Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

My Top 50 of the Decade

50. Paranormal Activity (2009)

An original, innovative use of a camera, Paranormal Activity is one of few horror films that actually scare me.

49. American Psycho (2000)

A stunningly funny and violent masterpiece, this one is as fun as it is disturbing.

48. Bobby (2006)

I love the idea this film has: Every one has a story. This film chronicles the moments leading up to the RFK assassination, and follows over five characters, and what they did before the event.

47. Nine (2009)

Nine could have been so much more, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly. Most of the characters were severely undeveloped, but if you set that aside, it is a very fun film to watch.

46. The Departed (2006)

I am still undecided as to whether this film is a masterpiece. But if a film is ever considered to be called that, then it definitely deserved to be named something special.

45. Gangs of New York (2002)

Scorsese's powerful film chronicles how the streets of New York came to be. This film also has one of the greatest final shots I have ever seen.

44. Walk the Line (2005)

Powered by great writing, superb performances, and fun music, Walk the Line is one of the greatest biopics ever, and is also a great romance film.

43. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

One of my favorite coming-of-age films, this one is both funny and moving.

42. Gosford Park (2001)

This is a visual masterpiece, and has an Oscar-winning script to go along with it. The film is a murder mystery, set in a mansion, and told from the servant's point of view. A very fun film.

41. Bad Santa (2003)

This film is so much better than it could have been. A great comedy with a heart.

40. Kill Bill (2003)

Kill Bill is such an entertaining film to watch, and has a simple yet fun storyline. Director Quentin Tarantino pays homage to the films he grew up watching here, and it is obvious that he is thankful for his influences.

39. The Wrestler (2008)

Not a perfect film, but one that is powered by great performances. I enjoyed the film's flawed main character, and thought he was a well written one.

38. Doubt (2008)

Film critic Roger Ebert made a great point about this film. He said how rare it is for a film to challenge the viewer to think from the very first scene, and this is what Doubt does. This features ensemble acting at its finest, and is a surprisingly involving mystery.

37. Invictus (2009)

A biopic on Nelson Mandela, this film features strong performances, and a fine script filled with "chill-inducing" moments.

36. Man on Wire (2008)

Easily my favorite documentary of all time. This film knows how to tell a story, and evoke emotions out of its audience.

35. A Serious Man (2009)

Yet another masterpiece by the Coen Brothers, A Serious Man features an ending in which I really did not like when I saw it in theaters. But when I thought about it some more, it proved to be very thematic.

34. Brick (2005)

Startlingly original, Brick is a kind of murder mystery/detective story set in a high school. It is filled with twists and turns, but is also a very emotional film. I enjoyed it.

33. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

I only mildly enjoyed this film when I originally saw it. When I further thought about it, I remembered myself being totally glued to the screen while watching it. It features film making at its finest.

32. Ghost World (2001)

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film. The performances are excellent, and the script is original and fun.

31. An Education (2009)

Such a fine romance, An Education is a great example of a film that takes risk that pay off. Watch out for this one at this year's Academy Awards.

30. Wonder Boys (2000)

Tobey Maguire's best performance. The film is funny and moving, featuring the relationship between a college professor and his student. I loved the film'santiplot structure.

29. Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)

This deserves to be called one of the great teen films. It is a drama that follows Asian American high school students, and shows that there is more going on in their lives than what they appear.

28. 21 Grams (2003)

I remember how surprised I was when I saw how amazing this film was. 21 Grams, when explained at the end, has a more meaningful title than what it seems to be.

27. Monster's Ball (2001)

Monster's Ball is a good example of a film that has nice character growth. It also features amazing performances.

26. Avatar (2009)

What a visually stunning film this is. The extra dimension it has is no gimmick; it simply adds to the realism. I also enjoyed the film's storyline.

25. 25th Hour (2002)

Edward Norton, in almost every role he takes, proves himself to be one of the greatest actors alive. Here he takes on the role of a New York citizen contemplating his choices after he is arrested, and has 24 hours until he must go to jail.

24. Sin City (2005)

Sin City is a gritty, visual masterpiece. I enjoyed the voice over, the art direction, and its twisted writing. Fun stuff.

23. Last Days (2005)

This film chronicles a rock star at the height of his fame, played by the talented Michael Pitt. The film's cinematography was excellent, telling the story visually, with very few words.

22. Up (2009)

The finest animated film I have seen. I enjoyed everything about it; it's characters and their growth, its humor, even its visuals.

21. The Score (2001)

Say what you want, but I was truly entertained by this film. It features the three best actors of their respective generations (Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, and Ed Norton), and has fun twists and turns. It is the best heist film of the decade.

20. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

One thing I love about Tarantino is that he has the ability to create unforgettable, original characters. He knows them so well, that the final film is as if he is playing action figures with them.Inglourious Basterds is one of the most fun movies of the decade, and is a Tarantino essential.

19. Almost Famous (2000)

A very personal film for writer/director Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous is based off of true events in the director's life. It boasts a great soundtrack, original writing, top-notch performances, and a great coming of age storyline.

18. Juno (2007)

Juno is yet another reason that I love the Best Original Screenplay category at the Academy Awards. The category features films that have freedom to tell a story the way they want it.

17. A Single Man (2009)

This film, the debut of director Tom Ford, had the ability to get so many emotions out of me. It was sad, fun, and uplifting. This is one of the finest films of the decade, and possibly the best of the year.

16. Crash (2005)

What a meaningful picture this is. I always love a good ensemble piece, one with well written and acted characters. Also worth noting is the film's music, which adds so much to the film.

15. The Aviator (2004)

Biopics are always an interesting genre, and The Aviator proves just how fascinating one can be. The Howard Hughes story is an interesting one, and the man is brought to life greatly by Scorsese and DiCaprio.

14. In Bruges (2008)

Never has a film mixed comedy and violence so easily since Pulp Fiction. It is a fun and unique story.

13. The Weather Man (2005)

So funny and unique, The Weather Man reminded me of American Beauty. I loved how both films take a closer look at life, and show that there is more going on than what you may think.

12. Memento (2001)

Christopher Nolan's first masterpiece. Never have I been so far inside a character's head before. Memento follows a character who cannot form new memories, so Nolan tells the film backwards. This allows the audience feel see what the main character sees, and relate to what he is dealing with. Brilliant.

11. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

One of the most powerful endings I have seen, partially thanks to its amazing soundtrack. The film's performances were great, complimenting its superb screenplay.

10. Sideways (2004)

One of the great buddy comedies of all time, Sideways also is a nice romance. The script is such a fun one, allowing the audience to laugh, even cry for the characters. I enjoyed the characters, and loved "hanging out" with them for two hours.

9. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Ron Howard's masterpiece, this is another example of how interesting a biopic can be. The film's moments were so subtle, as well as the music.

8. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

This film does so many things right. It never takes a misstep, and is smart as it is funny.

7. Milk (2008)

I really enjoyed Milk's structure, which was partially told in flashback. This film is yet another great example of how amazing biopics can be. It also features one of the greatest performances of all time by Sean Penn.

6. Mystic River (2003)

Clint Eastwood's masterpiece. The story is so wonderfully crafted, with very memorable performances. I loved the film's twists and turns, as well as it's art direction and cinematography.

5. Lost in Translation (2003)

If this can be considered a romantic comedy, then this is what every movie of the genre should strive to be. Bill Murray gives cinema's best performance of the year in a role that was written for him. The film is excellent in so many ways, and I enjoy it each time I watch it.

4. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

The key to making a Best Picture winner is having the ability to get different emotions out of the audience. Slumdog Millionaire does just this, as it has it all. Suspense, comedy, romance, even a little bit of action. These are all tied together nicely, combining to be one of the most enjoyably cinematic experience of the decade.

3. The Dark Knight (2008)

Nolan's second masterpiece, and likely not his last. This is what a Hollywood blockbuster should be. It takes risks, is never gratuitous, and is well written. It is also one hell of a fun ride.

2. There Will Be Blood (2007)

Paul Thomas Anderson amazes me. The young director already has three (in my opinion) perfect films under his belt, including Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and this one. There Will Be Blood follows an oil man, and his longing for money and power. Many critics call this character one of the greatest written characters of all time. His character arc is brilliantly crafted. The film's photography is excellent, and the film deserves to be called one of the best of the decade.

1. No Country For Old Men (2007)

No Country For Old Men is such a perfectly told story, it is almost difficult to put it into words. The characters are written so well, the scenes are so memorable, and the cinematography is something to experience. AntonChigurh, the film's antagonist, is one of the greatest written characters, is one of the finest villains ever put on screen. The Coen Brothers are great storytellers, and they know how to weave any kind of tale.

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