Greatest Films of the 2000s
Greatest Films of the 2000s


Greatest Films of the 2000s
2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009

2006

Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

Apocalypto (2006), 139 minutes, D: Mel Gibson

Away From Her (2006, Canada/UK/US), 110 minutes, D: Sarah Polley

Babel (2006, Fr./US/Mex.), 143 minutes, D: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), 84 minutes, D: Larry Charles

Casino Royale (2006, UK), 144 minutes, D: Martin Campbell
See James Bond series.

Children of Men (2006), 109 minutes, D: Alfonso Cuaron

The Departed (2006), 151 minutes, D: Martin Scorsese
Best Director-winning Martin Scorsese's viciously-violent, Best Picture gangster tale was based on Infernal Affairs (2002, HK), but with major revisions. The central figure was now Jack Nicholson's depraved mob boss character - only a minor figure in the original movie. The acclaimed actor showcased his oversized talent as a psychopathic gangland boss - the volatile, sadistic, and unpredictable Irish-American godfather Frank Costello (based upon notorious real-life mobster Whitey Bulger). It was one of the actor's showiest and most entertaining performances. The disheveled kingpin casually expressed nasty racial slurs in his opening monologue, and completely ruled his turf with his dominating, giant presence. In the film's cat-and-mouse game of doppelgangers, Costello's gang was being infiltrated by undercover Boston policeman Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio). At the same time, corrupt Boston detective Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), who had been raised by Costello since childhood, was working for him as a mole.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006), 109 minutes, D: David Frankel

Dreamgirls (2006), 130 minutes, D: Bill Condon

Flags of Our Fathers (2006), 132 minutes, D: Clint Eastwood

Happy Feet (2006), 108 minutes, D: George Miller

The Illusionist (2006), 109 minutes, D: Neil Burger

An Inconvenient Truth (2006), 95 minutes, D: Davis Guggenheim

The Last King of Scotland (2006, UK/Germ.), 121 minutes, D: Kevin MacDonald

Letters From Iwo Jima (2006), 141 minutes, D: Clint Eastwood

Little Children (2006), 137 minutes, D: Todd Field

Little Miss Sunshine (2006), 101 minutes, D: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

The Lives of Others (2006, Germ.) (aka Das Leben der Anderen), 137 minutes, D: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Once (2006, Ireland), 85 minutes, D: John Carney
Writer/director John Carney's low-budget, wistful romantic musical with a minimalist plot seamlessly integrated its many songs into an unforced musical story. It told about a boy-meets-girl couple in Dublin, Ireland, simply named Guy (musician Glen Hansard) and Girl (Czech singer Markéta Irglová). He was an unidentified street performer (with a violin) and she was a 19 year-old Czech immigrant and single mother who peddled roses. The two kindred spirits were immediately drawn together by their respective broken relationships, although with limited time to get to know each other. Tucked into this Irish import was a charming duet at the piano between them, singing the Oscar-winning Original Song tune Falling Slowly while in a nearly-empty music store -- among the film's many songs. The film's main virtue was the off-beat naturalism of the couple's growing platonic, bittersweet relationship and their strong bonds over music - which culminated in their collaboration to record a demo album over a marathon weekend.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006, Sp./Mex./US) (aka El Laberinto del Fauno), 119 minutes, D: Guillermo del Toro
This fantasy film, not kid-friendly, presented an inventive, multi-level world of war-time horror within an adult legend. Elements of the fantasy films and novels Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, and Spirited Away resonate from the film. Its major themes - destiny lies in one's decisions or judgments, and in darkness or death there can be light or life. A prologue told a legend important to remember as the film proceeded and concluded with a book-ending epilogue. Princess Moana (Ivana Baquero), daughter of the King of the underworld, escaped up to the human world where she was blinded by sunlight, lost her memory, became ill and died. Her father believed that her long-lost soul would eventually return by the next full moon, perhaps in another body, place, or time. Set during the mid-1940s in northern Spain in a time of civil war, Franco's repressive forces had taken hold. Pre-pubescent 11 year-old orphaned heroine Ofelia (also Baquero) accompanied her sickly pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) to meet up with her brutally sadistic new stepfather Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez) in a small remote Spanish district. The embodiment of Spanish fascism, he had established his headquarters in an abandoned mill where he led troops to quell the rebel resistance. Del Toro efficiently captured the tyranny and brutishness of the oppressively evil and vain Captain. He ordered the murder of two innocent rabbit-hunting farmers (a father and son), then blithely dismissed his wrongdoing by having his chief house-keeping servant Mercedes (Maribel Verdu), who was secretly sympathizing with and aiding the rebels, prepare a stew with the rabbit meat. Ofelia escaped the cruel real-world horrors by fleeing (or returning home) to the fairy-tale story world (with its own serious dangers) that wanted her back. Transitions between the two worlds were often prefaced by vertical camera wipes. Her mother had skeptically warned: "Fairy tales? You're a bit too old to be filling your head with such nonsense." CGI, animatronics puppets, prosthetics and extensive latex makeup were used to create the film's magical creatures, including the opening's vibrating, stick-like, preying mantis that was transformed into a fairy. After being led into the maze-like garden labyrinth, she encountered a mysterious, ominous, tall goat-headed forest Faun (Doug Jones) with curled horns - not Pan. (The movie title was somewhat misleading. In fact, the film's Spanish title translated 'Labyrinth of the Faun.') When the enigmatic Faun identified Ofelia as the reincarnated Princess, she was challenged to a quest - three risky and daunting tasks to prove herself and reunite her with the underground realm and her true father: (1) retrieve a golden key vomited from the belly of a monstrous toad, and (2) retrieve a dagger from behind a door in the lair of the monstrous, child-eating, faceless Pale Man (also Jones), with his eyes set into the palms of his stigmatic hands. (Note: The key and knife were also mirrored in the real-world, as was the mandrake root.) And then, the third task became a climactic, self-sacrificial test of Ofelia's obedience and courage in the film's tragic yet redemptive conclusion.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), 151 minutes, D: Gore Verbinski
See Pirates of the Caribbean series.

The Prestige (2006), 130 minutes, D: Christopher Nolan

The Queen (2006, UK/It./Fr.), 97 minutes, D: Stephen Frears

Rocky Balboa (2006), 101 minutes, D: Sylvester Stallone
See Rocky series.

Superman Returns (2006), 154 minutes, D: Bryan Singer
See Superman series.

300 (2006), 116 minutes, D: Zach Snyder

United 93 (2006), 111 minutes, D: Paul Greengrass

Volver (2006, Sp.), 121 minutes, D: Pedro Almodóvar


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