Sunday, June 28, 2015

MrMovieETC's TOP 10 FILMS of 2007

Greetings, Movie Lovers!

I hope you all had a fan-and-filmtastic Father's Day last weekend. I'm returning to my Top Ten film lists after taking last weekend off to spend time with my family and to not take away time from yours by posting stuff on Facebook.

2007: Finally, back to a year in cinema that left plenty of films to consider for the Top Ten.

After 2008 and 2009 left more rhinestones than gems, it was refreshing to see the superbly-acted, character-driven dramas that 2007 boasted, that, dare I say, were some of the best of this decade. In addition to that, this year had a plentiful serving of decent horror films to choose from; certainly something I will not find myself complaining about.

Outside of that, I don't have much a preamble for this post, so I'm going to go ahead and get started on my Top Ten Films of 2007:


To no real fault of his own, I don't find myself watching or actively searching out films with Viggo Mortensen in the lead role. It's not because I dislike him as an actor, but rather the opposite in that I feel he's quite underrated. Nevertheless, the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was a one-and-done affair for me, and films like "Hildago" are not my cup of tea, generally-speaking. "A History of Violence", on the other hand, is definitely up my alley and Viggo was damn near perfect in that movie (don't be surprised to see that title turn up later in this series). As far as this film is concerned, it takes the typical adjectives of "dirty, "gritty", and sometimes outwardly "repulsive", and cranks them up to a 10. While the film has plenty of bright spots, so to speak, in the story and acting department (particularly by Mortensen), the tone maintains a dark and tense nearly from beginning to end. Let's be honest, rarely does a feature paint a positive light when it comes to the subject of Russian mob families.

The true nature of the sinister plot may not be for everybody, but if this is your type of film, I highly recommend it.


This Spanish ghost story was easily my favorite at the time and may even still be so today, mainly for what I was hoping it would be and for the multiple surprises that I was not expecting. In truth, it's been a few years since the last time I've seen "The Orphanage" and I intend to revisit it again in the near-ish future, yet at the same time, I can still remember how inspired and satisfied I felt after watching this film for the first time. In the beginning, it's exactly what you'd expect a horror story about an orphanage to be. Personally, I'm rather surprised we don't get horror attempts like this more often, because, c'mon, ghost children - they're bloody creepy. The filmmakers did a great job of capturing the essence of that atmosphere and, needless to say, they had me hooked from the start. I won't get into spoiler territory, but the unexpected turn of the film comes about halfway through in a way that introduced a lot of emotional heart; that's about the best way I can describe it, and as I said at the beginning, I love this ghost story.

Horror fans will likely get their fill with the little scares that come with this movie, and the story is definitely one to appreciate in the years to come!


Surprise, surprise - another year, another Pixar film in the Top Ten. What can I say? Good movies are good movies, and in my opinion, Pixar's niche is creating great movies. I wouldn't say "Ratatouille" is my favorite of that particular bunch, though it was still one of my favorite films from 2007, because, obviously, it's Pixar and has that signature Pixar story and humor, but most importantly, it's about great food! It's hard to dislike a movie about the culinary arts as it is, and when adding in an underdog story about a mouse dreaming to be a master chef in Paris, well, you get wonderfully entertaining films like this. Of course, the animation was still ahead of its time, with the creme de la creme being a near breathtaking shot of Paris at nightfall. The color practically radiates off the screen. Everything else pretty speaks for itself. "Ratatouille" is another fine entry in the Pixar catalog.


Wouldn't it be ideal if just about any Stephen King film adaptation at least went across the desk of Frank Darabont? I mean, from what I've seen, the guy doesn't seem to miss that often. "The Green Mile", while not exactly horror, is currently my favorite film of all time; "The Shawshank Redemption" is on-screen storytelling at some of its finest; and then came "The Mist" that does see Darabont treading to the horror territory of King where a small mountain community gets terrorized by mutated monsters that appear out of a mysterious mist that then, in turn, bring out the monsters in the townspeople that cannot figure out how to cope with this new panic. Sometimes all it takes is a Bible and an overzealous attitude to push people over the edge. I wouldn't say I enjoyed this film as much as the other two efforts by Darabont, but a really well-executed Stephen King story brought to film is tough to find, and Darabont brings this one to the screen with enough finesse to truly stand out.

Obviously, for me, "The Mist" comes recommended. If you've seen it before but haven't yet ventured to the black & white version, I think I'd recommend that even more.


If Ben Affleck's most recent effort, "Argo", brought the suspense, and "The Town" before that brought the captivating and violent underbelly of Boston, then his director debut of "Gone Baby Gone" brought the grit. Much like "Eastern Promises" earlier in the list, this film crawls in the darkest corner of suspense and natural fear, but instead of the mob, this story revolves around child abduction - yeah, always a soothing, chipper topic. Affleck does get the comfort of having family on top of the acting bill, and Casey does a sincerely great job as Investigator Patrick Kenzie. What I also love about this film is how consistently it continues from point to point, slowly sinking in the mire of helplessness as you become more and more positive that the child in question has been killed. Every character interrogated is more sleazy than the last, and even Kenzie has trouble keeping his cool by the end.

For a first film behind the camera, this is about a strong as they come - especially in the modern era of Hollywood.


Perhaps it's not as much the case anymore, but it seemed like the initial buzz surrounding "Juno" when it was first released was about if it was morally misdirecting for young women/teenagers. One side of the fence, the "pro" side, stated that it's a film that young women should watch because it shows the consequences of one's actions and the heartache that comes with it. The "con" side were baffled by the film's popularity and that all it teaches teenagers is if you make a mistake, like getting pregnant, you can just dump your problem onto someone else and move on as if nothing happened. I suppose, technically, both side have strong points to bring to the table; for me, I tried my best to block all of that out and simply enjoy "Juno" for what it is - an outstanding dramedy. The performance by Ellen Page is still a standout tour de force to this day, and J.K. Simmons as her father lends a dry sense of humor and compassionate comfort that adds to their terrific chemistry on screen. If I were to choose a side, I'd say this film lands more accurately on the "pro" side of the argument as the story and tonality place a heavy hand on how lives are forever changed when new life is created too soon.


I wouldn't say I put "American Gangster" this far up the list solely due its technical merits, because it's not without its flaws and holes; although, referring back to the introduction, this was one of those superbly-acted dramas (made all the better by Ridley Scott at director) that showcases Denzel Washington in his finest performance from that decade, in my own opinion, as drug dealing kingpin Frank Lucas. Often compassionate in his family life but no nonsense and tough as nails on the streets, Lucas brought back that classic gangster intimidation factor, and strangely enough, classy style that has felt missing since mobster flicks ruled supreme in the 1950s and 1960s. Russel Crowe also turns in a solid performance as Detective Richie Roberts, and being not the biggest fan of Crowe, I do recognize his authentic talents and to see him take a role that doesn't display his character at the top of their game was refreshing to say the least. Running at almost 3 hours, the film does have its lags, but overall does maintain an engaging enough pace to keep you intrigued until the final credits role.


On my A Journey Through Film page, I posted a full-length review a while back for "Once" praising it as the best modern musical I've seen, if not the best musical of the 2000s. At a modest $150,000 budget, this story tells about the heartbreak of "Guy" (played by real life musician Glen Hansard) and how he dreams to make it big in the music world despite currently playing for loose change on street corners with his warped and damaged guitar. With the help of "Girl" (Marketa Irglova), Guy is able to display his talents to a group of musicians to join in his cause, and eventually, to a music producer to create his album about a lost love. The musical chemistry between Hansard and Irglova is second-to-none as they create absolutely beautiful melodies from one song to the next. The film teases a possible romance blooming between the two characters, but you'll have to watch the movie for yourself to see how that plays out.

You don't necessarily have to be a fan of musicals to appreciate "Once", mainly because it does not play out like the stereotypical Broadway dance and sing affair with all the bells and whistles. "Once" sides more with the understated approach, and the result is fantastic.


The Coen Brothers can always be counted on to bring forth bizarre, yet oddly entertaining comedies and/or noirs to the big screen; everything from "Blood Simple", "Fargo", "Raising Arizona", and "The Big Lebowski" has the signature taste that only the Coens can seem to master. "No Country for Old Men" sees them bring a more serious approach, and the result is probably the finest film in their catalog to date. From the now iconic role from Javier Bardem and the fine supporting cast work of Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin, the Coens bring the story of a drug trade gone horribly wrong to a wide spread chase that leaves multiple dead bodies in its wake. As stated, Bardem brings a master craft to this film as the terrifying Anton Chigurh, a hitman that uses a cattle gun as his weapon of choice - you know, just in case you needed something to grab your attention towards viewing this film. Brolin's Llwelyn Moss is the unfortunate target of Chigurh, and Tommy Lee Jones plays the near-retired Sheriff stuck in the middle of it all and is none-to-pleased about it.

One thing you may have heard about "No Country", especially if you have yet to see it, is how much the ending has a tendency to piss people off. It's a little strange to be sure, but give it a chance as it does have a subtle punch to it.

And finally, my #1 film from 2007:





If you ever wondered why the name Daniel Day Lewis gets mentioned with such rigorous enthusiasm about every 4 to 5 years, then "There Will Be Blood" would be as good a place as any to find out. In the last 20 years, I've yet see an actor embrace a role has absolutely as Lewis, and his role as Daniel Plainview in this film is nothing short of perfect. Seeing his evolution from a broke silver minor to a wealthy oil driller that succumbs to his own ego and alcoholism on the road to bitter madness, Plainview manages to become more memorable than the portrayal of Abraham Lincoln that Lewis did 5 years later (and he was also ridiculously good in that film). In fairness to Plainview, he had help being nudged in that direction by a cynical false prophet, played with a certain subtle menace by young Paul Dano, looking to use the townspeople against Plainview to coax more money to his own cause with the insurance that it'll keep Plainview's business afloat. For a film that runs well over 2 hours, that doesn't seem like a lot to run on, and yet Director Paul Thomas Anderson literally makes every frame drip with personality and character that all you'd want to do as a viewer is soak it in minute by minute. In fact, watching Plainview's slow decent from a business man with good intentions to a bitter drunk that has a growing disdain for everyone around him is captivating enough to watch all on its own. I believe there are performances that deserve the Oscar without a shadow of a doubt, and this was the one from 2007. To you, Mr. Lewis, I say "Bravo!"

Thank you very much for reading! Please feel free to share this and/or comment.

See you next for my Top Ten List of 2006.

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