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The Best and Worst Films of 2005

Who was on form in 2005? Fourteen iofilm reviewers offer divergent views on the best and worst from movieland last year.

By iofilm



That was 2005 (from l to r): Robert Downey Jnr (Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang), Tilda Swinton (Narnia), Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake), Bruno Ganz (Downfall), Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener).
 
That was 2005 (from l to r): Robert Downey Jnr (Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang), Tilda Swinton (Narnia), Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake), Bruno Ganz (Downfall), Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener).
 

Reviewer: AntBit

Best Film: King Kong
DING DONG!

Worst Film: Man Of The House
Laugh-free cliches all the way, with Fantastic Four, Unleashed and The Exorcism Of Emily Rose hot on its heels as contenders.

Best Actor: Bill Murray (The Life Aquatic, Broken Flowers)
OK, OK, he always plays the midlife crisis, but I always feel like I'm having one, so I know how well he captures it.

Best Actress: Rachel Weisz
Who else could be convincing in both Constantine and The Constant Gardener?

Best Comedy: The Life Aquatic
I like my comedies bleak and this was as melancholic as a deep, dark ocean.

Best Thriller: The Consequences Of Love
Quirky, stylish and moving, with The Machinist a close second.

Biggest Surprise (film you expected to be bad, but wasn't): Domino
As dynamic as cinema gets and a meta-biopic like no other.

Biggest Disappointment (ditto above, but reverse): Don't Move
Big deal if Penelope Cruz "uglied up," this was portentous Eurotrash at its worst.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Peter Sarsgaard (Kinsey, The Skelton Key, Flightplan)
He was great in Kinsey and made the most of Flightplan.

I fell asleep in this one: Don't Move
Or at least I wish I had.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: The Exile

Best Film: A History Of Violence
The title says it all, really - plus sex.

Worst Film: Flightplan.
This makes Airplane! look like a masterpiece.

Best Actor: Viggo Mortensen (A History Of Violence)
Aragorn gets to have sex, real dialogue and more than one facial expression - eat that, Peter Jackson.

Best Actress: Maria Bello (A History Of Violence)
Just for doing a Cronenberg film without suffering disembowelment, or multiple penetrations.

Best Comedy: Kingdom Of Heaven
Come on, you know you laughed.

Best Thriller: Lord Of War
Nic Cage explores Aristotle's Ethics by selling weapons of mass destruction.

Biggest Surprise: Constantine
Keanu plus lung cancer plus badass demons - awesome!

Biggest Disappointment: Melinda And Melinda
Woody, all that young booty is messing with your head.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Russell Crowe
He fought like a pro in Cinderella Man and didn't laugh once at Renee Zellweger's godawful acting.

I fell asleep in this one: Fantastic Four
Better than a Zoloft/Paxil double-header.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Severine

Best Film: Head-On
A turbulent romance set in Berlin and Istanbul.

Worst Film: Fifteen
Looks and sounds as if made by actual 15-year-olds.

Best Actor: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mysterious Skin)
A breathtaking transformation from squeaky clean Tommy Solomon to Gregg Araki pin-up.

Best Actress: Emanuelle Devos (Kings And Queen; The Beat That My Heart Skipped)
A prolific actress who consistently turns in subtle, intelligent performances in even the smallest roles.

Best Comedy: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Dark, witty, filled with lines like, "This isn't good cop, bad cop; this is fag and New Yorker."

Best Thriller: The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Dazzling, stylish French adaptation of Fingers.

Biggest Surprise: The Constant Gardener?
Beautifully, sensitively shot, with performances that tread the right side of melodrama.

Biggest Disappointment: Thumbsucker
A starter movie for future poseurs.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Neve Campbell (When Will I Be Loved)
The return of the femme fatale.

I fell asleep in this one: The Consequences Of Love
Everything that is wrong with European art cinema - pretentious, unoriginal and ponderous.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: The Wolf

Best Film: The Constant Gardener
We've had John Le Carre adaptations coming out of our ears, but not like this, thanks to Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles and acting of exceptional quality.

Worst Film: Meet The Fockers
Ben Stiller hits the buffers with this one and although Barbra Streisand, as a middle-aged sex therapist, is the best thing in it, the film plays permanently in Cringe City.

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx (Ray)
However hard I tried to slip Bruno Ganz (Downfall) into this seat, Double X kept reminding me that his rendition of the iconic Mr Charles could not be passed over as a post-Oscar been-there-done-that rerun.

Best Actress: Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake)
Understated to the point of perfection, she stands head and shoulders - for a diminutive actress, this takes a leap of faith - above the competition.

Best Comedy: Sideways
A buddy movie, a road movie, a wine appreciation society, with a fractious double act at its centre, this intelligent losers guide to a mid-life crisis is overstocked with vintage talent.

Best Thriller: Constantine
Realising that I had to get Nicole in somewhere and The Interpreter is a classic, conventional thriller, the wheels came off Sydney Pollack's buggy when Keanu Reeves' chain smoking psychic detective battles demons in this explosively imaginative war of souls that involves a winged Tilda Swinton and not one, but two, Rachel Weiszes.

Biggest Surprise: Murderball
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie had this category sewn up until I went to see a documentary about wheelchair rugby.

Biggest Disappointment: The Brothers Grimm
There was a time when ex-Python Terry Gilliam (Brazil, The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen) could do no wrong, but judging by this indescribable mess of a movie he's lost that magic feeling.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, Constantine)
Dakota Fanning (War Of The Worlds, Dreamer) was cantering away with The Fave Award until The Constant Gardener reminded me that no one does passion like Rachel Weisz.

I fell asleep in this one: Palindromes
Todd Solondz (Welcome To The Dollhouse, Happiness) uses eight actresses, two of whom are black and another is Jennifer Jason Leigh, to play a 13-year-old sexually abused girl who wants to have a zzzz.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Docker

Best Film: The Constant Gardener
A thrilling expose, a thrilling love story, photography to make your heart skip a beat, with a vibrancy and passion that pricks at the conscience of the world.

Worst Film: Oceans 12
Narcissistic twaddle and a total waste of talent, made apparently for the amusement of the participants and box-office takings extracted on the false promise of a worthwhile movie.

Best Actor: Don Cheadle
For great acting in socially responsible films, Crash and Hotel Rwanda.

Best Actress: Rachel Weisz
For her portrayal of Tessa Quayle in The Constant Gardener

Best Comedy: Sideways
A self-effacing, lyrical road movie that celebrates the true value of comedy by lighting sparks of self-discovery.

Best Thriller: Sin City
A high wire milestone of comic book realisation, combining innovative use of greenscreen CGI, taut X-rated realism, lurid symbolism and immortal characters that returns artistic integrity to an abused genre.

Biggest Surprise: Meet The Fockers
Not a tired follow up, or simply a bunch of top names enjoying themselves, this pulls daring out of the hat and gets away with it.

Biggest Disappointment: Oliver Twist
Polanski continues to veer between brilliance and . . . this.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Rachel Weisz (Constantine, The Constant Gardener)

I fell asleep in this one: Guy X
Flimsy and pretentious.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Alkaliguru

Best Film: Downfall
If this doesn't clean up at the Oscars, it'll be because people have some sort of moral objection to Nazis.

Worst Film: Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo
It lacked the depth and subtlety of the original.

Best Actor: Bruno Ganz (Downfall)
Best Hitler since Dick Shawn in The Producers.

Best Actress: Corinna Harfouch (Downfall)
Absolutely chilling as Magda Goebbels.

Best Comedy: The 40 Year Old Virgin
This could have been played by numbers, but instead it hits all the right notes.

Best Thriller: Saw II
All the decent thrillers this year have been TV series, or football matches.

Biggest Surprise: The 40 Year Old Virgin
As with the American version of The Office, Steve Carrell managed to take a role that could have failed miserably and turn it into something special.

Biggest Disappointment: The Aristocrats
Sin City was a worse film, but I had higher hopes for The Aristocrats.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Corinna Harfouch (Downfall)
Being scared is synonymous with liking, right?

I fell asleep in this one: Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo
It puts the coma into comady.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Rollo Tomassi

Best Film: Million Dollar Baby
Clint Eastwood's powerful and moving drama is a bona fide masterpiece.

Worst Film: House Of Wax
Madame Madame Tussauds is scarier.

Best Actor: Christian Bale (The Machinist, Batman Begins)
His transformation from skeletal insomniac to the Dark Knight was truly astonishing.

Best Actress: Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)
A career best, knock out performance.

Best Comedy: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
A fun and enjoyable comeback for Shane "Lethal Weapon" Black.

Best Thriller: The Descent
Gripping, claustrophobic and, more important, genuinely scary.

Biggest Surprise: Mrs Henderson Presents
Funny and very watchable - a rarity amongst Brit flicks.

Biggest Disappointment: War Of The Worlds
Lots of CGI, lots of explosions and lots of Tom Cruise running away - and that's about it.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Natalie Portman (Closer, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith)
And not just for that pole dancing scene in Closer - honest.

I fell asleep in this one: Seven Swords
Starts at a snail's pace and then gets slower.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Macleod

Best Film: Night Watch
Totally Russian, totally nuts, hell breaking pacing and logic-to-bits, not giving a damn about what's going on, Nochnoy Dozor RULES!

Worst Film: Fantastic Four
What happens when a non-geek makes what should have been the geekiest film ever made?

Best Actor: Val Kilmer (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)
Always mis-under-estimated, he showed that he knew what he's been up to all these years - with gusto!

Best Actress: Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)
The new Shirley Maclaine (when she was cool and hanging out with Frank and The Brats), sexy, carefree, funny, tough, emotional and unafraid of spiders.

Best Comedy: The 40 Year Old Virgin
The genius behind the greatest TV series ever, Freaks And Geeks, shows a 40-year-old virgin swear for real, while getting waxed for real.

Best Thriller: The Descent
I know I'm stretching genres, but this actually made me walk out the first time I saw it, because I hate tunnels and inbred squealing cannibals, who can crawl upside down and eat me.

Biggest Surprise: Batman Begins
It makes millionaires dressing up as blind flying rodents make sense and is probably the best comic adaptation of all time.

Biggest Disappointment: The Brothers Grimm
Terry Gilliam's a great director, but even good actors can't stop this from being shite.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Nathan Fillion (Serenity)
Best spaceship captain EVER!

I fell asleep in this one:
I never fall asleep! Keep up the great work Hollywood! I luv you.

* * *

Reviewer: Gator MacReady

Best Film: Cinderella Man

Worst Film: Son Of The Mask

Best Actor: Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man)

Best Actress: Renee Zellweger (Cinderella Man)

Best Comedy: The 40 Year Old Virgin

Best Thriller: The Devil's Rejects

Biggest Surprise: Elektra

Biggest Disappointment: Transporter 2

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Vince Vaughn (The Wedding Crashers, Be Cool, Mr & Mrs Smith, Thumbsucker)

I fell asleep in this one: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Scottie

Best Film: A History Of Violence

Worst Film: Revolver

Best Actor: Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby)
Runners up were Paul Giamatti (
Sideways) and Bruno Ganz (Downfall).

Best Actress: Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake)
Runners up were Julia Roberts (Closer) and Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice)

Best Comedy: The Aristocrats
It's a documentary, but no other film this year had me nearly paralytic with laughter.

Best Thriller: King Kong
So deliriously thrilling and inventive, this clobbers the competition.

Biggest Surprise: The 40 Year Old Virgin
A wonderful mix of lowbrow humour, with a big-hearted, lovable hero and Catherine Keener.

Biggest Disappointment: War Of The Worlds
Spielberg earns this award twice in a row from me, so let us hope that Munich redeems him somewhat.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Matt Dillon (Crash, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Factotum)
He has been consistently interesting and outstanding this year.

I fell asleep in this one:
I don't fall asleep; I just laugh loudly and obnoxiously at very bad films.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Mellor

Best Film: Lower City
Fantastic Brazilian film.

Worst Film: The 40 Year Old Virgin
Surely the time to stop these awful teenage American gross-out comedies is now.

Best Actor: Matt Dillon (Crash)
For sheer career rejuvenation.

Best Actress: Maria Bello (A History Of Violence)
Disappointing film, but remarkably sexual, earthy and emotive performance from hitherto unremarkable actress.

Best Comedy: The Wedding Crashers
Two comedy kings at work - and Isla Fisher

Best Thriller: Innocence
Schoolgirls, coffins and French people... yikes!

Biggest Surprise: Batman Begins)
Christian Bales out the Batman franchise

Biggest Disappointment: War Of The Worlds
So bad I wanted the aliens to win

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Maria Bello (A History Of Violence)

I fell asleep in this one: Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
Oh look, the next evil one died.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Rebort

Best Film: Downfall
Gripping drama as well as historical filmmaking at its most authentic.

Worst Film: Surviving Christmas
Ben Affleck at his most annoying in wrongheaded variation of A Christmas Carol.

Best Actor: Bruno Ganz (Downfall)
He is brilliant as the delusional and desperate Adolf Hitler.

Best Actress: Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake)
A perfectly pitched performance.

Best Comedy: It's All Gone Pete Tong
Great sounds and Paul Kaye as a deaf DJ carries the show.

Best Thriller: Maria Full Of Grace
No car chases, no grand heroics, just the story of a vulnernable teenage "mule" drug-trafficker.

Biggest Surprise: The Brothers Grimm
Not Terry's best for sure, but enjoyable nonsense all the same.

Biggest Disappointment: Kinsey
Sex sells, but the viewing pleasure was anti-climatic.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Robert Downey Jr (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)
Never dull, on screen or off.

I fell asleep in this one: Must Love Dogs
Bland formulaic comedy is perfect antidote for insomnia.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Kotleta

Best Film: Night Watch
Even more magically brilliant than Serenity and proof that foreign doesn't have to mean arthouse.

Worst Film: Sin City
Pretentious, misogynistc and interminably dull.

Best Actor: Christian Bale (The Machinist, Batman Begins)
The only Batman who is ever going to win an Oscar, but probably not FOR Batman.

Best Actress: Tilda Swinton (Constantine, Thumbsucker, Broken Flowers, The Chronicles Of Narnia)
Amongst other things, for making Constantine almost not awful.

Best Comedy: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Genius casting and the year's best title, too.

Best Thriller: The Constant Gardener
Too exciting to be dismissed as worthy.

Biggest Surprise: Doom
Ok, so it wasn't actually any good, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Biggest Disappointment: The Brothers Grimm
Truth in advertising.

Actor/actress I liked best in 2005: Robert Downey Jr (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)
An American Hugh Grant, with more drugs and prostitutes and a lower life expectancy.

I fell asleep in this one: Silver City
All talk and not much else - for the first half hour at any rate; I woke up at the end credits.

* * *

* * *

Reviewer: Elf

Best Film: Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit
You can't beat a good slice of family fare (or cheese for that matter).

Worst Film: Kicking And Screaming
I was going to award this to the laughable - yet unfunny - Deuce Bigelow, European Gigolo... until I remembered how bad Will Ferrell was in this.

Best Actor: Vincent D'Onofrio (Thumbsucker)
Not the greatest film that ever was but great to see Vincent getting a decent, meaty role.

Best Actress: Tilda Swinton (Constantine, Thumbsucker, Broken Flowers, The Chronicles Of Narnia)
Again, nice to see an actress get to be versatile. Mind you I would have preferred to give this prize to Amy Adams for Junebug but it has only had a festival release.

Best Comedy: Sideways
Great to see a comedy squarely pitched at the over-30s.

Biggest Surprise: Millions
The man who brought us Trainspotting and 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle) didn't sound like first choice to make a cuddly tweenie movie but he pulls it off with aplomb.

Biggest Disappointment: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory
Except for the squirrels - which were a stroke of genius in the remake - come back Gene W all is forgiven.

I fell asleep in this one: Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo
Chance would have been a fine thing.


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