2007 Movie Wrap-up

I saw 32 theatrical films in 2007 (34 if you count going back for seconds). Here’s how I stack them up.

Top-5

  1. Atonement, Joe Wright. I can’t list this anywhere except the top. It grabbed like no other film this year. First viewing forced me to read Ian McEwen’s novel. Second viewing left me even more dazzled. Not a perfect film, but more worthy of study than anything else I saw, particularly as a study of adapting literature to film. Brilliant. A horror story masquerading as a period piece.
  2. La Vie En Rose, Olivier Dahan. Marion Cotillard simply has no competition for the “best performance” awards.
  3. Across the Universe, Julie Taymor. If Lurhman’s “Moulin Rouge” was a flimsy story about Paris entering the 20th century, held together by anachronistic songs, then Taymor’s “Across the Universe” is a flimsy story about the 1960s held together by achronistic Beatles’ songs.
  4. The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Ken Loach. A good hard story for anyone with an interest in the history of Ireland.
  5. Juno, Jason Reitman. Great script. Great cast. Great soundtrack. Sweet story.

Another 5

  • Black Book, Paul Verhoeven. Set in the autumn of 1944, the low countries were holding their breath waiting for the inevitable liberation, but the occupiers went on with their cruelties, eyes wide open, positioning themselves to take whatever advantages there might be.
  • Eastern Promises, David Cronenberg. A cautionary tale… stay away from tattoo parlors! When the dollar fails under the weight of the government’s debts, Cronenberg won’t need to disguise his characters as Russians for stories like this.
  • I’m Not There, Todd Haynes. Fits right in with the rest of the cinema of Dylan. Maddening, chaotic, unbelievable. I loved it. Cate Blanchett was particularly fun to watch. I wish the songs in the movie were on the soundtrack album.
  • Margo at the Wedding, Noah Baumbach. If Virginia Woolf was living now on Long Island, she might be writing stories like this one.
  • No Country for Old Men, the Coen Brothers. Not a good “first date” movie, but what Coen Brothers film is?

Others I enjoyed: Charlie Wilson’s War, The Departed, Exterminating Angels, Flags of Our Fathers, The Golden Compass, The Good Shepherd, June and July, The Lives of Others, Pan’s Labyrinth, Le papier ne peut pas envelopper la braise, Paprika, Paris je t’aime, Quai des orfevres, Sunshine, Talk to Me.

Biggest disappointments of 2007

  • Into the Wild, Sean Penn. It’s too much like a mash-up of Werner Herzog’s “Grizzly Man” and Dennis Hopper’s “Easy Rider.” Still, I’ll have no objection if it wins awards for its soundtrack.
  • Zodiac, David Fincher. It just didn’t click.

Best places I saw a movie in 2007

  1. La Cinémathèque française, Paris
  2. IFC Center, New York City
  3. Angelika Film Center, Houston
  4. AMC Pacific Place 11, Seattle
  5. Crest Cinema Centre, Shoreline

Interesting films I did not see in 2007: American Gangsters, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Away From Her, The Darjeeling Limited, Golden Door, Lars and the Real Girl, Michael Clayton, Persepolis, Once, The Savages, Le Scaphandre et le papillon, Sicko, There Will Be Blood, Waitress, Youth Without Youth.

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