January 03, 2008

In Case You Missed It...

So our Top 10 of 2007 piece is up, just in case your eyes glazed over that piddly link on the mothersite. Because I missed a few key titles, not 100% invested in my picks, but then I never consider these lists to be definitive, anyway; there's always more to see, and there are always sleepers you underestimate at the time. Something Walter and I have been toying with is redoing old Top 10s, not for the sake of revisionism (these new lists wouldn't replace the originals), but more as an experiment to see how tastes and perceptions change with age and experience.

Anyway, even if I'm conjuring a shitstorm in soliciting your feedback: have at it.

And don't forget to buy our book, easily the best one we published in December. All kidding aside, if you ask biased me, it's worth it for the LaBute intro and Walter's review of Silent Hill alone. Anyone here have it yet?

34 comments:

Berandor said...

I just watched "Paprika" thanks to your recommendation. I liked it well enough, so thanks.

Love Gorilla said...

Waiting for the Aus shipping - every day burning a hole in me, filled with the pain that no one understands...

dennis r said...

That's a fascinating idea regarding the Top 10s. When I look them up, I always wonder how they'd look if made now.

As for 2007's Top Tens, I was a bit disappointed to see No Country at the top of both your lists, probably just because it's such a common choice for critic lists this year. I was personally rooting for Gone Baby Gone, which is one of my very favorites of the year, to make a stronger showing on your lists, but the mentions are still appreciated. Nothing here is as exciting and surprising as the number 2 spot Walter gave the inexplicably underrated The Fountain last year, but 28 Weeks Later comes close, as it's easily last year's best horror movie.

Speaking of the Silent Hill review, I always wished that Walter had written one, so that is tempting. Did you guys intentionally hold back reviews to include in the Annual? You sly dogs. ;) Hell, while you're at it, I'd love to see a review for Kurosawa's Pulse. I remember that Walter liked it a lot.

Bill C said...

Believe it or not, we didn't really intentionally hold back any reviews. There's a unique excuse for every unreviewed title, but so much of it came down to the studios not screening stuff like Silent Hill and then us having to make time to see and review it. Almost all 30 of the previously-unpublished reviews were written over the course of putting the book together, which is why there's little else in the way of exclusive content: we were spent.

LG: Hang in there, man!

Anonymous said...

Where did that picture come from? That's one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Bill C said...

The milkshake? That would be yours truly.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

We doin' a Bottom Ten this year? If so, pray murder Transformers.

Reg the milkshake: You're a genius, Bill. I best Penolpe Cruz loves that milkshake.

Anonymous said...

Re: the milkshake.

Genius stuff, Bill. Can I assume you've seen the film now? Would it have made your top ten list?

Seattle Jeff said...

I liked No Country and love the Coens, but the ending of the book (and film) seems weak to me.

Time passes. I get it. I think I don't feel the point is so deep to warrant such a non-ending.

I am excited to see There Will Be Blood as it has finally beed released in Seattle today.

Bill C said...

Nah, still haven't seen TWBB. OFCSers were supposed to get a screener but mine hasn't arrived, and it's not playing anywhere I can get to right now.

Walter_Chaw said...

Bottom ten?

Probably as predictable for the most part as my top ten.

Norbit of course; for being noxious in every possible way but mostly for a scene where the fat-suited Murphy derides the scary-skinny Thandie Newton for her skinniness. That's awful, man - where's the source of the humor there, really? Medieval.

Transformers in the honorary Michael Bay position. Again, not just bad, but noxious.

I think I'd find a space for Enchanted which I was forced to watch when niece and nephew were in town. Reductive feminism shoehorned into a production that doesn't seem, from one minute to the next, to know what the fuck it's after. Also, Susan Sarandon's supporting turn as the evil witch, paired with her turn in Elizabethtown, should in a just universe turn her out to pasture once and for all.

Interesting to me, though, is Nancy Drew - which is so clearly one of the worst films of the year but could also, with a little argument, be one of the best. Blue-blooders sniffling at the "American Narrative" film would do well to look at this one which, if I'm not mistaken, is so Dada it's almost Avant Garde.

Anyone see it?

Would love to do an auteur's corner on Kiyoshi Kurosawa some day. Guy's astounding.

Pulse freaks me right out.

Alex Jackson said...

Interesting to me, though, is Nancy Drew - which is so clearly one of the worst films of the year but could also, with a little argument, be one of the best. Blue-blooders sniffling at the "American Narrative" film would do well to look at this one which, if I'm not mistaken, is so Dada it's almost Avant Garde.

Anyone see it?


I did! Very strange, very bad film. I have absolutely nothing else to add.

Ian Pugh said...

Norbit of course; for being noxious in every possible way but mostly for a scene where the fat-suited Murphy derides the scary-skinny Thandie Newton for her skinniness. That's awful, man - where's the source of the humor there, really?

For me? Oscar night.

He came back at us with a vengeance with Shrek the Third, though. Hands-down one of the most horrible, fucked-up-in-a-bad-way endings of all time--remember, kids, feel good about yourself or we'll kill you.

Dave G said...

I’m struck by the line in the Dargis review of “There Will Be Blood” which rightly suggests that the majority of major American film directors seem to have little room for women in their films; an observation echoed in many of the most celebrated American films this year: There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, The Darjeeling Limited, Zodiac, Into the Wild, Assassination of Jesse James, Eastern Promises, Superbad American Gangster, Gone Baby Gone;, 2007 seems to be an especially macho year at the American Cinema. Not much sport to be had in bemoaning the dearth of mainstream female directors. I can’t reconcile the disparity between reality and the membership of the most celebrated practitioners of our most influential art form; but it seems that 2007 (or any year this decade) has nothing on any year in the 1970 partly because of this chronic disinterest in featuring women in key roles. I do not think that this trend is explained completely by the fact of gender; many of the great American directors from the 1970’s were not exactly your Rod McKuen types —and still managed to make many great films about men and women. Fathers and sons, randy teens, tortured young men and the bonds of brotherhood is all well and good—it’s a mighty deep well, just hoping that our more proactive muses will expand a little to reflect upon the other half of the human race a little more regularly.

Revisiting top tens sounds like a fun exercise a fun, gloriously dangerous, foolhardy exercise—bring it on. The Horse Whisperer? In the Bedroom? Life is Beautiful? Let’s discuss…

Seattle Jeff said...

When you have small kids, and you're not Walter, it's hard to see very many movies in a year. I've seen about 3-4 this year. Tonight I'm going to see There Will Be Blood and it will cost me about over $50 for a sitter than another $$18 for ducats...which is why the year end top 10 lists bum me out...I just can't participate. Everyone else is up to speed and I'm just finally ready to discuss Eastwood's WWII pics.

On the flip side however, I haven't seen Transformers or Shrek 3...

theoldboy said...

Silent Hill fascinates me for some inexplicable reason that I suspect doesn't really even have anything to deal with my admiration for the game. I don't think there's ever been such a sticky, shitty, wonderful abortion.

rachel said...

Dave G:

One might argue about the room left for women in Gone Baby Gone in Eastern Promises. Amy Ryan’s mother is fairly indelible in the former; the latter, at the very least, affords Watts a clean dramatic arc. But “Eastern Promises” is as much about its fallen women as it is about anything else. And it’s keenly interested in its roots as a fairy tale. It’s not what I think of as a “macho” movie, in other words, and I think it’s a mistake to list it as an example of our “macho year.”

I’d argue that it’s actually been a pretty productive year for female directors. Some notable, woman-helmed projects from 2007, just off the top of my head: Talk to Me, Blame it On Fidel, Away from Her, 2 Days in Paris, Waitress, Across the Universe, Stephanie Daley, The Nanny Diaries, Broken English, The Savages, Avenue Montaigne, The Namesake, Persepolis. (You can add Juno on there if you think it’s sufficiently Cody’s movie.)

It’s good to be frustrated, it’s even better to champion what you like, what you want to see more of. (Me, I think Blame it On Fidel’s pretty much a masterpiece, and 2 Days in Paris is also brilliant. I haven’t seen most of the other movies listed. I’m working on it.)

Bad News for Women in Film in 2007: the mediocrity of The Golden Compass; the narrative convenience of pregnancy

Good News for Women: The failure of I Think I Love My Wife; the death of Zach Braff’s film career

Anonymous said...

Between his review and the top ten, it seems to me that Walter has misinterpreted Ratatouille. Doesn't the movie seem to essentially hate critics, albeit in a more poetic way than, say, Lady in the Water?

Jefferson said...

I don't think Ratatouille hates critics -- Anton Ego is not irredeemable; he just needs to be reoriented to his humanity with a good meal. No such hope for the head chef, whose corruption is far less complicated.

Bill C said...

Believe it or not, I think THE HORSE WHISPERER would still place on my '97 list. Something crystallized for me in Sam Neill's monologue, this idea that one member of a couple will always love the other one more. The movie's MADISON COUNTY-isms instantly became more poignant for me. And that opening sequence is really harrowing.

Anonymous said...

Is there any other word to describe yourself upon leaving TWBB besides "giddy"?

Andrei said...

Ratatouille doesn't hate critics, it's just wary of critics that lose sight of what it was that made them become critics in the first place. For Anton, food became a joyless experience after a while and something needed to happen for him to start caring about it as food again and not as a newspaper piece.

The problem may be that you're thinking of film critics, which Anton is not a good analog for. They're largely poor because they're too forgiving - either because they never gave a shit about movies to begin with or because they eventually gave up and let themselves get on the money train to Universal Praiseville.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the Li/Statham movie War? Is Armond White crazy to include it on his Better Than list, or is there really some value there?

Anonymous said...

Had my parents buy me the book for a gift, but wont get it until my birthday (early Feb).

Seattle Jeff said...

The Golden Globes are cancelled!

Woo-hoo!

Nice to see something good come of the writer's strike.

Hopefully they'll cancel the Oscars too.

Rick said...

Not sure if the cancellation is a good thing, it takes away press for movies like There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, etc. Id prefer that these types of movies maximize their profit, so they continue to get made.

Sean said...

When I read that White chose War over Bourne Ultimatum, I nearly spit out my cognac.

Love Gorilla said...

Does anyone think that Roger Ebert and his morose "Best of 2007" list is actually doing filmgoing in general damage? What aggrivates me more than pasting the middlebrow Juno and Atonement around No Country for Old Men is celebrating horseshit The Kite Runner as the fourth best of the year. And that "best of the year" is the exact phrase used, as well - it's not his Top 10, like any reasonable critic, but the actual Ten Best Films of 2007. Even though his dumb ass didn't see There Will Be Blood until 2008.

Dave G said...

I'm just jazzed that he didn't do a "Top Seventy-Five" list as in previous years--especially given that he gave three stars or higher to a hair shy of 70% of the films he saw this year. But...I can't work up much of a lather for gold old Rog' anymore beyond some gentle chiding. His stunning, yet matter-of-fact appearance at his hometown-film fest last year dulled the last vestiges of my Ebert rancour. He may not be a very brave critic anymore--but damn if he isn't a brave man. Maybe those two things shouldn't have anything to do with one another, but I find I can't get in too much over a sweat over his 2007 picks. At least he didn't twirl his ascot, rise from his corner booth at Le Snottiere and pick "Killer of Sheep" as one of "2007's" best
films.

rachel said...

So, I can't talk about much, on account of my singing that confidentiality agreement.

Let's just say I fucking love my new internship, guys.

Well, that and jump castles are exhausting.

Jefferson said...

It would be just like Colbert to force his interns to sing their contracts.

DJR said...

Why the hate for Flanders, Bill?

Bill C said...

I didn't hate it, per se, but it's almost too misanthropic even for me. Practically every scene is a rape scene.

Anonymous said...

A question regarding Assassination of Jesse James: where did Brad Pitt's death wish during the titular act come from? I didn't sense any build-up to that.