With the new millennium saw more action sequences, grittier films, tense moments become more common, and darker plots. Welcome to the first movie blog of samuelwilliscroft.wordpress.com, and today we’re going to be reviewing through the best of the last decade, i.e. the 2000s. By that we mean the Top 10 Movies of the 2000’s. Also, just be clear, we’re not saying these are our favourite films of the decade, but they’re ranked on critical acclaim, success, effect the film has on the viewer, its place in the art of movie-making and it’s scores on the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes.
Sit back and go on an oil stakeout as we navigate our way through the depressing effects of war, explore the mind of Joel Barish and flip a coin to start counting. Note: The stars next to the movie title indicate our judgement on the quality of the movie, represented by how many stars we give the movie out of 5. But the list isn’t judged by how many stars it gets, though.
Just one more thing before we get started: every movie blog we do will be counting down the best films of each decade up until the 1920s, although sometimes we’ll be having historical movie blogs before we do our next Top 10 Movie List. And after our 1920’s blog, be sure to check out our Top 10 Movies Of All Time Blog. Links to buy the movie will be displayed at the end of each part.
10. The Pianist (2002) ****
Perhaps one of the most important holocaust films ever made, The Pianist tells the emotionally intense story of real-life Jewish piano player Wladyslaw Szpilman, as he witnesses the horrific massacre of the Jews in World War II. Szpilman struggles to come to terms with the Nazi invasion, and the result is a gripping, intense, heart-breaking and masterfully executed movie that soon won’t be forgotten. The film earned well-deserved three academy awards: Best Director for Roman Polanski, a Best Actor for Adrien Brody’s uplifting performance and a Best Screenplay for Ronald Harwood. Polanski delivers the seminal movie with a powerful message, and captivates the audience with an interesting balance of devastation and hope, and reminds the viewers that not only that the incomprehensible event won’t be forgotten, but that there is hope in the darkest places.
Buy The Pianist (2002) here, from Amazon (Rated 15).
9. Avatar (2009)****
In 1997, James Cameron was at the top of the movie-directing world, with classics such as Aliens (1986), The Terminator (1984), and Terminator 2: Judgement Day under his belt, and he boosted his success with Titanic. Titanic won 11 Oscars, tying with 1959’s Ben-Hur for the most ever Oscars given to a film. Titanic was the most successful film ever made, with a gross of $658,672,308. However, Cameron moved away from movie-directing for a time, to do other things, and people wanted Cameron to return to the big screen with a breakthrough epic. He did so in 2009, with Avatar.
In 2009, he made Avatar, which he had been hoping to make for some time, but was unable to due to necessary advancements in technology. Avatar became the highest-grossing film to date, with a record gross of $760,507,625. In James Cameron’s marvellous epic, set in the future, paraplegic marine Jake Sully is brought to the distant planet Pandora. Pandora is occupied by the Na’vi, a humanoid race with their own way of communication and culture. He learns of corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s desire to move the species off the planet in order to mine for the prized materials scattered through their abundant woodland. Sully gathers secret information for the co-operating military group in return for spinal surgery that is needed to fix his legs. Sully also, at the same time, has to infiltrate the Na’vi people with an ”Avatar” identity. However, Jake begins to make friends with tribe, and swiftly falls in love with the extra-terrestrial Princess Neytiri. The colonel of the plight to force the native tribe to extinction, Colonel Quaritch, continues to use his cruel dispatch methods- and Sully caught up in an epic battle to determine the fate of Pandora- and he has to choose between his old life, and the new world he’s come into.
James Cameron’s epic is a brilliant, visually stunning fight for humanity, that will enthral you with its breath-taking, Oscar winning special effects, that provides a unique, computer-based experience that will move you right to the ending of this spellbinding adventure.
Buy Avatar (2009) from Amazon, Rated 12.
8. The Hurt Locker (2009) ****
This 2009 Best Picture winner provides a tense but gritty and realistically violent insight into the Iraq War. The story follows Sargent William James, as he takes charge of a professional bomb disposal unit and descends into madness. As the movie continues, the plot thickens and becomes tenser with every minute of horrifically explosive action, and brilliantly constructs James’s chaotic control as his suicidal methods affects himself and everyone around him. Katherine Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker provides the viewer with a graphic, compelling and disturbing experience that took home six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. James is depicted as an independent-minded, eccentric free-spirit that seems to have no sense of danger. With a heavy metal soundtrack, The Hurt Locker has been described as a near-perfect war film, and currently, it scores an almost flawless score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
To buy The Hurt Locker DVD (Rated 15 years and over) from Amazon click the following link: Buy The Hurt Locker (2009) from Amazon.
7. Gladiator (2000) ****
What happens when you put Russell Crowe in the fighting arena? You get a unique best-picture winning movie that is box-office gold. Ridley Scott directed this virtuoso historical drama that restored it’s genre to its original high quality. This masterful epic tells the story of triumphant general Maximus Decimus Meridias who supported by his people, including the aging Marcus Aurelius, the Emperor of Rome. On his death-bed, Aurelius selects Maximus as a preference to his own son to succeed him. However, Maximus is betrayed by Commodus, Aurelius’ son, Meridias finds his family killed and his life shattered, and Maximus has to fight in the gladiatorial games to save himself. Maximus is propelled by a thirst and urge to take revenge on the man who betrayed by looking into his eyes. Gladiator’s authenticity ensured its place in cinematic history, with Russell Crowe’s unwavering performance and intensity rarely achieved by a movie of its kind. Beautifully shot by Douglas Wick, this enchanting action put Ridley Scott back into stardom, and won five Oscars, that included Best Actor and Best Picture.
Watch a brilliant Gladiator clip here- Are you not Entertained? Warning: Contains an intense battle sequence and brief sights of blood.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) *****
There’s more than meets the eye with the bizarre, dramatic and emotional movie. Blending science fiction with romance, this moving movie is an enchanting treat for anyone who watches it, that got an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. When a man called Joel Barish discovers that his ex-girlfriend Clementine has undergone a new, highly technologically advanced procedure to erase him from her memory, he decides to do the same. But, when memories of her start to crumble, he soon thinks twice, and begins to realise that he does love her and that his world isn’t the same with out her, and as doctors try to delete all memories Barish has of Clementine, we witness the anxiety of Barish’s complicated and entangled mind.
Jim Carrey moves out of his family-friendly comfort zone to provide one of his best performances yet, that, alongside Kate Winslet, allowed the creation of one of the most engrossing films of the decade. This heart-warming masterpiece is a classic that will appeal to all kinds of people, and is one of the most intelligent, eccentric and enchanting films of its time.
Buy Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind from Amazon.
5. No Country for Old Men (2007) ****
Never defy him. Or at least be careful in a coin toss. We follow deranged, merciless, unemotional psychopath Anton Chigurh as he hunts to get some drug money back, defeating everything that gets in his way. On his quest he uses clever weapons such as fire extinguishers and compressed air guns, and notoriously and ingeniously calculates his every move with accurate precision. No Country For Old Men is a cinematic landmark that enthrals you to breaking-point. The Coen Brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski) were responsible for this hit Neo-Western thriller that threw them back in the spotlight, leading to films such as True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis. No Country is a controversial yet unforgettable experience that psychologically abuses the viewer with it’s tense moments, suspense and numbing,eerie monologue, that earned it’s spot in cinematic history with its Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Actor in a Supporting Role, and its currently ranked #167 on the IMDB Best movies of all time list. And with this thriller, The Coen Brothers have proved a sufficient amount that their trademark of interwoven plots is still the diamonds in the rough.
Buy No Country for Old Men here from Amazon (Rated 15).
Watch a nail-bitingly tense No Country For Old Men moment here: What’s the most you ever lost in a coin toss?
4. There Will Be Blood (2007) *****
Based on the 1927 novel Oil!, which was based on the life of oil tycoon Edward L.Doheny, There Will Be Blood tells the story of oil prospector Daniel Plainview as he builds an oil empire at the time of the Southern California Oil Boom- and slowly declines into greed, lust and insanity. This zealous and mature drama is a truly captivating and relentless movie, that won Daniel-Day Lewis his second but not last Best Actor for his outstanding performance. The movie however is sombre in tone, which is why it may not appeal to all audiences, but Day-Lewis’s performance as Plainview is both disturbing and mesmerising, as he ploughs through all that get in his way by any means necessary- which includes violence. What’s even more disturbing is the little visual bloodshed in the movie (as opposing to the suggestion of the movie’s title.)- so we know that Plainview is committing heinous acts, but (most of the time) we can’t see it, creating a creepy atmosphere. It may not be engaging to all audiences, but it is certainly an intense watch.
Buy There Will Be Blood from Amazon (Rated 15).
3. The Departed (2006) ****
This Martin Scorsese classic was widely anticipated, and upon release, became an instant success that won Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited Best Director Oscar, and his also long-awaited Best Picture for one of his movies. In this 2006 multiple accolade winning crime-fiction drama, there’s an inside man in the F.B.I and there’s a inside man in the Irish Mob, and they’re both keen to find the true identity of the other. If you put Leonardo DiCaprio’s resolute Billy Costigan (an F.B.I agent determined to discover who is passing information about the F.B.I. onto the Mob whilst not getting caught infiltrating the Mob) with Matt Damon’s arrogant Colin Sullivan (a mole in the F.B.I. passing information about the F.B.I. onto The Irish Mob), you get a complex and violent crime drama that hooks you with clever, self-battling characters that find it difficult to control their inner demons. Sounds good enough, but the star of the show undeniably goes to Jack Nicholson crime boss Frank Costello. He’s a disturbing, sadistic crime boss that intrigues the audience with his worryingly calm demeanour and seeming ability to bring menace wherever he goes, that chills down to our spine, being the crime boss, whilst adding some alarming dark comedy to the scene. Throw an even more ensemble cast that includes the likes of Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg in one of his best performances, and you’ve got one impressive Oscar- Winning Movie.
Buy The Departed from Amazon (Rated 18).
To watch a tensional, classic The Departed moment click the title. Warning: Contains strong language.
2. The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King (2003) *****
Yes, The Fellowship of the Ring could have also taken this place (because let’s face the facts, it was legendary), and so was The Two Towers, but it’s the epic finale to J.R.R. Tolkien’s epitome series that really steals the show.
The Return of the King follows the Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom in Mordor to destroy the One Ring, accompanied by Sam, oblivious of the road that Gollum leading them down. Gollum’s motive was to take possession of the one ring that had enslaved him, after he had been corrupted and deformed by the Ring’s Power. Meanwhile, Gandalf is going to help the humans in the war the lies ahead of them (executed by Sauron and his army. Sauron just happens to be the infamous Lord of the Rings himself, who made the one Ring long before to rule all, and now he is coming back to claim it.). The literature-based story examines the ability to corrupt with it’s uneasy tone and demeanour made nerve-wracking by the dramatic climax and secrecy between the characters, whilst the audience knows what bitter truth lies ahead. It’s 3 hours 21 minute run time of massive proportions is neatly presented by its subplots, splitting the film’s run-time into the colossal battle between Aragorn’s army and Sauron’s army, and the journey that Frodo makes to destroy the ring. This gives us a heavy mix of crowning visuals, magnificent and ever growing plot-lines, a unifying screenplay, and terrific action.
Not only were critics and audiences alike forever in awe of this classic Peter Jackson epic, it also made the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences form a fellowship as a result, giving The Return of the King a record 11 Oscars (as mentioned earlier-tying with Ben-Hur and Titanic for the most amount of Oscars ever given to a movie.). This includes the ever desired Best Picture, a rightfully deserved Best Director for Peter Jackson, a Best Adapted Screenplay and a brilliantly composed Best Original Score and a Best Original Song. This has been hailed as one of cinema’s crowning achievements, and brought even the most Lord of the Rings despising people to a standstill. Visually stunning and unique, this is fantasy/epic filmmaking at it’s finest.
Buy The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King from Amazon. (Rated 12)
Below you will find our number one pick:
1. The Dark Knight (2008) *****
Gritty. Unique. And just plain brilliant. At the most contested spot on the blog is the universally acclaimed superhero film that went on to not only forever inspire it’s genre, but become widely acknowledged as one of the greatest films ever made. Starring Heath Ledger in a posthumous but Oscar-Winning performance as The Joker and Christian Bale reprising his role as the Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight provides an intense look into the superhero world, that is scarcely achieved in the majority of comic book adaptations. Carefully analysing the battle between good and evil, The Dark knight offers scene after scene of tremendous action, violence, deliciously dark comedy and sub-plots, and as a result we’re hooked.
Every moment is a classic among classics, that gives a sense of wanting more, which few films have done in recent years. (To name some: Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, American Beauty, Fight Club.) Just when you think it can’t get any better, it does, surprising you with unexpected and spectacular themes that have become part of its legacy. Or should we say Ledgercy? Few anticipated what menace he would bring to Batman’s trademark enemy, and he did, whilst going out with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Despite the fact that it eventually killed him due to a drug overdose (dying six months before the film’s release at only 30 years of age),his performance continues to amaze audiences even to this day. Ledger’s uncomfortable but fantastic portrayal of The Joker is made even more eerie by how, as the story unravels, it becomes clear he has no motivation, and all he wants is chaos. He kills bigger and more important multitudes of people, with his crimes becoming even more bizarre and disturbing each time, chilling the viewer with a clear feeling of being unsympathetic towards his victims, especially with his dark comedy that startles whoever watches it.
But in the centre is Harvey Dent.
Harvey Dent was the initial symbolism of non-violent peace in Gotham, and was even nick-named the city’s ”White Knight”. However, he took the blame for Bruce Wayne’s faults, and confessed to being Batman (although he wasn’t). However the decision led him to disfigurement after being caught up in The Joker’s deadly plans, and he became scarred for life by what happened turning into Two-Face, a half-dead being with an endless thirst for vengeance, that leaves fate up to chance, using a coin, like Anton Chigurh in ‘No Country for Old Men’ before him.
Except his coin system is rigged.
The Dark Knight is widely regarded as one of the most clever films ever made, be responsible for some of the most famous movie quotes, such as
”I’m going to make this pencil disappear!” and ”Why so Serious?” It redefined Christopher Nolan’s star power, and made cinematic history forever.
Buy The Dark Knight (2008) from Amazon. Rated 12.
Watch The Dark Knight- Agent of Chaos- here.
Watch The Dark Knight- Why So Serious- here.
Watch The Dark Knight- Good Cop, Bad Cop- here.
Watch The Dark Knight- The Heist- here.
End of Blog
Thanks for reading. In 2 blogs time, we’ll do a blog on the Top 10 Movies of the 1990’s (including some honourable and dishonourable mentions). Check out our blog on Current Affairs next blog, and don’t miss out on this other cool, educational blog:
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Why So Serious?