The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM2006 -

1. PAN’S LABYRINTH Mov­ing be­tween a grim fan­tasy world and the still bleaker re­al­i­ties of the Span­ish Civil War’s vi­o­lent af­ter­math, Guillermo del Toro cre­ates fresh leg­ends for fu­ture ages. A mas­ter­piece. 2. BROKE­BACK MOUN­TAIN Al­ready part of the canon, Ang Lee’s un­for­giv­ingly sad gay-shep­herd drama seems to have been around for­ever. It was, in fact, re­leased here in Jan­uary. 3. THE PROPO­SI­TION Flies. Mur­der. Flies. Rape. Flies. Tor­ture. More flies. This mag­nif­i­cently aus­tere An­tipodean west­ern, di­rected by John Hill­coat from a script by Nick Cave, was not made in con­junc­tion with the Aus­tralian tourist board. 4. THE SQUID AND THE WHALE It surely would re­quire a ge­nius to gen­er­ate in­ter­est in the tra­vails of a fam­ily of self-im­por­tant Brook­lyn in­tel­lec­tu­als in the 1980s. Thank­fully young di­rec­tor Noah Baum­bach was up to the task. Witty and sad. 5. CAPOTE The ful­some praise for Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man’s su­perb per­for­mance as Tru­man Capote dis­tracted at­ten­tion from the sub­tlety of Ben­nett Miller’s di­rec­tion. 6. HID­DEN/CACHÉ A rare ex­am­ple of a film which – by en­cour­ag­ing the viewer to ex­am­ine Michael Haneke’s puz­zling images as closely as the char­ac­ters scru­ti­nise their own equally be­wil­der­ing sur­veil­lance tapes – ac­tu­ally be­comes even more fas­ci­nat­ing on DVD. The di­rec­tor’s best yet. 7. CHIL­DREN OF MEN Why are Bri­tish land­scapes so suited to the frayed, post-apoca­lyp­tic thriller? Who knows, but Al­fonso Cuarón de­liv­ers the best such film in decades. 8. THE DE­PARTED Af­ter ob­serv­ing au­di­ences strain­ing des­per­ately to en­joy The Avi­a­tor and Gangs of New York, it is a plea­sure to see Martin Scors­ese de­liver a gen­uine pop­u­lar suc­cess. Give him a bloody Os­car. 9. THE HOST A gi­ant tad­pole-like thing, cre­ated by the re­lease of tox­ins into the Han River, threat­ens to con­sume Seoul in Bong Joon-ho’s sin­gu­lar com­bi­na­tion of hor­ror and po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary. 10. BO­RAT: CUL­TURAL LEARN­INGS OF AMER­ICA FOR MAKE BEN­E­FIT GLO­RI­OUS NA­TION OF KAZA­KHSTAN Yes, it’s sopho­moric and border­line racist. True, it has barely enough struc­ture to qual­ify as a proper film. But, boy, is it funny. The DVD will sit be­side This Is Spinal Tap on stu­dents’ shelves for­ever.

THE FIVE WORST 1. THE DA VINCI CODE No event movie since The Phan­tom Men­ace has proved to be quite so un­re­lent­ingly ter­ri­ble. Worse even than the book (if that is pos­si­ble). 2. RENT “We are bo­hemi­ans in 1980s New York”, they sing. “La! La! La! The world owes us and all our stupid per­for­manceartist friends a liv­ing.” The real lyrics are gris­lier still. 3. TRUST THE MAN A light ro­man­tic com­edy set in down­town Man­hat­tan can’t re­ally be all that hor­ri­ble, can it? Wrong. A film packed to the port­holes with peo­ple who de­serve to con­tract sca­bies. 4. TERKEL IN TROU­BLE Hor­ren­dous an­i­mated Dan­ish com­edy that fails to ex­tract hu­mour from rape, mur­der and child abuse. Is to South Park as ni­tric acid is to Moët & Chan­don. 5. THE SANTA CLAUSE 3/ DECK THE HALLS/GROUNDED (tied) Tis the sea­son to fill the cine­mas with the foulest ef­flu­ent Hol­ly­wood’s sew­ers can gen­er­ate. Don’t worry. The Great Es­cape’s still on telly.


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