Saturday, January 5, 2008

30 Days of Bloggery: Best Movies I Saw In 2007

I'd love to play the year-in-review top 10 game with the movies, but I have to admit I've only been to the theater a half-dozen times or so in 2007, and a ton of the critical favorites I'm dying to see like No Country For Old Men and I'm Not There have yet to make it here. So listing my best of 2007 when I've probably barely seen 10 flicks of 2007 seems premature.

But what the heck -- we do watch a fair amount of deeveedees, so instead I'm going to list my 10 favorite movies I saw in 2007 -- no matter what year they first came out in! That's right, I'm a rebel. (Well, it turns out half my list is 2007 movies anyway.)

In alphabetical order:

PhotobucketAce In The Hole (1951) - A long-lost golden oldie getting its first release on DVD this year, from the all-time legend Billy Wilder. Kirk Douglas embodies rampant cycnism at its best in a story of a man trapped in a well that becomes a media circus. Pitch-black satire that's fresh and relevant today.

Children of Men (2006) - It's the countless small details of this grittily real science-fiction drama that stuck with me, as it painted a picture of life in 2027. Clive Owen is smoulderingly good and it's all filled with a battered kind of hope as mankind faces its self-created extinction.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007) - Why, I just saw this! Wes Anderson, train trips, humor that trips the edge of sorrow, another gem from my favorite movie director.

PhotobucketThe Departed (2006) - I know, I know, late to the party, but I finally watched this on DVD and it's taut and dazzling Scorsese, with some fantastic performances by DiCaprio and Damon. And wasn't it nice for Marty to finally get an Oscar for it?

The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005) - This documentary looks at the damaged life of Daniel Johnston, a kind of idiot savant crafting so-stupid-it's genius music down in Texas and battling mental illness. Moving and funny, a great portrait of a creative life held back -- and fed -- by the demons in his head. Best documentary of its sort since "Crumb."

PhotobucketHelvetica (2007) - A documentary about a typeface that actually delves deep into how we perceive the world around us. Saw this at the Auckland International Film Festival and haven't stopped thinking about it all year. You'll never look at street signs quite the same way again.

Hot Fuzz (2007)
- The creators of "Shaun Of The Dead" return with another bizarrely over-the-top action comedy, this time combining a look at quiet English country life with cop drama. The lurches in tone in this may catch you off guard but on a second and third viewing it's a marvelously goofy piece of work. And any movie that references "Point Break" as a motivational plot point is OK with me.

PhotobucketKnocked Up (2007) - Judd Apatow continues to put out the smartest dumb comedy in the business, with a movie about growing up when you're eternally immature. Not quite as great as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," but only just short.

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) - Everyone and their brother loved this one from last year; it's a potent combination of mythology and murder, examining the thin line between fantasy and reality... that, and utterly killer design and creatures by the amazing Guillermo del Toro. Haunting and immensely sad.

Sunshine (2007) - Perhaps the plot was a bit rote, but the gorgeous images and philosophical lean of this crew-alone-in-outer-space tale really stuck with me long after viewing. If you view the final act as an allegory, it works even better.

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