Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Year in Paul: 2006

What I’ve Seen

American Dreamz
Blood Diamond
Casino Royale
Children of Men
Flags of Our Fathers
For Your Consideration
Half Nelson
Inside Man
Jesus Camp
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Man of the Year
Mission: Impossible III
Nacho Libre
Night at the Museum
Notes on a Scandal
Open Season
Over the Hedge
Pan’s Labyrinth
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Snakes on a Plane
Stranger than Fiction
Superman Returns
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
The Da Vinci Code
The Departed
The Devil Wears Prada
The Fountain
The Good Shepherd
The Illusionist
The Last King of Scotland
The Lives of Others
The Pink Panther
The Prestige
The Queen
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
V For Vendetta
X-Men: The Last Stand
50 Total
The Best of What I’ve Seen

5. Casino Royale – The whole “gritty reboot” trend has had it’s ups and downs, but this is one of the clearest ups. Daniel Craig brings a welcome intensity, Eva Green positively smolders as one of the most memorable Bond girls, and the film contains any number of memorable set pieces and scenes. And “You Know My Name” goes down as one of the all-time great Bond themes.

4. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby – While it doesn’t quite have the sustained genius of Anchorman, this is a close second in the Will Ferrell hall of fame. The casting is particularly inspired, with Gary Cole, John C. Reilley, Amy Adams, Jane Lynch, Michael Clarke Duncan, and especially Sasha Baron Cohen all stealing scenes. Remember: if you ain’t first, you’re last.

3. The Departed – What’s better than a crime drama about a mole? How about one with two, on competing sides? It’s a delicious premise that Scorsese milks for all it’s worth, complete with pretty unrelenting—and delightfully Scorsesian—violence.

2. 300 – Sure it might be a little fascist, but…hmm, let me start over. I’m of the “framing device” crowd on this movie; I view the film—and it’s more, eh…outlandish…elements as essentially all a fabrication of Dilios, who’s explicitly the one telling the story. That may or may not be Frank Miller’s (or Zach Snyder’s) intent, but it’s my interpretation, and it makes an already visually spectacular and viscerally thrilling film kinda brilliant.

1. Pan’s Labyrinth – Speaking of brilliant (and fascism, actually), Guillermo Del Toro’s magnum opus certainly qualifies as that. A stunning blend of a young girl’s changeling fantasy and the grim, violent world of Civil War era Spain around her, it’s a dark, beautiful, and fascinating masterpiece, with an especially memorable ending.

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