Film1406

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OK then, the 14 best films of the year
As ever with these lists, this isn’t definitive, as I haven’t seen all the films that have been released this year. Most of the important ones, but a few slipped through the net, for various reasons, that I think I would have liked (The New World, The Child, The Death Of Mr Lazarescu, Little Miss Sunshine, Requiem, Paradise Now, Three Burials Etc., The Host, all of which I’ll tidy up in the new year on DVD). Anyway, here goes:

1 Good Night, And Good Luck. For having a fully punctuated title, which I like. Liberal porn at its most handsome. Let’s watch the good guys bash McCarthy again, live on telly! I love George Clooney. No, I love him. I was, of course, tempted to put Hidden at number one like all the Sight & Sound critics, but I expect French films directed by German auteurs to be good, and I don’t expect American ones to be good, so when one is this intelligent and frugal and powerful, it deserves extra praise. Best DVD commentary of the year, too. I love George Clooney.

2 An Inconvenient Truth Dismissed as uncinematic – and indeed it is a fat bloke in a blazer talking about the weather – Al Gore’s PowerPoint presentation was still one of the most gripping experiences I had at the cinema this year.

3 United 93 One of ours, Paul Greengrass, doing well over there. I am obsessed with September 11, and this brave, low-key telling of the tale brought it all back, but in a way that watching the news, or allowing Oliver Stone to idiot-filter it first, never could.

4 Hidden I’m still thinking about it. That’s the mark of a film. It stays with you. I watched The Sentinel, a thriller starring Michael Douglas, two days ago, and I wasn’t even thinking about it during the film.

5 The Wind That Shakes The Barley Ken Loach at his indignant best. The moment the right wing press started laying into it – without having actually seen it – for being anti-British and pro-IRA, I was there. Not as much of a polemic as parts of Land And Freedom, its obvious cousin, Loach and co-writer Paul Laverty found a way of telling a piece of history through a human story.

6 Volver One of the strangest pieces of criticism I read all year was Peter Mathews’ burial not just of this film but of Almodovar’s entire canon in S&S. The magazine’s critical standing still feels damaged. This was a glorious piece of work. Certainly full of Almodovar’s ticks, but what ticks.

7 Red Road Andrea Arnold: one to watch. This, her debut, was like Lynne Ramsay meets Paul Verhoeven. Stunning. Out on DVD in February, having enjoyed anything but a wide theatrical release in ’06.

8 The Squid And The Whale Now that’s what I call indie.

9 Brokeback Mountain Just to prove I have nothing against big, fat, Oscar-winning American studio pictures. Landscape meets subtle performance and changes the way we look at something we thought we knew all about.

10 Children Of Men Alfonso Cuaron, a Mexican, captures everything that’s wrong with Britain. (I know it’s based on a British novel, but still.) Clive Owen may never regret missing out on Bond.

11 The Queen Who’d have thought it? A film about the Queen!

12 Capote More than just a world-beating performance from a former character actor, but not much more.

13 Borat Funniest film of the year, by a long chalk. Mind you, looking back at the list, there’s little competition

14 Breaking And Entering I find myself defending this pretentious and contrived film now, wherever I go. My pet theory: if it had been in French, critics would have fallen over themselves to praise it.

Discuss, obviously.

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54 thoughts on “Film1406

  1. Getting deja vu – last time it was music I haven’t heard and now films I’ve not seen. Quite a few of them were on my list to see this year, but either my local cinema was not showing them or sheer laziness prevailed.It has got to the point where these days I’d much rather watch them on DVD or via Sky Movies (preferably on one of their HD channels). The picture and sound is better and there’s no static-like noise caused by the popcorn munchers.Good to see you’re employing means of blocking spammers, though I sneak on here at work with images turned off and without sound to be less conspicuous and now have to switch images back on in order to post here.

  2. Getting deja vu – last time it was music I haven’t heard and now films I’ve not seen. Quite a few of them were on my list to see this year, but either my local cinema was not showing them or sheer laziness prevailed.It has got to the point where these days I’d much rather watch them on DVD or via Sky Movies (preferably on one of their HD channels). The picture and sound is better and there’s no static-like noise caused by the popcorn munchers.Good to see you’re employing means of blocking spammers, though I sneak on here at work with images turned off and without sound to be less conspicuous and now have to switch images back on in order to post here.

  3. What a list! Very personal and broadly speaking I agree with it (great minds think alike, and fools what?). Apart from Borat. Nuff said. Yeah, what is it with Breaking and Entering? I think it’s a play disguised as a film. And most people’s problem with it seems to start and end with their preconceptions of Jude Law…

  4. What a list! Very personal and broadly speaking I agree with it (great minds think alike, and fools what?). Apart from Borat. Nuff said. Yeah, what is it with Breaking and Entering? I think it’s a play disguised as a film. And most people’s problem with it seems to start and end with their preconceptions of Jude Law…

  5. I’ve not seen all of them, but I’ll agree with The Queen, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, United 93 and Goodnight, and Good Luck, and I thought The Squid And The Whale was one of the greatest films ever, with a top notch soundtrack too. But no Casino Royale? I thought it was marvellous. I also enjoyed Little Children, though it was a little long, and The Prestige. Borat I don’t find in the least bit funny and I stand by my feeling that Clive Owen is the world’s biggest ever plank of wood.

  6. I’ve not seen all of them, but I’ll agree with The Queen, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, United 93 and Goodnight, and Good Luck, and I thought The Squid And The Whale was one of the greatest films ever, with a top notch soundtrack too. But no Casino Royale? I thought it was marvellous. I also enjoyed Little Children, though it was a little long, and The Prestige. Borat I don’t find in the least bit funny and I stand by my feeling that Clive Owen is the world’s biggest ever plank of wood.

  7. I am going to take your list, Andrew Collins, and use it to form the basis of what I get out at the video shop for a few months to come. I always seem to end up with crappy rom-coms.One decent film I have really enjoyed this year was Transamerica. Felicity Huffman was just brilliant.

  8. I am going to take your list, Andrew Collins, and use it to form the basis of what I get out at the video shop for a few months to come. I always seem to end up with crappy rom-coms.One decent film I have really enjoyed this year was Transamerica. Felicity Huffman was just brilliant.

  9. I really enjoyed Borat… surely people found the rodeo scene funny?And whether you were laughing or crying, the wrestling scene was surely the most visually arresting movie moment of 2006?

  10. I really enjoyed Borat… surely people found the rodeo scene funny?And whether you were laughing or crying, the wrestling scene was surely the most visually arresting movie moment of 2006?

  11. I am obsessed with September 11 Does this extend to your choice in books? “The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda’s Road to 9/11” was recommended to me a few months back but havent taken the plunge. Be interested in any recommendations you’d care to share.Like others, I’ll certainly be using your list as guide for long dark winter nights in.

  12. I am obsessed with September 11 Does this extend to your choice in books? “The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda’s Road to 9/11” was recommended to me a few months back but havent taken the plunge. Be interested in any recommendations you’d care to share.Like others, I’ll certainly be using your list as guide for long dark winter nights in.

  13. The Wind That Shakes The Barley was one of my films of the year, I thought it was fantastic. An Inconveniant Truth was absolutely horrific as well, but in a good way. I remember you (at least I think it was you) saying that it should be shown to every child in every school and I agree with you there. However through personal experience I know that most of the kids at my school wouldn’t even bother watching it and would use it as an excuse to chat to their mates. And I go to a pretty decent school! It really is disgusting.Did you see Down In The Valley? I thought that was a good film.And obviously Brokeback Mountain was incredible.

  14. The Wind That Shakes The Barley was one of my films of the year, I thought it was fantastic. An Inconveniant Truth was absolutely horrific as well, but in a good way. I remember you (at least I think it was you) saying that it should be shown to every child in every school and I agree with you there. However through personal experience I know that most of the kids at my school wouldn’t even bother watching it and would use it as an excuse to chat to their mates. And I go to a pretty decent school! It really is disgusting.Did you see Down In The Valley? I thought that was a good film.And obviously Brokeback Mountain was incredible.

  15. I haven’t seen all of these either (your time management skills must be something else) but of those in the list I’ve seen, I find little to disagree with. I would also give a vote to ‘Pierrepoint’; by no means a flawless film, but Timothy Spall’s typically unshowy performance was wonderful. If that had been the last face I’D seen before the hood went over my head….

  16. I haven’t seen all of these either (your time management skills must be something else) but of those in the list I’ve seen, I find little to disagree with. I would also give a vote to ‘Pierrepoint’; by no means a flawless film, but Timothy Spall’s typically unshowy performance was wonderful. If that had been the last face I’D seen before the hood went over my head….

  17. Well, I’ve seen 8 of your 14 and am with you on most of them. I felt that – literally – the joke wore thin with Borat and can’t quite defend Breaking And Entering to the same extent as you (though I like your French theory). Clearly, Cache was film of the year (and as I saw it in 05, it was the film of that year too) though honourable mentions must go to fellow French flick 36 (also starring Daniel Auteuil), The Departed and Pan’s Labyrinth. The latter was soooo good that either of its plots would have made for a great movie in its own right.We might look back on 2006 as the year of the cute film, as admirably proven by Little Miss Sunshine, Starter For 10 and Stranger Than Fiction. That said, if you can find Finnish film Frozen Land, it’s well worth checking out despite it being the feelbad movie of the decade. And finally, we can’t let Casino Royale out of our sights. In 007 terms, it was magnificent (best Bond movie since OHMSS?) and in Daniel Craig we can consign the Brosnan era to the past (well, M did call him a dinosaur after all). What’s more, “does it look like I give a damn?” is a no brainer for line of the year.

  18. Well, I’ve seen 8 of your 14 and am with you on most of them. I felt that – literally – the joke wore thin with Borat and can’t quite defend Breaking And Entering to the same extent as you (though I like your French theory). Clearly, Cache was film of the year (and as I saw it in 05, it was the film of that year too) though honourable mentions must go to fellow French flick 36 (also starring Daniel Auteuil), The Departed and Pan’s Labyrinth. The latter was soooo good that either of its plots would have made for a great movie in its own right.We might look back on 2006 as the year of the cute film, as admirably proven by Little Miss Sunshine, Starter For 10 and Stranger Than Fiction. That said, if you can find Finnish film Frozen Land, it’s well worth checking out despite it being the feelbad movie of the decade. And finally, we can’t let Casino Royale out of our sights. In 007 terms, it was magnificent (best Bond movie since OHMSS?) and in Daniel Craig we can consign the Brosnan era to the past (well, M did call him a dinosaur after all). What’s more, “does it look like I give a damn?” is a no brainer for line of the year.

  19. I also liked Transamerica and Pierrepoint. Very disappointed by The Departed though, and not just by Ray Winstone’s accent.David, I have considered ordering The Looming Tower, as it’s written, I think, by someone from the New Yorker. My favourite September 11 book is an odd one: Windows On The World by Frederic Beigbeder – half-novel, half philosophical tract. It imagines the story of the people trapped in the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center in gripping, harrowing disaster-movie style, while our French narrator ponders what it all means by travelling to Ground Zero to commune with the dead. Highly recommended. Sorry to name-drop, but Brett from Suede recommended it to me.

  20. I also liked Transamerica and Pierrepoint. Very disappointed by The Departed though, and not just by Ray Winstone’s accent.David, I have considered ordering The Looming Tower, as it’s written, I think, by someone from the New Yorker. My favourite September 11 book is an odd one: Windows On The World by Frederic Beigbeder – half-novel, half philosophical tract. It imagines the story of the people trapped in the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center in gripping, harrowing disaster-movie style, while our French narrator ponders what it all means by travelling to Ground Zero to commune with the dead. Highly recommended. Sorry to name-drop, but Brett from Suede recommended it to me.

  21. I loved Volver and would be hard pushed to level one piece of criticism at it. I wonder what Peter Mathews’ problem was. Good Night, and Good Luck, Capote and Red Road were also terrific films. It was good to see a really good Scottish film. No offence to some other Scottish films of course! Volver was however my personal favourite. I was going to see The Queen but never quite got around to it, however having seen it on your list I will make a point of getting it. I haven’t seen Borat. Having seen reviews I think I will either really love it or hate it. Not having Sky+ I am having trouble at the moment finding space to record all the programmes and films I want as I never seem to be free to watch them. Having read several of the entries here I think I may have to think about getting Sky+!

  22. I loved Volver and would be hard pushed to level one piece of criticism at it. I wonder what Peter Mathews’ problem was. Good Night, and Good Luck, Capote and Red Road were also terrific films. It was good to see a really good Scottish film. No offence to some other Scottish films of course! Volver was however my personal favourite. I was going to see The Queen but never quite got around to it, however having seen it on your list I will make a point of getting it. I haven’t seen Borat. Having seen reviews I think I will either really love it or hate it. Not having Sky+ I am having trouble at the moment finding space to record all the programmes and films I want as I never seem to be free to watch them. Having read several of the entries here I think I may have to think about getting Sky+!

  23. I have a small (big) list but I don’t want to commit until I’ve seen A few of the late December cinema and DVD lists. I’ve seen about half of Andrew’s list and need to see most of the other half. I also liked Slither, The Prestige and Bond. I too am still thinking about Hidden.

  24. I have a small (big) list but I don’t want to commit until I’ve seen A few of the late December cinema and DVD lists. I’ve seen about half of Andrew’s list and need to see most of the other half. I also liked Slither, The Prestige and Bond. I too am still thinking about Hidden.

  25. Brett from Suede versus Brett from the TearsDon’t care really, I can either say “Oh this one was recommended by Andrew Collins, you know, the writer and broadcaster” or, when I’ve tried that one once too often, “Oh this one was recommended by Brett from Suede. We have a mutual friend” ;-)Got me thinking – is there an Andrew Collins equivalent of the Kevin Bacon game. How many degrees of separation between AC and apparently random others. How many degrees of separation between Andrew Collins and Ronnie “Rocket” O’Sullivan?

  26. Brett from Suede versus Brett from the TearsDon’t care really, I can either say “Oh this one was recommended by Andrew Collins, you know, the writer and broadcaster” or, when I’ve tried that one once too often, “Oh this one was recommended by Brett from Suede. We have a mutual friend” ;-)Got me thinking – is there an Andrew Collins equivalent of the Kevin Bacon game. How many degrees of separation between AC and apparently random others. How many degrees of separation between Andrew Collins and Ronnie “Rocket” O’Sullivan?

  27. To be serious for a moment and return to the subject of film (which after all was the subject of your original thread) I was sad to read that Peter Boyle had died.Although he’s best known for his role in Raymond, he played Dillon in “The Friends of Eddie Coyle”, IMO one of the most underrated films (and indeed books) of the 1970s.

  28. To be serious for a moment and return to the subject of film (which after all was the subject of your original thread) I was sad to read that Peter Boyle had died.Although he’s best known for his role in Raymond, he played Dillon in “The Friends of Eddie Coyle”, IMO one of the most underrated films (and indeed books) of the 1970s.

  29. Martina Navratilova did some adverts for PETA (the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)PETA convinced the brand Ocean Spray to stop testing on animalsOcean Spray is the name of a song by the Manic Street PreachersI was once sick in the fireplace of the Manic Street Preachers’ London flat (not that you were to know that).

  30. Martina Navratilova did some adverts for PETA (the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)PETA convinced the brand Ocean Spray to stop testing on animalsOcean Spray is the name of a song by the Manic Street PreachersI was once sick in the fireplace of the Manic Street Preachers’ London flat (not that you were to know that).

  31. I loved Peter Boyle. He was so great as the monster in Young Frankenstein, but I also remember him from some great 70s movies like Steelyard Blues and Joe, and of course, Taxi Driver, in which he played the Wizard.I once saw Peter Boyle having lunch with his family at the Sunset Marquis in LA. It was a lovely sight. Must have been around 1999.

  32. I loved Peter Boyle. He was so great as the monster in Young Frankenstein, but I also remember him from some great 70s movies like Steelyard Blues and Joe, and of course, Taxi Driver, in which he played the Wizard.I once saw Peter Boyle having lunch with his family at the Sunset Marquis in LA. It was a lovely sight. Must have been around 1999.

  33. You have to define ‘knew’ really, for all we know Andrew’s wife’s mum might only have contributed to the comments section of Ronnie O’ Sullivan’s mum’s weblog – which isn’t really knowing someone. Not that I doubt your claim, Andrew.

  34. You have to define ‘knew’ really, for all we know Andrew’s wife’s mum might only have contributed to the comments section of Ronnie O’ Sullivan’s mum’s weblog – which isn’t really knowing someone. Not that I doubt your claim, Andrew.

  35. Perhaps Ocean Spray was the type of room freshener they needed after the fireplace incident?Hang on, “The Fireplace Incident” – any good as a name for the 6music band?OK, my final Collins-number challenge. Genuine links between yourself and Kim “I’m so ronery” Jong-il!(If such things take your fancy you might like to read about the Erdos-Bacon number http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdos-Bacon_number – who says mathematicians are no fun!)

  36. Perhaps Ocean Spray was the type of room freshener they needed after the fireplace incident?Hang on, “The Fireplace Incident” – any good as a name for the 6music band?OK, my final Collins-number challenge. Genuine links between yourself and Kim “I’m so ronery” Jong-il!(If such things take your fancy you might like to read about the Erdos-Bacon number http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdos-Bacon_number – who says mathematicians are no fun!)

  37. I had a slightly scary experience watching “The Wind That Shakes The Barley” the day after it came out in Camden Odeon. I realised I was about the only person in the audience without an Irish accent, and therefore the only person not baying for English blood. The audience were shouting and swearing and waving their fists at the screen. Quite an experience, and an amazing film, though I did like “Good Night and Good Luck”. I would probably put Transamerica somewhere on the list too, and also “The History Boys”, though I preferred the play.PxPS Tried coffee with soya at EAT – thanks for the tip, I paid normal price and it actually tasted good!

  38. I had a slightly scary experience watching “The Wind That Shakes The Barley” the day after it came out in Camden Odeon. I realised I was about the only person in the audience without an Irish accent, and therefore the only person not baying for English blood. The audience were shouting and swearing and waving their fists at the screen. Quite an experience, and an amazing film, though I did like “Good Night and Good Luck”. I would probably put Transamerica somewhere on the list too, and also “The History Boys”, though I preferred the play.PxPS Tried coffee with soya at EAT – thanks for the tip, I paid normal price and it actually tasted good!

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