Reposting for the new members
(I am yet to catch a few more, shall be updating the list if any of those unseen movies deserves a place here. This list is in no particular order.)
1-) Waltz with Bashir (Israel)
A unique marriage of documentary and animation. Fascinating the viewers in a world of reverie and exploration, it tells the horror and experience of war. Artistically innovative and deeply affecting, it is Folmonâ€™s personal journey to the memories surrounding the part he played in the first Lebanese war and the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians in the West Beirut.
2-) Rachel Getting Married
Infused with a superlative turn from Anne Hathaway, Jonathan crackling study of family dynamics, wedding of countercultural sensibility to a dysfunctional family drama is utterly compelling.
3-) Wendy and Lucy
Kelly Reichardt affecting, minimalist masterpiece spins an uncompromising, painfully downsizing story of a young woman searching for her lost dog. It is a quiet, gently absorbing but speaks volumes about unforgiving economic environment of contemporary America. “Wendy and Lucy” is a true epitome of vintage independent film making.
4-) Wall E
Wall-e is pure magic A landmark in the field of animation. It is just not a wonderfully inventive tender love story between two lovable characters. It is a film about rediscovering humanity and social conscience
5-) Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (German)
Highly demonstrative and provocative, makes an honest and radiant attempt to portray terrorism from every angle with out romanticizing it, but falls bit short of the desired level of artistic quality.
6-) Iron Man
Robert Downey, Jr. makes a great superhero in a smart, quick-witted, tautly scripted adaptation, possibly one of the best comic book adaptations. Underneath this fun, humorous, and extremely entertaining tale, there is a political allegory running. The film that blends brains and brawniness in equal measure, the real word and chimerical backdrop of a typical comic book adaptation.
7-) Departures (Japan)
A stunning contemplated meditation on life and death, Yojiro Takitaâ€™s effort is a touching and incredibly moving experience that hits almost all the right notes.
A bit more accessible than â€œRequiem for a Dreamâ€ and a lot easier to understand than â€œThe Fountain,â€ “The Wrestler” is one of the most human films I’ve seen in awhile. â€œA stunning character study of a man and his passion, discovering universal moments of loneliness within an archetypal sports film.
9-) Let the Right One In (Sweden)
Tomas Alfredsonis in top form,delivers the best vampire film in over a decade. This Swedish gem, based on a novel is a vampire movie drenched in more dread than blood that offers an utterly compelling examination of estrangement and love. Thought provoking take on pre-teen angst and companionship which can stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth and Spirit Of The Beehive.
10-) Man on Wire
The most interesting film I have seen last year. A superbly executed documentary about an obsessive Frenchman Philippe Petit, who does a high wire act between the unfinished Twin Towers of New Yorkâ€™s World Trade Center . The illegal act which itself almost defies belief but “Man on Wire” appears so large within our mind, we become his partner-in-crime.
11-) Iâ€™ve Loved You So Long (France)
This sensitive and beautifully restrained portrayal of family love which revolved around two sisters who reconnected with one another after a prolonged absence. Philippe Claudelâ€™s minimalist journey about a woman searching for reconciliation and redemption within her is quietly exploding and understated.
12-) Slumdog Millionaire (UK)
The done to death rags-to-riches meets boy-meets-girl story could have easily swung into a melodrama, effusively sentimental but Boyleâ€™s eye for beautiful images, the fast moving narrative, the effective integration of music in the screenplay, the hyperkinetic atmosphere just heightens its impact even in the worst situations marked with implausibility. Boyleâ€™s unapologetic tributes to Bollywood masala allures and makes us embrace that implausibility without any resentment.
Sean Penn embodies his role as the openly gay U.S politician in Gus Van Sant fascinating, gripping political biopic even if it doesnâ€™t quite escape the trite ideas of biopic genre. This is one hell of an engrossing story no matter what oneâ€™s sexual orientation or preference is.
14-) My Winnipeg
This visually dazzling film, shot extensively in black and white is an unusual yet utterly delightful blend of fact and fiction. This “docu-fantasia”(explores the memory, dreams, and myths of Guy Maddin’s home) is superbly crafted and seductively funny. This deep, personal film shows so much flashes of Guy Maddinâ€™s brilliance all over it.
15-) The Visitor
This character driven, thematically nuanced drama that is thoughtful and beautifully observed gives a bittersweet feeling at the end. Tom McCarthy approaches the suggestive and provocative subject with delicate sensitivity and understament. Lushed with some superlative performances, Jenkins is unquestionably the standout one.
16-) Synecdoche, New York
No other film last year has been more thought provoking than this Charlie Kaufmanâ€™s master work. Charlie Kaufman plunges us down into pit of mortal fears and existential longings. Kaufmanâ€™s audacity, towering ambition and surreal moments of beauty and doldrums are worth the overindulgence. Seymour Hoffmanâ€™s gives an outstanding performance as the vulnerable and unflinching man driven about belief in doing something meaningful before his soul departs.
The most viscerally disquieting cinematic experience of the year A powerful meditation on freedom. Visual masterpiece in many ways, This is not a film that takes sides, but rather it explores the human horror of the troubles through the lens of the hunger strike.
18-) XXY (Argentina)
The tale about the sexual awakening of 15-year-old female Alex (Ines Efron), who has a rare medical condition called genital ambiguity, is an intelligent drama that is in no way exploitative. Sergio Bizzio, tackles the controversial subject with delicate sensitivity and seriousness. Ines Efron brings so much strength and vulnerability to her androgynous character, it becomes a testament to express her identity crisis into universal terms.
Shot in atrophied streets, semi-decayed slums of Naples, Gomorrah deconstructs the popular notion of Mafia life, dispenses with all the cliches of a gangster movie, provides viewers with a look at the world of organized crime that is completely deglamorized. A peep into what society could become with social breakdown following economic collapse.
20-) The Edge of Heaven (German)
Slowly paced, beautifully photographed and realized, poetically fluid, accompanied by a score which is both animating and plaintive, Fata Akinâ€™s drama about the redemption and compunction of three families is an affecting ode to compassion and forgiveness.
21-) Three Monkeys(Turkey)
The noir-style psychological thriller falls bit short of its ambitions, filmâ€™s dramatic and emotional wallop canâ€™t match the visual aesthetics at play but nonetheless a gripping drama on human struggle in the days of political prostitution.