Archive for the ‘2002’ category

Top Ten Films of 2002


vlcsnap-14903663#10 Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes)

Would have ended up higher if it weren’t for this rather stellar year in film.  A 1950s period piece extraordinaire that gently, and with Haynes’ indelible signature, tells the story of a mixed race couple that cuts across prejudice against any “out of the ordinary” romance.

25th#9 25th Hour (Spike Lee)

Plodding at times, but riveting all the same, Spike Lee’s post 9/11 tale of drug dealer Monty Brogan’s (Ed Norton) last day before incarceration.  Sustained tension highlights Lee’s love letter to the town, in need of redemption, that made him.

onehourphoto#8 One Hour Photo (Mark Romanek)

Music video director Romanek delivers a surprisingly good and gorgeously shot yarn involving a very lonely man (Robin Williams) that takes “an interest” in a family who happens to be a his customer at the film development department of a WalMart clone.  Williams is brilliant.

waking#7 Waking Life (Richard Linklater)

A digitally enhanced live action rotoscoped film from Richard Linklater.  An existential cartoon that takes place in a very familiar Austin, Texas.

minority#6 Minority Report (Steven Speilberg)

Part two of Speilberg’s fantastic ‘three-fer’ of A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report and Catch Me if You Can – other than Jaws, my favorite films of his.  Catch Me narrowly missed this list.  Oh, and Tom Cruise is great!  Are there any more Phillip K. Dick screenplays out there?  I hope so.

insom#5 Insomnia (Christopher Nolan)

Nolan’s follow up to the classic Memento and a remake of the Norwegian film of the same name.  Love the acting in this film especially Hilary Swank in the role of a Nancy Drew local Alaskan police detective – I never liked her as much before nor after and what a year for Robin Williams!  I also love how Nolan captures what 24 hour daylight can do to a human psychologically.

darko#4 Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly)

A cult classic by now and Kelly should have never released his far less superior “director’s cut.”  If you haven’t seen it rent it now.  I can’t say much else about it – you just gotta experience it.

in_the_bedroom_2001_685x385#3 In the Bedroom (Todd Field)

Fresh off his acting in Eyes Wide Shut, new auteur Field delivers this devastating New England tragedy with superb acting by Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson.  Stanley Kubrick obviously contributed to this guy having some real directing chops.  Expect to lose some sleep after a viewing.

ararat#2 Ararat (Atom Egoyan)

Egoyan’s oeuvre is a favorite of mine.  Of Armenian descent, he determined he could only tell the true story of the Armenian Genocide (by the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I) as a film within a film because the content was too personally devastating for him to tackle directly.  However, this fits into the director’s technique of telling stories using various media as a device for doing so.  Its a controversial film that had mixed critical reception and has been seen by few but its such a rewarding experience if you give it a chance.  Christopher Plummer should have received an Oscar nomination for his role as a custom’s official.

punchdrunk#1 Punch Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson)

A hypnotic and mesmerizing one of kind film.  On first viewing I didn’t get it but all subsequent viewings affirmed this as Anderson’s great accomplissement.  Adam Sandler has a film that his children’s children will be able to look back and say, “grandpa was a genius!”