So I'm listing the movies of the year in the order of how much I liked them. Number 1 is the best. From there, you can figure out how it works.
Part Two: Movies I Liked
7. Transporter 2 - Deliriously ridiculous, and inventive too. Utterly trashy and shameless. Most importantly, it's self-aware but it trusts you to get the joke without it winking at you. One of the hottest gun-toting girls of the year, in a year awash with gun-toting girls. The difference: Lingerie. Plus car chases and martial arts battles, and Jason Statham's unflappable presence. What more could you want?
8. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - It's hard not to like Wallace and Gromit. Not as good as The Wrong Trousers, and the gag where the dogs stop fighting to add change to their airplanes really broke the tone for me. Otherwise, good solid fun, and claymation at its best. But ultimately, I liked Chicken Run better.
9. The Dukes of Hazzard - Admittedly, a terrible, crass, sexist, thoroughly unfunny movie, although one complaint I had--that the pot-smoking bit doesn't lead to anything--is supposedly remedied in the unrated version, where it leads to girl nudity and body painting! But such is my affection for the General Lee, and danged if the stunt drivers don't do terrific work with it. The movie's lengthy car chases are slickly shot and flawlessly performed--pure joy.
10. Millions - Danny Boyle's kid movie is weird, bright, funny, and adorable.
11. The Best of Youth - This two-part, six-hour epic about four decades in the life of an Italian family didn't dazzle me the way it did many critics--my tastes run too shallow for that, I think. But it is authentic and moving, and leaves you feeling like you've really lived a life and felt the passage of time along with these characters. And, amazingly, it's never boring.
12. Mr. & Mrs. Smith - Please ignore how the plot makes no sense--no one cares. The point is the obvious metaphor about marriage, which makes no earth-shaking points but does provide the pretext for some sharp, funny repartee and some good-looking people fighting. Brad Pitt is best when he's playing matter-of-fact dark comedy and Angelina Jolie + guns = You know how I am going to answer this. The fact that the tone works in this movie is a miracle--even in the trailer it seemed like it was going to be ugly, but it wasn't.
13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - I have no real affection for the original beyond the talents of Gene Wilder and the hilariously judgmental Oompa-Loompas (incidentally, the only part of the movie that the Family Guy spoof really parodied perfectly, as opposed to merely re-enacting). So Tim Burton's version was a welcome take on the story. Thank you for getting to the factory sooner and not making Charlie's family intolerable. The only weak link: The Wonka backstory and its clumsy resolution.
14. Gunner Palace - A rather formless documentary on soldiers in Iraq. It offered a vivid portrait of a place and an experience with which I am unfamiliar. As an example of the documentary form, it isn't the best, but it accomplishes something important nonetheless.
15. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Harry Potter movies have become a reliable fantasy-adventure fix, and I enjoy seeing how the style of the movies evolves. Plus, since I don't read, the story is new to me!
16. Wedding Crashers - Overrated and overlong. I'm not sure where all the hilarious jokes are supposed to be, but Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn do have chemistry. All in all, I had a pretty good time at the theater, even if I did see the movie too late to catch the bandwagon.