Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Overshadowing Uncle Ozzie

O.K, maybe not. But here it is anyway—the Best Movies of 2005! (Sort of… see below)

1. Batman Begins
2. Walk the Line
3. Cinderella Man

[1] This one I was waiting for years on end. Then, at last, Batman was given the justice he gives to others. He was given a good silver screen portrayal. Almost perfect in itself, let’s not forget the amazing cast. Michael Caine as Pennyworth? Gary Oldman as the young Gordon? Morgan Freeman? Rutger Hauer? It’s as though I was consulted to make this movie.

[2] Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon both received here their best roles yet and gave their best performances to date. Not to mention a finely-crafted time-jumping script with a good understanding of the actual people being portrayed. But perhaps even more important than any of this is Line’s introduction to a new generation the cool of Cash.

[3] A well-done true story, occasionally too drippy, combined with good acting and bone-pummeling boxing sequences. Talk about award-bait. Except for that darn telephone and the shifting role of bad behavior in the public’s view of pop culture.

‘05 may not have been such a bad year for film, but it was a very bad year for my interaction with film. My schedule was just so… crowded throughout the year that I saw fewer than twenty films, whose titles were determined less by how much I wanted to see them as my ability to visit a theater at that time.

So, here is what may be more significant than the itsy-bitsy list above. The top films of 2005 I wanted to see, but didn’t:

A. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
B. Serenity
C. Good Night, and Good Luck
D. Lord of War
E. The Great Raid
F. Pride & Prejudice

[A] Wallace & Gromit are works (a work?) of genius. Simple as that. 1993’s “Wrong Trousers” proved it beyond the tiniest argument.

[B] I’m not a geek. That is, I’m not worthy of the distinction. But geeks are, as a rule of thumb, totally awesome. I am regularly accepted by them almost as one of them. And this is one movie my geek sensibilities won’t let me miss without a little pain.

[C] I’ve almost exclusively heard that this one is just trying to make heavy-handed parallels from an ancient evil (1950’s, that is) to current events by careful vocabulary. If this is the case, it is a cheap waste of film void of actual merit. But if it has been misjudged—if it is a good film that studies historical events in some sort of context—I will be the first to praise it. But I have to see it first. [Edit: Have now seen it. Love it.]

[D] The premise intrigues me, the trailer hints at superb characters, and talent oozes from everything I’ve seen of it. (Except, of course, reviews. But I don’t care about them, as reviewers so often miss the point.)

[E] The WWII rescue mission is the stuff that war films should be made of more often. I just hope the movie manages to reflect some part of this true story’s brilliance.

[F] As no one will allow the world to forget, it has indeed been done before. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then you’ve really missed out on the ‘95 mini-series.) But nothing receiving big-screen (or little screen) funding these days hasn’t. So, even though it’s a rehash of a (great) mini-series that was a rehash of a (perfect) book, I don’t want to give this one the full cold shoulder.

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