Top 10 Best: Chris

All in all, 2007 has been a bit of a mixed bag film-wise. There was a huge lack of originality among the big summer tent poles- with a whole bunch of "three-quels" coming out (PIRATES 3, SPIDERMAN 3, SHREK THE THIRD), RUSH HOUR 3), only one of them was actually any good (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM). On a more positive note, R-rated films had a nice comeback, with distinctly R-Rated films like 300, AMERICAN GANGSTER, KNOCKED UP, and SUPERBAD, pulling in big numbers. It's nice to know that a film doesn't have to be PG-13 to pull in an audience (a fact that should have been drilled into the noggins of the brass at Fox, who did a hatchet job on LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD in order to get a PG-13).

Things really began to look up in the fall when a whole bunch of quality films were released. Sadly, as many of these films targeted an adult audience, there were simply too many films out at the same time, and a lot of excellent films got overlooked. Overall, there were a lot of quality films out there this year, and each film in the top 10 is absolutely rock solid- no padding here. The harder list to make was the bottom 5, as there was so much crap out there- narrowing the list to five was hard.

One important note- I've yet to see THERE WILL BE BLOOD. From what I hear- it's a stunning piece of work, and I have little doubt that if I had the chance to see it, it would be at the top of my list of best films.

Top 10 of 2007

10. KNOCKED UP: 2007 was definitely the year of Judd Apatow (although his latest, WALK HARD died at the box office). The best thing about films from the Apatow camp is that, while they are funny as fuck, they also have a lot of heart. While I loved SUPERBAD, KNOCKED UP is the film that makes it onto the list. Seth Rogan & Katherine Heigl both turned in star making performances (although Heigl made a HUGE mistake slamming the film in a recent Vanity Fair article) and the film holds up extremely well in repeat viewings. Now that Apatow & Rogan have gone A- list, what I'd really like to see is a film follow up to Freaks and Geeks- which I still feel is Apatow's finest work.

9. THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD: Shamelessly overlooked. This is probably the best western to come along since UNFORGIVEN. While Brad Pitt was top billed, the film is really a showcase for Casey Affleck, who dominates the film as Ford giving one of the finest performances of the year. It's a real shame that this film didn't open wider, as the big screen is where this visually stunning film really belongs. Many have compared this film to the work of Terrence Mallick, which I feel sells director Andrew Dominik somewhat short. Anyone who saw his last film, CHOPPER, knows that Dominik is no mere Mallick imitator.

8. GONE BABY, GONE: Yet another amazing Casey Affleck performance- 2007 was really his breakout year. Here he plays a Boston P.I searching a missing child. This film really blew me away when I saw it a few months ago, as I was not expecting much from a film directed by Ben Affleck. I'm not a huge fan of the older Affleck as an actor, but he really pulled this one off. If he plays his cards right, this could be the start of a brilliant career on the other side of the camera. I think what impressed me most about the film was the unflinching approach the film took towards the hero's morality- which leads to him making a shocking choice towards the end of the film that absolutely left me floored. Well worth seeing.

7. INTO THE WILD: Yet another film directed by an actor. To be fair, Sean Penn's a veteran director- but I think this film is easily his best work. His leading man, Emile Hirsh is definitely an actor to watch, and I'm betting he's going to be huge once SPEED RACER gets released in May. Veteran performer Hal Holbrook is also great in this film, and I think he's a lock for a best supporting actor nomination.

6. JUNO: I gave this film a rave when I saw it about a month ago, and I stand by my review. Wonderfully written, directed, acted, etc. Pretty much a flawless film. Some may find the dialogue a wee bit on the precious side- but whatever. I say that's part of the charm. If we lived in a perfect world, Ellen Page would take home the best actress trophy at the Oscars this year, but alas...

5. CONTROL: This is the film that 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE should have been. Simply astonishing biopic of Ian Curtis- the lead singer of Joy Divison. Newcomer Sam Riley is incredible- and I hope he cops an Oscar nomination, although this is probably unlikely as not enough people have seen the film. It's definitely the most visually stunning film of the year- although I'd expect nothing less from Anton Corbin. It was after all his famous photo session with Joy Divison back in the seventies that played a large role in their breakthrough.

4. MICHAEL CLAYTON: I hated OCEAN'S 13, but if a crap film like that pays for an awesome film like this- than bring on OCEAN'S 14 (ugh). George Clooney really is a throwback to old school leading men like Cary Grant, and MICHAEL CLAYTON is tailor made for his considerable talent. This rock solid thriller is also one hell of a debut for first time helmer Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter behind the Bourne trilogy.

3. ZODIAC: It's unbelievable how many people have written this film off. I think the film was very badly handled by the studio, as it really should have come out in December 2006, but instead the film was delayed until March of this year. Robert Downey Jr., really deserves a shot as best supporting actor, as does David Fincher for his masterful turn behind the camera. I can't wait for the director's cut to come out on DVD next week.

2. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: Best Coen Bros. ever, and very nearly my favorite film of 2007. Javier Bardem as Chigurh is the best incarnation of evil I've seen on screen since Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (but NOT the follow up films in the series, which turned him into a cartoon). Josh Brolin is also really good in this film. Along with his scenery chewing performances in PLANET TERROR & AMERICAN GANGSTER, Brolin's really come into his own this year and I expect big things from him in the future.

1. ONCE: Magic. Pure magic. Easily the best film of the year -although there's a chance THERE WILL BE BLOOD will steal that title once I get around to seeing it). One of the things that makes ONCE such a wonderful film is the fact that's it's not a particularly ambitious film. It's a tiny Irish indie that aspires to do nothing but tell a simple sweet story about the power of music. I've seen this film more than any other film on the list, and it stands up each and every time.


And now, for the worst films of 2007...

5. NEXT & GHOST RIDER: Two duds from Nicolas Cage. Now, I'm not saying Cage is a bad actor- far from it. It's just that he makes an awful lot of shit these days. I can't really blame Cage for GHOST RIDER (although his CGI abs and Ryan Seacrest hairpiece were pretty damn funny), for me the biggest problem with the film was Wes Bentley. He's so bad as the villain that I'm convinced the real Wes Bentley died after AMERICAN BEAUTY, and was replaced by an evil twin who went on to act in this, and other "winners" like THE FOUR FEATHERS & P2. As for NEXT, the big problem was the ending, which is easily the stupidest of the year. One of the few films I've seen where people in the preview audience actually booed the film.

4. P.S I LOVE YOU: Ugh- I can't even describe how much I hated this film, although I tried in my recent review.

3. AWAKE: The best thing about this film was that it was short, so my suffering was not prolonged.

2. HANNIBAL RISING: Please god let this be the end of the Hannibal Lecter series. The worst thing about this film is the casting of French actor Gaspard Ulliel in the title role. He looks and sounds nothing like Anthony Hopkins, and actually reminded me more of Bela Lugosi. In any other year this would be the worst film of the year if it were not for...

1. NORBIT: Eddie Murphy is dead to me. Not only is this film not funny, but it's also stupid & racist. Amazingly it made $90 million at the box office- which is extremely depressing.

Source: JoBlo.com



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