Monday, July 13, 2015
150 Favorite Films from 2000-2015 Pt. 3 (That isn't Lost in Translation)
For the third part in this list of the 150 Favorite Films of 2000-2015 (that isn’t Lost in Translation), we focus on parts 90-61.
90. In the House
Francois Ozon’s adaptation Juan Mayorga’s play The Boy in the Last Row isn’t just a compelling study of reality vs. fiction but also a film where a literature teacher finds intrigue in the writings one of his young students. The film isn’t just Ozon’s most accomplished film to date in terms of its vast visuals but also in its provocative take in what is real and what is fantasy where Fabrice Luchini is given a career-defining performance while Ernst Umhauer is given a breakthrough role as the student. Most notably as it features one of the greatest endings in film that plays into the idea of inspiration in the world of art.
89. The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan’s reinvention of the Batman film series that began in 2005 with Batman Begins and concluded with 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises didn’t just raise the bar of what superhero films could be. It also proved that it wasn’t afraid to get its hands dirty as the second film in that trilogy isn’t just the crowning jewel of that series but also a keen study into nihilism and the need for hope in these dark times. While the film features a lot of amazing action sequences and a hell of an ensemble cast. It is the performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker that doesn’t just create a villain that is very dangerous but one that manages to push the buttons into what is sick and what is funny as he raises the bar of what a villain could be.
88. Punch-Drunk Love
Following two back-to-back long and intricate features in the late 1990s, Paul Thomas Anderson took a break to make something no one expected in the form of an offbeat yet visually-entrancing romantic comedy. Starring Adam Sandler in a rare dramatic performance of sorts that defied expectations. It’s a film that plays into the idea of love where an emotionally-tormented man finds his soul mate and does whatever he can to win her over as it is one of Anderson’s most touching and evocative films of his career.
87. Two Days, One Night
Having worked with mostly non-professional actors in their films, the Dardenne Brothers take a big gamble in not just getting one of the finest actresses ever in Marion Cotillard to be in their film. It is also in the fact that she is starring in a film that is anything but different from what the Dardenne Brothers have done as it is an exploration of a woman trying to convince co-workers to forgo their bonuses so she can go back to work. It’s a film that follows a woman trying desperately to work again as she is recovering from depression where Cotillard gives a performance that is just nothing short of masterful while the Dardenne Brothers would also refine their craft proving themselves to be one of the most consistent filmmakers working today.
Though it was presented in a shortened version to a limited theatrical audience, the five-and-a-half hour mini-series version of Olivier Assayas’ rise-and-fall bio-pic on the terrorist known as Carlos is a daunting feat of a film. Featuring Edgar Ramirez in a riveting performance as the titular character, the film plays into a man wanting to do something in a world that is very corrupt while finding meaning for his role as a terrorist. It’s a film that is presented in an unconventional manner along with a post-punk inspired soundtrack that definitely goes against the rules of what is used in the world of film.
85. The Darjeeling Limited
Following the disappointing reaction of his fourth feature film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Wes Anderson would scale things back for a project that wouldn’t just be inspired by the films of Satyajit Ray but also a road trip where three estranged brothers come together to find their mother in India. Along with a short film that preceded it in Hotel Chevalier, the film is an exploration of three brothers not just coping with loss but also running away from something as they seek to find salvation in India as it is one of Anderson’s funniest and most endearing films.
84. Talk to Her
Pedro Almodovar would reach another career high with a project that seems to take its idea from a song by the British band in the Smiths. Yet, the film would be one of Spain’s great filmmakers’ most accessible work as it revolves around two men who bond together when their girlfriends are both comatose as they try to communicate with these two women. It’s a film that features not just lush visuals in its photography, art direction, and locations but it’s also one of Almodovar’s most sensitive and touching films that many filmmakers wish they could replicate.
83. Man on Wire
James Marsh’s documentary about Philippe Petit’s high-wire walk between the two World Trade Centers in the 1970s is a film that can be described as insane. Not only because of what Petit had to do but how Marsh was able to find something whimsical about the story as it relates to Petit and his eccentricities. It’s a documentary that is full of enjoyment but also a sense of shock of what Petit was doing on top of the two World Trade Centers during this high-wire act that will never happen ever again.
82. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Edgar Wright’s off-the-wall and visually sprawling adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic-novels, the film is definitely one of the weirdest and exhilarating films of the 2010s. Most notably as it plays into a young guy in Toronto who falls for a woman with different-colored hair as he has to contend with her seven evil-exes. The result isn’t just a very funny film with a great ensemble cast plus some hilarious cameos but a film that is very adventurous and has a kick-ass soundtrack.
For anyone that dreamed about going to outer space and wanting to become an astronaut probably changed their minds upon seeing this film. Alfonso Cuaron’s tale of two astronauts stranded in space following a satellite explosion that caused a wreckage on their space shuttle is truly a thrilling and scary film. With Sandra Bullock displaying an evocative performance of a rookie astronaut frightened by what is happening to her and through the exemplary photography of Emmanuel Lubezki. The film is truly an achievement in cinema of how a movie set in outer space can be made.
80. Wendy and Lucy
Neo-realist cinema came back in a big way as it reflects the economic crises that was happening all over the world. Kelly Reichardt would find that in America where she creates a touching yet riveting tale of a woman who accidentally shoplifts and loses her dog while trying to go to Alaska to find work. Featuring a raw and evocative performance from Michelle Williams, the film is a prime example of Reichardt’s work as a filmmaker as she favors realism and simplicity instead of something that is more dramatic and vast in more mainstream films.
79. Requiem for a Dream
Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of Hubert Selby’s novel is truly one of the most controversial films of the 21st Century not just for some of its content but also its graphic depiction of addiction and terror all because four people are eager to reach some kind of dream. Featuring a haunting performance from Ellen Burstyn as a woman trying to lose weight so she can be on TV, the film would also feature great performances from Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans as a trio of young people trying to sell drugs to reach their goals only to descend into Hell in some of the worst ways.
78. Finding Nemo
Andrew Stanton’s animated film for Pixar comes in a simple story about a father trying to find his son who has been captured by a man somewhere in Great Barrier Reef. Yet with the aid of a forgetful fish named Dory, the film isn’t just one of Pixar’s most adventurous films but also one of its most visually-enthralling and entertaining projects to date. Most notably as it involves sharks trying to rehabilitate themselves into not eating fishes and sea turtles who are among the fastest creatures ever.
77. Moulin Rouge!
For anyone that thought the musical was never coming back in a big way were in for a rude awakening when Baz Luhrmann launched a film that is spectacular and more. While it is a love story at heart between a young writer and a courtesan, the film manages to be so much more as it has a sprawling soundtrack where pop songs are used as the music. Plus, it’s not afraid to be style-over-substance as it captures everything what musicals were when they were great but manages to find new ways to give it a new sense of life.
Michael Haneke’s 2012 Palme d’Or winner isn’t just another simple story of love but also into a man’s devotion towards his wife following a stroke that would nearly paralyze her. Featuring masterful performances from Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, the film is a drama that plays into a man doing what it takes to help his wife as she is unable to take care of herself despite the fact that they’re both very old. The result isn’t just one of Haneke’s most moving films but also a film that is about the power of love.
75. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
If there is one film that many people never got to see on the big screen, it would be this film as its initial release was one that just passed people by. For those that did see it saw not just one of the finest westerns of the 21st Century but also a study about the final days of Jesse James and the man who would gain infamy for killing him. Featuring great performance from Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck in their respective roles along with the gorgeous cinematography of Roger Deakins. The film isn’t just a unique study about the myth of the American West but also a study into how a young man’s desire to kill a famous outlaw would only get him the opposite of what he craved for.
74. Certified Copy
Abbas Kiarostami’s 2010 film is definitely one-of-a-kind in terms of what is real and what is fiction. It starts off with two people who meet at a book signing where they talk and then halfway through the film, something weird happens. Featuring amazing performances from Juliette Binoche and opera singer William Shimmell, the film is set in the course of a day where it raises many questions about these two people into whether or not they know each other. The result is a fascinating and exhilarating film about human connection and the idea of what is real and what is a copy.
73. A History of Violence
David Cronenberg’s adaptation of John Wagner and Vince Locke’s graphic novel isn’t just a study of violence but a study of a man who might be hiding a dark past. Featuring Viggo Mortensen in a first of a trio of collaborations with Cronenberg, the film has him as a mild-mannered family man whose encounter with a couple of criminals have him become a hero only for a mobster to come in and confront him about his violent past. The film is definitely one of Cronenberg’s best films as it also includes a brief but memorable supporting turn from William Hurt as a mob boss who believes that Mortensen is his brother.
The collaboration between filmmaker Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody comes this very charming and delightful comedy drama about a young girl who becomes pregnant as she decides to give her baby to a good family. The result is a film that manages to be a whole lot more where a young woman is trying to give her child a future that she isn’t able to provide while dealing with harsh realities of the world. Featuring Ellen Page in a great performance as the title along with a strong ensemble cast that includes Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Alison Janney, Jennifer Garner, Michael Cera, and Olivia Thirlby. It is definitely a crowning achievement for Reitman and Cody.
71. Children of Men
Alfonso Cuaron’s adaptation of P.D. James’ dystopian novel about a man trying to protect a pregnant woman in a world where there hasn’t been a birth in 18 years prompting a former activist to protect this young woman from dark forces. Set in Britain, Cuaron creates a film that is chilling as well as filled with a sense of hope in these dark times. Most notably as Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki would find ways to create innovative techniques including an unbroken six-minute shot through a battle as it is one of the finest achievements in film.
Steven Soderbergh’s tale of the war on drugs isn’t just one of his greatest accomplishments in cinema but also a turning point in a career that was defined by his willingness to be independent and make all kinds of films. With the second of two films he made in 2000, Soderbergh would create a multi-layered story that revolved around a drug czar’s war on drugs for the United States while dealing with matters at home as his daughter becomes a drug addict. Other stories include a drug lord’s wife discovering what her husband does as she deals with authorities and a Mexican police officer battling against corrupt forces in the war on drugs. Shot in a myriad of styles, the film is truly something to be seen to showcase a war that can’t be won by force.
Greece would finally find a new voice in the late 2000s yet it would be in a strange family drama from Yorgos Lanthimos about a family who raise their adult children inside their home as they have no clue about the outside world. Filled with odd things where kids believe a cat is a monster or the world outside of their home is toxic and dangerous. It’s a film that isn’t just fucked up but it is also very fascinating as well as featuring a great sequence where the eldest daughter would rebel through videos she saw from an outsider who frequently visit’s the home to fuck the family’s young son.
Steve McQueen’s tale of a man troubled by his own sex addiction isn’t just one of the most fascinating character studies in film but also a story of a man and his dysfunctional relationship with his sister. Featuring a haunting performance from Michael Fassbender and a chilling one from Carey Mulligan, the film plays into a man’s loneliness and how he is unable to connect with someone emotionally. What McQueen would create is a film that explores addiction at its worst and a man just being put to the edge of despair.
67. Mysterious Skin
Having defined himself as the bad boy of gay American cinema in the 1990s, Gregg Araki would take a different turn in adapting Scott Heim’s novel of the divergent path of two different boys who were molested by their baseball coach when they were in their adolescents. Featuring a break-out performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt as one of the boys who becomes a gay hustler, the film plays into a sense of loss as well as dark truths about child molestation where another boy believes he had encountered aliens. Featuring music by Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins in collaboration with Harold Budd and a soundtrack filled the shoe gaze music of the 90s. The film would be a turning point for Araki as he would gain some mainstream acceptance as well as do different projects that played into his own sensibilities.
66. The Incredibles
If there is one film that is a true superhero film at its finest, it is this one as Brad Bird brings Pixar not just a superhero films with brains and enjoyment. He also makes a film where it is about a family of superheroes as its patriarch copes with forced retirement as he is given a chance to get back in the game. What would happen would prompt him to have his wife and their kids to come in and help him save the world. It’s a film that isn’t just a great family film but it’s also a film that fans of superhero films could love and more.
65. George Washington
If there’s one filmmaker who would emerge as a new voice in the 21st Century, it’s David Gordon Green as his 2000 feature-film debut wouldn’t just explore the beauty of the American South. It would play into a world where a group of kids live in a world that is desolate but also exciting as it would also play into a young boy coping with death as well as growing up. Recalling the evocative imagery of Terrence Malick, Green would bring something that felt very real to those who lived in the South as it has an intimacy that is rarely seen in American cinema.
64. Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 film is a study of obsession and desire as it plays into a young ballerina’s quest for perfection as she is to be the lead in Swan Lake only to contend with the demands to venture into her dark side. Starring Natalie Portman in one of her finest performances, the film is a unique character study where Aronofsky goes into deep where a young woman who exudes innocence succumb to the pressures of being a lead ballerina. Even as Portman’s character has to compete with someone who exudes all of the elements of the black swan that she is unable to understand as it is one of Aronofsky’s crowning achievements.
63. The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke’s 2009 Palme d’Or winner is an eerie drama that plays into the life of a small town in Germany that is being shaken up by a series of incidents before World War I. While its images recalls the work of Ingmar Bergman, the film is Haneke at his most purest in terms of its sense of terror and confusion. It’s also a film where the antagonists are a group of children who terrorize those who don’t play into their own set of rules or ideals as it is believed that they’re the prototypes for Nazis. It’s a film that isn’t easy to watch despite moments of calm and peace in a small town but it is still one that is very engaging no matter how dark it is.
62. We Need to Talk About Kevin
Following a nine-year period of inactivity that included many setbacks and financial issues, Lynne Ramsay came back with a bang with what is definitely one of her most unsettling films to date. In this adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s book about a mother coping with her son whom she has trouble connecting with as he becomes the child from hell. Featuring Tilda Swinton in a riveting performance as well as Ezra Miller as her son Kevin, the film is an astonishing tale of terror and regret that plays into the ideas of a child coming into the world where all it does is bring hell to a parent.
Xavier Dolan’s fifth feature film would showcase him as a daring innovator of sorts where he would tell a simple story about a mother and her troubled son who seek the help of a neighbor in keeping a young boy intact. Shot in a stylized aspect ratio that plays into the world of social media, Dolan would create a film that isn’t just intimate but also raw and chilling thanks in part to the performances of Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clement, and Antoine Olivier-Pilon. The result wouldn’t just be a drama that is intense but also one that plays into a mother trying to find some hope for her son who faces an uncertain future.
Pt. 1 - Pt. 2 - Pt. 4 - Pt. 5
© thevoid99 2015