Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Best of 2006

Happy New Year to all of you in blogger land! For your entertainment (or perhaps just my own, are you guys still out there?) here are my favourite things from 2006. In no order.

Top Five Movies of 2006
The Illusionist:
Set in Austria at the turn of the century, it's a story about...an illusionist (never would have guessed that, eh?!) who is in love with a noblewomen betrothed to a craaaazy guy. It's very very pretty and has a great story. Very pretty. Also, Edward Norton does the moody/brooding/slightly unbalanced thing very well.

Happy Feet:
Okay, now I'm not much for a lot of the new cg kids movies...actually I hate most of them, and the market is saturated with them. Where are the princess movies? Where? Anyway, all ranting aside, I loved this movie. It may be in part my love of baby penguins, but I think it's mostly that Robin Williams is the funniest mexican penguin I've ever seen. Oh and good enviromental messages...well more like an unexpected enviromental ambush, but if you think that the little penguins are soooooo cute, then you should care that we are slowly killing them.

Inside Man:
Oh Clive Owen, how is it possible to have such a sexy voice? I mean...good plot. Okay no really, it's a good plot, I loved this movie. It's about a bank heist and is mostly about the communications between the Hostage Negotiator (Denzel Washington) and the Criminal Mastermind (Clive Owen). Might not sound like much fun, but it's a great movie, very well written with lots of suprises.

V for Vendetta:
This is the big blockbuster on the list. It's a beautiful near-future movie set in an England that under a fear driven martial law. It's very thought provoking, the dialogue is wonderful and the acting is great. Oh I love it, I need to go buy it...
Stars Natalie Portman (who is beautiful even without hair, which is quite a feat) and Hugo Weaving (whom you may have met as Mr. Smith in the Matrix)

Little Miss Sunshine:
A comedy of the...off beat variety. It centers around a little girl who wants to win a children's beauty pageant, so her whole family gets in a van and drives her there. The brother has taken a vow of silence for philosophical reasons. The uncle is recovering from a suicide attempt, the dad is an inspirational speaker and the grampa is completely inapropriate. The mom just tries to keep it all together. That doesn't sound terribly funny...but it is if you're me! Really, it's hilarious.

Hey, that's a pretty good cross-section! Movies for everyone!

Top Five Books of 2006 (or at least that I read in 2006)

Shadow of the Giant - Orsen Scott Card:
This was the latest (final?) book in the Ender's Shadow series. I'm not gonna lie to you, this book made me cry at the end, and I'm not a crier. But these characters were so real to me that it was really hard to let them go. Not that it's a sad ending....just....okay well I was sad...I actually had trouble sleeping because I was so sad. Now if that doesn't convince you to read a book what will! Um, you should start with the rest of the series though, or it won't make sense.

Valient - Holly Black:
A YA dark urban fantasy. Not for young readers though, I'd say at least 14, maybe 16. It's the second of Holly Black's Faerie books, but you don't need to read Tithe to understand it. It follows a girl who runs away from home when she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with...her mom! (ew!) So understandibly upset she ends up on the streets in New York where she meets some kids that make deliveries for the various faerie folk, including the troll under the bridge.

A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray:
Another YA dark fantasy, this one takes place in a girl's finishing school in victorian england where a girl brought up in india learns she has the power to access magical realms. The book is written in the first person present tense, which is a bit odd at first, but it's a fantastic book.

Talyn - Holly Lisle:
Well, I already wrote about this one, just scroll down a bit. And then go buy it!

The Measure of a Lady - Deanne Gist:
Ha! This is not Sci-fi/fantasy. It is Christian Historical Romance! Oh the horror! This is the only christian book I read this year that fit my criteria for a great book...I read it in one sitting. I literally only took breaks to eat and pee. It follows 20 year old Rachel van Buren who arrives in gold rush San Francisco with her two younger siblings, orphaned buy their fortune seeking father who died on the journey. Rachel struggles with holding to her convictions in a less than perfect setting, and in the end learns how to love instead of judge others. It's Deanne's second book, and A Bride Most Begruding which I also read this year is equally good.

Top Five Albums of 2006

K-Os - Atlantis-Hymns for Disco:
What? Rap? Hip Hoppness? It's true, I normally don't go there, but this is a great CD, it's very uplifting and always leaves me smilling.
Best Song: Vahalla Song you would have heard: The Rain

Snow Patrol - Eyes Open:
Great Depressing Alternative Rock...well some of the songs are happy, but really the depressing ones are better. Beautiful harmonies and interesting song structures.
Best song: Set Fire to the third Bar. Song you would have heard: Chasing Cars

Alexisonfire - Crisis:
Saw them in concert, great show. Good if you like a balance of screaming and pretty singing. No really, they can co-exist.
Best Song: Boiled Frogs Song you would have heard: This could be anywhere in the world

Sarah McLachlan - Wintersong:
Yes this is a christmas cd...but it's sooo pretty I could listen to it all the time. Nice and folky...and a little jazzy.
Best Song: What Child is This? Song you would have heard: River

Lacuna Coil - Karmacode:
Not as good as they're last album, but still goosebump worthy. Beautiful gothy rock. If you think you like Evanescence you should give them a listen, Cristina Scabbia can beat the socks off Amy Leigh.
Best Song: Fragile Song you would have heard: Nothing! At least not on my radio stations.

Phew, anyone read all that? What are your favourite things from last year?