Sunday, January 06, 2008

My Top 25 Films of 2007

Yes, it's that time of year again when Dan makes lists. First up is my Top 25 Films of 2007 (pared down after last year's rather excessive 30). As always, only movies released in UK cinemas during the last calendar year are eligible (hence no There Will Be Blood or No Country For Old Men - early front-runners for my 2008 list). First, a bit of preamble...

All said and done, 2007 wasn't a great year for mainstream Hollywood, with the box office dominated by a procession of lacklustre threequels (Ocean's Thirteen, Spider-Man 3, Rush Hour 3, Shrek the Third and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), over-hyped gross-out comedies (Superbad, Knocked Up, The Heartbreak Kid) and an unwelcome second serving of 'torture porn' (Captivity, Hostel Part II etc.)

It wasn't all bad of course - some of Hollywood's biggest hitters turned in some pretty fine films. Ridley Scott (American Gangster), David Fincher (Zodiac) and Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) all acquitted themselves admirably and The Simpsons' first big screen outing was way better than widely reported. There were also a couple of modest US indie gems in the shape of Waitress and Half Nelson.

However the real cinematic gold was mostly to be found on this side of the pond, for 2007 was another golden year for European cinema and drama in particular. Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Ireland and the UK between them account for ten of my top fifteen films. Australia also punched above it's weight with Ten Canoes and the haunting Jindabyne, adapted from the Raymond Carver short story 'So Much Water So Close to Home'. It was a strong year for adaptations in general with Atonement, The Last King of Scotland, Tell No One, The Counterfeiters, Blame It On Fidel! and Zodiac all making successful transitions from page to screen.

After a couple of outstanding years for documentary film-making, pickings were slightly slimmer this year, although In The Shadow Of The Moon proved thoroughly engrossing and Michael Moore was as watchable as ever in his latest polemic, Sicko.

Biggest cinematic disappointment of the year for me was David Lynch's Inland Empire. As a huge fan of The Straight Story and an admirer of The Elephant Man and Mulholland Drive, I had high hopes, especially after reading Damon Wise's five star review in Empire. Unfortunately it's 3 hour running time felt more like 6 as one overly portentous scene followed another. The man is clearly a genius but a bit of discipline in the editing room frankly wouldn't go amiss...

In terms of performances, my Best Actress shortlist would have to include Laura Linney (Jindabyrne), Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) and Julie Christie (Away From Her). Best Actor would be between Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises), Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland) and the now sadly departed Ulrich Mühe (The Lives of Others). Best cinematic debut would be between the contrasting but equally brilliant Jodie Whittaker (Venus), Markéta Irglová (Once) and Ai Qin Lin (Ghosts).

So without further ado, here's the list:

1The Lives Of Others
(dir. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
(dir. Ray Lawrence)
(dir. John Carney)
(dir. Joe Wright)
5Tell No One
(dir. Guillaume Canet)
6The Counterfeiters
(dir. Stefan Ruzowitzky)
7Eastern Promises
(dir. David Cronenberg)
8The Last King Of Scotland
(dir. Kevin Macdonald)
(dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)
10In The Shadow Of The Moon
(dir. David Sington)
(dir. David Fincher)
12Blame It On Fidel!
(dir. Julie Gavras)
(dir. Nick Broomfield)
142 Days In Paris
(dir. Julie Delpy)
15The Science Of Sleep
(dir. Michel Gondry)
16Amercian Gangster
(dir. Ridley Scott)
17The Simpsons Movie
(dir. David Silverman)
(dir. Michael Moore)
19Half Nelson
(dir. Ryan Fleck)
20Blood Diamond
(dir. Edward Zwick)
21The Bourne Ultimatum
(dir. Paul Greengrass)
(dir. Adrienne Shelly)
23Black Book
(dir. Paul Verhoeven)
24Ten Canoes
(dir. Rolf de Heer & Peter Djigirr)
(dir. Roger Michell)

Related posts:
My Top 30 Films of 2006
My Top 25 Films of 2005
My Top 20 Films of 2004

1 comment:

Whitmarsh said...

Thank goodness for your list. But you're wrong about Superbad...