The decade is a little over half way gone so I thought it would be fun to look back at the first five years and see what movies have stood out the most. It is also a good chance to see how the films stand up against each other as well as how they have stood up with the passing of time. Today we are starting off with #40 – #31. Let’s get going…
#40 – “Hugo” (2011)
It still breaks my heart that Martin Scorsese’s heartwarming look at childhood and the beautiful history of cinema didn’t get the box office attention it deserved. I love “Hugo” and it left the same warm impression after a recent viewing. Scorsese stepped outside of his normal box to create a magical experience both visually and emotionally.
#39 – “Two Days, One Night” (2014)
This is the second appearance of the Dardenne brothers on this list. This time we get the same honest and grounded look at a very personal circumstance. Marion Cotillard delivers a quiet, natural, stripped down performance that conveys a plethora of emotions and never hits a false note. The same could be said for the entire film.
#38 – “The Look of Silence” (2015)
It is hard not to be shaken by Joshua Oppenheimer’s exceptional documentary “The Look of Silence”. This is the companion piece to his equally piercing “The Act of Killing”, but this time he looks at the brutal Indonesian Killing of 1965-1966 through much more personal perspectives. The film literally left me speechless. Powerful filmmaking.
#37 – “Force Majeure” (2014)
Underneath the lovely family exterior of “Force Majeure” lies a rotten, acidic core that reveals itself to us over the two hours we spend with a Swedish family on a ski vacation. “Force Majeure” isn’t a comfortable film to sit through, but the combustible drama builds and builds. Ultimately I couldn’t tear myself away.
#36 – “The Ghost Writer” (2010)
I was a huge fan of Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” when it hit theaters in 2010. Sadly it didn’t get a lot of attention. Now several years have passed and the film still holds up well. It’s a hard movie to categorize. It is a political drama but it is also a low-key yet exciting thriller. Lots of mystery, a great script, and a wonderful cast.
#35 – “True Grit” (2010)
When the Coen brothers do anything I’m intrigued, but the Coen brothers doing a remake of John Wayne’s “True Grit” was exciting beyond measure. The results didn’t disappoint. The new version beats the old in every possible category. Jeff Bridges is a blast and a young Hailee Steinfeld almost steals the show.
#34 – “Certified Copy” (2011)
Who knew watching a British author roam around Tuscany talking with a French antiques dealer could be so engrossing? When Abbas Kiarostami is at the helm it’s pretty easy. It also doesn’t hurt to have Juliette Binoche (one of the best working actresses) in the lead. This veiled, winding story is fed to us in small cryptic pieces and putting it all together is most satisfying.
#33 – “Another Year” (2010)
“Another Year” is a talky British drama written and directed by Mike Leigh and I mean that in a very good way. Leigh shares his dialogue-heavy story in the most natural of ways. Every conversation or argument comes from authentic places. The film is filled with unhappy people except the two at the core. They are our anchor through these turbulent but mesmerizing dramatic waters.
#32 – “The Past” (2013)
Asghar Farhadi is one of my favorite working directors and this isn’t the only time he will make this list. “The Past” shows every reason why he is a treasure. No one handles fragile or damaged relationships like Farhadi. Here his dialogue cuts his characters open to reveal the deep, personal scars left behind by their pasts. It’s mesmerizing drama.
#31 – “Room” (2015)
This year the Best Actress Oscar buzz has centered around Brie Larson and her devastating performance in “Room”. The attention is definitely deserved. Larson and young Jacob Tremblay give us an incredibly strong mother/son relationship that drives this entire film. The concept is captivating enough, but it’s this beautifully realized relationship that makes “Room” such a heart-wrenching yet emotionally satisfying experience.
That’s it for now. Follow along and look for #30-#21 tomorrow. Also be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I would to hear where you agree or disagree with my picks.