January 20, 2007

Looking back at '06 / FILMS.
i finally sat down long enough to write some quick thoughts about my favorite-favorite film experiences of 2006.
asterisked titles link to original reviews.
here we go - in no particular order:

The Weather Man*..Gore Verbinski usa 2005
it's been a while since i've seen this film but what i can remember is a solid character study from Verbinski and Nicolas Cage.

To Kill A Mockingbird*..Robert Mulligan usa 1962
never have i felt such a close intimate relationship with a movie. this movie was nothing short of a revelation for me.

Inside Man*..Spike Lee usa 2006
Lee takes on the world of thrillers with this sharp popcorn movie. Jodie Foster is kind of wasted in a superfluous role but that doesn't take anything away from the film's tight drama.

Mean Creek..Jacob Aaron Estes usa 2004
a cool little, slow-burner drama set out in the country during one summer. great performances by the kids and solid, quiet atmosphere from Estes. highly recommended.

Fade To Black..Pat Paulson & Michael John Warren usa 2004
the Jay-Z documentary. i can't count the number of times i've gone back to the Timbaland sequences :) i think i've tried to show every one of my friends at one point. a fun film for fan's of good music.

Mission: Impossible III*..J.J. Abrams usa 2006
J.J. Abrams did it. it's Alias on a big-ass movie screen. kick ass film. nothing more to add.

Match Point*..Woody Allen uk usa luxembourg 2005
Jonathan Rhys Meyers once again lights up the screen. this time in a twisted romantic drama. and for the first time since Lost In Translation, Scarlett Johansson looks so fucking at ease on film. effortlessly magnetic, as needed.

L'audition..Luc Picard canada 2005
a very personal and intimate (yet charming) drama about a man and his son. Picard manages to keep things light despite the heavy subject matter. highly recommended.

Paradise Now..Hany Abu-Assad netherlands france germany 2005
i guess i was lucky last year. i got to see a handful of films that really stuck with me through the year. and this, is one of them. i gotta go back to it sometime soon. a very human drama. from my point-of-view, nothing controversial or flashy about it. just characters and a story.

Nine Lives..Rodrigo García usa 2004
and speaking of stories, here's one i thought back on this past week. Rodrigo García's vignettes are fun and poignant. not all of them work (i can think of two that didn't for me) but the ones that hit you will stay with you for a long time.

Jarhead..Sam Mendes usa 2005
Jake Gyllenhaal and a macho demeanour. Sam Mendes created a quietly affecting little movie. the film is so quiet at times that you feel Mendes has taken out your eardrums. a numbing, quiet film experience.

Dave Chappelle's Block Party..Michel Gondry usa 2005
Gondry mixes in a few stories, amazing musical acts and Chappelle's laidback nature. once again, for fans of great music.

Strangers With Candy*..Paul Dinello usa 2005
2006 was the year i finally got to see the Strangers With Candy series. and i have this film to thank for it. glad i saw the tv show before watching the film as the inside jokes are a lot of fun. not the funniest film of the year (Borat is) but when it hits, it's definitely a fucking riot. saw it twice. in theaters. laughed as hard both times even though i knew the jokes.

The Descent..Neil Marshall uk 2005
i enjoyed this. and i wasn't sure i would either because i hated Marshall's Dog Soldiers so much i stopped watching it after 30 minutes. a group of friends go down a cave... and that's all i'm gonna say. heard an opinion as to what the story was about recently and i couldn't believed i'd missed the metaphor. gonna go back to it.

Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan..Larry Charles usa 2006
nothing needs to be said for this. the less you know the better. as with Strangers With Candy, the film is not perfect (the scripted segues held the flow of the film down for me) but you can't hold it against the film. it's just too hilarious to withstand any form of criticism. glad Cohen got a Golden Globe out for it. the man's a genius.

Babel..Alejandro González Iñárritu usa mexico 2006
not necessarily my film of the year, but for sheer human proportions, this film was, at times, magical for me. pitch perfect music, crazy performances (Rinko Kikuchi was tremendous), and a seemingly random flow made this a joyful film experience.

Casino Royale..Martin Campbell usa germany uk czech republic 2006
Daniel Craig is Bond. period. and Martin Campbell directed a fucking throwback to the good old days of Bond. a lot of fun.

The Host..Bong Joon-ho south korea 2006
Bong Joon-ho's The Host was one of the surprises of the year for me. he made me believe, despite the cartoonish design of the beast, that a monster was set loose in that oceanfront. funny, terrifying, and dramatic. definitely a fun film that was at once serious and didn't take itself too seriously. the perfect mix.

Children Of Men..Alfonso Cuarón uk usa 2006
and my film of the year... Alfonso Cuarón's Children Of Men. what starts out as a seemingly typical thriller ends up taking me on a different plane altogether. brilliant filmmaking. i have no idea how Cuarón did it but it worked for me. (and, as with Babel, accompanied by a perfectly, precisely-chosen score.)


Posted by Sam | 1:57 PM |