12 Months of Movies 2006: January

I have kept most of my movie tickets for the year. If there are any I haven’t, I’ll look up the movie release dates and see if I can fit them somewhere in the timeline.
Keep in mind also that this is an Australian list: some of the films may technically be 2005 releases, but they were not released here until 2006. Therefore they make my list.

So, without further ado, let’s kick off 2006 with its first month: a month of cowboys, geisha, Nazis, terrorists and reds under the bed! This is a personal list, organised chronologically. It’s by no means encyclopaedic, but it puts the year into some sort of perspective.

Goodnight, and Good Luck

January 13, 6:45, Dendy Opera Quays (Cinema 2)

The best thing about this movie for me is that it alerted me to the fact that some people in today’s world believe that McCarthyism is a good thing. I laugh in their faces!
Full of incredibly powerful rhetoric, incongruously “well preserved” black and white footage and my perennial favourite Patricia Clarkson, Goodnight and Good Luck was a more than worthy entry onto the cinematic scene for George Clooney.

Chicken Little

January 17, 5:30, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 5)

This movie is okay, but really too strange to fly. I don’t understand what is up with some of the children’s CG movies nowadays, although Chicken Little was nowhere near as bad as so many of those that bombarded the screens later in 2006.
Chicken Little‘s biggest set back – beyond the truly bizarre Barbra Streisand jokes – is that Harry Shearer uses his Kent Brockman voice to play a sportscaster.



Memoirs of a Geisha

January 20, 6:30, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 10)

Very pretty, if massively bastardised, version of a story that was already bastardised in the first place. Gong Li smouldered as Zhang Ziyi totally failed to capture the vapid obsession of her literary counterpart. That may be a good thing.
Essentialy, Geisha was another film to promote the long outdated notion of the Mystic East. It won’t inspire any accurate beliefs in people, but it will confirm what they already think they know.

The Producers

January 24, 5:30, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 11)

Yes, I’ve seen the stage show, and yes, there’s more to it. None of that stops The Producers from featuring “Springtime for Hitler”, which is 6 to 8 minutes of some of the most inspired comedy in human history. Ridiculous and sublime, The Producers isn’t a good movie. It’s a good … The Producers. That’s all I could ask for, and that’s all I got.
It wins bonus points for its absolutely hilarious end credit songs.

Brokeback Mountain

January 27, 6:30, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 10)

Ang Lee is a genius, although one might not think it to look at the nightmarish Hulk. Brokeback Mountain is exquisite and genuine. The amount of false promotion engaged to get people not to watch this movie was amazing, with the negative publicity ultimately spawning more good.
I’ll be honest and say that I sincerely doubt that Brokeback Mountain changed the way anyone who watched it thought, and I absolutely fail to understand the arguments that the film is a result of sickening political correctness (I have since learned that “PC” is an accusation you level at something you disagree with).
All I know is that I almost cried the second time I saw it. Almost.

Munich

January 31, 5:30, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 7)

It may seem blasphemous for me to say this, but I sincerely believe that Munich outstayed its welcome. It could have been more effective had it not seemed so ponderous. Spielberg’s work is commendable for the fact that it doesn’t take an obvious side, and that it suggests that any form of terrorism, whether approved by the state or not, is dehumanising.
Good performances from Eric Bana, Daniel Craig and Geoffrey Rush sustained the film, and it somehow felt like it was made in the seventies (due to the colours used). If Spielberg had cut his trademark “innocent little girl in red”, maybe I would have felt this film was more commendable. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood that night. Bottom line: good, but not superlative.

The Family Stone

Ticket Lost – a Tuesday in January, Greater Union George Street

I hate Sarah-Jessica Parker in neurotic roles. Something about that mole on her chin makes her an instant source of distrust. I normally like Dianne Keaton, and I think that Rachel McAdams is pretty, but in this film they’re insufferable bitches. I couldn’t suffer them.

Excruciating and maudlin, The Family Stone was many light years removed from okay (but it was not the worst of the SJP horrors visited upon me this year). Also it indicates that the Australian box office doesn’t always make sense: this Christmas movie was released on New Year’s Day.

Pick of January 2006: Brokeback Mountain

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