Friday, December 28, 2007

Top Ten Movies I Saw in 2007

I admit I'm no film critic, although I've been an avid film fan my whole life. I simply don't have time to see all of the flicks I want to see in a year. Thus I provide this list now only in the interest of being timely (with New Year's Eve around the corner.) I doubt anyone would be interested in my Top Ten Films list in February after I've seen all the 2007 films I want to see.


Zodiac (Director David Fincher is a genius, one of the best directors working today, this film was gripping from start to finish. It wasn't about finding the Zodiac killer, it was about the hunt itself and our collective fascination with evil, with great performances and great 1970s art direction. Superb in all ways.)

Into The Wild (Wow, Emile Hirsch emerges as a great young actor in this beautifully shot tale by writer-director Sean Penn about the youthful rush to escape from the frustrations of modern life. The lead character learns the truth sadly too late that, "Happiness is only real when shared...")

Atonement (Simple, focused adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel, with great performances by James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, very moving and exquisitely produced.)

Away From Her (one of the most beautiful cinematic portraits of love I've ever seen, Canadian Sarah Polley confirms her brilliance and Julie Christie is mesmerizing.)

Hairspray (absolute fun, entertaining from start to finish, I loved John Travolta in this, I don't care what others say. Plus the best, queer-friendly PG-rated eye candy I've seen this year. Zac Efron is one hot babe!)

Amazing Grace (Wonderful history lesson about William Wilberforce, who led the charge to end the British slave trade in the early 1800s, this film reminds how establishment forces will always fight for the status quo, no matter how evil, all in the name of the almighty dollar and why it's so important to continue the fight for justice despite seemingly insurmountable barriers.)

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (gripping, great tale about Irish liberation from British rule and the splintering of the Irish Republican movement in the 1920s, told with unflinching intimacy and very thick Irish accents.)

Manufactured Landscapes (beautiful, terrible Chinese workplace images I'll never forget. 'Made In China' will never seem the same again.)

A Mighty Heart (superbly directed by Michael Winterbottom, I've never seen Angelina Jolie give a better performance, her screams after learning of her husband's death haunt me still.)

Control (beautifully shot in black & white, we learn of the origins of the British 70s band Joy Division, forerunners of New Order, and particularly the troubled life of lead singer Ian Curtis, played by the beautiful Sam Riley.)

If only to provide some insight into how successful certain movie PR/hype campaigns have been, here is my list of 2007 films I have yet to see, but which I am very excited about viewing as soon as possible:

- No Country for Old Men
- Juno
- Charlie Wilson's War
- There Will Be Blood
- Michael Clayton
- Sicko
- No End In Sight
- 3:10 To Yuma
- Gone Baby Gone
- Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
- I'm Not There

Obviously, I haven't yet seen many of the year's reported best films. So you can take my Top Ten list with a grain of salt.

The most disappointing films I saw this year:
- Danny Boyle's Sunshine (cool premise, but stupidly executed, explored no new territory and collapsed into an uninteresting hide & seek horror movie by its end.)
- Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Cate Blanchett will likely never doubt her instincts again after reluctantly agreeing to re-visit Queen Elizabeth in this unaccomplished letdown of a sequel to 1998's Elizabeth.)


S.K. said...

Breakfast with Scott. Adorable. Great holiday fare.

Year of the Dog. amazing performance, quirky dark comedy about animal lovers.

The Assassination of Jesse James, disturbing in many ways and underplays the Rebel, politics of his life and death, best cinematography of the year hands down. Watch for performace by James Carville as the Republican govenor who wants James killed.

S.K. said...

Sorry forgot. Worst film, Margot at the Wedding. I still feel ill. Don't see it.