10 movies that I really liked in 2006:
- C.R.A.Z.Y. - A fabulous, funny, rich, tearjerker coming-of-age film that won a slew of awards in Canada, played film festivals, then inexplicably went straight to video in the US.
- Gypo - A no-budget flick, the first UK film with Dogme95's stamp of approval is a fascinating, superbly-acted tale of a Czech Romany immigrant's relationship with a working class couple in England.
- Volver - Almodovar is back in form and brings Penelope Cruz with him in this female-powered story of mothers and daughters and sisters and aunts... and ghosts.
- Half Nelson - Much is said of Ryan Gosling's performance of a crack-addicted white teacher in Brooklyn, but how about the wonderful Sharika Epps who matches him scene-for-scene as his student?
- United 93 - I avoided this powerful and straightforward film for a long time. But there is something cleansing about "knowing what happened", even though it ends in the worst and most horrific way.
- Eight Below - OK, this selection may get me mocked, but this is the best animal-pal movie I've seen in a long time, and it made me sob for the whole second hour, OK?
- 49 Up - Imagine a camera crew showing up on your doorstep every 7 years to ask how your life is going. Michael Apted's "7 Up" series is the first, and best, reality show.
- V for Vendetta - How the heck did such a subversive movie, whose hero is a terrorist, ever get made and released by a major studio?
- The World's Fastest Indian - A sweet movie with a terrible title, Indian is the only movie on this list that I've already seen twice this year. This gentle road movie following curmudgeon Kiwi Anthony Hopkins culminates with thrilling speed races that rival the exuberance of The Right Stuff.
- The Descent - I was freaked out BEFORE the flesh-ripping beasties even showed up in this claustrophobic chicks-spelunking horror film.
Films that I missed that may have made the cut (or not):
Borat, The Departed, Little Children, Babel, Marie Antoinette, An Inconvenient Truth
This would have made the list, but it is a TV show:
I totally have to plug the television series Battlestar Galactica. This is the best sci-fi, movie or TV, that I've seen in years!
Penelope Cruz in Volver. Her breasts are practically a lead character that dare you to call them sexy. You'd get slapped upside the head. I mean, if breasts could do that. (?)
Best non-human character:
The bleating Volkswagen bus in Little Miss Sunshine. Made me laugh every time.
Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Scary Movie 4, The Guardian, She's the Man, High School Musical
Guilty, no pleasure:
Poseidon—and I even paid full price to see it in IMAX! Man, this movie was ASS!
Most wretched of the wretched:
Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector—the movies I am forced to watch for you people!
The friends I'd most like to have a cuppa with:
Friends With Money's Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Jennifer Aniston, and Frances McDormand
Flags of Our Fathers, Strangers With Candy, For Your Consideration, X-Men: The Last Stand
Most radiant performance (in a pretty good movie):
Gretchen Mol as Bettie Page in The Notorious Bettie Page
Most radiant (and sexy) performance (in a pretty darn great movie):
Penelope Cruz in Volver (see also Breast Performance)
Speaking of hot...
Not only was Penelope Cruz sizzling, but, dear lord, Daniel Craig was a sexy beast as the new James Bond in Casino Royale
Best transgender family-values message movie:
Barnyard: The Original Party Animals
Curious thematic trends:
Teacher/student seductions - Loving Annabelle, The History Boys, Notes on a Scandal
Orgy scenes - Shortbus, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Magician movies - The Illusionist, The Prestige
Best use of the national anthem:
Shortbus (we can't really tell you HOW it was used, as this is a family-friendly site!)
Best use of film title, opening credits:
The Queen, with Helen Mirren turning to the camera, one eyebrow raised, when the film's title appears on screen
Best use of film title, closing credits:
At the end of C.R.A.Z.Y., the film's title unspools to reveal a deeper meaning, causing audience to start sniffling yet again
Most fun to be had at the movies in 2006:
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Cool to see on the big screen, but even cooler to meet Tura Satana and get her autograph (OMG! She signed it her picture with my favorite quote!). Her saucy and candid on-stage interview with Peaches Christ had some jaw-dropping anecdotes involving dating Elvis, terrorizing co-stars, being the victim of gang-rape, and most impressive, wreaking awesome revenge for said gang-rape.
The best Moviepie controversy:
Speaking of Loving Annabelle... We'd like to give special recognition to the fans of "LA" (as the frothing obsessed groupies are calling it) for making Vickie's Loving Annabelle review not only the most-read Moviepie review of the year (if not ever), but also the catalyst of a forum flame war on IMDB (the thread of which has been mysteriously removed) plus plenty of hate, vitrol, and even death wishes (we kid you not!) aimed at the 'Pie, demanding a public apology for giving the film a negative review. Needless to say, no one apologized.