The era of time during which we saw the era of VHS, DVDs, VCDs (kind of the same as a DVD but movies were usually spread across two discs), Blu-ray and, very nearly, the beginning of the 3D TV fad that we now look back and laugh at. This is a list of the best movies of the 2000s that I have shortlisted subjectively according to my subjective opinion in this fifth edition of Subjectively Shortlisted. But we’re only going to go as far as 2007, because we already covered the best movies of 2008 and 2009 in the first Kanis Majoris. Remember? No? Okay, never mind. Let’s dive in.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays a sharp, intelligent teenager who goes around forging cheques and outsmarting Tom Hanks — along with a whole host of other people — and it’s very enjoyable to watch. Also it’s all based on a true story.
A very memorable movie with an interesting concept. You follow the journey of a man who has short-term memory loss as he tries to find the man who killed his wife. Only the thing about this film is that it shows you fragments of what’s going on and you piece it together in your mind. It’s a genius concept because you feel as lost as disorientated as he does as with his memory condition.
My God do I love this movie. In my opinion the best Japanese animated film of all time, Spirited Away is imaginative, light-hearted and very, very rewatchable. It’s the kind of film that’s bound to cheer you up no matter what kind of mood you’re in with its warmth and charm.
Starring Kevin Spacey who, although looks and sounds like a normal human being, claims to be an alien from a faraway planet and the whole movie you’re trying to figure out whether he actually is or not as more and more information is revealed. A really underrated sci-fi movie with great dialogue and a sense of mystery throughout.
A FedEx employee, played by Tom Hanks, gets stranded on a lonely little island and the movie shows his struggle as he tries to escape. This film is much more than any old survival movie, though. Cast Away has nicely drawn-out pacing, some tear jerking moments (I’m talking about the scene with Wilson, for those of you who have seen the movie) and a feel-good ending.
I don’t know what it is exactly that makes this film so awesome. Maybe it’s the chilled out, low-key vibe, maybe it’s the chemistry between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson or maybe it’s the “time-travel” fan theory that this film has. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you, but if you want to know, you can look it up. Lost in Translation is a memorable, loveable film that might actually seem a little boring for some as the plot is a little on the lighter side in terms of how much actually happens. Like you could summarize this movie in like three sentences if you wanted to. But I think this film is more about the characters, the acting and the sense of humour — see the “lip my stockings” scene to know what I’m talking about.
Remember the good old early days of Pirates of the Caribbean? And by that I mean the first three movies, after which it all started going off the rails. The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were excellent as a trilogy which they totally could have just ended as a trilogy, with the third film serving as an epic ending to an epic series and tapering off the whole franchise. But, okay. Let’s not focus on the negatives and what could have been. We’ll just talk about the first three movies and pretend like the fourth and fifth monstrosities never existed. And yes, I am going to use this opportunity to talk about all three of the movies, even though I have written Dead Man’s Chest as the listed movie.
Featuring the iconic and hilarious character Captain Jack Sparrow, played perfectly by Johnny Depp, he’s a pirate who although has goals and always tries to get what he wants using a lot of backstabbing, plot and scheming — much like the earlier (better) seasons of Game of Thrones — he’s also a happy-go-lucky drunk whose mannerisms and witty one-liners will keep you entertained throughout the entire movie series (I personally think they have made as many Pirates movies as they have mainly because of the popularity of Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow) because he is simply a one-of-a-kind character that you don’t see often.
Dead Man’s Chest is my favourite of the three. For me it’s a tough choice because I do think that each one brings something to the table: Curse of the Black Pearl is probably the most universally-likeable; Dead Man’s Chest has the best villain, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy in a CGI octopus outfit), and a lot of that backstabbing-trickery that I mentioned earlier; and At World’s End has the most complex, layered plot with a lot of story arcs and feels the most epic of the trilogy. But seriously, if you've never seen Pirates, watch it now. Pirates of the Caribbean is, as a whole, timeless, unique and adventurous with a quirky, silly sense of humour and each character having their own well-adjusted place.
A British classic and the first of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, Shaun of the Dead is a zombie horror-comedy and one of the best horror-comedies out there.
Lord of the Rings is regarded as one of the best films of all time, and I think it deserves all the hype. It’s an amazing piece of film that is incredibly grand and epic, and I’m not just talking about the 2 hours and 58 minute runtime (or 3 hours 28 minutes if you’re watching the extended version), I’m talking about the feel the film gives off with its highly fantasised world and characters.
Having said that, The Fellowship of the Ring is probably one of the longest films I’ve ever seen. At no point during the film, however, does The Fellowship of the Ring become dull, boring or have any kind of pacing issues. I think it’s incredible how a film can successfully keep an audience engaged for that long. From the visuals, to the story, the themes and symbols, the mythology and the brilliant soundtrack, all is executed perfectly. Those who do not like fantasy movies, however, will not like this film – and you probably know who you are already, because if you are the type of person that would like Lord of the Rings, chances are you’re seen it already. In my opinion, I think this film can be – and has been – enjoyed by those who are not explicitly fans of fantasy. The direction and vision of Peter Jackson, the director of the three films, makes Lord of the Rings one to be enjoyed by all.
Probably my favourite of the Harry Potter series, Prisoner of Azkaban was the most well-made in terms of plot, cinematography, tone and soundtrack and very nicely adapted from the book into screen.
I don’t think you can possibly talk about the best movies from this era without talking about Oldboy. I’d use the following words to describe this film: thrilling, shocking, brutal, twisted and tragic. This is a film not for the faint-of-heart. There are graphic scenes of violence, sex and other messed-up stuff which I will not spoil for you. But there’s a lot more to this film than just gore and disturbing plot points, despite what you might hear. Oldboy is brilliantly mysterious, poetically powerful and cleverly well-written. The cinematography is also fantastic. The point is, it’s an amazing film through and through; it just depends on if it’s your cup of tea or not. It may be, in which case you’ll love it. Or not, in which case you’ll probably shut it off halfway through. One or the other.
Volver is a brilliant Spanish drama film starring Penélope Cruz and a cast with mostly all women. The film unfolds at a good pace with a plot that is discovered through dialogue and emotion with a very subtle tone of light comedy which plays well throughout against the themes of family and death all packaged up with elements of Spanish culture.
A tragically brilliant story of kids living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and getting involved with drugs, crime and violence. The film has a tense yet engaging storyline and characters that evolve and adapt as the film progresses.
Sin City is heavily stylized with a fantasised, comic book vibe and visual elements of old noir movies. This is really the kind of film that 1. is quite unlike most movies out there, 2. you really have to watch to truly get what it is and 3. you’ll either think it’s a movie masterpiece or you’ll think it’s a film flop.
A random, witty and oddball sci-fi movie that I think you can only either love or hate. Either you’ll think this movie is dum and weird, or you’ll think it’s genius and unique. I belong to the latter group because I think The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of those movies that is one-of-a-kind and really difficult to describe. I mean, how do I tell you about this movie without sounding like a crazy person? I can’t. All I can say is that if you like slightly odd movies with interesting concepts, a witty sense of humour, a sense of adventure and some strange philosophical ideas, then you should check out The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Set in Mayan times, Apocalypto is just one of those films that you never really hear of but is a treat to watch. It’s the kind of movie you can just put on and enjoy without thinking too much, so it’s better to go into this one without knowing too much about it.
So this movie works on a lot of different levels. As an action movie, it’s got a lot of kickass action from a vigilante-type character who wears a mask and throws knives. From a mystery point-of-view, it has a storyline that unfolds slowly as more and more is revealed and the plot progresses further and further. On a deeper level, V for Vendetta has metaphors, social commentary and all that kind of thing to make a comment about governments, control, fear and rising up against the establishment.
Another one of these fantastic Studio Ghibli films that are just a wonder to watch. Following a girl named Sophie who gets entrapped in the world of witches, wizards and bouncing scarecrows after she gets cursed to look like an old lady, this movie has excellent art, masterful pacing with a story that’s easy to follow and an imaginative world with a vintage, steampunk/WWI aesthetic.
This is one of those sci-films that almost anyone can enjoy. With a concept that is not only interesting but also has the scope to become reality, The Island is a good film through and through.
A great dystopian thriller film set in a future world in which humans can no longer reproduce, this movie reminded me a lot of 28 Days Later — not just because both movies are British dystopian thrillers, but also because the tone and style is similar across the two films.
A mob-style crime movie with Leonardo DiCaprio pretending to be a mobster but actually working for the cops and Matt Damon pretending to be a cop but actually working for the mob. The two sides work hand-in-hand and make for a great, fast-paced story with action, emotion and a whole lot of curse words.
An imaginative fantasy movie that might have some scenes that are a little too mature for kids, Pan’s Labyrinth (or El laberinto del fauno in Spanish) is set in Spain in the 1940s and follows a young girl named Ofelia as she becomes intertwined with a fantasy world while also battling what’s going on in the real world. This film does a really good job in balancing between the two and going back and forth between the two plotlines of reality and fantasy. There’s drama, great characters and a truly terrifying creature known as the Pale Man.
A brilliant, heart-felt drama starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith where you really feel the heartache and pain of financial struggle and one thing going wrong after another. Will Smith kills it as the main character who you root for at every stage, wondering what’s going to go wrong next as he runs from one situation to the next.
A follow-the-clues-to-find-the-treasure-type movie in which Nicholas Cage and his sidekicks: a nerdy tech guy who’s always cracking one liners and a romantic interest who’s reluctant at first but gets talked into joining the adventure go forth and find the treasure before the bad guys do. Even though Nicholas Cage plots an entire heist and steals the Declaration of Independence from the museum, but it’s Sean Bean and his thugs who are the bad guys. Like, what?
Okay, I’m making fun of National Treasure a little bit but all jokes aside it is a pretty good film. Nicholas Cage plays his usual self with his Nicholas Cage-ish mannerisms and, as expected, Sean Bean dies at the end. Well, he gets arrested. But the mysterious, follow-the-clues aspect of this movie is killer, which is what makes National Treasure (and I guess its sequel, National Treasure: Book of Secrets) such a good format for a mystery–adventure movie.
This film has one of the best twists I’ve ever seen in a movie. The film does a fantastic job of making you follow Nicole Kidman and her children only to find out at the end that — you know what, I’m not going to say it. You have to watch it for yourself.
An emotionally touching movie with tremendous acting from Adrian Brody. Set in WWII, it shows the story of a Jewish pianist who spends the whole movie hiding from the Nazi troops as the Germans invade Poland and the whole world crumbles around him. Adrian Brody kills it with his performance (and eventually wins an Oscar) that basically makes the whole movie. The Pianist is a dramatic war film that tells a heartbreaking story and the pain of one man’s struggle.
I watched this movie for the first time only a few years ago, and despite the fact that I knew that The Village — like many other M. Night Shyamalan movies — has a twist near the end, I still didn’t see it coming.
A dark, dark movie starring Johnny Depp portraying the events of the Jack the Ripper mystery. Although Jack the Ripper was real, I’m not sure if the identity of the real murderer was as it’s shown in this movie. It doesn’t matter to me, though. From Hell is still a solid period horror movie with a murder-mystery aspect.
This movie was a hilarious take on the comedy-cop genre in which Steve Martin plays a foolish and reckless yet brilliant and capable police officer who gets put onto a big investigation. It’s a silly, funny movie which I think is the whole point of the film.
This movie seemed so awesome when it first came out (in 2004, when I was in primary school). And now, in 2022, it still seems awesome. The only difference now is that a world in which robots are commonplace, cars are self-driving and humans can have robot limbs seems a lot closer than it did back when I, Robot was first released.
A very, very underrated movie. Following the story of a middle-class family in Delhi in which the father buys a piece of land with hopes to build his dream house, this comedy-drama is a brilliant piece of film with a twisty-turny plot, good sense of humour and some feel-good vibes.
A sentimental, emotionally touching psychological science fiction romantic drama movie. That’s a lot of genres, I know, but I don’t really like pigeon-holing movies into genres. Some movies don’t quite fit into any one particular genre and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is definitely one of them. The film has a somewhat strange story that’s told in a rather unconventional, distorted way, but has a vibe and tone that is likeable and unique.
A drama movie from India about a father sorting out his daughter’s wedding which is taking place in just a few days’ time. This movie has excellent pacing, a nice depiction of family values and focuses not just on the main plot, but also on the other subplots going on around the house involving various members of the family.
This movie is a gem from Disney that I think is one of the most creative, unique and well-adapted films Disney has ever made. A futuristic, sci-fi-esque adaptation of the classic novel Treasure Island, this movie has adventure, an array of colourful characters, themes of growing up and abandonment and an ending that will leave anyone that has a heart wondering if there are onions being cut nearby. You know, because of the tears.
A silly, fun and brilliant classic from India about three men who get caught in the middle of a plot involving money, kidnapping and crime.
This is a fun, whimsical film with a plot that seems a little random at times but has some good themes and old-timey southern vibes. With George Clooney and his two friends roaming rural Mississippi in the late ‘30s, the movie is light in tone and is a movie for some nice, light watching. Also, you’ll like this movie even more if you like folk/blues music because there’s a lot of that in here.
Three estranged brothers travel through India to find themselves and also reconnect with one another. Wes Anderson’s style and creative direction make this movie a really fun, quirky and rewatchable film.
Another heart-felt film from Hindi cinema, starring Aamir Khan (3 Idiots). The title means ‘stars on Earth’, and it follows a young boy who’s not doing well in school and, as a result, is sent to a strict boarding school by his parents. He then crosses paths with Aamir Khan’s character, the school’s art teacher, who brings to light the importance of valuing each individual for their personal gift and talent.
A horror icon from 2007 set in Victorian London, Sweeney Todd is one of my all-time favourite horror movies. Starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter and directed by Tim Burton, it’s incredibly stylised with a phenomenal story about vengeance, love and rage. A fair bit of warning, though: 1. it’s a little gruesome. So if gory, bloody horror makes you wince or let go of your breakfast, then maybe you won’t like this one (you could try to skip through or close your eyes when the gory parts come, but there are a lot of those moments, I’m afraid). 2. it’s a musical. I know, right now you’re probably like ‘what on Earth? A musical-horror?’ Yes. And believe me, not only does it work, but it enhances the movie’s story amazingly and the musical numbers offer a nice contrast to all the blood and guts. Now, I warn you because not everyone likes musicals. In fact, for some it may ruin the film. Which I understand. But Sweeney Todd pulls it off beautifully, thus making it one of the best horror movies to date, in my opinion.
A great dialogue-based film. With a title that is a synonym for “detective”, this movie is really a hit-or-miss – you’ll either love it or find it incredibly boring, as there isn’t much action going on. It feels like you’re watching a play (because it’s based off of one), so if you’re going into this one expecting an adventure film about an eccentric detective and his trusty sidekick as they travel the world and solve crimes, then perhaps skip this one.
An Indian horror/thriller that although long in run-time – 2 hours and 39 minutes – has a great payoff by the end. A film that long is a lot, I know. But the way I see it, Bhool Bhulaiyaa is what they call a 'slow burn'; it takes time for it to get started and the plot unravels slowly, builds up the tension, gets you comfortable with the characters and then …bam! The twist in this movie is a good one, trust me. Any fan of a nice, slow thriller will surely like Bhool Bhulaiyaa. And if it really is too long, just fast-forward all the songs (yes, there are songs. It's an Indian movie, it's normal) and also take a break halfway through the movie.
Do I like this movie only because of the awesome parkour opening scene? Of course not. Although the opening parkour scene District 13 (or Banlieue 13 in French) is fantastic. In fact, the film actually stars David Belle, one of the pioneers of Parkour, as one of the main characters Leïto who gets in the middle of a situation involving a cop and a gang of drug dealers in the ghettos of Paris. Besides that opening parkour scene, and other scenes that feature some Parkour, the film is a fast-paced crime-action movie with an interesting premise, a good plot line and, well, fast-paced crime and action.
Johnny Depp is a writer living in a quiet cabin when a man shows up accusing him of plagiarising his story. Events begin to take place and realities unravel in this mystery-thriller with a very good twist at the end.
This one is a classic early ‘00s stoner comedy with a ridiculous sense of humour and incredibly funny lines and situations. The characters Harold and Kumar are incredibly funny and despite being, in a clichéd sense, total opposites of each other, have fantastic chemistry and make a movie like this really work.
Superbad is super-amazingly good. It’s the sort of film that if you’ll like it, it’s likely that you’ve already seen it. However, if you like Seth-Rogen-ish and Judd-Apatow-type films and this one somehow didn’t show up on your radar, go check it out immediately.
A dark comedy from Uruguay that is minimal, subtle and tragic. The story centres around three main characters: an employee of a sock factory, the owner of the factory and the brother of the owner of the sock factory who also owns his own sock factory. Sounds random, I know, but this film has a lot going for it. The three characters go through various situations that give the movie a very dismal, empty and sad atmosphere. The filmmaking style of this movie is excellent, with creative camera angles like a Tarantino movie or Breaking Bad and long silences that reminded me of a Yorgos Lanthimos movie. However, Whisky is, without a doubt, going to be boring for some people. These kinds of films are not for everyone — and I’m not looking down on anyone here. We all have our choices and preferences. I like the film; it has a certain charm to it and although I think the first half was a lot better than the second half, it was a good movie overall that painted a portrait of three distinct characters while presenting themes of happiness, loneliness and the everyday routines we go through in our lives.
Okay, so I know this one means a lot to me because of, you know, childhood nostalgia but I really think Finding Nemo had a lot going for it. Sure, it had all the Disney/Pixar clichés; a tragic backstory involving the loss of family, a long journey full of obstacles, last-minute miracles and a happily-ever-after type ending, but it also had really creative characters, clever dialogue and a colourful world that was explored quite well throughout the film. It’s a Pixar classic where humans are the bad guys and you can watch it as an adult and still have a good time. Maybe. From my personal point of view, of course, because I watched this film maybe five-hundred times as a kid so I definitely have a strong attachment to this one.
A monstrous creature living in the river suddenly emerges, gobbling up people* and returning back to the river, taking with it a young girl. The girl’s family band together to rescue the girl in this South Korean thriller filled with emotion and family values.
I can’t express enough how badass this movie is. With constant action, awesome stunts and men with eight-pack abs roaring battlecries as they march into battle, 300 is based on a graphic novel that is based on a real battle between the Greeks and the Persians. This movie can be seen one of two ways: a cheesy, over-the-top popcorn flick that has ridiculously impossible stunts and way too much slow motion, or as a brilliantly stylized adaptation of a graphic novel with stunning visuals, quotable dialogue (“This is Sparta!”) and an amazing performance from Gerard Butler as King Leonidas that is outstandingly memorable and tells a powerful story of honour, freedom and all of that good stuff. I prefer that second way.
A movie with a simple premise, some philosophical themes and a plot that gets a bit meta at times, Adaptation was one of those films that I had never heard of but after watching realised how much attention this film should be getting. Nicholas Cage plays a screenwriter who is struggling to adapt a book into a movie and is clouded by doubt in his ability and his own self-loathing. The film has a somewhat ridiculous tone — it was made by the same people who made Being John Malkovich, which is perhaps one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen — but the film’s plot advances with a nicely structured narrative and a story that gets heavier and heavier as the film goes on.
Over the years, Shrek has — like a lot of things — become a popular meme of varying flavours (Shreksophone; Shrek is Love, Shrek is Life; that thing they do in the “thug life” memes where they add those sunglasses and a spliff?). But we’re not here to talk about the memes. The original Shrek film when it first came out in 2001 was revolutionary. Its popularity spread the world with its parody-esque comedy mocking fairy tales and clichéd stories and a tone that can be appreciated by adults as well as kids. And it still is, to this day, one of the best animation movies of all time.
A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the story of three children with extraordinary abilities when their parents suddenly die in a house fire. The film is brilliant with a great story, good action and is visually stylized with some vintage, old-fashioned vibes. What I like the best in this movie is the character of Count Olaf played by Jim Carrey. A role that I think makes this movie go from good to great — for me, anyway. The classic mannerisms and quirky movements that Jim Carrey is well known for are what make the character great and bring a lot of humour to the movie. You’re rooting for the kids when you’re watching A Series of Unfortunate Events, but it’s Jim Carrey that’s entertaining you.
Stardust has everything you could ever want from this type of film; witches, princes, kingdoms, magical gems and a candle that you can light to teleport yourself to anywhere you like. Stardust is the entire package with action, humour and a great story that can be enjoyed by kids or adults.
A classically fun Disney animation with all the usual Disney elements; a mismatched duo go on an adventure and, after entire movie of obstacles, moments of triumph and at times not getting along with each other, finally confront the villain and finish with a feel-good ending and some sort of last-minute, Disney-style miracle. But this movie is funny. Unlike a lot of Disney comedies, The Emperor’s New Groove actually holds up in the comedy department and really has a distinct over-the-top, slapstick-type sense of humour that makes this movie really fun.