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The Aisle View Top Ten Theatrical Films of 2003
by Megan Denny

For the final edition of The Aisle View for 2003, it seemed appropriate to put together a list of my favorite films released this year. I also decided to make a short list of the films I am most looking forward to in 2004.

Before we begin, I have a few caveats: I followed the academy rule that if a film was released in L.A. in 2002, it's a 2002 film even if the rest of the country didn't get to see the movie until 2003. Also, I didn't include re-releases. I love Alien and would gladly put it on this year's list, but that would hardly be fair to the other films. There are some 2003 films I did not have a chance to see but have heard are excellent including: The Cooler, Calendar Girls and Monster and I would like to extend two Honorable Mentions to American Splendor, and Dirty Pretty Things.

10. The Italian Job
I never expected The Italian Job would encodi on my top ten list when I saw it (as you can clearly tell by my review). It has all the usual faults of an action movie but its high energy and creativity won me over.

9. The Magdalene Sisters
It's bleak, it's beautiful, and it's based on a true story. Peter Mullan's direction is unflinching and actress Nora-Jane Noone is absolutely mesmerizing. Great characters, great story, great film.

8. Bend it Like Beckham
This film was so much fun to watch. All the characters were really funny and likeable, and even though you can guess how the movie ends, the journey is still enjoyable. It's also Keira Knightley 's best role to date.

7. X2: X-Men United
Can you believe it? A sequel that's better than the original! I saw countless films this year that used special effects to distract from a lackluster plot, and X2 sure wasn't one of them. This film had an interesting story and some truly memorable effects scenes. I think my favorite is of Magneto floating out of his prison on the iron disc.

6. Fog of War
This is the best documentary of the year and one of the most important films of the year. Whether you believe McNamara to be a misunderstood genius or a mastermind of evil, the things he has to say are fascinating.

5. 28 Days Later
Yeah ZOMBIES! Okay, they weren't exactly zombies and this wasn't exactly a zombie movie, but I think that's what I liked about it. The film combined both an intellectually frightening premise (viral outbreak) with good old fashioned gore. It's the thinking person's horror flick.

4. Finding Nemo
This film was at the top of my list for most of the year. It is so well made: combining wonderful characters with great animation, and humor that appeals to both adults and kids. I never cry at movies, but I must admit I got a little sniffly at this one.

3. Kill Bill Volume 1
Oren Ichii. That's all I have to say.

2. Return of the King
Before you fire me off an angry e-mail at me, I just want to say that these top three films are interchangeable in my mind. I like all three of them equally and I've slated ROTK at number two for the year simply because I think it has the unfair advantage of being the third chapter in a trilogy (I can't review Kill Bill as a complete piece). ROTK was great, it lived up to the hype, and I can't wait for the 87-hour extended cut of all three films.

1. Lost in Translation
I found this film to be deeply affecting and it haunts me still. When I see the trailer, I feel as though I am seeing a video of a mysterious place I have visited. I know this is a film I will appreciate for years to come.

Top 5 Films I am looking forward to in 2004:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
(Starring Jim Carrey, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry).
What would life be like if you could erase all of your bad memories? This film seems like it will have a lot in common with Being John Malkovich.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Now that Lord of the Rings is over with, I am glad to have the Harry Potter series to look forward to every year. I can't wait to see Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney.

The Life Aquatic
This is the new Wes Anderson film and it stars Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and, of course, Kumar. Rumor has it there will be animated segments created by the same folks who did Nightmare Before Christmas.

Hero
I hope 2004 will finally bring this film stateside. Everyone I know who has seen it describes it as spaghetti western-style Crouching Tiger and the cast is amazing.

Code 46
This is the new film from one of my favorite directors, Michael Winterbottom. It's a love story set in the future and it's supposed to be very dark and it sounds a little bit like Bladerunner.

DVDTalk.com Top 10 Favorite Films of 2003
(As voted on by the DVDtalk.com staff)

  1. Return of the King
  2. X2:X-Men United
  3. Kill Bill
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean
  5. Lost in Translation
  6. Finding Nemo
  7. Seabiscuit
  8. 28 Days Later
  9. Whale Rider
  10. Bubba Ho-Tep

DVDTalk.com 10 Least Favorite Films of 2003
(As voted on by the DVDtalk.com staff)

  1. Matrix Reloaded
  2. Matrix Revolutions
  3. Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
  4. The Hulk
  5. The Cat in the Hat
  6. Legally Blonde 2
  7. Boat Trip
  8. Human Stain
  9. In the Cut
  10. Wonderland

DVD Talk's Top Ten Lists for 2003
DVD Talk's Top Twenty DVDs of 2003

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