Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 2007

2007 was a weak year altogether for me, but produced plenty of films I really liked and some I loved.  I thought the Oscar race absolutely shafted a certain film that will be on my list, but oh well.  You win some you lose some.  Just because they handed out "official" awards doesn't mean a film is erased from existence and no longer available.

Here's 2007's Best Picture noms

WINNER - No Country For Old Men
Michael Clayton
There Will Be Blood

Here's my 2007

Grindhouse (Planet Terror/Deathproof - Double Feature)

This is one of the most fun theatrical experiences I've ever had and one of the most disappointing absolute bombs in my lifetime.  I really loved every second of going to the theater and seeing a full on throwback double feature complete with fake trailers and commercials.  And also with a lively audience in the Chinese Theater.  Its interesting, when I first saw the film, I thought Planet Terror was the better of the two films. But as I've watched more, I've come to realize quite the opposite.  I still like Planet Terror, but its more of an instant impact film that doesn't hold up on multiple viewings.  While Deathproof is Tarantino's weakest film, I still find it more and more entertaining and impressive with each viewing.  Rodriguez made a parody film with jokes and gimmicks that'll only work best on the first viewing and Tarantino went out and actually made a genuine 70s Grindhouse feature.  Its so much fun and I'm glad Weinstein actually got off their asses a few years back and put the full thing out on Blu-ray.

Hot Fuzz

There's something great about these Cornetto films that not a lot of movie can really accomplish.  They excel on so many different levels in many different areas.  First and foremost, their comedy aspect is of the best.  But in the case of something like Hot Fuzz, it totally works as a top notch action film and a genuine crime drama as silly as it is.  And also the personal drama between main characters actually functions with emotion weight and believability.  My one gripe with Hot Fuzz is that its at epic length for this type of movie.  But I can easily forgive it as I'll chalk it up as an homage/joke about the length of Bad Boys II.  There is so much great original humor here and plenty of easter eggs for multiple viewings and many callbacks for those of us who were fans of the previous effort, Shaun of the Dead.

The Mist

See that picture?  Its in Black & the movie was intended to be seen.  The Weinsteins pull the rug out from under Frank Darabont at the last minute and told him this movie would be released in color instead.  Those complaints you had about the effects looking bad...its because they were realized and crafted for a black and white film and then colorized.  Anyway, The Mist rocked.  It was the best movie everybody missed in 2007.  Its the best kind of horror, where there is some supernatural stuff going on, but the real scares, intensity and drama come from the people locked up in the shop.  Yes, the ending is what this movie is remembered for, but it was a top notch movie prior to that.  It was just cementing the fact that yes, you just watched a damn good movie.  Nobody does Stephen King like Frank Darabont, so why isn't he the Joss Whedon of King properties?  I have no idea.  Oh, and funny enough, this movie also feels like try-outs for The Walking Dead in retrospect.

No Country For Old Men

I love this movie, plain and simple.  Like love love it.  This movie is one big chase where the 3 main characters never share a scene together.  It also gave us one of the greatest screen villains of all time.  All awards received on this one were well deserved.  No Country features the Coen Bros formula firing on all cylinders.  Its got that quirky humor, intrigue and some of the best suspense I've seen in film for a long time.  Yeah, I get people didn't like the ending, but folks its really not that deep.  This is an absolute Amercian classic and a more modern Western tale and I hope people continue to see.  A Best Picture winner that hopefully is never forgotten and always looked back upon and studied.  There's so many interesting interpretations and ways to watch this movie, its riveting.  For instance, next time you watch, pretend Anton Chigurh is an alien from another planet trying to blend into human society.  Weird, I know, but you'll be shocked when it makes a lot of sense.

Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix

This is the one Harry Potter movie I like better than the book.  Order Of The Phoenix is the longest book in the series.  The book was a point where JK Rowling obviously had all the control in the world and lacked a sense of trimming the fat and tightening up things.  Plus, as Scott Mendelson puts it, the book is one insanely long read to just find out a mysterious prophecy something we already know or figured had to happen, that Harry and Voldemort have to face off and kill each other.  The film tightens up everything, cutting out a lot of superflous material and makes for one of the best films in the entire series.  It also ends on a shocking confrontation that feels like "wow, already?"  There's a lot of more interesting paths that could have been taken with where this story goes in the finale, but what does happen is quite all right in itself.


This is the one I was talking about above.  Zodiac is an absolute masterpiece.  Its no-contest the best film from director David Fincher.  I love how the film doesn't really come to a conclusion, but presents all the facts and hints to some possibilities.  Its funny as open ended and unsolved as it is, its still satisfying.  The film features one of the best performances by Jake Gyllenhaal as he plays Peter Parker better than any Spider-man actor has.  Its also a terrific period piece and watching actors in their getup is terrific fun.  I also enjoy that David Fincher seemed to be channeling a little cult film I'm a fan of, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, as some of his inspiration for the Zodiac attack scenes.  While I thought the Social Network was ok, this was the last time so far that David Fincher had been on a higher pedestal for me.  Hopefully Gone Girl will be a return to form for him for me.

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