Sunday 10 January 2010

My Top Films of the Decade 2000-2009...

Following on from my Top Ten of 2009, I've only gone and compiled a list of my favourite films from the past decade - a tricky task in itself. There are years where there are sometimes several more films I would have wanted to include, but you just have to pick the ones to fit in your allocated spots - as such I set myself the task of picking a Top Three for each year, with two honourable mentions.

My Top Films of the Decade 2000-2009:

Top 3:
American Psycho - phenomenal book, phenomenal movie. Bale at his career best in a hell of a flick.
Battle Royale - brutal, comedic, action-packed and iconic.
High Fidelity - Cusack is on top form, the soundtrack is top notch, and it's generally just great.

Honourable Mentions:
Memento - a cracking little thriller that fucks your head up.
Requiem For A Dream - this should be shown to kids at school to deter them from drugs. Horrifying, electric, and in your face.

Top 3:
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - a decade-defining trilogy begins.
Donnie Darko - mind-fuck meets the nostalgic high school movie.
Dogtown and Z-Boys - beautifully crafted, energetic, involving documentary about the birth of modern skateboarding.

Honourable Mentions:
Black Hawk Down - a thunerous slice modern war(fare) film-making.
Monsters, Inc - Pixar take a simple concept and turn it on its head, and give the world the cutest tyke in motion picture history.

Top 3:
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Helms Deep. Nuff said.
28 Days Later - they're not zombies, but Danny Boyle's UK-set dose of apocalypse has reverberated throughout the horror genre.
The Rules of Attraction - vibrant, sleazy and stylish.

Honourable Mentions:
Spider-Man - Raimi's superhero movie masterstroke.
Bubba Ho-tep - Bruce Campbell as an elderly Elvis. Nuff said.

Top 3:
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - the conclusion of the grandest filmmaking achievement in decades.
Lost In Translation - moving and involving character study that makes you feel like you were in Japan.
Bad Santa - gleefully politically incorrect and so funny it hurts.

Honourable Mentions:
Finding Nemo - Pixar hit another high note with a beautifully animated and written undersea tale of a father searching for his lost son.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Tarantino's first movie in six years, and it's a thrash-bash slice of pure QT brilliance.

Top 3:
Downfall - astonishingly great telling of the final days of Hitler and The Third Reich.
Shaun of the Dead - the best British film of the decade, and it's an utterly hilarious zombie comedy - with shamblers in it, and the folks behind Spaced giving it to us.
Team America: World Police - foul-mouthed hilarity from the South Park duo and a cast of supermarionettes.

Honourable Mentions:
Layer Cake - Matthew Vaughn and Daniel Craig on top form in a gangster picture that does away with years of Lock Stock's influence with limitless confidence.
Saw - giving the horror genre a royal kick up the arse, this intense, shocking, low budget flick is just fantastic.

Top 3:
The Devil's Rejects - Rob Zombie's Citizen Kane. A brutal, stylish, confident shredding and re-writing of the horror and road movie handbooks.
Sin City - a graphic novel brought to life with real pinash.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - under-rated, but tip-top Hollywood-set detective-flavoured thriller with RDJ knocking it out of the park.

Honourable Mentions:
Brokeback Mountain - poetic, beautiful, heart-breaking.
The Descent - one of the (few) scariest horror films of the decade, which takes time to investigate the characters themselves before squeezing us into the most claustrophobic movie ever made.

Top 3:
United 93 - gripping, none-more-intense dramatisation of the infamous hi-jacked flight on September 11th 2001. Horrifying, and incredible in its power to move the viewer to tears and adrenaline-fuelled muscle spasm.
A Scanner Darkly - superb, drug-addled rotoscoped Philip K. Dick adaptation.
Rocky Balboa - the return of two giants in the form of Stallone and his most famous character, in a thoughtful and inspiring return to the ring.

Honourable Mentions:
Right At Your Door - terrifyingly real-feeling terrorist attack indie flick.
Casino Royale - the spiffing reboot that made James Bond cool again.

Top 3:
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - an incredibly well crafted, mesmerising, meandering, poetic, beautifully photographed and acted piece of filmmaking.
Zodiac - David Fincher delivers a fascinating slow-burn character piece.
No Country For Old Men - stunning return of the Cohen Brothers to their best in a perfectly crafted thriller.

Honourable Mentions:
Grindhouse - brilliantly sleazy love letter to the golden era of low budget, independent grindhouse cinema.
There Will Be Blood - wow. Just wow.

Top 3:
The Dark Knight - it kicks ass. Nuff said.
WALL.E - beautiful. Pixar's best since Toy Story.
In Bruges - non-PC and utterly hilarious, deeply black British comedy.

Honourable Mentions:
Rambo - the ultimate bloke's film in which Rambo atomises a Burmese soldier with a huge truck-mounted machine gun. Nuff said.
Tropic Thunder - endlessly quoteable mix of action and mass market satire. RDJ owns everyone.

Top 3:
Avatar - I visited Pandora. I want to go back. End of story.
Moon - UK indie sci-fi with it's head thoroughly screwed on. Superb.
Adventureland - it makes you feel like it was your own coming of age.

Honourable Mentions:
The Wrestler (2008/09) - soulful turn from Mickey Rourke in a soulful film.
Gran Torino (2008/09) - a non-PC Clint Eastwood growls his way through a touching realisation of one old man's twilight.

Finally, as I'd alluded to at the start of this post, there were many times when I struggled to pick one film over another, so here follows a list of films I was close to including as greats & favourites.

The 'Ones That Didn't Quite Make the List' ... List:

2000 - Tigerland (tense boot camp war movie without the war).

2001 - Training Day (gripping), and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (simply a fun favourite).

- Panic Room (rarely has a simple premise been so masterfully executed).

- The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions (take away all the pretentious nonsense, and you've got two kick ass action sci-fi flicks, plus I really enjoyed seeing them in the cinema).

- The Aviator (a fascinating life story from Scorsese & DiCaprio), The Bourne Supremacy (the best of the three in my eyes), Kill Bill Vol. 2 (a stylish, wordy end to an enjoyable romp), The Machinist (stunning), and Napoleon Dynamite (this became a huge favourite in our off-campus house at university).

- Batman Begins (overcame 'bat nipples' brilliantly), Good Night and Good Luck (intriguing slice of McCarthy era tension), and Walk The Line (great, quite simply).

- Clerks 2 (a firm favourite of mine, and a really touching/gleefully crude follow-up), and The Departed (Scorsese doing what he does so well).

- Sunshine (beautiful), 28 Weeks Later (my biggest about-turn in movie opinion this decade), The Simpson's Movie (the funniest they've been in years), Gone Baby Gone (tense directorial turn from Ben Affleck with a great performance by his undervalued brother Casey), and Juno (quirky and fun).

- Iron Man (it kicked ass), The X-Files: I Want To Believe (welcome back), and Taken (Liam Neeson kicking all kinds of ass, nuff said).

- Watchmen (even better the second time around with the Director's Cut), District 9 (smar sci-fi that's also bloody enjoyable), Drag Me To Hell (scared me witless), Zombieland (ridiculously fun), Dead Snow (zombie Nazis, nuff said), and Inglourious Basterds (QT's best since Pulp Fiction).


Right, that's enough lists for now I think.

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