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100 Favorite Movies, 2000-2014: Jeff Ignatius PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 01 January 2015 09:01

MementoWhen Mike Schulz suggested revisiting and updating our lists of favorite movies of the 2000s, I looked back at my early-2010 article and thought: “Ghost Town? What the hell is that?” Sorry, Ricky Gervais, but it took a few seconds to recall anything at all about a movie I’d listed as one of my top 100.

Such are the perils of composing lists covering long periods of time with a memory as leaky as mine. Unlike my colleague Mike, I don’t have a record of my thoughts about most of the movies I’ve seen, and therefore I can’t say with much certainty whether I still like the 100 favorite movies I selected for 2000 through 2009. So I started from scratch here, with the idea that I wouldn’t include anything so poorly (if fondly) remembered as Ghost Town. (Favorites from the 2010 list that aren’t included here haven’t necessarily fallen in my esteem; in many cases, I just don’t have a recent experience or firm memory of them to rely on).

I’ve also decided to include television in the mix – everything from a single episode to a show’s entire run – partly because of changes in consumer viewing habits and platforms, but mostly because short-run television has changed the nature of the beast so radically; television isn’t the new movies, but the lines between them have blurred to the extent that the distinction hardly matters anymore. Just ask any A-list actor or director who’s signed on to a TV project.

It should go without saying that this list says more about me than it does about the movies of the past 15 years, especially considering that I seek out what interests me rather than having Mike’s professional obligation to see just about everything. My hope is that some folks might watch, based on these recommendations, something they would have otherwise missed or skipped. (And Mike's updated list can be found here.)

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure: I’ve recently re-watched a bunch of movies to see how I feel about them now, but in some cases I’m falling back on (and even stealing from) my previous writings rather than fresh viewings.

 
True Defective: "Unbroken," "The Imitation Game," and "Big Eyes" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 28 December 2014 19:20

Jack O'Connell in UnbrokenUNBROKEN, THE IMITATION GAME, and BIG EYES

Among other titles, Christmas Day brought with it the area releases of Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, and Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. Each of them opens with a title-card variant on “This is a true story.” Each of them ends with a series of title cards informing us what happened to characters after the films’ narratives concluded. And each of them, for occasional better and more frequent worse, feels absolutely, 100-percent Hollywood.

 
Into the Weeds: "Into the Woods" and "The Homesman" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 28 December 2014 19:06

Emily Blunt and James Corden in Into the WoodsINTO THE WOODS

Do you know what you wish? Are you certain what you wish is what you want?” – lyrics from Into the Woods

 

Like a lot of stage-musical fans, I’ve been wishing – patiently but eagerly for more than 25 years now – for a film version of Stephen Sondheim’s modern classic Into the Woods. Now, thanks to Sondheim, original book and screenplay author James Lapine, director Rob Marshall, and the fairytale-happy folks at Disney, we have one.

So here’s the good news: Barring some minor changes, the movie is incredibly faithful to the show’s stage roots. But here’s the bad news: It’s so faithful that it’s under-imagined and kind of suffocating. And here’s the worst news: It isn’t much fun.

 
Unclean and Sober: "Top Five," "Wild," and "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Sunday, 21 December 2014 16:02

Rosario Dawson and Chris Rock in Top FiveTOP FIVE

Chris Rock is on-record as being a fan of Woody Allen movies and Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy, and the comedian’s funny and thoughtful Top Five – Rock’s first film as a writer/director since 2007’s I Think I Love My Wife – is like a 100-minute blend of those influences. Then again, Allen, and certainly Linklater, would be much less likely to cap a scene with the image of a naked man getting a Tabasco-soaked tampon shoved up his ass.

 
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: "Annie" and "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 19 December 2014 18:50

Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, and Rose Byrne in AnnieANNIE

Sony’s last-remaining grab for the holiday box office, the much-downloaded reboot of Annie, opened this weekend, and it must be said that as a musical – especially as a musically faithful interpretation of the stage show – it kind of sucks. The choreography’s a shambles and the mixing is poor and the original numbers are terrible, while familiar, enjoyable Annie tunes such as “Little Girls” and “Easy Street” are merely sampled, their melodies and lyrics awkwardly woven into new pop and hip-hop arrangements. (Three of the film’s myriad producers are Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, so I guess we should just be grateful that the titular orphan is played by Quvenzhané Wallis and not Willow. Or Jaden.)

 
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