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Our Top 10's of 2002 -- Time To Throw Down / The HTF 2002 Film Awards (See Post #1)


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#41 of 174 OFFLINE   Kirk Tsai

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Posted December 28 2002 - 10:55 AM

2002 list

Top Ten

1. Signs
Shyamalan's vision continues to develop and deepen. Perhaps the best film of the "What If?" Shyamalayn films so far. With partially Hitchcockian aesthetics and Shyamalyn's concern with the supernatural, Signs is both an intense thriller and a spiritual journey. The film works on multiple layers; scenes are often constructed to recall religious moments, mirroring the conflict of Gibson's character. And like his two previous films, Shyamalan is uncanny is his ability intercutting the past and present, creating backstory with merely a few shots. Gibson, one of our best superstars, is flawless, as is the Herrmannesque score by James Newton Howard. Above all is the film's immense control of mood and tempo, making us laugh at every joke, scared at each corner, devastated at potential loss, and thrilled when the signs come together.

2. Talk to Her
With one false move, Talk To Her could easily become a sickening or unintentionally funny film. That its tone is so assured--even during a short black and white fantasy film--is a miracle. The common theme of loving an image in recent years among movies is explored in this film better than all others. Relationships between our four main characters, whether one sided or fully engaged, are constantly developing from start to end. The film may seem to move unswiftly, but underneath its smooth pacing is a thorough transformation of these characters, emotional and physical. Walking out of the theater, I let out a sigh, for both that this movie has ended, and for the characters. They expand in my imagination like old friends, wondering what will become of them after our encounters.

3. Punch Drunk Love
Another high wire act in its tone. Whichever critic wrote that Punch Drunk Love was on the edge of comedy, tragedy and sanity cannot be more spot on. Adam Sandler uses his screen persona of his comedies to build on his character; it's as if his previous personalities have boiled to a point of no return, and fully explodes in this movie. A career capping performance so far for Sandler. This P.T. Anderson film also utilizes his strengths without becoming self-indulgent, as I thought Magnolia became. Brilliant sound design matched with eccentric but breathtaking shot selections. At the center is a love story so charming and necessary to the Sandler character that it saves him from the insanity of his world; Emily Watson as the love interest is glorious.

4. Gangs of New York
As with other Scorsese films, the juggling of different aspects of a world, and presenting them to us as we never looked at an entire culture is dazzling. While the mythic forces that Amsterdam and Bill represent is uncommon in his canon, the way Scorsese presents 19th century New York shows that this is still a filmmaker on top of his game. Gangs, ethnic groups, histories, religions, politics, army, georgraphy, underworld culture, all combined into one environment within the first hour of the movie. The total impact is far greater than the sum of the parts. Information is thrown at the audience with unimaginable speed; astounding shots look around the detailed sets from one part of story to another, emphasizing on the interconnectedness of all that is shown.

After the buildup of the revenge plotline comes to its high point, Scorsese pulls out and looks at the picture from a further distance, giving perspective to the central conflict. Effective homages are made to On the Waterfront and Potemkin. The aftertaste of the riots and confrontation between DiCaprio and the brilliant Lewis is not easily swallowed. Meaningless to the characters is not a message big Hollywood pictures often give. Yet on the countering side Scorsese shows that what may be futile to the characters is ultimately shaping the future, and the final product is a sprawling epic. If there is regrettable flaw, it is the absence of a great score. While the use of Irish folk music is effective, the Howard Shore piece "Brooklyn Nights" is overused.

5. Bloody Sunday
Do I go too far in suggesting that Bloody Sunday is even better than The Battle of Algiers? Because the film is only concerned with one event, the psuedo documentary style of the film builds and builds until the end without Algiers' episodic nature. And unlike Algiers, Bloody Sunday is ultimately more bitter and devastating, creating a truly visceral experience. Of course, the two films are not entirely comparable, but I believe that is how high Bloody Sunday should be regarded. This is a movie that shows the consequences of political decisions, the use of force, and leadership of a movement. That the movie presents mostly a one sided view should not be blamed--it shows the power that cinema can have.

6. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Frodo's story is seriously short changed; his path to Gondor and relationship with Faramir is a fundamental rift with the books. Damaging, too, I would argue. But perhaps Roger Ebert's sentiments regarding the series should be taken, which is that this installment is essentially concerned with the story of Rohan. At that, this is a great ride, echoing the best of swashbuckling films while utilizing today's technology fittingly. The battle at Helm's Deep is masterful in giving the sense of space and strategy, hope and despair. Aragorn emerges as a strong leader, and his friendship with the other members of the Fellowship ring true. The Ents are quite beautifully created, and their force does not look foolish, which is a great feat in itself. The White Rider's charge may be the most thrilling moment in all movies of 2002. A long shot of the landscape with two massive forces colliding with one another, couple by a female vocal and the triumph White Rider theme on the soundtrack, it is the moment that Peter Jackson's movie flies.

7. Spirited Away
Miyazaki's movie is the definition of colorful. Colorful in its drawings, colorful in its characters and worlds. A large, colorful, imaginitive and rich canvas. The genuis of Spirited Away, as well as Miyazaki's previous Princess Mononoke, is that the central plot of the film is hidden from direct view. What our hero needs is to have her parents reshaped into humans, but how that is to be done is never said. This is vastly different from American animation, where the central question always has a direct answer. Without a direct solution, Miyazaki's movie can dive into any area that it wishes to, and, eventually, come up with a resolution when it seems like the characters (and ourselves) have drank in the environment and wonders. The character succeeds not because she has found a direct key, but because she has been proven to be strong and admirable. Along with this type of a journey is an episodic narrative, which repeats itself a couple of times. That is a small price to pay for seeing Miyazaki's world.

8. The 25th Hour
So far the mixed reviews of The 25th Hour have tried to suggest that there are two stories butting heads with each other, one the post-9/11 New York, and the other with the Norton character's last free day. What these views obviously do not feel is that the movie combines different feelings into one experience. I would argue that it does, and part of the reason I think critics have misjudged this material is because they expect 9/11 to be the central issue if confronted; if not, don't touch it, they would say. But that is not how art deals with these large events. Look to many foreign films, and we'll see that they deal with historically traumatic events not head on, but as a backdrop, as a given. How people live after these events in the world while their concerns are on other topics is much of dealing with the event itself.

The 9/11 attention it pays is not trying to suggest one's freedom taken away, but a post-Apocalyptic feeling when the past seemed like the good ol' days. There are parrallels drawn between Norton and his friends, be it dating underage girls or living a lifestyle that is (unseemingly to some) ultimately cutthroat and cruel. Dialogue between characters are truthful without being fancy movie-talk. But there is flash, too. Norton's monologue on New York is powerful, and later Lee supplies a few images that utterly sublime. The title sequence itself will grab a lot of attention; it is curious at first, and gradually it becomes clear, with the brooding and powerful score soaring into the air. Because Lee does not give us a standard countdown, the title itself offers much to think about. The entire film is open to thought, "what would you do?" the film constantly asks.


9. The Hours
The Hours focues on three separate women in different times all sharing similar experiences that they must suffer and live through. Though it is a literary adaptation, the movie is tremendously cinematic. Intercutting between the years is almost exclusively done through matching cuts, whether through composition, movement, or action; the stories are fluidly merging into each other, not blocks of one woman and then another. Along with its storyline parrallels, Phillip Glass' score is a tissue binding the three together. Everything in this film suggests that these women are connected, not separated. Daldry's use of the meduim throughout most of the movie is, somewhat surprisingly, held to a conventional form late in the third act. The ideas in this scene is so powerful that Daldry's conservative form does not fail the movie (nor does it elevate it, unfortunately). To my surprise, I did not find Virginia's nose to be a distraction after the movie started due to an intense performance by Nicole Kidman. But among the three women, the most interesting and strongest performance is given by Meryl Streep The Great. Streep fully demonstrates the entire range that Virginia Wolf wants to illustrate in Mrs. Dalloway--to tell one's life in a day.

10. Minority Report
Put aside everything, this is just a great film to look at. Not just special effects, but also some of Spielberg's virtuoso direction. The content is also bursting with ideas within a whodunit plot. That Spielberg can combine ideas with strong narrative always seems to be taken the wrong way by many. Those who claim that his films are not thought provoking are ignoring the issues that the films bring up while also being superbly entertaining. Symbols and metaphors are also never lacking in a Spielberg film, including Minority Report. Like other whodunits, the movie is not first rate in suspense, but it is in its twists and turns. The ever puzzling and missing pieces of the story are the joy, there is little stopping for large exposition scenes. Part of the whodunit fun is perhaps taken away by the casting choices, but then again, the journey is the fun within this genre. The "twist" of this whodunit is that the investigator is supposedly the killer himself, unlike the private eyes or cops that Bogart used to play. This gives a central weight to the film because the finding of the truth is crucial to our hero's fate.

(bumped, previously no. 10) Star Wars: Episode Two - Attack of the Clones
Like The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones has a ton of intriguing ideas and situations. Its execution is much improved over Episode One, but flaws are still apparent, especially regarding the love story. I will admit that the movie itself is problematic, but its success lies in its ability to open up the Star Wars saga further more. Lines and scenarios recall the original trilogy; Lucas' story gives us such a strong cross reference between Father and Son that we care about their differing choices. Of course, this is not to say action and adventure is not important in the series. Clones features a massive battle at the end that is the height of video game action so far in the movie medium. But for a long time fan of the series, Episode Two has made me interested in the story and characters much more than TPM. What will they do? The prequels are bound by an inevitability because of the later episodes, so the fact that Lucas can still stir so much imagination within myself despite its flaws is a triumph. Like some of the other films above, I genuinally care what choices charactes will make.

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other favorites, in no particular order:

Blade II
Under the category of most gratuitous fun. My guess is that leaving this film outside of the top ten will later become a mistake. With an elementry hero's story, Blade II has none of the pretentiousness that the original film has. The action is fun and varied all the way through, with Del Torro's awesome sets, colors, and designs.

We Were Soldiers
In the post-Saving Private Ryan war genre, We Were Soldiers is the best so far. Comparing it to Black Hawk Down, it is similarly a powerful, visceral experience of the horrors in combat, but it has characters that we can care about. And unlike the Africans that are killed without us ever giving a damn, Wallace gives us a Vietnamese character to hold onto. That this film is focused on the Vietnam War is not evidence that it is celebrating U.S. involvement in Indo-China. If anything, it shows the massive consequences of one single encounter.

Spiderman
Slightly indecisive about how much focus will be on the origin story. Cross-cutting the birth of Spiderman and the Goblin is a major mistake. But the movie is a lot of fun in giving us a hero to root for, and then to see him in action. Some near camp situations are hilarious, and the love scenes are genuine and charming.

Catch Me If You Can
DiCaprio shines in a roles he's born to play. A clear evidence that he could have easily taken on easy roles after the Titanic boom. Hanks is refreshingly funny, and the two character's first encounter is a great scene. Spielberg too makes a stamp, continuing his life long thematic material while giving us his most joyful ride since Jurassic Park.

Kissing Jessica Stein
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the indie romantic comedy story of the year, but for myself, "Jessica" is far superior. Its comedy does not come from ethnic stereotypes or sitcom-like scenarios, but from real concerns and relationship problems.

Bowling For Columbine
Roger Moore is a provocateur above anything else, and he succeeds in exploring the issues--which is not pro or anti gun--while also providing an entertaining ride. Discussion on the film is almost all ideas driven, but two montage sequences show Moore's use of the film medium to condense information, comment upon it, and provoke an immediate and strong response.

All or Nothing
All or Nothing is uncanny in capturing real life. The characters' Wants and Needs are clear despite the film's apparent 'slice of life' approach. The climatic confrontation of the film is hair-raisingly beautiful, with two perfect performances by Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville exploding into each other and Mike Leigh's simple but elegant direction highlighting the essence.
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Favorite scores:
1. Signs - James Newton Howard
2. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Howard Shore
3. Spirited Away - Jo Hisaishi
4. The 25th Hour - Terrence Blanchard
5. Attack of the Clones - John Williams
6. Far From Heaven - Elmer Bernstein
7. Punch Drunk Love - Jon Brion
8. Road to Perdition - Thomas Newman
9. The Time Machine - Klaus Badelt
10. Spider-man - Danny Elfman

#42 of 174 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted December 28 2002 - 12:08 PM

I'm parking my butt here on page 2.

I say an Admin oughta edit NickNC's post. He's got a fullscreen movie (Insomnia) on his list. Posted Image

Posted Image

1. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2. Road to Perdition
3. Chicago
4. Gangs of New York
5. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
6. Catch Me If You Can
7. Spider-Man
8. Black Hawk Down
9. We Were Soldiers
10. The Ring

Honorable Mentions
Austin Powers: Goldmember, Jackass: The Movie, Lilo & Stich, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Red Dragon, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Signs, Minority Report

Disappointments
Die Another Day

Just plain terrible
Scooby Doo

#43 of 174 OFFLINE   Kami

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Posted December 28 2002 - 01:40 PM

My list...

1. LOTR: The Two Towers
2. Minority Report
3. Signs
4. Road to Perdition
5. Ice Age
6. Spiderman
7. Panic Room
8. The Ring
9. Reign of Fire
10. Star Wars: AOTC


#44 of 174 OFFLINE   Lowell_B

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Posted December 28 2002 - 01:51 PM

My 2002 List


Like everyone here, I'm going to be shuffling my list around for awhile. Eventually I'll probably add pictures and mini-reviews.

Did some major rearranging, with Punch-Drunk Love taking over the top spot, and 25th Hour leap frogging up two spots. I moved Potter down 3 spots, and Igby Goes Down up 2. I also saw Moonlight Mile, a fantastic movie that's just a hair short of bumping Y Tu Mama Tambien.

2002 Top 10 List

1. Punch-Drunk Love
2. 25th Hour
3. Minority Report
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
5. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
6. Gangs of New York
7. Igby Goes Down
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
9. Catch Me If You Can
10. Y Tu Mama Tambien



Honorable Mentions.

#11. Moonlight Mile
#12. Adaptation

Chicago
The Pianist
About a Boy
Road to Perdition
Signs
Metropolis
Monsoon Wedding
Talk to Her (Hable con Ella)


2002 Bottom 5 List. (1 being the worst)

1. The Time Machine
2. Resident Evil
3. Collateral Damage
4. xXx
5. Mr. Deeds



Lowell

#45 of 174 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted December 28 2002 - 04:40 PM

Best (updated 2/18/03):
1. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
2. About Schmidt
3. The Pianist
4. The Good Girl
5. Roger Dodger
6. Adaptation.
7. Punch-Drunk Love
8. Spirited Away
9. Femme Fatale
10. Narc


The Rest:
11. Gangs of New York
12. Secretary
13. One-Hour Photo
14. Spider
15. Barbershop
16. The Rules of Attraction
17. Minority Report
18. Chicago
19. Dagon
20. Spider-Man
21 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
22. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
23. The 25th Hour
24. Orange County
25. Brotherhood of the Wolf
26. Blade II
27. Die Another Day
28. Jason X
29. Insomnia
30. The Sum of All Fears
31. Enigma
32. Max
33. Signs
34. Resident Evil
35. Frailty
36. Red Dragon
37. Autofocus
38. Biggie & Tupac
39. Home Movie
40. Panic Room
41. Metropolis
42. Mothman Prophecies
43. Halloween: Resurrection
44. Men In Black II
45. Van Wilder
46. 24-Hour Party People
47. Russian Ark

Worst 5:
5. Catch Me If You Can - Was this the script that Donald Kaufman was working on in Adaptation.? 1-dimensional characters, trite (even for Spielberg) family-centered sentimentality, and a bunch of silly cops-and-robbers near-misses. If only the film could've lived up to the moderate coolness of the title sequence.
4. Human Nature - People pretending to be savage. Ha ha. Funny.
3. Scarlet Diva - Someone please stop Asia from ever getting on that side of the camera again.
2. Bowling For Columbine - A complete jumble of tacky behavior and half-baked ideas. It might've been bearable if Moore had any clue as to how to create a cohesive presentation. Instead, it was embarrassing to watch.
1. The Ring - Gee, what random things can we throw in to make this movie scary? Sixth Sense kid? Check. Woman in a 19th Century dress for no reason? Check. Me wanting the movie to cause my death? Check.

DJ

#46 of 174 OFFLINE   Paul Case

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Posted December 29 2002 - 11:44 AM

1. Gangs of New York
2. Minority Report
3. Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones
4. Signs
5. Road to Perdition
6. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
7. Unfaithful
8. Catch Me If You Can
9. The Ring
10. Insomnia

This list may change once I see Adaptation, The Hours, About Schmidt, The Pianist, and The Quiet American.

#47 of 174 OFFLINE   Scott_MacD

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Posted December 29 2002 - 05:07 PM

Top 10:
    [*]Metropolis[*]Minority Report[*]Cidade de Deus (City of God)[*]Spirited Away[*]Adaptation[*]The Pianist[*]Signs[*]The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers[*]About Schmidt[*]Bowling For Columbine[*]The Quiet American[*]Y Tu Mama Tambien[*]25th Hour[*]Blade II[*]Secretary[*]Far From Heaven[*]Storytelling[*]Frailty[*]Gangs of New York[*]Talk to Her
Honorable Mentions: (in alphabetical order)

8 Mile
Bourne Identity, The
Chicago
Catch Me if you Can
Hours, The
Insomnia
Monsoon Wedding
Road to Perdition
Solaris

#48 of 174 OFFLINE   Joshua_Y

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Posted December 29 2002 - 10:19 PM

I'll throw in my top ten:

1. Star Wars Episode 2 Attack of the Clones
2. Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
3. Minority Report
4. Catch Me if You Can
5. Gangs of New York
6. Red Dragon
7. Signs
8. Die Another Day
9. One Hour Photo
10. The Ring

Runners up:

Insomnia
Punch Drunk Love
Spiderman
Blade 2
Jackass
Panic Room
We Were Soldiers
Blood Work
Changing Lanes
Road to Perdition
K-19
Goldmember
Solaris
Count of Monte Cristo
The Rookie

#49 of 174 OFFLINE   LennyP

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Posted December 30 2002 - 01:30 AM

Top 10 of 2002 (as in the temp year end sig):

1. Resident Evil
2. Femme Fatale
3. Equilibrium
4. Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever
5. '24'
6. The Bourne Identity
7. Impostor
8. The Mothman Prophecies
9. Chicago
10. Minority Report

Posted Image
Top: 1-10 | 11-20 | Complete Archives | Discs: 1397
New R1: Cube SE | Cube² | Noir Vol.1 | .hack//Sign Vol.1 | RahXephon Vol.1 | Assassins | Judge Dredd | One Hour Photo | Unfaithful

#50 of 174 OFFLINE   Dana Fillhart

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Posted December 30 2002 - 05:04 AM

Dana's Top 10 of 2002
Last updated 8 Feb 2003 (Added 25th Hour and Chicago.)

I'm including only newly-filmed 2002 titles in my list -- E.T. is #7 in my overall 2002 Film List and Beauty and the Beast is in my top 20, but for this list they're not included.
I've taken the review snippets from my 2002 Film List and added some additional comments below them.


Posted Image10. Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too), seen on DVD 6 Dec 2002.
Fantastic, intimate, and graphic film about two adolescent boys, best of friends, exploring the depths of their friendship as they delve deeper into the arena of sexuality. When the wife of one of the boy's cousins gets a painful phone call declaring her husband's unfaithfulness, she decides to take the boys' offer to escape to a far-away, idyllic beach. The long journey to this "Heaven's Mouth" is filled with many moments of joy, hilarity, troubles, betrayals, tests of friendship, and explorations of self worth and sexuality. Lots of sexual discoveries. LOTS of sex. Explicit sex!
I could describe this film in terms of others of recent memory -- a melding of the narration style of Amélie with the structure and storyline of Bandits, and a dose of directional style from Abre Los Ojos -- but it wouldn't do it fair justice: There is a charming uniqueness and unabashed rawness about it that is rare in films these days. I especially liked the moments with just the two friends; their interaction and experiences were so natural that you felt you were spying on the actual lives of two adolescents learning to grow into the men they'd become. The resolution, sad and poignant, contrasts well with the introduction, and through it you feel like these characters have undergone a far greater journey than the tale that's told onscreen. The only problems I had were the style of narration (I prefer the continual background noise of the scene, dimmed -- a la Amélie -- than the sudden, jarring muting of sound, followed sometimes by two or three seconds of silence before the narrator begins), and perhaps a little less involvement with family than I had expected. Overall, I give Y Tu an 85%, which lands it (for now) in my top 10 of the year.
Additional comments: I am somewhat surprised to find this film unlisted in many top 10 lists, but I can understand the reasons. While some of the films in my list moved down, I've always held firm on my opinions of this one, and still do. Unless one of the unseen films mentioned above end up wowing me greatly, I expect Y Tu to continue to be right here.


Posted Image9. 25th Hour, seen theatrically 1 Feb 2003.
Extraordinarily well-crafted film by Spike Lee about a drug-dealer (Edward Norton) who, after being ratted out by one of his closest friends, takes his last free day to decide how to face his future. Great performances were turned in by all (including a rather annoying but spot-on performance by one of my favorites, Anna Paquin), but Spike Lee's direction truly shines. Two very memorable things about this film: One, signature hug greets -- Lee splices the edit to show the hug from two different viewpoints, bringing the viewer both the importance and the subtle differences between each encounter. Watch for a triple-edit near the end when Rosario's Natural meets up with Norton's Marty at a bus stop. The second memorable thing: The F**k You monologue...whoa, talk about biting social commentary! So long as one keeps in mind the nature of the character giving the speech, the scene is as powerful as it is necessary.
There was very little to dislike about this drama, except perhaps a somewhat-weak climax -- we've been led down this "One last thing I gotta do" road for so long that when it comes, we feel as let down and shocked as Pepper's Slaughtery when he says in total disbelief, "That--that's your favor?!" Even then, though, Lee firmly keeps tight rein on direction, and the flow of that scene allows the remainder of the film to play out naturally, even if we think we know what we assume we know about the "did he or didn't he" style ending.
85%, barely making my Top 10 for 2002.


Posted Image8. Punch-Drunk Love, seen theatrically 2 Nov 2002.
Weird. Weird, weird, weird. Oh, and while I'm at it: Strange!
So, I think it's safe to say, then, I liked it. For my first PT Anderson movie I certainly appreciate his style. Adam Sandler has done no better on-screen than in this role, and it is fantastic. Emily Watson also does extraordinarly well in her role. Direction was top-notch -- though I did have one complaint near the start of a rather sharp audio jolt that nearly gave me a heart-attack (you'll know when it happens): The reason for the noise seemed to have no purpose other than for shock -- which I'm told is typical PT, but I found it irritating. Fortunately, that was my ONLY complaint of significant note -- the entirety of this film had me drawn in, and wishing for more of its quirkiness after its short 90 minutes was over. The style of the movie may or may not be for many folk, but the plot is at its heart uplifting, if simple. One thing is certain: This movie is going to have some very memorable dialogue! I'm giggling to myself thinking about the myriad of Sandler-isms given, as well as Hoffman's reactions. "Hey! That's that!" -- ROFL!
If you want to see a well-crafted, satisfyingly humorous movie executed in exceedingly off-beat form, go see this film at once! 85%.
Additional comments: The humor and grand quirkiness of this film still stay with me after more than two months away from seeing it; I still think it's a very worthy title in this list.


Posted Image7. Road to Perdition, seen theatrically 15 Jul 2002.
Mostly-solid performances (but not Oscar-worthy, in my opinion) enhance a great script to produce a fantastic film that transcends its mobster genre and puts it in the elite class of memorable films. Tom Hanks stars as a father of two who gained status as the right-hand man of a godfather, but finds himself (in more ways than one) on the run along the titled road to Perdition when his son witnesses a murder by the godfather's son. Poignant moments come when father and son bond during the journey, and even though the conclusion can be seen a mile away, its impact is still overpowering, especially when realizing its bookend nature. I give this film a high 85%, with points taken off primarily for a less-than-stellar performance given by Hanks (perhaps a subconscious perception on my part as the wrong actor for this role?) and some forced moments from Paul Newman's father-role to Daniel Craig's son-role.
Additional comments: I'll add more to this when I have a chance to see it again on DVD, but I stand by my opinions above of Hanks and Newman.


Posted Image6. Far From Heaven, seen theatrically 14 Dec 2002.
Fantastic, gorgeous film that perfectly captures the style and mood of the 50's: All its naievity and purity, and all of this country's horrificly flawed societal mores. Julianne Moore portrays exquisitely the obediant housewife who deals with any problems around her with cheerful, blissful ignorance, until her idyllic world comes crashing down all around her in almost every way. Dennis Haysbert gives a great performance, mostly subdued when serious but quite exuberant when expressing his joys (which is a far cry from his portrayal of the President in the television series 24). Moore certainly deserves a nomination and perhaps even the award itself; it's nearly flawless. Quaid seemed a little awkward at times in trying to convey the reserved, tormented husband, but any flaws were minor. Despite my usual dispassion for that time period, I adored the film's autumnal scenic style, that, when melded with that timeless small-town 50's feel and a superbly-crafted score, created a powerful cinematic experience. I give this film 90%, placing it in my top 5 for the year.
Additional comments: I think back on this and realized how much I enjoyed the feel and style of this film. While it might've emulated certain overdone aspects of 50's film/tv-making, it's a definite breath of fresh air in today's overhyped effects-laden flicks that saturate our senses these days. Moore's performance truly is fantastic, and I do expect her to be nominated, and hope she wins the Oscar for Best Actress.


Posted Image5. Hable con Ella (Talk to Her), seen theatrically 10 Jan 2003.
This wonderful gem is actually two -- like a diamond set within a gold ring, a short silent film in this film's center greatly enhances the beauty and fascination of the overall picture. The general story is about two men's lives, who cross by chance at two points: At the opening during the viewing of a silent film (not the aforementioned one), and when the woman of one of the men ends up in a coma and is taken to the same care facility where the other man works and tends another coma victim. Marco fell for the female bullfighter Lydia after rescuing her from a snake in her house; he is a very sensitive man, who tears up at anything that reminds him of his former woman. He has difficulty expressing himself to Lydia, but finds it impossible to talk to her once she's fallen into the coma. Benigno is a man obsessed with the comatose woman he tends, named Alicia. Before she was stricken down, she was a dancer, and practiced across from Benigno's apartment, where he watched her every day. When chance came to him one day he took the opportunity to introduce himself to her, but couldn't find a way to continue to be in her life beyond that so he tracked her down to her home, where her father practiced psychiatry. There he concocts a reason for needing to be a patient. After the session he trespasses into Alicia's bedroom, and after taking one of her belongings, he bumps into the shocked Alicia, fumbles through an explanation and leaves, and never sees her awake again. At the care facility he talks to her on a daily basis, and (with other nurses) keeps her body in as best of shape as he can, somewhat to the concern of the father, who asks him bluntly his sexual orientation -- Benigno's response of homosexual and his amusing recount of it to a female nurse later establish a sense of trust with the audience between Alicia and Benigno. Marco, at some point crosses paths with Benigno at the facility, and from there their lives are intertwined in an increasingly fascinating way, as each paints a picture of his life to the other, and we see how each handles the women they encounter. The main conflict introduced in the final act, though focused on Benigno, is handled in such a way that makes you reflect on both men, even to the point of wondering just how much Marco's path crossed over into Benigno's -- BEFORE the conflict was introduced. The silent film mentioned above -- a short skit called "Shrinking Lover", itself worth the price of admission -- is an amazing and thoroughly hilarious piece that enriches our appreciation of these two men's views and approaches to women.
I cannot say enough how much I liked this film; it is fascinating, endearing, at times shocking and hilarious, and at all times deeply emotional. I give it 90%, placing it above Far from Heaven to take the #5 spot for the year.


Posted Image4. Minority Report, seen theatrically 22 Jun 2002.
There are many outstanding things worthy of note about this film, but perhaps the most important one is how much discussion it has generated since coming out -- good, honest debates on paradoxes, societal impacts, personal liberties, technological advances, you name it. THAT is a sure sign of a quality movie, and this one has it in spades. Even better, it also comes with the bonus of great acting, a tight script, exquisite cinematography, and a vision embodied in a direction damned near perfection. It's for these reasons I've held off reviewing it until I've had a chance to see it a second time, after absorbing a lot of what I've read in the debates online.
The film plays itself out through several roles -- one somewhat subtler aspect is the depiction of advances in technology, and advances in "metaphysics" -- the area of human experience that lies outside the normal physical realm but directly impacts us -- in this movie, at least -- in the way of psychic phenomena, harnessed (to a limited degree) to serve the needs of society. It is a fascinating social commentary to note that in a world of continuing, spiraling leaps of human achievement, one thing still remains the same: The willingness of the masses to not just accept such changes, but to integrate them (mostly) seamlessly into their daily lives. The retinal scans that affect so many aspects of daily life, from "personalized" billboard ads in malls to security checkpoints on mass transit systems to tools of the near-omnipotent police state to invade one's private life at any time, are a significant symbol in the film of such technological integrations. Another -- the experimental department known as Pre-Crime, a system developed (insiduously serendpiditously, as is revealed) to predict and prevent murders in a specific geographical radius -- is at the heart of the movie. Its chief executor, one John Anderton (Tom Cruise), fully believes in the system -- it is flawless, executed perfectly every time it sounds the alarm on a murder-that-might-be (via "Pre-cogs", or precognitors). Like gravity pulling a falling ball to the floor these murders WILL happen as predicted by the hive-minded trio of Precogs, unless somebody interferes. The experiment has been proven so successful in its Washington DC region that all murders in the past 6 years have been eliminated, and the system -- pending a review by the U.S. Department of Justice -- will soon go national. It is during this review period -- when a Justice Department official digs deep into the system to track down its flaws ("Humans are involved, and that is where the flaw will be," paraphrased from Witwer, the Justice detective) -- when Anderton suddenly finds himself on the receiving end of the hand of Pre-justice, and runs away to escape, and to find answers -- answers that lead him to learn not just the meaning of his chosen profession, but question to the very core its purpose.
I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this film -- even the gritty, film-noirish feel that I usually detest and avoid. My favorite, shining moment came from Samantha Morton, during a critical moment, when, as everything seemed to calm down to normalcy, all hell broke loose -- exactly according to what Morton's character Agatha foresaw, something that brought from her in that moment a screaming rage against the fate she knew was coming. I not only witnessed a great moment on film, I *FELT* it -- deep, spiritual affectation that defines a film *experience*. For me, these moments are so rare that I'd be lucky to get one of them per year of filmgoing. This film, thanks to Morton's outstanding performance there and in almost every scene she's in, gave me that, and for that I give it the highest marks thus far this year, 90%. Of course, the film has many, many other quality moments, which I'd love to share here but would ruin the fun for others who haven't seen it. All I can say is GO SEE THIS FILM, if for no other reason than to be entertained by a mystery/suspense/action thriller. And I say such recommendation with the greatest of enthusiasm.
Additional comments: I am very surprised to find this film remained so high through the months after its release: I originally placed it #1, and there it stayed for many weeks until Spirited Away came along, then Adaptation., and finally The Two Towers. I just watched it again on DVD over the holidays, and I firmly support its position here -- even with the Hollywood-ized ending, the film is still fantastic on many levels, probably Spielberg's best furlay into action flicks in a long while. Samantha Morton was so good I hope she is recognized for her role here (but will probably be given a nod for her other role in Morvern Callar). One scene of hers really tore at my heart, where she screams against the outcome of her prediction, as if to say "Why did it have to happen?" at the same time "I knew it would." Very heartbreaking scene. The film also lessened (slightly) my distaste for techno-noir; the atmosphere wasn't overdone, and Spielberg's direction really kept the film from getting bogged down in noir over-indulgence. A well-deserved spot in my top 5 of 2002.


Posted Image3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, seen theatrically 18 Dec 2002.
Fantastic continuance of the epic saga, brilliant in nearly every aspect save one: Editing.
Many folk had problems with changes from the book to film; while their concerns are legitimate, I have no problem with the changes, as I take the movie for what it is and look for internal inconsistencies. Yes, there were some (particularly with the Ents thread), but not enough to warrant lowering my judgement of the film's overall quality.
There were many highlights in the film, including Gandalf's battle with the Balrog and his leading the charge with the Rohirrim against the orcs at Helm's Deep; these are phenomenal, breathtaking cinematic moments worth seeing over and over. The Helm's Deep battle itself is also an incredible achievement in film -- clear, powerful, and resonant. But the best moments came from the one aspect that had the greatest risk of huge failure: The character Gollum. Nothing like him before has been presented onscreen, crafted so exquisitely, and portrayed perfectly in every way by its human puppeteer, Andy Serkis. So phenomenal was his character presence that it evoked from me a profound sense of empathy and pity for the creature, a sense that complemented wonderfully those heavy, dire moments with Sam and Frodo and the Ring of Power. So great was this performance that I'm truly hoping Serkis is recognized by the Academy with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Other great moments in the film included the Ents at Isengard, moments with Eowyn and Aragorn, and Arwen and Elrond. Two scenes in the movie, though, stood out in my mind as being nearly flawless in their adaptation from the book: The Dead Marshes and the Forbidden Pool. The Dead Marshes captured perfectly that sense of foulness, that energy-draining feel you'd expect from trampling through an ugly, sickly swampland; the only flaw I found was a lack of background mountains from the direction they had come (the sudden wide expanse of marshland with no transition whatsoever made it seem like they'd suddenly appeared in the middle of this huge swamp). The Forbidden Pool was just...just so perfect, in every detail. The moonlight, the waterfalls, the caves behind them, the pool itself, and Gollum's actions there...all of it was like the words from the written page come directly to life in front of me. Beautiful!
Not all, though, was as flawless in the film. After two viewings, I strongly feel the pacing in the last act was affected severely by abruptly taking us out of the Helm's Deep battle and backtracking to an unresolved issue with the Ents. This sense is compounded greatly by the uncharastically abrupt change of heart in a later scene with Treebeard -- the whole flow of the Ent thread in the latter third just felt jumbled, and really interfered with my enjoyment of all the threads overall at that point (especially the Helm's Deep battle).
Beyond that complaint -- and one more: a continuing desire (expressed by me last year after seeing Fellowship) for directors to really consider using fade-ins/fade-outs as a better tool to express thread shifting or time lags -- this film is breathtakingly spectacular on every level, truly epic in scope and achievement. A big ovation to Peter Jackson for once again bringing to us a brilliantly-crafted film. 95%, and #3 for the year.
Additional comments: Goodness, I want terribly to put this higher, even #1, but the two above it really do deserve their positions -- it doesn't mean I like this less or feel it is less in quality, I just feel the other two have a slightly richer overall complexion that give them their rightful place. The Two Towers contains many, many moments of wonder and awe for me -- Gollum's reaction to Faramir's inquisition, the battle of Helm's Deep, Gandalf's charge with the Rohirrim down the hill, the rabbit stew scene, and the sets of the Forbidden Pool and the Dead Marshes, all are just a short list of the myriad scenes of jaw-dropping or tear-jerking moments in this film. Only the editing of the Ents thread really is a problem for me -- something that in all likelihood will be corrected in the Extended Edition on DVD next year. Regardless, this is phenomenal filmmaking at work here, and Jackson I hope is given his due from the Academy for his achievement -- both in The Two Towers and for the Rings trilogy overall.


Posted Image2. Adaptation., seen theatrically 7 Dec 2002.
Recursive introspection.  That is my coined phrase to best describe this bizarre self-reflection of a film by real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich). Nicolas Cage portrays exquisitely two brothers of extreme polarity: Charlie Kaufman, an overweight, balding, self-loathing of a man coming far down from his moment of glory with Being John Malkovich, and his brother* Donald, a self-confident, humorous, outgoing man oblivious to the troubles around him. Donald is Charlie's ideal when outside Charlie's own bailiwick: Where Donald is smooth, suave, and witty, Charlie is fumbling, bumbling, and clammy. Every time Charlie tries to face the women he desires, a wall of panic and self-doubt are raised in his mind, and the harder he tries and fails to break it down, the deeper his introversion becomes, until his mind is nearly paralyzed from expressing anything through his innate writing talents. And when his brother tries to cross over into his own territory and become a real screenwriter like Charlie, he becomes defensive to the extreme, to the point that he ignores good advice while scorning his brother's ideas, and in turn ends himself near the brink of disaster with the script he had been charged to craft: An actionless, plotless book nobody would otherwise dare to adapt -- a book written by a Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) about one man's obsession with orchids (and other things). As writer's block and countless introductory rewrites threaten to derail the fulfilment of the book's screenplay adaptation, Charlie lapses further into himself and into fantasies about the women he can never approach, until he is left with a very painful choice. When the moment comes, though, he decides to listen and take some advice to heart, and -- through a Muse he will eventually find severely misplaced -- ultimately overcomes his inner roadblocks and lets out his bottled, jumbled ideas in one large burst of creativity: A flurry of expression that brilliantly reflects recursively back upon the starting point of the film.
While all of this may seem dark and confusing, Spike Jonze always keeps the direction firmly on the lighthearted -- if quirky -- side (with two exceptions noted later). Interactions between Streep's Orlean and Chris Cooper's John Laroche are poignant, insightful, and humorous, all at once, as are the conversations between Donald and Charlie, and Charlie's encounters with his agent Valerie (Tilda Swinton), Orlean, Amelia, and even a waitress he fancies named (amusingly) Alice. The flow of the film is jarred in two crucial, impactful moments that lead to changes in the main focus of Charlie and in the subplot-inside-out-mainplot of Laroche. The deepest beauty of this film, though, is in the intersection of the Laroche/Orlean subplot with the Kaufman main plot: They are melded together with serene brilliance, on so many levels that I cannot even begin to describe. Overall this film is the ultimate in seamless self-reflection, and, with one intentional and humorous but necessary alteration to the internal flow (Kaufman's desire to prevent Hollywood-ization of the Orlean book ironically emerges in his own level of exploration), it never cheats or betrays the viewer. Streep gives an astounding, un-Streep-like performance; Cooper was phenomenal in this, perhaps better than even in October Sky (and definitely better than in American Beauty). Cameo appearances by Cusack, Malkovich, and Keener (in a hilarious re-enactment of production work on Being John Malkovich) were integrated perfectly, and Cara Seymour was beautiful as the shy love-interest of Charlie. My only complaints were a noticeable lag in pacing somewhere right before the last quarter to third, and a little dryness from Swinton, but both were relatively minor.
This movie floored me, and I want to see it again; like Kaufman's Malkovich script that this one lovingly embraces as it twists it on its head, this film needs to be seen multiple times to fully realize all its facets; my short review barely scratches the surface of its complexity. Without doubt, though, I know this one will go down among my favorites of all time. 95%, handily beating thus far all but Spirited Away.
Spoiler:
*In reality, Kaufman has no brother. Knowing this gives the movie even greater complexity (and humor).


Posted Image1. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away), seen theatrically (dubbed) 18 Oct 2002.
Phenomenal. Tearfully enchanting and breathtakingly brilliant.
I cannot think of any superlative that does justice to my feelings for this film. This is, without hesitation, the best film I've seen this year, and my instant favorite this year as well. It is also perhaps the crown jewel in director Miyazaki's career -- at the very least, an incredible achievement in film. I adore everything about this film, faults and all. And I've only seen it   dubbed!
To put things into perspective, though, you should note that I am an ardent romantic, and look to film first and foremost to bring me a story richest in depth, character, and style. Fantasy storytelling, then, is the heartbeat of my filmgoing life, and so I naturally gravitate toward movies like Fellowship of the Ring, Star Wars, and the like. But Japanese anime has a very unique way of expressing the myriad aspects of humanity, and few others can better express these themes than Miyazaki. His ability to convey the deepest struggles of humankind transcend nearly every accepted moré and dogma, placing him amongst the best writers of all time. I daresay he is our modern equivalent of Grimm, Aesop, Anderson, and Dickens; in fact, I compare this work strongly with C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia -- a wonderful epic exploring the depths of the human spirit. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi continues Miyazaki's exquisite storycrafting, refined now to a near-polished degree that brings us his finest gem.
In Spirited Away we are given Chihiro, a young, very shy girl, who follows her parents' reckless explorations with great reluctance. At the outset, her interaction with the world is through careful, timid steps, taking in everything with fear and trepidation. During her parents' discovery of a strange, abandoned carnival-like town, she finds herself suddenly ripped from her security blanket, and must face a very frightening world of witches, demons, and spirits. Chihiro is stripped of everything from her former world -- even her name is taken from her (literally!) -- and, now as Sen, must struggle to learn the ways of the new world she has found herself in. Through trial and error, though, she manages to find not only her own identity, but a newfound self confidence that allows her to overcome the challenges before her, and win back the world from which she had been spirited away.
Familiar Miyazaki themes are explored in Sen's self-discovery: Beauty and purity found buried in foulness and ugliness; the devestating effects of greed and deceit; explorations of worthiness and worth, what gives an object or person or event innate value; duality of goodness in evil and evil in goodness...they're all present, but refined to a high degree. Other familiar things Miyazaki are the music, the characters, and, of course, the animation style. So many intricate layers, so much complexity, I could go on for longer than the length of the film in describing the richness of the story. Instead I'll end with my explicit, unabashed recommendation in seeing this amazing film. If you love film, you will love this film. If you love storytelling, you will love this story. If you live for great theatrical storytelling, then this film will bring to your spirit every bit of those moments you live for.
95%, my highest rating I've ever given to film (equalling the rating of last year's Fellowship of the Ring).
Note: Kaze no tani no Nausicaa (Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind) is my favorite movie of all time. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi may rival that position. It is simply that great.
Additional comments: I've been challenged by at least one person on my position of this film as the #1 film of 2002. I stand by it firmly, but I recognize some of my own viewpoints influence that spot -- specifically those I mention above about fantasy films. I still feel very emotional about this film, and wish very much for Disney to put this DVD out soon, and done properly -- original language track, no Weinstein-style hack jobs...just the original Japanese theatrical presentation with English subtitles, done with as much care and pride as you've done for, say, Toy Story. Miyazaki deserves nothing less. One final comment -- Kaze no tani no Nausicaa will remain my favorite, but Sen to Chihiro no kamikushi is not that far behind!




Those that just missed the cut:
11. Rabbit-Proof Fence

Posted Image12. Gangs of New York, seen theatrically 20 Dec 2002.
This film, while having very few technical flaws, is of a type that is extremely difficult to gauge -- or want to watch again to get a better feel. Intense, violent material exudes from every pore of celluloid that's projected in front of the viewer's eyes. It is indeed sweeping in its scope of the horrible struggles the early city went through, but in Scorcese's attempts to show us this great city's severe growing pains of youth, he adds in some tangential things that feel like they're grafted on rather than in to the story, and would've been better left off (the view of the upper-class, in particular, especially during the extraordinarly violent riot phase; it seemed disjointed, not a necessary part of the story being told).
Acting was decent from everybody involved, with two exceptions: Cameron Diaz pulled a Kevin Costner with her inability to hold an Irish accent after the first two encounters with her character; and Daniel Day Lewis practically should be handed the Oscar for Best Actor here and now. While somewhat over the top at times, his presence alone made the screen crackle with dark energy. Lewis captures the true essence of a man reveling in his sadistic nature, while at the same time he creates a false persona of subdued sympathy that *almost* makes you want to care for him as you're simultaneously reviling every heinous act he performs. And that point -- the "almost makes you want to care" -- is ultimately the film's biggest problem: There's nobody you feel a connection to; events happen to people in the city, people cause events to happen to other people, but nowhere can the viewer place their empathy with any given character. Why? I believe the violence and hatred that permeates every ethnic group and every individual in the film keeps the audience a stone's throw away from any sort of personal identification or empathization: You're so repulsed by everybody's duplicity and immorality that you cannot find the will to root for anybody. Direction is top-notch, cinematography and set pieces are excellent, and the flow of the film is epic in nature, but the inability to personalize one's self with any character makes it difficult to truly enjoy this film from an emotional or spiritual level. That doesn't mean I feel the film is unworthy of praise (it most certainly is); it only means I feel there is too much adoration of violence to give an enthusiastic acknowledgement of greatness.
85%, mostly for its breathtaking scope and direction. At this point it lands at #10 for the year.
Additional comments: I am reasonably comfortable with this film's position, although there are a few 2002 films I've not seen that may push it out of the top 10 (Atanarjuat, The Hours, Antwone Fisher).

Posted Image13. Barbershop, seen theatrically 28 Oct 2002.
Funny, witty, and extraordinarly well-crafted film -- the best comedy I've seen this year, in fact. Ice Cube plays a man who, in trying to escape his father's inheritance of being a barber at his establishment, mismanages too many different schemes that leave him in mounting debt, and now he is faced with a difficult decision to sell the shop to a porn-dealin' loan shark (played beautifully slick and slimy by Keith David). After his moment of weakness, he discovers the real meaning behind his father's legacy, and tries to right the wrong he finds he's done. A subplot involving a stolen ATM provides additional moments of hilarity, but the best moments come from the conversations between the workers and the customers (and the owner) within the shop; only the poor merge of the subplot into the main plot at the end mars an otherwise perfect film. Fantastic acting, excellent cinematography, and an Oscar-worthy script propel this film into my top 10 for the year. A high 85%.
Update 21 Dec 2002: I've lowered my rating slightly (still 85%, just positioned lower)
Additional comments: Originally this was #4 in my list, but over the next two months it kept slipping, as the heavy-hitting Oscar potentials came out. Eventually I lowered the rating slightly, and it ultimately ended up out of the top 10, but with E.T. not being included here, it manages to squeak back in (for now).
Update 11 Jan 2003: Hable con Ella managed to push this out of the top 10, but it is still a film I highly recommend seeing.


14. About Schmidt
15. Catch Me If You Can
16. Le Pacte des Loups (The Brotherhood of the Wolf)
17. 8 Mile
18. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
19. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
20. Signs


The bottom 5 of the year (note that all are "fresh", but with the recent addition of XXX, I now feel comfortable naming my bottom 5):
Ack-4. The Transporter (75%)
Ack-3. Showtime (75%)
Ack-2. Men in Black II (75%)
Ack-1. The Scorpion King (70%)
Ack. XXX (65%)


Movies I still must see (movies that could affect my Top 10):
13 Conversations About One Thing
25th Hour
Antwone Fisher
Ararat
Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner)
The Banger Sisters
Birthday Girl
Bloody Sunday
Bowling for Columbine
Chicago
Dagon
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Dog Soldiers
The Emperor's Club
Enigma
Evelyn
Das Experiment (The Expermiment)
Femme Fatale
The Good Girl
Hable con Ella (Talk to Her)
Heaven
The Hours
Igby Goes Down
Irréversible (Irreversible)
The Kid Stays in the Picture
Maelström
Moonlight Mile
Monsoon Wedding
Narc
Nicholas Nickleby
The Pianist
Possession
The Quiet American
Reign of Fire
Roger Dodger
The Rookie
Russian Ark
The Salton Sea
Riri ShuShu no subete (All About Lily Chou-Chou)
The Rules of Attraction
S1m0ne
Scotland, PA
The Search for John Gissing
Secretary
Sex and Lucia
Standing in the Shadows of Motown
Tadpole
Undercover Brother


Movies that I purposefully avoided (but would make my bottom five more meaningful Posted Image):
Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights
The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Bad Company
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
The Country Bears
Crossroads
Half Past Dead
The Hot Chick
Imposter
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
The Master of Disguise
Mr. Deeds
National Lampoon's Van Wilder
The New Guy
Pinocchio
Return to Neverland
Rollerball
Serving Sara
Slackers
Snow Dogs
Stealing Harvard
Swept Away
Swimfan



(NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT MY ACADEMY PREDICTIONS.)

Favorite Performances of My 2002 Film List: Best Actor
1. Nicholas Cage (Adaptation.)
2. Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York)
3. Darío Grandinetti (Hable con Ella (Talk to Her))
4. Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt)
5. Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind)

Favorite Performances of My 2002 Film List: Best Actress
1. Julianne Moore (Far from Heaven)
2. Diane Lane (Unfaithful)
3. Salma Hayek (Frida)
4. Everlyn Sampi (Rabbit-Proof Fence)
5. Emily Mortimer (lovely and amazing)

Favorite Performances of My 2002 Film List: Best Supporting Actor
1. Chris Cooper (Adaptation.)
2. Alfred Molina (Frida)
3. Dennis Haysbert (Far from Heaven)
4. Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)
5. Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)

Favorite Performances of My 2002 Film List: Best Supporting Actress
1. Samantha Morton (Minority Report)
2. Meryl Streep (Adaptation.)
3. Kathy Bates (About Schmidt)
4. Emily Watson (Punch-Drunk Love)
5. Maribel Verdú (Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too))

Favorite Vision of My 2002 Film List: Best Director
1. Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven)
2. Pedro Almodóvar (Hable con Ella (Talk to Her))
3. Spike Jonze (Adaptation.)
4. Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)
5. Steven Spielberg (Minority Report)

Favorite Vision of My 2002 Film List: Best Cinematography
1. Edward Lachman (Far from Heaven)
2. Michael Ballhaus (Gangs of New York)
3. Janusz Kaminski (Minority Report)
4. Conrad Hall (Road to Perdition)
5. TIE: Andrew Lesnie (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) and Robert Elswit (Punch-Drunk Love)

Favorite Story of My 2002 Film List: Best Original Screenplay
1. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
2. Adaptation.
3. Punch-Drunk Love
4. Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too)
5. Le Pacte des Loups (The Brotherhood of the Wolf)

Favorite Story of My 2002 Film List: Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Adaptation.
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
3. Rabbit-Proof Fence
4. Minority Report
5. Catch Me If You Can

Favorite Animation of My 2002 Film List: Best Animated Film
1. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
2. Beauty and the Beast: Large-Print (IMAX) Edition
3. Metropolis (2002, Japan)
4. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
5. Ice Age

My Top 5 of Each of the Last 5 Years
#20022001200019991998
5Hable con Ella (Talk to Her)Moulin Rouge!Cast AwayThe InsiderWhat Dreams May Come
4Minority ReportHappy AccidentsHigh FidelityFight ClubShakespeare in Love
3The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersLe Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (Amélie)The ContenderThe MatrixDark City
2Adaptation.MementoWo hu cang long (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)The Sixth SensePleasantville
1Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away)The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingAlmost FamousBeing John MalkovichRushmore


DVDs (24 Feb 2006): Discs - 2579, Titles - 1688 (Avg. 17 Titles/Month) • Films I've Seen: 20052004200320022001

#51 of 174 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

Malcolm R

    Executive Producer



  • 11,711 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 08 2002
  • LocationVermont

Posted December 30 2002 - 12:56 PM

Eligible films to date: 50. Lists subject to revision as some of the year's classier flicks trickle into the backwoods of Vermont sometime in the next six months. Posted Image

My Top 10 of 2002
1.The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2.We Were Soldiers
3.The Bourne Identity
4.Signs
5.Frailty
6.Barbershop
7.Below
8.Igby Goes Down
9.About Schmidt
10.Far From Heaven

Honorable Mentions
11.Adaptation.
12.Reign of Fire
13.Blade II
14.Undercover Brother
15.Minority Report

Refunds Wanted!
10. National Lampoon’s ‘Van Wilder’
9. Ghost Ship
8. xXx
7. The Sum of All Fears
6. Scooby-Doo
5. The Time Machine
4. Bad Company
3. Collateral Damage
2. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
1. Super Troopers (and punative damages, too!) Posted Image

Last EDIT 3/17/03: Updated total film count; added Below at #7.
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#52 of 174 OFFLINE   JonZ

JonZ

    Lead Actor



  • 7,794 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 28 1998

Posted December 31 2002 - 01:32 AM

I've adjusted my list.

My list as of today, which will probally change as I see more of the films listed below

1. Gangs Of New York
2. Road To Perdition
3. Punch Drunk Love
4. 25th Hour
5. About Shmidt
6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
7. Panic Room
8. Spider-Man
9. LOTR The Two Towers
10.Rules Of Attraction

Havent seen Posted Image Posted Image

Narc,25th Hour,Pianist,About Schmidt,The Grey Zone,Max,Far From Heaven,The Ring

I Want My Money Back/Most OverratedPosted Image
Y Tu Mama Tambien/Signs (Tie)

#53 of 174 OFFLINE   PatrickL

PatrickL

    Second Unit



  • 428 posts
  • Join Date: May 13 2000

Posted December 31 2002 - 05:03 AM

All the usual disclaimers apply....

1. Far From Heaven
2. Chicago
3. The Hours
4. Talk To Her
5. The Pianist
6. Y Tu Mama Tambien
7. Bowling for Columbine
8. The Quiet American
9. Lovely and Amazing
10. Gangs of New York

HTF Awards

-Best Director
Todd Haynes Far From Heaven
Rob Marshall Chicago
Pedro Almodovar Talk to Her
Roman Polanski The Pianist
Peter JacksonLOTR: TTT

-Best Actor
Michael Caine The Quiet American
Adrien Brody The Pianist
Daniel Day Lewis Gangs of New York
Jack Nicholson About Schmidt
Campbell Scott Roger Dodger

-Best Actress
Julianne Moore Far From Heaven
Nicole Kidman The Hours
Meryl Streep The Hours
Julianne Moore The Hours
Renee Zellweger Chicago


-Best Supporting Actor
Paul Newman Road to Perdition
Chris Cooper Adaptation
Dennis Quaid Far From Heaven
John C. Reilly, who had a great year in supporting roles in Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, and The Good Girl


-Best Supporting Actress
Meryl Streep Adaptation
Catherine Zeta-Jones Chicago
Catherine Keener Lovely and Amazing
Emily Mortimer Lovely and Amazing
Viola Davis, who had a great year in supporting roles in Far From Heaven, Solaris, and Antwone Fisher


-Best Breakthrough Performance (3)
Adrien Brody The Pianist
Derek Luke Antwone Fisher


-Best Art Direction
Far From Heaven
Road to Perdition
Gangs of New York
Minority Report



-Best Costume Design
Chicago
Gangs of New York
Far From Heaven
Road to Perdition
LOTR: TTT

-Best Cinematography
Conrad Hall Road to Perdition
Edward Lachman Far From Heaven
Michael Ballhaus Gangs of New York
Rodrigo Prieto Frida
Pawel Edelman The Pianist

-Best Editing
Chicago
The Hours
Adaptation


-Best Music Score
The Hours
Far From Heaven
Frida
Rabbit Proof Fence

-Best Screenplay, Original
Adaptation
Talk to Her
Far From Heaven
Lovely and Amazing

-Best Screenplay, Adapted
Chicago
The Hours
About Schmidt

-Best Song (Academy eligibility rules applied)
I Move On Chicago
The Hands That Built America Gangs of New York

-Best Sound
Road to Perdition
LOTR: TTT
Minority Report

-Best Sound Effects Editing
LOTR: TTT

-Best Visual Effects
LOTR: TTT

#54 of 174 OFFLINE   Mark Pfeiffer

Mark Pfeiffer

    Screenwriter



  • 1,346 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 27 1999

Posted December 31 2002 - 06:41 AM

Top 10 (final version 1.2)

1. Punch-Drunk Love
2. Far From Heaven
3. Adaptation
4. About Schmidt
5. Insomnia
6. Minority Report
7. 13 Conversations About One Thing
8. About a Boy
9. Talk To Her
10. Chicago

Honorable Mentions

-Bowling For Columbine
-The Grey Zone
-I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
-Italian For Beginners
-Monsoon Wedding
-The Pianist
-Possession
-The Quiet American
-Spirited Away
-Y Tu Mama Tambien


Worst of the Year

1. National Lampoon's Van Wilder
2. Jackass: The Movie
3. feardotcom
4. The Adventures of Pluto Nash
5. Rollerball
6. Jason X
7. Kung Pow! Enter the Fist
8. Pinocchio
9. Swimfan
10. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
Read my reviews at www.dvdmon.com
My blog: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

#55 of 174 OFFLINE   Andrew Schwarz

Andrew Schwarz

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 53 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 11 2002

Posted December 31 2002 - 01:55 PM

TOP 10 OF 2002

1. Y Tu Mama Tambien
2. Gangs of New York
3. Insomnia
4. Adaptation
5. The Rules of Attraction
6. Narc
7. Frailty
8. Punch Drunk Love
9. One Hour Photo
10.The Road to Perdition

------------------------------------------------------------
WORST 5 OF 2002

1. Feardotcom
2. Men in Black 2
3. Halloween Resurrection
4. Star Wars Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones
5. Scooby Doo

------------------------------------------------------------
INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

FUNNIEST MOVIE: Super Troopers / Adaptation

SCARIEST MOVIE: Frailty

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: XXX / Austin Powers in Goldmember

BEST MOVIES THAT NO ONE SAW (THANKS TO DIMENSION FILMS): Below / Equlibrium

BEST TWIST:
Frailty


WORST TWIST:
Austin Powers in Goldmember


#56 of 174 OFFLINE   JonBoriss

JonBoriss

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 165 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 10 2002

Posted December 31 2002 - 05:56 PM

While I have yet to see About Schmidt, Chicago, Narc, Adaptation, 25th Hour, The Hours, Antwone Fisher, and a handful other movies (I don't live near big cities so I have to wait for them to expand) here are my 10 favorites of the year. (Ill update as I see fit)

Best Movies I Saw This Year
1)Punch Drunk Love
2)Catch Me If You Can
3)One Hour Photo
4)About a Boy
5)Road to Perdition
6)Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
7)Igby Goes Down
8)Minority Report
9)Insomnia
10)Frailty

Honorable Mention (movies that I couldnt fit onto the top 10)
11)Bowling for Columbine
12)Far From Heaven
13)Gangs of New York
14)Panic Room
15)Red Dragon

Worst Movies I Saw This Year
-Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones
-XXX
-Scooby Doo
-E.T. 20th Anniversary Edition (The movie was perfect!! Leave it alone!!)
-Men in Black II
-Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
-Jason X

#57 of 174 OFFLINE   MikeRS

MikeRS

    Screenwriter



  • 1,326 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 17 2002

Posted December 31 2002 - 07:30 PM

Haven't seen ABOUT SCHMIDT, THE PIANIST, CHICAGO, NARC


TOP 10:
1. Adaptation
2. Gangs Of New York
3. Signs
4. Star Wars Episode 2:Attack Of The Clones
5. Y Tu Mama Tambien
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
7. Minority Report
8. 8 Mile
9. Lord Of The Rings:The Two Towers
10.Spirited Away




Honorable Mention:
11.Catch Me If You Can
12.Road to Perdition


#58 of 174 OFFLINE   Stevan Lay

Stevan Lay

    Second Unit



  • 485 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 05 2000

Posted January 01 2003 - 01:40 AM

Updated on 1/12/03

Top 10 for 2002
1. Spirited Away
2. Bowling for Columbine
3. Panic Room
4. Attack of the Clones
5. Insomnia
6. About a Boy
7. Road to Perdition
8. Frailty
9. Red Dragon
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

#59 of 174 OFFLINE   Pat Ford

Pat Ford

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 169 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 04 1998

Posted January 01 2003 - 06:55 AM

To be updated, but as of now:

1. Bowling For Columbine
2. About Schmidt
3. Adaptation
4. The Hours
5. Y Tu Mama Tambien
6. Spirited Away
7. Far From Heaven
8. Punch Drunk Love
9. The Kid Stays In The Picture
10. Chicago

Also really enjoyed: I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, Gangs of New York, The Two Towers, About A Boy, Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys, The Pianist, Road To Perdition, Dogtown & Z-Boys, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Minority Report

The one movie I regret seeing: Signs (painful and insulting...I wish I could get those two hours of my life back)

#60 of 174 OFFLINE   Fred Bang

Fred Bang

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 235 posts
  • Join Date: May 07 2000

Posted January 01 2003 - 01:02 PM

All right here's mine:

1- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2- Minority Report
3- Bowling for Columbine
4- Catch me if you can
5- Chicago
6- Star Wars Episode II
7- Spiderman
8- Gangs of New York
9- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
10- Signs


Worst:

40 days 40 nights
Men in Black II




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