30 From 2: My Top Favorite Movies From 2002.
25 6.5 6.530. The Invisible (2002)
A high school teenager finds himself to be invisible to all the other kids in school. And not just cuz of his lack of personality.
The boy's a ghost, & thus begins a tale of redemption from beyond the "other side".
The Invisible (or Den Osynlige, in it's original Swedish title) is yet another fine example of a "foreign" film that got kinda ignored here in the States b'cuz Hollywood decided to produce an inferior remake instead.
Gotta love those formula flicks, huh?
1557 6.6 6.729. The Transporter (2002)
Not that much in plot or originality, but there's enough in the fun & crazy fight scenes of this film to help solidify Jason Statham's role as an action film badd-ass.
Or to put it simply,
a cool high octane idea, with a cool high octane character & cool high octane action.
Ergo cool high octane movie.
The Transporter may not be the type of film that will change cinema history, but it does fall deeply into the realm of satisfifying "popcorn entertainment".
So grab a bucketful & enjoy the ride.
405 6.7 6.728. May (2002)
Okay, we all know by know that hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned.
So how can you tell whether a woman is truly in love with you or if she's just a remarkably incessant psychopath?
Well, if her infatuation is based on love, true love,
then she is after your heart.
If her infatuation is based on murderous madness,
then, she is after your heart, your lungs, your limbs, etc.
The fact that this movie is has been promoted as a horror film,
makes it easy to guess which category May fits into.
1708 6.6 7.227. Insomnia (2002)
I've had my fair share of nights where, no matter how many sheep I count, I just can't get to sleep.
So, what I end up doing, is , late at night, I sit behind my computer, log onto this site, & spend massive amounts of time into the wee hours of the morning, making up lists & posting 'em here for your pleasure.
So, along with a movie directed by Christopher Nolan & starring Al Pacino, Hilary Swank & Robin Williams, I guess that we can thank insomnia for that.
583 5.8 6.426. Changing Lanes (2002)
3349 6.2 6.725. Signs (2002)
How do you get a former priest whose lost his faith to "open his eyes" & believe again?
Try sending down an alien or two to start forming big ol' circles in his crops.
I really liked the theme of a man-of-faith who has lost his faith that provided the personality conflict of the Mel Gibson's character.
And, IMO, the first part of this flick almost matched The Sixth Sense in terms of building up the creep factor.
However, once the guilt-ridden veterinarian (played by M. Knight) announced that he had an alien in his kitchen, & then just drove off (...uhmnnn...whut....?),
it kinda began showing "signs" of the kind of rushed, crumbling logic that we could expect to dominate Shyamalan's future films.
Still, in the end, for me, the majority of this movie makes for an over-all solid down-to-Earth alien thriller.
Not to mention, that it's always cool to see Joaquin Phoenix in a role that depicts him as a normal person, as opposed to the alien life-form that he has since become. Nowadays, he's seems more frightening than the extra-terrestrials of this or any other sci-fi-horror film.
3180 7 7.524. Gangs of New York (2002)
The depiction of the quest for power amoung the lower ranks of society during the burgeoning years of the Four Corners of the Big Apple.
To be honest, while I liked this tale the struggles of the original gangstas of New York, with it's when the grit in the hearts of it's denizens was just as grimey as it's muddy streets,
& I don't think this is one of Martin Scorcese's best.
The characteristics of charisma & chemistry that tend to shoot out of most of Scorcese's films seem to be quite lacking in this movie, despite a stellar cast that includes Leonardo DeCaprio, Cameron Diaz & Daniel Day Lewis.
But still, I include it on my year's favorites, because it's enjoyable none the less, particularly when compared to the standard fare that occupies most theatre screens today.
2088 6.7 723. Lilo & Stitch (2002)
2679 6.4 6.822. Panic Room (2002)
Jodie Foster (along with the chick from Twilight :/) takes on three tough thugging thieves who have broken into her newly aquired home in search for some hidden loot.
Seeking safety in the panic room, she ends up utilizing it's security in a manner that turns the tables on the thieves. What should've been a simple caper for them, instead becomes the longest night that they've ever experienced on the job.
382 6.7 6.821. Dog Soldiers (2002)
4981 7.3 7.920. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
985 7.1 719. Secretary (2002)
A secretary finds that the responsibilities of her duties and her relationship with her boss have evolved (though some may say "devolved") from a brand spanking new job into just a spanking job.
Now, while I found this movie engagingly quirky & for the most part, kinda sexy,
it really would've been higher on my list if only (and this is definitely a spoiler alert!!) the lead character, at one point of the movie, wouldn't have taken a dump in her wedding dress.
Call me a stiff shirt, but in my opinion, I don't think that's very romantic.
Like, at all.
4038 6.9 7.718. Minority Report (2002)
461 7 7.217. 24 Hour Party People (2002)
The story of the rise and fall of the Manchester Music scene of the 80's, including the famous Hacienda dance club & the small indie record label Factory Records (which supposedly was named after all the "factory closing" signs that hung around all of Manchester at the time...and probably served as an ironic sign of things to come for the record label).
I think that one of the main reasons I have such a soft spot in my heart for 24 Hour Party People may be because this is the film that introduced me to alot of my favorite "shoegazer" bands. Like The Smiths, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses & Ride. This movie was kind of like the beginning of my own personal British Invasion.
Actually, now that I think about it, with the inclusion of other films from over the pond like About A Boy, Chamber Of Secrets, Dog Soldiers, 28 Days & finally, this movie,
2002 has proven to be quite the year of British cinema for me.
1681 7.2 7.716. Adaptation (2002)
2125 6.6 7.115. About a Boy (2002)
For those of you who haven't seen this movie, you can probably figure out what the plot is about just by the title.
Actually, when you really think about it, the title of the flick sorta defeats the whole purpose of these description boxes.
besides being about a boy, there's also enough of the uber-gorgeous Rachel Weisz in the film to help qualify it as one of my favorites of '02.
211 6.7 7.114. The Salton Sea (2002)
Kids, this movie isn't just another example of yet another underrated Val Kilmer performance, but more importantly, it's also a good example of why you should always say no to drugs.
In the plot of The Salton Sea, the villain snorted so much coke, that his nose completely disintegrated away.
Or, to paraphrase a semi-famous quote,
"There's a reason why drugs are called 'dope'". Take it from someone who nose.
2399 6.4 7.113. Phone Booth (2002)
Colin Farrell plays Stu Shepard, a smooth-talking, self-serving, fast-track publicist who, in the dominating age of the cell phone, ends up getting stuck in a phone booth (which is lucky for this movie, since that's the title of this flick). Not because the booth door is jammed, but because there's a sniper with the scope's red dot resting firmly right between his eyes. communicating thru the land-line, the assassin begins a barrage of questioning targeted straight at immorality of Stu'S heart.
Soon surrounded with the police (unaware of the reality of Stu's situation) & by the consequences of his life's decisions, outwitting the intelligent psychopath on the other end of the line is his only way out.
7544 8 8.712. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The grand epic tale of how to get rid of a ring of tremendous evil power & influence continues (something that I'm sure most divorcees can relate to). In this second chapter to the Jackson film series, scattered members of the Fellowship find themselves in various depths of Middle-Earth, but all with equally dangerous levels of peril on the paths of their journey, thanks to the minions of Sauron, who has vitually taken control of the mystic realm.
The fact that this movie made only up to #13 on my list is a testament to the amount of quality movies released for this year. I'm sure that on any other year this film would've easily made the top five, let alone my top ten.
1046 6.6 7.211. About Schmidt (2002)
Jack decides it's time to step away from the more spotlight movies & start flexing some acting muscles to remind everyone that he's not just the Jackster that Hollywood has decided to iconally cement him into.
Jack plays a role of which we're not accustomed to seeing him in. A man who after a lifetime made up of a reliable yet indifferent job, a dutiful wife who makes him sandwiches for lunch & a family that has just simply moved on, now finds himself alone & purposeless.
And thus begins a journey for identity & meaning in which, hopefully, the end result will be some tidbits of inner-discovery that will help to ease the last-leg phase of a meandering life that is, basically, about Schmidt.
701 5.7 6.110. Solaris (2002)
7065 6.8 7.39. Spider-Man (2002)
Mild mannered Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, resulting in super-powers that grant him the proportionate abilities of the eight-legged arachnid. Leading into a story where the young webslinging teen-ager truly learns that "with great power comes great responsibility".
As a comicbook nerd, I was pleased with Marvel's 1st. initial effort at trying to do what Burton did with the Batman: Introduce the webhead as a serious legitimate property for film.
One of the things that usually bugs (pun unintentional) me about comicbook based movies is that the changes made in the character's universe for the sake of the film are usually so off, that it oft-times it strays away too far from the character's unique feel that helped to separate it from that of other superheroes.
Spider-Man's debut featured adaptations in the wallcrawler's world that showed that not only did Sam Raimi & crew understand the character's premise, but also, respected it as well.
2937 7.3 7.68. 28 Days Later... (2002)
Y'know, the concept of zombies has gotten bogged down with the campiness that has overtaken this horror sub-genre over the years, that the horror aspect seems to have been practically filtered out. And though alot of this may be due to the logistic of being able to easily escape these stumbling monstrocities, the fact is, if anyone reading this actually saw a zombie, they'd still be scared to the point of shittin' out their own skeletons. If at least by the idea that they have born witness to something as "death-defying" as an entity of the "undead".
This movie attempts to address these issues by respectfully replacing the idea of rising from the dead more akin to being infected with a rabid mind-devolving plague. And IMO, that's enough to turn the concept of a zombie into a more reality like creature that's pretty damn scary. Especially when added to the fact that they can now move fast enough to actually catch you.
1678 7.1 7.67. Equilibrium (2002)
For me, this is kind of like a "The Matrix Unloaded".
A very stunningly stylish movie that features action sequences that any martial arts or straight-up action flick would be proud to call it's own. And even tho the story, like The Matrix, seems like it can lose it's audience every couple of turns and again, it does have a more solid & linear structure, making it is possible for the viewer to get back onto understanding it's premise.
And I liked that since Equilibrium did not have the big budget that it's computer themed bigger succeeding cousin had, that it came up with a concept called "Gun Kata", to allow for the insane bullet hails that make these types of gun-toting movies the kind that could cause even the hardiest NRA member to bust his own cap.
3572 7.4 7.96. The Bourne Identity (2002)
With movie franchises becoming the booming business of corporate cinema, it was no surprise that after many years, super-spy & assassin extraordinaire Jason Bourne finally came to life on the big screen.
Directed by Doug Liman and portrayed by Mr. Matt Damon, this film series succeeded in bringing the character, originally set in the eighties, up to date & up to speed.
The spy theme was never really one of my favorite genres.
So I was quite surprised at not only how much I enjoyed the Bourne Identity, but also how the whole series became, for me, one of those rare trilogies that only got better with each successive movie.
By the time this series got to the intelligently bad-ass ending of Ultimatum, I knew that I had just witnessed what was now one of my favorite movie trilogies of all time.
1704 7.3 7.95. Hero (2002)
A martial arts movie with beautifully colored fighting themes, an actual purpose in it's plotline & more arrows than some metaphor that would contain a point about many more arrows that any situation would ever deem necessary.
An epic kung-fu flick that is way more poetic than this or any description of Hero could ever hope to be.
2544 8.3 8.74. City of God (2002)
For me, watching this Brazillian-based film feels almost exactly like watching a documentary. One frighteningly all-too real scene involves a young (incredibly young) kid gang member who is cornered by a much older gang leader from another troupe & then is asked to choose between getting shot in the hand or in the foot. IMO, it is a scene that holds more power, depth & context than most movies contain in their entirety. An incredibly eye-opening & moving picture that reveals the true grit of violence, hopelessness & poverty of the South American slums that lie behind tourist paradises such as Rio de Janeiro and the like.
1856 7.2 7.73. Road to Perdition (2002)
Based off of a graphic novel of the same name, Road To Perdition is a quality film that addresses an area of the mobster life that rarely gets any notice from most movies from this genre: the relationship of a gangster with his kid(s) when the child is at the age in which the the parent's influence is most strongest & begins to crystalize in the kid's identity. Just this one aspect of the mafia lifestyle is enough to open a new set of ideas for future movies plotlines that focus on those in the world of organized crime.
Tom Hanks wanders out of his standard role to play an assasin who, along with his only survivng son, is on the run from the crime syndicate which he formerly called home. A life & death experience which reveals that there's a difference between the blood that is spilled for a mob-family & the blood that is shared between a real family.
1143 6.9 7.32. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
A P.T. Anderson effort that delves into how an unforseeable strength & driving force can result when two souls take the jump into the unfamiliar territory that is the map of the human heart. A map whose directions seem only to reveal themselves on a need to know basis. But wait...!
It stars Adam Sandler? Who puts the effort of actually acting in it?
And in the end, does a good job?
To the point, that it becomes the very first movie starring the waterboy that I not only ended up actually enjoying, but also, now come to regard as one of my favorite romance films ever?
verily, the seventh seal hath been broken.
384 7.4 7.61. Whale Rider (2002)
An island heritage that is already desperately trying to hold onto it's own identity, finds itself even more challenged when a little girl tries desperately to fit into it in a manner that would break one if it's fundamental "rules". For, in order to triumph, she must dispel the ages old belief that to achieve the mantle of a chieftain, one must be a male.
And in the process, she ends up making both that old tradition and a pack of whales, her b#tchez.
Yay for Girl Power!
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