100 must-see movies from the 2000s, according to critics
Over the past few decades, critics have praised a lot of movies from the 2000s.
Critically acclaimed comedies from the 2000s include "Mean Girls" (2004), "The Hangover" (2009), and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (2005).
Awarding-winning movies like "Lost in Translation" (2003) and "The Wrestler" (2008) also come highly recommended by critics.
A lot of films from the 2000s have won awards, become classics, and been met with praise from both critics and audiences. And whether you're looking for a gory horror movie or a family-friendly flick, film critics can recommend a film from just about every genre.
From "Moulin Rouge!" (2001) to "Man on Wire" (2008), here are the top 100 must-see films from the 2000s as rated by critics on Rotten Tomatoes. "Moulin Rouge!" (2001) is a jukebox musical.
In Baz Luhrmann's musical drama "Moulin Rouge!," a poet (Ewan McGregor) falls in love with an escort (Nicole Kidman) whose affections belong to an egotistical duke. The movie won two Oscars, one for production design and one for costume design.
"Moulin Rouge!" currently has a 76% critical score and an 89% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2001, film critic David Ansen of Newsweek wrote, "‘Moulin Rouge!' seems to defy esthetic gravity: by reveling in all things artificial, it arrives, giddily, at the genuine."
"The Devil Wears Prada" (2006) is a comedy with star power.
Directed by David Frankel, "The Devil Wears Prada" stars Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, and Meryl Streep as women working a top fashion magazine in New York City. In the film, naive Andy Sachs (Hathaway) tries to keep up with the demands of big-name magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Streep) while trying to advance her own career.
Read More: 10 of the best outfits in 'The Devil Wears Prada'
"The Devil Wears Prada" has a critical score and audience score of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2006, ReelViews critic James Berardinelli wrote, "'The Devil Wears Prada' is two films in one: a caustic, energetic satire of the fashion world and a cautionary melodrama."
"Gladiator" (2000) is an Oscar-winning movie about glory and vengeance.
Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" was a critical darling when it came out in 2000, even earning the Oscar for best picture in 2001.
The action-packed drama follows former Roman General Maximus (Russell Crowe) as he fights gladiator battles in order to seek freedom from slavery and avenge the deaths of his family members.
"Gladiator" has a 76% critical score and an 87% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2000, The Hollywood Reporter praised the film, writing, "Russell Crowe solidly anchors this epic-scale gladiator movie — the first in nearly four decades — by using his burly frame and expressive face to give dimension to what might otherwise have been comic book heroics."
"Sin City" (2005) is based on a comic series.
Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez's "Sin City" is an action-packed thriller with Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis as its leads. Adapted from Frank Miller's comic books, the movie is filled with corruption, romance, and redemption.
"Sin City" currently has a 77% critical score and a 78% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2013, film critic David Germain of the Associated Press wrote, "With a huge, well-chosen cast and the blessing of Miller, who was on set as Rodriguez's co-director, 'Sin City' is a gloriously stylized world unlike anything you've seen before on screen."
"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (2005) is a sweet film about friendship.
Ken Kwapis' "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is an adaptation of the popular novel by Ann Brashares. The film centers around four best friends (Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, and Blake Lively) and the pair of jeans they share that magically fits them all.
"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" has a critical score of 77% and an audience score of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2005, of the film, USA Today's Claudia Puig wrote, "It's heartening to see a movie about teenage girls that is concerned with serious questions and avoids the pettiness that filmmakers tend to ascribe to young women of that age."
"The Hangover" (2009) is a comedy that's full of surprises.
In Todd Phillips' "The Hangover," three friends (Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms) wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, Nevada with no memory of the night before and no clue where the bachelor went. Together, they wander the city and try to piece together what happened during their night.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "The Hangover" currently has a critical score of 78% and an audience score of 84%. In 2009, of the film, Betsy Shakey of the Los Angeles Times, wrote: "There is a sort of perverse brilliance or brilliant perverseness to be found in this story of a bachelor party gone terribly wrong."
"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (2003) is an action film that spurred multiple sequels.
A film that resulted in an entire franchise, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" features pirates, ancient curses, and an army of the undead. Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley play the leads of the adventure film and they later regrouped for several sequels.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" currently has a 79% critics' score on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of 86%. In 2004, Looking Closer's Jeffrey Overstreet wrote that the film: "... echoes the ambition, mischief, boyish glee, and whimsical wit of '80s adventure films like 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' 'Gremlins,' 'The Goonies,' and 'The Princess Bride.'"
"Requiem for a Dream" (2000) is a thriller about addiction.
Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream" is a visually-driven drama about drug addiction that stars Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, and Ellen Burstyn. The film follows the four main characters as they grapple with different addictions that alter their interpretations of reality.
"Requiem for a Dream" currently has a critical score of 79% and an audience score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. "There's a wholehearted commitment in every frame toward synthesizing the feeling of hopeless addiction," Arizona Daily Star film critic Phil Villarreal wrote about the movie in 2006. "It's in the writing. It's in the chaotic cinematography. It's in the actors' eyes."
"Oldeuboi" (2003) is a violent tale of revenge.
In Park Chan-wook's "Oldeuboi" (also called "Oldboy"), Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-sik) is released after being imprisoned for 15 years and he is given only a few days to find out who locked him up and why. The dramatic mystery film focuses on psychological torture and revenge and it impressed many film critics around the world.
The film currently holds a critical score of 80% and an audience score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2007, of the film, Film Scouts' Jason Gorber wrote: "Part character study, part action flick, the film seamlessly blends genres in an extremely satisfying way. The photography is spectacular — of particular note is an Escher-like staircase sequence that is simply extraordinary."
"The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001) is a comedy about a dysfunctional family.
Wes Anderson's "The Royal Tenenbaums" portrays an eccentric family as they're forced to gather under the same roof. The cast is filled with big-name actors including Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny Glover, and Bill Murray.
"The Royal Tenenbaums" has a critical score of 80% and an audience score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2001, New York Daily News film critic Jack Matthews wrote, "This comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family of eccentric geniuses is exactly the kind of movie America could use. It's funny, poignant, laced with irresistibly flawed characters and focuses on the power of love in a family."
"Tropic Thunder" (2008) is an action-packed parody of war films.
In Ben Stiller's "Tropic Thunder," Stiller appears alongside Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. in a satirical take on war films. In the film, actors portraying war heroes are dropped into the middle of the jungle in foreign territory. Unbeknownst to the actors, they have been dropped into an actual war zone, not a cinematic one.
"Tropic Thunder" currently has a critical score of 81% and an audience score of 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. "The action movie has been spoofing itself for years," Movie Views critic Ryan Cracknell wrote about "Tropic Thunder" in 2008. "Half of the time it's not even intentional. Ben Stiller's hilarious and surprisingly intelligent 'Tropic Thunder' takes the genre spoof to a new extreme."
"Bridget Jones's Diary" (2001) is a comedy with Renée Zellweger at its center.
An adaptation of the novel by Helen Fielding, Sharon Maguire's "Bridget Jones's Diary" tracks the life and love of Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) as she becomes torn between her boss (Hugh Grant) and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and learns to love herself.
"Bridget Jones's Diary" has a score of 81% from critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2002, View London critic Matthew Turner called the movie a "thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy — smart, saucy, brilliantly-cast, superbly acted and laugh-out-loud funny with pleasing regularity."
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001) is a magical adaptation of the British book series.
The first film adaptation from J.K. Rowling's beloved fantasy series, Chris Columbus' "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" follows young Harry (Daniel Radcliff) as he enrolls in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and enters a hidden, magical world. The first film features Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint in the three main roles, a trio that would remain in the franchise until "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" debuted in 2011.
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" currently holds a critical score of 81% and an audience score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Even though a few of the book's scenes have been cut, fans probably couldn't hope for a better adaptation," Empire Magazine's Alan Morrison wrote shortly after the film's release. "It bodes well for the rest of the series, when strong stories start taking precedence over set-up."
"Love and Basketball" (2000) is a romantic movie about basketball.
In Gina Prince-Blythewood's "Love and Basketball," Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps play childhood sweethearts who share a love for each other and a passion for basketball.
"Love and Basketball" holds a critical score of 82% and an audience score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Time Out's Geoff Andrew praised the film in 2006, writing, "Stylishly shot and bursting with visual and sexual energy, this is confident black women's film-making and an eloquent tribute to the girl with the permanently grazed knees — and about time too."
"Barbershop" (2002) is a comedy set in a Chicago-based barbershop.
Tim Story's "Barbershop" captures the ins and outs of a barbershop in Chicago. The comedy stars Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Eve, and Cedric the Entertainer and later spurred two sequels.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Barbershop" holds a critical score of 82% and an audience score of 62%. Ebert & Roeper's Richard Roeper called it a "flat-out hilarious ensemble comedy that probably made me laugh out loud more than any other movie this year."
"Ocean's Eleven" (2001) is a star-studded heist film.
Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's Eleven" is a remake of a heist film from the '60s. The movie's cast includes George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts.
"Ocean's Eleven" has a critical rating of 82% and an audience score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2010, of the film, The Film Yap's Nick Rogers wrote: "A perfect example of smart, fun mainstream entertainment. David Holmes' mod-jazz score pulses with pep, and even with the star power, Steven Soderbergh makes room for winning supporting turns from Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin and Carl Reiner."
"Fahrenheit 9/11" (2004) is a political documentary.
Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" examines the attacks that occurred in the US on September 11, 2001, and the political turmoil that followed.
"Fahrenheit 9/11" has a critical score of 82% and an audience score of 69% on Rotten Tomatoes. Of the film, New Yorker's David Denby wrote, "This is Moore's most powerful movie — the largest in scope, the most resourceful and skillful in means — and the best things in it have little to do with his usual ideological take on American power and George Bush."
"Avatar" (2009) is a visually stunning film about an otherworldly planet.
James Cameron's "Avatar" follows an ex-Marine as he's sent to an alien planet to study their world by immersing himself in their culture. The movie features Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, and Michelle Rodriguez.
"Avatar" has a critical score and audience score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"'Avatar' is a joyous celebration of story craft and the visual possibilities of cinema," IndieWire's Anne Thompson wrote in 2010. "Cameron had set his sights on taking the technology of film where no one had gone before. And he delivers. 'Avatar' is stunning."
"Elf" (2003) has become a Christmas classic.
Jon Favreau's "Elf" is a wholesome Christmas film about a human (Will Ferrell) who has been raised by elves. He travels to New York City to find his real family. Other key actors in the film include James Caan, Bob Newhart, Mary Steenburgen, and Zooey Deschanel.
Read More: 13 surprising things you probably didn't know about 'Elf'
"Elf" currently has a critical score of 83% and an audience score of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. Of the movie, Film Inquiry's Kristy Strouse wrote, "There are few cinematic ventures that capture the Christmas spirit in such abundance and hit the Holiday target so directly on the nose."
"Mulholland Drive" (2001) is a puzzling suspense film.
David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" follows one woman, who has lost some of her memory following a car crash, as she searches for answers and clues in Los Angeles, California. Many critics praised the work of the film's actors including Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, and Naomi Watts.
"Mulholland Drive" has a critical score of 83% and an audience score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety film critic Todd McCarthy wrote the film was "a stunning starring debut, one that should decisively put Watts on the Hollywood and international map."
"Serenity" (2005) is a sci-fi film based on a television show.
Set in the same universe as the popular sci-fi television show "Firefly," Joss Whedon's "Serenity" is an adventure film that was released in 2005. The space movie stars "Firefly" series favorites like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, and Adam Baldwin in their original roles.
"Serenity" currently has a critical score of 83% and an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"The settings and tone are hyper-real, yet the human behaviour is grounded and credible, the moral conflicts complex and involving," Time Out's Nick Funnell wrote about "Serenity." "Shiny, intelligent fun."
"Paranormal Activity" (2007) is a horror film that started a franchise.
Oren Peli's "Paranormal Activity" is a found-footage horror film about a couple who is plagued by spirits in their home. The movie scared audiences nationwide and spawned multiple sequels, with actress Katie Featherston returning to reprise her original role in the second and fourth films.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Paranormal Activity" has a critical score of 83% and an audience score of 56%.
"It illustrates one of my favorite points, that silence and waiting can be more entertaining than frantic fast-cutting and berserk [effects]," film critic Roger Ebert wrote about "Paranormal Activity" in the Chicago Sun-Times in 2009. "For extended periods here, nothing at all is happening, and believe me, you won't be bored."
"Walk The Line" (2005) is a biographical drama about Johnny Cash.
James Mangold's "Walk the Line" is a drama based on the early life of American musician Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) and his relationship woes with Vivian Cash (Ginnifer Goodwin) and June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). The film was lauded by critics and won Reese Witherspoon an Oscar for best actress.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Walk the Line" currently holds a critical rating of 83% and an audience score of 90%. Of the film, The Observer's film critic Andrew Sarris wrote: "I advise you catch up with 'Walk the Line,' if only for Ms. Witherspoon's transcendent joyousness as a still-growing legend within a legend."
"In Bruges" (2008) is a dark comedy about a pair of hitmen.
Martin McDonagh's "In Bruges" is a dark comedy follows a pair of assassins (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) through the Belgian city of Bruges as they wait on a call from their boss (Ralph Fiennes) about their next hit. Things get more complicated as they get involved with locals, find love, and question their career path.
"In Bruges" currently has a critical score of 83% and an audience score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Those who know McDonagh's work know a vein of darkness will run deeply through the comedy," wrote The Washington Post's film critic John Anderson about the film. "It has seldom been darker. Or funnier."
"Mean Girls" (2004) is a comedy about cliques in high school.
Mark Waters' "Mean Girls" centers around a group of popular high school girls (Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried) who take a new student (Lindsay Lohan) under their wing. Tina Fey's script has provided audiences a number of quotable lines and it later inspired a Broadway musical that premiered in 2017.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Mean Girls" has a critical rating of 83% and an audience score of 66%. In 2015, Screen Queens' critic Hannah Ryan wrote: "'Mean Girls' is not only of the one most enjoyable films of the 21st century but it is also one that explores the wonderful comedic potential of women."
"Erin Brockovich" (2000) is a legal drama starring Julia Roberts.
Steven Soderbergh's "Erin Brockovich" is a legal drama based on a true story of a single mother (Julia Roberts) who won a direct-action lawsuit against an electric company that was involved in an illicit cover-up.
"Erin Brockovich" has a critical score of 84% and an audience score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2005, of the film, New York Daily News critic Jack Mathews wrote: "In the title role, Roberts carries the film in the best sense, by taking us on a human journey of genuine discovery and growth."
"Kill Bill: Volume 1" (2003) is a film about martial arts and revenge.
Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Volume 1" is an action film that follows a woman (Uma Thurman) who is determined to get revenge after a circle of assassins leaves her for dead on her wedding day. The film and its sequel "Kill Bill: Volume 2" (2004) feature a cast that includes Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, and David Carradine.
"Kill Bill: Volume 1" has a critical score of 84% and an audience score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Unfolding as a book the film is conceived in chapters, each boasting the look and pulse of a specific genre," film critic Emanuel Levy wrote about the movie in 2011. "As expected of Tarantino, there are references to music, literature, fashion, and above all movies and pop culture, both American and foreign."
"500 Days of Summer" (2009) is a romantic comedy.
Marc Webb's "500 Days of Summer" stars Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as twenty-somethings in an on-again-off-again relationship. The dramatic comedy analyzes how men and women view each other at the beginning of relationships and references past romantic comedies and their treatment of "the ideal girl."
On Rotten Tomatoes, "500 Days of Summer" has a critical score of 85% and an audience score of 84%.
Of the film, Reel Talk Online's Candice Frederick wrote: "What makes this movie so seamless is the spot-on performances of the two lead actors and the very relatable story of what happens when love — and life — happens."
"The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (2005) is a comedy with heart.
Judd Apatow's "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" centers around Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell), a sweet, nerdy 40-year-old man who has not yet lost his virginity. With the help of his co-workers and friends, Andy gains confidence and attempts to win the affection of a new crush (Catherine Keener).
"The 40-Year-Old Virgin" has a critical score of 85% and an audience score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Appeals equally to fans of no-holds-barred gross-out movies and those looking for something more intelligent," Apollo Guide's Brian Webster wrote about the film in 2007. "It's hilarious, surprisingly perceptive, and even sweet."
"Bend It Like Beckham" (2002) is a sports drama about familial expectations.
Gurinder Chadha's "Bend It Like Beckham" centers around soccer-loving Jess (Parminder Nagra) who finds herself torn between her family's traditional lifestyle and her dreams of playing soccer professionally.
"Bend It Like Beckham" currently has a critical score of 85% and an audience score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2003, film critic Sara Michelle Fetters wrote: "This sports dramatic comedy about culture, gender, parents and growing up just might prove to be one of the year's best and it easily rekindles my waning enthusiasm about making trips to the multiplex."
"Billy Elliot" (2000) is a drama about stepping outside of gender norms.
In Stephen Daldry's "Billy Elliot," a coal miner's son (Jamie Bell) falls in love with ballet and dance. Surprised by his talent, a teacher (Julie Walters) takes the boy under her wing but she and Billy face opposition from his family who forbid him from pursuing his dreams of dance.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Billy Elliot" has a critical score of 85% and an audience score of 89%. Film critic Peter Brunette wrote that "'Billy Elliot' is a feel-good movie that you don't have to feel bad about feeling good about."
"The Descent" (2005) is a horror film with an all-female cast.
When tragedy strikes, a group of women gather together to go on a spelunking adventure in the wilderness. The cave exploration goes awry when Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) begins to suspect that they're not alone underground.
"The Descent" has a critical score of 85% and an audience score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2018, of the film, The Ringer's Sean Fennessey wrote: "An all-female cast, a claustrophobic cave setting draped in red light, and an anarchic, vicious fight to the death ... need I say more about one of the most physically taxing movies of the century?"
"Garden State" (2004) is a drama about discovering who you are.
Zach Braff's "Garden State" is a drama about a struggling actor, Andrew Largeman (Braff), who is beckoned home when his mother passes away. Forced to socialize with hometown friends and his father, Largeman's outlook is changed when he meets Sam (Natalie Portman) and realizes that there's more to life than what he's settled for.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Garden State" has a critical score of 86% and an audience score of 88%. "'Garden State' may not define an entire generation, but it has a sharp eye for the passive aimlessness that can take hold when young adults realize there's no handbook on how to find purpose and meaning in life," wrote Miami Herald critic Rene Rodriguez.
"Collateral" (2004) is a thriller about a cab driver who grapples with an assassin.
Michael Mann's "Collateral" is about a taxi driver (Jamie Foxx) who is tasked with picking up a high-paying client (Tom Cruise) from different points in the city. The cab driver's luck turns when he realizes that the man he's been driving around is a hitman and he's been killing people throughout the day.
"Collateral" has a critical score of 86% and an audience score 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. "A visually striking film from the unhinged, endlessly creative mind of Michael Mann," film critic Chris Stuckmann wrote about the movie in 2015.
"Inside Man" (2006) is a heist film with Spike Lee's signature style.
In Spike Lee's "Inside Man," a police detective, a bank robber, and a broker find themselves in a power struggle. This heist film stars Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen and it has been called "thrilling" and "satisfying" by critics.
"Inside Man" has a critical score of 86% and an audience score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Film critic J.R. Jones of the Chicago Reader called the movie "[a] wily thriller, which revitalizes a familiar premise by turning it inside out" in 2008.
"28 Days Later" (2002) is a zombie film.
Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later" explores the aftermath of a zombie-like virus that has rapidly spread around the world, effectively killing the majority of the human population. A string of survivors (Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson) struggle to make it to a safe haven in a nightmarish new world.
"28 Days Later" has a critical score of 86% and an audience score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2003, The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern wrote, "Heedlessly derivative though it may be, '28 Days Later' does what it sets out to do and then some — scare us out of our wits, then get us to apply those wits to an uncommonly intelligent and provocative zombie flick."
"Superbad" (2007) is a teen comedy about parties and confidence.
In Greg Mottola's "Superbad," Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are high school seniors who hope to break out of their shells by going to an end-of-year rager. Things get out of hand when a fake ID gets their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) mixed up with the police and party antics cause Seth and Evan to re-evaluate their friendship.
"Superbad" has a critical and audience score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"‘Superbad' is a movie about partying and getting wasted and getting the girl, but as the night wears on, much wisdom is gained too, about self, friendship and the end of teenage innocence in all its wondrous, terrifying splendor," wrote NPR film critic Bob Mondello in 2007.
"Battle Royale" (2000) is a dystopian film.
Kinji Fukasaku's "Battle Royale" pre-dated "The Hunger Games" by several years when it pitted children against each other in a dystopian battle to the death. On a remote island, a group of 9th graders are forced to kill each other or be killed by order of the Japanese government.
"Battle Royale" has a critical score of 87% and an audience score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Of the film, Variety's film critic Robert Koehler wrote: "Departing from two decades' worth of domestic and personal dramas and returning to his roots as Japan's maestro of mayhem, Kinji Fukasaku has delivered a brutal punch to the collective solar plexus with one of his most outrageous and timely films."
"Donnie Darko" (2001) is a psychological thriller filled with suspense.
Richard Kelly's "Donnie Darko" follows Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), a teenager plagued with self-destructive thoughts and bizarre visions. His latest vision is a giant rabbit named Frank who warns Donnie that the world will end in a month unless Donnie stops it himself. A film filled with dark comedy and suspense, "Donnie Darko" took many critics and filmgoers by surprise when it was released in 2001.
"Donnie Darko" has a critical rating of 87% and an audience score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. "The theatrical version is some kind of compacted masterpiece, hormonal, vital, dazed, [and] blissfully unhinged," Newcity film critic Ray Pride wrote about the film in 2017. "I'm too attached to 'Donnie Darko' to worry over its wanton weirdness, its mix of concreteness and intangibility."
"Broken Flowers" (2005) is a quiet drama with humor.
Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers" is a comedy-drama starring Bill Murray as Don, a single man who is resigned to a life of being alone until he learns that he has a son. In a harrowing journey down memory lane, Don sets out on a road trip across the country to find his exes and his child.
"Broken Flowers" currently holds a critical score of 87% and an audience score of 70% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Murray manages, almost impossibly, to come up with still another rich variation on his Depleted Man persona, and his performance is at once enormously generous and fiercely, concisely witty," New York Magazine's film critic Ken Tucker wrote about "Broken Flowers."
"Brokeback Mountain" (2005) is a powerful drama about love.
Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two cowboys in the midwest who develop feelings for each other. Caught between societal conventions and their love for one another, this tragic romance has earned praise from many critics.
"Brokeback Mountain" currently has a critical score of 87% and an audience score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2006, of the film, The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw wrote: "The whole movie is a rich, spacious, passionate way of showing, not telling, feelings that dare not speak their name — and doing so with superb intelligence and magnificent candour."
"Inglourious Basterds" (2009) is a film about seeking revenge.
In Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," a group of individuals embarks on a mission to take down Nazi leaders. The film was led by a cast that includes Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt, and Mélanie Laurent.
"Inglourious Basterds" has a critical rating of 88% and an audience score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. "The performance of Christoph Waltz, playing the Nazi Gestapo figure Col. Hans Landa, is the highlight of the film," wrote Atlantic film critic Ed Koch about "Inglourious Basterds." "His ability to convey courtliness and sympathy and then go to commit the cruelest of horrors is simply superb."
"Shrek" (2001) is an animated feature that's filled with comedy.
Vicky Jenson and Andrew Adamson's "Shrek" is about an ogre (Mike Meyers) who lives in a swamp. He is sent on an adventure to rescue a princess (Cameron Diaz) from a dragon-guarded tower, with the help, and hindrance, of his new donkey companion (Eddie Murphy). The hit animated film was praised by critics and spurred multiple sequels.
Read More: 14 things you didn't know about 'Shrek'
"Shrek" has a critical score of 88% and an audience score of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Here is a movie of the times, funny, enjoyable, perfect-looking, and altogether original in a way that might cause us to look again at the meaning of the word," Daily Telegraph critic Andrew O'Hagan wrote about "Shrek."
"Amélie" (2001) is a French film that's filled with optimism.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Amélie" is about a young woman (Audrey Tautou) who finds joy by bringing magic and optimism to other people's lives. "Amelie" has a critical score of 89% and an audience score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"There really aren't all that many movies made at this level of achievement whose subject matter and tone both support the idea that the world and the people in it are basically good," wrote Antagony and Ecstasy critic Tim Brayton about "Amélie."
"District 9" (2009) is a science-fiction film with dystopian influences.
In Neill Blomkamp's "District 9," a government agent (Sharlto Copley) is exposed to a species-altering virus in a dystopian reality where extraterrestrial beings are relegated to slums. As he turns into the type of creature he helps to subdue, the agent begins to feel sympathy for the aliens' plight.
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On Rotten Tomatoes, "District 9" has a critical score of 90% and an audience score of 82%. "Part found footage, part mockumentary, part satire and part action, Blomkamp pulls it into a coherent, moving, violent, sci fi allegory," film critic Sarah Cartland wrote about the film in 2017.
"In the Mood for Love" (2000) is a romantic drama set in Hong Kong.
Kar-Wai Wong's "In the Mood for Love" centers around two neighbors who fall for each other even though they are both married to other people. Though they bond over the fact that they suspect their partners of cheating, they attempt to stay faithful and keep their own relationship platonic.
"In the Mood for Love" has a critical score of 90% and an audience score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. "‘In the Mood' is a love story told from the point of impact, at the heart, and no conventional resolution could be more profound," wrote New York Daily News critic Jack Matthews.
"Coraline" (2009) is a haunting animated film.
Henry Selick's "Coraline" is a dark, stop-motion animated movie about a young girl who is drawn to an alternate reality. At first, the new world seems ideal, but Coraline quickly realizes that something sinister lurks beneath the surface.
"Coraline" has a critical score of 90% and an audience score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"This dark edge will be the biggest test of the film as a commercial prospect: it may be too terrifying for the target audience," Time Out critic Tom Huddlestone wrote about the film. "But for braver kids — and parents — this is a thrilling, even challenging ride."
"Shaolin Soccer" (2001) is an action-packed comedy.
Stephen Chow's "Shaolin Soccer" is an action-filled comedy about a young man who forms a soccer team with his brothers and implements martial art skills into their soccer playing. The film stars Stephen Chow, Man Tat Ng, and Wei Zhao.
"Shaolin Soccer" has a 90% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of 84%. Ross Anthony, a critic from Hollywood Report Card called the film, "a fall-out-of-the-chair, funny movie."
"Zodiac" (2007) is a dark, investigative look at the Zodiac Killer.
David Fincher's "Zodiac" traces the origins and the killings of the elusive Zodiac Killer and the investigation team that's obsessed with finding him. The cast includes actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Zodiac" has a 90% critical score and a 77% audience score. Of the film, NPR's Bob Mondello wrote: "There are no tidy, last-minute plot twists to make you feel good in Fincher's ‘Zodiac,' just focus — to keep an audience focused — and the most disciplined filmmaking you've seen in forever."
"City of God" (2002) is an Oscar-nominated drama set Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Fernando Meirelles' "City of God" is a drama about two kids who find different paths even though they were both born in the same slums of Rio. Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, and Matheus Nachtergaele star in the film.
"City of God" has a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"‘City of God' delivers a bruising, visceral experience of the vicious spiral of violence that draws kids into a life of crime, brutality, and murder as the only avenue open to them," wrote Variety critic David Rooney in 2009.
Sacha Baron Cohen is still well-known for his role in "Borat" (2006).
Larry Charles' "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" follows Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat, a foreign immigrant from Kazakhstan who is sent to America to learn about its culture. The movie was filmed like a documentary and it captures genuine interactions from the Americans Cohen meddles with.
"Borat" currently holds a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. "I did find this to be one of the more inventive, aggressively offensive and insanely tasteless comedies in many a year," film critic Richard Roeper wrote about the movie. "And yeah, that's a thumbs-up."
"Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) focuses on a dysfunctional family.
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' "Little Miss Sunshine" is a comedic drama that focuses on a family of misfits as they take their daughter across the country to a beauty pageant. The star cast includes Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, and Alan Arkin.
"Little Miss Sunshine" currently has a critical and audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Sentimental low points and contrived idiosyncrasies aside, 'Little Miss Sunshine' still boasts wonderful performances, a cheeky sense of humor and an original story," wrote critic Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey of the Metro Times in 2013.
"There Will Be Blood" (2007) is a historical drama with a dark twist.
In Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood," an oil prospector named Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) does whatever it takes to get ahead in the oil business while raising his adopted son. The drama won Day-Lewis the Oscar award for best actor in 2008.
"There Will Be Blood" has a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"We find someone embracing the strange; dedicating not just a film to it, but letting it, for the most, and brilliant, part letting that strangeness move and alter the film in frustrating, tantalizing, and often unknown and unknowable ways," film critic Daniel Kasman wrote of the film in 2008.
"Whale Rider" (2002) is a family drama set in New Zealand.
Niki Caro's "Whale Rider" centers around a young girl in a New Zealand tribe. She strives to be the new chief of her tribe despite the patriarchal traditions preventing her from following her dream. Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, and Cliff Curtis star in the film.
"Whale Rider" has a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"The filmmaker knows how to seduce an audience without making it feel had. When a movie's this likable, it would take a very tough crowd not to be pleased," Newsweek critic David Ansen wrote about the film in 2003.
"School of Rock" (2003) is a family-friendly comedy led by Jack Black.
Richard Linklater's "School of Rock" stars Jack Black as Dewey Finn, a washed-up musician who pretends to be a substitute teacher so he can work at a preparatory academy. At first, he's just in it for the money but when Dewey realizes that his students possess musical talent, he uses his musical knowledge to shape the young prep kids into real musicians.
The film has since been adapted for Broadway. "School of Rock" has a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Of the film, Herald Sun critic Leigh Paatsch wrote: "Black turns it up to 11 in every scene, throwing shapes, striking poses and zealously preaching the healing power of rock, never once selling-out to the threat of cute, kiddie-friendly fare."
"Adaptation" (2002) is about a writer.
In Spike Jonze's "Adaptation," a screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) struggles through writer's block after he is hired to adapt a book. Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, and Tilda Swinton co-star in the comedy-drama.
"Adaptation" currently has a 91% critical score and an 85% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. "In the wrong hands, the lunacy could have gotten out of control, but Jonze has near-perfect pitch," wrote Newsweek critic David Ansen about the film. "He never forces the farce, rooting even Kaufman's wildest digressions in real emotions."
"Million Dollar Baby" (2004) is an intense drama about boxing.
In Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood plays a veteran boxing trainer who takes a young boxer (Hilary Swank) under his wing. The drama won the Oscar for best picture in 2005.
"Million Dollar Baby" has a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. "It is thoughtful, unfashionable, measured, mostly honest, sometimes clumsy or remote, often exciting, occasionally moving and eventually surprising," Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern wrote of the film. "It's correct."
"Slumdog Millionaire" (2008) is an Oscar-winning film.
In Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire," Jamal (Dev Patel) is given the chance of a lifetime when he goes on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" When he is accused of cheating, Jamal tells the story of his difficult upbringing in order to try to prove his innocence.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Slumdog Millionaire" currently has a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 90%. Of the film, Christy Lemire, a critic from the Associated Press, wrote, "Boyle takes his wildly high-energy visual aesthetic and applies it to a story that, at its core, is rather sweet and traditionally crowd-pleasing."
"Hot Fuzz" (2007) is an action-packed comedy starring Simon Pegg.
Edgar Wright's "Hot Fuzz" is a comedy starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Martin Freeman. It's about a London policeman who is sent to a small town filled with dark, murderous secrets. The movie won the UK's Empire Awards for best comedy in 2008.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Hot Fuzz" has a critical rating of 91% and an audience rating of 89%.
Of "Hot Fuzz," New Yorker critic Anthony Lane wrote: "The movie duly quickens into pursuits of every speed, and the homage to action thrillers is there in the smallest detail; the clicking of a ballpoint pen, say, is amplified to sound as menacing as the cocking of a gun."
"Minority Report" (2002) is a science-fiction film about thought crime.
Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report" is a science-fiction film based on a story by Philip K. Dick. In this futuristic world, new technology means a special police unit can arrest citizens for crimes before they've committed them. But things go awry when an officer in that unit, Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise), finds himself being hunted by the very technology he used to control.
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"Minority Report" has a critical rating of 91% and an audience rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. "By turning Dick's ironic little story into a gargantuan thriller celebrating free choice, Spielberg has been true to his character," LA Weekly critic John Powers wrote about the movie in 2018. "He's transformed something dark and scary into something softer and more comfortable."
"The Departed" (2006) is a crime thriller about an Irish gang.
Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" is a crime-filled thriller about an undercover cop and a mole who circle each other as they both work to infiltrate a Boston-based gang. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Vera Farmiga, and Jack Nicholson.
"The Departed" has a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. "What makes this a Scorsese film, and not merely a retread, is the director's use of actors, locations and energy, and its buried theme," critic Roger Ebert wrote about the movie in 2007. "I am fond of saying that a movie is not about what it's about; it's about how it's about it."
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001) is a fantasy film with an ensemble cast.
Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is the first installment in Jackson's trilogy adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy book series. The film stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, and Cate Blanchett.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a critical score of 91% and an audience score of 95%. In 2001 AV Club's Scott Tobias wrote: "An enthusiastic visionary set loose on one of the biggest playgrounds ever constructed, Jackson brings more personality to the series' first installment, 'The Fellowship Of The Ring,' than typically seeps into a franchise of this magnitude."
"Memento" (2000) is a thriller told in reverse.
Christopher Nolan's "Memento" is a mystery-filled thriller about a man (Guy Pearce) suffering from short-term memory loss. He uses tattoos and notes to stay on track as he tries to find the person who murdered his wife.
"Memento" currently has a critical score of 92% and an audience score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2001, the Orlando Sentinel's film critic Jay Boyar wrote, "You have to pay close attention to 'Memento,' the most original thriller to come along in years — and one of the best."
"The Lives of Others" (2006) is a dramatic thriller set in East Berlin.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's "The Lives of Others" takes place in East Berlin in 1984. In the movie, a member of the secret police finds himself becoming obsessed with the lives of the people he's spying on. The film stars Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, and Ulrich Tukur.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "The Lives of Others" has a critical score of 92% and an audience score of 96%. "This fierce and gloomy drama, written and directed by first-timer Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, was a notable winner of this year's best foreign film Oscar," The Guardian's critic Peter Bradshaw wrote about the film in 2007.
"Talk to Her" (2002) is a romantic drama.
In Pedro Almodóvar's "Talk to Her," two men develop a friendship as they care for two women, a bullfighter and a ballet student, who are both in comas. Rosario Flores, Javier Cámara, Leonor Watling, and Darío Grandinetti star in the film.
"Talk to Her" has a critical score of 92% and an audience score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2009, Pop Matters critic Matthew Sorrento wrote of the film, "Humanity is intricate, contradictory, fathomless here, and the filmmaking just as rich."
"Y Tu Mamá También" (2001) is a comedic drama set in Mexico.
Alfonso Cuarón's "Y Tu Mama Tambien" follows two teenage boys and an older woman as they embark on a road trip.
"Y Tu Mama Tambien" has a critical score of 92% and an audience score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2002, of the film, Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday wrote, "Part travelogue, part road picture, part meditation on class, mortality and intimacy, this extraordinary little movie might be the perfect harbinger of summer, as astute as it is steamy."
"Ghost World" (2001) is a comedy-drama based on a graphic novel.
Terry Zwigoff's "Ghost World" is a comedy-drama that follows two teenage girls who respond to a lonely man's ad in a newspaper. The pair is then thrown into a complicated adventure. Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, and Steve Buscemi star in the film.
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On Rotten Tomatoes, "Ghost World" has a critical score of 92% and an audience score of 84%. "While this isn't a showy or flashy movie, it has social, psychological, and ultimately mystical overtones that raise it leagues above most other teen-centered comedies," film critic David Sterritt wrote about "Ghost World" in 2001.
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007) is an action-packed thriller.
Paul Greengrass' "The Bourne Ultimatum" is the third installment in the Jason Bourne series and it stars Matt Damon as an ex-assassin who attempts to learn about his past and recover lost memories as he is hunted by assassins.
"The Bourne Ultimatum" has a critical score of 92% and an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Damon excels as the taciturn former assassin who regrets his past wrongs even though he can't clearly remember them," Brandy McDonnell, critic at The Oklahoman, wrote about the film. "As with the previous two installments, the supporting cast is top-notch."
"Shaun of the Dead" (2004) is a funny look at a zombie apocalypse.
Edgar Wright's "Shaun of the Dead" follows Shaun (Simon Pegg) as he and his friends face a zombie invasion. Packed with wry, British humor and Wright's quick, stylized editing and direction, "Shaun of the Dead" has won over many critics and audience members over the years.
"Shaun of the Dead" has a critical score of 92% and an audience score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2013, AV Club film critic Keith Phipps wrote, "Mixing horror and humor is no mean feat, but 'Shaun Of The Dead' tightens throats in fear without making the laughs stick there in the process."
"Children of Men" (2006) is a dystopian drama about a world where women have become infertile.
Alfonso Cuarón's "Children of Men" takes place in a future world where women have become infertile and society has descended into mayhem. In the film, Julianne Moore plays the first woman to become pregnant in years and Clive Owen plays the man who will help protect her as she travels to a sanctuary.
"Children of Men" currently has a critical score of 92% and an audience score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"You feel as if you're accompanying a war photographer who's lost a bet," Time Out critic Joshua Rothkopf wrote about the film in 2007. "Slogging unflinchingly through humanity's worst hours, the movie laces the narrative's forays into science-fiction grandstanding with a gut-wrenching dynamic."
"No Country for Old Men" (2007) is a crime-packed thriller.
Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin star in Joel and Ethan Coen's "No Country for Old Men." The crime-packed drama follows a hunter who comes across a large sum of money. A murderer finds him and follows him in order to try to steal the cash.
"No Country for Old Men" has a critical score of 93% and an audience score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. "The film clearly and finally represents the mainstream success that has long eluded the Coens," Japan Times critic Giovanni Fazio wrote about the movie in 2008. "Longtime fans, fear not: This is no sell-out. There is still plenty of what the Coens do best."
"Spider-Man 2" (2004) is the second Sam Raimi adaptation of Spider-Man.
Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2" stars Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and Kirsten Dunst as his love interest, Mary Jane. Parker struggles to keep his private identity hidden while saving the day as the web-slinging Spider-Man.
"Spider-Man 2" has a critical score of 93% and an audience score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2012, critic Christy Lemire of the Associated Press wrote, "The web-slinging sequences are bigger-better-brighter-faster than the already spectacular ones in 2002's 'Spider-Man,' and at the same time, the film's smaller emotional moments are denser, richer and more resonant than those in the first."
"The Host" (2006) is a monster-filled thriller set in Seoul, South Korea.
Joon-ho Bong's "The Host" tracks a mysterious monster that emerges from Seoul's Han River and begins attacking people. When the monster takes a young girl, her family becomes to determined to rescue her.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "The Host" has a critical score of 93% and an audience score of 72%. "A horror thriller, a political satire, a dysfunctional family comedy, and a touching melodrama, Bong Joon-ho's 'The Host' is also one helluva monster movie," wrote Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim Emerson in 2007.
"Iron Man" (2008) is a Marvel film.
Jon Favreau's "Iron Man" was one of the early films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has grown significantly in the past decade. In "Iron Man," Robert Downey Jr. stars as an engineer who re-evaluates his legacy after a dangerous hostage situation changes his perspective and leads him to become an armored superhero.
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"Iron Man" has a critical score of 93% and an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Of the film, Orange County Register critic Craig Outhier wrote, "Led by Downey's career-resurrecting performance as billionaire weapons peddler Tony Stark, it proves just as indispensable to the movie's giddy escapist appeal as the seamless CGI effects and eye-popping pyrotechnics."
"Spy Kids" (2001) is an action-packed film for the whole family.
Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids" follows Carmen and Juni Cortez, two siblings who realize that their parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) are two of the greatest spies in the world. Left to their own devices when their parents disappear, Carmen and Juni use their high-tech gear to evade capture and rescue their family from danger.
"Spy Kids" has a critical score of 93% and an audience score of 46% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"The entire ensemble of old pros play their designated roles well," Film Threat critic Michael Dequina wrote about the film in 2007. "Standing out are [Alan] Cumming, whose trademark impishness fits this role like a glove; and Danny Trejo, playing a nice guy for a change and pulling it off wonderfully."
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) is an independent drama about the messiness of love.
In Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Jim Carrey stars as Joel, a man who decides to undergo a medical procedure to erase his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) from his memories when he discovers that she has wiped him from hers. But when he relives their memories together as they begin to slip away, Joel realizes that he may have made a mistake.
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" has a critical score of 93% and an audience score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2004, AV Club's critic Scott Tobias wrote, "A surprisingly bittersweet love story at heart, 'Eternal Sunshine' values the sum of experience, which in this case means a thorns-and-all openness to romantic possibilities."
"The Dark Knight" (2008) stars Batman and the Joker.
Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" is the second installment in Nolan's dark portrayal of the caped crusader, Batman. In the film, Christian Bale plays Bruce Wayne and Heath Ledger plays opposite him as the Joker in an Oscar-winning performance.
"The Dark Knight" has a critical and audience score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2008, film critic Zaki Hasan wrote that "The Dark Knight" is "not just a perfect comic book movie, not just a perfect Batman movie, but darn-near a perfect movie, full stop."
"Casino Royale" (2006) started a new chapter in the James Bond series.
In Martin Campbell's "Casino Royale," Daniel Craig plays the iconic spy James Bond. The secret agent ends up at a world-class poker game at the Casino Royale in Montenegro as he tries to single-handedly take a terrorist organization down.
"Casino Royale" has a critical score of 94% and an audience score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. "This is a much more serious Bond than we've seen in many years," Australian film critic Margaret Pomeranz wrote about the movie in 2015. "Daniel Craig inhabits the dark side of the secret agent really well, he is absolutely the best Bond since Connery."
"Star Trek" (2009) is a science-fiction reboot of a treasured show.
J.J. Abrams' 2009 "Star Trek" movie re-booted the long-running series of shows and films in the "Star Trek" universe. Chris Pine takes on the role of James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto plays Spock.
"Star Trek" has a critical score of 94% and an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"With 'Star Trek,' Abrams honors the show's legacy without fossilizing its best qualities," wrote critic Stephanie Zacharek. "Instead, he's whisked it off to a planet where numbing nostalgia can't kill it, and where the future is still something to look forward to."
"Best in Show" (2000) parodies the world of dog shows.
Christopher Guest's "Best in Show" is a mockumentary-style film about dogs and their owner as they prepare to enter a world-class dog show. The cast includes actors like Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O'Hara.
"Best in Show" has a critical score of 94% and an audience score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. "It's always a pleasure to watch this ensemble of gifted talents do what they do best — be spontaneous and funny and surprising," film critic Mark Bourne wrote about the film in 2008. "What we get is a master-class demonstration of the distinction between comic actors and comedians who try to act."
"Juno" (2007) is a comedic film about a pregnant teen.
Jason Reitman's "Juno" follows Juno, (Ellen Page) a teenage girl whose world is upended when she realizes that she's pregnant. The comedy also stars Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman.
"Juno" has a critical score of 94% and an audience score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. "'Juno' is the best movie of the year," Detroit News critic Tom Long wrote in 2007. "It's the best screenplay of the year, and it features the best actress of the year working with the best acting ensemble of the year."
"The Pianist" (2002) is a historical drama set during World War II.
Roman Polanski's "The Pianist" is a biographical drama about a Polish and Jewish pianist who is hiding in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, and Frank Finlay star in the film. The film won multiple Oscars in 2003 including best director and best adapted screenplay.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "The Pianist" has a critical and audience score of 95%. "Old-fashioned in both visual and narrative style and in its overall restraint, the film clearly benefits from the director's first-hand knowledge of the territory," wrote Time Out critic Geoff Andrew in 2006.
"Lost in Translation" (2003) is a delicate drama set in Tokyo, Japan.
Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" is a drama about a romance that forms between a washed-up actor (Bill Murray) and a young woman (Scarlett Johansson) when they meet in Tokyo, Japan. "Lost in Translation" won the Oscar for best original screenplay in 2004.
"Lost in Translation" has a critical score of 95% and an audience score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Sofia Coppola's sophomore film is another exploration of delicate relationships and uncommunicated frustrations, this one in a beautifully composed atmosphere of isolation," film critic Sean Axmaker wrote about the film in 2016.
"Pan's Labyrinth" (2006) is a fantastical drama set in Spain.
Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" takes place in 1944 Spain. In the film, an army officer's young girl goes missing and she falls into a fairytale world filled with horrors and curiosities.
"Pan's Labyrinth" has a critical score of 95% and an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2007, of the film, critic David Germain of the Associated Press wrote, "Guillermo del Toro has crafted a masterpiece, a terrifying, visually wondrous fairy tale for adults that blends fantasy and gloomy drama into one of the most magical films to come along in years."
"Before Sunset" (2004) is a dialogue-heavy romance about second chances.
Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset" is a romantic drama that is a sequel to the 1995 film "Before Sunrise." The film stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as they play lovers who meet up nine years after they first met. Years later, Delpy and Hawke's characters reunite again in Linklater's third installment of the film series, "Before Midnight" (2013).
"Before Sunset" has a critical score of 95% and an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2010, film critic Nell Minow of Common Sense Media called the movie a "charming, talky romance for older teens and adults."
"WALL-E" (2008) is a Pixar film set in the future.
Andrew Stanton's "WALL-E" is a Pixar-animated film about a curious robot named WALL-E and his life as a trash collector on an abandoned Earth. WALL-E meets another robot and soon travels across the galaxy on an adventure that can impact the fate of humanity.
On Rotten Tomatoes "WALL-E" has a critical score of 95% and an audience score of 89%. St. Louis Post-Dispatch film critic Joe Williams wrote, "Among its many wondrous achievements, the animated 'WALL-E' is a sci-fi trifecta: a vision of the future, a tale for our times and a blast from the past."
"4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days" (2007) is a Romanian drama.
Originally called "4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile," Cristian Mungiu's Romanian drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days" follows a woman as she helps her friend get an illegal abortion in Romania in the 1980s. The film stars Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, and Vlad Ivanov.
"4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days" has a critical score of 96% and an audience score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2008, of the film, Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote, "Cristian Mungiu's masterful chronicle is impressive above all for the way it respects the audience, expecting them to follow the implications of its multifaceted tale without always spelling them out."
"Sideways" (2004) is a comedy about California wine country.
Alexander Payne's "Sideways" stars Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church as two friends who go on a road trip through California's vineyards. The film won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay in 2005.
"Sideways" has a critical score of 96% and an audience score of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. "A quality film with near-perfect writing, marvelous acting and quite a few laughs thrown in," critic Jeanne Kaplan wrote about "Sideways" in 2005.
"Persepolis" (2007) is an animated autobiographical tale.
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's "Persepolis" is based on Satrapi's graphic novel of the same name that is inspired by her life story. The film focuses on Marjane's childhood and her life as a vibrant young girl being raised in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.
"Persepolis" has a critical score of 96% and an audience score of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Satrapi portrays a love of Iran without being revisionist or disguising any harsh truths about the regime," Kaleem Aftab wrote about the film in 2008 on The List. "This is an exceptional and exceptionally moving piece of animated filmmaking."
"Chicken Run" (2000) is a family-friendly film.
Peter Lord and Nick Park's "Chicken Run" is an animated comedy about chickens trying to escape from their evil owners. Stars like Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, and Phil Daniels lent their voices to the film.
"Chicken Run" has a critical score of 97% and an audience score of 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. Of the film, LA Weekly's critic F.X. Feeney wrote, "What gives this movie its oddly strong grip on a viewer's heart is a physical tenderness inseparable from the nature of claymation."
"The Incredibles" (2004) is a Pixar film about superheroes.
Brad Bird's "The Incredibles" centers around a suburban family of superheroes — Bob, Helen, Dash, Violet, and Jack-Jack — who are forced to live in hiding and keep their powers secret from the world. But when Bob is called to help a private organization, his top-secret mission soon becomes a family affair. Over a decade later, in 2018, the film's sequel "Incredibles 2" was released.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "The Incredibles" has a critical score of 97% and an audience score of 75%. "'The Incredibles' is aptly-named," wrote film critic Colby Bryant. "It tells the surprisingly relatable story it intends to tell in a time and place that feels unique from our own yet approachable."
"The Hurt Locker" (2008) is an intense, awarding-winning film about war.
In the film, Jeremy Renner stars as Staff Sergeant William James, a bomb-squad specialist who navigates the streets of Iraq with his team as they detect and disarm bombs. Kathryn Bigelow became the first female director to win the Oscar award for best director when her war film "The Hurt Locker" won in 2010.
"The Hurt Locker" has a critical score of 97% and an audience score 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2009, of the film, Time Out film critic Dave Calhoun wrote, "Bigelow's film combines an expert management of tension with a sensitive and journalistic attention to detail: she has one eye on the truth and the other on the multiplex."
"Once" (2007) is a modern-day musical that takes place in Dublin, Ireland.
John Carney's "Once" is a modern musical about strangers who fall in love on the streets of Dublin, Ireland. While spending a week together, an Irish musician (Glen Hansard) and a Czech immigrant (Markéta Irglová) open their hearts to each other as they perform original songs.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Once" has a critical score of 97% and an audience score of 91%. "'Once' doesn't plop its emotions on its characters' sleeves, and it trusts us enough to leave some of the best stuff unstated," wrote film critic Mark Bourne in 2007. "In other words, it trusts us to know that half the music lies between the notes."
"Spirited Away" (2001) is a haunting animated feature.
Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" follows a girl who becomes lost in a mysterious resort that acts as a resting place for the supernatural. Along the way, she befriends a young boy who tells her that she can never forget her human name if she hopes to escape the magical, bizarre world she's become immersed in.
"Spirited Away" has a critical score of 97% and an audience score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Writer-director Hayao Miyazaki, who previously made the impressive 'Princess Mononoke,' has created a wonderfully bizarre world filled with a gallery of creepy, and some not-so-creepy, characters," film critic David Stratton wrote of the film in 2009.
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000) is a film about martial arts.
Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (originally called "Wo hu cang long") is a film about martial arts that takes place in the 19th century. The movie tells a story of love, violence, and vengeance. The film stars Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, and Chen Chang.
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" has a critical score of 97% and an audience score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. "One of those wonders of imagination and craft that confirm your wildest dreams about the magic of movies," critic Susan Stark of Detroit News wrote about the film in 2001.
"Let the Right One In" (2008) is a Swedish horror film.
Tomas Alfredson's "Let the Right One In" (originally called "Låt den rätte komma in") is a Swedish horror drama in which a bullied 12-year-old (Kåre Hedebrant) befriends an odd girl named Eli (Linda Leandersson) who is actually a vampire.
"Let the Right One In" has a critical score of 98%