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Serenity chosen at best sci-fi movie of 2005 by Feature Six

Mark Trammell

Friday 20 January 2006, by Webmaster

‘A History of Violence,’ ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’

among best movies of 2005

Time to recap the year in movies, Trammell style. Instead of the typical Top 10 snooze-fest, we’ll be trying something new - a breakdown by category that should be a lot more fun.

Best Movie - Drama: “A History of Violence”

Director Cronenberg hits a home run with this, arguably his most audience-friendly film ever.

It is perfectly cast, acted, directed, shot and just as long as it needs to be. You couldn’t ask for more, really.

Best Movie - Comedy: (Tie) “The 40-Year Old Virgin” / “Wedding Crashers”

Taking the cue set by the new wave of teen movies that began with “American Pie,” these two flicks are unique in that they are actually sort of sensitive underneath all the bluster, foul language and breasts. Call them chick flicks for guys.

They’re really about finding true love. Additional points to “Virgin” for the best comedy ending ever.

Best Movie - Action: “Sin City”

A guy movie that most decidedly isn’t a chick flick in disguise, this is director Rodriguez’s finest hour (with a little help from graphic novel creator Frank Miller and pal Quentin Tarantino).

True, the women’s characters aren’t very flattering. They’re literally all strippers and prostitutes. However, this is the world Miller created and Rodriguez is sticking with it.

It’s gorgeous to look at, beautifully done in true film noir-redux style, and expertly cast, with Mickey Rourke’s best role in ages. First rate, all around.

Best Movie - Sci-fi: “Serenity”

Sorry, Star Wars fans. While that was hands down the best of the second trilogy, the stilted dialogue pales in comparison to the cracker-jack banter of this, Joss Whedon’s resurrection of his lamentably short-lived TV show.

Remember those great exchanges between Han Solo and Leia? This movie’s full of that sort of wisecracking, ever-quotable dialogue (see “quotes” under the IMDB.com listing if you doubt it).

True, it doesn’t pack the punch of Lucas’ final epic, but it’s a hell of lot more fun and less cringe-inducing.

Best Movie - Horror: (Tie) “Land of the Dead” / “Undead”

Well worth the wait, legendary director George Romero’s “Land” - part four of the ongoing series - was the horror equivalent of the latest “Star Wars.”

It was even better in uncut form on DVD, with a great cast, including Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo and always-welcome Asia Argento.

The Australian import “Undead,” meanwhile, was a great hybrid of zombies and aliens that provided genuine laughs along with the gore in a style that was reminiscent of early Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson.

Best Movie - Dramedy: “Broken Flowers”

I hate that description, but no other definition best fits this Jim Jarmusch flick, his most accessible to date.

It’s funny, touching and tremendously entertaining, yet manages to be totally low-key and subtle at the same time, in typical Jarmusch fashion.

This has another great Bill Murray performance, great supporting cast- including national treasure Jeffrey Wright and one newcomer to watch, Alexis Dziena, as well as a plethora of fine character actresses. Great soundtrack, too.

Best Movie - Chick Flick: “The Upside of Anger”

Joan Allen is always great, but who knew Kevin Costner could be so good?

And as yet another baseball player, no less (albeit retired).

I watched this for the supporting cast of hotties, including Keri Russell (“Felicity”), Erika Christenson (“Traffic”), Alicia Witt (“Urban Legends”) and future-Oscar-winner-in-the-making Evan Rachel Wood (“Thirteen”), but it turned out to be one of the most underrated films I’ve seen all year.

It has a flawless execution, great script and a completely unexpected twist at the end that actually made one want to watch it again and didn’t feel like a cheat.

This is as good as “adult” movies get, and funny to boot. It’s one you actually won’t mind watching with the girlfriend.

Best Kid’s Movie about Necrophilia: “The Corpse Bride”

Leave it to Tim Burton to make a kid’s movie about this sort of thing, but it was great nonetheless, with a bearable musical soundtrack by Danny Elfman that sometimes recalled his Oingo Boingo days.

It’s beautifully twisted, brilliantly executed and fun to watch. Kudos to Burton for not only returning to form, but keeping stop motion animation alive.

Best Kung Fu Movie: “Kung Fu Hustle”

More of a cartoon than most cartoons, this wild and wacky jaw-dropper took kung fu flicks to the next level, with some of the most inventive effects in any movie I saw this year.

A blast from start to finish. Bring on the sequel!

Best Historical Epic: “Memoirs of a Geisha”

This has gorgeous cinematography, costumes, great location shooting and three generations of Asian women (Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li and Ziyi Zhang) albeit all non-Japanese - whoops! - make this a sight to behold.

Unfairly maligned by critics for being all surface, no substance, but this film had more heart than most films I saw this year, so maybe they weren’t paying close enough attention.

Best Biopic: “Walk the Line”

This was actually pretty entertaining, mostly due to the first rate cast, two of which (Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon) seem locks for Oscar nominations.

Alright, that just about covers it. Join me next week for the worst movies in 2005.