Mike’s Top 10 Movies of the Year

Thu, 12/27/2007 - 5:12pm
By: Michael Boylan

Note: I am writing this article on Friday, Dec. 14 - before I have been able to screen “Sweeney Todd,” “Juno,” and “Atonement” among others. I plan on seeing those films very soon and may have a different opinion of best movies of 2007 by the time Oscars roll around. Anyhoo, here’s the best of what I saw.

1. “No Country for Old Men” - The best adaptation from book to screen. The Coen Brothers did an incredible job bringing the story of a man on the run from an unstoppable killer in 1980s Texas. Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones all gave solid performances in this bare bones tale of facing death in a changing world.

2. “Into the Wild” - In a year filled with terrific adaptations from book to screen, Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild” was among the best. Emile Hirsch plays Chris McCandless/Alexander Supertramp, a young man searching for ultimate truth and tragically finding it in the wilderness of Alaska. Hirsch was outstanding and the supporting cast featuring Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn and Hal Holbrook turns in some of the finest performances of their career as well.

3. “The Darjeeling Limited” - The story of three disconnected brothers on a train trip across India was filled with laughter and heartbreak. Director Wes Anderson made a great film with wonderful performances, especially from Adrien Brody, and his typical, visual flair. This movie gave me a lot to think about after I left and has stuck with me since screening it.

4. “Knocked Up” - The comedy of the year. Seth Rogen played the stoner schlub forced to grow up after impregnating a woman after a one night stand and Katherine Heigl played the woman confronted with dealing with the tough situation. Lots of laughs and great characters surrounding both leading roles, “Knocked Up” outdid “The 40 Year Old Virgin” in both laughs and heart.

5. “The Mist” - The best horror movie I’ve seen in a very long time. Director Frank Darabont once again did a great job taking a Stephen King story and bringing it to the screen. It was scary and intense without being over the top and gross. It also had a jaw-dropping twist of an ending.

6. “Zodiac” - This film has been unjustly forgotten by those who nominate films and actors for the end of the year awards. Director David Fincher did a fantastic job of taking a fairly open-ended story about the Zodiac killer and the people who investigated the case and making a suspenseful and thrilling film. Jake Gyllenhall was great as the political cartoonist who got so wrapped up in the case that it cost him everything and performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo were also very good.

7. “300” - Visually stunning, “300” brings another Frank Miller graphic novel to the screen. The story of 300 Spartans holding off the Persians was compelling and director Zach Snyder had a great cast bring his and Miller’s vision to the screen. Gerard Butler was outstanding as King Leonidas. I can’t believe he’s the same guy who dies and leaves letters for Hilary Swank in the upcoming “P.S. I Love You.”

8. “American Gangster” - Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe star in this drama about a drug-dealing gangster in the 1970s and the cop who brings him down. It is gritty, marvelously acted by a stellar cast, and captivating.

9. “Superbad” - Raunchy? Yes. Incredibly funny? That’s a yes, too. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill star in this instant classic about high schoolers and their final night of partying before college. This type of film gets made all the time and when it is done right you get a film like “Dazed and Confused” or “Superbad,” movies that represent a slice of time. Can’t wait to add it to my DVD collection.

10. “Shoot ‘Em Up” - Note to aspiring filmmakers: When you make a movie that knows exactly what it wants to be and isn’t trying to be anything else, you ultimately will succeed, despite what the box office might tell you. Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci star in this whiz-bang, rollercoaster of an action movie that never stops once it gets started. It was a lot of fun.

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