Top Tens of the Decade: 2007
2007 was a much quieter year than the few before it. Continued working with the same non-profit which sent me to Turkey and Russia again, but for the most part, I stayed in Utah. Much more exciting, however, was the fact that 2007 was a fantastic year for film. It was super tough to narrow it down to ten of the most memorable. Honorable mentions include The Lookout, Breach, 300, Black Snake Moan, Sweeney Todd, and No Country for Old Men.
– David Fincher’s movies are always fun. Except The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That was more boring. Seven really messed me up for a few days after the first time I saw it. Although Zodiac isn’t technically horror, I was nervous going into it. The way he unwinds the chilling true story of the Zodiac killer is a marvel. Kill scenes were tremendously effective, but weren’t the livelihood of the movie. It’s simply a really well crafted film.
– I’m not sure if I should really consider Grindhouse as two films. I do know that seperately, they wouldn’t have made this list, but together, with the fake trailers, they made for one of the best shows in theatres in 2007. Zombies, serial killers, Fergie? All of it is an A movie cleverly disguised as a B movie. Well done Rodriguez and Tarantino.
– It blows my mind that Angelina Jolie didn’t get any awards recognition for her portrayal of Mariane Pearl. This film was so brilliantly understated. It’s a tough, tough movie to watch. And I still can’t articulate why this sort of movie is important, but I know it is. It’s a reminder that there are real people and emotionally charged stories behind the nameless, faceless headlines we read.
– Werner Herzog is consistently putting out some really interesting stuff. I have a great respect for him as a documentarian, but didn’t realize he could direct a drama until after I saw Rescue Dawn. This is another film based on true events. And here’s to Steve Zahn. Everyone said he wouldn’t be able to do a serious role, but he managed to outshine even Christian Bale here. Sure, the film stoops to some feel-good cliches at the end, but this is a fantastic war piece.
– I’ll be the first to admit this film falls apart when it turns from a character-based meditation on the frailty of human life and the idea something greater than ourselves to a murder mystery thriller in space. But the two-thirds of the film leading up to its demise is spectacular. Both visually and intellectually. It has some of the most beautifully realized images in sci-fi history, and some of the best performances as well. Danny Boyle did it again.
– Coming off the critical success of A History of Violence, David Cronenberg again chose a straightforward narrative. And it really worked. It’s hard not to when your leads are Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortenson. But proof of his fantastic direction is that while their performances complimented the film, they didn’t carry it. It was the direction that wove the story. And it’s a damn good story at that.
– Gone Baby Gone is proof that the Academy wants you to pay your dues before you’re nominated for an Oscar. If this wasn’t the case, they surely would have recognized this fantastic directing debut by Ben Affleck. I was a doubter when I heard he directed it, and that it starred his little bro, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, or pleased as I left the theatre.
– This was, in my opinion, the best film of the year. I seem to like movies based on Ian McEwan books. But this is the best of them all. James McAvoy clearly had a career high here. And Keira Knightley was nothing to scoff at either. Joe Wright instantly went to the top of my radar. Unfortunately, he followed it up with The Soloist. I guess there’s no where to go but down when you’re at the top.
– P.T. Anderson continues to be one of my heros, and further proves he’s of cinematic deity. Not a single thing could have gone wrong with this film. It’s based on a remarkable book by Upton Sinclair. Johnny Greenwood composed the brilliant score. Daniel Day-Lewis is in the lead with a solid Paul Dano along side him. And best of all, directed by Anderson. It’s visually striking, and ridiculously good.
– If I were to make a best of list for the last decade, The Lives of Others would, without a doubt, make that list. I love this movie. And if you’d like to hear why, you can read my review here.