Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best films of 2000-2009

Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Graysmith in "Zodiac" (2007).

#20 / "Zodiac"
It makes sense that David Fincher would be the guy to take a shot at telling the definitive story of the Zodiac Killer and the panic he inspired, since Fincher's brain is wired in the same obsessive, meticulous way that serial killers' brains are. This is a movie that offers up an unbelievably dense tapestry of detail, and that slowly but surely makes the viewer feel as lost in the weight of those details as the investigators who tried to catch the Zodiac in the first place. His use of digital cameras, his attention to period accuracy, his choice of music, his casting choices... all of it adds up to the movie that, so far, represents the single best distillation of Fincher's gifts.
The fact that it's a cracking good procedural on top of that is just a bonus. Ultimately, I love this film because it reaches past any intellectual part of my film critic brain and just plain works for me as a fetish piece, an incredible technical and thematic work that represents one of our most prickly film wizards at his peak". Source:

26) "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (dir. Michel Gondry) - Higher on many lists than mine because it suffers from Jim Carrey Earnestness Syndrome. Some people buy Carrey here completely, but he sucks the energy out of the movie for me at nearly every turn. This may be Kate Winslet's best performance, though. Someday, people will be looking back at Winslet's resume and the idea that she won her Oscar for "The Reader" will be every bit as ridiculous as Al Pacino getting his for "Scent of a Woman" or Paul Newman only winning for "The Color of Money" or Martin Scorsese getting his for "The Departed" or the mere existence of Robert Benigni. Anyway, I often try thinking of which star I'd have cast opposite Winslet to make this one a true classic for me. I don't quite have the answer.
25) "Memento" (dir. Christopher Nolan) - Looking for your Director of the Aughts? Christopher Nolan seems like a good place to start. For the decade, Nolan received only one Oscar nomination, shared with brother Jonathan for this corkscrew of a burnout mystery-thriller. Is "Memento" all about the gimmickry? A lot, but not *all*. It's Guy Pearce and Joe Pantoliano who make "Memento" rewatchable, frontwards or backwards. They're so invested that you stop quibbling and take the journey.23) "Brokeback Mountain" (dir. Ang Lee) - Saddled from the beginning with the nom d'laziness "The gay cowboy movie," "Brokeback Mountain" never really got a chance to just be a movie. It was Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal trailblazing new frontiers for on-screen intimacy. Jake Gyllenhaal at "Brokeback Mountain" LA Premiere on 29th November, 2005.

It was Ang Lee following up "Hulk." It was the seemingly unstoppable Oscar frontrunner. And then it was the Oscar frontrunner that lost to the worst Best Picture choice in Oscar history. Someday, people will just be able to appreciate the sincere feelings behind this doomed love story, made additionally tragic after Ledger's passing. This was truly his best performance, even if Oscar came posthumously and for more flamboyant work. And Gyllenhaal is his equal. Beautiful score and cinematography as well, plus an understatedly lovely turn from Michelle Williams". Source:

8. "Atonement" (2007)
Strangely considered overrated, Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's acclaimed novel is an intricately and beautifully structured epic that reveals more and more to the viewer during each subsequent screening.2. "Brokeback Mountain" (2005)
An even bigger achievement for Lee than "Crouching", "Brokeback" is one of the quintessential American love stories of our time. Every performance and moment is spot on. A true classic in every sense of the word.
1. "The Dark Knight" (2008)
It isn't in vogue to put Christopher Nolan's blockbuster -- a sequel no less -- on the top of a best of the decade list, but my god is it a masterpiece. And we have HBO, at least in this pundit's case, to thank for it. Every time "Dark Knight" is on you can't turn away from the screen. Whether it's Ledger's career defining performance (which will still be lauded when we're all dead and gone), the groundbreaking score (by two composers of polar opposite styles mind you), the screenplay's subtle allegories to panic in a post-9/11 world or one strikingly powerful and original action sequence after another, Nolan has turned a "superhero movie" into art. And that, ladies and gentleman, is very, very, very hard thing to do.

10 best films of 2000-2009. (In alphabetical order)
Amelie (2001)
Launching the lovely French star Audrey Tautou onto the world stage, Amelie is a sweet little French charmer, full of gorgeous, genuinely romantic, quirky touches that couldn't fail to melt the hardest heart.
Atonement (2007)
A beautiful yet tragic book made into a beautiful yet tragic film, Atonement is a visual joy, contrasting the gorgeous English countryside and glorious 1930s outfits with the bleak chaotic beaches of war-torn Dunkirk. The two leads, James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, are well matched, while the pivotal character of Briony is brilliantly, seamlessly played by three actresses: firstly as a naive child by Saoirse Ronan (currently starring in Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lovely Bones), then as an older, somewhat wiser 18-year-old by Romola Garai, and, finally, by a quietly magnificent Vanessa Redgrave, still atoning for what she did. Complex, fragile and devastating in its impact, this spellbinding film is a love story for mature adults.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Mind-bending stuff which introduced the world to the talents of Jake Gyllenhaal and his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal who also play siblings in the film. The best use of an '80s soundtrack since Breakfast Club.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
I loved this film so much I want to pick it up and give it a big hug. An utterly original take on the romantic drama, starring the quirky but dazzling pairing of Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey.
Memento (2000)
It's hard to think back to how groundbreakingly mind-boggling the backwards timeline of Memento was. The plot, in which a man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife, seems simple enough, but it's all in the telling. These days it seems like every second film serves up a freaky non-linear storyline, just to add interest. It's a shame that Guy Pearce seems to have disappeared of late. Director Christopher Nolan went on to successfully resuscitate the Batman franchise with gravelly-voiced Christian Bale.

If we could go over 10, I'd also include: Letters from Iwo Jima (2007), City of God (2003), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Hotel Rwanda (2004), Children of Men (2006), WALL-E (2008), No Country for Old Men (2007), Ratatouille (2007), Moulin Rouge! (2001), The Dark Knight (2008), Almost Famous (2000), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Lost in Translation (2003) and Shaun of the Dead (2004)".

The Top Tens of 2009 - Scoreboard graphic. "Brothers" got Total Score: 11, Average vote: 5.5 Source:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FHM Magazine World's 100 Sexiest Women

"So now let's get down to the "meat" of the FHM sexiest women in the world 2009 list, starting with #10 and singer Katy Perry. She is new to the scene, but that doesn't mean that she hasn't received a lot of positive attention along the way.
#9 is actress Anne Hathaway who continues to grow out of her childhood roles in films such as The Princess Diaries. #8 on the list is Heidi Montag (from The Hills), which may surprise a few people in that she isn't as well liked in real life as her photographs are. #7 is actress Elisha Cuthbert from 24 and The Girl Next Door, and coming in at #6 on the list is Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima".

FHM Sexiest Women of the World Top 10 List:
1. Megan Fox
"FHM readers worldwide have proclaimed Megan Fox as the Sexiest Woman In The World. Again. Only once in the competition's history has anybody retained their 100 Sexiest title - J-Lo back in 2001/2002 - which makes a repeat of last year's winning debut even more impressive.With a sultry glower, capricious pout and six tattoos, she’s the junior Angelina Jolie (but without the orphan addiction). And as if her role in Transformers wasn't enough to secure a spot as the nerd's woman of choice, she also confesses to being a fan of comic books and video games. Probably only takes five minutes to get ready in the morning, too.
So after making her name bent over a 1976 Chevrolet Camaro in a denim miniskirt, what's in store for the fantastic Miss Fox? Plenty. After Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, she next headlines in the fall's horror, Jennifer's Body and with other movies scheduled, could an unparalleled third title be on the horizon?!2 - Jessica Alba
Motherhood causes strange things to happen. Things like the Razzie-nominated The Love Guru. But, child dropped, it's back to business as usual for our 2007 champ.

After a guest appearance in The Office, she'll be dusting down her leathers and gyrating her way back into nerdish hearts as Sin City 2's Nancy Callahan.
But does she take her work home with her? "Most nights I end up wearing a wife-beater T-shirt and boxers." Shame. But at least you've got more in common than you thought. 3 - Scarlett Johansson
“Seriously, I really want to grab Scarlett’s breasts. She’s got beautiful ones.” There you have it: evidence that the half-Danish actress now makes even her female co-stars – the famously straight-laced Natalie Portman, in this case – come over all peculiar.
Women love this 24-year-old. Maybe it's her integrity style and intelligence. Perhaps they see her as a worthy figurehead for womanhood? Or possibly, like us, they just love her epic cans, naturally pouting lips and Rubenesque bottom.

After 15 years of acting, Johansson is now a proper movie star who can walk the line between critically-lauded period pieces such as The Other Boleyn Girl and action fodder such as Iron Man 2, in which she'll be playing the Black Widow next year.
4. Jessica Biel
The Minnesota-born hardbody has put her French and Choctaw-Indian descent to good use: when the call goes out for an ethnically ambiguous siren, Biel is likely to get the gig. After beginning her career in musicals such as pro-ginger propaganda play Annie, Biel made her screen debut aged 15 in Ulee’s Gold.

Anyone who caught 2007's dreadful I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry will tell you that Jessica Biel isn't cut out for comedy. Similarly, anyone who's ever seen her in tight trousers will confirm that she has an incredible ass.
Putting two and two together, the actress scored a resounding winner with her adept and agile portrayal of a stripper in Powder Blue, our favorite Biel performance for more than one reason.7 - Elisha Cuthbert
Though she spent most of her time as Jack Bauer’s daughter getting kidnapped and looking bewildered, the 24 star is worth the price of a boxset alone. Sick of having to squint to appreciate her flawless figure? Buy a bigger TV.
Or, with a string of movie roles in the pipeline, save yourself a spot at the cinema and prepare to enjoy Canada’s sexiest star on the big screen. They can't all be as disappointing as 2004's The Girl Next Door which sounded so promising with Elisha playing a former porn star but featured precisely zero flesh.9 - Anne Hathaway
Famous primarily for being “that girl off The Princess Diaries” it’s important to know that she was most definitely 18 at the time of filming, so stare away. If you want, that is. Hell, anything to avoid Julie Andrews. Anything.
In a similarly girly film role, Hathaway also appeared in the oh-so-cutting exploration of fashion magazines, The Devil Wears Prada. This is also well worth avoiding, as she doesn’t even get naked. For that, try Havoc. You won’t regret it.
10. Katy Perry
Sexuality-wise, the jury’s out. She kissed a girl. She liked it. And then she faced a barrage of criticism from both stuffy conservatives and a (slightly more effeminate) backlash from the gay community.Yet somehow, her place as one of pop’s hottest new faces already seems assured. Debut album One Of The Boys has already sold a million copies and, with saucily-attired live performances regularly playing to sell-out crowds, her success shows no sign of slowing down. In short, she’s the 21st Century’s Britney Spears. Only with more musical attitude, a less conventional look and a healthier mental state".17 - Natalie Portman
Born in Israel as Natalie Hershlag, the "spoiled only child in a Jewish family", Miss Portman moved here when she was three and since finding fame has been described as cold, bookish and nerdy.And yet beyond the brains – she left Harvard in 2003 with a degree in psychology – is a gorgeously impish actress who really knows her craft, and manages to look as good in second-hand Boho wear as she does in an Oscar gown. There's a big heart, too – Natalie Portman is active in a very big way with an organisation called Finca, which helps fund businesswomen in developing countries.
22 - Lindsay Lohan
Being in front of the cameras in the Lohan family is obligatory: Lindsay and her three younger siblings were all child models, but it was gingery big sis who hit the big time when she started getting cast in print and TV ads, eventually landing more than 100 gigs.Fast forward a decade and Lohan had earned her wild child tag thanks to endless partying with the likes of Paris Hilton, candid confessions that she was a drug addict and paparazzi upskirt shots that heralded the start of a celebrity no-pants craze. On the downside, such recklessness has had her labelled "unemployable", which is patently not true as she can start here tomorrow…50 - Jennifer Aniston
When she was part of one of most successful sitcoms of all time, women wanted to copy her haircut and men wanted to steal her away from the chap who was a little too fond of dinosaurs. Since the demise of Friends, Jennifer Aniston and her tightly-toned frame are still in huge demand – movie producers will shell out $8m or more if it means she is smiling on the poster of their latest dreary rom-com. She has been out with the full spectrum of men (chiseled actor Brad Pitt, thoughtful songwriter John Mayer, odd–looking funnyman Vince Vaughn), meaning there is truly hope for all of us to spend some time with one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities.57 - Zooey Deschanel
The girl can act, the girl can sing, and we bet she can throw some pretty impressive shapes on the dancefloor. Multi-faceted, 29 year old Zooey is probably best know for her role as sarcastic Santa’s little helper, Jovie in 2003’s festive comedy, Elf, with Will Ferrell.

In fact comedy seems to suit this young lady, starring in Jim Carrey’s 2008 movie, Yes Man, and she’s got two further romantic comedies coming out in 2009; Gigantic with Paul Dano (the mute kid from Little Miss Sunshine) and (500) Days of Summer, with Third Rock from the Sun’s, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Oh yeah, and she’s in a band, has released an album, recorded a commercial jingle for a well-known fabric company and she plays the piano, xylophone, banjo and ukulele. The woman’s a one-man-band!… Kinda.90 - Kristen Stewart
With all the hype over vampire teen flick Twilight, you probably did your best to avoid anything to do with the blood-sucking stars, so you might have missed the fact that female lead Kristen Stewart is pretty hot.The Cali girl’s had a string of roles before hitting the big time with Twilight, including parts in Into the Wild and The Messengers. Besides the upcoming vampirey sequels (in which she acts beside super-sexy Nikki Reed), Kristen’s also set to play Joan Jett in 2010’s The Runaways. 93 - Emma Stone
Hollywood newbie and rising star Emma Stone has been touted as the ‘new Lindsay Lohan’ – which is either a pleasant compliment or a massive insult.

Whichever way you look at it, Stone has secured her place firmly in the hearts and (dirty) minds of teenage boys across the land with appearances in supercool, superfunny 2007 movie Superbad and 2008’s less funny, mildly sexy The House Bunny, with Anna Faris.2009’s been a busy year already for Stone, filming back to back for new movies Paperman, Zombieland and another teen comedy, Easy, with Amanda Byrnes. She was recently linked to her Paperman co-star Kieran Culkin, then clearly opened her eyes and realized she could do way better. Sadly, this means she’s now dating singer & actor, Teddy Geiger.

Movies with unusual storytelling

"Something struck me when reading Cameron's typical hubristic declarations in his conversation with Peter Jackson over at Slate. He said "Filmmaking is not going to ever fundamentally change... It's about those actors somehow saying the words and playing the moment in a way that gets in contact with the audience's heart.

Leaving aside the avant-garde, there've been plenty of movies that re-orient how we think about narrative. Here are seven of my favorites from our waning decade:

Scene from Donnie Darko where we are first introduced to Frank.
Directed by Richard Kelly. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Jena Malone, Noah Wyle and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
"Donnie Darko" (2001)
All of Richard Kelly's films have the starting assumption that you've read as much Stephen Hawking as he has and can fill in the narrative gaps accordingly. The original version of "Donnie Darko" is pretty incomprehensible, David Lynch in the suburbs, but sucked you in stylistically even if you couldn't put together the pieces.
Either it's something you can piece together with a decent knowledge of dumbed-down quantum physics (something Kelly forced me to investigate) or it's something else: science as a way of filling in the emotional/plot gaps. Forget the Hot Topic t-shirts; that's as radical as it gets.

"Primer" (2004)
Shane Carruth's bold opening salvo (his only film to date) is unlike anything I've ever seen. It's a movie shot for $7,000, the same budget, inflation-unadjusted, as Robert Rodriguez's 1993 "El Mariachi," but used for way more aesthetically impressive results. It's about Texan engineers inventing a time-travel machine that works -- so successfully, in fact, that the movie, without giving a hint of what it's doing, simply adopts the branching timelines and alternate universes opened up once the engineers step inside "The Box".
According to this timeline, there may be as many as nine branching universes knocking around in there. What "Primer" does best, though, is suck you in stylistically, then leave you to sort out the scientific (logical, but nearly impenetrable) mess. You don't need to understand what's happening to love it, just to know that it works. Black box magic indeed". Source:

Jake's parents officially divorced

Jake Gyllenhaal with his mother Naomi Foner.

"Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal's parents -- TV director Stephen Gyllenhaal and film producer Naomi Foner -- officially ended their marriage on Christmas Eve". Source:

Jake was asked during an interview in 2007 what relationship advice his parents had given him.

“This marks the 30th wedding anniversary of my parents”, he said. “A young man came up to my dad and asked him, ‘What’s it like being married to the same woman for 30 years?’

“My dad answered, ‘She’s not the same woman’.

Jake Gyllenhaal and sister Maggie between their parents Stephen Gyllenhaal and Naomi Foner.

"Stephen Gyllenhaal and Naomi Foner are the parents of Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal. They are reported ended their marriage that has run into 32 years long. Unfortunately, it was happened on Christmas Day.

Stephen is TV director while Naomi is film producer. The two were married in 1977. Unfortunately, they filed for divorce in October 2008. From their marriage, they have two children, Maggie and Jake".