Thursday, May 29, 2008

2007 Year In Review

Originally posted on December 28, 2007. Reprinted with permission.

Films I Saw In General Release This Year - 2007

3:10 to Yuma


Across the Universe

American Gangster

Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


Bee Movie

Black Snake Moan

Blade Runner – The Final Cut

Blades of Glory

Bourne Ultimatum

The Brave One

Death Sentence

Eastern Promises

Evan Almighty

The Ex


Ghost Rider

Gone Baby Gone

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Hot Fuzz

I Am Legend


Knocked Up

License to Wed

Lions for Lambs

Live Free or Die Hard

The Lookout

Michael Clayton

Music & Lyrics

No Country for Old Men

Ocean’s 13

Reno 911! Miami

Rocky Balboa


Shoot ‘Em Up

The Simpsons Movie

Smokin’ Aces

Spider-Man 3


There Will Be Blood



Walk Hard – The Dewey Cox Story


There were plenty of good movies this year and man, I tried to see as many as I could. But I’m just going to try to tell you about as many as I can right now. Most of these are either available on DVD or still in theatres, I think maybe only a few are still in limbo. How should I break this down?


A few movie franchises came to an end, I think, this summer. Ocean’s, Bourne, Rocky and Die Hard, were amongst the series to reportedly come to an end this year. These movies were all great, especially Ocean’s and Bourne and even Die Hard was pretty good for being PG-13. Amongst the series NOT ending, include Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Pirates, Transformers, Ninja Turtles and Shrek. Didn’t see either Shrek or Pirates because I am a grown up. Of course, I dug Harry Potter (see review) and thought it was one of the best films in that series, and am completely looking forward to Yates making Half Blood Prince. I did see Transformers and am just going on record saying that I couldn’t get involved with a movie where robots kicked the shit out of robots and no main characters dying. However, I recently discussed with a friend that if Transformers 2 is a movie about the Lesbots versus the Vagicons, then I am totally there! Oh man, that robot just knocked that other robot on its ass and it’s going down on it! This movie is awesome! I remember Transformers when I was a kid and even then, I didn’t really dig them. But, I did love TMNT. I thought it really captured the Turtles as I remember them when I was a kid. And that fight between Raph and Leo in the rain on a rooftop it one of the best fight sequences all year.


There were some pretty terrific action movies this year and some pretty terrible one as well. I was really looking forward to Smokin’ Aces and was thoroughly disappointed in it. Piven was only in it for like ten minutes and then Alicia Keys and Common hook up for no other reason than they’re the only black people in the movie. Bourne kicked so much ass, as did Shoot ‘Em Up, but I probably Hot Fuzz would be my favorite of the year, for if Shaun of the Dead is truly a zombie comedy, then Hot Fuzz is an action movie first and a comedy second. And the only other movie to have a better final twenty minutes all year was Death Proof. Last to come down the line, but certainly not least was I Am Legend, which should have been called I Am Bitchin’ because not only was it a very serious film exploring important human and social issues, but may have established Will Smith as the finest actor of our generation. Ooh, if only we can get him in a Marty Scorsese movie!


Ok, hands down, funniest movie of the year, SuperBad. Nothing else even came close. Not even Hot Fuzz, the second funniest movie of the year. I loved Knocked Up, Bee Movie, and Reno 911! Miami but SuperBad kicked all of them in the nuts. Walk Hard was funny, but not as fine a movie as either of the other two Apatow productions. I wasn’t crazy about Evan Almighty or License to Wed but I did think they were pretty humorous. And the funniest movie I saw all year that nobody else did had to be The Ex. Jason Bateman and Zach Braff were hilarious in this movie. If you watch it on DVD, make sure you watch the theatrical version. I swear to you, the movie is goddamn hilarious. If you like Scrubs or Arrested Development, you’ll love these guys in this film, plus it features about everybody ever. Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Charles Grodin, Mia Farrow, Donal Logue, Paul Rudd and Josh Charles just to name a few. But back to the king shit, SuperBad was my favorite movie of the year, and I thought was just really well written, as good as Knocked Up or 40 Year Old Virgin. Fortunately, Michael Cera also showed up in the funniest of the Oscar movie of the year, Juno. This movie struck a chord between being heartfelt and hilarious that not many movies can. I absolutely loved it and everyone in it.


There were just too many movies this year that are worthy of Oscar nominations and wins. Right now, the best movie of the year looks like No Country for Old Men. It was simply amazing. Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin were both brilliant and the film was gorgeous. Roger Deakins shot two beautiful pictures this year, the other being Assassination of Jesse James. Brad Pitt was great in that one, but the real performance came from Casey Affleck who tore in up in another awesome movie this year, Gone Baby Gone. The better performance in that picture was Ed Harris, who kicked so much ass, it was painful. And Ben Affleck showed that he might have some serious chops as a director. He would almost be a lock for a nod if he were not going up against a stellar roster which includes Ridley Scott, David Cronenberg, James Mangold, Robert Redford and even David Fincher. So, let’s go thru those movies quickly too. American Gangster was awesome (see review) and an almost certain nod for Denzel, probably Crowe too, but Brolin is the deserving one. Eastern Promises absolutely convinced me that Viggo Mortensen IS Russian and that Cronenberg has finally found a formula to make his movies digestible for mainstream audiences. 3:10 to Yuma could almost make Crowe compete against himself for Best Supporting Actor, but again, the great performance in the movie is Bale. Lions for Lambs will suffer from not doing well commercially and doing marginally well critically, but Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep were both excellent and deserving of a second look. Unfortunately, Zodiac probably came out far too early in the year to get some serious consideration, which is shitty because Gyllenhall, Downey and Ruffalo were all excellent in the film and Fincher made a better movie that Se7en and almost as good as Fight Club.


I hated Across the Universe, driven mostly by my contempt for the Beatles. Ghost Rider was another awful movie, but really, really funny. I really didn’t like all but about a half hour of Death Proof, falling asleep whenever Kurt Russell was not on screen and no, the lap dance was not sexy. I wasn’t head over heels for Blades of Glory either, but Jenna Fischer and Will Arnett made it slightly watchable. I liked The Brave One but didn’t love it and felt the same way about The Simpsons Movie. Sorry gang, Family Guy forever, Simpsons never. Not going to beat up on Transformers or Smokin’ Aces anymore because neither one of them are worth it.

But Mike, you might ask, I get to see so few movies, what should I see? To which I reply, you should see whatever you want. I only write my reviews, blogs and critiques as general guidelines to help get the word out about some movies people might not have seen or even heard of in some cases. True, I write most of my reviews about bigger movies, but I always try to throw in nods and recommendations for others. There were many great films this year and I tried to see as many of them as possible. If you’re as passionate about movies as I am, you should make an effort to try to see at least one a week. Do what my friends and I do, and buy a ticket for a movie you really want to see, and after you watch it, sneak into a movie you were on the fence about. Then you can justify to yourself spending eight bucks on two movies in one night. If someone gives you shit, just tell them you’re still going to movies for the sake of art, you corporate Enron fuck!

On another note, I did get a chance to see Blade Runner on the big screen, something I simply did not get a chance to do when I was an infant. It was simply an amazing experience that I cannot even begin to describe, but one I would like to share with everyone. So, among my New Year’s resolution in looking into trying to revitalize the small locally owned and operated theatre. I want to be able to run a single screen with a hundred seats and show movies that have never played on a large screen in our lifetimes. Pretty cool, huh? Yea, we’ll see.

Top Five Films of the Year

1. No Country for Old Men

2. I Am Legend

3. SuperBad

4. Eastern Promises

5. Hot Fuzz

1 comment:

Chela said...

Lions for Lambs had me nodding off. Majorly disappointing IMO. Lots of potential here, not enough substance in the end. Charlie Wilson's War a better execution all around and it pains me to say so.