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The Worst 10 Films Of 2009


Award Season Has Begun!

 

The award season has begun with the National Board of Review announcing their picks for the best of the year.  They are traditionally not a very good judge but they’ve gone with one of the favourites in giving Up In The Air the prize for best picture.  The leading critic organisations will announce their awards in the next few weeks and it’s those which I’m more interested in.  I’ll keep you posted.

 

A Cool Movie Poster

 

They say that a picture paints 1,000 words.  That being the case, a movie poster should be able to do more than I feebly attempt in my reviews.

 

I really like the poster for The French Kissers which is out on Boxing Day.  You can view it by clicking here.  I can’t help but be drawn in by the awkward look on the boy’s face.  The yellow background and quotes give it a really cool, hip look.

 

It was put together by Carnival Studio in Sydney and they get my kudos for the week.

 

Horror Spoof Trailers

 

You can find just about anything on Youtube and one craze I’ve stumbled upon are people taking classic movies and cutting them together to look like a horror trailer.

 

One of the best is for Mary Poppins which you can view by clicking here.

 

There are some other great ones out there which I’ll leave you to find.  Very creative some people are.

 

Matt’s Best Of The Decade – Mind F***

 

We’re down to the last two weeks of my “best of the decade” series.  I had to come up with a new genre so as to be able to include these two particular films.

 

I saw both of these movies at the Dendy George Street Cinemas and they blew me away.  They are visually amazing and you could watch them 10 times without fully appreciating everything.  Darren Aronofsky and David Lynch are two amazing directors.

 

These two films are…

 

    Mulholland Drive (released in 2002) – full review is here.

 

    Requiem For A Dream (released in 2001) - full review is here.

 

Next week is the last genre – drama.  And the two films I’ve selected would be my favourite two films (of any kind) over the past 10 years.  I look forward to revealing them.

 

Worst Of The Year - 2009

 

I’ve been reviewing movies since 1996 and I always love putting together my best and worst of the year lists.  This time around, I’m splitting it up into two parts.  This week, I’m going to cover my worst 10 films of 2009.  Now I know there’s still a small number of films which I’m yet to see but since I’ve chalked up 225 reviews already in 2009, I think I’m in a fair position to be able to make the call.

 

Before I kick things off, my worst film by year since I’ve been doing this have been – The Crow: City Of Angels (1996), The Stupids (1997), Tarzan & The Lost City (1998), Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000), Glitter (2001), Blurred (2002), Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever (2003), Van Helsing (2004), Fun With Dick & Jane (2005), A Sound Of Thunder (2006), Daddy Day Camp (2007) and The Love Guru (2008).

 

As always, it was tough putting this list together.  There were plenty of great movies but it seemed like there just as many bad ones.  Here then is my 2009 graduating class in order of worseness.

 

10. Dragonball Evolution

 

When I saw this film, I said to the cinema ticket selling guy – “I would regrettably like two tickets to Dragonball: Evolution”.  He laughed.  So yes, I admit to going into the film with low expectations but this is one of those cases where the book can be judged by its cover.  Based on the television series, it set a level for mediocrity that made most of the other films this year look very, very good.

 

9. Twelve Rounds

 

A guy has had his girlfriend kidnapped by some nasty people and he has to complete 12 challenges if he wants to save her.  This action flick for adrenalin junkies was directed by Renny Harlin – the man responsible for Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger.  His best days may be behind him because this delivered one of my all time pet hates – stupid, unrealistic action sequences.  I prefer story over mindless action.

 

8. My Bloody Valentine

 

My Bloody Valentine was a slasher film released over the Valentine’s Day weekend in Australia to give people an alternative (I guess) from your traditional, fluffy romantic comedies.  I wish they hadn’t.  This is as bad as a horror film can get.  Poorly acted.  No suspense.  Silly ending.

 

7. I Really Hate My Job

 

The title might sound interesting but once you start watching this, you’ll realise how wrong you were.  It's about 5 women and their one night trying to run a small restaurant.  Was there worse acting in a film this year?  It only received a tiny two week release in Brisbane cinemas but they needn’t of bothered.  It should have gone straight to DVD… or even worse.

 

6. Bride Wars

 

I saw this film with a friend and the look of disbelief on our faces when the end credits started to roll said it all.  Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson played two bitchy, selfish women who end up in an “all out” war over the date of their respective weddings.  I didn’t end up writing a full length review because I didn’t think I had enough adjectives in my repertoire to fully express just how bad it was.

 

5. Seven Pounds

 

Ok, we’re getting close to the bottom of the barrel now.  I’m not a Will Smith fan but I can usually tolerate his movies.  Until now at least.  Seven Pounds is manipulative garbage.  A man thinks he can deem himself for his wrongdoings by going on some ridiculous journey which he knows will end in his own death.  I could see the twists coming from the cinema car park.  I know a lot of people liked this but NOT ME.

 

4. Prey

 

There’s usually one Aussie film which makes my worst list and this year’s contender is Prey.  Interest in the film was high.  I saw it Saturday night at 9pm at the Palace Barracks during its opening week. I was the only poor soul in the cinema. That’s a good thing for everyone except me.  It was a horror flick starring Natalie Bassingthwaighte with some truly dreadful acting.  It has 51 votes on the IMDB with an average score of 2.2.  That says it all.

 

3. All About Steve

 

One day, Sandra Bullock is going to make an awesome movie which I will love.  I’ll then regret all the negative comments I’ve said about her.  Until that time comes, all I can do is chastise Bullock for her idiotic film choices.  I hated The Proposal (which sits just outside my worst 10 list) but All About Steve, a romantic comedy where she is paired alongside Bradley Cooper, could be her worst yet.

 

2. 2012

 

It was a split between this one and my next film to decide which was the worst of the year.  I decided I just couldn’t give that honour to a John Cusack movie.  2012 is just a farce.  One unrealistic scenario after the other with no character development.  I wasn’t even that impressed with the special effects.  If the world really did end tomorrow, I would die happily knowing that I never have to watching rubbish like this ever again.

 

1. G.I. Joe: The Rise Of The Cobra

 

I almost fell asleep while I was watching this.  I had no idea what was going on.  All I saw on screen was a blur of incoherent nonsense.  Some people will say it’s just a fun action film.  I will say it’s the worst film of 2009.  We’ve all entitled to our own opinions and yes, that’s mine.  May they never make a sequel.

 

 

I feel so vindictive after all those evil words.  I hope none of the filmmakers ever read this.  But hey, maybe they’ll bounce back and make some really awesome movies in the future.  Maybe.  Perhaps they’ll end up living in a ditch.  Damn, there I go again.  Must stop it.

 

I’ll be revealing my best 10 films of the year on my 612ABC spot with Spencer Howson this week but I’m not yet sure if it’ll be on Thursday or Friday morning.  Am waiting for confirmation.  You can hear it first on 612ABC or see me write all about it in a future blog.

 

A Rory And Oli Update & The Decade's Best Comedies


December is upon us and there are so many things I haven’t covered in my blogs this year.  I haven’t updated my cinema reviews.  I haven’t gone through my favourite actors, actresses and directors of the year.  There have just been too many other things to talk about.

 

Golf Pie

 

What I have done every year at this time is devote a few words to a couple of golfers I have been following in recent years.  For those keeping score at home, golf is my other love outside of movies.

 

Anyway, 4 years ago I had the chance to play a round in Melbourne with a 17-year-old named Oliver Fisher and a 16-year-old named Rory McIlroy.  I wrote about it at the time and you can check my article right here.

 

For my annual update, the news is all good for both players.  Rory McIlroy is now ranked 10th in the world.  That’s pretty spectacular for someone his age.  He notched his first professional win at the Dubai Masters back in February and made the cut in every major championship – including a 3rd at the U.S. PGA.  He had 12 tops 10 finishes for the year and won $3.6m euro on the European Tour.  Incredible stuff.

 

Oliver didn’t have as strong a year but he’s still going well for a 21 year old.  He finished with $234,459 euro in earnings on the European Tour but will have to head back to tour school later in December to retain his card for next year.  I hope he does.

 

Tiger Woods

 

With the Tiger Woods accident saga being played out in the media at the moment, it’s left me thinking about the private lives of sportspeople and celebrities.  Do we have a right to know a little more about them?

 

Given the success of Tiger and the fact that he’s the most successful sportsman on the planet, it’s kind of surprising that he’s been able to keep his personal life so private.  What does he do when he’s not playing golf?  Where does he live?  What’s he really like as a person?

 

I have to admit that I think that being somewhat open about your private life is just part of being a top athlete or entertainer.  People pay to see you in action.  The reasons some people can command more in endorsements is because they are more popular.  People like them more – they idolise them, they want to be like them (in a healthy way of course).  In the golfing world, I speak of younger stars like Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Camilo Villegas.

 

That said, I do detest agents, publicists, etc who feel it is their role to manipulate the image that we have of these people.  They do it because these people are so successful that they are in fact a “brand”.  To lose face with the public would equate to a severe loss of earnings.  When something semi-controversial pops us, they go behind close doors and craft a statement to release to the media.  Politicians are no different.  Call me a cynic but everything seems to be about spin.

 

For this reason, I find it harder and harder to judge the filmmakers, actors and sports stars that I myself look up to.  Are they really the people they purport to be?

 

I saw a wonderful movie last Saturday called The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls and this reaffirmed my stance on this issue.  The Topp Twins are a lesbian, folk singing, yodelling, comedy duo to come out of New Zealand.  Part of the reason they are so successful is that they’re not afraid to speak their mind and put themselves out there.  Off the stage, they’re exactly the same as they are on stage.  It’s refreshing.  You must see the film too by the way – it’ll be in my top 10 list in a few weeks.

 

Matt’s Best Of The Decade – Comedy

 

I’ve said this many times but the hardest genre to master is that of comedy.  We all have a different sense of humour and what one finds funny, another may find offensive.  I think it’s for this reason why comedy films do so poorly in major award shows.  It’s a lot easier to create a moving drama that will reduce audiences to tears.

 

The Simpsons is the greatest comedic television show ever made and it has moulded my own warped comedic stylings.  When it comes to movies, I like my comedies dark.  The blacker, the better.  There’s nothing better than taking something serious and making light of it.  Perhaps the best black comedies I’ve ever seen is Election, released in 1999 and starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon.

 

But as for the past decade, my two favourite comedies are…

 

Ghost World (released in 2002) – full review is here.

 

Juno (released in 2008) - full review is here.

 

Ghost World is pure brilliance.  So many memorable one liners.  And it ends in such brutal fashion too with regards to the Steve Buscemi character (which I won’t spoil for those yet to see the movie). 

 

Juno came out just last year but it earned as swag of Oscar nominations and won an Academy Award for best original screenplay.  It too has an edge and doesn’t always go in the direction you might think.  The sarcastic Juno MacGuff is one of cinema’s great creations.

 

Honourable mentions in the comedy genre must go to Nurse Betty, Gosford Park, Galaxy Quest, Series 7: The Contenders, Shadow Of The Vampire, Adaptation, Igby Goes Down, Bend It Like Beckham, Intolerable Cruelty, Punch Drunk Love, The Rage In Placid Lake, The Spanish Apartment, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Squid And The Whale, Superbad, Bur After Reading and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  A long list.

 

We’ve got two weeks to go in my best of series.  Next week, we’ve got my favourite “mind mess” movies (replace “mess” with another word starting with the letter “f” if you’re over 18) and then after that, we’ll have my favourite dramas.

 

Until next time!

 

A First Look At This Year's Oscar Contenders


New Moon

 

I caught New Moon last Wednesday night and posted my review not long after.  The film has been discussed to death by everyone so I don’t think there’s a lot more I can add now.  I gave it a B- grading – it’s ok but nothing special.  Other critics have been a lot more scathing.

 

What I do want to comment on is the incredible box-office debut.  New Moon opened with $140m in the United States – the 3rd biggest in history.  In Australia, it earned $16m in its first four days – THE biggest in history.

 

Wow.  When you think of all the great films which have been made, this is currently the biggest in terms of bums on seats in Australia.  I know there’s inflation to factor in but it’s still staggering.  Will the next film be even bigger or will the gloss start to wear off?  We’re fickle people…

 

Award Season Preview

 

Each November, I’m usually an excited moviegoer.  Why?  Well the Academy Awards are usually held in late February / early March and in the three months prior, all the major studios release their “prestige” movies.  Instead of super-heroes and special effects, we get movies with realistic storylines and quality acting.  I know that doesn’t please some people but it definitely pleases me!

 

Last year at this time, I listed 10 films which would be in contention.  Lo and behold, the 5 best picture nominees came from this list.  I say this not to brag but when it comes to award season, it’s usually fairly predictable how things will turn out.  The Academy tends to favour certain directors and stars and the intense marketing machine helps too.

 

This year is a little different though.  For the first time since the 1940s, there are going to be 10 nominees for best picture.  This doesn’t mean that all of these films will have a chance at winning the best picture prize.  Each year, there are always 2 or 3 films that stand out and I’m sure this year will be no exception.  The other contenders will be going through their paces… happy just to be nominated.

 

Now there are a small number of films already released this year which may have a shot at a best picture nominee.  These would include An Education, Inglourious Basterds, A Serious Man, Star Trek, Up and District 9.

 

But those films you need to keep a close eye on over the next few months are as follows – in order of release date:

 

Avatar

Release Date In Australia:  17 December 2009

Director:  James Cameron (Titanic)

Starring:  Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture.

 

The Lovely Bones

Release Date In Australia:  26 December 2009

Director:  Peter Jackson (The Lord Of The Rings)

Starring:  Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Saoirse Ronan

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  Based on the best selling book by Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones is the story of a 14-year-old girl from suburban Pennsylvania who is murdered by her neighbor. She tells the story from Heaven, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all while attempting to get someone to find her lost body.

 

Bright Star

Release Date In Australia:  26 December 2009

Director:  Jane Campion (The Piano)

Starring:  Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish, Kerry Fox, Paul Schneider

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  The drama based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats' untimely death at age 25.

 

It’s Complicated

Release Date In Australia:  1 January 2010

Director:  Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give)

Starring:  Meryl Streep, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Hunter Parrish, Rita Wilson

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  A romantic comedy in which two men vie for the affection of a woman.

 

Up In The Air

Release Date In Australia:  7 January 2010

Director:  Jason Reitman (Juno)

Starring:  George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Anna Kendrick, Danny McBride

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  Ryan Bingham is a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams.

 

The Last Station

Release Date In Australia:  14 January 2010

Director:  Michael Hoffman (The Emperor’s Club)

Starring:  James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, Helen Mirren, Anne-Marie Duff, Kerry Condon

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  A historical drama that illustrates Russian author Leo Tolstoy's struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things.

 

Invictus

Release Date In Australia:  21 January 2010

Director:  Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby)

Starring:  Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  A look at life for Nelson Mandela after the fall of apartheid in South Africa during his first term as president when campaigned to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup event as an opportunity to unite his countrymen.

 

Nine

Release Date In Australia:  21 January 2010

Director:  Rob Marshall (Chicago)

Starring:  Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Judy Dench, Sophia Loren

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  Famous film director Guido Contini struggles to find harmony in his professional and personal lives, as he engages in dramatic relationships with his wife, his mistress, his muse, his agent, and his mother.

 

The Road

Release Date In Australia:  28 January 2010

Director:  John Hillcoat (The Proposition)

Starring:  Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food--and each other.

 

The Hurt Locker

Release Date In Australia:  4 February 2010

Director:  Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break)

Starring:  Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  Iraq. Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

 

Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Release Date In Australia:  4 February 2010

Director:  Lee Daniels (Shadowboxer)

Starring:  Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Paula Patton

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  Claireece Precious Jones endures unimaginable hardships in her young life. Abused by her mother, raped by her father, she grows up poor, angry, illiterate, fat, unloved and generally unnoticed. So what better way to learn about her than through her own, halting dialect.

 

A Single Man

Release Date In Australia:  25 February 2010

Director:  Tom Ford

Starring:  Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult, Ginnifer Goodwin

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  A story that centers on an English professor who, after the sudden death of his partner tries to go about his typical day in Los Angeles.

 

Brothers

Release Date In Australia:  TBA

Director:  Jim Sheridan (In The Name Of The Father)

Starring:  Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Sam Shepard, Mare Winningham

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  A young man comforts his older brother's wife and children after he goes missing in Afghanistan. Based on Susanne Bier's film, "Brothers".

 

Crazy Heart

Release Date In Australia:  TBA

Director:  Scott Cooper

Starring:  Jeff Bridges, Colin Farrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall

Plot Overview Per IMDB:  Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can’t help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician.

 

It’s an exciting list if you ask me.  I was going to list the films in order of my level of interest but I just couldn’t decide which I wanted to see most.

 

So with all that said, let me run through the 10 films that I think will be nominated for next year’s Oscars:

 

An Education, Up, Avatar, The Lovely Bones, Up In The Air, Invictus, Nine, The Hurt Locker, Precious and A Single Man.

 

 

Matt’s Best Of The Decade – Romance

 

My least favourite type of a movie is a romantic comedy.  I usually find them formulaic and predictable.  I also struggle to see chemistry between the two leading characters.  Romantic dramas are more my thing – there’s time for character development and actual emotion.

 

Almost every film contains an element of romance somewhere and so the pool of films I could draw from to pick my favourites is quite wide.  But my choices for the two best of the decade are:

 

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (released in 2004) – full review is here.

 

Lost In Translation (released in 2003) - full review is here.

 

Eternal Sunshine is one of the most beautifully creative films that you could ever imagine.  It was written by Charlie Kaufman, who penned Being John Malkovich and Adaptation.  Why I highlight this film in this genre is because it’s a reverse romance.  Two people fall out of love and then fall back in love through the “memory erasure” process (see the film if you need this explained).  It stars Kate Winslet (my favourite actress of the decade without question) and the underrated Jim Carrey.  This film will only get better with age.

 

Lost In Translation is a different type of romance.  Some may not even call it that.  Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson meet in Tokyo and spend a few days together.  They don’t kiss, they don’t say I love you.  But there’s some connection between them.  Something a little more than an ordinary friendship.  They know deep down that they’ll never see each other again after they both leave Japan.  It’s simply one of those special moments that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

 

If you haven’t seen these two films yet, please do so!!!  They’re just too good.

 

Honourable mentions go to Once, Brokeback Mountain, Moulin Rouge, 500 Days Of Summer, Elegy, Before Sunset, The Notebook, Something’s Gotta Give, Kissing Jessica Stein and Little Manhattan.

 

Next week, we’ll be taking about a genre for which there can never be universal agreement - comedies.

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine... Or Confusing Movie Titles


I’m going to keep things short this time.  In next week’s issue, I’ll go through my award season preview and talk about the films which will be vying for the big prizes.

 

A Single Man

 

I posted it on my Facebook and Twitter sites a few weeks back but the trailer for A Single Man is the best I’ve seen all year.  You can view it at - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eafJ4jvf-sY.

 

There’s not a single piece of dialogue. Just a repetitive score and a ticking clock in the background. I love all the close ups too - it's amazing what you can pick up by looking into someone's eyes.

 

The film's out next February here in Australia and it has my attention.  It stars Colin Firth (who I’m growing to really admire – great in everything he does), Julianne Moore (the best actress never to win an Oscar in my eyes) and Nicholas Hoult (a rising star who is afraid of a challenge – as proved by Skins).  I’ll be sure to mention more in my award season preview next week.

 

Confusing Movie Titles

 

I don’t know how these situations pop up.  You’d think that one of the filmmakers would back down.

 

I’ve just mentioned A Single Man but out this week is the new Coen brothers movie, A Serious Man.  Thankfully these two movies are being released a few months apart but I’ve been getting them confused already when talking about them.

 

If you think that’s bad, next month a film is being released called 9.  It’s a post apocalyptic animated film with voices including Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly and Elijah Wood.  Just one month later, is a new musical from director Rob Marshall (Chicago) called Nine.  It stars Daniel Day Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench and Sophia Loren.  What about that cast for a musical!

 

Anyway, my question this week is why???  Two films are going to be in cinemas at the same time with the exact same title.  A stitch in time could have saved Nine. J

 

The Crucible

 

I had a few people pass on some kind words for my blog last week on the role of a film critic.  Thanks for that.

 

Funnily enough, I receive a standard feedback form from the Queensland Theatre Company asking me for my thoughts on the show.  I felt like just sending them by blog instead.  But I filled it out diligently and scored it well.

 

I’m planning on seeing their last show for the year, Toy Symphony, in the next few weeks.  Just need to round up a team of those interested.

 

Matt’s Best Of The Decade – Documentaries

 

This decade has been huge for documentaries.  When I started reviewing in the mid 90s, you’d be lucky if you saw one documentary in a movie theatre.  I can remember seeing Hoop Dreams at the old Myer Centre Cinemas (man, they were bad) in 1996.

 

How times have changed.  It seems the new way of getting your message across isn’t through the Discovery Channel or 60 Minutes, its through the medium of cinema.  Michael Moore has led the craze.  Bowling For Columbine set a record in 2002 my grossing $21m at the U.S. box-office.  Moore smashed his own record 2 years later when Fahrenheit 9/11 (which I saw in London) grossed $119m.  Outstanding.

 

So far this year, I’ve seen 15 documentaries in a movie theatre.  I saw 19 last year.  In comparison, I saw a total of just 12 between 2000 and 2004.

 

Whilst I am a fan of Michael Moore’s works, my two picks for the best documentaries of the decade are:

 

Spellbound (released in 2003) – full review is here.

 

The Corporation (released in 2004) - full review is here.

 

I can remember seeing Spellbound on a Saturday afternoon after a French class (a fad which lasted a total of 5 weeks).  It was incredible.  It was about the national spelling bee competition in the United States and it focused on eight kids who made it through to the final.  This was edge of your seat stuff.  More suspenseful than a horror film.  13-year-olds were trying to spell impossible words – one mistake and they’re eliminated.  All the study, the hard work, adds up to nothing.

 

The Corporation was equally compelling and focused on a subject close to my heart – the way in which corporations make ridiculous amounts of money and whether they help the world, or hinder it.  You’d say this was ahead of its time also because the recent global financial crisis has come about largely as a result of corporate greed and risk-taking over the past few years.  It’s one of those films that not only provides entertainment but it can change the way that you live your life.  That’s powerful stuff.

 

Honourable mentions go to Bowling For Columbine, Capturing The Friedmans, Fahrenheit 9/11, My Flesh & Blood, The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill, An Inconvenient Truth, The Fog Of War, DiG!, Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, Forbidden Lies, Deliver Us From Evil, American Teen and Man On Wire.

 

Next week, I’ve got two very odd choices in my quest to find the best romance films.  It will take some explaining.