As 2006 rapidly comes to a close, we at Moviefone are , well, first: in total disbelief that the year is ending, and second: lining up our best-of lists for '06. Without further ado, here's mine:
Maggie Gyllenhaal is all raw emotion and unbridled Id as a former drug addict fresh out of jail and trying to get her life back on track, with decidedly mixed results. When Sherry tries to run off with her daughter but turns back, it's the most mature decision she's made -- probably in her entire life.
9. Jesus Camp
This documentary gives a frightening glimpse into the minority of the country that's co-opted our national political agenda for the last several years thanks to their attention-grabbing activism. And here's how they do it: They start training them young. Real young.
A criminally under-seen horror thriller penned and directed by 'Dawn of the Dead' screenwriter James Gunn (also hubby to Jenna Fischer, Pam on 'The Office,' and brother to Sean Gunn, crazy Kirk on 'Gilmore Girls'), 'Slither' tickled us, grossed us out and gave us a renewed appreciation for Air Supply's 'All Out of Love.'
Sacha Baron Cohen's faux documentary on the making of a Kazakh TV special is so over-the-top outrageous, you literally can't believe what you're seeing on the screen. Are we Americans really that dim, and racist? On the bright side -- laughing at ourselves to the tune of almost $130 million (to date) is the first step in admitting we have a problem.
6. Casino Royale
Blonds DO have more fun. Or, in this case, more gun play ... fewer gadgets but smarter babes. New Bond Daniel Craig slipped on the 007 tux like a second skin. And reinvigorated a franchise that, last I checked, was trapped in the '80s. My favorite "popcorn" movie of the year.
5. Shut Up & Sing
The Dixie Chicks documentary follows the band in the aftermath of singer Natalie Maines' 2003 Bush-bashing comment. Being reminded of how much the Chicks were bashed because of it makes me ashamed that those self-proclaimed "patriots" are from our country. And as we mostly agree now, in hindsight, she was right, folks.
4. Half Nelson
This little drama about an idealistic and drug-addicted inner-city high school teacher boasts amazingly spot-on performances by Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie and first-time actress Shareeka Epps. It's absolutely inexcusable that none of the three were recognized by the Globes; I'm looking to other awards to right that wrong. Hear me, Oscar?
3. Pan's Labyrinth
Oh, don't ask me to explain this movie. Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy is so thoroughly original it's practically indescribable. But, sure, I'll try: It's a Grimm's fairy tale for fanboys and art-house lovers alike. It's 'Hellboy' meets 'The Chronicles of Narnia' (minus any underlying Christian themes).
2. United 93
Acclaimed director Paul Greengrass ('Bloody Sunday') dramatizes what should have been a routine flight but that became the only planned suicide plane not to reach its target on 9/11. Pieced together from passengers' and crew members' last cell-phone calls, the film is quietly devastating.
1. The Departed
Martin Scorsese's is bringing gritty Mob thrillers back with the testosterone-charged Boston crime drama; the key word here being "thrill." There's a screen full of career-best performances -- Leo, Matt, Marky Mark -- and an ending so cool they needed three ... I loved every one of 'em. I've said it before and I've no doubt I'll say it again -- this should be Scorsese's Oscar.