There are two types of movie goers, the type that talks during the film and the ones that don’t. Sure, you may get a polite nod or an ingratiating smile in response to your sarcastic comments, but thesubtextisalwaysthesame,”Please Shut Up.” When I compile a top ten movie list, I don’t do so lightly. While I don’t claim to be an official “film buff,” I do believe that theater seating should be reserved for those who know how to enjoy two hours of a director’s hard work. It’s not by listening to the person sitting next to you. Let’s get started…
- The Empire Strikes Back – I realize this is a blast from the past, but it’s alsothelast movie George Lucas made before he lost the ability to have a good time.
- The Prestige – Raise your hands if you understood the ending. Some solid acting by Hugh Jackman and great period atmosphere make it worth the ride.
- The Illusionist – Two period magician dramas in a row, I know. But, this one has a neat, verifiable ending that reads more like vintage Agatha Christie than pointless maneuvering. Edward Norton makes himself the understated hero we love to route for.
- There WillBeBlood – Best Actor, Daniel Day Lewis. Period. If you’ve seen this performance, you know that very few people can deny the complete transformation he undergoes to bring this embodiment of capitalism to life.
- District 9 – While the alien/immigrant allegory is a little strong, Neil Bloomkamp’s homage reminds you that apartheid is a (wait for it) universal concept, and oppression of one is oppression of all.
- The Social Network – David Fincher injects flesh, blood and drama in to the cold and remote e-society that seems to be taking over. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg proves living vicariously through a website will never compare to the real thing.
- The Dark Knight – I have a weakness for moody, downtrodden landscapes and this operatic offering by director Christopher Nolan give every shape and shadow a human counterpart. From Christian Bale’s somewhat unhinged batman to Heath Ledger’s really disturbing performance, Nolan shows you exactly why these people live where they do.
- Quarantine – The American version of the 2007 Spanish film “REC” is a solid, claustrophobic tale of “the infected.” Jennifer Carpenter fights flesh eating residents of a blacked out apartment building in Los Angeles, and luckily there’s very few cliches in sight.
- No Country For Old Men – The Academy gets it right again. Javier Bardem delivers one of the scariest portrayals of quiet, amoral evil the screen has ever seen.
- Training Day – If you’re a fan of the “long con” movies of David Mamet, you’ll appreciate the care and patience Denzel Washington put in to making Ethan Hawke’s life a living hell.
So there it is. Feel free to agree or disagree, but whatever you do, remember, a lot of money, talent and work went in to taking these films from page to screen.