Best of 2005

We Are All Fools in Love

by Alan Rapp on February 10, 2011

in Movie Reviews , Theme Week

  • Title: Pride & Prejudice
  • IMDB: link

pride-and-prejudice-posterLet me start out by saying I’m not a big Jane Austen fan and just the thought of reading a novel of hers makes me drowsy.  Joe Wright‘s new version of Pride & Prejudice is anything but dreary.  With a wonderful eye, energetic performances, and a droll since of humor and wit this piece of Austen’s work comes alive on screen and not only is fresh, inviting, and enjoyable it just happens to be one of the best movies of the year.

In England during the Georgian era Austen’s tale follows the lives of the Bennet women especially the headstrong Elizabeth (Keira Knightley).  The Bennet clan is headed by Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) and lorded over by his wife (Brenda Blethyn) who spends all her time trying to wed off her five daughters and improve the family’s fortunes.  Into the picture arrives Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) a wealthy suitor who takes a fancy in the eldest Bennet daughter Jane (Rosamund Pike) and his rather drab companion Mr. Darcy (Matthew McFadyen) who raises the ire of Elizabeth.  What follows is the tale of love found and lost and the consequences of choices made.

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As I made up my list of my top ten films of the year I noticed something – not one was a box office hit in terms of Hollywood executive standards.  None of my ten grossed $100 million at the box office, in fact only one grossed more than $50 million.  Though most pulled in an excess of what it took to make, or at least enough to break even, very few people saw the films that I would consider to be the class of 2005.

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A History of Violence

by Alan Rapp on December 29, 2005

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: A History of Violence
  • IMDB: link

a-history-of-violenceA History of Violence is only 96 minutes long and everything you need to know about the film can be found in that amount of time.  It’s a streamlined and stripped down story that doesn’t waste a single frame or a single performance.  And for its short running time it is amazingly effective, disturbing, distressing, and haunting.

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Edie (Mario Bello) own a diner in a sleepy little town of Millbrook, Indiana.  They are raising a son (Ashton Holmes) who is tortured by bullies but has been taught to turn the other cheek, and a young daughter (Heidi Hayes).  Their life seems idyllic until a pair of thugs attempt to rob the diner and kill the witnesses.  Tom kills both men with brutal efficiency that is unusual in a diner owner of a sleepy town.

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Spielberg’s Best Film in 12 Years

by Alan Rapp on December 23, 2005

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Munich
  • IMDB: link

munich-posterStephen Spielberg‘s Munich is a personal story that is deeply moving and emotionally challenging to the viewer.  Hard questions are asked about the nature of revenge, assassination, and the right of a people to protect themselves through any means necessary.  Not since Schindler’s List has Spielberg taken on such a momentous undertaking that produced such extraordinary results.  This is his best film in over a decade and, it can be argued, the best film of his entire career.  In Munich Spielberg becomes the storyteller of a very personal story of pain, loss, vengeance, betrayal, murder, and death.  Munich is tremendous filmmaking and one of the best movies of the year.

The film begins with the abduction and murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.  Munich tells the story of the fallout of this tragedy as Avner (Eric Bana), a Mossad officer and son of a hero, is chosen by the Israeli Prime Minister (Lynn Cohen) to lead a team and hunt down and kill all 11 of the terrorists responsible.  Avner accept the assignment and leaves his pregnant wife; he travels to Europe with his team to track down and assassinate the members of Black September.

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RENT to Own

by Alan Rapp on November 23, 2005

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: RENT
  • IMDB: link

rent-posterRENT explores the issues and of friendship, death, drugs, and AIDS during one year.  Terrific casting, most of the broadway leads hired for the film, and a terrific score only underpin the import of the story.  The music unveils the plot rather than just put on a show.

The movie examines the life of seven Bohemians living in the east village of New York from 1989 through 1990.  The movie begins with the mugging of Tom Collins (Jesse L. Martin) who is mugged on the night he has returned to New York just outside his friend’s apartment.  He is assisted by Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) a crossdresser who helps him up to Mark and Roger’s apartment.

Mark (Anthony Rapp) is a struggling documentary filmmaker who’s girlfriend Maureen (Idina Menzel), a popular artist with the Bohemian crowd, has left for an attorney named Joanne (Tracie Thoms).  Roger (Adam Pascal) is a musician struggling to write one last song worthy to leave behind.  Mimi (Rosario Dawson) is a dancer at the nearby strip club who lives downstairs and burns a candle for Roger.  The eighth figure is Benny (Taye Diggs) a friend who owns the building and used to live with them but has gone corporate and wants to evict everyone and rebuild the neighborhood.

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