Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top 25 Favorite Films of the Decade: 2000-2009 - Part 1, 25-21

This past decade has been awesome for movies with tons of really good big adventure films like Spider-Man, Batman, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. It also featured great genre films, highlighted by the emergence of wonderful new auteur directors and fantastic new stars. Here is the list of my personal favorite twenty-five films from the decade (not necessarily the best films critically speaking, just my favorites):

25-21; 20-16; 15-11; 10-6; 5-1

Rank: 25
Director: J.J. Abrams
Release Year: 2005
Genre: Action
Summary: The film finds Ethan Hunt in semiretirement. However, when an agent he trained goes missing, he puts together a team to find her, pitting him face to face with a dangerous arms dealer that will do anything to get the Rabbit’s Foot (a secret weapon), including putting Ethan’s girlfriend in danger.
Why It Made the List: Abrams has made probably the best pure action film of the decade with MI III. The narrative structure is tight and the film constantly moves forward with no dull or slow moments. The action set pieces are all very entertaining. However, what sets this film apart is that even though it moves briskly Abrams still infuses it with wonderful characters and character moments – this is also thanks to a fantastic cast. Abrams essentially took a franchise that was dead (after an awful Part 2) and made it cool and exciting again.
Watch the Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming and to Rent

Rank: 24
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Release Year: 2008
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Summary: The film is about Peter, a man totally satisfied with his life and girlfriend, (TV star) Sarah. However, Sarah has other plans and leaves him for international rocker Aldous Snow. Devastated, Peter decides to take a vacation to Hawaii to help him deal with his anguish, but in one of life’s cruel jokes Sarah and Aldous happen to be staying at the same resort.
Why It Made the List: This is the best rom-com of the decade (and one that appeals to both sexes). Jason Segel has always been funny, but this film (which he wrote, based somewhat of personal experience) took him to a new level, putting him atop the new generation of film-comedians. Every time I watch the film, it gets funnier and I like it more. It is within the Judd Apatow stable of films (and thus features a number of his stars like Paul Rudd, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in addition to those listed above), combining R-rated material with heartfelt emotion. Segel’s jokes are really good, but it is his characters and quirky sensibilities (like the Dracula puppet opera) that make this film so endearing.
Watch the Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming and to Rent

Rank: 23
Director: David Yates
Release Year: 2009
Genre: Adventure Fantasy
Summary: Year six at Hogwarts finds Harry and the gang in trying times. Harry endeavors with the help of Dumbledore to learn more about The Dark Lord’s past, while Draco has been tasked with a mission by none other than Voldemort. Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione deal with the angst of teenage school life (and the knowledge that it is only a matter of time until Voldemort strikes at them).
Why It Made the List: Aesthetically, this film is amazingly well done (probably second only to The Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2 in the series) thanks to phenomenal work from composer Nicholas Hooper, cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel and production designer Stuart Craig. The narrative structure that Yates creates for the film is also brilliant, as he builds a mystery with a sense of continuous dread and sadness and yet also is able to include a fun romantic comedy aspect to the film, which lightens the mood that is otherwise very bleak. Yates also gives the trio great character moments as well as Ginny and Draco.
Watch the Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming and to Rent

Rank: 22
Director: Wes Anderson
Release Year: 2007
Genre: Dramedy
Summary: The film is the story of three American brothers who have not spoken in some time. In an effort to reconnect, they take a train across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other (to become brothers again like they use to be).
Why It Made the List: Wes Anderson (my personal favorite working auteur filmmaker) has such a fun unique and quirky style that his films feel different, the camera and staging almost work as a separate character. This film is my favorite of his during the decade (though I loved all four of his films released between 2000-2009) because while it is just a funny and emotionally engaging as his others, his style and these characters find him at the top of his talent. I love the prologue with Bill Murray, the rescue scene of the boys in the river and all the blocking and camera movement in the train (he just works so well with D.P. Bob Yeoman).
Watch the Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming and to Rent

Rank: 21
Director: Mary Harron
Release Year: 2000
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Black Comedy
Summary: The film is about Patrick Bateman, a successful and wealthy New York City investment banking executive. He is losing his grip on reality, as he tries to hide his psychopathic and even homicidal alter ego that begets grander and grander gratuitous fantasies (or are they).
Why It Made the List: This film introduced the cinema world to two great talents: Christian Bale (though he had been very good in his previous roles, this was his breakout film that showcased his talent as probably one of the top five leading men today) and Mary Harron (who was compared to Martin Scorsese stylistically, but has not yet crafted a film nearly quite as good as this). Stylistically, American Psycho is something to behold. It aesthetically feels like a psychological thriller but the scenes and dialogue are often hilarious (in a very dark way). It is a very unique film in that it is utterly absurd at times and yet everything works very well together crafting what is really a character piece on this very troubled man who lives in the excesses of the 1980s.
Watch the Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming and to Rent

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