A History of Violence
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Escape to Canada
Fun with Dick and Jane
Good Night, and Good Luck
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Kicking and Screaming
Kingdom of Heaven
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
March of the Penguins
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Thank you for Smoking
The 40 Year Old Virgin
The Ballad of Jack and Rose
The Brothers Grimm
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Constant Gardner
The Fall of Fujimori
The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Longest Yard
The New World
Two for the Money
V for Vendetta
Walk the Line
War of the Worlds
Why we Fight
5. Lady Vengeance—I personally think Lady Vengeance far superior to Park Chan-wook’s much better known, highly regarded, but sillier Oldboy. Lady finds a better balance of dark comedy, memorable visuals, and thought-provoking, sophisticated themes and questions. Despite moments of levity and a fascinating visual palette, this is also one I never need to see again—the gruesome, disquieting climax is plenty memorable, thank you very much.
4. Brick—Rian Johnson’s microbudgeted feature directorial debut, Brick brilliantly shifts a fairly standard noir plot to a high school setting, tropes and all. With an exception or too, though, it isn’t played for comedy—lead Joseph Gordon Levitt and Johnson elect to mostly play the murder mystery straight, and it works splendidly.
3. Brokeback Mountain—Its sociopolitical importance aside, Brokeback Mountain is a tremendously affecting and powerful romantic tragedy, one of the best of the past decade. Its anchored by a quartet of superb performance; Jake Gyllenhall, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, and (especially) Heath Ledger are all fantastic. It’s loss to Crash remains one of the farcical moments in Oscar history.
2. Serenity—A testament to the quality of this movie comes simply from how much I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, when I was fifteen. Not only had I never seen, Firefly (the dearly, lamentably departed show to which it serves as a bookend), but I had no idea that Serenity was anything other than a standalone sci-fi adventure. And I loved it, even out of context. Having subsequently seen Firefly, this strange mashup of Space Opera and Western works even better. A brilliantly written (Joss Whedon, natch), rousing, and surprisingly dark adventure, it’s only real issue is how sad it makes me that it will (almost) certainly be the last time these characters are on screen. Alas.
1. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang—Long before they worked together on the sporadically impressive but often very messy Iron Man III, director Shane Black helped Robert Downey Jr. revive his flagging career in this brilliant, bizarre, darkly hilarious crime caper. The fantastic blend of show-biz comedy, violent crime thriller, and mystery, it also features one of the best unreliable narrators I can remember in a movie. Great stuff.
What I Haven’t Seen
Hustle and Flow
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice
The Squid and the Whale
And that’s about it. I covered 2005 pretty well