Friday, February 23, 2007

Top Ten Movies of 2006

Ok, folks, here you go - this is the big one: my choices for the top ten films of 2006. With the Oscars on this weekend, it seems now's the time to get this out - even if there are a few more 2006 movies I plan to see.

Let me emphasize that these are my top ten. These are a combination of the movies I enjoyed the most coupled with those I thought were just well made.

Wasn't thrilled with the ending, but the first half of this movie has enough charm and characterization that I give it a place on my list. I wanted more Alan Arkin and more Steve Carell, but what's there is enough to make this movie worth watching.

This was a superhero movie with a political slant - two things I tend to dig. It had its faults, but I found it entertaining, timely and surprisingly challenging. Also featured the coolest poster of the year.

Perhaps the most surprising pick of the list. It was weird, it was convoluted, it was...different. For that reason alone it gets credit in my books. This movie was just plain out there. Great performances by Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in bizarre roles. Might be best for those who appreciate stage plays and are willing to accept that one set can represent multiple locales.

Again, a tough subject that was handled well. In fact, the movie is almost too clean - it comes off a bit like a tv movie (its almost universal acceptance is a sharp contrast to The Fountain's half-and-half and may be indicative of how safe The Queen is - and how bizarre The Fountain was). But who wants to see Elizabeth II swearing and having sex for the sake of bumping the rating? (Besides, there's plenty of Helen Mirren to be seen in some of her more youthful work - or Calendar Girls if you're into that sort of thing...)

Beautifully shot, charming premise. Could have been the top movie of the year with a bit more time devoted to the fantasy aspect, but the political angle earns points. Still not sure how I feel about the religious allegory aspect.

5. Venus
Massive points for the performance of Peter O'Toole as the lecherous playboy actor who befriends a teenager with her own relationship issues. Sweet and yet disturbing at the same time, this movie is another one of those that tackled an unusual subject admirably. Of the male lead performances I saw this year, O'Toole's was the best.

I don't care if it ain't your cup of tea and it has hit-and-miss moments - any movie that can make me laugh this hard deserves to be on this list. With movies to slit your wrists by like Babel out there, I want more laughs in my life - even if it is at someone else's expense. Sooo gross. Sooo funny.

Here was a movie with high expectations and big shoes to fill that passed with flying colours. I could have done without the bulk of the last half hour, but this movie was sharp, fun and action-packed. Not your daddy's Bond film, but a new approach that delivers in spades (better learn your hold'em rules before viewing!).

This movie deserves a ton of credit for the mere fact that it could have easily sucked ass. There were so many ways this movie could have gone horribly wrong, but Bryan Singer (who also breathed life into the X-Men) managed to navigate the minefield virtually unscathed. I had some issues with a couple of scenes, but overall this was a thrillride of a movie and deserving of the "blockbuster" tag. Sure Kate Bosworth was dull and the Luthor storyline made little sense, but Brandon Routh was spot on as a Christopher Reeve mimic - and who envied the actor who was supposed to walk in those shoes? This was a big movie with ridiculous expectations and I enjoyed its tone, charm and excitement; how many movies this year made me smile? It wasn't art, but it was enjoyable. This is the 2006 movie you stop to watch in the tv section of Sears.

Without question my favourite film of the year. Smart, funny and topical, I wish more movies were this "complete". It even had - get this - great editing! How you can know anything about editing and not rank this above The Departed and Children of Men at the very least is beyond me (this is one of the dumbest Oscar categories, in my mind - though, to be fair, this is actually listed as a 2005 film). I'm hard pressed to find a single flaw in this flick. It was right up my alley. I don't think I've been this satisfied by a movie since Fight Club (well, there was that Tera Patrick flick...) - another movie based on a tough-to-adapt book. Maybe there's something to this "book" thing...

What a weird list...

For your arguing reference, here is a compete list of the films I saw from 2006:
(the number next to the film indicates where it ranked on rottentomatoes' list - (x) = wide release, = limited release)

An Inconvenient Truth <5>
Bon Cop, Bad Cop
Borat (3)
The Break-up
Casino Royale (1)
Children of Men <3>
Clerks II
The Descent (7)
The Departed (2)
The Devil Wears Prada (14)
District B-13
The Fountain
The Illusionist
Inside Man (5)
Jackass II
Little Miss Sunshine <2>
Miami Vice
Mission Impossible III
Pan's Labyrinth <6>
Pirates of The Caribbean II
The Prestige (23)
The Proposition
The Queen <1>
The Science of Sleep
The Sentinel
Snakes On A Plane
Superman Returns (13)
Thank You For Smoking <15>
V For Vendetta (24)
Venus <38>
Volver <8>

What's that...36? Not bad, I guess. But there's lots I didn't get to.

Notable 2006 films I did not see:
Blood Diamond
The Da Vinci Code
Dreamgirls (12)
Flags of Our Fathers
Last King of Scotland <11>
Letters From Iwo Jima <17>
The Lives of Others
Manufactured Landscapes
Notes On A Scandal <27>
Tsotsi <34>
Rocky VI
Half Nelson

Rottentomatoes' Top 10 Wide Release:
1. Casino Royale
2. The Departed
3. Borat
4. United 93
5. Inside Man
6. Dave Chappelle's Block Party
7. The Descent (!?)
8. Slither
9. Akeelah and the Bee
10. A Prairie Home Companion

Rottentomatoes' Top 10 Limited Release:
1. The Queen
2. Little Miss Sunshine
3. Children of Men
4. Wordplay
5. An Inconvenient Truth
6. Pan's Labyrinth
7. Half Nelson
8. Volver
9. Deliver Us From Evil
10. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

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