Number 10. – Enchanted
The animated scenes were more appealing than the live-action part of the film. (Sigh) I miss traditionally drawn animation. As a film in it’s own standards, it was a decent animated to live-action flick that pokes fun on the Disney traditional princess that Feminists and critics have raved for years. Starting off predictable in it’s own fairytale world, “Enchanted” makes you believe that you about to enter a classic disney fable, whether you like it or not. It even seems that way when the characters enter our world, until the self-awareness and hilarity ensues. About halfway through this film is when I started to believe this was going to be a great film. “Enchanted is very well-written and the story (although predictable) is very charming and a blast to watch. As predictable as it is, it seems fresh in almost every way. I really really liked this film. Beautiful Disney movie about a girl called Giselle waiting for her prince. The characters cross from animation into reality. My fave scene is in the park when everyone starts singing and dancing together like at a Disneyland parade. Great cast and interesting storyline. It reminds me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit where toons and humans mix.
Number 9. – Into The Wild
Into the Wild is one of those movies that has so much heart at the core of its story. It’s a story of following a path that you choose for yourself and not the one that society tries to dictate for you. It’s the story of Christopher McCandless and a true one at that. The film is beautiful and just pure joy to watch. I love these type of movies where we follow an interesting man on a journey. The journey in this one is pretty epic too. It takes us from South Dakota to Arizona, from Mexico to Alaska. Along the way we meet hippies, a beautiful girl that falls for Chris, and an old man that learns to love Chris as his own grandchild. Into the Wild is a must see film and one of my personal favorites. I could watch this movie over and over again, and have as much passion for the story as I did the first time. This should definitely be on the list of films that you need to see before you die, because if you don’t, you’re certainly missing out on a full blown masterpiece.
Number 8. – The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne Supremacy is one of the most disappointing sequels of the 2000s, so I was expecting Bourne Ultimatum to not deliver the goods. Thankfully I was wrong. The Bourne Ultimatum focuses on Jason Bourne trying to piece together the mystery of his past and he’s being hunted down by the same organization that hired him. The movie is unbelievable intense. The pace is faster and the first scene of the movie just puts you directly into what’s going on. There’s almost no stop to whatever goes on in the movie. My main area of praise for the Bourne movies is how perfectly the action and non-action scenes are balanced out. There’s more action this time around, but I’m not complaining. The car chases are exciting and the fight scenes are nothing short of awesome. My favorite fight scene of the trilogy is in this movie and it’s when Bourne is fighting with Desh. You get to see the exhaustion, the frustration, the blood, the sweat, everything that makes the fight so realistic. It’s also a fight scene with a lot of tension. Desh absolutely pummels Bourne in the fight and it’s one of the best fight scenes since Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones is fighting the Nazi Hulk Hogan by the german plane. This review is going to be shorter than the other two because I feel like I’m constantly repeating myself when I praise these movies. There’s not a lot to say about them without being repetetive. The action is excellent, the acting’s great, the intrique is well executed, the dialogue is well written, the pace is fast and The Bourne Ultimatum is my favorite Bourne movie and one of my favorite action movies ever. I will see The Bourne Legacy tomorrow and I can only hope it lives up to the rest of the trilogy.
Number 7. – The Simpsons Movie
Some reason, The Simpsons just isn’t funny anymore. It’s perhaps because they weren’t edgy and too many writers have changed the characters to turn away many of its long time fans. The movie however was the series’ saving grace. This is, by far, the funniest movie I have ever seen. Funnier than Dumb & Dumber. Funnier than Bean. Funnier than anything I have ever seen. The Simpsons Movie is probably the first movie to have a laugh-out-loud funny joke pretty much every minute… I meant that LITERALLY. This is just as funny (if not, funnier) than the TV show (Which I do really like), and is just… funny. I’m finding it pretty hard to write this comment for the fact that the more I type, the more I remember from the movie… so I keep stopping to mentally laugh and embrace how well the creators did in making this movie. The story is also excellent. There are many references to popular culture items. Harry Potter, Spider-man, Green Day, and even Grand Theft Auto make there appearances, as well as many, many others. There are even some famous actors that make there display, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Hanks.
Number 6. – Zodiac
I understand it’s hard to love David Fincher’s “Zodiac”, a three hour procedural drama about one of the most notoriously unsolved murder sprees in American crime history; but it’s something that I found uncommonly compelling. Fincher’s film is all about atmosphere. He takes such care in crafting the time periods and presenting the accurate facts that there is always something to see, hear and feel. The theme of obsession is the string running all the characters and events together, proving to be the most powerful motive for murder or salvation. The film is wonderfully acted by Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo and the groundbreaking period digital photography is gorgeous. I think what people fail to notice with “Zodiac” is that this is not a serial killer film. This is a zeitgeist film about a time in American crime where everything was in flux and psychology was demanding a seat at the table. It was such an abstract concept for these cops at the time that denying it meant having this mystery stay unsolved forever. “Zodiac” is engaging and unique.
Number 5. – The Mist
The Mist is a great horror movie another another great adaption that Frank Darabont has done on a Stephen King story, but they are not as great as his previous adaptions. The story follows a group of people hiding in a supermarket from a mist that has something hiding in it that may be the end of the world. The plot of this film is about surviving, although we have seen that kind of movie before this is one of the few to get it right, it was cool seeing the different kinds of reactions to this experience and how some people have denial to what is going on, but most importantly of the fear that there is no hope, it has a variety of characters that each have their own personalities and it made the story even better, a very well done story and I enjoyed it. The cast is probably my biggest problem , its not that they were bad but the problem was that their really was no performance that touched me or made me grow to care for them which I have done in previous Darabont films, its not that I saw bad performances, just not very memorable ones. The special effects were pretty good, the monster effects were about as good as I expected and I enjoyed it. The Mist is a movie that people will enjoy, some people do not enjoy the supernatural survivor films like this and War of the Worlds, I do not always enjoy them either like the film The Happening which I hated. But overall it was a film that many people will enjoy and some will hate, as for me i enjoyed it but it just did not live up to the genius of past Darabont films.
Number 4. – No Country For Old Men
The Coen Brothers were set out to make one of the most realistic movie experiences on the big screen. That means no music, no CGI effects, no over acting, and no over the top scenes. So how on Earth is this film going to be good? Most thrillers maybe entertaining but ‘No Country For Old Men’ invites its audiences right into the story, creating an incredibly tense, clever piece topped with black humour on the side. But every component of the film is mastered to a particular thriller style, in a very Coen way. The normalities of any Coen piece are there, with the memorable storyline, complicated twists and turns and well above average cinematography. However the enticing poetic nature of the film is what makes it stand above the rest and pull you ever deeper into the character’s lives, both normal and abnormal. The Coen’s brother collection of films make it hard to point definitely to just one as their unchallenged masterpiece, but in the ranks of their greatest films, as well as some of the finest cinema to come out of America in years, ‘No Country For Old Men’ ranks at the top.
Number 3. – Hot Fuzz
If Shaun of the Dead satires Zombie-horror flicks, Hot Fuzz satires Buddy-cop action flicks. Unlike other satire films that parodies other films, Hot Fuzz loves the films that it’s mocking and I admire everyone who worked on this film for that. Throughout the entire film, Hot Fuzz is filled with really ingenious humor that does indeed references action-flicks and as well uses its own humor. Whatever happens in the film, it will bring that situation back with a great punchline after another. Unlike other spoof/parody films, this film puts a lot of effort of creating its own story and yet not missing its criteria of mocking the buddy cop movies. Sgt. Nicholas Angel is station to the town of Stanford due to the fact that he’s so good as a cop that he’s making the police force in London look bad. Ridding him was an excuse to make him not look so great, but as he makes it to Stanford, Angel notices a lot going wrong with the town. The police force in Stanford are all lazy and dimwitted, hardly anyone is obeying the law, and a mysterious serial killer is making numerous of murders and made it look like it’s an accident. Nicolas Angel is the only policeman that takes his job more seriously than every one else in the force only to be teamed up with Sgt. Danny Butterman who’s obsessed with action flicks. While both of these characters are getting used to each other, they’re in a serious case on the mysterious killer murdering citizens of Sandford. The build up is great because it is all preparing the audience for a huge punchline as well as great surprises that no one could expect. All the way to the end of the film it leads off with some of the coolest action scenes in film history but never forgets about the gags on Bad Boys II and Point Break. It’s funny that Angel didn’t have any time for Danny’s interests in action films but suddenly it turns into one. So following the story for once in a comedy felt like it’s a fantastic story uncovering the secret of Sanford and as well brings out some of the best jokes I’ve ever seen in film. Hot Fuzz really is a rare occurrence to see such a great comedy film that isn’t afraid to spare any expense with its comedy and writing and all the effort that was put on this film deserves to be remembered at the best of the 2000’s.
Number 2. – There Will Be Blood
God, what a heavy film. It’s a disturbing and weird and fascinating character study that is just out there, but extremely compelling. Even though this is a brilliant masterpiece, parts of it feel a tad forced and hollow, but that’s only a minor issue since the point of the film is characters and themes. It’s a character study about greed, ambition, family, ruthlessness, and insanity. This is more art than anything. As for the plot, well, it’s kinda hard to nail down exactly, but, in broad strokes, it’s about a ruthless oil prospector, and the clashes he has with a local preacher as he strives to strike it rich in California during the early days of the oil industry (late 1890s-late 1920s). Day-Lewis’s performance enters the history books after the first half hour. After the conclusion, the film follows suit. The camerawork here is thematically driven and hypnotic in a way that evokes Kubrick or Coppola. Any minor flaws in the script are dwarfed by haunting and grand beauty and physical craftsmanship, poignant exploration of timeless themes, and Day-Lewis’s mammoth performance. Relentless, strange, and sad, Anderson’s opus depicts human nature in all its contradictions, while also showing an America that, even a century later, has not changed how it operates.
Number 1. – Persepolis
Throughout the 1990’s we American depict people from the Middle East as terrorist and dangerous people, then in 2000’s, we fear them because of the event in 9/11. We Americans are easily judgmental and lack the view-point of understanding one’s culture while we all only focus our own. I’m pretty sure that there have been a lot of films & books that tried to convince the world that people from the Middle East are civilized as to any other country, but they never got a world wide attention. That is until two graphic novels was released in France in 2000 by author/artist, Marjane Satrapi who showed the world her own life in Iran and it was very different than what we were told by the media. Then seven years later, she finally made her own masterpiece into the big screen that easily showed the world of cinema what her life in Iran is like and how did it feel like being a fugitive carrying the nationality. Out of all the ways you can display the truth to the world, she made it into an animated film and from beginning to end, it was a wonderful & also a harsh experience. This is a black and white animated film that captures the feel that you read in graphic novels and even better is that Persepolis as a film took that perfect opportunity of telling Marjane’s life in a subtle manner. This was a very well crafted coming of age story where it started Marjane’s life as a child who grew up in the Iranian Revolution in the late 70’s to where she is at today. Marjane Satrapi took all the things she remembered the most in her life and displayed them all in the film. In her childhood she faced the issue of her uncle’s loss in the revolution, Iran politics, and religion. In her teen hood, she faced the issue with women’s rights, lack of freedom, education, and to flee from Iran. Then in her young adulthood, she’s faced the issue of cultural differences, flawed love life, and even trying to fit in the social life. All of these were chapters of her life and I loved that this film was very entertaining, rather than depressing or pretentious, throughout the film. The way Marjane Satrapi portrayed her life in Persepolis was not only just events that happened to her, but also she makes references to show us what her life was like back in the time. She was a fan of pop, metal, and alternative music, celebrity stars she and everyone else were into, and historic events that pops out of on the course of the film. I couldn’t believe how effective these pop cultural & historic references were whenever they show up to not only amuse the audience but also remind them that this once existed. Marjane didn’t force you to feel sorry for her, but instead she wanted the audience to connect with her as a person and at times as a realistic cartoon character whenever she makes a funny scene. But most of all, this is a film that offered me something special that I don’t see any other film that does it this well, and in a matter of fact, this is a film that I don’t see any other film that could possibly execute as well as Persepolis. I learned so much from this film and this is the very film that showed how special life really is.