Here are the first 5 movies in my list.
1. The Social Network
David Fincher’s “The Social Network” is simply riveting. I have no idea about how much of its story is fictional, but, as the fiction, the movie is smooth, fast, clever, and entertaining as the drama of a young man who finds himself as the youngest billionaire in the world and does not give a damn much about that. He only cares about what he made in his tunnel vision, but that vision was keen enough to perceive the possibility that eventually results in something still influencing our digital era even at this point. One of few notable things the movie does not delve deep into is how Zuckerberg’s creation will change our world in the end, but that is something we have to see for ourselves later, not now. Will they make the sequel for that?
2. The Tree of Life
How can you possibly show together the awe-inspiring vastness of the time and space, and the minuscule intimacy of one small family life on the Earth during the 1950s? Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” is so ambitious that some of its parts do not work well, but, as a whole, the film is an unforgettable visual meditation on our lives in the universe. With Douglas Trumble’s wonderful comeback special effect, Emmanuel Lubetzky’s stunning cinematography, and the marvelous eclectic soundtrack consisting of various classic works, the film have been immediately compared to another great “Big Idea” film “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), and, though it may not be as successful as that great film, I feel its potential to be remembered and talked about for a long time.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
“Mad Max: Fury Road”, indubitably the best work in the Mad Max series, is a superb action film fully charged with enormous vigor and sparky excitement to overwhelm you to the very end. Mixing old and new elements together in its volatile concoction, this superlative sequel is the magnificent return of the director George Miller, and his stupefying artistic/technical achievement shows us here that he is still the same bold, uninhibited, and talented director who can drive the audiences up to the level of pure thrill and exultation. Relentlessly fueled by the powerful performances from Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, the movie is one hell of electrifying work which makes many lesser action movies look trivial and forgettable instantly, and it is indeed one of the best films of this decade.
It is not so easy to describe how Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma”, which recently won the Golden Lion award at the Venice International Festival, exactly worked on me. During its first 30 minutes, I wondered why many critics are so enthusiastic about it, though I admired its top-notch technical aspects including impeccable period atmosphere and details. During its next 60 minutes, I somehow kept paying attention to a series of small moments unfolded on the screen, though I still had some reservation on it. During its last 45 minutes, I was surprised to realize how much I was absorbed in its plain but effortless narrative, and then I was completely knocked down by several strong emotional moments, which made me fully understand not only what it is about but also how it is about. This is another superb achievement from Cuarón, and, though it demands considerable attention and patience from you especially during its first half, it will give you one of the most powerful movie experiences of this year.
They say good movies can be windows to the life of people different from us, and Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is one of such fine, beautiful examples. Sensitive and empathetic, the movie is a simple but eloquent coming-of-age tale packed with haunting human moments. While its hero and background are quite specific, we notice universal themes from its intimate drama as watching its hero struggling to find his place in the world, and the movie thoughtfully and poignantly presents how his identity is shaped by his harsh environment – and how he comes to find some hope in the end. We are quite touched to watch its hero making small, honest forward steps for himself because we come to understand how hard that is for him – and we know how much he finally feels all right with being himself.