Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Triplets of Belleville
|Stunning special effects provide the background for brilliant
direction and resolution of the trilogy. It is the best of the year.
||A giddy, fantastic romp that is satirical, fanciful, and
macabre in a hand-drawn animated tale from France that whisks between
Paris and New York City with memorable, geometric characters like Madame
de Souza and her grandson Champion through the eyes of his dog Bruno.
|Not only the finest animated feature of the year the story-line
and actors (voice) provide a warm friendly family atmosphere.
||This new computer-animated classic from the Pixar group
offers a vibrant ride off the Great Barrier Reef, made more endearing
by a clownfish voiced by a neurotic Albert Brooks and a sweet blue tangfish
voiced with short-term memory deficiency by Ellen DeGeneres in an adventure
that finally knows how to let go.
||3. The Pianist
|A true story of three men and a horse who are suppose to
lose but don't believe it. The Derby at Santa Anita brings tears and cheers
||The harrowing life of Wladysaw Szpilman is made into one
of the finest, non-documentary accounts of the Holocaust by Roman Polanski
who won the Oscar for best director, along with an understated Adrian
Brody who played beautiful music and survived the Nazis.
||4. 21 Grams
|A script that doesn't follow standard direction and performances
that are no less than brilliant in a Boston tragedy.
||Though initially confusing, the director has made a soulful,
uncompromising drama free to explore those affected by a fatal automobile
accident, allowing for varied, gritty portrayals by Sean Penn, Naomi Watts,
and Benicio del Toro.
|5. Cold Mountain
|The dark side of the Civil War perpetuated on the recruits
and the folks at home, hits hard and dark while providing some hope in
||The toll of a tragedy that connects adults to their childhood
is vividly rendered by Clint Eastwood making strong use of the Boston
area while allowing actors like Sean Penn and Tim Robbins to transcend
a whodunit into drama bound by violence and abuse.
6. Master and
Commander: The Far Side of the World
|A swashbuckling film like no other. It draws us into the
three masted war machine as it studies leadership and the consequences
||Sofia Coppola's second writing-directing venture has enough
originality in it to sense dislocation in Tokyo, as it gives Bill Murray
a role he nurtures with grace and wit opposite a similar character done
with subtle, disaffected emotion by a very mature Scarlett Johansson.
|7. The Last
||7. Whale Rider
|Brilliant battles scenes, powerful performances and a philosophy
once revered, provide both action and reverence for the last of their
||Niki Caro finds a wonderful muse in Keisha Castle Hughes
in this mystical, haunting ride of a girl's enormous effort to move her
fellow Maori tribe, but especially her traditional, stern grandfather.
|8. Love Actually
||8. In America
|Absolutely the most enjoyable film of the year. Love is
||Jim Sheridan co-wrote this personal immigrant drama set
in the mid-80's with his two daughters and the director of My Left Foot
it believes in magic for a poor Irish family making a new home in Hell's
|9. 28 Days
||9. 28 Days
|A quality gripping horror story set in an England facing
destruction from a virus in a post apocalyptic world.
||Danny Boyle makes a scary, insightful film starring Cillian
Murphy about a "rage" virus in a post-apocalyptic England with
a nod to George Romero's "Living Dead" films.
It Like Beckham
It Like Beckham
|Uplifting comic script about an Indian immigrant in England
who wants to play girls' soccer against her family's wishes.
||A cross-cultural comedy about a soccer girl who idolizes
England's David Beckham and quietly rebels against her family to learn
more about tradition, friendship, and love. This feel-good movie extends
to its pleasing, lively out-takes.