35 From '07. My Top Favorite Movies Of 2007.
2287 7.5 7.935. Hot Fuzz (2007)
A film by the comedy team of Simon Pegg & Nick Frost, the same duo responsible for what is, for my money, the best zom-com ever, Shaun Of The Dead. This time, they take on the world of the buddy-cop genre.
Hot Fuzz in neither as funny, engaging or as groundbreaking as Shaun,
but still, there was enough of the typical high balance of comedy & chemistry between the two stars to make this action comedy a commendable effort.
At least enough to include it on my list of faves for this year.
3543 6.6 7.134. Transformers (2007)
Take a classic cartoon about a bunch a large robots from outer space that change into a bunch a cool vehicles that raised the testosterone level to the point that little boys became little "guys",
mix in a healthy batch of modern day hard driving live action peppered in with a few swear words & gritty gun play,
and top it all off with the absolutely & ridiculously hot Megan Fox,
and there you have it.
A summer super-mega-blockbuster incorporating all the things that can easily make the males of our species grunt with ultimate ball-quivering delight.
(However, I will say that, no matter how enjoyable this Transformers movie was, it's no excuse for the horrific monstrosity that is it's sequel.)
3482 6.7 7.133. I Am Legend (2007)
I just recently watched this on DVD. Overall, I didn't think it was too bad.
That's all I can muster to say so far bout this for right now.
Oh no, wait....! I do remember one thing that was cool: Near the beginning of the movie, there was a billboard that featured a Batman/ Superman World's Finest insignia. That was pretty kick-ass.
1978 6.8 7.332. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
This is one of those movies that everyone kept telling me wasn't that good, so that when I finally got the chance to see it, I had such low expectations for it, that I probably ended up enjoying it alot more than just about everybody else that I know. Maybe I'll have to watch it again at a later date to see what was it that made so many dislike it.
But for now, I liked the concept of it & though the suspense of the action scenes obviously will never compare to the first two, I still found it adequate enough to entertain me for the purpose of the story ( enough to help me overlook the cartoony outlandishness of it all).
200 6 6.231. Rogue (2007)
A "crocydile" has become large enough & clever enough that it has decided to go all rogue an' shit.
Soon, on the fresh waters of the Northern Territory, a small group of river riding tourists find themselves trapped on a island of mud, then and terrorized by this carnivorous, craven clever croc.
1406 7.4 7.830. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
468 6.6 6.829. Trick 'r Treat (2007)
What do you get when you pack in a coven of werewolves, a group of misfit zombies, a serial killing neighbor & a mischievious trick-or-tricking imp & that one fat kid from Bad Santa all into one script?
A Jack 'O' Latern filled candy-collection of quality, modern campy Halloween tales of the escapist-fare variety done right: With more focus on the quality than on the camp.
This movie, for me, has got the feel of all those big budget horror flix released during the late 80's & thru-out the 90's. The kind that always frustrated me because their scripts rarely reached the level of their budgets.
Trick 'R Trick comes closer to the type of fun onscreen fearfest that I would've like to have seen during that particular time of the horror cinema.
1314 6.2 6.828. Hairspray (2007)
I'm not usually a fan of Broadway musicals, particularly those that have been adaption for the silverscreen.
The fact that this movie is on the list shows that every once in a while, one does come out that ends up sticking in my hair.
check out Christopher Walken & John Travolta in this movie.....
Last time these two "guys" starred in the same flick, it was in Pulp Fiction.
It appears that, since then,
they've gone a long way, baby.
92 7.9 7.627. Sword of the Stranger (2007)
First let me start off by saying that, for me, this particular anime movie displays alot of the same drawbacks that I find in most manga movies as far as the somewhat distant emotional appeal of the characters that has a tendency to be part of this genre. However, the action sequences in SOTS are definitely some of the best I've seen in 2D animated form. Very smooth & successfully executed in a manner that make 'em flow with a visual energy that the viewer can follow without any confusion of what just happened (as is the case with many of today's action films, animated or not).
Also, I like how this film shows that manga stories are starting to evolve in a manner where even the secondary characters are not just throwaway characters simply to be used as target practice.
Not to mention that despite their fleeting screentime, the abundantly numerous & beautifully "painted" backgrounds were obviously not meant to be targeted to the trash bin afterward.
Overall, a visual treat that effectively displays the direction that the artform that is this medium should be moving.
1151 7.1 7.526. The Orphanage (2007)
An orphanage-turned-family-household begins to show signs of a haunting after an adopted orphan dissappears, leaving his adopted mother on a quest that will result in either solving the mystery of her son's dissappearance, or lead her down a cryptic road to madness.
A film that's so Guillermo-Del-Toroesque, that it comes off almost exactly like a Guillermo Del Toro film. And surprise, surprise, even though it was neither written or directed by Señor Del Toro, he did pick it up as producer (the script was from the hand of Sergio G. Sánchez & the film was directed by Juan Antonio Bayona). However, let it be known that making such a comparison is not any kind of accusation of imitation, but more of a compliment to all those involved in making this creepy entertaining ghost tale which gears itself towards those viewers who are armed with an attention span.
54 6.3 6.625. Kabluey (2007)
The day to day adventures of Kabluey, a flyer handing out mascot for an imploding dot com company.
Add the subplot that he's a down & out loser that has a nephew and an aged Terri Garr that both want to kill him (for different reasons ....of course) & it's becomes obvious to see that this is a story of comedy that practically writes itself.
1276 7.6 7.724. Eastern Promises (2007)
An entry into the mob movie genre by the Cosa Nostra of the Eastern block, the Russian mafia. In a gritty demonstration that the crime syndicate of Soviet blood can be just as ruthless and fight just as dirty as their Italian counterparts. Even if they're caught with their pants down. Or, in the case of this movie, just completely naked.
67 5.7 5.923. Black Water (2007)
Hey, check it out,
you'll notice that, for 2007, there's wasn't just one Aussie movie about a boating vacationeers being terrorized by a big ol' crazed, man-eating killer croc,
but two in the same year.
Seriously, think about it.
What are the odds....?
Actually, I liked this croc flick better than Rogue. Although I figure that the production costs of Rogue probably didn't break the bank, it's formula did follow along the lines of those that we see in the more big-budgeted type of films (including the idea of going a bit over the top with the croc's behavior).
On the other side of the river, Black Water's plot went more towards the kind that we find in more smaller budgeted horror films. Y'know, where the premise relies more on instilling claustrophobic fears that result from entrapment (like the protagonists were here, in the low-hung tree branches over the water).
And those are the type of scares that I much tend to prefer.
70 6.9 6.822. Rise of the Footsoldier (2007)
1515 6.6 7.221. The Mist (2007)
Once again, science fiction meets horror in this tale of other-worldly bug-eyed beasties & beastly bugs entering our world via a mysterious mist that, as the lead characters soon find out, is probably not the result of any natural weather pattern known on this planet.
Even though the ending for The Mist was in keeping with the book, for me, it just came off as too forced & felt more like negative just soley for the sake of negatism. Which I know wasn't the original intention of the book, still came off like that on the big screen.
If it weren't for that,
this otherwise great movie would've definitely made it up higher on my list, not just a solid piece of horror cinema, but also as one of the better film adaptations of Stephen Kings works in this particular genre.
226 6.1 6.119. Frontier(s)
Let's talk gore shall we?
James Cameron once said" You don't create fear with gore. You create disgust. It's a whole different emotion."
for the longest time,
I truly believed that, try as I might, I just didn't like gory horror films.
Then, after I watched Frontier(s),
I realized that I was wrong.
What it actually was that I didn't like was gory horror films that had no or very little story.
For so long, it seemed like frightfest filmmakers were cranking out so many flicks that compromised the story for the sake of the blood & gore,
that it seemed like all movies of this kind were only capable of featuring broken plotlines that, at best, were usually as splattered as the "special" effects that are were gooey center of this particular subgenre of horror.
Glad to see that after watching Frontier(s), this was a case that proved that stereotype to be wrong.
1284 6.8 7.318. Sunshine (2007)
Considered by many as the underrated film of 2007, Sunshine is a smart sci-fi film that by the third act, turns into an outer space slasher flick.
Now while this film is not perfect by any means, I still like the attempt of the premise, the depth of the visual design, & overall just the pace of the story as it unfolds.
So I guess I fall onto the side of those viewers who I would've liked to have seen get wider recognition than it originally did.
It kinda feels sad that the only people who experienced any light from Sunshine were the characters that were in it.
60 7.6 7.117. Chop Shop (2007)
A film in the spirit of City Of God or Kids, in which it comes as very close to seeming like it's a documentary. At certain points of the movie, it feels as though this is happening in real life. The storyline's non-linear structure helps to emphasize this feel, but there's enough there to sense that a tale is indeed unfolding.
Great acting from all involved.
688 6.9 7.316. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
With their consecutive lives falling apart, two brothers scheme to rob a jewelry store owned by their parents. Hoping that the money will improve each others situation with the belief that the insurance will cover the loss to the store.
However, this being a movie, you know things are going to go awry. As the plans, then the robbery itself fall apart,
the brothers find their relationship with each other, with their father & just with their lives falling deeper in dysfunction.
A great film with a great cast directed by a great director, Sydney Lumet, in his last directorial outing.
997 7.2 7.415. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
After I watched this movie, the lyrics to John Mellencamp's song "Small Town" came to me....
".....Used to daydream in that small town
Another born romantic that's me.
But I've seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town
Now she's small town just like me".
I guess this flick is a lil' bit like that.
In a twisted yet touching small town way.
1545 6.6 714. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
To be honest, over-all, as a film, I liked 28 Weeks Later more than it's predecessor, 28 Days.
I thought that Days was much horror-like than it's sequel, but, for me, Weeks had a much more thrilling factor. I liked the increase of the non-stop action, and I found the plot to be more cohesive (whereas in the first movie, the antagonists seemed to change mid-thru, from the zombies to the stoney-hearted soldiers).
I mean, don't get me wrong, Weeks has enough to qualify itself into the category of the horror genre.
But Days felt like it had the creepiness factor in it's advantage since it's the film that first introduces the rabies-infected psuedo-zombies that liked to behave more like the running dead than they did the walking dead.
Either way , between the two films, the quality of the franchise so far is high enough that I'm glad to be able to include both of them on my list of fear-fraught favorites.
58 5.7 6.513. Stuck (2007)
I had never heard about it, but then again, I have a bad habit of not paying attention to what's going on in the world. (Blasted attention span!)
A story about a homeless guy who gets imbedded into a young woman's car windshield after she hits him with said car, and then, after weighing the consequences of the incident, she decides not to really do anything to help him. She doesn't even bother to try & at least squeegee him off.
And yeah, believe it or not,
they were able to extend this idea into the length of an entire movie.
Goes to show just what humankind is capable of.
No wonder we were able to put a man on the moon.
4044 7.3 7.612. Juno (2007)
I know that alot of people found this movie to be too overly witty, particularly for it's premise,
but for me, I think that it didn't affect it the quality of a story that does an effective job of depicting how teenagers would deal with a first time pregnancy, love & just the idea of how in in health class they were talking about how pregnancy can often lead to...y'know.... an infant.
108 7.2 711. Appleseed Ex Machina (2007)
So far, the most updated amazing computer animation in any animated feature.
Simply put, the computer-generated visuals in this film truly have to be seen in order to be believed.
However, even though the story is solid, as the sci-fi epic that Appleseed's visuals aspire to be, it does lack some originality in it's plotline. It is for this reason, combined with the indistinguisnness of the faces (as is usually common for most 3-D anime) that prevented this film from being ranked higher on this list, despite the fact that the graphics are, so far, some of the most favorite that my eyes have ever laid upon.
That said, there wasn't a frame in this movie where I just wasn't completely stunned with awe. The technical details & intricate designs in Ex Machina are some of the most striking ever to be generated on film.
The Transformers looks like they were created by Fisher-Price compared to the hardware these guys are wearing.
A true marvel to behold.
1117 7.2 7.510. [REC] (2007)
869 6.8 7.39. Michael Clayton (2007)
A movie that, even tho was nominated for a bunch of awards, for me, still feels somewhat under-rated. Corporate corruption revealed more in it's ability to constrict the world of business towards it's own needs more than in its services to actually provide to it's supposed clientele.
A "thinking man's" political thriller in that it's suspense is driven more by the consequences of it's story than it is by action.
George Clooney does a capable job, Tom Wilkinson is always fun to watch, Tilda Swinton is always even more fun to watch, and of course, Michael Clayton is one of the last movies to be produced (along with his final acting role) by the late Mr. Sydney Pollack.
1551 7.3 7.78. Grindhouse (2007)
Despite Tarantino's sub-par effort on Death Proof, there was still enough in his half (like the car-chase & the first "car-killing" by the "car-killer") that added to the much superior first half, Planet Terror, a zombie-fest by Robert Rodriguez. And while the shlock that comes with most zombie flicks usually puts me off, Robert Rodriguez's style of depicting his half of The Grindhouse as a caricature of a genre that has already gone cartoonishly over the top, makes this a walking undead gore-a-rama that I could not only stomach, but enjoy as well. Coupled with a modern sense of violence that we've all mindlessly grown to love, it's a zombie action flick of an energetic quality that sparked some life into my usually dead reaction to most shambling corpse fare.
So, if you're into chicks with guns, zombie apocalypeses & amputees (& let's be honest.... who isn't?), then this is the zombie flick for you.
2286 6.9 7.67. Superbad (2007)
Back in the day, Michael Jackson may have been the skinny guy who was bad,
but here in the present,
the new skinny king for what considered the ultimate bad is named McLovin.
And he's not just bad.
you get the picture.
The Apatow train keeps on rolling, this time with a high school coming of age that seems to blend the 70's bluntness of Animal House type of films with the 80's sensibilities of Pretty In Pink/16 Candles love-angst teen flix, all capped off with the modern in your face sly banter that is Apatow's signature.
2367 7.4 8.16. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The spy theme was never really one of my favorite genres. Therefore I avoided the first Bourne flick when it came out in theatres. However, when I did catch it on TV, I was surprised & impressed by it's ability to both keep me intrigued & "thrilled". I rented the second, which I liked even better & it resulted in me making the effort of seeing the third in theatres. After the Ultimatum, the Bourne Trilogy became for me one those extremely rare trilogies where each successive movie actually was consistantly better than the one that preceded it. I can't get away from looking at this movie as part of it's collective whole, with the Ultimatum acting as an intelligent bad-ass ending to an intelligent bad-ass series.
3349 7.6 85. Ratatouille (2007)
On paper, the story of Ratatouille can seem pretty color by the numbers formulaic, to the point that one can easily dismiss it's whole premise. However, I think that this movie is a prime example of the potential that 3-D animation can achieve on film.
The idea of combining the points of views of both rodent & restauranteer made this a great vehicle for integrating sharper & more creative angles in the storytelling and that could only be achieved at the level that it did through the use of this medium. The end result is an animated feature who's originality is not so much on it's fundamental purpose, but more in it's natural yet technical presentation style that keeps a viewer glued to it's story more to see it play out thru the paintbrush of it's tightly yet energized realism that can make one visualize with even less suspension of belief than ever before, of little animals than can talk & behave like us. And for my money, it's where the heart & beauty of this movie lies.
1696 7.4 7.84. American Gangster (2007)
A great crime drama in a time when such films have become rare without the boost of big banging shoot-em up guns blasting away.
Though based on a real story of a drug kingpin & the police detective determined to bring him down, the film goes down the path of the ever prevalent poetic licensing that these types of films tend to take, in order to focus more on the story of the rise & fall of an Amarican gangster whose distrubution of only the purest of heroin whilst eliminating the "middleman" changed the way drugs became distributed on the streets.
Denzel Washington plays the crimelord who sees his only option towards the American Dream is his wry combination of street-savy intellect & non-hesitant ruthlessness. Russell Crowe seemlessly tackles the part of the leader of a police task-force whose unwavering straight-edged honesty serves as both crutch & "cure" to the corrupt laden NYC precincts.
Both actors move through their respective roles with a chemistrytic ease that can only result from two artisans both comfortable & confident with their craft.
389 7.5 7.93. The Man from Earth (2007)
This movie should come with a disclaimer:
WARNING: may contain a high rate of intellectual material, do not watch if your brain is only built for explosions and sex, and does not handle conversations and thinking.
In simpler terms,
this has got to be one of the smartest films I have ever seen. And therefore, definitely not for everyone. Particularly, not for those who like their movie's intelligence level to be no higher than the lowest common denominator.
2352 6.4 7.22. Knocked Up (2007)
Two years earlier, Judd Apatow scored big with 40 Year Old Virgin, a comedy that explores the ups & downs of trying to get laid. He follows up with what is in my opinion, his 2nd. best effort, Knocked Up, a film that explored the ups & downs that can come after getting laid.
And though this movie doesn't measure up as strongly as Virgin, it still does a great job of combining laugh out loud comedy with a story of modern male maturity & the female process of pregancy. And it does so in a manner that tries to hit it's points passed the humor, all the while, allowing enough room for the characters to develope into more than just vehicles that are delivering their punchlines.
4251 7.2 7.71. 300 (2006)
I thought that the limited comicbook series that this film was adapted from was just okay.
But then Zack Snyder & the writers took Frank Miller's story & used this movie to add a whole different dimension to the telling of this early historic battle. While the story itself suffered a bit because it had to be shorten into a "two-hour" movie ( or however long this thing ran), it seemed to be made up by the surrealist matrix-like effects that were used to enhance the story-telling in a manner such as when an artist uses a new medium for his/her artwork.
In this history epic, I have seen the future of film storytelling,
And it works.