Bumper film post

AYGH's Ten Favourite Films of 2006

The Queen

Maybe this is especially powerful to me because we went, my family, to the palace on that Sunday, and it was an unforgettable day. The film is every bit as good as every critic on the planet has already suggested. Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen are perfect. The royal family is rarely seen as human, and they earn a lot of sympathy from this film. Not Philip, but that's hardly a shock. The news and interview footage is woven in really well, and the crash scene at the beginning is really powerful. And, Pat Mustard is in it!

Dave Chappelle's Block Party

A simple idea: take great hip hop acts, put on a free show in Brooklyn, get Michel Gondry to film it. The people are great, from the two kids who won tickets and can't believe their luck, to the marching band, to the crazy hippies whose house the show is at, to Dead Prez. It highlights how music can make a difference to people, how easy it can be to give people so much joy, and how
fucking great a new Black Star record would be. Oh, and that Dave guy that hosts it, he's pretty funny, you know.

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

Steve Coogan is great in two different roles, plus as himself. The whole thing is almost too postmodern to enjoy, but Michael Winterbottom pulls it off easily. Having made films of Thomas Hardy novels already, he's obviously fine with adapting crap books, so why not aim for supposedly one of the worst? Great insights into the filmmaking process, actors' egos and the lure of celebrity. Plus, it's really fucking funny. My excitement for this currently knows no bounds.

Children of Men

Late addition to the list, but more than deserving. Incredibly filmed by Cuaron, barely any music, completely bleak and yet totally engaging throughout. Clive Owen's character begins not knowing much and then getting more and more involved, which matches the audience reaction well. There's a snippet of 'Witness' by Roots Manuva, and later a Pink Floyd visual reference. It's unsettling but not unbelievable and that's even more scary. And the actress that plays Kee went to high school with my sister.

The Departed

Again, one that's on many people's list. But that's only because it's so good. Tense as hell, great performances from actors at the top of the game, good support and lead characters, not a wasted minute, kickin' soundtrack, and the expert hand of Mr. Scorsese. Give him an Oscar already.

Mission Impossible 3

Don't think I can't hear you rolling your eyes, you jerks. I didn't see the second one, I heard it was baws, but JJ Abrams really brought the boo-yah to Ethan Hunt and his hi-octane nonsense-fest. I stand by my oft-repeated analogy about this being the cinematic equivalent of Sleater-Kinney's 'The Woods'. Begins heavily, doesn't let up, is really exhilarating, slows down right towards the end, then reprises the beginning... It doesn't sync up like Wizard of
Oz/Dark Side of the Moon, but you know. Easily the best of the summer's big name blockbusters.

Lucky Number Slevin
Dynamite cast, great cutting and filming, some cool dialogue and action scenes, but it really comes down to the plot. Absolutely solid thriller - lots of really great characters (The Fairy, Slim, The Boss, The Rabbi) and a "oh-shit!" reveal at the end, something essential for films of this ilk. It's dense, it's confusing, it spans different time periods, but that makes it all the more satisfying when it all comes together at the end.

Inside Man

Clive and Chiwetel Ejiofor again, in Spike Lee's big name bank robbery thriller which really makes up in tension where it sometimes lags in great storytelling. Of course racism and cultural differences play a big role, and I was wary about going into banks for months that followed. Later in the year, a TV show called 'The Nine' would try and fail to be as edgy, stylish and not-boring as Inside Man.

V for Vendetta

Like 'Children of Men' this takes the current sociopolitical climate and predicts how it'll be in the not-too-distant future, and again, it's terrifying. But 'Children...' didn't have some badass fireworks, swordplay, an enigmatic arch-villain and some nifty wordplay. Portman is good but Weaving is great and the imagery and message are really powerful.


Another film set in the future. But much funnier. Edges it as the comedy of the year for me, the lack of any publicity definitely helps, but it's the ultra-corporate, ultra-stupid vision of the future that's the most fun part. Out on video this week... make sure you watch it, jerks.

Honorable Mentions: Borat, Night at the Museum, Brick, Thank You for Smoking, Water

Dishonorable Mentions: The Black Dahlia, American Dreamz, Accepted, Clerks II, The Break Up

...How about you guys?


Erin said...

I completely agree with your list, except for the ones I didn't see: dave chappelle's block party, lucky number slevin, and idiocracy.

Though, I really enjoyed Clerks II and thought it was funnier than the original.

Oh yes on the Thanksgiving podcast. My favorite bit was when Karl talked about "kicking his height". I kept picturing his orange-like head on a child's body and his leg hitting his head and then falling to the ground. I couldn't stop laughing.

I look forward to your extensive, in-lieu of grad school posts.

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