January 22, 2006

MOVIES: Best of 2005 -- the top ten movies

Counting down from #10 to #1:

  • Capote -- The questions this movie raises about the boundaries between an author and his subject are even more interesting in the wake of the scandal surrounding A Million Little Pieces.
  • Caché (Hidden) -- Is it an allegory? A dream? A puzzle? It's all of the above, and the few solutions it does offer only raise more questions, but sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang -- Smirky and self-referential, and with a plot every bit as confusing as the Chandler stories it pays homage to, but sharply funny and possessed of more comic energy than any other comedy of the year.
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit -- Warm and charming, with note-perfect voice performances (who knew Ralph Fiennes could be funny?) and beautifully imperfect animation.
  • Junebug -- Lovely, subtle comedy about cultures in conflict, and the danger of love so smothering that it must be fled in order to survive.
  • Murderball -- Yes, it'll shatter your preconceptions about the disabled, but it's not just another social message documentary; it's a robust and entertaining movie, and it's fun to watch.
  • The Aristocrats -- The same joke, over and over, for 90 minutes, and it never stops being funny. A marvel of editing and pacing.
  • Me and You and Everyone We Know -- Writer/director/actress Miranda July walks the highwire in magnificent style, never taking the false step that would send the movie flying into the chasm of preciousness.
  • Nine Lives -- If you care about great acting, and great actors, then you have to see this movie; its nine scenes are a series of master classes.
  • Mysterious Skin -- A tremendously brave movie that acknowledges the horrible tragedy of sexually abused children, while refusing to reduce any of its characters to a two-dimensional villain or victim.

(And a few runners-up, any of which might have made the top ten had I been in a slightly different mood as the final list was drawn up: Brothers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, A History of Violence, Match Point, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Pride & Prejudice.)

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