| Monday, December 25, 2006
| 10 BEST MOVIES FOR 2006
|1. LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA
THE 20,000-PLUS SOLDIERS WHO DEFENDED the island against the ferocious American assault were ordered to die rather than surrender, and most did. It's a tragic epic that director Clint Eastwood personifies by focusing mainly on two stories; the dutiful, civilized general (Ken Watanabe) and a common soldier (Kazunari Nonomiya) who is clumsily, almost comically, determined to live. The dialogue is in Japanese, but the account of war madness - intense and compassionate carries and universal and heart breaking message.
2. BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNING OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN.
NOT SINCE DE TOCQUEVILLE, perhaps, have a visitor to the U.S. uncovered so much about the strange folkways of the natives. The cheerful curiosity of Sacha Baron Cohen's blithely ignorant foreigner is mostly matched by the friendly, if often deranged, behavior of the people he ropes into being themselves. Thus, this happy, burtful comedy - the gut-bustingly funniest since the South Park movie - is also one of the year's most revealing doc(not just mock)umentaries.
3. THE DEPARTED
THE COPS PUT AN UNDERCOVER man in the gang, hte gang has an informer among the cops, and Jack Nicholson gives a grand, snarling, nutsy performance as this film's presiding force of evil. Director Martin Scorsese - appalled, yet curiously joyful - has often explored the lives of the criminal class, but this tangle of tormented loyalties brings out the bloody best in him.
4. UNITED 93
NO HORROR MOVIE COULD HAVE scared so many people away from seegin it as this major 9/11 film - a meticulous reimagining of the hijacking of one of the planes and the passengers heroic improvisations to stop it. Paul Greengrass's grueling, ultimately inspiring drama is hard to watch but impressive to see.
5. THE QUEEN
HER MAJESTY (HELEN MIRREN IN A GREAT PERFORMANCE)does not understand why the public expects a show of official sorrow over the passing of Princess Di, whom QE2 never much cared for. Prime Minister Tony Blair instructs her in media manipulation, and director Stephen Frears makes a high, dry comedy of manners out of the mess - while enlisting our sympathy for the beleaguered sovereign.
6. PAN'S LABYRINTH
A GIRL IN FRANCO'S SPAIN SEEKS REFUGE from her vicious militarist stepfather by retreating into a woodland wonderland. Guillermo del Toro mixes the airiest fantasy with the harshest social realism to prove that fascism is a fairy tale of power and a nightmare of terro.
7. THE GOOD SHEPHERD
MAYBE, AS THE FAMOUS WINFFENPOOF SONGwould have it, the sons of Wasp privilege are just lost little lambs. But since some of them spent their post graduate years founding the CIA, Robert De Niro's finely tuned film wonders if their arrogant sense of entitlement subverted this nation's best, most idelatistic impulses. Good question, good movie; very dark, very well written and acted - and very, very worrying.
PIXAR'S LATEST IS AMONG THE computer-animation studios' best: the story of a full-of-itself race car (voiced by Owen Wilson) forced to set down roots in a run-down eccentrics like the rube tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). Not to stomp on Happy Feet or anything, but director John Lasseter, who virtually invented CGI movie with, smartly rev ups the fun in this, the most stylish car-toon ever.
9. DISTRICT 813
IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE, THE FRENCH have cordoned off their housing projects, sties of immigrant crime and anger. They're even contemplating a nuclear final solution to their problem. That's the pretext director Pierre Morel uses to reinvent the action film with gracefully soaring chases and grittily imaginative confrontations - no CGI, very little wire work, just a subtle, clever use of off-speed cameras and canny editing. The result is a movie that makes all its American competitors look klutzy and flat-footed. Maybe it isn't exactly art, but it sure is kninesthetically dazzling.
10. CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER
THE EMPRESS (GONG LI) IS GANOODLING with her stepson, the Emperor (Chow Yun Fat) is trying to poison the Empress, and the whole royal house seems less later Tang Dynasty than Aaron Spelling's Dynasty. These gorgeous surprise from China's Zhang Yimou (Hero) looks like a martial-arts movie but plays like delirious melodrama. Thefearless, peerless turns from Chow and Gong Li demonstrate how the fiercest swordplay can come from two charistmatic stars staring daggers at each other.
(Source: TIMEMAG by: Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 11:11 PM