2. You Can Count on Me This beautifully performed character study of the relationship between a grown brother and sister whose lives have been defined by their parents' deaths offers hope that mature, thoughtful, nuanced dramas are still capable of being made on the indie scene.
3. The Filth and the Fury Intelligent? Tender? Socially committed? This narcotic documentary of the world's most notorious punk band broadened our understanding of the men and the music, offering as trenchant a vision of the U.K.'s economic straits as a Mike Leigh or Ken Loach film.
4. Girlfight Like another one of this year's girl-power entries from a first-time director, Sophia Coppola's splendid The Virgin Suicides, this estrogen-driven story gave a heart and soul to female ambition, power and desire few films ever bother with.
5. American Psycho Though it at times descended into slasher film camp, director Mary Harron did the unthinkable when she transformed snot-nosed literary dabbler Bret Easton Ellis's loathsome, misogynistic "satire" into a genuinely shocking, deliciously stylish portrait of modern soullessness.
6. Ghost Dog An idiosyncratic story and entirely odd combination of art film and gangster schlock, Jim Jarmusch's inner-city samurai film proves there's still a place for quirky stories and unique visions in contemporary cinema.
7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Ang Lee's bold film dared to alienate an American audience with Mandarin Chinese dialogue as it envisioned the delicate, gravity-defying martial arts action and tenderness of the Hong Kong cinema in a wholly new light.
8. Traffic A vanguard indie who's managed to retain some of his integrity even as he heads into La-La Land, Steven Soderbergh's Altmanesque story of the intersecting players in the American and Mexican drug trade maintained an engrossing pace even as it juggled multiple storylines.
9. Requiem for a Dream An often ludicrous, hysterical spectacle of drugs and sex (not unlike this year's equally noteworthy, shock-rific sin-pot Quills) featuring over-edited histrionics and voyeuristic thrills masquerading as moral message, this lurid cautionary tale nevertheless stuck with you for its visual pyrotechnics, chutzpa and dumb, blind faith in its own excessive vision.
10. Gladiator Russell Crowe.
1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon If Jet Li wed Jane Austen, they'd deliver something akin to the thrilling kinetics and emotional depth of Ang Lee's lavish Hong Kong homage.
2. You Can Count on Me With the year's finest original script, Kenneth Lonerghan and his cast take delight in finding the commonplace miracles in love, family and the workplace.
3. Chicken Run: "Wallace and Grommit" creators make a great escape from a tyrannical hen farm, with so many poultry jokes they could have called it Chicken Pun.
4. High Fidelity Stephen Frears and John Cusack provide a loving, letter-perfect rendition of Nick Hornby's novel of love among the cut-out bins.
5. The Filth and the Fury: A Sex Pistols Film Julien Temple's collage-like essay puts the seminal punk band in their rightful place in both English history and pop music.
6. One Day in September A brilliant blend of chilling interviews, archival broadcasts and evocative recreations puts you at the scene of the terrorist attack on the Munich Olympic Games.
7. Almost Famous Cameron Crowe's autobiographical fable shows how one music critic -- and the whole of rock 'n' roll -- came of age.
8. American Psycho Die, yuppie scum. This fiendish, hilarious consumerist satire rests on Christian Bale's perfectly tailored shoulders.
9. Jesus' Son: Hallucinatory humor, the hope of redemption and a self-effacing cast mark this willfully episodic look at a junkie's hard-knock life.
10. O Brother, Where Art Thou? Pay less attention to the Coen Brothers' cornpone jokes and Homeric footnotes and enjoy the superbly chosen period music and glorious cinematography.
Eddy Von Mueller
1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon With dazzling camera-work, complex characters, kick-ass fights and a rich and ambiguous narrative, Ang Lee's martial art-movie towers head and shoulders above anything else this year. Granted, it was probably hoisted up there on wires ...
2. Chicken Run OK, it ain't art, but the first feature from Aardman Animation's Nick Park and Peter Lord, the claymation wizards behind Creature Comforts and "Wallace and Grommit," is funnier, smarter and more satisfying than most of the flesh-and-blood features foisted upon us these days. It is also the most impressive 3-D animation ever produced.
3. Gohatto (aka Taboo) Though it hasn't yet made landfall in Atlanta, Nagisa Oshima's beautifully mounted, wildly controversial gay samurai epic is undoubtedly 2000's most innovative offering. Its straightlaced, straight-faced portrayal of love among Japan's war-elite is also a welcome antidote to the current explosion of huggably effete stereotyped gay men in American films.
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