Cinema's Labyrinth

The year in film, 2006

Ivana Baquero (l) and Doug Jones in <i>Pan's Labryrinth </i>
Ivana Baquero (l) and Doug Jones in Pan's Labryrinth


Marjorie Baumgarten's Top 10

1. Pan's Labyrinth – A seamless blend of fairy tale and political allegory provides the foundation for this wholly original phantasmagoria.

2. Volver – No modern male director loves the community of women more than Almodóvar, as this triumphant love song attests.

<i>Volver</i>
Volver

3. United 93 – Smart and harrowing, this is one movie whose impact can't be quieted with the words, "It's only a movie."

4. Letters From Iwo Jima – Clint Eastwood's terrific war movie almost makes up for his sentimental Flags of Our Fathers earlier this year and is a surprising coup for first-time screenwriter Iris Yamashita.

5. Army of Shadows – Although made in 1969, this French film was not released here until 2006 and shows that Jean-Pierre Melville packed an emotional punch with this story of the French Resistance.

6. The Queen – I was surprised by how taken I was with this astute story about a contemporary royal in distress and out of touch with her people.

7. Borat: CLAMBGNK – Nothing this year made me laugh as hard as this litigators' feast. And whoever imagined that Roseanne Barr's insulting delivery of "The Star-Spangled Banner" could be outdone?

8. A Prairie Home Companion – My affection for Robert Altman having waned considerably in recent years, I was charmed here by the filmmaker's return to compassionate humanism.

9. The Proposition – With a script by musician Nick Cave and terrific performances by all, this Australian Western is proof that the genre is not moribund.

10. Apocalypto – Despite lapses in logic and historical accuracy, Mel Gibson's film mesmerizes with its heretofore unseen world and leaves us panting from its breathless chase.


NEAR MISSES

Clean, 51 Birch Street, Dreamgirls, Factotum, Half Nelson

<i>Dreamgirls</i>
Dreamgirls


MOST OVERRATED

Babel, The Departed, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu


MOST UNDERRATED

Clean, Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story, Marie Antoinette


ACTING KUDOS (MALE)

Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls), Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson), Alec Baldwin (The Departed, The Good Shepherd, Running With Scissors)


ACTING KUDOS (FEMALE)

Helen Mirren (The Queen), Penélope Cruz (Volver), Maggie Cheung (Clean)


BEST DIRECTOR

Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), Pedro Almodóvar (Volver), Paul Greengrass (United 93)


BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL & ADAPTED)

Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro), The Proposition (Nick Cave), A Prairie Home Companion (Garrison Keillor and Ken LaZebnik)


WORST FILM

Basic Instinct 2 – This meretricious debacle would have been the demise of Sharon Stone's career had she not redeemed herself later this year with her knockout performance in Bobby.


<i>Idiocracy</i>
Idiocracy

WILD CARD – SUGGEST YOUR OWN CATEGORY

Grave Injustices: Bobcat Goldthwait's Sleeping Dogs Lie and Mike Judge's Idiocracy were done terrible wrongs by distributors whose barely there releases provide meager protection against filmslaughter charges.

<i>Sleeping Dogs Lie</i>
Sleeping Dogs Lie

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