The Best Films of the 2000s

Here are the films of the last decade that really struck me as the best of the best.

I’m sure there are a few here and there that I might have missed but if some come back to me I’ll update it.

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

What about you? Leave your favourites from the decade in the comments below.

Find out more about the films of 2009 at Wikipedia
Check out more end of decade lists at Metacritic
> Have a look at the Movie City News end of year critics chart
Check out our best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009

The Best Films of 2009

As usual my best films of the year are presented in alphabetical order and in the interests of brevity I’ve decided to make the descriptions shorter so I can post each one on Twitter.

THE BEST FILMS OF 2009

A Prophet (Dir. Jacques Audiard): A stunning French prison drama with grit, style, humour and killer performances from Tahar Rahim and Niels Arestrup.

A Serious Man (Dir. The Coen Brothers): This sly re-working of the Book of Job was arguably the finest film of the Coen Brothers distinguished career.

Adventureland (Dir. Greg Mottola): A coming-of-age drama which defiantly proved that movies featuring teenagers can be funny, moving and smart.

Avatar (Dir. James Cameron): The dialogue creaked but Cameron returned with a dazzling sci-fi experience and took cinema visuals into a new world.

In the Loop (Dir. Armando Ianucci): The joyous foul-mouthed wit of this political satire was only matched by the intelligence of its observations on modern politics.

Inglourious Basterds (Dir. Quentin Tarantino): A cinematic mash up of WW2 movies and spaghetti westerns saw Tarantino return to form with a bang.

Sin Nombre (Dir. Cary Fukunaga): This beautifully shot immigration drama featured some fine performances and heralded a new talent in director Cary Joji Fukunaga.

The Hurt Locker (Dir. Kathryn Bigelow): A pulsating and provocative examination of a US bomb squad in Iraq that may come to be a defining film of the conflict.

The Road (Dir. John Hillcoat): Cormac McCarthy’s parable of a book came to the screen with admirable levels of emotion, horror and realism.

The White Ribbon (Dir. Michael Haneke): A stunning examination of a German village beset by mysterious cruelties which became a telling meditation on the roots of Nazism.

Up (Dir. Pete Doctor): Pixar triumph again with this lovingly rendered tale of the young and the old learning from one another on a unique balloon trip.

Up in the Air (Dir. Jason Reitman): A skillful comedy-drama that was both funny and thoughtful, featured a terrific performance from George Clooney.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

A Single Man (Dir. Tom Ford)
An Education (Dir. Lone Scherfig)
Broken Embraces (Dir. Pedro Almodóvar)
Coraline (Dir. Henry Selick)
35 Shots of Rum (Dir. Claire Denis)
District 9 (Dir. Neill Blomkamp)
Moon (Dir. Duncan Jones)
Star Trek (Dir. JJ Abrams)
The Cove (Dir. Louie Psihoyos)
Fish Tank (Dir. Andrea Arnold)
Where The Wild Things Are (Dir. Spike Jonze)

FROM 2008

Encounters at the End of the World (Dir. Werner Herzog)
Two Lovers (Dir. James Gray)
Il Divo (Dir: Paolo Sorrentino)
Mid-August Lunch (Dir. Gianni di Gregorio)

What about you? Leave your favourites from this year in the comments below.

> Find out more about the films of 2009 at Wikipedia
> Check out more end of year lists at Metacritic
> Have a look at the Movie City News end of year critics chart
> Check out our best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009

UK DVD & Blu-ray: District 9

District 9 is a sci-fi drama about aliens stranded in South Africa which became one of the surprise hits of the year with its clever mix of action, politics and dazzling SFX.

After being recruited to do the aborted Halo movie by Peter Jackson, director Neill Blomkamp revived a short film of his which was a science-fiction thriller where stranded alien refugees are exiled to a slum in Johannesburg.

The story explores what happens to a South African bureaucrat (Sharlto Copley) assigned to relocate the creatures, derogatorily referred to as “prawns”, after he is infected with a strange liquid.

A combination of many alien films and TV shows from Alien Nation, V and even Independence Day, it mixes political allegory with a more conventional thriller narrative.

Copley gives a strong performance in the central role and the visual realisation of the aliens is stunning with the designs coming from WETA Workshop and effects by Image Engine.

Funded by QED, it was picked up by Sony who did a shrewd marketing campaign and achieved one of the summers genuine breakthrough hits, without any recognisable stars, a first time director and working from little known source material.

In a year of overblown and tedious sci-fi/action fare such as Transformers 2 and GI: Joe, this was a breath of fresh air.

The extras on the DVD and Blu-ray are as follows:

DVD

  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English DD5.1 Surround
  • English Audio Description Track
  • English HOH and Hindi subtitles
  • Director’s Commentary
  • The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker’s Log Three-Part Documentary
  • Deleted Scenes

Blu-ray Disc

Coded for all regions (A, B and C), extras are presented in HD. The transfer on the Blu-ray looks fantastic and is one of the best presented discs I have seen all year in terms of picture quality. Features include:

  • 1080P 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA
  • English Audio Description Track
  • English*, English HOH, French and Hindi subtitles (*also on extras)
  • Director’s Commentary
  • The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker’s Log Three-Part Documentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • BD Exclusives:
  • BD-Live: movieIQ & cinechat
  • Featurette: “Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus”
  • Featurette: “Innovation: The Acting and Improvisation of District 9”
  • Featurette: “Conception and Design: Creating the World of District 9”
  • Featurette: “Alien Generation: The Visual Effects of District 9”
  • Joburg from Above: Satellite and Schematics of the World of District 9” – Interactive Map

> Buy District 9 on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon UK
> District 9 at the IMDb
> Official site

UK DVD & Blu-ray: The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker succeeds brilliantly where many films about the Iraq War have failed by examining the tense details of life in a bomb disposal unit.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow from a script by journalist Mark Boal (based on his experiences as a reporter embedded with troops), it portrays a group of soldiers who have to disarm IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in the heat of combat.

The story begins with a new sergeant (Jeremy Renner) taking over a highly trained disposal team and the tension that arises with his two subordinates, Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) as they fear his fearless attitude is endangering their lives.

Unlike the half-hearted hand-wringing that has characterised some of the films dealing with the war on terror, this plunges us deep into the anxiety and chaos of warfare.

But the clever twist of The Hurt Locker is that it steers clear of war movie clichés: the enemy is often hidden and faceless; sequences are agonisingly teased out; death is lurking everywhere; combat is a powerful drug that affects soldiers in different ways.

Bigelow wisely recruited cinematographer Barry Ackroyd to give the film a captivating, hand-held look which is reminiscent of his work on Paul Greengrass’ United 93.

As a director it is a welcome return to form and combines the energy and thrills of her best work with an attention to detail that pays of handsomely in several memorable sequences.

Since premièring at the Venice film festival back in 2008 it has deservedly reaped rave reviews and will be a leading contender at the upcoming Oscars.

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc come with the following extras:

  • Behind the Scenes (12mins)
  • Interviews with cast and crew (12mins)
  • BD Exclusive: Photo Gallery
  • BD Exclusive: Backstage (13mins)

> Buy The Hurt Locker on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon
> Listen to my interview with Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal about the film

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Tuesday 28th December 2009

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

District 9 (Sony): A sci-fi drama about aliens landing in South Africa  featuring no stars and an unknown  director became one of the surprise hits of the year with a clever mix of action, politics and dazzling SFX. [Click here for the full review]

The Hurt Locker (Lionsgate/Optimum): One of the most acclaimed films of the decade was this tense drama about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq, directed by Kathryn Bigelow from a script by journalist Mark Boal. [Click here for the full review]

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ALSO OUT

1941 (Universal) [Buy on DVD]
A Dangerous Man (Optimum) [Buy on DVD]
Darker Than Black Vols 5 & 6 (Manga) [Buy on DVD]
Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Darkside (Fox) [Buy on Import DVD]
Kitaro and the Millennium Curse (Manga) [Buy on DVD]
Kitaro Movie (Manga) [Buy on DVD]
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Season 4 (Universal Playback)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 10 (Universal Playback)
Life Season 2 (Universal Playback) [Buy on DVD]
Misfits Series 1 (4DVD) [Buy on DVD]
The Final Destination (EIV) [Buy on DVD / Buy on Blu-ray]
The Gold Diggers (BFI) [Buy on DVD]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for 2009