×

DAVID ANSEN
NEWSWEEK

Was 2005 a good year or bad year overall for movies, and why? “It was quite a good year. There were at least 30 movies competing for my top-10 list, but very few were studio films. American indies and foreign films ruled. If you judge 2005 only by the big commercial releases, it was a dismal year.”

Unjustly ignored: “Rebecca Miller’s ‘The Ballad of Jack and Rose’ was ignored by the public and misunderstood by many critics; it’s her best film. Also, Rodrigo Garcia’s brilliantly written and acted ‘Nine Lives,’ which couldn’t compete against more heavily marketed movies. Also underestimated was Gore Verbinski’s ‘The Weather Man,’ the kind of small, subversive film that used to be a staple of the ’70s.”

Overrated: “I’m glad ‘Crash’ got people talking about race, but it gets L.A. racism all wrong (it’s covert, not overt), and the characters seemed to be following a diagram (bad Matt Dillon shows his good side; good Ryan Philippe shows his bad side) rather than their own true natures. I’m also astonished by the praise for ‘Transamerica,’ which is almost amateurish in its execution.”

Forgotten or overlooked performances: “Daniel Day-Lewis was extraordinary in ‘The Ballad of Jack and Rose,’ but no one seems to have seen it. Likewise Rip Torn in ‘Forty Shades of Blue.’ And Matthew Macfadyen didn’t get enough of the credit for ‘Pride & Prejudice.’ Among the women, Connie Nielsen in the Danish movie ‘Brothers’ gave an Oscar-worthy performance, and Naomi Watts’ conviction sold ‘King Kong,’ but actors never get credit for that kind of movie.”

Most promising emerging talents: “Bennett Miller, for his patient, very smart direction of ‘Capote.’ Vera Farmiga, the star of ‘Down to the Bone,’ who we’ll be hearing a lot more of. Rachel McAdams, who demonstrated that she has real movie-star magic of Julia Roberts’ caliber. I’d also mention ‘Thumbsucker’ director Mike Mills.”

Most anticipated films of 2006: “Christopher Guest’s latest, ‘For Your Consideration,’ because I can’t wait to see what he does with the world of publicists and celebrity. Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette,’ to see what she does with a costume drama. Brian De Palma’s ‘The Black Dahlia,’ which seems like a great match of director and subject. The new Almodovar and, if it’s coming this year, Scorsese’s remake of the ‘Infernal Affairs’ movies (titled ‘The Departed’).”

JACK MATHEWS
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A good year or bad? “I think it was a better-than-average year for quality. I remember many years having trouble filling out a top 10 list, and there were nearly 20 movies this year that I would have been comfortable having on my list.”

Unjustly ignored: “‘Hustle & Flow’ and ‘A History of Violence’ weren’t ignored by critics, who did their best to draw attention to them, but with $22 million and $31 million in respective ticket sales, they certainly were ignored by mainstream moviegoers. The problem is that because they were so well made, they were distributed and marketed as arthouse fare rather than broad-audience genre films.”

Overrated: “‘Me and You and Everyone We Know’ for reasons I can’t fathom. It’s like an amateur homemovie. ‘Munich’ because Spielberg has too many otherwise thoughtful critics in his thrall. ‘Match Point’ because a different Woody Allen movie than his recent junk had critics calling it a return to form.”

Forgotten or overlooked perfs: “Mickey Rourke’s performance in ‘Sin City,’ because it was released early in the year and because he is Mickey Rourke. John Leguizamo is great in ‘George Romero’s Land of the Dead,’ but performances in horror movies are DOA. Natasha Richardson in both ‘Asylum’ and ‘The White Countess’ because neither movie was as good as she was.”

Most promising emerging talents: “Terrence Howard, because he had two great roles — in ‘Hustle & Flow’ and ‘Crash’ — to showcase his enormous talent and appeal. Heath Ledger, because until ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ who knew? Kelly Reilly, because of memorable supporting roles in ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ ‘The Libertine’ and, most importantly, ‘Mrs. Henderson Presents.’ ”

Most anticipated films of 2006: “‘Che,’ because Guevara is the role Benicio Del Toro was born to play, and because I dig left-wing revolutionaries, now more than ever. ‘Ask the Dust,’ because it’s from a great book and is written and directed by the brilliant Robert Towne.”

PETER TRAVERS
ROLLING STONE

A good year or bad? “Much better than usual, I think, especially for films with something to say and the fire in the belly to say it with style. I’m talking ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ ‘Syriana,’ ‘Crash,’ ‘Capote,’ ‘The Constant Gardener’ and Steven Spielberg’s unfairly beleaguered ‘Munich.’ ”

Unjustly ignored: “‘A History of Violence,’ which I think is the best film of a good year, keeps coming up empty in the major awards sweeps. Not even a nod from the Directors Guild. Are people blind to the talents of David Cronenberg, who keeps growing as a filmmaker? If so, it’s a sad fact indeed.”

Overrated: “I know audiences paid to see ‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’; we had to, just to complete the cycle. But despite surprising critical raves, George Lucas’ farewell to his greatest achievement felt embalmed and minus any hint of the Force that made the earlier trilogy so memorable.”

Forgotten or overlooked perfs: “Viggo Mortensen did the best work of his career in ‘History of Violence.’ The ferocity and feeling he brought to his role is staggering, yet the viewers who should know best about what he accomplished — SAG members — failed to come up with a nomination. On the comedy front, Vince Vaughn really rocked in ‘Wedding Crashers.’ And even Golden Globe voters, who have a special category for comedy, ignored his work.”

Most promising emerging talents: “Terrence Howard just exploded in ‘Hustle & Flow’ and ‘Crash’ — whatever he does next will be an event. Rachel McAdams in ‘The Family Stone,’ ‘Wedding Crashers’ and ‘Red Eye’ established herself as a true star — the kind that can act as well as shine. Writer-director Noah Baumbach came into his own with ‘The Squid and the Whale.’ ”

Most anticipated films of 2006: “‘The Departed’ with Scorsese directing Jack Nicholson for the first time. It’s a helluva lot more promising than watching Sly Stallone drag his ass through the umpteenth