Monday, December 10, 2007

Movies 2007

This post will be updated once more at the end of the year, as I anticipate my top ten to change. I don't see many movies (compared to how many I watched in my bachelor days) and I'd really like to catch at least a couple of these.

Rescue Dawn
No Country for Old Men
King of Kong (A Fistful of Quarters)
American Gangster
Sweeny Todd
I Am Legend
Bee Movie

My current top ten "movies" of 2007 are:

1.) 300
The most original and striking movie of the year. Unbelievable that in this day and age such a politically hawkish and righteous story could ever get a green light. Highly stylized visual effects are propelled by an overwhelmingly operatic story structure. This is a GREAT movie.

2.) Ratatouille
Once again, Pixar brings the story and emotions stronger than almost any other live action movie. I really hope my dad gets to see this one. It's a beautiful exploration of the food in our lives and the passions that go with it.

3.) Beowulf
A great companion piece to 300, I do loves me some sword and sandal epic stuff. This motion capture animated showcase is next step in film-making and must be seen in 3D to be believed. Plus it has a mighty and timeless emotional wallop to go along with the eye popping visuals.

4.) Hot Fuzz
Mind blowing tribute to big block-buster action movies, wrapped up in a European film sensibility. A follow up to the critically hailed "Shaun of the Dead", this one in my mind exceeds it's predecessor in every way. The tightly wound story structure and detailed homages are an absolute delight.

5.) Grindhouse
A delicious two fisted punch to the gut of movie lovers everywhere. If you LOVE the movies, then what could be better than watching two master movie makers do their thang paying tribute to the films that they love. "Planet Terror" is both uber-shlockerrific and vintage Robert Rodriguez. "Death Proof" is a very accurate send-up of the low budget revenge film, with a jaw-dropping ending that has to be seen to be believed.

6.) Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Simply put; I LOVE these movies. And currently this third installment is my favorite. If you in any way find the Pirates movies confusing (and I think most people do) then I can't help you. I love the dense story telling, I love the production design, and I absolutely LOVE how these films are very un-Hollywood in very unconventional ways.

7.) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Second only to "Prisoner of Azkaban", this movie is a great treat after the mildly disappointing "Goblet of Fire." As it is an adaption of my favorite Potter book, again I seem to be in the minority in this opinion as well, I could not be much happier with it.

8.) Transformers
As good as Michael Bay gets; and the visuals are simply awe inspiring. This would be higher on the list if only it didn't suffer from occasional Cuisinart editing syndrome and a lack of wide angle lenses. Still, it is MILES above Michael Bay's usual work. I can't stand "Armageddon" or "Pearl Harbor" they are two of the worst "movie's" I've ever seen. This one is a fun ride from start to finish; plus there's quite a bit of actual pathos to chew on. It's political subtext, like 300, is also appreciated by this viewer.

9.) The Simpsons Movie
I can't believe they pulled this one off. I love the show, even in it's current carnation; and I'm just delighted that this movie works from start to finish. It doesn't have the "loss of bodily function" laughs that the "South Park" and "Beevis & Butthead" movies do - but it is definitely more across the board funny than either of those two.

10.) The Bourne Ultimatum
I imagine this one will get bumped off of this list when I see "Sweeny Todd" or "No Country for Old Men", but it still deserves a mention. This is probably the strongest of the trilogy, and I love Greengrass' work here. The story is compelling and the pacing never lets up. The editing and shaky cam are not my favorite style by any means - but when they are done exceptionally well, then I'm happy to sign up for the ride.

The one movie that was the biggest single disappointment:

Spider Man 3
How the same creative team that brought us the amazing first two chapters could be behind this muddled mess is beyond me. Toby McGuire is weak. Too many villains. No emotional punch. Lame. If this were the first Spider-Man movie, I'd say it was pretty damn good; but we've seen so much better before this.

These are the movies that I'm in no rush to catch:

Rush Hour 3
The Golden Compass
Live Free or Die Hard (simply for it's PG-13 rating alone).
Sicko (anger....rising...)
Redacted (anger....still rising....)
Lions for Lambs (faading.....rising!)

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