Paul Thomas Anderson has made cinematic epics before. He applied the stylistic touches of David Lean and Robert Altman to both Boogie Nights and Magnolia; however, There Will Be Blood is pure Anderson.
Alfonso Cuarón was not bound by any of the elements that people normally associate with the science fiction genre. Children of Men established a vision of the future that is much more like the present than some futuristic time.
Road to Perdition was the second film directed by Sam Mendes. He won an academy award for his first film, American Beauty. The film established Mendes as more than a one-hit-wonder, and marked Mendes as a cinematic force with which to be reckoned.
The Lives of Others is fiction intertwined with history. While the narrative is a personal story about two characters, Georg Dreyman and Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler, it’s impossible to imagine the film set in any other place or time. Yet there is a timeless quality to the film. The Lives of Others is a warning about the danger of allowing the government to have too much power.
No honest list of the best films of this decade would be complete without The Lord of the Rings. I don’t want to specify which of the three chapters is my personal favorite, because it is really one body of work. Upon the release of the first film, Peter Jackson became a household name and part of an elite club of filmmakers that are able to please mainstream audiences as well as critics. The name Peter Jackson can be grouped with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas as visionaries.
The Dark Knight is more than pop entertainment; it is filmmaking at it’s finest. Thus far, The Dark Knight is the highlight of Christopher Nolan’s filmography. When Christopher Nolan took over the batman franchise, it was impossible to know how he would bring the iconic character to life.
The first time I saw The Squid and the Whale I was moved to tears. The film was written and directed by Noah Baumbach, and while The Squid and the Whale was Baumbach’s fourth film, it seemed like the beginning of a whole new chapter of his career.
tarantino’s first “detour” was Kill Bill. Originally intended to be one film, Tarantino eventually decided to split Kill Bill into two separate movies. This could have easily come across as a cash grab; however, the decision has artistic merit. The two volumes of Kill Bill are extremely different. They have their own stylistic tones, as well as their own story arcs.
There is something special about Good Night, and Good Luck that separates it from other modern movies. It is presented in black and white, but I don’t think that is one of the film’s defining features. Black and white in this day and age suggest a commitment to a vision. Filmmakers could almost always make more money with a color film; however, they occasionally choose not to take the easy path.
Every year Woody Allen releases another film. He is never really out of the public’s eye. Just like Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona broke from in Allen’s standard conventions. The themes in both films are reminiscent of Allen’s earlier work; however, they focus on a completely different type of character. Allen’s protagonists in both movies are not his typical, nebbish neurotics. Match Point focused on a skilled manipulator, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona focused on artists who view their lives as art as much as their canvases.