Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio are obvious choices for acting kudos ('The Departed') and despite creating much more interesting characters Meryl Streep is being showered with praise for her turn in the over rated ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. I would contend, Gael Garcia Bernal gave the most complex and eclectic of the year – light hearted, personable and clumsily funny in ‘The Science of Sleep’, he couldn’t have been more heartless and unnerving ripping apart the lives of all those around him in ‘The King’. Eric Bana shone, noble and conflicted in ‘Munich’ while Brandon Routh stayed off the vultures and established himself firmly as a fitting actor to play the Man of Steel. As for actresses, Abigail Breslin stole the show in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, a world away from the over-acting of Dakota Fanning. In the spirit of even-handed consideration of all genres it seems Anne Hathaway is the new rom-com name to watch. ‘Junebug’ escaped under the radar for many people but Amy Adam’s performance was flawless and truly deserved her Oscar nomination.
The 'Vertigo' Award for Best Movie Poster
'Walk the Line'
The ‘Independence Day’ Scene/Sequence of the Year Award
A scene that stuck with me is from ‘Junebug’, where Ben McKensies character, introverted and hostile throughout the film shows he truly cares for his pregnant girlfriend when he rushes to record a segment from a nature show for her. The tape doesn’t work and his temper flares up only for Amy Adams to investigate why he is so upset, he of course lashes out and she is never to know his kind motives. It seamlessly drags the audience into the story, giving us information we wish the characters could share with each other. Also, the Super Freak dance routine at the beauty pageant in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is a wonder. The scene is a lyrical end to what is at times a patchwork film and I honest to God wanted to get up and dance with them - an absolute highlight of the year.
No high profile film this year amounted to more than the sum of their parts however there were a number of standout money shots particularly Magneto using The Golden Gate Bridge to access Alcatraz in ‘X 3: The Last Stand’. The most beautiful scene of the year has to be the burning oil wells lighting the oil-drenched desert in ‘Jarhead’. However the popcorn scene of the year though well and truly belongs to the rip-roaring space shuttle rescue in ‘Superman Returns’, thrilling, tense and immaculate to look at, the cinema and baseball stadium audience witness an overwhelming return.
As with animated movies documentaries are increasingly being considered on a par with movies, here though to keep some homogenity to my Top 10 they are considered separately. Clearly ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was the most influential movie of the year, ably focusing on key elements of climate change but other than its dramatic trailer it was lacking in production value. ‘Enron: The Smartest Men in the Room’ too was comprehensive and intelligent but ultimately did not engage. 'Dave Chappelle’s Block Party' is an outright pleasure to watch but I am giving the best documentary award to ‘Grizzly Man’. Its flaws, the clear biases of the researcher and the questions he casts over the motives and actions of its subject character intrigue and serve as a great case study in examining the purpose of documentaries as well as making sure we bring a critical mind to these films.
Steve Carrel (Voice of Hammy in ‘Over the Hedge’)
Neither eloquent nor poetic but dam funny, lines from the midst of a Star Wars/Lord of the Rings debate in 'Clerks 2':
"There's only one "Return" ok, and it ain't "of the King", it's "of the Jedi."
"Maybe we should start calling your friend 'Padme' because he loves 'Mannequin Skywalker' so much, Right? (imitating robot) Danger...danger...my name is Anakin...my shitty acting is ruining saga."
Randal Graves: [describing the Lord of the Rings Trilogy] Here's the first movie. [walks a few steps, staring blankly] Randal Graves: And here's the second movie. [walks a few steps again, pretends to trip] Hobbit Lover: He is way off, loser. Randal Graves: You ready for the third movie? [walks yet again, stops, pretends to throw the ring into the volcano. Shrugs his shoulders and turns around]
Far removed from the vampy noir of Sin City, Rosario Dawson is effortlessly gorgeous in 'Clerks 2' and was winning this award hands down until Marion Cotillard appeared like an apparition in ‘A Good Year’. Pity about the film!