Best Movies of 2005

1) A History Of Violence (David Cronenberg)

David Cronenberg, bless him, is a director that has never resorted to formula in his over 3 decade career. In this one-of-a-kind Gangster picture, the Canadian filmmaker crafts his best movie since 1986's The Fly - a mind bending journey into the violence that exists in all of us. This sexy, erotic, aggressive picture is typical Cronenberg with a flawed hero in Viggo Mortensen's mysterious family drifter. The violence is grotesque, the sex kinky and the narrative unlike any you've ever seen.

2) Cache/Hidden (Michael Haneke)

This is my kind of movie - one that asks more questions than actually answers them yet provokes enough mystery and intrigue to get you talking about it for months on end. Haneke is a master manipulator and an artist that refuses to resort to any kind of formulaic narrative. His movies are unafraid to show you images that shock. In this french import he decides to give us a deeply penetrating look at an abundance of themes that have obsessed him over the years; roots, familial trees, the immigrant experience and culture clash.

3) Old Boy (Chan-Wook Park)

This Korean import is a whodunnit with a stinging climax. Revenge is the word of the day and director Park -just like the first two films on my list- decides to shock as well as artfully intrigue us. A man tries to find the perpetrator that locked him up in prison for more than 15 years. There's much more to it than just that but only a fool would want to reveal the dark secrets that lie deep underneath Park's Korean Masterpiece. One for the ages and bound to get an American remake.

4) Munich (Steven Spielberg)

Whenever Steven Spielberg tackles Jewish themes, a personal film always must always come to fruition. in 1993 it was his beloved Schindler's List, in 2005 it is Munich - the story of the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the ensuing retaliation on the ones responsible by Israeli Intelligence. Just like Old Boy this is about revenge but the revenge here is more real and comes with more realistic consequences. Do you need to commit evil to revenge evil? Spielberg is at war with himself with the answer and so are we.

5) The Squid And The Whale (Noah Baumbach)

Here comes what is clearly a breakthrough film for writer/director Noah Baumbauch. Every once in a while comes a film that deals with family neuroticism in such a way that it makes you cringe yet entertained at the same time. The Squid And The Whale doesn't deal with easy themes; divorce, puberty, kids, hippie-dom - yet it treats them in such an expertly devised way you'd think these people actually existed, therein lies the miracle of Baumbach's film; its laughs come with stinging truthfulness.

6) Downfall (Olivier Hirschbiegel)

The final days of Hitler. It's as simple as that. How a once mighty man, filled with grand ambitions and egotistical evil fell flat as he neared certain defeat. Director Hirschbiegel brings us into Hitler's bunker and it's as if you are actually there waiting for the man to have a downfall. the details are incredible and the fact that this was a German movie, made with German actors only brings more authenticity to the film. This will most likely be a film that will get shown in history classes for years to come.

7) The 40 Year Old Virgin (Judd Apatow)

A 40 year old man -funnily played by Steve Carrell- still collects toys, rides a bike to work, has a job at a Best Buy-style store, oh, and has not had sex yet. We have not seen post-40 adult virginity tackled in movies before, which is why director Apatow's film is so damn fresh. The screenplay is filled with witty insights and one line zingers that are as quotable as any other movie this year. However, the real brilliance of the films lies in how it never mocks its subject matter and instead embraces this geeky man and all his neurotic tendencies. You truly want him to get laid.

8) Capote (Bennett Miller)

This moving film lives and breathes on the powerful shoulders of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's stunning performance in the title role. Hoffman captures all of the unique physical characteristics that made Capote such a familiar public figure in his lifetime and invests them with a humanity that is almost unbearably poignant. Beautifully told, masterfully performed, harrowing, amusing, cruel, moving. Benneth Miller's film is a sensational achievement.

9) Cinderella Man (Ron Howard)

The movie-movie of the year. This boxing saga starring Russell Crowe and directed by all American boy Ron Howard is a rousing, sentimental triumph for both star and director. In tackling the true life tale of Washed up boxer James J Braddock, Howard and Crowe play with our emotions and rattle us with the down and out life this man really had in depression era USA. A Rocky-like fairy tale that actually happened and one more great example of why Boxing is the most cinematic sport to film.

10) Me, You & Everyone We Know (Miranda July)

This one-of-a-kind miracle movie by first time indie director Miranda July is the most original treat I saw all year. A lonely shoe salesman and a performance artist fail to connect in a unique take on contemporary life. Not for everybody but something I appreciated quite a bit for the artistry at work and the way it told its quirky multiple stories in such fresh, inventive ways.

11) War Of The Worlds (Steven Spielberg)
12) King Kong (Peter Jackson)

Two Hollywood blockbusters that gave us jolts of relentless action in a year lacking of those traits. Leave it to Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson to school the rest of the industry in just how to mix ambition in mainstream filmmaking. Ironically they both have botched endings yet the highs outweigh the lows. In Spielberg's remake of War Of The Worlds, the action is so well directed that I was at times left breathless by its intensity - ditto for Peter Jackson mega epic, a 187 minute remake of the 1933 classic, in which the majestic sweep of the story completely enthralled my sense in every which way.

13. Lord Of War, Andrew Niccol

14. Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan

15. Broken Flowers, Jim Jarmusch

16. Red Eye, Wes Craven

17. Hustle And Flow, Craig Brewer

18. The Devil's Rejects, Rob Zombie

19. Grizzly Man, Werner Herzog

20. Good Night And Good Luck, George Clooney

21. Junebug, Phil Morrison

22. North Country, Niki Caro

23. The Ice Harvest, Harold Ramis