This year, as it so happens, I actually only managed to see exactly ten movies. Does that mean that I can't post a top ten list? Of course I can!
[Warning: There might be minor spoilers in the discussion. If you want to be safe, just read the titles, which are in boldface.]
10. X-Men: The Last Stand
I had enjoyed the first two X-Men movies quite a lot. I was never a regular reader of the comic book, although I was familiar with the characters and watched the original cartoon series. But this film, while good in some ways, packed far too much plot and inconsistency into the story. And making the "Dark Phoenix" saga into a B-plot just didn't work.
9. The Lake House
This was a charming film, with a neat time travel twist to it, but in the end it felt kind of slight. Good chick flick or date movie, though.
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men's Chest
One of the problems with successful movies is that they breed sequels. Now, sequels work if the creators can devise a new story that takes the characters further along their journey (e.g. Toy Story 2) but more often, the sequels feel forced. I loved the first PotC movie; this one felt like they were trying to replicate what had already been done, and done well. It also went on far too long. However, the cliffhanger ending has ensured that I'll be around for the third film; I'm just unlikely to want to own them on DVD, though we own the first.
7. An Inconvenient Truth
I really had no intention to see this film because, frankly, I already knew everything that was in it. However, a friend pointed out to me that people would want my opinion on this film, so I made a point of seeing it. Al Gore does an excellent job of explaining what is probably the biggest crisis affecting the entire planet today. If you're not familiar with what global warming is doing to the Earth, go see this film today and take action tomorrow.
6. Superman Returns
As many of you know, this was the film I was most eagerly anticipating all year. And, in fact, I saw it twice in the theatre, the only film this year for which I did so. And while I loved it, and would see it again...it wasn't the best film of the year. I'm hoping that it does lay the groundwork for an even better Superman film next time around.
5. Stranger Than Fiction
Will Ferrell is not an actor I seek out, but his understated performance in this film was one of the best I've seen all year. Since I'm a writer of fiction, the conceit behind the film appealed to me, and I found myself laughing throughout. The best part of the film, however, was Maggie Gyllenhall's charming performance as the love-interest-former-law-student-turned-b
4. Casino Royale
I have seen every James Bond film except for Dr. No. Although I am one of those whose first exposure to Bond was through the films, I've always preferred it if the character's portrayal hewed closely to the book version. My two other favorite Bond films are From Russia With Love and The Living Daylights, because in those films Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton play Bond the way he was meant to be played. We can now add Daniel Craig to the list. I can't wait to see what they do with him next.
3. Thank You for Smoking
I seemed to have been one of the few people in my life who knew that this film was based upon a novel by Christopher Buckley. The novel is an excellent piece of satire, and Aaron Eckhardt is the only actor in Hollywood who could make the protagonist, Nick Naylor, as sympathetic on film as he was in the book. The movie's plot veers off from the book's about two-thirds of the way through, but in a way that makes the movie work well.
Any movie that features saxikath exclaiming "I have four!" belongs in my top five.
1. The Prestige
Without a doubt, the best movie of the year. Christopher Nolan, the director who brought us Memento, Insomnia, and Batman Begins, is a master of misdirection. My advice to everyone -- if Christopher Nolan is directing a film, avoid learning anything else about it, and go see it opening weekend. Unless you're lisafeld, you'll be glad you did.
And that's it for now. Thoughts?