2007

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Barbara's Top 10 of 2007

The Top 10s are coming fast and furious! Here's a Top 10 from Barbara Lonergan.

  1. There Will Be Blood
  2. No Country for Old Men
  3. Away from Her
  4. Juno
  5. After the Wedding
  6. Letters from Iwo Jima
  7. Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea
  8. The Secret Life of Words
  9. Once
  10. Waitress

Tony's Top 10 Movies of 2007

This is the first year Tony Brighton has submitted his Top 10 films of the year. Let's take a look!

  1. The Wind That Shakes the Barley
  2. Unconscious
  3. 12:08 East of Bucharest
  4. Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams
  5. Fido
  6. Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple
  7. Protagonist
  8. God Grew Tired of Us
  9. Maxed Out
  10. Live-in Maid

Thom's Top Movies of 2007!

Thom Bowser, one of our west coast members out in San Francisco, sends an intriguing Top 10 led by an as yet unreleased Takashi Miike film.

  1. Big Bang Love, Juvenile A
  2. Syndromes and a Century
  3. Atonement
  4. I'm Not There
  5. The Babysitters
  6. My Winnipeg
  7. No Country for Old Men
  8. Nothing is Private
  9. The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes
  10. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
  11. Paprika
  12. Gabrielle
  13. Hate (La Haine)
  14. Plauges & Pleasures on the Salton Sea

A Top 10 from Japan!

Tom recently relocated to Japan, but he's still watching movies! Here he submits his rather lengthy (I should talk) Top 10, broken down into various categories so that it resembles its own mini-awards ceremony.

Tom says, "Well, it looks like I did have to update my 2007 list after seeing some
stuff here that I didn't have time to see before leaving the states."

Best Not to make it to a U.S. screen

Rebuild of Evangelion:01 : You Are (Not) Alone

Best (Tie)

Once
In the Shadow of the Moon

Best of the Rest

No Country for Old Men
Sunshine
Sweeny Todd
Ratatouille
The Host
Linda Linda Linda (making this list for the third year)

The Rest of the Best

28 Weeks Later
Pan´s Labyrinth
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Paprika
Time
Hot Fuzz

Award for bringing the greatest voice talent of all time back into the fold

Paprika

Best Movie No One Saw

The Golden Door

Biggest Disappointment - 3way tie

The Simpsons Movie
Juno
The Golden Compass

Movie that should have made the big screen instead of The Simpsons Movie

Bender's Big Score

Please stop using celebrity voices in movies (or the Shut Up Sean Penn Award)

Persepolis

Honorable Mention for Kicking Ass

Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz

Best of the Fests

I'm A Cyborg but that's OK
Super Theater Edition Keroro Gunso 2

Best Sig from a Movie

"It's like looking in a smelly mirror"

Scot's Reluctant Top 10!

Chlotrudis Technology and Song-and-Dance Man weighs in with his Top 10.

Scot says, "Okay, okay. I'm not really a list maker, but here are my top ten films of 2007 ... as it stands today."

  1. Protagonist
  2. Lars and the Real Girl
  3. Juno
  4. There Will Be Blood
  5. I Don´t Want to Sleep Alone
  6. Margot at the Wedding
  7. Brand Upon the Brain
  8. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  9. Linda, Linda, Linda
  10. Once

The New Member's Top 10!

Philip, one of our newest members, sends his Top 10 in despite the fact that he doesn't have the opportunity to see many films at the theatre!

Philip says, "Thanks Michael for the invite to post this and thanks to Bruce for nudging me to join my favorite film society. I've been lurking for a few years reading everyone's reviews not realizing I could join so easily.

"My list comes with a disclaimer. I'm finishing up a Master's program in Syracuse, NY and so between my time constraints, lack of money and having only one theater in town that shows good films, my list is mainly pieced together from Netflix rentals. I drove an hour to see The Bubble, every other film on the list I watched at home. There are many films I want to see from this past year so this is not a complete list, but 2007 is long gone and I have to let go of that."

Philip Bahr's Grad School Top 10 Best Films of 2007:

The Lives of Others
Away from Her
The Bubble
Stephanie Daley
Paris Je T'aime
The Year of the Dog
This is England
Broken English
Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman
Red Without Blue

Marilyn's Top 10

Here's a Top 10 submission from our own Marilyn at the Movies...

Marilyn says, "Here is my top ten in no particular order taking into account there are still critically acclaimed films I have not seen. I reviewed the list of eligible films to help me and note that movies like PAN and JIMA are on the list and so I have listed them even though some may feel they belong to last year."

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
There Will Be Blood
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Letters From Iwo Jima
The Lives of Others
No Country for Old Men
Pan's Labyrinth
The Savages
Sicko
In the Valley of Elah

My Favorite Films in 2007

Okay, it’s taken me a little longer than I’d planned to get this Top 10 together, but here it is. As usual, I couldn’t stop at just 10, and my list expanded to 15 top films of the year. I also created a Top 10 Festival films that have yet to receive theatrical release.

Top Films of 2007 (with theatrical distribution)

  1. PROTAGONIST (Jessica Yu) – Jessica Yu’s documentary is compelling, intelligent, layered, funny, suspenseful… all the things a great movie should be. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever had a documentary as my favorite film of the year, but that just tells you how impressed I am by this film.
  2. LINDA LINDA LINDA (Nobuhiro Yamashita) – As far as sheer crowd-pleasers go, LINDA LINDA LINDA tops the list. Japanese high school girls in a power-pop, rock ‘n roll band, led by the comic genius of Du-na Bae. And one of the most infectious songs in a movie ever. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
  3. AWAY FROM HER (Sarah Polley) – Sarah Polley’s feature directorial debut is a masterful look at Alzheimer’s disease, crowned by an elegant performance by Julie Christie. Add to that the outstanding support from Gordon Pinsent, the grossly underrated and amazingly talented Kristen Thompson and source material in the form of an Alice Munro short story, and you’ve got a winner.
  4. LARS & THE REAL GIRL (Craig Gillespie) – A quirky town comes together in support of one of their emotionally troubled citizens in this melancholy, sweet, and hysterical film. Ryan Gosling completely overcomes my personal bias against him and wins me over completely. Support work from Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, and especially Patricia Clarkson is like the best cream cheese icing on the moist, delicious cake.
  5. JUNO (Ivan Reitman) – Sure, it has crossed over and is raking in the dough. Sure, some people say it’s not truly an indie, but a powerhouse backed by an astronomical marketing budget. JUNO is a great film. Diablo Cody has written a strong, funny screenplay, and the preternaturally talented Ellen Page brings Juno to beautifully sublime life. I’m not sure anyone else could have taken Juno and imbued her with the depth and complexity that Ellen Page brings in such a subtle and gorgeous way.
  6. THE WAYWARD CLOUD (Tsai Ming-Liang) – In this sort-of sequel to Tsai Ming-liang’s masterpiece, WHAT TIME IS IT THERE? we see two emotionally distant, isolated people tentatively find each other only to be confronted with a climax that will either tear them hopeless apart, or perhaps cement their relationship. All that, and it’s a musical too!
  7. WAITRESS (Adrienne Shelly) – Adrienne Shelly comes into her own as a director with this sadly sweet portrait of a young woman trapped in a dead-end relationship, and now facing an unwanted pregnancy. Shelly imbues her screenplay with humor and a gravity that keeps the sweetness from becoming too cloying.
  8. I’M NOT THERE (Todd Haynes) – Todd Haynes’ sprawling pseudo-biopic of Bob Dylan is not perfect, but it’s so exciting in its audaciousness that I am compelled to include it on my year-end list. Six different actors portray different aspects of Dylan’s personae to form a fascinating mosaic of the sphinx-like celebrity. Ambitious and largely successful.
  9. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Paul Thomas Anderson) – Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil, left me with giddy with excitement for hours… even days after seeing it. This portrait of a man obsessed, played with perfect, over-the-top bravura by Daniel Day-Lewis is so flat-out weird, it almost feels like a trick that the critics are all praising it and urging mainstream audiences to go take a look. And it has spawned a cultural quote which, taken out of context, is just insane, “I drink your milkshake!”
  10. MARGOT AT THE WEDDING (Noah Baumbach) – I wasn’t a terribly huge fan of Noah Baumbach’s THE SQUID & THE WHALE, but something about this intensely introspective study of a pair of dysfunctional sisters clicked with me. And I love seeing Nicole Kidman in great movies. She needs to find more of them. Or maybe I just included it to irritate Hilary.
  11. THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS (Isabel Coixet) – Sarah Polley showed her directorial skills, but I always thrill to see her well-documented acting ability, and Isable Coixet’s THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS gives her plenty of opportunity to strut her stuff. Despite the severe dialogue misstep in the penultimate scene of the movie, every other aspect works to perfection. And it’s a wonder of story-telling and acting when 7/8 of the way into the film, Polley performs a lengthy monologue that completely changes the tone of the film and drives it through your heart.
  12. THE BUBBLE (Eytan Fox) – Eytan Fox is an intriguing filmmaker, whose work I always love but doesn’t quite translate to a masterpiece. THE BUBBLE is certainly his closest yet, about three young friends living in Tel Aviv and how even in their bubble of apolitical life, the political conflicts around them intrude. A beautiful look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the way a new generation views it.
  13. I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE (Tsai Ming-Liang) – Tsai Ming-Liang is the master of telling stories about isolated people using images and very few words. I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE is gorgeous in its simplicity. The subtle touches of humor accent the somber stories almost to the point of absurdity, and this audacious mix rewards viewers every time.
  14. GRBAVICA: THE LAND OF MY DREAMS (Jasmila Zbanic) – In a fashion more straight-forward but no less powerful, Zbanic covers similar ground to Coixet in THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS. The horror endured by thousands during the Balkan Wars is easy to overlook or forget globally, but daring filmmakers such as these two amazing women won’t let these historical facts fade into obscurity. By focusing on a fractured mother-daughter relationship, Zbanic shows the aftermath of this war and how it affects survivors in the most personal of ways.
  15. THE KIING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS (Seth Gordon) – In what is surely the most entertaining film of the year, Seth Gordon explores a sub-culture of video gamers that is filled with stereotypes, both reinforced and smashed. There’s good, there’s evil, and there’s a titanic conflict of epic proportions in this intensely enjoyable documentary.

Other films that almost made the top list, but I couldn't squeeze them on: ONCE, BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, RED ROAD, DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT, EXILED, FAY GRIM, and STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING.

Best Festival Films of 2007 (not yet released theatrically in the U.S.)

  1. THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS (Bruce McDonald) – If Ellen Page grounded the sitcom antics in JUNO, she unites the visually hyperactive, fragmented mosaic that is THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS lifting it to dramatic heights. What’s it like to be literally in the mind of a troubled young adolescent? Bruce McDonald and Ellen Page give us a peek in a film that blends visual and aural over-stimulation in a way that reminded me of a cross between LILYA 4-EVER and PI.
  2. JELLYFISH (Shira Geffen; Etgar Keret) – In one of the most masterful uses of magical realism and whimsy in film, this Israeli import looks at disappointment is a way that is powerfully moving and contemporary using a variety of unique storylines to tell a coherent tale. Chlotrudis co-presented this film at the BJFF after several of us saw it in Toronto. I can’t wait for everyone to have a chance to see it when it is released Stateside this spring.
  3. MONKEY WARFARE (Reg Harkema) – Bitingly humorous, and surprisingly moving, MONKEY WARFARE is grounded by the performances of its two talented leads: Don McKellar and Tracy Wright. Add to the mix a fresh performance by Nadia Litz, and Harkema’s terrifically spot-on screenplay, and you’ve got all the workings for a unique and entertaining film.
  4. MY WINNIPEG – All of Guy Maddin’s considerable talents come together in this faux documentary of the city of Winnipeg, that is actually something of a memoir of Maddin himself. MY WINNIPEG successfully combines Maddin’s fantastical visuals with his offbeat humor to create a piece of work that Chlotrudis will be proud to co-present at this April’s IFFB (hopefully along with THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS).
  5. THE VISITOR (Thomas McCarthy) – McCarthy follows-up the Chlotrudis success of THE STATION AGENT, with a film that elegantly examines the politically-charged topic of illegal immigration in a way that focuses on the personal and familial relationships that suffer as a result of deportation. Richard Jenkins is phenomenal as the understated lead, and Hiam Abbass, so divine in so many international films is a wonder in a rare American production.
  6. A GENTLE BREEZE IN THE VILLAGE (Nobuhiro Yamashita) – In a series of episodic tales, this gently beautiful adaptation of a popular Japanese manga focuses on a small group of school-age children living in a tiny village. With an innocence rarely seen in contemporary society, GENTLE BREEZE will take you away on a soothing zephyr to a land that may seem hopelessly imaginary, yet somehow manages to exist.
  7. BREAKFAST WITH SCOT (Laurie Lynd) – This Canadian adaptation of a young adult novel explores family dynamics when the family in question has two dads and an unexpected child. This sweetly funny film manages to avoid most film clichés even while it uses them to tell a story that reaches beyond sexuality to appeal to any film viewer.
  8. BRICK LANE (Sarah Gavron) – Talented filmmaker Sarah Gavron offers up her first feature narrative with such a command of film language that you might be tempted to think she’s been at this for a long time. If there is a drawback in this adaptation of an internationally best-selling novel, it’s that the screenplay doesn’t take more chances, but Gavron certainly does, focusing in on the heart of the story of a family of Indian immigrants struggling to make their lives in England.
  9. HELP ME EROS (Lee Kang-sheng) Tsai Ming-liang’s perpetual leading man, Lee Kang-sheng, is not only an accomplished actor, but a talented filmmaker as well. Lee wrote and directed HELP ME EROS, a powerful portrait of a man calling out for help as he spirals out of control, indulging in heavy marijuana smoking and sexual antics after losing his fortune in a bad stock market decision. Like his mentor, Lee mines the territory of alienation with masterful assurance, and gives us a cinematic conclusion that will take your breath away.
  10. PLOY (Pen-ek Ratanaruang) – This follow-up to the magnificent LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE explores many similar themes and employs a more subtle dreamlike quality that serves to both confuse and tantalize the viewer. With the principal characters suffering from jet lag, the introduction of the adolescent Ploy into their lives causes major seismic shifts that have either startling effects on their lives, or at the very least, their dreams.

Other festival films worth looking for upon release: PING PONG PLAYA’; AN AMERICAN CRIME; AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

Popcorn N Roses announces year-end Best of 2007 Movie Lists

Chlotrudis members TC Kirkham and Kim Brown make up the internet broadcasting duo Popcorn 'n Roses. They recently sent out a press release announcing their individual Top 10's of the year that I have included here.

With most critics' lists praising such films as "No Country For Old Men", "Juno", and "There Will Be Blood", the two year-end top films lists coming from film website Popcorn N Roses may prove to be a refreshing change of pace. Popcorn N Roses has always marched to their own beat.

The husband and wife team of Popcorn N Roses webmaster TC Kirkham (the "Popcorn") and regular site contributor Kim Brown (The "Roses"), who are also the hosts of the website's popular weekly movie podcast, Subject:CINEMA, have compiled their own lists as a precursor to their annual year-end awards, The Poppies and Rosies, now in their third year.

Kirkham and Brown pride themselves in trying to represent the average film fan, rather than the usual critic's point of view. Their previous awards have been considered refreshingly different by many film fans in view of the similarity of other critics' lists year in and year out.

The lists are in alphabetical order.

TC's Baker's Dozen - The Best Movies of 2007

Across The Universe
Air Guitar Nation
Beowulf
Black Irish
Fierce People
Hairspray
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
The King Of Kong - A Fistful Of Quarters
Man In The Chair
Once
Ratatouille
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Wristcutters: A Love Story

The Best Movies of 2007
Kim Brown, Popcorn N Roses/Subject:CINEMA

3:10 To Yuma
Air Guitar Nation
Fierce People
Hairspray
Hot Fuzz
I Am Legend
The King Of Kong - A Fistful Of Quarters
Once
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Wristcutters: A Love Story

This marks the first year that Popcorn N Roses has released their year-end lists before the announcement of the annual awards.

Launched in 2005, Popcorn N Roses is an entertainment news and views website and blog, focusing on the coverage of both mainstream and independent films. The site also produces the weekly podcast Subject:CINEMA, rated as one of the top 20 film and tv podcasts on Podcast Alley, which will celebrate it's 100th show in late February 2008. Subject:CINEMA is heard by an average of 10,000 fans per month on the Podshow and Blubrry podcasting networks, and can also be accessed from the Popcorn N Roses website and the PNR MySpace page (http://myspace.com/popcornnroses). Popcorn N Roses also maintains the internet radio station Marquee Mix, which celebrates it's second anniversary on January 15 2008.

A Truly International Top 10 from Bruce

Our New York Board Member, and movie reviewer extraordinnaire, Bruce Kingsley, has a Top 10 that represents film from all over the world. Many of the films that are truly in his Top 10 for the year were films that he saw at film festivals and have not yet received theatrical distribution. He has removed these films from the list and only included films that have had theatrical runs.

  1. The Lives of Others, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany
  2. Away from Her, directed by Sarah Polley, Canada
  3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, directed by Julian Schnabel, France
  4. Lars and the Real Girl, directed by Craig Gillespie, USA
  5. Protagonist, directed by Jessica Yu, USA
  6. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, directed by Ming-liang Tsai, Malaysia
  7. Charlie Wilson's War, directed by Mike Nichols, USA
  8. The Wayward Cloud, directed by Ming-liang Tsai, Taiwan
  9. The Case of the Grinning Cat, directed by Chris Marker, France
  10. Killer of Sheep, directed by Charles Burnett, USA