40. Spirited Away (2001)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Cast (voices of): Rumi Hiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki
Animation god Hayao Miyazaki deservedly won an Oscar for this mesmerizing, magical (what Miyazaki film isn't) creation.
39. A Tale of Two Sisters (2002)
Director: Ji-woon Kim
Writer: Ji-woon Kim
Cast: Kap-su Kim, Jung-ah Yum, Su-jeong Lim, Geun-Young Moon
Captivating, intelligent, creepy psychological thriller that, like most Asian horror flicks, relies more on atmosphere than on cheap scares. Great acting by the principal cast. Korea has got to have among the best child actors in the world.
38. The Science of Sleep (2006)
Director: Michel Gondry
Writer: Michel Gondry
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg
A criminally overlooked adorable, touching Gondry pic starring the adorable Bernal and Gainsbourg. It's classic Gondry with the surreal animation.
37. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)
Directors: Tetsuya Nomura, Takeshi Nozue
Writer: Kazushige Nujima
This is how that other visually great but ultimately flat Final Fantasy film should have been. These are characters we've learned to love in the games, with breathtaking animation and action sequences. What a trip for fanboys!
36. Moon (2009)
Director: Duncan Jones
Writers: Duncan Jones, Nathan Parker
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Brilliant sci fi flick that's a throwback to the intelligent, human-driven science fiction of the 70s. Rockwell is great in this one-man show.
35. Paris Je T'aime (2006)
Cast: Too many to mention
Ah, the city of love. This omnibus from some of the best filmmakers is a product of love. Touching and emotionally involving. Stand-outs include Gurinder Chadha's "Quais de Seine," Alfonso Cuaron's "Parc Monceau," Vincenzo Natali's "Quartier de la Madeleine" (the only horror segment), Tom Tykwer's "Faubourg Saint-Denis," Nobuhiro Suwa's "Place des Victoires" (in which Juliette Binoche is, as always, amazing), and the winning closing segment by Alexander Payne, "14th arrondissement," which features the lovable Margot Martindale.
34. The School of Rock (2003)
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Mike White
Cast: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman
Black probably hasn't been funnier or more natural than in this fun, music-driven flick. The kids are great and so are the songs. I'd love to see a sequel.
33. A Knight's Tale (2001)
Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Cast: Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany, Laura Fraser, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk
This could have failed miserably, mixing medieval Europe with modern pop beats. But it soars and delights, thanks mostly to the great chemistry and fantastic humor among the cast, led by the late great Ledger.
32. (500) Days of Summer (2009)
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel
One of the best, most well written romantic comedies in recent years. Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel are both adorable.
31. The Incredibles (2004)
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Cast (voices of): Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee
The title says it all. Great kinetic fun, much better than a lot of live-action superhero movies. How about a sequel?
Numbers 50-41 here.
Numbers 30-21 soon.