2007 YEAR IN REVIEW

page 3

john cribbs

Didn't Need to See it to Know it sucked

1. Southland Tales

Ah,who am I kidding? I can't wait to rent Richard Kelly's trainwreck of a sophomore film and throw it on the minute netflix delivers it to my door. It's sort of like keeping a picture of the hideously ugly girl the dumb football jock everybody loved and you hated in high school ended up marrying secretly in your desk, sneaking peaks at it time and again. And I have to admit I'm curious to see how Miranda Richardson and Wallace Shawn mix in with John Laroquette, half the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and "MAD TV," and Zelda Rubinstein (who's probably already claiming Spielberg directed the whole movie.) While it's now become fashionable to declare it underrated, misunderstood - an unappreciated pop literary masterpiece - a majority, for once, seem to see it as the indulgent piece of pseudo-political, self-important garbage it obviously is. Then again there are those who saw Donnie Darko exactly the same way, or at least are starting to. To hear him tell it, Kelly is the second coming of Andy Warhol, Philip K Dick, Nikola Tesla, Kurt Vonnegut, David Lynch, Raymond Chandler, Karl Marx and God - this from a guy who spent a million dollars on a student movie called Visceral Matter. Here's the man himself:

Update: I've now seen Southland Tales and it turns out I had it all wrong. The movie has Christopher Lambert riding around in an ice cream truck full of weapons, including a bazooka. And yet he never does anything with it. Lambert and the bazooka are completely wasted (I mean misused in the movie, although Lambert does look like he just stumbled out of a trailer tripping over some empty whiskey bottles.) How can a movie with the equation Lambert + rocket launcher not be awesome? But seriously it sucks. The only thing I can recommend is that now famous JT/Killers sequence, which is utterly ridiculous within the film but works really well out of context (or maybe not...it's out of context in the film too.) Anyway, allow me to save everyone 2 and a half excruciating hours with this clip, all you need to see of Richard Kelly's Southland Tales.

 

2. Youth Without Youth 

Coppola has said his first official film in ten years (I'm not including his alleged work on Walter Hill/Thomas Lee's Supernova) was his attempt to shoot a movie like he was in his 20's again. Yet when he was in his 20s, he made Finian's Rainbow. What he needs to do is make a movie like he was in his 30's again: where's another Conversation? Another Apocalypse Now? Magic has never really been Coppola's forte (probably why he was never able to raise money for Pinocchio), and some metaphysical drama about the fountain of youth hardly sounds the comeback for such a formerly inspiring director. Apparently this attempt at a comeback is so bad, the theft of a van of equipment during the shoot was considered a blessing in disguise. And we all know what happened last time Tim Roth was in a movie featuring Nazis made by a respectable director (though personally I like Invincible...not that Herzog is himself invincible, see #4.) The universally negative reviews - including a Newsweek profile of Coppola that ends by slamming the movie - definitely dont help. Next year's Tetro with Javier Bardem sounds more promising, but will it be Coppola's No Country for Old Men, or his Goya's Ghosts? Based on the way this looks, probably the latter.

 

3. The Simpsons Movie

If you find Spider-Pig funny, you are a current "Simpsons" fan. If not, you're a seasoned former fan who still quotes actual jokes from the high water mark of the third to ninth seasons before the show became gross, insane and overall completely unfunny. I'm one of the former, yet flirted with the idea of giving the movie a shot in the romantic hope that return of respected writer John Swartzwelder might lend it some "golden years" quality. Then I saw the spots with the Spider-Pig and my resolve was absolute: I wouldn't touch this movie with a 10-foot clown pole. Over the years the show has turned into a broad, scatological satire of American society with a horrible glossy animation, useless celebrity cameos (although I admit it's genius that they got Thomas Pynchon) and a voice cast who have become either greedy or a Scientologist. Not that any of that would matter if the jokes were good, but every multi-plot is some ridiculous scenario - Homer has a crayon in his brain, Marge gets breast implants or bulks up like a bodybuilder, or the Simpsons go down to Florida and kill a famous alligator and have to become fugitives with a very special appearance by Kid Rock and what the hell Brittney Spears. Come on "Simpsons," isn't that what "Family Guy" is for? As for the movie, "Simpsons" may have been the template but "South Park" made it to the big screen first - ten years ago - and managed to create a brilliant movie, one that had new ideas, not just "Crazy Cat Lady" in her 80th appearance since the original inspired gag. People whose opinion I trust have told me to take a pill and see the movie, but after another misguided viewing of a recent episode it's just not gonna happen dude. Ok enough moaning. Maybe I'll be like Bart and finally see this movie in 30 years after I've become chief justice of the Supreme Court, but for now don't depress me by bringing it up.

 

4. Rescue Dawn

I want to see an epic, studio-financed Werner Herzog war drama about as much as I'd be interested in an obsessive documentary about auctioneers by Tony Scott. Herzog is one filmmaker who doesn't need a ticket to the states, so it's hard to say why he felt the need to go the same route as George Sluizer, Ole Bornedal and Takashi Shimizu by taking one of his great films, changing it into a straight narrative, and replacing the actual guy with a Hollywood hot shot. The director has praised Christian Bale through the roof, but has there ever been a performer whose "emotional journey" feels less genuine when stacked against the tortured mental state of Bruno S. or the spitfire fury of Klaus Kinski? Herzog has clearly integrated himself into the LA scene, collaborating with Zack Penn and saving Joaquin Phoenix's life (why??) But tooling around Sun Valley could not be further grounded from the physical and spiritual heights of the South American hills. Not to mention that he's made a war/escape movie, recent examples of which (Hart's War, The Great Raid) have fallen short. As long as he's still churning out personal "erratic truths" at the prolific rate he's currently managing I won't really mind the occasional conservative retooling (up next: Vin Diesel braving the treacherous apex of Gasherbrum I and II as Reinhold Messner - will he make it??) Just don't ask me to sit through them. When faced with the decision to see Rescue Dawn (or The Simpsons Movie) I ended up choosing Transformers. If that's not a picture of stubborn abstinence I don't know what is.

 

5. In the Valley of Elah

Tommy Lee Jones was so good in No Country for Old Men I almost wavered and saw Paul Haggis' follow-up to Crash 2005. Then I remembered - it's PAUL HAGGIS' FOLLOW-UP TO CRASH 2005. Not only that, but it's Paul Haggis' foray into the heavy-handed world of "relevant" dramas addressing Middle Eastern politics, a bleak world that's failed to drum up much business at the box office or general interest beyond mild curiosity. And while Rendition and Lions for Lambs (Jesus was that really the title of that movie?) are easily dismissible, effort should definitely be mustered to miss one from the creator of "Walker Texas Ranger," especially if De Palma couldn't pull it off. If the best that can be expected is a reworking of Uncommon Valor and Hardcore (that's right Schrader I'll still stand by your classics even after The Walker) with reflective dialogue slung back and forth between Jones and Charlize Theron, I'll gladly pass.

 

6. Across the Universe

The curse of Moulin Rouge continues. Just as Zach Helm thought audiences might be asking "When's the new Toys due?" Julie Taymor was apparently under the impression that people were dying to see an update of the Bee Gees' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Except not with Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees but with Gap ad actors, playing characters named Jude, Lucy, Eleanor Rigby, Birthday, Piggy, Twist, Shout and the oddly-named Ivana Holdjerand. In a way this idea is clearly more offensive than John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, a blue collar Rouge dud from my 2005 "worst" list I almost included again since it inexplicably got a theatrical release this year. At least that movie had a sense of humor about itself and wasn't trying to force its old musical numbers on issues like war, man, and what a bummer it is. Universe seems fueled by hippie juice, which I guess is perfectly marketable to folks who are into seeing The Lion King while stoned on Broadway and then writing a glowing review of it by the light of their lava lamp. And you've got to give Taymor credit for somehow out-gaying Cirque de Soleil when it came to using Beatles songs.

 

7. Lust/Caution

I'm not sure how this movie is related to Crazy/Beautiful (or Face/Off or Nip/Tuck), but I do know that Ang Lee's genre-hopping has never scored him a winner in my book: I think The Ice Storm is overrated, Crouching Tiger is gay, and Brokeback Mountain was not as gay and should have been. But while I can easily ignore it if Lee wants to try his hand at American Civil War melodramas or metaphysical comic book action movies, I do have a problem with him moving in on Wong Kar-Wai's territory. Although I don't know how close Lust Slash Caution actually is to one of his romantic period pieces, the marketing campaign makes me think it's a Wong film every time (and not just because it stars Tony Leung, but that doesn't help.) Ang, when are you going to find your own voice? Aren't you tired of being the substitute teacher of world cinema? "We can't get Yuen Woo-Ping to direct this kung fu epic." "Hm - call Ang Lee." "Seems neither Merchant nor Ivory are interested in this particular Jane Austen adaptation." "Hm...who directed that cannibal movie about eating men and women, drinking their blood?" "Must be this guy Ang Lee, I'll see if he's home." "I need someone to helm this gay cowboy movie. Maybe the director of The Wedding Singer, that was pretty gay. What was his name?" "Ang Lee." "I think that was technically called The Wedding Banquet but what the hell close enough, nobody cares about gay cowboys anyway." His next film? A romantic comedy! Oh well at least if it's bad they can always have Louis Leterrier remake it.

 

7. Syndromes and a Century

I know, everyone says I gotta see it. But if those are the same people who loved Blissfully Yours and Tropical Malady, I've gotta fess up to not being entranced by either of those two movies. Apichatpong Weerasethakul is undeniably talented but frankly I don't get it. I thought my cultural appreciation of achingly-paced, beautifully shot Asian cinema had reached its required viewing limit with Tsai Ming-liang, but here's some more homework you bastards expect me to do. And to be honest I'm on the fence with Tsai: I was iffy on his I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, like Syndromes made for Peter Sellars' New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna to commemorate Mozart's 250th birthday (no idea why the guy from Pink Panther would be interested in Mozart.) All these abstract concepts and weird locations, but I don't feel much connection to anything AW shoots no matter how far out he's willing to go. And anyway how weird and abstract could it possibly be if the guy from Newsweek is gushing over it? Also this has been described as a "science fiction comedy," which instantly brings to mind Southland Tales (not that it could possibly be that bad.) I will eventually break down and see Syndromes because ultimately I do want to stay open to all these crazy Thai films, but probably only after it languishes at #341 on my netflixqueue for several months.

 

8. Lady Chatterley

I like my Lady Chatterley at 3:05 am on Cinemax 2* sandwiched between two Emmanuelle movies with a subtitle that includes the word "lover" or "passion of" or "the erotic adventures of" starring some 70s softcore diva like Sylvia Kristel or Harlee McBride. Undoubtedly that's what DH Lawrence had in mind, not this kind of hoity toity arty farty adaptation. I realize that's how many people would like to see Lawrence represented on screen, but how can you take a concept like "the gallant groundskeeper and the naughty noblewoman," the "sensual and erotic journey of sexual awakening" seriously? And the ones on cable were never three hours long (unless you watched 5 or 6 of them back-to-back.) To be fair, the most famous previous version was marketed using the same classy, highly-distinguished gloss, but the director of that movie was named Just Jackin. So I think we all know what he was up to. The point is, you should probably just leave Lawrence alone unless you're Ken Russell, and considering where his career is now he might not want to dabble in it either.

* I believe it's called MoreMax now, but I haven't watched it since the early-to-mid 90s.

 

10. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr, mateys! Arrrrrrrrr! Sigh.

 

 

The "Local Hero Award" for most overrated "underrated" movie: Fracture

The "Jeremy Irons in Dungeons and Dragons Award" for giving it your best shot even though you probably shouldn't have: Will Smith in I Am Legend (runner-up: John Turturro, who maintained a certain dignity while getting pissed on by an Autobot in Transformers)

Future Films that Time Forgot: Resurrecting the Champ, The Martian Child, Premonition

Acceptabe Sequels: Spiderman 3, The Bourne Ultimatum, Live Free or Die Hard, Hostel Part II

Most improved sequels: 28 Weeks Later, Resident Evil: Extinction, Ocean's 13

Unacceptable sequels: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Shrek the Third, Hannibal Rising, Evan Almighty, Daddy Day Camp, Saw IV (it's a trap!), The Hills Have Eyes 2, Mr. Bean's Vacation, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a Van Damme-less Rush Hour 3, Belle toujours

Sequels to dread: A Mightier Heart, An Even Hotter State, Wild Hogs Can't Be Broken, 400: 4 Furious

Most unfortunate title: Bonded Parallels

Movie that has every hance of being as bad as its title: The Astronaut Farmer

Title most likely to also be a Pat Benetar song: We Own the Night

 

Much better than it deserved to be: I was expecting a Producers-like grotesquerie, or at best an excessive milking of John Waters' tongue-in-cheek original, but there's something about Adam Shankman's adaptation of the Hairspray musical that's damn infectious. Whether it's Michelle Pfeiffer and Allison Janney's over-the-top elitism, Christopher Walken's surprisingly subdued charm, the dimpled likablity of Amanda Bynes, the fun cameo by Waters as the flasher next door or the enthusiastic abandon with which Nikki Blonsky throws herself into Shankman's spinning, lollipop-sweet streets of Baltimore, the movie commits itself and doesn't slow down for two hours, at the end of which it launches into a vertiginous 20-minute final number. I'm not saying anyone should run out right now and pick it up, but Hairspray is successful at just being what it is - except of course when John Travolta, whose ineffective wax nightmare of a drag hag must have made Divine vomit in his coffin, is on screen.

Biggest surprise of the year: I'm no fan of The Squid and the Whale so it's bizarre that I really liked Margot at the Wedding, which shares a lot of the same problems. Noah Baumbach's mash-up of Eric Rohmer, JD Salinger and Persona seemed a doomed undertaking but actually plays fresh. Baumbach's not really perceptive or subtle. He's better at scenarios than he is overall story, which is why the little moments of Squid didn't amount to much beyond its neglectful parents, sibling rivalry, blunt sex talk and sex-based insults, characters with stuffy literary pretensions and a son's incestuous crush on his mother. For some reason these risky inclusions felt at home in Margot, which isn't hurt by great performances all around. Yes even Nicole Kidman, who gives an actual performance as a woman who's been manipulating others for so long she's managed to fool herself into thinking she's still in control when she's no good at it anymore. I'm actually surprised this one wasn't the runaway hit Squid was: it's a tremendous leap forward, which (again) doesn't feel like anything's been improved, just that it's been polished. Other surprises: Cassandra's Dream, a sort of Woody-ized Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, by far the best of his "London Trilogy" despite a sloppy third act (based on this and In Bruges Colin Farrell should always play a manchild wrecked with guilt over a murder.) And Richard Shepard, who's quickly becoming the king of scenes with two dudes sitting in a hotel room drinking, scored another passable entertainment with The Hunting Party, his Bosnian-reporters-on-the-make follow-up to The Matador (which was also a good follow-up for Richard Gere after 2006's above-average The Hoax, which I also saw and liked this year.)

Movie I'm outright appalled to admit I actually liked: Beowulf, even though I kept waiting for the dialogue to stop so I could play my turn.

Biggest disappointment: I guess I'm not sure what I was expecting from a three-hour Bob Dylan movie, and while I'm Not There is far from terrible it plays like The Best of Todd Haynes versus The Worst of Todd Haynes. The stuff closest to a straight-up bio of the singer himself - the Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett sequences - aren't so good, and the stuff further removed - the Ledger/Gainsbourg romance and Richard Gere western scenes - are entrancing, but feel like they belong in another movie (weirdly, that's the exact opposite of what I was expecting.) Most of the time I felt like I was wading through Haynes' trash can looking for the really good stuff he threw away, and a magical moment or two does surface (I'm thinking of the whale under the bridge and the haunting rendition of "Going to Alcapulco" during the weird post-flood funeral.) It's too Velvet Goldmine and not enough Superstar. I'm also miffed that Haynes neglected to include the Masked and Anonymous-era Dylan. Still, not terrible just...conflicted.

Other disappointments:American Gangster, Broken English, Superbad, Angel-A, The Ten, Who's Your Caddy?

 

I wish there were no more attempts to find "the next Harry Potter:" The Golden Compass, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, Bridge to Terabithia, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and the upcoming Spiderwick Chronicles

I wish there were some way these movies could be boats that would drown and kill everyone on board:The Ex with Zach Braff and Amanda Plummer, Good Luck Chuck with Dane Cook and Jessica Alba, The Nanny Diaries with Sco-Jo and Paul Giamatti

I wish there was a cookbook for life:No Reservations

Best ending: "No, it's for me" (The Lives of Others - RIP Ulrich Mhe)

Worst ending: "I drink your milkshake!" (There Will Be Blood)

Best villain (5-way tie): Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men), Anton Ego (Ratatouille), Semyon (Easten Promises), Simon Skinner (Hot Fuzz) and Billy Mitchell (The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters)

Most offensive theft: Richard Kelly's use of Mulholland Drive chanteuse Rebekah Del Rio like she was his discovery. She sings the "Star Spangled Banner," because Southland Tales is about politics and shit - don't you get it man?

Still not entirely sure this movie wasn't a joke:National Treasure: Book of Secrets (and yes I saw it, it was very real)

Best character name: P.I. Staker, Hot Fuzz

Worst character name: Topsy Kretts, The Number 23

Worst case of Futro in a movie: Space garden, a'la Silent Running, in Sunshine

Best two reasons to sit through a movie:Marisa Tomei in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Who knew?

Best death:(tie) The kid getting his throat slit amidst the oblivious parade of football fans in Eastern Promises and the ultra-meticulous corporate whack on Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton

Worst death: Quentin Tarantino in Planet Terror, whose testicle-melting and wood splinter through the eye still wasn't nearly as painful as having to sit through Death Proof.

Most shocking death:I'd say No Country for Old Men but I'd already read the book, so I'll go with either the surprisingly successful hit on Kevin Bacon's family in Death Sentence or the non-wuss out ending of The Mist.

Standout joke of the year: "Give him a minute, son. Dewey Cox needs to think about his entire life before he plays." Tim Meadows sticks it to Walk the Line in Walk Hard

Standout lame joke of the year:Dane Cook's repulsion over fucking a fat chick in Good Luck Chuck. As long as he's making movies, he'll own this category.

 

Definitely not the worst movie of the year: Though far from great, I Know Who Killed Me certainly didn't deserve the record Razzie wins, Lohan-bashing and unfair categorization with the so-called "torture porn" titles. With its noir-ish neon blues*, seedy surreralism, amputated body parts and twin stigmata, this surprisingly engaging dark fairy tale walks down David Lynch alley with a stop in Dario Argento's backyard. The unseasoned Chris Sivertson may make the occasional bad director's choice, but keeps first-time screenwriter Jeff Hammond's script intriguingly oblique. Had the movie been made by John Dahl and featured a more interesting young actress like Anna Paquin or Shannyn Sossamon, it might have been a classic. Sure it never really rises beyond its twisty cable movie-leanings, but it never bites off more than it can chew. Seriously everyone, go pick on Georgia Rule instead.

*It's well-shot by John R Leonetti, who lends his DP skills when he's not busy directing straight to video classics like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and The Butterfly Effect 2

 Just in case I needed a reminder that Curtis Hanson is no auteur: Lucky You

Standout performances:Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Gone Baby Gone), Tadanobu Asano (Sad Vacation), the cast of No Country for Old Men except Beth Grant, Dany Boon (My Best Friend), Vincent Cassel (Eastern Promises), Chris Cooper (Breach), Kate Dickie (Red Road), Albert Finney (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Bourne Ultimatum), Romola Garai (Angel), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Lookout), Angelica Huston (The Darjeeling Limited), Ana Katz (The Stray Girlfriend), Patton Oswalt and Peter O'Toole (Ratatouille), Maria Pankratz (Silent Light), Ryan Reynolds (The Nines), Molly Shannon (The Year of the Dog), Imelda Staunton and Evanna Lynch (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Performance of the year: Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone

Breakout performance of the year: Michael Shannon in Bug

Most surprising performance: Nicole Kidman, who actually acts in Margot at the Wedding instead of just getting into a car accident on set

Most Jamie Lee Curtis-esque performance: Vera Farmiga in Joshua

The "Robert Mitchum in Backfire Award" for most "so it's come to this" performance: Robert De Niro as a closet cross-dressing sky pirate in Stardust

Runner-up: Michael Caine, who has apparently accepted and approved Jude Law contractually replacing him in all his old movies, appearing next to him in the Laurence Olivier role of Kenneth Branagh's Sleuth remake, almost as bad as his appearing in Stallone's Get Carter

Worst performances of the year: Halle Berry (Perfect Strangers, Things We Lost in the Fire), Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen (The Number 23), John Cusack (1408), Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), Ben Foster (30 Days of Night, Alpha Dog), Jake Gyllenhaal (Rendition, Zodiac), Shia LaBeouf (Disturbia, Transformers), Ellen Page (Juno, The Tracey Fragments), Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo (Reservation Road), John Travolta (Hairspray, Lonely Hearts), Frank Whaley (Vacancy), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Death Defying Acts)

Stinkiest performance: Sharon Stone in a fat suit in Alpha Dog, a truly punishing blow to acting in film

Most disappointing performance: Ryan Gosling in Lars and the Real Girl

Most overrated performance: Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood

Genius most in need of Josh Brolin's agent: Jeffery Wright, who seemed to have things going on a few years back but now he's Mr. Exposition in the fucking Invaders? And when's Little Scarlet happening?

Best cameo: Peter Jackson as Santa and Cate Blanchett in Hot Fuzz (special mention: Bruce Campbell as Chicken Bittle in Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters)

Weirdest cameo: Luke Wilson as yet another guy with bad teeth in 3:10 to Yuma. Maybe he's gone into hiding after The Wendell Baker Story.

Headscratcher of the year: Julie Delpy directing a film and casting ADAM GOLDBERG as her boyfriend. WTF??

Filmmaker of the year: Sidney Lumet, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Filmfucker of the year: Jason Reitman, Juno

Great moments in film 2007

The determined dog in No Country for Old Men

The flying dog in Son of Rambow

Cat fight in hospital hallway (Import/Export)

Both of the less-than-spectacular heists in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Eli Roth and Edgar Wright's respective Grindhouse trailers

The Hotel Chevalier

Peter Parker gets dark, goes emo (Spiderman 3)

Anna Faris philosophizes on President Garfield (Smiley Face)

Michelangelo hangs up his turtle head (TMNT)

Shizuka's dance of grief (Sukiyaki Western Django)

Jonah Hill's Ghostbusters lunchbox of penis drawings (Superbad)

Jason Scott Lee translating for the Dragon in Balls of Fury

The Sandford police department enjoys a slice of Black Forest gateau in Hot Fuzz

Ben Wade sings "Arizona Killer" in 3:10 to Yuma

Glen and Marketa sing "Falling Slowly" in Once

Marjane sings "Eye of the Tiger" in Persepolis

Justin Timberlake lip-syncs "All These Things That I've Done" in Southland Tales

"It was a goof!" Ken Marino in The Ten

"No, Spiderman, don't do it!" Kid warns Spidey not to plant one on Gwen Stacy in front of Mary Jane (Spiderman 3)

"Your wife did not die, she left you because you were fooling around with other women - confess!" Werner Herzog improvising in Mister Lonely

"Andif I don't like his attitude I will slit that phildoodle so deep he will flop on the floor like a fish!" Brad Pitt's freak-out in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Ruby Dee tells Denzel "You don't kill cops," in American Gangster

Chris Cooper tells feds "Guns won't be necessary," in Breach

"Please say hello to me" - a surprising moment of humanity in the otherwise horrible CG monstrosity I Am Legend

The Saeko Search Party completes its mission (Sad Vacation)

Crackhouse raid, Gone Baby Gone

American feds Heat up Saudi Arabia: the final balls-out daytime chase and gun fight of The Kingdom

The intense nighttime car ambush in the rain, We Own the Night

The Mennonite ice cream shop in Silent Light

Anton Ego tastes the Ratatouille

Benot Magimel's jog up onto the stage in La Fille coupee en deux

The look Elias Koteas gives Jake Gyllenhaal as he pounds on the glass at the Vallejo station late at night (Zodiac)

Ben Kingsley gives corpse an enthusiastic thumbs-up after scoring a date with Tea Leoni (You Kill Me)

McClane shoots through his wound to get the bad guy (Live Free or Die Hard)

Denzel chases a perp...who's IN THE PAST! (Dj vu)

Carrot fu in Shoot 'Em Up

Jet Li's twin packages at the end of War

Tony Todd - and Jack Cracker - in Hatchet

Harold Perrineau Jr. uses his helicopter blade to carve up a horde of infected (28 Weeks Later)

Philip Seymour Hoffman's pathetic, methodical wrecking of his apartment in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Best scene of the year: Bare bathhouse brouhaha (Eastern Promises)

 

Top 10 DVD's

1. The Charles Burnett Collection
2. Berlin Alexanderplatz (criterion)
3. O Lucky Man!
4. Army of Shadows (criterion)
5. Blade Runner: 25th Anniversary limited suitcase edition
6. Sans Soleil/La Jetee (criterion)
7. if (criterion)
8. The Films of Kenneth Anger Vol 1 & 2
9. Cruising
10. The Monster Squad

Notable DVD extra: The amusing "Jennifer Tilly" outtakes on I Know Who Killed Me

 

Things to look forward to in 2007
No more Mumblecore movies
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Some possibly great comic book movies: Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Louis Leterrier's Hulk, Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky
Claire Denis' White Material
X-Files sequel (I want to believe!)
Rob Cohen's Mummy sequel
Bad Biology (allegedly 90% finished!)
"What I have are a very particular set of skills. I will look for you. I will find you. I will kill you." Liam Neeson in Taken

On the fence
The American Funny Games
David Ayers' Street Kings
The Coens' Burn After Reading
Steven Soderbergh's The Argentine
Greg McIean's Wolf Creek follow-up Rogue ("How fast can you swim?")
WALL-E (Pixar's Short Circuit?)
My Blueberry Nights - written by Lawrence Block, directed by Wong Kar-Wait starring Jude Law and Natalie Portman
Gus Van Sant's been on such a hot streak I kind of cringe at the idea of him helming the latest "bringing-the-Sean-Penn" biopic. Really? Penn as Harvey Milk?

Things to dread in 2008
More Mumblecore movies
Another goddamn Saw
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Part Deux
Pang Brothers' American remake of Bangkok Dangerous
M Night Shyamalan's Happening (yeah, maybe in 1999!)
Tony Scott in general (allegedly remaking Taking of Pelham 123 and The Warriors)

- john cribbs, February 2008

 

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