The Santa Clause 4: The Title-Rentention Clause

Was 2006 a great year for movies? Well, it was no 1995. Where was 2006's Sudden Death? Its Virtuosity? Maybe I don't know because I spent a quarter of 2006 in England, a country where Judge Dredd is just starting to make the rounds. So I've missed some notables, such as Volver, The Last King of Scotland and Pan's Labyrinth. Since I only spent 3/4 of 2006 in the civilized world, I am only going to offer 3/4 of a top ten.

THE TOP 7.5 OF 2006:

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Eric Hoyt's Best Films of 2006, or Another Damn List

The Top 10 Films of 2006

1. Children of Men
2. L'Enfant
3. United 93
4. The Queen
5. Volver
6. Letters From Iwo Jima
7. Iraq in Fragments
8. Borat
9. Mutual Appreciation
10. The Departed

* Apocalypto
* Deliver Us From Evil
* Marie Antoinette
* Old Joy
* Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story

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Movies 2006: No Time! There's Never Enough Time!

Jessie: "No time! No time! There's never enough time!"
Zack: "C'mon Jessie! You have to sing!"
Jessie: "Sing? Sing? I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...scared!"

Time's been a bitch this year, and based on seeing others' lists/commentary/etc., I think I missed a lot. In lieu of using some sort of back-in-time powers, here's a few I liked this year.

Best Movie I Never Want to See Again
United 93

Best Movie That Fucks the Cynicism Away
Dave Chappelle's Block Party

Best "Thinking Sucks" Movie
Miami Vice

Best French Movie That Looks Like it Came Out in the 1960s (No, not you - have a seat Mr. Army of Shadows)
13 (Tzameti)

Best Movie That Will Be Remembered As Scorsese's Scent of a Woman
The Departed

Best Clint Eastwood Movie Since Unforgiven
Letters from Iwo Jima

Best Laugh-Out-Loud-And-I-Don't-Mean-Just-a-Smile-With-An-Appreciation-For-Wit Movie

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Cinema Twilight: The Best of 2006

I title this column "Cinema Twilight" because it is my reluctant acknowledgment that movies seem very well to be in the twilight of their relevance. As Cosmodrome's panel extrapolates on the cinematic year that was, starting with a declaration of our Top Ten lists, I suspect what might drive some of our arguments will be what role films should play in an age when they can no longer lay a claim on the title of most cutting edge art form.

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The 15 Best Films of 2006

2006 was a great year for film, as has been every year since 1878. In my opinion, if the year sees just one great film released, that makes it a great year for film.

Drum roll, please...

The 15 Best Films of 2006

15. Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (Albert Brooks, U.S.A.)

14. Dreamgirls (Bill Condon, U.S.A.)

13. Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, U.S.A.)

12. Volver (Pedro Almodovar, Spain)

11. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (Michael Winterbottom, United Kingdom)

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The Death of Airplanes, Babies, Leftism, French Aristocrats, Ancient Mayans and, of course, Mr. Lazarescu

A year in cinema is only as good as the movies one gets to see. And this year I saw more movies than I have since 1996 (when I think I might have seen every movie that was released, including Sgt. Bilko, The Pallbearer, Celtic Pride and I'm Not Rappaport).

But here are the ones that made the top of my list ten years later, most of which are about death in one way or another...

1. United 93
2. The Proposition
3. Old Joy
4. L'Enfant
5. Battle in Heaven

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The Player

Up until yesterday, I'm pretty sure that Robert Altman was the most important living American film director.

If you go over to Europe, it gets cloudy, what with all of those obscenely old, partially to wholly blind auteurs who are somehow still making movies (Antonioni, Godard, Bergman, Resnais).

But here in the States, we breed our own form of filmmaker with his/her own form of contributions. Altman was that rare distinctly American filmmaker who introduced a style. Sure, he learned the rules of the game from The Rules of the Game, but there were very few other films (from Renoir or otherwise) that preceded Altman's virtuosic use of ensemble. And though it can be said that His Girl Friday or this or that Welles film feature actors talking over one another, it was not until Altman that sound was so meaningfully manipulated. Now, not only did actors talk over one another, but conversations would flow into and out of each other on the soundtrack, usually very slowly and subtly, from the foreground and background of the image, creating the aural equivalent of what Bazin had discussed with relation to deep focus photography. Altman became the preeminent Aural Bazinian Realist.

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Lars' Dogmas

Dogma 95 is nothing if not enigmatic. Among its contradictory elements are Dogma 95’s simultaneous rejection and embodiment of auteurism and its inconsistent and confusing attitude towards democracy and the public.

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The Simpsons Movie? How About The Simpsons Cinema!

"For the average consumers such as ourselves, television is virtually an anonymous medium."

Rosalind Coward

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Harvey Scissorhands

If there has been one ego to overshadow those of recent American film directors it is that of Harvey Weinstein.

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