Best Films of 2004

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  • The Aviator - A dramatized view of the life of legendary Howard Hughes by director Scorcese, the film takes flight despite its bulk and baggage, and it's an exhilarating ride while it lasts.
  • Blueberry (France) - Audiences ready to take a chance will be entranced by this visually splendid, entertaining and rich take on the classic American Western.
  • Collateral - With it's mix of adrenaline rush and intimate character study, this is an intelligent, mature thriller that's sure to please audiences of all types.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - A bittersweet, highly eccentric film that plays on the Hollywood idea of the romance and redefines it. Challenging to watch but leaves an indelible impression.
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 - Incredibly biased, inflammatory, and thoroughly fascinating, it blurrs the notion of entertainment and documentary creating the first truly "pop" diatribe - and what a show it is.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - From the darker visuals to the engaging story, this is in many ways the best adaptation of the series thanks to the strong stylish sense of director Cuaron.
  • Hero (China - 2002) - An amazing wuxia film made in the grandest tradition, the film is both incredibly dynamic and downright poetic - and easily the best-looking martial arts film ever made.
  • Hotel Rwanda - A dramatized true-life account of the Rwandan genocide, it's a courageous effort for a mainstream studio production and one that deserves to be seen.
  • House of Flying Daggers - Romantic in terms of emotions, visual aspect and spirit, this is a high-flying action film really first and foremost a thing of beauty that is as much seen as experienced.
  • Immortal (Immortel) (France) - Based on Bilal's own rich graphic novel trilogy this is an impeccable adaptation of a classic work of imagination, a technological leap forward for French cinema and, all told, a visionary science-fiction work.
  • The Incredibles - A high-powered computer animated comedy adventure that has a script that's as engaging as the dynamic fight sequences - witty, funny, poignant, and ever so creative without losing its sense of fun. It's a delight.
  • The Intruder (L'intrus) (France) - A strangely obscure drama with little dialogue but a terrific visual and intriguing storytelling sense makes this a rewarding experience.
  • Kill Bill - Vol 2 - A love letter from a real geek fan, it's a buffet of genre homages from Kung-Fu to Blaxploitation to Western, this is cinema at its most joyous.
  • Life is a Miracle (Croatia) - A movie that is indelibly joyous and downright humanist in its approach despite the hardships, visually splendid, passionate and constantly amusing, Life is a Miracle is simply the most satisfying feel-good movie in ages.
  • Million Dollar Baby - A gritty, no-holds barred drama of a woman with nothing to lose, with a powerful (and controversial) tragic ending.
  • Moolaadé (Senegal) - An honest view of contemporary rural Africa it stands as a terrific, and surprisingly engaging, example of local cinema.
  • Spider-Man 2 - A wildly successful sequel to one of the best comic adaptations, mixing CGI action and - yes - character study to make it one of the most engaging mainstream blockbusters in recent memory.
  • Touching the Void - A chilling story that graphically details the edge of one man's endurance and his dominating instinct of survival. A harrowing story, all the more immediate and thrilling in that it's all true.

Honorable Mentions:

Other films not reviewed but definitely worth a mention:

  • Before Sunset
  • The Corporation
  • Kung Fu Hustle
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  • Maria, Full of Grace
  • The Sea Inside (Mar adentro)
  • Sideways
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring
  • Vera Drake
  • A Very Long Engagement

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