|1. Requiem for a
Tiger, Hidden Dragon
|A crushing depiction of the descent into the depths of drug use is
poetically and stunningly presented in a gripping and compelling film which
depicts the upsetting, self deprecating inhumanity which the characters
go through to get a fix. Ellen Burstyn deserves an Oscar for her
role as Sara who proves both legal and illegal drugs are equally devastating
as we watch each major player end up in the same position.
||A magical journey combining a mystical fabled 19th Century China with
a gravity-defying depiction of wondrous encounters between young and old
warriors with a striking slant toward feminine empowerment. It fulfills
a martial arts take on The Matrix
soaring from rooftops and tree limbs to reach an airborne acrobatic apex
along with its dramatic wizard like fabled story.
|2. You Can Count On
||2. Into the
Arms of Strangers
|The performance by Laura Linney carries a simple impressive comfortable
story of a brother and sister who suffer as adults from the trauma of losing
their parents in childhood. Each travels an unconventional life style clashing
with each other's insecurity. A warm slice of life which draws us
into the spirit of these siblings is so real it appears extraordinary.
||This unforgettable film has personal meaning to producer Deborah Oppenheimer
- her mother was a Kindertransport survivor, one of the Jewish children
sent to England from other European countries to insure their safety before
World War II. The shattered children did not understand leaving their
parents; the heartbreak is evidenced by the hardships endured by separation.
Narrated by Jude Drench, this deeply wrought film is filled with anguish
and uplifting accounts of the fractured lives.
|3. Nurse Betty
||3. Almost Famous
|Nurse Betty succeeds in every way. The unusual fantasy
script collides with reality as Betty Sizemore (Renee Zellweger), a small
town waitress and intense soap opera fan, pursues her dream world which
she believes is real. A very satisfying ending leaves Betty in Oz,
rather than returning her to Kansas while hit men, producers and actors
||Arguably one of the best American films of 2000, Cameron Crows' diverse
film finds insight into writing and Philip Seymour Hoffman is great as
a rock critic who tells a young aspiring writer the cruel nature of being
with a rock group. William Miller's Fugit learns more away from school
by watching the rock band on the road and connecting with Kate Hudson's
|4. The Cell
|In a world that resembles a surrealistic Silence of the Lambs,
Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) reaches for a young woman locked in a
lethal water cell. Filled with stunning, confusing and bizarre images,
Cell is a visual feast that matches the dazzling nightmarish script
which brings us full circle with unique imagination and great beauty even
in its brutality.
||A daring muckraking thriller on the drug trade which no Hollywood studio
has made in the past. Impressionistically filmed with hand-held cameras
with an urgency and style emanating from a dynamic stream of consciousness
which threads three stories together with surprising and shocking dexterity.
Steven Soderbergh weaves a story using Michael Douglas as the national
drug czar, Catherine Zeta-Jones as the wife of a drug cartel leader who
is on trial, and Benicio Del Toro as an honest Mexican cop through the
dark dirty world of drug selling and drug use, leaving us with the conclusion
that the war can not be won as long as users are willing to buy.
|Set with the back drop of the 1969 amazing Mets World Series, a father
and son converse over a radio frequency created by an unusual aurora borealis
which transcend time and death. Warm and human from a family point
of view, and filled with all the possibilities of shifting time it compels
our attention throughout.
||Ridley Scott's state of the art mounting of the forgotten sword and
sandal genre combines with Russell Crowe's heartfelt and courageous performance
as Maximus, the Roman general who becomes a slave and a gladiator.
With spectacular CGI work the epic film returns with renewed realism.
|6. Chicken Run
||6. You Can Count On
|A delightful, clever, pleasant and joyful adventure about chickens
who long for freedom, Chicken Run accomplishes what few films can,
it holds a mature audience with its astute script, while delighting kids
with the antics and heroics of the chicken flock.
||A film that instills a deeply felt combination of wit and compassion
in a surprising drama that features a moving performance by Laura Linney,
as it underlines a potent dichotomy within the dynamics of a family.
This fascinating look into a relationship between two adult siblings, whose
parents were killed in a car accident when they were children is surprisingly
Tiger, Hidden Dragon
||7. Wonder Boys
|In a fabled world of 19th Century China we see a stunning ballet of
female martial arts warriors as they move in spectacular ways, up walls
and on top of bamboo trees leaving us believing the mystical adventures
and dream like moves are real. The airborne acrobatics are brilliantly
choreographed and the simple story is compelling.
||A deliberate wacky comedy set during the weekend Wordfest literary
festival in a snowy Pittsburgh is a funny and moving tale of campus life
that has rarely been enriched in this fashion. An emotionally restrained
off beat comedy that is strongly conveyed through Michael Douglas' best
performance since Wall Street.
||8. Billy Elliot
|The miracle of the power of chocolate in the hands of Juliette Binoche's
mystical Vianne gently breaths warmth and beauty into a small French town.
is a poem and fantasy that reaches not only for the intoxicating taste
of chocolate but the feelings of love and affection which are released
from the stilled hearts of the towns folks.
||Billy Elliot's personal milieu has him trading in his boxing mitts
for ballet slippers in a moving film that could be a subordinate part to
Full Monty. Set amid a 1984 coal miners strike in North East
England, Billy stands against the norm when he dances and it takes him
a long time to convince his proud father, who understands at the end, how
Billy feels electricity when engaging in "bolley."
|9. The Contender
||9. State and Main
|A political drama with brilliant performances by Joan Allen and Gary
Oldman. Allen, the Vice Presidential nominee, comes under fire from
Oldman's Congressman, Shelly Runyon. The seasoned President makes
practical decisions; in contrast, the contender will not talk about her
sex life as a matter of principle. The Contender is a rich,
tense and exciting drama. It demands attention as the twists keep
us guessing and allow our imagination to dream the best and worst of these
||A satire and screwball comedy set in the quaint town of Waterford,
Vermont about the conflict of making a film. The comedic ensemble
is inspired by the biting dialogue of director David Mamet in a sharp stab
at a venal Tinseltown, the indelible line, "It's not a lie; it's a gift
for fiction," adds to the irony in this Mamet-lite movie-within-a-movie.
|10. Almost Famous
||10. Chicken Run
|We follow the journey of a fifteen year old writer on the trail of
a rock group in the seventies as he attempts to write an article for "Rolling
Stone". The film reveals insight into the gypsy like existence of
rock stars, their weaknesses and allure particularly for "band aids" like
Penny Lane. Innocence ends as he candidly exposes what groupies like
Penny Lane have always known. The flawed characters are endearing and the
seventies look real again.
||This clay animated feature delights young and old in making us root
for the flock of a "Stalag 13" like encampment compliments of the Wallace-Gromit
shorts which families enjoy. With a cocky charm that adds to the
wizardry and a smooth blend of humor as one hen affirms, "I don't want
to be a pie."