Written by: Jimmy Hitt, CC2K Staff Writer
Jimmy Hitt’s Top Ten of 06, plus some honorable mentions
I’m a big fan of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Da Ali G Show and especially the title character in this film . When I first saw the Borat character’s sketches I couldn’t get enough of the quirky Kazakh and his wild views about America, women, and Jews. Unfortunately, he’s also a little nerve-racking after a while, which is why this excellent film is barely 80 minutes long. Borat overload can and does occur, especially when everyone you know is saying, “Niiiice…how much?” every five seconds.
9. Casino Royale
With Goldeneye being the grittiest Bond prior to this one, I found Daniel Craig’s version of the classic and clichéd character to be a necessary and altogether fascinating film , whereas most Bonds had just been movies before. I mean, Casino Royale in my mind is clearly the finest Bond ever and could have been completely relabeled as another franchise. I can’t wait for the next installment of the new Bond series. How could anyone possibly fuck this up from here?
8. Marie Antoinette
The 80’s music accompanying this film was either hit or miss, but overall I found this to be a near-perfect biopic . It is largely accurate, artistically shot, and well acted. Plus, the set design and costume work is flawless. One thing Coppola does well, always, is that she lets actors emote on screen. She doesn’t pander to her audience with narration and other bs. I respect that. I’m not sure why this was so maligned by most critics…could it be that they suck?
7. Children of Men
Clive Owen is fast becoming a top wrung actor. Add him to the mix in a slightly far-fetched sci fi piece, and also have Alfonso Cuaron direct it, and you’ve got a spicy cocktail full of beautiful camera work, impeccable set design, and an altogether spooky piece of filmmaking. My only complaint is that I had the idea for this story 4 years ago. I submitted it in a creative writing class. Everyone laughed at me, but who’s laughing now? Oh wait, Cuaron, that bloody bastard.
6. The Prestige
Hugh Jackman should have received a Best Actor nomination for this one. I’ve rarely seen such a perfect and understated performance from a leading man. Perhaps his stage work set him up well for the role of a magician, or maybe he’s just that good. Either way, Nolan’s superior magical mystery tour won me over easily. This is his best non-Batman work since Memento.
5. The Departed
My only problems with The Departed are that Scorsese has done exceedingly better work and that it wasn’t really about anything, per se. Other than that, the acting is incredible, the camera work is perfect, as always, and the editing could not be praised enough. It praaaaaahbably deserved the Oscars, but Pan’s Labyrinth wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, so take that as you will.
4. Blood Diamond
DiCaprio put in his finest performance yet in this blood drenched Africa flick, but this isn’t just a great drama—it’s also entertaining as hell and educational to boot . Much like Thank You for Smoking made me itchy for nicotine, I kind of wanted some diamonds after seeing this one. Preferably conflict diamonds, but I’m not picky.
I’ve always held a fascination in my heart for the Mayans, so when I heard this was being made by the ballsy and crazy Mel Gibson, I knew it was going to kick ass. And I was not disappointed one iota. The action is the biggest draw here, but I also was floored by the costume designs. Every character was a rich mosaic to be explored along with the obvious scenery involved in such a film. And goddamn, what a messed up sacrifice scene…
2. Pan’s Labyrinth
This was my most anticipated film of the year and it definitely lived up to my expectations . I could have gone for a little more fantasy and less reality, but what can I say? It was pretty much perfect in every way and it definitely got screwed for Best Foreign Film and should have been nominated in most every major category. The effects were awesome, the story was incredible, and it is unlike pretty much anything else released this year or any year. If only the dialogue wasn’t in Mexican…
1. The Devil and Daniel Johnston
Daniel Johnston would hand out tapes at the Austin, Texas McDonald’s where he was employed to whoever would take them. He also liked to cause plane crashes and draw magic creatures with magic markers. How he became one of the most celebrated, yet obscure, artists in America is another story entirely. I mean, Kurt friggin Cobain used to cover this eccentric and schizophrenic singer/songwriter’s work. I urge anyone with even a passing interest in music or film to rent this documentary immediately. It is a heartbreaker but also a soul shaker and it’s the best thing I saw all last year.
Honorable Mention: Babel, Deliver Us from Evil, An Inconvenient Truth , The Fountain