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Ongoing top 10 films list for 2007

 
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RL



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 35
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:15 am    Post subject: Ongoing top 10 films list for 2007 Reply with quote

I've been doing this on LJ for a while, so I thought I'd throw it up here as well. Idea lifted from Padje and Phil Schneider.

(An ongoing top ten list of films I've seen for the first time in 2007, regardless of original release date)

Current Top 10:
1. Zodiac (2007)
2. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
3. Children of Men (2007)
4. High Tension (2003)
5. Hot Fuzz (2007)
6. Tesuo the Iron Man (1988)
7. Dust Devil (1992)
8. Ghost in the Shell 2 (2004)
9. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
10. Gwoemul/The Host (2006)

Previously on the list:
* Planet Terror (Part 1 of Grindhouse)(2007)
* Gamera the Brave (2006)
* 300 (2007)

Zodiac: Fantastic, enthralling film from top to bottom. Fincher leaves “Se7en” cleanly in the past and creates a surprisingly unexploitive and painstakingly realistic account of the Zodiac murders and the men consumed by their obsession with the crimes. The film stays pretty close to the book and plays out like the most enthralling three-hour police and journalism procedural imaginable. The amount of data the film dishes out is staggering considering how entertaining and seamless the flow is and Fincher does a fantastic job of bringing across the power of the murders in the cultural eye – in a way, better channeling Alan Moore’s “From Hell” than the actual 2001 film adaptation. But at the film’s heart, “Zodiac” is all about obsession and the way it pulls the lives of those in its thrall through the years.

Pan’s Labyrinth: I’ve been a big fan of Guillermo del Toro’s work for years and this one didn’t fail to satisfy, filled with all the imaginative wonder and attention to detail I’ve come to expect from the man. A dark film, “Pan’s Labyrinth” tackles the interconnectedness between reality and childhood fantasy, exploring how the worlds of fairytales and nightmares are not mere methods of escapism from the real world and all its horrors, but a kind of mirror image. The wonders of a child’s world gain luster and power in the reflecting pool of fantasy, but so too does man’s evil – and set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, there’s certainly no shortage of the human vileness in the film. A dark but truly excellent film.

Children of Men:I got to experience the marketing campaign for this film on two continents and still didn’t buy into it till we actually found ourselves bored enough to pop it in one night. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but what I got was the most thrilling film I’ve seen in recent memory. Everything Michael Bay fails to deliver with his big-budget action farces, everything that all the cheap hero-in-peril flicks fumble, Alfonzo Cuaron comes through with. Plus, its one of those rare science fiction films that actually gets one thinking about where our world is realistically bound in the years to come, echoing all the strife, racism, terrorism and questionable foreign policy we’re bombarded with everyday. The future presented in “Children of Men” feels real, the unrelenting action scenes grip you by the throat and all the acting is top-notch. There’s really no reason for anyone to skip seeing this one.

High Tension: I'd been meaning to see this one since it came out in the states a year or so ago, but was unsure really what to expect. I've grown increasingly uninterested in the slasher genre (especially given such popular drivel as the Saw and Hostel franchises) and supernatural horror has always enjoyed a greater hold on my fears and emotions and has always stirred my imagination more. So I wasn't exactly in much a hurry to rent "High Tension" based on the slasher love it was getting and after seeing director Alexandre Aja's remake of "The Hills Have Eyes," I was even less enthused.

Granted, his "Hills" remake wasn't a bad horror flick -- in fact most surprising was how well the film developed its dysfunctional family of vacationers. I found myself caring about them, relating to them even, despite my advanced knowledge of the radioactive mutant onslaught looming over the heads. "Hills" eventually left me entertained, but I'd have been more interested in a straight drama about the family than the horror movie it descended into. So, in short, Aja struck me as a director who showed some potential -- much like Eli Roth, except Roth continues to sacrifice what talent he has on the altar of his own frat-boy Mad Magazine & Maxim horror style (Click here for my review of Hostel 2). Thus, in the end, I finally gave "High Tension" a rental more out of interest in the potential of the director, whose name is often lumped in with the current crop of new horror directors.

Expecting a simple exercise in listing a director's strengths and weaknesses, imagine my surprise when "High Tension" managed to not only suck me in with an interesting character, but also fully froth up my fear and imaginative investment with a tale of madness, love and survival. I won't go into the spoilers for this refreshingly clever horror flick (and you should avoid them as well, if you're thinking about seeing it), but the pacing is nearly Hithcockian at times and all the plot points are most satisfying once it really gets going.

Oh yes, but the plot, right? Our heroine Marie (Cecile De France) accompanies her friend Alexia home to her family's home in the country. The weekend starts off normal enough, but when a random, blue-collar stranger arrives at the door, everything changes (and doesn't it usually?) Under the cover of night, he quickly dispatches Alexia's mother, father and younger brother before driving off with Alexia in chains. But Marie follows, stowing herself aboard the murder's truck, frightened but determined to be there when the opportunity to save her friend presents itself.

It's rather simple on the outset, but superbly executed. And yes, as the poster and box art promises, you do get to see a hot lesbian wield a barbwire-wrapped club and some manner of massive, gas-powered circular saw.

I'd rank it just under Gore Verbinski's "The Ring" and Neil Marshall's "The Descent" as far as this decade's best horror offerings go. Its smart, frightening and will definitely leave an impression.

Tetsuo the Iron Man: Ah, the classic 1988 Japanese cyberpunk flick. I'd been meaning to see this for quite a while as well, but it was out of print for a spell and I haven't always had access to Videodrome. I'd have to say it was even more bizarre, beautiful and thought-provoking (or confusing) than I'd dared hope. Great industrial score and some fantastically dark visuals. Blood quota: A man discovers his penis has mutated into a gargantuan power drill, and his girlfriend willingly copulates to death on it. Good times!

Dust Devil: I've been glancing at the box for Richard Stanley's 1992 tale of a murderous, supernatural white drifter in South Africa for years but didn't get around to renting it till now. It's well worth seeing if this is your kind of flick -- a lot of beautiful shots and excellent use of racial and tribal themes. Blood quota: a room is painted in it.

Gamera the Brave: Fun cheese factor aside, this is the best Gamera film I've ever seen. Seriously. Imagine if Hayao Miyazaki made a Gamera film and you're pretty close to this, the 12th installment in the famed kaiju franchise. Apparently, this is the first in a proposed trilogy by Kadowa Pictures, who just purchased the rights to the character from original owners Daiei. The story's pretty basic: Gamera dies defending the earth from a four-Gayos attack and, years later, a small Japanese boy finds a teeny-tiny baby turtle, which quickly proves to have magical (and cute) powers. As a new monster threat begins to rise form the ocean, it becomes obvious that this little fella has a purpose. Surprisingly well-shot and full of heart, it kind of makes for a Totoro-ization of Gamera. You really feel for the big guy, and there's tons of cute, baby turtle fun in the early goings. Good kids flick, great kaiju movie. Do watch the trailer.
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bobbarnett



Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Huntington Beach, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not having La Vie En Rose on the list just negates it. Marion Cotillard is spookily real as Edith Piaf in an amazingly powerful film.
Sicko-just for it's lasting implications which it will have-should be on there as well. Plus it's damn hilarious.
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RL



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 35
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We actually almost saw "La Vie En Rose" over the weekend -- I'll put it on the list of films to see in the future.

And that's pretty much all I'm going for with my list -- just films I manage to catch this year. It's possible I might just rent a bunch of classics I've not gotten around to one weekend and, bam, the list turns to all Kurosawa & Tarkovsky.

~rl
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eron



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bobbarnett wrote:
Sicko-just for it's lasting implications which it will have-should be on there as well. Plus it's damn hilarious.


I doubt it. Probably in the next week or so we'll find out how much of it is Michael Moore lying to spin the story the way he wants it, or splicing footage to completely change the meaning. Apologists will say, "BUT WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THE MESSAGE, HE IS DOING GOOD FOR AMERICA" and then everyone will forget the fat man exists... until his next movie on something.
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bobbarnett



Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Huntington Beach, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eron wrote:
bobbarnett wrote:
Sicko-just for it's lasting implications which it will have-should be on there as well. Plus it's damn hilarious.


I doubt it. Probably in the next week or so we'll find out how much of it is Michael Moore lying to spin the story the way he wants it, or splicing footage to completely change the meaning. Apologists will say, "BUT WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THE MESSAGE, HE IS DOING GOOD FOR AMERICA" and then everyone will forget the fat man exists... until his next movie on something.


There's no spinning-no one has even accused him of it. This movie is as obvious as peanut butter and jelly.
If you've got a Moore hardon, just skip it.
When Fox News praises it-geeeez
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Tomer



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 168
Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The Lives of Others" is probably my #1 favorite film this year. "Knocked up" was fun. "Sicko" was good, although the second half with the numerous country health care examples could have been truncated a bit (as it did run a bit on the long side).
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