Best animated film
“Spirited Away” (2001)
Also a perfectly reasonable candidate for best foreign film of the decade, Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” is a dark, magical trip to another world. Possibly the greatest achievement from the Japanese master of animation.
Best superhero film
“The Dark Knight” (2008)
In blockbuster terms, this was the decade of the comic book movie. Comics supplied studios with hit after hit. Quality varied, but it hit a peak with “The Dark Knight.” Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker somehow exceeded the massive hype as the film became the biggest box office hit of the decade.
Best ‘based on a true story’ film
“Zodiac,” (2007) and “American Splendor” (2003) — Tie
We realize a tie is a tremendous cop-out, but they’re so different: “Zodiac” is a riveting murder mystery that doesn’t feel long even at two-and-a-half hours and “American Splendor” is a biopic done in a whole new way — a way that doesn’t induce sleep.
Best for multiple viewings “Mulholland Drive” (2001)
You’re probably not going to come close to figuring out David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” the first time around. The second viewing may not solve things, either. In fact, it’s debatable whether this film is even a puzzle that can be solved. But it’s fun trying to pick up the twisted pieces.
“The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” (2007)
Apologies to a number of films, including “Bowling for Columbine,” “Super Size Me,” “Food Inc.” and “Bigger, Stronger, Faster,” but this tale of two very different men battling for the “Donkey Kong” world record brings viewers deep into a subculture and proves endlessly watchable.
“No Country for Old Men” (2007)
Anton Chigurh is coming. And he won’t be stopped. Javier Bardem’s Chigurh is like a humanized horror villain, and in the same way, “No Country” is a twist on the traditional thriller: Sure, there was a great game of cat-and-mouse, and a case of “wrong place, wrong time,” but the vague ending left many moviegoers unfulfilled. They weren’t expecting the film to reveal itself as a mortality metaphor, but that didn’t make it any less suspenseful.