Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best films of the 2000s

The movies had come and gone in various ends of the spectrum and it came be broken down to which movies are the best by remembering what was awesome in what particular year and how important it is to them. Determining how important would depends on how many times they've seen a particular movie, whether it is put on a thousand best lists of a thousand newspapers and magazines. The 2000s was the start of the new millenium where our civilisation become maintained with social networking sites and iPods. People went looking for weapons that may lead to platonic suicide and they later discovered that there were no such thing as WMDs. Our music had various changes where it asks you for those who love their music to turn their brain off. That is the result of music we are currently having today.

But that's not the point. I am counting down the 25 best movies of the 2000s. Some that I have kept in my DVD collection and some that... I think about and do not have the balls to collect it on DVD. And that's that. However before we get into the list, you are going to ask where is Requiem For A Dream, any movie by Wes Anderson or something like that, it's just that I haven't seen them yet.

And here a few mentions

Biggest Guilty Pleasure

Team America: World Police (2003)

You wouldn't call that a guilty pleasure because it has a consistent 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. But this is made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone who created South Park and as much as their show contains so much social commentary featuring fart and piss jokes, it can be said to the 2004 film that feels way disjointed. As the master of puppets, Stone and Parker makes fun of Hollywood for being 100% liberal, you can figure out that the next new celebrity would be riding the Democrats' bandwagon. Team America sets itself as a cliched action movie but it takes the context and content way too seriously, that it makes what they are lampooning (e.g.- Kim Jong Il) a distraction. But I laughed a lot throughout this film because I know the style of humor Stone and Parker used in the film that is exact to what they used in South Park. This includes a frame of puking for 20 seconds and a song about how Pearl Harbor sucks (kids, it's true).

Most Overrated Film - Crash

Ever since Magnolia was released, filmmakers decide to build complexity into their movies with ensemble casts filling it with non linear plotlines and characters having a rough time. Unfortunately Valentine's Day, Contagion and New Year's Eve owes this film and Magnolia a lot. However one big cliche of those kinds of films is that they try to force a connection at the end between characters played by big name actors and actresses to get a cheap emotion. Crash is one of those. The performances of the cast are so shallow and the characters' actions are really illogical (e.g. - the fact that Matt Dillon's character is having a hard time with his father, but then molested Thandie Newton in public has no link at all) it's really hard to take them seriously particularly if they are going through a big everyday issue like racism. The stupidest acting from this movie came from rapper Ludacris and it is ludacrous alright. The scene where he tries to carjack someone's car because he's white but isn't is unintentionally hilarious. The screenplay and direction by Paul Haggis is contrived. This movie is criminally overpraised and it never deserved the Best Picture Oscar in 2005 in the first place

Honourable Mentions:

The Pianist (2002)
Ratatouille (2007) 
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Pan's Labrynith (2006)
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Up In The Air (2009)
The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Star Trek (2009)
Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
Burn After Reading (2008)
Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Batman Begins (2005)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
In The Loop (2009)
Gangs of New York (2002)
The Aviator (2004)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)
District 9 (2009)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Dogville (2003)

Movies I try to catch up:

Mullohand Drive (2001)
Anti-Christ (2009)
Mandelay (2005)
Punch Drunk Love (2002)
Requiem For A Dream (2000)
Almost Famous (2000)
Collateral (2004)
Eastern Promises (2007)
A History of Violence (2005)
The Lives of Others (2006)
In Bruges (2008)

So let's start with the best 25 movies of the 2000s. (THIS LIST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)

25. Up (2009) 

You're going to expect Pixar to dominate this list and here we have the first of their gems. If imagination and emotion must occur in the same movie, then here is how to do it. Here we have a 71 year old widow who is extremely miserable from his loss that he decides the best way to honor her is to keep their goal of travelling somewhere to South America with their house and millions of balloons. Here we have an over-enthusiastic and naive boy scout who inadvertently join him in his adventure. This is the first time that Pixar tries to bring out subject matter about loneliness and death and without being so condenscending about it.

Greatest Moment:
The first frame where the house is lifted up by gazillions of balloons is breathtaking and jawdropping.

24. Zodiac (2007)

The only film in this list that is directed by today's great director David Fincher, Zodiac is an ambiguous detective thriller that requires close attention to what's going on during 153 minutes in length. The results lead you many clues of the notorious serial killer but also leads you with fascination of the story and how curiousity of Jake Gyllenhal manages to become an obsession and apathy to others. Fincher's close proximity and detail on the story of the Zodiac killer should be admired, but it ain't as exciting as his other work such as Se7en and Fight Club

Greatest Moment:
The Zodiac killer stabs a couple

23. The Incredibles (2004)

Pixar's action packed film pumps a pulse. It's a blend to what we love about superheroes and through the influences of Watchmen and Fantastic Four it's a filler. I remember watching it as a kid at least 4 times a week and now nothing I know from this movie wears off. Directed boldly by Brad Bird, it's no surprise that The Incredibles soar so well to audiences with themes of ignorance, family and depression. There's no doubt I am waiting for a sequel.

Greatest moment:
Bob's had it with his boss

22. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

This indie film is filled with quirks and realistic takes of what the American Dream wasn't set out to be. And it's all leads up to a beauty pageant. All of the cast brings up parts of their lives that had damaged them before, but what cheers them up is Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin's funny and breathtaking performances.

Greatest Moment:
Abigail Breslin cause a scene at a beauty pageant

21. Adaptation (2002)
Spike Jonze was a filmmaker that often intrigues me. His mind-blowing and psychological tricks collaborating with a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman adding many layers of story and characters with Adaptation. Adaptation feels like a follow up to Jonze's Being John Malcovich in where a fictionalized version of Kaufman must write a script about flowers or else. Cage brings in a multi faceted take on the self-loathing, misfit Kaufman while bringing a hilarious performance as his twin brother Donald Kaufman. Kudos to Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper whose performances are both breathtaking and funny as well.

Greatest Moment:
Nicolas Cage's Kaufman bounces back and forth with the screenplay through a voice recorder.

20. (500) Days of Summer (2009) 
This quirky, unpredictable romantic comedy brings the genre up to new heights. The acquired chemistry between Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschenel is both charming and bubbly bringing in both star-making performances for the two leads. It's brilliant edited and is more self-aware than the average episode of Community. Not to mention the soundtrack is delightful

Greatest Moment:
Will he or won't he?

19. Shaun of the Dead (2004) 
The greatest strength of Edgar Wright is mashing up genres that has little in common and what he does with Shaun of the Dead is mixing zombies with romantic comedy with a hint of slackers. Wright and Simon Pegg's witty screenplay gives us Shaun, a guy who should've been a zombie had he still not did anything in his life like supporting a girlfriend or his mum he's unaware of. BUT when everyone's literally a zombie, he has to take action. A funny mashup of all the zombie movies and British romcoms we love, go see it.

Greatest Moment:
Everybody's fending off zombies with Queen

18. Sunshine (2007)
Danny Boyle's breathtaking vision of the bleak future of humanity is meticulously gorgeous particularly when it has to do with the death of the star. Rose Byrne, Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans and Michelle Yeoh are well-casted in this tension building adventure about how much hope we lost in our physical lives. The shots of the sun has to be one of the most breataking visuals I've seen in this decade. If you're opened minded to any kind of imagery thought provoking particularly when it has something to do with the sun, this is it. 

Greatest Moment:
The death of the captain

17. City of God (2002)
Considered a masterpiece by many international critics, Fernando Merille's Brazillian energetic crime drama is one movie I never want to watch more than once (for obvious reasons). With the editing coming back and forth with the plot, it's an anarchic tale of kids consuming themselves with destructable power in a place in Rio De Janiero no one, not even a police officer would wanted to go. To me, it's Goodfellas meets The Wire.

Greatest Moment:
Lil-Ze turns into a monster at a young age

16. WALL-E (2008) 
This is the best Pixar could reach in this list. The two main characters WALL-E and EVE are devoid of any dialogue but they're both play a major part in making this movie so great. They both have excellent chemistry and at one point I consider this a romance. Not only do I find WALL-E a great piece of animation, but a deep commentary of our consumerist world with one sad consequence of Earth being uninhabitable and humans confining to an unsustainble lifestyle.

Greatest Moment:
WALL-E and Eve flies across the universe

15. Superbad (2007)
Imagine if John Hughes joined with the Farelly brothers to make a film. That movie could've been Superbad, produced by comedy king Judd Apatow. This old tale of coming of age may be stupid, but I'm McLovin it (pun intended). Every moment will and always crack me up, even if it's ludicrously raunchy and absurd. However it's very touching at heart and by the end of the film there's a moment of poignancy. The premise of two best friends played hilariously by Michael Cera and Jonah Hill who had each other for all their lives risking it all for their last and only party together is rather flat, but it's carried by the quirky Fogell who quipped himself with a name that will be memorable until your mind turns old. This is Generation Y's American Graffiti

Greatest Moment:
Jonah Hill accidently headbutts Emma Stone

14. The Wrestler (2008) 
Micky Rourke's brutal and yet excruciatingly rough and dark performance plays out in Darren Arronofky's sports drama. It's not as stressful as Arronofsky's Requiem For A Dream or Black Swan, but it's pretty damaging to see Rourke slowly becoming a failure while trying to earn redemption from his estranged daughter and on-and-off girlfriend.

Greatest Moment:

The final match. It goes somewhere off the tangent

13. The Departed (2006)
A film that is a remake of the Hong Kong drama Infernal Affairs, Martin Scorsese's back in form with this filler. The ensemble is perfectly cast with Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson giving us meaty performances.

Greatest Moment:
The snapshot of Dicaprio and Nicholson having a conversation at the bar of who's the rat is gold.

12. Minority Report (2002)
The last time Steven Spielberg made a great movie was Minority Report in which Tom Cruise plays a chief inspector on the run against a legal system he used to control through predicting a certain crime. Based on a novel by Phillip K Dick of Total Recall and Blade Runner fame, Minority Report goes around with determination against free will as its main focus and conflict. The blurry cinematography sets the dystopian tone for the film and this is perhaps one of Tom Cruise's best perfomances in his career.

Greatest Moment:

11. There Will Be Blood (2007) 
A combination of Daniel Day Lewis' grandiose performance and Paul Thomas Anderson's brooding direction makes this one a minimalist epic. Enough said

Greatest Moment:
Tie between the huge setpiece of the oil blast and the haunted ending.

10. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2 (2003 - 4)

Quentin Tarantino's blend of all Asian cinema including Hong Kong action, Japanese swords and sandals and Spaghetti Westerns shows his killer and ecclectic love for cinema. Uma Thurman shows off one of the most iconic heroines in movie history as The Bride, a former assassin looking to kill Bill her former lover and mentor. There are many setpieces that I'll never forget including The Bride's slaughterhouse against Lucy Liu, Vivica Fox and Daryll Hannah. 

9.  Sin City (2005)

For all movie buffs, if you want the good old film noir happening again, you're gonna need to watch this. Based on the acclaimed graphic novels, Sin City is a good old-fashioned neo-noir with all the elements about it you love: the gritty anti heroes and their voice overs, the femme fatales and black and white. Robert Rodrieguz shows off his siding with the technical aspects of film, from cinematography to the special effects. Almost every scene has one colour standing out of the black and white and that's the great thing about it I come to appreciate with.

Greatest Moment:
There's one scene directed by Quentin Tarantino. You have to figure that out yourself

8. The Dark Knight (2008)
Yeah, I know this is going to be in everyone's list of their favourite movies of any time, but The Dark Knight is beyond that and it is awesome. It's obvious what's so great about this film including Heath Ledger's startling depiction of the Joker that ultimately won him a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Nolan's brilliant setpieces shot in IMAX and the engaging dialogue written by him and Jonathan Nolan. The Dark Knight is not only the best Batman film ever shown to us, but more so bringing a comic book movie up to levels that counts as a work of art

Greatest Moment:
Can't decide because every bit is still awesome

7. Mary and Max (2009)
This is the only film in this list that legitimately made me teary. Harvey Krumpet's quirky yet canny tale of a long distance friendship between a little girl in Melbourne and a middle aged New Yorker will leaving you wanting more. The film's darkly funny that will leave a couple of bruises and almost every aspect ranging from the story to the animation is unconventional. If you want to find animation away from Pixar or Studio Ghibli but on the heights of both studios, then this is a bittersweet gem.

Greatest Moment:
Mary's about to hang herself

6. Donnie Darko (2001)
As a cult classic, Donnie Darko has a lot of potential in itself. The title character played brilliantly by Jake Gyllenhal is mentally unstable. However it's an apocalypse, being told directly from an imaginary bunny rabbit, he's aware of that he ultimately goes out of hand. Donnie Darko is a trippy character study in where we enter a mind of a disturbed person who rebels against conformity and society. Donnie Darko is very complex and will doom you once you finished watching it.

Greatest Moment:
Donnie Darko tells his gym teacher off

5. Memento (2000)

Christopher Nolan is officially one of the many auteurs working today in Hollywood and this movie sets it off. Memento works on a complex and unconventional structure that gives Quentin Tarantino a run for his money. Guy Pearce plays an amnesiac with the shortest memory loss possible looking for the murderer of his wife. As the movie goes backward, the mystery and Pearce evolves so well that the pain and grief that strickened him is cautiously handled with care. Guy Pearce is a criminally underrated  actor and in Memento he deserve his recognition for his portrayal. A film Nolan fans should get a hold off.

Greatest Moment:
Leonard Shelby

4. Amelie (2001)

One of France's well-known film, Amelie is a whimsical, playful and delightful film that ultimately tests your patience. Visually vivid including the gorgeous cinematography and brilliant editing, it's a film that really leaves me happier than ever. Audrey Tatou gives an amazing performance as the eponymous character who's not shy enough to change the lives of others but too shy into bringing herself out to the ones she love. The soundtrack is also music to my ears. Try grab it as you can.

Greatest Moment:
Amelie helps a blind man walk down the street.
3. Rachel Getting Married (2008)

The only time I will trust Anne Hathaway is in Rachel Getting Married where she wears off her good-girl aura with a performance that is really unsettling. She plays Kym, a drug addict out of rehab so she could attend her sister Rachel's wedding in which she causes a fuss. As it progresses, the film deliver many twists of every characters and while it dealt with family angst Jonathon Demme shows his infatuation of the Dogme movement and gives it a more personal touch where the viewer is literally treated with celebrating the wedding. This is one movie where I would say it's 100% realistic.

Greatest Moment:
Anne Hathaway goes off the rails with her mum and tries to deliberately crash her car

2. Children of Men (2006) 
Initially I gave this movie a solid rating of an 8.2, but after multiple viewings this film really rocked my world. In a future where a world haven't experienced a birth of a child in 18 years and where Britain goes tough against refugees, Clive Owen's Theo must help a refugee deliver what the world had been waiting for against all odds: a baby. And he must do it while avoiding militaristic British soldiers more likely to detain her and a revolutionary group that aims to use the baby for political purposes. Owen brings a performance of a lifetime playing a disillusioned everyman who ultimately gets involved in bringing a miracle the world needed. But the greatest strength is how filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron shoot this in long takes with some of the tracking shots so long, it doesn't stop for you. It is not eye popping in visuals but it is thrilling. Children of Men is filled with optimism and hope and the baby reminds you of the hope people want in and from the future.

Greatest Moment:
Tie between the tracking shot of Owen in the middle of the uprising and the scene where the people stopped when they saw the baby for the first time.

1. Let The Right One In (2008)

This is a movie that I just saw almost two weeks ago and after watching this, I felt absolutely speechless. Masterful, slow and poetic, Tomas Alfredson's Let The Right One In is a film that stresses the angsts of childhood and friendship. A lonely boy named Oskar comes across a vampire named Eli and they somewhat fell in love or became friends. It's an anti-horror film, one about vampires but one that doesn't require you to jump out of your seat for a scare. The raw performances of the children and the detailed cinematography are the major highlights of the movie. However one highlight that audiences are missing out on is the message that life is too short to be neither earned or gained to have it back. People just perceive this as a vampire movie. Yes, there are some scenes where the girl sucks the blood for herself to live more, but that's not the point the movie is trying to deliver. It's also the brooding and cold atmosphere of childhood that tells us why kids are so lonely. Let The Right One In never goes anywhere other than that issue but the relationship between the boy and vampire that carries the film along unlike the Twilight movies. This is ultimately the best film Sweden has to offer. For people seeking a good scare through all the blood and gore, Let The Right One In will leave you cold. But if you are a film fan who is looking to diverse  with foreign films, this is a must see. Repeat : a MUST SEE

Note: I may have time to watch Let Me In, the American remake. However I'm not quite sure if that's on par or above the Swedish.

Greatest Moment:
The final 5 minutes is breathtakingly visceral


  1. I liked Superbad, but I don't think it should've been as high as it was, also you forgot a greatest moment for Kill Bill. But terrific choices, especially for ranking Children of Men so highly, definitely agree with the tie for greatest moment.

  2. Kill Bill actually had a lot of great moments, but there was too many to list. Though the last sentence may give you some