Movie Log 2006 (With Mini-Reviews!) - Vol. 6

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Continued from Vol. 5

--Italics indicate a repeat viewing--

278. 10/21: The Prestige (2006, Christopher Nolan) - An absolutely enthralling film, The Prestige shows that director Nolan is not content with being a slouch during the gap between last year's stellar Batman Begins and its forthcoming sequel The Dark Knight. Reteaming with his Batman stars Christian Bale and Michael Caine, and adding the likes of X-Men's Hugh Jackman along with the ever-talented Scarlett Johansson, Nolan has created a splendid, artful near-masterwork of illusion and trickery. Structured like an old-time magical illusion (the film does take place during the late 1800's), Nolan and his brother Jonathan have a comepelling "pledge," an engaging "turn," and a mind-boggling "prestige" that together form one of the most brain-stretching trips you'll take to the multiplex this year. While The Prestige's prestige did indeed leave me quite flummoxed and a teensy bit uncertain as to what happened, there's no denying the breathtaking magic that Nolan has concocted and displayed onscreen. Bale and Jackman are both at their very best as duelling magicians (now we just need a Batman vs. Wolverine flick...sorry, I couldn't resist), with Caine at the center as a seemingly benign accomplice and Johansson as something of a mysterious go-between (along with a bit of a harlot). Not only is the film about grand audience manipulation, it's also about perception; by the end of the film, your thoughts of the two main characters will have switched so often that you won't be sure exactly what you think of which (in this it reminded me of Kubrick's Lolita). A brilliant feat of filmic illusion, The Prestige is one of the year's best films so far. A

279. 10/22: Matchstick Men (2003, Ridley Scott) - A delightful little gem, Matchstick Men sports a terrific turn from Nicolas Cage as a neurotic, obsessive compulsive con man (or con artist, as he prefers) who meets his 14-year-old daughter for the first time (it's astonishing that actress Alison Lohman was actually 22 during filming). What follows is a lovely dark comedy about manipulation, deceit, trust, and a very unique--to say the least--father-daughter bond. Sam Rockwell also shines as Cage's partner in con, and while the end does strain credibility at points, it provides a fitting end for such a quirky film that, at its center, explores one man's pursuit of a family. One of the better films in director Scott's spotty filmography, Matchstick Men is a clever, engaging flick that deserves more credit than it usually gets. B+

NOTE: I have become increasingly busy as of late and have not found time to watch the movies that I do and spend time writing about them at length as well. Thus, my log will continue but, for the time being, without mini-reviews. Not sure if this will change.

280. 10/23: Young Frankenstein (1974, Mel Brooks) - B+
281. 10/25: Bottle Rocket (1996, Wes Anderson) - A-
282. 10/26: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922, F.W. Murnau) - B+
283. 10/26: An American Werewolf in London (1981, John Landis) - A+
284. 10/26: The Proposition (2005, John Hillcoat) - A+
285. 10/27: Jurassic Park (1993, Steven Spielberg) - A+
286. 10/27: Belle de jour (1967, Luis Buñuel) - D+
287. 10/27: Marie Antoinette (2006, Sofia Coppola) - A-
288. 10/28: Evil Dead II (1987, Sam Raimi) - A+
289. 10/29: Serenity (2005, Joss Whedon) - A+
290. 10/30: Hard Candy (2005, David Slade) - B-
291. 10/31: I Soliti ignoti (1958, Mario Monicelli) - B-
292. 11/1: The Squid and the Whale (2005, Noah Baumbach) - C+
293. 11/2: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise) - B+
294. 11/2: Casino (1995, Martin Scorsese) - A+
295. 11/3: Battlestar Galactica (2003, Michael Rymer) - A+
296. 11/3: Borat!: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006, Larry Charles) - A-
297. 11/5: The Big Heat (1953, Fritz Lang) - A-
298. 11/7: The Chumscrubber (2005, Arie Posin) - C-
299. 11/7: Game 6 (2005, Michael Hoffman) - B
300. 11/8: American Dreamz (2006, Paul Weitz) - C-
301. 11/9: A Prairie Home Companion (2006, Robert Altman) - A-
302. 11/10: Elizabeth I (2005, Tom Hooper) - B
303. 11/10: The Matador (2005, Richard Shepard) - B+
304. 11/10: Stranger Than Fiction (2006, Marc Forster) - A-
305. 11/10: House of Usher (1960, Roger Corman) - B-
306. 11/12: Pit and the Pendulum (1961, Roger Corman) - C
307. 11/13: Grand Hotel (1932, Edmund Goulding) - A+
308. 11/15: Ultimate Avengers (2006, Curt Geda, Steven E. Gordon, and Bob Richardson) - B
309. 11/16: Imagine: John Lennon (1988, Andrew Solt) - A+
310. 11/17: The Great New Wonderful (2005, Danny Leiner) - D
311. 11/17: Babel (2006, Alejandro González Iñárritu) - A+
312. 11/18: C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America (2004, Kevin Willmott) - B+
313. 11/18: Batman Begins (2005, Christopher Nolan) - A+
314. 11/20: The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967, Roman Polanski) - C
315. 11/21: Block Party (2005, Michel Gondry) - A-
316. 11/22: Caché (2005, Michael Haneke) - C
317. 11/23: Pulp Fiction (1994, Quentin Tarantino) - A+
318. 11/24: The Queen (2006, Stephen Frears) - A
319. 11/26: Proof (2005, John Madden) - B
320. 11/26: Friends with Money (2006, Nicole Holofcener) - C+
321. 11/26: Ultimate Avengers II (2006, Will Meugniot, Dick Sebast, and Bob Richardson) - B+
322. 11/26: An Inconvenient Truth (2006, Davis Guggenheim) - A+
323. 11/27: Scoop (2006, Woody Allen) - B-
324. 11/27: 2046 (2004, Kar Wai Wong) - C
325. 11/28: The Ice Harvest (2005, Harold Ramis) - B-
326. 11/29: An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder (2006, J.M. Kenny) - B+
327. 11/30: King Creole (1958, Michael Curtiz) - B-
328. 12/3: Clerks. (1994, Kevin Smith) - A-
329. 12/5: Nine Lives (2005, Rodrigo Garcia) - A+
330. 12/6: Sleeper (1973, Woody Allen) - D+
331. 12/7: The Fountain (2006, Darren Aronofsky) - B-
332. 12/8: A Hard Day's Night (1964, Richard Lester) - A+
333. 12/8: Spider-Man 2 (2004, Sam Raimi) - A+
334. 12/12: Everything Is Illuminated (2005, Liev Schreiber) - B+
335. 12/13: The Hours and Times (1991, Christopher Münch) - B-
336. 12/14: Backbeat (1994, Iain Softley) - A-
337. 12/15: Idlewild (2006, Bryan Barber) - D+
338. 12/15: The Holiday (2006, Nancy Meyers) - B-
339. 12/15: Waiting... (2005, Rob McKittrick) - C+
340. 12/16: The Notorious Bettie Page (2005, Mary Harron) - B+
341. 12/16: Find Me Guilty (2006, Sidney Lumet) - A-
342. 12/17: Imagine (1972, Steve Gebhardt, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono) - D+
343. 12/19: The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1996, Michael Lindsay-Hogg) - B+
344. 12/19: The Compleat Beatles (1984, Patrick Montgomery) - B+
345. 12/21: Rocky IV (1985, Sylvester Stallone) - D
346. 12/21: Rocky V (1990, John G. Avildsen) - F
347. 12/22: Rocky (1976, John G. Avildsen) - A+
348. 12/22: Rocky Balboa (2006, Sylvester Stallone) - B+
349. 12/23: Lady in the Water (2006, M. Night Shyamalan) - C-
350. 12/25: Reservoir Dogs (1992, Quentin Tarantino) - A+
351. 12/26: Ghost World (2001, Terry Zwigoff) - B+
352. 12/26: Lucky Number Slevin (2006, Paul McGuigan) - C
353. 12/27: Invincible (2006, Ericson Core) - C
354. 12/27: Clerks II (2006, Kevin Smith) - A
355. 12/28: Final Destination 3 (2006, James Wong) - C-
356. 12/28: Pride & Prejudice (2005, Joe Wright) - B+
357. 12/29: Bound (1996, Andy & Larry Wachowski) - B
358. 12/29: Following (1998, Christopher Nolan) - A-
359. 12/30: An Unfinished Life (2005, Lasse Hallström) - C+
360. 12/31: Sideways (2004, Alexander Payne) - A+
361. 12/31: Pulp Fiction (1994, Quentin Tarantino) - A+

I'm glad you have your priorities straight. :)

In a perfect world, watching and writing about movies would come before all of this nonsensical work stuff. Alas... ;-)

Not only am I not the lone person in America to see Nine Lives, I'm also not the only one to like it! Yay!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Haha! Yeah, I everyone I mentioned it to hadn't even heard of it. It had been a priority of mine for some time, and I was so glad to finally watch it.

It just completely blew me away. So, you are definitely not alone. ;-D

I caught it nearly a year ago, and it was one of my favorites for its year. Good script, some stellar directing, and incredible acting. Where were critics sleeping when filling out their Oscar ballots and complaining about the lack of great female roles that year???

Very, very glad you caught and loved it!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I've been frustrated these past few years because of a lack of strong female roles...and when I saw this movie, I said, "Why the hell didn't any of these people get nominated?"

Quite frustrating.

Where da fook are ya?!

Nowhere, baby. Nowhere.

Merry Christmas! Have a good one, man! :-D

Shit's started at the forum, it's so funny. All because me, Eli, and Nick spent an hour making fun of Dack on Saturday night.

BTW, you NEED to see The Good Shepherd. Very excellent film, with stellar performances. Not boring at all. Out of the 2006 films, it ranks fifth, behind Clerks II, The Departed, United 93, and Inside Man.

ttyl...

Hope you have a merry Christmas as well, bro. I didn't actually get to go to the movies today...and I started watching Clerks II with my uncle, but I had to leave like as soon as it started. And he's leaving for Alabama on Wednesday instead of two weeks from now!

I'm gonna head on over to the forums in a bit...

IT'S 2 0 0 7!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!