Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Best of the Decade: Film (Take 2)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Our best-of-the-decade film series continues (see Take 1 here) with another batch of memorable scenes and moments. At the end, each of the Flyer's three film critics lists some of our favorite acting performances of the decade.


“I love seeing a teacher out of school. It’s like seeing a dog walking on its hind legs.” — Tina Fey at the mall, MEAN GIRLS. (Chris Herrington)

A car chase in the rain, WE OWN THE NIGHT. (Addison Engelking)

Wong Kar-Wai's camera longingly tracks Maggie Cheung walking down — and then back up — a flight of steps, the world moving on a woman's hips in IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. (CH)

The spectacle of Maggie Cheung in transit, In the Mood for Love:

An iconic film character cuts quite a profile as he watches a mushroom cloud balloon in INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. (Greg Akers)

A hand-scrawled cardboard sign reads “No rap music before 10 a.m.,” the arrival of that hour marked by one cutter dropping an EPMD cassette into the stereo and blasting “You Gots to Chill." Just another day on the job in BARBERSHOP. (CH)

Lars Urlich's father, Torben — who looks like Gandalf and Old Blue from Old School — disapproves of his son's latest work ("If you said, if you were our advisor what would you say, then I would say, 'Delete that'") in METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER. (AE)

Fatherly advice, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster:

Effie (Jennifer Hudson) reads Curtis (Jamie Foxx) the riot act, singing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” in DREAMGIRLS. (GA)

From a wedding to a funeral, an entire life together in a few precious, wordless minutes: UP (CH)

CHILDREN OF MEN: The best directorial moment of the decade, courtesy of Alfonso Cuaron, as a four-minute tracking shot encapsulates dialog, character development, prop stunts, romance, an ambush, a shocking death, a car chase, and a shoot-out. (GA)

Mind-blowing tracking-shot, Children of Men:

Dave (Tim Robbins) monologues in the dark in MYSTIC RIVER. (GA)

A girl finds an abortion in a bag, from Todd Solondz's PALINDROMES (which just goes to show that some moments may be memorable, but they aren't necessarily good). (AE)

Zoe "the Cat" Bell — Uma Thurman's stunt double from Kill Bill — clinging to the hood of "the Vanishing Point car," potential victim in a breath-stopping, high-speed demolition derby; a presumed bad end giving way to a waving hand in the bushes and a chipper "I'm okay!" Truly DEATH PROOF. (CH)YOUTUBE

Death Proof car chase (moment at 4:15):

Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) is cruel to Leonard (Guy Pearce), finally revealing to him the truth of her character, and then he forgets, in MEMENTO. (GA)

Two odd birds embrace and kiss in silhouette in front of a pastel burst of life outside a hotel window: PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE. (CH)

Thai warrior Kham (Tony Jaa) fights his way up four flights of stairs in a restaurant/bad-guy lair, all in a single take, in THE PROTECTOR. (GA)

The Protector's bravura fight scene:

A middle-aged woman (S. Epatha Merkerson) sings a hymn to her new suitor (Samuel L. Jackson) on a bench outside a grocery store, where inside a messy mother-and-child reunion is taking place. People coming together and falling apart in BLACK SNAKE MOAN. (CH)

Dakota Fanning watches from the back seat of a van as New York is destroyed, WAR OF THE WORLDS. (AE)

It’s a mixed-martial arts gross-out fest as Christine (Alison Lohman) battles the crone (Lorna Raver) in a parked car in DRAG ME TO HELL. (GA)

"You can almost hear the typhoon bearing down on a defenseless seaside village through this tortured flute solo." — Radio commentators describe the action as performers from around the globe compete to create THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD. (CH)

Play-by-play from The Saddest Music in the World:

Mike (Chiwetel Ejiojor) is exhausted in honorable victory in the final image of David Mamet’s unexpectedly uplifting REDBELT. (GA)

Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), a bomb specialist on his first mission for Bravo Company in Iraq, lifts a wire from the ground and seven shrapnel-packed shells emerge slowly from the gravel, like hungry sharks. Just another day on the job in THE HURT LOCKER. (CH)

"Welcome to Costco. I love you": the retail greeter of the future in Mike Judge's IDIOCRACY. (AE)

Vision of the future, Idiocracy:

Rubberneck at how far George Lucas has fallen in the screamingly funny, unintentional comedy of Jabba’s gay/Southern dandy uncle, Ziro the Hutt, in STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. (GA)

The well-earned post-King-assassination montage in TALK TO ME. Yes, the music is Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." And, yes, it has to be. (CH)

The protagonist (Wiley Wiggins) floats away as melancholic stringed music plays in WAKING LIFE. (GA)



Christian Bale (American Psycho, 2000)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, 2006)
Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood, 2007)
Will Smith (Ali, 2001)
Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom, 2001)

Jet Li (Unleashed, 2005)
Gene Hackman (The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001)
Romain Duris (The Beat That My Heart Skipped, 2005)
Ving Rhames and Wesley Snipes (Undisputed, 2002)
Kurt Russell (Dark Blue, 2002)

Sean Penn (Milk, 2008)
Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood, 2007)
Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain, 2005)
Nicholas Cage (Adaptation, 2003)
Ralph Fiennes (Spider, 2003)


Naomi Watts (Mulholland Dr., 2001)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River, 2008)
Audrey Tautou (Amelie, 2001)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & 2, 2003-04)
Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004)

Salma Hayek (Ask the Dust, 2006)
Nathalie Baye (Le Petit Lieutenant, 2005)
Maggie Cheung (Clean, 2004)
Diane Keaton (Something's Gotta Give, 2003)
Debbie Doebereiner (Bubble, 2005)

Naomi Watts (Mulholland Dr., 2001)
Carice Van Houten (Black Book, 2007)
Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, 2005)
Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich, 2000)
Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, 2008)


Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, 2007)
Leandro Firmino (City of God, 2003)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, 2005)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight, 2008)
Tim Robbins (Mystic River, 2003)

Viggo Mortensen (Appaloosa, 2008)
David Carradine (Kill Bill, Vol. 2, 2004)
Michael Shannon (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, 2007)
Sean William Scott (Role Models, 2008)
Robert Downey Jr. (Zodiac, 2007)

Vijay Raaz (Monsoon Wedding, 2002)
Eddie Marsan (Vera Drake, 2005)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight, 2008)
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, 2009)
Mathieu Amalric (Kings and Queen, 2005)


Amy Adams (Junebug, 2005)
Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, 2004)
Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, 2006)
Meryl Streep (Adaptation, 2002)
Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April, 2003)

Helena Bonham Carter (Planet of the Apes, 2001)
Scarlet Johansson (Ghost World, 2001)
Janeane Garofalo (Ratatouille, 2007)
Bess Armstrong (Diamond Men, 2000)
Angelina Jolie (Wanted, 2008)

Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, 2007)
Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers, 2005)
Meryl Streep (Adaptation, 2003)
Bebe Neuwirth (Tadpole, 2002)
Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, 2007)

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