BY KEVIN CARR
10. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Mel Gibson had a vision to make a cinematic passion play in dead languages, and he did so without Hollywood’s backing or support. It was a very polarizing film, but it was a powerful movie that shook things up in Hollywood.
9. United 93 (2006)
Only a few years after the events of September 11, Paul Greengrass directed the first theatrical movie about the terror attacks. With its gritty docudrama style, “United 93” presented an ultra-realistic look at some of the greatest American heroes in modern time.
8. Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) & Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
I know George Lucas let his ego run out of control. I know these were goofy stories. I know the acting was pretty noxious in the prequels. But I grew up with “Star Wars,” and these movies wrapped up a story I had spent my childhood waiting for.
7. Sin City (2005)
Even though the massive success of “X-Men” and “Spider-Man” set a new mold for comic book movies, it was Robert Rodriguez’s panel-by-panel adaptation of Frank Miller’s groundbreaking graphic novels that showed us that an accurate and faithful film could be told from the comic book form.
6. Memento (2000)
Before “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” Christopher Nolan turned heads with this out-of-sequence tale of revenge. It represents a feat in low-budget independent filmmaking because it looks slick, tells a brilliant story and trumps anything it was competing against in the theatrical marketplace.
5. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
Sacha Baron Cohen’s first stab at feature filmmaking was a hit, forcing people to examine their own prejudices and insecurities while watching this bizarre mockumentary. It was easily one of the funniest films of the year, and it carried a strange message of tolerance beneath all of its political incorrectness.
4. Team America: World Police (2004)
Leave it to Trey Parker and Matt Stone to use puppets to satire everything from political zeal to Matt Damon. There are no sacred cows in this movie, whether it be Kim Jong Il or Michael Bay. Mainstream America didn’t quite get this movie, but for someone like me, it was absolutely hilarious.
3. The Incredibles (2004)
Pixar has dominated the box office and best of lists for the past decade, and this is one of their best films on record. It’s a great animated film. It’s a great superhero movie. And it’s a great film for the whole family. Telling the story of a modern superhero family in future retro style, “The Incredibles” is an adventure in itself.
2. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
There are few films that can capture the loving dysfunction of a family and still make it feel warm and cozy. Wes Anderson hit the pinnacle of his career about a caustic family struggling with their insecurities and prejudices, cementing his style and place as a fantastic director.
1. WALL-E (2008)
Yes, it’s another Pixar movie, and it’s one of the sweetest one out there. No movie has captured my emotion as much as this film did, and it managed to do that with a robot rather than a person. WALL-E is one of the most fascinating characters to come out of Disney/Pixar, full of charm and R2-D2 wit.
HONORABLE MENTION – No Country for Old Men (2007)
The Coen Brothers won the Oscar for this fantastic movie about greed and the lengths at which people will go for money. It’s easily their best film since “Fargo.”