Handyfilm etc

Film reviews and other thoughts

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Best of 2005

A top 10 films list that includes three TV documentaries, two without even the prospect of a US DVD release anytime soon? Yet Adam Curtis uses the medium as skillfully and imaginatively (and as entertainingly) as anyone, to posit breathtakingly provocative ideas that can haunt a viewer for months. His two 3-parters, in very limited theatrical release, and Scorsese's Dylan essay, on TV and DVD, had far more impact on me than most dramatic features.

I find a number of recent art films to be bafflingly overrated [and indeed, just baffling]: A History of Violence, 2046, Tropical Malady, Three Times are some examples. But I'm grateful to have the opportunity to see them on large screens with large audiences, a privilege of living in New York (few moviegoers in other parts of the country will be able to see the three Asian movies until their DVD release, if then). (Of course, viewers nationwide could suffer through the Cronenberg in local multiplexes.)

And just a word about the two Hollywood movies that I loved most this year: Walk the Line, underrated by many, a prime example of how powerful direction (from an unexpected director!) and performances can transform a near-routine script in an over-familiar genre; and King Kong, one-third tone-deaf misfire but two-thirds pop masterpiece. Occasionally, the magic still works.

1. The Power of Nightmares

2. Walk the Line

3. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

4. King Kong

5. Capote

6. Brokeback Mountain

7. The Century of the Self

8. The New World

9. Pride & Prejudice

10. Happy Endings

and runners-up:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Howl's Moving Castle

The Constant Gardener

Kings and Queen



Last Days

Cache (Hidden)

The Squid and the Whale


Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Broken Flowers


Darwin's Nightmare

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Nobody Knows


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