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Scott's Picks: Top Ten Movies of 2004

Category: Phantom of the Opera News
Article Date: January 16, 2005 | Publication: The Trades.Com | Author: Scott Juba

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1. “The Passion of The Christ”- Mel Gibson offers up a divine blend of art and faith with his stunning depiction of the death and crucifixion of Jesus. The film reaches across all political, ethnic, and spiritual boundaries to touch viewers with its stark depiction of how Jesus’ love for humanity was able to triumph over the wickedness of the world. Highlighted by a captivating performance from Jim Caviezel, “The Passion of The Christ is an all-consuming, overpowering experience that I will never forget.

2. “The Village” - M. Night Shyamalan seamlessly intertwines themes of love, horror, and the ability to control through fear in this deftly crafted thriller that comments on the dangers of unquestioned political authority. Crafted with careful precision and intricate detail, Shyamalan proves that he has, by far, the most creative mind in the film industry.

3. “The Phantom of the Opera” - Joel Schumacher’s keen eye for visual extravagance adds a lavish style to the screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway classic. From an aesthetic standpoint, “The Phantom of the Opera” is one of the most beautifully filmed movies I have ever seen. In addition, the musical numbers are performed to perfection by the film’s young stars. The magnificent Emmy Rossum steals the show in the role of Christine, and Gerard Butler is superb as The Phantom. The film excels, however, because Schumacher gives depth to the characters and involves the audience in their emotional struggles. The flashbacks of The Phantom’s past are especially effective at developing the character into much more than simply a Broadway cliché.

4. “Finding Neverland” - With a potent dose of storytelling in its simplest, most effective form, “Finding Neverland” is a magical experience that awakens our inner child and conjures up profound emotions. Marc Forster brings an elegant direction to the film that is enhanced by the acting trio of Depp, Winslet, and Highmore.

5. “Fahrenheit 9/11” - A masterpiece of intelligent cynicism, “Fahrenheit 9/11” poses unnerving but highly relevant questions concerning the Bush family’s connections to the Saudis and the reasons why the nation was led into the war in Iraq. If the United States had a greater number of citizens with Moore’s fiery patriotism, our nation would be a better place.

6. “Sideways” - Although this film centers around a trip two friends take to California’s wine country, the meat of the story explores the primal human fear of isolation. And unlike last year’s overrated “Lost In Translation”, the emotion in “Sideways” is honest and genuine. Moreover, the hauntingly ambiguous ending leaves viewers pondering its conclusion days after they’ve seen the movie.

7. “Man on Fire” - “Man On Fire” stands out as a bold, unflinching portrait of violence, love, betrayal, and greed set against the blazing backdrop of Mexico City.

8. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” - The brainchild of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is the most original and non-conformist love story of the year.

9. “Collateral” - Mann’s edge of your seat direction combined with the cool professionalism of Foxx and an absorbing performance by Cruise makes “Collateral” one of the most engrossing films of 2004.

10. “I, Robot” - Finally, an action thriller that doesn’t force you to check your brain at the door. Not only does “I, Robot” dazzle with its visual effects, it astutely asks us to examine technology’s expanding role in society.

Honorable Mentions: “Spider-Man 2”, “Shrek 2”, “Dodgeball”

Best Actress
Emmy Rossum- “The Phantom of the Opera”
Rossum delivers a top shelf performance in “The Phantom of the Opera”, combining her soaring voice and intuitive acting ability to achieve perfection. Rossum’s performance completely ruins the stage version of “The Phantom of the Opera”, because she gives such an emotionally textured and stirring portrayal of Christine that you will never be satisfied seeing anyone else play the role.
Honorable Mentions: Bryce Dallas Howard (“The Village”), Kate Winslet (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)

Best Actor
Jamie Foxx- “Ray”
Up until this year, there were only three men that I would classify as the elite actors of Hollywood: Russell Crowe, Sean Penn, and Johnny Depp. Now there are four. Jamie Foxx’s performance in “Ray” is one of the finest spectacles of acting I have ever seen in a film. If I had not known better, I would have believed that I was watching actual footage of Ray Charles.
Honorable Mentions: Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ”), Johnny Depp (“Finding Neverland”), Sean Penn (“The Assassination of Richard Nixon”), Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”)

Best Director
Mel Gibson-“The Passion of The Christ”
Only Mel Gibson possesses the talent and passion necessary to complete the task of bringing this monumental tale to the big screen. Gibson’s spot on direction makes the viewer feel as if they are a first hand spectator to the actual crucifixion of Jesus, creating an aura of authenticity that is unmatched.
Honorable Mentions: M. Night Shyamalan (“The Village”), Joel Schumacher (“The Phantom of the Opera”), Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland”), Michael Moore (“Fahrenheit 9/11”), Tony Scott (“Man on Fire”)

Scott’s Other Picks

Best Supporting Actress- Kate Winslet (“Finding Neverland”)
Best Supporting Actor- Freddie Highmore (“Finding Neverland”)
Best Screenplay- M. Night Shyamalan (“The Village”)
Breakout Star of the Year- Bryce Dallas Howard (“The Village”)
Best Soundtrack- “The Phantom of the Opera”
Best Special Effects- “The Day After Tomorrow”
Best Art Direction- “The Phantom of the Opera”
Most Anticipated Film of 2005- “Cinderella Man” (Starring Russell Crowe, Directed by Ron Howard)

The Worst Movies of 2004
1. “Open Water”- Ten minutes after the divers were stranded, I was already rooting for the sharks.
2. “Twisted” - This is the worst police mystery to hit theatres since the last police mystery Ashley Judd acted in.
3. “Catwoman”- This cat doesn’t have nine lives. In fact, it doesn’t even have one.
4. “Kinsey”- I’d rather watch a two-hour movie about gallwasps than sit through this sleeper again.
5. “King Arthur”- This movie offers a lot of laughs. Unfortunately, it’s meant to be a drama.


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