Reboots, and Remakes, and Surprises! Oh My! 2005 Cinema in Review

2005 was a great year for very good movies. The year was filled with these, but none of them, with maybe the exception of my number one, I would consider truly great. They each do have something truly great about them, but as a whole, they are not the kind of movies that make me go “ZOMG THAT MADE ME HAVE AN ORGASM!”

Now, as for the title, I chose it because they wear was actually filled with those things, as well as sequels that, again, were very good.

In the reboots department, the one highlight was Batman Begins. After Batman & Robin came out, no one expected a Caped Crusader movie to be any good, but it was great, and it had amazing box office and it spawned one of the biggest movies of all time. Plus, this is the movie that, for better or worse, made studios want to be darker when it came to sequels and reboots. As for good remakes, we had movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Producers, King Kong, and Pride & Prejudice. And the Outstanding sequels were Star Wars- Episode III, Zathura, Serenity, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

However, despite all of this, 2005 will always be remembered as the year of  Brokeback Mountain Vs. Crash. That’s been debated to death on the internet, you will figure out my stance based on my pick, and that’s it.

Here is 2005 in review:

Also Rans

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Tim Burton Lesser Burton, but the awesome visuals and Freddie Highmore’s perfomance makes it worthwhile.

Crash by Paul Haggis May not be best picture material, but it grabbed me and the emotional moments affected me.

House of Wax by Jaume Collet-Serra It has the makings of another forgettable teen-horror movie, but it is more creative and creepy than those.

In Her Shoes by Curtis Hanson Cameron Diaz reminds us that she can act, and Toni Collete and Shirley McClain are great.

The Island by Michael Bay His best and most mature movie yet. I wonder how he would handle a whole movie that is like the first half of this.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Rob Marshall The scrip is not as good as it could have been based on the source, but because of the amazing production and performances it won me over

Mr. & Mrs. Smith by Doug Liman Will forever be remembered as the movie that broke up Jen and Brad, but I just thought that it was a ton of fun

The Skeleton Key by Iain Softly Creepy and rather original. Two things that most horror movies these days can claim.

Zathura by John Favreau Sort of a sequel to Jumanji, a movie I loved as a child (and now hate), but this is so much better.

Honorable Mentions

Rian Johnson’s Brick A great directorial debut and proof that you don’t need a huge budget to make a fascinating movie.

Fernando Meireilles’ The Constant Gardener I probably need to rewatching but I remember being on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Mike Newell’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire At the time it was, for me, the best Harry Potter film.

Phil Morrison’s Junebug As a whole it is a very good movie about sort of getting to know the family of the one you love, but thanks to Amy Adams’ performance it becomes unforgettable

Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang Due for a rewatch, but when I watched it  I had a ton of fun.

Andrew Niccol’s Lord of War From the amazing credit sequence, I knew I was in for a treat. Features one of Nicolas Cage’s best performances

Danny Boyle’s Millions One of the best and more mature family movies of the decade.

Terrence Malick’s The New World The first Malick I saw, and in theaters. I was expecting something else, but my mind was blown anyways.

Susan Stroman’s The Producers Obviously not as good as the original, but it is shot in an interesting manner (for a movie at least) and the cast is hilarious.

George Lucas’ Star Wars-Episode III: Revenge of the Sith The darkest, and best Star Wars. It doesn’t make up for Episodes I and II though.

Tommy Lee Jones’ The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Fascinating, nearly hypnotic, and features Tommy Lee Jones’ best performance in years.

Top 10

10. The Upside of Anger

Directed by Mike Binder

This movie came out in the early part of the year, and got great reviews, but raves did not translate into money. However, Joan Allen’s performance was remembered and many thought she was a shoe in for an Oscar nomination. Sadly, it was not meant to be, and that is to my eyes, one of the biggest snubs of the last decade. The movie has its flaws, including the ending that pretty much voids everything we have just watched, but Allen makes this movie so great. But she also has great help from Kevin Costner in his best performance, Evan Rachel Wood, Erika Christensen, and Keri Russell.

9.  Downfall

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel

I was so surprise by this because I expected another WWII movie. And well, it wasn’t. This is a fantastic look into the last days of Adolf Hitler’s life in his underground bunker as he is losing the war. Rather than making a typical WWII movie, Hirschbiegel created a tense and claustrophobic that makes the monster that was Hitler seem almost human. But this would not have been possible without Bruno Ganz’s fantastic performance that is one of the greatest captured in the last decade, possibly of all time.

8. Match Point

Directed by Woody Allen

This was one of the first Woody Allen movies I saw (if not the first) and by the end my jaw was on the floor. From the moment the first  line of dialogue is uttered I could not take my eyes off the screen. The dialogue was so good and the story kept me thrilled all the time. And the cast did everything so perfectly. To this day it remains my favorite Allen (although I haven’t seen much from him).

7. Munich

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Further proof as to why I believe that Steven Spielberg is the greatest director alive. I had heard of what had happened during the Munich Olympics, and I found the thought of what happened after interesting, but it was not until a couple of years later that I sat down to watch it, and my mind was blown. It is a perfect thriller filled with fantastic performances (my favorite being Ciaran Hinds’) and Spielberg’s magic touch.

6. Batman Begins

Directed by Christopher Nolan

The Batman franchise suffered a horrible death with Batman & Robin, and it seemed that it would take a miracle to bring it back. And lo and behold, the miracle arrived in the shape of once indie wunderkind Christopher Nolan. This was unlike any other Batman movie. It turned Gotham City into a place that was much closer to reality, while still having that fantastic feeling about it. He also put together an incredible ensemble led by Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/ Batman. Despite his rather distracting Batman voice, his incarnation of the character is the best so far because not only is he a great Batman, but also a great Bruce Wayne. The others were only good at one or the other. These are just two of the many characteristics that make it the best Batman movie yet (yes, it is better than The Dark Knight).

5. Capote

Directed by Bennet Miller

Although I live in Kansas, I had not heard of the events that are written about in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood until this movie came out, so I was pretty interested in this movie (tried reading the book, but I never had time to read it). However, I did not get a movie about Capote investigating. Sure, that is part of the movie, but it is more about how he was affected by the case and one of the murderers, for whom he developed an infatuation. It took me a while to get into it, but by the end I was completely engrossed, and could not help but feel for Capote when the killer was executed.

4. Good Night, and Good Luck

Directed by George Clooney

Ever since the Crash beat Brokeback Mountain for the Best Picture Oscar, the world has been debating which was the rightful winner. But I say that Good Night, and Good Luck should have beat them both. George Clooney created a fascinating and beautiful look into one of the darkest times in somewhat recent American history and the man who put his career on the line to bring the ridiculousness of Senator McCarthy to light. David Strathairn is so good as this man, Edward R. Murrow, that I forgot that I was watching a dramatized version of history.

3. Pride & Prejudice

Directed by Joe Wright

There have been many adaptations of this Jane Austen novel. Yet, Joe Wright managed to bring a fresher look into the story. Although it is set in the same time period, it feels more modern. I guess that is because it doesn’t have that feeling of extravangance about it that most costume-porn has. It also helped that Keira Knightley brough such a 21st century attitude to it while remaining faithful to the time period. She deserved her Oscar nomination, and thinking back, she was actually the strongest nominee. But alas, it was time for another one of America’s sweethearts to take the prize for a somewhat different performance.

2. King Kong

Directed by Peter Jackson

This was a passion project for Jackson as as the original Kong is the movie that inspired him to become a filmmaker, and that passion definitely shows Rather that trying to replace or make something better than the original, this is homage, as well as his very own movie. It does have its flaws and some superfluous scenes, but it is just a perfectly crafter epic.

1. Serenity

Directed by Joss Whedon

From the moment I saw it I fell in love with it. It wasn’t immediately my number one, but I knew that it had a guaranteed spot in  my top 10 of the decade. It was not until a few rewatches later and after  watched “Firefly” did I realize that it was by far better than any other movie that I saw in 2005. Sure, not one single thing stands out, outside of the awesome ensemble, but the sum of all things (the acting, directing, sharp script, visual effects, etc.) is what makes it so great. I wish there had been sequels, but this is and “Firefly” are enough to satisfy my cravings for this world.

The Superlatives

Best Director

1. George Clooney, Good Night and Good Luck

2. Oliver Hirschbiegel, Downfall

3. Joe Wright, Pride & Prejudice

4. Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins

5. Peter Jackson, King Kong

Best Actor

1. David Strathairn, Good Night and Good Luck

2. Bruno Ganz, Downfall

3. Philip Seymore Hoffman, Capote

4. Nicolas Cage, Lord of War

5. Nathan Fillion, Serenity

Best Actress

1. Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger

2. Naomi Watts, King Kong

3. Kiera Knightley, Pride & Prejudice

4. Ziyi Zhang, Memoirs of a Geisha

5. Rachel McAdams, Red Eye

Best Supporting Actor

1. Will Ferrell, The Producers

2. Andy Serkis, King Kong

3. Michael Cain, The Weatherman

4. Kevin Costner, The Upside of Anger

5. Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man

Best Supporting Actress

1. Amy Adams, Junebug

2. Rachel Weiz, The Constant Gardener

3. Tilda Swinton, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

4. Catherine Keener, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Capote

5. Gong Li, Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Original Screenplay

1. Match Point, Woody Allen

2. Good Night and Good Luck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov

3. Millions, Frank Cottrell Boyce

4. Junebug, Angus McLachlan

5. Brick, Rian Johnson

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. Pride & Prejudice, Deborah Moggach, Emma Thompson

2. Capote, Dan Futterman

3. Munich, Tony Kushner, Eric Roth

4. Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer

5. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Shane Black

Best Cinematography

1. Memoirs of a Geisha, Dion Bebee

2. Batman Begins, Wally Pfister

3. The New World, Emmanuel Lubezki

4. Good Night, and Good Luck, Robert Elswit

5. King Kong, Andrew Lesnie

Best Costume Design

1. Memoirs of a Geisha

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

3. Pride & Prejudice

4. The New World

5. Batman Begins

Best Art Direction

1. Memoirs of a Geisha

2. Batman Begins

3. Good Night and Good Luck

4. King Kong

5. Pride & Prejudice

Best Visual Effects

1. War of the Worlds

2. King Kong

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

4. Serenity

5. Star Wars- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Best Makeup

1. Star Wars-Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

3. Memoirs of a Geisha

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

5. King Kong

Best Editing

1. Crash

2. The Constant Gardener

3. Munich

4. Good Night, and Good Luck

5. Batman Begins

Best Sound

1. King Kong

2. War of the Worlds

3. Batman Begins

4. Memoirs of a Geisha

5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Best Original Score

1. Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams

2. Batman Begins, James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer

3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Harry Gregson-Williams

4. The Island, Steve Jablonsky

5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny Elfman

Best Animated Feature

1. Wallace and Grommit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

2. Corpse Bride

3. Robots

Other Categories

Most Original

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Best Surprise

Batman Begins

Biggest Disappointment

Walk the Line

Most Overrated

Walk the Line and Brokeback Mountain

Most Underrated

House of Wax

Most Wasted Potential

Walk the Line

The Worst Movies of the Year

1. The Dukes of Hazzard– Trash show made into a trash movie. Who would have thougt!

2. The Longest Yard- Not a fan of the original, but even I was offended by this.

3. Hostage– I don’t remember much, but I remember it being painful.

4. Hide and Seek- Dakota Fanning in the creepy-child movie that every child actor must make

5. Cheaper by the Dozen 2– Love the first, this one felt tired.

6. Sahara– Shit

7. The Legend of Zorro– Mierda

8. The Perfect Man– I had a crush on Hilary Duff when this came out, but even then I knew it was bad

9. Man of the House- Poor Tommy Lee Jones

10. White Noise- Had potential, but it turned out to be a generic PG-13 horror.


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