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DIDGE - The View From Down Under

An Aussie’s ridgy-didge view of world affairs and popular culture.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Best (and worst) films of 2005

Please note, some films were made in 2004 (or earlier), but were released in Australia during 2005.

Best of 2005:

1. Yesterday
South Africa. Written by Darrell Roodt, Directed by Darrell Roodt.
Heartbreaking but never sentimental, this beautiful film focuses on an African woman called Yesterday, who finds out she is HIV positive. The scenes between child and mother are some of the most heartwarming I've seen in cinema.

2. 2046
Hong Kong. Written by Wong Kar Wai, Directed by Wong Kar Wai.
I'm saying nothing about this film, except to say that it is ravishingly beautiful. Try to know as little as possible about it before watching. (I'd even avoid the link I've posted if you haven't seen it).

3. Lakposhtha Hâm Parvaz Mikonand (Turtles Can Fly)
Iran. Written by Bahman Ghobadi, Directed by Bahman Ghobadi.
Intimate depictions of life for a group of Kurdish children. Saddam Hussein committed terrible acts towards the Kurdish people, however the US invasion in 2003 brought its own evils. Another terrific film from Ghobadi.

4. Grizzly Man
United States. Written by Werner Herzog, Directed by Werner Herzog.
Utterly compelling documentary. It is about naturist Timothy Treadwell and his love for grizzly bears, which pretty much made his life worth living, and which ironically takes his life. Your eyes and mind are glued to the screen.

5. Palindromes
United States. Written by Todd Solondz, Directed by Todd Solondz.
His best film since Happiness. A lot of people said they didn’t like the film because it was weird and confronting. It’s Todd Solondz, for crying out loud! Again, another film you probably shouldn’t know much about before watching. Except to say it’s slightly weird and quite confronting.

6. Sin City
United States. Written by Frank Miller, Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez.
The visuals are absolutely stunning (even people who hated it at least conceded that it did indeed look great) and it has dialogue to die for. Every detail of the film is sumptuous.

7. Shi Mian Mai Fu (House of Flying Daggers)
Hong Kong. Written by Feng Li and Bin Wang, Directed by Zhang Yimou.
There is a story here (and it’s actually quite intriguing) but just like Chinese Jackie Chan films it’s the visual treats that are the main attraction, and there are many spectacular scenes in this gorgeous film.

8. Dare mo shiranai (Nobody Knows)
Japan. Written by Hirokazu Koreeda, Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda.
Damning portrait of modern Japanese society. Beautifully filmed and mostly acted by children who have never appeared in film before. Again, try to know as little as possible.

9. Thumbsucker
United States. Screenplay Written by Mike Mills (Based on the Novel written by Walter Kirn), Directed by Mike Mills.
Are you tired of adults telling teenagers to “grow up”? If so, then this film is for you. In life, regardless of age, we are always growing and will never grow up! Keanu Reeves is an odd one. He is a horrible, horrible actor, but then once every five years or so he is in a terrific film. Tilda Swinton is fast becoming one of my favourite actresses.

10. Me and You and Everyone We Know
United States. Written by Miranda July, Directed by Miranda July.
More American Independent goodness. Quirky but grounded.

And now for the Worst films of 2005...

1. Mr and Mrs Smith
Few things disgusted me more on the big screen than seeing Jolie and Pitt bashing each other. Tops.

2. Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous
I feel sorry for Sandra Bullock. She has absolutely no personality whatsoever. Oh, wait. She does. And it’s conceited to the extreme.

3. Are We There Yet?
Is It Finished Yet? I think Ice Cube is the black version of Keanu Reeves. He was fantastic in the excellent Three Kings and Boyz n The Hood, but what was he thinking when he signed on to this tosh and xXx 2? (And Torque sucked as well). Look for Ice Cube in another great film around 2012.

4. Hostage
Thank goodness we are allowed to walk out of the theatre (or press stop on the DVD remote).

Wedding Crashers
Annoying, not funny.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Terribly cruel “comedy”. I hate people like Steve Carell. They think they’re so funny, when the reality is the opposite. And what was Catherine Keener thinking?! I’ve almost lost respect for her.

Yawn. I hate these "cute" romance films America is so fond of.

Ladder 49
Another genre America is fond of, buddy-buddy cop/fire fighter films. Yes, some of the action sequences are quite good, but the scenes involving human interaction are all dire. With a soundtrack to make you puke.

The Pacifier
I thought human cloning was banned, so why do we have two Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in the world? Predictable. Sentimental. Unintelligent. And the kids were annoying.

10. Red Eye
This was supposed to be a comedy, right?

But having just written that worst of list I'd say 2005 was an excellent year for films. Once again there was more diverse goodness from around the world. If memory serves me, my pick for film of the year in 2004 was Russia's The Return. For 2005 it was a film from South Africa.

To get my top 10 best films list I first had to cull a short list of over 20 films. It was a hard job, and this is a slight cop-out, but here, in alphabetical order, is a runners up list to the best of 2005:

9 Songs
United Kingdom. Written by Michael Winterbottom, Directed by Michael Winterbottom.

Bukowski: Born into This
United States. Directed by John Dullaghan.

Brodeuses (A Common Thread)
France. Written by Éléonore Faucher, Directed by Éléonore Faucher.

United States. Written by Paul Haggis, Directed by Paul Haggis.

Good Night, And Good Luck.
United States. Written by Grant Heslov and George Clooney. Directed by George Clooney.
Haven't actually seen this yet, but I have yet to see a bad review.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl's Moving Castle)
Japan. Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki, Based on the Book by Diana Wynne Jones, Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)
Spain. Written by Mateo Gil and Alejandro Amenábar, Directed by Alejandro Amenábar.

Maria Full of Grace
United States. Written by Joshua Marston, Directed by Joshua Marston.

Mysterious Skin
United States. Screenplay by Gregg Araki, Based on the Book by Scott Heim, Directed by Gregg Araki.

The Proposition
Australia. Written by Nick Cave, Directed by John Hillcoat.

United States. Written by Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne, Based on the Book by Rex Pickett, Directed by Alexander Payne.

Untergang, Der (Downfall)
Germany. Screenplay Written by Bernd Eichinger, Based on the Books by Joachim Fest, Traudl Junge and Melissa Müller, Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel.

Vera Drake
United Kingdom. Written by Mike Leigh, Directed by Mike Leigh.


At 12:25 PM, Blogger jellygnite said...

Hey there, Just wanted to say hi. Great round up of films! Nice blog as well :)

At 2:12 AM, Blogger dave128 said...

Thank you for the kind words :)

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