January 07, 2006

my Favorite Films of '05.
these are the films that had some kind of impact on me this past year. the list is not limited to films released in 2005; it's about my cinematic experience of '05, so everything i saw in 2005 was considered. 2005 doesn't seem so incredible now that i've written it down. but there were some real gems. i hope you enjoy.
without further ado, in chronological order:

Napoleon Dynamite Jared Hess, USA 2004
i enjoyed this despite the huge buzz it managed to get. well deserved hype on this one. funny and damn hysterical. you've seen this.

Io non ho paura (I'm Not Scared) Gabriele Salvatores, Italy/Spain/UK 2003
a quietly disturbing film about a boy who makes a grim discovery. masterfully told, incredibly well-acted, and never manipulative, this film stuck with me for its brilliant depiction of childhood innocence.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Kerry Conran, USA/UK/Italy 2004
i didn't write a review for this film when i saw it, but i should have. i was unprepared for the magnitude and feel of the film. Conran and company dove headfirst into a throwback world of old sci-fi comic book adventures. with a '30s and '40s look and feel, and dashing performances from Jude Law, Angelina Jolie, and Gwyneth Paltrow, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was one amazing experience i relished from start to finish.

Gimme Shelter (The Criterion Collection) David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin, USA 1970
emotionally frightening. made so much of an impact on me that i had to order the damn disc after renting it.

Saw James Wan, USA 2004
a twisted, and surprisingly masterfully done, little horror film.

Frank Miller's Sin City Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, USA 2005
my favorite time at the theater this year. bloody, bold, audacious, and disgusting. fierce filmmaking at its finest. i was actually shocked that it got released the way it is.

F for Fake (The Criterion Collection) Orson Welles, France/Iran/West Germany 1975
a massive undertaking, about the nature of art and reality (and everything else), by one of cinema's artistic geniuses. a massive brain-fuck.

Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith George Lucas, USA 2005
what is there to say now? George Lucas, after giving us two lukewarm prequels, comes back with a vengeance for the third and final film of the classic series. everything clicked in this one, making it look like they were just warming up with the two previous films. and nothing shocked me as much as Ewan McGregor's emotional outburst towards Anakin. action, comedy, adventure, perfect cgi, and an emotionally fit closure for all involved. (too bad George couldn't find anything for Natalie Portman to do except weep from a safe distance for her man.) it was a grandiose finale.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Doug Liman, USA 2005
more than the sum of its parts, this film was carried by the extraordinarily lively performances of the two leads and their brilliant director who knew how to mix action and big-time comedy. a huge wink to its audience and a lot of fun.

Haute tension (High Tension) Alexandre Aja, France 2003
tense, tense, tense! superb, outstanding filmmaking using the most basic of stories, that even one of the most ridiculous, unnecessary twist endings couldn't sink (although it did leave the sourest taste in my mouth).

Banlieue 13 Pierre Morel, France 2004
seek this one out. stunning natural stunts, surprising acting talent, and stylish direction make this film stand out from the rest of action wannabes. i happily watched a second time a couple of weeks later.

Joint Security Area Park Chan-wook, South Korea 2000
this was my first Park Chan-wook film. and i must say i quite enjoyed the feeling it gave off. the story follows an investigation into the shooting of one of four new friends. the survivors stories develop on the previous one, dragging you in deeper than you thought possible. a great film.

A History of Violence David Cronenberg, USA 2005
schizophrenic and terrifying. the film starts out innocently enough, following dinner owner Tom Stall. i had problems getting into the film as it appeared calm, awkward, and bland, but when Cronenberg and screewriter Josh Olson decide to turn on the screws, they've got you caught in their ugly mess. to this day, i'm still rattled, working out the details in my head. do not be fooled, this is a quiet film, but it's one outstanding piece of filmmaking from a man in total control of his medium.

it's all gone Pete Tong Michael Dowse, UK/Canada 2004
an extraordinary find on dvd, this film follows the life of dj Frankie Wilde from Ibiza to ...a less glamorous lifestyle. an outstanding performance from Paul Kaye, deft direction from Michael Dowse, and a great script all keep things from hitting rock bottom even when they are bleak and harrowing. surprisingly emotional.

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Posted by Sam | 1:09 PM |