Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Top 10 Movies/Performances of 2007

These are the top 10 (OK ... 11) movies that I saw in 2007. It was a very good year for American cinema.

(1) Into the Wild -- By far, my favorite movie of the year. Breathtaking scenery, heartbreaking true story, great acting and a sublime soundtrack by Eddie Vedder (my favorite album of the year, BTW). As good as an actor Sean Penn is, he may be an even better director.

(2) 3:10 to Yuma -- A dream pairing of two actors who take their roles pretty seriously (some may say too seriously). I believe it's the best western since Unforgiven.

(3) Michael Clayton -- Yet another in the outstanding string of political dramas that Clooney has made. A great performance by Clooney perhaps only surpassed by co-star Tom Wilkinson.

(4) Children of Men -- Very early in the year but still in '07. I said then that it would be in my To 10 ... and here it is. Modern science fiction that's scary because we're not that far off from the ideas presented here. Science fiction works because you can put contemporary problems in a fantasy setting and they are more palatable to people than if you just had a dry condescending polemic.

(5) No Country for Old Men -- Typically (for them) great grasp of setting and dialogue by the Coens. A worthy addition to their body of work and in the same conversation as Fargo. It would have rated even higher for me if I had been smart enough to understand the ending.

(6) Bourne Ultimatum -- Action movies don't get much better than this. Plus, actors Matt Damon, David Straithairn, and Joan Allen and director Paul Greengrass give it an intelligence absent in most action movies.

(7) Breach -- A surprisingly credible acting performance by Ryan Phillipe in a taut spy thriller. Who knew? More cerebral than Bourne, but no less thrilling. Laura Linney and Chris Cooper are solid.

(8) 300 -- Glossy, loud, unapologetic pulp entertainment. Not much for subtlety but perhaps the most visually unique movie of '07.

(9) Sicko -- Michael Moore tones down his bombast a bit and thus attracts a bigger audience. He makes a well-made, well-received documentary on our pathetic health-care system

(10) Pan's Labyrinth/I am Legend - tie -- One very early '07, one very late. Ditto my appraisal of Children of Men. Both of these movies have flaws. I didn't like either as much as I went expecting to. But, still, two well-made science fiction films with things to say about current society. I'll give a more extensive review of I am Legend in a day or so.

Honorable mention:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Ocean's 13

and the following two that are from '06 but I saw in '07

Pursuit of Happyness (released in December '06 but didn't see till '07)
Jesus Camp (opened end of '06 but never had a wide theatrical release - saw on video in '07)

I haven't seen Atonement or There Will Be Blood, both of which I've heard great things about. Charlie Wilson's War, Sweeney Todd and Juno are all highly praised also, but I haven't had the chance to see.

My Top 10 movie performances of '07 - no special order, no differentiation between lead or supporting, male or female:

Hal Holbrook and Emile Hirsch in Into the Wild
Javier Bardem, Kelly MacDonald and Josh Brolin in No Country for Old Men
George Clooney and Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton
Russell Crowe and Ben Foster in 3:10 to Yuma
Amy Adams in Enchanted

It's a mystery to me
we have a greed
with which we have agreed

You think you have to want
more than you need
until you have it all you won't be free

... there's those thinking more less
less is more
but if less is more
how you keeping score?

Means for every point you make
your level drops
kinda like its starting from the top
you can't do that...

Society -- performed by Eddie Vedder


CyberKitten said...

I've seen 5 of your top 10/11... but only 3 of those would've made my top 10 - if I could've found 10 films in 2007 [grin].

Saw I Am Legend yesterday. I'll look forward to comparing notes when you post your review.

Also I'm going to restart the Favourite Movies series on my Blog soon. I'll see if I can surprise you [chuckle].

wunelle said...

I've yet to see about half your list. But the half I've seen I also liked.

I especially loved the Coens movie. But I'm biased.

Scott said...

No Country would be number one on my list with all others a very distant second. Though I too have not seen There Will be Blood and Anderson is my favorite director, so.....

dbackdad said...

CK said, "Also I'm going to restart the Favourite Movies series on my Blog soon. -- I look forward to it. I love talking and reading about movies.

Scott and Wunelle -- See, you two are obviously smarter than me (as if there was any doubt) and like No Country even more. I think it's a movie that I will like more and more with repeat viewings.

As for There Will be Blood, I really want to see it. I'm a big fan of PT Anderson also (especially Magnolia) and enjoy it every time Daniel Day Lewis decides to grace us by taking the time to actually act in a movie.

Scott said...

The thing about No Country is that it's actually about the character that is the movie the least, which I think confuses some people.

Laura said...

Blogger ate my comment from yesterday... I liked No Country too (though there's no Cohen Brothers movie I don't like except one - Intolerable Cruelty - but I pretend that didn't happen). I do want to see it again though.

I saw Into the Wild on the plane coming home and I thought it was fantastic. John just got the book, so I'll probably read that eventually.

I'd say I agree with most of your list, though I still haven't seen Sicko and am not interested in 300.

dbackdad said...

Laura - The book is great also. I've like all of Jon Krakauer's books.

Another movie from '07 that I just saw on video this week is Zodiac. It's a great film and would have made my top 10.

Laura said...

Yes, I'm reading the book now.

And Zodiac is a great movie. Great acting all around and no real Hollywood resolution, it leaves you with the evidence gathered to make your own conclusions for the most part.

CyberKitten said...

I'm afraid that I didn't think much of Zodiac...

Laura said...

It might be a regional thing... Zodiac is a huge part of modern American psyche. The story alone intrigues me. He's almost to the mythical status of Jack the Ripper, but not quite.

dbackdad said...

CK -- That's OK. We still like you anyway. lol.

I agree with Laura's take on Zodiac.

Plus, I love the look of the movie. I've always loved the look of David Fincher movies (Se7en, Fight Club), but this movie isn't really recognizable as being a Fincher movie, except for it's use of color.