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January is typically the time when movie critics look back at the previous year and compile their top ten best and worst lists. I always laugh when I read these lists because it’s absolutely ludicrous to judge movies like that based on some type of empirical calculation especially when they’re not in the same genre. I mean, seriously, how do you argue the case for Ratatouille versus No Country For Old Men. They’re just too different. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a case for what’s good and what’s not. Case in point, here’s my list.

For the most part, 2007 was a crap year for movies. Actually the 2000’s have been a crap decade for movies, but let’s not go there right now. Still, as bad as 2007 was and as unmemorable as most of the movies were this year, there were 3 legitimately good movies this year. That’s something to cheer about.

MUST SEE MOVIES OF 2007

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Once again, Pixar and Brad Bird have delivered a sublime computer animated film for the ages. My favorite movie of 2007, this is a cartoon for adults.

No Country For Old Men

No Country For Old Men Poster

For me, the Coen brothers have always been wildly talented but their movies have been hit or miss. Well, this film is a big hit. Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, the Coen brothers have created a tense and mythic Western that hits all the right notes.

Eastern Promises

Eastern Promises Poster

Moving out of the body horror films of his early career, David Cronenberg has crafted a top notch character study masking as a crime thriller about the Russian mob in London. Uninterested in romanticizing the mob life or the mechanics of the genre, Cronenberg has instead created a movie that explores the darker side of human nature and its propensity towards brutality.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Black Book

Paul Verhoeven returns to his Dutch roots with a subversive thriller set in World War II. Intense, visceral and unforgettable, this movie about deception, heroism and betrayal will not be easily forgotten.

3:10 to Yuma


This movie almost works, but the parts that are good are so good that you forgive it for its failures. Definitely worth checking out.

Nanking

Nanking poster

Documentary on the Nanjing Massacre based on The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang. Good, but if it were to show the complete truth it would be called an anti-Japanese propaganda film regardless of the facts. Instead, this documentary lets the Japanese off a little easy as it tries to brand itself as an anti-war film.

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum poster

Caution: you may need get seasick while watching fun and enjoyable thriller that stretches the limits of plausibility.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

The best documentary of the year about the fight to become the world champion of King Kong. Sounds silly but it’s fascinating.

OVERRATED MOVIES OF 2007

There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day-Lewis is good. The movie isn’t. Read the review here: There Will Be Snores.

Zodiac

The longest and most expensive episode of Unsolved Mysteries, this movie takes no risks and plays like a cable docudrama only not quite as interesting.

Grindhouse

Grindhouse poster Shithouse: Planet Terror Death Proof

The worst experience I’ve had in theaters last year, this movie should have been called Shithouse. Quentin Taratino and Robert Rodriguez’s attempt to revive the grindhouse experience fails to capture the imagination or inspired fun of those old cheapies. The trailers are entertaining, especially Don’t, but the features are dreadful and worse than Wild Hogs. Death Proof, in particular, is an exercise in hubris and wastes an underrated and game Kurt Russell. Planet Terror is merely bad.

The Brave One

You expect better from Jodie Foster. The Brave One tries to be a smart version of Death Wish but lacks any of the resonance of even the hammy, straight-to-video sequels.

Children of Men

Children Of Men poster

Great idea ruined by poor execution. The long “look at me, I’m directing” shots take you out of the slip shod told story and slow the pace to an excruciating crawl.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

An attempt at a moody, character-driven Western, this movie features Casey Affleck doing a Mark Ruffalo impersonation with his long pauses and dopey eyed stare. Brad Pitt is actually decent in this. Too bad the rest of the movie is long winded and unbearable. Based on a book, this movie features some stunning images, almost all ripped off from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. On a side note, Ridley Scott was actually at the screening that I attended and he appeared to be flattered by the rip off work.

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