Rene A. Moncivais

2004 at the Movies (3/1/05) Tony's comprehensive rundown including his Top Fifteen.

Another year has gone by and it was a good year for film. I had a hard time this year trying to come up with a top 15 because so many good films came out this year. I will give you some honorable mentions and some of the worst that I saw. I know this is a little late, but down in Texas we do not get "art films" until after December. So without further ado here it is:

The Motorcycle Diaries

15. The Aviator-Martin Scorcese's epic about a small portion of Howard Hughes life. Leonardo Di Caprio is excellent in this, especially when we start to see Howard Hughes going loony. This was a 3 hour film that actually only felt like 2. I was engrossed the whole time and I will now no longer shrug off Leonardo Di Caprio as an actor.

14. The Motorcycle Diaries-This film about a young Che Gueverra has some stunning cinematography. It was just beautiful to look at. Gael Garcia Bernal does and excellent job of portraying the young Che Gueverra. The real surprise was Rodrigo De La Serna as Che Gueverra's best buddy Alberto Granado.

13. Undertow-David Gordon Green shows us again what a masterful Director he is. Jamie Bell, who I last saw in Billy Elliot, does a great job in this film. This film is a throw back to the films of the 70's like Deliverance. Josh Lucas also stars as Jamie Bell's Uncle. I can't wait to see what David Gordon Green does next.

12. Garden State-Zach Braff's directorial debut is a funny and touching film about trying to find one's self. This film does a great job of reaching the Twenty Something crowd. I liked it very much. I really enjoyed its visual style and this is Natalie Portman's best acting to date.

A Very Long Engagement

11. Friday Night Lights-What a surprise this was. I was expecting good but not as good as it turned out to be. Peter Berg is now going to become one of the Directors that I look out for. He did a really good job making this film; he used a Documentary type of style and very good young actors to make this film seem so real. Billy Bob Thornton does a great job as well. We even get to see how great of an actor Lucas Black has turned out to be.

10. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou-Wes Anderson has made another film that I loved. A lot of people hated this or just didn't really care for it. I thought this was a better film than his previous one (The Royal Tenenbaums). Bill Murray and Owen Wilson are very funny and have a good chemistry together. Wes Anderson did something a little different with this one.

9. I Heart Huckabees-David O' Russell's film about existential detectives is really funny and has the best performance I have seen from Mark Wahlberg. I even liked Jason Schwartzman in this film and I usually don't like him. Great cinematography and a dry sense of humor keep this film going.

6. Bad Education-Gael Garcia Bernal ends up in 2 of the films in my top 15. This film is directed by Pedro Almodovar. This a great film about filmmaking. It is also somewhat of a mystery. Sometimes the audience doesn't know what's going on but it all pulls itself together in the end. Great acting and great cinematography make this film greatness.

5. Oceans 12-I know what you all are saying, how could he put this film on the list. Well, there are many reasons, first of all Steve Soderbergh directed it and the cast is outstanding, even Julia Roberts is good and I can't stand her. The cinematography is awesome and it's just one of the most fun films I have been to in a long time. This film is great.

The House of Flying Daggers

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry's film about relationships. This film was almost the best film of the year for me. This Jim Carey's best film yet. He is really good in this. Kate Winslett is also good. This film is great to look at and also great to kind of try and figure out. This film kept my attention the whole time and I almost cried at the end.

2. Shaun of the Dead-I can't say enough good things about this film. It's a horror film a comedy and romance all wrapped up in one great film. This movie is really funny. The thing that makes it so good is that it feels real, and the comedy is great. It just seems like these characters would do something that I would do in the same situation. I would recommend this film to any horror fan.

1. Primer-This is the best film that I have seen in a long time. It was done for $7,000 and it has awesome cinematography and a great screenplay. I love trying to figure this film out. I cannot wait for
this to come out on DVD. This film really made me think that I could do a film myself. Shane Carruth should have quite a career in the future. He has a great style. His film is like a mix of Kubrick and
Soderbergh. This film is just plain awesome and I am so glad that I got to see this thing.

Primer

4. Collateral-Michael Mann's somewhat tribute to the night light of L.A. This has some really great tension in it. Tom Cruise does an awesome job. I hope does more stuff like this. Jamie Foxx is equally as awesome. Great cinematography and some cool cameos just make this film so cool.

8. A Very Long Engagement-Audrey Tautou stars in another Jean-Pierre Jeunet film about war and the loss of love. This film had the best cinematography in any film this year. Audrey Tautou is always good and she isn't bad to look at either.

7. House of Flying Daggers-Zhang Yimou's follow up to Hero is really great to look at; it also has a really good story and acting. I am eagerly awaiting the next film from this guy. He really knows what to do with the camera. This film is good just on the bamboo fight alone.

I had 2 other films that I really liked but I didn't include and they are: Hellboy and The Machinist.

The biggest piece of crap that I saw this year had to be SAW. It was such an insult to my brain. Finding Neverland was equally as bad. Million Dollar Baby was pretty good but it was just that.

Well, that's another year's worth of films. I hope you all go see these.

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