Directed by Rian Johnson
Genre: Film Noir, Mystery, Crime
Rian Johnson’s Brick is a rare gem; the low-key, post-modern approach mingles ’40s and ’50s costume accents and the hard-boiled attitude of the great 1930s and ’40s detective novels with the institutional drab of a suburban high school. Take the regular struggles of high school life – romances, cliques, teen pregnancy and drugs and blend it in with film geek allusions to everything from Raymond Chandler to Blue Velvet and you got yourself a teen movie with edge, bite and attitude.
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Batman is the grittiest and most intriguing of all comic book superheroes and thankfully director Christopher Nolan delivered an exhilarating picture that is almost operatic in scope and impact. Batman Begins isn’t perfect, but it is was one hell of a way to welcome the DC heroes back to the silver screen. Fantastic to the eye, involving and skillful both as a drama and an action film and stars an actor who is completely believable as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Nolan makes the wise decision to take Batman back to basics and creates a fascinating thriller that’s grounded in angst and meant for mature audiences.
Directed by Tetsuro Takeuchi
Genre: Cult, Horror, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Wild Zero is the 2000 Japanese “Jet rock ‘n’ roll” zombie horror comedy cult classic, directed by Tetsuro Takeuchi, and starring the Japanese garage punk band Guitar Wolf. Borrowing many elements from other popular B-movies such as Psychomania and Evil Dead 2, Wild Zero would best be described as The Ramones remaking Night of the Living Dead for Troma studios. A film that is exuberantly silly, wears its influences on its sleeve, never looks cheap (despite the minimal budget) and is bursting with unstoppable energy from start to finish.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Genre: Thriler, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Once upon a time Shyamalan`s films showed him as a rapidly promising and maturing filmmaker, taking risks and making them pay off. Unfortunately that did not last long. However Unbreakable is still compelling, stylish and beautiful to watch. A brilliant homage to comic book superheroes and villains. In a decade overflowing with superhero films, Unbreakable is one of the better origin stories.
Directed by Gus Van Sant
The photography by cinematographer Christopher Dolye is worth the price of admission alone. Great stedi cam shots, long takes and some wonderful use of slow motion. The world that Van Sant creates is poetic and hypnotic. He takes us into the head of a teenage boy and lets us run with it, giving us a real sense of place and time. In some ways it feels like voyeurism, as if we are actually looking into someone’s life.
Directed by Seth Gordon
Who would have ever guessed that a documentary about gamers obsessed with scoring a world record at Donkey Kong would be worthy of consideration for the decade’s best? An audience favorite on the film festival circuit, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is laugh-out-loud funny and brilliantly keeps up it’s dramatic pace while never losing sight of the personal stories of the stranger-than-fiction cast of characters. Fascinating, thoroughly engaging and a moving study of obsessive competition.
Directed by Werner Herzog
Genre: War, Bio-pic
This is a tough movie-going experience made up of moments that represent cinema at its best. Rescue Dawn avoids all the typical foibles inherent in the war movie and represents a solid effort that fans of the genre should actively seek out.
Directed by Joon-ho Bong
Genre: Sci-fi, Creature Feature, Horror, Comedy
Monster movies tend to be as misunderstood as their creatures, but make no mistake; The Host is a great monster movie chock-full of strong performances, unexpected humor, political commentary, family conflict and satiric references to some of the more absurd aspects of Korean cinema. A beautifully made, thoroughly enjoyable monster flick that stands head and shoulders above most sci-fi / action movies.
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
C.R.A.Z.Y. goes far beyond what could have simply been a coming of age story by overcoming all the trappings of genre. Montreal Director Jean-Marc Vallée delves beneath all the complex layers that unite and divide a family and rather than just focus on his hero’s sexual growth, he analyses how he must first come to grips with countless other issues such as his religious beliefs, social environment, friendships, family relationships and peer pressure. Patrice Bricault-Vermette’s art direction stands out, meticulously capturing the period detail while Vallee’s music selection is sublime, using everything from Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
Directed by George Clooney
Genre: Drama, Bio-pic
Good Night, and Good Luck stands, tall, impressive and expressive joining not only the best films about journalism, but one of the better films of the decade. A good-looking, powerfully acted, deeply felt and deeply committed film. It’s also a highly personal statement for Clooney, whose father was a TV news anchorman, and a tribute to Edward R. Murrow, a family friend and hero.
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Sci-fi origin stories tend to be disappointing whether the subject is Luke Skywalker, Batman, or Wolverine; since we already know where we’re going and thus the getting there can be tedious and boring. J.J. Abrams avoids those problems and crafts an exciting origin story the successfully blends the hip and classic, with a perfect cast, dazzling effects, some of the best action sequences of the year, and enough heart to make you care.