Sunday, December 27, 2009

Favorite Movies: 2000-2009 (30-21)

30. 25th Hour
in the 00's, spike lee's best 2 films were about white people. that isnt to say that his 'when the levees broke' and 'bamboozled' werent excellent (they were) but for me, spike's 25th hour was a masterpiece. it was a pitch combination of post 911 new york representing a broad cross-section of contemporary (white) society. edward norton delivers his upteenth great performance and there are some outstanding turns by barry pepper, phillip c hoffman, brian cox, and anna paquin. bamboozled nearly the cut as did inside man but in terms of subtle, dramatic story-telling, this is the work lee has done. the scene below is one of my favorite scenes of any movies of all time.

29. High Fidelity
oh high fidelity. this is a predictable choice for anyone that knows me. an obsessive music-phile whose snooty elitism and devotion to his music covers up a brick wall of insecurity and self doubt. i love nick hornby's book but i also love this movie quite a bit, dare i say just as much. there are bits about this movie love such as the springsteen cameo (attached below) or jack black's awesome rendition of walking on sunshine or let's stay together. mostly though, i love the dreary love of music as the healer, the redeemer, the bringer together, and the cause and solution of fights. this is the pinnacle of intelligent comic dramas and a must see for music fans.

28. Morvern Callar
for the most part, this round of 10 films have a great deal widely seen films though this one might not be as well known. morvern callar is name of samantha morton's character, a scottish supermarket clerk whose boyfriend commits suicide leaving behind his unpublished novel. she takes it and gets it published under her name leading to fame and riches. directed by lynne ramsay, arguably the best female UK director working today, this is a bleak (im saying that word a lot arent i) and grainily shot film, firmly entrenched in the realm of the cinema verite. though as much credit as ramsay gets for a brilliantly executed film, it is with equal respect to samantha morton who portrays the title character with bravada, subtlety, and quiet insecurity. all in all, another great performance of the 00's.

27. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring
another director i fell in love with this decade is korean auteur ki duk kim. he has already had a couple films on here and there is still another to come. but this is most certainly his standout film of the decade in terms of critical reception. this is a simple tale of a boy raised by a monk and is corrupted by the arrival of a woman. like many of duk's film, there is hardly any dialogue, big expensive outdoor shots, and the characters are secondary to nature. there is a beauty and artistry to kim's style in which the script is almost unnecessary. in that respect, there is definitely a limited audience for kim but for those who can appreciate films with this sort of artistry, its amazing. i tried to find a certain clip of the young monk writing out passages of a buddhist text using a cat's tail but i cant find im not going to include a clip.

26. 21 Grams
another big international trend of the 00's was the emergence of the big 3 mexican directors. there was alfonso cauron (y tu mama tambien, which i hated), guillermo del toro (pan's labyrinth), and alejandro gonzalez inarritu whose 21 grams changed my life. i think this is one of the first films i saw that made me appreciate this sort of dark, redemptive cinema. all 3 performances (and bonus points for melissa leo) were tremendously good. much like many of the films on this list, it is shot in a style most grainy and full of grit and tenacity. oh how i love this film. here is the trailer and if you havent seen the movie, there are ways to watch it. *wink*

25. There Will Be Blood
paul thomas anderson managed to maintain daniel day lewis crazy urge to hammily overact until the last scene where he really let him go and thereby created one of the greatest scenes in film history. lets all realize paul dano was just as good.

24. Brick
one of the more obscure american films on the list but a fascinatingly unique and original film. the concept seems pretty stupid: film noir in high school but in the hands of director rian johnson, this was straight out of the 40s. large kudos belong to the star of the film joseph gordon levitt. now a star in his own right and largely recognized as one of todays great young actors, when this decade began, he was the kid from third rock from the sun. then he did mysterious skin and the world realized how good this kid was. brick was made a couple years after and those who saw this outstanding crime film continued to be in amazement of levitt. he is basically amazing in everyone hes in but for me this is my favorite performance of his and my favorite movie hes done so far. i put in the red band trailer...because its naughty! its a great trailer nontheless. (btw the trailer isnt naughty. no nudity. sorry)

23. Royal Tenenbaums, The
fasten your seat belts, i have 3 movies in a row that were widely seen, widely loved, and are on my best of decade lists. what can i say about wes andersen that hasnt already been said? ever since bottlerocket, he has been making witty, highly intellectual, black comedies that are equal parts funny, quirky, and sweet. by doing so, he has changed the world of independent film. he is one of the most consistent directors working today and all of his films get criterion releases; what does that say about him? this isnt my favorite film of his (that would be rushmore), but its close. the color schemes alone should be enough to guarantee it a spot in any DVD collection. im not sure i want to be a tanenbaum though, maybe just befriend margo. like all andersen films, the soundtrack is beautifully done and music is perfectly complemented to the visuals. i include a clip which uses elliott smith's needle in the hay, an example of a song reminding me of a movie.

22. Shaun of the Dead
one of the great things about writing about commercially popular films is that i can find all my favorite clips from movies! as for shaun of the dead, im not even going to write about a huge blurb about it. this is the greatest horror comedy of all time and quite possibly the 2nd best zombie of all time (original dawn of the dead. w00t). here is my favorite clip:

FUCK. i cant embed it... but its the one where shaun and ed try to pick records to throw at zombines. WATCH IT HERE

21. Lost in Translation
what can i possibly say about this that hasnt been said before. well, its pretty divisive. i know a lot of people that hated this movie and didnt get it. i know people that watched it again and then loved it. for me, there are so themes and messages that i can relate to. there is of course the obvious themes of lonliness and isolation all brought home by bringing the action to japan. there is parody of hollywood starlets and indie rock snootiness and of course, there is the opening shots of scarlet johannsen's ass. for me, this movie is about having people in your life that you love but still being lonely and not content. as for the last scene in the movie, the esoteric nature of the quiet whisper between bill murray and scarjo is perfect and without question, one of the greatest movie endings of all time. though that isnt my favorite scene in the movie; the honor belongs to the 30 seconds of bill murray singing roxy music's more than this. all of the themes in this movie can be summed up by his sad, mellow yet sometimes forced, occasionally pained delivery of the lyrics as a bewigged scarjo sits in the background looking on as if to say 'i can relate.'