Here are my picks (in no particular order):
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The Potter movies are turning into a fine franchise and this one was probably my second favorite of the whole bunch. I find myself looking forward to them, even though I’ve read all the books and know the story. Imelda Staunton was deliciously wicked.
No Country for Old Men: Some smarty pants movie reviewer (probably David Bianculli?) said that none of the recent slew of Iraq war movies spoke to the dark times we’re in as well as this picture. I have to agree. It’s an unrelenting character study of evil.
The Bourne Ultimatum: Typically the heros in these kinds of movies kill with impunity, never giving a second thought to their actions. Everything is justified (presumably) because the bad guys are just that bad. This one breaks the mold, with its The-Bad-Guys-Are-Us plot.
3:10 to Yuma: In the old Westerns, the good guy was the good guy because he was the most dynamic, driven personality in town. 3:10 to Yuma is just like that, but now the chrisma extends to the bad guy, too.
The Lives of Others: There was lots to like here, from the stazi officer’s gentle seduction as he monitors the writer’s life, to the crazy paranoia in the stazi ranks (the lunch room scene was fabulous). I’m so glad they skipped the big romantic ending and opted instead for the much subtler book dedication ending.
28 Weeks Later: Good, tense, horror. I like that it didn’t depend on buckets of blood, but relied more on the psychology of guilt and betrayal for its tension. I wish zombie Dad hadn’t kept coming back, but this flaw wasn’t enough to lessen the movie for me.
Juno: Teen pregenancy is becoming its own little sub-catagory under the coming-of-age genre. I loved the snappy dialogue, the quirky characters, even the feel good ending.
That’s it. But there are a lot of movies I haven’t had time to see. My Netflix queue is packed with a ton of good stuff from 2007, including There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton, American Gangster, and Gone Baby Gone.
In 2008, I have to get out to more movies!