Top Ten Films of 2006
Top Ten Films of 2006

Although we originally composed individual Top 10 lists for 2006, this updated version combines those choices into a single collection, representative of our oftentimes likeminded opinions on movies. Since 2006 was the very first year that we started reviewing films, many of our selections here reflect a very different outlook on moviemaking than what we currently possess nearly a decade later (shifting from, we’d like to believe, overenthusiastic fans to analytical scholars). It’s amazing how rapidly viewpoints change when you start watching over 300 films per year. It should also be noted that we didn’t both see “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Little Miss Sunshine” in time, prior to compiling this year-end list, otherwise they would have certainly made it on here.

 

10. The Good Shepherd

Apparently, no one liked this film as much as we did, despite a stellar cast and the type of shifty gangsterism that would make both John le Carre and Francis Ford Coppola proud. A sharply-directed sophomore attempt by Robert De Niro (himself no stranger to crime drama epics), this ultimate CIA mind-boggler urges viewers to either love the warped moral complexities at hand, or wonder what the hell happened during the last three hours.

9. Scoop

Woody Allen still knows how to make an intriguing, humorous, and playful comedy, even though he must be nearing 100 years old. A fun and lighthearted mystery with a touch of magic, “Scoop” employs two of the most essential elements of filmmaking: Scarlett Johansson and a skintight bathing suit.

8. Mission: Impossible 3

This is by far the best “Mission: Impossible” movie so far, boosted by a refreshing jolt of realism and intensity and supporting characters that impressively surpass Tom Cruise’s limited capabilities. Villains don’t get much better than Philip Seymour Hoffman and previous outings don’t get much worse than “Mission: Impossible II.”

7. Borat

Slathered with stroke-inducing laughs and gags that will render audiences utterly breathless, Sacha Baron Cohen introduces us to one of the most intelligent and satirical films ever to sport dual, full-frontal male nudity. And with its unforeseen Golden Globe nomination, it’s not just immature adolescents who seem to gravitate toward this raunchy mockery of race, religion, and Pamela Andersonism.

6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Most critics despised this big-budget, high octane sequel, partly for its role as a middle chapter and partly because of its visuals-over-substance approach. But, as it’s so jam-packed with first-rate action, perfectly complementary new characters, and some of the most remarkable computer-animated imagery ever devised, it’s no wonder that this ridiculously enjoyable film dragged in over $400 million dollars at the box office. What is somewhat questionable is whether or not anything really deserves $400 million dollars.

5. Apocalypto

Mel Gibson returns to his action roots with a wildly unique take on the chase movie formula, proving incontrovertibly that he still has a knack for suspenseful storytelling. Showcasing his predilection for over-the-top violence, abrasive drama, and extreme adversity (occasionally to the point of hilarity), “Apocalypto” is one of the most shocking yet rewarding films of the year.

4. V for Vendetta

Flinging sharp knives and clever alliterations as it masks potent politics with superhero awesomeness, Hugo Weaving’s visageless V is the most vitalizing vigilante in quite some time to so valiantly liven the screen. Vastly entertaining, with diverting visuals and virtuoso performances amidst a visceral vision of a city vanquished by governmental villainy, “V for Vendetta” is one of those very rare, victorious comic-book-to-movie adaptations.

3. Casino Royale

Not since the riveting tank chase through the streets of St. Petersburg in “Goldeneye” has a Bond film boasted sequences so satisfactory and thrilling. Daniel Craig rejuvenates the series with a suave, sophisticated, and debonair antihero, while veteran director Martin Campbell proves that he’s still the man for the job of re-rebooting the franchise. Plus, Aston Martins are sleek, fighting in collapsing buildings is exciting, and crying blood is stunning – and Eva Green is sleek, exciting, and stunning, all at once.

2. Children of Men

Alfonso Cuaron’s not-so-futuristic examination of societal calamity and conflict borders on perfection in just about every category. Emotional performances, spectacular action sequences, and scene-stealer Michael Caine combine to form one of the most original and entertaining films of the year. And it’s a sci-fi thriller to boot. Plus, its intense visuals and camerawork make you feel like you’re in a video game – which is ironic since video games nowadays try to make you feel like you’re in a movie.

1. The Departed

By far one of the coolest and most complex of all Boston gangland epics, this likely Oscar contender is one of Scorsese’s most accessible and humorous pictures. A sensational cast, continual twists and turns, and a superb finale should win over even those who don’t typically find Scorsese’s cynicism toward corrupt politics and the perpetual war between cops and robbers all that amusing. Trust us – it’s an absolute masterpiece!