Ok, final part of the list, before I get into it I am going to give a couple other films some attention that I think might have deserved to be on the list but for whatever reason aren’t and also rattle off a couple of random awards that come to me in the moment. With that said, hit the jump and on with the list…(well almost, got those other things I just mentioned first)
Let it be know that this list is by no means definitive nor correct, just one person’s opinion. The reality of putting together something like this is borderline stupid, put I am going to try none the less. You see, this list isn’t a statement of the decade’s most finely crafted films, nor the most re-watchable, and not even just my favorites, but in actuality is some sort of amalgamation of the three. Everyone has different views, opinions, and ideas on what makes a film great; hell the mood you are in will alter your perception of a film. So don’t sit there thinking I am of the belief that this list is the end all of lists, please agree and disagree, and I hope above all this gets you thinking about film and what makes it great.
p.s. I hope you find the collection of posters to be very kick ass…On With The List!!!
Ang Lee’s – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
On the surface, Lee’s film is a martial arts movie with elaborate set pieces, beautiful choreography, and noble heroes. But under that surface making the film what it is are layers upon layers of sub plots and stories that create wonderful characters and an intimate story that is tragic and heartbreaking.
Li Mu Bai is a master of the martial art Wudan and after having an epiphany during his meditation decides to hang it up and retire from his life of martial arts and defense. Turning his legendary sword, The Green Destiny, to an old friend and state official, Sir Te, it will leave his ownership without avenging his master’s death ten years prior to the villainous Jade Fox. Upon delivering the sword to Sir Te, it is quickly stolen under the watchful eye of Yu Shu Lien, the rumor of the return of Jade Fox begins to spread through Peking, and the crime raises an eye to the Governor’s house hold whose daughter, Jen Yu, has taken a special interest in Yu Shu Lien and The Green Destiny. Upon Li Mu Bai’s arrival to Peking to see Yu Shu Lien he discovers the loss of his sword and discovers the surfacing of his master’s killer and decides to stay his retirement to reclaim his sword and avenge his master’s death. [Read more...]
David Wain’s – Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Released under the radar and still no more than a cult following today, David Wain’s feature debut is a silly, absurd, insane, and bizarre film that pokes fun at cliché through the world of a Jewish summer camp that is about to end it’s summer run and the results are hilarious.
It is the last day of camp at Camp Firewood and when the longest conversation ever between our hero, Cooper, and camp counselor hottie Katie sparks a desire inside our hero the quest for love begins. Now, I know that sounds corny and all but that is the simplest and most understandable plot description of the film. This is the most consistent theme that pops up throughout the film, but once the first few minutes of the film passes by you are about to enter a random world of silliness that you won’t soon forget. A sexually repressed Vietnam vet cook, gay marriage, capture the flag, astrophysics, robbing an old lady, dying children, a van crash, drug binges, a talent show, countless make out sessions, and a trip into town if only for an hour are only the tip of the iceberg of the events that unfold over the single day the film takes place over. [Read more...]
When it was announced that Peter Jackson, a small time and rather unknown Kiwi director, was going to be taking over the reigns of one of the most sought after and daunting film tasks in the history of cinema many didn’t expect a whole lot. But one came out of this man’s mind is an adaptation that Tolkien couldn’t have supervised much better himself and will go down as not only one of the greatest fantasy films, but flat out best films ever to grace our silver screens.
Now, let’s set the record straight right off, The Lord of the Rings is one film, broken up into three volumes for our butts and studio execs pockets pleasure. You will also note that my dates for the film is from 2001-2004, and that is because we didn’t have the full film experience in our hands until the release of the extended edition of Return of the King on DVD in 2004. (Though, don’t count out Jackson on making a couple changes and maybe even extending further on Blu-ray to coincide with The Hobbit)
The story takes place in the land of Middle Earth, populated by races of men, elves, orcs, goblins, dwarves, wizards, and most important to our quest hobbits. Hobbits are smaller people, not entirely different from men aside from their stature, state of leisure, and fascination with pipe weed. [Read more...]
Steven Spielberg’s – Munich (2005)
Steven Spielberg continued his successful run of historical period pieces with this spy/thriller of sorts following the Israeli reaction to 1972 Munich Olympic hostage massacre that not only captures the tension of assassination, but perfectly conveys the right vs. wrong of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
The film opens amid a flashback that we will re-visit throughout the film of the Palestinian terrorists group Black September infiltrating the Olympic housing and taking the Israeli athletes hostage. After following the press/public perspective of the event unfolding, leading up to the haunting line “There all gone,” on NBC’s broadcast. We next jump to a top secret meeting of Mossad in which lead by the Prime Minister of Isreal they compile a list of targets as part of retaliation and retribution of the terrorist attack. To lead this mission they recruit Avner, the son of a war hero and a former body guard of the Prime Minister. With the aid of four other specialized individuals, bombs, documents, clean up, and cars, he will eliminate the desired targets as all ties are cut from his connection to the government. Operating on cash out of a safety deposit box and names on a list Avner is at his own means to locate their targets and eliminate them. [Read more...]
Wes Anderson’s “action” movie sticks to the themes that you find in a lot of his films and the results are a fantastic blend of adventure, farce, humor, sadness, and drama that not only gives us Anderson’s spin on the action/adventure genre drama but serves as an excellent character study of a man on the verge of being irrelevant in almost every aspect in his life.
I have been a huge fan of Wes Anderson since I saw Rushmore back before the release of The Royal Tenenbaums back in the beginning of the decade and I guarantee you will see at least one more of his films in this feature before the year is out. The Life Aquatic is the biggest departure for Anderson in that it is by far his most grand and epic film to date taking us all across Europe and the Mediterranean sea of Wes Anderson’s world.
Steve Zissou is a Jacques Cousteau type that has had a successful run of nature films investigating the open seas all around the world, but has been losing both notoriety and funding over the last few years with the shadow of his nemesis Alistair Hennessey slowly casting him and more and more darkness. [Read more...]
Martin Scorsese’s biopic of the entrepreneur and aviator Howard Hughes is a marvelous, entertaining, and interesting look into the life of one of the most unique, oddest, and accomplished individuals ever to capture and live in the public eye; all grounded by an extraordinary performance by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Howard Hughes was the heir to a fortune that came from drill bits in Texas but he moved on to bigger and brighter lights in Hollywood with the dream of making movies in between his love for flying. Fueled by his dream to build the fastest planes possible and the most successful films of their age Hughes found much success and translated that into romances with the biggest Hollywood starlets of his age. He was able to accomplish all of the even while his mind slowly faded into madness due his OCD and germ phobia that would plague the later years of his life and almost destroy his reputation when trying to take on the government and Pan Am in their historic dispute over the monopoly of the sky. [Read more...]
Steven Spielberg’s – Minority Report (2002)
Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s story is a rare blend of sci-fi, social commentary, major effects, action, noir mystery, and fun that is a blast to try and figure out and experience.
Set in the not to distant future murder has been essentially eradicated in the Washington D.C. area do to a new agency called Precrime. Using three psychics who are capable of seeing heinous crimes in the future, Precrime is able to take their memories and investigate the crime before it happens and bring the offender to justice before they ever actually get to commit the crime. As Precrime is about to be voted on to be taken nationally, Precrime Chief John Anderton and his organization are under put under audit by Danny Witwer who represents the Department of Justice. Anderton, who lost his only son to kidnapping, unfortunately finds himself to psychotropic narcotics sold illegally on the streets and sits alone at home alone watching videos of his son and ex-wife as paranoia that Witwer is after his job and Precrime festers on his brain. The paranoia hits its apex when the next murder that comes across Precrime’s table is that of one Leo Crow and the murder is Anderton himself. Having to avoid arrest, Anderton is forced on the run from Precrime and goes on a search for answers as to why and how he was set up. The mystery slowly unfolds as Anderton takes drastic step after step to get the answers to his crime. [Read more...]
Robert DeNiro had a long gestating dream project about the origins of the C.I.A. Sitting on it for ten years he was finally able to bring it to fruition in 2006. Taking on a pacing and tone of its title character Edward Wilson, a collected, cold, calculated, subtle, and methodical man that helps give birth to secret the intelligence game as an agency in the United States, the Good Shepherd moves along deliberately but is full of intrigue and an epic story.
Edward Wilson isn’t the most socially outgoing individual, but smart as a whip and thorough in everything he does he was a logical recruit for the intelligence game, after graduating from Yale, in WWII. A Skull and Bones secret society member, he gets one of his society brother’s sister pregnant in a one night stand and ends up in a family he didn’t ask for while betraying the woman he loved right before heading off to Europe. After his work there, the General that recruited him pins him to an upper position at the newly formed CIA and in the fight against communism in the Cold War. Along his path, Edward becomes entwined with a Russian operative, Ulysses, and their paths cross through the years over important intelligence issues between the two rival countries. Intrigue also arises among British intelligence agents, apparent Nazi sympathizers, and among his own colleagues and the F.B.I. as the mantra, “don’t trust anyone,” never leaves any of our characters minds. [Read more...]
In 2006 Alfonso Cuarón crafted one of the best sci-fi, dystopia, and adventure pictures of the decade in Children of Men. A smart, fast paced and thrilling ride that grabs you from the first scene and never let goes, Children of Men is a can’t miss adventure.
The year is 2027 and the last baby born was in 2008 and the global infertility has caused mass chaos across the world leaving England as the last somewhat secure and peaceful place to live. That is beginning to change though as a terrorist group known as the Fishes has been reeking havoc across the country planting bombs and causing disturbances in the name of proper treatment of refugees. Our hero Theo, played by the always great Clive Owen, is almost blown up by one of these bombs when getting his morning coffee and we get a glimpse of life of a non-refugee in this dystopia London. Illegal Refugees are being rounded up daily, the middle class parts of town are run down and violence is at every turn. When Theo is abducted by a group of fishes he finds out that his ex-wife is their leader and that they need his help for an important cause to the refugee movement. [Read more...]
This is the first of a new column I will be writing for the remainder of the year culminating with a best of the decade list when it is all said and done. It’s almost hard to believe the first decade of this new millennium is almost over, but that just means we get to start debating what where the best films of this young century and why we think so. Over the next six months we will have a series of essays of my reflection and discussion on what made these films great to me and why I would love for you readers to seek them out. So sit back, take a gander, and let me know what you think. Agree, disagree, call me an idiot, but let me know in the comments why you loved it, hated it, or thought these films were just ok. So without further ado I give you my first entry into the series…
Peter Jackson’s – King Kong (2005)
After Peter Jackson finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy he could have made any, and I mean any, film he wanted to. He could have released a three hour film about a box of Cheez-it’s that cost 100 Million to make and it would have made its money back; well maybe. But Jackson choose to dive head first into another classic tale and one that he had held dear since his childhood, King Kong. [Read more...]