational fear/hatred of L.A. because of various reasons that I don't feel like listing right now. One of the reasons why is because of Mulholland Drive, David Lynch's twisted neo-noir art pic that bends the ways we look at reality, and what makes reality versus what makes a dream.

No Country for Old Men (2007)
If I did rank these films, No Country for Old Men will be No.1. To me, No Country is virtually perfect film, from it's script to it's execution (no pun intended) from the Coen Bros. Javier Barden is frightening as Anton Chigurh, and Tommy Lee Jones is great as the grizzled sheriff trying to realize where this world has gone to. Also, that ending - it was fucking brilliant.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
It was a good decade to be a Mexican film director. While Cuaron and Iñárritu took over art film duties, Guillermo del Toro was the man behind the action and fantasy pics. Pan's Labyrinth and wonderful, frigtening and balls out brilliant fantasy film is a film that can appeal to anyone, language barriers be damned.

The Pianist (2002)
I am Polish. Roman Polanski is Polish. This film, which tells the story of the Jewish composer Wladyslaw Szpilman (played by Adrien Brody) is definitely close to me, as it follows him as he survives living in Nazi-occupied Warsaw during WWII, going from the invasion to the Warsaw Uprising, a moment in history that most America do not know about.

The Prestige (2006)
Who would have thought that a movie about dueling magicians could be so damn good? A tale of obsession, with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman doing a fantastic job in this film, as is David Bowie (aka God) playing Nikolai Tesla (aka God). This film's twist is also fantastic as it essentially makes the movie a two hour magic trick.

The Proposition (2005)
Dark, brooding, underseen. The Prestige is John Hillcoat's amazing western, taking place in 1800's Australia. Guy Pearce is terrific as Charlie Burns, an outlaw sent out by a British Army Captain (an amazing Ray Winstone), to take out his more dangerous brother, Arthur (Danny Huston - brilliant), in a film that is a parable about civilazation vs. savagery.

Ratatouille (2007)
When most people make their choice for best animated film, or Pixar film of the decade, it's normally 2004's the Increidles or 2008's WALL-E. While I enjoyed both films, I feel that 2007's Ratatouille is the true masterpiece of the Pixar decade. Beautifully animated, turning Paris into life is paired with a compelling script, as NY Times critic A.O. Scott put's it best,
‘one of the best protrait of an artist commited to screen’.

Requiem for a Dream (2000)
"Horrifying" doesn't even begin the harrowing experience that is Requiem for a Dream. In an era where quick cuts are the norm, used to grab people's attention, Darren Aronofsky uses it to advance the plot and get it's point across. With frightening results. Did I mention that this movie is not a horror?

The Royal Tennenbaums (2001)
I hate the word quriky to describe, but fuck this movie is definitely quirky. Wes Anderson's big burst of creative quirk, The Royal Tennenbaums is a truly post-modern masterpiece, as Gene Hackman is Royal Tennenbaum, the father figure of his dysfunctional, formerly great family, as he essentially lies about having cancer to get the family back together. Crazy stuff ensues, from affairs between siblings (don't worry, one of the is adopted), to suicide attempts, to several stabbings from a little Indian man.

Sideways (2004)
While the notion of a movie about two schlubs going on a wine-testing trip in the Santa Ynez Valley, sounds boring and unabashedly white, Sideways excels as a terrific comedy. Paul Giamatti is perfect as the main character, Miles Raymond, as is Thomas Hayden Church's washed up actor (heh). Also, director Thomas Payne and Jim Taylor's script is filled with moments, from Miles' Merlot rant to the naked redneck chase scene.

There Will Be Blood (2007)
There Will Be Blood is a towering achievement, hands down. Paul Thomas Anderson's film seemed great but shambolic when I first saw it, but as time went on, the film just became better. Daniel Day-Lewis absolutely incredible as Daniel Plainview, a shrewd oil man, and also deserving notice is Paul Dano, playing the preacher Eli Sunday. Also noteworthy is Robert Elswit's breathtaking cinematography, and Jonny Greenwood's groundbreaking score.

Traffic (2000)
This decade, Steven Soderbergh became a big director, and he didn't have to sell his soul. Well, he sold it sometimes, but he would make it up for movies like Traffic (and this year's pretty good, The Informant). Obviously, Traffic is his most famous, and it's shifting, ADD effect is seen in movies like Babel, Crash and Syriana. The drug war saga is one to remember.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)
No film this decade is more unique and stylistically ambitious than Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien. Taking the basic road trip movie where two teens come of age, throwing in Godardian political undertones, and add some fucking you got one of the best films of the decade. Long takes, heated passions, and a great story made Cuaron into the international director he is today that will make you think about the world we live in.


Bryan Tatninov said...

Hey, there is no reason to be embarrassed to like George Clooney (a.k.a The Cloontang)... that man wreaks of class

Anonymous said...

i think I'm more offended by the fact that you didn't tag me in this post on facebook is what really offends me =)

I think what amazes me about your list going over it Komar is how many of the films are either completely foreign or made by a foreign director (which is usually the case when the film itself is foreign)

all in all a great list you got there. can't see anywhere I'd complain or make a fuss.. Thumbs up Chum!!