Critic at Large: Spike Lee’s ‘25th Hour’ tops list of decade’s best movies

I submit to you a list of best films of the decade. Give one of them a try. As usual, tell me movies
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I submit to you a list of best films of the decade. Give one of them a try. As usual, tell me movies I may have missed or neglected.

“25th Hour” — This is Spike Lee at his very best. A great, neglected classic centered on penal reform and the anguish of a brave, worn-out soul. Edward Norton is amazing as he heads an all-star cast.

“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” — Cristian Mungiu’s international hit concentrates on an abortion story, and yet it is so much more. Dark and provocative, it is a drama you will not forget, and one that asks and presents all the right questions in a moral perspective without preaching.

“Up in the Air” — I chose this contemporary drama because of its provocative attention to America’s most pressing problem: the quest for a job that brings emotional fulfillment. Not that easy.

“There Will Be Blood” — The focus is on greed and the American way of life. The story of an industrial Ahab, as personified by Daniel Day-Lewis.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” — Hands down the most haunting and articulate fantasy ever. I would feel more than comfortable screening this gem for older children. It’s way better and more enticing than “Lord of the Rings.”

“Best in Show” — I laughed out loud at this hilarious spoof of dog shows — smart, witty, refined and not a mean bone in its body.

“Ghost World” — Wry and uncanny, a great coming-of-age tale about a cynical adolescent. Thora Birch, Steve Buscemi and Scarlett Johansson star.

“Far From Heaven” — Back to the ’50s, a tender and intelligent evocation of unspoken, biracial love.

“Y Tu Mama Tambien” — A mature coming-of-age drama that pulls no punches about sex and sexual initiation with teens and an older, mature woman.

“In the Valley of Elah” — A great anti-war film with Tommy Lee Jones as the grieving father of a deceased veteran. This remarkable film may be too strong and honest for tin-badge patriots who worship at the plastic shrine of Glenn Beck.

Here are some other selections:

—  “Requiem for A Dream”

— “Punch Drunk Love”

— Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” Vol. 1 & 2

— “Capturing the Friedmans”

Reach Dan DiNicola at [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment, Life & Arts

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