42. Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)
I know, I know. I have Batman Begins ranked above Dark Knight. And here’s why. We’ve all seen so many superhero origin stories that it’s extremely difficult to imbue them with something interesting, to make them seem new to an audience that has seen it all before.
Nolan managed to craft a Batman origin story that felt fresh and exciting, while also setting up awesome sequels such as Dark Knight. Begins never feels like it is pushing through the origin to get to the good stuff, because it is the good stuff. Plus it has a bunch of ninjas in it, which people always seem to overlook. And if there’s anything I love as much as Batman, it’s ninjas.
41. Midnight In Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)
Woody Allen is a wildly prolific director, and these days he fires off about as many misses as he does hits. However, when he hits, he hits big. Enter Midnight In Paris, his sweet, funny ode to the past, the writers and musicians of the 1920’s, and the City of Love. The story of Gil Pember, a hack screenwriter who idolized writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald only to find himself somehow back in the 20’s hanging out with them, Midnight in Paris has plenty to say about love, art, and living in the past. Also, Corey Stoll is hilarious as Hemingway, who doesn’t care about anything that he can’t fight or drink.
Check in tomorrow for numbers 40-31!
44. Sunshine (Danny Boyle, 2007)
Speaking of science-fiction, Danny Boyle’s 2007 sci-fi horror film Sunshine is the genre at it’s sharpest. Taking what could have been a very silly story about astronauts on a mission to jumpstart the sun (with a nuclear bomb, no less), the film veers into slasher territory near the end, but never loses it’s unique voice. While many found the third act disappointing, I found the finale of the film to be exhilarating, as well as gorgeously shot. In facct, the whole movie is gorgeously shot, playing beautiful tricks with the sunlight, because believe me, there’s a lot of it.
43. City of God (Fernando Mereilles, 2003)
A wonderfully shot and acted film set in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, City of God is all over the place, but in the best way possible.. Spanning from the late sixties to the early eighties, all through the eyes of a boy named Rocket with a penchant for photography, the movie slowly builds to all-out war between boxer-turned-criminal Knockout Ned and terrifying teenage drug dealer Little Ze. Ze is one of the film’s greatest strengths, a villain that scares us because he comes from circumstances impossible for us to understand. Mereilles directs the film like a subdued Tarantino, bouncing around in the story with narrative abandon. There is also at least one chase scene involving a chicken, if that sort of thing does it for you.
46. Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze, 2009)
Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things was a divisive film, eliciting tears from some audience members, and eye-rolls from others. Based on a very short, very visual children’s book, it was up to Jonze to pad out the story a bit, but what he came up with is less about plot, and more about the feeling of being a kid.
While the script certainly meanders a bit, I have never seen a film that so successfully made me remember what it was like to be a child. The sense of wonder and imagination is so strong here that it’s almost overwhelming. Add in a killer soundtrack, and Where the Wild Things Are is the perfect film for anyone who wants to unleash their inner monster. Or their inner child. You know. Whichever.
45. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006)
A dark, dystopian tale of a future without any children, Children of Men is one of the most beautifully directed films I’ve ever seen. Culminating in an incredibly long one-shot chase sequence through a war-zone, director Alfonso Cuaron effortless communicates the bleakness of a future where no children are being born until suddenly…. one is. As various factions try to take possession of the child, Clive Owen is tasked with protecting the baby and it’s mother until he can get her safely to a boat that has been sent to pick her up. Dark, but with a ray of hope, Children of Men is idea-based science-fiction done right.
48. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Sydney Lumet, 2007)
Sydney Lumet, whose career kicked off with the incredible Twelve Angry Men, passed away fairly recently, but not before making another masterpiece. A modern-day Greek Tragedy about two brothers in need of cash who decide to rob their parents’ jewelry store, it’s certainly not a feel good film, but if you’re in the mood for tense, devastating thriller, this is the movie.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman gives one of my favorite performances ever as the older brother, who has a cocaine habit to support. Albert Finney, Ethan Hawke, and Mariso Tomei are also excellent as his dad, brother, and trophy-wife, respectively.
47. Kill Bill Volume 1 (Quentin Tarantino, 2003)
I prefer to think of Kill Bill as one film, since it was originally meant to be one, but each of the halves does have its own appeal. While I prefer the slower-paced, better-acted, western-influenced Volume Two, Volume One is singular as an action film, weaving several of the best swordfights you’ve ever seen into a brilliantly non-traditional structure. Volume Two is a better film, but Volume One is tons of fun, and the artistry behind the glorious, massively bloody battle at the House of Blue Leaves is undeniable.
Alright everyone, we're halfway through our list, and now we're counting down the Top 50 movies of the 2000s. Keep checking back every day to see which movies made the cut, and finally which movie will be crowned number 1!
Get caught up:
- Top 100 Movies of the 2000s: 100 – 91
- Top 100 Movies of the 2000s: 90 – 81
- Top 100 Movies of the 2000s: 80 – 71
- Top 100 Movies of the 2000s: 70 – 61
- Top 100 Movies of the 2000s: 60 – 51
50. Moon (Duncan Jones, 2009)
First of all, not enough people talk about how awesome Sam Rockwell is. That guy is great in everything he does, and he has never been better than he is in Moon. The only person in the movie (besides a robot voiced by Kevin Spacey), he holds your attention completely the whole way through. It would be super douchey of me to ruin the various twists and turns this film takes, but what seems like the simple tale of a moon-worker nearing the end of his solitary five-year stint turns out to be so much more. Also, it was directed by David Bowie’s son. So, you know, there’s that.
49. The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010)
If I’m being honest, biopics often bore me. I find that they generally fall in to a predictable mold, with with great actors performing moving but unoriginal scripts. Not the case with The King’s Speech. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are given phenomenal dialogue to work with, and as such manage to turn this story of a British King with a stutter into a moving, heartfelt, and believe it or not, really fun and funny film. The movie is good the whole way through, but whenever Rush and Firth are onscreen together, it’s really something special.