January 07, 2004

10 Movies of 2003

There is no objectivity in this list. The films' aesthetics and quality have nothing to do with this list. These movies are my top 10 simply because I immensely enjoyed watching them and I see myself buying their video versions. Some crap movie's high ranking will definitely be a surprise but I stand by it coz I was entertained by it. Period. It's safe to assume then that the list tells so much about my personality. As the saying goes, tell me what your favorite movies are and I'll tell you who you are. (Okay, I made that up.) :)

But for a semblance of objectivity, the films qualified for the list are only those that were shown theatrically in the Philippines last year. Or at least, those I have seen in theaters last year. Let me also tell you that even if I'm a film buff, my movie log states that I only watched 56 films last year (not that much) and for trivia's sake, I placed 23 as favorites. :) The first movie I saw in 2003 was the overhyped Mano Po and the last and only MMFF movie I saw (so far) was Bridal Shower (a disappointment but well, entertaining.)

And oh, the movies I worked for, the fairy tales Till There Was You and My First Romance were exempted. Not that they would place in the Top 10 anyway. :)

10. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Director: Steven Spielberg
Spielberg's first commercial movie after Lost World: Jurassic Park 2, the film attests that Steven is indeed one of the superb visual directors around. The movie is very entertaining and succeeds in bringing back Leonardo DiCaprio's charisma which seems to have waned after that big-movie-you-know-what. Favorite scene: The one wherein DiCaprio's character looked through the window and saw her half-sister for the first time, mere minutes before the police tracked him down.

9. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE. Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson is another visual director whose movies manifest nuances through music, situations and cinematography rather than dialogue; Punch-Drunk Love being one of them. The film also brings out fine performances by the always reliable Emily Watson and comedian Adam Sandler. This is definitely a far better version than its commercial counterpart Anger Management (which also stars Sandler.)

8. THE HOURS. Director: Stephen Daldry
Too much of girl power maybe but one can't deny the sublime and beautiful poetry the film shows. The ensemble gives emotionally-charged performances, my favorite being Julianne Moore as the 1950's repressed housewife. The themes discussed in the film are all relevant and affecting.

7. THE MAGDALENE SISTERS. Director: Peter Mullan
Biased, yes, but very powerful and true. The film bravely exposes what we already have known about the negative aspects of religion. Geraldine McEwan acts beaufiully as the villaneous Mother Superior.

6. BABAE SA BREAKWATER. Director: Mario O' Hara
Last year's best Filipino picture, enough said.

5. UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. Director: Audrey Wells
Blithe and very entertaining. Diane Lane succeeds in telling us that Unfaithful was not a fluke. This is the perfect movie for the hopeless romantics out there.

4. JACKASS: THE MOVIE. Director: Jeff Tremaine
Heck, the title's a misnomer. It's not a movie but a series of inane pranks and gross stunts. But why was I laughing out loud and thorougly entertained while watching it?! Does it mean I'm a jackass myself?! :)

3. 28 DAYS LATER. Director: Danny Boyle
This is probably my favorite zombie movie of all time. The film's premise is so haunting and eerily familiar, you will forgive the explicit human being as zombies symbolism. The first five (I didn't time it) minutes of the flick, the one after the prologue, is a definite classic. Cillian Murphy is the next IT British import.

2. CITY OF GOD. Directors: Katie Lund and Fernando Meirelles
The best docu-drama ever. The film's so complex, so rich, and so reality-based you'll end up thinking that those rapper-poseurs with their contrived anger and insipid clans are a bunch of wimps compared to the characters of the City of God. It's one of the most powerful movies I saw in terms of exposing the social ills of poverty and everything on it.

1. SWIMMING POOL. Director: Francois Ozon

I love you Spike Jonze but Swimming Pool is the best meta-movie last year (better than your Adaptation)! This pseudo suspense thriller is well directed, well-acted, well everything, it's gotta be a classic. The ending is like it or hate it but it actually doesn't matter for by then, you know you are served with a very fine and original material. For succeeding in mixing the terms "entertaining" and "art", Swimming Pool is tops for me. :)

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