Best of far
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hey All

Every year, I do a ten best list of the best movies of the year. Sometimes people get to read it, but for the most part it's just a hobby of mine to keep me entertained through the year and to engage the more critical part of my undying love for film.

Lately, instead of ranking them from 1 through 10, I just put them out there and state why I like them for their own merits. Now, my list up to this point is only half-way finished with some movies that I like a lot, but not enough to consider the best. I'll include these for the time being just as placeholders. Hopefully I'll see five more other movies in the next two months that'll complete the list, although to truly see everything that can be considered "the best", it sometimes takes me well into next year to come up with a definitive list. When I saw the preview for LITTLE CHILDREN, didn't think too much of it. Thought it was AMERICAN BEAUTY without the humor. It finally came to Regina in April when it was just about to be released on DVD, and after seeing that, it shot up the list as one my favorite and best movies of 06.

Anyways, these are the five films I've seen so far this year that I consider the best in chronological order.

KNOCKED UP - To paraphrase Captain Kirk, "Of all the summer movies I've seen, this was the most...human." Thank God that Judd Apatow has finally achieved the elusive success that he so richly deserved after creating "FREAKS AND GEEKS" and "UNDECLARED". Not only is this film insanely funny (a friend of mine said that she laughed so hard that she couldn't breathe), but it's also a great snapshot of the sudden maturity one inevitably faces in life. Infinitely quotable, unexpectedly real, genuinely emotional, and unstoppably funny.

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE - For all intents and purposes, this is TRANSFORMERS for Beatles fans. The plot is merely a clothesline for the kaleidescopic visuals and musical numbers and covers, and the characters are only there to burst out in song and carry it along. But so what? It's a joy to listen to, a treat to watch and an entertaining history of the 60's told through the musings of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

MICHAEL CLAYTON - Both a riveting character study and a truly tense legal thriller that never lets up for a second. A film truly for adults that never loses it's intelligence, and a great showcase of actors at their best, particularly Tom Wilkinson as a legal shark turned mad prophet. If he doesn't win for Best Supporting Actor just for the line "I am Shiva, the God of Death", I will be Hulk pissed.

THE DARJEELING LIMITED - "Return to form" movies are exciting in that you never know if it'll be this one or the next one. After finally falling in love with Wes Anderson after THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, I was immensely let down with the over-designed jerk-off that was THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU. This made me approach DARJEELING with concern. Imagine my surprise as I stayed during the credits to listen to "Les Champ-Elysee". With this one, Wes takes his eccentric characters (in this case three brothers) out of the dollhouse and puts them on a train through India to re-connect. In doing so, he breaks out of the hermetically sealed universes he normally creates and discovers the world alongside his characters and ultimately discovers a deeper meaning.

I dedicate this review of the movie to my friend Trixi, whose taking her own spiritual journey through India. I hope she come back a new woman.

GONE BABY GONE - Until I see NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, this is so far the best movie I've seen so far this year. This is three movies in one. It's the best crime thriller since L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. It's a surprisingly powerful morality tale. And it's a glorious plunge into the abject poverty of Boston. Real, butt ugly Bostonians with accents as thick as molasses and places that are shittier than most outhouses overwhelm the Hollywood actors enough to make you feel like you're there. This is the kind of movie that restores your faith in the medium to tell an emotionally devastating story that haunts you and never lets go once you've seen it.

Other movies I really dug

GRINDHOUSE - I saw this three times in the theater in it's original 3 hour plus form. Not only the best movie to see in a theater to get the full experience, but complete movie geek nirvana.

RATATOUILLE/THE SIMPSONS MOVIE/BEE MOVIE - It's going to be hard to choose which of these three are the best animated movies of the year. The former is the Brad Bird/Pixar collaboration I've been wanting to see since THE IRON GIANT, the middle is the reason why THE SIMPSONS haven't been funny in ten years because every joke they've come up with they put in the movie, and the latter I loved just for pure entertainment value.

SICKO/SHARKWATER/NO END IN SIGHT - Also will be hard to pick one of these three very strong docs. The former is Michael Moore at his finest, the middle is a real eye opener in seeing the most vilified species on the planet as a major part of the Earth's ecosystem and actually very docile creatures, and the latter for being the most comprehensive look at the War on Terror, the reasons behind the quagmire that is Irag and how it's going to take a long time and 1.78 trillion dollars to fix.

IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH - A welcome shift in gears for Paul Haggis. After the hysterics of CRASH, he seriously dialed it down to tell a quiet, powerful story of a man trying to find his son. Another great acting showcase in how Tommy Lee Jones does so much with so little.

This is all subject to change, obviously. These are the flicks that I'm hoping will be good enough to add.

Waitress, Paris je t’aime, Bug, Talk to Me,Sunshine, In the Shadow of the Moon, Lust, Caution, Southland Tales, No Country for Old Men, Beowulf, Margot at the Wedding, The Mist, I’m Not There, The Golden Compass, Grace is Gone, I Am Legend, Juno, Youth Without Youth, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Charlie Wilson’s War,
There Will Be Blood.

Of course, there could be a movie that completely comes out of left field that totally blows my mind that I didn't expect to. Those are the ones I love the most. But until then, this is the temporary list.


Friday, November 16, 2007 5:28 AM


Wow very comprehensive and well thought out list...makes me want to see the ones I haven't on this list


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