Top Ten (2005)

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Top Ten (2005)

Postby wpqx » Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:50 am

Well the year is officially over, and since I had to make this list for another group, I figured I'd post it here. There's a good chance that nothing will alter my list, but there's probably a better chance that I'll see something within the next month or two that will make me reconsider my choices. Two of the films I've selected were made in 2004, but didn't have their premiere in Chicago until well into 2005. As usual American movies dominated, but well that's what we see the most of here in the US. Bad as they might be represented here, it's still better than in previous years.

1. Sin City (Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Quintin Tarantino)
I'm amazed this film hasn't shown up on more critics top ten lists this year. I mean to me this set the bar so ridiculously high for comic book movies (and what can be done on a green screen) that I fear no film derived from graphic novel or comic origins can ever measure up. It is graphically violent noir with humor, sexuality, and just downright entertaining. Rodriguez who seemed a little lost in recent years more than makes up for any Shark Boy and Lava Girl with this masterful stroke of genius, and who knew Frank Miller could direct?

2. Serenity (Joss Whedon)
One almost has to see Firefly to truly appreciate this film. Without the series the movie is great, but with that nearly 14 hours of extra character development, you can really appreciate the evolution of the story. You can cheer River finding her own, you can lament the death of Wash, and you can relax that for once Simon acts like a man. This is a movie masterfully shot, and tragic at the same time, not so much for the character we lost, but for the end of the Firefly saga, one that should have lasted much longer. I can only hope that the DVD world will be kind to this, just as they have to Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. Arguably the best directing debut I've seen in a long time (Miller notwithstanding)

3. Crash (Paul Haggis)
Speaking of directorial debuts, Paul Haggis less than a month away from his Oscar win for the Million Dollar Baby script makes his own forray into feature films as a director. It is very tough to pull off the subgenre of the ensemble picture, and although Sin City was one of a much smaller nature, Crash is a sprawling world of entertwining lives and characters where nearly every story is brilliantly crafted. Haggis made a monumental film that somehow manages to be subtle.

4. Pride and Prejudice (Joe Wright)
Literary adaptations can always be tricky, and remakes are almost always frowned upon, but somehow a film that probably had no business being made wound up in my top five. Joe Wright directs Pride and Prejudice not like a Hollywood player, but as a European auteur. His camera never ceases to move, and his characters particularly Macfayden and Knightley manage to convey such a smoldering passion that you feel will explode at any moment. The romantic film of the year, the period picture of the year, and the best remake of the year.

5. The World (Jia Zhang-ke)
Since seeing this remarkable film I have been witness to two additional Zhang-ke films, and those two films may not be superior but they firmly remind me what a triumph The World is. A story of multiple people isolated and disillusioned in a nation rapidly losing it's identity. Again told with long takes and terrifically subtle acting, this film more than fulfills the prophecy of Zhang-ke being China's most important director working today.

6. Last Days (Gus Van Sant)
After leaving the nearly deserted theater I wondered if I really even enjoyed this film. Coming after the remarkably high mark of Elephant, I wasn't sure if Van Sant had topped himself, or merely repeated what he already accomplished. As I left and over the next few days I realized what a remarkable film this was. One that stayed with me, with indelible imagery, and moments that I will likely never forget. Michael Pitt is an actor I never would have believed in, but he manages to mumble his way to the best performance he's likely to ever give. The music as well is astonishing, in it's own very simple way. I only wish more people could have seen this, for I fear Van Sant may soon return to his career as a Hollywood hack.

7. Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch)
After nearly a decade of sparse production and forgettable films Jarmusch returns with his funniest and possibly best film with this. Bill Murray who seems to make one great film for every bad one, is in top form, and I can scarcely imagine any one else being half as good as him in this film. A modern road movie, with "A stalker in a Taurus". A joyful movie, that I found wonderful.

8. The Weeping Meadow (Theo Angelopoulus)
Well I had to wait a year to finally see this film, which had only a one week run in the city of Chicago. After seeing it I knew that Angelopoulus was quite possibly the best filmmaker in the world. I guess it's obvious that I'm a fan of long takes, especially involving intricate camera movments, but Angelopoulus takes that to a new form of art. From the opening shot you know this is classic, and the rest of the film is sprawling, ambitious, and truly emotional.

9. Nobody Knows (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
The first great film I saw this year, remains a particular favorite. A depressing tale, that more than matches the prophecy shown by Kore-eda in his previous two features. This man is leading the charge for Japanese cinema, and this film for all it's heartbreaking glory, is one that I'll cherish. Perhaps not as philosophically profound as After Life, but what this film lacks in it's thought provoking abilities it makes up for in emotional weight.

10. Fever Pitch (Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly)
This may not be one of the ten best films this year, but I had to include it, as I made a promise to myself. Fever Pitch seemed corny and far fetched after I left the theater. I enjoyed it, laughed at it, rooted for it, but generally thought it merely decent. But as you may remember this film came out in April, just as baseball was kicking up. I spent the next six months religiously devoted to Chicago's two professional teams, and at nearly every game attended or watched I recalled moments from this movie. And seeing my own White Sox win the world series, much in the way the Red Sox finally pulled through in this movie, it was all the more resonant. Perhaps in time people will be able to love this film as I have, but well there's a lot of hate for Drew Barrymore and more for Jimmy Fallon.

Also worth mentioning
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Kung Fu Hustle
King Kong
The Squid and the Whale
History of Violence
Grizzly Man

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby A » Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:14 am

I`m not a big fan of Top Ten Lists, as you don`t get to know all new films the person who constructed them has seen in the particular year. In effect you don`t know how to cope with some lists. Let`s say one person has seen 50, while the other has seen 100. The films both have seen maybe add to 30, so their Top Tens will be very different.
So I`ve decided to take a new approach this year.

I've listed all films I've seen 2005 that came to the cinema, or were introduced on TV or on festivals in order of preference and with my initial rating.
German cinema releases have also their position in brackets.
Favorites are in bold.
Recommended films are worth seeing.
Films that get an honorable mention have something that`s worth a second look.

1. Bu jian "The Missing" (Taiwan / Kang-sheng Lee) ***3/4 / ****
2. (1) Dare mo shiranai "Nobody Knows" (Japan / Hirokazu Koreeda) ***1/2 / ****
3. (2) Te doy mis ojos "Take my Eyes" (Spain / Iciar Bollain) ***3/4 / ****
4. (3) Shi mian mai fu "House of flying daggers" [german dubbed version] (China, Hong Kong / Yimou Zhang) ***3/4 / ****
5. (4) L`esquive (France / Abdellatif Kechiche) ***3/4 / ****
6. (5) The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (USA / Wes Anderson) ***1/2 / ****
7. (6) Tony Takitani (Japan / Jun Ichikawa) ***1/2 / ****
8. Trilogia I: To Livadi pou dakryzei "Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow" (Greece, Germany, France, Italy / Theo Angelopoulos) ***1/2 / ****
9. (7) Broken Flowers (USA, France / Jim Jarmusch) ***1/2 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
10. (8) Uzak (Turkey / Nuri Bilge Ceylan) ***1/4 / **** RECOMMENDED

11. Bu san "Good Bye, Dragon Inn" (Taiwan / Ming-liang Tsai) ***1/2 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
12. (9) Sud Pralad "Tropical Malady" (Thailand, France, Germany, Italy / Apichatpong Weerasethakul) **3/4 / **** RECOMMENDED
13. (10) The Aviator (USA / Martin Scorsese) ***1/2 / ****
14. Kajmak in marmelada (Slovenia / Branko Djuric) ***1/4 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
15. Cesky sen "Czech Dream" (Czech Republic / Vit Klusak Filip Remunda) ***1/4 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
16. Nicht ohne Risiko ( Germany / Harun Farocki) ***1/4 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
17. Svoi "Us" (Russia / Dmitri Meskhiyev) ***1/4 / ****
18. (11) Cremaster 3 (Matthew Barney / USA) *** / **** RECOMMENDED
19. La face cache de la lune "The Far Side of the Moon" (Canada / Robert Lepage) **3/4 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
20. (12) Agnes und seine Brueder (Germany / Oskar Roehler) *** / ****
21. (13) Finding Neverland (USA, UK / Marc Forster) *** / ****
22. (14) Turtles can fly (Iran, France, Iraq / Bahman Ghobadi) *** / ****
23. (15) Maria Full of Grace (USA, Colombia / Joshua Marston) **3/4 / ****
24. (16) Cremaster 2 (USA / Matthew Barney) **3/4 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
25. Inosensu: Kokidu kidotai "Innocence" (Japan / Mamoru Oshi) **3/4 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
26. Chi to hone "Blood and Bones" (Japan / Yoichi Sai) **1/2 / ****
27. Ebolusyon ng isang pamilyang pilipino "Evolution of a Filipino Family" (Philippines / Lav Diaz) **1/2 / **** HONORABLE MENTION
28. (17) Cremaster 5 (USA / Matthew Barney) **1/2 / ****
29. Steamboy (Japan / Katsuhiro omo) **1/2 / ****
30. (18) Crash (USA / Paul Haggis) **1/2 / ****
31. The Saddest Music in the World (Canada / Guy Maddin) **1/2 / ****
32. (19) Udalionnyy dostup (Russia / Svetlana Proskurina) **1/2 / ****
33. (20) Batman Begins (USA / Christopher Nolan) **1/2 / ****
34. (21) Closer (USA / Mike Nichols) **1/2 / ****
35. Izo (Japan / Takashi Miike) **1/2 / ****
36. Devot (Germany / Igor Zaritzki) **3/4 / ****
37. Hair High (USA / Bill Plympton) **1/2 / ****
38. (22) Cremaster 1 (Matthew Barney / USA) **1/2 / ****
39. (23) The Syrian Bride (Israel, France, Germany / Eran Riklis) **1/4 / ****
40. The colonial misunderstanding (Cameroon,Germany / Jean-Marie Teno) **1/4 / ****
41. (24) Barefoot (Germany / Til Schweiger) **1/4 / ****
42. (25) Saw [german-dubbed version] (USA / James Wan) **1/4 / ****
43. (26) Danny the Dog (UK, France, USA / Louis Leterrier) **1/4 / ****
44. Il vento, di sera "The Wind in the Evening" (Italy / Andrea Adriatico) **1/4 / ****
45. (27) Dumplings (Hong Kong / Fruit Chan) **1/4 / ****
46. (28) Manderlay (Denmark, Germany, USA, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Lars von Trier) ** / ****
47. (29) Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (USA / George Lucas) ** / ****
48. (30) Cremaster 4 (UK, USA, France / Matthew Barney) **1/4 / ****
49. (31) Saw II (USA / Darren Lynn Bousman) ** / ****


50. (32) Melinda and Melinda (USA / Woody Allen) ** / ****
51. Laissez-passer "Safe Conduct" (France, Spain, Germany / Bertrand Tavernier) *3/4 / ****
52. Falling Angels (Canada, France / Scott Smith) *3/4 / ****
53. (33) Immortal (France / Enki Bilal) seen in 2004, but probably *3/4 / ****
54. (34) El abrazo partido "Lost Embrace" (Argentina, France, Italy, Spain / Daniel Burman) *3/4 / ****
55. Kontakt (Republic of Macedonia, Germany / Sergej Stanojkovski) *3/4 / ****
56. (35) AVP: Alien Vs. Predator (USA,UK, and others / Paul W.S. Anderson) *3/4 / ****
57. Atomik Circus - Le retour de James Bataille "The Return of James Battle" (France, Germany, UK / Didier Poiraud, Thierry Poiraud) *1/2 / ****
58. Moy svodnyy brat Frankensteyn "My Step Brother Frankenstein" (Russia / Valeri Todorovsky) *1/2 / ****
59. (36) Sin City [german-dubbed version] (Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino / USA) * / ****
60. (37) Allein (Germany / Thomas Durchschlag) * / ****
61. The Garden of Earthly Delights (Poland, UK, Italy / Lech Majewski) 1/2* / ****
62. Pod njenim oknom "Beneath Her Window" (Slovenia / Metod Pevec) 1/4* / ****
63. Top Spot (UK / Tracey Emin) 1/4* / ****
64. (38) Blade: Trinity (USA / David S. Goyer) 1/4* / ****

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:51 am

Good Lists.

I guess you two disagree on Sin City. I'm somewhere in the middle.

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby A » Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:36 pm

Two friends of mine whom I normally trust 100% with their judgement of films (similar taste) were very fond of it, so I gave it a try. I could say the german dubbing ruined it for me, but I don`t think that was all. I`ve actually read some of Miller`s "Sin City" graphic novels and liked them, so I`m not biased against the "sex and violence", etc.
But to me the originals had much more heart.
The film looks like a sloppy "best of" to me, without any real connection to the characters it`s depicting. They are just some unlucky bastards the camera seems to focus on.
Didn`t appreciate Rodriguez before (From Dusk Till Dawn was a bore to me), and it hasn`t changed.

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby Johndav » Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:49 pm

Well for once here's a list i really can't do- i've only seen 3 films in your 10 list, WPQX. The Weeping Meadow was about the only film i got to see in 2 months in Portugal, i managed a little spurt when briefly back in UK (living in a caravan), and now here in France they're well behind at cinemas and dvd rental.

I liked Sin City; despite its being so typically + relentlessly violent, it did seem to offer something new, struck me almost as an admittedly inferior Kiss me Deadly for the 21st century. I didn't like From Dusk till Dawn at all- silly childish nonsense. El Mariachi had promised a bit better but then he got too close to Tarantino, i reckon. QT's little section in Sin City is the weakest part of the film!

I've got a lot to look forward to:

Brokeback Mountain
A History of Violence
The World
The Wayward Cloud
King Kong
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Curse of the Were-rabbit
Three Burials
The Squid and the Whale
Boken Flowers
Good Night and Good Luck
The New World (i saw a clip 2 months back that immediately struck me as a copy of Sansho the Bailiff, then remembered Malick is a Mizo fan and did a stage version of the film)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Where the Truth Lies
The Constant Gardener
Three Times

rating some first released in 2005 i have seen:

Sin City 8

The Beat that my Heart Skipped 7 (can't see what all the fuss was about- i'd heard it was something very original)
War of the Worlds 7
The Descent 7
Batman Begins 7

March of the Penguins 6 (some lovely shots of landscapes, but in the French version i saw here the voice-over and music were awful, irritating, completely undermine the excellent cinematography)

i may have been slightly generous in my markings.

From 2004 but only here in 05 I most enjoyed The Life Aquatic + The Weeping Meadow, (minor Angelopoulos but still a major film Bitish critic Jonathon Romney said, and he's probably right, though i think the standing compared to other Angelopoulos will only be clear with the full trilogy.)

As with earlier stuff (overrated i think) by Wes Anderson, The Life Aquatic hardly hides its eccentricities, but this time it does seem original, a rare adventure indeed!

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:15 am

I must say that Sin City looks better now than it did a few months back (all the listless remakes that've come out in recent months certainly have something to do with that). Needless to say, I felt Tarantino's presence right away without actually knowing, and that was about the point when the film picked up.

The Weeping Meadow will make my list. I truly hope that Angelopoulos stays healthy enough to finish the trilogy.

You do have some catching up to do, John, but I'm sure it won't take you long. We have gone over a few of the films on your list, so hopefully that'll help. I was also not overly impressed by The Beat That My Heart Skipped (loved the music by Despialat, though).

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby trevor826 » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:54 pm

Because I lost most of my records for last year I'll just list as many theatrical releases (up to 10) that I can remember that were definite contenders.

Good Morning Night, Buongiorno, notte - Marco Bellocchio 2003

The Holy Girl, La Nia santa - Lucrecia Martel 2004

Don't Move, Non ti muovere - Sergio Castellitto 2004

Head On, Gegen die Wand - Fatih Akin 2004

Untold Scandal, Joseon namnyeo sangyeoljisa - Je-yong Lee 2003

Serenity - Joss Whedon 2005

Crash - Paul Haggis 2004

Vital - Shinya Tsukamoto 2004

Howl's Moving Castle, Hauru no ugoku shiro 2004

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Inosensu: Kkaku kidtai - Mamoru Oshii 2004

Surprisingly easy although there are many other contenders including:

Somersault - Cate Shortland 2004
Turtles Can Fly, Lakposhtha hm parvaz mikonand - Bahman Ghobadi 2004
The Consequences of Love, Le Conseguenze dell'Amore - Paolo Sorrentino 2004
2046 - Wong Kar Wai 2004
The Descent - Neil Marshall 2005
Broken Flowers - Jim Jarmusch 2005

and many more I can't think of right now.

Still unsure as to what I think of Battle in Heaven, need to see it again.

Stand out non-theatrical's include:

3-Iron, Bin Yip - Kim Ki-duk 2004
The Wayward Cloud, Tian bian yi duo yun - Tsai Ming-liang 2005
and many more.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:49 pm

Great list, Trev. There are only a couple of films on it that I haven't seen (I think I should watch Serenity before making mine).

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby trevor826 » Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:59 am

Thanks arsaib4, I can't say it's conclusively my top 10 but each film listed stood out from the crowd.

Despite being out of action in June, I know I made at least 130 visits to the cinema last year so there are definitely a few choices that may have slipped out of my memory.

As for "Serenity", it's cheesy, it's hokey, it's great fun, the best popcorn movie for years imho. I thought it was the perfect antidote to the horrendously overbloated blockbusters from the last few years.

Since taking the advice of wpqx and watching the "Firefly" series it has gone up in my estimation, it was a bloody good movie, now it's great.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Top Ten (2005)

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:12 am

My Rules :

*A 2005 theatrical release was eligible only if it was officially distributed. (Single/Special screenings were not considered.)

*A 2005 re-release was eligible only if the new print consisted of an altered or a more complete version of the film.

*A 2005 stright-to-DVD release was eligible only if the film had its World Premiere within the last 5 years.


Edvard Munch (1974) - Peter Watkins / Norway-Sweden

The Holy Girl (La Nia Santa) - Lucrecia Martel / Argentina

The Passenger (Professione: reporter / 1975) - Michelangelo Antonioni / Italy

Drifters (Er Di) - Wang Xiaoshuai / China

Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) - Marco Bellocchio / Italy

The Intruder (L'Intrus) - Claire Denis / France

Munich - Steven Spielberg / U.S.

The Story of Marie and Julien (Histoire de Marie et Julien) - Jacques Rivette / France

The Weeping Meadow (Trilogia I: To Livadi pou dakryzei) - Theo Angelopoulos / Greece

The World (Shijie) - Jia Zhangke / China

Games of Love and Chance (L'Esquive) - Abdellatif Kechiche / France

A History of Violence - David Cronenberg / U.S.

My Mother's Smile (L'Ora di Religione: Il Sorriso di mia Madre) - Marco Bellocchio / Italy

The New World - Terrence Malick / U.S.

Saraband - Ingmar Bergman / Sweden

Caf Lumire (Kh jik) - Hou Hsiao-hsien / Japan

Forty Shades of Blue - Ira Sachs / U.S.

Innocence - Lucile Hadzihalilovic / France

Keane - Lodge Kerrigan / U.S.

Last Days - Gus Van Sant / U.S.

3-Iron (Bin-Jip) - Kim Ki-duk / S. Korea

Bee Season - Scott McGehee & David Siegel / U.S.

Crash - Paul Haggis / U.S.

Happy Endings - Don Roos / U.S.

Mad Hot Ballroom - Marilyn Agrelo / U.S.

Or (My Treasure) (Mon trsor) - Keren Yedaya / Israel


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