Here we go!….
35. Final Destination
Another entry into the throwaway but enjoyable horror franchise about running away from death and fate. This one starts with a girl having a premonition of a rollercoaster disaster during a trip to the switchies and death chases after the people she saved from the crash. As always with these movies though we’re here for the imaginative deaths and this one has some absolute classics.
Best Bit- Tanning bed
34. Lucky Number Slevin
This somewhat forgotten star studded, humorous crime thriller has a bumbling every man caught in between a two crime lords fighting for control of the city. Definitely influenced by Pulp Fiction but not nearly as good, it’s still a really fun experience.
33.Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby
A team up between the consistently hilarious Will Ferrel l and the versatile and brilliant John C. Reilly is always going to be a blast and this sports comedy spoofing Nascar. It’s just nonsense but Adam McKaye let’s the two leads loose to ad-lib and do what they do best and the results are very funny.
Best Bit-Post race interview
Adam Green’s love letter to the slasher film is cartoonishly violent, wholly unoriginal but boy is it a lot of fun. Strictly for genre fans as anybody else won’t get anything from it. The little winks to the audience and the loving use of cameos from slasher legends shows how much care Green put into satisfying the slasher fans.
Best Bit-Jaw rip
31. The Black Dahlia
Brian De Palma takes on the mysterious and unsolved brutal murder of Elizabeth Short from 1947. The murder became a media sensation as the aspiring actress was found brutalised, mutilated and dismembered. There are many theories of who killed her and why but it remains unsolved which adds to the mystique and public interest. A star studded cast of Hilary Swank, Josh Hartnett, ScarJo and Aaron Eckhart didn’t stop the movie from being considered a let down by critics but I found this noir thriller enjoyable.
30. The Fountain
An incredibly polarizing fantasy film with utterly stunning visuals and a hell of a confusing plot. It’s hard to even say why I enjoyed this movie with it’s symbolism,of everlasting love, metaphysical implications and biblical connotations. I think to be honest I was hypnotised by the beautiful aesthetic as Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz seem like incidental players in an art piece created by Darren Aronofsky.
Best Bit-The tree of life
29 (Tied). Death Note
An excellent adaptation of the superb Tsugami Ohba and Takeshi Obata that came on the back of the anime adaptation that was also a triumph. A teenager finds a supernatural book in which he writes a name and method of death and it happens in real life. He decides to act as a vigilante and rid the world of evil. He comes into conflict with a mysterious detective who vows to track him down and stop his rampage. A respectful and fun version of the Death Note phenomenon. ….the recent American series was a bit of a disaster.
Best Bit-L meets Light
29 (Tied)-Death Note 2: The Last Name
The sequel came out the same year in an odd decision that is rarely seen. It doesn’t matter though as the film continues where the first left off and keeps the quality going. The premise of Death Note is so great and really puts you in the “what would I do?” mindset. Tatsuya Fujiwara of Battle Royale fame has gone to be a huge star in Japan and does well in the lead role here with good direction and pacing from Shusuke kaneko.
Best Bit-Death of L
28. The City Of Violence
South Korea has never been known for it’s high octane martial arts movies but this revenge flick from Ryoo Seung-Wan put them on the map. Some incredible action scenes and a stylish aesthetic make for a hell of a blood pumping thrill ride.
Best Bit- Street rumble
A video game movie? A movie based on a well loved series of video games that expertly delve into uncomfortable areas of psychological horror and despair? Well surely that tunred out to be a disaster. No actually, whilst many fans dislike the movie I actually thoroughly enjoyed it and thought Christophe Gans did a solid job adapting the different elements of the series. There is fan service in there that doesn’t completely make sense in terms of the mythology but still provides entertainment.
Best Bit-The janitor
26. Cold Prey
This Norwegian slasher flick doesn’t add anything new to the genre but it does it’s job very well. If you’re a fan of the genre then you’ll definitely enjoy this as it plays all the tropes but unlike a lot of slashers it actually works and is intense in it’s action.
Best Bit- Intro
25. Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan
Sacha Baron Cohen’ hilarious fish out of water character had done the rounds on his tv show but he got worldwide recognition when he hit the big screen. Borat became a cultural phenomenon with incredibly unfunny people constantly imitating him and wearing the infamous mankini. A mix of scripted comedy scenes and interactions with unaware marks make for a hilarious adventure for the Kazakh documentary maker.
Best Bit- Hotel fight
24. Rocky Balboa
I didn’t hear no bell!. Everyone’s favourite unintelligible boxing underdog is out of retirement after seeing a tv show using a computer to see if he could have beaten the current champ in his prime…..really. Said champ is played by real several time light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. It’s your typical Rocky underdog story and it was surprisingly good, I remember groaning when it was announced.
Best Bit-Final fight
23. Brave Story
An animated fantasy epic about fate and imagination. With his life going awry a young boy is shown a secret door that leads to a land of magic and monster. There are pacing issues and at times I feel something is lost in translation but it’s a whimsical adventure full of family fun.
Best Bit-Through the door
22. Curse Of The Golden Flower
I went with my buddy Paul to see this stunning wuxia epic at a little art cinema and was blown away by the visuals. Zhang Yimou is known for his incredible aesthetics and here it is at an absolute zenith with almost unthinkable cinematography. Chow Yun-Fat and Gong Li bring the star power in this melodramatic story of rebellion and violence during the Tang Dynasty.
Best Bit-Charging the palace
21. Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon
Another love letter to slasher movies on the list and this one is a really intelligent and darkly funny one from Scott Glosserman. It sees a documentary crew follow an aspiring serial killer who is obsessed with slasher movies and wants to be seen as the next great horror anti hero. It’s like a funny version of Henry:Portrait Of A Serial Killer.
Best Bit- The walk run
Directed by the brilliantly name Neil Burger, this drama sees a turn of the century magician fall for a childhood sweetheart he hasn’t seen in years and is far above him in terms of social standings. Ed Norton is great in the role and Jessica Biel breaks type to put in a solid performance.
19. Inside Man
Spike Lee directs this intricate bank heist movie which is intelligent and keeps you on your toes throughout as the plot keeps throwing new info at you. Very different for Lee at the time and shows that he’s versatile and able to establish his own style in different genres.
A South Korean horror movie that doesn’t do anything new but does the basics and tropes very well. The beautiful Ko So-Young stars as a single career woman living in a high rise apartment who experiences hauntings after witnessing a suicide. A little bit Ringu, a little bit Hitchcock and an effective horror.
Best Bit- First haunting
17.Jackass Number Two
Johnny Knoxville and his group of reprobates return for more pranks stunts and scatological humour. So so immature tut tut…..but very funny. Some of the elaborate pranks are so ridiculous and laugh out loud funny that it’s hard to care about anything else as the humour goes from cruel to painful to terrifying.
Best Bit-Terror taxi
Part of the French horror explosion of the mid 00s this home invasion flick is a terrifying take on the genre. Unlike a lot of horror from this era Them goes for tension and buildup rather than gore and it works brilliantly as a couple move to a remote house in Romania and find themselves the target of a mysterious group of violent thugs.
Best Bit- Ending
Mike Judge is awesome and I’m so glad he’s hit mainstream success with the tv show Silicon Valley because it seems most of his projects are critically lauded but only achieve cult status. Such was the case here with this genius mockery of modern American society. Two people take part in a hibernation experiment and wake up 500 years in the future where the world has completely dumbed down into a society filled with excessive commercialism and intelligence is a forgotten trait. It’s clever and very funny.
Ronny Yu, an incredibly inconsistent director hit a home run with this beautifully shot and intricately choreographed martial arts masterpiece. The close quarters combat is super as is usually the case with Jet Li and his speed and athleticism is on show. Some incredible displays of martial arts as he takes on all kinds of different styles from fighters from different countries.
Best Bit-Sword fight
13. Little Miss Sunshine
An intelligent, brave, emotional sweet and funny comedy with a star turn from the endlessly likeable Steve Carell and a great performance from child actress Abigail Breslin. It’s a road movie that sees a little girl entered into a pageant and her family traveling to support her.
Best Bit- Dinner discussion
12. Happy Feet
An adorable animated movie about cute little penguins? I’m sold. Bizarrely it was made by Mad Max genius George Miller and sees an outcast penguin in a world where singing is essential, his talent is dancing and can’t sing. Sounds bland but it’s anything but as the adventure sees him travel far and wide getting into all sorts of shenanigans.
Best Bit- Waking in the zoo
11. Tales From Earthsea
A Studio Ghibli fantasy film and the first of director Goro Miyamoto, son of Ghibli mastermind Hayao. It wasn’t as well received as most of their movies but I find it an enchanting adventure about a wizard and his little prince pal. It can’t of been easy for your fist movie to be under the spotlight of the world media. No room for growing pains, every mistake highlighted with expectation through the roof. He did a good job managing it all.
Best Bit-Becoming a dragon
10 (Tied). The Host
A South Korean take on the old school monster movie and a damn entertaining one from Bong Joon-Ho. A man’s child is kidnapped by a giant monster that emerges from the sea and he sets off to get her back. It’s tongue in cheek with lots of fun humour but also great and thrilling monster moments.
Best Bit-First monster attack
10 (Tied). The Prestige
Christopher Nolan took a break from his Dark Knight trilogy to direct this tale of magic performance, science and backstabbing based on the novel of the same name. Two magicians are desperate to one up each other and don’t care about who gets hurt in the process as their craft and obsessive determination becomes a danger. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale star in this taught thriller.
Best Bit- Ending
9. Letter From Iwo Jima
Clint Eastwood’s companion piece to his propaganda film Flags Of Our Fathers which looked at the battle of Iwo Jima from the point of view of Americans. This movie balances things by looking at the battle from the “enemy’s” point of view. Like with most wars the “bad guys” are nothing more than confused puppets betrayed by their governments who are the ones arguing with each other and sending kids to die over it. This movie brilliantly portrays the reluctant feelings that many soldiers had and how the whole thing was just a horrible mess.
Best Bit-Captured marine
8. A Scanner Darkly
Richard Linklater’s adaptation of the legendary Philip K. Dick’s novel is so under appreciated and one of the best movies based on his work. The rotoscoping animation creates a weird look but it adds to the dreamy nature of the plot in which a futuristic dystopian society is under hi tech surveillance during a drug epidemic. A star studded cast of Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr and more all bring solid performances.
Best Bit-Freck’s trip
7. Children Of Men
This dystopian thriller was directed by Alfonso Cuaron and stars Clive Owen and Julianne Moore and is based on the novel by P.D. James. Infertility has left society in ruin and an oppressive government has set up strict immigration laws in the UK which is the only functioning government left in the world. A female immigrant turns up seeking refuge and is the first pregnant woman in years so she is sought after for different means. I love a dystopian sci fi tale and this one is bleak, depressing but ultimately full of hope.
6. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
A beautiful looking, thoughtful, sweet and emotional anime about a girl who is able to perform time leaps. It’s utterly charming and filled with cute, funny moments and is often mistaken for a Studio Ghibli movie which is testament to it’s quality.
Best Bit- Discovering powers
5. I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK
Proving his versatility and no doubt needing to cheer himself up after the vengeance trilogy Park Chan-Wook brings us this quirky romantic comedy drama. Set mainly in a mental institution it sees a young man fall in love with a woman who believes herself to be cyborg who refuses to eat and cuts her wrists in an attempt to plug her wires into a socket. A blissful juxtaposition of sadness, humour and romance.
Another animated masterpiece from the sadly missed Satoshi Kon about therapists who, with the help of technology are able to enter their patients dreams. It has Kon’s signature dream like style with stunning scenes of animation and visual design and a trippy plot that keeps you guessing. An exhilarating experience with a great soundtrack.
Best Bit-The parade
3. The Last King Of Scotland
A powerful and disturbing story of a young Scottish doctor who travels to Uganda to be the personal doctor of Idi Amin. Amin was known to fond of Scotland and their history as a resilient force against English oppression and so bonds with the young doctor. Originally believing that Amin will be a positive force for Uganda the Scot begins to see the insane violence and brutal dictatorship tactics displayed and becomes terrified as a fish out of water. Fantastic performances from breakout star James McAvoy and Forest Whitaker….actually it’s a stunning turn from Whitaker.
2. The Departed
Scorsese should probably have won the Oscar for this remake of Infernal Affair (seen a couple of lists back) and the Oscar he eventually did receive was an apology for not getting it in 2006…..that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. Annoying, over egged BAWWWWSTON accents aside, there are some stunning performances in this most notably Leo Di Caprio who I had always found overrated until this powerhouse showing. He plays an undercover cop infiltrating the mob and as he’s slowly being found out the utter exhaustion and fear he portrays is absolutely top notch acting. Violent, thrilling and completely compelling.
Best Bit-Elevator scene
1 Pan’s Labyrinth
There may have been more Oscar baiting movies in 2006 but none that took me away to another world the way Guillermo Del Toro’s stunning fantasy horror adventure. Some of the best character creation in years with mythical fauns and the terrifying Pale Man who is one of the greatest monsters in years. A beautiful dark fairy tale from the master.
Best Bit- Pale Man
Ok, as always I hope you enjoyed that and stay tuned for the next one coming up shortly. Catch me @swing_kinker ta x