As 2006 draws to a close, moviegoers will look back on a year that promised so much - thanks to a relatively exciting Academy Awards - but delivered so little. While the local film industry continues its downward spiral, Hollywood keeps churning out movies that feel more like video games. Yet, there are a few exceptions. The following five cinematic triumphs remind us of the power of good films. United 93: 'Certainty of death - small chance of success - what are we waiting for?' says a brave axeman on the eve of the final conflict in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The same could have been said by the people who died, but not without a fight, on United Airlines Flight 93 during the September 11 terrorist hijacking. Directed by Paul Greengrass, United 93 is a realistic and gripping account that puts us in the shoes of the victims, whose brave deeds showed humanity at its finest. It is the best film about September 11 this year. The Host: This Korean monster flick is scary and hilarious, but it also has a political sting in its tail. The film tells the story of a family battling a carnivorous amphibian - the result of a US army officer dumping toxic industrial waste into the Han River. 'The world in which we live, its politics and system, when combined together, can be more fearsome [than a real monster],' said director Bong Joon-ho. In the film, the authorities circulate wrong information about the monster, spreading fear among the public. This reminds us of how the US government went looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq without solid proof of their existence. A Battle of Wits: The film is written and directed by Jacob Cheung Chi-leung, who spent 10 years convincing sceptical sponsors to invest in the project. It's adapted from a popular manga that follows the adventures of a warrior pacifist (played by singer-actor Andy Lau Tak-wah) in China during the Warring Kingdoms era 2,000 years ago. Featuring battle scenes that rank among the best ever for a Chinese production and characters with Shakespearean dimensions, A Battle of Wits is a moving war epic that spreads the message of peace. Citizen Dog: A boy-meets-girl story that contains some bizarre and funny scenes. In one, a dead grandmother - reincarnated in the form of a gecko - persuades her lovelorn grandson not to hang himself. The Thai romantic comedy gives us hope by showing that there can be humour and happiness in this far-from-perfect world. Director Wisit Sasanatieng makes heroes out of ordinary people in this imaginative and enjoyable film. Offside: Winner of the Silver Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival, it is a humorous and unusual film about football, women and Iran. Written and directed by Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, the film revolves around a group of girls who are banned from going to football matches under Islamic law. So they disguise themselves as boys to sneak into the stadium to watch a World Cup qualifier. Funny and, at times, sad, Offside ends on an uplifting note: as Iran wins the game, everyone - boys and girls, prison guards and their captives - celebrates on the streets. If our world is separated by gender and religion, at least we have a remedy: football.