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Best of 2006

Posted at 11:40 AM on December 26, 2006 by Euan Kerr

I am really lucky compared with film critics who have to see all the films that open every week. I can pick and choose, and so I see a lot, but get to disregard a whole lot more. Regular 'Movie Natters" readers will notice the somewhat eclectic spread of films, in fact one pal recently told me he hadn't heard of a tenth of the films I write about. Ah well.

Which means that this list of the ten best film of 2006 PLUS a buck-fifty MIGHT get you a cup of java at some low end coffee bar. Use it wisely.

In no particular order:

"Babel" Smart, punchy, and carefully crafted, Inarritu's tale of how a gun shot stirs a global linguistic fog tells a tale of how humans ability to speak often divides more than build.

"Only Human" A Spanish comedy which almost no-one saw but left me in pain from laughing so much. You will never look at soup served at you in-laws the same way again.

"Don't Come Knocking" Wim Wenders pokes Sam Shepards's finger in the eye of the Hollywood cowboy myth and pulls out a bittersweet tale of family dysfunction. Written in Stillwater, this is a Western tale with midwestern sensibilities.

"District B13" Free-flying futuristic French silliness as one of the living legends of parkour struts his stuff up and down the walls of a restricted neighborhood. There's not much plot, but so much action some of it slopped over into the new Bond film.

"Casino Royale" Bond is back. Daniel Craig is a Bond for the new millenium. 'Nuff said.

"Volver" Pedro Almodovar once again finds spring steel spines beneath the sensual curves of his leading ladies. Penelope Cruz turns in the performance of a lifetime as the sudden single mother who finds there's a lot more buried in her family history that she ever imagined. Almodovar stalwart Carmen Maura doubles the fun.

"Following Sean" In the late 60's Haight Ashbury, Ralph Arlyck's student film about his neighbor's four-year-old son caused an international sensation when the little lad admitted he smoked pot. Forty years later Arlyck went back to see what had become of Sean, and ended up with a fascinating examination of the modern family.

"Unknown White Male" Imagine waking up on a train, running through a city you don't recognize, and realizing you have no idea who you are. It's what happened to the guy who eventually learned his name was Doug Bruce, and his friend Rupert Murray got a lot of it on film. It makes you wonder how much of who you are is the result of your memories, and how many of those memories are wrong.

"Sweetland" What can you say? Other than darn near perfect?

"V for Vendetta" Yes, it revels in simplistic pseudo-anarchic politics, but I have to tell you, when the Houses of Parliament went up, it was strangely moving.

"The Proposition" Violent yet lyrical, stark yet beautiful, horrifying yet irresistible: an Australian western that sands your nerves and sets you alight.

So what are your faves for 2006?

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