Sunday, December 31, 2006

Movies, Best of 2006

2006 was an interesting year for movies, but in many ways for me a disappointment. A lot of quality movies were released if you sifted through the ashes of the films that crashed & burned this year- yet nary a one has stood out as my “IT” film. So, here are my favorite films this year ranked 2 through 10:

2) Little Miss Sunshine
3) Babel
4) Thank You for Smoking
5) The Science of Sleep
6) V for Vendetta
7) The Departed
8) Volver
9) Wordplay
10) Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Little Miss Sunshine has just about everything you can want in a good film.

Good story? Check!
Good cast? Check!
Funny? Check!
Cranky old guy? Check!
Funny, cranky old guy? Check!
New cultural icon in Steve Carrell? Check!

Honorable Mention #1:

is for The Queen. Helen Mirren is wonderful in her role as Queen Elizabeth II. Understated and powerful in this role, she is likely to win an Oscar for her performance. Oh, the film is very good as well.

Honorable Mention #2:

is for United 93. Such a brave film. After five years, I still don’t want to think about those events but it will likely be the defining historical moment of my life so it is very hard to steer clear.

Fun Popcorn movie of the Year:

Casino Royale. Bond is back and better than ever. Give Daniel Craig one more crack at James Bond (I read he has already signed on for two more) and he will be the best 007 since Sean Connery. Check out his previous work Road to Perdition, Layer Cake & Enduring Love… he is a damn good actor and it is a pity that America has missed most of it.

Breakout performance #1:

Tommy Lee Jones for “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada”… as a director. A fine, rough edged movie.

Breakout performance #2:

Penélope Cruz. She is excellent in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Volver”.

There are other movies that had the potential to make my top list this year, but I either missed them (For Your Consideration, Stranger Than Fiction, Prairie Home Companion, Fur : An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, The Notorious Bettie Page) or they have not been released where I live yet (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Good German, Letter From Iwo Jima, Venus, The Painted Veil, American Hardcore, Notes on a Scandal, Inland Empire, Children of Men) and the previews/waiting is driving me crazy!

I saw 41 films this year. Here are a few others that I liked:

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
United 93
An Inconvenient Truth
The Devil Wears Prada
The Last King of Scotland
Flags of Our Fathers
Casino Royale
The Fountain
Blood Diamond
The Good Shepherd
The Queen

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