In November 2009 staff of Paste Magazine came up with a list of the 50 best films of the decade. There’s no real surprises although Almost Famous never felt important enough to me to be placed the 3rd best film of the decade but it’s good to see Claire Denis’s exhilarating Foreign Legion drama Beau Travail in the top 10.
1. City of God
3. Almost Famous
4. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)
5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
6. Beau Travail (1999)
7. Lost in Translation (2003)
8. The Son
9. No Country for Old Men (2007)
10. The Royal Tenenbaums
11. The Dark Knight (2008)
12. There Will Be Blood (2007)
13. Mulholland Drive
14. Up (2009)
15. Juno (2007)
16. Half Nelson (2006)
17. Memento (2000)
18. Syndromes and a Century (2006)
19. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
20. Elephant (2003)
21. In the Loop (2009)
22. Dogville (2003)
24. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
25. Pan’s Labyrinth
26. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)
27. Hidden (2005)
28. A History of Violence (2005)
29. Man on Wire (2008)
30. Once (2007)
31. Gosford Park
33. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 (2003, 2004)
34. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
35. Junebug (2005)
36. Millions (2004)
37. Billy Elliot (2000)
38. Donnie Darko (2001)
39. Spirited Away
40. The Departed
41. The Child (2005)
42. The Last King of Scotland
43. In America (2002)
44. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
45. Whale Rider (2002)
46. Iraq in Fragments (2006)
47. Grizzly Man (2005)
48. Flight of the Red Balloon (Le voyage du ballon rouge) (2008)
In October 2010 The Guardian compiled a list of the 25 best action and war films ever made. Defining what makes something an action film is a troublesome thing. After all nearly all films have some sort of action in them. Does a film need gunfights and explosions in every other scene to be considered a real action movie? If so, then those following the adventures of Jason Bourne or starring the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal and Jason Statham should surely be on the list, but there not. In fact, some will argue that Die Hard is the only true action film among the 25 listed but The Guardian’s Michael Hann believes “the perfect action film should set the heart racing while still giving some food for thought” which is apparently why Where Eagles Dare is on the list! Ultimately whether or not these films would be classed as action movies, (particularly when you consider the low attention spans of many modern cinema-goers), they are all well worth a watch.
1) Apocalyse Now
2) North by Northwest
3) Once Upon a Time in the West
4) The Wild Bunch
6) City of God
7) Paths of Glory
8) Wages of Fear
9) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
10) The Thin Red Line
11) Raiders of the Lost Ark
14) Die Hard
15) The Adventures of Robin Hood
16) The Searchers
18) The Last of the Mohicans
19) Full Metal Jacket
20) The Deer Hunter
22) Rome, Open City
23) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
24) Where Eagles Dare
25) The Incredibles
Director: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund (co-director) Cinematographer: César Charlone
With a plot loosely based on real events, the film depicts the growth of the slum gangs in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio, with the closure of the film depicting the war between the drug dealer Li’l Zé and bus driver turned criminal Knockout Ned. With an authentically gritty feel, helped by the use of a mainly amateur cast from local favelas, and brilliant energised story telling, City of God is one of the most compelling studies of the irresistibility of criminality and violence for youths who have little in the way of life choices. While some critics denounced the visceral and shocking violence for being shot with entertainment in mind, it is never without purpose and few could argue that the film is not a remarkable technical achievement.
Buy or Rent (watch online)
City Of God /City Of Men – Double Feature [Blu-ray]
DVD + Digital
City of God: 10 Years Later (Buy or Rent, watch online)
USA Movie Poster (24″ x 36″ (61cm x 91.5cm)
20×24 Double Matted Black Ornate Framed Movie Poster Art Print
Charles, nicknamed Tio Sam (“Uncle Sam”) Charles Paraventi
Marina Cintra Graziella Moretto
Touro (“Bull”) Luiz Carlos Ribeiro Seixas
Cabeção (“Big Head”) Melonhead Maurício Marques
Lampião (“Lantern”) Thiago Martins
Marcos Junqueira Otávio
Directed by Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund (co-director) Produced by Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Mauricio Andrade Ramos Screenplay by Bráulio Mantovani, Based on ‘City of God’ by Paulo Lins Music by Antonio Pinto, Ed Côrtes Cinematography César Charlone Edited by Daniel Rezende Running time 130 minutes Country Brazil Language Portuguese
Director: Peter Jackson Cinematographer: Andrew Lesnie
Before he got too carried away with CGI, New Zealander Peter Jackson got the balance just right in the first of his epic fantasy trilogy set in Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The film tells of the Dark Lord Sauron, who is seeking the One Ring, but its found its way to the young hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). To defeat Sauron, Frodo must leave his simple life in the shire and join a quest with a fellowship that includes the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), his faithful friend Sam (Sean Astin) and the mysterious Strider (Viggo Mortenson). Remarkably well crafted and imagined, Jackson and his team create a visually rich mythical universe that’s on a scale that seemed impossible only a few years earlier. The film’s grandeur is enhanced by the sort of powerful emotional intensity and complex characterisation that is perhaps lost behind the ever growing story strands and huge effects in the follow up films.
Buy (watch online)
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring / The Two Towers / The Return of the King Extended Editions) [Blu-ray]
Two-Disc Widescreen Theatrical Edition (DVD)
Set of 6 Minature Sheets
The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings) (book)
The Complete Recordings (5LP 180 Gram Red Vinyl) (Limited Edition)
Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins: a young hobbit who inherits the One Ring from his uncle Bilbo.
Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey: an Istari wizard and mentor to Frodo.
Sean Astin as Samwise “Sam” Gamgee: a hobbit gardener and Frodo’s best friend.
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn II Elessar: a Dúnedain ranger, the descendant of Isildur, and heir to Gondor‘s throne.
Billy Boyd as Peregrin “Pippin” Took: a hobbit who travels with the Fellowship on their journey to Mordor.
Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck: a distant cousin of Frodo.
John Rhys-Davies as Gimli: a dwarf warrior who accompanies the Fellowship to Mordor after they set out from Rivendell and a descendant of Durin’s Folk.
Orlando Bloom as Legolas Greenleaf: a prince of the elves’ Woodland Realm and a skilled archer.
Sean Bean as Boromir: a prince of the Stewards of Gondor who journeys with the Fellowship towards Mordor.
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins: Frodo’s uncle who gives him the Ring after he decides to retire to Rivendell.
Liv Tyler as Arwen Undomiel: a beautiful half-elf princess of Rivendell and Aragorn’s lover.
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel: the elven co-ruler of Lothlórien alongside her husband Celeborn.
Christopher Lee as Saruman the White: the fallen head of the Istari Order who succumbs to Sauron’s will through his use of the palantír.
Hugo Weaving as Elrond: the elven Lord of Rivendell who leads the Council of Elrond, which ultimately decides to destroy the Ring.
Sala Baker as Sauron: the Dark Lord of Mordor and the Ring’s true master who manifests as an Eye after the destruction of his physical form.
Andy Serkis as Gollum voice and motion capture: a wretched hobbit-like creature whose mind was poisoned over centuries by the Ring.
David Weatherley as Barliman Butterbur, proprietor in Bree
Lawrence Makoare as Lurtz: the commander of Saruman’s Orc forces;
Marton Csokas as Celeborn: the elven co-ruler of Lothlórien alongside his wife Galadriel;
Craig Parker as Haldir: the leader of the Galadhrim warriors guarding the border of Lothlórien;
Mark Ferguson as Ereinion Gil-galad, the last Elven-King of Noldor;
Peter McKenzie as Elendil the Tall: the last High King of Arnor and Gondor;
Harry Sinclair as Isildur: Elendil’s son and Aragorn’s ancestor who originally defeated Sauron.
Peter Jackson as Albert Dreary: a man of Bree.
Directed by Peter Jackson Produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Tim Sanders Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson Music by Howard Shore Cinematography Andrew Lesnie Edited by John Gilbert Running time 178 minutes Country New Zealand, United States Language English
Chris Vognar is Culture Critic for The Dallas Morning News, where he was movie critic from 2006-2014. He was the 2009 Arts and Culture Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He has taught arts journalism at Southern Methodist University and film history at the University of Texas at Arlington. Below are his picks for the top 25 films of the decade 2000-2009.
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, directed by Michel Gondry)
Dana Shawn Stevens is a movie critic at Slate. She is also a regular guest on the magazine’s weekly cultural podcast, the Culture Gabfest. In December 2009 she came up with her best 11 films of the decade and also listed another 10 as runners-up. Both lists are in alphabetical order.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2008)
Fast Runner (Atanarjuat) (Zacharias Kunuk, 2002)
Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)
Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
L’Enfant (The Child) (Jean-Luc and Pierre Dardenne, 2005)
Before Sunset, Richard Linklater, 2004 Colossal Youth, Pedro Costa, 2006 The Gleaners and I, Agnès Varda, 2000 Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes, 2002 I Heart Huckabees, David O. Russell, 2004 Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro, 2007 Ratatouille, Brad Bird, 2007 Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright, 2004 The Triplets of Belleville, Sylvain Chomet, 2003 Time Out, Laurent Cantet, 2001
Lisa Schwarzbaum is an American film critic. She joined Entertainment Weekly as a film critic in the 1990s, and remained there until February 2013. She has been featured on CNN, co-host on Siskel & Ebert At the Movies as well as a cultural, theatre and television reviewer. Below is her list of the top 10 movies for the period of 2000-2009.
1. There Will Be Blood(2007), Paul Thomas Anderson.
2. Sideways (2004), Alexander Payne.
3. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Peter Jackson.
4. Yi Yi (2000), Edward Yang.
5. The New World (2005), Terrence Malick.
6. Zodiac (2007), David Fincher.
7. The Dark Knight (2008), Christopher Nolan.
8. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005), Cristi Puiu.
9. Moolaade (2005), Ousmane Sembene.
10. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005), Park Chan-wook.
Ann Hornaday is an American film critic. She has been film critic at The Washington Post since 2002 and is the author of Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies. In 2008, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. In December 2009 she published her top ten for the decade 2000-09 as well as her worst movie for the period. She includes two of the great masterpieces of the 21st century There Will Be Blood and The Lives of Others but appears to feel guilty about including Finding Nemo. While I wouldn’t name the animated tale of two fish (A male clown-fish and his forgetful friend) searching for the clown-fish’s son the greatest film of the noughties for me it’s much more than a guilty pleasure. I once despaired that the coming of computers would slowly remove the artistry from animation, but Finding Nemo provides the sort colourful and magical computer generated imagery that makes me gleefully rethink and leaves most young children happily fixated on the screen. Adding to the charm is the wonderful emotive music of Thomas Newman. As for Hornaday adding Clone Wars as worst film, I couldn’t agree more.
David Denby is an American journalist and has been a staff writer and film critic at The New Yorker since 1998. In December 2009, Denby listed what he considered to be the best films of the decade. His list reflects that he’s not particularly pleased with the direction that commercial cinema is going. He dismisses The Dark Knight as depressing (obviously a matter of personal taste rather than the film not working for what it is). He appears to consider the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a “standard blockbuster” while apparently Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a film “that’s quite different in tone and appearance” to such films. I’m a great admirer of Ang Lee’s martial arts fantasy but I don’t believe it has more artistic merit or emotional intensity than LOTRs or at least The Fellowship of the Ring. He feels there weren’t many masterpieces over the ten years but I can think of five that didn’t get a mention here – In the Mood For Love, City of God, No Country For Old Men, Spirited Away and Mulholland Drive. There is no suggestion that Denby’s picks are in any order and some are grouped together as a single entry to show the “emergence of a new sensibility.”
“The Diving Bell and The Butterfly” (Julian Schnabel, 2007)
“Cache (Hidden)” and “The White Ribbon” (Michael Haneke, 2005 and 2009)
“Knocked Up” and “Funny People” (Judd Apatow, 2007 and 2009)
“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” and “Wall-E” (Pixar, 2004, 2007, and 2008)
“Capturing the Friedmans” (Andrew Jarecki, 2003)
“Talk To Her” (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002)
Do the Movies Have a Future? (Hardcover)
Film 71/72: An Anthology By the National Society of Film Critics (Hardcover)
Film 72/73 : an Anthology by the National Society of Film Critics / Edited by David Denby (Hardcover)
Film 73/74 an Anthology By the National Society of Film Critics (Paperback)
Awake in the Dark: An Anthology of American Film Criticism, 1915 to the Present (Paperback)
The staff of Slant magazine compiled their 100 best films of the Aughts in February 2010. This does have some surprises. Brian De Palma’s much ridiculed sci-fi drama Mission to Mars is given a place on the list and there are plenty of polarising entries such as the disappointing Marie Antoinette, Michael Mann’s film version of Miami Vice and Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, which struggles to find the human face that is so evident in his work from the mid 70s into the 80s.
100 Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky)
99 Time Out (Laurent Cantet)
98 Cafe Lumiere (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
97 The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky)
96 Birth (Jonathan Glazer)
95 Little Otik (Otesanek) (Jan Svankmajer)
94 Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog)
93 House Of Flying Daggers (Zhang Yimou)
92 Forty Shades of Blue (Ira Sachs)
91 Intimacy (Patrice Chéreau)
90 Revanche (Götz Spielmann)
89 Gabrielle (Patrice Chéreau)
88 Late Marriage (Dover Kosashvili)
87 Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt)
86 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
85 Big Fish (Tim Burton)
84 Russian Ark (Aleksandr Sokurov)
83 Boarding Gate (Olivier Assayas)
82 Gosford Park (Robert Altman)
81 Wall-E (Andrew Stanton)
80 Mission To Mars (Brian De Palma)
79 A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen)
78 The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
77 The Intruder (Claire Denis)
76 Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón)
75 Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke)
74 Zodiac (David Fincher)
73 The Pledge (Sean Penn)
72 The House of Mirth (Terence Davies)
71 Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette)
70 Audition (Takashi Miike)
69 Last Days (Gus Van Sant)
68 The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel)
67 Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-liang)
66 Julia (Erick Zonca)
65 Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier)
64 Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola)
63 Memories of Murder (Bong Joon-ho)
62 Friday Night (Claire Denis)
61 Wolf Creek (Greg McLean)
60 The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola)
59 War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg)
58 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro)
57 La Commune (Paris, 1871) (Peter Watkins)
56 The Gleaners & I (Agnès Varda)
55 The Wind Will Carry Us (Abbas Kiarostami)
54 Into Great Silence (Philip Gröning)
53 Kings and Queen (Arnaud Desplechin)
52 A History of Violence (David Cronenberg)
51 Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh)
50 The White Diamond (Werner Herzog)
49 Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhang-ke)
48 In the City of Sylvia (José Luis Guerín)
47 Three Times (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
46 Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly)
45 Before Sunset (Richard Linklater)
44 Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis)
43 Far from Heaven (Todd Haynes)
42 Battle in Heaven (Carlos Reygadas)
41 No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen)
40 Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
39 Dogville (Lars von Trier)
38 Twentynine Palms (Bruno Dumont)
37 There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
36 What Time Is It There? (Tsai Ming-liang)
35 Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki)
34 Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)