• The Best Films of the Year:
  • 1. Children of Men
    2. The Last King of Scotland
    3. Half Nelson
    4. United 93
    5. Letters from Iwo Jima
    6. Little Miss Sunshine
    7. Catch a Fire
    8. The Queen
    9. Akeelah and the Bee
    10. Somersault

    Another good year of movies. While Hollywood also continued to crank out obnoxious sequels and remakes, talented filmmakers were just as hard as work delivering quality performances and captivating stories.

    “Children of Men” delivered perhaps the most intelligent film of the year. It didn’t dumb down to the common denominator and managed to make all of its action feel natural, contrary to 99% of films which lead you to the result, rather than letting someone contemplate about the film while at the same time being surprised and excited about the journey.

    “The Last King of Scotland” was an inspired collaboration. Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy provided the best one-two performances of the year and fed off of each other to deliver the most intense dynamic on-screen duo this year.

    If Whitaker and McAvoy were the best on-screen duo, coming up a close second were Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps in “Half Nelson”. This powerful drama about trying to do good while being consumed by guilt, addiction and inner turmoil is a true testament to the power of film.

    “United 93″ got the short end of the stick being released so early in the year. It has all the right elements to take Best Picture and Director at the Academy Awards but it’s just too far out of the memory of Oscar voters. Director Paul Greengrass created the most realistic film of the year, plunging audiences back into 9/11. All of the emotions I felt that day were reawakened in this film. Tough to stomach but something no one should ever forget.

    “Letters From Iwo Jima” is Clint Eastwood making up for the disappointing “Flags of Our Fathers“. It’s not often that a society takes a real look at the other side of a war and Eastwood managed to do so without taking sides. An impressive film, it’s not truly a war film, perhaps it could be better described as the psychology of the people thrust into war which makes it no less compelling.

    “Little Miss Sunshine” is the perverbial little engine that could. From smart writing to well-constructed performances, this tale of a dysfunctional family should resonate with just about anyone. While I’ve met people who don’t quite get the humor as much as I do, I’ve also discovered those people like Wes Anderson films so I don’t care what they think.

    “Catch A Fire” was completely lost in the shuffle this year. A powerful story about Apartheid in South Africa, any fan of socially conscious film will appreciate this work. The acting, directing and writing is top notch, highlighted by a wonderfully nuanced supporting performance by Tim Robbins.

    “The Queen” takes a “fictional” look at the events inside the Royal Family following the death of Princess Diana. All of the acting is first rate and even if some of the details aren’t true, the film is powerful and helped this dumb Yank understand a bit more how a monarchy can still exist in the 21st century.

    “Akeelah & The Bee” is a heartwarming family film that hit all of the marks perfectly. Excellent supporting performances by Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett bolster a surprisingly good performance by child actor Keke Palmer. It probably helps that I find the National Spelling Bee fascinating since I think half the words they spell were only made up for the purpose of spelling bees.

    Rounding out the Top 10 is perhaps my favorite film of the year, “Somersault”. A captivating performance by Abbie Cornish, as she crashes and stumbles into adulthood, highlights this ethereal film. A fantastic atmosphere and tone was created by the soundtrack, cinematography and director. For those who know me, this is one of those films that just screams out my name. Happy people need not apply.

  • The Worst Films of the Year:
  • 1. Date Movie
    2. Marie Antoinette
    3. The Break-Up
    4. C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America
    5. Scoop

    I wish America would start to learn, especially in the wake of “Date Movie”, that when anything comes from at least 1 of the 6 writers of “Scary Movie”, it’s going to be crap.

    “Marie Antoinette” was the first film production allowed to shoot at Versailles. The French haven’t done something that stupid since … okay, bad analogy. But still, this film should have just been put under the guilotine.

    “The Break-Up” found an audience that liked it but I don’t know why. I literally wanted to fall into a coma and wake up at the end to go home. It was uncomfortable, unfunny and unlikeable.

    “C.S.A.” was a good idea, doing a what-if stratgey regarding the history of race relations in America but its execution was horrendous.

    “Scoop” just returned Woody Allen to the depths of my hated directors’ list after he somehow managed to make me sort of like one of his films last year in “Match Point“.

    Just do yourself a favor and punch the person who tries to make you watch any of these.

  • The Most Horrible Films That Are Fun To Watch:
  • 1. Ultraviolet
    2. The Marine
    3. Bloodrayne
    4. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
    5. Final Destination 3

    “Ultraviolet” shouldn’t even be considered a film. Rather, it’s like a very stupid dream filtered through an even dumber person’s brain and splattered across a movie screen. It’s so horrible one can’t help but laugh at all of the elements that were overdone, mis-handled or just plain comical. (To help enjoy it, see its Rules for Fools.)

    “The Marine” marks the beginning and end for the acting career of WWE wrester turned wannabe actor, John Cena. Try drinking every time something stupid happens … oh wait, I shouldn’t endorse suicide, huh?

    “Bloodrayne” shows once again how Uwe Boll might possibly be the worst big-budget director ever. Hell, even Michael Bay makes his films look good while being dumb. The only thing louder than my laughter during a Boll film might be the screams of agents as their clients beat them mercilessly for telling them to be in the film.

    “3 Fast 3 Furious” started okay but the last half delves back into cheesy and hilarious crap. I’m not sure how the female lead grew up in Japan and retained her natural Australian accent but I’m glad she did.

    “Final Destination 3″ purportedly ends the series but somehow I won’t be surprised if number four is around the corner. The deaths aren’t as good as those in the second film but the overacting and cheap scares will keep you marvelling at the apparent lack of justification one must make in Hollywood to green light a film.

  • The Most Underrated/Overlooked Films of the Year:
  • Miami Vice
    Snakes on a Plane
    Stranger Than Fiction
    Before the Fall
    10 Items or Less

    “Miami Vice” didn’t seem to find an audience but it’s much, much better than I thought it was going to be. Sure, it’s a really loose adaptation of the glorious 80′s TV show but I’m willing to let it go. Take this film as a stand alone look at undercover cops and the genious of Michael Mann shines through.

    “Snakes on a Plane” failed to meet the box office expectations but it hit all the marks of a B-movie. Snakes bite people everywhere they could and should, cheesy dialogue, campy deaths … if you like B-movies, this is a good one. Plus, what’s not to like about Samuel L. Jackson getting a few more monologues?

    “Stranger Than Fiction” seems to have lost public consciousness but this is a quality film. Good acting all around and a fun premise do add up in this case.

    “Before The Fall” is a wonderful look at the schools the Nazi’s used to train officers. If you like films within that field, this is a can’t miss.

    “10 Items or Less” gives us a sweet and poignant look at two people finding direction in their lives through their brief friendship. It’s sort of like “Lost in Translation” but a lot more straight-forward. And it’s got Morgan Freeman, what more do you need?

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