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The Movies of 2006: An Overview

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I saw 50 2006 releases this year, almost all of them in the theatre, but fewer than in previous years.

Some films haven't opened in my area, like Letters From Iwo Jima, The Good German, and Pan's Labyrinth. I just plain missed a few that looked interesting, like A Scanner Darkly. I didn't make it to see many independent films as I would have liked and missed 49 Up and Cache.

Overall, this wasn't a great year for new movies. Hollywood continued to overload films with special effects and really great stories were scarce. There were some films that seemed pointless, including Basic Instinct 2 and The Sentinel, which featured Kiefer Sutherland playing a Jack Bauer-like role. The brilliantly directed The Departed surely has Martin Scorsese set to be nominated for a best director Oscar, but winning that Oscar may not be a sure thing with that buzz that Letters From Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood's companion to Flags of Our Fathers, is receiving.

The film that packed the most emotional punch for me was United 93, directed by Paul Greengrass, who directed The Bourne Supremacy and who will direct The Bourne Ultimatum (due August 3, 2007).

  • United 93 – the most gut wrenching film that I saw this year, even with the outcome known.

  • An Inconvenient Truth (documentary) – an Al Gore film that won't be seen by the naysayers.
  • The Break-Up – not a popular film but authentic.
  • Casino Royale – as I predicted, a refreshing and needed change to Bond.
  • The Departed – Scorsese's best chance to win the Best Director Oscar in years.
  • The Good Shepherd – cerebral story about the birth of the CIA; Bob DeNiro directs.
  • Miami Vice – raises the bar for shoot-out action scenes.
  • Neil Young – Heart of Gold – near-flawless acoustic concert.
  • Transamerica – charming and funny.
  • Why We Fight (documentary) – will make you angry whether you agree or disagree with it.

  • Apocalypto – excellent jungle action film.
  • Beowulf & Grendel – one of the oldest tales told without the sheen of Hollywood.
  • Flags of our Fathers – not in the recent Eastwood tradition of excellence.
  • Kinky Boots – cute indie film from the UK.
  • The Lake House – decent tearjerker.
  • Little Miss Sunshine – a crowd pleaser that is hard to resist.
  • Lucky Number Slevin – you need to pay attention to get it.
  • World Trade Center – not a conspiracy film from the biggest conspiracy director.

  • Blood Diamond – DiCaprio is intense but doesn't project as brilliantly as he tries.
  • The Holiday – charming, lightweight fare.
  • The Illusionist – the first of two magic films in 2006, but this one has more romance.
  • King Kong – long, heavy on special effects, but faithful retelling of the original.
  • Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang – surprisingly good comedic detective story.
  • Mission: Impossible 3 – the fall of Tom Cruise's popularity began with this bloated excess.
  • The Nativity Story – poorly conceived and directed, could have been a bigger film.
  • The Omen – if you've seen the original, this one squanders a chance to be different.
  • A Prairie Home Companion – slow but apparently spot-on rendition of the radio show.
  • Scoop – an all right Woody Allen murder-comedy. Lacks edge but I liked it.
  • Superman Returns – a ridiculous story to feature the return of Supes.
  • Thank You For Smoking – not as biting as it could have been, but nice attempt.
  • Tsotsi – Oscar winner from South Africa is slow but has its rewards.
  • The Prestige – intriguing until they add what is essentially sci-fi/fantasy to the mix.

  • Assault on Precinct 13 – decent action film.
  • The Da Vinci Code – no chemistry between the two stars, lousy film for a lousy book.
  • The Inside Man – not as clever as it appears to be.
  • The Sentinel – tries to piggyback on the success of TV's 24 but fails with dumb story.
  • X-Men 3 -the worst of the trilogy, just a dumb story.

  • Basic Instinct 2 – should never have been made.
  • Borat – too much vulgarity and toilet humor. Could have been bigger.
  • Click – essentially a rip-off of It's A Wonderful Life, except much worse.
  • V for Vendetta – popular but as a subtle as a sledgehammer and boring as hell to me.
  • You, Me and Dupree (99 cent rental) – the "moving in" story is just a side story.

  • Annapolis (99 cent rental) – a boxing film, not an interesting tribute to the fabled school.
  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift – what was I thinking?
  • Firewall – Harrison Ford does his "leave my family alone" schtick but it's getting old.
  • Friends With Money (99 cent rental) – not a comedy I expected.
  • Last Holiday (99 cent rental) – she's got weeks to live but it's pure Hollywood crap.
  • The Matador – tries to be a satire of the macho spy that Pierce Brosnan has played, but fails miserably.
  • The Night Listener – creepy, creepy role with Toni Collete and Robin Williams.

The following films that I intend to see are supposed to open in 2007:

  • Pathfinder – April 27
  • Spiderman 3 – May 4
  • Shrek The Third – May 18
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End – May 25
  • Harry Potter And The Order of The Phoenix – July 13
  • The Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer – July 4
  • The Simpsons Movie – July 27
  • The Bourne Ultimatum – Aug. 3
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About Triniman

Almost weekly, Triniman catches new movies, and adds one or two CDs to his collection. Due to time constraints, he blogs about only 5% of the CDs, books and DVDs that he purchases. Holed up in the geographic centre of North America, the cultural mecca of Canada, and the sunniest city north of the 49th, Winnipeg, Triniman blogs a bit when he's not swatting mosquitoes, shoveling snow or golfing.
  • It will be interesting to see Hollywood’s take on the Beowulf story when their movie debuts in 2007. Robert Zemeckis is directing and Ray Winstone plays Beowulf.

    The preview for Pathfinder looks amazing! Apparently, it has its share of historical inacuracies, but I’ll see it anyway.

  • blondesquaw

    My favorite movie that you reviewed in 2006 was Beowulf and Grendel. I loved it..
    I really look forward to seeing Pathfinder
    and look forward to your review. I love Viking type movies.
    I always read your reviews.
    The best..