January 18, 2010

Top Stories –
Baa-urp – pardon me –
Scientists in Australia trying to create a new way to tackle greenhouse gases – the burp-free sheep. The Australian Sheep Co-operative Research Centre is conducting experiments with 700 sheep from 20 different genetic lines.

Pretty tough woman –
The University of California interviewed 156 female students to gauge their temperament and how they handled conflict and found women who rated themselves as pretty displayed a “war-like” streak when fighting battles to get their own way.

Top List –
Top 100 films of the Noughties (2000-2009)
List from Daily Telegraph By David Gritten, Tim Robey and Sukhdev Sandhu
Part 10 – 10-1

  • 10 Slumdog Millionaire

Danny Boyle, 2008: Frenetic, savage but sentimental account of a young Mumbai man’s surprising success in a TV quiz show. A worldwide hit, its generosity of spirit and insistence on telling its story through Indian, not Western eyes, seemed to chime with new, tolerant attitudes to otherness, coinciding with the ascent of Barack Obama.

  • 9 The Passion of the Christ

Mel Gibson, 2004: Mel Gibson’s reputation has been tarred by anti-Jewish outbursts. Nothing, though, should take away from this phenomenal work of outsider art, a neo-avant-garde exercise in bodyshock violence that features an unknown cast and dialogue in Latin and Aramaic.Self-financed, and distributed to demographics normally beyond Hollywood’s reach, this reinvented the Bible for a torture-porn generation.

  • 8 Amores Perros

Alejandro GonzÁlez I—Árritu, 2000: Visceral, thrilling, operatic story set in Mexico City, with three colliding plots – all of which feature dogs. It made influential screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga a name to conjure with, and kick-started a series of audacious films by Mexican directors that dominated non-Anglophone films throughout the decade.

  • 7 Borat

Larry Charles, 2006: Is nice! Perturbing the world in a green Lycra thong, and parlaying this into unbeatable word-of-mouth, Sacha Baron Cohen’s mock-doc sensation overcame minimal pre-existing brand recognition to gross more than $250 million worldwide, and might just have defined US-Kazakhstan relations for all time.

  • 6 Memento

Christopher Nolan, 2000: Christopher Nolan could write the rulebook for how to emerge, in no time, as a world-class director. The model indie breakthrough, a fractured thriller, had all the ingredients to wow. Its time-splicing script, in particular, has proven more influential than any other for a new generation of screenwriters.

  • 5 Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Peter Jackson, 2001: If there was one franchise to rule them all, it was surely this. A hugely risky commitment for its studio, the outlay paid off more than anyone could have dreamed. It’s the enduring quality of the first instalment, leading us by the hand into Tolkien’s richly imagined world, that made our collective Hobbit-love possible.

  • 4 There Will Be Blood

Paul Thomas anderson, 2007: It kick-started a catchphrase: “I drink your milkshake!” It featured the greatest performance of Daniel Day-Lewis’s already illustrious career. Its score – by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood – was hugely distinctive. P?? T Anderson’s epic about the birth of America’s obsession with oil was as ruggedly individual, frontier-pushing and darkly magnificent, as its subject matter.

  • 3 The Incredibles

Brad Bird, 2004:The revolution in digital cartoons had the same clear leader this decade that it did in the Nineties. No one, not even a smelly green ogre, could touch Pixar, who hit the peak of their miraculous creative streak with this dazzling caper about a superficially ordinary American family… with secret superpowers.

  • 2 Brokeback Mountain

Ang Lee, 2005: Director Ang Lee insists on calling this simply “a love story” but it broke new ground as a gay cowboy movie. Achingly moving, with career-high performances from Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as the strong, silent, repressed lead characters. A stunning achievement, brilliantly executed, with an acute sense of time and location.

  • 1 Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore, 2004: It may not have been the best film of the decade. It may not have been the best film Moore has made (that honour still belongs to 1989’s Roger and Me). Nevertheless, it’s hard to overstate the importance of this film, a modestly funded political documentary that was shunned by its Disney backers but went on to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes, coin more than $220 million around the world, and boost the emergence of politically liberal, agenda-driven multiplex fare such as Supersize Me and An Inconvenient Truth.

A speculation: might the accessible and populist fashion in which it marshalled its denunciation of George Bush’s 2000 “electoral theft”, to say nothing of the scorn it poured on American neo-conservative support for the “War on Terror”, have helped create or at least re-identify a large chunk of the non-traditional constituencies who were later tapped successfully by the Obama campaign team?

Criticism that Moore played fast and loose with his facts misses the point. He’s an old-fashioned circus barker. He trades in passion not science. But these days, when Tony Blair gets dubbed a “war criminal” and when the US economy is still ailing after the trillions squandered in the Middle East, the questions he asks look like patriotism rather than treachery.


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