2004 Top 10 - #1December 30, 2004
#1: Maria Full of Grace : For those who are regular vistors to this site, the selection of Maria Full of Grace as #1 will not come as a surprise. It is, after all, the only 2004 theatrical release to which I assigned four stars. That's not an objective assessment of its quality; however, this is the film I most appreciated this year. It is engaging from start to close, features wonderful characters, operates from a fresh perspective with a premise that is not overused, and offers moments of astoundingly "real" tension and emotion. The lead performance, by Catalina Sandino Moreno, is as worthy as any this year of Oscar consideration (however, the film's low profile will rule out a nomination). Moreno makes Maria believable and sympathetic. Amazingly, this is the feature debut of director Joshua Marston, but his approach is so assured that one would never guess at his lack of experience from the available evidence. There is much in this film to recommend it, from the insider's view of drug trafficking to the inherent terror of being set adrift in a country where you don't understand the customs or the language. But the biggest reason to see Maria Full of Grace is Maria, one of 2004's most compelling screen protagonists. The film has just recently been released on DVD, so it should be readily available. And, at least this year, I cannot recommend any movie more highly or with greater enthusiasm.
R-Rated Day Care
I'm sure many of those reading this have had a similar experience to the one I am about to relate... You're sitting in a theater showing an R-rated movie waiting for the feature to start. In walks a mother or father pushing a stroller. Also with ...
Touching the Face of God
Two days ago, I wrote about a tenth anniversary. Today, I'll turn the clock back another decade.In my life, there have been two nationally seismic events - world-wide news stories that have been given constant television coverage and that have ...
Thanksgiving or Turkeys?
Okay, so October wasn't a great month for movies. It's not just that there weren't many worthy options out there (Gone Baby Gone and Things We Lost in the Fire were the best), but there wasn't a lot to get excited about. That's why revenue and ...