A year in review

Movies are undoubtedly at the centre of our culture. Alongside music, books and other elements of the entertainment industry, cinema is probably the most influential ‘pop culture’ element and will continue to provide an external and alternative viewpoint of our society.
From lining up outside your favourite multiplex to roaming around your local video store, it seems that movies pertain a protruding quality of togetherness and unite many in hopes of a laugh or a thrill.
Whether you choose to experience a film with the finest sound and picture quality at home on DVD, or decide to feel your buttocks vibrate with the powerful Dolby Digital bass at your multiplex, movies have a profound effect on our culture. So much so that after walking out, one might feel adventurous, sad, happy, or even nostalgic. That is the form that cinema provides.
The cinematic year of 2001 proved to be a better year than its predecessor, and while the following top five list has been compiled with my opinions in my mind – I am sure many will disagree and agree with some choices. While I have not seen all the films released and have yet to still catch some greatly praised films through the magic of DVD, these are the five most influential, and truly great films that have caught my eye during the year of 2001.
Number one:
Ocean’s Eleven
No other film this year provided the most mindless, classiest and absolutely greatest entertainment within two hours. Steven Soderbergh’s crafty heist flick was taken from the 1960’s lacklustre flick ‘The Rat Pack’.
Lifting only its’ theme of 12 men robbing casinos, Producer George Clooney managed to cast major stars for half of the price while giving them back end deals for the assembly of the most ambitious pairings yet.
Soderbergh’s heist flick boasts a renewed and graceful George Clooney that leads the charge in this absolutely terrific film. People often forget that the movies that have the most bearing wanted to have none at all.
Number 2:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Many might criticize this mindless literary adaptation, but within Christopher Columbus’ imaginative film lies magic and serenity as we track the adventures of a young sorcerer in training.
With its dark vision and broad scope, the film caters to both children and adults thanks to its surprisingly ultra dark ending.
Furthermore, when was the last time a film ‘portaled’ you back to being a child and become enchanted and lost within a film.
This is what ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ wasn’t, a complete escapist film that made me yonder for those days when we, as young children, used to become easily enchanted.
At my age, it is quite difficult to attain that, yet Harry Potter superseded expectations and delivered a fantastical journey that left me looking forward to the sequels.
Number 3:
Chris Nolan’s revolutionary style of storytelling caught many by surprise helped Memento become one of the most sought after films in the independent circuit of 2001.
Starring Guy Pearce, this dramatic thriller tracks a husband searching for his wife’s killer only to discover a dark secret that even he did not know.
With its regressive style that sees the film start from its climax and work its way forward, this film placed Nolan as one of the most lucrative directors at the present time and made Memento a truly great film because of its style and visceral feel.
Number 4:
Monsters, Inc.
Pixar/Disney bring us a warm and endearing film of how relationships can easily be formed and broken. With the greatest animation seen to date from Pixar, this film casts the voices of John Goodman and Billy Crystal as our two antagonists who capture screams in the real world in order to create energy in their world.
With its colourful slate of characters and imaginative surroundings, this is Pixar/Disney’s best and sets a new milestone for Pixar to attain upon their next offering.
Number 5:
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Coen Brothers’ literary adaptation of The Odyssey is a true delight. Containing several elements that capture the essence of this Southern dramatic musical comedy, with filters, style and music – it is a little gem.
Why not the cutting room floor?
The worst film of the year can be seen with just one film: Freddy got Fingered. This inept and ridiculously horrible film managed to be green lit by a studio and attain a release. Other disappointing films include Pearl Harbour and Ali.
Therefore, with these films in hand, make the best of viewing these films for their quality and apprehended greatness.
While one can see that this year the major studios did manage to churn out some impressive films, 2002 seems to be a year destined to shatter box office records with films such a MIB2, Star Wars 2, Minority Report and Spiderman.
Yet the question is, with all the focus put on sequels, will good quality films manage to sneak under the radar and capture our attention as the films that really matter.

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