L'Intrus [ The Intruder ] - dir. Claire Denis
Breakfast on Pluto - dir. Neil Jordan
The World - dir. Jia Zhang-ke
Paradise Now - dir. Hany Abu-Assad
Nobody Knows - dir. Hirokazu Koreeda
Transamerica - dir. Duncan Tucker (the chances of me liking this seem slim after my friend B wrote a scathing review of it here)
Café Lumière - dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien
The New World - dir. Terrence Malick
Buongiorno, notte [ Good Morning, Night ] - dir. Marco Bellocchio
Saraband - dir. Ingmar Bergman
La Meglio gioventù [ The Best of Youth ] - dir. Marco Tullio Giordana
The Constant Gardener - dir. Fernando Meirelles
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada - dir. Tommy Lee Jones
Comme une image [ Look at Me ] - dir. Agnès Jaoui
King Kong - dir. Peter Jackson
Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Wererabbit - dir. Steve Box, Nick Park
Yes - dir. Sally Potter
The Devil's Rejects - dir. Rob Zombie
These all seem as though they might have some shot at being on the list, though admittedly some more than others, and all seem more likely than a few others (Match Point, Capote, Munich, Good Night and Good Luck,
I also forgot to mention some of the runners-up:
Walk on Water - dir. Eytan Fox - Israel/Sweden
A fascinating look into the still raging hatred between Jews and Germans, from the viewpoint of an Israeli hitman (the amazing Lior Ashkenazi, of the wonderful Late Marriage). While thematically intriguing, director Fox nearly kills his tale with leftist propaganda of homosexual tolerance.
Broken Flowers - dir. Jim Jarmusch - USA
As a long time fan of Jarmusch (and a strong hater of Coffee and Cigarettes), I had my excitements and worries about his latest offering. How could Jarmusch really make a film distinctly his with Bill Murray as his lead? Every post-Rushmore flick starring Bill Murray Redux has turned strangely into a Murray film, even under the direction of mini-auteurs Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola. And while Broken Flowers doesn't suffer the same fate, I can't help but wonder what Jarmusch was trying to do. Maybe that's one of its strengths, but I found myself scratching my head.
A History of Violence - dir. David Cronenberg - USA
Unmistakedly Cronenberg, this cold dissection of our society's obsession with violence thrilled me at points, but ultimately never haunted me the way so many of his films have done in the past.
Tony Takitani - dir. Jun Ichikawa - Japan
Really, Ishikawa should get points for making the bold attempt at adapting a Murakami story to the big-screen. And while it works on many levels, the points he gets only add up to applause for the effort.
Land of the Dead - dir. George A. Romero - USA
I wanted this to be my "trashy" top 10 pick, but as it came out in the middle of the year, I've had time for it to escape my memory. A helluva lot better than Day of the Dead, Romero successfully advances his zombies and pulls the best performance out of Dennis Hopper in a long time.
Jesus is Magic - dir. Liam Lynch - USA
We all know Sarah Silverman's funny... and Jesus is Magic is a worthy display of her comic talents and quirks. In the world of comediennes, Silverman stands tallest over the ones who are either too irritating (Kathy Griffin, Sandra Bernhard) or too heart-on-their-sleeve (Margaret Cho).
9 Songs - dir. Michael Winterbottom - UK
Known as the chameleon of British cinema with his strange ouevre of lesbian road flicks (Butterfly Kiss), neo-westerns (The Claim), rock n roll biopics (24 Hour Party People) and documentary-narratives (In This World), Winterbottom garnered his most attention here, where he attempted to fuse unsimulated sex into a nostalgic romance between a glaciologist (Kieran O'Brien) and an American student (Margo Stilley). His attempt is admirable, and there are moments where the 9 Songs is vividly alive. Yet he never gets past the gimmick: the promise of real sex set against nine musical live performances.
The Baxter - dir. Michael Showalter - USA
Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I followed this up with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which I hated, that I found this to be a breath of fresh air. Coming from one-third of the Stella guys (though starring all three), The Baxter is probably a lot more subtle than you'd expect and surprisingly sweet. Michelle Williams displays a nice comic talent (and singing voice) and is far more impressive here than in Brokeback Mountain; Justin Theroux is hilarious.
The Ballad of Jack & Rose - dir. Rebecca Miller - USA
Like Walk on Water, director Miller (Personal Velocity) kills The Ballad of Jack & Rose with her leftist propaganda (oh, really, urban sprall is bad?), ruining what could have been a clever, off-the-map depiction of a motherless young girl's coming-of-age on a nearly empty island with her father (Daniel Day-Lewis) who she's sexually attracted to and her new "step mother" (Catherine Keener).
March of the Penguins [ La Marche de l'empereur ] - dir. Luc Jacquet - France
Mad Hot Ballroom - dir. Marilyn Agrelo - USA
Documentaries need be extra special for me to go wild over. I appreciate them on their own level, but I'm all about the magic and illusion of cinema. And while March of the Penguins is richy cinematic, both this and Mad Hot Ballroom recall too soon Winged Migration and Spellbound.
And the rest of the films lie somewhere in a limbo of disinterest and quiet dislike.
Izo - dir. Takashi Miike - Japan
5x2 [ Cinq fois deux ] - François Ozon - France
Lila dit ça [ Lila Says ] - dir. Ziad Doueiri - France/UK
Palindromes - dir. Todd Solondz - USA
Heights - dir. Chris Terrio - USA
Samaritan Girl [ Samaria ] - dir. Kim Ki-duk - South Korea
Primo amore - dir. Matteo Garrone - Italy
Head-On [ Gegen die Wand ] - dir. Fatih Akin - Germany/Turkey
It's All Gone Pete Tong - dir. Michael Dowse - UK/Canada
Hardcore - dir. Dennis Iliadis - Greece
Liberated Zone [ Befreite Zone ] - dir. Norbert Baumgarten - Germany
America Brown - dir. Paul Black - USA
Sin City - dir. Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino - USA
Four Brothers - dir. John Singleton - USA
Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d'enfants [ Happily Ever After ] - dir. Yvan Attal - France
The Edukators [ Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei ] - dir. Hans Weingartner - Germany
And.... best of all, I may have found my film of 2005: Grizzly Man.
As I'm taking a class now on Herzog, expect a detailed review of Grizzly Man as well as rants on some of his other works. Oh, and some day I'll remember to include Oldboy in my 2005 rants.