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1. Children of Men
2. The Departed
4. The Lives of Others
5. Pan�s Labyrinth
6. The Last King of Scotland
7. Notes on a Scandal
8. The Prestige
10. Little Miss Sunshine
2006 Best Actor
Forrest Whitaker- The Last King of Scotland
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed
Ulrich Muhe- The Lives of Others
Leonardo DiCaprio- The Blood Diamond
Sean Penn- All the Kings Men
2006 Best Actress
Penelope Cruz- Volver
Judi Dench- Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren- The Queen
Cate Blanchett- Notes on a Scandal
Jennifer Hudson- Dreamgirls
2006 Best Supporting Actor
Djimon Hounsou- The Blood Diamond
Jack Nicholson- The Departed
Daniel Craig- Infamous
Eddie Murphy- Dreamgirls
Matthew Fox - We Are Marshall
2006 Best Supporting Actress
Rinko Kikuchi- Babel
Beyonce Knowles- Dreamgirls
Martina Gedeck- The Lives of Others
Abigail Breslin- Little Miss Sunshine
Vera Farmiga- The Departed
2006 Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron- Children of Men
Guillermo Del Toro- Pan�s Labyrinth
Mel Gibson- Apocalypto
2006 Best Foreign Film- Apocalypto
2006 Best Animated Film- Monster House
2006 Best Documentary- An Inconvenient Truth
2006 Best Ensemble Cast- The Departed
2006 Best Performance- Forrest Whitaker- The Last King of Scotland
2006 Best Cinematography- Children of Man
2006 Best Score- The Fountain/Pan�s Labyrinth
2006 Best Special Effects- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man�s Chest
2006 Surprises of the Year- Children of Men/Volver/Little Miss Sunshine
2006 Disappointments of the Year- Borat/Flags of Our Fathers/Eragon
2006 Worst Movie- Net 2.0
He Was a Quiet Man (2007)
Frankly I was shocked by just how good Christian Slater was in this film and trust me Christian Slater and good are definitely two words I never thought I would put in the same sentence. So yes you can say I was very presently surprised, I remember first hearing about this film and the quality reviews it had been getting and I was a bit reluctant when hearing just who was included in the cast. As much as I was surprised by Christian Slater I felt the exact opposite about Elisha Cuthbert, how she continues to get roles amazes me, I guess there are directors and producers that are just so mesmerized by they way she looks that they are fooled into thinking she is anything but god awful. Plus, was anyone really fooled by the obvious use of a body double in her nude scene. If she doesn't want to do the scene then just don't do it, or even be a little creative with you shot choices, instead we get one of the most unconvincing body double shots ever filmed. Anyway, enough on the cast, this film is very unique in it's story and the way it's director chooses to tell it, some very interesting special effects are used throughout and in some very unconventional ways. The films final act is by far it's weakest point, a cop out ending to a film that deserved better.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
(- Scarlett = Success)
Far from Woody Allen's best, with that said I am far from sold on Scarlett Johansson. In my opinion she has been very lucky to work with good directors and be surrounded by great actors. In this film she is completely out shined by both Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, more so then any of her previous films. All I could think during this film is how a movie about Bardem and Cruz's characters would be way more interesting and at the same time spare me from Scarlet Johansson and her winy voice and sub par acting skill. Woody Allen is known for his quick, witty and intelligent dialog and most the time throughout this film it's present and promising, except of course when Johansson makes her attempt at it. The dialog does not sound at all convincing coming out of her mouth, it is as if she has no clue what she is saying and how her character should be delivering her lines. Not to mention the fact that her character doesn't even seem smart enough to talk the way she does. In another Allen film, Matchpoint, her part was to play the sexy, alluring and tempting girl, so natural that comes easy to her, but here she stands out like a sore thumb. Anyway back to the film itself, about three times this film feels completely Woody Allen, the characters are smart, witty and very interesting. Then later they turn winy, self obsessed and just plain boring in there search to find the meaning of love. Blah.
Tropic Thunder (2008)
I don't want to give to much away about this movie, I know that sounds weird about a comedy but in this case it's true. Some of the films most laugh out loud hilarious moments are surprises, things you wouldn't have expected just from seeing the trailer. I am so glad that is the case because so many comedies lately have been ruined by their funniest moments being in the trailer. With all that out of the way, this is a entertaining movie, a lot of that is due to the quality of Robert Downey Jr., he is without a doubt the most underrated actor in the main stream today. Sure this movie does not really give him a chance to really stretch his legs but he does bring his quality of acting to a genre that most dramatic actors dare to go. At times this film is really aimed at movie buffs, so of course I love that, all the little references or shots stole from other movies. Sometimes it takes movies like this to realize how overly dramatic certain other movie moments really are. Bottom line on this one is this, this film was not all I had hoped it would be but maybe my hopes were a little high, it's not often that I am excited to see a new comedy in theaters, so when I was maybe I expected a little to much. This film has many hilarious moments, many memorable lines, and some great surprises. Compared to most straight up comedies this is definitely a step above all the rest.
An American Crime (2007)
The Girl Next Door: An American Crime
First off to anyone that has, will or wants to see this film I would also suggest The Girl Next Door, which is based on the same story but takes liberties as this film does. It is very interesting to see the differences between the two interpretations of the same events. The other interesting thing is, in my opinion these movies are perfect if you put them together, everything one does wrong the other does right and visa versa. An American Crime was great in its more detailed set up to these events along with it's amazing court room scenes that added a much need closer element that The Girl Next Door was desperately lacking. On the other hand The girl Next Door was much better at visualizing the actual events, don't get me wrong what happened to this girl was horrible, but in An American Crime it was just not portrayed as well by Ellen Page. I know that sounds weird for me to say too, but I assume that it was either the directors choice or an attempt at realism, but Ellen Page's character just shut down. Were as in The Girl Next Door, we saw more of a fighter in Blythe Auffarth's portrayal of the same character, someone who was changed by the experience. Also The Girl Next Door did not shy away from the violence as An American Crime did, now for some I'm sure that is a blessing, because I have heard of several people who could not finish watching The Girl Next Door for that very reason, and because these situations all involved young kids it is completely understandable. My overall point is that together these two films would make a wonderful film, but definitely not a film for everyone. Both films still do leave me wondering, what exactly did happen, exactly, so many liberties have been taken that some of the facts are a little fuzzy.
The Life Before Her Eyes (2007)
No twist necessary
This is one of those films that is difficult to review without reviling any key plot points, so I will try my best to not. First off the acting is really good in this film, the original premise of this film is great and even Academy Award material. Instead of taking advantage of this, the director Vadim Perelman tries to be to clever for his own good. Within it's closing minutes the director decides to pull the carpet from underneath the audience, sometimes that works, but in my opinion, not here. Mostly because I liked the direction the film was going, I liked the original idea, a lot, but instead of that we have a forced ending, that has the audience scratching there heads and trying to put it all together. Sure there are times when putting it all together after the film is good, but at the expense of a possibly great film, it's just not worth that. I don't want my comments about the directors decisions to take away from Evan Rachel Wood and Uma Thurman's performances, they were both great and deserving of a much better and emotional final scene. There I think I did it, now you won't know what's coming, you'll just know it's going to be crap when it does.
Amy Adams does it again.
This film is just plain fun, the performances by Francis McDormand and Amy Adams carry the film and keep in entertaining throughout. Sure the plot is tired and awfully predictable, but so what, both the scenarios and the caliber of acting in them makes this film a joy to watch. The supporting cast is nothing special but do what is asked of them so their duties of supporting the main characters are fulfilled and they are not a distraction. The look of the film is also great, from the sets to the costumes right down to the feel is spot on to the time period. Amy Adams continues to impress, both this film and Enchanted she has not played the brightest characters but yet she balances these characters so well that they are not just one dimensional and annoying as the could so easily be, but instead are surprisingly likable characters.
Street Kings (2008)
Just watch Training Day
Bottom line, it's Training Day and Keanu Reeves in his wildest dreams is not Ethan Hawke and Forrest Whitaker just can't match Denzel Washington. Yes you could argue that the stories are different and the characters are different then the characters I compared them to, and you would be right. But everything this film did just made me wish I was watching Training Day instead. Does that make Street Kings awful, no just inferior, does that mean that there was nothing good about it, no it's just all been done better before. Bottom line is this film is far from bad but it exist in a world where it has all been done before and way way better.
Mad City (1997)
Underrated, that is for sure. I was shocked at the low ratting of this film on IMDb and also that no one had said, "hey you have to see this movie". I think John Travolta gives one of his best performances and Dustin Hoffman is amazing as always and also a great supporting cast. Sure this film does not have the intensity of other films with it's same basic concepts but that is what makes it unique. I find it interesting that most movie critic reviews of this film are not very good, it makes me wonder if that has something to do with it's content. The film focuses on the media and the harm it is capable of causing by at times stirring the pot or reporting then news the way they want it be seen. So movie critics who are part of the media, for the most part hate this film, hmmm? Anyway a great film with great performances that deserved way more attention and praise then it has received.
Just say no to Pink
Sub-par acting all around along with an especially horrible performance by Pink, even by B-Movie standards. The premise is OK and even the beginning is not completely horrible, but then the action get relentlessly repetitive as are made character is chased and chased and chased some more, which does work for me at times but with nothing unique thrown in there to mix it up a bit then it just gets old fast. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending, not only a twist but a twist that makes a little sense and actually works, it doesn't feel contrived and just thrown in at the end to screw with the audience. If your looking for a good horror movie you could do much better, but if you can stomach Pinks horrible attempt at acting for the length of this film (more power to you) then you could give this one a try, but only for it's unique ending.
No End in Sight (2007)
Getting to the bottom of it.
One of the most honest documentaries I have ever seen, I never feel the documentaries personal politics or beliefs bleeding through in anyway, are multiple news channels and mediums around the country could really take notes from this honest and truthful reporting. It's unfortunate that some of the key players in this story refused to be interviewed, I wouldn't expect the president but if anyone involved in this quagmire really believed that they handled it correctly you would think they would step forward to defend it. No one does so I would assume no one believes this is the case. Sure, to be fair some of this was reported by our news channels but it was done in such an anti-Bush administration way that it just felt like more bashing and blowing things out of proportion as had been done for years. If they would have put that aside as these documenters have in this film and just report the story and get first hand accounts then maybe more Americans would truly understand what went wrong in Iraq and what we have done since to begin to fix it. Sure as the commander and chief ultimately Bush is to be held accountable, but he is just one man and as anyone who has worked with people under them, there are times when you have to delegate authority to people under you, and you chose the best people you can and sometimes they screw it up, and it comes back on you. That's the way it is, but that doesn't mean that Bush ever wanted all this, he made a bad choice in putting his faith in people who made bad decision. Also to be fair this was like no other war we had fought before and a rebuilding effort like we had never seen. Now choosing to go to war that's another issue for another time. Anyway, this was a very fair uninteresting look into why and how things went so wrong in Iraq.