My 50 favourite films of the 2000s*
50. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan - 2 November 2006 (UK) - Larry Charles
49. Garden State - 10 December 2004 (UK) - Zach Braff
48. Gran Torino - 27 February 2009 (UK) - Clint Eastwood
47. Donnie Darko - 25 October 2002 (UK) - Richard Kelly
46. The Dark Knight - 24 July 2008 (UK) - Christopher Nolan
45. Open Hearts - 4 April 2003 (UK) - Susanne Bier
44. Wedding Crashers - 14 July 2005 (UK) - David Dobkin
43. The Devil's Backbone - 30 November 2001 (UK) - Guillermo del Toro
42. Downfall - 1 April 2005 (UK) - Oliver Hirschbiegel
41. Chinese Odyssey 2002 - 6 February 2002 (Hong Kong) - Jeffrey Lau
40. The Notebook - 25 June 2004 (UK) - Nick Cassavetes
39. Hellboy - 2 September 2004 (UK) - Guillermo del Toro
38. Watchmen (Directors Cut) - 6 March 2009 (UK) - Zack Snyder
37. Closer - 14 January 2005 (UK) - Mike Nichols
36. Lucky Number Slevin - 24 February 2006 (UK) - Paul McGuigan
35. Azumi - 10 May 2003 (Japan) - Ryûhei Kitamura
34. Wicker Park - 10 September 2004 (UK) - Paul McGuigan
33. High Fidelity - 21 July 2000 (UK) - Stephen Frears
32. Vanilla Sky - 25 January 2002 (UK) - Cameron Crowe
31. Slumdog Millionaire - 9 January 2009 (UK) - Danny Boyle
30. Black Book - 19 January 2007 (UK) - Paul Verhoeven
29. Million Dollar Baby - 14 January 2005 (UK) - Clint Eastwood
28. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - 27 August 2004 (UK) - Rawson Marshall Thurber
27. V for Vendetta - 17 March 2006 (UK) - James McTeigue
26. No Country for Old Men - 18 January 2008 (UK) - Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
25. Lost in Translation - 9 January 2004 (UK) - Sofia Coppola
24. American Psycho - 21 April 2000 (UK) - Mary Harron
23. Lady Vengeance - 10 February 2006 (UK) - Chan-wook Park
22. The Prestige - 10 November 2006 (UK) - Christopher Nolan
21. The Last Samurai - 9 January 2004 (UK) - Edward Zwick
20. Hero - 24 September 2004 (UK) - Yimou Zhang
19. After the Wedding - 9 March 2007 (UK) - Susanne Bier
18. House of Flying Daggers - UK 28 October 2004 - Yimou Zhang
17. Gangs of New York - 9 January 2003 (UK) - Martin Scorsese
16. The Wrestler - 16 January 2009 (UK) - Darren Aronofsky
15. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - 10 September 2004 (UK) - Adam McKay
14. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 - 17 October 2003 (UK) - Quentin Tarantino
13. Spirited Away - 12 September 2003 (UK) - Hayao Miyazaki
12. Battle Royale - 14 September 2001 (UK) - Kinji Fukasaku
11. The Pianist - 24 January 2003 (UK) - Roman Polanski
10. The Lives of Others - 13 April 2007 (UK) - Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
9. Sin City - 3 June 2005 (UK) - Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez
8. Memento (2000) - 20 October 2000 (UK) - Christopher Nolan
7. Lord of The Rings Trilogy - 17 December 2003 (UK) - Peter Jackson
6. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - 5 January 2001 (UK) - Ang Lee
5. Pan's Labyrinth - 24 November 2006 (UK) - Guillermo del Toro
-Guillermo del Toro has all of a sudden become on of my favourite film makers, I'd never heard of him until I saw this film. Now I've seen most film he has had an association with. The best however, is undoubtedly Pan's Labyrinth - which is the best fairytale you will ever see.
A fairytale about a girl who wants to be a Princess - Sounds like something out of a Walt Disney script - however this is one movie you don't want your young ones to see. This is a dark, and in places very brutal movie (very brutal and certainly not for the squeamish nor suitable for a young child). Set in Civil War torn Spain there are political elements (discussing a lot of Spanish Franco themes) with the story running consecutively and inter-woven with the fantasies of a young Girl Ofelia who has moved with her Mother to live with her Father-in-Law (Captain Vidal - possibly in the top ten movie villains ever).
I won't ruin too much more (when people write reviews that ruin the story please but spoilers warning first!) but along the way you get to meet some kind loving individuals and some at the other end of the spectrum.
Magnificently atmospheric, you'll be on the edge of your seat one second and then cowering away from the screen the next, you won't want this to end as the fantasy world of Ofelia is quite beautiful as is the whole ending of the movie - certainly you'll miss things the first time around and will be back for a second viewing to only heighten the viewing pleasure of this film.
Brilliantly acted - especially the characters of Ofelia, Carmen and Vidal.
Pan's Labyrinth is dark, brutal, beautiful and unmissable.
4. My Sassy Girl - 27 July 2001 (South Korea) - Jae-young Kwak
- My Sassy Girl is one of the most unconventional love stories in recent cinema. The storytelling is of the most sincere. The comedy, drama and romance are very well balanced. Without raunchy sex scenes and nudity (not even a kiss occurs throughout the film), no one says 'I love you' and yet still, My Sassy Girl is one of the most romantic cinematic experiences I have ever encountered.
The first half of the movie is pure comedy, showing how a hapless and somewhat wimpy boy meets a somewhat erratic and "sassy girl" get to know each through a series of humorous hangouts. The girl only gives a glimpse of the inner turmoil she suffers in the first half. The second half explore her pain more deeply and also explains why the boy is willing to put up with her outrageous and unpredictable behaviour. The last part brings everything full circle.
My Sassy Girl is the perfect balance of the many genres it incorporates; romance, drama, and comedy, it's a heart-warming poetic romantic adventure from start to finish and comes highly, highly recommended..3. Oldboy - 15 October 2004 (UK) - Chan-wook Park
- The story comes from a Japanese comic book of the same name, in which an ordinary family man is suddenly kidnapped and placed in a cell dressed up as a hotel room. Given no explanation for his confinement or the murder of his wife, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) spends the next 15 years alone, weaving in and out of hallucinatory states with only a television to keep him company.
Old Boy is nothing short of brilliant compelling viewing, suspenseful and ultra-violent - you won't see many films like this one in a lifetime. It not for everyone - it is violent and shocking in its nature and subject matter - but we can't have Bridget Jones in every film - and we don't that either do we!!!
Most negative reviews can't seem to handle the gratuitous violence, but personally feel it is necessary to express what Oh Dae-Su has been through the past 15 years.
The film takes you away on a roller-coaster ride of human emotions, a brilliant plot, and sheer brilliance. The acting is absolutely superb throughout. Min-sik Choi did a great job as Oh Dae-Su and Chan-wook Park's direction was top notch.
All I need to see to sum up this film really is - What a film - see it!
I am so glad I went into this film not knowing it's twists (hence I won't give any of them away here) as it really is fantastic working them out as the film is progressing and I can't help but think the film would be a lesser (albeit still a great one) experience if you know what was going to happen.
2. 2046 - 14 January 2005 (UK) - Kar Wai Wong
- Tony Leung is back as Chow Mo Wan but this is not the gentlemanly journalist we met in 2000’s In The Mood For Love. This Chow spends his days writing pulpy erotic fiction and his nights gambling, drinking and womanizing a string of beautiful women (Zhang Ziyi, Faye Wong and Gong Li all star in an incredible A-List cast).
In a voice-over narration Chow tells us about a sci-fi story he is working on. It's about a young Japanese man riding a train through time to 2046 where he hopes to recapture his lost memories and achieve emotional closure. The movie toggles back and forth between the writer's real life in 1960s Hong Kong and the futuristic fictional world of his imagination. Gradually Chow realizes he is writing about himself.
FROM 2046: "I once fell in love with someone. After a while she was gone. I couldn't stop wondering if she loved me or not. I went to 2046 hoping to find her there. But I never found her." Now doesn’t that sound familiar?
The stories are told in nonlinear fashion so you might need to pay attention, or pay it a repeated viewing. Simply put and to avoid an over long synopsis, 2046 is gorgeous, sublime, engaging, hypnotic and unique. Wong Kai Wai is again a true master at work.
But be warned: like many foreign delicacies this film can be an acquired taste.
1. In The Mood For Love - 27 October 2000 (UK) - Kar Wai Wong
- This is surely one of THE most gorgeous and beautiful films of all time.
A heart pulling love story of two strangers brought together by their respective partner’s infidelities, their loneliness radiate toward you and you'd feel a great pull of sympathy. Tony Leung is an actor I have admired for a long, long time and feel that he will be regarded as one of the great Asian actors. The softness he brings and the subtle sense of melancholy to all his actions is astounding. Maggie Cheung matches Leung’s performance, her elegancy and beauty is beyond expression.
The story is a perfect sentiment of the sting of unrequited love, emotions and feelings The notion of fidelity portrayed in the film seems outdated today, but it is exactly the main characters' adherence to that notion which makes the entire story so touchingly tragic, as they refer to their respective spouses, "not be like them” whilst tackling their own desires.
Everything, the setting, the make-up, the clothes, the dialogue, the light, and (first of all) the soundtrack, is just incredibly beautiful. You can't take your eyes off the screen.
The magic in the movie is not that it is a constant thrill-a-minute ride, it's in the feeling it gives. After I saw this movie for the first time, I was left feeling touched like I couldn't imagine a movie to do so. It left me longing for something.
Wong Kar-Wai is a favourite of mine and this is his best film, and my favourite film. I recommend this film to anyone and everyone - please give it 90 minutes of your life - it will stay with you for much longer than that. See 2046, Chungking Express and Happy Together for more.
The only films I'm yet to see that I think could get into this list are Thirst, Valkyrie, 500 Days of Summer, Inglorious Bastards from this year - probably some older ones I've missed out forgotten or plain ignored.
I realised I missed City of God - I need to rewatch it and see where I'd put it!
I'm interested in your comments :)
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Neon Bible takes us into the dark days of the 21st century with music and vocals reminiscent at times of bygone artists and eras (Springsteen homaged so evidentially on "(Antichrist Television Blues)", Echo and the Bunnymen and more), but all is stamped with AF's own unique madness and ambition.
From the opening chords of 'Black Mirror' the listener is unable to settle, a whirlwind of sound awaits and rushes in from different directions to keep the listener attentive. It is the type of album that grabs the listener with two hands and doesn't let go until the end of the hauntingly gorgeous echoes of 'My Body Is A Cage'. It isn't a light album, instead it is a rather deep, intense, brooding offering. My standouts include 'Black Mirror' which starts the album and sets the tone with a dark, almost sinister tone. "Mirror, Mirror; On the wall; Tell me where them bombs will fall;" But the rhythmic beat of the verse gives way to a string led rousing chorus. 'Keep The Car Running' contrasts brilliantly with the opening track, it feels like the optimism after the depression. No Cars Go is a simple, joyous song with its anthem of a chorus that leads into the darkly beautiful, My Body is a Cage which deals with themes of spiritual and emotional imprisonment, ending on the reiteration of the line "Set my spirit free!", which builds to a powerful rallying cry.
I was lucky enough to see AF three times in 2007, in a Church in Westminster before the album came out, then also at Brixton and Ally Pally - all were breaktakingly good. AF are without doubt one of the most unique and talented bunch of musicians of this century.
Album three cannot be too far away now, rumoured late spring 2010, and I for one cannot wait!
The debut LP by the Canadian group Arcade Fire (if you exclude the self-titled EP) propelled them to global success, it's clear to see why, for once the hype was not wrong.
I'm honest enough to say I was late arriving at AF, I only picked up Funeral after its placing in many critics charts, for once I agreed - Funeral is an breathtaking album.
The first song is a stand-out, Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels), is magnificent, a driving and anthemic piece of music that talks of two kids using underground tunnels to arrange a nocturnal tryst in the town square, Power Out bellows such raw surging explosion of energy, "Rebellion" which is probably one of their most accessible songs, it's a song that you can't help but love from first listen; it's catchy, memorable and just amazing, then of course the breath-taking Wake Up, a ready made stadium anthem and will still be in 10 years time.
With a record so heavily influenced with death and loss, it is suprising as to how upbeat and melodic Funeral is.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
See post #1 for some other B-Sides / Demos and a live gig from early 2005. This post has some alternative demo's of some songs that made the album, The Dreamer Evasive, and also some more demos!
Other than a few more live recordings / xfm sesssions which I will post as a third thread over the next week or so, this is everything I have for Apartment - and maybe is close to everything that is "out".
Edit - see http://www.justmusicthatilike.com/2009/09/4-apartment.html for all Apartment downloads.
Friday, 2 October 2009
Carrying on the Post Punk theme of bands like R O M A N C E, Crocodiles and some more that are breaking into the UK limelight in 2009 are The Chapman Family, from Stockton-On-Tees, the north east has produced some good bands in recent times such as Maximo Park and TCF might well be next to hog some of the plaudits...
TCF release their next single Virgins on October 19th and are on tour in the UK right now too.
More to come...