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2007 in Film


Metropolisforever
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I don't want to use up too much space, but here's my Top 10 plus five Honorable Mentions for film year 2007. The ratings are on a 10 point scale. Some notable films I've yet to see:

There Will Be Blood

Atonement

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

 

Top 10: Counting down from 10 to 1

 

10. INTO THE WILD - 8: Sean Penn adapts the true story of Christopher McCandless, an idealistic college graduate, who gives up his identity to seek nature and solice in the Alaskian wilderness. Combining the Alaskan story with flashbacks of his two year road trip to his final destination, it is an ambitious undertaking, clocking in at over 2 and 1/2 hours. It is no surprise that Chris's journey brings him into contact with various individuals that make indelible impressions on him, and that as a loner he eventually discovers in the wild that he is lonely and that happiness is meaningless unless there is someone to share it with.

 

9. THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM - 8: Picking up and sometimes flashing back to The Bourne Supremecy, this is one action film that is told quite brilliantly through camerawork and editing. It should be headache inducing, but somehow it makes it all comprehensible. A mature, exciting and worthy second sequel to a very good character and story.

 

8. JUNO - 8: Sixteen year old Juno is pregnant with her sensitive, shy boyfirend's baby, and is determined to find the baby a suitable couple for adoption. A very wry and clever script, loaded with both sarcasm and wisdom is given to an excellent cast, headed by Ellen Page in a self-assured performance. She's almost too mature for her young character. A winner.

 

7. MICHAEL CLAYTON - 8: Story of four days in the life of title character, played with both intensity and world-weariness by George Clooney. An attorney with a big law firm, Clayton is known as a fixer, a problem solver that cleans up messes. When the firm's chief litigator becomes emotionally unhinged during a big case, Clayton must get him back on board. Others, who don't trust his ability, would rather have the litigator permanently removed. A dense thriller that foregoes physical action for psychological tension

 

6. ZODIAC - 8: A top notch police chronicle of a notorious serial killer that plagued California law enforcement and journalists in the 1970s. I found it held my interest throughout, though it did lose a bit of urgency and tension in the final third, when Jake Gyllenhaal's reporter becomes obsessed with solving the crimes despite a lack of activity from the perpetrator. Of special note is the excellent production detail of that time period.

 

5. ONCE - 8: A small, but utterly captivating film of an Irish street singer who supplements his meager earnings from working in his father's vacuum repair shop, and uses his music also to ease the pain of a recent failed relationship. He is soon joined by a young female Czech emmigre, whose musical talents supplement his, as they risk a loan to rent a recording studio for a weekend. If you enjoy films about the creative process, especially when it involves music, this is a film to search out, although its brevity (88 minutes) is partially due to avoiding much of the rehersal process. The production values are bare bones, but there is music aplenty, and in my opinion it's terrific. The lead performers are actually musicians and it shows. The romance underpinnings are bittersweet and far removed from Hollywood.

 

4. BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD - 8.5: The year's darkest and most embroiled family drama combines financial desperation with Shakespearian motivation to give us a crime story that goes very bad. A superlative cast and an interesting editing formula keeps the tension ratcheted throughout.

 

3. GONE BABY GONE - 8.5: Dennis Lehane's novel of the kidnapping of a little girl from a working class Boston neighborhood has been compentently and impressively brought to the screen by Ben Affleck. With his brother Casey starring as a private investigator hired by the distraught aunt, and assisted by his partner/girlfriend Michelle Monahan, he must win over an uncooperative team of detectives and their Captain, as well as the missing girls mother, an irresponsible and out of control addict. The plot moves swiftly and soon becomes a complicated web of misdirection, and moral dilemmas. It certainly will have the viewer caught up in all the emotions involved. A strong supporting cast headed by Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. Amy Ryan as the unlikeable mother gives a raw performance that may see her nab a Supporting Actress nomination.

 

2. THE LIVES OF OTHERS - 8.5: In the mid-1980s, the German Democratic Republic's Secret Police (The STASI) uses covert surveillance and a legion of informants to spy on its populace and squash any Western thought or overt activity. It's star operator and interviewer finds himself listening in on a popular writer, who, while a loyal subject, is swayed by his liberal collegues, to write an article against the State's manipulating of suicide statistics. The writer is further compromised by his lover, an actress, who is also the reluctant mistress of the Minister of Security. In the midst of all this eavsdropping, the operator has a crisis of conscience and finds himself in sympathy with the writer. This German production, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, reminded me of The Conversation quite a bit. It is haunting, suspensful and ultimately heartbreaking. A very fine film.

 

1. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN - 9: The Coen Brothers' terrific return to form. It's a masterpiece of cinematic storytelling and a gripping crime thriller to boot; Its open-ended conclusion lends itself to various interpretations. Impeccibly cast down to the smallest part.

 

Honorable Mentions (Listed Alphabetically)

 

AMERICAN GANGSTER - 8: While I wouldn't call American Gangster a great crime film - it doesn't have the weight of The Godfather or the virtuosity of Goodfellas. I'd rate it very good. It is long, but doesn't drag. It develops its characters nicely and it is well directed by Ridley Scott. Denzel Washington is charismatic and compelling in the title role and Russell Crowe actually plays a bit against type as the Essex County undercover detective heading a task force under a federal umbrella. If I didn't know it was based on fact, I'd have to say Crowe's character arc: investigation officer, arresting officer, case prosecutor and in post script defense attorney incredulous - but I guess it happened that way.

 

AWAY FROM HER - 8: Canadian actress Sara Polley makes a distinguished directorial debut with this beautifully modulated story of husband faced with very difficult decisions when his wife of 42 years develops Alzheimer's Disease. Far removed from the usual disease-of-the-week type movie, Polley avoids over-sentimentalizing the subject, yet the bittersweet heartbreak is evident. The acting is superb. Julie Christie, 42 years after her first Academy Award for Best Actress, will very likely be in the running again, with her nuanced understated performance. She is matched by Gordon Pinsent, who must carry the load of reacting to the life-changing choices confronting him. The supporting roles, headed by Olympia Dukakis are also first rate. This is foremost a touching romance, and hopefully the subject matter of Away from Her will not keep viewers away from seeing this gem.

 

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA - 8: Young teen Jessie's days are filled with dealing with school bullies and parents whose life worries leave little room to appreciate his talent for drawing. When Leslie moves next door, she teaches Jessie to open his mind up. An excellent family film that explores imagination, friendship and loss; with just enough special effects to enhance rather than dominate the story.

 

LA VIE EN ROSE - 7.5: The story of legendary French singer Edith Piaf - the little sparrow with the big voice is presented in a impressionistic time jumping fashion by young director Olivier Dahan. While this is often jarring, it does support the whirlwind life of its subject - abandoned by her parents, brought up in a brothel by a grandmother/madam, reclaimed by her father to help him with his traveling contortionist act until by chance she is asked to sing. Always in frail health, exacerbated by self-destructive alcohol and morphine abuse and a diva's temper, she nevertheless captured the hearts of her countrymen with her stirring and very French songs. All this is captured in one of the great biographical performances by Marion Cotillard.

 

SWEENEY TODD - 7.5: Tim Burton's gothic adaptation of Steven Sondheim's award-winning musical is heavy on the gore, but wonderfully atmospheric. A brooding Johnny Depp aquits himself nicely to the challenges and Helena Bonham Carter ably assists. Their vocal skills, while not stage quality, complement each other very well and are fine for a cinematic treatment.

 

Message was edited by: redhook47

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Here are a few of the feature-length movies that I saw in 2007:

 

The Golden Compass - 3.0 - I am NOT a religious zealot. I ENJOY blasphemous films, but not this one. This is based on a controversial novel by Philip Pullman, but the producers were **** and decided to remove the religious elements that were in the novel. However, the film still caused controversy among silly conservative organizations. With a reputation like that, it must be a pretty amazing film, right? Well, no, not really. Its a very lame movie about people who seek out a "golden compass", which reveals the truth about everything. They are also aided by talking animals and other fantasy elements (so, what else is new?) The plot was bland, stupid, and unoriginal. The storytelling was horrible. The pacing was atrocious. The special effects were sub-par. The poor storytelling and horrible pacing made the movie hard to follow. Again, the plot was not explained, making it difficult to follow. Overall, the movie was bad. Very bad. The film leaves much to be desired.

 

Ratatouille - 8.5 - A cute and charming animated film about a lovable loser who works in a French restaurant. He can't cook, but he runs into a talking rat that can cook. Together, they prepare meals for the hungry customers. The CGI animation was very good, and the storytelling was also good. The characters were likable and interesting. This was a very good movie.

 

Shrek the Third - 5.5 The third film in the ever-popular, overrated Shrek series. Since this film is produced by DreamWorks, you can expect plenty of gratuitous pop-culture references and crude, gross-out jokes that frankly aren't funny. In this film, Harold has fallen deathly ill and his ogre son-in-law Shrek and daughter Fiona are next in line to be king and queen. However, Shrek does not want to be king, so he tries to get his nephew, Arthur to be king - madcap antics ensue. The film had some charm, but it left a lot to be desired. The plot was pretty poor, and the film was not very different from the other Shrek films. It was repetitive and not very funny.

 

Disturbia - 7.5 - In this loose, modern-day remake of Rear Window, a teenager is put under house arrest after he punches his teacher for poking fun at his dad, who died in a car accident. His mother cuts off his access to many electronics, so he begins to peep out the window. He soon discovers suspicious behavior among one of his neighbors, whom he suspects is a killer. Two-thirds of the way into the film, the initial pacing and action morphs into that of a slasher horror film. Overall, this is an enjoyable thriller with some good storytelling and a few big scares.

 

I saw several other movies in 2007, and I will review them later.

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I liked Zodiac...cant wait to get the special edition tomorrow, the Descent I liked as well..

I think my favorite of 2007 has to be the Transformers, followed by Fantastic Four 2, Zodiac, Spiderman 3

I really only watch select horror and science fiction & fantasy films as far as current stuff goes. I really do like the superhero movies Marvel has put out...

Ice Age 2 was also enjoyable

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Either ATONEMENT or NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN should definitey get best picture at the Academy Awards. ATONEMENT has so many layers to it that it's the kind of movie you should see in a theater with others to share the terrible sorrow that results from a lie told by a neurotic teenage girl that destroys the lives of her older sister and her boyfriend. NO COUNTRY is brilliantly done--a movie for a serious movie-goer but it can be enjoyed on another level for those who love great chase scenes--where the killer is cold, pschoytic killer machine. I also loved the Beatles inspired musical, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. It's the best musical made since MOULIN ROUGE. INTO THE WILD is another strong winner and a four-hankie pic to boot.

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Clearly, I saw the wrong movies. For me, it was the worst year ever. Nothing excellent. One or two pretty goods. A lot of crap.

 

3:10 TO YUMA

HAIRSPRAY

LIONS FOR LAMBS

FANTASTIC FOUR

SPIDER-MAN

GHOST RIDER

That stupid double feature by Tarantino and Rodriguez

 

I don't remember what else. I don't go all that often. Can you blame me?

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The only movie I saw in the theater this past year was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which I loved and which was worth seeing on a big screen because of the amazing CGI.

 

In fact, the only films I bother seeing in the theater anymore are scifi/fantasy films with great CGI.

 

The rest I usually wait for the DVD as it is more expensive to go to the theater these days than to purchase the DVD and have the film permanently!

 

I usually love the Best Picture nominees...but most of those are fine to view on my 60-inch HDTV and so I don't need to go to the theater.

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The 12 finalists for BEST ANIMATED FEATURE were announced on November 8th (Alvin and the Chipmunks, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, Bee Movie, Beowulf, Meet the Robinsons, Persepolis, Ratatouille, Shrek the Third, The Simpsons Movie, Surf's Up, Tekkonkinkreet and TMNT).

 

The 80th Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy?s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

 

The Oscars will be broadcast on Sunday, February 24, 2008.

 

I can't wait!

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MetropolisForever,

 

I am convinced that the more these conservative groups 'protest' a film, the more apt people are to go!

 

Some of these films they have protest over the years were horrible films, and if they had just kept their yaps shut, would have died a quick death. But these guys, in the most self-defeating behavior EVER, go on and on about their 'issues'...and just like a car wreck on an Atlanta freeway, people turn and look regardless.

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