25 From 5: My Favorite Movies Of 2005
735 6.8 6.825. The Devil's Rejects (2005)
Ever since the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre back in 1974, there have been a certain type of subhorror slasher-family flicks that have since tried to match the bar 'o' evil that was raised by the original Leatherface Clan.
While Rob Zombies' creation of Captain Spaulding's kith & kin, IMO, doesn't quite match up to the legendary status of TCM, it's was still a worthy effort to the genre.
A family of rednecks that makes even Lucifer go "Damn.... these hillbillies are just plain downright evil.....!"
148 5.4 5.824. Bad News Bears (2005)
The escapist fantasy of innocence that baseball tends to provide kids comes colliding with the realism of crushed spirits that tends to come with adulthood.
Oh, but with humor.
Not to mention with Billy Bob Thornton doing what he does best and bringing the kind of booze-guzzling bite that's makes it easier for us grown-ups to have to sit through a little league game.
134 7.7 7.123. Noroi: The Curse (2005)
A horror mockumentary in almost the exact same vein as Blair Witch Project.
To be honest, this story of an ancient curse bought forth to modern times comes off as a bit more complicated than it needs to be, not to mention some of the sidepaths the plot takes feels like they could've been edited out.
But still, the end does add a bit of freakiness horror that is usually expected in shaky-cam subcategory of the horror genre.
By no means perfect, but still, as someone who has grown restlessly tired of the formulaic so-called scare flick that the American movie market has been cranking out for the past decade or so,
I'm just glad to see any effort that steps out of the today's horror-themed same-ol' same-ol'.
553 7.8 7.822. Grizzly Man (2005)
3788 6.4 7.321. King Kong (2005)
161 7.5 7.120. The Call of Cthulhu (2005)
I'm sure I don't have to explain who this creature is.
I mean, let's be honest here,
has there ever been a slimy public figure who was a bigger meme sensation on the world wide web than Cthulhu?
maybe Chuck Norris.
no matter how much Mr. Norris likes to brag that he can kick anybody's ass, we all know that he wouldn't stand a chance against this guy.
Hell, even as an actor, Cthully can swim circles against the ol' Chuckster. And Cthulhu is just a stop-motion effect.
The truth is, no matter how much martial arts training CN has had, at the end of the day,
brass testicles just don't stand a chance against mass tentacles.
1444 6.2 6.719. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
This is a movie that, for me at least, could probably qualify more as a theological courtroom drama than a straight-up possession film.
Still, I recommend it for the scenes depicting the character of Emily Rose, as her body terrifyingly writhes & convulses with the inner-struggles that usually result whenever a dispirited devil decides to take residence within one's soul. IMO, those scenes were enough to raise a goosebump or two onto the flesh of any typical horror-hardened scare-flick fan
218 7.8 7.818. Adam's Apples (2005)
In Casino Royale, Mads Mikkelsen played a bad guy who bled from his eyes, based off a James Bond book by Ian Fleming.
In Adam's Apples, he plays a sick guy who bleeds from his ears based off the Book Of Job by ....wellm uhm.... God, I guess.
Either way, same actor, two completely different yet distinctively cool movies.
1736 7 7.117. Hard Candy (2005)
Meeting someone whom you've never met online can be a pretty a dangerous thing. For both prey and predator alike.
In a year that was fraught with decent horror flicks,
this was a film that provided it's own particular type of frights, particularly for those who are of the male side of the species. Getting slashed by a masked knife-welding maniac or your faced mauled by a werewolf can seem a bit tame compared to having your jewels chopped off by a higher-than-average-I.Q.ed teen whose "out to make a "point".
A cool film for those who like their psychological thrillers like they like their candy: hard.
1759 7.2 7.616. A History of Violence (2005)
This movie depicts how the process of "keeping up with the Joneses" can be suddenly interrupted when the time comes to "bring out the mattresses".
A normal family man's life is suddenly endangered by gangsters who insist, even against his own memory, that he's more than just an average joe. Soon, an existence that seemed beyond his comprehension begins to unravel before him in a manner that will assure that for better or worse, his family will never be the same again.
And this film is actually based off of a graphic novel called (you guessed it) "A History Of Violence".
I highly recommend reading it.
Cuz there'll probably be a pop quiz later.
3921 6 6.515. War of the Worlds (2005)
A story that doesn't seem to come off as intriguing as the original, a few plot-points that don't make sense (especially during the modern world of science fiction) & a weird scene with Tim Robbins that just seems out of place.
Still, it is a Steven Spielberg production starring Tom Cruise, with interesting updates on certain elements of the story & , of course, cool effects & visuals.
1054 6.9 7.214. Broken Flowers (2005)
Right after his tenure at SNL, Bill started his silverscreen career in movies that seemed like he was just playing the same wise-character in each film. Though, of course, that didn't necessarily translate into a bad thing. But thankfully, he seemed to have enough common sense that, once his films began to expand his bank account, he began acceptting roles which began to expand his range (Mad Dog & Glory, Royal Tannebaums, Ed Wood, ect.).
By the time Broken Flowers came along, Bill Murray had enough confidence & quiet presence on the screen to show that he can do some really good acting, even if the character still requires him to simply be himself.
2174 7.2 7.213. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
"You cannot say to the sun, 'More sun.' Or to the rain, 'Less rain.' To a man, geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of nightfall. And yet, to learn kindness after so much unkindness, to understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find her prayers were answered, can that not be called happiness? After all these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind. "
45 7.8 7.712. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
A study into the process of aggressive capitalism at it ugliest. This is the story of how all the dominos one of the biggest business scandals came tumbling down. An event which led to exposing the readiness of executives responsible for millions of dollars to forsake morality & the trust of their investors for the sake of personal profit. In effect, leaving many company employess without jobs, security or funds. With it's in-depth interviews & revealing secret tapes, Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room is an excellent example of a documentary at it's best, by revealing corporate greed at it worst.
960 7.2 7.411. Brick (2005)
1528 7.5 7.910. Serenity (2005)
The final chapter of the much beloved but rarely seen sci-fi series Firefly. I have never watched the series, but this movie does a fine job of continuing the storyline from the TV show but without making those not familiar with it's smaller screen counter-part feeling like they've been out of the loop.
A great cast of well-rounded individualized star-faring rogues is involved in a smart & focused plotline that shapes into a mission that is driven by a universal "questioning galactic authority" attitude & with a honest "saving the soul of humanity" revelance, but without any compromise to a thrilling & entertaining climax.
773 7.7 7.69. Lady Vengeance (2005)
Part of a Vengeance Trilogy of which the more well-renowned Oldboy belongs to. IMO, of the trio, I find that Sympathy For Lady V to more strongly emphasize director Park Chan-wook's "poetic" use of visuals (a phrase you'll probably be able to understand better once you watch it) with a story that flows much smoother into it's gritty climax that, for my money, is richly laden with an equal balance of above-the-law justice & a plausible & sensible empathy for it's unique plot-device.
So while I also recommend Oldboy as a great flick that is armed with a more in-your-face type of plot twist, I still find that my sympathies tend to lean stronger towards Lady Vengeance.
1136 6.9 7.38. The Descent (2005)
Neil Marshall follows up his directorial debut, Dog Soldiers, with The Descent, a movie that goes about disproving the current popular idea that in order to make a really "good" horror flick, it has to have an incredibly limited budget.
In this one, a group of hot ladies go deep exploring into some dark, damp holes & then go about gettin' themselves eaten.
Believe me, it's not as sexy as it may sound.
5987 7.7 8.27. V for Vendetta (2005)
A dystopian british nation must be saved by the tyrannical totalitarian government under which it has become subjected to since a recent nuclear war that has left much of the Earth crippled. And who will act as the people's modern/futuristic Robin Hood, to inspire hope within the masses of a spiritually tattered land of The United kingdom? In this case, it will be the mask vigilante known as "V". And so confident is this anarchist avenger of the masses, that he requires naught but swords to combat gunplay, a name no longer than that of a single letter, and a mask based not on of fear, but one based instead on a visage of a happy but rebellious historical figure.
Alan Moore's storytelling is just so rich in detail, atmosphere & concepts, that it can almost seem impossible to capture even just a sliver of it's essence onto a film adaptation. Therefor, even though this movie quite obviously cannot compare to the comicbook series, just the fact that it was able to retain anything at all from Mr. Moore's work to any kind of degree of consistency to the story
(which, IMO, is the only movie to do so far) is enough to mark it as a success for me.
5922 7.5 8.36. Batman Begins (2005)
While Tim Burton's was the first to finally introduce the down to earth grittiness that revealed Batman as the real badass that we who read his comics knew that he really was, there was still a certain flamboyancy ( as is in all of Burton's films) that allowed those filmmakers whose followed in this franchise after Burton, to systematically bring the Caped Crusader down almost to the level of Adam West doing the bat-toosie.
This reboot came along & completely eliminated the almost unrepairable bat-damage still lingering in the minds of general movie-goers.
I remember sitting thru the first scene of this film & thinking to myself that it was hard to believe that what I was watching was actually a superhero movie. I can even overlook the fact that the Bat-Mobile was now more of a massively unbatlike tank/dune-buggy hybrid than it was an actual sleek yet indestructible @ss-kicking ride that we all average joe mortal-types like to fantasize about owning.
5429 7.2 7.55. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
While I felt that the Harry Potter movies, up to this point had peaked with The Prisoner Of Azkaban, Goblet Of Fire is a worthy follow-up, coming in as the second best (IMO at least) of the series.
Great balancing between the wizard fantasy element that still sparks off childlike imagination, yet enough of a grittiness in it's story execution & fatalistic consequences in it's action scenes that will keep those of a more mature mindset entertained.
With this installment, the franchise keeps it's momentum smoothly rolling as each of the main characters' growth moves effectively & convincincly thru the center plotline of a Tri-Wizard Tournament & the otherworldly dark mystic situations that revolve around it.
Goblet Of Fire ends with a feeling of accumilated weight, full of emotion & excitement that can make the viewer feel as tho he/she is in the middle of a ride whose magicks can be just as fantastic as they are deadly.
Not exactly your typical mindless tweener escapist-fare.
3780 6.6 6.94. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witc... (2005)
This movie had the same effect on me as The Prisoner Of Azkaban, the 1st Harry Potter film I saw. It's a project based on a book series that I not only never read but never really had any interest in.
Yet, after watching the film, I became interested in it.
As a kid, I used to think that sword & sorcery stories were supposed to be more intricate & more mature & more interesting versions of fairy tales. However, as I grew up, I found that the few movies that were made of this genre tended to fall short on either the fantasy or the consistency of the plot (for some reason, the idea of characters interacting with mythic creatures always seemed difficult for script writers to string together).
But The Chronicles of Narnia seemed to be able to aptly pull this off, at least in the 1st part of this film as the major players are introduced. Even more so, IMO, than in Lord Of The Rings.
The characters in Narnia looked just like fantasy characters were meant to look, the story came off as epic as the genre tends to aspire to be & every million dollar denomination was richly visable in the special effects.
While still not a perfect movie, for me, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe definitely was a surprise in it's over-all quality as a fully integrated movie of magic, metaphor & really cool CGI-enhanced action.
5327 7.5 8.23. Sin City (2005)
The weird thing about this movie is that the male lead characters are all practically the same guy. And the stories don't seem to stray too off to far from each other or from a theme that we've all seen on the big screen millions of times before. The thing is, the visuals on this thing are so goddamn striking that, for me at least, it almost felt like I was watching a much more unique set of plotlines that was actually being told. Rather than trying to bring the Sin City graphic novel into movie "reel life", it seemed almost like this was more an exercise to bringing reel life into Sin City. That the actors weren't trying to portray comicbook characters as much as they were trying to intergrate their 3-D physicality into 2-D flat-figured Frank Miller drawings ( as was most evident with the make-up jobs on Marv & the Yellow Man). I know that there are some people who criticized the simplicity & graphic "pointlessness" of this movie,
but it's art direction was so full of energy & depth ( for my visual senses, at least) that I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen & found myself truly embedded in the illusion that I was watching something original.
191 6.7 7.42. Hustle & Flow (2005)
Take Flashdance, replace the female construction worker/stripper lead character with a male loser-pimp (loser even by bowery street standards) whose portrayal was nominated for an Oscar. Then remove the dancing & put in rappin' instead. Replace the implausibility of the plot with a straight forward script that holds no punches & booyah....there you have it. A hard-nosed "makin' your dreams come true" film that is about as far away from that Jennifer Beals torn sweatshirt-a-rama that I first began this entry with.
And if comparing these two movies seems like an incredibility poor choice on my part for a comparison, cut me some slack, yo.
It's hard out here for a pimp.
3365 6.6 7.21. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
By far, my fave of the Apatow comedies. Like Knocked Up, his best films seem to be the ones in which he does triple duty as director, writer, & producer.
In this case, this triple-combo results in a movie whose strength lies not just with the high level of comedy (which probably would've been enough), but also for the fact that at it's core, this is a story of a "late bloomer" that is handled not just intelligently, but even more importantly, with a genuine heart.
Ofttimes, many of the characters seem to deliver their punchlines with a tempered sense of sympathy towards the plight of the lead character, even when the results lead to a an exasperated situation of disintegrated success (a tried & true formula of the genre).
This movie can be touching & even socially in-depth at times, but without any cost the number of out-loud laughs.
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