Saturday, May 14, 2011

Best films of the decade.

As you might not already know, I have a torrid love affair with the cinema, additionally having a proclivity to foreign films which exposes me to the spicier film life of Europe and abroad. Before the Great Blogger Crash of 2011, I had developed a region-specific listing for best films so you could pick and choose in the same manner as a restaurant, but that's all washed away now so I leave you with a general listing. The list has become quite bloated, and come in quite late since I heard that the decade was over years ago. However, I'm counting all films 2000-2010.

The decision of how good a film is, is made is by the number of different emotions I felt during it's viewing, multiplied by an index of how much sex, drugs and violence it carried. Those are simply all the qualities I use to assess films. If it carries any artistic merit then surely it will translate into an emotion.

I'm a pretty pretentious person and often use foreign phrases to enhance my pointless speaking. "How's the dinner?" -> "Tres bien!" and I'll say that with a  straight face and all the guttural tics that Frenchies garnish their rhotics with. In the spirit of pretense, I have left all the names in the original languages when it suits me. The "blurbs" I have added are unfortunately useless to gauge a film. I can only hope the included picture captures the aura of the movie.

You've probably seen half of these films already, so... watch them again. Or preferably, you could buy them and leave the cases of serious foreign films scattered around the house in a effortless display of intellectualism. [Some films are marked M, because they are only for viewers of extreme mental fortitude and hardy emotional stability. Also by each film is a count [e.g. x1, x2, x3] denoting how many times I've seen said film.]


Amelie. It might seem like a saccharine and cliché film to start a
"Best of..." list with, but it is only first because of alphabetical order.
It will fill your heart with joy again, even if you've already seen it. x3
Angels in America. A deft introduction to gay people
and the "gay disease." x1
A Very Long Engagement. Amelie and this film share the same
director and lead actress, but if you must watch one, watch this one.
A search for truth, not love or closure, set during WWII. x1
Amores Perros. The title could be translated to "Dog Love",
every story dealing with a plurality of dogs, or "Dogged Love",
with the many forbidden obsessions that come to light. x1
Ballast. So authentic, it's hard to believe it's
fiction, or that it takes place in America.
Black Swan. Don't watch this film for "girl on girl" action
for you will be sorely disappointed. Do it for the literally
monstrous-feminine narrative. x4
Caché. This movie has the single most shocking scene
of violence in movie history. Not for the queasy, and you
won't see it coming so keep a barf bag close at hand. M x3
The Dreamers. Here you see three attractive Europeans in
a bathtub. What the hell do you think is going to happen?
Sophisticated voyeurism into the life of the carefree. x1
Bourne Trilogy. Many hours of fun, quirky violence. x1
Children of Men. The second best film of the decade. Cuarón
has breathtakingly visualized a future controlled by tea baggers,
even before birther-baggers were known to exist. It's most notable
element is the dearth of editing that keeps you in the moment. x2
Cidade de Deus. The only truly phenomenal film so far from
Fernando Meirelles. x1
Code Inconnu. Like all Haneke films, not for
emotionally fragile viewers. The film is not edited for
time, only for location, and it makes all the difference. x2
Donnie Darko. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a cute high-schooler in a
tragicomedy aimed more at the head than the heart. x2
Downfall. You know this movie from all the internet
parodies of Hitler. But it is actually an emotional roller coaster. x1
Eastern Promises. A perfect complement to History of Violence,
these two films go together like wine and cheese. Watching one
will not spoil the other. M x1
Elephant. A film so beautiful I almost forgot
it was about murder [or to put it on this list]. x1
Hero. A Rashomon for modern times, with the most formal use
 of color among recent films. It's got all the best Chinese actors:
Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Jet Li and Zhang Ziyi. x2
A History of Violence. Bostonians, you can't live with them,
you can't send them back to Ireland. M x2
I am Love. Tilda Swinton plays a polymorphous woman
in a household set in stone. x1
Inglorious Bastards. A terrific exercise in
violent forms of persuasion. x1
In the Bedroom. A violent fissure erodes the morality of an aging
couple. The film is directed by Todd Field, one of the few directors
capable of inheriting Kubrick's place in film, and not surprisingly,
one of the few filmmakers to work under him. x1
In the Mood for Love. Maggie Cheung has soup for dinner
every goddamn day, and even this is captivating. Love without
sex, time and no space. x2
Jarhead. Watch it! Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard fight
inconsequential wars. War is like sex, but they're never fulfilled. x1
Kill Bill. However, I feel more strongly about the raw violence
of Part I than the unfocused musing of Part II. M x1
La mala educación.  The best film of the decade. Entirely
populated in a fantastic and historic Spain by male sexual deviants:
homosexuals, transvestites, pedophiles and false prophets. x4
La Vie en Rose. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll marvel at the
wonders of the French "r" sound in this life-spanning biopic.
It's got everything: sex, drugs, singing and even violence. x1
La Pianiste. Isabelle Huppert, one of the most ravishing women
on the face of the earth, plays a strict piano instructor who is
not aware of the boundaries of her sexuality, to put it lightly. M x2
Letters from Iwo Jima. Humanistic to the Japanese,
without being subversive to the American patriotic tradition. M x1
Let the Right One In. Swedish vampires, I needn't say more.x1
Lost in Translation. Valuable insight from a foreigner into
the Westernmost country in the West, Japan. Considered
to be a spiritual "re-imagining" of In the Mood for Love. x1
Lust, Caution. A celebration of acrobatics in the comfort of your home.
I believe this one is called the "Reverse Chinese Oyster". The fucking
serves to define the characters in relation to each other. M x1
Match Point. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers plays the worst human being
in Woody Allen's best film this decade. Some say that it is a rehash
of Crimes and Misdemeanors, but no two films revolving around
the same subject have ever taken such different viewpoints. x1
Memento. A commenter fave that I haven't seen.
Michael Clayton. A crimination of corporate culture in the city. x3

Mulholland Drive. An intense lesbian thriller of epic proportions. x3
No Country for Old Men. How can you escape an unstoppable
evil? You can't, but you can make an exciting movie about it. M x2
Oldboy. The best, and only Korean film on this list. Oldboy
is filled with lurid and unbelievable violence and situations,
a cruel form of entertainment. M x1
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Is how old the fetus in this movie
was when he was aborted. Regardless of your stance on abortion,
the personal danger these woman put themselves in will make you
rethink the complexity of terminating a pregnancy when it's illegal. x1
Paris, je t'aime. Certainly the most uneven film on this list.
Some short segments are epically terrible [while most are good or
great]. My personal favorite's the last one with the American. x1
Precious. Precious is a girl who has been failed by those
who are mandated to take care of her, most noticeably her
parents. It does not help that she is poor, black, and female. x1
Primer. Another commenter favorite, and perhaps the
lowest budgeted film on this list [that counts for something].
Russkiy Kovcheg. Russian Ark is a film that spans eras yet
was shot in a single take. It captures the spirit of the whole of
Russian imperial history but never leaves the single building it
takes place in. A lucid dream best enjoyed with cocoa. x1
Sin Nombre. Mexico can be a sad and lonely place, especially
when you're an illegal immigrant. The title roughly translates to
"Nameless Evil", when in fact it does have a name: MS-13,
a violent human virus. Many nameless Hispanics attempt
to trainsurf their way into America. x1
Stellet Licht. Mexico can be a sad and lonely place, especially
when you're a Mennonite. A remarkably modern examination of
love and divorce. However, it is so slowly paced that during
some scenes you might think the movie has been accidentally
paused. x1
Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. A sentimental and
retrospective examination of his gargantuan oeuvre. x1
Volver. Volver is to return, and here, Almodóvar is returning
to form with an all-female cast. An untimely death raises
many ghosts from the past, in ¡Technicolor! x2
The White Ribbon. Is the White Ribbon of purity, a brand of false
purity that is forced upon the children. Filled with pure evil. M x2
There Will be Blood. Daniel Day-Lewis may be British,
but the roles he plays are as American as apple pie.
The Koch brothers masturbate to this capitalist fantasy. x2

I would love to hear your own opinions.