UPDATE NOTE: Forgot to insert No.5(Tropa De Elite) in the initial post.
The 80th Academy Awards is on 24th Feb. This is my list of the Top 10 Films of 2007.
10)NO END IN SIGHT by Charles Ferguson
If you want to see what the Bush Administration did to post-war Iraq, or if there's even a slight interest to what's going on over there, you owe it to yourself to see this eye-opening documentary film.
9)SUNSHINE by Danny Boyle
"At the end of time, a moment will come when just one man remains. Then the moment will pass. Man will be gone. There will be nothing to show that we were ever here... but stardust."
I'd say Sci-Fi is my favorite film genre. Not only does Sunshine revived the space sci-fi genre, it's also one of the most visually breathtaking films of the year. The Mercury scene alone made me hold my breath every time. A retread of such sci-fi classics as Alien and 2001:A Space Odyssey, raising philosophical questions as well as dishing out amazing action sequences. It's flawed, sure, but the images in the film stuck with me ever since I saw it. It has kind of grown on me with repeated viewings, to the point that the final 3rd of the movie doesn't bug me that much anymore.
8)NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN by Ethan & Joel Coen
"You can't stop what's coming."
Aaahh arguably America's favorite movie of 2007. For good reasons, too. It's a masterfully directed thriller/western, extremely tense and suspenseful from start to finish. Plus, it's aided with amazing performances by the cast, particularly Javier Bardem. This is the Coens' darkest, most violent and thought-provoking film yet.
7)ZODIAC by David Fincher
"Before I kill you, I'm going to throw your baby out the window."
Part serial killer movie, part police procedural. It could draw up comparison with Memories Of Murder, where the narrative is more on the 'obsession in finding the killer' than 'finding the killer' itself. But what Memories Of Murder don't have is David Fincher's distinct visual presentation. It's not the kind of serial killer movie that wants to bludgeon the audience with senseless violence and cheap scares. It's subtler, more intelligent and calculated than that. The 'chills' creep out from inside; psychologically. The murder at the lake scene is downright the scariest scene in any film of last year. All with nary an ounce of blood in sight. What a travesty that even Norbit got 1 nomination and Zodiac got none.
6) LE SCAPHANDRE ET LE PAPILLON/THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY by Julian Schnabel
"Other than my eye, two things aren't paralyzed, my imagination and my memory."
The movie that makes me feel very grateful to be ALIVE and well. A look of the world from the eyes of a 'dead' body, but a living soul.
5) TROPA DE ELITE/THE ELITE TROOP by Jose Padilha
The Brazillian film that won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival 2008. Tropa De Elite repeats the success of Cidade De Deus, delving into the world of drug trafficking, crime and social crisis in Rio De Jeneiro. It's frenetically paced and the violence depicted makes Cidade De Deus rather tame in comparison. The film focuses on the corruption of the police force, and the BOPE elite troop's role in cleansing the slums of drug trafficking. The squad's methods are indeed questionable, but the situation is not as 'simple' as it seems. Jose Padilha does not strive for simple 'conclusion' towards the issue, and it's open for the audience's own interpretation and judgement. Even if the film's message and sociopolitical debate it conjures up doesn't interest you, it's still is a one heck of an engaging and entertaining film.
4)RATATOUILLE by Brad Bird
"I don't LIKE food, I LOVE it. If I don't LOVE it, I don't SWALLOW."
As simple as the dialogue line above may seems, it actually speaks volumes. A masterpiece from auteur Brad Bird(with the kind of films he's making, he deserves to be called an 'auteur'). A feast for the eyes, heart and soul. It's about a rat who loves to cook, but also an allegory to the filmmaking industry and art in general. In my opinion, Pixar's best outing to date.
3)ONCE by John Carney
"What's the Czech for "Do you love him"?"
Made with only $150,000(about RM500,000!), and grossed more than $9million in limited release in the US. Once is the surprise hit of the year, loved by both critics and audiences. This is the definitive example that you can make an excellent film without millions of dollars in budget. All you actually need is heart, honesty and talent. Malaysian filmmakers should take note! And what's more commendable is the central theme of its 'love story'. Which is 'love without physical contact'. I'd say it's even more 'sopan' than our own local romance films. Quoted from Steven Spielberg himself,"A little movie called Once gave me enough inspiration to last the rest of the year’.". Hear, hear!
2)THERE WILL BE BLOOD by Paul Thomas Anderson
"I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!!"
God how I've waited so long to watch this film. The very idea of Paul Thomas Anderson working together with the legendary Daniel Day Lewis is enough to make film buffs wet their pants. It's the 'dream team'. One is the best film director below 40 and the other is the very definition of an "actor". There Will Be Blood further cements Daniel Day Lewis' status as the greatest living actor. They should just hand over the Oscar to him. His amazing performance was only rivalled by Paul Thomas Anderson's cinematic genius. PTA is basically the "other star" of the movie and it would be great if he gets the coveted Best Director Oscar. This is one film for the ages, though I think it would divide viewers considering it's rather unconventional filmmaking. In basic term it's kinda weird. Film lovers would marvel at it for years to come, but regular movie-goers may end up scratching their heads trying to catch the subtle display of 'genius' inherent in it. Maybe it's too "smart" for its own good. Now I feel another viewing is in order to fully savor the awesomeness of There Will Be Blood.
1)THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD by Andrew Dominik
"Can't figure it out: do you want to be like me or do you want to BE me?"
I'm not really sure which one to choose, between this and There Will Be Blood. On a different day maybe I'll put There Will Be Blood. Nevertheless, both are fantastic films in their own rights. The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford is a profound cinematic experience. It's beautifully poetic, thought-provoking and emotionally investing. It excels in every aspect of filmmaking. Be it the acting, cinematography, direction, etc. It's a wonder that the film didn't get the recognition it deserves(in the Oscars). Also, the film boasts Brad Pitt's best performance to date. However, it is Casey Affleck that dominates the acting department. It's not only a wondrous achievement in the visual/technical sense, but also in its attention to character development. Robert Ford is both a detestful and a sympathetic persona. And Jesse James, as ruthless as he may seem, is enigmatic and hopelessly caught in an inner turmoil;that I 'feel' for him. And thus makes the inevitable outcome all the more saddening, for both party. This is truly one of the highlights for films of this decade, and one of the best 'Western' film ever made.
Haru Biru, Mukhsin, 4 Months 3 Weeks And 2 Days, Knocked Up, Juno, Michael Clayton, Darfur:The Devil Came On Horseback, Redacted, Hot Fuzz, Superbad, In The Valley Of Elah, 12:08 East Of Bucharest, The Bourne Ultimatum, Sicko, Gone Baby Gone, Rescue Dawn, Eastern Promises, I Don't Want To Sleep Alone, Bridge To Terabithia, Death Proof, The King Of Kong:A Fistful Of Quarters