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(12-14-2006)

By PETER TRAVERS

"The 10 Best Movies of 2006"
Marty and the Dreams head up the list of movies that mattered

10 Prairie Home Companion Directed by Robert Altman The last film from the legendary Robert Altman, who died in November, used Garrison Keillor's long-running radio show to salute the joy of creative life and the art of laughing in the face of death. Other movies this year are bigger, showier and more ambitious, but there are none lovelier. The cast, led by the incomparable Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin, glows under Altman's playful watch. Keillor speaks of having had the "great privilege of seeing an eighty-one-year-old guy doing what he loved to do." The rest of us have the privilege of seeing Altman's movies. Godspeed, maestro.

BEST OF THE REST

10 MORE BESTS David Lynch's Inland Empire twists your mind into scary shapes; Todd Field's Little Children is a model of literary adaptation; Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth is a surreal study of war; Michael Mann's Miami Vice sees the crime genre with laser-eyed freshness; Jason Reitman's Thank You for Smoking blows satiric smoke up Big Tobacco's ass; Christopher Guest's For Your Consideration blows satiric smoke up Oscar's ass; Christopher Nolan's The Prestige makes magic out of magic; Kelly Reichardt's Old Joy digs deep into the nature of friendship; John Hillcoat's The Proposition, an Aussie Western, is criminally underrated; and Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, despite a taste for gore that's near pathological, brings a poet's eye and fierce energy to a Mayan civilization that mirrors our own.

Best Animated film John Lasseter's Cars is a visual miracle, sweet as hell and mischievously funny. Oscar, take note. Runners-up: Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly and George Miller's Happy Feet.

Best Foreign Film Volver. Runners-up: Rachid Bouchareb's Days of Glory, Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, Deepa Mehta's Water and Jean-Pierre Melville's 1969 Army of Shadows in its U.S. debut at last.

Best Documentary Davis Guggenheim's An Inconvenient Truth cuts Al Gore loose on global warming. Runners-up: James Longley's Iraq in Fragments, Deborah Scranton's The War Tapes, Doug Block's 51 Birch Street and Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck's Shut Up and Sing.





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