Every year critics try to bring order to howling chaos. Here's an example of what I mean by chaos: the list of movies released in '06. Try to make sense of this roster of some successes and many, many failures! What strikes me most about the year in cinema is the doubling effect of good ideas and poor ones.
Example: In a pink-tinted haze, Sophie Coppola tries to make a film about royalty, Marie Antoinette, and then releases it within months of The Queen. There, Stephen Frears and company depict the troubling duality of such a symbol, the power-struggles in a family where the most powerful member is the sovereign of a nation. Compare the two, it's like watching Reese Witherspoon's Elle Woods and Simone de Beauvoir having a debate.
And take the Reitmans: dad Ivan makes My Super Ex-Girlfriend, one of the worst movies of the year, and his son Jason makes one of the best, Thank You For Smoking. Woody Allen makes a featherweight comedy about magic; Christopher Nolan makes the art of the prestidigitator a dark and bloody art.
Since film reviewing is a matter of remembering a few images and trying to recreate them in prose, here goes:
1.The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
Our movies aren't equipped with much breathing room. So the scene of the neighbors yacking on the stairwells, their compassion stirred but not awakened by their drunken neighbor's plight, were all just a small part of the breadth of this vast film. Despite the morbid title, this was a genuine human comedy.