Home Movie Vault Disc Vault Coming Soon Local Scene Articles About Us Contest Soundtrack Books eStore
Search MX >>   powered by FreeFind
John Li
10 The Warlords
9 Enchanted
8 Lust, Caution
7 Ratatouille
6 Hairspray
5 The Simpsons Movie
4 Meet the Robinsons
3 Eternal Summer
1 Paris Je T’aime
1 Dreamgirls

Someone tell me it isn’t true – I’ve gone all soft this year, having musicals and animated features making the bulk of my Top 10 List? But what’s there not to like about the glitz, the glamour and the glory? What’s there not to like about the big sets, the big cast and the big voices? All together now, let’s sing: We’re “Dreamgirls”/Boys we’ll make you happy! And if Oscar Best Supporting Actress Jennifer Hudson didn’t blow you away with her hollering voice, maybe John Travolta in “Hairspray” will. The guy has nabbed a Best Supporting Actor (not actress!) nomination for his hilarious portrayal of Edna Turnblad. All together now, let’s sing: And if you try to hold me down/I’m going to spit in your eye and say/That you can’t stop the beat! Before you think I have a thing for big women, my favorite on-screen princess this year has to be Giselle. The girl has left me “Enchanted” because she has enlightened me by asking (singing, actually): How does she know you love her?/How does she know she’s yours?

Then there are the adorable yellow folks in “The Simpsons Movie”. Not much singing here, but Homer’s “Spider Pig” was delightfully silly enough for me to include it in the list. And I also got to “Meet the Robinsons”, who brought me to the wacky future and experience the true meaning of… family (aw, that’s sweet, isn’t it?). Remy’s delectable “Ratatouille” dish looked mouth-watering (on screen, at least) enough to secure a place in the list as well, what’s more, the movie was set in Paris! I really want to visit the City of Love, especially after seeing “Paris Je T’aime”. Maybe (just maybe) I’d meet my true love there, and my story will be made into a short film by the likes of international directors like Tom Tykwer, Olivier Assayas and Gus van Sant.

Speaking about love, the guy-and-guy relationship in “Eternal Summer” and the guy-and-girl one in “Lust, Caution” are so affecting and thought-provoking, it made me all teary-eyed. Before you accuse me of being a softie, look at the guys in “The Warlords”, weren’t those tears rolling down their cheeks like water running free from a tap I saw? Come on, I am sure I can be as macho as them one day – after all, all you got to do is dream.

Justin Deimen
10 Waitress
9 Volver
8 13 Tzameti
7 Paprika
6 Zodiac
5 Nanking
4 Lars and the Real Girl
3 Eastern Promises
1 The Simpsons Movie
1 Black Snake Moan

A significant portion of last year’s Oscar roster wound up on my personal and heretofore unstated ‘Worst of’ list (with the sinister “Blood Diamond” and the manufactured banality of “Little Children” being particular grievances) and I still fear that 2008’s biggest Oscar-baiting prestige film in “American Gangster” will eventually sink its stained teeth into an undeserving berth. With that confession aside, it does come as no surprise that the films in this year’s ‘Best of’ list might not find itself vying for Academy consideration. But then again to be fair, the frontrunners (as well as its dark horses) have not found their way onto our island as of yet or possibly at all. So it goes to say as far as 2007 goes, it’s not just the smaller indies that rule the roost and I’m glad to say that in this year’s list I’ve discovered more than a few gems in some of the year’s more commercially viable releases that will hopefully enrich you as it did me. The list of my year’s favourite films is close to my heart and mind, with some aiming to be intellectually stimulating and others continuing to expand the passion conspicuous not just in film but to all of the life that it reflects in some form or other.

And nothing extols the latter more than Craig Brewer’s audaciously volatile “Black Snake Moan”, stamping his imprint on provocative filmmaking in the clear skies and sticky grime of his Americana and a genuine exaltation of life’s ability to hurt and destroy but most importantly to heal the deepest of psychic wounds. After his celebrated and equally maligned “Hustle & Flow”, Brewer proves he’s not going softly into the night with an intensely charged piece of Southern Gothic. Matt Groening also proves his own point to detractors with the eagerly awaited “The Simpsons Movie”, even if Homer refuses to pay to watch the year’s best comedy, animated or otherwise. Containing the year’s funniest gag with Bart’s sly flash of full-frontal nudity and the most memorable use of a spider-pig, its politically aggressive humour is a relieving return to form and offers the sincerest and most heartrending scenes of familial discombobulation when Bart reacts to his lack of perceived paternal affection and Marge questions her marriage to Homer.

David Cronenberg has no such quotidian preoccupations with the traditional family units (which was already evinced in his “History of Violence”) in his masterful “Eastern Promises” where he presents London as a teeming hive of ethnic and ethical tensions fueled by the cultural isolation of its displaced immigrants. His typically exquisite composition of light and gloom seeping into souls is represented by an utterly fascinating performance by Viggo Mortensen as he peers into the city’s heart of darkness. With that we move swiftly on to a town’s heart of goodness in Craig Gillespie’s “Lars and the Real Girl”, a modern fable that either takes to heart our rampant consumerism or expresses a lost idealism in an increasingly cynical world. I’d like to think that this film understands deeply and with love and sadness, the fundamental fragilities that shape us. In a landscape of films that advocate conflict, it is unusual to witness this film, which actually wants its characters to get along and be happy.

In a curious intimation of the previous two films mentioned, Bill Guttentag and Bill Sturman’s documentary “Nanking” reminds us of humanity’s capacity for both inexplicable evil and profound goodness. The shared human consciousness between the heroic foreigners and ravaged citizenry during the Rape of Nanking remains a small consolation in view of one of humanity’s worst moments. The personification of evil is also considered in the microcosm of a serial killer and spate of obsessions that drive the men who hunt him in David Fincher’s “Zodiac”. Subtextual guilt-trips and a spectacularly reeling anticlimax get under skins and fester, both in clear and thoughtful engagement with his most intensive work to date since the fervour that surrounded and sustained “Se7en”.

Satoshi Kon’s subliminally sublime “Paprika” also festers under our skins and psyches as it leads us down a rabbit hole where dreams are cinema, surfaces are liquid and the Internet plugs into you instead. Dynamic and brimming with metaphorical ideas and conceptual collisions predicated on cinema’s own ability to shape and deconstruct our purview. The despairing nightmare apparent in Kon’s deepest residues is amplified in Gela Babluani’s Kafkaesque menace, “13 Tzameti”. Its tonally confident monochromatic canvas recalls an intensely grim, bleak nightmare that plasters over the hyper-realism of its brutality, a slow burn allegory for the fatalism infecting our existential crises and the criminality forced upon France’s émigré populace for the enjoyment of an upper class.

Rounding off the list are two films sensitively tuned to the best of feminine wavelengths that navigate the lives of women and the family they love when all is said and done. Pedro Almodóvar’s gentle homecoming in “Volver” deals with a spate of deaths comically, reminds us of the tenuous ties that are ignored and the happiness discovered at its end – all to the tune of Penelope Cruz’s show stopping number that rightfully grabbed her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress this year. The other film dealt with death most tragically when Adrienne Shelley who wrote, directed and performed in the delightfully exuberant “Waitress” passed away shortly before the film was released. The wit and charm surging through Shelley’s script is bolstered by chemistry of both Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion, and both are occupants of Shelley’s searing emotional truths and wisdoms. Yes indeed, the sisters are doing it for themselves

Daniel Lim
10 The Simpsons Movie
9 300
8 The Italian
7 The Dead Girl
6 Enchanted
5 Hot Fuzz
4 The Warlords
3 Bourne Ultimatum
1 Ratatouille
1 Hairspray

I’ve always felt a Number One in a Top 10 of a year should always feature a universally ok-ed and lauded film that anyone from almost any walks of life can walk in and say “Boy, that’s a good film”. Unlike the year of musicality when Chicago won big; socio-political commentary wave of 2004/2005 that saw Crash, Hustle and Flow and The Constant Gardener dominate the screens, 2007 seems quite a mixed pot of films.

Creeping in at Number 10 for me is The Simpsons, the long-awaited TV to big screen adaptation of an insanely popular cartoon franchise Even as I write, I feel like they deserve higher. Without a doubt, it pulls off all the bells, whistles and familiar kicks off the series while milking the big screen advantages presenting us with a fantastic, one-off adventure that can be so hard to pull off. Imagine the animators trying to stay relevant having to update the political barbs and gags… 300 clocks in at 9th, a genuinely impressive, comic book come to life production of the legendary battle of the Spartans. I would have appreciated it better if it didn’t succumb to being a glossy, comic-to-screen print but given the fact that the comic WAS like that – presented frame for frame almost identically – this was just me wishing the director took some creative license.

The Italian and The Dead Girl comes in at 8th and 7th, one a wonderfully stirring Russian film about socio-cultural displacement of a young boy, the other an amazingly incisive and refreshing series of stories about the plights and tribulations of women in modern day society. The bottom half is topped off by Enchanted – a real action fairy tale that is part animated – which spins a twist on the traditional fairy tale while adding modern day relevance with a realistic, lovable sweetness in its ending.

Hot Fuzz is about as British as it gets in humour, style and direction and snags Brit-flavour its place in the top 10. Flash. At number four, truly, is just about the best Asian war film in some time, probably the reason 300 limped in at ninth. Marred by an audience lacking perception, some of whom actually laughed regularly, Andy Lau, Jet Li and Takeshi Kaneshiro’s characters were so representative of real life personalities, ideals and principles that that it spoke to me right to the core. The battle scenes were gloriously tremendous with realism, yet maintaining so many incisive portrayals and themes that apply in life, politics and war with zero preachiness. The religious insertions and commentary were almost ingenious. It was without a doubt my favourite film of the year.

The podium finishers are three distinctly different films that provided strong movie entertainment in their own right. Bourne Ultimatum finishes third – a strong, political action thriller that delivers massively as a last installment of a book to film trilogy. Damon continues his inspired portrayal and finishes on a fantastic high that guaranteed great action for all. In second is a film that is almost interchangeable with the first – the wonderfully inspired Hairspray. Have we ever seen a movie so filled with unbridled energy and feel so genuine since Grease? Hairspray is immensely entertaining, charming, beguiling and lovable all-at-the-same-time, delivered by a stellar cast that oozed so much natural charisma and fun that you’d get off the armchair, toss the popcorn and swim 20 miles, run a marathon if it meant you could be an extra on the set and join in the fun.

Hairspray is joined at the top by Ratatouille, a Pixar film that fully justifies Disney’s investment – it is a film impossible not to love and frankly, halts a whole chain of almost uninspiring Disney animation fare. Along with Enchanted, Ratatouille is a celebration that there’s life yet in this old boy. So lushly and movingly animated with a plot so well paced and engaging and characters that really carry their own weight so much more than perhaps any other animated film – the sight of an almost child-like Anton Ego basking in simple happiness with the lovable Linguini, rat et al simply coats anyone’s heart with honey, marmalade and syrupy goodness that makes it, along with Hairspray, two of the lovably un-missable films of the year

DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004- , movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.