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The Big Board
for Les Winan

Big Board Year:

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1. The Bourne Ultimatum
    Legitimately pulse-pounding from start to finish. Damon remains excellent in the role. A terrific film.
2. There Will Be Blood
    Paul Thomas Anderson takes his great leap forward. Totally riveting with a superlative performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.
3. Knocked Up
    Seth Rogen may be an unlikely leading man, but he sure does a great job. The entire cast is terrific and the movie is outstanding.
4. Juno
    A fantastic, well-written film that boasts a terrific cast and many, many laughs.
5. Into the Wild
    Beautifully made, from acting to directing to cinematography. A great achievement by Sean Penn and Emile Hirsch. Penn clearly learned something from Malick.
6. No Country for Old Men
    A terrific translation of McCarthy's work to the screen. Perfectly cast.
7. Lars and the Real Girl
    Charming and funny. Never as ridiculous as you'd think. Ryan Gosling is stellar.
8. Michael Clayton
    Clooney is great and the movie does a good job of being satisfying without wrapping everything up in a neat little bow.
9. Atonement
    Beautifully shot, the film mostly does justice to McEwan's novel. Somehow a tiny bit dull, but that doesn't take away from the ultimate weight.
10. Once
    Thoughtful and subtle, it's the rare movie musical that doesn't make me want to puke.
11. Hot Fuzz
    Another fantastic comedy from Wright, Pegg and Frost. Nothing but fun while still smart. More, please.
12. Sicko
    Ridiculous yet effective. Made me want to move to another country.
13. Gone Baby Gone
    Oustanding directorial debut for Affleck (Ben). Great acting by Affleck (Casey), Ryan and Monaghan. Nothing with Michael K. Williams can be bad.
14. Ratatouille
    It's easy to take Pixar's greatness for granted (Cars aside), but Ratatouille is charming and beautiful to look at.
15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    Yet another film that is a quantum leap from the uncreative first two. Visually grand and impressive, it's the tremendous casting that's the unsung hero. Helena Bonham Carter is perfectly cast.
16. Stardust
    Well cast, with just the right tone and pacing. A terrific film. Has Vaughn already surpassed mentor Guy Ritchie as a filmmaker?
17. Rescue Dawn
    Despite Herzog's somewhat clumsy direction, it's a compelling film made great by Bale's performance.
18. Eastern Promises
    Between this and A History of Violence, Cronenberg is officially forgiven for participating in Jason X. Mortensen is typically excellent.
19. Zodiac
    Not for fans of Michael Bay-esque editing. It's a fantastic, layered and well-made film.
20. The Darjeeling Limited
    Typically well made and well acted.
21. 300
    Ridiculous yet awesome, it's mostly ridiculously awesome. Visually incredible.
22. Superbad
    Funny top to bottom. I am curious whether or not Michael Cera can play more than one character.
23. 3:10 to Yuma
    A lot of fun. Crowe and Bale are typically great. Ben Foster is over-the-top but entertaining. Well-paced and interesting, the movie has just the right tone.
24. 30 Days of Night
    Genuinely scary, the film keeps the audience feeling paranoid. Great visuals and plenty of gore, with nice work from the cast. Hartnett continues to grow into adult roles and carries the film.
25. Dan in Real Life
    Predictable it may be, but there's a heart and charm that make it something more. Maybe it's just the excellent Steve Carell.
26. I Am Legend
    Smith is great and the first half is a terrific mediation on life alone, but the second half of the movie doesn't fit. There was no need for an action finish.
27. Ocean's Thirteen
    As usual, plenty of fun without a ton of substance. Hard to top 11 but 13 is better than 12.
28. Charlie Wilson's War
    Given the ridiculous array of talent involved and the subject matter, the film feels surprisingly lightweight.
29. The Simpsons Movie
    Almost great. Plenty of big laughs, just enough story to make it work. The middle sags a bit, but it's a short movie.
30. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
    Surprisingly funny, though it loses a little steam in the last 1/3.
31. Live Free or Die Hard
    To paraphrase Dennis Green: it is what we thought it was.

32. Shoot 'Em Up
    It's a lot of gory, explosive fun. That said, the script seems to try too hard from start to finish. Fun work by the actors though.
33. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
    Still generally enjoyable, but so convoluted you can't help but wish they'd stuck to the simple fun of the first film. Far too long.
34. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Never finished it or maybe it would be higher. I appreciated the filmmaking and performances but ultimately had better things to do.
35. American Gangster
    Disappointing considering the talent involved. Crowe is great, Denzel plays Denzel, but generally it's a mess.
36. I'm Not There
    It's interesting, but pretty incomprehensible story-wise. The music sure is awesome though.
37. Resurrecting the Champ
    Despite typically shoddy work from Rod Lurie, the cast carries the movie through. Why is Sam Jackson using the voice of Dave Chappelle's Tyrone Biggums crackhead character?
38. Blades of Glory
    It's not particularly good, but there are some real laughs.
39. Catch and Release
    Surprisingly okay thanks to good work by Garner and, in particular, Smith - who makes the movie funnier than it likely would have been.
40. Reign Over Me
    I may have had low expectations, or perhaps it's my weakness for Sandler's dramatic roles, but I liked it.

41. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
    At least it was short. Only Chiklis and Evans are well cast, everyone else...ugh. It's been a bad year for Marvel Comics adaptations.
42. Grindhouse
    Surprisingly dull given the talent involved and the concept.
43. Because I Said So
    Amazing that a movie with Keaton, Graham and Moore could still be such junk. Not even Tony Hale can save it.
44. Transformers
    The action scenes are impressive, but even for a Michael Bay film it's vacant and shallow. Terrible acting and writing, unnecessary subplots, it's all here...
45. Spider-Man 3
    Very disappointing. Too many plots make for a boring and underdeveloped movie. Also, revenge jazz dance? Really? Spidey deserves better.
46. Ghost Rider
    Somebody stop Mark Steven Johnson before he ruins another comic book character. Nicolas Cage...what happened to you?



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Sunday, November 29, 2020
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