The Falconer's Top 10 Films of 2007
Hey all -- I'm in Missouri for holiday stuff, but thanks to The Falconer there's still fresh goodness on ye olde C&T.
For those not in the know, The Falconer writes Do the Thrashers Have Large Talons?, one of the top blogs covering Atlanta Thrashers hockey. He's also a good friend of yours truly. The Falconer is a movie fiend, so I asked him to compile his top 10 films for the year. Some of these we saw together, and some I haven't seen at all. Here's The Falconer's list for review and discussion...
1. The Lives of Others [trailer]
Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would pick a movie with subtitles as my favorite of the year. It is just that reading subtitles is an inherently sub-optimal way to watch a movie. But I must say that this was the best movie I saw all year.
Set in East Germany near the end of the Cold War, it is stark film that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It evokes themes of humanity in a totalitarian state and the human frailty in the face of great pressure. Very little action takes places in most scenes but the viewer suspects that catastrophe could strike at any moment. I walked out the theater feeling like I hadn’t taken a breathe in two hours. It ends with the most satisfying denouement I’ve seen in years.
2. Waitress [trailer]
It was a pretty good year for comedy. Both Waitress and Knocked Up alternated between being deadly serious and downright hilarious from one scene to another. Great characters and good acting were skillfully combined to create a memorable story about a woman who feels trapped in her marriage in a small southern town who finds an outlet in making pies.
3. No Country for Old Men [trailer]
I watched it once and was unsure so I saw a second time. The Cohen brothers write some of the best dialogue to appear in American film. The acting is fantastic all the way though including minor roles such as the sheriff’s deputy and the mother-in-law that are just hilarious. Javier Bardem is a killer who is frightening not because of frenetic mayhem but because of his patient and methodical determination. Tom Cruise ought to watch this film to discover how to be effective without all the bluster.
4. Gone Baby Gone [trailer]
This film opens with some of the most non-glamorous people to grace a Hollywood film. It tries hard to say true to working class Boston and generally succeeds. At first I thought it was just another crime drama/who-dun-it mystery but it ends up forcing the viewer to really wrestle with a heavy moral choice. I’m not sure I would the same decision as the lead character. This film almost requires you to go out for a post-show drink to discuss and mull over it.
5. Knocked Up [trailer]
The second comedy to make my list. Based on the previews I thought “this looks like a dumb comedy about a fairly serious situation.” Rotten Tomatoes had it highly rated so I went anyway, and was very pleased by a movie that was honest about a difficult situation many people have found themselves in over the years. I would dare say that this movie portrays sex and relationships in a manner that is probably more realistic than most Hollywood films.
6. Bourne Ultimatum [trailer]
The only true action/adventure movie to make the grade. It was everything you want in a great action movie: chase scenes, tension, attractive leading actors, a canny hero facing impossible odds, etc. Still too many quick panning camera shots for my taste but it was a nicely paced thrill ride that didn’t make me laugh out loud with too many absurd action sequences (see: Die Hard 4).
7. Michael Clayton [trailer]
I wasn’t a big Clooney fan until he made O Brother Where Art Thou? but he just keeps putting out a steady diet of enjoyable movies. This one features a fast moving story with multiple plots that don’t seem to make any sense until the very end. Not a film for people who have need to be hit over the head with obvious story lines. I love a movie that keeps me guessing until the end and this one did just that.
8. Lars and The Real Girl [trailer]
Like I said it was a good year for comedy. When I read about the premise of this film about a guy who spends his time with an anatomically correct plastic woman I was dubious, but I was wrong. It careens from being deadly serious and earnest one moment to being LOL funny. Ryan Gosling gives a great performance. Who could have guessed that the line “she was elected to the school board” would turn out to be the funniest line of dialogue in any movie released this year?
9. In the Valley of Elah [trailer]
Tommy Lee Jones was even better in this film than in No Country for Old Men in a restrained role as a father searching for his missing son who has just returned from Iraq. It is more of a personal story than a political one. I found the final scene which involves an American flag to be very moving.
10. Sunshine [trailer]
It was a weak year for Sci-Fi but I just have to include this one. I’m a fan of both Danny Boyle films and Cillian Murphy (who worked together in “28 Days Later”). Here they combine to make a film of epic proportions. Much of the movie is a sort of tribute to the classic “2001: A Space Odessy” and has some breathtaking beautiful space shots. Boyle retains his ability to evoke wonder, amazement but also terror and fear.
Honorable Mentions: American Gangster, Hot Fuzz, 3:10 to Yuma, Into the Wild, Stardust.
Best Music Film I had a chance to see one of the North American showings of Sigur Ros concert film/travelogue Heima and it was stunningly beautiful. The people and land of Iceland and the haunting music of the band combine for an unexpectedly delightful hour and half. I liked it much better than the much blogged about Once and the Joy Division biopic Control.
Those are The Falconer's picks. So, how did he do? The Lives of Others, Waitress, Lars and the Real Girl, and Stardust are certainly among my picks as well...