Saturday, December 26, 2009
Film: Donnie Darko (2001)
Age : 26
since then : Southland Tales (2007), The Box (2009)
Film: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Age : 28
since then : Johnny Dangerously (1984),Look Who's Talking(1989),Clueless (1995),
19.Director:Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Film: Handler der vier Jahreszeiten ( The Merchant of Four Seasons) - 1972
Age : 27
since then : Angst essen Seele auf(1974),Effi Briest (1974),Mutter Küsters' Fahrt zum Himmel(1975)Despair(1978),Lola (1981)
Film: Stricly Ballroom (1992)
Age : 29
since then : Romeo+Juliet (1996), Moulin Rouge (2001), Australia (2008)
Film: Being John Malkovich (1999)
Age : 29
since then : Adaptation (2002), Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Film: Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) -1997
Age : 25
since then : The others (2001), Mar Adentro (2004), Agora (2009)
15.Director:David Gordon Green
Film: George Washington
Age : 24
since then : All the Real Girls (2003), Snow Angels (2007), Pineapple Express(2008)
Film: Paths of Glory(1957)
Age : 29
since then : Spartacus (1960), Dr. Strangelove(1964),2001: A Space Odyssey (1968),A Clockwork Orange(1971),Full Metal Jacket(1987)
Film: sex, lies and videotape(1989)
Age : 26
since then :Out of Sight (1998), Traffic (2000), Ocean's Eleven (2001), Che (2008)
Film: She's Gotta Have It(1986)
Age : 29
since then :Do The Right Thing (1989), Malcolm X (1992), 25th Hour (2002),When the Levees Broke (2006)
Film: Clerks (1994)
Age : 24
since then :Dogma (1999), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Clerks II(2006)
10. Director: Byran Singer
Film: The Usual Suspects (1995)
since then: X-men (2000), Superman Returns (2006), Valkyrie (2008)
9.Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Film: Boogie Nights (1997) or Magnolia (1999)
Age : 27 or 29
since then: Punch -Drunk Love (2002), There Will Be Blood(2007)
8.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Film: Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Age : 29
since then: Pulp Fiction (1994), Kill Bill (2003), Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004), Inglourious Basterds(2009)
7..Director: George Lucas
Film: American Graffiti (1973)
Age : 29
since then: Star Wars IV(1977), Star Wars Episode I (1999),Star Wars Episode II(2002),Star Wars Episode III (2005)
6.Director: Christopher Nolan
Age : 29
since then: Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008)
Film: Boyz N the Hood (1991)
Age : 23
since then : Poetic Justice (1993), Higher Learning (1995), Baby Boy (2001), 2fast 2Furious (2003)
4.Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Film:A bout de souffle (Breathless) -1960
Age : 29
since then: Les Carabiniers(1963),Tout va bien(1972),Sauve qui peut (la vie))1980),Éloge de l'amour(2001), Notre Musique(2004)
3.Director: Steven Spielberg
Film: Jaws (1975)
Age : 29
since then: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977),E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial(1982),Schindler's List (1993),Saving Private Ryan(1998), Munich(2005)
2.Director: Francois Truffaut
Film: Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) - 1959
Age : 27
since then:Jules et Jim(1962), Baisers voles(1968),La Nuit americaine(1974),Le Dernier Metro(1980)
1.Director: Orson Welles
Film:Citizen Kane (1941)
Age : 27
since then: The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Macbeth (1948), Touch of Evil (1958)
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The third Test between the West Indies and Australia begins on December 16th at Perth. As far as the Frank Worrell Trophy is concerned, the series is no longer a competition. Australia will retain the trophy regardless of the outcome of the third (and final) Test match. This series , however, is not solely dependent on a Trophy to ensure competiveness.
Australia has been having, by their standards, a very poor year. The Ashes loss is sure to still be in the minds of the players and they will be desperate to get a convincing win, if only to get the media off their backs.
The West Indies need a boost of confidence which would be sure to arrive with a win in the final test. With this being the first series since the player strike, the fans need a reason to have confidence in their side as much as the players need to finish on a high. After dominating the second Test, the momentum is with the West Indian team but as anyone who has watched them recently knows, consistent use of such momentum is no guarantee.
The pitch at the WACA in Perth is usually fast and bouncy. This is ideal for the West Indies to take twenty wickets since their strike bowlers on this tour, Kemar Roach and Suliemann Benn, would relish the opportunity to bowl on such a pitch.
Roach and Benn together took nine wickets during the Australian 1st inning in the second test. Roach has been regularly bowling at speeds in excess of 144km/hr throughout the tour and while he is not very tall for a fast bowler he is capable of extracting bounce and using it to great effect, which was shown by the number of Australian batsmen who were hit by his rising deliveries. Benn on the other hand is extremely tall and can extract sharp bounce on even the best batting pitches. Should the pitch in Perth play as it usually does he will be very difficult to play, especially as he continues to bowl his variations in flight and speed as he did during the first inning of the 2nd Test and does not try to continually bowl flat and fast he did in the second innings.
Ravi Rampaul contributed with an unexpected (and very entertaining) 40 batting as last man in the first innings but only bowled 23 overs in the entire match and took one wicket. He should get more encouragement from the Perth pitch and the West Indies will need him to replicate the sort of performances he has shown domestically and in the limited-overs version of the game.
It seems likely that the West Indies will play an unchanged squad in the Third Test which means that Travis Dowlin and Gavin Tonge will again miss out. Dowlin may feel unlucky to not be selected after scoring runs in the 1st Test but it seems unlikely Ramnaresh Sarwan would be dropped, especially given the form he is in. While Darren Sammy was not especially proficient with the ball, his attacking batting helped to set up a good first innings total in the Second Test and he would be seen as a player who would bowl many overs. Tonge would be an option if the West Indies would prefer to strengthen the bowling attack but given that he is yet to play Test cricket it would be somewhat of a high pressure situation to include him.
Australia have retained an unchanged squad and remain hopeful that Peter Siddle will overcome the hamstring problem which affected him during the second Test in Adelaide. If he does not pass a fitness test then Clint McKay will be given his debut.
In the previous test the West Indian batting line-up performed extremely well to post 451 after being 273/6 at one point. While they did post 317 in the second innings this was all down the tremendous knock of 165* by Captain Chris Gayle. The fact that no one else on the team made more than 27 means that the batting order is still susceptible to collapse but the team must hope that the senior players continue to take responsibility for the direction of the innings.
The Australian fast bowlers, in particular Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger, will also be looking forward to bowling on the WACA pitch. The West Indies will therefore be relying heavily on their openers to give them a good start and to see off the new ball. Adrian Barath was unluckily run out in the second innings and fans would be hopeful he continues to perform after his amazing debut hundred in the first test. Chris Gayle played what was certainly the most mature innings of his Test career in Adelaide and if he continues to bat with the same determination several more hundreds are sure to follow.
The West Indian middle order also performed well in the previous match and will be looking to continue in the same vein. Sarwan was guilty of making a start and then getting out in that match but he is in good form having already scored four hundreds this year and two fifties in the warm up match. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was out for 62 in the first innings in controversial fashion via the intervention of the third umpire after the decision had been referred. Whether there was enough evidence to put him out remains a point which the detractors of the referral system are keen to focus on. Chanderpaul , however, is one of the most determined batsmen in the game and it is unlikely anything will distract him from his batting as he seeks to once again go climb to the top of the Test rankings.
Brendan Nash continues to support the middle order with his vital contributions and in the last match his influence on the lower order greatly contributed to the score made by the West Indies. He should have no trouble to remain motivated as he is playing against an Australian side whose members he knows well and should be eager to continue to prove himself against them.
During the last Test match Dwayne Bravo was exceptional. His hundred in the first innings resurrected the innings when the Australians were beginning to get the upper hand. It was well paced and aggressive and came exactly at the right time. Perhaps he could be slightly faulted for having failed to carry on after getting his hundred but even that seems harsh. His three wickets in the second innings helped to bring the West Indies closer to obtaining result and as always he continues to pick up crucial wickets at opportune moments.
Gayle’s captaincy throughout the match was of a very high standard. While it can be said he relied heavily on Benn and Roach, the fact that they continued to perform shows that his confidence was justified. His bowling changes were well timed and worked, such as when he brought on Rampaul in the second innings which resulted in Ponting’s dismissal. The only fault could be deciding to bat on the fifth day instead of bowling but considering that the West Indies are not a confident team accustomed to being in strong positions, it is expected that he would want to eliminate all chances of a loss.
The third Test in Perth should bring a new set of challenges for the West Indies and a win is by no means certain . But if they play up to their potential and carry forward the momentum of their good performance in the last match , then it is Australia who will most likely be on the back foot.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Last memorable performance : Władysław Szpilman in 'The Pianist' in 2002. So much promise, so little since.
2. Jamie Foxx
Last memorable performances : Max in 'Collateral' & Ray Charles in 'Ray' in 2004. Close being back in "The Soloist' , not there yet.
3. Jim Carrey
Last memorable performance: Joel Barish in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" in 2004. More concerned with big box office comedy than anything else it seems.
Last Memorable performance : Viola De Lesseps in ''Shakespeare in Love'' in 1998. Was good in 'The Royal Tenenbaums'' but that was more of a cast thing than an individual thing.
5. Jeremy Irons
Last memorable performance: Claus von Bulow in "Reversal of Fortune" in 1990. Best since then is he was Scar in 'Lion King'
6. Thomas Hayden Church
Last Memorable Performance: Jack Lopate in " Sideways" in 2004.
Last Memorable performance: Okwe in "Dirty Pretty things" in 2002. Mostly supporting roles since then.
8. Cuba Gooding Jr.
Last Memorable Performance : Rod Tidwell in "Jerry Maguire" in 1997.
Last Memorable performance: Tessa Quayle in "The Constant Gardener" in 2005. High hope for 'the lovely bones' later this year though.
last memorable perfromance: Paikea Apirana in 'Whale Rider'in 2002. Maybe ''The Vinter's Luck'' will be good, the hype about it isnt though.
11. Charlize Theron :
last memorable performance : Josey Aimes in "North Country" in 2005.
last memorable performance: Dr. Eleanor Arroway in "Contact" in 1997. Long career , so maybe she's done enough. but she isn't that old. So maybe not.
13. Helen Hunt
last memorable performance: Carol Connelly in "As Good as it Gets" in 1997.
14. Angela Bassett
last memorable performance: Tina Turner in "what's Love got to Do With It?" in 1993
last memorable performance: Guido Orefice in "La Vita e Bella" in 1998. Not that active in movies at all, managed to put out "Pinocchio" . Probably shouldn't have.
16. Jon Voight
last memorable performance: Howard Cosell in "Ali" in 2001. Long career, wouldn't even be here if he wasn't still making lots of movies.
17. Minnie Driver
last memorable performance: Skylar in " Good Will Hunting" in 1997.
18. Kate Hudson
last memorable performance: Penny Lane in "Almost Famous" in 2000. Has only been in movies that numb the brain since then.
19. Tim Roth
last memorable performance: Archibald Cunningham in "Rob Roy" in 1995.
20. Jude Law
last memorable performance: Inman in "Cold Mountain" in 2003. Maybe Dr.Watson in 'Sherlock Holmes' could be something. Doesn't look likely though
Thursday, November 26, 2009
On the first day of the match Jerome Taylor is again injured. Not his back this time but a new hip injury, despite him being underbowled in the warm up match to prevent injuries from occurring. The person/ people who are responsible for the fitness and conditioning of Taylor need to be replaced very soon. Before his injury, he looked threatening sporadically but was guilty of being too wayward and expensive.
Ravi Rampaul made his test debut yesterday. At 25 years old he is still young but vastly experienced since we've all been hearing about him since the Under-15 level. There has been a lot of expectation placed on him and nervousness clearly showed yesterday. He was too short and too wide and was duly punished by the Australian batsmen. Bowled much better on the second morning as was rewarded with his first test wicket. Unlucky to have Darren Sammy drop his potetntial second.
Of the fast bowlers Kemar Roach looks the best so far. With a deceptively laid back run up ,he manages to generate real pace and has good control for it too. Hit the batsmen several times on the second morning. He has showed a willingness to bowl long spells, which will be called upon with Taylor's injury.
Suliemann Benn is unrecognizable from the player who made his debut for the West Indies last year. He has developed a full repertoire of deliveries and makes good use of his towering height to add extra bounce when he bowls. Showed yesterday and today that he isn't afraid to flight the ball and varied his pace well too. Probably the best West Indian bowler of the match so far.
Dwayne Bravo , as usual, is made things happen yesterday. Got the breakthrough West Indies needed to remove Simon Katich and got Clarke out when he was settling in for a long knock. Used his variations well to keep uncertainty in the minds of the batsmen and didn't let up through long spells. Never looked extremely threatening but still managed to be.
The fielding, unfortunately, has been the normal West Indian way. At times spectacular and at times poor.The West Indies need a full time fielding coach and must instill consistency if they are to be competitive in the field.
why: He likes constructing palindromes. That's reason enough. Uses all sorts of visual aids and sketches. Great with the one liners too. Most unconventional comedian since Gallagher.Maybe.
9. Russell Brand
why: Obnoxious, loud and very strange. Known as much for his off stage antics than his comedy. But one of the best young 'angry' comedians out there. Although there's a sneaking suspicion the accent makes him cool (er).
8. Robin Williams
why: Back in2002 with LIVE on Broadway, the show broke several records for a comedy show. Showed he's still funny, hasn't let success go to his head and can still make it all up on the spot.
7. Ricky Gervais
why: In the Office for the first part of the century, everywhere else for the last. Most people know him for his film roles, but he's great on the stage too. Doesn't shy away from the controversial topics. And it isn't everyone who can makes (good) comedy about Nazis, the Holocaust, AIDS and religion.
6. David Cross:
why: The man who brought out 'indie comedy'. Usually known for his satires on politics , he was one of the first comedians to start referencing 9/11 in his act.
5. Mitch Hedberg
why: Died halfway through the decade, but still managed to be influential in five years. With his surreal humour, non -sequiturs and deadpan deliver, Hedberg has become a cult classic. ( even more so because of his drug related demise)
4. Patton Oswalt
why: Convinced everything is ridiculous, and everything includes him too. Everything from pop culture to American foreign policy is in his stand -up routine, and no one ever made cuneiform script seem so funny. (and he was the rat in Ratatouille)
why: Nobody else ever made the phrase " 34.50" funny before he did. Never spares anyone , once there's something funny he's observed he'll make fun of it. And he'll make fun of himself too - especially because he's an Indian guy with the name Russell Peters.
2. Dave Chappelle
why: Sketch comedy series of the decade with " Chapelle's show''. Man who gave us the line ' I'm Rick James bitch'. Every sketch he has is dead on, and even though he knows people sometimes won't get it, he won't compromise. And he did a six hour show that's funny from start to finish. (Dane Cook did a seven hour show that didn't even have a half hour of good material).
1. Chris Rock
why: Acting, screenwriting ,directing and producing. Doesn't have a lot of free time but still managed to release 'Never Scared' and "Kill the Messenger' and go on worldwide tours. Been around for a long time and his comedy has grown up too, without losing what made him so funny to start with.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
30. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - 2003
why: poorly written, plotline with several holes. pushing the limits of the so-called ' factuality' he stresses. Absorbing read though, once you don't take it too seriously. Shows that you don't need to write well to sell well, but if that a good thing or not remains to be seen.
29. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi - 2003
why: A tale of the triumph and importance of literature during wartime. Shows how novels are an assertion of identity and the importance of the freedom of choice.
28. True History of the Kelly Gang - Peter Carey - 2000
why: Retelling the story of Australian folk hero Ned Kelly where he writes the story for his daughter . Although set in Australia, you could say this is one of the best Westerns in a while.
27. The Enchantress of Florence - Salman Rushdie - 2008
why: Large scale epic set in Florence during the Renaissance. Machiavelli and Akhbar the Great are characters in this tale.
26. The Damned Utd - David Peace - 2006
why: One of the best novels written about sport in a long time. Peace uses the stream of consciousness technique to great effect, giving an believable portrait of Brian Clough.
25. The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left - Ed Husain - 2007
why: Insightful book that takes you into the psyche of fundamentalism and youth. If the older English ever needed a wakeup call about being out of touch, this is it.
24. .Experience - Martin Amis - 2000
why : The memoirs of Martin Amis dealing with the death of his father, Kingsley Amis . A behind the scenes look at two great writers.
23. The Corrections - Johnathan Franzen - 2001
why: Literary realism at it's best. Huge, sweeping novel about a family in Midwest America and each of their drives, desires and life choices. It's both a return to the 19th century great novels and a starting point.
22. Snow - Orhan Pamuk - 2004
why: All about the political tensions and cultural clashes of modern Turkey. The narrator returns to see the country wasting away. Full of humor while retaining sympathy with its main characters.
21. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz - 2007
why: Dominican immigrant who lives in New Jersey and wants to be a sci fi writer. Both tragic and comic but always a fresh look at the US immigrant experience.
20. Memories of My Melancholy Whores - Gabriel Gracia Marquez -2005
why: The best author out of Latin America has still got it. With a nod to Lolita, Gabo keeps talking about love and aging. Still writing that magical realism style, with an energy you never tire of.
19. Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi - 2003
why: Ignoring the standard tale of sadness and oppression, Satrapi gives funny and amiable side to this story. At times the tragedy is there, but it never envelops the book in despair.
18. The White Tiger - Arvind Adiga - 2008
why: Nowhere is culture and society rapidly changing as in India today. This book gives a look at living in India during the fast times and how to start at the bottom and get to the top.If you're willing to do what it takes.
17. Middlesex -Jeffrey Eugenides - 2002
why: A strange gender changing, time spanning complicated novel. Past and present combine to give this novel literary force
16. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold - 2002
why: A Bildungsroman told by a dead girl. Tale of coping with grief (or not coping as the case may be). Sebold manages to find the perfect mix for a story that could have been much darker.
15. District and Circle - Seamus Heaney - 2006
why: Heaney returns to his past themes to show us that while the subjects remain the same, the details surrounding them have evolved and been restructured.
14. .The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon-2003
why: First person narrative from a 15 year old autistic who is trying to find a dog murderer. A insightful look into the mindset of persons with autism and the difficulty they have with normal situations.
13. Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer -2002
why: A story of self discovery, one that resonates with every immigrant and every romantic. Switching between story arcs, the author gives an original (but realistic) use of English.
12. The Blind assassin - Margaret Atwood -2000
why: a story within a story, of science fiction pulp and events which span the twentieth century. Experimental style set against a backdrop of important Canadian historical events
11. Peeling the Onion - Gunter Grass- 2006
why: The Nobel Prize winner comes out with the truth that he was in the Waffen SS. Shocking for a man who set himself up as a moral voice but showed great bravery too.
10. Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami - 2005
why: talking cats ,UFOs and magic lands. very strange. Murakami gives us his usual mix of suspense , humor and magical realism. In a complex plot that insists you reread.
9. The Plot against America - Phillip Roth-2004
why: An alternative history , political novel. Extremely unlikely but Roth writes everything with such detail that you have no problem thinking it possibly could have happened just like he said
8. Never Let me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro - 2005
why: a superb Sci-Fi story , that subtly talks about how death is waiting on everyone. Is there any genre that this author can't dominate?
7. Life of Pi - Yann Martel - 2001
why: The bestselling of the Booker Prize winners. Strange and very eerie. Possibly allegorical, thoroughly entertaining.
6. Austerlitz - W.G. Sebald - 2001
why: A masterpiece about a man's search for his history. One of the best from postwar Germany, which tells about the current generation coming to terms with the aftereffects of World War II.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling - 2007
why: How often does a bestseller be a great literary work? Never until the Harry Potter series came out. A seamless blend of high and low culture, probably the first time anyone has ever wished for a 700 page book to be longer. And how often have you heard someone say " All I ever read is Harry Potter"?
4. White Teeth - Zadie Smith - 2000
why: The novel that launched Zadie Smith. A story about immigration in wartime London and a friendship of two boys despite cultural differences. A sympathetic and humorous look at how we're similar.
3. . Youth - J.M. Coetzee - 2003
why: Fictionalized memoirs that opened a new genre. A story about living in a different society where no one relates to you. Something every at some time or the other has experienced
2. Atonement - Ian McEwan - 2002
why: Imagination, multiple views, the nature of perception. A forceful story matched with tremendous prose to back it up.
1. The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 2006
why: Adventure book about a father and son traveling through an American wasteland. Heartbreaking , but in a throwback style to the classic epics.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Almost the end of the year. And the decade. So this list seems logical. Wanted to do it before Oscar season gets into full swing and late editing is required. Also, non- documentaries.
1. City of God – Fernando Meirelles – 2002 – Crime Drama
Why: The best crime movie of the decade. Probably the best ever that’s set outside of the US or Hong Kong. It’s hard out in the city of god- little children running around with guns killing people. And when there’s a gang war, everybody’s in trouble. But there the main narrative of Buscape, who makes it out while telling us what he saw.
2.Y tu mama tambien – Alfonso Cuaron -2001 – Drama/ Road movie
Why : One of the most natural film casts ever. This movie makes you feel like they’ve been spending time with each other their whole lives. Both a realistic portrayal of late teenage years as well as a road trip fantasy everyone’s thought about.
3. The Lord of the Rings trilogy - 2001, 2002, 2003 - Peter Jackson – Fantasy/epic/adventure
Why: the trilogy of this decade. Probably of this generation. Who doesn’t like Lord of the Rings after seeing these movies? Like nothing ever seen before, Jackson managed to transform what Tolkien himself said would be unsuitable for film representation. By recreating Middle Earth in the New Zealand countryside these films leave you just as awestruck as reading the books. Maybe even more so. (But you should already know this)
4. Million Dollar Baby – 2004 – Clint Eastwood – Drama
Why: a movie about taking chances and giving chances. About chasing dreams and redemption. And about euthanasia. Released at a time when euthanasia debates were at the forefront to the world news, this film helped to get a perspective on that topic. But not just that, it’s Clint Eastwood at his directorial (and acting) best.
5. Caché (Hidden) -2005- Michael Haneke- Suspense
Why: a complex open-ended thriller about a family with that doesn’t communicate well and who have trauma below the surface. Haneke isn’t committed to solving the mystery, just stating it’s there which leaves plenty of room for the viewer to try to work things out. a major theme is of paranoia about the loss of privacy, something all too real with around the clock surveillance being more widespread.
6. Spirited Away – Hayao Miyazaki – 2001- Animated/ Adventure
Why: you get drawn into this movie like the spirit world is the most natural thing in the world. Visually stunning like few animated before, this movie also tells a tale about adaptation and dealing with new situations.
7. Hable con Ella (Talk to her) – 2002 – Pedro Almodovar – Drama
Why : Two love stories interconnected by time spent in a hospital. An unlikely friendship between two men, who have very different outlooks on life. A crime, the repercussions. Almodovar draws from many different places in society. And makes them all fit seamlessly.
8. The Pianist -2002- Roman Polanski- War/drama
Why: Polanski with the comeback no one saw coming. Adrien Brody with a performance no one knew he was capable of (and has, frustratingly, never come close to again). A portrayal of life in Warsaw for a Jewish pianist and his family, from the time of Nazi occupation until the end of the war. With a realism that at times is difficult to watch, yet you still can’t look away.
9. Before Sunset – 2004 – Richard Linklater – Romance
Why: Two people meet in Paris after nine years. They spend the evening talking about how their lives were during that time. And how it could have been. That’s the entire movie plot. But those topics they talk about, each one is something you’ve thought about and can relate to. This one doesn’t give a lot of answers but it makes you want to go looking for them.
10. There Will be Blood – 2007 – Paul Thomas Anderson – Drama
Why: Daniel Day- Lewis as Daniel Plainview. An oilman. One of the most absorbing performances of the decade. A fascinating look at a man with no moral compass, who won’t let anything stand in his way of getting his oil. (and he references milkshakes.)
11. Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge ( The Voyage of the red Balloon)- Hou Hsao Hsien – 2007 –Drama
Why: A look at the life of a French single mother and her child as well as all their interactions and subtle daily differences. Shown from the view of the exchange student who works as a nanny and lives with them. The realism in this has you feeling like you’re looking through a window at times.
12. Pan’s Labyrinth – 2006 – Guillermo Del Toro – War/ Adventure/ Fantasy
Why: set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil war, this is a film about imagination. The mind of a little girl creates her own battles of good and evil. Anything to not think about reality. Complete with visuals that make the imaginary creatures seem real.
13. Vals im Bashir (Waltz with Bashir) – Ari Folman- 2008 - War/Documentary/ animated
Why: an animated documentary does all the things a real documentary can but gives scenes only possibly by animation (or a huge SFX budget). Folman gives an honest account of the war, while trying to recover memories which his brain is hiding from him.
14. Syndromes and a Century -Apichatpong Weerasethakul- 2006 - Drama
Why: a film in two parts that stretches across two eras. Based on the story of how Weerasethakul’s parents met he shows it as it was (more or less) in the 1970’s and then retells the story in modern times. He does this with the same actors and no warning, so it’s only after it’s finished you realize what happened. Very experimental and very original.
15. . Letters from Iwo Jima – 2006- Clint Eastwood– War
Why: The second part to Eastwood’s World War II series, this tells the battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective. A film that shows the mentality of the Japanese soldiers in the ranks as well as the officers. Also serves to show the war culture and attitude of the Japanese soldiers at the time. With battle scenes that are graphic and realistic enough to make you never want to go to war.
16. No Country for Old men – 2007 – Joel & Ethan Coen- Action/ Crime
Why: A very dark film. About a drug deal gone bad and everybody’s trying to find the cash. Which doesn’t look too promising for the man who found it. Cormac McCarthy’s source novel didn’t look adaptable but the Coen Brothers didn’t just pull it off, they made it unforgettable. (and there’s Javier Bardem as Chigurh)
17. 2046 – Wong Kar Wai – 2004 – Drama/ Romance /Sci Fi
Why: Visuals on a whole other level. Even for a Hong Kong film. There are side stories& flash backs. Even surreal futuristic dreams too. But the writer sitting in his room, reflecting on the past, watching the other occupants and talking to his lover. That’s what makes the movie.
18. The Departed – 2006- Martin Scorsese – Crime Drama/ Action
Why: Not Scorsese’s best film. He’s got too many high caliber for it to be that. But this shows why he’s the master of Crime movies. It’s a remake of a South Korean film, but Scorcsese’s own interpretation shows throughout. Nice to see Jack Nicholson as the villain again too.
19. The Lives of Others – 2006- Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck- spy/ drama
Why: Ulrich Muhe completely inhabits his character of a Stasi Surveillance officer. A movie that makes you wonder just who’s listening and how difficult life is when you aren’t sure what the government is capable of. But also a movie that shows even the Stasi are made up of real people with human emotions.
20. Punch Drunk Love – 2002 – Paul Thomas Anderson – Comedy/ Drama
Why: Adam Sandler as Barry Egan. This movie is strange. There’s a lot of side stories but the main one is a romance. How Barry has trouble fitting into a normal relationship is a prevalent theme. Hard to explain why this one is good. But it is.
21. Almost Famous – Cameron Crowe – 2000- Comedy/ Road movie
Why: working for Rolling Stone in the 1970’s. going on tour with a band. It’s what music lovers have always dreamt about. Crowe gives every detail of exactly how it is. Showing you how much it’s exactly like what you expect it to be and how much is a surprise. And every character in the movie is more like a real person than a character
22. Donnie Darko – 2001- Richard Kelly – Drama/Fantasy/Thriller
Why: a teenager gets instructions from a six foot tall rabbit on how to time travel. But he must go back in the past to allow an accident to occur. The movie leaves you wondering how much of this is real and how much is due to a psychological disorder. Definitely something to see more than once, if only to make sense of the story.
23. Wall-E - 2008 -Andrew Stanton- animated
Why: one of the best romance comedies of the decade isn’t even about a human couple. Pixar creates a garbage ridden earth and contrasts it with the beauty of space. With visuals that look more real than any cartoon before, the robots in this movie seem more human than real people. In fact , you might think that if more people were like Wall-e and Eve things might be better.
24 Amélie - 2001- Jean-Pierre Jeunet- Romance/Comedy
Why : with the face of an angel and the heart of a child, Audrey Tautou swept everyone away as Amelie Poulain. Essentially a love story, waitress Amelie has fantastic adventures while trying to help others around her. A view on life in Paris, it has more magical realism than a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. But it wouldn’t be a great French love story if it was any other way.
25. Dirty Pretty Things – Stephen Frears – 2002- Drama
Why: A Nigerian doctor in London works two jobs while uncovering an illegal trade in human organs. This movie shows you the reality of immigrants in big cities. How sometimes leaving for a better life isn’t all you think it would be. An important movie for anyone that’s ever thought about illegal migration
26. Persepolis – 2007- Vincent Paronnaud& Marjane Satrapi - animated
Why: one of the best graphic novels of the decade smoothly becomes one of the best animated movies of the decade. The Iranian revolution seen through the eyes of a young Satrapi, the movie remains comic and endearing while dealing with serious subjects. The animation retains the pleasing simplicity of the graphic novel
27. . Children of men – 2006 -Alfonso Cuarón – Drama/ Sci Fi/ Action
Why: set in the not too distant future, humans have become infertile. In this dystopian vision the story focuses on the people transporting the last pregnant woman. A dark but ultimately hopeful look at a possible future. undertones of political groups willing to use any means to gain power are also apparent.
28. . Oldboy -2003-Park Chan-wook- Thriller/suspense
Why: while calmly walking down the street, a man is captured and held prisoner in a room for years. No reason why, no one ever comes. Then one day he’s free and he decides to start a vendetta against whoever locked him up. A movie full of twists and turns, seething with raw emotion. The phrase ‘didn’t see that coming’ will be frequently used.
29. Traffic -2000- Steven Soderbergh – Crime/Drama
Why: several stories come together in this portrayal of the effects of the drugs trade. Makes you realize how unlikely it is that power will be relinquished from the drug cartels despite the best efforts of those in charge. Also shows how drugs hit home when least expected. Unforgettable performance from Benecio del Toro as the one good Mexican cop, Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez. (not a typo on the double last name)
30. Amores Perros -2000- Alejandro González Iñárritu- drama
Why : three separate stories. One about a model, one about a teenager with a dog who’s a dogfighting champ,one about a vagrant hitman. All connected by a car accident. One story tells you what caused the accident, the next on the repercussions. One of the first movies to showcase the new wave of talent of Mexican cinema
31. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Michael Gondry - 2004 – Sci Fi/Romance/drama
Why: Kate Winslet is unforgettable as Clementine. Jim Carrey gives a performance that makes you realize he has a huge acting range. This movie allows you to watch the deterioration of a romance, piece by piece. From a thoroughly original viewpoint. (more romance like this need to be made).
32. Irreversible - Gaspar Noe -2002 - Thriller
why: it’s all about revenge. You need an above average tolerance for violence for this one. From the opening mutilation scene to the vicious rape scene, this movie never calms down. But you’ll never forget it and before you write it off, most of the acts are based on newspaper reports.
33. Volver- 2006- Pedro Almodovar- Comedy/Drama
Why: Ghosts of the family. Bodies of the family. Opening a restaurant. Penelope Cruz sets the screen on fire as Raimunda in this story set in rural Spain. With scenes that sometimes look as though the overexposed setting was used, the colour and imagery of this movie would be overdone by anyone other than Almodovar who creates the perfect blend.
34. Little Miss Sunshine -2006- Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris – comedy/drama
Why: a road trip in an old VW bus across California to a pre-teen beauty pageant. A movie that never lets its serious subjects weigh it down, by the end of the film family bonding and the warmth that comes from it have affected every character. Every actor plays their part to perfection, especially Steve Carell as a gay, recently fired, Proust specializing college professor who recently attempted suicide.
35. Le scaphandre et le Papillion-(The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) -2007-Julian Schnabel- Biography
Why: the story Jean-Dominique Bauby who was left paralyzed and only able to communicate by blinking his left eye. Refusing to lie down and die, he communicated painstakingly letter by letter through blinking and managed to complete his autobiography. Surrealistic imagery and flashbacks make this an alluring film.
36. The Queen -2006- Stephen Frears – Drama
Why: Helen Mirren inhabits the role of Queen Elizabeth II perfectly, giving a human touch to her Majesty. A movie which gives a (maybe) fictional account of how the Royal family dealt with Princess Diana’s death. Very witty and intelligent in its portrayal of facts and events, it shows compassion too.
37. Whale Rider -2002-Niki Caro- Drama
Why: The story of Paikea, a young girl who needs to convince her stern grandfather that she is capable of inheriting the leadership of her Maori village, beside there being no precedent for a woman to be chief. Keisha Castle-Hughes (at age fourteen) brings grace and sincerity to her role as Paikea and this more than anything is the reason for the film’s success. The speech at the school program is one of the most moving of the decade.
38. Batman: The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan – 2008- Action/Drama
Why: probably the most popular film of the latter half of the decade. Curiously absent from most of the best of the decade lists out so far. (Critics don’t like popular films). But any movie that gives rise to Heath Ledger as the new Joker can’t be left out.
39. Gosford Park -2001- Robert Altman – Mystery
Why: a throwback to the old Agatha Christie style murder mysteries set in a large British manor house. But not just a straight mystery story, there’s an exploration of how the classes interact in England. A class system which is begging to show signs of decay. Manages to show the strange cultural aspects of England during that era while creating intrigue.
40. Good Night, and Good Luck -2005- George Clooney – Drama
Why: a look back at TV journalism of the past, when journalists weren’t afraid to stand up and challenge. When Edward R. Morrow stood against Senator Joseph McCarthy on his policies, it represented the press willing to fight for the people. Clooney captures the feel of that era so authentically you can smell the cigarette smoke.
41. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan -2006- Larry Charles- comedy/(documentary?)
Why: you either love this movie or hate it. But everyone knows about it. Borat showed Americans at their intolerant worst, managing to get everyday people to reveal levels of hypocrisy and xenophobia they had buried deep down. One of the most original ideas about making a movie ever, easily the best (and most offensive) comedy in years.
42. Indigenes (Days of Glory)- 2006- Rachid Bouchareb – War
Why: this has been called the French “Saving Private Ryan”. It’s that good. The story of World War II battles in North Africa by the soldiers from the French colonies. Shows the two faced nature of the military, which allowed these soldiers to die for France while still treating them unjustly. The reaction to this movie caused the French Government to restructure their war pension scheme.
43. Let the Right one in- 2008 - Tomas Alfredson – Horror/Thriller/Romance
Why: Twilight fans need to see this before they can give any comments on a vampire movie. A movie about a pre teen vampire from the suburbs who begins a relationship with another vampire. A relationship which changes his mundane life. Full of the kind of scenes you would expect from vampires if they were real.
44. Lagaan -Ashutosh Gowariker- 2001 – epic drama/sports/ musical
why: not your average Indian film. While it does have a love story and musical numbers, this film is about triumph. Specifically the triumph of the Indian villagers over the British colonials. At cricket too, which was “their game”. ( and that match at the end, only cricket can give that drama
45. The Last King of Scotland -2006 - Kevin Macdonald- Drama/ Historical
Why: Forrest Whitaker plays Idi Amin and there’s nothing you won’t say he’s incapable of. But he’s not just dangerous, Whitaker captures Amin’s charisma and takes you a bit closer to realizing why so many people were swayed by the dictator. The brutality level of this film is high but so was the brutality of Amin’s Uganda.
46. Once - John Carney- 2007 – Musical/ Romance/Drama
Why: quiet film, shot with a handheld style. At times you feel like you right there next to the characters. A simple story about a street musician who meets a girl that likes his music, then spends time with her and records an album. This might be one of the best films about music in a long time.
47. Monsoon Wedding -2002- Mira Nair – Comedy /Drama
Why: a whirlwind of a film that accurately depicts the corresponding whirlwind that is an Indian wedding. There are tensions and anger, joy and romance – and just as in any wedding , not only the bride and groom are feeling theme. A vivid depiction of the social festival that a Punjabi wedding is.
48. . Billy Elliot -2000- Stephen Daldry – Musical/Drama
Why: in a coal mining town in England, a young boy dreams of being a ballet dancer. Something which doesn’t go down well with his family. A story about perseverance and following your dreams, this movie takes you into the story and for an emotional ride.
49. The Squid and the Whale -2005- Noah Baumbach – Comedy-Drama
Why: a film about two brothers whose parents (both professors in literature) are getting an ill-tempered divorce. Set in 1980’s New York, tells the classic tale of each child siding with a different parent. The script from Baumbach manages to be both realistic and witty and leaves you wishing the movie was longer.
50. 25th hour- 2002- Spike Lee - Drama
Why: Character driven drama, expected of Spike lee. Fast , engaging dialogue makes the character interactions seem closer to real life than a movie. The entire film’s events happen during the space of one day. A very eventful day. The closest resemblance Spike has ever done to ‘do the right thing’”