Friday, March 7, 2008

Top 100 of 2007 (51-60)

51. The Valet
An amiable, sweet French comedy about a parking attendant who, through comedic circumstances, ends up in the company of an irresistible supermodel. It's enjoyable, if somewhat forgettable, but I enjoyed myself with it.

52. You Kill Me
Addiction, murder, mafioso, and hitmen. Did I mention that this was a comedy? And it was a nice surprise of a film. Ben Kingsley and Tea Leoni both give some wonderful comedic performances in this one. Worth my time, much more than I expected.

53. Waitress
I don't know if this would have garnered quite the attention it did if it weren't for writer/director/co-star Adrienne Shelley's murder (she's the one on the right), but I thought this was just an enjoyable piece of fluff with a star-making turn from Keri Russell (or maybe star-reviving turn). She really just makes this film incredibly enjoyable.

Like 3:10 To Yuma, this had some significant stumbling blocks in its way - The Western thing again, being nearly 3 hours long, and Casey Affleck, who I don't care for much as an actor. But it was a worthwhile trip. Still not crazy about the younger Affleck brother, but Brad Pitt was quite good, the running time never really got to me too much, and beyond that, I think it's one of those brilliantly shot films of the year.

To appreciate this film, it requires you to suspend a significant amount of disbelief. I mean, it's about a guy who parades a blowup doll around as his girlfriend. And I was willing to suspend that disbelief, and I enjoyed the film as a result, and I think Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, and Paul Schneider all did fantastic work. By the end, it exceeded the amount of good will I was willing to extend, but I enjoyed getting there.

Westerns aren't really my kind of movie, and Christian Bale is one of those actors who I rarely enjoy a performance from, and while I like Russell Crowe alright, I don't think he's done much this decade that compares to what he did in the 90's, so I wasn't really jazzed about seeing this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's an entertaining enough film and makes a fine rental.

It's a bit like so many other by-the-numbers films by Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, but they do a fine job with the roles, as does Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The film doesn't ultimately amount to a hill of beans, but I was entertained by it.

This is a pretty solid genre movie boasting some of George Clooney's finest work to date, and I thought nothing would make me happier than to see Tilda Swinton get nominated for this performance... until she won for it. RICHLY deserved. But, as much as I loved the performances within the film, the film itself is just decent. It teeters on greatness without quite making it there. But I did really enjoy it.

59. Chronicle of an Escape ( no trailer available)

This is the true-life story of a group of Argentinean soccer players who are taken hostage during the 1970's, and obviously, their eventual escape. I don't think it does a tremendous job in distinguishing itself from a multitude of abduction/POW stories but it was watchable and you generally cared about each of the characters by the end.

60. Black Book
Paul Verhoeven plays the damsel in distress way too often, taking every opportunity to degrade and humiliate the main character, which undermines the film a bit. But damn if Carice Van Houten didn't give one of the best female performances this year. She's engaging and dynamic, and remember the name, as I suspect you'll be hearing more from her.

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