Best Hollywood Movies Of 2006 is the 6th installment of our series of best movies of the 20th century.
Ofelia’s love of fairy tales is obvious from the beginning of El Laberinto del fauno. Set in the not so tranquil Spanish woodlands of World War Two, where a small band of anti-Falangist rebels is hiding out. This is where Ofelia and her pregnant mother have come to live, in the company of Capitán Vidal, Ofelia’s new stepfather and soon to be the father of her half-brother.
It is with the brutal, unforgiving and totalitarian idealist Capitán Vidal and his Falangist troops, who must weed out these resistance fighters of the hills and woods, that Ofelia finds her release and distraction from the new world order and its warring factions and delves into the old, mysterious and enchanting world of fairies, faun’s and giant frogs. Beautiful, charming, graphic, and deadly. El Laberinto del fauno.
Released: 19 January 2007
Runtime: 118 min
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, War
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro
Actors: Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Doug Jones
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
In the late nineteenth century, Vienna, renowned illusionist Eisenheim was reunited with the Duchess von Teschen when she volunteered for the audience to participate in an illusion during one of his performances.
Despite having not seen each other in fifteen years when they were teenagers, they almost immediately recognized each other as Eduard Abramovich and Sophie von Teschen, who had a doomed romance at that time due to their class differences. The Duchess is soon to be wed to the Crown Prince Leopold in what would be for him a marriage solely in pursuit of power: overthrowing his father, Emperor Leopold, as well as overtaking the Hungarian side of the empire.
The Crown Prince is known to use violence against women if it suits his needs or purposes. As such, the Duchess, who realizes that she still loves Eisenheim and her family, can never leave the Crown Prince without it jeopardizing her life.
After Eisenheim humiliates the Crown Prince at a private show which results in an incident between the Crown Prince and the Duchess, the battle between Eisenheim and the Crown Prince moves into the public performance realm, which many believe demonstrates Eisenheim’s supernatural powers.
Much of the work for the Crown Prince in the battle with Eisenheim was conducted by Chief Inspector Uhl, who would become the Chief of Police under the Crown Prince’s reign. As such, Uhl may have ulterior motives in turning a blind eye to any unlawful act of the Crown Prince against Eisenheim or the Duchess.
Released: 01 Sep 2006
Runtime: 110 min
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, History, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Neil Burger (screenplay), Steven Millhauser (short story \Eisenheim the Illusionist\)
Actors: Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
6Letters from Iwo Jima
Concentrating on the battle at Iwo Jima, director Clint Eastwood’s film depicts the daily grind and worries of the Japanese soldiers that occupied the island, awaiting an inevitable attack by U.S. forces. We see them digging trenches and constructing tunnels for battle, and, at last, waiting to die even as they extol the nobility of their hopeless cause.
General Kuribayashi carries an American Colt .45, which makes him suspect in the eyes of more traditionalist officers, including Admiral Ohsugi. Saigo, a young baker recruited against his will, and the general both write letters home, Saigo to his wife and Kuribayashi to his son Taro.
Each, in his own way, understands what’s coming, and each embodies a certain nobility that is at once familiar from U.S. war movies and unconventional. They question conventional wisdom and look after their fellows, but neither is inclined to the sort of unquestioning obedience displayed by the fierce Lieutenant Ito, who, unable to convince anyone else to follow him, straps mines to his body and heads off into the night, determined to find an American tank and lie beneath it to blow it up.
Language: Japanese, English
Released: 02 Feb 2007
Runtime: 141 min
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, History, War
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Iris Yamashita (screenplay), Iris Yamashita (story), Paul Haggis (story), Tadamichi Kuribayashi (book), Tsuyoko Yoshido (book)
Actors: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryô Kase
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Years ago, a powerful Irish mafia figure placed a small selection of his youngest, brightest men into the Massachusetts State Police Academy as cadets. Their purpose is to eventually rise within the prestigious ranks of the state police department, to serve as the eyes and ears of their boss.
While somewhere else, a young cadet was assigned with an equally dangerous task: infiltrating the Irish syndicate headed by the man sending in his own to the Massachusetts State Police. Now, one cadet is an up and coming police official with a torn allegiance to his job and to the criminal mastermind that put him there.
While the other cadet is the trusted number two of that man, only finding his professional duties are becoming blurred with his current state. But new clues have to lead to unfortunate discoveries when both sides realize they’re being watched by the enemy.
Language: English, Cantonese
Released: 06 Oct 2006
Runtime: 151 min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: William Monahan (screenplay), Alan Mak, Felix Chong
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
4Children of Men
Set in Great Britain in 2027, Children Of Men is an intensely violent, dystopian vision of a future in which women are infertile and the world is in the midst of complete social collapse.
When one of the last children born on Earth is murdered, his death sets off massive protests and violent conflicts between sectarian groups. Bureaucrat Theo is reluctantly drawn into the fray when his ex-wife, Julian — head of an underground opposition group — asks him for help transporting a special passenger out of London.
In a chaotic Big-Brother atmosphere, Theo joins the group to help transport a pregnant West African woman named Kee to The Human Project, an organization operating from a ship offshore. After marauders attack Theo’s caravan, the team regroups in a remote farmhouse.
Theo soon has to escape again, this time with Kee and a midwife in tow. They relocate to the house of Theo’s good friend, Jasper, who offers them shelter and encouragement in making it to their destination.
Language: English, German, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Arabic, Georgian, Russian, Serbian
Released: 05 Jan 2007
Runtime: 109 min
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer: Alfonso Cuarón (screenplay), Timothy J. Sexton (screenplay), David Arata (screenplay), Mark Fergus (screenplay), Hawk Ostby (screenplay), P.D. James (novel)
Actors: Juan Gabriel Yacuzzi, Mishal Husain, Rob Curling, Jon Chevalier
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
3Little Miss Sunshine
When 7-year-old Olive Hoover learns that she’s qualified for the little Miss Sunshine contest, the entire family sets off in their VW camper van for the trip from Albuquerque to California.
The family includes her reasonably sane mother Sheryl; her father Richard, a motivational speaker who is stressing over whether his book will be published; her brother Dwayne, who is into Nietzsche and has taken a vow of silence and hasn’t said a word in 9 months; her grandpa Edwin Hoover, who likes to cuss; and her uncle Frank Ginsburg – Sheryl’s brother – who recently tried to commit suicide.
Along the way, the van breaks down, Richard learns his book won’t be published and they forget Olive at a gas station. They face grief along the way but they get Olive to the pageant on time – even if the pageant itself doesn’t quite go as planned.
Released: 18 August 2006
Runtime: 101 min
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writer: Michael Arndt
Actors: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
When devoted Sierra Leone husband/father Solomon Vandy’s (Djimon Hounsou) family is dispersed by rebel militias and his young son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) conscripted to serve as a child soldier, Solomon is sent to work as a diamond miner.
As luck has it, he finds a gigantic 100-karat “pink”; Zimbabwe-born soldier of fortune Danny (Leonardo DiCaprio) happens to hear of this, and soon the two undertake a tense and untrusting agreement: Danny will help Solomon find his family and a buyer for the diamond.
But Danny is set onto a moral-lesson-learning path not only by his relationship with Solomon but also by a new friendship with U.S. reporter Maddy (Jennifer Connelly). Though she, too, distrusts Danny, she wants the story he can give her about the ins and outs of the illegal arms and diamond traffic.
Danny dismisses Maddy’s work in Sierra Leone and in other war zones as “writing about it” – that is, observing and exploiting, just as he does. But she feels a passion for the cause, especially when she meets Solomon.
Though Maddy is cynical about the effects of U.S media, she believes she can help by “writing about it.” So she agrees to the plan: Danny will help her as she helps Solomon, and, in turn, Solomon will find his hidden diamond for Danny.
Language: English, Mende, Afrikaans
Released: 08 Dec 2006
Runtime: 143 min
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Charles Leavitt (story), C. Gaby Mitchell (story)
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Kagiso Kuypers
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
In nineteenth-century London, illusionist Alfred Borden is on trial for the murder of fellow illusionist, Robert Angier. Borden’s indictment is largely possible because of the eyewitness account of John Cutter, who saw Borden backstage in the area where Angier was killed.
At the end of one of his shows, Angier fell through a trap door in the stage floor into a clear water-filled tank below that tank, which was a prop for one of Angier’s tricks performed earlier in the show.
Angier ended up drowning, as the tank was locked after he fell into it. Borden, Angier, and Cutter have a largely turbulent history, which also provides motive. Early in their magic careers, both Borden and Angier worked under “Milton the Magician”, while Angier’s wife Julia worked as his on-stage assistant, and Cutter as his ingenious, staging tricks and providing the apparatus required, work that he still does for others.
Based on a specific incident during this stage of their relationship, this led to both Borden and Angier striking out, creating their own shows, and then having a feud, which was not only in the professional realm but a personal one, where each man wanted to ruin the other. While Borden is arguably more accomplished in the technical aspects of the illusions, Angier is the more accomplished showman.
In the professional realm, they tried to outdo each other, especially in the illusions considered either the most dangerous and/or mysterious, those two being a catch-the-bullet trick, and more so, the transported man trick. In the process of their feud, they seemingly were not averse to any means, even with the collateral damage of others. The question is if those means extend to murder, especially of the other.
Released: 20 Oct 2006
Runtime: 130 min
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Priest (novel)
Actors: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Piper Perabo
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
This concludes our list of 8 Best Hollywood Movies Of 2006. Which is your favorite movie of 2006? Do let us know in the comments below.