Top Ten Films of 2006

The day has come where all that movie watching during the year, all that money given to Hollywood players who need none of it, and all those buttered popcorn induced coronaries boil down to one person’s ego-trip of compiling a list of the best of the best. I now join the list of film-snobs everywhere with my top ten films of 2006. If you have been reading my reviews you will know that I don’t care too much about how the film was made, but instead how much I enjoyed the ride; if I was able to be transported into another world, for even a brief moment, (evidenced with The Illusionist, one of the best looking films all year, but in the end boring and obvious). Last year was all about the bio-pics, this year all about the heavy dramas, my favorite genre. These films will probably not all be mentioned in the Golden Globe/Oscar hoopla, but that’s a good thing, everyone has their opinion. So, please strike back at how right or wrong I was, (we know you people are out there, Happy Feet anyone?). I’d love to hear some films I might have overlooked, all recommendations are welcome.

Films not seen that have potential of creeping into the top: Last King of Scotland; Inland Empire; Volver (opens today); Apocalypto; Pan’s Labyrinth; Angel-A; Flags of Our Fathers; Notes on a Scandal; The Painted Veil; Sorry, Haters; Tideland; The Wind That Shakes the Barley; Letters From Iwo Jima

Honorable Mention:
Half Nelson, review: great performances, Gosling and Epps shine
Clerks 2, review: not as funny as Borat, but better all-around; Smith is back
The Prestige, review: Nolan does what he does best, fantastic sci-fi/thriller
Shortbus, review: a touching story about life and love, told through sex
A Scanner Darkly, review: Linklater + Dick = amazing meld of genres and technology

This list is subject to change, but at this moment it is as follows:

10. United 93: The only film before June that made the list, (therefore no review until I see it again). Powerful, emotional, resonant. This film shows what it is to be an American hero by still staying relatively impartial as far as depicting the terrorists.

9. The Good Shepherd, review: DeNiro keeps this sprawling tale about a man doing what he needs to for his country and freedom, no matter how it effects his personal life, reined in enough to be a riveting character study.

8. Little Miss Sunshine, review: Quirky comedy at its finest. Breslin breathes a heart into this tale about a family even more dysfunctional than yours.

7. Little Children, review: Hopefully we Buffalonians will be able to watch it on the big screen soon. It’s a wonderful satire of the underbelly of the suburbs.

6. Babel, review: Hopefully Arriaga and Iñárritu reconcile and make more movies together, because even this, their weakest of collaborations, is dramatic perfection.

5. Bobby, review: Multi-narrative at its best, intertwining stories without the usual contrived interconnecting. **cough**Crash**cough** Every story stands alone on the journey to see their hero into the Presidential race.

4. Children of Men, review: Dystopic nightmares shot beautifully and based around a character that gives us all hope in humanity to persevere.

3. The Proposition, review: Authentic, brutal, and poetic in beauty. If Ray Winstone does not get a supporting actor nod, the Oscars will truly be farce.

2. Brick, review: Film-noir with a purpose and a mission. As visceral a movie can be, the language penetrates and truly takes you to a place so real and dangerous, yet so stylized and vaguely familiar.

1. The Fountain, review: I don’t care if critics want to call it pretentious drivel. No one could ever attempt something this ambitious without it being pretentious. Love will conquer all.

All in all I thought it was one of the better years for film since 1999. We saw auteurs cement their roles in cinema and some show off what they can do, making us anticipate more greatness. 2007 promises to give some gems – Grindhouse; Black Snake Moan; 300; Zodiac; Southland Tales; and Smokin’ Aces. Hopefully it will be another good year.


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