By Margaret A. McGurk
The Cincinnati Enquirer
After a year of movie-watching, here are the 10 that made the deepest impressions:
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Movies don't get any better than this technically spectacular and emotionally riveting epic. The studio that gambled on this high-risk trilogy deserves as much credit as the artists who made it.
2. Finding Nemo - The kids at Pixar once again come up winners, with a delightful and visually gorgeous family adventure.
3. Mystic River - Director Clint Eastwood proves his power to deliver stunning work has not diminished with age. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and company come through with great work.
4. 21 Grams - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hits a home run with his first English-language film - also starring Sean Penn - a tragedy framed in jittery, time-scrambled fragments that only magnify its urgency.
5. Lost in Translation - Bill Murray fans have known for a long time that he is more of an actor than he's been given credit for; it took a fine script and delicate direction by Sofia Coppola to prove it to the world.
6. American Splendor - This truly original blend of biographical fiction and documentary has wholly peculiar subjects comment on the actors portraying them.
7. Dirty Pretty Things - Haunting and empathetic, the story of Third World people scrambling to find a safe place in the West has the power to crack the heart in two.
8. The Last Samurai - OK, I'm a sucker for sweeping epics, and this tribute to the epic master Akira Kurosawa dished up everything I want to see in a movie.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean - This comic romp injects itself with enough fun to keep the excellent special effects from stealing the show.
10. 28 Days Later - As a horror-film skeptic, I was thrilled at how well this modern zombie yarn worked. Smart, thoughtful and scary as all get-out.
THE BEST IN ARTS 2003
Best of 2003: Classical music
Best of 2003: Film
Best of 2003: Theater
Best of 2003: Dance
Best of 2003: Pop music
Best of 2003: Visual art
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