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Published:December 28th, 2006 05:00 EST
Big Screen Hits of  2006

Big Screen Hits of 2006

By Garrett Godwin

The year 2006 is coming to an end.  On the big screen, it has been a year of sequels that involve good versus evil, the rebirth of two beloved heroes and the reunion of two great onscreen couples.  Whether these movies are about knowing that there is life outside the fast lane (Cars) or taking the audience to the high seas for fun and treasure (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), 2006 was a year of vast array of cinema options.

Mission: Impossible 3
Before walking down the Italian aisle with Katie, Tom Cruise proved that he still has what it takes to deliver in the third installation of the successful action-spy film series.  With writer-director J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) at the helm, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) must not only save the world from his arch-villain, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, but also save himself and the woman, he loves.

X-Men: The Final Stand
Despite the absence of Bryan Singer, the heart and soul of another great film series, Brett Ratner fills the shoes well in what may turn out to be the final chapter of the ongoing saga against the X-Men and the Brotherhood.  There are some shocking twists and turns in the movie that will catch audience’s off-guard, leading to a climactic battle.

Superman Returns
Director Singer reinvents and resurrects the Man of Steel onscreen, truly picking up where Superman II (1980) left off.  Newcomer Brandon Routh (One Life to Live) embodies both Clark Kent and his super heroic alter-ego, showing why the world-- including Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) -- needs Superman, as he continues to fight for truth, justice, and the American Way.  Do not forget: he is always around.

The Lake House
Twelve years after Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunite for this sweet, romantic fantasy.  Despite the unlikely premise, in which their characters are living two years apart, Reeves and Bullock still have great onscreen chemistry.  The audience will wonder if they can break the boundaries of time to be together.

Miami Vice
There are no pastels in this version.  The 80s series' executive producer Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral), also the film's writer and director, brings this beloved classic to the big screen.  Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) still fight the criminal underworld and look good doing it, but this film becomes even sexier as it goes deeper and darker, proving that this is not our parents' Miami Vice; it is ours.

Casino Royale
Daniel Craig is winning raves and fans in what critics are saying is the best Bond ever.  What makes this latest Bond movie so likable is that 007 is being born and reinvented: a complete 180 from the womanizing, super heroic spy that likes martinis shaken, not stirred.  James Bond becomes a much darker, complex human being; he not only gets a license to kill, but -- surprise -- he falls in love for the first time.

There have been movies that were either critically acclaimed, box office blockbusters, or both.

It is films like these that give us something: escape from life and the chance to go somewhere else and be someone else.

If you have not seen them, now is your chance, because they are still available in theatres or now on DVD.

Happy Holidays!