My Top Films of 2006
My first few posts for the year 2007 will be recaps of what I consider were the top and worst films of the year, the top anime and who I think were the top local and international stars in the movie business. Ed: On second thoughts… creating lists like this one, though fun, is rather time consuming and I just don’t have that kind of leisure time for me to do so. So, there won’t be anymore list till end of the year. Sorry to disappoint those who’ve been looking forward to my lists! – 7/01/2007
To start of, in no particular order, are the following Top 20 films of the year 2006. It’s a bit late, I know, but I like making lists like this – who cares if it’s been done to the death? How I decide which films are good to me depends on how much I am entertained, my attraction to the storyline & concept, the strength of the cast of actors’ overall performance, the film direction, cinematography & editing (or quality of the animation if it’s an animated film), the strength of the script and finally, the soundtrack.
As such, here are my Top Films of 2006:
A bitter feud between two rival British magicians in the early 20th century ends in tragedy. Starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Andy Serkis. Exceptionally directed by Christopher Nolan. Dark, edgy and captivating…standout performances from Bale, Jackman and Bowie!!
Remember, remember, the 5th of November… a masked vigilante takes upon himself to overthrow a ruthless authoritarian British government and then rallies the oppressed people to fight against the oppression. Based on the popular grahic novel from David Lloyd, this action-thriller was adapted by the Wachowski Brothers and directed by James McTeigue. Starring a crisp-voiced Hugo Weaving, a bald Natalie Portman, a psychopathic John Hurt, a blur Stephen Rea and always delightful Stephen Fry.
A charming little film that packs in a lot of lessons that we humans should learn before penguins and other animals are wiped out from this Earth. All it took was for one little outcast penguin who can’t sing but can tap dance really good to make everyone change for the better. Never underestimate the underdog! Arguably 2006’s best ever animated production in terms of visuals, story and music! Talented voice cast includes Elijah Wood, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Brittany Murphy, Robin Williams, Miriam Margoyles and Hugo Weaving. The late Crocodile Hunter – Steve Irwin – and Anthony LaPglia made cameo appearances as a elephant seal and a skua respectively.
Director Feng Xiaogang shows compatriot Zhang Yimou how to direct a lavish film about political intrigue in the royal court while still being engaging and beautiful at the same time. Fantastic performances from the always beautiful and ever dependable Zhang Ziyi, a tortured Daniel Wu, the vicious Ge You and the innocent, sweet-faced Zhou Xun.
Back-to-back Best Actor wins for Aaron Kwok, a Best Supporting Actor award for the cute Gouw Ian Iskandar and a Best Feature Film award at 2006 Golden Horse Awards – the Chinese equivalent of the Oscars – demonstrates how good this film is. If anyone still think Kwok doesn’t deserve his 2005 Golden Horse award, they should be won over by his sterling portrayal of a deadbeat father who gambles away his money and earning the wrath of loan sharks. This resulted in him being estranged from his wife and his son. What made this film so much better is the fact that it was set in Malaysia… and hits close to home about how destructive the gambling habit is.
A blue-eyed, blond Bond?? Oh yes, the gamble on the rugged, rough Daniel Craig to play James Bond pays off handsomely as this could arguably be the best Bond film ever made! Action scenes are well-choreagraphed and breath-taking, all the more made better by the fact that there’s little gadgets to be seen. All Bond has is his gun, his fists and his smarts. And the Bond girl, in the form of Eva Green, is sizzling hot, not to mention the sadistic villain portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen! All I can say is well done, Martin Campbell!! You may have well restored our faith in the Bond franchise and won new fans at the same time! Bond creator and author Ian Fleming will definitely be proud!
Started out looking like a very promising horror movie and soon turn into a tragic story revolving a boy ghost. Starring Thailand’s very own “Haley Joel Osment” – Charlie Trairattana performs admirably in this coming-of-age story set in a Thai boarding school.
Released in the middle of last month, I must say that this film is currently my favourite Ben Stiller film and the only Ben Stiller film that I watched twice willingly! Stiller kept the toilet humour to a minimum and puts on his best dramatic acting talent to use in this tale about a down-on-his-luck dad who takes on a job as a night guard at the museum so that he could still have custody of his son. Unbeknownst to him, being a night guard at the museum is not an easy task, considering the fact that the exhibits come alive! This film also happens to be my favourite Christmas time film so far. It’s nice of director Shawn Levy to give the Hollywood vets (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney & Bill Cobbs) their last hurrah in the acting business. Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais are a hoot to watch and the boy who plays Stiller’s son is very adorable, too.
A film full of bratty children… how could I not like? Brings back memories of my own mischievous endeavours when I was a child. Cutie pie Thomas Sangster leads his younger siblings on a run of terror as they drove one nanny after another crazy with their extremely naughty and uncontrollable behaviour. But their naughty, mischievous antics will soon come to an end as a mysterious nanny appears one dark, stormy night and brings about change in the family for the good. Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury and Imelda Staunton co-star is this sweet tale based on a series of children’s books called Nurse Matilda.
I was disappointed that Bryan Singer left and Brett Ratner came on to direct this supposedly last film in the X-Men franchise. Ratner certainly isn’t the best person I would put to direct a special-effects laden film like this. Nevertheless, I was quite surprised that it turned out quite alright, despite what the critics say. It’s not as good as the last two, but this is still good. Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen continues to shine as Wolverine and Magneto respectively and Halle Berry is also finally the feisty weather witch that she is suppose to be. I love Kelsey Grammar as the Beast, totally unrecognisable!! A lot of breathtaking scenes that demonstrate each mutant hero and villain’s power. I guess you could say it was a somewhat fitting end to a great series… unless the final scene after the end credits really indicate that there could be more…
Will Ferrell… I’ve never liked him… so I didn’t really expect much from him in this film. So you can imagine my surprise by how entertaining this film was. I love John C. Reilly as Ferrell’s childhood friend. And I love Ferrell’s deadbeat dad as well and his super cool mom who turned his rude sons into angelic creatures. Great racing scenes too, and let’s not forget the hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen as Ferrell’s French rival. One of the best comedies I’ve seen in a long time.
Bryan Singer is my No. 3 all-time favourite director after M. Night Shymalan and Christopher Nolan and his vision on how to continue the story of Superman shows why he’s one of the best in the business. The movie is certainly stylish and the plot is strong enough and he’s discovered a new talent in Brandon Routh, who certainly has a spooky resemblance to the late Christopher Reeve. But the one that steals the show has to be Kevin Spacey’s turn as Lex Luthor. So, so, so much better than Gene Hackman!! And the best scene in this film belongs to Lois Lane’s kid… a nice twist!
With so many animated movies taking on animals, it’s easy to feel jaded by them all. But the saving grace for this film has to be it’s cuddly, adorably cute crew of woodland creatures. I certainly love Steve Carrell’s Hammy, he never fails to make me go “awww, sooooo cute!!!” And I love Bruce Willis’ voice… he perfectly suits RJ the Racoon, I cannot imagine anyone else being RJ except Bruce Willis. Other voice talents in this film includes Wanda Sykes, Avril Lavigne and Allison Janney.
The voice talents in this animated sewer caper are the reason why this film is a success, especially Hugh Jackman’s performance as the spoilt, upper-class rat Roddy. Ian McKellen, Jean Reno, Kate Winslet, Bill Nighy and Andy Serkis all did a very, very good job in this film. It certainly has a good story too, but the animation is a bit icky for me… but nevermind, Jackman simply rocks!!! He’s my new favourite male star!
Saw this twice, and it still left me at the edge of the seat even though I know what to expect. But this remake is still pretty inferior to the original…perhaps because the original looked much more believer and real-like. This is a disaster film, so you can’t really expect the actors to do much other than scream, look frightened and give their lives so that others may live. Wolfgang Petersen has made sure all the effects do their work but he’s really useless in guiding actors how to act. And the boy actor in the film is so annoying!
I like this film, probably one of the proper CGI-animated horror film so far. Three kids go up against a house possessed by a malevolent spirit hellbent on ensuring that anything or anyone that trespasses into its compound are never seen or heard of…forever! What’s the scret behind this monstrous, living house? Well, it’s up to the three kids to get to bottom of this mystery… if they could only just avoid getting eaten up by the living house!
One of the year’s most entertaining horror/slasher film, thanks in part to a very strong, scary plot revolving the legendary villainness – the Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory…so named because she kills virgin girls and bathe in their blood so that she can remain young. Now, she becomes the subject of an eerie game…that’s so real, that it’s to die for! A couple of misfits who are fans of the gaming world test out a game called “Stay Alive” and soon realises that they must indeed “stay alive” in the game or else when they die in the game, they die for real! Frankie Muniz is the real star here actually, he’s so much better than the actor on his left in the above picture.
No matter what anyone says about this film, I still think it’s rather sweet. Buncha ants shrunk a boy to teach him a lesson for causing destruction and mayhem on the ant colony. Simple story, but rather cool, in my opinion. Again, the animation could be better and the ants in this film resembles the ants from that other animated ant film – Antz.
Woo-hoo!!! Speeding cars, cool and wild stunts. In Tokyo, Japan. Very cool is all I can say. And it’s nice to see former child star Lucas Black getting a starring role in his first proper film as an adult star. Hope there’ll be many more great roles for Black, ’cause he is one actor with loads of potential.
Because United 93 was not shown here, I have to settle with this other one that portrayed the lives of New York’s Port Authority personnel during the greatest act of terrorism on American soil. Based on the true life story of two PA officers who were trapped in the rubble of the fallen towers and were one of the last couple of survivors to be pulled out of the rubble. A story of the strength and triumph of the human spirit in the face of evil and great adversity. A tear-jerker in its own right. Good job, Oliver Stone, but don’t expect to get any awards for this.
That’s that for my Top Films of 2006. I’ve watched more than 30 films alone this year, in the cinemas and on DVDs. Overall, the year has been good movie-wise and I am anxiously anticipating 2007’s films that I know will be definite box-office smash hits!