My Life In Film, Pt. 3

Previously: 1995-2001

2002 // Signs
Unbreakable was one of the first movies I saw when I got home from my mssion, and I eventually caught up with The Sixth Sense as well (though its famous twist had long since been spoiled for me). By the time Signs came out, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan was garnering Hitchcock comparisons. A crisis of faith story masquerading as an alien invasion, this film conjures genuine suspense and unease. Its resolution may be a bit simplistic, but the resulting emotional resonance more than makes up for it. Shyamalan also deserves credit for the well-timed humor that occasionally helps eases the tension. His next several films, starting with The Village, have also been funny, but for completely different reasons.

"Swing away, Merrill."

2003 // X2: X-Men United
This film is the benchmark of the X-Men franchise, and one of the best superhero movies ever made as far as I'm concerned. The first film laid a good foundation, and like a good sequel should, X2 raises the stakes across the board. It features a more complex storyline, strong new characters, and even improved special effects. It still pains me that the series fell so far with the trilogy capper, X-Men: The Last Stand. I blame Halle Berry.

"There's something different about you... too much iron in your blood!"

2004 // The Incredibles
When I first heard Pixar was bringing their golden touch to the superhero genre, I knew the result would be special. The Incredibles is a great deal smarter than your average superhero film, glorifying and satirizing the genre at the same time. From costume designer Edna Mode's famous diatribe against capes to Mr. Incredible's attempts to get Syndrome "monologuing," the film is just as entertaining for adults as it is for kids. And for those with an appreciation for the classic James Bond films of the '60s, the score and production design are a great homage to that era.
Runner Up // The Bourne Supremacy

Who agrees that Jim Thome was the basis for Mr. Incredible?

2005 // Batman Begins

2006 // Casino Royale
The first 20 minutes of Casino Royale are about as perfect as a movie can get—for me anyway. There's an artsy black & white pre-credit sequence where Bond achieves 007 status, then a clever introduction of the famous gun barrel, which leads into the very cool animated titles and theme song, capped by a jaw-dropping parkour chase through a Madagascar construction site and the Nambutu Embassy. And the rest of the movie ain't too bad either. This film successfully reinvigorated a tired franchise because it wasn't afraid to discard many of the Bond conventions that had handcuffed the series for years. It trims the excess and keeps only what serves the story, plus what keeps our wives interested, such as Daniel Craig emerging from the ocean in a tiny bathing suit.

2007 // The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne Identity left me sort of lukewarm when I first saw it, but then The Bourne Supremacy came along two years later and transformed the series into the most influential action franchise of the decade. This momentum only grew with the relentless Bourne Ultimatum, which is pretty much the only final installment of any trilogy in the history of cinema to match or top its predecessors (it sure beats the aforementioned X-Men: The Last Stand). Ending as the first film began—with the silhouette of the former CIA assassin floating in the water—the series is bookended perfectly... or is it? A reliable source (the internet) tells me a fourth Bourne film is currently being developed.

Cue Moby's Extreme Ways: "bwah-reeeeee, bwah-reeeeee..."

2008 // The Dark Knight


Krissy said...

Maybe if you had included a photo of my alien impression you would have drawn more comments. Give me a few days and I'll work on my Jim Thome impression, too.

Dave said...

Sounds like we have a new running feature on our blog: "Maybe you would have drawn more comments if..."