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2006 Top Ten List

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Long awaited, but with the excuse that I live in Lexington, Kentucky. Scott has no such defense. This is more or less in order, in the sense that I liked the first two much more than the last two. I’d be reluctant, however, to defend the argument that #3 was notably better than #4, and so forth.

Pan’s Labyrinth: My favorite film of the year. Made more compelling, I think, by the essential futility of the guerillas. Knowing how poorly their struggle will turn out (Franco, after all, lasted until the 1970s), rendered the struggle more complex, as I found myself unwilling to simply adopt the guerilla point of view. The end left me… emotional, a feeling which was only partially mitigated by the drug-addled morons kicking my chair throughout the film.

The Departed: Discussed here.

Children of Men: Regardless of political interpretation, clearly one of the best films of the year. Cuaron creates a compelling image of a society collapsing under its own weight, and tells a fine (if not always believable) story. The battle scenes toward the end were simply magnificently constructed.

The Queen: Discussed here.

Letters from Iwo Jima: I’ll have a longer review later, but suffice it to say that this was a genuinely great war film. Eastwood’s success here, however, doesn’t redeem his companion project in the slightest.

Babel: Discussed here.

Casino Royale: Discussed here.

United 93: Discussed here.

Notes from a Scandal: The final act didn’t quite hold together, but Blanchett and especially Dench are good enough to forgive that.

Descent: It’s a solid flick that can freak you out ever before the appearance of the CHUDS.

Honorable Mention:

Last King of Scotland: The last cut from the list. Whittaker’s performance is obviously magnificent, but that’s hardly surprising. In spite of the explicit (and contrived) effort to avoid the “adventurous white guy” scenario, however, the film couldn’t in the end avoid focusing on its white protagonist at the expense of all the people who actually died at the hands of Idi Amin.

Science of Sleep: A worthy effort that disappeared without much of a mention.

Volver: It doesn’t help that I recently watched Talk to Her again. Bad Education was a step down from Talk to Her, and Volver a considerable step down from Bad Education. The starting point is still almost high enough to merit inclusion here, but not quite. It just didn’t hang together well enough.

Little Miss Sunshine: It has its clever moments, and I certainly enjoyed it. The van without a starter bit cracked me up every time. However, that can’t take away from the fact of the lazy and sloppy writing and execution.

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