Thank you again for another evening steeped in merriment and friendship.
A decade which brought great change in the way movies are made and the way in which we watch them, the Noughties ended with the screening of Avatar, a film which will probably define the future of cinema as much as the first talking picture did over eighty years ago.
Yet for all its incredible CGI effects, Avatar was still beaten to the best picture Oscar by a smaller more intimate film about the Iraq war.
This is the beauty of movies, for all the modern technology and studio money, you still need a good story, characters we care about and a little bit of magic which can transport us to a world of make believe.
This is my personal list of the best films of the Noughties, its pretty subjective (as all lists are), there's no Bourne, no Batman, no Coen Brothers, there's only one best picture winner (The Hurt locker) and there's none of the Rings trilogy (I'm sorry, I just don`t get it).
I hope there's a little bit of everything in there for even the most discerning viewer. This is a hobby, I don`t do this for a living so I haven't seen every film released in the Noughties, this list will continue to change, that I'm sure of.
Enjoy the list and please let me know your views, good, bad or just plain ugly.
Please leave your comments at the bottom of the page or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
100 Superbad (2007)
McLovin? Yeah. Great name, It is, it just rolls off the tongue. 'Sounds like a sexy hamburger!
Starring:Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Michael Cera.
Bawdy, crude and foul mouthed, Superbad makes American Pie look like a watered down version of Grange Hill, but beneath all its Gross out humour and crass comedy, there beats a heart of gold.
A coming of age movie which is honest, accurate and sometimes so wince inducing that you can't help but cry with laughter.
An incredibly likable cast who are surely destined for bigger things seem to be having a lot of fun and the script and direction is inspired and intelligent.
A tale of adolescent boys on the prowl for sex and booze it may be, but Superbad is also sweet, good natured and surprisingly romantic.
Dare I say it, Superbad is Supergood.
99 The Miracle Of Bern (2003)
Every nation needs heroes
Starring:Louis Klamroth, Peter Lohmeyer, Johanna Gastdorf.
It would be difficult to dispute the fact that "The Miracle of Bern" is almost certainly the best football film ever (although to be honest, there are few rivals).
Meticulously detailing the German footballs teams success at the 1954 World Cup against all odds, Bern is a poignant, sentimental and gloriously choreographed delve into the history books.
Significantly dealing (through the eyes of a child) with post war life in a divided country still coming to terms with events in World War Two, The Miracle Of Bern is also a coming of age film which deals with the guilt, anger and suffering of the people in Germanys industrial heartland. At its core though this is simply a rollicking good underdog story, even if as England football fans will testify, it's the Germans who win again.
98 The King (2005)
The devil made me do it.
Starring:Gael Garcia Bernal, William Hunt, Pell James, Paul Dano, Laura Harring.
Elvis(Gael Garcia Bernal) recently released from the Navy seeks out the father he has never known.
His father, David Sandow (William Hurt) is now a hellfire preacher in the bible belt of America and is married with 2 children and at first wants little to do with his long lost son.
Elvis begins an illicit affair with Sandow's 16yr old daughter and begins to slowly worm his way into the pastors family structure.
If you are currently on suicide watch or suffering from a serious bout of depression, I would strongly advise you not to watch this film, feel good movie is definitely not the way I would describe it.
This shouldn't put you off though, this is an impeccably acted film which deals with the everyday subjects of incest, redemption,family and religion.
The king is unsettling and at times difficult to watch, it is also potent and shocking.
Bernal is mesmerising as the lonely drifter and continues to prove his versatility as his star-meter continues to grow. He is ably backed up by Hurt who subtly convinces the audience of his obsessive faith.
A troubling movie that wallows in its own degradation and challenges the very fabric of life itself, how far can forgiveness stretch and do we all pay for our past sins.
A picture that is challenging and entertaining, the King is a morally twisted parable that defies pigeonholing but ends up been one of the best films of the year.
97 Apocalypto (2006)
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.
Starring: Dalia HernÃ¡ndez, Rudy Youngblood, Morris Birdyellowhead,Jonathan Brewer.
A nerve shredding chase movie form Mel Gibson which is visceral, bloody and so over the top, it's hard to dislike.
The downfall of Mayan civilization is examined leaving nothing to the imagination, jungle savagery, human sacrifice and unrelenting sadism abound but taken at face value, Apocalypto is a cracking action adventure movie.
A story about an ancient history and culture and a world that is long forgotten is significantly free of sermons and messages and delivers a frenzied, visually stunning portrayal of one mans battle for survival in a cruel and savage world.
96 Me, You and Everyone We Know (2005)
I don't want to have to do this living. I just walk around. I want to be swept off my feet, you know? I want my children to have magical powers. I am prepared for amazing things to happen. I can handle it.
Starring: John Hawkes,Miranda July.
A simple but very effective film which deals with relationships, love and adolescence and the funny and sometimes painful journey through life in pursuit of happiness. Quirky (with a capital Q) offbeat and unashamedly provocative, this is a movie which fails to tread a distinctive path and delivers a touching bittersweet comedy that features bizarre characters who genuinely act like real people.
Unexpectedly honest, poignant and romantic, this is a movie that me, you and everyone we know should know about.
95 Far From Heaven (2002)
I've learned my lesson about mixing in other worlds. I've seen the sparks fly. All kinds.
Starring:Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson, Viola Davis, James Rebhorn.
A slice of nostalgic history long gone is lovingly created in Todd Haynes critique of 1950s American society.
A perfect recreation of the melodramas of that decade touches on subjects that would have been definitely taboo in an era of repression and narrow mindedness.
Totally relevant to society today, Far From Heaven is a stunning achievement, superbly realized with handsome design and impeccable performances form all concerned.
94 Watchmen (2009)
This city is afraid of me. I've seen its true face.
Director Zack Snyder
Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino.
Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel has long been deemed unfilmable. Usually touted as the greatest comic book ever and even popping up on any number of greatest literary works of the 20th century, the movie adaptation of Watchmen was sure to come under a lot of scrutiny.
Director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead, 300) generally makes a good fist of it. Word of warning though, if you haven't read the book, the film pretty much fails to take this into account and prefers to preach to the converted.
What you get for your money is a faithful and visually striking film which is violent, complex and undisputedly entertaining.
Watchmen is a superhero film strictly for adults, philosophical, symbolic, dark and twisted definitely but it is also widely ambitious and an incredibly brave effort which makes the movie flawed yet highly commendable.
93 Almost Famous (2000)
Rock stars have kidnapped my son!
Starring:Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, Bijou Phillips, Zooey Deschanel.
Although Almost Famous is a fictionalized account of a teenage journalist working for Rolling Stone magazine, director Cameron Crowe based it on his own experiences touring with rock bands, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Crowe's Magical Mystery Tour is an endearing and nostalgic look at a time of hope and idealism where the problems in the world could be solved by rock and roll and innocence was not yet lost. A bittersweet coming of age movie, which deals with friendship, family and the desire to be someone.
An exuberant cast of fresh new faces, an awe inspiring soundtrack and an Oscar winning screenplay all help to make Almost Famous, almost perfect (if a little over-long).
92 Good Night And Good Luck (2005)
We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
Starring:David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr, Patricia Clarkson, Rose Abdoo, Alex Borstein, Robert John Burke, Ray Wise, Frank Langella, Jeff Daniels.
Although covering a period of history that may be slightly unfamiliar to British audiences, "Good Night" concentrates on issues still relevant today in America.
It is the year 1954 and television journalist Edward R Murrow and his team of dedicated staff challenge the tactics used by "Commie bashing" senator Joe McCarthy. In an era of extreme anti-communist suspicions and fear brought on by the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union, Murrow attempts to discredit McCarthy and his unsubstantiated claims.
McCarthy's Claims of Soviet spies and Communist party members in American government and the armed forces are challenged live on TV in the CBS show "See It Now" as Murrow defies Public and internal pressure.
Continuing a seemingly never ending character assassination of Joe McCarthy, Good Night is nevertheless a riveting good watch.
Shot in beautiful black and white Monochrome and flawlessly directed by George Clooney, this movie spotlessly resembles the very era it is trying to emulate.
A short running time hardly stretches the thespian skills of the majority of the talented actors on display. David Strathairn is the exception as the seemingly honest and credible Murrow. His performance is nigh on perfect as his anguished face betrays his determined stance and makes you genuinely believe this is a man who is struggling with his inner demons.
The interspersion of the real Joe McCarthy ( and his hearings) into proceedings, although gimmicky, works well and provides a genuine fly on the wall feel.
Clooney continues to move away from his pretty boy persona and is now becoming a filmmaker of some note, this is a movie obviously close to his heart ( he majored in Journalism at College and his father was a TV journalist for many years) and it shows on every level.
Sub plots in the movie involving a clandestine marriage and a suicide of an estranged journalist are slightly jarring within the context of the movie and fail to add anything to proceedings.
Good Night works well as an excellent dramatisation and portrays a turbulent and challenging period of American Modern History, this film recreates the golden age of television and delivers a morality play in which the main protagonists eventually get their comeuppance.
91 Hellboy 2- The Golden Army (2008)
World, here I come
Director:Guillermo Del Toro
Starring:Seth MacFarlane, Luke Goss, Anna Walton, Brian Steele, Doug Jones, Selma Blair, Ron Perlman, Jason Alexander, John Hurt, Jeffrey Tambor.
The advancement in CGI and the rise and unprecedented success of Marvel studios has led to a whole slew of superhero/comic book movies. Any superhero worth his salt is currently lined up to appear in a special effects blockbuster, even many of the minor and secondary Marvel characters seem to be getting in on the act (Ant Man anyone?). DC are also not resting on their laurels either, The Dark Knight was an absolute smash at the box office and Superman Returns while not entirely super still set the cash tills ringing. One of the more shall we say unusual superheroes to take a shot at the big time was Hellboy, a red skinned devil looking guy with sawn off horns, a tail and a shoot first, ask questions later kinda attitude.
The first Hellboy movie was a disjointed, campy but enjoyable effort; the sequel though upped the ante. Creating a fantastical world with bizarre but genuinely likable characters, director Guillermo Del Toro once again works his magic.
An enriched universe, eye-popping visuals and wall-to-wall action coupled with a surprisingly intelligent plot and extraordinary character interaction, Hellboy 2 is unquestionably one of the best superhero movies of the Noughties.
90 The Wrestler (2008)
I don't hear as good as I used to, and I ain't as pretty as I used to be. But I'm still here - I'm the Ram.
Starring:Mickey Rourke,Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Ernest "The Cat" Miller.
An absolute pile driver of a movie, The Wrestler does all its talking in the ring.
Less a sports movie and more a character study, the comeback kid, Mickey Rourke is amazingly good as the wrestling has- been who is battered, bruised and alone.
There is no condemnation of the fakeness of wrestling or any attempt at airbrushing, this is a warts and all depiction of a tormented soul living on past glories.
Cleverly documented, choreographed and staged, The Wrestler punches well above its weight.
89 Battle In Heaven (2005)
Batalla en el cielo
Starring:Marcos Hernandez, Anapola Mushkadiz, Bertha Ruiz, David Bornstien, Rosalinda Ramirez.
An art movie not for all tastes, Battle In Heaven is a slowly paced and hypnotic examination of sex, religion and redemption in a modern day Mexico rarely seen on the screen.
Explicit, daring and a little pretentious, this is a film that fails to take the easy option and delivers a haunting and disturbing fable of ordinary people battling for their souls.
A film, which is as perplexing as it, is ambitious.
88 Coraline (2008)
Be careful what you wish for.
Starring (Voices) Dakota Fanning,Teri Hatcher,Jennifer Saunders,Dawn French, John Hodgeman, Keith David,Ian McShane.
Destined to be a cult classic, Coraline is a rare beast of a movie, a children's film that is scary, creepy and genuinely macabre.
A fantastical fable with dazzling visuals, stunning stop motion animation and a storyline that neither condescends or attempts to preach.
An almost old fashioned un PC story along the lines of Roal Dahl or Alice in Wonderland blends seamlessly with modern technology overflowing with inventive design.
Coraline is a vibrant, haunting and imaginative horror story, which while aimed at children, should appeal to all ages.
87 V For Vendetta (2005)
Penny for the Guy?
Starring:Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Natalie Portman.
English writer Alan Moore best known for his work in comics and graphic novels may constantly distance himself from the film adaptations of his work, but Watchmen and in particular, V For Vendetta are both well made and thought provoking movies.
V nicely captures a dystopian society on the edge of rebellion and becomes an interesting parable of the terrorist threatened world today.
Interesting ideas abound and the acting is top drawer. Visually, V is stunning and offers a London of the future as a grim fearful place.
As a popcorn movie, V is great escapism, as a political allegory, it is a meaningful and highly intelligent piece of work.
86 Adventureland (2009)
Two options: I can play it safe, pick them off from back here, or I can rush into the breach guns a blazing, make a run to the cortex and... bombs away!
Starring:Kristen Stewart, Margarita Levieva, Sue O'Malley, Bill Hader, Jack Gilpin, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Wiig, Martin Starr, Wendie Malick, Ryan Reynolds.
A deft rites of passage movie with its feet firmly in the Rom-Com mould, Adventureland is an intelligent, quirky and nostalgic slice of 1980s life exploring the pitfalls and pratfalls of a gawky teen (Jesse Eisenberg) as he looks to win over the girl of his dreams (Kirsten Stewart) who has a few issues of her own.
Definitely a gentler, more intimate and much more subtle film than director Greg Mottolas previous effort "Superbad", Adventureland has a pitch perfect script, super cool acting and a decent quota of laugh out loud moments.
An excellent retro film with a sublime soundtrack and believe it or not, the whole story's set in a funfair, how good is that?
85 Junebug (2005)
God loves you just the way you are. But He loves you too much to let you stay that way.
Starring:Amy Adams, Embeth Davidtz, Benjamin McKenzie, Alessandro Nivola, Celia Weston, Scott Wilson, Frank Hoyt Taylor.
Very good character driven movie that gets better and better the longer it goes on.
A great cast of familiar if not totally well know faces pull out all the stops and deliver a great slice of middle class America.
Extremely realistic in its portrayal of ordinary people and the effect a newcomer can have on an unbalanced family.
Superb acting all round and not a false note to be seen.
84 King Kong (2005)
Ladies and Gentlemen... I give you... KONG! THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD!
Starring:Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis.
An undisputed labor of love for director Peter Jackson, King Kong is both a delightful homage to the original 1933 version and a marvelously entertaining fantasy epic with spectacular technical wizardry on display.
Almost old fashioned at times, Kong (even at three hours long) is a fast paced, emotive and visionary effort, which at its heart is a simple (if strange) love story. Amid the destruction, chaos and multitude of savage monsters there lies an intimate tale that is heartrending and tragic.
A modern day creature feature that you should rightly go bananas over.
83 Wanted (2008)
Welcome... to the Fraternity. This gun you're holding belonged to your father; he could conduct a symphony orchestra with it.
Starring:Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, Thomas Kretschmann, Morgan Freeman.
Ultra slick, extremely explosive, action packed adaptation of the graphic novel by Mark Millar (which, believe me, makes the film look pretty tame). Angelina Jolie has never been better in a role she seems very well suited to and there's a nice change of pace for the talented and upcoming James McAvoy.
Gratuitous violence galore and an adrenaline pumping storyline help paper over a few cracks and the level of stunts, gunplay and mind blowing visuals are enough for even the most discerning of viewers.
Top notch editing, over the top set pieces and bullets that fly round corners, what more could you wish for.
82 Wall E (2008)
Computer, define dancing.
Starring (voices) Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight,John Ratzenberger,Sigourney Weaver
In a world of sequels, remakes and largely undistinguished so-called crowd pleasers, Pixar still refuses to play safe.
A post apocalyptic almost silent movie about two robots (who look like trash cans) falling in love hardly whets the appetite but Wall E is another audacious and simply brilliant effort from the studio of dreams.
Subtle, creative and strangely inspiring, Wall E belies its roots as a children’s film and succeeds as a serious Sci Fi epic with an eco friendly message about saving the planet.
A magical, captivating odyssey, which deserves its place among the stars.
81 Oldboy (2003)
Revenge is good for your health, but pain will find you again.
Gloriously violent and extremely brutal revenge thriller, which could only come from the Far East.
Complex, disturbing and at times cartoonish, Oldboy offers many questions and few answers yet remains a mesmerizing and challenging ride.
Bold, belligerent and beautiful, Oldboy will not be everyone's cup of tea, but its style and substance far outweigh its few flaws.
An enigmatic journey of revenge, murder and redemption.
80 Gomorra (2008)
Italy's Other Mafia:
Starring:Salvatore Abruzzese, Salvatore Ruocco, Vincenzo Fabricino, Carlo Del Sorbo, Maria Nazionale, Italo Renda, Gianfelice Imparato, Simone Sacchettino, Vincenzo Altamura, Salvatore Striano.
Billed as an expose of the Naples Mafia (the Camorra) and based on a controversial bestselling book, Gomorra is a superb gangster movie in the mould of "City Of God".
Unflinching, brutal and incredibly powerful, this is a compelling and totally authentic look at a society dominated by corruption and violence.
As realistic as any documentary, Gomorra doesn't desensitise or glamorise the mob rule prevalent in this movie, it shows it as a fearful, unsentimental and excessively dangerous place to be.
No heroes, no villains, just ordinary people caught up in a web of an urban underworld there is no escape from...
79 London to Brighton (2006)
Innocence has nowhere to hide
Starring:Lorraine Stanley, Georgia Groome.
Gritty urban crime thriller while disturbing is also compelling and highly suspenseful.
London to Brighton is a grim portrayal of life in the underbelly of British society which deals with the fragile nature of existence, redemption and the everyday battle for survival in a society, many of us hate to admit exists.
Expertly directed by newcomer Paul Andrew Williams, LTB is a shot in the arm for the British gangster genre and even through all the impeding doom which prevails, there is a flicker of hope at the end of this nicely constructed movie.
78 The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
This tornado just came and erased the Hollywood sign. The Hollywood sign is gone. It's just shredded.
Starring:Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal
Subtlety is not an option. The movies of Roland Emmerich are usually dumb, loud and highly entertaining, The Day after Tomorrow is no exception. In an era of extreme weather and scientist predictions regarding the malevolent force of Global warming TDAT is a timely if rather overblown warning of things to come if we fail to heed the doom mongers.
Filled with exceptional special effects, seat of the pants last minute escapes and scenes of destruction and devastation on a grandeur scale, TDAT does exactly what it says on the tin.
Put your brain in neutral, take the phone off the hook and enjoy one of the best popcorn movies of the decade.
77 Kill Bill Vol 2 (2004)
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Starring:Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A Fox, Daryl Hannah, Julie Dreyfus, David Carradine, Michael Madsen.
A different animal to the first Kill Bill movie, Volume 2 displays more restraint, less action and much more character driven dialogue worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy.
Filled with tributes and homage’s, Tarentino stylishly creates his own world filled with revenge, redemption and regret.
Exploitive to be sure but there is enough visual imagery, pitch black humour and emotional resonance to satisfy the most impatient of viewers.
Already a visionary director, Tarentino`s showmanship creates another masterful slice of "Pulp Fiction"
76 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Do you think we'll ever just have a quiet year at Hogwarts?
Starring:Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman.
The fourth in the series, Goblet of Fire is a much more assured and bravely ambitious movie than the first three.
A faster paced action packed special effects extravagance of a movie, Harry Potter is now maturing and adolescence and death have a much more prominent role to play as the boy wizard faces the trials of the Triwizard Tournament.
Creating a sprawling yet seamless epic, director Mike Newell delivers the quintessential Harry Potter Movie which is magical, atmospheric, imaginative and highly effective.
75 In Bruges (2008)
Ray, you are about the worst tourist in the whole world.
Starring:Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Colin Farrell
A movie that promises hit men, shootouts and violent action metamorphoses into a different beast altogether.
Pitch black humour blends with machine gun dialogue which is uttered with extreme relish by three actors having a whale of a time.
A profane, suspenseful and very funny film about trust, honour and redemption, In Bruges turns the gangster thriller on its head and delivers an unpredictable road movie which is compelling and totally unique,
Surprisingly also works well as a travelogue for the fairytale medieval city of Bruges.
74 The Devils Backbone (2001)
The living will always be more dangerous than the dead.
Director:Guillermo Del Toro
Starring:Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Frederico Luppi, Inigo Garces.
A creepy, potent and atmospherically charged ghost story set during the Spanish Civil War.
Creating a genuine fear and a taut dread through its beautifully paced plotting, The Devils Backbone tells its damning story which is as engrossing as it is sad.
A political fable which is haunting, visceral and stylishly imagined and in which director Guillermo Del Toro enters the realms of storyteller extraordinaire with this tale of revenge and redemption, an arc he would later revisit with his masterful movie "Pans Labyrinth".
73 Mean Creek (2004)
What do you guys say we play some Truth or Dare?
Director:Jacob Aaron Estes
Starring:Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck.
It is rare to see a coming of age drama that is as perceptive, astute and as realistic as Mean Creek.
A routine story is handled with a moral complexity missing in most teen movies and the acting has a brutally honest edge, Mean Creek is a taut, suspenseful little thriller with honest dialogue and a young cast that is convincing and assured.
This is a surprisingly good movie that is confrontational and incredibly earnest and handles the sometimes-painful transition from child to adulthood with a sincerness, which can only be admired and feared.
72 Cache (2005)
Can you think of someone who might do this as a prank?
Starring:Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou, Annie Girardot, Bernard Le Coq, Daniel Duval, Nathalie Richard, Denis Podalydes, Aissa Maiga.
Intellectual and cerebral thriller that demands the full attention of the viewer.
Metamorphosing from a simple riddle into a complex and challenging mystery-encompassing relationships, lies and secrets, Cache (or Hidden as it is known in the UK) never takes the easy route.
Stirring performance from the two leads help to create an aura of suspense and even bewilderment in this multi layered, expertly crafted movie.
71 Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
For our homeland. Until the very last man. Our duty is to stop the enemy right here. Do not expect to return home alive.
In 2006, iconic actor and director Clint Eastwood released two movies dealing with the World War 2 Battle of Iwo Jima. Flags of our Fathers dealt with the American marines who raised the American flag in the legendary photograph taken at the time.
Letters from Iwo Jima explored the battle from the Japanese perspective and is a far more personal and intimate movie.
In examining the hardship and unbearable conditions endured by soldiers facing in surmounting odds, LFIJ humanizes the combatants without being over sentimental.
Fresher and more focused than Flags, this is a movie that portrays the horrors of war using superb and assured cinematography and turns an emotionally charged war movie into a near classic.
70 Ratatouille (2007)
What do I always say? Anyone can cook.
Starring (voices) Patton Oswalt,Ian Holm,Lou Romano,Peter O'Toole.
Pixar continues to lead the field in Computer animation and in Ratatouille, it has once again created a visually stunning and delicious dish fit to put before a king.
Attempting the almost impossible in making rats likable and dare I say it lovable, this is a movie which transcends the barriers of a kid’s film taking the viewer into culinary heaven and a magically enchanting journey through the streets of Paris.
Awash with colour and vibrancy, Ratatouille also contains a delectable turn from Peter O`Toole.
A scrumptious, appetising feast of imagination and wonder.
69 Into The Wild (2007)
Mr. Franz I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don't want one.
Starring:Catherine Keener, Jena Malone, William Hurt, Hal Holbrook, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Stewart, Zach Galifianakis, Vince Vaughn, Emile Hirsch.
A sombre and eloquent road movie based on real events, Into the Wild is an engrossing ride.
Director Sean Penn has gathered together an excellent cast and has worked his magic with this idealistic and eco-friendly film.
Cinematography of the highest standard lovingly creates an American outback seldom seen and although the main character is headstrong, foolish and a little naïve, he comes across as a young man with a vision and principles the viewer feels obliged to embrace.
A carefully constructed tale of a free spirit exploring a life few of us can ever envisage.
68 Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)
Listen carefully. Everyone make mistakes. But if you committed a sin, you have to make an atonement for that sin. Atonement, do you know what that means? Big Atonement for big sins. Small Atonement for small sins.
Director: Chan-wook Park
Starring: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi.
Recently released from prison after spending 13 years inside for the kidnapping and murder of a young child, Lee Geum-Ja begins her rehabilitation and plots her revenge against the man really responsible for the heinous crime.
South Korea is one of the few countries in the world where, until recently, Hollywood productions did not enjoy a dominant share of the domestic market and with movies such as A Tale Of Two Sisters, Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Western audiences continue to be equally delighted and perplexed.
Sympathy is not a straightforward revenge thriller, it's a tale of redemption and distortion and is played out on a grandeur scale.
Lee Geum-Ja (as played by the excellent Lee Young Ae) has a complex disposition and is portrayed as kindhearted and generous and brutal and psychotic (sometimes, in the same scene).
Her motives soon become clear and we are subject to savage prison scenes as Lee Geum-Ja makes many allies amongst her fellow inmates.
Early in the movie director Park Chan-Wook masterfully draws the audience in with his dazzling visuals, the opening credits being a highlight, later on the lighting becomes darker as the movie takes on a more profound tone.
Sympathy is at times mesmerising, there are no body ridden shootouts and much of the gore and violence happens off screen yet this is a cold and calculating movie and at times is very disturbing. It is unflinching in its portrayal of retribution and its characters are fleshed out in such a way that we understand their anguish and terror.
This is Korean cinema at its very best tackling subjects Hollywood would never touch, Sympathy is also the best of Parks "revenge" trilogy beating even "Oldboy" with its majestic storytelling.
A Gothic, potent and dark tale, sympathy is a movie that believes in its own convictions and drags the viewer into its sordid tale of revenge and suffering.Highly recommended.
67 Right At Your Door (2006)
Terror just hit home.
Starring;Rory Cochrane, Mary McCormack.
Low-key yet incredibly tense semi post apocalyptic movie, which hits all the right buttons.
Plays on the fears of the public and the serious threat of terrorism and creates a wave of fear which is chilling and scarily realistic.
A movie, which also deals with relationships, commitment and the desire to live, come what may.
Superior acting, solid camerawork and a twist ending that although bordering on the ludicrous ends up the right side of brilliance.
66 United 93 (2006)
Are you guys ready? Let's roll! Come on, let's go!
Director; Paul Greengrass
Starring; Polly Adams,J.J. Johnson,Gary Commock.
The first film to recount events that took place during the September 11 terrorist attacks deals with the only aircraft that failed to reach its intended target.
United 93 is a powerful, honest and sometimes deeply disturbing picture that tells its tale without resorting to Hollywood schmaltz.
With an ending we all know, this film still manages to be engrossing, mesmerizing and incredibly tense.
A superbly directed movie, hard to watch yet ultimately a fitting tribute to the many innocent people who died on September 11th 2001.
65 Zombieland (2009)
In Mexico, you know what they call Twinkies? "Los submarinos."
Starring:Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin.
I’m a sucker for Zombie films, who isn’t. The Noughties saw an absolute explosion of movies featuring the undead, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead. Diary of the Dead, Land of the Dead, 28 Days Later. 28 Weeks Later, hey I even liked the Resident Evil films (well the first two anyway).
The accolade of the highest grossing Zombie film of all time though goes to Zombieland, a lighthearted excursion to the end of the world which happens to be funny, fast paced and surprisingly savvy. Eschewing any real scares and making full impact of the gore on show, Zombieland introduces the audience to characters who are actually likable (not always the case in Zombie flicks) and because of this we don’t want to see them get eaten (usually the case in Zombie flicks).
A great cast seem to be having a lot of fun and (although I’m sure it won’t be the case) make the Zombie apocalypse seem a good place to be.
Witty, fresh and ever so slightly bonkers, bring on the sequel.
64 The Class (2008)
Between the walls
Starring:Juliette Demaille, Francois Begaudeau, Cherif Bounaidja Rachedi, Arthur Fogel, Laura Baquela, Olivier Dupeyron, Vincent Caire, Patrick Dureuil, Dalla Doucoure, Nassim Amrabt
A remarkable film charting life in an inner city multicultural high school in Paris.
Exploring the honest (if sometimes misguided) attempts of a teacher to help his pupils even when faced with apathy and racial divide, The Class is a refreshing, exhilarating and totally compelling movie. Taking into consideration that the ensemble cast are all non-actors and a lot of the dialogue was improvised only makes it even more of a sensational effort by director Laurent Cantet.
A film without stereotypes and clichÃ©s, the 2008 Palme d'Or winner is a uniquely thought provoking tale which raises many important questions without offering up easy answers.
63 Cloverfield (2008)
Okay, just to be clear here, our options are: die here, die in the tunnels, or die in the streets. That pretty much it?
Starring:Michael Stahl-david, Lizzy Caplan, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman, Jessica Lucas
A movie event, Cloverfield was a film hyped up by a clever and canny marketing campaign.
Billed as Godzilla meets the Blair Witch project, Cloverfield simply takes the old Giant Monster attacks New York concept and runs with it to an incredibly effective degree.
Intentionally shaky camerawork gives the movie a documentary type feel even though you can't quite believe what you are seeing as real, the effect is startling. Tense, Innovative and exhilarating, there is little time to catch your breath.
Cloverfield traces its origins back to the experimental monster films of the 50s yet has its feet firmly in the technologically advanced 21st Century.
62 The Incredibles (2004)
Put these on. Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it. And if anything goes wrong, use your powers.
Starring:Craig T Nelson (Voice), Holly Hunter (Voice), Samuel L Jackson (Voice), Jason Lee (Voice), Spencer Fox (Voice), Sarah Vowell (Voice), Brad Bird (Voice).
It isn’t just the stunning visuals that make Pixar films so good and amazingly popular; it’s the heart warming stories, the wry dialogue, the frequent laughter and the stunningly created action scenes.
Beautifully crafted with engaging characters, The Incredibles is ... well, incredible. This is a superhero movie that Marvel and DC can only dream about making. Providing a genuine homage to the superheroes of old, yet able to connect to the domestic everyday family problems, this is a film which is enticing, profound and monumentally entertaining.
61 Sophie Scholl:The Final Days(2005)
The sun is still shining!
Starring:Julia Jentsch, Alexander Held, Fabian Hinrichs, Johanna Gastdorf, Andre Hennicke.
This movie is a historical recreation of the last days of Sophie Scholl, a member of a non violent German resistance movement during the Second World War.
After the German army suffered heavy losses at the battle of Stalingrad, a small number of University students appalled with the stories of Nazi atrocities that were filtering through to them set up an anti war group called the White Rose.
In and around Munich University, a campaign is Spearheaded by the students as they organise leaflet handouts and daub graffiti over government buildings attacking Hitler and his policies.
After a leaflet drop in the main square of the University, Sophie and her brother Hans are spotted by the janitor and are subsequently arrested by the Gestapo.
After a period of interrogation and cross examining, Sophie, Hans and their friend Christoph Probst are charged with high treason, troop demoralization and aiding the enemy. They are sentenced to death and are executed by guillotine only six days after their arrest.
German Cinema continues to reach deep into its soul in examining and questioning the actions of the Nazis during the Second World War
Following on from the utterly stunning "Downfall", Sophie Scholl offers a realistic and convincing backdrop of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances anchored by a truly unforgettable performance by Julia Jentish (bearing a remarkable resemblance to the American Actress Claire Danes) as Sophie.
As the opening scenes play out like a first rate espionage romp, the movie soon turns into a courtroom thriller and Jentish finds the perfect pitch along with the rest of the cast.
Alexander Held as Sophie's interrogating officer who is subtlety forced to re-examine his beliefs has the other standout performance.
The director Marc Rothemund meticulously recreates the era working from long buried historical records, many of the protagonists are depicted as flawed individuals and only the President of the peoples Court, Roland Freisler comes across as a stereotypical fanatical Nazi. This is a straightforward tale of heroism and bravery, there are no fancy camera angles or gimmicky editing and the audience are subjected to a matter of fact re-telling from one of the darkest periods of modern history.
Many stand out scenes include Sophie's last meeting with her parents before her execution and the actual executions which are carried out as the viewer sees a blank screen, but it is the courtroom scenes which have the most impact as we watch a powerful and evil regime (represented by Freisler) challenged by 2 young students.
Sophie Scholl is not a familiar name in Britain but it is hard to overestimate the regard she has in Germany. A recent magazine in Germany with a readership of 4 million voted her "the most important women of the 2oth century and young viewers of a German TV channel voted her "the most important German of all time".
This is a film people need to see, it has a far greater impact due to the fact it is actually German rather than an American or British production.
As a movie, Sophie Scholl offers a lasting tribute and makes a statement relevant to today's society, as people all over the world have much greater freedom of speech, we must never forget the reasons we are in that position.
60 Y tu mamÃ¡ tambiÃ©n (2001)
Truth is cool but unattainable... the truth is totally amazing, but you can't ever reach it.
Starring:Gael Garcia Bernal, Maribel Verdu, Diego Luna
A sexually charged and provocative movie based in Contemporary Mexico and directed by one of the best in the business, Y tu mamÃ¡ tambiÃ©n (and your mother too) is frank, open minded and extremely honest.
Two post adolescent teenagers who are looking for liberation through sex, recreational drugs and alcohol take a road trip with an older and seemingly more sophisticated women.
As their trip progresses, fantasy and reality intertwine and there is an excellent chemistry and wonderful character development. A subtle examination of the current state of modern Mexico prevails throughout and the journey of the three main protagonists reflects that through their actions and discovery of each other.
Bold, raunchy and a visual delight, Y tu mamÃ¡ tambiÃ©n is another excellent Mexican film spearheading the current renaissance in that country.