There are only 45 movies I watched so far that were theatrically released in 2005. Here’s a rather a premature list of best movies of 2005:

1 – Millions (2005)
Two young brothers come into possession of a mysterious loot. One wants to give the money to the poor. The other wants to spend and invest. With a wondrous screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce and directed with vigor and spunk by Danny Boyle, “Millions” is rich in imagination, in wonder, in ideas, in whimsy, and in heart. But its ultimate treasure is a genuine performance from Alex Etel, who effortlessly carries the film with charisma and beguiling innocence.

2 – Crash (2005)
“Crash” interweaves stories of varying ethnic characters in Los Angeles. All are affected by racism, whether they like it or not. Filmmaker Paul Haggis is just plain good storyteller. “Crash” arrives at familiar moments but refuses to follow movie stereotypes. It has tons of unpredictable moments and dares you to judge a character to be good or bad. One story after another, “Crash” hits you on the gut, on the mind, and on the heart. It takes awhile to recover from this beautiful disaster.

3 – Fever Pitch (2005)
It’s the best sports-romance movie. Jimmy Fallon plays Ben (a hardcore Red Sox fan) and Drew Barrymore plays his girlfriend who feels like she’ll always be second to baseball. Unlike common and manipulative romantic comedies, “Fever Pitch” features a believable couple, in convincing and compromising situations. It really got me. And when reality overwrites the planned screenplay, the movie rides on surreal. “Fever Pitch” is so magically fortuitous – it’s like watching an impossible dream.

4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
In Harry’s fourth year, students from foreign schools of magic arrive in Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament. Not only does our teen wizard become an unexpected competitor, he deals with friendship fallouts, romantic aspirations, and traumatic outcomes. “Goblet” engages us on so many things; it’s miraculous how everything seems to have been incorporated in a matter of hours. It’s among the most generous films of the year.

5 – Bride and Prejudice (2005)The Bollywood version of “Pride and Prejudice.” Knowing the novel makes the plot predictable but there’s still much to discover: colorful song and dance numbers and a gamely international cast led by the most beautiful Aishwarya Rai. As for flaws, the movie has a flair for committing them. Plot holes, inert acting, and the works. But it is such a guilty pleasure that the whole effect is a fantastic indifference to flaws and an inclination to let loose and get lost in the fun.

6 – Sin City (2005)
Exceedingly faithful to Frank Miller’s graphic novel, Robert Rodriguez has created his most visually absorbing film in “Sin City.” It’s set on a mostly black-and-white world where the day is always night and the atmosphere gloomy. The narrating heroes are weary and grungy, the women are oozing sexuality, and the villains have no concept of conscience. The stories are foreboding, suspenseful, titillating, bloodthirsty, and most of all, shocking. Sin City is like no other place.

7 – Palindromes (2005)Todd Solondz creates an oddly-constructed tale about a girl who wants to have a baby, more than anything in the world. Her name is Aviva and she is played by different actors of varying race, size, age, and gender. You get the sense that Solondz manipulates his film to challenge his viewer. At least, he doesn’t preach. He shows instead a reason to debate the controversial topic of abortion. It surprisingly widened my narrow point-of-view on the subject.

8 – War of the Worlds (2005)
Aliens have arrived and they’re terrorizing Tom Cruise. This thriller hardly shows originality, but “War of the Worlds” is ambitious in combining effective elements from past successful films. It aims to be relentless as “Aliens,” as intimate as “Signs,” as destructive as “Independence Day,” as panic-drenched as “Titanic,” as paranoid as “28 Days Later,” and as monstrously savage as “Jurassic Park.” With Spielberg’s masterful direction, he easily distracted me from the film’s flaws.

9 – The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
“The 40-Year-Old Virgin” is a rare comedy that unabashedly all heart without necessarily being soft. It’s erect and raunchy as recent sex comedies but without the usual limp jokes. It delivers plenty of laughs and (just as important) lingering smiles. The cast is a delight, with endearing performances from Steve Carell and Catherine Keener. What happens in the end to the “Virgin” is no surprise but how it ends is: with a cinematic fresh breath of air.

10 – Upside of Anger (2005)
Joan Allen plays a woman with a venomous scorn. She’s been abandoned by her husband and left to care for her 4 daughters. She copes by drinking alcohol and raises her daughters by contradicting them. Not limited to drama anymore, Allen is simply brilliant as he we see her spill her way into some hilarious situations. Written by Mike Binder, the movie is surprisingly perceptive. Unlike chick films that aim to drain tears, this one ends with reasoning that aims to drain the anger.

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