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Top Ten Films 2005

IT MAY have been a lousy year at the US Box Office but there were still some great films released in 2005.

The year got off to a great start with Closer, Million Dollar Baby and Sideways, while even the blockbusters delivered the goods, with Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith finally delivering what fans expected and Batman Begins proving a real return to form for the ailing franchise. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sizzled in Mr & Mrs Smith while Robert Rodriguez redefined the look of cinema with Sin City.

Then, of course, there were the stellar likes of Crash, The Constant Gardener and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang to contend with before the year drew to a close with three blockbusters – Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong.

But which, if any, make our top 10 of 2005?

10) Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
What we said: On the surface, Million Dollar Baby seems like just another boxing story of an unlikely fighter coming good – albeit in this case, a female fighter. But appearances can be deceptive and Clint Eastwood’s latest, which marks his follow-up to Mystic River, is one of the most unforgettable films of the year; a powerful reflection on human frailty and personal redemption.

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9) Lord of war

Lord of War

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke, Ian Holm, Jared Leto
What we said: Hollywood targets the arms trade in Lord of War, a sharp satirical thriller that hits with all the deadly accuracy of a sniper’s bullet… Needless to say, the film flies in the face of most conventional action thrillers and is in no way patriotic, maintaining its sharp edge to the end. It is designed to excite as well as to ask questions and succeeds in doing both, making it a slick and intelligent experience that displays courage under fire from beginning to end.

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8) Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Starring: The voices of Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter
What we said: For some time now Pixar have been setting the standards in cinema animation with films like Toy Story and The Incredibles, so who would have thought that a team from Britain would be the ones to give them a run for their money? Step forward Nick Park and Steve Box (aka Aardman Animation), whose Wallace and Gromit make their big screen debut in spectacularly impressive fashion. Having already won three Oscars for their short film adventures, Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his loyal pet dog Gromit now get to entertain audiences over the course of 87 fun-packed minutes and do so with considerable aplomb.

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7) The Descent

The Descent

Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza
What we said: It’s been a long time since a horror film actually had me cowering in my seat but Neil Marshall’s The Descent did just that. Three years on from his breakthrough hit, Dog Soldiers, Marshall has sharpened his horror skills to deliver one of the most terrifying chillers in recent memory – a bloody, brutal and downright nerve-shredding experience… It’ll leave your nerves in tatters and gasping for breath right up until the final credits. It’s a bloody brilliant treat.

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6) In Good Company

In Good Company

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Scarlett Johansson, Topher Grace
What we said: In Good Company proves itself to be a smart, funny, even biting movie that seamlessly blends moments of spot-on satire with affecting human drama. Paul Weitz’s film not only makes some very pertinent points about corporations and the men who serve them at the highest level, but also has the good sense to offset them with some wonderfully drawn characters so that by the time it reaches its sweet conclusion, you won’t mind the overdose of sentiment.

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5) The Constant Gardener

The Constant Gardener

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston
What we said: Having dazzled audiences with his breath-taking debut, City of God, Fernando Meirelles returns with another scintillating piece of cinema in the form of The Constant Gardener. The film is adapted from the novel by John Le Carré and functions both as a taut political thriller, with its finger on the pulse of current events, as well as an affecting love story that gives it an emotional kick you might not see coming.

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4) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Starring: Robert Downey Jnr, Val Kilmer
What we said: Not content with merely writing a movie, Black is now directing and the result is pure cinema dynamite – an explosive treat that, once again, flips a genre on its head to deliver one of the most satisfying movie experiences of the year. Part pulp fiction, part film noir and most definitely buddy-orientated, this genre deconstruction finds Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer attempting to solve several murders in Hollywood. Some might argue that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a little too smug and self-referential for its own good, especially if you find voice-over narratives a little annoying. But the majority should pucker up and enjoy the all-too seductive charms this has to offer. It’s a blast from start to finish.

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3) Sideways

Sideways

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church
What we said: Rather like the finest of wines, Sideways, the latest film from About Schmidt director, Alexander Payne, is one that leaves a terrific taste in the mouth if it is given the proper time to breathe. It’s a simple tale that takes an established format – the road movie – and turns it into a magical experience that stays with you far longer than most members of its genre… It came as little surprise to find that Sideways was showered with accolades and nominations given the giddy pleasure it provides. It is an intoxicating experience that only looks set to mature well with age.

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1) Crash

Crash

Starring: Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard, Sandra Bullock
What we said: Few films this year will carry the emotional impact of Crash, a provocative and thought-provoking human drama about several Los Angeles residents whose lives collide over the course of a few hours. Written and directed by the Oscar-nominated Paul Haggis (of Million Dollar Baby screenplay fame), Crash is a mesmerising piece of cinema that will undoubtedly rate among the finest films of the year.

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1) King Kong

King Kong

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Andy Serkis, Adrien Brody
What we said: Cooper’s beast was dubbed ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ when it was first brought to New York at the end of the 1933 original and it’s fair to say that Jackson’s remake is a wonder unto itself. It is a colossal achievement and one of an elite number of films that can genuinely say it has everything – from jaw-dropping special effects to edge-of-your-seat excitement to tear-inducing emotion. It is a blockbuster with heart; an event movie that knows just how to engage its audience and keep them utterly enthralled for the duration of its three hour running length.

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Have your say

  1. Good list. But here’s an alternative top 10:

    1) Crash 2) The Downfall 3) Kung Fu Hustle 4) Closer 5) Sideways 6) Ong Bak 7) King Kong 8) Million Dollar Baby 9) Batman Begins 10) Howl’s Moving Castle

    Mike    Dec 24    #
  2. Just saw Wolf Creek, the Oz horror. Surely that’s the horror flick of the year and worthy of a place in your Top 10?

    Josh, Illinois    Dec 26    #
  3. Imelda Staunton’s deserved OBE has raised a glaring omission in your list. What about Vera Drake?

    Simon    Jan 1    #