Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Best Movies of 2007

This is my list of...see the title. There's no way getting around the fact that all lists like this are very subjective. I saw a lot of last year's movies, and picking the top 40 was surprisingly easy. (I've never told anyone about this before, but since freshman college, I've been keeping a log book on all the movies I've seen and how many times I've seen them. Nerd alert.) There were some movies that looked really good, but left me a bit cold. And then there were some movies that seemed really excellent, but I could barely remember how they went a few months later (quick, tell me what again happened in the latest installments of Harry Potter, Spiderman, and Shrek). Ultimately, I based my choices not just on aesthetics and technique , but most importantly on how they affected me as a viewer, and how they stayed with me long after I've watched them.

There are many well-reviewed films that you won't see here, simply because I haven't seen them. Some of them are: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, The Savages, 12, Taxi to the Dark Side, Terror's Advocate, Lars and the Real Girl, The Life of Reilly, The Band's Visit, Walk Hard, Ten Canoes, Nanking, Away From Her, The King of Kong, Deep Water, Triad Election, 12:08 East of Bucharest, Lake of Fire, The Italian, Hot Fuzz, Syndromes and a Century, War Dance, Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains, and so on and so on and so on...

Here are my top 40, in descending order:

40. Sunshine (Danny Boyle)

39. The Mist (Frank Darabont)

38. Kadin (Adolfo Alix, Jr.)

37. The Devil Came On Horseback (Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg, with Brian Steidle)

36. Rescue Dawn (Werner Herzog)

35. Foster Child (Brillante Mendoza)

34. Tribu (Jim Libiran)

33. The Counterfeiters (Stefan Ruzowitzky)

32. Persepolis (Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi)

31. Charlie Wilson's War (Mike Nichols)

30. This Is England (Shane Meadows)

29. I'm Not There (Todd Haynes)

28. The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson)

27. Black Snake Moan (Craig Brewer)

26. Juno (Jason Reitman)

25. Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy)

24. The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass)

23. American Gangster (Ridley Scott)

22. Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg)

21. Endo (Jade Castro)

20. Once (John Carney)

19. Waitress (Adrienne Shelly)

18. My Blueberry Nights (Wong Kar Wai)

17. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton)

16. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 days (Cristian Mungiu)

15. I Am Legend (Francis Lawrence)

14. The Kite Runner (Marc Foster)

13. Knocked Up (Judd Apatow)

12. Into The Wild (Sean Penn)

11. Ocean's Thirteen (Steven Soderbergh)

10. Black Book (Paul Verhoeven)

9. No End In Sight (Charles Ferguson)

8. Grindhouse (Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino)

7. Youth Without Youth (Francis Ford Coppola)

6. No Country For Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen)

5. Zodiac (David Fincher)

4. Ratatouille (Brad Bird)

3. Inland Empire (David Lynch)

2. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)

1. Pisay (Auraeus Solito)

And here are the honorable mentions:

1. Transformers (Michael Bay)
2. Lust, Caution (Ang Lee)
3. Enchanted (Kevin Lima)
4. Margot At The Wedding (Noah Baumbach)
5. Control (Anton Corbijn)
6. The Namesake (Mira Nair)
7. Sicko (Michael Moore)
8. Superbad (Greg Mottola)
9. 3:10 To Yuma (James Mangold)
10. God Grew Tired of Us (Christopher Dillon Quinn and Tommy Walker)
11. Smiley Face (Gregg Araki)
12. Hairspray (Adam Shankman)
13. The Hoax (Lasse Hallstrom)
14. Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck)
15. Rendition (Gavin Hood)

My favorite performances (there were many, but here are the top 10, in order of preference):

1. Marion Cotillard (La Mome / La Vie En Rose) - unbelievable
2. Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) - perfection
3. Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) - also perfection
4. The cast of Pisay
5. Amy Adams (Enchanted)
6. Seth Rogen (Knocked Up)
7. Michael Cera (Superbad)
8. Cherry Pie Picache (Foster Child)
9. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (Once)
10. Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart)

Other faves:

Screenplay - Pisay
Cinematography - Pisay / Control
Musical Score - There Will Be Blood
Song - Falling Slowly (Once)
Art Direction - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Costume - This Is England
Visual Effects - Enchanted

And the worst...

I'm sorry Beatles fans but I could not stand Julie Taymor's "Across The Universe." Making a movie musical of Beatles songs is a brilliant idea, but if the movie runs like a contrived, shallow, but big-budgeted high school play, helmed by an overly pretentious director, I'd rather listen to the original songs on cheap earphones.

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