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 looking at #20 – #11. Let’s get going…
#20 – “The Illusionist” (2010)
As a huge fan of the classic French filmmaker Jacques Tati it is impossible for me not to love Sylvain Chomet’s fabulous homage. Taken from one of Tati’s most personal stories, “The Illusionist” stays true to Tati’s special brand of humor and the gorgeous animated style portrays a classic feel that feels perfectly in tune. I adore this film.
#19 – “Take Shelter” (2011)
“Take Shelter” was not only made by one of my favorite young filmmakers (Jeff Nichols), but it features one of the very best performances of the decade (Michael Shannon). The story deals with the weight of mental illness on a loving family. Shannon is amazing playing a man trying to maintain a mental footing through his intense emotional storms. Superbly realized through Nichols’ script and his camera.
#18 – “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)
Many people had problems with Christopher Nolan’s finale to his Dark Knight trilogy. Personally I thought he wraps it up remarkably well. Expectations were through the roof after the brilliance of “The Dark Knight”. While this isn’t on that level of greatness, it is still an exciting and intelligent finish to the best superhero series to date.
#17 – “About Elly” (2015)
While it is a bit of a cheat (“About Elly” came out overseas in 2009 but 2015 in the United States), it’s a movie I insist be included. Farhadi’s third film on this list takes many of the previously mentioned elements and incorporates them into a different story. He is still examining relationships, deception, and personal revelations and he still does it in the most honest and thought-provoking way.
#16 – “Mud” (2013)
Jeff Nichols finds himself represented again this time in the southern gothic, coming-of-age drama set in small town Arkansas. Matthew McConaughey saw his career resurgence reach a new level with his performance as a mysterious drifter known only as Mud. Tye Sheridan is wonderful as is the supporting cast of Nichols favorites.
#15 – “The Rover” (2014)
It’s hard to express how hard I fell for David Michod’s dystopian thriller “The Rover”. The slow moving story weaves two distinctly different but equally fascinating characters together in a mysterious trek across a post-apocalyptic Australia. Guy Pearce leads the way but it’s Robert Pattinson who was the real surprise. The two butt heads throughout this dark and grungy tale.
#14 – “The Revenant” (2015)
I don’t always go for Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s approach to filmmaking, but I also don’t share the disdain for his work that some do. That’s because when he is on his game we get movies like “The Revenant”. Not only is this a riveting story of revenge, but it dabbles in several other deeper thoughts. It features some of the decade’s most stunning cinematography which is imperative in conveying the films many intriguing themes.
#13 – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)
Superhero movies are everywhere and I generally like more than I dislike. My clear favorite of the decade’s batch is “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. While this is a comic book movie through and through it has the smarts to do several new things. It pulls from classic spy movies and features a lot of action sequences that aren’t heavily dependent on CGI. Plus The Winter Soldier is one of the best villains Marvel has brought to the screen.
#12 – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)
How on earth did J.J. Abrams manage to pull this off. Talk about a project ripe for failure. Instead Abrams and company manage to create a true Star Wars experience. “The Force Awakens” channels so much of what made the original trilogy great while also setting a new and promising course. It’s great to be talking about “Star Wars” again.
#11 – “Shutter Island” (2010)
The second Martin Scorsese film on the list that I feel doesn’t get the credit it deserves. This time Marty delves into the psychological thriller arena and creates a truly unnerving experience. The core mystery is filled in through haunting flashbacks and subtle revelations and the setting is genuinely moody and creepy. Top it off with a deep and tragic Leonardo DiCaprio performance – one of the best of his career.
That’s it for now. Follow along and look for #10-#1 tomorrow. Also be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I would love to here your take on the list as it gets closer to my #1 pick of the decade (so far).