In terms of movies, the way 2005 went down should have been a dismal one; lackluster performance at the box office, too many remakes and sequels and the growing DVD market that’s starting to eclipse first-run theatricals.
Yet in my opinion, 2005 offered up a lot of amazing movies that I can’t squeeze them all in a list of 10. It was, by far, a difficult list to conjure. Yet here I am, blogged and ready to share with what I think were the best of 2005 in movies.
So without further ado, here is my look at the year that was in the glorious world of cinema.
1. Good Night and Good Luck – Hands down the best movie of the year. Sexy and smart. Gloriously shot and aptly directed by George “Danny Ocean” Clooney, this film about preeminent journalist Edward R. Murrow (the amazing David Strathairn) and his fight to bring down Senator McCarthy and his movement in the 1950’s is a testament to how the art of film, history, and social relevance can conjure up one hell of an experience. The film is all together powerful and gorgeous due to the well-balanced mix of all those elements, plus the Jazz doesn’t hurt. This is the film of 2005, because it exceeds in all levels, aesthetically as well as relevance.
2. Syriana – Again, Clooney’s got his fingerprints all over another fine film. A film that, much like my first choice rings true to the times. Yes, many found the subject too meaty to digest but Stephen Gaghan (writer of Traffic) opens up the mystery that is the oil industry, and the trickle-down effect it has on people, politics and agendas. Obviously inspired by Traffic, Syriana is another reason why 2005 offered some socially relevant and exceptionally entertaining films. This is why we go to the cinema; to partake in an art form that can move us and open our minds more so than we can fathom.
3. Walk The Line – Forget that I’m a Johnny Cash fan. Biopics about musicians are a hot ticket, especially about great musicians. Like last year’s biopic Ray, what carries the film are the exceptional performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. The film finally sheds some light on the Man in Black. Thanks to the film, now I know why a lot of Cash’s songs hurt so damn much.
4. Mr. & Mrs. Smith – Summer movies are suppose to be fun! Thankfully, Doug Liman brought it back. After such a dark and dismal summer of dark knights (jedi or bat) and planets at war, what can be more enjoyable than taking “domestic dispute” and twisting it to another level? Sure at times is raunchy and disturbing but the tongue is planted firmly in its cheek. It’s a sexy movie that underneath the pomp and action, it surprisingly has a lot to say about marriage. After watching this film I realized there is such a thing as chemistry overload and Bradgelina definitely have way too much of it. I felt the screen was about to explode. Fun. Loved it. Best summer movie of 2005.
5. King Kong – The word Epic and Peter Jackson go hand in hand. Yes it’s probably 40 minutes too long but my, what a cinematic experience. Everything you want King Kong to do, he’ll do. What makes the film even better is that it’s not too far from the 1933 original which I absolutely adore. It feels like the 1933 original, much like a new and improved version of a classic car. Plus, Naomi Watts is the new Fay Wray. Best casting of the year, by far. James Newton Howard’s score is also one of the year’s best, in my opinion.
6. March of the Penguins – There were a lot of great documentaries in 2005, from Murderball to Mad Hot Ballroom but Penguins made my list because the film hits a primal nerve. It is, in essence, a film about family and love and throughout the movie you watch these beautiful (yet silly) creatures and you wonder; if they can do it, why can’t we? A testament to the beauty of life, the creatures than inhabit the earth, and our built-in primordial condition to love those we care about. Imagine, a movie about penguins can do just that!
7. A History of Violence – The title says it alone. David Cronenberg’s mindblower is such a slap in the face that it makes you feel good, and feel bad all at the same time. It’s a two-edged sword type of a movie, much better handled then the uneven Paul Haggis film, Crash. It’s realistic and disturbing. Then again, what do you expect when you decide to take on violence as your first response? A must-see.
8. Munich – frustrating and dismal, yet I loved every minute of it. For all the Spielberg haters who think the man has lost his touch, he has proven time and time again why he’s become a household name. The man can tell a story and he leaves you with indelible images that stick to your mind long after the movie has been released on DVD. This is his most disturbing and darkest year. First the pretty impressive War of the Worlds remake now this. Munich may piss off many, but artistically, Spielberg proves why he still is one of the best. He tells a story with unforgettable images, and if I recall, that’s how you do cinema.
9. Hitch – Ah yes, the obligatory Valentine’s Day romantic comedy. Yet the great thing about this film is it is a comedy of manners in a sense—in a New Yorker’s sense and the film truly captures that. Sure it’s predictable, but the situations are probable. There is something infectious about the film’s take on dating and love life and the movie bounces along quite well. Very rare do romcom’s stick out but Hitch definitely took the genre to another level. Kudos to that.
10. Bride & Prejudice – Bollywood movies are the jumbalayas of movies; it’s got everything in the pot. It’s a musical! No it’s a romantic comedy! No it’s action! No it’s drama! In this updated version of the popular Jane Austen novel, Gurinder Chadha, director of Bend It Like Beckham, transfers the story from England to India, with satisfying results. The film is pure joy and what I’m really impressed with is how well the novel translated to the setting.
THE REST – Just missed the list
Batman Begins, Chumscrubber, The Bee Season, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, War of the Worlds, Corpse Bride, Madagascar, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Layer Cake, Sin City
THE WORST – I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve actually seen
The Dukes of Hazzard, Guess Who, Be Cool, Elizabethtown . . . and that one Norwegian subway movie that I erased from my memory because I saw it instead of Layer Cake!
More to come!