Wednesday, January 06, 2010

9/10ths Full of Movies Part One. A to C

As we move bright-tailed and bushy-eyed into a shiny new decade it seems the right time to reflect on the past ten years in movie land. This is a subjective and incomplete list, so please point out any glaring omissions or mistakes as you see them...

A is for Apples
Long before Christian Bale gargled gravel for the Batman reboot he shocked and astonished us in the stylish and disturbing American Psycho in 2000. Will Smith demonstrated he could actually act in Ali and the elfin Audrey Tatou entranced us with the gallic quirkiness of Amelie in 2001. Two jokes ambled through 2004, the first being the genuinely funny Anchorman (a film Will Ferrell has been living off ever since). The second was Alien vs Predator; a film so dreadful that even Lance Henriksen had the grace to look embarrassed. David Cronenberg's A History of Violence helped legions of Viggo Mortensen fans to forgive him for making the hapless Hidalgo. The end of the decade saw the Coen Brothers cement their reputation as the best filmmaking brothers EVER with A Serious Man. On a slightly more bombastic note, James Cameron made minds boggle with the sheer beauty and technical prowess of Avatar. A film so stunningly gorgeous in 3D that we forgave it's Dances with Wolves' plot and one-dimensional character work.

B is for Barges
B made a blistering start to the Noughties when Battle Royale showed us one way to deal with pesky hoodies in 2000. James Bond was left quaking in his over-shined shoes by Jason Bourne as the Bourne Identity (2002), the Bourne Supremacy (2004) and the Bourne Ultimatum (2007) bucked the normal trilogy trend by getting better with each instalment. Bowling for Columbine spent 2002 reminding us why Michael Moore is famous while monster movies got an insane gallic polish with the unique Brotherhood of the Wolf (period monster movie with a fung-fu American-Indian). Elvis got a makeover too with the now ageing rocker battling a ancient evil mummy in his old people's home in Bubba Ho-Tep. 2003 stands proud as it produced the only Christmas film I have ever really liked in the deliciously rude Bad Santa. Batman finally shook off the horrific memories of Batman Forever (Nipples. Really?!!) with Christopher Nolan's 2005 reboot Batman Begins. The same year saw Brokeback Mountain confirm Ang Lee as possibly the oddest director at work in the decade (seriously, look at the range of movies he makes). Frank Langella creeped us out while Richard Kelly messed with our minds in 2009's The Box.

C is for Cauliflower
In 2000 Mel Gibson took time out from being a complete arse to lend his dulcet tones to Chicken Run. If Nick Park only makes one film every five years, then thank heaven they are as good as this. The climactic action scene in the pie machine is utterly thrilling (and I'm not joking). Ang Lee (see comments above) introduced us to the delights of wushu in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. 2002's film honours were stolen by the searing Brazilian masterpiece City of God and in 2003 William H Macy finally got to headline a movie in the criminally underrated The Cooler. Keanu Reeves showed us that Neo really was as good as he was going to get in 2004's Constantine and Bond, James Bond finally gave in and turned to the Bourne-side in 2006 in Casino Royale (or Bond Begins). Finally, the indisputed master of stop-motion Henry Selick finally got the recognition he deserved with the creepy 3D goodness of Coraline.

Tune in soon for the next penguin-baiting installment...

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