The best of 2004
Happy View Year 2005. I have put together a list of the best DVD’s of 2004 that are available locally — remember DVD’s come out months after a movie is released, so you will not find lots of the films you’ve heard of and are waiting to see.
‘Beyond Borders’, is a love story of star crossed lovers Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen set in the most troubled spots of the world, Ethiopia, Cambodia and Chechenya. Director Martin Campbell manages to capture love and suffering, triumph and tragedy in a cautionary tale about the developmental world that could well include Nepal.
‘Big Fish’, is director Tim Burton’s brilliant film about a son discovering his father and the fine line that divides fiction and autobiography. Peopled by extraordinary characters this Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor starrer shows us that life is an adventurous journey that is always passed on to a new generation.
‘The Bourne Supremacy’, a box office hit, has Matt Damon back as amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne out for revenge while the CIA and others are out to get him. Edgy, disturbing camera work by Director Paul Greengrass makes you feel you are where the action is which is everywhere, all the time.
‘Collateral’, which might have an Oscar in it is a dark brooding tale about one night and five killings in the lives of hitman Tom Cruise and taxi driver Jamie Foxx. Directed by Micheal Mann who adds a third character to the movie-nocturnal Los Angeles.
‘Farenheit 9/11’, is Michel Moore’s award winning documentary that exposes the nexus between big business and politics in the Bush administration. Moore condemns Bush, honors victims of 9/11 and American soldier at war in Iraq. Say’s American critic Jeff Shannon ‘’9/11 is a triumph of patriotic freedom’’. Another Oscar contender.
‘Eternal Summer Of The Spotless Mind’; director Micheal Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufmann get Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo to answer the question can love be erased with memory. Complex direction makes the movie arty. Oscar?
‘Dogville’, is Danish director, Lars Van Triers take on mans inhumanity to the man set in an Americans village of 12 people who take in a fugitive, Nicole Kidman, and set off horrific events. Strong supporting cast includes Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall and James Caan. Frighteningly good.
‘I Robot’, has Will Smith as a paranoid detective, sometime in the future, who stumbles upon a robotic revolt. A great action film based on Isaac Asimov’s short stories, it does pose a question or two as it hurtles along at breakneck pace. Fun movie.
‘The Ladykillers’ is a dark comedy starring Tom Hanks as the smooth talking leader of a doomed gang of casino robbers who have to get rid of landlady, Irma P. Hall. Directed by the Coen brothers, this remake of the 1955 classic actually has Hanks bettering (heaven forbid) Sir Alec Guinness. Great.
‘The Last Samurai’ has Tom Cruise as Civil War Veteran, Nathan Algcen turning into a samurai and upholding codes of honor and valor in a tumultous Japan circa 1876-77. Elegant adventure at its best.
‘Love Actually’ has screenwriter Richard Curtis turning director and taking eight separate stories and weaving them into a funny, sad, thought-provoking film about different kinds of love. A stellar cast includes Hugh Grant as British Prime Minister, Liam Neeson, Colin ‘Firth’; Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Laura Linney. A favorite.
‘Return Of The King’, the last in Tolkeins’ ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, brought the Hobbits and Middle Earth and Aragon and Frodo and Gandalf so vividly to life it walked off with Oscars galore. A definite collectible.
‘Kill Bill-2’ is Quentin Tarantino’s homage to martial arts movies in which Uma Thurman closes her quest for vengeance for leaving her a widow on her wedding day. The violence goes from poetic to painful, embracing sources as diverse as Spaghetti Westerns and Japanese Yakuza masterpieces. Groundbreaking.
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks prove that anywhere can become home and everyone can become family in ‘The Terminal’, a film set in an airport. Based on a true story of someone trapped by circumstances in a terminal. Fantastic.
‘Spider-Man 2’ made box office magic because unlike other super hero’s and despite fabulous special effects, Spidey played by Tobey Maguire, is as human as the guy next door. His problems include loneliness, lovesickness and the need to be ordinary. Critic’s raved, ‘’the best super hero movie ever.’’ Agreed.
Space prohibits me from amplifying on some others that deserve mention. Among them are ‘Hidalgo’, ‘Something’s Gotta Give’, ‘The Whole Ten Yards’, ‘The Singing Detective’, ‘Shattered Glass’, ‘21 Grams’, ‘Secret Window’, ‘13 Going on 30’, ‘The Punisher’, ‘The Prince and Me’, ‘Jersey Girl’, ‘Intolerable Cruelty’ and ‘The Butterfly Effect’. Check them out while waiting, for new ones. Write in if you feel I’ve left out something — I’ll include it in the New Year starting now. Lights, camera, action.