Best of 2007

2007 marked the year of the Coen Brothers.  No other film came close to the impressive 358 spots on top 10 lists that No Country for Old Men could be found on, becoming the second Coen brothers movie to top the number one spot (the other being 1996’s Fargo).

Meanwhile, Paul Thomas Anderson reached the top 10 for the third time in his short career (Magnolia, Boogie Nights) with his highest rating ever.

Approximately 585 lists were found in 2008.  The top 40 are as follows:

50. Rescue Dawn (27 lists)

“Werner Herzog is finally unveiling the first American narrative feature of his long career. As any Herzog fan would expect, it’s an odd and thrilling mixture, and I can’t imagine a better Fourth of July present to his adopted country.” — Andrew O’Hehir,

49. Charlie Wilson’s War (27 lists, 1 top spot)

The big-screen Charlie Wilson’s War, clocking in at 93 fly-by minutes, is dark and funny and mean and sexy, damned near pitch-black-perfect considering that at the end of this boozy comedy you wind up with, oh, Osama bin Laden.” — Robert Wilonsky, Village Voice

48. The Kite Runner (27 lists, 2 top spots)

The movie has two extraordinary characters and performances. Non-pro Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada breaks your heart as the innocent, wide-eyed child Hassan, and Homayoun Ershadi makes Amir’s father a model of intuitive decency.” — Jack Mathews, New York Daily News

47. Lust, Caution (28 lists, 1 top spot)

A brooding meditation on the unnerving power and terrible cost of emotional and political masquerades, the Chinese-language Lust, Caution gets under your skin with its examination of what qualifies as love and what does not.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

46. Margot at the Wedding (30 lists)

Only an actress of Ms. Kidman’s stature, talent and proven magnetism could make her mercurial character bearable and watchable for the full 91 minutes of the film, in which she is in almost every scene.” — Andrew Sarris, New York Observor

45. In the Valley of Elah (31 lists)

In the Valley of Elah held me despite my many qualms. That’s because the subject matter is innately powerful and resists Haggis’s pigeonholing. He’s latched onto something that’s bigger than himself.” — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

44. La Vie en Rose (31 lists, 7 top spots)

The movie, the voice of Piaf, and a performance that turns Marion Cotillard into a great new star shimmer with the kind of beauty, power, intensity and visual opulence you might want to experience again and again.” — Rex Reed, New York Observer

42. Across the Universe (33 lists, 2 top spots)

Across the Universe isn’t beholden to any stage incarnation. It owes its vision to the vibrant imagination of its director, who created a musical that reminds us how cultural-political events can change our tune.” — Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

42. Control (33 lists, 2 top spots)

Riley makes a perfect Curtis, and Corbijn’s finely shaded recreations of classic Joy Division performances are so exciting that the movie could’ve been nothing but fake concert footage, and it would’ve been every bit as moving as the filmmakers intended.” — Noel Murray, AV Club


41. Waitress (36 lists, 2 top spots)

In the end, Shelly’s script for Waitress has a pleasingly tart undertone that balances out what could have been an overly sugary confection. And she directs with a skill that makes me wish we could look forward to many more films from her.” — Lou Lumenick, New York Post
40. Sicko (37 lists, 1 top spot)
“Sicko is Moore’s best film: a documentary that mixes outrage, hope, and gonzo stunts in the right proportions; and that throws an unforgiving spotlight on what is, in both senses, the elephant in the room.”  — David Edelstein, New York Magazine
39. Colossal Youth (37 lists, 7 top spots)

“Rather than impose actors on the scene, Costa involves the people who already live there. Instead of training them to perform a story, he locates a skeletal narrative from a rehearsal process based on their personal stories.” — Nathan Lee, Village Voice

37. Offside (38 lists, 2 top spot)
“Humanizes the Iranians and shows that they’re just as crazy about their sports as Westerners, if not more. If anything, it proves that soccer is truly an international language, providing an arena where anyone can communicate.” — Bill Muller, Arizona Republic

37. Hairspray (38 lists, 2 top spot)

“It’s one of the best Broadway-tuner adaptations in recent years — yes, arguably even better than those Oscar-winning ones. Unpretentious, feel-good pic is low on histrionic diva wailing and MTV-style editing, high on retro movie-musical craftsmanship.” — Dennis Harvey, Variety
36. Lars and the Real Girl (45 lists, 1 top spot)
“It’s nothing less than a miracle that the director, Craig Gillespie, and the writer, Nancy Oliver, have been able to make such an endearing, intelligent and tender comedy from a premise that, in other hands, might sustain a five-minute sketch on TV.” — Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
35. The King of Kong (45 lists, 2 top spot)
“Take maniacal classic video game champion Billy Mitchell, questionable video game world-record organization Twin Galaxies and unemployed dad Steve Wiebe vying to usurp the champ and you’ve got a great story.” — Scott Schueller, Chicago Tribune

34. Black Book (45 lists, 4 top spots)

“Judged in dramatic terms, situational ethics drive the film, never slackening the pace nor making the nearly 2 1/2-hour running time seem overlong. Van Houten is rarely out of the frame, but she’s no mere eye candy.” — Peter Howell, Toronto Star

33. The Darjeeling Limited (49 lists, 5 top spots)
“There’s [Anderson’s] usual goofy celebration of silent dark-eyed melancholics and shaggy oddballs, of absurdist realities and blindingly unexpected insights. Taken as a whole, it’s incontrovertible evidence of Anderson’s own free-wheeling talent.” — Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

32. Hot Fuzz (50 lists)

“The movie duly quickens into pursuits of every speed, and the homage to action thrillers is there in the smallest detail; the clicking of a ballpoint pen, say, is amplified to sound as menacing as the cocking of a gun.” — Anthony Lane, New Yorker

31. American Gangster (54 lists, 3 top spots)

“Call it the black Scarface or the Harlem Godfather or just one hell of an exciting movie, but the fact-based, 1970s-era American Gangster is already looking like a major awards contender.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
30. Killer of Sheep (55 lists, 10 top spot)

“Purposefully uneventful and made in a minor key, Killer of Sheep moved me to tears. Contemporary audiences may not recognize it as a great movie. There’s not an ounce of slick in it; it’s neither manipulative nor hurried.” — Robert Denerstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News

29. No End in Sight (59 lists, 3 top spot)

“Remember the scene in A Clockwork Orange where Alex has his eyes clamped open and is forced to watch a movie? I imagine a similar experience for the architects of our catastrophe in Iraq. I would like them to see No End in Sight.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

28. 3:10 to Yuma (62 lists, 2 top spots)

“The best Western since Unforgiven, 3:10 to Yuma is both cathartic and intelligent. While a wildly eventful action-adventure and outlaw shoot-’em-up, it’s also a vibrant story of heroism, villainy and hard-earned redemption.” — Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

27. The Host (63 lists, 1 top spot)
“Monster movies tend to be as misunderstood as their creatures, but dating back to 1931’s Frankenstein, some haven’t been about scaring us so much as enlightening us. The Host does this while disgorging a lizardlike carnivore.” — Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

26. The Savages (63 lists, 3 top spot)

“Tamara Jenkins has made a movie about something that lots of people are going through but nobody wants to deal with, not even in life, much less in entertainment. And she’s done it fearlessly, with the right mix of humor and horror.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

25. Gone Baby Gone (65 lists)

“In emulating the best — Eastwood’s Mystic River, Scorsese’s The Departed — Affleck shows excellent instincts, not least of which is letting his brother, Casey, hold the center as a young guy not as smaht as he thinks he is.” — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

24. Syndromes and a Century (65 lists, 9 top spot)

“Are these parallel tales a Buddhist romance? An attempt to induce something like 3-D narrative depth? A consideration of repetitive human activity over the course of a lifetime? You might as well ask why the breeze is rustling the leaves.” — J. Hoberman, Village Voice

23. Superbad (67 lists)

“Contains laughs galore, so many that the last one may get in the way of next one coming. But it’s also got moments where you may want to cover your eyes to shield yourself from the sheer, wince-inducing familiarity of the behaviour on display.” — Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star

22. Grindhouse (73 lists, 6 top spots)

“The 1970s exploitation movie gropes, bites, kicks, slugs, blasts, smashes and cusses its way back to life in Grindhouse, a ‘Rodriguez/Tarantino double feature’ that lovingly resurrects a disreputable but cultishly embraced form.” — Todd McCarthy, Variety

21. The Lives of Others (73 lists, 12 top spots)

“A genuinely thrilling tale, leavened with sly humor, that works ingenious variations on the theme of cat and mouse, speaks to current concerns about personal privacy and illuminates the timeless conflict between totalitarianism and art.” — Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

20. The Bourne Ultimatum (78 lists, 6 top spot)

“Insistent, ingenious and slammed full of five heart attacks worth of action, The Bourne Ultimatum may be the best conspiracy action-thriller ever made, a beautifully crafted mix of mayhem, well-earned paranoia and unlikely introspection.” — Tom Long, Detroit News

19. Persepolis (81 lists)

“In spite of all the idealistic baggage, the film feels like it’s traveling light. The fluid handmade visuals hang onto the uniqueness of Satrapi’s heavy-lined work while giving them a smoothness and a visual depth they previously lacked.” — Tasha Robinson, Chicago Tribune

18. Knocked Up (90 lists, 3 top spot)

“Hilarious from moment to moment, but leaving behind both a warm glow and a sting. This is a picture that refuses to fetishize either the ability to conceive or the significance of our place in the universe once we’ve done so.” — Stephanie Zacharek,

17. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (105 lists, 13 top spots)

“First, this movie should be enjoyed. Later, marveled at. And then, once the excitement has faded, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days really should be studied, because director Cristian Mungiu creates scenes unlike any ever filmed.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

16. Away From Her (107 lists, 5 top spots)

“Bergmanesque and beautiful, set in a wintry landscape fitfully lit by one woman’s flickering awareness and one man’s long-term, stubborn love, Away from Her is one of the most remarkable and moving love stories the movies have recently given us.” — Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

15. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (110 lists, 5 top spots)

“Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is such a superb crime melodrama that I almost want to leave it at that. To just stop writing right now and advise you to go out and see it as soon as you can.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

14. Sweeney Todd (116 lists, 11 top spots)

“It combines some of Tim Burton’s favorite elements: The fantastic, the ghoulish, the bizarre, the unspeakable, the romantic and in Johnny Depp, he has an actor he has worked with since Edward Scissorhands and finds a perfect instrument.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

13. Atonement (126 lists, 17 top spots)

“The film is gorgeous to look at, well paced (especially during the first half), and by turns touching and sad. The ending packs an emotional punch, which is what one would expect from any movie developed from a McEwan novel.” — James Berardinelli, ReelViews

12. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (127 lists, 11 top spots)

“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is the story…of the moment in America when myth was murdered by mere celebrity and we were left, perhaps forever, with only the latter’s meager consolations.” — Christopher Orr, New Republic

11. Michael Clayton (133 lists, 14 top spots)

“This uncommonly intelligent thriller evokes the great films of the 1970s (All the President’s Men, Klute, Three Days of the Condor) that managed to elicit gritty urban realism while maintaining a suave sense of style and moral complexity.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

10. Eastern Promises (134 lists, 3 top spot)

“Eastern Promises, a chilly character thriller set in the Russian underworld of London, has elements of murder mystery and gangster melodrama. But in director David Cronenberg’s hands, it’s a search for moral bearing in a dark and desperate world.” — Desson Thompson, Washington Post

9. Into the Wild (138 lists, 13 top spots)

“Sequences are gorgeously filmed by cinematographer Eric Gautier, and they’re heady with the joy of discovery — they make you want to hit the road into the magnificent landscape we forget is out there.” — Ty Burr, Boston Globe

8. I’m Not There (141 lists, 18 top spots)

“The singular haunting beauty of I’m Not There, Todd Haynes’ thrilling deep-vision meditation on the music and many lives of Bob Dylan, is that obsession isn’t just its fuel — it’s the movie’s spirit and subject, its driving force.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

7. Once (157 lists, 11 top spots)

“Forget everything you think you know about the movie musical, one of the more predictable genres. With Once, writer-director John Carney deconstructs it and reinvents it as something wholly new, inspired and alive.” — Christy Lemire, Associated Press

6. Ratatouille (158 lists, 10 top spots)

“A film as rich as a sauce béarnaise, as refreshing as a raspberry sorbet, and a lot less predictable than the damn food metaphors and adjectives all us critics will churn out to describe it. OK, one more and then I’ll be done: it’s yummy.” — David Ansen, Newsweek

5. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (163 lists, 26 top spots)

“Thanks to Bauby’s courageous and honest writing, and Schnabel’s poetic interpretation, what could have been a portrait of impotence and suffering becomes a lively exploration of consciousness and a soaring ode to liberation.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

4. Juno (178 lists, 19 top spots)

“That smart, hip, human comedy you’ve been waiting for all year? The one with dialogue like a sugar rush and performances like grace notes? It’s called Juno and it just arrived in theaters. Go forth and multiplex.” — Ty Burr, Boston Globe

3. Zodiac (216 lists, 27 top spots)

“Fincher leads us down little dark alleys and side streets, and we’re never quite sure who might jump out to be the killer. After three decades, details of the case have faded from public consciousness, so the movie is surprising at times.” — Bill Muller, Arizona Republic

2. There Will Be Blood (245 lists, 63 top spots)

“An impressive achievement in its confident expertness in rendering the simulated realities of a bygone time and place, largely with an inspired use of regional amateur actors and extras with all the right moves and sounds.” — Andrew Sarris, New York Observer

1. No Country for Old Men (358 lists, 90 top spots)

“Bardem is nothing less than the best movie villain since Anthony Hopkins slipped out of Hannibal Lecter’s manacles, scary-smart and horrifyingly appealing, and Brolin is nothing short of a revelation.” — Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press

13 thoughts on “Best of 2007

  1. Here’s a top 10 list for 2007. I know it’s way late, but here goes (it’s from Aaron Dumont):

    10. Paprika
    9. Southland Tales
    8. Killer of Sheep
    7. Into Great Silence
    6. Private Fears in Public Places
    5. Syndromes and a Century
    4. Bamako
    3. There Will Be Blood
    2. Colossal Youth
    1. I’m Not There

  2. Year 2007 IMO:
    1. There Will Be Blood
    2. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
    3. No Country for Old Men
    4 .Zodiac
    5. Into the Wild
    6 .Ratatouille
    7. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    8. Ben X
    9. Michael Clayton
    10. 3:10 to Yuma

    NOTE: 2007 also started the greatest TV-Series ever : Mad Men
    & I haven’t seen Eastern Promises and Persepolis yet.

  3. RR is no doubt a better off roeadr but hey both cars are really good. X6 has some offroading capabilities and it is enough. Its not SUV its SAV . Its like comparing and Subaru outback and a M3 in a racetrack. BMW isnt a small silly car maker which does not know how make cars and for what they are made. Both these cars used properly are very good.

  4. I loved this year in movies. For me it would look something like this:
    1. No Country for Old Men (I know many are appreciating There Will Be Blood more with time as it is flashier and probably does everything right in the Great American Movie sort of genre of greats like Raging Bull and Citizen Kane, but I find the substance and the quality in NCFOM just perfect. If not as high concept as Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie. I think PTA aced his TWBB style with The Master though, best movie of its year. NCFOM is powerful, unique and high minded–albeit in a more subtle and modest manner.
    2. There Will Be Blood
    3. Ratatouille (so many things done well in this one)
    4. Superbad (this should be a classic)
    5. Into the Wild (Zodiac might be a bit of a better movie, but Into the Wild stayed with me longer)
    6. Zodiac
    8. Knocked Up (comedy done right)
    7. Juno
    9. The Bourne Ultimatum (action movie done right)
    10. Away From Her

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