Let the Countdown BeginDecember 21, 2004
In the past, I always wrote an end-of-the-year commentary called "Rewinding XXXX - The Year in Movies." This year, the more appropriate place for those thoughts is here. Rather than lumping everything together into one mega-long ReelThought on December 31, I have decided to pace myself over a 10-day span. (Everything will probably be edited together into a cohesive "Rewinding 2004" commentary, but that won't be until New Year's Day.) So, taking a page from how I unveiled my Top 100 list, I'll count-down the 2004 Top Ten, revealing one new title a day for the next ten days. Along the way, I'll also throw in a few other retrospective thoughts.
#10: [TIE] The Incredibles and The Polar Express: Two very different animated films that have one major characteristic in common - the material in each is actually more adult-oriented than child-focused. With its mid-life crisis theme, The Incredibles confronts the issue of the human need to live a meaningful life. The Polar Express is a pleasant fairy tale that relies on a powerful sense of nostalgia for its impact. Both films also have strong appeal for younger viewers, making them perfect family features. The Incredibles mixes comedy and adventure; The Polar Express contains as much action, less comedy, and comes wrapped in the gauzy veil of a fable. Although both films are the result of digital animation techniques, their looks are different. The Incredibles has a cartoonish appearance that is perfectly matched to the story and characters. In The Polar Express, the characters look "almost real" (a stylistic choice that has caused some viewers a sense of discomfort), although the settings are fantastical and imaginative. Usually, I try to avoid ties in the Top 10 (it's a cheap way to stuff in an additional movie), but I adore both of these movies, and couldn't bring myself to include one and leave the other off. So, despite my avowed dislike of all things animated, I have ranked two such films amongst the best of 2004.
Superman's Holy Grail
In 1977, when director Richard Donner began filming Superman, he started work on what was intended to be a four hour epic that would be released in two parts. The goal was for Superman to enter the marketplace during the Christmas movie season of ...
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Toronto Film Festival Update #5
An interesting synergy exists between Judd Apatow and Kevin Smith. With films like Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy, Smith opened a door that, only about 10 years later, Apatow walked through. Now, with Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Smith has fully ...