Top Nine Movies of 2005
I love movies. Like so many other Americans I didn't happen to make it to the theater that much this year. For me personally it was partially that there wasn't much I was interested in seening on the big screen and also because the filmgoing experience has turned into a bit of a chore.
Before we get too far into the new year, I wanted to share my favorite nine films of 2005. Now there are a lot of films that I didn't get to see (Good Night and Good Luck, Syrianna, The Pacifier) so this is somewhat imcomplete. These aren't necessarily the BEST movies made, but they are the ones I liked the most.
Top Nine Movies
1. Brokeback Mountain- After Hulk I thought Ang Lee was lost forever. Happy to be proved wrong. Heath Ledger will deservedly take home the Best Actor Oscar for this one. I wish more movies could be this haunting and engaging.
2. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit- A perfect movie. What more can you say? I was laughing from beginning to end. A great story well told. The animation was exceptional. The Lady Tottington scenes were especially good.
3. Serenity- Granted- I'm a fan of the TV show, but come on-- this movie rocked. Finally a film verison of a TV show for the fans. A terrific ending to a 14 part Sci-Fi opera. Proof that a low budget with a good story can still make a great movie.
4. Grizzly Man- A deeply moving film. I have seen plently of so-so documentaries made with truly amazing subjects, but it has been a while where the filmmaking and documentary subject matter have been so evenly matched. Walking a razor's edge of taste, Director Werner Herzog delivers one of the finest movies of the last decade.
5. 40-year-old Virgin- I love that the audience is mostly laughing with rather than at the main character for most of the movie. Also the side characters are pure gold. I'll watch anything with Paul Rudd. See also Wet Hot American Summer.
6. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang- I had the most fun at the movies this year watching this film. KKBB was a truly hilarious surprise (and it didn't hurt to have seenit at the Parkway Picture Pub and Pizza with a beer in my hand). Writer/Director Shane Black's work has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me (Lethal Weapon, Long Kiss Goodnight) but it was great to see what he would do for a pet project. Most of his films have too big of a budget to try anything very risky. It felt like anything could happen in this film. Plenty of unexpected things did.
7. No Direction Home- Martin Scorsese's engrossing four hour doc on Bob Dylan was a real treat. I have always been a Dylan fan, but this movie was an really interesting investigation into the life and times the leader of the singer songwriter movement. As with Grizzly Man, not just an interesting subject matter, but a well made film.
8. Batman Begins- Sure the fight sequences are about as coherent as the second Bourne film, but for a property that has always had its share of big sceen fumbles, Batman Begins was pretty cool movie. Director Chris Nolan chooses to play it straight and focuses on building a character-driven film rather than a collection of action setpieces. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Tom Wilkinson, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson and Christian Bale totally commit to their roles and fill out the Batman universe quite effectively. The end battle leaves a bit to be desired (Whouldn't the fight on the train been much cooler if Batman had picked up a sword?), but such adventures have a hard time topping the first and second act. Becoming a superhero is more exciting than seeing the superhero do things (Matrix anyone?) More drama than action, This film thumbs it's nose to the recent trend of flashy overly dependent CGI multiplex popcorn pictures by placing the viewer in a believable tactle Gotham, complete with working Batmobile. If only the fight scenes were better shot and edited, it could have been a classic.
9. The Squid and the Whale- Bad parenting has never been so eloquently filmed. It's not a film for everyone, but I really admired the richness of the world and the well rounded characters. The tone reminded me a lot of Alexander Payne's work. Sad, relatable and deeply embarrasing. Also Ken Leung is brilliant here as a psychologist.
That's all for this year. Here's hoping for better in 2006.