Since I first wrote the list of my favourites, I've been having the usual internal debate about the merit of even having it categorized into a 'top' list. I mean, its all rather arbitrary isn't it? Some of you may not agree with some of my choices (Esp the 'top' 10!), but that's the risk any writer takes. In committing any words down for anybody to read, you will invariably take a position on whether or not you like a film or not. I've tried to be fundamentally different by not reviewing stuff I DON'T LIKE! Life is too short to waste on crap movies, so I will always stick to films that make a positive impression on me. And try to convince you out there as to just why you should have a look as well.
My specific criteria for the top 10? two main points. First, did it create an emotional connection for me? And secondly, would I watch it again ? (Or even buy it to have always available!). With these two things in mind, here we go. My personal top 10 favourites from 2000-2009!
10: LORD OF THE RINGS-THE TRILOGY.
Am I cheating when I say that I view all three movies as one (Very) long story? Nah, not at all. This magnificent trilogy was monumental for so many reasons, but one particular thing stood out. It was bloody good!!! An epic achievement for all concerned, it created a new dynasty. The Jackson era may have slightly hiccuped with anything produced after this, but he will always have this fantastic effort associated with his name. Go and revisit it again to refresh your memory of its greatness...
One of the key factors for my enjoyment of any movie I view is the environment I watch it in. This does make a difference. The other key factor for me, is whatever may be happening in your life at that point in time. That will most certainly affect your viewpoint on that movie your viewing. With those two key factors in mind, this film struck a huge chord with me. Graceful, poetic, sensitive, charming, heartwarming, heartbreaking, believable. Just a few words to describe this majestic movie. Do not miss it under any circumstance! Your life will be the better for it.
8: DONNIE DARKO
Richard Kelly's debut is like no other film. Completely fresh & original, this complex movie augured well for his future films, alas "Southland tales" suffered from the curse of the 'follow-up album' blues that derail so many. Still, the next one ("The Box") promises a return to form...
This first international glimpse of a star in the making (The pixie-ish Audrey Tatou), utterly charmed us from the very first scene, till the last. A dazzling visual wonder, the story also captured your heart - without much challenge. One of the best 'feel-good' movies ever!
6: GRIZZLY MAN
5: O BROTHER,
WHERE ART THOU?
Homer's 'Odyssey' as re-imagined by Joel & Ethan Coen is both George Clooney's finest comedy - and my favourite Coen Bros movie from this decade. From the superb support work from John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman (Amongst many other fine character actors), to the gorgeous camera work from long time associate Roger Deakins, to the seminal soundtrack that helped kick-start my love affair with Americana music, this is one road trip that is a sheer joy to watch. Again and again...
4: THE RETURN (2003-RUSSIA)
Soviet Director Andrey Zvyagintsev's debut marked him out as a possible heir to the throne of Tarkovsky with this stunningly powerful film. The magnificent camerawork & the brooding score set up a rich canvas for the actors to display their talents with utter distinction. Zvyagintsev's follow-up, 2007's "The Banishment" is another movie worthy of your time as well.
3: ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW
Miranda July's debut movie won a special prize at Sundance for 'Originality of Vision'. It clearly, was absolutely deserved. I knew that after only viewing ten minutes of this masterpiece, that it was going to be a movie that I would love for the rest of my life. Completely unique from start to finish, this is a movie that is simply unforgettable. MACARONI!
2: ALMOST FAMOUS
This was my number 1 - Until another certain movie appeared at the end of 2009. But, it still has a major place in my heart as my favourite Rock 'N Roll movie of all-time. Director Cameron Crowe's autobiographical tale of life on the road with bands in the 1970's was a blast from start to finish. The combination of the great ensemble cast (Kate Hudson in particular!), evocative storytelling, and a cool 70's drenched soundtrack made this film irresistible for me.
And thus, my personal favourite...
If you know me in person, then this is no great surprise. Let me digress to you anyhow. It has been a very interesting time since Avatar was first released to the world. In the 34 days since I first viewed this masterpiece (and I've seen it 3 times so far...), a lot has happened in between then and now. Critical reaction has been (unsurprisingly!) pretty much polarised (Although more for, than against), its now eeking closer to the number one spot on the chart that matters the most for Hollywood- the Box office http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/world/, and just today, its got a Golden Globe for best director - and best picture. And it might just get a nod in the Oscar direction as well.
Avatar, is quite simply, the reason to remind us of the pure joy of going to watch a movie on the big screen. It is an experience like no other. Avatar is something that is, for me, close to cinematic perfection. All the inane criticism from many about the supposed poor storyline is just lazy in my eyes. What did you expect? 3 hours of Shakespearean dialogue? Get real, its entertainment, entertainment on a scale the likes of which we've never seen before. Is it the future of movies? Well, the technological advances Cameron has made are going to be utilized by other directors, but any movie worth its salt has to have a story that resonates with people. Clearly, after earning $1.6 billion to date, it has connected with many. How many of them had a gun to their head, demanding that they must go and watch this? Probably zero. And, like the current number one Titanic, they enjoyed the experience, enough to either recommend it to others-or maybe they went to see it again. Or both! Did I mention I've seen it 3 times already? Heh heh...
The best part about its financial success means one thing. That James Cameron (And more importantly, his studio backers) will now have no excuse to not make parts 2 & 3 of his planned trilogy. Apart from James Cameron, I'd say the other really happy people associated with Avatar are the shareholders. Money is in the bank. Unless Roland Emmerich is right about a future date. But, that was only a movie, wasn't it...