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Best of 2006
Marlow's Ten Best of 2006

By Jonathan Marlow

Or, Ten Best Narrative Live-Action Features Released Theatrically in 2006.

End of year ten-best lists are, at best, idiosyncratic. It was a year that saw plenty of good films and, inevitably, some of the worst moments every committed to celluloid or tape. Two franchises were revived (Superman Returns and Casino Royale) while two others reached a temporary end (X-Men: The Last Stand and Mission Impossible 3). From the good-but-not-great - (Perfume, Volver, Little Children, The Last King of Scotland, The Queen) to the bad (Lucky Number Slevin; The Fountain; Quinceanera and so on); from the puzzling (Two Drifters) to the pointless (Babel; Breaking & Entering) and even into the realm of the unclassifiable (Borat), 2006 was a relatively lackluster year with a handful of highlights. Much like any typical twelve months at the cinema, although any year with a PKD adaptation (A Scanner Darkly) shifts the whole mess into better-than-average territory. None of these films appear on the list below, however.

Since the guidelines for a year-end list needs to maintain its own interior logic, this particular ten consists of the following: live-action, narrative (no documentaries), released theatrically in the U.S. during the calendar year. Arbitrary? Of course.

I am delighted to note that several of these films have already appeared on "worst of the year" lists. It only confirms that this exercise is dominated by personal taste.



The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes

El Laberinto del Fauno/Pan's Labyrinth

The Departed

Das Leben der Anderen/The Lives of Others

Mutual Appreciation

The Proposition

Casa de Areia/The House of Sand

The Science of Sleep


Sílení (Lunacy)

Best Documentary: Iraq in Fragments

Worst Documentary: The Bridge

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