10. Almost Famous (2000)
Almost Famous is a real treat for fans of rock and roll. It beautifully captures the spirit of the rock music scene in the 1970’s. The story, inspired by Director Cameron Crowe’s own experiences, is about a teenage boy who is given the opportunity to tour with a rock band called Stillwater, as a music journalist, and write about them for Rolling Stone magazine. Almost Famous has the power to invoke nostalgia the way that very few other films can do. The acting performances from the ensemble cast are absolutely brilliant. Every character has so many dimensions and they all play their part in adding life to the film. But Kate Hudson is the one who really shines out. Her Character, Penny Lane, is irresistibly charming. Overall, the strength of Almost Famous lies in its series of simple yet memorable scenes that are very touching (like the band singing along to Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ in the tour bus).
9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a very unique film in that it manages to elegantly blend together the seemingly distant genres of romance, sci-fi, and drama. The events of the film take place inside the brains of a couple who have undergone a procedure to erase each other from their memories after they had troubles in their relationship. The atmosphere of the film is very dream-like at times. Moreover, this is one of the rare romantic movies that really succeeds when it comes to invoking genuine feelings and emotions.
8. Requiem For a Dream (2000)
The graphic imagery and stunning score will surely send chills down your spine. Requiem For a Dream’s looks into the lives of four people whose lives and hopes are shattered by their drug addiction. The intensity of the film might be too much for many viewers to handle. Darren Aronofsky does not hold back in showing the horrors of drug addiction. Requiem For a Dream is a powerful film whose haunting impact will stay upon you forever.
7. City of God (2002)
This disturbing look into the lives of people in the City of God neighborhood of Rio De Janeiro is stunning, in every sense of the word. The story is narrated beautifully and we are effortlessly told about the stories of the various gangsters and other people that make up the harsh neighborhood scarred by drugs and violence. The cinematography is breathtaking. The jerky motion of the camera makes the film watching experience a very exhilarating one. City of God is an unforgettable ride that should not be missed!
6. Children of Men (2006)
Children of Men is a truly ambitious sci-fi thriller that is executed to perfection. The film is set in the future (2027) where the women around the world have become infertile causing chaos and anarchy. A man, who is a former activist, agrees to transport a girl, who is miraculously pregnant, to a sanctuary at sea where she can be safe. What makes this movie different from other sci-fi movies is that it has a lot of social and political commentary. It covers important topics such as immigration, refugee crises, and the collapse of society that occurs that occurs after a catastrophe. Moreover, the innovative cinematography puts life into the film; the long shot action sequences are breathtaking. The whole atmosphere of the film feels tense and futuristic. Children of Men is both a nail-biting thriller and an emotional drama.
5. Boyhood (2014)
This beautiful coming-of-age tale will make you both laugh and cry. Shot over a time period of 12 years (in actual life), this film follows the life of a boy from the age of 5 to 17. Boyhood shows the many life experiences that this boy and his family go through within this time period. The best thing about this film is its simplicity and raw beauty. I think it perfectly captures the ‘average’ American life. That is where I think its strength lies. Everyone can find something relatable in the film. After watching this 3 hour epic, you will be able to realize that ordinary is extraordinary and find the beauty in simplicity.
4. The Master (2012)
It is astonishing to see how many themes Paul Thomas Anderson is able to effortlessly blend in this film. These themes include religion, master-disciple relationship, human evolution and sexuality. The film’s progression is very smooth and watching it is truly an enlightening experience. The story is about an unstable war veteran who returns home after the war and enters the fold of a new religious movement called ‘The Cause’. The Master is led by the tremendous performances of Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman who portray very different yet similar characters. Watching The Master is an engrossing experience that will leave you deep in your thoughts.
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
The film that redefined the superhero genre, The Dark Knight, is one of the rare films that hit the jackpot, both critically and commercially. Christopher Nolan succeeds in adding a great amount of emotional depth and philosophical themes in the film. The star-studded cast is at the top of their game, especially Heath Ledger, who gives a truly memorable performance as ‘The Joker’. The cinematography and score beautifully capture the city of Gotham. The Dark Knight will leave you both entertained and mesmerized!
2. Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Probably one of the most depressing films ever made. To put it in one word, this movie is about: death. The film follows a struggling and aging theatre director who directs the stage production of a new play that is based on actors playing their real life selves and involves the creation of a life-size replica of New York City. This is a really mind boggling film that should be viewed with feelings over logic. Charlie Kauffman succeeds in blending an unbelievable amount of surrealism without making it seem that he is trying to. Synecdoche is a neurotic look into the human life and how quickly it fades away. I’d say that this is a film which as conceptually ambitious as the epic 2001: A Space Odyssey.
1. Mulholland Drive (2001)
Mulholland Drive is David Lynch at his finest. The surreal atmosphere, eye-popping colors, haunting score, brilliant performances, intriguing story; everything about this film is so intoxicating and electrifying. It tells that tale of a young aspiring actress who comes to Los Angeles and becomes friends with an amnesiac woman who is linked to a murder. They travel around the city for answers. As with any David Lynch film, giving a plot summary is a mere formality. His films work on feelings and emotions over logic. Mulholland Drive is a twisted tale of dreams and reality that will leave you in awe!