I’ve been meaning to do year-end lists ever since I started this blog way back in 2000, but never get round to it before because I was busy having, like, fun, at the end of the year. This year, however, I have a job.
First up, my top 5 films, because the music lists are just killing me.
- Before Sunset:
It would have been terrifyingly easy to fall short of what a worthy sequel demanded, but nothing in this movie squandered the promise of the first film, or sidestepped any of the questions that they knew people would want answered. In just 80 masterfully-directed minutes of great scripting, acting, editing and direction, they (Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) made good film-making look effortless. On a personal level, it amazed me to realize that in the most romantic movie I’ve ever seen, there was nothing in its romance that I envied or did not already have.
[My review] [Metacritic]
- The Return:
Although one of my pet peeves in a film is sloppy editing, this doesn’t mean I have ADD. I’m perfectly happy to sit through a slow-moving film as long as it makes good use of every moment, and this one really did. Every scene was there for a reason, whether it was starkly beautiful cinematography, or the play of muscles on the face of one of the amazing child actors. I still can’t believe this was Andrei Zvyagintsev’s first film, because it exudes the assurance and maturity of a grizzled veteran at the peak of his powers.
[My review] [Metacritic]
- Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind:
I’m not the biggest Charlie Kaufman fan around but the premise of this film struck a huge chord with me, and Michel Gondry, Ellen Kuras (his cinematographer) and Jon Brion (who always makes lovely music) executed it with some of the most stunningly original film sequences I’ve ever seen. I can’t actually write much more about this film. It’s too indescribable.
- Shaun Of The Dead:
Not a film for people who don’t get British comedy, but it’s side-splittingly funny if you do. After the first ten minutes I gave up keeping track of all the great lines, all the little digs at London life and English society, and all the hilarious subversions of the usual zombie movie scenes. Also, best use of “Whassup niggaz?”, a repeated fart joke (and bear in mind that I normally hate fart jokes), and a Queen song (all used separately) in a film ever. Why oh why did I not watch more of Spaced when I was still in England?
- Big Fish:
I never thought Tim Burton would have made my happy feelgood heartwarming tearjerker of the year, but there you go. Of course, being a Tim Burton film it still had evil trees and grotesquely deformed people in it, and was all the better for that. Wonderful acting from Albert Finney and Jessica Lange (loved the bathtub scene), and an ending so perfect it nearly made me cry, which doesn’t usually happen to me in movies unless they remind me of London.