1Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet) No other film made me feel so happy to be alive. Jeunet invests whimsy with meaning, and each of the film's frames is treated like a piece of a life-affirming jigsaw puzzle. Star Audrey Tautou -- a cross between Louise Brooks and Snow White -- mesmerizes, and Paris becomes a saturated picture postcard in the hands of craftsman Jeunet.
2the lord of the rings: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (Peter Jackson) Jackson did it, he really did it. He turned what was once considered an unfilmable novel into a spectacular movie. The locations are stirring, the sets imaginative, the actors perfectly cast -- Ian McKellen is Gandalf -- and the storytelling captures the excitement and dread of the book. To reiterate the wisdom of peer John Harkness, "I fucking love Lord Of The Rings."
3memento (Christopher Nolan) Cinematic confusion has never ben as much fun as in this tale, told backwards, of a man (Guy Pearce) with no short-term memory searching for his wife's killer. It's a mindfuck, but a perfectly orchestrated one that cries out for multiple viewings.
4the house of mirth (Terence Davies) Gillian Anderson was robbed of a best-actress Oscar for her performance as a turn-of-the-century woman consigned to a state of oblivion simply because she disregards a handful of social niceties. Despairingly beautiful filmmaking from the always melancholy Davies.
5Innocence (Paul Cox) Senior lovers Julia Blake and Charles Tingwell are reunited after 50 years apart. A tender love story that exults, "It' s never too late to find bliss." Blake gives the year's second-best performance, after Anderson's (see above).
6amores perros (Alejandro González Iñárritu) Iñárritu's astounding first feature brings us into the bleeding heart of Mexico City, where violence of all sorts lurks around every corner. But so does redemption. This is the filmmaker to watch. 7ghost world (Terry Zwigoff) Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson are the year' s most memorable couple -- two perpetually sarcastic, disenfranchised teens looking for their place in a world of adults. Zwigoff also tosses in a touching May-December love story that rings true.8the wind will carry us (Abbas Kiarostami) A filmmaker hangs out in a remote Iranian village to capture a death ritual on film, but his plans never come to fruition. Kiarostami celebrates the minutiae of daily life, reminding us to cherish even our most mundane moments.
9sexy beast (Jonathan Glazer) The year's most menacing confrontation: thug Ben Kingsley berating Ray Winstone with the line "You' ll fucking do it" over and over again. Kingsley deserves a supporting-actor award for his nasty but very controlled turn in this nifty character drama/heist flick.10the royal tenenbaums (Wes Anderson) Some like Rushmore better, but I think this film focusing on a family of geniuses trying to sort themselves out is a deeper work. No one makes me laugh harder than Anderson, who is the master of deadpan humour and tableau filmmaking.
Some like Rushmore better, but I think this film focusing on a family of geniuses trying to sort themselves out is a deeper work. No one makes me laugh harder than Anderson, who is the master of deadpan humour and tableau filmmaking.