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Ten Best 2006

 


 

 

 

 

 

Posted January 21, 2006

 

Schindler's List: My 2005 Top Ten

By

Mike Schindler

I finally saw "Match Point," so now I feel confident making my top ten list. So here it is, whether you're interested or not. Two odd points: All but #10 are action films of a sort. Is this the direction which film is heading or is it merely a reflection of my tastes changing as I get older and "wiser"? Hmm... Also, all ten movies were released in the six-month span right in the middle of the year from April to October. Crazy.
 
10. "Good Night, And Good Luck." by George Clooney

Clooney's directed two movies and a TV series, and all three have been vastly different yet equally brilliant. Here he shows that he can tell a story in the classical fashion with a minimum of gimmicks. Robert Elswit's photography is the best of his career, and he's had quite a career.  Great acting, too.
 
9. "Domino" by Tony Scott

Scott perfects the ideas he had in "Man On Fire." The result is a groundbreaking barrage of non-narrative imagery which works on a purely visceral level. The best edited film in years. In terms of form, this is where I've always hoped the medium would eventually get to.
 
8. "Serenity" by Joss Whedon

Whedon makes his brilliant TV show "Firefly" even better by giving it an ending. Fifteen episodes with somewhat random plot threads are all tied together in this epic conclusion to the series.  The movie works on its own, too, as a great space western.
 
7. "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" by Doug Liman

A romantic comedy with action as a metaphor for marriage. It doesn't really get better than that. The funniest movie of the year also has some of the best action set pieces. That's awesome! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie also give two of the best performances of the year.
 
6. "War Of The Worlds" by Steven Spielberg

Spielberg shoots this movie like "Saving Private Ryan" to create an amazing portrayal of that post-9/11 fear which exists beneath the surface of our society. By telling the story through the eyes of someone who is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, Spielberg brings the scale of the movie down to something that the audience can relate to emotionally. Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning are great, as is the photography.
 
5. "Batman Begins" by Christopher Nolan

This is Batman. It is. Those other things (aside from the cartoon) were not. This is. That's how he acts, that's how he looks, those are the gadgets he uses, everything. And he doesn't kill people. They messed up Ra's Al Ghul (they even pronounced his name wrong), but it was in service of the story, so I suppose that can be forgiven. And they used Ra's Al Ghul, so they should get props for that too. I just keep thinking about what would have happened if this movie came out when I was 15. I think something would have popped in my brain. Yeah...
 
4. "That Yellow Bastard" by Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez

Another revolutionary movie, both from a technical aspect and as a form of adaptation from one medium to another. The "Sin City" movies have revolutionized the way movies can be made and should be made. Technology has gotten to a point where anything is possible. It's just a question
of how imaginative you can be. Miller and Rodriguez are up to the challenge. "That Yellow Bastard" has the best photography of the year, followed closely by the other two.
 
3. "The Hard Goodbye" by Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez

Everything that I said about "That Yellow Bastard" applies to "The Hard Goodbye," but this one is slightly better due to fewer logic gaps and the fact that, this being the original "Sin City" story, it stands better on its own as an overall depiction of this world.
 
2. "The Big Fat Kill" by Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez

This is the best of the trilogy for two reasons. First, it's the most cinematic due to the nature of the book. But more importantly, this is the comedy. The humor in this chapter lends a certain amount of giddiness to the movie-watching experience which already comes from seeing something that has never been seen on the screen before. The humor just adds to the buzz you get from the visuals. It's all very euphoric.
 
1. "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge Of The Sith" by George Lucas

I've been waiting for this movie since I was two years old, and it did not disappoint. This movie had to work in three different ways, and it does. On its own, it is probably the finest portrayal of a completely
original universe created from scratch ever put on screen. As a sequel, it is the inevitable yet tragic conclusion to a classic rise and fall story. As a prequel, it changes your perceptions of three of the best films ever made, and makes them even better. When all six movies are viewed as whole, they become greater than any one on its own. The saga is complete!  What more could you want?


Mike Schindler is a projectionist who took too many critical studies classes in film school. He lives in Chicago.

2006 Mike Schindler.  All rights reserved

IMAGES: Warner Independent Pictures; 20th Century Fox; Universal Pictures; Miramax and Lucasfilm, Ltd.

 

 

 

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