2006 Bellview Awards--The Mid-Year
I'm down a bit this year on the home video
front (40 VCUs, explained below), but I'm on par at 60 theater
flicks through six months this year, so I've got some work to do in
the second half! Films this year haven't hooked me quite as
much as in years past; part of the problem here has been my
insistence on seeing more mainstream films this year, but also the
quality of work by established actors in average-to-below-average
films (such as the normally reliable Michael Douglas in
"The Sentinel", or
the normally reliable Tom Hanks in
"The Da Vinci
Code"). The second half doesn't appear to be blowout
material, but don't you worry--with "Snakes on a Plane", a new Bond
and "World Trade Center" on the way, there are chances for
redemption over the latter half of the year.
Enjoy the mid-year awards, and drop me a
line to let me know what you think!
Video Composite Units--this number
combines films and TV shows that I have watched by breaking them
down into total hours. For standalone films, those count as
one VCU; for TV content, they are broken down into total minutes so
that they fall within a 90-to-120-minute range and then are referred
to as a unit. For example, the first season of "Deadwood" had
12 60-minute episodes, so that breaks down into 6 VCUs, since it is
12 hours of footage.
This was REALLY tough this year, 1) because
no film this year has been perfect for me, and 2) I only thought a
few films so far have truly been great. Of those, I still
laugh every time I think about that one fat woman that chases
Esqueleto through that tunnel at the house party during the
"The Lost City"
"Akeelah and the Bee"
Best Actress--Ellen Page,
As much as I hate this character throughout
the film, there's no denying that the work is excellent; I'm
guessing about 90% of you never saw this film, so rent it on DVD
Devil Wears Prada." It's a one-note bitch boss
character but the best always seem to bring that extra je ne
sais quoi to the table; no surprises here!
Keke Palmer, "Akeelah and the Bee."
In that rarefied air of kid actors that are good and don't annoy
the shit out of you, Palmer is the goods in this
Mandy Moore, "American Dreamz."
Sure, she's basically playing herself, but backing up her work
in "Saved!", I
think Moore has actual talent
Vendetta." You're right, I didn't like the movie, but
I still can't blame that on Portman, whose work here borders on
insane given her effort level in a film that I thought dogged it
from the jump
Best Actor--Jack Black, "Nacho Libre"
I normally don't love him either, but
there's no denying that the energy he brings to a role like a
half-Mexican priest-wrestler wannabe is a big boost and he was damn
near born to play this role
machine-gun-quick dialogue steeped in 1940s noir is something to
behold, and while all of the characters in the film are spouting
it, none do it better than Gordon-Levitt
Jim." His work here almost puts you to sleep, but then
you realize that's who this character is; I'm not ready to say
an Affleck guy can act, but in this particular movie, the work
Returns." Look, whether he's playing Superman, or
Christopher Reeve-as-Superman, I still don't know, but he's damn
near perfect for this part
I honestly can't find five strong male
performances that I thought were top-notch this year (I don't
include movies that came out last year that I saw this year in
these categories). So many disappointments!
Best Supporting Actress--Jodie Foster,
One of the surprise successes this year,
Foster's shady character is fierce, but she can also credit her
talent plus looking better on film than maybe ever, which is saying
"Lucky Number Slevin." For the first time in a film, I
really bought Liu as an accessible female, one that might
be...well, cute! Her interplay with the character played
by Josh Hartnett is actually pretty good!
Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School." Her dance
instructor character is hilarious; too bad the majority of this
film is a drag
Scared." In what has to be the most
senselessly-violent, over-the-top adult film of the year,
Farmiga's role as the wife of grunt Paul Walker was actually
pretty entertaining, including her take on what to do about
Again, acting is REALLY down this year;
the bit parts for females that are more interesting than "scared
wife" or "concerned best friend" continue to suffer
Best Supporting Actor--Mark Boone, Jr.,
Maybe the funniest single scene in the film
or any other this year (see below) belongs to Boone, who is
magnificent in his five minutes of screen time
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
"M:I-3." Big-budget mainstream or not, Hoffman is
great as the bad guy here, and he's better than advertised
playing his own version of evil
Tony Yalda, "American Dreamz." As
Omer's hilariously over-the-top gay cousin, his half-dozen
scenes all come off with laughs in a film already heavy on bit
"Thank You for Smoking." Again, a five-minute part,
but can anyone forget his standing-around-in-kimono moment?
In a movie that deserved to suck, the
rapper/actor/poet/all-everything is great and at times downright
annoying as the mumbling key witness that Bruce Willis's
character has to protect
Biggest Fucking Piece of Shit (tie)--"Adam
& Steve" and
I honestly couldn't decide which of these
Hard Vice-quality films was worse, the former (if this is the best
gay cinema has to offer, gay-themed films are in a WORLD of hurt) or
the latter (maybe the single worst action film that will come out
this year). "Adam & Steve" was funded independently, and maybe
that's the more surprising of the two films here...as Yac and I
commented throughout, it's the one with the potential for an upside
if someone with any talent had directed it. "Ultraviolet" just
Ten Great Scenes of the First Half of 2006 (not necessarily in
order, and it will be changed before the end of the year!):
"Hard Candy"--you know what!
"Lonesome Jim"--Evil: "How's that weed?"
Jim: "Strong, man!" Evil: "Yeah...I put some crack in it!"
"Nacho Libre"--the song, "Encarnacion",
that Nacho sings to Esqueleto before their last match
"American Dreamz"--"IT'S JUST...A BASS
Panther"--Clouseau's English lessons, when he is trying to
pronounce the word "hamburger"
the black stuntman takes over for Julia (Alyson Hannigan, who is
a white woman) during a staged shot near the end of the film.
Still don't know if this gag was intentional or not, but it IS
"V for Vendetta"--the end action
Anna (Tanya Allen) gets her skin pulled off by Pyramid Head
Movie 4"--CatBoy's dialogue with Cindy (Anna Faris) using
only Japanese companies
Best Thing I Watched on DVD--anything by
I watched four Lumet films this year:
"The Verdict" and
"12 Angry Men." All were perfect, and all exemplify what I
love about Lumet's films--he does a TON with almost nothing.
By that, I mean all he did was assemble some of the greatest
performers of our time, like Newman, or Fonda, or Matthau, or
Duvall, or Dunaway, and he just puts them in a room and magic seems
to happen every time! Nothing characterizes this more than "12
Angry Men", which takes place in literally one room for almost its
entire running time, but damn, the drama this situation creates is
as good as anything I've ever seen. He is certainly an
all-time legend but one I had never really invested time in before
this year, but I'm glad I have scoped out the work.
here to see all of
the films of 2006 reviewed and rated. Since movies go from
theater to DVD kicky-fast these days, many of these flicks are
already out on video. Have a good one...
Comments? Drop me a line at