Monday, February 04, 2008

Best of 2007: Movies

I posted this on a preliminary basis on January 1st. Now that I've seen most of the films for the year that interested me, here is a more definitive list.

1. Atonement
Joe Wright's follow-up to Pride & Prejudice was an all around marvelous showcase for good, classic filmmaking. The movie fired on all cylinders: acting, writing, filming, editing, scoring, costuming, sound, etc. It's quite possibly the best film I've seen in the last 3 years.

2. No Country for Old Men
Where Atonement was the year's best symbol of tradition, this was the equivalent for innovation. A remarkable, risk-taking film in which the Coen brothers used all the filmmaker's tools to create a chilling dramatic thriller. This is the year's other classic film.

3. Juno
The year's funniest movie, which despite packing in the laughs, managed to also find time to tap into some pretty heavy emotions and uncomfortable relationships. Ellen Page shined as Juno, but wasn't Jennifer Garner the bigger surprise?

4. American Gangster
Ridley Scott's Period gangster piece showed a gritty and glamorous portrait of 1970's New York, primed with the wealth of the growing drug trade. Denzel Washington makes it look so easy.

5. Gone Baby Gone
The first of two films that showed what a tremendous actor Casey Affleck was, as well as what a tremendous director his brother Ben could be. A dark and twisty thriller at its best.

6. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The other film where Casey Affleck showed his acting chops, and when compared above his breadth. This intimate, gorgeous film was a real surprise for me.

7. Into the Wild
Jon Krakauer uncovered the mysterious story of the journey and death of Chris McCandless when he wrote Into the Wild, and with this clever adaptation, Sean Penn found his spirit. It is a shame Emile Hirsch was overlooked by the Oscars.
8. The Savages
I didn't expect to like this one as much as I did. It was funny, piercing, and a pretty realistic look at the harsh reality of dealing with a dying loved one. It doesn't hurt that Laura Linney was magnificent, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman really good too.

9. Enchanted
This was the year's most purely enjoyable film, a cute, clever Disney send up in which Amy Adams perfectly towed the line as a Disney cartoon princess who finds herself lost in Manhattan.

10. In the Valley of Elah
It's too bad Paul Haggis's follow-up to 2005 Best Picture winner Crash wasn't a bigger hit, for it was a better film--a moving indictment of the war cloaked as a police procedural. At least Tommy Lee Jones got an Oscar nomination for this.

The rest of the best:
11. Michael Clayton
12. Persepolis
13. Waitress
14. The Bourne Ultimatum
15. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
16. Sweeney Todd
17. Zodiac
18. Eastern Promises
19. Ratatouille
20. There Will Be Blood
21. La Vie en Rose
22. Once
23. The Simpsons
24. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
25. Away from Her

Let downs: I'm Not There, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Year of the Dog, 3:10 to Yuma, Transformers (what was I thinking, perhaps I read the comment below).

1 comment:

Rich said...

You forgot Transformers. What kind of list is this!