Tuesday, July 07, 2015

150 Favorite Films from 2000-2015 Pt. 2 (That isn't Lost in Translation)

This second part of the 150 Favorite Films from 2000-2015 (that isn’t Lost in Translation) will be from 120 to 91.

120. Red Road

Andrea Arnold’s feature-film debut after a period of acclaimed shorts was in the form of a project that is based on rules that Arnold had to use. The result would be a fascinating portrait of a woman coping with the loss of her family as she learns the man who robbed her of that family has been released from prison. It’s a film that sort of plays into the idea of vengeance but also one that showcases some of its fallacies as Arnold studies a woman’s attempt for vengeance as it features a haunting performance from Kate Dickie.

119. Tom at the Farm

Among the crop of young filmmakers to emerge in the late 2000s, there is no one that has brought more excitement than Canada’s Xavier Dolan. For his third film, Dolan would adapt Michel Marc Bouchard’s play about a young man who travels to the Quebecois countryside to attend the funeral of his late boyfriend unaware that the family knows that he’s gay. A film that doesn’t play by the conventions of a suspense-drama, it is a film that showcases Dolan not just being the daring experimentalist. It is a film that showcases a young filmmaker willing to get his hands dirty in playing the idea of thriller that explores a man being put into a strange situation.

118. The Pianist

Roman Polanski would score one of his greatest triumphs in a film that was very personal to him in this story about pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman who would survive Nazi’s occupation of Poland during World War II. Featuring a break-out performance from Adrien Brody, the film is an exploration of survival and of the human spirit as it is unlike most films based on the Holocaust. Especially as Polanski, a Holocaust survivor himself, would create something that is visually-thrilling but also intense in terms of the things Szpilman would endure during his time living in the ghettos in Warsaw.

117. Amores Perros

The first of a trio of films that explored the idea of death, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu would bring in a form of storytelling that owed to the ideas of the French New Wave and set into Mexico. With the aid of screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, Inarritu would create three different stories set in Mexico City that explored disparate class structures, illegal dog-fights, vanity, and revenge all in the matter of a few days in Mexico City. This film would help bring visibility to Mexico as a major force in international cinema while introducing the world to one of its finest young actors in Gael Garcia Bernal.

116. Little Miss Sunshine

Family films are often bogged down with the ability to be clean-cut and with some kind of stupid and hokey message. This is a family film that not only breaks those rules by not being afraid to say some profanity every once in a while but it’s also a film that manages to be very accessible. It’s a little road film comedy about a dysfunctional family driving from Albuquerque to California so that their young little girl can be in a beauty pageant. What would happen is one wild ride where it’s climax is something that I’m sure no one in the pageant was ready for. “What is your daughter doing?” “She’s kicking ass, that’s what she’s doing”.

115. L'Enfant

There is no filmmaking sibling that is probably more exciting and more consistent than Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne as their 2005 Palme d’Or-award winning film not only showcased the sense of a real world that is tumultuous. It is also a film that plays into the severity of a real world that forces a young couple to give their child away to the black markets as a mean of survival. A decision that would prove to be consequential in what this young couple does forcing a young man to try and redeem himself only to embark into a world that is far more unforgiving.

114. Elephant

113. Gerry

112. Last Days

Following a period of mainstream success and failures in the late 1990s and in the early 2000s, Gus Van Sant would return to the world of art films in creating what is undoubtedly one of the finest trilogies ever created in cinema. In a collaboration with the late cinematographer Harris Savides and sound designer Leslie Shatz, Van Sant would make a trio of films all based on real-life events relating to death. Gerry explored two men who go hiking on a desert only to get lost as they cope with their surroundings while Elephant is about a day where a school shooting happens that would change the lives of everyone. In Last Days, Van Sant would create a dramatic interpretation into the final days of a rock star succumbing to depression and despair. These trio films that Van Sant made in the span of three years are among some of the most compelling and evocative portraits of death.

111. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Mortality was a popular subject in the world of cinema during the 2000s and 2010s yet Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2010 film would be an exploration into a man’s final days with his family as he recalls aspects of his own life. Told in a surreal yet minimalist tone, it’s a film that subverts everything that is expected in conventional cinema as it also an element of spirituality that is rarely conveyed in films. Especially as it’s approach to existentialism is a film that ravishes the soul into the idea of mortality and the afterlife.

110. Far from Heaven

Todd Haynes’ homage to the films of Douglas Sirk and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the film would feature one of Julianne Moore’s finest performances as a 1950s housewife whose life is changed when she learns her husband is gay. At the same time, she falls for a kind African-American gardener while facing alienation and despair as Haynes’ great attention to detail in the visuals and his restrained approach to melodrama would unveil one of the finest films of the 21st Century.

109. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, & 2 Days

For anyone that wondered what is the Romanian New Wave should seek this film as a prime example of Romania’s contribution to international cinema in the 21st Century. Set during the era of Communism, Cristian Mungiu would explore the world of illegal abortions during that time where two college roommates go to a hotel to arrange one where things go wrong. Filled with an element of suspense and drama, it’s also a film that plays into a period of time where women didn’t have a voice as it would mark the sense of rebellion that would emerge in Romania’s final days of Communism.

108. Killer Joe

One of the key figures of the New Hollywood movement of the 1970s, William Friedkin would unleash a film that didn’t just live up to those glory days. It’s a film that is horror at its most purest where Friedkin and writer Tracy Letts adapt Letts’ seedy play of greed into a family drama where a young man asks a hitman to kill his mother for insurance money with his sister as the hitman’s retainer. The film would feature Matthew McConaughey at his most scary and intimidating that would start a career renaissance for the actor that would include one of the most horrifying uses of a piece of fried chicken that no one will forget.

107. The Skin I Live In

While it is an adaptation of Thierry Jonquet’s novel Tarantula, Pedro Almodovar’s film owes more to Georges Franju’s 1960 horror film Eyes Without a Face in this warped telling of a doctor trying to create the perfect skin by using a woman as his subject. The film marks a reunion between Almodovar and Antonio Banderas following a 21-year break where the two explore the world of obsession and death as Banderas’ character is the epitome of obsession as it relates to loss. Most notably as the film features one of the most fucked-up twists ever that gives the film an edge that Almodovar hadn’t had since his early years as a filmmaker.

106. Donnie Darko

A guy named Frank in a bunny suit, a plane engine falling down on a kid’s room, a group of young dancers named Sparkle Lounge, and time travel. What kind of fucking film is this? Richard Kelly’s 2001 cult film was definitely something of its own as it refused to play by the rules while it would serve as a breakthrough for not just its leading star Jake Gyllenhaal. It would be a film that would showcase new ideas of surrealism while giving actors such as Patrick Swayze, Mary McDonnell, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle, and Beth Grant some career-defining roles in a film that still baffles audiences since its release.

105. The Lives of Others

One of the finest debut films from any filmmaker, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film about an East German surveillance man who spies on a playwright and his wife is among one of the most intriguing films of the 2000s. Featuring Ulrich Muhe in one of his final performances in the leading role of Hauptmann Gerd Weisler, the film is an examination into the world of East Germany during the 1980s where a man whose job is to spy on others finds himself questioning his own methods and the people he works for. Most notably as he would try to do what is right for an artist whose life is threatened by the Stasi.

104. Thirst

Being a vampire sucked during the 2000s thanks to the fucking Twilight franchises and fucking True Blood where everyone acts like a bunch of whiny little bitches. Chan-wook Park would not only bring the bite back to the vampire but also make everyone realize that vampires are supposed to be badasses. The film would revolve around a Catholic priest who becomes one through a weird experiment as he would take in a woman he loves who would be a far more crazed vampire. Filled with dazzling images and some dark humor, Park would not only find new life in the lore of vampires but also give them back their sense of bite.

103. Silent Light

Carlos Reygadas’ third film is a study of a man dealing with not just faith but also in a love affair that is going nowhere. Set in the Mennonite colony in the middle of Mexico, the film is an exploration into a culture that not many people know about as well as a man’s struggle with his place in the world. Taking on the tradition of Robert Bresson in using non-professional actors, Reygadas finds a naturalistic yet evocative take on the struggles of adultery and faith as it is a tremendous breakthrough for the Mexican director.

102. Shaun of the Dead

The first in a trio of genre-spoofing films, Edgar Wright would take on the zombie genre and taking a piss on it as it wouldn’t just be a breakthrough for the British filmmaker but also for his stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. A film that isn’t afraid to be silly nor crossing the line between profane and stupidity, it’s a comedy that also features elements of human drama and antics into how to survive a zombie invasion. Even if it means pretending to be one and asking why in the fucking hell is Queen still playing?

101. Inception

Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film is probably his most entertaining and thought-provoking film to date as it plays into a group of people trying to get into the mind of a person in the hopes that he would make a decision about his own future. Featuring an ensemble cast many would die for in Leonardo diCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, and Michael Caine. The film is a mind-bender that isn’t just visually-exhilarating but also has a gripping story that engages the audience plus a sense of humor that knows it’s not taking itself too seriously.

100. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s lavish yet whimsical period film about a hotel concierge and his protégé trying to find a painting as hilarity ensues. Notably as it’s one of Anderson’s most complex films in terms of its narrative where it is set in three different periods of time where much of it is set in 1930s Europe. Featuring a great performance from Ralph Fiennes as the concierge Gustav, the film has a sprawling ensemble cast that features a who’s who of great actors and actresses plus some silly moments and sad ones that makes this one of the finest films of the past five years.

99. The Host

Monster movies often had a simple concept that could work or couldn’t work but what Bong Joon-ho does is add a different subtext in which a father, his siblings, and their father try to save his daughter who has been captured by the monster. It’s a film that is really more about a family coming together to save someone as well as try to find redemption for their own personal failures while it also deals with elements of American foreign policy and how they end up being the ones responsible for these kind of things. Yet, it is a film that puts a lot into the story and the characters in order to root for them to stop this mysterious monster.

98. 2046

A sequel of sorts to In the Mood for Love would be not just another exploration into love and longing for Wong Kar-Wai but it’s also a film that explored the idea of loss. Set in the late 1960s and in the year 2046, the film is a colorful yet exotic tale of Tony Leung Chui-Wai’s Chow character who endures a series of love affairs while writing stories about love and its fallacies. A film that features a very complex narrative that plays into Kar-Wai’s unconventional approach to storytelling. It is a film that plays into a man trying to feel something again following the sense of loss and heartbreak he would endure.

97. Rust and Bone

Jacques Audiard’s tale of tragedy that would connect two different people who don’t know each other isn’t just one of the most fascinating dramas of the 2010s. Featuring a breakthrough performance from Matthias Schoenaerts as a man trying to make money for his son despite his own sense of neglect towards him. The film would feature one of the most towering performances of the 21st Century in Marion Cotillard as a killer whale trainer who loses her legs in a freak accident as it is one of the most raw and exhilarating performances ever. What Audiard would create is a tale of the human connection of the purest kind no matter how grim the situations these two people are in as they would prove how much they need each other in these events in life.

96. Grindhouse

Though it was not seen by many when it was released in theaters in 2007, for those that saw the film didn’t just see a rare event in cinema but also a celebration of the Grindhouse film genre. Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez created a cinematic event that made no bones to the fact that what it wants to be. Rodriguez’s Planet Terror was a no-holds barred zombie film with a mix of Texan seediness while Tarantino’s Death Proof was a homage to the car films of the 1970s where Kurt Russell killed women with his car. Add a few fucked up trailers from Eli Roth, Edgar Wright, and Rob Zombie, a cinematic event was made and certainly one of the finest ever created.

95. Step Brothers

There are comedies in the world of cinema that will toe the line between what is funny and what is profane. This is a film that manages to go beyond that as its sense of anarchy is what makes it so riveting to watch. Probably because of its chaotic tone was the reason why audiences didn’t gravitate towards it immediately but Adam McKay’s own sense of uncompromising humor manages to become a cult film that people will see for years. Plus, the idea of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as stepbrothers whose sole mission in life is to fuck shit up is a win-win. Add a lot of profanity, a smug Adam Scott and his shitty kids you want to fucking hit so bad, boats-and-hoes, the fucking Catalina wine mixer, 80s Billy Joel doo-wop sucks, and Kathryn Hahn raping John C. Reilly in a men’s bathroom and peeing into a toilet stall while standing up. How can anyone not want to fucking see this?

94. 21 Grams

The second part of Inarritu’s Death Trilogy is another grim tale of tragedy and the power of human connection yet it also Inarritu’s most eerie film to date. Featuring a trio of sprawling performances from Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benicio del Toro, it is a film that explores the idea of chance and redemption as well as loss and the idea of revenge. Even as these characters endure some of the most horrific moments of their lives where they come together to either confront each other or themselves in a film that explores exactly how strange the world works.

93. The Act of Killing

Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary about the Indonesian death squad that killed millions of people in the 1960s is probably one of the most unsettling yet enchanting documentary films of the 21st Century. Yet, it is also one of the most visually-entrancing films ever created where Oppenheimer, Christine Cyn, and an anonymous filmmaker meet these men as they recreate their approach to killing people as well as bring insight into their line of work. Some of which involves fascinating tales from those who are haunted by their actions while others are involved in things that are just as disturbing.

92. Snowpiercer

Bong Joon-ho’s first English-language film was very ambitious for anyone who doesn’t speak the language but for anyone who knows Joon-ho’s work know what to expect and this film doesn’t just deliver but it manages to be something more. Set in a dystopian ice age where the rich and powerful are living in lavish box cars in trains while the poor take in the rear, it is a film that explores class structure and what people are willing to do in order to survive. Even as they risk surviving what is out there in the ice age or what is inside this train as it features some chilling performances from Chris Evans, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Song Kang-ho, and Go Ah-sung. It is a film that doesn’t just carry the elements of a blockbuster film but it is one with brains and with a premise that is just eerie to watch.

91. New York Doll

Films based on the idea of faith often get bogged down by heavy-handed ideas or anything that turns out to be a bunch of bullshit. Greg Whiteley’s documentary on the late Arthur “Killer” Kane of the New York Dolls is probably one of the most fulfilling and inspiring stories of faith. Having been part of one of the most seminal proto-punk bands ever only to fall into a series of bad luck involving a suicide attempt, drug and alcohol abuse, and resentment. Kane would find salvation as a member of the Latter-day Saint where he would ask God to have one more chance to play with the surviving members of the New York Dolls. What would happen is unbelievable as God and Morrissey would answer that call and Kane would get one chance to play in the Dolls for one last time. If that isn’t an inspirational story, then what is?

Pt. 1 - Pt. 3 - Pt. 4 - Pt. 5

© thevoid99 2015


Chris said...

Good mix of different genres! I'm not familiar with The New York Dolls, you make them sound interesting.
4 Months, 3 Weeks, & 2 Days is powerful, and not easily forgotten.
For me, The Act of Killing is one of the most important films since 2000, innovative filmmaking, and illuminating a piece of history that many were not aware of.
Look forward to part 3!

Brittani Burnham said...

Yes Step Brothers! lol. I love that gif you chose for Little Miss Sunshine too. There's some excellent films here. I love that you went with some Gus Van Sant. I love his movies.

Anonymous said...

EEK!!! Round two! So happy with these. Once again, I'll rank:

Far From Heaven
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Rust + Bone
The Lives of Others
Donnie Darko
Amores Perros

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Pianist
Tom at the Farm
21 Grams
Shaun of the Dead
Step Brothers
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Killer Joe
The Skin I Live In

The Host
Little Miss Sunshine
The Act of Killing

Red Road
Last Days
Silent Light
Grind House
New York Doll

msmariah said...

Very nice list. A lot of international films. Some of which I have not heard of. It's always fun to discover a new wonderful film.

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-You need to listen to some New York Dolls. Without them, the Stooges, and the MC5, punk rock would never exist. Just get the first 2 albums and that is it. There's some good stuff they did recently but to me, it's an entirely different band.

@Brittani-Even though I think of Gus Van Sant's Death Trilogy as 3 different films, I felt that they should be linked together since it is one of the finest trilogies of the 2000s.

@Fisti-See the films that you haven't seen. NOW!!!

@msmariah-Well, that is part of the fun about the list. A chance to see films most people wouldn't see. Plus, I like to mix things up with something accessible with something weird.

Dell said...

Lots of great titles, here. A number of these I expected to see nearer to the top of the list so I'm real curious about what you have cooked up for us.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell Ottley-Well, we're nearly half way. I'm sure there's some more surprises you would expect.

TheVern said...

Only you would put Step Brothers next to 21 Grams. My mom,dad and sister watched Little Miss Sunshine and we loved it. Grindhouse was such a good movie in theaters I saw it 3 times there. The Skin I live in is extremely dark and unsettling, and that ending did make me shed a few tears too. Great list

thevoid99 said...

@TheVern-Well, I had to keep things interesting as Step Brothers is something I just fucking love as it is quotable. Little Miss Sunshine is a film my mother loves and my late grandmother loved. It has a special place in my heart so it deserves to be on the list.