Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Year End Movie Review

There have been a lot of year end lists, reviews and magazine specials recently, so I figured it was time for mine. To my records, I have seen 33 movies that were released this year. Probably not as many as my brother, who constantly reminds us that he "lives across the street from a movie theater." Thanks for the reminder. Now go enjoy that 2:30 showing of Happy Feet. So without further adieu, my top ten.


10. Thank You For Smoking

Satire is always hard to pull off, but Aaron Eckhart and the rest of the cast pull it off. Highlights include Rob Lowe and Adam Brody as a kimono-wearing movie exec and his high energy assitant.

9. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

I wasn't a huge D fan before I saw this movie, but it really has turned me on to their stuff. Yes it's cheaply done. Yes it has fart jokes. And yes it all works. Cameos from Amy Poehler, Dave Grohl, and Tim Robbins compliment the sheer joy that Kyle Gass and Jack Black have riffing (literally) off each other. And I'm still working on my push-up.

8. Stranger Than Fiction

Will Ferrell's transition to the Jim Carrey side of film works well his first time out. Flanked by Emma Thompson and a hilarious Dustin Hoffman conjuring the quirkyness that he first fleshed out in Wag the Dog and I Heart Huckabees, Ferrell's Harold Crick is an everyman that you end up rooting for despite his own inner torment.

7. Borat

My favorite movie of the year with an extended full nude man-on-man wrestling scene. At times cover your eyes-gape your mouth offensive, at others wipe your eyes-guffaw inducing hilarious, Sacha Baron Cohen's social statement says more about the racism and ignorance of Americans than any Spike Lee documentary could. But, people ask me, aren't you offended as a jew?? People, Cohen (duh!) is jewish. The real offensive people are the ones who can't understand his message.

6. Dreamgirls

Just give Jennifer Hudson the Oscar right now as far as I'm concerned. She gleams as Effie, the ousted backup singer diva of the titular 'Dreams'. The flaws in the film are the flaws of the stage show. Underwritten and underdeveloped, it may have been more satisfying with a four hour running time as a two part-TV movie or miniseries. Yet the production values are flawless and the performances electric. And I am telling you I'm going to see it again.

5. The Devil Wears Prada

We've seen it before. A green young kid gets met with obstacles in his/her way to becoming a professional. But the obstacle this time was a diabolical ice queen played with such pinpoint devilish glee by the master, Meryl Streep. Between guessing what meal to bring her, to the daily tongue-lashing she receives from her boss Streep and co-worker Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway held her own and then some. Streep proves once again that she is THE top actress in America.

4. The Departed

Matt Damon. Leonardo DiCaprio. Jack Nicholson. Mark Wahlberg. Alec Baldwin. Martin Sheen. You knew it was going to be good. But it exceeded even the highest expectations anyone must've had. It was truly entertaining, engrossing, and had it just felt like you were watching a slick, intelligent crime story. Scorese gets back to his roots, Damon and DiCaprio do some of the best work of their already stellar young careers, and Alec Baldwin steals every scene that he's in. I only wished it would have as smart an ending as the rest of the film.

3. The Descent

First, I am a horror fan. I love a good, scary movie. And the best horror movies are the ones that are about real people, that don't pander to stupid teenagers, and that throw you curves here and there. A film about six people who get stuck in a cave might have been terrifying enough, but then it turns on its head halfway through as Bat Boy attacks. And though it could have devolved into a standard monster movie flick, and became more and more about man vs. man, and how people would react in pressure situations. Plus, I never was, but I will NEVER go into a cave in my lifetime.

2. Casino Royale

Daniel Craig gives the grittiest Bond performance in history in the best Bond movie ever made. In what is perhaps the best action movie since Die Hard, Casino Royale makes Bond bleed, not from his leg or his arm, but from his heart. The tango Craig engages with co-star Eva Green, is witty, warm, and real. We finally see Bond without his armor, and that makes him much more human to us. And now, we know why he is who he is. Truly a film, like Batman Begins, where I can't wait for the next one.

1. Little Miss Sunshine

Heartwarming and hilarious, this is the little picture that could. A dysfunctional family trip with sad and funny bends at every road. Led by the loserish-Tony Robbins patriarch Greg Kinnear and a surprisingly tender Steve Carell as a suicidal gay scholar, this should be required viewing for any who has thought that their family just doesn't get them. The script stays true to life while throwing the family into a few outlandish scenarios. And when they finally arrive at the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest, it begins to really get scary. Funkilicious!!

18 Comments:

Anonymous Snell said...

May I just take a moment to decry the insanity that has Hollywood insisting that Jennifer Hudson is a "supporting" actress in Dreamgirls? I'm sorry, but by any definition I can think of, she's a lead, the lead, and to suggest otherwise is ludicrous. She deserves the right to compete against Helen Mirren for Best Actress, and she's not going to get it, and that's a crime.

27/12/06

 
Blogger Unky Rob said...

agreed. I think its funny that in the story putting what 'sells' front and center is considered wrong, yet the movie is doing the same thing in publicizing beyonce and not j-hud as the star.

27/12/06

 
Anonymous Snell said...

And while I wouldn't quibble with your list (well, I would, but now's neither the time nor place), may I suggest a couple of other, flicks worthy of consideration while we wait for a number of the biggies to wander our way?
V for Vendetta
United 93
The Illusionist
Flag of Our Fathers
The Prestige
The Queen

27/12/06

 
Blogger Unky Rob said...

Have seen none of those except for V. Leaving it off the list was not a mistake.

27/12/06

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

V For Vendetta and The Prestige were solid flicks, but lacked that extra oomph to vault them into the best of the year.

United 93 and Flags of Our Fathers were very powerful films, with the latter deserving a second look, particularly Adam Beach's performance.

I look forward to Letters from Iwo Jima.

-adam

28/12/06

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is muthafuckin snakes on a muthafuckin plane?!

28/12/06

 
Anonymous Snell said...

That's gonna me our multiple this year, and we don't want to tip our hand...

28/12/06

 
Blogger Unky Rob said...

Finally, the perfect vehicle for Dwight.

28/12/06

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heyyo, well, I've seen 4/10 of the movies on your list...

I loved Dreamgirls, 2nd fave movie I've seen this year (although I haven't seen all that many) behind The Purusit of Happyness.

Just watched Little Miss Sunshine tonight, and I have to say I was underwhelmed... Alan Arkin was great, as was Olive's dance at the end... but otherwise I didn't LOVE it, but I liked it.

Devil Wears Prada = Eh

Borat = Very funny, slightly overrated in my opinion, but nonetheless very enjoyable!

And... Snakes on a Plane should be on that list... DVD TUESDAY, GET EXCITED

Your cousin,
Alex

29/12/06

 
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18/4/07

 
Blogger alex said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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22/4/07

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last comment was supposed to end with a:
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22/4/07

 

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