January 1, 2008
Best Movies of 2007
Wow, it's 2008 already. Thats hard to believe. I guess I'll commemorate the new year with a look back at last years movies. Heres my TOP TEN (plus a few) favorite films from 2007:
#1) No Country For Old Men
#2) Lars, and the Real Girl
#3) The Lives of Others*
#4) Rescue Dawn
#5) Letters From Iwo Jima*
#6) Micheal Clayton
#7) Pan's Labyrinth*
#8) Half Nelsen*
#9) The Bourne Ultimatum
#11) 3:10 to Yuma
#12) Children of Men
*some of these films came out in 2006, but I didn't have a chance to see them until '07, so I'm counting them with this years, and why not??
Without a doubt, my favorite film of last year was No Country For Old Men (IMDb). It had freaking awesome cinematography, with such a gripping story – a morality tale of sorts, told as a modern day western, depicted with vast dusty sunny southwestern vistas. With a dark unbeatable un-understandable villain, up against an introspective hero. Perhaps one of the best movies in cinematic history (now I have to read the book!).
My second favorite film from last year was Lars And The Real Girl (IMDb). It was such a quirky concept for a film, and it succeeded in showing and making you feel compassion for mental illness (like a beautiful mind, but with offbeat comedy instead of suspenseful drama). The Lives of Others/Das Leben der Anderen (IMDb)(actually a film from 2006 but it didn't come to theaters here until this year) captures what life in East Germany was life in a very emotionally charged historical fiction. Rescue Dawn (IMDb) was a realistic look at the true story of Lt. Deiter Deingler who was shot down during a covert mission prior to the U.S.'s involvement in the Vietnam War. The realisim is probably aided by the fact that Rescue Dawn is written and directed by Werner Herzog, based on the documentary Herzog had made about Deiter's experiences. Letters From Iwo Jima (IMDb), also about war, is the companion film to Clint Eastwood's earlier WWII film Flags of Our Fathers (IMDb) (also a great film). Where Flags takes the perspective of the three survirors of that famous photo taken of the soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima, Letters follows the point of view of several of the soldiers fighting on the Japanese side of the battle of Iwo Jima. The film shows the brutality of war in such an honest way, and the honor and the cruelty on both sides of the battle.
In a summer of disapointing third installments for film trilogys (Spiderman 3, Shrek 3, Pirates of the Carabean 3, etc.) The Bourne Supremacy (IMDb) did the opposite– it was easily the best of the series. Screenwriter Tony Gilroy had huge success with the Bourne Trilogy of movies, the third of which came out this summer (and in my opinion possibly the greatest action film of all time). However, it was perhaps due to the success of the Bourne films that Gilroy earned his credit to debut as a director of Micheal Clayton (IMDb), wich he's worked on while developing credibility with the Bourne series. Micheal Clayton has all of the intensity of the Bourne films without needing the action sequences.
Pan's labrinth (IMDb) (from 2006) is a grizy mature fantasy in a a vein similar to Legend (IMDb), or Labyrinth (IMDb), except being a foreign production, it didn't have to sway to Hollywood tradition; instead its a much darker and violent final product.
Half Nelsen (IMDb) (Another film from 2006, that I saw in '07, so I count it amoung '07s best; and starring Ryan Gosling of Lars And The Real Girl) was also brutal in the honest way it depicts addiction to drugs, denial, and the way poverty often affects urban communities. Shareeka Epps is amazing as the student who rescues her teacher, and helps him cope with his illness. The film is really in a way a metaphor for the concept Mr. Dunne is teaching his class about tipping points in history. In this case, in Dunne's personal life, the film is leading up to the point where he must confront his addiction.
3 more films really caught my attetion this year: Wristcutters (IMDb) as a quirky dark comedy. 3:10 To Yuma (IMDb) as a surprisingly good western with respect to the classics of its genre. And Children of Men (2006) (IMDb) as a beautifully shot tale of what happens if humans become unfertile, and societies crumble.
Read Last years: