Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Genre: Dark Comedy, Drama
This is Almodovar’s stab at serious drama, and the result is compelling, engaging, thought-provoking and in the end, an invitation to countless interpretations. Talk To Her is both unnerving and comforting at once with superb work in front of and behind the camera.
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Genre: Romance, Animation, Comedy
This will be a film that will not only stand the test of time but will be mentioned along side the words “Masterpiece“ in decades to come. Beautiful, energetic, intelligent, with touches of Kubrick, Charlie Chaplin and Phillip K. Dick. One of the greatest love stories brought to the screen in years.
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell
Writer/director John Cameron Mitchell follows up the cult classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch with another marvelous mix of very adult, very overt themes and images coupled with surprisingly sweet, compassionate scenes. Shortbus is an engaging viewing experience, provided you can stomach it. An extremely sexually explicit and highly entertaining film that reflects Mitchell’s determination to break social and cinematic taboos. The sex scenes are a testament to Mitchell’s fearless and uncompromising vision but putting aside the sexual provocations, Shortbus is simply Mitchell’s attempt to make a film that is both of and about his times through some very honest, forthright performances.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky’s stunning film is possibly the best anti-drug narrative ever to be committed to celluloid. The incredibly haunting score by Clint Mansell is among the best of the decade and the performances from all of its leads are undeniably remarkable and courageous. Ellen Burstyn`s performance is deeply disturbing and the physical changes she undergoes during the film are heart-rending and spot-on. Aronofsky’s innovative use of stylish camera work and quick editing works perfectly in portraying the effects of drug use and in closing this is an entertaining exploitation flick that could find its way to midnight screenings for future generations.
Co-directors Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan have brought Vkas Swarup’s original novel and Simon Beaufoy’s screenplay to the big screen in a vastly entertaining way. This rags-to-riches boy-meets-girl story has every opportunity to veer into a melodrama, yet the story is determined to be compelling and hopeful in even the worst situations. Boyle combines the gritty surrealism of Trainspotting, the issues of money and morality in Millions, and the stylized free range camerawork of 28 Days Later for an unforgettable experience.
Directed by Lars von Trier
Genre: Musical, Drama
The final installment in Lars von Trier’s Golden Heart trilogy (which includes Breaking The Waves and The Idiots) once again proves that von Trier is a talented risk-taker and one of the most ambitious directors working today. Nothing less than a groundbreaking art house reinvention of the musical genre that pushes the limits of modern film-making.
33- TIE: The Departed (2006) / Infernal Affairs (2002)
Genre: Crime, Drama
The Departed (a remake of Infernal Affairs) marked Martin Scorsese’s return to the top of his game. Scorsese who has always been one of the undisputed masters of the crime drama delivers a beautifully crafted, superbly written and brilliantly acted film which deserves mention alongside his most celebrated films.
In as many ways as Infernal Affairs is a better film than The Departed, the same can be said in reverse. Infernal Affairs hangs on the operatic confrontation of cop and villain that feels a little like the great De Niro-Pacino face-off in Michael in Heat. But for my money Infernal Affairs has the better ending of the two. Still I love Scorsese’s film just as much so it was tough to decide between the two so I opted to have them both share the 33rd spot on my list.
Directed by Ari Folman
Genre: War, Animation, Bio-pic
This investigative war documentary done as an animated feature is both deeply moving and utterly mesmerizing. Folman uses a combination of Flash animation, 3D, and classic animation to bring his film to visual life. Also worth mentioning is the beautifully haunting score by acclaimed German composer Max Richter that provides the film with its heart and soul.
Directed by Todd Haynes
Fans of old movies will recognize Far From Heaven as a modified remake of Douglas Sirk’s great 1955 drama All That Heaven Allows. In terms of style, visual approach, and general thematic content, Haynes has come as close as it’s possible to in re-creating a ’50s domestic melodrama for ’00s consumption. The end result is a close to perfect film with three leads that are extraordinary, especially a radiant Julianne Moore.
30- The Hours (2002)
Directed by Stephen Daldry
Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning novel by Michael Cunningham, The Hours employs Virginia Woolf’s classic novel and central character, Mrs. Dalloway, as its foundation and inspiration. A flawless structured narrative that is richly layered and deliberately paced dealing with difficult emotions and life decisions centered on award winning performances from the entire cast. It’s a film I like to call “women on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” Superb direction, exquisite acting, an inventive screenplay and mesmerizing music from Philip Glass’ score.
29- White Ribbon (2009)
Directed by Michael Haneke
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Drama
The White Ribbon is without a doubt Heneke`s best film: a tense, creepy, devastating insight into human nature and why ordinary people sometimes do some very bad things. The tightly-wound, fully-fleshed out whodunit chronicles the banality of evil and roots of violence in pre-WWI Germany. Thematically provocative, ideologically haunting, immaculately crafted in beautiful black-and-white photography and completely void of any soundtrack. The White Ribbon is a mystery without a clear answer and the sort of film people will be dissecting for years to come.
28- Man on Wire (2008)
Directed by James Marsh
Director James Marsh’s hypnotic movie documents French wire walker Philippe Petit’s unauthorized, 45-minute balancing act 110 stories above New York in August 1974. The only film of the decade to score a perfect 100 % rating on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, Man On Wire is unquestionably the best documentary to be released in the past ten years. The result is an immersive, emotionally gratifying character study that at times plays out like a heist film. Visually stunning. and made all the more stimulating by Michael Nyman’s electrifying score. Man On Wire demands repeat viewings.
27- Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)
Directed Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Genre: Comedy / Romance
Its color-drenched view of Paris and stylistic camera work is a visual treat. Like Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, Amelie uses odd camera angles, quick edits, and other tricks to keep the movie visually dynamic. But the most engaging aspect is the sparkling performance by Audrey Tautou in the lead role. A delightful screwball comedy and a complete change of pace for director Jeunet, whose previous films were cold, mechanical and lacking the heart and spirit found here.
26- Children of Men (2006)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Genre: Sci-Fi / Thriller
Children Of Men is an accomplished and entertaining thriller which explores the themes of hope and faith in the face of overwhelming futility and despair. Depending on your own point of view, the film will be seen as either terribly depressing or vaguely hopeful but regardless, this is an astounding piece of work with strong direction, an incredible screenplay and top notch cinematography by Emmanuel Luzbecki.
25- Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Directed by David Lynch
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
David Lynch delivers yet again with this brilliant, biting, hysterical, and haunting ode to Hollywood. A movie in which the pieces add up to much more than the whole and the solution to the mystery, once realized, is remarkably rewarding. Mulholland Dr. split audiences and critics into two vocal factions: those who think it’s challenging, surreal cinema, and those who consider it to be self-indulgent and pretentious.