As you know, the Oscars are not the ultimate authority on films. I am.
So, I spent a lot of time and effort whittling down the list of more than 100 movies I saw that were released in 2007 to bring you my ten favorites of the year. Objectivity was not my goal in compiling this list—rather, this is an opportunity for you to understand the man behind Bamboo Nation and his unique aesthetic. If, along the way, you're duly inspired to see any of the films in question, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. The text about each film is lifted from what I had originally written about them right here on this blog.
"This small, ragtag independent film is devoid of complicated plotting, enigmatic characterizations, layers of metaphor, and literary flash (which many artists nowadays feel are necessary to GET YOUR ATTENTION). But despite its artistic modesty, Once manages to be the most emotionally complex and gratifying cinematic experience I've had this year and certainly the best movie I've seen in a very long time." [Read the original post.]
"After seeing Persepolis this afternoon at the theater, I had to lock myself in a restroom stall for about three minutes so I could cry. Man, this movie really wrecked me emotionally. It also happens to be very funny and visually stunning, with many animated images that are indescribably beautiful." [Read the original post.]
3. Death Proof
"The extended cut of Death Proof (the version that was screened at Cannes) was just released on DVD, and it's even better than the theatrical cut. The 20 minutes of extra dialogue—restructuring things with 45 minutes of dialogue, 5 minutes of action, 40 minutes of dialogue, 20 minutes of action—doesn't bog down the movie. In fact, it makes the film a funnier, richer, and more layered experience." [Read the original post.]
"Superbad is very very funny. And I'm not likely to see a film with more consistent laughs than this for a very long time. Unless my sister ever decides to make a movie." [Read the original post.]
"Underneath all their filth, John Waters films are almost always good-natured and warm-hearted at their core. The musical and movie may sanitize Waters bad-boy vision as well as the complexities of race relations in the 1960s, but expertly retains that infectious good and warm spirit. Some may accuse Hairspray of unrealistic optimism and rank naivete, but, in modern cinema, those things can be considered revolutionary. What's wrong with feeling good?" [Read the original post.]
6. Margot at the Wedding
"It's somewhat of a minor masterpiece.... So deeply unsettling that it had me almost shaking at the end." [Read the original post.]
7. Live Free or Die Hard
"Someone give writer Mark Bomback and director Len Wiseman the $100 million they deserve for breathing new life into a franchise that never should've been a franchise. After the thrill, skill, and memorable characters of the original Die Hard, there was no way that any sequels would live up to arguably the best action film of all time. But you let 12 years pass, and the cinema world is full of possibilities.... In Live Free or Die Hard, there is so much to be thankful for." [Read the original post.]
"The movie is very funny. But you already knew that. The cast is unbelievably excellent—I don't think there's been an ensemble this uniformly terrific all year. But you already knew that too. Cody's strong, sassy, refreshingly intelligent voice—which is evident from her blog—is stamped on every frame of the film. But you already knew that as well." [Read the original post.]
"Ratatouille is a surprisingly complex study of creativity, artistic collaboration, and an artist's relationship to his work, his audience, and his critics (formal and informal, external and internal). It's also funny and entertaining.... Some of the visuals—Paris at night, a kitchen during dinner rush, rodent fur—are so vivid and textured that they look more real than reality."
10. The King of Kong
"The King of Kong features so many nerds that I thought my glasses were going to snap in half just by watching the movie. The film explores the intense and bitter rivalry between the two greatest Donkey Kong players in the world, who are vying for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Yes, I said Donkey Kong. I feel like a nerd just for typing those words, and you feel like a nerd for knowing what I'm talking about." [Read the original post.]
...And there you have it, folks.
...But wait! There's more! Here, in alphabetical order, are ten "honorable mentions" that almost made the cut:
* Air Guitar Nation [Read the original post.]
* Charlie Wilson's War [Read the original post.]
* Dan in Real Life [Read the original post.]
* The Host [Read the original post.]
* Rocket Science
* The Savages
* Sunshine [Read the original post.]
* Transformers [Read the original post.]
[Addendum 08.16.08: An important addition.]