20 Best Acting Performances of the 2000s

Narrowing down a decades worth of performances to a meager 20 was difficult and tedious. Many good performances had to be left off for sake of keeping the list short.

Here are my 20 favorite performances of the 2000s, in no particular order. Clips/trailers included.

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Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood (2007)

Daniel Plainview: A (severely) misanthropic and greedy oil tycoon.

“There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking.”

Why: Simply amazing; the best acting performance I have ever seen, full of earnestness and obsession. Regardless of what’s occurring on-screen, Day-Lewis demands your attention and commands your respect.

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Movie Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

Memories of Murder [Salinui Chueok] (2003)

Based on the real-life series of murders which occurred in South Korea, Memories of Murder is a fictional account of the investigations proceedings. Although suspenseful and sometimes creepy, it is not a slasher or horror movie. The serial killer takes second-stage to the detectives and their many struggles; including a lack of proper training, incompetence, and infighting. Director Joon-ho Bong continually changes the films tone throughout by masterfully intertwining offbeat, dark comedy with the grisly murders. This unorthodox injection of humor within such a morose story is remarkably effective without ever appearing forced or inappropriate. He also does well in avoiding prevalent serial killer movie clichés; like creating convoluted explanations for the killer’s action and having the killer send messages to taunt the police. Read more of this post

10 Great Performances by children

Natalie Portman

Mathilda – The Professional (1994)

Age: 13

  • Excellent portrayal of a troubled girl whose maturity is well beyond her years.

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10 Best ‘Pure’ Action Movies

10 Best ‘Pure’ Action Movies

These are my ten favorite action movies of all-time. Not much more needs to be said, the trailers speak for themselves.

*Note: Regarding the title, the word ‘pure’ is interchangeable with ‘mindless,’ ‘dumb,’ ‘awesome,’ and ‘sexy.’

10) Fulltime Killer [Chuen jik sat sau] (2001)

Chinese hit man Lok Tok-Wah (Andy Lau) tries to over take Japan’s O (Takashi Sorimachi) as the #1 assassin in Asia.

  • Johnnie To has taken over Hong Kong action since John Woo went Hollywood.

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Shutter Island (2010) review

Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island is the fourth collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese and although it’s not their best film together (The Departed), it is a very powerful and absorbing thriller. With a constantly twisting and turning story, nothing is what it appears to be, taking the audience along for a dark and wild ride. While the films premise is relatively simple, its journey and conclusion are anything but straightforward. Read more of this post

Let the Right One In (2008) review

Let the Right One In   [Låt den rätte komma in]    (2008)

Vampire movies come in a variety of styles; horror, action, comedy, and romance. Let the Right One In falls somewhere between horror and romance, but not in the sense of The Twilight Saga. Focusing on two preteens, childhood awkwardness and companionship take the place of romantic lust and passion. The outcome is a gratifying tale filled with tragedy, uncertainty, and hope. Read more of this post

5 Actors who have lost their way

Acting is a very difficult profession for one to stay atop of and impossible to maintain a 100% record of success. Even the best produce the occasional flop or string of mediocre films; few have the ability to bounce back. Here are 5 ‘good’ actors in need of a reboot to kick-start their stalled, wayward careers.

Mark Wahlberg

Best Roles: Boogie Nights (1997), Three Kings (1999), The Departed (2006)

Upcoming: The Fighter (2010)

I’m actually kind of surprised he doesn’t get more flack for his very poor good:shitty film ratio. Although, he does deserve credit for rebounding his career after having starred in a string of flops; ‘The Perfect Storm’, ‘Planet of the Apes’, and ‘Rockstar’ all in succession. He’ll try it again with ‘The Fighter’ in 2010, this time attempting to recover from ‘Shooter’, ‘The Happening’, and ‘Max Payne’. Yikes.

Halle Berry

Best Roles: Monster’s Ball (2001) . . . The X-Men Trilogy (2000-2006) . . . ???

Upcoming: Frankie & Alice (2009) . . . *not yet released

Was it a one hit wonder with ‘Monster’s Ball’? She has had great success with the ‘X-Men’ films, but not much elsewhere. ‘Swordfish’ was an utter mess (topless seen aside), ‘Catwoman’ and ‘Perfect Stranger’ bombed hard, and ‘Die Another Day’ flat-lined the Bond franchise. I still believe her (deserved) Oscar win was a one-time fluke and her upcoming projects do not appear to offer anything to the contrary.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Best Roles: Boyz n the Hood (1991), Jerry Maguire (1996)

Upcoming: Red Tails (2010), Sacrifice (2011); Sadly, a film co-starring Christian Slater. (Ouch)

Gooding Jr. as 'Radio'

Has any actor fallen from atop the summit faster and harder? He went from unmerited Oscar winner (Edward Norton should have won) to playing a ‘Radio’. His first comeback attempt failed with ‘American Gangster’, hopefully ‘Red Tails’ will succeed in reigniting his career. (Probably not) His noteworthy films between 2001 and 2007: ‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘Rat Race’, ‘Snow Dogs’, ‘Boat Trip’, ‘Radio’, and ‘Norbit’.

Natalie Portman

Best Roles: The Professional (1994), Garden State (2004), Closer (2004), V for Vendetta (2005)

Upcoming: Your Highness (2011)

Although I hate to put her on this list as she’s one of my favorite actresses, but it’s been five years since her last really good movie and performance. That is way too long for someone of her talent level and ability. Since 2005, her credits include ‘Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium’, a kids film, and ‘The Other Boyleyn Girl’, which flopped. However, her upcoming comedy ‘Your Highness’ looks very promising. Teaming up with Zooey Deschanel, James Franco, Danny McBride (also writer), and directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), all the pieces are in place for a great comedy.

Edward Norton

Best Roles: Primal Fear (1996), American History X (1998), Fight Club (1999), 25th Hour (2002)

Upcoming: Stone (2010)

Although the quality of his performances hasn’t dropped, his choice of projects and roles has. Starting with ‘The Italian Job’ onward, his filmography has been polarized; either big-budget Hollywood or small-time Indie, while his best films have previously been somewhere in between. But my major gripe is his disheartened choice of roles; none of them have been complex or interesting like in his earlier works. I will forever be fascinated by Derek Vinyard, Monty Brogan, and “the Narrator.” Not so much with his Bruce Banner or whoever he played in ‘Pride and Glory’. Once considered one of the most promising actors of his generation, he is now in need of a late career defining performance.