08 July 2006
  year in review (so far)

it really seems to me that filmmakers release their best stuff in biannual cycles. two years ago there were so mant great movies that it was almost impossible to pick a favorite. sideways, hotel rwanda, million dollar baby, finding neverland and the motorcycle diaries were a few of the highlights. then came 2005. and looking back it is hard to think of a single really great film outside of the one obvious standout, crash. therefore, according to my biannual theory of alternating excellence and sucktasticness, 2006 should thankfully be a good movie year once again.

and the theory holds up. i don't ever remember enjoying films in the first half of the year as much as i have in 2006. i mean, i used to go see maybe one film all summer, when theaters generally fill up with expensive, bland shootemups starring tom, brad and ben. but this summer has had a lot of great releases. and, even more surprisingly, a lot of these movies have actually made MONEY, which proves a point i am constantly trying to make: just because a movie has substance doesn't mean people won't go see it.

anyways, it is hard to rank my film favorites of the first half of 2006, because there have really been a lot of movies i have enjoyed so far, and i am not sure which i enjoyed most. but here are five i generally liked most.

- manderlay - okay, so i am not actually sure if this counts as a 2006 movie, since it premiered in 2005 in every country in the world besides the u.s. but, for me at least, it was the first good film i saw this year. lars von trier's second film in his ironically titled "u.s.a.: land of opportunities" trilogy is by far the most unique slavery film i have ever seen. von trier turns the emancipation myth of progress on its head. in the end, he proves a point that i have always strived to live my life by: rich white americans do not have all the correct (i.e. "scientific," "logical") answers to the problems of the world. i can't wait til this finally comes out on dvd.

- the da vinci code - (remind me that i have to go see this at least one more time before it leaves theaters). don't listen to critics that complained the code was dull and talky. i mean, if you are a 12 year old boy this movie might be a little slow and over your head. but to anyone else, i would be shocked if you weren't riveted by this story. sure the movie had its problems, most notably tom hanks' eminently boring performance as langdon, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. still, if nothing else, this movie has endeared itself to me forever, because it pissed christians™ off so much. hallelujah!

- the devil wears prada - i went to see this movie yesterday when i was feeling a little down and wanted to watch something that would make me smile and that i wouldn't have to think about too much, but i never expected this movie to be as good as it really was. it sort of reminded me of legally blonde or pretty woman or other REALLY well done, substantial chick flicks. it was unique, surprisingly unpredictable and incredibly well acted. probably the best comedy i have seen since sideways two years ago and lost in translation three years ago. if you haven't seen it i highly recommend it, especially if you are a recent liberal arts college grad like me.

- i'm going to tell you a secret - if i look back on this summer in 2 or 3 years i am sure that i will remember it as the summer of madonna. she has definitely been on my mind a lot. i finally got to see her perform live, which was amazing. and i have listened to her confessions cd pretty much every day since november. but also this was the summer that she released igttyas, her second docu-musical. it really hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as her first documentary, truth or dare, but it is an amazing work. i enjoyed it when it premiered on mtv in january, but when it was released a couple weeks ago and i watched it for a second time, i was reminded of really how well done it is. if you get a chance to see it, you definitely need to give it a chance.

- a prairie home companion - this was one of the year's movies i was most looking forward to seeing, and i wasn't disappointed. so far this year has been filled with movies that really push the limits of their genre, and prairie home is the quintessence of this. it is almost not even a movie, but rather a sort of post-vaudevillian tribute concert. still, i really hope streep gets awards attention not for this film, but rather for her superior performance in prada. that way, maybe the door can be opened for lily tomlin to get the attention she deserves.

i am really looking forward to seeing what else this year has to offer in the theaters. there are dozens of movies i can't wait to see. chief among these are strangers with candy, finally coming to tucson in just a couple weeks, the new christopher guest movie, for your consideration, two gael movies: the science of sleep and babel, the annette bening oscar vehicle running with scissors, the kate winslet oscar vehicle little children, sophia coppola's latest marie antoinette. musical idlewild, and nicole kidman's diane arbus biopic fur.
you don't want to see PIRATES?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I wanted to see it last weekend but it was sold out and I had to settle for Superman....which was very good btw mostly because it did not just start over the franchise like they usually do with suepr hero films....although I would've rather seen posey as lois lane than whoever it was that played her because she is awesome and I think she could really doo a good serious [well as serious as superman is] role instead of the dingbat hillarities she usually plays....I mean she does dingbat well but something tells me she could do other things too if she wasnt so damn type cast!
oh yeah of course i want(ed) to see it. john and i finally got to see it on thursday. i didn't even try to go when it opened last weekend, because i didn't want to wait in line and stuff.

oh and p.s., regarding your parker posey comments (who john and i LOVE incidentally) there was a review on ew of her new movie "the oh in ohio" that you should read cuz the reviewer echoes your sentiments precisely.

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