Saturday, March 8, 2008

Top 100 of 2007 (41-50)

41. In The Valley of Elah
Few people were more in need of redemption in my eyes, at least from a cinematic standpoint, was Paul Haggis. After directing the preposterous Crash, Haggis may have landed himself on the A-list, but he also catapulted onto my shitlist. I'll refrain from getting into that one... suffice it to say that it would land in the bottom 20 films seen this decade. But here he almost makes up for it. He's still got a ways to go, but this was significantly better, and Tommy Lee Jones was impeccable in this one.

42. Atonement
This one has a lot of great things going for it: Some nice performances, wonderful cinematography, and a good story. But something didn't seem to translate from the page to the screen, particularly during the midsection during the war scenes. The story itself is quite strong though, and while the film could have been great, it settles for just being good.

43. Exiled
Even though it gets mired in hokiness at times, this was still a really fun little action movie that I could see getting remade for an American audience (the studios seem to love to steal from the foreigners and make a lesser version). Some fantastic action sequences and beautifully filmed. Just a lot of fun.

Split up in two parts: The first half, Planet Terror by Robert Rodriguez, is a fun, gory zombie action/thriller. The second half, Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino, is more of an action movie with Kurt Russell as a stuntman who chases people with his "death proof" car. I preferred the Rodriguez film: it seems to capture what they were going for a little more. Tarantino's is a bit too talky, but it's a good time once it gets going.

Just one of the many incredible documentaries about Darfur that have come out in recent years. It's a horrific portrait of the genocide in Sudan and the political entanglements that are preventing anything from raising a finger. It's a good doc to catch, although its availability is limited.

A fairly taut little thriller about a dirty bomb going off in downtown Los Angeles. After deciding he can no longer wait for his wife to return, he seals off the house to prevent exposure to radioactivity, only to have her return to the house after it's too late. It's a great little "what would you do?" sort of story. It loses it's footing in the midsection a bit, but redeems itself nicely at the end.

47. Deep Water
A semi-interesting documentary about a boat race around the world and one man's doomed voyage. Some interesting developments come about while recounting the story, and it's a solid documentary. but in a year with so many good ones, this was a bit lost in the shuffle.

Stephen King adaptations on the big screen are usually sort of a mixed bag. And considering the source material isn't usually all that thrilling or original to begin with, it's rare for me to really think too highly of them. Yet, this is one that worked. It's sufficiently creepy and delivers some interesting twists.

An interesting tale of a young English boy who doesn't really fit in until he finds a group that accepts him and falls in with their crowd, much to his mother's dismay. I sort of liked how they show how easy it is to associate with a prescribed identity and all that comes with that.

A visually stunning and surrealistic (if somewhat incomprehensible) anime film. Not really a preferred genre of mine, but it's hard not to be stimulated by the visuals on display.

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