Saturday, December 31, 2005

Not a good year?

I remember thinking at the end of last year about how great the year had turned out for movies. In fact most of the "best of 2004" lists that I came across talked about just how difficult it was to choose 10 movies out of an amazing number of great movies that came out throughout 2004. In the end, I managed to pick 10 and HAD to make another "special mention" list (in this post). Even then, there were quite a few good movies left that I didn't manage to catch early enough to be included in my list. Some of them I saw later and would surely have included in my top 10 list.

Anyway, this year is different for two reasons, which are probably related. First, I didn't see a lot of movies this year. I was just now making the list of all movies released in 2005 that I have already seen and I was shocked to see that as of this moment the list stands at a pitiful 29! Which means that it would be much easier to make a top 10 list this time around. But it also means that there are quite a few good 2005 movies that I still have to see, so this top movies list will probably not be very close to the final list.

The other reason why I think this year was different was that there simply were not that many great movies around. Like I said, these two reasons are probably related. Maybe I didn't see as many movies this year because there weren't too many worth watching. Or Maybe I don't think there were too many great movies simply because there are quite a few that I still have to see.

but what to do? One has to make a list when one has to make a list. Small matters like not having enough time to watch movies don't count when December 31 is already upon you. So, here are my movie lists for 2005!

Top 10 movies of the year

10) Batman Begins

9) Millions

8) Cinderella Man

7) Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi

6) Sin City

5) Good Night and Good Luck

4) Munich

3) Jarhead

2) 2046

1) Crash

When I saw Crash and posted a review on this blog, I was under the impression that there'd be many movies that'll probably surpass it in my final 2005 top movies list. Turns out I still have to see any such movie. But as I said before, it probably doesn't mean a lot since there are still a handful of highly acclaimed movies that I still have to see. some of these (in order of decreasing likelihood to figure in this list) are:

1) Brokeback Mountain

2) Capote

3) Saraband

4) Walk The Line

5) The Constant Gardener

6) Syriana

7) Iqbal

8) Match Point

9) Page 3

10) Me and You and Everyone We Know

11) North Country

12) The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

13) Junebug

14) Paradise Now

15) Memoirs of a Geisha

16) The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey

And just in case one of your favorite movies of the year is not in either of these lists, chances are that I have seen it but it didn't make the cut when compared to the 10 movies listed here. Or that I somehow forgot about its potential while making the second list. So, some movies that I DID see but didn't think they deserve to be listed higher than Batman Begins are (and some of these missed it by the proverbial whisker, while others were probably easier to count out):

King Kong, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Squid and the Whale, A History of Violence, Serenity, Black, Howl's Moving Castle, War of the Worlds, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Parineeta.

Among the movies that I have already seen, some special mentions:

Most disappointing: King Kong. But probably due to too high expectations on my part. It was extremely good in parts, which makes it worth a watch. But I was expecting something in the range of "awesome"! :(

Most underrated: Crash and Jarhead. Not because both of them are nearly equally good. But just because they are much better than what the reviews/ratings might suggest. Crash at least got a lot of accolades from some people (and topped Roger Ebert's list of top 10 movies of 2005 too!) but Jarhead was widely disliked. Or just not liked as much as people were expecting from a Sam Mendes movie. Maybe my opinion of Jarhead will change over time (I saw it only yesterday!), but I thought it was quite engrossing. Most likely not as good as some of the movies that I still have to see (Brokeback Mountain, Walk The Line, Capote, Constant Gardener etc.), but definitely worth watching, if only because of some great acting and some haunting images.

Most overrated:Black and A History of Violence. Good movies both, specially some of the performances. But neither deserved to be hyped as much as I thought they were. A History of Violence, specially, was too simplistic. Some good acting and a couple of well-done scenes carried the movie through but it sort of fizzed out in the end. Nothing great.

Best acting by an Ensemble: Crash. Already written about it here.

Best Background Score: 2046. No comparison here. In a fair world Wong Kar-Wai will win every best music award hands down for any of his movies that I have seen. He is the director, not composer, and yet it seems you can't separate any scene from the music that accompanies it. Its like sitting in a concert with your eyes closed (and if you open your eyes, the images on screen look like painting masterpieces!). But then, who says the world is fair. Sigh! I'd be on top of the world if they give the oscar to this. But I know it probably won't even be nominated. Easily the most exhilarating movie experience I had this year. Crash topped my list for many reasons, but for sheer pleasure of the senses, nothing came close to 2046.

Best special effects: King Kong. Again, no comparison. Nothing else that I saw this year (or probably ever) comes close to the way they showed Kong. Unbelievable!

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