• The Best Films of the Year:
  • 1. Atonement
    2. Once
    3. Reign Over Me
    4. The Lookout
    5. Gone Baby Gone
    6. The Bourne Ultimatum
    7. Juno
    8. Away from Her
    9. After the Wedding
    10. Sunshine

    This was a very odd year. It started fairly well, with “Once”, “The Lookout”, “After the Wedding” and “Reign Over Me” all before Memorial Day Weekend which kicked off Hollywood Sequel season. Even that went alright – “Harry Potter 5” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” being the high points. Then a long drought of not much to speak of. “Shoot ‘Em Up” tried to keep September interesting but it wasn’t until late November that the “awards consideration season” began and anything else came out of note. Even then, I wasn’t impressed with anything until “Atonement”.

    The reason it took the top spot from “Once” was the overall production value. While “Once” is my favorite film of the year, “Atonement” was the near perfect combination of cinematic elements. The acting, direction, script, production design, cinematography, editing and pretty much every other element were in sync. “Once” has more heart and made a bigger connection with me but in saying what’s the best film of 2007, I have to go with “Atonement”.

    In looking at all the films that made my top ten this year, it really was a bit of a toss up. Some years, I can separate out the cream of the crop and only have to futz over the last two or three. This time around, I could see switching places for films 4 through 10. Each had something going for them but nothing quite separated them apart from genre mostly.

    I’d like to see the trend of big studio subsidiary distributors (Fox Searchlight, Focus Features, etc.) releasing less traditional fare like “Sunshine”, “Once” and “Eastern Promises” continue. Without investment via these more “indie/foreign-sensible” segments of the film world, we’d be left with “Dukes of Hazzard” sequels for the most part.

    In any case, all of the films on the list above would make worthy rental considerations if you missed them in theaters so get to it.

  • The Worst Films of the Year:
  • 1. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
    2. Norbit
    3. Because I Said So
    4. I Know Who Killed Me
    5. Balls of Fury

    The biggest surprise of the year has to be something being worse than “Norbit”. But “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” manages to accomplish this feat, even with Jessica Biel in a Catwoman outfit and in her bra and panties. That aside, EVERYTHING else in the film deserves to be given a noogie with a diseased knuckle. It’s offensively preposterous from frame one and tickles your funny bone like a sledgehammer.

    With the #1 spot already being taken, all I can do it Congratulate Eddie Murphy for being both one of the funniest men on film and one of the worst … really, congratulations. In regards to “Norbit” in particular, this film is equal parts terrible and bad. Mix with water and flush.

    “Because I Said So” managed to make the most innocuous of genres unbearable – even with Mandy Moore (whom I admire for both respectable and puerile reasons). Diane Keaton sinks this film like a tanker captain in Alaska with nothing better to do than drink and drive.

    I’ve actually seen a portion of “I Know Who Killed Me” but I just didn’t want to bother watching it in its entirety, hence no review. It was insipid and somehow my finger slipped and tapped the remote control to turn off the TV. I didn’t even bother to change the channel. Now that’s sad.

    “Balls of Fury” had a goofy premise and wonderful villain (the awesome Christopher Walken) but still managed to make humor unfunny. I’m not even sure that drugs or alcohol would help much here.

    I’ll keep the instructions the same this year as last: Punch the person who tries to make you watch any of these … may I suggest punching them in the weiner (Kudos to “Juno” for that remark)?

  • The Most Horrible Films That Are Fun To Watch:
  • 1. Dragon Wars
    2. DOA: Dead or Alive
    3. The Last Legion
    4. The Condemned
    5. Pathfinder

    Oh, “Dragon Wars”, how you amaze me. I wonder if they’ll ever be a film that cost so much money to make that can stink quite as much as this one. The acting is so terrible I though the good fellows at “MST3K” would pop up on screen at some point – and when they didn’t, Audrey and I had to do their jobs for ourselves. Simply put, this one is stunningly bad but in such fashion as to bewilder and amuse. This could quite possible be why alcohol comes in containers easy to sneak into theaters.

    “DOA: Dead or Alive” is yet another movie adapted from a video game that just plain sucks. It’s all terribly fun to watch (especially if you’ve read the Rules for Fools about it). Corny acting, sub-par martial arts and ridiculously bad wire-harness effects just make everything better here.

    Thank whatever deity you choose that the filmmakers behind “The Last Legion” didn’t start with the first legion. Sir (for now) Ben Kingsley lends his gravitas to a film without gravity. It was like one of those random foreign-made films you saw on Saturday afternoon on some UHF channel that intermittently cut out when clouds were overhead. How do I get in contact with the producers of these films so I can have them cut me a check to do something useless?

    Stone Cold Steve Austin couldn’t let “The Marine” himself, John Cena outdo him for most hokey ex-wrestler turned action star. Well, actually that’s what happened … “The Marine” was even more ridiculous than “The Condemned” but that doesn’t mean The Rattlesnake couldn’t lower his latest flick to absurd levels. It’s just so over-the-top and predictable that you almost have to love it.

    Ahhh, “Pathfinder”. You wanted to be some action epic but you only managed to deliver shoddy effects, amateurish camera work and a story so un-epic that it makes “Conan the Barbarian” look like Shakespeare. Thank you.

  • The Most Underrated/Overlooked Films of the Year:
  • Fracture
    Hot Fuzz
    Enchanted
    Shoot ‘Em Up

    “Fracture” delivers perhaps the best psychological thriller of the year and allows Anthony Hopkins to evoke a character so chilling it rivals Hannibal Lecter. Sparring brilliantly with perhaps the best actor of my generation, Ryan Gosling, this is definitely worth your time and effort.

    If any of you saw “Shaun of the Dead”, you’re already familiar with the geniuses behind “Hot Fuzz” and know what you’re going to get here. Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Danny Frost are fantastic at turning a genre on its ear and I can’t wait to see their next effort whenever that comes about. If you can appreciate the cheesy goodness that is “Point Break” and fancy a laugh, this film is perfect for you.

    “Enchanted” is a near perfect fairy tale movie and Amy Adams proves once again why I hold her so high in my esteem, both for aesthetics and talent. If you want a feel good flick just about anyone will love, few films in 2007 will fit the bill better.

    “Shoot ‘Em Up” is a bit of a mystery to me. It has sex and violence, yet it didn’t make much of a splash as far as audiences go. If people are going to spend millions of dollars on “Wild Hogs” and “Ghost Rider“, why not use that money for something worth watching? The film is completely over the top and full of cheesy goodness, all while scores of people get filled with bullets in just about every way possible. If you’re into that kind of stuff (and you should be), don’t miss out on this film.


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