Our top 10 films of 2005

Posted by: Paul Little  //  January 18, 2006 @ 5:17pm

Filed under: SBM Awards

The year of 2005 was considered a huge disappointment for the movie industry. The box office receipts fell for the first time in ages, and while studio mouthpieces may have you believe it was because of rampant downloading or the rise in DVD sales, the fact remains that in 2005, the movies just weren't as good. That being said, while overall this past year's crop of movies wasn't quite up to par with previous years, there were still some fine films that made it worthwhile to get out of your house and spend as much as $15 to be entertained in a multiplex or arthouse theatre.

The year did have many positives. For one, it marked the return of the smart and funny "R-rated comedy", with The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers both cashing in at the box office and even pleasing many critics. Many action and fantasy films did well at the box office as well, including the final chapter of the Star Wars saga; the fourth Harry Potter film; the likely start of a new franchise in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings follow up, King Kong; and the token superhero movie, Batman Begins.

As for our Top 10, some of those big blockbusters made our list, but so did some high-quality but lesser-viewed independent and small studio films that are no doubt primed for Oscar glory this year. It's quite clear, based on our entire list of films, that our staff across North America has a very broad taste in film. However, the movies that made the Top 10 (plus the few others of note) stood above all the rest, especially the #1 film -- Crash -- which was overwhelmingly chosen to top our list by the largest margin since we began with our Top 10 of 2001.

1. Crash
"Crash was one of the films that caused me to rethink my assumption about the annual turnout (I was beginning to dread a long road of branding films 'satisfactory' before the release of Crash). And just for the record, it was so fantastic that I insisted that everyone I know go see it. It rattles you and unleashes you from any prior expectations (as I discovered). Simply genius."
    -- Candice Coughlin, Critic
2. Batman Begins
"In this 'rebooting' of the Batman franchise, director Christopher Nolan has crafted a superhero movie that not only manages to be exciting, frightening, action-packed, and even funny -- but also actually seems real. A stellar ensemble cast, led by Christian Bale, makes Batman Begins a solid film experience that completely transcends the 'comic book movie' genre."
    -- Paul Little, Webmaster
3. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
"In comedy, a simple premise always works best, and Steve Carrell takes Judd Apatow's words and brings them to life in this ensemble piece. Simply put, no other film came close to being as funny as this. I laughed until it hurt and in a year where laughs were few and far between, it marked for a refreshing change of pace."
    -- Mark McLeod, Critic
4. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
"Kiss Kiss is the kind of film that I dream about seeing every year. This film is edgy, gritty, original, interesting, hilarious, and probably has the best screenplay of the year... The thing that makes me scream and yell with delight at the mere mention of this film is that it is so insanely clever and probably the best film either Downey or Kilmer has been in for over a decade."
    -- Dean Kish, Critic
5. King Kong
"King Kong is simply a fabulous movie, perfectly balancing wry comedy, emotional drama, and heart-thumping action without blending them into a transgeneric mishmash. A true feast for the eyes and ears, this film forces you to the edge of your seat at the same time as it disposes you to cry and to laugh."
    -- Jeremy Maron, Critic
6. A History of Violence
"This tale of mistaken/hidden identity is imbued with a persistent dreamlike quality which makes even the most idyllic settings appear to be on the verge of a nightmare. While A History of Violence comes close enough to the mainstream to attract viewers unfamiliar with Cronenberg who are surprised that the film contains visceral sex and violence, the Canadian auteur manages to masterfully retain his abject stylization, crafting a disturbingly engrossing thriller."
    -- Jeremy Maron, Critic
7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
"Once you enter this film, time stands still. Just like the children in C.S. Lewis' story, as you push through the opening minutes of this incredible film and get lost in the magic kingdom of Narnia, you'll leave all thoughts and cares of the real world behind. No doubt about it -- this is a winner for all ages."
    -- Mary Meister, Edmonton Promotions
8. Walk the Line
"Phoenix is absolutely brilliant in the role and what makes his performance all the more amazing than that of other music biopic actors is that he also sings all his own music. It's like Johnny Cash was projecting through him during some of his performances."
    -- Dean Kish, Critic
 
"You don't have to be a Johnny Cash fan to admire the work of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon."
    -- Tom Milroy, Critic
9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
"Tim Burton never fails to provide a colourful experience and Johnny Depp never fails to portray eccentric characters that warm the cockles of our hearts. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gave us a family film with the Burton/Depp touch for the ages. Endlessly watchable, of note are the Deep Roy musical performances as 140 Oompa Loompas and Danny Elfman's coup de maitre."
    -- Scott Hayes, Special Events Reporter
10. Sin City
"The ultimate in North American fantasy is the pulp fiction graphic novel. Viewer buy-in is required, but worthwhile, for this totally faithful-to-source material adaptation with a killer cast. Sky Captain wishes that it could have captured its audience's imagination with a green screen CG-universe like Sin City has. Robert Rodriguez (sans Shark Boy) is a genius."
    -- Scott Hayes, Special Events Reporter
 
"Sin City deserves to be on this list because it was bold and different."
    -- Tom Milroy, Critic

Other top favourites

Munich
"Speilberg will likely catch some heat on this one, because as per usual he tries to present both groups of individuals in a sympathetic light. This most certainly adds to the film's appeal as you have a difficult time choosing sides at various times throughout the picture. The ensemble cast did a spectacular job."
    -- Aimee Boucher, Ottawa Promo Rep

Brokeback Mountain
"Brokeback Mountain is probably the most honest telling of two gay men falling in love that I have ever seen on film. You can feel the tension, built up emotion, and love between these two. The performances are so strong that it transcends that they are both men, but just people in love."
    -- Dean Kish, Critic

The Constant Gardener
"I loved the raw feel of the film and how it was shot... There is so much passion, detail, and raw tension in each frame that I haven't seen on screen in years. Then you have the richness of the conspiracy, the mystery, and the multi-layered elements of the murder. The mystery is almost Hitchcock in its conception."
    -- Dean Kish, Critic

Lord of War
"I thought that this film did a great job of tearing open the underbelly of the gun-running scene. In traveling to various countries, you get to really visualize the potential impact on these areas. It was a well crafted film."
    -- Aimee Boucher, Ottawa Promo Rep

The Best of Youth
"The Best of Youth -- a sprawling six hour epic film shot entirely in Italian (subtitled in English) and split into two parts -- is a tale that follows two brothers and their family throughout 35 years of Italian history. Every minute is as riveting as the one before it, and before you know it, the time has passed."
    -- Mark McLeod, Critic

Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith
"Revenge of the Sith had action and emotion, it contained many geek-loved references to what will take place in A New Hope, and overall it finally brought some much-needed energy back into the franchise that hadn't been seen since Return of the Jedi. George Lucas redeemed himself to a lot of people by making a film that really does bring the whole story full-circle, connecting his two trilogies in a very satifying way.
    -- Paul Little, Webmaster

The rest of our faves

Tags: top 10, awards, Crash, Batman Begins, The 40-Year Old Virgin

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Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of ShowbizMonkeys.com. When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found at The Purple Room in Winnipeg, where he is Artistic Director. (@comedygeek)

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