Top 10 Films of 2006
Joseph Gordon Levitt (“3rd Rock From The Sun”) stars in this classic/hype (modern) noir fusion juxtaposed into a high school setting. The talented young cast handles the archaic genre with a certain flair and earnestness that kicks you in the gut, and leaves you begging for more. Think “The Maltese Falcon” meets “The Breakfast Club.”
Director Martin Scorsese delivers a gripping, compelling and slickly violent film, which could finally win him that Oscar he’s been long overdue for. Stars Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio outshine their more seasoned costars, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and the legendary Jack Nicholson, and deliver career defining performances.
3) United 93
Director Paul Greengrass gives us an unflinching, heartbreaking and gut-wrenching account of the final moments of the ill-fated flight that never reached its intended target on 9/11. I can’t think of a more fitting cinematic tribute to fallen heroes. It’s no frills movie making, and it delivers an emotional blow without delving into the politics of 9/11.
4) Clerks II
Kevin Smith finally does what he tried to do with “Jersey Girl”- balances his trademark wit and bawdiness with heartfelt sentiment. More of a piece on growing up, moving on and friendships than it is about sex jokes. But there’s no shortage of those, mind you. It almost pains me to say that it surpasses the original “Clerks”, just because that was such a landmark film.
5) Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Sacha Baron Cohen’s scathing satire of the American way of life forces you to take a
long hard look at the country you live in. Niiiiice! The funniest scene in the whole flick, involving a “Baywatch” book and a hotel, is one you want to forget as soon as you see it, but will be forever burned into your memory, and will make you both laugh and cringe just thinking about it. HIGH FIVE!!!
6) Find Me Guilty
Sidney Lumet shows us why he’s been making movies for almost 60 years, and that even a lunk-head like Vin Diesel can pull off a fantastic and engaging performance every once in a while. The funniest courtroom movie since “My Cousin Vinny,” but there’s a distinct, more intense tone to this one.
7) Thank You For Smoking
Absurd, crass, and just too funny to pass up, “Thank You For Smoking” is one of the sharpest, darkest comedies to come along in years. It will have you rooting for the bad guy the whole way through. Aaron Ekhart becomes a full-fledged leading man with his role as smooth talking tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor.
8) A Scanner Darkly
Insanely trippy and mind-blowingly good, Richard Linklater takes another crack at the roto-scoping animation technique he first tried in 2001’s “Waking Life”. The always spot-on Robert Downey, Jr. gives a magnificent performance in the tale of a new psychotropic drug in futuristic Los Angeles. And keep you’re eye on Keanu Reeves, he’s not as flat as he usually is.
9) Little Miss Sunshine
Proof that family road trip movies aren’t dead, they just need the right medicine. Equal parts heartwarming and heart breaking, “Little Miss Sunshine” is one finely crafted film. The film is most notable for its stars, including 10 year old break out Abigail Breslin and funny-man Steve Carrell, who plays it straight as the gay, suicidal uncle.
10) Blood Diamond
Leonardo Dicaprio gives the strongest performance of his career as Danny Archer, a diamond smuggler embroiled in a personal moral conundrum involving the location of a rare pink diamond. The one to watch though is the always engaging Djimon Hounsou (“Gladiator”) as the desperate Mende father trying to keep his young son out of the guerilla troops of Western Africa, and Archer is his only ally in doing so.