Film Highlights From 2003

Of the films I saw in 2003, here’s a list of those I heartily recommend. My favorites (in no particular order) appear first, followed by the rest of the best, in the order they were seen. Reviews for many of these can be found elsewhere on this blog.

Lost In Translation (2003, USA, Sofia Coppola) – My favorite film of 2003.

Winged Migration (2001, France, Jacques Perrin) – I saw this twice in the theatre, and I never see a movie twice in the theatre.

Far From Heaven (2002, USA, Todd Haynes) – Amazing cinematography.

Baraka (1992, USA, Ron Fricke) – Ditto

About Schmidt (2002, USA, Alexander Payne)

Whale Rider (2002, New Zealand, Niki Caro) – Beautiful and moving.

The Hours (2002, USA, Stephen Daldry) – There are moments in this film that are utterly amazing.

Ace in the Hole (1951, USA, Billy Wilder) – Cynical Wilder at his cynical best.

Requiem for a Dream (2000, USA, Darren Aronofsky) –

Harsh but fascinating and original.

The Bridge (1949, Germany, Arthur Pohl) – Released just a few years after the war, this gripping German WWII drama is based on the true story of a group of teenage soldiers who pointlessly defend a local bridge to the death. Shown as part of the outstanding post-war German film retrospective at the Siskel Film Center.

Capturing the Friedmans (2003, USA, Andrew Jarecki) – Shows the power of the documentary to spark controversy and conversation.

Finding Nemo (2003, USA, Andrew Stanton) – Great animation, entertaining for all ages.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003, USA, Gore Verbinski) – The most fun I had at the movies all year.

The Millionaire (1931, USA, John G. Adolfi) – The best movie on my list with little hope of ever getting released on DVD.

Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2003, USA, Quentin Tarantino)

Trouble in Paradise (1932, USA, Ernst Lubitsch)

Take Care of My Cat (2001, South Korea, Jae-eun Jeong) –

An unexpected surprise.


Punch Drunk Love (2002, USA, Paul Thomas Anderson)

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002, USA, Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook)

Ice Age (2002, USA, Carlos Saldanha, Chris Wedge)

Design for Living (1933, USA, Ernst Lubitsch)

The Man in the White Suit (1951, USA, Alexander Mackendrick)

Adaptation (2002, USA, Spike Jonze)

The Quiet American (2002, USA, Phillip Noyce)

Talk to Her (2002, Spain, Pedro Almodovar)

Spider (2002, Canada, David Cronenberg)

Chicago (2002, USA, Rob Marshall)

Felicia’s Journey (1999, Canada, Atom Egoyan)

Italian For Beginners (2000, Denmark, Lone Scherfig)

Destry Rides Again (1939, USA, George Marshall)

The Pianist (2002, France/Poland/UK, Roman Polanski)

He Who Gets Slapped (1924, USA, Victor Sjostrom)

While the City Sleeps (1956, USA, Fritz Lang)

The Unknown (1927, USA, Tod Browning)

X2 (2003, USA, Bryan Singer)

Better Luck Tomorrow (2002, Justin Lin)

Nowhere In Africa (2001, Caroline Link)

A Better Tomorrow (1986, Hong Kong, John Woo)

Spellbound (2002, USA, Jeffrey Blitz)

The Most Dangerous Game (1932, USA, Irving Pichel, Ernest Schoedsack)

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957, USA, Frank Tashlin)

Lantana (2001, Australia, Ray Lawrence)

Man on the Train (2002, France, Patrice Leconte)

In the Land of the Deaf (1992), Louvre City (1990), and Un Animal, Des Animaux (1996) (France, Nicolas Philibert)

Sink the Bismarck! (1960, UK, Lewis Gilbert)

The Man Without a Past (2002, Finland, Aki Kaurismaki)

Rio Bravo (1959, USA, Howard Hawks)

Pepe Le Moko (1937, France, Julien Duvivier)

The Sea Hawk (1940, USA, Michael Curtiz)

Step Into Liquid (2003, USA, Dana Brown)

Seabiscuit (2003, USA, Gary Ross)

The Heart of the World (2000, Canada, Guy Maddin)

Dead End (1937, USA, William Wyler)

Ikiru (1952, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)

Cinerama Adventure (2003, USA, David Strohmaier)

Lost in La Mancha (2002, USA, Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe)

The Black Pirate (1926, USA, Albert Parker)

Shanghai Express (1932, USA, Josef von Sternberg)

The School of Rock (2003, USA, Richard Linklater)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003, USA, Peter Weir)

Keep the River On Your Right (2000, USA, David Shapiro, Laurie Gwen Shapiro)

Elf (2003, USA, Jon Favreau)

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003, USA / New Zealand, Peter Jackson)

Yojimbo (1961, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)

Sanjuro (1962, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)


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