Monday, August 10, 2009

Top 50 Films of 1998-2008: Part 7

4. Finding Nemo – As I have said before, I love animated films, and in the last ten years no animated movie did for me what Finding Nemo did. First of all, the story is adorable, tragic, action-packed, and filled with humor, family, and love. I know what you’re saying…so what, we’ve seen it all before. The difference this time around is the creative motive of which the story was displayed. Only Pixar could take such a story, combine it with the colorful, visually stunning world of ocean creatures, and make it not only work, but make it incredible. The other revelation was Ellen Degeneres. Her character Dori added most of the humor in the movie, and proved to be the perfect companion. It also made me truly appreciate the art of voice acting. This was a true wonder of a film.

3. The Dark Knight – Before this movie, there were some great comic book adaptations, but none that had the cultural, genre bending impact that The Dark Knight did. This was a truly stunning piece of art, and, I believe, the reason we will have ten Best Picture nominees this year. First off, the technicals were impeccable. Brilliant cinematography, great live effects, and crisp sound effects made it a treat for the eyes and the ears. The cast including Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, and Aaron Eckhart really pulled all the stops, and were well placed and adequately directed by the newly discovered talent that is Christopher Nolan. The real triumph here however is the late Heath Ledger. While he has one more performance in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, this pinnacle performance full of terror, insanity, madness, and brilliance will be considered his last great role, and is a wonderful memorial for his incredible life and career.

2. Saving Private Ryan – The best war movie ever…period. I know some will argue the merits, and put Patton and Apocalypse Now ahead of it, but for me, no war movie in history has captured the reality and authenticity of the Normandy invasion, or the whole war for that matter. Boasted by strong performances, led by the always incredible Tom Hanks, in this almost all male cast, is only a small part of why this movie was so successful. The true triumph here revolves around two main aspects: gritty and authentic effects/camera work and of course, Steven Spieldberg. With a dark frame of filming, and the choppy, gritty camera work really capture the mood and time period perfectly. Then of course there is Steven Spieldberg. His incredible historical accuracy and enthusiasm for this project gave him a very deserved Directing Oscar, and made us wondering how any movie, especially Shakespeare In Love, could have won Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan.

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