Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description
Bad Education (2004, Sp.) (aka La Mala Educación), 104 minutes, D: Pedro Almodóvar
Before Sunset (2004), 80 minutes, D: Richard Linklater
Closer (2004), 101 minutes, D: Mike Nichols
Dawn of the Dead (2004), 101 minutes, D: Zack Snyder
A big-budget, major studio remake (or "reimagining") of George A. Romero's 1978 film (the second in the trilogy), with the same title, about a zombie apocalypse (minus the bikers). It was the highest-grossing zombie film at the time, with $59 million (domestic). With fast-running predatory zombies and an action heroine. After her neighbor Vivian (Hannah Lochner) and her husband Luis (Louis Ferreira) were turned into murderous zombies, Milwaukee-area nurse Ana (Sarah Polley) took refuge in a shopping mall after driving through an anarchic new world. She met up with several other survivors to withstand the siege of zombies. They included: police Sgt. Kenneth (Ving Rhames), resourceful TV electronics salesman Michael (Jake Weber), street-smart Andre (Mekhi Phifer) and his pregnant wife Luda (Inna Korobkina), three stupid mall security guards: redneck C.J. (Michael Kelly), Bart (Michael Barry) and Terry (Kevin Zegers), and other survivors who made it to the mall. The group joined together to fight off the threatening zombies. A bite from a zombie caused a deadly infection. In the conclusion, they sought to escape from the mall to a marina, by boarding two fortified buses. The only ones to survive on a departing boat were Ana, Kenneth, Terry, and Nicole (Lindy Booth). Although Michael had made it with the group to the marina, he knew his time was limited due to a bite on his arm - and so he remained behind and committed suicide.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 123 minutes, D: Roland Emmerich
Downfall (2004, Germ.) (aka Der Untergang), 150 minutes, D: Oliver Hirschbiegel
This realistic and historical war film featured the first serious portrayal of a German-speaking Fuehrer Hitler since Nazism was censored in post-war Germany. It depicted the last chaotic days within Hitler's (Bruno Ganz) underground Nazi bunker as the Allied troops advanced on Berlin in mid-1945. The story was told from the perspective of Adolf Hitler's 22 year-old personal secretary Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara). The claustrophobic, tension-filled last days showed the Fuhrer descending and disintegrating into madness and losing touch with reality as he moved fictional military divisions around on a map, frequently burst into anger, and planned his own suicide. He was unable to believe his forces were depleted and didn't attack as he had ordered. His inner circle, including Joseph and Magda Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes and Corinna Harfouch) in one harrowing scene, first poisoned their six children before committing suicide, to avoid facing the Allies after Germany's defeat.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), 108 minutes, D: Michel Gondry
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), 122 minutes, D: Michael Moore
Hellboy (2004), 122 minutes, D: Guillermo del Toro
Hotel Rwanda (2004), 121 minutes, D: Terry George
Howl's Moving Castle (2004, Jp.), 119 minutes, D: Hayao Miyazaki
The Incredibles (2004), 121 minutes, D: Brad Bird
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), 137 minutes, D: Quentin Tarantino
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), 118 minutes, D: Wes Anderson
Maria Full of Grace (2004, US/Colombia), 101 minutes, D: Joshua Marston
Million Dollar Baby (2004), 137 minutes, D: Clint Eastwood
A dozen years after their collaboration on Unforgiven (1992), Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood again teamed up for this tragic, melodramatic, Best Picture-winning film about boxing. As was often the case, Freeman (who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar) narrated the film with his smooth voice ("Boxing is about respect. Gettin' it for yourself, and takin' it away from the other guy"). He took the straight-forward role of elderly and battered Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris, the faithful best friend, supportive confidante and long-time assistant to cranky veteran boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). He was an ex-boxer trained by Frankie who had brought guilt to his trainer when in his last bout, he suffered a severe blinding injury. Now, he was there for Frankie, who took on the thankless, reluctant task of training a determined Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a 31 year-old, inexperienced underdog amateur.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004), 86 minutes, D: Jared Hess
The Passion of the Christ (2004), 127 minutes, D: Mel Gibson
Director Mel Gibson's controversial, violent, and blood-soaked version of the last few hours of the life of Jesus Christ (Jim Caviezel).
The Polar Express (2004), 100 minutes, D: Robert Zemeckis
Saw (2004), 100 minutes, D. James Wan
Shaun of the Dead (2004, UK), 99 minutes, D: Edgar Wright
An amusing zombie parody and situational comedy with a pun for a title, about suburban zombie survival. A witty, non-stop horror comedy spoof (dubbed a "rom-zom-com"). With many clever references to former zombie films. Electronic goods sales store clerk - hapless, direction-less loser, almost 30-something Shaun (Simon Pegg), often accompanied his unemployed, vulgar, slacker TV addicted drinking buddy-roommate Ed (Nick Frost) to the Winchester, a pub in North London. Shaun's ambitious and smart girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) was tired of the two friends when they went out, and dumped Shaun when he broke a restaurant date with her for their anniversary. After Shaun and Ed spent a night of heavy drinking together, they awoke with hangovers on a Sunday morning to a zombie apocalypse outbreak. They were attacked in their garden by two flesh-hungry zombies. They learned from a news report that the only way to kill a lumbering zombie was "by removing the head or destroying the brain." They set out to rescue Shaun's mother Barbara (Penelope Wilton), and then Liz (to win her heart over) and her two roommates, David (Dylan Moran) and Dianne or "Di" (Lucy Davis). They realized that they had to pretend to be undead in order to survive, and they eventually took sanctuary and refuge in their favorite pub. Barbara, David and Dianne were the first ones to die and be reborn as zombies. Ed was also bitten just before the British Army rescued Shaun and Liz (and Shaun's friend Yvonne (Jessica Hynes)). Six months later, daily life had been restored, while a few zombies were left-over for cheap labor (as service industry slaves) and entertainment (as game-show contestants). Zombified Ed was kept tethered in Shaun's shed, while he played video games.
Sideways (2004), 126 minutes, D: Alexander Payne
Grumpy middle school English teacher and wine aficionado Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) became love-struck after a poetic speech about wine from restaurant waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen), another wine-lover. It was an analogy of herself: "...I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity..."
Super Size Me (2004), 96 minutes, D: Morgan Spurlock
Troy (2004), 165 minutes, D: Wolfgang Petersen