movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

BEST FILMS OF 2005: 11 - 25

While I usually share my top 10 movies of the year, this year I found that there was a slew of really good films and I didn’t want to limit it to just ten. So, while I will post my top 10 in the next couple of days, here are 11 – 25 on my best of the year list for the year that was…


This is a very unique film that really captures the lives of nine different women. The script is subtle and never feels any less than real. The performances are great top to bottom with the standout being Robin Wright Penn. I wrote about the film back in October if you want to check out a full review.


My opinion of WALK THE LINE has not really changed since I saw it in Toronto… Good film with great performances. The main reason to check this one out is for Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.


I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. It is a really good film, but just not quite great. This is a different kind of war film. The first review that I wrote for this blog was for the rough cut of JARHEAD and that is still pretty much my feeling toward the film. Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) is a great director, but this stands out as his weakest film. That being said, this is a very good film and a great look at the mind of the modern marine in a different kind of war.


This movie breaks down for me like this… at 3 hours, it runs at least 30 minutes too long. The first half of KONG is really not a very good film. It is too long, clunky, amateurish in parts, and cheesy. The second half, however, is FANTASTIC. There is very little wrong with the last hour and a half of this movie. Kong is a great hero and will stand in the history of film as a landmark in visual effects. Peter Jackson was not trying to make an Oscar film to follow up LORD OF THE RINGS; he was just trying to make a fun, exciting, good time at the movies. He succeeded.


Woody Allen made a good movie again? It has been a while since that has happened, but Allen will stand as one of the great directors of all time, but this film is not like any of the others. I mean that in a very complimentary way. When a director is know for a certain type of film or a certain type of character like Allen is, when he can successfully mix it up and delivers a film so different, it is a very pleasant surprise. This is a dark film and a morally ambiguous one as well. It is a smart and clever script. This seems like a shot of adrenaline for Allen and I hope that this is the start of a new stage of his career.


I have many problems with CRASH, but regardless, this is a very good film. Much like NINE LIVES, CRASH has a strong script and is full of great performances. It is the directorial debut of MILLION DOLLAR BABY writer Paul Haggis. Haggis did a great job and is receiving accolades across the board with the film receiving nominations from pretty much everyone. Racial tension is not an easy subject o tackle and it is dealt with very well here. Performances to look for… the return of Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, and Terrence Howard.


The story is simple. This is the story of Adolf Hitler in the days before his suicide in a bunker in Berlin. It is a look at a mad genius, who was staring defeat in the face and how he dealt with it… a fascinating presentation of one of the most hated men in the history of the world. Bruno Ganz is brilliant as Hitler.


A mystery that answers none of the questions that it presents… must be an art film. Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher) delivers a methodic effective art house “thriller”. This movie is slow without question, but I was never once bored or looking at my watch. It is not about the mystery that is unfolding as much as it is about the people that it is effecting and why. This is a movie that will make you think after the credits roll, but be prepared to be a little frustrated.


Timothy Treadwell was a fascinating individual. He spends his life devoted to saving grizzly bears and lived with them during his summers. He drew attention to the bears and used his expertise to educate people on the animals. All of this came to an abrupt and tragic end when he was killed and eaten by one of the bears that he protected. The reason to see this movie is Treadwell. He has many issues and is truly one of the most interesting people that I have seen on screen. Herzog (the director) refrains from judging Treadwell and just presents him as a person. Since Treadwell often brought a video camera with him to document his journey with the bears, most of the film is told using his own words. This is a strange and haunting film and hands down the best documentary of the year.


Terrence Malick is a one of a kind filmmaker. This is his fourth film in about thirty years, but he is considered one of the greats. The story of this film is one that many know… that of the colonization of North America and the journey of Native American princess Pocahontas. The plot of the film only scratches the surface of what this film is really about. It is about people (Europeans and Native Americans), about love, about the need to discover, about happiness, contentment and nature. This is a beautiful film. Not for the average audience, but a strong and powerful film from a master filmmaker.


Thank you Christopher Nolan. Thank you for making a real movie and not a cartoon about a man dressing up as a bat to fight crime. There is a lot to this film beyond what everyone knows about Batman. BATMAN BEGINS is a great look at revenge and the nature of a vigilante. Christian Bale delivers a great performance as a man that is tortured by his past and finds a way to deal with the demons inside him. But… while there are deep, rich and complex characters… this movie also totally kicks ass. The action is great and the effects are some of the best of the year. Cillian Murphy is a standout as one of the villains. He is just the right amount of over the top to be the most entertaining part of the film. This movie is a great time. Hopefully future comic book films will take notes.


James Braddock was not a great boxer. That is not what this film is about. This is a film about the perseverance of mankind. James Braddock was a great man that would do anything for his family. An underdog story pure and simple, this is the movie that SEABISCUIT wanted to be and some were convinced that it was. Ron Howard follows up his disappointing THE MISSING with this great film… his best since APOLLO 13. Russell Crowe never ceases to impress me. He might be a huge jackass in real life, but there are not many actors with his skill and ambition. This is one of his finest performances. This film had a terrible release date and many people missed it. That is really too bad. If you were one of the ones that did, please check it out of DVD.


Everyone is talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman in this film and they should… he is unbelievable. For a complete review, check out the one that I wrote at the Toronto Film Festival. But I will say this… there is much more to this movie that one performance. This is a great film about one of the greatest writers of modern literature. A disturbing story about a complex man and what he went through to create his book IN COLD BLOOD.


When I initially reviewed this film a couple of months ago, I was pretty harsh. I recently revisited THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and you know what? This is a really good film. It is the story of a family that is breaking apart and the effect on the adults, but more so what it does to the children. Divorce is a difficult subject to capture and this film does it better than maybe any film that I have seen. No one in this movie is likeable, but that is okay. They are real. Jeff Daniels delivers the best performance of his career. He plays a pseudo-intellectual pompous prick whose son idolizes and emulates him. I encourage everyone to check this one out, especially if you have been involved with or suffered through a divorce. This movie is the “fillet of the neighborhood”.


Terrence Howard is amazing in this film. When I heard about HUSTLE AND FLOW (a pimp that wants to be a rapper and gets his hos to help him) I thought it was a joke. Then I saw the film and it is far from a joke. This is a great film. Well acted, well written and well directed, this film will take you and make you care about everyone involved and whether you like rap or not, you will also appreciate it. I am not what you would call a fan of rap, but I totally got into the music in this film. It makes you get it, where it comes from, why it is and what they are trying to say.

I will be posting my top ten movies of 2005 soon…


Blogger Cutshaw said...

Just had to comment on your photo selection for THE SQUID AND THE WHALE. Excellent pic for a critic re-reviewing a film.

7:19 AM  

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