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The Ten Best Films of the Decade
Because year-end lists make all of us warm inside. by Peter Berg
10. The Bourne Identity (2002)/ 7. Gangs of New York (2002) – A somewhat disappointed, would and (nearly) always winning the day half hour running time.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)/ flawed masterpiece, to be sure, but have been nearly impossible to – with its brave story and flat-out
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) – a masterpiece nonetheless from a sustain and is pretty much as near remarkable filmmaking. 2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and
After the original was a surprise hit, master director, Martin Scorsese. to perfect as film gets. 2 Days (2007) – Romanian As legendary weather man
this trilogy of Matt Damon-starring Depicting the violent birth of a mod- 4. Children of Men (2006) – We writer/director Cristian Mun- Brick Tambland once said,
spy films went on to reinvigorate a ern America, “Gangs” speaks as 5. Brokeback Mountain (2005) finally left behind the hoverboard giu’s Palme d’Or winning film is “LOUD NOISES!” Those words
previously sluggish spy genre with much to the country’s bloody his- A bold, landmark film, Ang Lee’s and power laces for Alfonso Cua- certainly not one for the faint ring true in the shrill, tone-deaf
its tale of an amnesiac government “Brokeback Moun- ron’s chillingly realistic, downbeat of heart, but for the sturdier apocalypse blockbuster “2012.”
assassin fighting to stay alive and look at humanity’s future. “Chil- film buffs out there, this is Like Brick, this film is also “what
discover his true identity. Its gritty, dren of Men” follows Clive Owen’s simply an unmissable mas- some people would call ‘men-
handheld camerawork and intense Theo, the unlikely protector of the terpiece. A relentlessly tally retarded.’” Once again,
hand-to-hand fight scenes would key to our specie’s survival, as he punishing work set in the America and a few famous mon-
even show up later on in the de- attempts to deliver the world’s sole 1980s toward the end uments from around the world
cade in 2006’s fantastic James pregnant woman to safety through of Romania’s op-
Bond franchise reboot, “Casino a bombed-out and deadly London. pressive communist
Royale.” Unrelenting, immersive and techni- dictatorship, the film
cally astonishing filmmaking. centers around two
9. Lord of The Rings: Fellow- female students,
The Best Films of ´09
are exploding… or imploding…
or shifting on tectonic… oh hell,
does it really matter? The world
is falling apart and Millwall foo-
tie fans are rioting and getting
ship of The Ring (2001)/ one of whom is stampeded by police horses, so
The Two Towers (2002)/ looking to have an illegal
While we’ve yet to see later December releases George Clooney and Jason Reitman’s buzzed about “Up In The
America comes up with a plan,
The Return of The King (2003) – abortion and needs her
What can anyone say about Peter friend to serve as caretaker
Air,” James Cameron’s epic “Avatar,” Rob Marshall’s grand musical “Nine,” or Peter Jackson’s ambitious drama
gets Chinese labour to build
some big-ass boats and all the
Jackson’s record-breaking, award- “The Lovely Bones,” the five films below are more than worthy nominees for 2009’s best in the world of cinema. world’s billionaires, along with
winning fantasy trilogy? Adapted
Hope you enjoyed this year’s crop as much as I did.
plucky, never-say-die John Cu-
from J.R.R. Tolkien’s series of nov- sack, try to ride out the storm.
els about Middle Earth, Mordor, In the end, the film sucks, but at
elves, goblins, orcs, and, of course, least it sucks big and knows it.
weed-smoking hobbits and wiz- tory, political cor-
ards, the films are now quite pos- ruption and cronyism as it does to
No Country For Old Men (2007)
sibly as beloved as the books. Not its present. Though he would finally
– Quite possibly the Coen brothers
bad for a project that nearly bank- win his Oscar with 2006’s “The De-
finest film, which is saying some-
rupted a frightened studio before parted,” Scorsese incredible pas-
thing, since they are also respon-
its unimaginable success. sion is present in every frame of this
sible for the 1990’s best film in
30-year labour of love, and Daniel
“Fargo.” Flawless in every respect,
An Education
8. King of Kong: A Fistful of Day Lewis deserves recognition
“No Country” gave us the decade’s
Boasting transportive ´60s
Quarters (2007) – Not to be con- for an all time great performance
most fascinating study of evil in
London period detail, crackling
fused with Peter Jackson’s monster as the villainous but principled Bill
Javier Bardem’s mysterious, Anton
dialogue, tremendous perfor-
monkey chick flick, this outlandishly “The Butcher” Cutting.
Chigurh. Hired to recover stolen
mances from the two leads,
entertaining documentary follows 3. The Dark Knight (2008)
drug money from Josh Brolin’s
Carey Mulligan as Jenny, the
the exploits of infamous arcade 6. Wall-E (2008) – The fact that tain” told the story of an ill-fated – The biggest film of the de-
resourceful Vietnam vet, Chigurh
bright but naïve schoolgirl, and
game champion and Grade A Pixar was able to get such an in- 1960s-era love affair between two cade was also one of its best.
soon turns the pursuit into some-
Peter Sarsgaard as David, the
piece of work Billy Mitchell and un- credible performance out of a trash- sheepherders-for-hire, embodied in Christopher Nolan, who kicked off throughout the harrowing process.
thing far more menacing, coolly
mysterious older suitor, along-
assuming challenger to the Donkey compacting robot left behind on a career-making performances from the noughties with the brilliant “Me- As technically accomplished as it is
dispatching just about anyone who
side a stellar ensemble, “An Ed-
Kong throne, Steve Wiebe. “King polluted, deserted Earth wasteland Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, mento,” took his filmmaking and the artistically compelling, every ingre-
steps into his path. 122 minutes of
ucation’s” modern Red Riding
of Kong’s” captured a story that was impressive, but should sur- who develop a simultaneously over- comic book/superhero genre to an- dient holds together throughout to
gripping, muscular, perfect cinema
Hood tale (in which the preda-
took the documentary form to new prise no one at this point, given the whelming and confusing mutual de- other level with this big, brawny and create a spellbinding, hauntingly
that stands on its own but also
tory male wolf has been mostly
heights with all the thrills, laughs, studio’s past achievements. What sire during their months of isolation brainy thriller, helped in no small real experience. A friend called this
seems a wholly appropriate cultural
defanged) plays like a film that
heartbreak and shocking twists really caught the attention of audi- in the Wyoming mountains. “Broke- part by an instant classic perfor- “the best film I will absolutely never
touchstone for a post-9/11 decade Inglorious Basterds Drag Me To Hell Up In the Loop Fantastic Mr. Fox
you’d expect from a slick Holly- ences and critics was the film’s back” turned the Western genre on mance from the late Heath Ledger see again,” so see it at least the
awash with evil (real or imagined) Though perhaps more recognised Having already included Sam Rai- Loneliness, regret and arthritis don’t It’s been 45 years since “Dr. After a career of intriguing, offbeat
should be more than it is in the
wood production, without any of stunning first act ode to silent films, its head – after decades of grand as The Joker, as well as breathtak- once and decide for yourself. One
in which we can no longer reason for the generous amount of blood mi’s thrilling, hilarious return to the usually result in $506 million worth Strangelove,” but British comedy films, director Wes Anderson still
end. Though it may never swell
the artifice. a piece of filmmaking that, in spite tales about stridently heterosexual ing action set pieces that more than of the best films of any decade, not
with our enemies or see where that sprays across the screen, it’s horror genre on my Best of Sum- of worldwide ticket sales, but luck- legend Armando Iannucci has finally managed to take many by surprise
to the level of grand symphony,
of a final act that left a few viewers leading men fighting the good fight justified the film’s lengthy two and just the ‘00s.
they’re coming from. the witty, tension-packed writing mer list, it’s a pleasure to take stock ily creators Pete Docter and Bob given us a reason to place a second with his decision to not only adapt
it sure is a nice little doo-wop
that separates Tarantino’s latest this time of year and see this perfect Peterson had a few other tricks title on the dusty shelf of political sat- the classic Roald Dahl book of
ditty while it lasts. That said, be
from the rest of the 2009 pack. No gem crossing the finish line ahead up their sleeve as they confidently, ire classics. “In the Loop” tells the the same name, but to film it using
on the lookout for this one during
matter what language it´s spoken of so many pedigreed, awards-hun- thrillingly carried the Pixar torch in story of the US and UK government’s the painstaking technique of stop-
the coming awards season as
in, the dialogue in this vivid re-imag- gry Autumn and Winter films. “Drag yet another brave new direction. run-up to a war in the Middle East. motion. The result is an enchanting,
it’s sure to pick up its fair share
Where The Wild Things Are
ining of World War II exhilarates Me To Hell” never bothered to ask Going well beyond the label of “ani- Both hilarious and frightening, this cinematic experience unlike any-
of shiny metal objects. If pedi-
more than any gun shot, baseball for the approval of the masses, opt- mated kid’s film,” “Up” delivers a film goes well beyond the topical to thing seen in theatres this year. The
greed period pieces float your
bat beating or elaborate forehead ing instead to march swiftly in the magnificent adventure that’s simply cut to the core of a universal political in- tale of Mr. Fox, his family and friends
boat, then this one’s for you.
carving and makes this movie more direction of cult classic stardom. brilliant on any level, at any age. eptitude that’s not about doing what’s battling local farmers for survival
than just a self-indulgent exercise. Make sure to chase it down. right, but about doing whatever’s nec- captured the imagination of a wide
essary to keep your job. range of generations.
Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Mau-
rice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book
isn’t perfect, but in spite of its flaws,
this is easily one of the year’s bold-
est, most risk-taking films.
Jonze and co-writer Dave Eggers
have expanded Sendak’s succinct
nine-sentence long story into a
more freeform meditation on child-
hood, albeit one which may not play
terribly well to children.
The film doesn’t shy away from por-
traying a frequently dark vision of
childhood that can be startling to
behold, nor does it try to soften up
the dirty, dangerous island natives,
but it’s equally adept at making new
the innocence and wonder of an
age we all too often forget.
This is a provocative, thrilling, frus-
trating and ultimately beautiful cin-
ematic ode to those years when we
hadn’t quite let go of our imagina-
tions but were starting to feel that
unwelcome push to grow up.
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