My list of the ten best of the decade. I've been messing with this for a while. It is what it is. I'm sure I'll think of others immediately after I post this. And shouldn't BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN be in the top ten? Anyway---
1. THERE WILL BE BLOOD
A big juicy movie that never falters and never bores and miraculously doesn't fall apart, and only grows with repeat viewings. Daniel Day-Lewis gives the performance of his life, a breathtaking descent into inhumanity and madness, painstakingly brought to the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson, in one of the biggest surprises of the decade.
2. THE LORD OF THE RINGS
All three as one film. My list, my rules. The thrilling epic that effectively put Lucas and Spielberg and Cameron in their place, and proving (as if it needed to be proven) that fantasy films needn't insult the intelligence.
3. SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET
Tim Burton singlehandedly shows the entire world how a musical should be made: carefully and with attention to the story and characters rather than cuisinart editing. Burton's heartbreaking bloody masterpiece demonstrates once and for all his consummate skill with actors as well as his brilliance behind the camera. His assured handling of the musical numbers "My Friends" and "Not While I'm Around" can stand with any of the greatest works in musical film, or in any genre period.
4. CHILDREN OF MEN
Alfonso Cuaron's adaptation of P.D. James' novel put the dys in dystopia, and vaulted him straight into Essential Filmmaker status. A thrilling picture of a world where no children are being born, and the hideous and all too familiar societal collapse.
5. TIME REGAINED
Raul Ruiz' devastating trip through Proust. It never descends into Famous Classics Illustrated re-creation, but wanders through the entirety of the seven novel sequence, picking up scenes here and there and managing to bring it all together into something beautiful and rare. It deserves to be better known than it is.
6. WONDER BOYS
From the Shamefully Overlooked file, Curtis Hanson's splendid comedy about a genially stoned novelist having the worst weekend of his life. Michael Douglas delivers his career best performance, with great support from Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand and Robert Downey Jr. Lovely.
7. THE INCREDIBLES
FINDING NEMO and UP may have been more successful, but THE INCREDIBLES is the Pixar movie that made my decade, the one I keep watching with undiluted pleasure. Superheroes forced to live undercover in suburbia, dealing with a sinister threat. Great mad joyful fun, pure ecstatic delight in every shot.
8. THE NEW WORLD
Pocahontas and John Smith, via Terence Malick. Among the most profound timewarps in movie history -- you are there in colonial Jamestown. Malick isn't for everyone, the slow pace and whispered voice-overs can be a drag, but I'd advise anyone with eyes to see this one. First rate performances from Christian Bale and Colin Farrell, and from the radiant Q'orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas.
9. AMERICAN SPLENDOR
The life of American comic book author Harvey Pekar, as embodied by Paul Giamatti. Documenting the thousand natural annoyances that Americans are heir to (standing behing old Jewish ladies in the supermarket checkout line, for example) a hardened cynic eventually realizes that life might not be so bad after all. Funny and moving and affirming, in the best way.
Hoo boy. The film that made me convinced that hooded killers were hiding under my bed. David Fincher's examination of the hunt for the Zodiac killer in 1970s San Francisco. Obsession has never seemed so obsessive.
Honorable mention: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, SIDEWAYS, HAPPY GO LUCKY, BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, THE HOURS, FAR FROM HEAVEN, IN BRUGES, MOULIN ROUGE.