March 6, 2008

Finally, the Top 10 movies of 2007


Took me a while to come up with the list because even though I'd like to, I don't have the dough to see every movie at the theaters when they come out. It took me a while to watch all of the movies. Better late, right? Yeah. By the way, I may or may not summarize.

10. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Great movie that was hugely overlooked. The performances are great, as is the storytelling and balls of the plot. Sidney Lumet should have been nominated for Best Director this year--83 and still doing that hectic style of directing.

9. Rescue Dawn

Werner Herzog's film about an American pilot who became a POW in the early stages of the Vietnam war. All the characters shine, from Christian Bale to Steve Zahn to the happy and generous midget guard. The story is original because the tone is off kilter and at times not so serious, yet at other times brutal and unforgiving.

8. Persepolis

Animated story of a young Iranian girl's coming of age. Extremely well done. Funny as well as serious as well as touching. Original as all hell. Don't sleep on it because it's animated, it was better than most films last year. s*** if it's on this list.

7. Zodiac

Another huge shame was the lack of audience for this movie. Almost three hours long, but stays compelling the whole time. This is also not your typical police procedural. Everyone is perfectly cast. You may know that the Zodiac killer was never caught. Well, you should see how this plays out.

6. No End in Sight

For some, this was arguably the best documentary of last year, and to me, it is also the most infuriating. Not only does the movie make you more angry about the war in Iraq, but it also informs you well. All of the facts in the film (the ones that are true, proven facts) should be well embedded in the American psyche. The movie is true to the title, showing why the troops really can't leave. "Taxi to the Dark Side" was good, but this movie should've won the Best Doc Oscar.

5. We Own the Night

Even though this movie got smashed by the critics, it belongs on this list. One of the best cop dramas I have seen in a whiiiiile. Also, one of the best revenge flicks I have ever seen. The story is simple, yet complicated, just like the characters. The sole car chase scene of the movie is an amazingly heartpounding sequence.

4. Gone Baby Gone

If you don't already know, I'm a big fan of character, and this movie not only has a strong story, but stronger characters. I know it's all Ben Affleck directed and Casey Affleck acted, but the brothers definitely do their thing here. The mystery is, of course, the backbone of the story, but there are so many interesting aspects to the movie that one just wants to see what happens, lost kid or no lost kid.

3. There Will Be Blood

Of course, well acted by Daniel Day-Lewis, playing a greedy oil tycoon. The ending was completely electrifying. Loved it. The character of Daniel Plainview could carry the film on his own, and you can easily see how Paul Dano tried to supporting act the hell out of himself. Compelling all the way through. The story is about as interesting as Daniel Plainview, by the way. I know people wanted to say that the Oscar committee or whatever loves those types of performances, but I don't think anyone else could have done it but Day-Lewis. Don't believe the overacting crack.

2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

This Romanian movie was just ridiculously good. The director Cristian Mungiu had these crazy long takes that seemed that they either did the movie in a day or a year. The actors all fit their personas very well, and so one was what you expected them to be. Some were heartbreakingly fragile, some were frustratingly tough. Awesome, that's all I can say. Won the Palme D'Or at Cannes. Best foreign film of the year. Hands down.

1. American Gangster / The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Yeah, I know no one likes a tie, but I just couldn't decide. It was hard enough placing the other movies.

"American Gangster" gave us a new league of legendary characters and the story was never boring. One of the few films who lived up to the hype and delivered more. The story was weirdly original because one liked both Lucas and Ritchie. Everything in the movie seemed right. The pacing. The cinematography. The development. All of it. Should've knocked some movie off the nominee list and put in this one.

You'd think this movie would be a western, but it's more of a psychological movie than anything else. Everyone is a villain one way or another, but this movie still makes us root for some characters (depending on your taste). Brad Pitt played a great Jesse James. At times he was admirable. At times he was terrifying. The movie hinges mostly on Robert Ford (played by Casey Affleck). Ford's development throughout the film is something most films don't do. The ending, which was more like an epilogue, was pitch perfect. Andrew Dominik's direction was just beautiful and the cinematography was incredibly gorgeous. It was like an aesthetic feast because even the music was perfect. Too bad almost no one saw this film. Be in the know, watch it now.


You may be wondering why I didn't include "No Country for Old Men" or "Atonement" or "Juno". Easy. "No Country" was what Michael Phillips called "a pretty serial killer movie". I had to agree with that. The characters were flat and the ending just didn't work. God, did it not work. "Atonement" started with this multi perspective storytelling at first, and then it just said "f*** it, I don't feel like doing this anymore". Very inconsistent. A junk of the movie around the middle/end is also a jip because, well, you'll have to see. You'll know what I'm talking about. "Juno" was good, but not top ten material. "Superbad" and "Knocked Up" were better than "Juno". They had better plots. Oh yeah, "Michael Clayton". Good movie, but I just felt that there others out there better. Stronger. Simple as that.

Here're some close runner-ups (close. Really, really hard to exclude):

Factory Girl - Good, too bad Hayden Christensen's short role ruined it from being on the list.
Starting Out in the Evening - Great. Hurt to exclude it.
Sunshine - Best sci-fi film last year. Thoroughly Original.
Shoot'em Up - Just plain fun. Everything you didn't get in a John Woo movie.
Superbad - Funniest film last year. Think this would have been #11.
Into the Wild - Great direction, great movie.
Sweeney Todd - Crazy as hell, great musical-that-I-didn't-want-to-see-at-first.
The Lookout - Awesome thriller.
The King of Kong - Who knew video game competitions could be so suspenseful?
My Kid Could Paint That - Interesting as all hell. Reflexive.
Lars and the Real Girl - Just a sweet movie. Like a pack of peeps or something.
Once - Great filmaking and music on a budget that Spiderman 3 probably had for lunch each day.
Spiderman 3 - Don't care. It was great.
Transformers - Same here.
Rise of the Footsoldier - Crazy as hell.
Ratatouille - Yeah.

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