2016 is well under way and there are a whole host of films that will be celebrating important milestones this year… it is hard to believe that so many fantastic films are already a decade old.
We look back at some of the movies that we kicked back and enjoyed back in 2006 and wonder just how quickly time has passed. The last ten years really have flown by but these movies really are as terrific as ever.
- Casino Royale
Yes, it was ten years ago when Daniel Craig uttered the infamous line 'the name's Bond, James Bond' for the first time as he took over the role of 007 in Casino Royale. Craig may have been a somewhat controversial choice when his casting was announced, but he proved that he was more than up to the task of playing the super spy.
Casino Royale breathed new life into the Bond franchise as Craig teamed up with filmmaker Martin Campbell for the first time, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis collaborated to pen the film's screenplay. The movie follows Bond as he sets out to defeat a weapons dealer at a high stakes poker game… but things are more complicated then they see and a criminal organisation is bigger than they could have ever imagined.
Casino Royale was a Bond movie that established a new timeline and was not meant to follow on or link into any other Bond film/story that has gone before it. With Craig as Bond, a new franchise was established and a darker and more serious Bond was introduced to audiences. Gone was the silliness and the over the top gadgets that has plagued previous Bond film and we were left with an intelligent script and an incredibly interesting central character. There was a more human and flawed side to Bond this time around and Craig really shone - proving all the doubters wrong.
As well as being a critical success, Casino Royale went on to be a huge commercial hit and went on to gross $599 million at the global box office by the end of its theatrical run. It finished the year as the fourth highest grossing film - behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code and Ice Age: The Meltdown - and was the highest grossing Bond film of all time - until Skyfall came along in 2012.
Casino Royale was the movie that really kicked off Craig's tenure as Bond with a bang and he as gone on to become one of the best and most loved actors to have ever played this role. It is still unclear whether or not we will see Craig return for a fifth outing as 007.
- The Departed
Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation and 2006 saw him reunite with actor Leonardo DiCaprio for gangster film The Departed, which, for me, was one of the best films to hit the big screen that year. The Departed was the third collaboration between the director and actor and came after the success of Gangs of New York and The Aviator.
The Departed was an American remake of the 2002 Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs and saw DiCaprio joined on the cast list by Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, and Alec Baldwin. DiCaprio took on the central role of Billy Costigan, a cop who goes undercover to try to infiltrate and bring down an Irish gang in Boston. But they have their own mole in the Massachusetts State Police.
I have been a huge fan of Scorsese for many years and The Departed is up there as one of my favourites - if anyone knows how to make and deliver a gangster movie, then it is Scorsese. For me, the Departed is one of the best gangster films to have hit the big screen in recent years - helped by an intelligent and complex script as well as a trio of wonderful central performances from DiCaprio, Nicholson, and Damon.
It is these fascinating central characters that really drive this movie and you find yourself rooting for Billy from the moment that you meet him. Costigan is a man who finds the lines between good and evil becoming blurred as he struggles to hold on and complete the mission that he has been tasked with; from start to finish, DiCaprio is terrific and delivers another wonderful performance. I don't know what it is about Scorsese, but he always seems to bring the best out of this actor.
The movie was a success with the critics, at the box office and on the awards circuit. The movie was nominated for five Oscars and walked away with Best Picture, Best Director, Best adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.
- The Prestige
When you look at Christopher Nolan's back catalogue, The Prestige is a movie that tends to be overlooked… but it really is a truly terrific watch. The film hit the big screen in 2006 and came between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The film saw Nolan reunite with Christian Bale and Michael Caine, while Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson were just some of the other great names that were on board.
The Prestige was based on the novel by Christopher Priest and saw Jonathan and Christopher Nolan team up to pen the film's screenplay. Bale and Jackman starred as Alfred Borden and Robert Angier, two magicians who were driven to out do one another and create the perfect illusion - but their desire to succeed and devastating consequences.
Nolan is a director who never makes it easy for his audience and The Prestige is another movie that is packed with twists, turn, and unexpected outcomes - did you figure out the twist at the end? Where you watching closely enough? He delivers a terrific climax, as the truth about these obsessive magicians is uncovered. Nolan proves that he is as good as creating an illusion as the film's central characters.
Jackman and Bale are the film's driving force and truly come to understand the nature of obsession and the desire to be the best. The moments where they share the screen are some of the film's most powerful scenes and it is great to see Wolverine and Batman going head to head.
The Prestige may be a Nolan movie that doesn't quite receive as much acclaim as some of his other work, but it is a film that you cannot miss if you are a fan of this filmmaker.
- Pan's Labyrinth
When you look back at films that hit the big screen in 2006, few were better than Pan's Labyrinth, as Guillermo del Toro returned to the director's chair. As well as being at the helm, del Toro also penned the film's screenplay. Pan's Labyrinth was the sixth film for del Toro and came after the likes of The Devil's Backbone and Hellboy.
Set in the fascist Spain of 1944, the movie follows Ofelia, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer, who escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world. Ofelia creates a world filled with fantastical creatures and secret destinies. With Fascism at its height, Ofelia must come to terms with her world through a fable of her own creation.
Del Toro parallels the two worlds, Ofelia's imagination, and the realities of Fascist Spain, while telling the same story in both: worlds of violence, tyranny, resistance ain the timeless struggle between good and evil. This is a dark and violent fairytale, which is fully deserving of the praise and acclaim that has come its way over the years: it really does remain Del Toro's greatest directorial work.
The visual/aesthetic ambition of this film is nothing short of breathtaking - the director really has pushed the boat out when creating the palette for the two different worlds. Del Toro seamlessly blends the fantasy and fantastic with the cold and gritty harshness of reality with a range of strange and beautiful characters and sets that delve into a child's wild imagination.
Pan's Labyrinth was one of the most beautiful and intriguing movies of 2006 and was met with critical acclaim upon release. The movie went on be nominated for six Oscars, winning Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Makeup. Sadly, it missed out on Best Foreign Language Film and really should have been nominated for Best Picture.
- Children of Men
Alfonso Cuaron has been behind big movies such as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Gravity during his career, but in 2006, he brought the fantastic science fiction film Children of Men. The movie was an adaptation of the novel of the same name by P.D. James and Cuaron teamed up with Timothy Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby to pen the film's screenplay.
Children of Men is set in 2027, in a world where women have become infertile and the human race is on the brink of collapse. Clive Owen takes on the role of former activist Theo Faron, who agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant young woman to the safety of the sea - a journey that is fraught with danger and people that they cannot trust.
If you like your science fiction movies, then Children of Men is one that you simply cannot miss, as it is just a terrific film. Cuaron has mixed and balanced many different genres from sci-fi, to chase thriller, to poignant human drama. This movie also has a lot of say about the state of the world, how we treat it, and what the possible implications may be further down the line.
Cuaron creates this feeling of danger and uncertainty and this hangs over every frame in this film and makes it tense and - at times - uncomfortable ride. They have created a wonderful dystopian world that is on the brink that is so believable and real, that it will pull you into the story completely.
Children of Men was a film that further established Cuaron as an exciting filmmaker - something that he proved again later in his career with the wonderful Gravity. The movie was nominated for three Oscars; Best adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing.
- Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine was another movie gem of 2006 and it is hard to believe that this heart-warming comedy film is a decade old. Little Miss Sunshine was the feature film directorial debut of both Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, while Michael Arndt was also on board as he penned the screenplay.
The movie follows the dysfunctional Hoover family as they take a cross-country trip in their VW bus to get young daughter Oliver to the finals of the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant - there is humour, heartbreak and disappointment along the way.
Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, and Steve Carell make up the wonderful cast list as three generations of one dysfunctional family.
Little Miss Sunshine brings together a fine cast and while it does touch on darker themes of death and suicide the film is an uplifting and warm movie experience as it shows the importance of family. The film works well as both a comedy and a drama and neither one suffers from the existence of the other, it is hysterical without ever losing its human feel.
Little Miss Sunshine was one of the breakout movies of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and went on be a critical, commercial and award winning hit. The movie was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. It went on to win Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin and Best Original Screenplay. Made for just $8 million, Little Miss Sunshine went on to gross over $100 million at the global box office.
Other films that are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code and Happy Feet.