Sunday, December 30, 2007

Favorite Movies of 2007

Some of my favorite movies from the year 2007 appear below. Occasionally, my reasons for choosing these movies appear ideosyncratic although I attempt to achieve objectivity in my comments about these movies. My choices are limited to those movies that have appeared at area multi-plexes. If I were living in a larger city or a university town, I would have access to both European releases and independent productions created in this country.

Best Comedy: Mr. Bean’s Holiday
A genuinely funny movie in which Mr. Bean, without his knowledge, becomes responsible for so many problems. The scene of Mr. Bean dropping the oysters he ordered in a Paris restaurant into a woman’s purse cannot easily be forgotten.

Best Animated Feature: The Simpsons Movie
Nearly every moment contains another gag. It will take several viewings just to discover all of the humor.

Best Computer Animation: Beowulf
This depiction of the old English poem contains a lot of good things. At one point, a bard in the mead hall is reading from Beowulf in Old English. Most fascinating of all is the music that only appears when Grendal’s mother is interacting with Beowulf. The alteration of the poem’s plot creates a convincing argument.

Best Action/Adventure: Live Free or Die Hard
John McClane returns for another adventure in which computers play a large role. Justin Long’s character offers exposition and comic relief. The action remains intense as McClane and Matt Farrell (Justin Long) piece together those clues that will prevent the economic collapse of this country.

Best Drama: 3:10 to Yuma
This update of an earlier western develops the story in more detail by adding more characters and giving Ben Wade and Dan Evans (the two main characters) more human characteristics while framing the movie around the violence in the opening and closing scenes.

Best Musical: Across the Universe
The director manages to weave together the music of the Beatles so as to create a story of two lovers. The cinematography is often surreal and recreates the allusions to LSD in some of the music. Look for the hand of Uncle Sam reaching out of a poster to grab young men for the war in Vietnam.

Best Family/Children’s Movie: The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
The character development in this story, combined with the mythic elements and the Scottish setting, sustains one’s interest throughout the movie and prevents this movie from simply being another one in which the characters talk to imaginary creatures.