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My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)
Misses a lot of opportunities
Definitely not supposed to be taken seriously, this is a romantic farce which sadly confirms that Ivan Reitman isn't the director he used to be. This film combines comedy with special effects, just like "Ghostbusters", but comparing the two is painful: "Ghostbusters" had fun characters, "Girlfriend" has none. "Ghostbusters" had fun special effects, this one has cable film quality effects. In fact, "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" reminds me more of "Sabrina: the Teenage Witch" than anything else. It misses a lot of opportunities - I mean, is this the best Uma Thurman could do? Is that the best the costume designers could come up with? Are those effects really up-to-date? Is the romance really romantic? Do I laugh? Sometimes, but not often. In fact, the premise is not bad but the film simply lacks punch and personality.
United 93 (2006)
Without any doubt one of the best films of 2006, possibly *the* best American film, "United 93" really demonstrates the true power of the film medium. It grabs your attention immediately and it's impossible not to emerge yourself in the true story about the passengers on United Airlines' flight 93 on September 11, 2001 - despite the fact that you know how the story is going to end. It's quasi-documentary style fits the story like a glove, and remarkably, director Greengrass avoids every single opportunity to get into Hollywood-isms (single male heroics, presidential bullshit, 101 strings) - this is a terribly frightening film but it's also a very respectful depiction of the people who was on board that plane. Keeping everything in balance (another important example is the low-key but very effective score by John Powell), throwing in some strong critique towards the US authorities (who admittedly were in a state of shock and utter confusion during the 9/11 events), Greengrass succeeds in telling a story you already know in a way that really absorbs you.
Casino Royale (2006)
I've always had a somewhat schizophrenic relationship to James Bond. One part of me thinks he's the ultimate cool. The other part defines him - and particularly the majority of the films - as corny. So when everyone claimed that "finally, here is the ultimate 007, back to the roots", that first part of me thought... "so there will be no cool one-liners?", and the second half answered "wonderful, there will be no corny one-liners!...
Anyway, this is a hell of an action movie. Martin Campbell's direction is super-tight, and the editing by Stuart Baird is absolutely first-rate. There are a number of truly spectacular action set-pieces here, my favorite being the extremely hectic airport sequence. David Arnold, who wrote his first Bond score ten years ago (time flies!), adds a lot of excitement with traditional but extremely effective action music (and the love theme is such a beautiful nod to John Barry's most beloved 007 songs).
Finally, we have mr Craig - Daniel Craig. Yes... he is p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Those cool/corny one-liners Roger Moore and Remington Steele (oops) delivered have been replaced by subtle glimpses in the eye and by intelligent dialog. Thank you, Daniel Craig, for curing my 007 schizophrenia - we are now one whole who knows that James Bond is an elegant action hero and one that deserves a place in the 21st century!
The World's Fastest Indian (2005)
A pleasant surprise
I'm not particularly interested in motorcycles, and I'm not at all attracted by speed - on the contrary, I think it's rather scary. But this film really came as a big surprise - and the reason is that, basically, it's not a film about motorcycles and speed, it's a universal story about a man who is doing everything to reach his goal and make his dream come true. "Inspiring" might be the most appropriate word to describe this beautiful story, where Anthony Hopkins really shines and gives so much depth to his interesting character. Roger Donaldson's direction is elegant and effective, but never calls attention to itself. The story, plotted out as a road-movie, is filled with charming moments and fine dialog. The film is gracefully paced and never goes over the top. Minor distraction: shameless "American Beauty" rip-off in the film's score.
Legendary score by Jerry Goldsmith
Although Franklin J. Schaffner's last film was considered to be a big disappointment, I would like to point out that the original score composed by the late Jerry Goldsmith for this film is a masterpiece which showcases the brilliance of the greatest film composer of all time. The work propelled two original score album releases issued by Varèse Sarabande, plus a subsequent album entitled "Lionheart: The Epic Symphonic Score". Written for orchestra and subtle electronics, the score presents Jerry Goldsmith in his most thematic, epic and romantic style. Performed in concert, the heraldic "Robert's Theme" remains one of the composer's most memorable compositions.