Ten favourite movies of the year: Orgasm addicts
- The Wayward Cloud: Because watermelon is more sensually fulfilling than porn. The final salty scene makes this Tsai's masterpiece.
- Army of Shadows: By my count, it would've been the second best movie of 1969 as well (behind The Wild Bunch), so placing it this high doesn't reflect poorly on 2006. The violence against allies is wrenching; the final text devastating.
- Breakfast on Pluto: Filled with missteps, Neil Jordan's adaptation never lacks in pop life, while Gavin Friday and Stephen Rea provide remarkable tender cameos.
- Casino Royale: Best Bond I've seen. Much credit goes to Eva Green, winner of this year's Keira Knightley "when did she learn to act" award. But if, as I suspect, the major auteur is Paul Haggis, he should be immediately be banned from working on any movie with half a Oscar chance, for Hollywood's sake.
- Princess Raccoon: Old Japanese folktale meets postmodern cutting. Zhang Ziyi always looks best when (cineamatically) cut to pieces.
- Three Times: These days, Hou seems at his best these days when ripping off WKW, and at his worst when ripping off himself.
- Shortbus: Welcome to New York City, a town of beautiful phalluses and sexual possibility. Line of the year: "It's like the Sixties, but with less hope." Non-Maggie Cheung performance of the year: Sook-Yin Lee.
- Why We Fight: The lionisation of Eisenhower is shaky, but the damning analysis of the motivations and dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex Ike warned us about is spot on. It's a problem that's greater than any one war.
- Heading South: Laurent Cantet treats Ménothy Cesar, his Haitian lead, as the Other, risking the wrath of critics who treat this as a reflection of his personal morality, rather than a reflection of society. It takes respect to let both Cesar and Charlotte Rampling be beautiful in their different ways.
- United 93: You may not approve of what it's doing, but you can't deny it's doing it. The one false moment, as the movie ends, is genuinely inspirational.
Most unfortunately overrated: Little Miss Sunshine: It's churlish to give this to a movie that's moderately good, but I've avoided bad movies with some success this year, and Sunshine's likely Best Picture nom, along with overhype from critics who should know better, makes it fair game. As funny as an upper-middling episode of The Simpsons, the sentimentality starts an hour too soon, and it unforgivably doesn't end with Greg Kinnear getting burnt at the stake.
Full 2006 lists: top 50 movies, inevitable wrestling picks, other stuff