Top 10 Movies 20051. THE SQUID AND THE WHALE. A painfully incisive and comedic drama about an intellectual New York family in the 80s in the throes of divorce. Jeff Daniels is Oscar-worthy terrific as a pompous and insecure has-been writer who can't deal with a more successful writer wife (Laura Linney) and so attempts to turn their elder son (Jesse Eisenberg) against her.
2. GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK. George Clooney's cautionary retelling of the Edward R. Murrow/Sen. Joseph McCarthy confrontation some fifty years ago. Filmed in black and white, its claustrophobic interiors reflect the tension of the early fifties while reminding us never to take our freedoms for granted. David Strathairn's Murrow is uncannily accurate.
3. BROKEN FLOWERS. This movie will get you talking. And it will surprise you. Expect Jarmusch to do the unexpected. Almost every scene is different from what you’ve come to expect from
Murray has turned minimal acting into high art.
4. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" poses an intriguing question: Can a man blot out his past and reinvent himself, erase his own history and start over, complete with loving wife and children? In the classic film noir of the 40s and 50s, the past is a force that overtakes the present; despite the protagonist's best efforts, he is no match for its inexorable pull. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortenson) owns a diner in a small
5. WALLACE AND GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT. Wallace is a Brit, an inventor along the lines of Rube Goldberg. Gromit is his—pardon the word—dog. Gromit is the smarter of the two. They’re now in the pest-control business, the pests in question rabbits. You know, those terribly nasty vegetarians who do two things extremely well, devour garden produce and make other rabbits. Will they save the vegetables? The bigger question: Will Nick Park get his third Oscar? He should. review
6. LOOK AT ME. Marcel Proust would have loved this movie about a plump twenty year-old woman named Lolita (first time actress Marilou Berry) who has a beautiful voice and low self esteem. She also has a celebrity father who is self-centered and plainly disappointed with his daughter, that is, when he takes the time to notice her. Director Agnès Jaoui has worked for Alain Resnais, France's master of what I would call Proustian space, the way an actor walks, the turn of head, the light falling on a young woman as she sings, the coldness of a father's gaze. How much of this film was designed with this in mind, I have no idea. But it works. review
7. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Not high-tea Jane Austin but rooted in the earth. We can understand, maybe for the first time on screen, why these aristocrats are hesitant to show too much interest in the Bennet sisters; their family, especially Mrs. Bennet (played deliciously by Brenda Blythyn), is quite coarse, despite the efforts of Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) to reign her in. Lush scenery, perfect pacing, all in all delightful, funny, romantic and intelligent. Keira Knightly and Matthew MacFayden shine.
8. ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW. Dating is easy. NOT! A quirky, poetic movie about a shoe salesman (John Hawkes) and a performance artist (Marenda July who also directed), trying to connect. Just watch the scene of the two of them walking down a street and you'll get the idea.
9, CRASH. About the coming together (or crashing into one another) of the myriad races that make up contemporary
10. SYRIANA. A story from today's headlines: big oil, the Middle East, Washington's movers, the CIA and FBI, suicide bombers, corporate corruption, heroes and villains. The plot is intricately complicated; you may not figure it out, but that's okay, no one in the story does either. No one's in control. Not even--and especially--George Clooney, who does some of the best acting of his career.
RUNNER UPS (alphabetically)
Ralph Fiennes has his best role since
“Spider”; Rachel Weisz is the feisty Tessa who eventually brings her husband
into the real world. review Catherine
Keener is wonderful, as usual.
Ralph Fiennes has his best role since “Spider”; Rachel Weisz is the feisty Tessa who eventually brings her husband into the real world. review
Catherine Keener is wonderful, as usual.review