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Top Films of the Decade (2000-2009) - 1-10

December 29, 2009

Top Films of the Decade (2000-2009): 10-1
By Dakota Grabowski

GameZone celebrates the end of an outstanding decade for film

After successfully selecting our Top 25 Games of the Decade, we have formulated our thoughts and selected our Top 25 Films of the Decade. Today we bring to you the conclusion of the list. Part one of this list, #11-25, can be found here.

The process for selecting the best of the best for the last decade include: direction, acting, storyline, dialogue, cinematography, editing, costume design, art design, and much more. In short, this wasn’t about popularity or sales, but the art of film itself.

10. Oldboy (2003)

Director: Park Chan-wook
Starring:
Choi Min-sik, Yu Ji-Tae, Kang Hye-jeong, Ji Dae-han
Studio:
Egg Films

 

Starting out as a revenge story, Oldboy is an extravagant and well-told story of love, forgiveness, empathy and much more. Oh Dae-su’s transformation from the lovable drunk at the start of the film to the monster that he calls himself by the end of the film is one that even Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde would be afraid of. Surpassing expectations of another run-of-the-mill revenge film, Oldboy raised the bar for Asian-created films that show up on the U.S. shores. This is not any normal action-thriller as it transcends the genre into a film capturing old-school film-noirs, a realistic horror story, and elements from a suspense driven detective story-arc.

Award Wins:
Grand Prize of the Jury (Park Chan-wook) – Cannes Film Festival
Best Foreign Film – British Independent Film Awards
Best Director – Asia-Pacific Film Festival

9. Let the Right One In (2008)

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Starring: Kre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist
Studio: EFTI

 

Forget what you know about vampire flicks; Let the Right One In delivers a fresh look on the genre with an intimate tale of a boy and a young vampire. Breaking away from all formulas, Let the Right One In was an instant classic the moment it hit theatres. The bursts of terrifying violence and moments of ageless innocence catapult this film into the stratosphere of masterpiece films. Not just a story about vampires, Let the Right One In keeps its audience on the edge of their seats with gorgeous cinematography, realistic dialogue, superb acting and excellent direction.

Award Wins:
Best International Film – Saturn Awards
Breakthrough Filmmaker (Tomas Alfredson) – Online Film Critics Society Awards
Best Narrative Feature – Tribeca Film Festival

8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, David Cross, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, Jane Adams
Studio: Anonymous Content

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a mind-blowing film from director Michelle Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. It was a dramatic masterpiece that tugs at everyone’s inner-emotions about losing the memories that seem to haunt an individual, to only find out that those memories are the ones that need to be kept. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are at their best and keep the film interesting with their outstanding performances. The wild imagination of both Gondry and Kaufman assisted in drawing in the audience and keeping them hooked until the end credits.

Award Wins:
Best Writing, Original Screenplay – Academy Awards
Best Original Screenplay – Writers Guild of America
Best Editing – BAFTA Awards

7. Up (2009)

Director: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson (co-director)
Starring: Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo
Studio: Pixar

A wonderful coming-of-age story, Up and Pixar was able to break the hearts of millions with its heart-wrenching tale about an old man discovering himself after his wife passed away. This was Pixar’s finest film of the decade as it not only provided a simple adventure for children, but it was layered so thoroughly that if it was a seven-layer cake, it would take a glutton a week to finish. Full of laughter and sadness, Up was an inspiring flick that was deeply touching to all demographics.

Award Wins:
Best Animated Feature – National Board of Review
*Best Animated Feature – Annie Awards
*Best Animated Feature Film – Golden Globes

6. Amelie (2001)

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Isabelle Nanty, Dominique Pinon
Studio: Claudie Ossard Productions



Amelie was the genuine feel-good movie of the decade. It had the ability to make everyone feel warm inside while also making them chuckle. Jean-Pierre Jeunet was able to create a perfect cast of characters that were absolutely lovable. Charming, witty and a cinematic delight, Amelie came out of left field and surprised everyone with its undeniable fascination. Pure bliss, Amelie was a must-watch film that deserved all the attention it received.
 

Award Wins:
Best Foreign Film – Independent Spirit Awards
Best Screenplay – BAFTA Awards
Best Foreign Language Film – Online Film Critics Society Awards

5. Memento (2000)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Jorja Fox, Stephen Toblowsky
Studio: Newmarket Capital Group



As a neo-noir, Memento was a film that tests the standards for the genre by the structure of the narrative and its purposeful confusing arrangement of revelations for the viewer to gain a greater understanding of the world that surrounds Leonard Shelby. Using an “sdrawkcab” structure (a.k.a. backwards), Christopher Nolan takes away the linear approach of storytelling and starts from the conclusion. This technique generates a large amount of mystery that wouldn’t normally be there if it was told from beginning to end.
The dark intent of all the characters is a perfect balance of law and order, along with right and wrong. It was a tough code to crack; once viewers solve the mystery they are bound to reap the benefits of knowledge and a deep understanding of the chaotic side of life.

Award Wins:
Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film – Saturn Awards
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award – Sundance Film Festival
Best Director – Independent Spirit Awards

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Billy Boyd, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Liv Tyler, John Rhys-Davies, Hugo Weaving
Studio: New Line Cinema

 

Redefining the word – and not to mention the genre itself – of epic, Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring took viewers to a world of discovery. Accompanied by a strong ensemble cast, the acting of The Fellowship of the Ring was wonderful. Ian McKellen was booming and boisterous as Gandalf. Viggo Mortensen was cunning and full of guile as Aragon. Orlando Bloom was stoic and serene as Legolas. The list goes on; the cast did their job bringing J.R.R’s Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to life. The journey began with The Fellowship of the Ring and it sucked a worldwide audience in over the next two years (The Return of the King released in 2003) with amazement. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was a monumental film that set the standard for shooting films back to back, marvelous visuals, and large ensemble casts. Every film studio that states they are wanting to create a trilogy has Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings to thank for breaking ground.

Award Wins:
Best Film – BAFTA Awards
Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media – Satellite Awards
Best Cinematography – Academy Awards

3. There Will Be Blood (2007)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Daniel-Day Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier, Kevin J. O’Connor, Russell Harvard, Colleen Foy
Studio: Ghoulardi Film Company



Daniel-Day Lewis is a god among men. He literally hones every role he steps into and makes it his own. There Will Be Blood was his best piece of work and it was also Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film to date. The film was a major step forward for cinema in a variety of ways including: cinematography, acting, gritty storytelling, morality, and much more. Daniel-Day Lewis has a gift for acting and he continues to give his gift back to mass audiences to marvel at. There Will Be Blood reinvents the world of cinema and it was a film that will be studied and compared to for decades to come. 

Award Wins:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Daniel-Day Lewis) – Academy Awards
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama (Daniel-Day Lewis) – Golden Globes
Best Achievement in Cinematography – Academy Awards

2. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring:
Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi Lpez, Maribel Verd, Ariadna Gil, lex Angulo
Studio:
Tequila Gang



Allowing its audience to escape to a world of imagination, Pan’s Labyrinth was a haunting film that explored eye-opening visions from the mind of Guillermo del Toro. This was one of the finest modern fantasies when it debuted and is still being talked about to this day as the cream of the crop of adult fairy tales. There was true beauty and power behind the Pan’s Labyrinth; viewers were able to connect to the struggle between fantasy and reality. Showcasing violent scenes that made an audience gasp, Guillermo del Toro created a film that was literally nirvana for cinema fanatics. It breaks and melts hearts with its remarkable and emotional journey.  

Award Wins:
Best Achievement in Cinematography – Academy Awards
Best Film – National Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media – Satellite Awards

1. City of God (2002)

Director: Fernando Meirelles, Ktia Lund (co-director)
Starring: Alexandre Rodrigues, Alice Braga, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Jonathan Haagensen
Studio: O2 Filmes

Presenting a world full of danger, City of God was a one-of-a-kind film that was near perfect with its storytelling and direction. Creating a disturbing film, Fernando Meirelles crafted a tale that was brutally honest and provocative. It was hard to blink or take a breath in the world that Meirelles created without missing something. Intense and savage, City of God went to certain lengths to tell its brilliant story of life in the slums of Rio de Janiero. The life of crime throughout of City of God was masterfully told and was one of the most realistic takes on crime that has been delivered in cinema. City of God was an adrenaline rush that the film industry needed – it succeeded in every cinematic category with its high ambitions.

Award Wins:
Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language – Satellite Awards
Best Editing – BAFTA Awards
Best Foreign Language Film – Online Film Critics Society Awards

 

Other Considerations:
The Aviator, Grizzly Man, Eastern Promises, Almost Famous, Kung Fu Hustle, Gerry, The Motorcycle Diaries, Amores Perros, Into the Wild, Brick, Adaptation, The Lives of Others, The Constant Gardener, Ratatouille, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days, The House of Flying Daggers

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