Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Top 10 of 2007

Admittedly I didn't get to see anywhere near enough films as I'd have
liked this year, so apologies if my Top 10 seems littered with "big

Anyway, it's my list and I'll cry if I want to! :) Away we go.......

Top 10

Ratatouille - Walt Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille just makes it onto my list at number 10. Despite not being a child or having any children to bring to see kid's movies, I will always make an excuse to catch a Pixar production, simply because they consistently make pure entertainment for adults and children. Ratatouille is certainly no Toy Story or The Incredibles, but it is a very entertaining tale with beautiful animation (which we've all come to expect from Pixar). There are moments when I was looking at the scenery shots of Paris, and but for you knew it was an animated film, you just might be fooled into thinking that they were real.

Transformers - As a kid of the late-80's/early-90's, I grew up with the Transformers on the TV. Admittedly, I wasn't a HUGE fan but I had a few toys lying about the place. The addition of Michael Bay as director seemed a perfect fit, but to me it didn't turn out that way. While I was entertained by Transformers, it also had it's problems. For one was the common theme running through Michael Bay's catalogue of movies - unnecessary characters. Another thing that really annoyed me was the inability for him to zoom out a bit so that we could see the Autobots/Decepticons in more detail. Despite it's flaws, there was enough entertainment, coupled with a shred of a plot and some nostalgia to get this into my top 10.

Knocked Up - While I HATE the advertising for this and other subsequent comedies from Judd Apatow ("From the guys who brought you 'The 40-Year Old Virgin'...", etc), I cannot deny that he has been the brains behind some of the best comedies to emerge in recent times.
Knocked Up is no different. I got more that I expected from this movie. It had it's moments of big laughs, but also had a softer side which I really didn't expect.

The Simpsons Movie - Although the movie came about 9 years too late, I did enjoy The Simpsons Movie. It was essentially a 90-minute episode of the TV show, which is certainly not a bad thing - despite the standard of the show dropping in recent years. I can only imagine how amazing a Simpsons movie could have been if they'd made it back in the 90's when the show and it's writers really were at the top of their game. But that wasn't to be, however we still got an entertaining and fun movie with the world's favourite family (and town). The voice-acting was top-notch as we have come to expect, and there were some very nice references to seasons past. Plus the sequence where Bart skateboards to Krusty Burger naked had to get one of the biggest laughs in the theatre which I have witnessed for a long

300 - After the positive build-up Richard had given 300 on Filmstalker, my hopes were high. Luckily the film was kick-ass and exceeded all my expectations. Zack Snyder did a wonderful job in transferring Frank Miller's vision to the big screen. The Spartans actually look like they have been lifted from the pages of ancient Greek literature. They are glorious and larger than life, and led by a superb performance from Gerard Butler who truly embodies King Leonidas and the legend of the 300. Of all the films in my list, this was probably the most pleasurable on the eye, as every scene was crafted to almost-perfection - from the costuming to the effects and the scenery. Truly magical cinema.

Hot Fuzz - I have literally just finished watching this for the third time. From the wonderful creators of Shaun Of The Dead, came Hot Fuzz and despite it not being what I was
expecting, it was still good enough to make my top 5. Given that it was the Pegg/Wright/Frost team behind it, we knew we were guaranteed entertainment and laughs. The laughs weren't quite as abundant as one might have expected, but there were some really fabulous moments of comedy in the movie, along with some nice one-liners and homages to some of the great Hollywood cop movies (Frost's obsession with jumping
through the air while firing a gun never ceases to make me laugh). Timothy Dalton is in fine form as the "bad guy" of the picture, and we also have a fine ensemble of great talent such as Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, Bill Bailey, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent and Paddy Considine. Not to mention cameos by Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson (see if you can spot them for yourselves).

Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free Or Die Hard) - This was a strange one for me as I had a kind of "I want to see it / I don't want to see it" feel for this movie. The reasons in favour of seeing it were, obviously, it's Die Hard and it has Bruce Willis - which translates into "we are guaranteed some great one-liners and some kick-ass action." However, against was the lack of John McTiernan being at the helm. Of the initial 3 Die Hard films, McTiernan did not direct Die Hard 2: Die Harder which was my least favourite of the trilogy. So, I was apprehensive that 4.0 might go the same way with a different director in the chair. I'm happy to say though that I was quite impressed with Len Wiseman's effort. For me the weakest part of the movie was Timothy Olyphant's villain, but other than that the cast gave good performances and Willis was great as McClane, as always! Also, who'd have thought that a Mac would be so good as a PC whizz?

Mr. Brooks - This movie was the biggest surprise of the year for me. I wasn't overly-pushed on seeing it at first when I heard that Kevin Costner was attached to star. Although upon viewing some of the trailers, I became slightly more interested. So when I eventually did
get the courage to be seen in public attending a Costner movie, I was most-pleasantly surprised. Costner gave a great performance, and the scenes involving himself and William Hurt were a pleasure to watch. Backed up with some good performances by Demi Moore and Dane Cook (he seemed to be everywhere this year), Mr. Brooks is certainly one I would recommend catching.

Letters From Iwo Jima - I went to see Clint Eastwood's second epic war drama way back in February and unfortunately have not got around to re-watching it yet despite picking up the DVD. It was simply a masterful motion picture, with great performances throughout and some wonderful directing by Eastwood. It's a perfect (and superior) companion to Flags Of Our Fathers, and I would urge anyone who has not seen either of these to get around to watching

The Bourne Ultimatum - I have been a big Bourne fan since the beginning of the series. The Bourne Supremacy was my favourite film of 2004, so naturally I was looking forward to the conclusion of Robert Ludlum's "trilogy". The trailers had set up the movie nicely and I'm happy to say that it did not let me down. Unlike others, the shaky cam did not bother me quite as much. At times it was frustrating, but I also felt it added to the frenetic pace at which Bourne had to carry out all of his objectives. It reflected that he was constantly on the move and had no time to slow down or stop. It completed the trilogy nicely and had some very strong performances, namely David Strathairn making his debut appearance in the series. The scene in London's Waterloo Station was also one of my favourites of the year in terms of maintaining tension and suspense.

Biggest Disappointments

Spider-Man 3 - After initially setting the bar so high for what a superhero/comic book movie can be, Sam Raimi let the execs take way too much creative control which in turn destroyed the 3rd part to what could have been a fantastic trilogy. Both Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were fantastic movies, with just the right balance of action, drama, romance an wonderment. Spider-Man 3 really lost it's way though. It was over-packed with characters, time was devoted in the wrong areas and the ending became so obvious and cheesy that it really left a bad taste in the audience's mouth. Unfortunate, as the trailer had promised so much and instead we got very little.

Pirates Of The Caribbean - At World's End - I'm not really a fan of the Pirates series. The Curse Of The Black Pearl exceeded everyone's expectations and there's no denying that Johnny Depp was magnificent as Captain Jack Sparrow. Despite that, I still would have only rated it as being good, not great as seen by so many people. Dead Man's Chest for me was weak, with a wandering narrative and plot, stumbling through different set pieces and leaving us with a cliffhanger ending. The highlights were undoubtedly ILM's visual effects on Davey Jones, and the surprise ending with Captain Barbosa returning. So with the end of Dead Man's Chest somehow managing to ramp up my hopes for At World's End, I was left
bitterly disappointed when I saw it. Again we had little plot and more set pieces in which ILM displayed their creative abilities. We also had another shockingly bad performance from Orlando Bloom. I have now watched him in the majority of his films, and can honestly say he
cannot act. Why can he not deliver a line without squinting slightly?! I also had enough of Keira Knightley in her "more B.A. than B.A. Baracus" non-damsel in distress charade.

I Am Legend - It had so much potential and was pretty poorly executed. You can read my full review here over on Filmstalker (I'll also add it to here later).

Biggest Treats At The Movies in '07

Back To The Future - Yes, that's right! My local Cineworld has taken to showing one classic movie on the final Monday of every month and I was thrilled to discover that they were showing Back To The Future. What can I say that hasn't been said about this movie? It is simply great, great entertainment and one of the all time classics.

The Nightmare Before Christmas : 3D - Almost 14 years to the day after I originally shuffled along to see it for the first time, Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas was back in theatres!
While the 3D element did not add a whole lot to the experience, it certainly (and thankfully) did not detract from it. It was wonderful to once again see Jack Skellington sing and dance his way across the screen in front of a packed cinema.

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