top 15 films of 2002
(films that made the most impression)
1) the lord of the rings: the two towers Two Towers is not the kind of film you watch, it is one you experience. You can fully indulge in the cinematic powers that wash over you in all its visual splendour, without getting bored.Read the review, click here. (reviewed by Daniel Dercksen) Go behind the scenes and read everything you wanted to know about how the film was made and conceptualised, click here
2) road to perdition It is rare that a film is perfect in every sense of the word. Words like 'brilliant', 'exceptional;', 'ingenious' cannot even get close to describing the overwhelming impact of this extraordinary masterpiece. In the hands of director Sam Mendes the touching story of a father and his son is moving and touches the heart. Mendes has a great talent in taking his audience on a journey that is entertaining and never exploits the violent nature of the story. Go behind the scenes of and find out how this film was adapted for the big screen
3) minority report Spielberg masterfully emphasises the importance of telling a great story well in all its magnificent cinematic splendour. He uses a gigantic canvas to paint an intricate and finely woven work of genius. In an era dominated by crime, technical wizardry and electronic gadgets, the film serves as a frightening reminder of a future that is not that far-away or unknown. A future where humans are hypnotically trapped in an Orwellian nightmare where every move, every thought are mercilessly manipulated and scrutinised. Spielberg uses his brilliance and craftsmanship to manipulate his enthusiastic audience, keeping them firmly in the palm of his hand, knowing unerringly when to tighten the grip, or when to unwind the tension. It cannot be compared to anything Spielberg has done before. It is unique in its vision and probably one of the most important films of our time. Go behind the scenes and discover the magic, click here
4) black hawk down A harrowing story of modern warfare. What makes it even more shocking is that is about a war that is happening today; a war outsiders tend to ignore. Ridley Scott depicts how strong the human spirit can be under the worst of conditions, also showing how tragedy brings out the best in men fighting together under harsh conditions. It is a reflection of the times we live in, where an orgy of violence explodes into a mindless and senseless killing field, where humans are slaughtered like cattle. It is a hardcore film for ardent war-film buffs, and will shock sensitive viewers with graphic scenes of violence and mayhem. We need this kind of film to remind us how senseless violence is and how easy it is for innocent people to become victims. Read more about how the bestseller was adapted into a blockbuster.
5) the others If you think "The Sixth Sense" was ingenious, wait until you see this brilliant American debut of young Spanish director Alejandro Amemnabar (who also wrote the screenplay). It is one of those films you should not know anything about before watching it. So, beware, don't read any reviews or listen to anyone who might reveal essential twists. Without being one of those to spoil it for others, let's just say that you should not miss this supernatural-thriller, which features an excellent Nicole Kidman as a young woman who is waiting for her husband to return from the front and who lives alone with her two children in a huge Victorian mansion. When she hires a trio of sinister servants, alarming events begin to unfold. You will want to see it again. Visit the website: www.theothers.com
6) amélie French film genius Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who gave us the classic "Delicatessen", gives us another unforgettable film experience with his highly original vision. This is storytelling at its best and filmmaking at its most inventive, a captivating journey that results in a meaningful involvement. From the first frame you know that you are in the hands of a filmmaker who cares about his audience and knows how to tell his story with a visual flare that is impossible to ignore, and will never be forgotten. Jeunet invites you into his world and the world of his characters. You feel at home, as if sharing laughter and tears with old friends. He provokes and challenges the mind, always taking one step further and never sacrificing his creativity. Jeunet's world is filled with vibrantly flawed characters who share their thoughts, heartaches and joys. All this is made possible through "Amélie", a character that not only takes charge of the world around her and causes a drastic change in the lives of others and herself, but will live inside your mind and heart for a long time. Released on April 5 at Cinema Nouveau. Read the full synopsis of the story .. Also, an interview with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
7) the majestic Frank Darabont's celebration of movies encapsulates everything anyone can ever wish to get from 'going to the movies': a brilliant screenplay by Michael Sloane; superb direction; and a first rate cast. It an exceptional and rich visual experience that captivates, intrigues and amuses. This is storytelling at its best, taking the audience on an unbelievable journey of the heart. It tells of a Hollywood writer who loses his work and life due to political circumstances, and due to circumstance finds his true voice. Don't miss this. No matter what. Read more about the screenplay, click here
8) signs With 'Signs', Shaymalan brilliantly challenges our perceptions, placing us firmly in the hands of an ordinary family who are confronted by the unknown. He gains our trust as he quietly draws us into their intimate world that is cut off from the rest of humanity. In true Hitchcockian style Shaymalan allows his audience to conjure up images of the fear that threatens the characters. The suspense he creates is unbelievable. He manipulates his audience with brilliant lighting design and visual flare, and does not rely on digital effects. The fear we experience in 'Signs' is as real as you will get because Shaymalan allows it to happen in our minds. Once again, we realise how pathetically helpless we are against an onslaught we will never be able to fully comprehend. In a peculiar way, it feels good to experience that rush again with 'Signs', a solid confirmation that nothing can beat an well crafted and brilliantly executed old fashioned thriller. Go behind the scenes, find out more about Shyamalan and his approach to directing, and the casting process, click here
9) bully In 1993 a brutal teenage murder in South Florida left a community devastated, parents stunned and heartbroken. Seven years later legendary photographer, artist and film director Larry Clark returned to the suburb to shoot Bully, a realistic recreation of the vicious crime that follows the events and chart the relationships that turned friends into deadly enemies and casual acquaintances into co-defendants in a truly shocking murder. It jolts the senses and kindles the emotions. It is engaging cinema at its rawest, offering a unique opportunity to grasp an understanding of the miscommunication between adults and the youth. Two opposing worlds that clash viciously, cause conflict, and create confusion…. Read the review Go behind the scenes and find out how Clark and his actors approached the subject matter, click here
10) the believer A brutally honest and riveting dissection of anti-Semitism, right wing activism, racism and hatred. It is understandable why it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Director-writer Henry Bean, a Conservative Jew from Philadelphia, is a screenwriter with a commercial track record, from Internal Affairs to Enemy of the State. The Believer is loosely based on the book One More Victim by Arthur Gelb and A. M. Rosenthal, which in turn was inspired by a New York Times interview with Daniel Burrows, at twenty-eight years old Ku Klux Klan leader who killed himself when a New York Times reporter revealed he was a Jew. The film tells the story of Danny Balint, a former yeshiva student turned anti-Semite. A gripping story of a man's philosophical evolution in which striking contradictions multiply, it is a daring and courageous film that avoids easy psychological explanations. For a brief moment, Danny has everything he wants: he is a Jew and a Nazi at once, not reconciling them, but living the impossible contradiction. "One of the things I've tried to build into the film is the way things invert into their opposites," says director Henry Bean. " My hope is that the film is a progression from self-hatred to liberation, admittedly a very idiosyncratic liberation. The film tries to be observant. It tries to see what is going on, to understand the characters as they understand themselves and without external judgement. Some people have worried that the film will be "misunderstood" or "used for the wrong ends." But I think that anyone who sees it and really experiences it would find it very hard afterward to go out and hate another group. They'll have seen how that group is better at hating itself than an outsider ever could; and they'll have seen how close their own hatred is to love. And they would be, I think, confused."
11) life as a house It is rare to leave the cinema and feel that you have experienced a truly original film in a world where "everything has been done!" This remarkable film is unique in that it gives extraordinary insight into human relationships by making use of a concept that is straightforward: a man whose life is falling apart rebuilds his life by simply building a house with loved ones who have become strangers. It is a film for anyone who feel that there is something missing in their lives. Director Irwin Winkler had long dreamed of making a movie about a man trapped in a typical, fast-moving 21st century life who decides to escape and rebuild a new life lived from the heart. The idea was abstract, but when Winkler bounced it off Oscar-nominated screenwriter Mark Andrus (As Good as it Gets), Andrus replied: "What about making it a story about a man in the midst of a crisis rebuilding a house?" …. Read more about how the screenplay was written, click here
12) the mothman prophecies In the hands of director Mark Pellington this suspense thriller is a stylish and gentle probing into the world of the supernatural. In the small town of Point Pleasant in West Virginia a tragedy occurred in December of 1967 that made headlines around the world. Writer John A. Keel wrote 'The Mothman Prophecies', giving his personal account of the events that lead up to this incident. The book was published in 1975 and inspired Richard Hatem to write a screenplay that has now been adapted to the big screen by director Mark Pellington. Read more about: The Story of the Mothman; The Story of the 'Silver Bridge' and what happened in December 1967; Adapting real events into reel entertainment
13) insomnia Nolan masterfully explores the powerful dynamics between the actors, offering dramatic exposition in the physical conflicts, and creating great tension in the emotional, internal silences that prevail. It is a stylish and slow paced exploration that is never dull, offering superb entertainment for discerning audiences or those who would like to indulge in the richness of a well told story. "You experience Will Dormer's increasing struggle with his inner demons, his increasing struggle against his lack of sleep and his progressively dangerous relationship with the suspected killer.," says Christopher Nolan. "I very much wanted to pull them through this crazy descent with Dormer, so you always understand his actions and you sympathise with him in some sense even as he moves into very questionable territory." Go behind the scenes and find out how this film was made
14) I am dina This exceptional Scandinavian film underlines the art of filmmaking and brings to life the story of a woman we will never forget. This tragic tale, dealing with the frailty of the human condition, is masterfully captured in every sense. The cinematography, production design, editing, sound design and music score prefectly capture and reflect the mindscape of the characters. Add to this Danish filmmaker Ole Bornedal's solid direction and first rate performances from the entire cast (especially Scandinavian actress Maria Bonnevie) the result is cinema at its most captivating and intriguing. It is a story filled with passion, drama and tragedy, culminating in an experience you will never forget. The story is based on the bestseller 'Dina's Book' by Norwegian author Herbjorg Wassmo, and was adapted for the screen by Bornedal and Swedish playwright Jonas Cornell. Set in Northern Norway, the 1860s, it tells the story of a little girl who is the cause of a tragic accident for which her father will never forgive her. Isolated and unloved, she grows to womanhood torn between morbid fantasy and an indomitable lust for life. It also stars Gerard Depardieu is Jacob, an old family friend who weds the passionate young woman but is powerless to keep her, and Christopher Eccleston (The Others, Elizabeth). "There's nothing wrong with Hollywood, but Hollywood has its own terms and either you deal with them or you don't," says director Bornedal. "If I want to do a film project where I do not have the same creative power, but I just want to make the film work and execute a good script, I would certainly go to Hollywood and earn the big buck. But if I want to do a film like 'Dina' or my next film project, which is a British film, I would never have the same freedom to do what I wanted and they would never turn out to be the same movies. Go behind the scenes and read the commentary by the director, producers and principal cast, click here (reviewed by Daniel Dercksen)
15) about a boy This gets my vote for the most entertaining and amusing film of the year. Based on a book by Nick Hornby, the fabulous, crisp and witty screenplay was adapted by Paul and Chris Weitz (who also directed the film) and Peter Hodges. Telling the story of an egotistical and selfish man who only thinks about himself and disregards others, it will enlighten you about relationships, friendships and individualism. It is hilariously funny and moving. It is a poignant and heartfelt British film that embraces universal qualities of human experiences. The direction is innovative with a great cast delivering top performances: Hugh Grant is superb as the egotistical maniac, with Nicholas Hoult lending brilliant support as the young antagonist who would not let go. There's also outstanding performances from Toni Collette as the neurotic 'hippie' mother, and Rachel Weisz as the love interest. It is a feel-good film with a heart of gold.
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