MY YEAR IN FILM 2007:

  THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE DISREPUTABLE

page 2

christopher funderburg

 

   THE DISREPUTABLE

You doubt these films? Oh, how wrong you are.

Spiderman 3. Sure, there's a little too much crammed into this thing, so some glaring plot contrivances rear their ugly heads - but it's a movie about a teenager blessed with super-powers after a genetically modified spider bit him. Get off its case, grandpa. Anyway, I genuinely don't understand why people hate this movie so much; I know a lot of folks hated the whole emo-Spidey sequence, but for me that was the best part of the film. Even if the alien symbiote is making Peter Parker evil, he's still going to be Peter Parker: his sense of wickedness is going to result in demanding cookies from his mousy neighbor and busting into unexpected jazz-dancing - he's not going to instantly become some sort of perverted serial killer making masks out of human nipples. "Dig on this!" God, it's so perfect. Beyond that business, there are also several undeniably amazing set-pieces in this film - the rise of Sandman and the armored car robbery come immediately to mind. But, insofar as it's the culmination of a trilogy, the machinations of the over-arching melodrama come together in a satisfying and genuinely touching conclusion: James Franco's final moments in this film made me well up. It's all more than I could hope for from a bajillion-dollar action-blockbuster based on a comic strip.  

 

Stuck. I had been obsessed with real-life case upon which this film is based well before I knew my main man Stuart Gordon would be taking a crack at adapting it into a feature film, so my excitement went off the charts at the news of that perfect pairing of filmmaker and subject. The set-up: a woman hits a homeless guy with her car and, in a panic, flees home. However, he's stuck in her windshield and dies in her garage over the course of the next couple days. Gordon takes the premise and explodes it, contorting it into a pitch-black satire of the bottomless depths of human selfishness. In a turn of events even more shocking than the original story, Mena Suvari is great in the lead role as slovenly nurse slipping down the slope from vehicular manslaughter to homicide. Stephen Rea is put to great use as the schlub who can't catch a break and ends up enduring a howlingly awful set of indignities. It's yet another cult classic in the making for Gordon.

 

Son of Rambow. Showing maybe a touch too much of its makers' music-video background and never really rising to the Rushmore-ish level it clearly aspires, this film is still a lot fun. Two social outcasts decide to make a sequel to First Blood using their elementary school pals and the whole things goes unfolds as you'd expect: a lot of Michel Gondry-esque lo-fi special effects inventiveness mix with Wes Anderson sentimentality, quirky production design, gentle humor, and a carefully-selected pop soundtrack. It's not winning any awards for originality, clearly - but the two main kids are perfectly cast and give open, honest performances that allow you to give the film the benefit of the doubt. Also, I swear to God, this movie pays significant homage to Peter Gothar's 1982 Time Stands Still, but it's such an obscure point of reference that their frequent similarities have to be a coincidence. Right?

 

Death Sentence. Based on the book intended as a sequel and corrective to the original Deathwish film, author Brian Garfield set out to disparage the pro-vigilantism gaining cultural currency in the late 1970's and exemplified in Michael Winner and Charles Bronson's violent original. The creator of the Saw franchise, James Wan, hewss close to that novel's "an eye for an eye leaves the world blind" sentiment, perhaps attempting to pay penance for his role in the pointlessly and idiotically-demonized "torture-porn" subgenre.* To top things off, he throws in some allusions to the war in Iraq and makes clear that war can also make you no better than your enemies, I guess. Kevin Bacon does a good job as the vigilante who becomes exactly what he's fighting against: the rainbow gang of music video extras portraying the villains. That gaggle of no-goodniks is the weak point of the film. A note to filmmaker: quit casting greasy white-guys in leather pants as the supposedly menacing degenerate creeps. Nobody is scarred of them. There's a great action sequence in a parking garage that's worth the price of admission and the filmmakers don't pull any punches - their flair for violence and brisk pacing that made the Saw franchise a hit is in full force here.

* I always think it's funny when critics put the word "porn" on the end of something to denote that folks are deriving pleasure from it. I think I'm going to start referring to Singin' in the Rain as "hoofer porn" and Vanity Fair as "allegory porn."  

 

Gone Baby Gone. Of all the films in this section, this one comes the closest to being up-graded to my "Good" list. But, I was reading a review of this film that mentioned Raymond Chandler's old dictum about how even the best crime films still suffer from the same problems as the worst and it couldn't apply more to this film. There are just too many plot contrivances, improbable conspiracies, convenient coincidences, narrative gaps, and over-the-top elements for me to give this film a pass. The weird rape-house clan is something straight out of a comic book and only one example of how much suspension of disbelief is necessary to swallow this one. However, I've got to emphasize that this one is completely worth swallowing. It plays great and the uniformly solid cast does a lot to elevate the material. Strangely, though, Amy Ryan is getting a ton of praise for this movie and I thought her one-note cartoon of a poor parent was the weak link in the film - I just wanted her to get off the screen because she was ruining the low-key authenticity that the film otherwise effortlessly conjures up. Still, she's playing an interesting character even if her scenery-chewing flattens out the subtleties of it - with a more resourceful or thoughtful actress, it would really be something. But why am I dwelling on the negativities here? The filmed is directed with a simplicity and clarity that provides solid support for the twisty, ultimately heart-breaking script - Casey Affleck is great, Ed Harris is great, Morgan Freeman is great, the action is tense and brutal, there's a complexity and intelligence at work on every level that can't be denied.

 

Live Free or Die Hard. Bruce Willis said that this is definitely the second best Die Hard film and, in his opinion, as good as the first one. Let's not go nuts there, Bruno. He's not far off the mark, though: this is a perfect summer blockbuster. The action is staged with a sense of space and timing that you rarely see in the post-Bourne/Michael Bay era, Willis' star power is firing on all cylinders, the pace is quick and efficient, the jokes aren't so bad as to ruin the film (a la Transformers), and it's a great way to spend a hot day in an air-conditioned theater. I'm not saying John McClane jumping on a jet isn't ridiculous or that I couldn't do without Mary Elizabeth Winstead's one-liners, but they're fine and this movie is pure fun. As with most things with which he's involved, Kevin Smith is the weak link.

 

Bug. I realized my problem in life is that as I watched the first twenty or so minutes of Bug, in which bedraggled bartender Ashley Judd does coke and gets trashed on whiskey in dingy motel in the middle of nowhere, I thought, "See - that's how I should be living. I shouldn't be going to work everyday and sitting in front of computer and processing invoices. I should be shooting heroin with a creepy weirdo convinced that the government has put bugs under our skin as part of a fascist conspiracy." I meant it, too. I felt a nostalgia for all the abusive ex-boyfriends I never had and all of the vomiting of gin that I never did. Anyway, Bug is a genuinely crazy film anchored by a genuinely crazy performance by Michael Shannon. Shannon has an unsettling presence that was also used to great effect this year by Sidney Lumet in Before the Devil Knows you're Dead and it's his peculiar speech-patterns and guarded eyes that keep Bug endlessly compelling - he's exactly the guy you want to see cover Ashley Judd's apartment in tinfoil and help his tweeze all of the microscopic bugs from beneath her skin.  

 

Eastern Promises. I feared this would be another History of Violence, a film that broke my heart. But fortunately, it's more of an amendment and improvement to the Cronenberg on display in that unfortunate film. It's no great shakes and the ending is as laughably absurd as anything in Violence, but Eastern Promises is a nicely stripped down (whoops - seriously, no pun intended) underworld thriller with at least one knockout sequence. The knife-fight in the Turkish bath is an instant-classic and justifies whatever interest you have in seeing Promises. Viggo Mortenson redeems his hammy turn in Violence with an understated performance as a small-time Russian Mafioso with a streak of good conscience. Naomi Watts' half of the plot doesn't register as much as it needs to for the film to be really good, but it's still a gigantic relief to see that if Cronenberg is going to continue to make these sort of films that I don't need to give up on him entirely.

 

I Know who Killed Me. The most legitimately out-of-its-mind film I saw last year, the miscalculation that effectively killed Lindsay Lohan's career (for the moment, anyway), this heavily Argento-inspired American giallo is actually brilliant in its own way. The plot concerns a good girl little high school girl (played by Lohan) who suddenly disappears, only later to be found in a ditch with one arm and one leg cut off. However, the amputee claims not to be good Lohan at all, but her twin sister. This new amputee Lohan (don't worry, she quickly gets a robotic arm and leg), though, is a bad girl and does bad things like perform a strip tease and fuck the ever-loving shit out of a dude (don't worry, she takes the robotic arm and leg off before sex). I'm going to spoil the ending, but only because it's amazing and will convince you to see them film: bad amputee-Lohan later proves that she is, as she claims, a twin. How does she do so? Why, by digging up good non-amputee-Lohan from the crystal coffin in which she is buried. They hug. The whole film is rendered in vivid monochromatic color-schemes with good Lohan perpetually rendered in Blue and bad Lohan in red. Later on, when you are not sure if you are dealing with good or bad Lohan, a blue and red police light flashes the alternating colors on her face. Awesome. This movie is insane and I can understand why it has a bad reputation the way I can understand why some folks hate Phenomena because it features a razor-wielding, revenge-obsessed monkey, Jennifer Connelly with a psychic connection to insects and a deformed midget that turns out to be the killer. But this film is amazing in the exact same way. Case closed.

 

 

Didn't need to see to know it sucked: Shrek 3, Lions for Lambs, Daddy Day Camp, Georgia Rule, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Wild Hogs, Halloween, Ghost Rider, Bee Movie, Fred Claus, Beowulf.

MOVIES I WAS EXCITED TO SEE... UP UNTIL THE MOMENT I COULD ACTUALLY SEE THEM:
The Number 23. I just don't have quite the ironic love of garbage necessary to actually sit through something like this. The trailer was still a highlight of my year, though.

American Gangster. This movie looked awesome in the preview where Denzel's walking around being all badass and shit - but since when do I like overblown Hollywood Oscar-bait? With Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott, and Josh Brolin all doing their best to out "tough-guy" each other, I practically had to dive onto the floor of the theater to avoid getting hit by one of dicks being swung around in this movie. Also, obviously, this was going to be one of those morality plays that fetishizes wealth, power and amoral capitalist maraudering right up until the moment it decides to shake its finger at it. The finger, in this case, takes the form a wise old black woman with decent Southern Baptist values. Yay.

Control. Hey, I love Joy Division! And Samantha Morton! Hmm. Nope. Still not working. I guess I just can't bring myself to watch any paint-by-numbers biopic, regardless of how much I care about the subject or actors involved.

 

   THE FIRST ANNUAL STANELY KUBRICK AWARD,
   
for an intellectual and stylistic bully with very little substance behind their work.

I need to mention two films that I saw this year that I fucking want to puke all over. I think they're garbage and I really hate their guts. Why aren't they on the "Worst" list then, a wiseacre might ask? Well, these films aren't bad in the way that something like Knocked Up or Redacted is a complete failure (and total embarrassment). In the case of Zodiac and There Will Be Blood, I think the filmmakers made exactly the films they intended and it would be inaccurate to slight them for filmmaking incompetence. In fact, both films employ an antiseptic, tightly-gripped style that in its totally airless, hermetic approach insists that nothing in either film could be possible be misconstrued as a mistake. They seek to bludgeon their audiences in to submission with the sheer force of their supposed genius; a genius supposedly evidenced by their precise, exacting construction and execution.

And this is where the Stanley Kubrick award comes in. I know it is sacrosanct to disparage Kubrick - there are few filmmakers as uniformly canonized as the great recluse. If there's a Filmmaking Hall of Fame, he's first ballot. But I've never been convinced of Kubrick's alleged genius - ah, he's obviously a deliberate and precise filmmaker who knows how to grab signifiers that point to bigger themes and epic philosophical concerns (war, history, psychology, etc.) but I don't think he has any valuable insights or ideas about these thematic signifiers. He dumps them into a sack alongside his geometric, carefully considered compositions and then proceeds to whack an audience over the head with that sack of garbage until they submit to the proposition that 2001 is anything other than mush-headed, embarrassingly New-Age-y claptrap or that Full Metal Jacket has anything interesting to say about systems of indoctrination, the military or (god forbid) the implementation of foreign policy. Kubrick's work is not precise because it's trying to express something complex, delicate or deep - its precision is the manifestation of its overwhelming, empty-heaed arrogance. 50 takes of a minor camera movement is of course required to record a precise moment of nothing specific. Please measure this cup of water and fill it back up to 6/8 of the way full every take because that matters precisely not at all. Please make sure there are eighteen paisleys on that tie and the bathroom is precisely this color red and that the camera lingers for precisely one second, not for any reason but to give the illusion of a reason - an illusion conjured through a very precise sleight of hand.

Therefore, to win the prestigious Kubrick award a film must be a) dumber than a sack of hammers and b) more arrogant than Eliot Spitzer. Zodiac and There Will Be Blood meet both such criteria. There Will Be Blood is an especially easy nominee for the award since it doesn't seem to have been made by human beings at all, but rather having been beamed down to Earth from the post-human Planet Movie. It so obviously and painfully seeks to evoke Citizen Kane, McCabe and Mrs. Miller and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre that it might as well have been programmed by some alien super-computer dialed over to the Academy Award Prestige Picture setting. No one in the movie acts like a human being for one single second and the movie clicks through a series of plot developments so poorly set-up by the psychology, behavior and performances of the characters that they would be puzzling if they weren't so rote and predictable as to be 100% expected. There are two simple examples of the complete phoniness of this film and its general intellectual bankruptcy.

First, Daniel Day Lewis' accent. Obviously, Lewis delivers an over-the-top, show-stopping performance that has the same sort of pointless precision that characterizes the film overall. Lewis is obviously acting that way on purpose - but why that way? The most prominent aspect of his performance is his strange accent. When the film began, I couldn't tell what it was supposed to be - I thought perhaps he supposed to be playing an Irishman who moved to California. Later in the film, a character arrives purporting to be Lewis' brother. This character has a normal Texarkana accent. Now what kind of sense does that make? Shouldn't Lewis have a similar accent? If coordinating their accents is unimportant, why does Lewis choose to give the ultra-idiosyncratic (supposedly detailed and specific) performance that he does? It's certainly not because any human being in existence acts in any way like Lewis' character. With the lack of matching accents, realism is demonstrably beside the point, but also psychological realism seems to be out the door, based on Lewis' drooling dead-eyed histrionics lac of correspodence to recognizable human behavior. It would not be unfair to speculate that it is a performance primarily designed to be memorable and, therefore, be more likely to win awards, acclaim, etc. It is based on the type of out-sized performances delivered by Orson Welles in Touch of Evil or John Huston in Chinatown. That is, the performance is a hollow missive beamed to us from the lonely Planet Movie.

The second example: after Lewis' character kills Paul Dano, the butler enters the bowling alley. Lewis delivers yet another improbable catch-phrase and - what is the butler's response? He looks down his nose, scarcely reacting. Why on earth would the butler have this subdued reaction? What about this makes sense? He just stumbled across a bloody scene! The director simply has the butler act like this so Lewis can deliver his Big Final Line, the butler is the audience that ostensibly justifies any kind of line at all being delivered by Lewis. It's another patently phony moment that exists solely to set up a solipsistic, movie-fied stylistic gesture: a cheap theatrical flourish in a film that's entire reason for being is cheap theatrical flourishes. But it's easy not to notice such a stupid little moment because the movie has just spent ten minutes trying to beat you into submission with another "tour de force" scene, a veritable battery of gigantic thematic signifiers, flailing performances, and antiseptic camerawork. If you can't see how dumb stuff like "I drink your milkshake" and "bastard in a basket" and the scene where Lewis assaults Dano in the mud or kills his fake brother really are, then the little details (which are uniformly idiotic) should give the game away for you. I really do suspect the director of the most narcissistic motivations for making the film. I don't think he actually gives two shits about oil, religion or the foundations of the USA, they're just convenient ingredients in the recipe for Genius. This isn't art - it's arrogance on celluloid, stupidity crammed into the mouths of the easily bullied.

I think that's even more obviously in the case of Fincher, who has a hopelessly cheesy streak and pretty blunt commercial aspirations. He doesn't have any special connection or insight to his "serious" subjects (i.e. non-panic room based subjects); they're just fuel for the ego fire. Anyway, I'll readily admit, though, that I think Zodiac is his best movie and also probably his least full of shit. I will add that I think this movie has one additional level of noxiousness that becomes more offensive to me the more I let it stew: it's nothing more than a cheap entertainment, but nonetheless it has no qualms about constantly pointing a crooked, accusing finger at a man almost certainly not responsible for the unsolved crimes that form the basic outline of the story. Arthur Leigh Allen was almost certainly not the Zodiac killer, but you'd never know it from this film. In fact, the film attempts to generate almost all of its dramatic tension from the fact that Allen could be (and, goodness gracious, probably is!) the real killer. Allen wasn't exactly a great guy in real life, but that's still pretty sickening for a film to continuously, without conscience, accuse an innocent man of horrific crimes with real victims and real survivors. And for what? So the movie can have something resembling an ending? It's pretty disgusting. As I've written before, "Fincher has always seemed to me to be the worst kind of charlatan: an obviously gifted stylist with a theoretically unique vision who works his magic in service of shallow plots and idiotic characterizations, a 'darker' Michael Bay with a predilection for servile crowd-pleasers disguised by their rebellious postures. This film confirms it." Again.

Anyway, I don't want to oversell this, because I'm not sure these films are worth even that much contemplation - I more wanted to point out an filmmaking strategy and mindset that I find to be creatively bankrupt, but unfortunately common (especially among those filmmakers with more "serious" aspirations). Fortunately, there happened to be two perfect examples this year, so congratulations David Fincher and Paul Thomas Anderson, I think you're the true heirs to Stanley Kubrick!

 

 

BEST RE-RELEASES & REVIVALS:

Killer of Sheep
Le Doulos
Pierrot le Fou
Red Balloon
White Mane

 

BEST DVD's:

Berlin Alexanderplatz
Criterion's Eclipse series (specifically early Fuller & post-war Kurosawa)
The Films of Kenneth Anger Vol. 1 & 2
Charles Burnett Collection
La Jetee/Sans Soliel

For the museum of AmerIndie style: Juno
alternate: Eagles vs. Shark

Jeremy Irons in Dungeons and Dragons award for giving it your all even though you probably shouldn't have: Peter Dinklage in Underdog.

The "Robert Redford Award" for Coastin' on an Undeserved Reputation developed decades ago: I thought about giving this award to Harold Pinter for Sleuth, but let's kick it off with the man himself, Robert Redford, in Lions for Lambs.

The "Local Hero Award" for the over-rated, under-rated film of the year: Southland Tales

 

   THE SHIT YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF

Sometimes, there are some amazing movies that are able to achieve no profile whatsoever. Maybe it's because their subject matter is graphic or otherwise unpalatable to all but the smallest of audience. Maybe they're experimental films with no obvious avenues for presentation either in the theater or on dvd or on cable. Maybe they're so absolutely brainsick or bizarre that it's hard to conceive of what audience they're intended for. Or maybe, they're just a charming little film with no money or power behind it, so they slip through the cracks and are never heard from again. Whatever the reason, it's a shame.

Urim and Thummim. Three men claim to have found a metaphysical portal referenced in the Old Testament and this documentary from the director of The Dancing Outlaw follows their mission to amass believers and convert skeptics. Where did they find this portal? On the 99 cent rack in a Goodwill in rural Tennessee. Skirts the same skeezy line between exploitation and pure-hearted transcendental wonder as Outlaw, you have to get behind a film that had Werner Herzog deriding its detractors as "retarded."

Pitcher of Colored Light. A fifteen minute portrait of the director Robert Beaver's elderly mother, Light seemed to have only screened once in the history of its existence (during the 2007 NYFF). This simple, unpretentious film is a collage of fabric patterns, ceramic surfaces, plays of light - the small domestic images that fill up a life, but are rarely intentionally committed to memory. There's a biography in these details, but also an effortless poetry derived by simply looking closely and focusing attention.

At Sea. Peter Hutton specializes in breath-taking large-scale tableaux, a painter's approach to cinema with compelling, gorgeous images the result. At Sea silently follows the life of a cargo tanker from its construction to scrapping with lustrous seascapes and grimy industrial vistas filling the space in between. Sure, it's just mainly shots of boats and the ocean - the way J.M.W. Turner's work is mainly just paintings of boats and the ocean.

The Disappointment: Or, The Force of Credulity. Named after a satirical 18th Century folk opera that so incensed its audience that they burned the theater to the ground after its debut, Brian Springer's documentary is a meandering put-on so densely packed with facts, legends, rumors, history and outright lies that it's almost impossible to describe. Ostensibly recounting the tale of Springer's ancestral Missouri forbearers and their fruitless hunted for buried Spanish gold, The Disappointment frustrated most reviewers with its endless tangents about purported possessing spirits, the Korean war, spiritualist cranks, anarchists, etymologies and other-assorted homegrown weirdness. Did I mention that the movie is narrated by a large limestone sculpture that resembles some kind of a cross between a bug and a lizard?

A Stray Girlfriend. The TIFF fantasy: a film you've never heard of that fits your schedule, so you go see it with the lowest of expectations... and it turns out to be completely charming. Ana Katz wrote, directed and starred in this painfully funny story of a woman abandoned by her boyfriend on their way to a seaside vacation resort. The film is well-made and it definitely doesn't hurt that Katz is also a bona fide cutie who has a great sense for the comedy inherent in pathetic flailing. The film shrewdly sets up easy conclusions and points the audience in the direction of shopworn life-lessons before knocking them down and stumbling towards abortive drunken hook-ups, instantly regrettable actions, cringe-worthy neediness and lose/lose situations. Improbably, the movie still maneuvered me to a point where I left the theater feeling exhilarated and happy (in a bittersweet kinda way).

Import/Export. A pitch-black comedy of humiliation, director Ulrich Seidl's relentlessly self-assured film juggles two mirrored stories of decent folks casually squished under the greasy thumb of fate. The intercut stories never literally overlap, but the story follows an unemployed Austrian security guard and an improperly employed nurse from the Ukraine as they slowly switch geographic positions. There's a spiritual connection between these two folks who can never catch an even break and the lead performers are so flawless in their roles that you never question the ultimate connection of the stories: the performances somehow interlock them like light to negative space. While it would be hard to understate how bleak and pornographic this film can be, it would also be wrong-headed to ghettoize it with those films that employ exposed genitals, mental deterioration and bodily fluid for shock value. It's ultimately a film about human frailty and how it comes pouring out of us in the form of shit and senility and sexual degradation. A tough but great film.

 

   MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN FILM 2007

Getting the CD back is easier than Ethan Hawke expected. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

Philip Seymour Hoffman hates himself so much he shoots the passed out guy on the bed. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

"She's the one who's crazy - she's making me crazy!" Jack Black's totally justified freak-out. Margot at the Wedding.

Laura Linney's reaction when Philip Seymour Hoffman catches her lying about the Fellowship. The Savages.

The Ukrainian nurse goes to work a spoiled bourgeoisie couple and their spoiled brat of a kid and never have I wanted to smack a child more. Import/Export.

Ana just wants the kid to spot shining the laser pointer in her face and the next she knows her boyfriend has left her on the bus. A Stray Girlfriend.

The Austrian and his father-in-law go to the trash-filled housing projects. Import/Export.

The whale under the bridge. I'm not There.

The naked knife fight in the Turkish bath. Eastern Promises.

Benoit Magimel casually strolls up to the stage and interrupts Francois Berleand's speech. A Girl Cut in Two.

Nicole Kidman's soon-to-be-former lover ambushes her at the book-reading. Margot at the Wedding.

While she's being interviewed, the creepy guy in sunglasses peers over the abortion nurse's shoulder from his protest safe-house across the street. Lake of Fire.

Unable to keep her composure, the woman breaks down crying after her procedure. Like of Fire.

Hitting the black market for Iron Maiden tapes in Persepolis.

Eye of the tiger. Persepolis.

Tadanobu Asano with a lead pipe - tragedy in Sad Vacation.

"Why are you doing this to me?!" Mena Suvari to the man caught in her windshield. Stuck.

The Sandman comes alive. Spiderman 3.

Get Peter Parker some milk for those cookies, wouldya babe? Spiderman 3.

Casey Affleck realizes it's Ed Harris under the mask. Gone, Baby, Gone.

The shoot-out in the computer nerd's apartment. Live Free or Die Hard.

The chase, fight and crash in parking garage. Death Sentence.

I'm pretty sure those microscopes are from a children's playset, Michael Shannon. Bug.

Quick, get the gun out of the pizza box, Michael Shannon! Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

It's just nice to see John Goodman even if he looks horrible. Seriously, he looks like the inside of a sausage after you inject it with water. Death Sentence.

Josh Brolin has an extended battle with Javier Bardem, but barely even sees him. No Country for Old Men.

They cut his hair and now he's one of the gang. This is England.

Just trying to have a dinner party. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.

As expected, there's a lot of paperwork. Hot Fuzz.

Paddy Considine would you just listen to Bourne, you're going to get yourself killed! The Bourne Ultimatum.

The French kid goes back to being a loser the moment the bus-ride home begins. Son of Rambow.

Remy the rat blows gets caught in the kitchen and the blows the cover of his whole attic community in the old lady's house. Ratatouille.

Anton Ego reviews the Ratatouille.

 

   *NOTABLE OMISSIONS:

Just so you know, I did see these films, but didn't think they deserved the Top-Ten List play they got. Some of them I liked, but none of them are any great shakes. A couple really stink. I have put them in order of increasing stinkiness (with the least stinky first to the most stinky last): Away from Her , Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, 12:08 East of Bucharest , I'm not There, 4 Months 3 weeks and 2 Days, This is England, Lust Caution, No end in Sight, Atonement, Manda Bala, Darjeeling Limited, Zodiac, Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Lars and the Real Girl, La Vie en Rose, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Juno, There will Be Blood, Southland Tales.

And these films I just skipped altogether, mainly due to a complete lack of interest: Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Charlie Wilson's War, In the Valley of Elah, Waitress, Into the Wild (alao, I am 100% sure this movie would infuriate me), Across the Universe, The Kite Runner.

- christopher funderburg, February 2008

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