Top Ten 2002 Films
Submitted by lbangs on Sun, 04/14/2002 - 04:08
- 1) The Twilight Samurai - Where in the world did this one come from? Yoji Yamada's film flew quietly under my radar until a note from Jim mentioned that I might like it. If Yasujiro Ozu directed a samurai film, I suspect it would like a lot like this fantastic film, and that is high praise. The directing is understated yet divine, knowing when to leave the frame still and to allow the action to wander off, and brave enough to let this potentially melodramatic material breathe naturally without superfluous emotional underlining or fireworks. A petty samurai, soldiering on after the loss of his wife leaves him supporting a senile mother and two young daughters on his own, must face several trials, including one that might spell his end. This is a beautiful, moving movie, one that burrowed into my heart with a subtle grace reminiscent of the highest masterpieces of the art. I wish I could write something more insightful, but I am frankly still reeling from this film. Jim, you nailed it; I love this film.
- 2) Bloody Sunday - Bowling for Columbine upset me and made me laugh; Bloody Sunday enraged me and made me livid with tears. A march against gross abuses of civil rights, including America's current favorite, mass internment without trials, turns into a slaughter. This film's bare documentary style puts you in the middle of the carnage and forces you to deal with the horrible aftermath that includes incredible grief, corruption, and cover-up. This incendiary work is nearly the best film I have seen from a year that seems increasingly like a high-water mark for modern cinema. This is not history. It is protest and prophecy.
- How long, indeed.
- 3) Talk to Her - Pedro Almodovar's style has been maturing for quite a few years now, but Talk to Her is a shock. A few outlandish moments remain, but while the film remains rather playful, it also manages to be very meditative at the same time. Sure, Almodovar is still creating melodramas, but Talk to Me is certainly more drama than usual. This, of course, does not mean that Talk to Me isn't odd and disturbing in parts, but here, it is the characters, the story, and to a surprising degree, the *realism* of both elements that are unsettling. Good people do bad actions out of good, if twisted, motives. Lonely people settle for a fool's gold version of love rather than isolation. Small moments of grace rise from horrible situations. Real people walk through a reality that is slightly unreal, rather like most people experience 'reality'. Echoing the thematic changes, Almodovar mutes his pastel shades, relaxing them to soft hues rather than glaring shocks of colors. The acting is also subdued, but Dario Grandinetti gives one of the male performance of the year os the sad yet strong Marco, and the casting of Javier Camara is a stroke of genius. Leonor Watling is convincing both a bullfighter and a sexy object of desire, and Geraldine Chaplin fits perfectly into a film that celebrates silent cinema. Pedro Almodovar not only shines as director, but also proves that his script deserves that Best Original Screenplay nomination it scored. Hell, there is at least one (at least one) shock in this film that manages to be believable and much more surprising and emotionally satisfying than anything M. Night Shyamalan has yet to hack up. Talk to Her is a wonderful development in Almodovar's filmography; Pedro seems to be one of the few current longtime directors to mature at the peak of his game. Here, he leaves you slightly uneasy, slightly hopeful, and completely longing for more.
- 4) Far from Heaven - I hate and love artifice. Much too often it is drenched in irony, reveling in kitsch, causing every attempt at emotion to slip through the confused viewer's fingers. I confess this artificiality rarely thrills me; I too often find it cheap to create and even less rewarding to work through. Other times, however, artifice creates a new world to dislocate, to place us into foreign terrain where the old rules loosen a bit. Lost, we are explorers, open to the improbable and the fantastic. I love this, and by God, I love Far from Heaven. You see, you know Todd Haynes isn’t just cracking a joke when, early in the film, Julianne Moore puts on that liquid pair of emerald gloves. They are thick and rich, and even though they are inconsequential to the position the scene holds in the film’s narrative, the camera almost seems to roll and savor them like brandy or smoke from a dark cigar. Mr. Haynes isn’t reviving this fifty-year-old melodramatic genre for a poke in the ribs and a good guffaw. He is breathing life into this faded style because it is another world to modern filmgoers, and by dislocating us, he short-wires our defenses and opens us to the new. Since we are wide-eyed with suspended critical reflexes, he slips melodrama before our moist eyes, and we eat up every second of it. Moulin Rouge did this last year – for all the wild antics of the first half which seem to annoy so many, I frankly doubt if we would have bought the broad tragedy which followed without the kinetics knocking us out of place – and Far from Heaven does this at least as well this year. Even as an admirer of Haynes' recreation of the seventies glam scene in Velvet Goldmine, I now see that earlier film was simply an appetizer to this much fuller realized and varied feast. Julianne Moore forces our forgiveness for Hannibal, and Dennis Quaid continues one of the most unexpected career rehabilitations in recent memory. Dennis Haysbert was so good that after a few scenes I was able to stop seeing President Palmer in gardener’s clothes altogether, and Patricia Clarkson (who always reminds me of the stellar first season of Murder One) stands out among the supporting players. This film starts by jarring us and ends by moving us deeply.
- 5) The Man Without a Past - Perhaps my love of dramas about ordinary people rages beyond all control, perhaps I am a sucker for a leisurely, atmospheric pace where the silence speaks as loudly as the words, or perhaps the echoes of Hal Hartley’s Amateur bit into my leg too deeply, but I completely fell for Aki Kaurismaki’s quiet film with complete abandon. The deadpan humor often had me laughing aloud, the early rock and roll soundtrack had my toes tapping, and the moving tale of a man without memory making a way in a downtrodden, poverty-ravished world engaged me fully. This is the type of film many will see and label over-rated, but I lost myself to its charms. It is a quiet, under-heralded masterpiece.
- 6) The Pianist - A common thread weaves throughout Polanski's best films. He is frankly obsessed with evil. Carol Ledoux and Lady Macbeth are seduced by it in Repulsion and Macbeth, Rosemary is raped by it in the form of Satan himself in Rosemary's Baby, and Noah Cross embodies it arguably even more completely in Chinatown. Polanski's main characters are always victims wrecked by the evil unleashed in the film. At first glance, The Pianist, as depressing as it is, seems a bit more hopeful. Yes, most of the Nazis certainly live up to the role of evil in the film, but as horrible as conditions grow, Wladyslaw Szpilman escapes from the darkness. Deeper reflection, however, reveals that The Pianist really isn't much different from the previous films. No character escapes evil; its power envelopes all. Like Rosemary and J. J. Gittes, Szpilman simply survives it. The Pianist finds Polanski with greater control of his powers than since Chinatown. He and Adrien Brody are true masters. While most directors and actors would be unable to resist grandstanding with such grave material, both artists not only display incredible skill, but also important, admirable restraint. If many elements of the story are sadly very familiar by now, neither Roman nor Adrien's approach to it is. While not quite the timeless masterpiece that the somewhat similar The Garden of the Finzi Continis is (which manages to be more affecting even while stopping short of the actual Holocaust), The Pianist is still a great, sad film that will linger longer than one may like.
- 7) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - A fine follow-up on the first film, The Two Towers doesn't quite reach the grand, epic heights of the opening installment of the series. It lacks the thrill of a novel undertaking, the synergy of the major characters, and the nearly flawless special effects from the first film (the scene with the tree-shepherd carrying the hobbits looks horrid). Fortunately, the Gollum scenes work much better than I had feared; in fact, they are terrific. The creature is both movingly portrayed and admirably rendered, adding a touching emotional element to a film that very much needs one. The condensing of the large novel to a film hurts The Two Towers much more than it did The Fellowship of the Rings, which harms the theatrical version slightly, but does leave one's mouth watering for the eventual extended DVD. All in all, The Two Towers is a rousing middle section to a triology everybody and his / her gardener prays ends gloriously with next year's The Return of the King.
- 8) Secretary - Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader bring flesh and blood to this story of strange love birds not too far removed from the spirit of Harold and Maude, and as a result, rather than exploitation, Secretary plays as exploration. Steven Shainberg, adapting and directing a Mary Gaitskill short story, shows an incredible empathy with the material and characters; what could have played as a cautionary tale or a generic erotic thriller instead evolves into a love story for those who cannot relate with perfect princes and Cinderellas. Secretary is one of the more daring films of 2002, but it rewards its viewers for every step they are willing to take along with it.
- 9) Hero - What a beautiful rush! Zhang Yimou takes an unexpected dip into wuxia, and spends much of the film forcing viewers' jaws open and yanking the bottom plate to the floor. What might be more unexpected is the film's twist into political philosophy, and while it might end that particular journey a bit too quickly and simply, it at least gives this opulent epic quite a bit to feed the brain as well as the eyes. Oh, and it does feed those eyes. A few of the computer images may push matters a bit, but this movie provides so many incredible scenes to gaze at that to quibble would be to complain that a few of Airplane's jokes aren't top rate. It would rather miss the point. Additionally, for an adventure that speeds by with incredible speed, Hero certainly gives its characters more definition and charisma that most action movies ever give their inhabitants. This is a high-water mark for its genre, a surprise from drama-master Zhang Yimou, and a delight for film fans.
- 10) Road to Perdition - Let me get one gripe off my chest first. Why does everybody involved with American Beauty have a horrid addiction to banal commentary that restates the obvious? This didn't get too out of hand in American Beauty, but Alan Ball's Six Feet Under never stinks as bad as it does when the corpses pretentiously feel the need to tell you what you should already know, and Road to Perdition is sandwiched by narration that really ends the entire endeavor with a sour taste. When you've told your story, shut up and don't tell it again. To quote Edina, "We aren't all stupid, you know." While this major flaw really irked, I am bucking the Listology trend and admitting I really liked Road to Perdition. I found the variations on the father and son themes emotionally moving, and the acting was, for the most part, rather extraordinary. Yes, Paul Newman is still a rare treasure, but the fact that he doesn't completely overshadow Hanks in their shared scenes says volumes about how the younger man has grown unexpectedly into an actor of depth and rare subtlety. All the praise went to the cinematography, but it still was not better than the work for The Man Who Wasn't There. Road to Perdition, however, is a much better film that the Coen's contemporary effort. This under-stated film is oddly slow and quiet for a gangster flick, but that restraint adds to the resonance of the actions of its emotionally restrained characters, and while that obnoxious narration remains a serious problem, I think (*duck*) this is a stronger film than Mendes' award-winner American Beauty, and I am a bit baffled as to its muted reception. Perhaps the predictable ending let many down. I found the inevitability of the climax to strengthen the tragic strain running throughout the film, and if it fails to surprise or shock, I do not think the creators meant it to be a twist. Maybe I missing something here, but I found Road to Perdition to be one of the best 2002 had to offer.
- Honorable Mentions
- Minority Report - Reviews have varied on this one, but for my money, this is the best Spielberg film in nearly a decade. The effects are stellar, the story twisty and pointed, and the tone edgy in a way Steven seldom ever has been since the early 70s. Heck, the boy even indulges in some delicious, eye-popping black humor! I admit, I was very shocked at just how great this film is. It is very rare that Spielberg can meld his higher, social aspirations with his amazing (if recently under-used) ability to wow and entertain, but in Minority Report, he may just have pulled this trick off better than he ever has. Cruise is admirably toned-down and believable, and the beautiful, talented Samantha Morton is perfect in a quite un-glamorous role. Additionally, the film's vision of a future 52 years from now was both insightful and realistic; there isn't too much here that I would be surprised to see around if and when I hit 81 (although those personalized ads will probably drive me to keep my hearing aids turned off). There really is not much wrong with this film; nearly every note is pitch perfect. I'm not really sure why it bombed at the box office, unless after 9/11, people really don't want to be warned about the possible unsavory effects of trading in freedom for safety. Required viewing for sci-fi fans and anybody with the last name of Ashcroft.
- Good Bye Lenin! - In a manner somewhat like Zhang Yimou's wonderful To Live, this film penetrates the blur of potent political changes to focus on the personal stories of people trying to survive the radically shifting world. These people are well-defined and alive, and the cast consists of some of the finest, often most appealing actors most of the world have yet to hear of. The political does get wrapped into the final picture, but in a manner true to the story and to the flavor of this surprisingly fun film. Wolfgang Becker deserves high praise for writing such a creative story and bringing it to life with verve and vitality; he even has some great fun referencing film masters of the past. The news scenes are very funny, and the actual goodbye to Lenin is one of the more visually powerful moments of film in recent memory.
- We Were Soldiers - After Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, and Saving Private Ryan, the war genre is becoming a tricky one to work. A filmmaker can go crazy deciding on the proper tone to set or a way to make the film unique. Two films, Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers, recently tried to revitalize the timeworn subject, and while the critics praised the Scott-helmed Hawk, Randall Wallace’s Soldiers is easily the superior film. Perhaps the key to the film’s success is the uneasiness it faces, and not only in the carnage. jgandcag is partly right; Soldiers does share a certain spirit usually not seen outside of World War II films, and certainly not often seen in films set in the jungles of Vietnam. This is not an easy film to pigeonhole, though. This is a shock. It brings values that seem set throughout the movie into question, and it leaves one with conflicted emotions. Perhaps in that regard, this film captures a side of the war that few Vietnam films have; it does not easily allow for pat conclusions. I was surprised at how well made this film was. The excellent acting from all involved enhances Wallace’s efforts to keep the brutal, bloody bodies connected to real characters. He doesn’t neglect the opponents or the home front, and while his dialogue can slip into slogans, a flaw conspicuous mostly at the beginning, he has done a stellar job grounding this conflict in the lives of the people fighting it. The dialogue isn’t the only flaw; the montage at the 1:40 mark makes the horrible decisionSpoiler: Highlight to viewWhile the film never falters in its respect for the soldiers spilling blood (and that goes for the victims of either side, a rare effort in this field) Soldiers eventually does question the war itself. At the end, beside a waving American flag that at first appears the symbol of pride, the Vietnamese officer regrets that America will now feel like this is its war, and he predicts the end will still be the same except for the increase in the number of bodies. We know he is right, and the flag changes from a boasting emblem into a mark of ownership. It this context, it is a tragic mark, yet still a noble one.but the truth is that We Were Soldiers is surprisingly stirring, moving stuff, humane enough to encompass many of the individuals affected by the war. Its strengths outweigh its flaws. The result is an excellent war film, one that refuses to give easy conclusions (logical or emotional), and one that has the utmost respect for the fighters while not quite anointing the fight itself.Spoiler: Highlight to viewto include action poses of the photographer that unintentionally seem humorous and distracting (the photos themselves would have done the same trick much better). Additionally, the ending of the battle unfortunately shifts in tone a bit too close to an action film, which somewhat seems to trivialize the actual events, and the occasional moment of cliché (usually patriotic) threatens to push the carefully created characters into icons (which would have been fatal),
- About a Boy - Somewhat to my surprise, I really enjoyed this film. Hugh Grant is quite fun as a stunted man whose fake charm is a smokescreen to his shallow selfishness. The young boy he becomes involved in is, of course, cute as can be, and the relationship is much less cliched than I expected (heck, it even fooled me in places). Throw in some humor and fun visual stylings, and you have a perfectly fine way to spend a buck on a Friday evening. I never expected a film this intelligently funny from the Weitzs, but I do love a surprise. Hardly a masterpiece, but frankly, one of the better 2002 films.
- Gangs Of New York - In the back room of festivals, the cynics were whispering Heaven's Gate while the faithful were praying for heaven. Martin Scorsese gave us something in between, but luckily much closer to glory than purgatory. The film is bold, subtly making some very dark and grim statements while wrapping a history lesson inside a gripping Civil War-era Donnie Brasco setup. The biggest surprise here is perhaps watching Leonardo DiCaprio make it through an epic length feature without sucking. He actually pulls the weight of the film without tripping at least ninety percent of the time. In other words, he reminds us why we all considered him such an exciting actor before his unfortunate and uncomfortable (if extremely profitably) turn in Titanic. Rivaling that shock is the sad realization that Daniel Day-Lewis' much-praised comeback plays like yet another De Niro performance; he even cops many of Bobby's facial pulls and stiff body lurches. He does it well, but it is hardly original and frankly disappointing. Also disappointing is the soggy twenty minutes or so that sop by on the way to the climax, but hey, this is a grand film, huge and large and stuffed full of delights. It is big enough to absorb these weaknesses and offers more than enough to repay the viewer's forgiveness and time. No, this isn't Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, or Raging Bull, but it is close to Casino and Kundun, and that's pretty damn good in my book. Many are calling this a triumphant return. I'd throw my hat in the ring with them, except I'm not sure what Scorsese is supposed to be returning from. One weak film (Bringing Out the Dead) is hardly a slump, and one black mark out of thirty years of directing features does not require a "comeback". Scorsese has simply picked up his mantle and continued doing what he amazingly has been doing nearly without fail; he made a great film.
- Insomnia - Insomnia is quite good. Not great, but quite good. The film doesn't quite seem to trust its own ability to create atmosphere, and perhaps over-loads on this front a bit, but over all, this is a very well done cop film, with a dull snowblinded whiteness sitting in for the usual noir. The acting is stellar, and the recreations of the effects of insomnia are vivid and dead-on. A few set-oriented scenes work incredibly well, especially one involving logs washing down river, and Pacino and Williams avoid some of their own cliches that have plauged them lately. It is, of course, always nice to see Hartley regular Martin Donovan making a bit of dough in a mainstream film. As my wife stated as we left the dollar film, this film is somewhat similar to Homocide: Life on the Street, and frankly, doesn't soar nearly as high as that classic series, but on its own, Insomnia is still one of the stronger films of 2002.
- Bowling For Columbine - The problem with discussing Moore's films is that half of the people you meet can't stand his liberal guts and the other half think he is God handing down new gospels. The truth is that Moore doesn't really make documentary films as much as he creates visual essays. He selects evidence, forcefully argues his points, and tries to entertain as he attempts to persuade. In Bowling for Columbine, he might take a few cheap shots, but he largely and unexpectedly debunks some typical whipping boys for both left and right leaners while searching for answers he can't always find. He often persuades, but even better, he nearly always entertains (even when he causes us to squirm, especially when his confrontation of a very generous Charlton Heston turns nearly as heartless as he accuses Heston of often being). Do we need such blatant propaganda from other side of the political spectrum? Probably not, but we can certainly enjoy it and learn from analyzing it. Bowling is up there with Roger as Michael's best, and that makes it pretty hard to beat, not that I can think of too many other comparable films competing against it.
- Films Intentionally Left Off This List
- Spider-Man - Gee, what a cranky old guy L. Bangs must be. He is dissing Spider-Man?
- Oh, yeah.
- Where to begin with this film? Terrible dialogue. Dunst seems to have entirely forgotten how to act and looks incredibly silly in red hair. The web-slingin', coaster-ridin' special effects look like a third-rate video game. The script is nice enough to give you a billion hints about where each element of the story is going miles before you arrive. Did I mention this film made a buttload of money? Apparently, idiots run and throw themselves at crap like this, no doubt nobly attempting to keep the ailing film industry afloat. What a nation of patriots! And just think how the country's economy will soar when the latest slice of Star Wars is half-assed served up today! The box office will boom! I heard a rumor that a few hundred billion dollars more, and Hollywood might consider hiring writers for the films!
- I spent $5 bucks on this lame waste of time, I've spent untold minutes reading critics fawn and faint over how brilliant it is, I've listened to oodles of friends who usually exhibit great taste discuss the ecstatic epiphanies this film flung over them, and I am baffled, confused, and, yep, you guessed it!, cranky! My god, is fall here yet?
- If people really wanted to see great films roll out of Hollywood, they would simply stop running to see blockbusters the weekend they pop out. Wait a week. Hear from friends. Don't encourage them to spend millions of dollars promoting brand names instead of films! You have friends who have strange needs to see every big-event film the weekend it comes out. Hear from them first. The world will continue to spin round if you don't see the megamovie the weekend it arrives, and you'll help discourage Hollywood from focusing exclusively on opening-night young males. Your choice, but if you always see Star Wars the day it comes out, don't complain. It sucks because they know you'll fork the cash over (opening night, nevertheless!) regardless.
- God knows, it ain't the studios who are the stupid ones...
- Now, with that off my chest, Spider-man is not terrible, but it really isn't very good either. I was stuck seeing this with a group. I noticed the theater we went to was also showing Monsoon Wedding, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and The Son's Room, and I have to admit, I just don't get it. However, we had to see Spider-Man, and that's just a shame.
- Signs - I really, really did not like this film at all. At 106 minutes, it felt longer than most three hour films. Of course, all that waste of film stock eventually tumbles into another patented M. Night Shyamalan ending, and this one stinks. Real bad. It doesn't particulary surprise, it is extremely contrived, it is cheesy beyond belief, and it doesn't even make much logical sense. In other words, it sucks. Really bad. It is one of the worst endings I have seen in a long, long, long time. Sadly, there really isn't much more in the film going well. Shyamalan has proven that he is a good old-fashioned spooky film director, scaring through sound effects and the unseen. Unfortunately, Shyamalan refuses to make an old-fashioned spooky film. Instead, his films try to twist where they really shouldn't, and they try to make profound religous statements where M. Night really hasn't a damn profound bone in his body. So far, this has to be the worst 2002 film I've seen yet. Really. Want to see this film? Take a nap instead. You'll get the same effects, plus you'll get your rest too.
- Chicago - If you took a print of Cabaret, transferred it to video, ran off a dub, dubbed that dub, then filmed that version as it played on an shabby television set, digitized it, and then tweaked up the color, brightness, treble, and bass levels, you would have a very shiny version of Fosse's masterpiece. The colors would glisten, the sound would boom crisply, and audiences everywhere would gush orgastically over it. There is a problem, however. Fosse's cinematography is a delicate, detailed, textured beast, and even if all those levels mentioned above were humming at eleven, you still would have a shell sucked of a soul. I cannot think of a better or more apt metaphor for Chicago. This film is awful. Awful. Yes, it is probably going to win the Best Picture Oscar, which puts it in the recent company of Gladiator (an even worse movie than this) and A Beautiful Mind (which, while no great shakes, actually does look like a masterpiece held up to this film). In fact, it fits perfectly into the saddest decade for Best Pictures yet seen. You see, for starters, Rob Marshall brought nothing to the direction of this film that he didn't cop from Bob Fosse. Well, that's not entirely true. Everything has been dumbed down, so I suppose the low level of intelligence is unique to ol' Robbie. True, Fosse did the choreography and direction for the original stage version, but for God's sake, Rob, you didn't have steal the freakin' camera shots and edits, did you? I mean, Fosse's Chicago wasn't a film, so that was hardly inherent to the musical. You don't even seem to understand the emotional effects of his tricks; you simply see the flash, hear the snap, and put a dime into the Xerox machine. You're not fooling anybody. You are the Paul Thomas Anderson of modern musicals. It is not entirely your fault, of course. You are a victim of the cynical lawyers posing as artists we call producers. I can see the smoky room stinking of sweat, as very important film people lean back in plush chairs and rewatch a screener of Moulin Rouge. So great, and yet, it didn't win the Oscar. Well, you know, every one blamed the older members of the Academy. It was too wild, too contemporary, and too radical, and the older set just blanked out after the first ten minutes. Wait! We can tame the beast, defang it and dull it down so that all Academy members have a chance to love it. Hmmm, what was the last live action musical to hit Oscar gold? Cabaret. Ah. Let's steal the style of Cabaret, but leave behind any shred of that sticky substance dealing with complex characters or dramatic situations. And sorry, Bebe Neuwirth. We know you want the role of Velma, that you OWN the role of Thelma, but damn it, we need names and hot sexy things here. Hey, isn't Catherine Zeta-Jones free? She was nominated for Traffic. Sure, she looks like crap in the short hair wig, and sure, her acting, singing, and dancing chops won't carry the day, but she'll help drag the male population in, and we can always edit around the tricky steps any way, and if she glares with a sideswipe of the head around twenty times during the court scene, we'll make her work. Maybe this scene never took place, but I'd lay down money something damn close to it did. Add the fact that Queen Latifah only really clicks when she's singing and the sad truth that Chicago has never had the best or most memorable of scores, and this film never even had a chance artistically, but every chance in the world at Oscar, and thus real monetary, awards. The good vibes on Listology had my hopes up a bit, but truthfully, this movie is worse than I feared. The dedication at the end or the credits to Fosse is both appropriate for a film that dimly copied his style and his style only, and an insult for a movie so shallow that its interest in Fosse's genius stopped there. Chicago will win Best Picture gold, but it is one plastic loser.
- Adaptation - While I watched many 2002 films I disliked much more than Adaptation, I did not see one that disappointed me more. At around the halfway mark of Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's latest collaboration, I was convinced it would find a spot pretty high on my favorites of the year list. Around a hour and a half into the film, however, the punchline of the joke begins to play out, and the viewer must suffer through this for thirty miserable minutes. It sours the film beyond saving, and as a result, I can't really stick this film anywhere near my top ten for last year. The acting is terrific, the directing is quite impressive, but the bad gag of having the film devolve into is simply too sad and, frankly, boring to tolerate as long as we are made to endure it. I suppose this film is still worth watching for the faithful, but me, I feel *very* cheated and, yep, disappointed.Spoiler: Highlight to viewa horrible example of the very type of cinema it is mocking
- Panic Room - Panic Room has an extremely flawed script that no amount of flashy direction or truly great acting can quite overcome. This is the type of writing which will have people do incredibly stupid things they would *never* do in the real world and then joke about how stupid they were later. Somehow, the lame, self-referential joke is supposed to make us feel better about the poor writing. It doesn't. Add to that an excellent premise that isn't milked for half it is worth and the embarrasing fact that propane is HEAVIER than air and does not float at the top of a room, and, well, did I mention the acting? Forest and Jodie, the veterans, get all the ink, but anybody who caught Requiem for a Dream may pay more attention to Jared Leto's wired performance. Of course, Dwight does the type of performance Dwight has proven he can do before, and Fincher creates cool credits and makes his camera move through a coffee pot handle...
Wow, what a year!