2003: Movies Of The Year
counterculture's cinema picks

Without a doubt a great year for the cinema. While some of the supposed summer blockbusters were big disappointments - Hulk and Terminator 3 in particular - there were some fabulous surprises, not least Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl.

Pirates Of The Caribbean:
The Curse Of The Black Pearl

Director : Gore Verbinski


A effects-filled pirate movie based on a theme park ride? It sounded like an expensive mistake in any language. What we couldn't have predicted was Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow, a seemingly perma-drunk clone of The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards. Daft, inspired, and one of the best performances of the year.

Pirates Of The The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

The Lord Of The Rings:
The Return Of The King

Director : Peter Jackson


What can we possibly say about this that hasn't already been said? in time, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy will be remembered as the original Star Wars trilogy is now. If you saw this, you witnessed cinematic history.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

Bruce Almighty
Director : Tom Shadyac


Underachieving TV newsman Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is convinced God (Morgan Freeman) is out to get him, and ends up getting a shot at the top job himself. A simple story of what your average Joe would do if he had supernatural powers, and the best Carrey vehicle since Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Bruce Almighty

Finding Nemo
Directors : Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich


From the digital animation studio that can do no wrong, Finding Nemo's undersea rescue story was just as popular with clued-up adults as it was with the kids. Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres and Willem Dafoe provided just three of the characters for this Pixar masterpiece.

Finding Nemo

Belleville Rendez-vous
Director : Sylvain Chomet


A French film, though with very little speaking - centres around the kidnapping of a championship cyclist and the subsequent attempt to trace his whereabouts. What at first seems a simple, old-fashioned animation soon turns into a fantastically funny, almost surreal experience.

Belleville Rendez-vous

Director : Bryan Singer


Ang Lee's Hulk was supposed to be the big Marvel superhero caper of the year, and Daredevil was tipped to be something special too. In the end it was X2 that took the honours, and rightly so. X2 was better than its X-Men predecessor in every way, and was one one 2003's most pleasant surprises.

Gangs Of New York

Gangs Of New York
Director : Martin Scorsese


2003's first must-see movie rightfully made a splash at the Oscars. Leonardo DiCaprio puts in a career best as Amsterdam Vallon, but Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of volatile psycopath Bill The Butcher steals the show. Gruesome violence, outlandish costumes, big moustaches and another big win for Scorsese.

Gangs Of New York

Director : Spike Jonze


Adaptation is about Charlie Kaufman, the actual screenwriter of Adaptation, and his attempts to create the screenplay for Adaptation. Oh, with a story about orchids somewhere in between. Confused? You will be.


The Matrix Reloaded
Directors :
Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski


It was never going to live up to the all-consuming hype, but the second of three Matrix films opened up the Matrix universe to set the scene for The Matrix Revolutions. Neo versus Agent Smith, a succinct plot and a jaw-dropping array of effects made The Matrix Reloaded the ultimate in cinematic eye candy.

The Matrix Reloaded

Spirited Away
Director : Hayao Miyazaki


A masterful animation from legendary Japanese writer/director Hayao Miyazaki about a young girls journey to save her parents from a world of strange spirits and magical creatures. A beautiful film fusing Japanese anime and mythology with all the dreamlike imagination of Alice In Wonderland.

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